Posts Tagged ‘shock doctrine’
From October 12 to 15, 2010, I had extensive and detailed discussions with Fidel Castro in Havana, pertaining to the dangers of nuclear war, the global economic crisis and the nature of the New World Order. These meetings resulted in a wide-ranging and fruitful interview.
The first part of this interview published by Global Research and Cuba Debate focuses on the dangers of nuclear war.
The World is at a dangerous crossroads. We have reached a critical turning point in our history.
This interview with Fidel Castro provides an understanding of the nature of modern warfare: Were a military operation to be launched against the Islamic Republic of Iran, the US and its allies would be unable to win a conventional war, with the possibility that this war could evolve towards a nuclear war.
The details of ongoing war preparations in relation to Iran have been withheld from the public eye.
How to confront the diabolical and absurd proposition put forth by the US administration that using tactical nuclear weapons against Iran will “make the World a safer place”?
A central concept put forth by Fidel Castro in the interview is the ‘Battle of Ideas”. The leader of the Cuban Revolution believes that only a far-reaching “Battle of Ideas” could change the course of World history. The objective is to prevent the unthinkable, a nuclear war which threatens to destroy life on earth.
The corporate media is involved in acts of camouflage. The devastating impacts of a nuclear war are either trivialized or not mentioned. Against this backdrop, Fidel’s message to the World must be heard; people across the land, nationally and internationally, should understand the gravity of the present situation and act forcefully at all levels of society to reverse the tide of war.
The “Battle of Ideas” is part of a revolutionary process. Against a barrage of media disinformation, Fidel Castro’s resolve is to spread the word far and wide, to inform world public opinion, to “make the impossible possible”, to thwart a military adventure which in the real sense of the word threatens the future of humanity.
When a US sponsored nuclear war becomes an “instrument of peace”, condoned and accepted by the World’s institutions and the highest authority including the United Nations, there is no turning back: human society has indelibly been precipitated headlong onto the path of self-destruction.
Fidel’s “Battle of Ideas” must be translated into a worldwide movement. People must mobilize against this diabolical military agenda.
This war can be prevented if people pressure their governments and elected representatives, organize at the local level in towns, villages and municipalities, spread the word, inform their fellow citizens regarding the implications of a thermonuclear war, initiate debate and discussion within the armed forces.
What is required is a mass movement of people which forcefully challenges the legitimacy of war, a global people’s movement which criminalizes war.
In his October 15 speech, Fidel Castro warned the World on the dangers of nuclear war:
“There would be “collateral damage”, as the American political and military leaders always affirm, to justify the deaths of innocent people. In a nuclear war the “collateral damage” would be the life of all humanity. Let us have the courage to proclaim that all nuclear or conventional weapons, everything that is used to make war, must disappear!”
The “Battle of Ideas” consists in confronting the war criminals in high office, in breaking the US-led consensus in favor of a global war, in changing the mindset of hundreds of millions of people, in abolishing nuclear weapons. In essence, the “Battle of Ideas” consists in restoring the truth and establishing the foundations of World peace.
Michel Chossudovsky, Global Research, Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG),
Montreal, Remembrance Day, November 11, 2010.
“The conventional war would be lost by the US and the nuclear war is no alternative for anyone. On the other hand, nuclear war would inevitably become global”
“I think nobody on Earth wishes the human species to disappear. And that is the reason why I am of the opinion that what should disappear are not just nuclear weapons, but also conventional weapons. We must provide a guarantee for peace to all peoples without distinction
“In a nuclear war the collateral damage would be the life of humankind. Let us have the courage to proclaim that all nuclear or conventional weapons, everything that is used to make war, must disappear!”
“It is about demanding that the world is not led into a nuclear catastrophe, it is to preserve life.”
Fidel Castro Ruz, Havana, October 2010.
Professor Michel Chossudovsky: I am very honored to have this opportunity to exchange views concerning several fundamental issues affecting human society as a whole. I think that the notion that you have raised in your recent texts regarding the threat against Homo sapiens is fundamental.
What is that threat, the risk of a nuclear war and the threat to human beings, to Homo sapiens?
Commander in Chief Fidel Castro Ruz: Since quite a long time –years I would say- but especially for some months now, I began to worry about the imminence of a dangerous and probable war that could very rapidly evolve towards a nuclear war.
Before that I had concentrated all my efforts on the analysis of the capitalist system in general and the methods that the imperial tyranny has imposed on humanity. The United States applies to the world the violation of the most fundamental rights.
During the Cold War, no one spoke about war or nuclear weapons; people talked about an apparent peace, that is, between the USSR and the United States, the famous MAD (Mutual Assured Destruction) was guaranteed. It seemed that the world was going to enjoy the delights of a peace that would last for an unlimited time.
Michel Chossudovsky: … This notion of “mutual assured destruction” ended with the Cold War and after that the nuclear doctrine was redefined, because we never really thought about a nuclear war during the Cold War. Well, obviously, there was a danger –as even Robert McNamara said at some point in time.
But, after the Cold War, particularly after September 11 , America’s nuclear doctrine started to be redefined.
Fidel Castro Ruz: You asked me when was it that we became aware of the imminent risk of a nuclear war, and that dates back to the period I talked to you about previously, barely six months ago. One of the things that called our attention the most regarding such a war danger was the sinking of the Cheonan during a military maneuver. That was the flagship of the South Korean Navy; an extremely sophisticated vessel. It was at the time when we found on GlobalReasearch the journalist’s report that offered a clear and truly coherent information about the sinking of the Cheonan, which could not have been the work of a submarine that had been manufactured by the USSR more than sixty years ago, using an outdated technology which did not require the sophisticated equipment that could be detected by the Cheonan, during a joint maneuver with the most modern US vessels.
The provocation against the Democratic Republic of Korea added up to our own earlier concerns about an aggression against Iran. We had been closely following the political process in that country. We knew perfectly well what happened there during the 1950s, when Iran nationalized the assets of the British Petroleum in that country- which at the time was called the Anglo Persian Oil Company.
In my opinion, the threats against Iran became imminent in June , after the adoption of Resolution 1929 on the 9th of June, 2010, when the United Nations Security Council condemned Iran for the research it is carrying out and the production of small amounts of 20 per cent enriched uranium, and accused it of being a threat to the world. The position adopted by each and every member of the Security Council is known: 12 member States voted in favor –five of them had the right to veto; one of them abstained and 2 –Brazil and Turkey- voted against. Shortly after the Resolution was adopted –the most aggressive resolution of of them all– one US aircraft carrier, embedded in a combat unit, plus a nuclear submarine, went through the Suez Canal with the help of the Egyptian government. Naval units from Israel joined, heading for the Persian Gulf and the seas nearby Iran.
The sanctions imposed by the United States and its NATO allies against Iran was absolutely abusive and unjust. I cannot understand the reason why Russia and China did not veto the dangerous Resolution 1929 of the United Nations Security Council. In my opinion this has complicated the political situation terribly and has placed the world on the brink of war.
I remember previous Israeli attacks against the Arab nuclear research centers. They first attacked and destroyed the one in Iraq in June 1981. They did not ask for anyone’s permission, they did not talk to anybody; they just attacked them and the Iraqis had to endure the strikes.
In 2007 they repeated that same operation against a research center that was being built by Syria. There is something in that episode that I really don’t quite understand: what was not clear to me were the underlying tactics, or the reasons why Syria did not denounce the Israeli attack against that research center where, undoubtedly, they were doing something, they were working on something for which, as it is known, they were receiving some cooperation from North Korea. That was something legal; they did not commit any violation.
I am saying this here and I am being very honest: I don’t understand why this was not denounced, because, in my opinion, that would have been important. Those are two very important antecedents.
I believe there are many reasons to think that they will try to do the same against Iran: destroy its research centers or the power generation centers of that country. As is known, the power generation uranium residues are the raw material to produce plutonium.
Michel Chossudovsky: It is true that that Security Council Resolution has to some extent contributed to cancelling the program of military cooperation that Russia and China have with Iran, especially Russia cooperates with Iran in the context of the Air Defence System by supplying its S-300 System.
I remember that just after the Security Council’s decision, with the endorsement of China and Russia, the Russian minister of Foreign Affairs said: “Well, we have approved the Resolution but that is not going to invalidate our military cooperation with Iran”. That was in June. But a few months later, Moscow confirmed that military cooperation [with Iran] was going to be frozen, so now Iran is facing a very serious situation, because it needs Russian technology to maintain its security,namely its [S-300] air defence system.
But I think that all the threats against Russia and China are intent upon preventing the two countries from getting involved in the Iran issue. In other words, if there is a war with Iran the other powers, which are China and Russia, aren’t going to intervene in any way; they will be freezing their military cooperation with Iran and therefore this is a way [for the US and NATO] of extending their war in the Middle East without there being a confrontation with China and Russia and I think that this more or less is the scenario right now.
There are many types of threats directed against Russia and China. The fact that China’s borders are militarized –China’s South Sea, the Yellow Sea, the border with Afghanistan, and also the Straits of Taiwan- it is in some way a threat to dissuade China and Russia from playing the role of powers in world geopolitics, thus paving the way and even creating consensus in favour of a war with Iran which is happening under conditions where Iran’s air defence system is being weakened. [With the freeze of its military cooperation agreement with Russia] Iran is a “sitting duck” from the point of view of its ability to defend itself using its air defence system.
Fidel Castro Ruz: In my modest and serene opinion that resolution should have been vetoed. Because, in my opinion, everything has become more complicated in several ways.
Militarily, because of what you are explaining regarding, for example, the commitment that existed and the contract that had been signed to supply Iran the S-300, which are very efficient anti-aircraft weapons in the first place.
There are other things regarding fuel supplies, which are very important for China, because China is the country with the highest economic growth. Its growing economy generates greater demand for oil and gas. Even though there are agreements with Russia for oil and gas supplies, they are also developing wind energy and other forms of renewable energy. They have enormous coal reserves; nuclear energy will not increase much, only 5% for many years. In other words, the need for gas and oil in the Chinese economy is huge, and I cannot imagine, really, how they will be able to get all that energy, and at what price, if the country where they have important investments is destroyed by the US. But the worst risk is the very nature of that war in Iran. Iran is a Muslim country that has millions of trained combatants who are strongly motivated.
There are tens of millions of people who are under [military] orders, they are being politically educated and trained, men and women alike. There are millions of combatants trained and determined to die. These are people who will not be intimidated and who cannot be forced to changing [their behavior]. On the other hand, there are the Afghans –they are being murdered by US drones –there are the Pakistanis, the Iraqis, who have seen one to two million compatriots die as a result of the antiterrorist war invented by Bush. You cannot win a war against the Muslim world; that is sheer madness.
Michel Chossudovsky: But it’s true, their conventional forces are very large, Iran can mobilize in a single day several million troops and they are on the border with Afghanistan and Iraq, and even if there is a blitzkrieg war, the US cannot avoid a conventional war that is waged very close to its military bases in that region.
Fidel Castro Ruz: But the fact is that the US would lose that conventional war. The problem is that nobody can win a conventional war against millions of people;they would not concentrate their forces in large numbers in a single location for the Americans to kill them.
Well, I was a guerrilla fighter and I recall that I had to think seriously about how to use the forces we had and I would never have made the mistake of concentratingthose forces in a single location, because the more concentrated the forces, the greater the casualties caused by weapons of mass destruction….
From left to right: Michel Chossudovsky, Randy Alonso Falcon, Fidel Castro Ruz
Michel Chossudovsky: As you mentioned previously, a matter of utmost importance: China and Russia’s decision in the Security Council, their support of Resolution 1929, is in fact harmful to them because, first, Russia cannot export weapons, thus its main source of income is now frozen. Iran was one of the main customers or buyers of Russian weapons, and that was an important source of hard currency earnings which supported Russia`s consumer goods economy thereby covering the needs of the population.
And, on the other hand China requires access to sources of energy as you mentioned. The fact that China and Russia have accepted the consensus in the UN Security Council, is tantamount to saying: “We accept that you kill our economy and, in some ways, our commercial agreements with a third country”. That’s very serious because it [the UNSC Resolution] not only does harm to Iran; is also harms those two countries, and I suppose –even though I am not a politician –that there must be tremendous divisions within the leadership, both in Russia and in China, for that to happen, for Russia to accept not to use its veto power in the Security Council.
I spoke with Russian journalists, who told me that there wasn’t exactly a consensus within the government per se; it was a guideline. But there are people in the government with a different point of view regarding the interests of Russia and its stance in the UN Security Council. How do you see this?
Fidel Castro Ruz: How do I see the general situation? The alternative in Iran –let me put it this way –the conventional war would be lost by the US and the nuclear war is not an alternative for anyone.
On the other hand, nuclear war would inevitably become global. Thus the danger in my opinion exists with the current situation in Iran, bearing in mind the reasons you are presenting and many other facts; which brings me to the conclusion that the war would end up being a nuclear war.
Filming of Fidel’s message on October 15. From left to right: Fidel Castro, TV crew, Michel Chossudovsky, Randy Alonso Falcon
Michel Chossudovsky: In other words, since the US and its allies are unable to win the conventional war, they are going to use nuclear weapons, but that too would be a war they couldn’t win, because we are going to lose everything.
Fidel Castro Ruz: Everyone would be losing that war; that would be a war that everyone would lose. What would Russia gain if a nuclear war were unleashed over there? What would China gain? What kind of war would that be? How would the world react? What effect would it have on the world economy? You explained it at the university when you spoke about the centralized defence system designed by the Pentagon. It sounds like science fiction; it doesn’t even remotely resemble the last world war. The other thing which is also very important is the attempt [by the Pentagon] to transform nuclear weapons into conventional tactical weapons.
Today, October 13th, I was reading about the same thing in a news dispatch stating that the citizens of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were drawing up strong protests about the fact that the US had just carried out subcritical nuclear tests. They’re called subcritical, which means the use of the nuclear weapon without deploying all the energy that might be achieved with the critical mass.
It reads: “Indignation in Hiroshima and Nagasaki because of a United States nuclear test.”…
“The Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki that suffered a nuclear attack at the end of WW II, deplored today the nuclear test carried out by the US on September last, called sub critical because it does not unleash chain nuclear reactions.
“The test, the first of this kind in that country since 2006, took place on September 15th somewhere in Nevada, United States. It was officially confirmed by the Department of Energy of that country, the Japan Times informed.”
What did that newspaper say?
“I deeply deplore it because I was hoping that President Barack Obama would take on the leadership in eliminating nuclear weapons”, the governor of Nagasaki, Hodo Nakamura, stated today at a press conference.
A series of news items related to that follows.
“The test has also caused several protests among the citizens of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, including several survivors of the atomic bombs attacks that devastated both cities in August of 1945.
“We cannot tolerate any action of the United States that betrays President Barack Obama’s promise of moving forward to a world without nuclear arms, said Yukio Yoshioka, the deputy director of the Council for the Victims of the Hiroshima Atomic Bomb.
“The government stated that it has no intention of protesting.” It relegates the protest to a social level and then said: “With this, the number of subcritical nuclear tests made by the United States reaches the figure of 26, since July 1997 when the first of them took place.”
Now it says:
“Washington considers that these tests do not violate the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) since they do not unleash any chain reactions, and therefore do not release any nuclear energy, and so they can be considered to be laboratory tests.”
The US says that it has to make these tests because they are necessary to maintain the “security of its nuclear arsenal”, which is the same as saying: since we have these great nuclear arsenals, we are doing this in order to ensure our security.
Michel Chossudovsky: Let us return to the issue of the threat against Iran, because you said that the US and its allies could not win a conventional war. That is true; but nuclear weapons could be used as an alternative to conventional warfare, and this evidently is a threat against humanity, as you have emphasized in your writings.
The reason for my concern is that after the Cold War the idea of nuclear weapons with a “humanitarian face” was developed, saying that those weapons were not really dangerous, that they do not harm civilians, and in some way the nuclear weapons label was changed. Therefore, according to their criteria, [tactical] nuclear weapons are no different from conventional weapons, and now in the military manuals they say that tactical nuclear weapons are weapons that pose no harm to civilians.
Therefore, we might have a situation in which those who decide to attack Iran with a nuclear weapon would not be aware of the consequences that this might have for the Middle East, central Asia, but also for humanity as a whole, because they are going to say: “Well, according to our criteria, these [tactical] nuclear weapons [safe for civilians] are different from those deployed during the Cold War and so, we can use them against Iran as a weapon which does not [affect civilians and] does not threaten global security.”
How do you view that? It’s extremely dangerous, because they themselves believe their own propaganda. It is internal propaganda within the armed forces, within the political apparatus.
When tactical nuclear weapons were recategorized in 2002-2003, Senator Edward Kennedy said at that time that it was a way of blurring the boundary between conventional and nuclear weapons.
But that’s where we are today; we are in an era where nuclear weapons are considered to be no different from the Kalashnikov. I’m exaggerating, but somehownuclear weapons are now part of the tool box –that’s the word they use, “tool box” –and from there you choose the type of weapon you are going to use, so the nuclear weapon could be used in the conventional war theatre, leading us to the unthinkable, a nuclear war scenario on a regional level, but also with repercussions at the global level.
Fidel Castro Ruz: I heard what you said on the Round Table [Cuban TV] program about such weapons, presumably harmless to people living in the vicinity of the areas where they are to be targeted, the power [explosive yield] could range from one-third of the one that was used in Hiroshima up to six times the power [explosive yield] of that weapon, and today we know perfectly well the terrible damage it causes. One single bomb instantly killed 100,000 people. Just imagine a bomb having six times the power of that one [Hiroshima bomb], or two times that power, or an equivalent power, or 30 per cent that power. It is absurd.
There is also what you explained at the university about the attempt to present it as a humanitarian weapon that could also be available to the troops in the theatre of operations. So at any given moment any commander in the theatre of operations could be authorized to use that weapon as one that was more efficient than other weapons, something that would be considered his duty according to military doctrine and the training he/she received at the military academies.
Michel Chossudovsky: In that sense, I don’t think that this nuclear weapon would be used without the approval, let’s say, of the Pentagon, namely its centralised command structures [e.g. Strategic Command]; but I do think that it could be used without the approval of the President of the United States and Commander in Chief. In other words, it isn’t quite the same logic as that which prevailed during the Cold War where there was the Red Telephone and…
Fidel Castro Ruz: I understand, Professor, what you are saying regarding the use of that weapon as authorized by the senior levels of the Pentagon, and it seems right to me that you should make that clarification so that you won’t be blamed for exaggerating the dangers of that weapon.
But look, after one has learned about the antagonisms and arguments between the Pentagon and the President of the United States, there are really not too many doubts about what the Pentagon decision would be if the chief of the theatre of operations requests to use that weapon because he feels it is necessary or indispensable.
Michel Chossudovsky: There is also another element. The deployment of tactical nuclear weapons now, as far as I know, is being undertaken by several European countries which belong to NATO. This is the case of Belgium, Holland, Turkey, Italy and Germany. Thus, there are plenty of these “little nuclear bombs”very close to the theatre of war, and on the other hand we also have Israel.
Now then, I don’t think that Israel is going to start a war on its own; that would be impossible in terms of strategy and decision-making. In modern warfare, with the centralization of communications, logistics and everything else, starting a major war would be a centralized decision. However, Israel might act if the US gives Israel the green light to launch the first attack. That’s within the realm of possibilities, even though there are some analysts who now say that the war on Iran will start in Lebanon and Syria with a conventional border war, and then that would provide the pretext for an escalation in military operations.
Fidel Castro Ruz: Yesterday, October 13th, a crowd of people welcomed Ahmadinejad in Lebanon like a national hero of that country. I was reading a cable about that this morning.
Besides, we also know about Israel’s concerns regarding that, given the fact that the Lebanese are people with a great fighting spirit who have three times the number of reactive missiles they had in the former conflict with Israel and Lebanon, which was a great concern for Israel because they need –as the Israeli technicians have asserted – the air force to confront that weapon. And so, they state, they could only be attacking Iran for a number of hours, not three days, because they should be paying attention to such a danger. That’s the reason why, from these viewpoints, every day that goes by they are more concerned, because those weapons are part of the Iranian arsenal of conventional weapons. For example, among their conventional weapons, they have hundreds of rocket launchers to fight surface warships in that area of the Caspian Sea. We know that, from the time of the Falklands war, a surface warship can dodge one, two or three rockets. But imagine how a large warship can protect itself against a shower of weapons of that kind. Those are rapid vessels operated by well-trained people, because the Iranians have been training people for 30 years now and they have developed efficient conventional weapons.
You yourself know that, and you know what happened during the last World War, before the emergence of nuclear weapons. Fifty million people died as a result of the destructive power of conventional weaponry.
A war today is not like the war that was waged in the nineteenth century, before the appearance of nuclear weapons. And wars were already highly destructive. Nuclear arms appeared at the very last minute, because Truman wanted to use them. He wanted to test the Hiroshima bomb, creating the critical mass from uranium, and the other one in Nagasaki, which created a critical mass from plutonium. The two bombs killed around 100,000 persons immediately. We don’t know how many were wounded and affected by radiation, who died later on or suffered for long years from these effects. Besides, a nuclear war would create a nuclear winter.
I am talking to you about the dangers of a war, considering the immediate damage it might cause. It would be enough if we only had a limited number of them, the amount of weapons owned by one of the least mighty [nuclear] powers, India or Pakistan. Their explosion would be sufficient to create a nuclear winter from which no human being would survive. That would be impossible, since it would last for 8 to 10 years. In a matter of weeks the sunlight would no longer be visible.
Mankind is less than 200,000 years old. So far everything was normalcy. The laws of nature were being fulfilled; the laws of life developed on planet Earth for more than 3 billion years. Men, the Homo sapiens, the intelligent beings did not exist after 8 tenths of a million years had elapsed, according to all studies. Two hundred years ago, everything was virtually unknown. Today we know the laws governing the evolution of the species. Scientists, theologians, even the most devout religious people who initially echoed the campaign launched by the great ecclesiastical institutions against the Darwinian Theory, today accept the laws of evolution as real, without it preventing their sincere practice of their religious beliefs where, quite often, people find comfort for their most heartfelt hardships.
I think nobody on Earth wishes the human species to disappear. And that is the reason why I am of the opinion that what should disappear are not just nuclear weapons, but also conventional weapons. We must provide a guarantee for peace to all peoples without distinction, to the Iranians as well as the Israelis. Natural resources should be distributed. They should! I don’t mean they will, or that it would be easy to do it. But there would be no other alternative for humanity, in a world of limited dimensions and resources, even if all the scientific potential to create renewable sources of energy is developed. We are almost 7 billion inhabitants, and so we need to implement a demographic policy. We need many things, and when you put them all together and you ask yourself the following question: will human beings be capable of understanding that and overcome all those difficulties? You realize that only enthusiasm can truly lead a person to say that he or she will confront and easily resolve a problem of such proportions.
Michel Chossudovsky: What you have just said is extremely important, when you spoke of Truman. Truman said that Hiroshima was a military base and that there would be no harm to civilians.
This notion of collateral damage; reflects continuity in [America’s] nuclear doctrine ever since the year 1945 up until today. That is, not at the level of reality but at the level of [military] doctrine and propaganda. I mean, in 1945 it was said: Let’s save humanity by killing 100,000 people and deny the fact that Hiroshima was a populated city, namely that it was a military base. But nowadays the falsehoods have become much more sophisticated, more widespread, and nuclear weapons are more advanced. So, we are dealing with the future of humanity and the threat of a nuclear war at a global level. The lies and fiction underlying [US] political and military discourse would lead us to a Worldwide catastrophe in which politicians would be unable to make head or tails of their own lies.
Then, you said that intelligent human beings have existed for 200,000 years, but that same intelligence, which has now been incorporated in various institutions, namely the media, the intelligence services, the United Nations, happens to be what is now going to destroy us. Because we believe our own lies, which leads us towards nuclear war, without realizing that this would be the last war, as Einstein clearly stated. A nuclear war cannot ensure the continuation of humanity; it is a threat against the world.
Fidel Castro Ruz: Those are very good words, Professor. The collateral damage, in this case, could be humanity.
War is a crime and there is no need for any new law to describe it as such, because since Nuremberg, war has already been considered a crime, the biggest crime against humanity and peace, and the most horrible of all crimes.
Michel Chossudovsky.- The Nuremberg texts clearly state: “War is a criminal act, it is the ultimate act of war against peace.” This part of the Nuremberg texts is often quoted. After the Second World War, the Allies wanted to use it against the conquered, and I am not saying that this is not valid, but the crimes that they committed, including the crimes committed against Germany and Japan, are never mentioned. With a nuclear weapon, in the case of Japan.
Michel Chossudovsky.- It is an extremely important issue for me and if we are talking about a “counter-alliance for peace”, the criminalization of war seems to me to be a fundamental aspect. I’m talking about the abolition of war; it is a criminal act that must be eliminated.
Fidel Castro Ruz – Well, who would judge the main criminals?
Michel Chossudovsky.- The problem is that they also control the judicial system and the courts, so the judges are criminals as well. What can we do?
Fidel Castro Ruz I say that this is part of the Battle of Ideas.
It is about demanding that the world not be spearheaded into a nuclear catastrophe, it is to preserve life.
We do not know, but we presume that if man becomes aware of his own existence, that of his people, that of his loved ones, even the U.S. military leaders would be aware of the outcome; although they are taught in life to follow orders, not infrequently genocide, as in the use of tactical or strategic nuclear weapons, because that is what they were taught in the [military] academies.
As all of this is sheer madness, no politician is exempt from the duty of conveying these truths to the people. One must believe in them, otherwise there would be nothing to fight for.
Michel Chossudovsky .- I think what you are saying is that at the present time, the great debate in human history should focus on the danger of nuclear war that threatens the future of humanity, and that any discussion we have about basic needs or economics requires that we prevent the occurrence of war and instateglobal peace so that we can then plan living standards worldwide based on basic needs; but if we do not solve the problem of war, capitalism will not survive, right?
Fidel Castro Ruz.– No, it cannot survive, in terms of all the analysis we’ve undertaken, it cannot survive. The capitalist system and the market economy that suffocate human life, are not going to disappear overnight, but imperialism based on force, nuclear weapons and conventional weapons with modern technology, has to disappear if we want humanity to survive.
Now, there something occurring at this very moment which characterizes the Worldwide process of disinformation, and it is the following: In Chile 33 miners were trapped 700 meters underground, and the world is rejoicing at the news that 33 miners have been saved. Well, simply, what will the world do if it becomes aware that 6,877,596,300 people need to be saved, if 33 have created universal joy and all the mass media speak only of that these days, why not save the nearly 7 billion people trapped by the terrible danger of perishing in a horrible death like those of Hiroshima or Nagasaki?
Michel Chossudovsky. -This is also, clearly, the issue of media coverage that is given to different events and the propaganda emanating from the media.
I think it was an incredible humanitarian operation that the Chileans undertook, but it is true that if there is a threat to humanity, as you mentioned, it should be on the front page of every newspaper in the world because human society in its totality could be the victim of a decision that has been made, even by a three-star general who is unaware of the consequences [of nuclear weapons].
But here we are talking about how the media, particularly in the West, are hiding the most serious issue that potentially affects the world today, which is the danger of nuclear war and we must take it seriously, because both Hillary Clinton and Obama have said that they have contemplated using nuclear weapon in a so-called preventive war against Iran.
Well, how do we answer? What do you say to Hillary Clinton and Barak Obama regarding their statements pertaining to the unilateral use of nuclear weapons against Iran, a country that poses no danger to anyone?
Fidel Castro Ruz.- Yes, I know two things: What was discussed. This has been revealed recently, namely far-reaching arguments within the Security Council of the United States. That is the value of the book written by Bob Woodward, because it revealed how all these discussions occurred. We know the positions of Biden, Hillary, Obama, and indeed in those discussions, who was firmer against the extension of the war, who was able to argue with the military, it was Obama, that is a fact.
I am writing the latest reflection, actually, about that. The only one who got there, and gave him advice, who had been an opponent because of his Republican Party membership, was Colin Powell. He reminded him that he was the President of the United States, encouraging advice.
I think we should ensure that this message reaches everybody; what we have discussed. I think many read the articles you have published in Global Research. I think we need to disclose, and to the extent that we have these discussions and harbor the idea of disclosure. I am delighted every time you argue, reasonably, andput forth these issues, simply, in my opinion, there is a real deficit of information for the reasons you explained.
Now, we must invent. What are the ways to make all this known? At the time of the Twelve Apostles, there were 12 and no more, and they were given the task of disseminating the teachings a preacher transmitted to them. Sure, they had hundreds of years ahead of them. We, however, we do not have that. But I was looking at the list of personalities, and there are more than 20 prominent people who have been working with Global Research, prestigious people, asking the samequestions, but they do not have hundreds of years, but, well, very little time.
Michel Chossudovsky. – The antiwar movement in the United States, Canada and Europe is divided. Some people think the threat comes from Iran, others say they [the Iranians] are terrorists, and there is a lot of disinformation in the movement itself.
Besides, at the World Social Forum the issue of nuclear war is not part of the debate between people of the Left or progressives. During the Cold War there was talk of the danger of nuclear conflict, and people had this awareness.
At the last meeting held in New York on non-proliferation, under the United Nations, the emphasis was on the nuclear threat from non-state entities, from terrorists.
President Obama said that the threat comes from Al Qaeda, which has nuclear weapons. Also, if someone reads Obama’s speeches he is suggesting that the terrorists have the ability of producing small nuclear bombs, what they call “dirty bombs”. Well, it’s a way of [distorting the issues] and shifting the emphasis.
Fidel Castro Ruz. – That is what they tell him [Obama], that is what his own people tell him and have him believe.
Look, what do I do with the reflections? They are distributed in the United Nations, they are sent to all governments, the reflections, of course, are short, to send them to all the governments, and I know there are many people who read them. The problem is whether you are telling the truth or not. Of course, when one collects all this information in relation to a particular problem because the reflections are also diluted on many issues, but I think you have to concentrate on our part, the disclosure of essentials, I cannot cover everything.
Michel Chossudovsky. – I have a question, because there is an important aspect related to the Cuban Revolution. In my opinion, the debate on the future of humanity is also part of a revolutionary discourse. If society as a whole were to be threatened by nuclear war, it is necessary in some form, to have a revolution at the levels of ideas as well as actions against this event, [namely nuclear war].
Fidel Castro Ruz .- We have to say, I repeat, that humanity is trapped 800 meters underground and that we must get it out, we need to do a rescue operation. That is the message we must convey to a large number of people. If people in large numbers believe in that message, they will do what you are doing and they will support what you are supporting. It will no longer depend on who are those who say it, but on the fact that somebody [and eventually everybody] says it.
You have to figure out how you can reach the informed masses. The solution is not the newspapers. There is the Internet, Internet is cheaper, Internet is more accessible. I approached you through the Internet looking for news, not through news agencies, not through the press, not from CNN, but news through a newsletter I receive daily articles on the Internet . Over 100 pages each day.
Yesterday you were arguing that in the United States some time ago two thirds of public opinion was against the war on Iran, and today, fifty-some percent favored military action against Iran.
Michel Chossudovsky .- What happened, even in recent months, it was said: “Yes, nuclear war is very dangerous, it is a threat, but the threat comes from Iran,” and there were signs in New York City saying: “ Say no to nuclear Iran, “and the message of these posters was to present Iran as a threat to global security, even if the threat did not exist because they do not have nuclear weapons.
Anyway, that’s the situation, and The New York Times earlier this week published a text that says, yes, political assassinations are legal.
Then, when we have a press that gives us things like that, with the distribution that they have, it is a lot of work [on our part]. We have limited capabilities to reverse this process [of media disinformation] within the limited distribution outlets of the alternative media. In addition to that, now many of these alternative media are financed by the economic establishment.
Fidel Castro Ruz.- And yet we have to fight.
Michel Chossudovsky .- Yes, we keep struggling, but the message was what you said yesterday. That in the case of a nuclear war, the collateral damage would be humanity as a whole.
Fidel Castro Ruz.- It would be humanity, the life of humanity.
Michel Chossudovsky.- It is true that the Internet should continue to function as an outreach tool to avoid the war.
Fidel Castro Ruz.- Well, it’s the only way we can prevent it. If we were to create world opinion, it’s like the example I mentioned: there are nearly 7 billion people trapped 800 meters underground, we use the phenomenon of Chile to disclose these things.
Michel Chossudovsky .- The comparison you make with the rescue of 33 miners, saying that there are 33 miners below ground there to be rescued, whichreceived extensive media coverage, and you say that we have almost 7 billion people that are 800 meters underground and do not understand what is happening, but we have to rescue them, because humanity as a whole is threatened by the nuclear weapons of the United States and its allies, because they are the ones who say they intend to use them.
Fidel Castro Ruz.- And will use them [the nuclear weapons] if there is no opposition, if there is no resistance. They are deceived; they are drugged with military superiority and modern technology and do not know what they are doing.
They do not understand the consequences; they believe that the prevailed situation can be maintained. It is impossible.
Michel Chossudovsky. – Or they believe that this is simply some sort of conventional weapon.
Fidel Castro Ruz. – Yes, they are deluded and believe that you can still use that weapon. They believe they are in another era, they do not remember what Einstein said when he stated he did not know with what weapons World War III would be fought with, but the World War IV would be fought with sticks and stones. I added there: “… there wouldn’t be anyone to handle the sticks and stones.” That is the reality; I have it written there in the short speech you suggested I develop.
Michel Chossudovsky .- The problem I see is that the use of nuclear weapons will not necessarily lead to the end of humankind from one day to the next, because the radioactive impact is cumulative.
Fidel Castro Ruz. – Repeat that, please.
Michel Chossudovsky. – The nuclear weapon has several different consequences: one is the explosion and destruction in the theater of war, which is the phenomenon of Hiroshima, and the other are the impacts of radiation which increases over time.
Fidel Castro Ruz.- Yes, nuclear winter, as we call it. The prestigious American researcher, University of Rutgers (New Jersey) Professor Emeritus Alan Robock irrefutably showed that the outbreak of a war between two of the eight nuclear powers who possess the least amount of weapons of this kind would result in “nuclear winter”.
He disclosed that at the fore of a group of researchers who used ultra-scientific computer models.
It would be enough to have 100 strategic nuclear weapons of the 25,000 possessed by the eight powers mentioned exploding in order to create temperatures below freezing all over the planet and a long night that would last approximately eight years. Professor Robock exclaims that it is so terrible that people are falling into a “state of denial”, not wanting to think about it; it is easier to pretend that it doesn’t exist”. He told me that personally, at an international conference he was giving, where I had the honor of conversing with him.
Well, but I start from an assumption: If a war breaks out in Iran, it will inevitably become nuclear war and a global war. So that’s why yesterday we were saying it was not right to allow such an agreement in the Security Council, because it makes everything easier, do you see?
Such a war in Iran today would not remain confined to the local level, because the Iranians would not give in to use of force. If it remained conventional, it would be a war the United States and Europe could not win, and I argue that it would rapidly turn into a nuclear war. If the United States were to make the mistake of using tactical nuclear weapons, there would be consternation throughout the world and the US would eventually lose control of the situation.
Obama has had a heated discussion with the Pentagon about what to do in Afghanistan; imagine Obama’s situation with American and Israeli soldiers fighting against millions of Iranians. The Saudis are not going to fight in Iran, nor are the Pakistanis or any other Arab or Muslim soldiers. What could happen is that the Yanks have serious conflicts with the Pakistani tribes which they are attacking and killing with their drones, and they know that. When you strike a blow against those tribes, first attacking and then warning the government, not saying anything beforehand; that is one of the things that irritates the Pakistanis. There is a strong anti-American feeling there.
It’s a mistake to think that the Iranians would give up if they used tactical nuclear weapons against them, and the world really would be shocked, but then it may be too late.
Michel Chossudovsky .- They cannot win a conventional war.
Fidel Castro Ruz .- They cannot win.
Michel Chossudovsky. – And that we can see in Iraq; in Afghanistan they can destroy an entire country, but they cannot win from a military standpoint.
Fidel Castro Ruz. – But to destroy it [a country] at what price, at what cost to the world, at what economic costs, in the march towards catastrophe? The problems you mentioned are compounded, the American people would react, because the American people are often slow to react, but they react in the end. The American people react to casualties, the dead.
A lot of people supported the Nixon administration during the war in Vietnam, he even suggested the use of nuclear weapons in that country to Kissinger, but he dissuaded him from taking that criminal step. The United States was obliged by the American people to end the war; it had to negotiate and had to hand over the south. Iran would have to give up the oil in the area. In Vietnam what did they hand over? An expense. Ultimately, they are now back in Vietnam, buying oil, trading. In Iran they would lose many lives, and perhaps a large part of the oil facilities in the area would be destroyed.
In the present situation, is likely they would not understand our message. If war breaks out, my opinion is that they, and the world, would gain nothing. If it were solely a conventional war, which is very unlikely, they would lose irretrievably, and if it becomes a global nuclear war, humanity would lose.
Michel Chossudovsky.- Iran has conventional forces that are …significant.
Fidel Castro Ruz.- Millions.
Michel Chossudovsky.- Land forces, but also rockets and also Iran has the ability to defend itself.
Fidel Castro Ruz.- While there remains one single man with a gun, this is an enemy they will have to defeat.
Michel Chossudovsky.- And there are several millions with guns.
Fidel Castro Ruz.- Millions, and they will have to sacrifice many American lives, unfortunately it would be only then that Americans would react, if they don’t react now they will react later when it will be too late; we must write, we must divulge this as much as we can. Remember that the Christians were persecuted, they led them off to the catacombs, they killed them, they threw them to the lions, but they held on to their beliefs for centuries and later that was what they did to the Moslems, and the Moslems never yielded.
There is a real war against the Moslem world. Why are those lessons of history being forgotten? I have read many of the articles you wrote about the risks of that war.
Michel Chossudovsky.- Let us return to the matter of Iran. I believe that it is very important that world opinion comprehends the war scenario. You clearly state that they would lose the war, the conventional war, they are losing it in Iraq and Afghanistan, Iran has more conventional forces than those of NATO in Afghanistan.
Fidel Castro Ruz.- Much more experienced and motivated. They are now in conflict with those forces in Afghanistan and Iraq and one they don’t mention: the Pakistanis of the same ethnic group as those in the resistance in Afghanistan. In White House discussions, they consider that the war is lost, that’s what the book by Bob Woodward entitled “Obama’s Wars” tells us. Imagine the situation if in addition to that, they append a war to liquidate whatever remains after the initial blows they inflict on Iran.
So they will be thrust into a conventional war situation that they cannot win, or they will be obliged to wage a global nuclear war, under conditions of a worldwide upheaval. And I don’t know who can justify the type of war they have to wage; they have 450 targets marked out in Iran, and of these some, according to them, will have to be attacked with tactical nuclear warheads because of their location in mountainous areas and at the depth at which they are situated [underground]. Many Russian personnel and persons from other nationalities collaborating with them will die in that confrontation.
What will be the reaction of world opinion in the face of that blow which today is being irresponsibly promoted by the media with the backing of many Americans?
Michel Chossudovsky.- One issue, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, they are all neighbouring countries in a certain way. Iran shares borders with Afghanistan and with Iraq, and the United States and NATO have military facilities in the countries they occupy. What’s going to happen? I suppose that the Iranian troops are immediately going to cross the border.
Fidel Castro Ruz.- Well, I don’t know what tactic they’re going to use, but if one were in their place, the most advisable is to not concentrate their troops, because if the troops are concentrated they will be victims of the attack with tactical nuclear weapons. In other words, in accordance with the nature of the threat as it is being described, the best thing would be for them to use a tactic similar to ours in southern Angola when we suspected that South Africa had nuclear weapons; we created tactical groups of 1000 men with land and anti-air fire power. Nuclear weapons could never within their reach target a large number of soldiers. Anti-air rocketry and other similar weapons was supporting our forces. Weapons and the conditions of the terrain change and tactics must continuously change.
Michel Chossudovsky.- Dispersed.
Fidel Castro Ruz.- Dispersed, but not isolated men, there were around 1000 men with appropriate weapons, the terrain was sandy, wherever they got to they had to dig in and protect themselves underground, always keeping the maximum distance between components. The enemy was never given an opportunity to aim a decisive blow against the 60,000 Cuban and Angolan soldiers in southern Angola.
What we did in that sister country is what, a thousand strong army, operating with traditional criteria, would have done. Fine, we were not 100 000, in southern Angola there were 60,000 men, Cubans and Angolans; due to technical requirements the tactical groups were mainly made up of Cubans because they handled tanks, rockets, anti-aircraft guns, communications, but the infantry was made up of Cuban and Angolan soldiers, with great fighting spirit, who didn’t hesitate one second in confronting the white Apartheid army supported by the United States and Israel. Who handled the numerous nuclear weapons that they had at that moment?
In the case of Iran, we are getting news that they are digging into the ground, and when they are asked about it, they say that they are making cemeteries to bury the invaders. I don’t know if this is meant to be ironic, but I think that one would really have to dig quite a lot to protect their forces from the attack which isthreatening them.
Michel Chossudovsky.- Sure, but Iran has the possibility of mobilizing millions of troops.
Fidel Castro Ruz.- Not just troops, but the command posts are also decisive. In my opinion, dispersion is very important. The attackers will try to prevent the transmission of orders. Every combat unit must know beforehand what they have to do under different circumstances. The attacker will try to strike and destabilizethe chain of command with its radio-electronic weapons. All those factors must be kept in mind. Mankind has never experienced a similar predicament.
Anyway, Afghanistan is “a joke” and Iraq, too, when you compare them with what they are going to bump into in Iran: the weaponry, the training, the mentality, the kind of soldier… If 31 years ago, Iranian combatants cleaned the mine fields by advancing over them, they will undoubtedly be the most fearsome adversaries that the United States has ever come across.
Our thanks and appreciation to Cuba Debate for the transcription as well as the translation from Spanish.
Obama at the UN: The arrogant voice of imperialism
By Bill Van Auken
24 September 2010
President Barack Obama used his speech at the United Nations General Assembly Thursday to defend US wars and state terror abroad and to proclaim that the economic crisis has been resolved thanks to his Wall Street bailout.
The US president received a noticeably tepid response from the assembled UN delegates. While in his first address to the body last year, he was able to pose as a fresh alternative to the crimes carried out by the Bush administration, by now it has become clear to most on the international stage that his administration’s policies are largely in continuity with those of its predecessor.
In its tone and its content, the Obama speech was the authentic and arrogant voice of US imperialism.
Parroting remarks delivered by George W. Bush from the same podium, Obama began by invoking September 11, 2001, once again exploiting the terrorist attacks of that day to justify the acts of military aggression committed by both US administrations in the intervening nine years.
In the same breath, he referred to Wall Street’s financial meltdown of September 2008, as an event that “devastated American families on Main Street,” while “crippling markets and deferring the dreams of millions on every continent.”
These two events were presented as the source of the core challenges confronting the US administration. Supposedly in response to the first, the Obama administration has continued and escalated wars in Iraq and Afghanistan-Pakistan, while reaffirming Washington’s “right” to carry out unilateral military aggression anywhere on the planet.
In response to the second, the administration continued the massive bailout begun under Bush, committing more than $12 trillion to propping up the US banks and financial institutions, while holding none of those involved responsible for the criminal forms of speculation practiced on Wall Street.
Obama claimed that the so-called Wall Street reform legislation passed by his administration would ensure “that a crisis like this never happens again.” It does nothing of the kind, placing no serious limits on the speculative activities and profitability of the big banks and leaving Wall Street to continue with “business as usual.”
“The global economy has been pulled back from the brink of a depression,” Obama told his UN audience. This statement flies in the face of the grim conditions confronting working people on every continent. This includes the US itself, where the official unemployment rate remains near 10 percent, the unemployed and underemployed account for 17 percent of the workforce, some 30 million people, and one out of every seven Americans is living below the poverty line.
While profits have returned to pre-crisis levels, the reality is that none of the underlying contradictions that have given rise to the deepest world economic crisis since the Great Depression of the 1930s has been resolved. They have only grown in intensity. The response of the ruling classes throughout the world has been to redouble their attacks on the working class in an attempt to force it to pay for this crisis.
Obama followed his assertion about the economy being pulled back from “the brink” with an even more absurd claim that he would not “rest until these seeds of progress grow into a broader prosperity, not only for all Americans, but for peoples around the globe.”
In the US, throughout Europe and in much of the rest of the world, governments are pursuing unprecedented austerity policies that are ripping up basic social rights and dramatically lowering the living standards of working people. Meanwhile, Obama himself spoke before a global poverty summit the day before his speech, warning the world’s poorest that Washington was determined to break their cycle of “dependency.”
The US president’s lies about the economy were followed by the fraudulent claim that the military operations his administration is pursuing abroad are aimed at upholding “our common security.”
Obama said that he is “winding down the war in Iraq” and will pull out all of its occupation troops by the end of next year. At the same time, he declared Washington’s intention to forge “a lasting partnership with the Iraqi people,” by which he means maintaining a US protectorate over the oil-rich country in order to advance the geo-strategic interests of American capitalism.
He said that the drawing down US troops in Iraq had allowed the US military to be “refocused on defeating al Qaeda and denying its affiliates a safe haven” in Afghanistan. This is another lie. US military and intelligence officials acknowledge that there are no more than 100 al Qaeda members in all of Afghanistan. The nearly 100,000 US troops deployed in that country are not combating “terrorism,” but asserting US neo-colonial control in a bid to advance Washington’s quest for hegemony in Central Asia.
In one of the speech’s more chilling passages, Obama bragged that “from South Asia to the Horn of Africa, we are moving toward a more targeted approach” in the war on terror, that did not require “deploying large American armies.” In other words, while constrained in its ability to carry out another major military occupation, US imperialism is pursuing its policies by means of assassinations, drone missile attacks and the deployment of elite killing squads, and has arrogated to itself the right to target and kill its perceived opponents anywhere on the planet.
Obama used the speech to once again threaten Iran. Only days before his appearance at the UN, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton delivered a speech urging elements within the Iranian ruling elite to carry out regime change in the country. He reiterated the vow made in his speech last year that Iran “must be held accountable” for its alleged violations of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
At least a quarter of Obama’s address was dedicated to the US-brokered Israeli-Palestinian “peace talks” that appear to be on the brink of yet another breakdown in the face of Israeli intransigence and provocation.
For all the hackneyed rhetoric about the “Holy Land” and “our common humanity,” the Obama administration is pursuing these negotiations as a means of solidifying support among the Arab regimes for its escalating threats of aggression against Iran and to further its domination of the Middle East.
The content of the speech made clear the US administration’s unwavering complicity in Israel’s crimes against the Palestinian people. Obama urged that a limited moratorium declared by the Israeli government be extended beyond September 26, when it is set to expire. He said Israel should do this because it “improved the atmosphere for talks,” not because the entire settlement activity in the Israeli-occupied West Bank is a violation of international law and multiple UN resolutions. In the same breath, the US president asserted that “talks should press on until completed,” presumably regardless of what Israel does.
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has insisted that his government will not extend the moratorium, while Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas had initially insisted that his delegation would be forced to walk out if it does not. An ever-pliant servant of Washington, Abbas has since indicated that he might back down on this threat.
The rest of Obama’s remarks on the Israeli-Palestinian question had an Orwellian flavor, in which Israel was presented as the victim. “The slaughter of innocent Israelis is not resistance—it’s injustice,” Obama declared. He made no mention of the slaughter of 1,400 Palestinians in the US-backed siege of Gaza in 2008-2009 or the criminal attack on the Gaza aid flotilla that killed nine Turkish civilians last May. The day the US president spoke, the UN issued a report charging that Israel’s actions were illegal and employed an “unacceptable level of brutality,” meriting war crimes prosecution.
The US president concluded his speech with an exaltation of “democracy” and “human rights,” which again echoed similar language employed by his predecessor, George W. Bush.
In Bush’s case, this phony democratic rhetoric was employed to justify US imperialism’s drive for dominance in the Middle East, where Washington demonstrated its commitment to “human rights” by carrying out mass killings, the detention of tens of thousands without charges or trial, and the infamous acts of torture at Abu Ghraib, Bagram and Guantánamo.
In Obama’s case, the posturing as the global champion of democratic rights is no less contemptible. The target, however, appears to have shifted.
The Council on Foreign Relations, the establishment thinktank that enjoys close ties to the administration and the State Department, spelled this out. Noting Obama’s “full-throated endorsement of democracy as the best form of government,” it commented: “Yet the appeal of such an idea faces challenges at bodies like the UN. This is not, for example, the future world that Chinese leaders envision.”
Indeed, Obama followed his celebration of democracy by calling attention to his upcoming trip to Asia, ticking off the countries he will visit—India, Indonesia, Korea, Japan—and praising each for having promoted “democratic principles in their own way.” The itinerary includes the four largest countries that US strategists envision as bulwarks against the expansion of Chinese influence.
On the same day that Obama delivered his speech, the New York Times published a front-page article on the increasingly tense US-China relationship that was clearly based on the perspective of the US administration. The Times reported that “rising frictions between China and its neighbors in recent weeks over security issues have handed the United States an opportunity to reassert itself—one the Obama administration has been keen to take advantage of.”
It noted that Washington has inserted itself into territorial disputes between China and Southeast Asian countries, organized provocative joint military exercises with South Korea near Chinese waters and has solidified its alliance with Japan, largely in opposition to China’s influence.
Under conditions of rising conflicts between Washington and Beijing over currency and trade relations, Obama’s praise for “democracy” at the UN represents a thinly veiled threat of new and far more catastrophic eruptions of American militarism.
A logical strategy for boycotting Israel is to begin with Israeli banks. Worth a read
Targeting Israeli banks will help bring an end to the occupation. (Oren Ziv/ActiveStills)
The international banking sanctions campaign in New York against apartheid South Africa during the 1980s is regarded as the most effective strategy in bringing about a nonviolent end to the country’s apartheid system. The campaign culminated in President FW de Klerk’s announcement in February 1990, releasing Nelson Mandela and other political prisoners, and the beginning of constitutional negotiations towards a non-racial and democratic society.
If international civil society is serious about urgently ending Israel’s violations of Palestinian rights, including ending the occupation, then suspension of SWIFT transactions to and from Israeli banks offers an instrument to help bring about a peaceful resolution of an intractable conflict. With computerization, international banking technology has advanced dramatically in the subsequent 20 years since the South African anti-apartheid campaign.
Although access to New York banks remains essential for foreign exchange transactions because of the role of the dollar, interbank transfer instructions are conducted through the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT), which is based in Belgium. So, instead of New York — as in the period when sanctions were applied on South Africa– Belgium is now the pressure point.
SWIFT links 8,740 financial institutions in 209 countries. Without access to SWIFT and its interbank payment network, countries are unable either to pay for imports or to receive payment for exports. In short, no payment — no trade. Should it come to a point where trade sanctions are imposed on Israel, it may be able to evade them. Instead of chasing trade sanctions-busters and plugging loopholes, it is both faster and much more effective to suspend the payment system.
The Israeli government may consider itself to be militarily and diplomatically invincible, given support from the United States, and other governments, but Israel’s economy is exceptionally dependent upon international trade. It is thus very vulnerable to financial retaliation. South Africa’s apartheid government had also believed itself to be immune from foreign pressure.
Without SWIFT, Israel’s access to the international banking system would be crippled. Banking is the lifeblood of any economy. Without payment for imports or exports, the Israeli economy would quickly collapse. The matter has gained additional urgency with the bill now before the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, to penalize any person who promotes the imposition of boycotts against Israel. Another important political factor is that SWIFT is not only outside American jurisdiction, it is also beyond the reach of Israeli military retaliation.
Israel has long experience in sanctions-busting since the 1948 Arab boycotts. Apartheid South Africa was also well experienced in sanctions-busting — breaking oil embargoes was almost a “national sport.” Trade sanctions are invariably full of loopholes. Profiteering opportunities abound, as illustrated by Iraq, Cuba and numerous countries against which for many years the United States unsuccessfully has applied trade sanctions. Iran conducts its trade through Dubai, which happily profits from the political impasse.
Suspension of bank payments plugs such loopholes, and also alters the balance of power so that meaningful negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians become even possible. This is because banking sanctions impact quickly upon financial elites who have the clout to pressure governments to concede political change. Trade sanctions, by contrast, impact hardest on the poor or lower-paid workers, who have virtually no political influence.
SWIFT will, however, only take action against Israeli banks if ordered to do so by a Belgian court, and then only in very exceptional circumstances. Such very exceptional circumstances are now well-documented by the UN-commissioned Goldstone report into Israel’s winter 2008-09 invasion and massacre in Gaza and by the attack on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla on 31 May 2010. There is also a huge body of literature from Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and other organizations detailing Israeli war crimes and violations of humanitarian law.
The Israeli government, like that of apartheid South Africa, has become a menace to the international community. Corruption and abuses of human rights are invariably interconnected. Israel’s long military occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, for example, has corrupted almost every aspect of Israeli society, most especially its economy. The Organization For Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) reported in December 2009 that the Israeli government lacks commitment in tackling international corruption and money laundering.
The international financial system is exceedingly sensitive about allegations of money laundering, but also to any associations with human rights abuses. Organized crime and money laundering are major international security threats, as illustrated by the United States subpoena after the 11 September 2001 attacks of SWIFT data to track terrorist financing. The website Who Profits? (www.whoprofits.org) lists hundreds of international and Israeli companies that illegally profiteer from the occupation.
Their operations range from construction of the “apartheid wall” and settlements to agricultural produce grown on confiscated Palestinian land. As examples, Caterpillar, Volvo and Hyundai supply bulldozing equipment to demolish Palestinian homes. British supermarkets sell fresh produce grown in the West Bank, but illegally labelled as Israeli. Ahava markets Dead Sea mud and cosmetics.
The notorious Lev Leviev claims in Dubai that Leviev diamonds are of African origin, and are cut and polished in the United States rather than Israel. They are sourced from Angola, Namibia and also allegedly Zimbabwe, and can rightly be described as “blood diamonds.” Israeli diamond exports in 2008 were worth $19.4 billion, and accounted for almost 35 percent of Israeli exports. Industrial grade diamonds are essential to Israel’s armaments industry, and its provision of surveillance equipment to the world’s most unsavory dictatorships. Such profiteering depends on foreign exchange and access to the international payments system. Hence interbank transfers are essential, and SWIFT — willingly or unwillingly — has become complicit, as were the New York banks with apartheid South Africa.
Accordingly, a credible civil society organization amongst the Palestinian diaspora should lead the SWIFT sanctions campaign against Israeli banks. And, per the South African experience, it should be led by civil society rather than rely on governments.
Each bank has an eight letter SWIFT code that identifies both the bank and its country of domicile. “IL” are the fifth and sixth letters in SWIFT codes that identify Israel. The four major Israeli banks and their SWIFT codes are Israel Discount Bank (IDBILIT), Bank Hapoalim (POALILIT), Bank Leumi (LUMIILIT) and Bank of Israel (ISRAILIJ).
Such a suspension would not affect domestic banking transactions within Israel and the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip — or international transfers to Palestinian banks that have separate “PS” identities. The campaign can be reversed as soon as the objectives have been achieved, and without long-term economic damage.
What is required is an urgent application in a Belgian court ordering SWIFT to reprogram its computers to suspend all transactions to and from Israeli banks until the Israeli government agrees to end the occupation of the West Bank including East Jerusalem, and that it will dismantle the “apartheid wall;” the Israeli government recognizes the fundamental rights of Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality; and Israel recognizes, respects and promotes the rights of Palestinian refugees.
The writer is a retired banker, who advised the South African Council of Churches on the banking sanctions campaign against apartheid South Africa. He spent October 2009 to January 2010 in East Jerusalem monitoring checkpoints, house demolitions and evictions, and liaising with Israeli peace groups. He lives in Cape Town.
It Can’t Happen Here – But It is
To millions of Americans, the “end times” seem to be on us. The BP disaster in the Gulf may leave 25% of America virtually uninhabitable, eco-systems destroyed for sure but maybe much more, a destroyed sea floor, toxic gas clouds moving inland and warnings of something worse, a geological disaster of biblical proportions sitting offshore like a ticking time bomb. Millions of American believe the president is a foreign born Muslim, a puppet of the terrorists while millions believe he is working for Israel. Every speech, every state visit, everything done is seen to support one side or another, sometimes both. The destruction of the American presidency is only part of it, part of a program of racial division, fear, hate and a descent into class warfare and violence.
The end result of the disasters, political infighting, religious extremism, the total collapse of trust in America’s system of government and the infiltration of terrorist elements into every institution, America’s military and political core, financial terrorists working to destroy America’s standard of living, its industrial base, its currency and, eventually the last of its freedoms will be the division of America, starting with an apartheid state and ending in “Balkanization” and the world’s largest nuclear arsenal being unleashed on the world. This has been heard before, it is a story that faith based broadcasting has been sending out to the American people for the past thirty years. The biblical flood began when the money disappeared.
The serious side is the economic meltdown. Even with the hundreds of billions Americans borrowed to give to our “banksters” who our “congress critters” decided were too big to allow to fail, we have no banks, simply depositories for stolen money while it waits to be shipped overseas. Money is taken in, none loaned out, not for jobs in America anyway. All the government did was to push the burgeoning debt left us by the Bush/Cheney failures even higher, topping $13 trillion dollars this month, money we owe to pay back money we never got from people who had no right to print it in the first place.
More and more Americans are becoming aware of the fact that our system, the Federal Reserve, is nothing but a racket where foreign bankers, all thinly disguised Rothschilds, sell us our own money while maneuvering us into debt, really a massive mortgage on America’s future, we can never keep up the payments on. America has been systematically destabilized, the most powerful nation in the history of the earth, living on borrowed money and, frankly, borrowed time.
TOO MUCH TO STOMACH, BP BUYING OUR GOVERNMENT AND LIEBERMAN CONTROLLING THE INTERNET
When Americans look at television and see half their politicians crying about BP, a company that laid waste to more of the planet than any in history, they see a world upside down. They know their politicians take money, everyone knows this, but to think they would be brazen enough to scream out “yes, we are crooks, what are you going to do about it?” is more than that. It is an announcement that anyone in government can do anything they want, anything, and never answer for it, not even face reelection problems. The more crooked a politician, the more favorable press he gets, the more the Israel lobby supports him, the more the Tea Baggers support him, the more “heroic” he is portrayed by the pundits and fear mongers.
Things have gotten so bad that Senator Josef Liebermann (I-srael) has introduced a bill that would allow the internet to be closed down in case of “emergency.” Liberman talks about terrorism or espionage but the real problem was that the “corporate press” got caught lying over the Freedom Flotilla massacre and millions of Americans have turned to the internet for the news, news sometimes bizarre, conspiratorial and fringe, often however, much more accurate and truthful than the newspapers and TV networks. His bill, written in Tel Aviv, is designed to make Americans who depend on the internet for news and communication feel helpless, isolated and ready to turn to violence.
Picture yourself going to the computer. Your email is blocked, nothing in, nothing out. You are looking at one screen, the same thing on every computer in the country. The logo, a simply, DHS, Department of Homeland Security. In the middle of the screen is a new search engine, “Safety Friendly Family Approved Searches.” Below that are approved news stories, linking you to ABC, CNN, FOX, CBS, MSNBC, the WSJ, NYT, WP and Family Security Matters.org. Below that is a warning:
“Your microphone and webcam are in active mode. Do not attempt to mute, shield or disable under penalty of law.”
Senator Lieberman is trying to start a civil war, more than just planting the seeds, this is a provocation, a clear and present danger to American freedom.
BUILDING THE MECHANISM OF APOCALYPSE, THE MOVE TO APARTHEID
Let’s talk about “social cohesion.” Israel has shipped their five million Palestinians to Jordan, Lebanon or Gaza to have social cohesion, one country, one race, one religion, no room for outsiders, no matter how long they have been around. America did the same thing with the Indians (Native Americans), eventually wiping most of them out in a series of wars, treaties and resettlement programs. However, America’s problems with social cohesion are far greater than Israel’s or even those of America during the pioneering years. Today, we are a society divided on, not only race and ethnicity but region, religion and, worst of all, extremist political views. The government that is supposed to join us together and the constitution that is meant to guarantee our belief in equal justice for all have been ground into the dust, twisted, bought, obliterated and disfigured.
America is heading for a meltdown. Another civil war is possible, even likely. 40% of states are bankrupt. This means they can’t pay police or teachers or fix roads except with borrowed federal money. It also means their pension plans, all that is meant to keep millions of Americans out of dire poverty in retirement, are gone. The states lost their pension plans in the 2007 collapse. Only federal bail outs, which aren’t going to happen, will cover this massive shortfall. Eventually, workers, hundreds of thousands of families who worked and saved for financial security will be told it isn’t there anymore. This isn’t the future, it happened, its real and it can’t be hidden very long.
There is no federal government to step in and carry the load. Wars have left it drowning and political corruption has crippled America to where it is no more stable than many of the nations of Africa. Hiding behind years of scare tactics, terrorism, tiny countries with nuclear weapons, or the real problem of Mexico’s collapse under the rule of drug lords and the millions flooding into our country, financial criminals have looted America and a worldwide criminal conspiracy of financial criminals, headquartered in Tel Aviv and New York, protected by congress and Mossad death squads traveling the world with German passports. The press, something we generously call either the “mainstream media” or “corporate controlled press” isn’t just a mechanism for censorship, its part of a long term effort to destroy the faith Americans have in their own ability as people to rule themselves and trust, not the criminals presented to vote for in elections, but their own ability to reject the lot of them.
THE MANY FACES OF THE AMERICAN TALIBAN
Radicalization of America has been the goal all along. Who would have ever believed that internet conspiracy theory would end up being, not only more believable, but more fair and certainly more balanced than traditional media sources that have been discredited to such a degree in recent months. A key area of division in America has been religion. For awhile, financed by the Israeli lobby and the “bankster” criminal elements, the “neo-cons” were able to build a bridge uniting Evangelical Christians with Christian Zionists, groups that are, from a scriptural standpoint light years apart. To this, the abortion/women’s rights issue drew many Catholics to abandon their traditional values and join with these groups which had shared little in common with them. Catholics are urban, typically well educated with a Euro-centric culture, while Evangelicals shun higher education for religious instruction.
The first American Taliban may have been the Puritans but they have been eclipsed in American history by the atavism of the Mormon Church, whose beliefs deeply parallel the most frightening and profound heresies of Islam, church over state, no rights for women and an undercurrent of violence unrivaled by any sect seen in a western society since the Albigensians. Mormons, chased across America, seized much of the Southwest and set up a defacto government, one with little in common with the rest of America. As the Mormon regions of America come into conflict with the massive Hispanic Catholic population, the roots of dissolution, border wars, draconian race laws and eventually full apartheid will take hold. It will start in Arizona and spread through the American West.
Perhaps the largest threat is the religious theory of Zionism. Originally a race theory based on Jewish racial superiority and political supremacy, offshoots of Zionism have entered Evangelical Christian belief systems creating the heresy known as Christian Zionism. Original Zionism, a violent and radical offshoot of Judaism is more racial than religious or political in nature. Though a minority of American Jews practice Zionistic beliefs, most are coerced into either financial support or even into sending children into military servitude in Israel in order to avoid social ostracism.
As the result of the founding of Israel in Judea or Palestine, a slow decline in social,cultural and intellectual traditions has infected the Jewish community in America, one known for the advancement of social causes and broad advocacy of American freedoms. With the increased radicalization of America and her economic decline, many Jews have looked to Israel as an anchor, failing to take into account the role Israel has played in the onset of the entropy they fear. This situation could be equated with burning down your home to save your garage.
Christian Zionists have only anecdotal similarities with the Judaic variety. They tend to be rural, poorly educated, envious and resentful, not only of what they call “elites” but many other groups as well but primarily African Americans. The basis of Christian Zionism is hatred of African Americans. All other monikers or descriptions are a subterfuge to escape the labels these same groups had been associated with in the past, Klan, racist or bigot.
Hiding behind tortured and obscure biblical references and using bizarre stories of disaster and apocalypse, stories oddly well supported by current times, these simple rural people unable to grasp much of the complex modern world. They have been melded into a political front serving the interests of Israel, a state they understand poorly, and the class of economic criminals, many associated with Israel but also with the movement in America called “conservatism.” Their political role has been to serve as a vocal and sometimes violent front for the economic oligarchy, a very real monied elite, that has assumed broad control over America’s policitcal and social life.
THE DOOM SO MANY PRAYED SO HARD FOR IS HERE
America’s security has been tied, for 65 years, to NATO. Today, our newspaper and TV gurus are telling us to dissolve NATO. With the breakdown of the alliance between Israel and Turkey, Israel, who controls 444 members of congress and 50% of America’s wealth has demanded that America either throw Turkey out of NATO or leave herself. As yet, Israel is allowing the United States to remain in the United Nations because America’s security council veto, used hundreds of times to save Israel from sanctions for war crimes or nuclear proliferation violations, is vital to the welare of Israel.
This week, Israel was discovered on the verge of bombing Iran. Little real damage would have been done. Iran has no nuclear infrastructure tied to weapons manufacture. The intent would be, as Israel had planned it, to enter Iran from the north where there are few defenses, bomb useless and remote targets, safe targets so all planes could return and claim a major victory, destroying that which did not exist. As Saudi Arabia has already been set up as the fall guy, said to have allowed the attack in advance, something the Saudis deny, they would become hated among Muslim nations.
Israel’s plan is to force Iran to attack Saudi Arabia, close the Straits of Hormuz and push America and Western Europe into total collapse. With 60% of the world’s oil supply eliminated, world financial and currency markets would collapse and the world’s armaments industry would explode with orders. Israel is the third largest exporter of weapons. Israel prides itself as the inventor of “game theory,” the method of strategic planning making use of deception, manipulation, “false flag attacks,” assassinations, bribery and blackmail in a complex chess match meant to bring the world to a chaotic state subject to their mathematical models. Israel is filled with Nobel Prize winners. This is what they work on.
The apolcalypse that Christian Zionists prayed for, the “end times” though to begin with a series of natural disasters has been hurried along. Pushing for a nuclear war has always been a part of it but the possiblity, not yet proven, that the BP disaster in the Gulf could eventually turn the Gulf Stream and leave Europe uninhabitable is a continual subject of discussion with America’s religious broadcast community.
HOW DESTABILIZATION BECOMES APARTHEID
With collapse in the trust in America’s institutions, a Supreme Court with five neo-Fascist judges, congress with 444 “Israeli-firsters,” and millions of Americans believing the president is the Anti-Christ, one more economic disaster, the one Israel is attempting to stage right now, would make the 2007 collapse seem like a joke. With the broadcast media having worked the country into fear, distrust and ready to pick up weapons to use against their neighbors, all carefully staged, the scripts have been passed out.
You will know when you see the face of Sarah Palin on every network, perhaps in a pantsuit with a miltiary cut. Do you think she will be wearing a beret? There will be a flag behind her and the Star Spangled Banker will fade to silence as she makes the announcements.
Nuclear arsenals will be seized by patriotic groups from within our military, led by Israeli commandos and helped by our armies of private defense contractors. Those secret “FEMA/UN” prisons will suddenly turn out to be real, with local police in riot gear, American flags on their cars and uniforms, hunting down journalists, activists and, eventually, the educated.
Senator Lieberman will pull the plug on the internet. Private logins will carry arrest lists.
After the educated classes and politially progressive groups are rounded up, then the African Americans and Hispanics will be cataloged, given travel restrictions. Pass laws will be enacted.
Then, surprise of surprises, they will start rounding up Jews.
Welcome to the hell of your own making.
* Gordon Duff is senior editor of Veterans Today.
by Charles M Young, This Can’t Be Happening
Last March I went to the Left Forum in New York, which is a yearly gathering of liberals, progressives, anarchists, socialists, communists, hippies, punks, mystics, conspiracy theorists and anti-conspiracy theorists who are all trying to figure out how to get to a decent future from the indecent present. Nobody, of course, knows how to do that. There may not even be a path to a decent future from the indecent present, but I always find the Left Forum hopeful because a few thousand people in one place are at least putting their minds to the problem.
The panel discussion I most wanted to see (out of 300 or so) was called “The Crisis That Gives the Capitalist Class Nightmares,” because Michael Hudson was speaking. Whenever Hudson writes something, I read it, because he’s one of a tiny number of economists with academic credentials who predicted the present debt crisis. (Apparently not predicting crises is necessary for tenure in most economic departments these days.) At the panel, he explained that when labor is squeezed to the point that it can’t purchase anything, the capitalist is left with nothing to invest in, except more debt, and so we end up with Wall Street creating ever more complicated, ever more leveraged, ever more worthless junk for its gambling habit. When this collapses, as it must, half the hospitals in Latvia (which Hudson advises) have to shut down for lack of funds.
The next guy to speak was Hillel Ticktin, an emeritus professor of Marxist Studies at the University of Glasgow. Whip smart, grumpy and funny, Ticktin expanded on the theme of “fictitious capital,” as Marx called money made from money with no value added. Ticktin said we had reached the last stage of empire with this humongous array of empty numbers in computers that is our economy and recommended we all read Volume 3 of Capital. Then he closed with a question: “Does the ruling class really want to commit suicide?”
Every time I have watched the news since March, I think back to that question and have an anxiety attack.
Because, yes, the ruling class is trying to commit suicide. In and of itself, this would be a great boon to mankind. Imagine if the ruling class admitted their abject failure to get anything right, and did the honorable thing. Top management at Wall Street, the elite of both major parties, their lobbyists, the big pr firms, the worst hacks of the corporate press, most CEOs and COOs–what if they all just got in a big bathtub, conceded defeat and opened up a vein like Frank Pentangeli in The Godfather II? Who would miss them?
So suicide isn’t the problem, exactly. The problem is that they don’t know they’re trying to kill themselves, and it doesn’t occur to them to behave honorably. The ruling class is not Frank Pentangeli. The ruling class is the husband who is failing at work, having his home foreclosed, his car repossessed, his children are getting humiliated at school because they aren’t wearing the right clothes, the self-help books have failed, the church offers no solace, television won’t acknowledge his existence–so he shoots his wife and four kids and then puts the gun in his mouth.
Thus the problem is murder suicide. The husband wants to kill the only people in his life more powerless than himself, because they are living reminders of his own shame.
Let me spell that out. The ruling class is the husband. Everyone who works in the productive economy is the wife and four kids. The ruling class wants to commit suicide because it has so completely failed and because everything it believes is so obviously wrong. One part of the ruling class brain knows it doesn’t do anything worth doing, and another part of the ruling class brain doesn’t want to be reminded and lives in terror of being exposed. This is called denial. To keep the denial in place, evidence of failure must be destroyed. If you, oh reader, are the living evidence of ruling class failure, it is a dangerous situation.
The ruling class wrecked the economy. That was a stupendous failure, but at least they were wrecking a social construct that deserved wrecking. Organizing labor on the principle that the guy with the most money gets to tell everyone else what to do–how did that come to be considered a good idea? How did that get equated with freedom? Every major religion warns against greed, and somehow most of the United States has come to believe that letting the greedheads run everything is efficient.
That’s so 20th century.
The bigger problem is that the ruling class, in its murder suicide frenzy, is killing nature. Nature is not a social construct. It’s really there. It’s alive. As such, it is too painful for the ruling class to look at, so they are killing it. Anything that reminds them of life, anything that isn’t money, has to go.
It’s a mistake to fetishize all this evil and project it onto BP. BP is one sociopath in a culture of sociopathy. If you read its “plan” for dealing with oil spills in the Gulf, as some enterprising reporters did for the Associated Press , it is a contemptuous joke from beginning to end. It is full of bizarre lies and mistakes. The corporate flunkies who accepted it at the Minerals Management Service should be in prison. The company that wrote it, the company that had no plan whatsoever for dealing with a deep blowout in the Gulf of Mexico, cares about brown pelicans like Joran van der Sloot cares about young women.
The chorus of energy companies denying global warming wasn’t killing nature fast enough for BP, so it invited nature into a hotel room and strangled her.
A prophecy: At some point this summer, a hurricane is going to blow through the Gulf of Mexico. It’s going to drown New Orleans in carcinogenic sludge, again, and a day later it’s going to be raining tar balls on Nashville. People all over the South will go to church and demand that Jesus save them. Jesus will choose this moment to make his return to earth: “Hey, I told you 2000 years ago that it’s easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to get into heaven. I told you that the poor are blessed. I told you that as you treat the least of these, you have treated me. That means if you oppress the poor, you oppress me. That means if you drown pelicans in oil, you’re drowning me. But you didn’t read that part of the New Testament. You only read that weird symbolism in the Book of Revelations and argued about nothing while the ruling class destroyed everything. You came to believe that my teachings were somehow consistent with capitalism. I mean, where did you get that from? I’m the guy who threw the money changers out of the temple. You think the money changers of Wall Street are going to save you when the ocean dies? You think I’m going to save you with some kind of rapture and vacuum the believers into heaven? Not a chance. But you do have a choice. You can deal with the ruling class now, or you can burn in a hell of your own creation.”
On May 5th, Cinco de Mayo, 2010, 200,000 people took to the streets in Athens in a general strike.
First, the background, then the May 5th update…
After the Greek Riots
A few bullets fired by a cop and a kid lying dead on the street. Cities burn for weeks. For the spectacle-hungry media machine, the story begins and ends here. All else, before and after, is void.
Follow the corporate media and the Greek revolt died a long, long time ago. What’s happening in Greece at the moment? What’s the revolt’s legacy, where did all that energy go? Why should you care, screams the media machine, haven’t you heard? The revolt has died. And, even more importantly, The King is dead!
Back on the ground, of course, the revolt is far from dead. Its legacy is very much alive, getting inscribed deeper day after day. The police, having ridden itself from the burden of neutrality, can openly cooperate with fascist thugs, who feel confident enough to throw molotov cocktails against demonstrators in solidarity with undocumented migrants (Athens, July 8). Undocumented migrants, in turn, are explicitly the aim of the most recent wave of state repression: “First we’ll go for the migrants, then for the anarchists”, as the minister of public order so eloquently put it. Even he seems to be unable to catch up with the events: the only December demonstrator still in prison is held (still without trial) precisely because he is an anarchist and therefore consists “a threat to democracy” (wording of the court of misdemeanours, Athens, July 8).
The greek state seems conscious in that it cannot take another revolt of the size of December’s – and determined in not allowing this to happen.
Under this wave of repression, solidarity links are more important than ever. Armed with the experience of December, with the certainty that the return to normality is not option. Armed with a belief in a more just world – and not much else. Democracy has chosen its enemies: The migrants, the anarchists, all the outsiders unable or unwilling to fall back in line.
Having reported on December’s revolt and its immediate aftermath, this blog will now go on to cover everyday life in Greece as it is today. Expect eye-witness reports from everyday struggles, from the demonstrations in Athens (mostly) and in other cities across the country. Reports on the hunger strike of Thodoros Iliopoulos, the last prisoner of the revolt.
Please don’t expect any “impartial” reports (as if these could ever exist). This is an anarchist take on the situation in the country. A democracy that wages war on migrants and anarchists; a democracy armed with fascist thugs, with molotov cocktails and hand grenades; a democracy producing the silent death of the concentration camp (a silence reproduced and amplified by the media machine) is a democracy worth fighting against. Let’s make some noise.
(below is the “about” section of this blog as it went live on December 8, 2008 – two days after Alexis’ assassination).
On the night of December 6th, police shot 15-year old Alexandros Grigoropoulos in cold blood in the Eksarhia district of Athens. Since that night, Athens and tens of other greek cities have been burning.
On the same night, up to 10,000 people took the streets of Athens on a spontaneous demonstration, burning and smashing banks, ministries and multinational shops. Ever since, tension has been increasingly escalating: universities are occupied, as are most of the high schools in the country. Barricades are being put up around Athens; clashes with the police are constant.
On Tuesday, 9.12, the funeral of Alexandros is taking place and a general strike is called for Wednesday the 10th – a day both sides are building up for.
The purpose of this blog is to provide up-to-date information on the Greek riots, directly from the streets. Authors are contributing from the Greek cities of Athens, Thessaloniki and Patras.
The updates will be irregular and as frequent as permitted, given the circumstances. The updates will be mostly text-based. Confirmed reports will be presented as such – and so will rumours. We are not journalists and we are not objective; we chose sides in the social war a while ago.
In memory of Alexandros Grigoropoulos.
The struggle of humanity against authority, as always, continues.
May 6, 2010 update
The statement below was issued a few hours ago by the anarchist squat of Skaramanga and Patision in Athens.
The murderers “mourn” their victims
(Regarding today’s tragic death of 3 people)
The enormous strike demonstration which took place today, 5th of May turned into a social outflow of rage. At least 200,000 people of all ages took to the streets (employees and unemployed, in the public and private sector, locals and migrants) attempting, over many hours and in consecutive waves, to surround and to take over the Parliament. The forces of repression came out in full force, to play their familiar role – that is, of the protection of the political and financial authorities. The clashes were hours long and extensive. The political system and its institutions reached a nadir.
However, in the midst of all this, a tragic event that no words can possibly describe took place: 3 people died from infusions at the branch of Marfin Bank on Stadiou Avenue, which was set ablaze.
The state and the entire journalistic riff-raff, without any shame toward the dead or their close ones, spoke from the very first moment about some “murderer-hooded up youths”, trying to take advantage of the event, in order to calm the wave of social rage that had erupted and to recover their authority that had been torn apart; to impose once again a police occupation of the streets, to wipe out sources of social resistance and disobedience against state terrorism and capitalist barbarity. For this reason, during the last few hours the police forces have been marching through the center of Athens, they have conducted hundreds of detentions and they raided – with shootings and stun-grenades – the anarchist occupation “space of united multiform action” on Zaimi street and the “migrant haunt” on Tsamadou Street, causing extensive damage (both these places are in the Exarcheia neighbourhood of Athens). At the same time the threat of a violent police eviction is hanging over the rest of the self-organised spaces (occupations and haunts) after the Prime-ministerial speech which referred to soon-to-come raids for the arrest of the “murderers”.
The governors, governmental officials, their political personnel, the TV-mouthpieces and the salaried hack writers attempt in this way to purify their regime and the criminalise the anarchists and every unpatronised voice of struggle. As if there would ever be the slightest of chances that whoever attacked the bank (provided the official scenario stands) would possibly know there were people inside, and that they would torch it alight regardless. They seem to confuse the people in struggle for themselves: them who without any hesitation hand over the entire society to the deepest pillage and enslaving, who order their praetorians to attack without hesitation and to aim and shoot to kill, them who have lead three people to suicide in the past week alone, due to financial debts. [NOTE: THIS IS AN IMPORTANT POINT. Politicos and corporate CEOs think everyone is like they are: willing to kill for an agenda…. Theirs is the lowest motive possible: avarice. They simply cannot imagine anyone risking their lives or livelihoods for an altruistic goal, such as peace or justice].
The truth is that the real murderer, the real instigator of today’s tragic death of 3 people is “mister” Vgenopoulos, who used the usual employers’ blackmailing (the threat of sacking) and forced his employees to work in the branches of his bank during a day of strike – and even in a branch like the one of Stadiou Avenue, where the strike’s demonstration would pass through. Such blackmailing is known only too well by anyone experiencing the terrorism of salaried slavery on an everyday level. We are awaiting to see what excuses Vgenopoulos will come up with for the relatives of the victims and for the society as a whole – this ultra-capitalist now hinted by some centers of power as the next prime minister in a future “national unity government” that could follow the expected, complete collapse of the political system.
If an unprecedented strike can ever be a murderer…
If an unprecedented demonstration, in an unprecedented crisis, can ever be a murderer…
If open social spaces that are alive and public can ever be murderers…
If the state can impose a curfew and attack demonstrators under the pretext of arresting murderers…
If Vgenopoulos can detain his employees inside a bank – that is, a primary social enemy and target for demonstrators…
…it is because authority, this serial murderer, wants to slaughter upon its birth a revolt which questions the supposed solution of an even harsher attack on society, of an even larger pillage by capital, of an even thirstier sucking of our blood.
…it is because the future of the revolt does not include politicians and bosses, police and mass media.
… it is because behind their much-advertised “only” solution, there is a solution that does not speak of development rates and unemployment but rather, it speaks of solidarity, self-organising and human relationships.
When asking who are the murderers of life, of freedom, of dignity, the ferments of authority and capital, they and their tuft hunters only need to take a look at their own selves. Today and every day.
HANDS OFF FREE SOCIAL SPACES
IT IS THE STATE AND THE CAPITALISTS WHO ARE THE MURDERERS, TERRORISTS AND CRIMINALS
EVERYONE TO THE STREETS
from the open assembly of the evening of 5/5/2010
______________________ China Rose’s Comment _____________________
No one involved in the general strike action wanted to kill bystanders. The purpose of anarchism is to take actions to save lives by fighting for social change. The bank management knew that. They also knew that the bank should have been shut down, and that if their employees got hurt, anarchists would be blamed. Can anyone doubt that they are capable of deliberately putting their employees in harm’s way, of being willing to sacrifice their employees lives? Particularly for a political message? EMPLOYERS do this EVERY DAY. This is the nature of capitalism.
Two examples: Look at Massey Energy and BP in the US.
Massey Energy was cited for mine safety violations continuously. They sneered at the regulations, and refused to put safety controls in place. They didn’t give a DAMN about the lives of their faithful employees. Now, over 30 miners are dead, suffocated or burned to death underground.
BP operated an offshore drilling rig without adhering to safety standards or preparing for the possibility of an oil spill. When the rig blew up, their employees were blown to bits. People’s lives throughout the entire Gulf region have been ruined, along with a precious ecosystem and all its animals. The suffering caused by this massive oil spill is beyond measure.
These corporations — and ALL corporations — refuse to even protect their own employees. They are victimizing entire regions for ugly profit. Every day. They lie, cheat, connive, manipulate, steal and kill — for profit. They are the world’s greatest criminal syndicates, and banks enable them to thrive. Banks are parasites that feed off the work and sweat of everyday people. They will do anything to stop journalists, whistleblowers or activists who are becoming too effective. They murder with impunity — regularly. That is what corporations DO. That’s what the state does.
The state’s job is to protect and defend corporations. They’ll dispatch police and military by the tens of thousands to enforce corporate rape and plunder. They’ll rob and kill their owns citizens to perpetuate corporate dominance and murder innocent people in other countries by the millions to expand their empires.
BANKS AND CORPORATIONS — and their GOVERNMENT FLUNKIES AND WHORES KILLED THOSE 3 BANK EMPLOYEES. They will continue to kill UNLESS STOPPED.