Why U.S. rulers fear new Asian investment bank “AIIB” [Workers World]

Posted in Africa, Bill Clinton, Bolivia, China, China-US relations, Economy, Ecuador, France, Germany, IMF - International Monetary Fund, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Liberia, Neo-colonialism, U.K., US imperialism, USA, USA 21st Century Cold War, Venezuela, Wall Street, World War II on March 28, 2015 by Zuo Shou / 左手

By Deirdre Griswold March 24, 2015

Britain, France, Italy and Germany have agreed to join China in establishing an Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. China has already announced it will put up $50 billion in initial capital.

It is too early to say what role this bank will play in helping underdeveloped countries modernize their infrastructure. Negotiations among the principals on the bank’s structure and policies are expected to take place for at least a year. What will emerge cannot be predicted at this time.

But one thing is very clear: Wall Street and Washington are fuming over the fact that the European imperialist countries are joining in, despite strong U.S. pressure to stay out.

Criticism of the new development bank by the U.S. has begun, with government officials telling the media they fear it will undermine the “good work” done by the International Monetary Fund and World Bank, which, they say, have aided developing countries while imposing regulations to protect the environment and help the poor.

You’re choking on this outrageous lie right now? So are we.

Tons of both popular and scholarly analyses of these institutions, and especially of the “structural adjustment programs” they have forced down the throats of poor countries, show that the kind of “development” they foster has usually done just the opposite: stripped countries of needed government services, increased their indebtedness and hurt the environment, all to benefit the financial institutions of the imperialists.

Take the West African countries of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, for example, which have been going through the most horrific public health emergency caused by the spread of the Ebola virus. These countries are so poor that, even after Liberia declared an end to new cases, a televised news report on the return of a score of students to classes pointed out that their grammar school, which when full serves 1,000 students, has no electricity and no running water.

On Dec. 22, The Lancet, a preeminent British medical journal, published a commentary called “The International Monetary Fund and the Ebola outbreak.” It reads: “A major reason why the outbreak spread so rapidly was the weakness of health systems in the region. … Since 1990, the IMF has provided support to Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, for 21, 7 and 19 years, respectively, and at the time that Ebola emerged, all three countries were under IMF programs. However, IMF lending comes with strings attached — so-called ‘conditionalities’ — that require recipient governments to adopt policies that have been criticized for prioritizing short-term economic objectives over investment in health and education.”

The authors add that “economic reform programs by the IMF have required reductions in government spending, prioritization of debt service, and bolstering of foreign exchange reserves.” In other words, recipient countries — which should be receiving reparations for all the wealth extracted from them by colonial rule — have instead been forced to cut back on health care, education and other services in order to pay interest on loans.

* Bretton Woods, the IMF and World Bank *

Why does the U.S. ruling class feel particularly threatened by this new China-headed development bank? Because U.S. banks have dominated the financial architecture of the capitalist world for decades. The U.S. emerged from World War II as the undisputed global industrial and financial powerhouse, while Europe and Japan were in ruins and all regions involved in the world war were suffering.

The intention of the U.S. imperialist ruling class to translate its military and industrial muscle into financial domination over the rest of the world was made clear even before the war ended, with the founding of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank at the Bretton Woods Conference in 1944. This conclave in New Hampshire of the soon-to-be-victorious Allied powers was dominated by Washington and London. It established the “tradition” that the president of the World Bank would always come from the U.S.

One can read many critiques of these institutions. One was an interview by Greg Palast with Joseph Stieglitz, a former chief economist of the World Bank, member of Bill Clinton’s cabinet and chair of his Council of Economic Advisers who turned against his former bosses.

Stieglitz told Palast that when nations are “down and out, [the IMF] squeezes the last drop of blood out of them. They turn up the heat until, finally, the whole cauldron blows up.” He referred to these social explosions as “IMF riots,” pointing to what happened when the IMF eliminated food and fuel subsidies in Indonesia in 1998, when it made Bolivia increase water prices in 2000, and when the World Bank imposed a rise in cooking gas prices on Ecuador in February 2001. (“IMF’s Four Steps to Damnation,” The Observer, April 29, 2001)

In Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, the people have tried to get rid of governments that served as tools of these imperialist-dominated financial institutions and have looked for other ways to climb out of poverty. In Latin America, the result has been ALBA (Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America) — an alliance of countries, led by Venezuela, that is trying to break free of the stranglehold over their economies imposed by U.S. imperialism for nearly two centuries.

The anti-colonial revolutions that began in Asia in the 1930s and spread throughout the so-called Third World in the 1950s and 1960s drove out the structures of direct colonial rule. Bretton Woods was the answer of the imperialists: Keep the masses of people enslaved to the banks.

Washington’s objections to the new Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank have nothing to do with anything except the fear of U.S. capitalists that they could be losing their grip on what has been their main tool for world domination. As a backup, of course, they have the Pentagon, making the struggle against imperialist war ever more urgent.

Article link: http://www.workers.org/articles/2015/03/24/why-u-s-rulers-fear-new-asian-investment-bank/

The struggle of Venezuela against ‘a common enemy’ [Johnpilger.com]

Posted in Hugo Chavez, Media cover-up, Media smear campaign, US imperialism, USA, Venezuela on March 27, 2015 by Zuo Shou / 左手

Feb. 17, 2015

Albert: Why would the United States want Venezuela’s government overthrown?

Pilger: There are straightforward principles and dynamics at work here. Washington wants to get rid of the Venezuelan government because it is independent of US designs for the region and because Venezuela has the greatest proven oil reserves in the world and uses its oil revenue to improve the quality of ordinary lives. Venezuela remains a source of inspiration for social reform in a continent ravaged by an historically rapacious US…

Excerpted; full article link: http://johnpilger.com/articles/the-struggle-of-venezuela-against-a-common-enemy

91st Death Anni. of Lenin Commemorated on Red Square [CRIEnglish]

Posted in Lenin, Russia, USSR on March 26, 2015 by Zuo Shou / 左手

2015-01-22
Web Editor: Wang Wei

Communist supporters hold portraits of Soviet state founder Vladimir Lenin during a wreath laying ceremony to Lenin’s mausoleum on Moscow’s Red Square, January 21, 2015. Communists gathered on Wednesday to commemorate the 91st death anniversary of Lenin. [Photo: CFP/Sergei Karpukhin]

Link to photo article: http://english.cri.cn/12394/2015/01/22/2361s862860.htm

‘Spring Rising’ Protests decry 12 years of U.S. wars abroad [Workers World]

Posted in Afghanistan, Cuba, DPR Korea, Genocide, Haiti, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Mexico, Obama, Pakistan, Palestine, Pentagon, Philippines, Police brutality, Police State, Russia, Ukraine, US drone strikes, US imperialism, USA, Venezuela, War crimes on March 26, 2015 by Zuo Shou / 左手

March 23, 2015

Antiwar actions called Spring Rising, focusing on the 12th anniversary of the criminal U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq and continued war in Afghanistan, were held in Washington, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Minneapolis and other cities around the United States. Spring Rising was initiated by Cindy Sheehan, anti-war activist and mother of U.S. Army Specialist Casey Sheehan who was killed in Iraq.

In Washington there were four days of actions, including a teach-in, political lobbying and a bus tour of sites of war contractors. The culminating action was on March 21, with a rally of several hundred people, some carrying U.S.-flag-draped coffins, that gathered in front of the White House and marched to the Capitol, with stops at the offices of defense contractors.

Groups that sent delegations to D.C. included Code Pink, Answer Coalition, United National Antiwar Coalition, Veterans for Peace, World Can’t Wait, World Beyond War, Fight Imperialism, Stand Together and the International Action Center.

IAC participants came from New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Durham, N.C., and linked the continuing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to the U.S support of armed fascist, right-wing and mercenary forces in Ukraine, Venezuela and Syria, as well as to racist and militarized police repression at home.
San FranciscoPhoto: Alyssa Eisenberg

San Francisco
Photo: Alyssa Eisenberg

Anti-war demonstrators rallied March 21 at Powell and Market streets in San Francisco and then marched through the downtown area to commemorate the 12th anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq. Demonstrators raised a number of demands: “Stop President Obama’s AUMF” (the proposed new three-year authorization for the use of military force); “End U.S. war and occupation;” “In the Middle East and Central Asia — U.S. out!;” “No to U.S. sanctions and intervention” against Iran, Venezuela, Korea, Cuba, Mexico, Russia, Philippines, Haiti and everywhere; and “Free Palestine — End U.S. Aid to Israel — Fund People’s Needs, Not Endless War.”

The protest was initiated by the Answer Coalition and endorsed by many groups, including the Arab Resource and Organizing Center, the Bay Area Latin America Solidarity Coalition, BAYAN USA, Haiti Action, the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, the Middle East Children’s Alliance, the Palestine Youth Movement and Workers World Party.

Indicting ‘Hellfire Reaper’ brass

Two actions in central New York protested the anniversary of the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq. On the morning of March 19, seven members of the Upstate Coalition to Ground the Drones and End the Wars were arrested after trying to deliver a “citizen’s indictment” for war crimes to Hancock Air Base commanders. Demonstrators also blockaded the main gate of the base with giant books, including “Living under Drones: Death, Injury, and Trauma to Civilians from U.S. Drone Practices in Pakistan,” a report from New York University and Stanford law schools.

Soldiers dragged the books away as “evidence,” opening the possibility that their anti-U.S. war information could be introduced at future activist trials.

“Hellfire” Reaper drones targeting Afghanistan are piloted out of Hancock by soldiers in the 174th Attack Wing of the New York Air National Guard. Drone pilots, sensor operators and maintenance technicians are also trained at the base. Common Dreams estimates that over 2,500 people have been killed by U.S. covert drone attacks in Pakistan, Somalia, Syria and Yemen. (commondreams.org)

On Feb. 17, the Obama administration okayed the widespread export of U.S. armed drones, as U.S. defense corporations push for bigger profits in the global drone market.

The Upstate Coalition has waged a nonviolent campaign against drone warfare at the base since 2010; there have been over 160 anti-Reaper arrests at Hancock in the last five years.
Syracuse, N.Y.Photo: Ellen Grady

Syracuse, N.Y.
Photo: Ellen Grady

In the afternoon people assembled at a downtown Syracuse, N.Y., street corner and held up signs protesting past and present wars, including Obama’s request for new war powers from Congress. One speaker talked of being in Baghdad in 2003 as part of a U.S. peace delegation and confronting U.S. Marines who entered the city during the U.S. “Shock-and-Awe” offensive.

A Syracuse University student denounced extensive military funding at the school, including the new Institute for National Security and Counterterrorism and the drone-radar defense contractor, Syracuse Research Corporation.

As a steady stream of workers driving home honked in support of the rally, a military veteran spoke of the dreadful effects of war on U.S. soldiers. In addition to post-traumatic stress disorder, he named sexual assaults on 25 percent of women soldiers by other U.S. soldiers and homelessness. Twenty-five percent of homeless people are vets, who are disproportionately people of color.

From reports by Sara Flounders, Terri Kay and Minnie Bruce Pratt.

Article link: http://www.workers.org/articles/2015/03/23/protests-decry-12-years-of-u-s-wars-abroad/

Fidel Castro cautiously supports Cuba’s reconciliation with U.S. [Xinhua]

Posted in Cuba, Fidel Castro, Havana, US imperialism, USA on March 26, 2015 by Zuo Shou / 左手

HAVANA, Jan. 27 (Xinhua) — Cuba’s former president and revolutionary leader Fidel Castro expressed his cautious support for the peaceful solution to the 50-year-odd controversy [sic] with the United States.

In a message to the University Young [sic]Federation published Tuesday by Cuba’s official daily “Granma”, Castro, 88, wrote that he does not trust the U.S. policies, but that does not mean a rejection to a peaceful solution of conflicts and dangers of war.

“Defending peace is a duty of all,” said the veteran revolutionary.

“Any peaceful and negotiated solution to the problems between the United States and the peoples or any people of Latin America, not involving force or the use of force, should be handled according to international principles and standards,” he said.

“We will always defend the cooperation and friendship with all peoples of the world, including those of our political opponents,” he added.

Castro stressed that the Cuban president (Raul Castro) has taken appropriate steps according to his prerogatives and powers granted by the National Assembly and the Communist Party of Cuba.

This is the first time that the former Cuban leader spoke of the resumption of diplomatic relations between Cuba and the United States, which was announced by U.S. President Barack Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro on Dec. 17…

Edited &excerpted by Zuo Shou

Full article link: http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/world/2015-01/27/c_133951254.htm

“Distorting history is unacceptable” – Urging Japan to reflect on past crimes of aggression [People’s Daily]

Posted in China, Japan, Russia, U.K., USA, USSR, War crimes, World War II on March 26, 2015 by Zuo Shou / 左手

By Yan Yuewen (People’s Daily Online)
March 25, 2015

The entire world remembers the history of the world’s anti-Fascist war and the Chinese People’s War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression.

But some important questions about the war must be clearly answered. Who launched the aggression at the beginning? What dark motivations led them to start the war? How did allied nations unite in the strength of justice and how much did they sacrifice to fight for freedom of humanity? The history of World War II (WWII), including its achievements and lessons, should be remembered by all nations. Legally binding international documents signed during and after the war, postwar trials of war criminals as well as historical research conducted over the past 70 years compose an undisputable foundation of the world’s shared memory.

At present, some Japanese politicians have brazenly attempted to distort WWII history, intending to relieve Japan of responsibility. The world should be alert to these provocative remarks and acts.

History cannot be reversed. Justice will speak itself. However, we must maintain vigilant against any actions that would seek to distort historical verdicts and deny the fruits of victory.

According to a recent survey conducted by Japan’s leading newspaper The Yomiuri Shimbun, only 5 percent of the surveyed Japanese citizens said that they are “fully aware of” the Japan-provoked aggression and the Pacific War. Around 44 percent of the respondents said that they “know a little” about the war. And another 49 percent of the respondents answered that they are uninformed about the history. The survey also showed that education and school textbooks are the main ways for students to learn the truth of past warfare.

History should not be recklessly tampered with. Such acts are anathema to international law and justice. The postwar arrangement clearly confirmed Japan’s responsibility for aggression in WWII, and Japan admitted it unconditionally.

The Cairo Declaration, jointly released by the United States, China and Britain on December 1, 1943, stated, “The Three Great Allies are fighting this war to restrain and punish the aggression of Japan.”

The Potsdam Declaration (or the Proclamation Defining Terms for Japanese Surrender), jointly released on July 26, 1945 by the United States, China and Britain with the Soviet Union joining later, stated that Japan shall enforce the Cairo Declaration, and also declared the elimination “for all time of the authority and influence of those who have deceived and misled the people of Japan into embarking on world conquest.” The declaration went on, saying, “We do not intend that the Japanese shall be enslaved as a race or destroyed as a nation, but stern justice shall be meted out to all war criminals, including those who have visited cruelties upon our prisoners.”

Japan accepted the terms of the Potsdam Declaration in the Imperial Rescript on the Termination of the War issued by Japanese Emperor Hirohito on August 15, 1945 and the Japanese Instrument of Surrender signed by Japanese delegates aboard the United States Navy battleship USS Missouri on September 2 of the same year.

Admitting its historical aggression and reflecting on the responsibility for war is a precondition for Japan to reconcile with its Asian neighboring countries that suffered under its military campaigns in WWII.

The China-Japan Joint Statement issued on September 29, 1972 stated, “The Japanese side is keenly conscious of the responsibility for the serious damage that Japan caused in the past to the Chinese people through war, and deeply reproaches itself…”

Excerpted; full article link: http://en.people.cn/n/2015/0325/c98649-8868727.html

Saudi Arabia, 9/11 and the “war on terror”[World Socialist Website]

Posted in 9/11, Afghanistan, CIA, Corporate Media Critique, FBI, Iraq, Media cover-up, Pentagon, Saudi Arabia, US "War on Terror", US Government Cover-up, US imperialism, USA, War crimes on March 26, 2015 by Zuo Shou / 左手

6 February 2015

More than 13 years after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, evidence in a federal lawsuit brought by relatives of the victims is a devastating exposure of events and relations long covered up and obscured by the media and political establishment: that Al Qaeda and the 9/11 hijackers were financed by the Saudi monarchy, a top US ally with extensive ties to US intelligence agencies.

Affidavits filed with Federal District Judge George P. Daniels substantiate claims that leading figures in the Saudi monarchy, including its longtime ambassador to Washington, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, a nephew of the current Saudi monarch, King Salman, financially supported Al Qaeda.

The documents include a deposition from Zacarias Moussaoui, the only individual convicted of direct participation in the plot to hijack airplanes and fly them into the World Trade Center and other US targets on September 11, 2001.

Moussaoui testified that while working for Al Qaeda in Afghanistan in the 1990s he prepared a digital database of the group’s financial backers that included Prince Bandar and two other high-ranking Saudi princes: Prince Turki al-Faisal, the longtime head of Saudi intelligence, and Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, chairman of the Kingdom Holding Company and the wealthiest member of the royal family.

He also described working as a courier for bin Laden, bringing messages to members of the Saudi royal family, including Prince Salman, then the governor of Riyadh, who today is King Salman after succeeding to the throne last month.

The New York Times published lead articles Wednesday and Thursday highlighting the new allegations of Saudi backing for the 9/11 attacks. These had less the character of an exposé, however, than of a semi-official attempt to contain the impact of the material being released as a consequence of the 9/11 families’ lawsuit.

This is the apparent reason for the articles’ near-exclusive focus on Moussaoui, a witness whose testimony can be more easily dismissed by the political establishment. The legal papers filed with the federal district court included Moussaoui’s deposition, but much more, including allegations of Saudi complicity in 9/11 from such pillars of the Washington establishment as former senator Robert Graham of Florida. He wrote, “I am convinced that there was a direct line between at least some of the terrorists who carried out the Sept. 11 attacks and the government of Saudi Arabia.”

Graham is in a position to know. He chaired the Senate Intelligence Committee in 2002 when it produced a lengthy report on the 9/11 attacks. This included a 28-page section on Saudi support to the 9/11 hijackers that was classified and suppressed by the Bush administration, an act of censorship that was endorsed and continued by the Obama administration. Senator Graham, who favors the release of this material, wrote, “The 28 pages primarily relate to who financed 9/11, and they point a very strong finger at Saudi Arabia as being the principal financier.”

The evidence of Saudi complicity in the 9/11 attacks is a devastating exposure of the fraudulent nature of the “war on terror,” the axis of US national security policy for more than 13 years.

The Bush administration used the 9/11 attacks as the pretext for wars against Afghanistan, whose government had provided shelter to Osama bin Laden, but had no involvement in 9/11, and against Iraq, which had no connection to either 9/11 or Al Qaeda. Meanwhile Saudi Arabia, the country that supplied Al Qaeda’s funds, its principal leader, and 15 of the 19 hijackers, was deemed a key US ally.

Every official investigation into the 9/11 attacks had to whitewash the Saudi connection—or be censored, like the Senate Intelligence Committee report. The issue was not just the reactionary role of the Saudi monarchy in financing and supporting Al Qaeda, but the close ties between US intelligence agencies and the supposedly anti-American terrorist group—connections on which the latest Times articles are completely silent.

There is every reason to believe that nearly 3,000 Americans were murdered on September 11, 2001 with the tacit or active complicity of sections of the US military-intelligence apparatus. The CIA, FBI and other agencies took no action to disrupt the operations of the terrorists, even though many of the individuals involved were known to US security agencies and several were under active surveillance as they planned and executed the simultaneous hijacking of four US jetliners…

Excerpted; full article link: http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2015/02/06/pers-f06.html

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