Archive for the Bolivia Category

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/

Sony Hack – NYT Editors Find New Iraq WMD [Moon of Alabama]

Posted in Anti-communism, Bolivia, Canada, China, Corporate Media Critique, Iraq, Japan, Media smear campaign, New York Times lie, State Department, US imperialism, USA on January 3, 2015 by Zuo Shou / 左手

Dec. 19, 2015

A Japanese company with some offices in California was hacked. Several terrabytes of data were copied off its internal networks and some of it was put on file sharing sites. One of the items copied was a film produced in Canada that depicts as comedy the terror act of killing of a current head of state. The U.S. State Department applauded that movie scene. But there were tons of other data like social security numbers, payroll data, and internal emails stolen all of which that might have been the real target of the hackers.

The tools to hack the company are well known and in the public domain. The company, Sony, had lousy internal network security and had been hacked before. The hackers probably had some inside knowledge. They used servers in Bolivia, China and South Korea to infiltrate. There is zero public evidence in the known that the hack was state sponsored.

But the U.S. is claiming that the event is a “national security matter”. Who’s [sic] national security? Japan’s? Canada’s? Why? A private Japanese entertainment(!) company left the doors open and had some equipment vandalized and some of its private property stolen. Why, again, is that of U.S. “national interest”? Why would the U.S. even consider some “proportional response”?…

…the New York Times editors eat it all up:

[“]…North Korean hackers, seeking revenge for the movie, stole millions of documents, including emails, health records and financial information that they dished out to the world…[“]

How do the editors know that these were “North Korean hackers”? The same way the knew about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction? Make believe and anonymous claims by U.S. government officials? Yeah – those folks never lie. Right?

Edited/excerpted by Zuo Shou

Full article with supporting links: http://www.moonofalabama.org/2014/12/sony-hack-nyt-editors-find-new-iraq-wmd-.html

How International Financial Elites Change Governments to Implement Austerity [counterpunch]

Posted in 9/11, Afghanistan, Allende, Bolivia, Capitalism crisis early 21st century, Chile, Early 21st Century global capitalist financial crisis' US origins, Ecuador, Egypt, France, Georgia, Germany, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Hugo Chavez, IMF - International Monetary Fund, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Nicaragua, Nukes, Somalia, Syria, Thailand, U.K., Ukraine, US imperialism, USA, Venezuela, Yemen, Zelaya coup on March 7, 2014 by Zuo Shou / 左手

Feb. 28, 2014

by ISMAEL HOSSEIN-ZADEH

Many countries around the world are plagued by all kinds of armed rebellions, economic sanctions, civil wars, “democratic” coup d’états and/or wars of “regime change.” These include Ukraine, Venezuela, Syria, Thailand, Iran, Afghanistan, Iraq, Egypt, Yemen, Somalia and Lebanon. Even in the core capitalist countries the overwhelming majority of citizens are subjected to brutal wars of economic austerity.

While not new, social convulsions seem to have become more numerous in recent years. They have become especially more frequent since the mysterious 9-11 attacks on the World Trade Center in 2001 and the 2008 financial collapse in the United States, which soon led to similar financial implosions and economic crises in Europe and beyond.

Despite their many differences, these social turbulences share two common features. The first is that they are largely induced, nurtured and orchestrated from outside, that is, by the Unites States and its allies—of course, in collaboration with their class allies from inside. And the second is that, contrary to the long-established historical pattern of social revolutions, where the desperate and disenfranchised masses rebelled against the ruing elites, in most of the recent struggles it is the elites that have insigated insurgencies and civil wars against the masses. The two features are, of course, integrally intertwined: essentially reflecting the shared interests and collaborative schemes of the international plutocracies against the global 99%.

Fighting to Make Austerity Economics Universal

The official rationale (offered by the U.S. and its allies) that the goal of supporting anti-government opposition forces in places such as Syria, Ukraine and Venezuela is to spread democracy no longer holds any validity; it can easily be dismissed as a harebrained pretext to export neoliberalism and spread austerity economics. Abundant and irrefutable evidence shows that in places where the majority of citizens voted for and elected governments that were not to the liking of Western powers, these powers mobilized their local allies and hired all kinds of mercenary forces in order to overthrow the duly elected governments, thereby quashing the majority vote.

Such blatant interventions to overturn the elections that resulted from the majority vote include the promotion of the Orange Revolution in Ukraine (2004 and 2014), Rose Revolution in Georgia (2003), Cedar Revolution in Lebanon (2005), Tulip Revolution in Kyrgyzstan (2005) and the Green Revolution in Iran (2009). They also include the relentless agitation against the duly elected governments of the late Hugo Chavez and now his successor Nicolás Maduro in Venezuela, as well as the rejection (and effective annulment) of the duly elected Hamas government in Palestine.

So, the real driving forces behind wars of regime change need to be sought elsewhere; specifically, in the imperatives of expansion and accumulation of capital on a global level. Socialist, social-democratic, populist or nationalist leaders who do not embrace neoliberal economic policies, and who may be wary of having their markets wide open to unbridled foreign capital, would be targeted for replacement with pliant leaders, or client states. This is, of course, not a new explanation of economic imperialism; it is as old as the internationalization of trade and investment.

What is relatively new, and seems to be the main driving force behind the recent wars of regime change, is that, as the U.S. and other major capitalist powers have lately embarked on austerity economic policies at home they also expect and, indeed, demand that other countries follow suit. In other words, it is no longer enough for a country to open its markets to investment and trade with Western economic powers. It seems equally important to these powers that that country also dismantle its public welfare programs and implement austerity measures of neoliberalism.

For example, after resisting imperialist pressures for years, the late Libyan leader Muammar al-Gaddafi eventually relented in 1993, and granted major oil and other transnational corporations of Western powers lucrative investment and trade deals. Under pressure, he even dismantled his country’s nuclear technology altogether in the hope that this would please them to “leave him” alone, so to speak. None of the concessions he made, however, proved satisfactory to the U.S. and its allies, as his regime was violently overthrown in 2011and he was literally butchered by the thuggish gangs that were trained and armed by Western powers.

Why? Because the U.S. and its allies expected more; they wanted him to follow the economic guidelines of the “experts” of global finance, that is, of the U.S. and European economic “advisors,” of the International Monetary Fund and of the World Trade Organization—in short, to dismantle his country’s rather robust state welfare programs and to restructure its economy after the model of neoliberalism.

The criminal treatment of al-Gaddafi can help explain why imperialist powers have also been scheming to overthrow the populist/socialist regimes of the late Hugo Chavez and his successor in Venezuela, of the Castro brothers in Cuba, of Rafael Correa Delgado in Ecuador, of Bashar Al-assad in Syria and of Evo Morales in Bolivia. It also helps explain why they overthrew the popularly elected nationalist governments of Mohammad Mossadeq in Iran, of Jacobo Arbenz in Guatemala, of Kusno Sukarno in Indonesia, of Salvador Allende in Chile, of Sandinistas in Nicaragua, of Jean-Bertrand Aristide in Haiti and of Manuel Zelaya in Honduras.

The imperialist agenda of overthrowing al-Gaddafi and other “insubordinate” proponents of welfare state programs abroad is essentially part of the same evil agenda of dismantling such programs at home. While the form, the context and the means of destruction maybe different, the thrust of the relentless attacks on the living conditions of the Libyan, Iranian, Venezuelan or Cuban peoples are essentially the same as the equally brutal attacks on the living conditions of the poor and working people in the US, UK, France and other degenerate capitalist countries. In a subtle way they are all part of an ongoing unilateral class warfare on a global scale. Whether they are carried out by military means and bombardments or through the apparently “non-violent” processes of judicial or legislative means does not make a substantial difference as far as their impact on people’s lives and livelihoods is concerned.

The powerful plutocratic establishment in the core capitalist countries does not seem to feel comfortable to dismantle New Deal economics, Social Democratic reforms and welfare state programs in these countries while people in smaller, less-developed countries such as (al-Gaddafi’s) Libya, Venezuela or Cuba enjoy strong, state-sponsored social safety net programs. Plutocracy’s intolerance of “regimented” economies stems from a fear that strong state-sponsored economic safely net programs elsewhere may serve as “bad” models that could be demanded by citizens in the core capitalist countries.

In a moment of honesty, former U.S. President Harry Truman is reported as having expressed (in 1947) the unstated mission of the United States to globalize its economic system in the following words: “The whole world should adopt the American system. The American system can survive in America only if it becomes a world system” [1].

In a similar fashion, Lord Cecil Rhodes, who conquered much of Africa for the British Empire, is reported to have suggested during the heydays of the Empire that the simplest way to achieve peace was for England to convert and add the rest of the world (except the United States, Germany and few other Western powers of the time) to its colonies.

The Mafia equivalent of Truman’s or Rhodes’ statements would be something like this: “You do it our way, or we break your leg.”ismaelhz

The mindset behind Truman’s blunt statement that the rest of the world “should adopt the American system” has indeed served as something akin to a sacred mission that has guided the foreign policy of the United States ever since it supplanted the British authority as the major world power…

Excerpted; full article link: http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/02/28/how-international-financial-elites-change-governments-to-implement-austerity/

Russia grants Snowden asylum [Workers World]

Posted in Bolivia, China, CIA, Cuba, Iran, National Security Agency / NSA, Nicaragua, NSA, Obama, State Department, Torture, US Government Cover-up, US imperialism, USA, Venezuela on August 9, 2013 by Zuo Shou / 左手

by Chris Fry

August 7, 2013

Despite U.S. threats to retaliate, the Russian Federation government on Aug. 1 granted whistle-blower Edward Snowden temporary sanctuary. Snowden left Sheremetyevo airport in Moscow, where he has spent the last 39 days, to move into an apartment. He has already been offered employment at VKontakte, a Russian social network website. (New York Times, Aug. 1)

Venezuela, Nicaragua and Bolivia have offered Snowden permanent asylum, but the U.S. has threatened to block air traffic carrying Snowden to those countries – – a clear act of air piracy. Washington already forced its European allies to block Bolivian President Evo Morales’ aircraft leaving from a conference in Moscow when the U.S. suspected Snowden might be on board.

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said, “Russia has stabbed us in the back, and each day Mr. Snowden is allowed to roam free is another twist of the knife.” Schumer recommended that the Obama administration move “out of Russia the summit of G20 leaders planned for St. Petersburg.” (Reuters.com, Aug. 1)

Right-wing Sen. John McCain called the Russian government’s decision “a disgrace and a deliberate effort to embarrass the United States.” He called on the Obama administration to expand NATO and accelerate the European “missile-defense program” (Reuters.com, Aug. 1), even though Washington has always insisted that this program is only to defend against a potential Iranian missile attack, not the Russian missile program.

Obama administration spokesperson Jay Carney threatened that the U.S. would pull out of a planned September meeting between President Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin. And in a move seemingly beyond coincidence, the U.S government declared a global “terrorist alert,” supposedly based on National Security Agency gathered information.

With no extradition treaty between the U.S. and Russia, Russia is under no legal obligation whatsoever to turn Snowden over. And this week, a U.S. military court convicted whistle-blower B. Manning of weighty charges for exposing military atrocities and State Department corrupt backing of “friendly” dictatorships. Snowden would likely receive similar harsh treatment.

Attorney General Eric Holder promised that Snowden would not be tortured or killed. Based on Manning’s experience of torture at Quantico military base, this pledge carries little weight.

Why has Russia’s decision to refuse Washington’s demand to turn over Snowden to face espionage charges left the Obama administration and both right-wing and “liberal” politicians frothing at the mouth?

The NSA is a key arm of the U.S. military. Edward Snowden has exposed powerful NSA computer programs like PRISM and XKeyscore, which are used not only to monitor phone calls, email and Internet chats in the U.S. and abroad, but also to spy on any number of foreign countries, such as Russia and China, as well as any number of U.S. “allied” governments and foreign corporations.

The U.S. government has arrogantly demanded that the very same governments that were targets of illegal U.S. spying turn over Snowden for harsh punishment for exposing these spy programs. Of course, there is no lack of hypocrisy – the U.S. government has refused the Venezuelan request for extradition of Luis Posada Carriles, a CIA operative who planned the bombing of a Cuban airliner that killed 73 people.

The decision by the Russian Federation is re-enforced by popular support. Some 43 percent versus 29 percent of Russians polled favored their government’s decision to grant Snowden asylum. This comes after a recent U.S. poll here that shows that 52 percent of those polled consider Snowden to be a whistle-blower . A majority of those polled here have also said that neither Russia nor any other country should be punished for granting Snowden asylum.

Despite the U.S.’s gigantic military apparatus and its immense economic and political power, the events around Snowden show a dramatic erosion of the ability of the U.S. to get its way.

Article link: http://www.workers.org/2013/08/07/russia-grants-snowden-asylum/

Articles copyright 1995-2013 Workers World. Verbatim copying and distribution is permitted in any medium without royalty provided this notice is preserved.

“Obama’s All-out Global War against an American Asylum Seeker” by Wayne Madsen [Strategic Culture Foundation]

Posted in Anti-China propaganda exposure, Bolivia, China, China-bashing, Ecuador, Evo Morales, George W. Bush, Hong Kong, National Security Agency / NSA, Obama, Rafael Correa, State Department, US drone strikes, US Government Cover-up, US imperialism, USA, Wikileaks on July 12, 2013 by Zuo Shou / 左手

Some unnecessary racially discriminatory slants of the writer have been removed – Zuo Shou

11.7.2013

President Barack Obama has met his unlikely match in a former Army Special Forces recruit-turned CIA technician-turned National Security Agency contractor. Obama has issued what amounts to an «all-points-bulletin» for Edward Snowden who, in May, left his job at NSA Hawaii as a contractor for Booz Allen Hamilton and departed Honolulu for Hong Kong with a treasure trove of classified documents pointing to NSA’s massive electronic surveillance of Americans without a warrant and billions of people around the world.

Obama, who fancies himself as a cool-under -fire seasoned politician from the rough and tumble south side of Chicago clearly did not like being upstaged by a young…privacy-minded intelligence specialist who grew up in North Carolina and the Maryland suburbs of Baltimore. After all, Obama inherited from George W. Bush the most intrusive surveillance powers ever amassed in a president of the United States and he was not about to have an impudent young man…embarrassing the…president…

…In the case of U.S. Army Private First Class Bradley Manning, charged with releasing classified information to WikiLeaks, including over 250,000 State Department cables, Obama personalized his war against whistleblowers by making the following pre-trial statement: «We are a nation of laws. We don’t let individuals make decisions about how the law operates. He [Bradley Manning] broke the law!» Once again, as he has shown with ordering drone murders of U.S. citizens abroad, Obama has shown he has no problem being judge, jury, and sometimes, executioner. By personalizing his attempt to snatch Snowden, Obama made his quest political, not criminal. That alone makes Snowden a political refugee worthy of being granted asylum by any reasonable measure of international law.

Obama, who has never mastered the intricacies of diplomacy, began making global demands that Snowden be returned immediately to the United States to face what Obama’s supporters called «justice». In the official request to officials of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region for Snowden to be extradited to the United States, the U.S. State Department was so hasty it provided a wrong middle name for Snowden, James instead of Joseph, and no passport number. Hong Kong said it could not process an erroneous and incomplete extradition request from Washington. The Obama administration, acting like a Third World tin horn dictatorship, responded by threatening to cancel Hong Kong’s liberal mutual visa agreement with the United States and other unspecified sanctions.

The State Department immediately revoked Snowden’s passport but he managed to travel to Moscow on a safe conduct document issued by the Ecuadorian consul in London, Fidel Narvaez, which was a decision that earned a strong rebuke from Ecuador’s President Rafael Correa. The corporate media then reported that Correa rejected Snowden’s asylum request in Ecuador when no such decision had been made. What Correa said was what many other countries said. Snowden’s asylum request in Ecuador could only be considered if he were physically present on Ecuadorian soil. Correa would not guarantee safe passage from Moscow to Ecuador.

When Snowden flew to Moscow with an obvious wink and a nod from China, the United States threatened the Chinese with retaliatory action, even though Snowden’s revelations blew a giant hole in Washington’s propaganda about America being constantly subjected to Chinese state-sponsored computer hacking. In fact, Snowden’s revelations to the South China Morning Post provided evidence that NSA was targeting civilian networks and computers in China and Hong Kong, including those serving hospitals and universities. Hong Kong demanded an explanation from the United States. China was able to show Obama as a supreme hypocrite…

…Obama has maintained a personal vendetta against all national security whistleblowers but in the case of Snowden, Obama has become a driven Captain Ahab in search of his prey. Obama will stop at nothing to capture Snowden as he showed with his actions against[Bolivian President] Morales’s plane, reported Pentagon contingency plans to force the Moscow-to-Havana Aeroflot plane to land in Miami had Snowden been aboard, and threats of trade sanctions against various countries considering granting Snowden asylum.

Obama’s post-pubescent looking Press Secretary Jay Carney arrogantly declared that Snowden «should not be allowed to proceed in any further international travel other than travel that would result in him returning to the United States».

Ironically, people around the world, regardless of ethnicity, began cheering for [Snowden] against the…bully [Obama]. Obama’s personalization of his war against a single American citizen has not only made Snowden a political refugee but an American folk hero.

Excerpted; full article link here: http://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2013/07/11/obama-all-out-global-war-against-american-asylum-seeker.html

http://www.strategic-culture.org

“James Clapper, EU play-acting, and political priorities” by Glenn Greenwald [Guardian]

Posted in Bolivia, CIA, Evo Morales, France, National Security Agency / NSA, NSA, Obama, Portugal, Spain, Torture, US Government Cover-up, US imperialism, USA, Western nations' human rights distortions on July 11, 2013 by Zuo Shou / 左手

– Fixations on denouncing Edward Snowden distract, by design, from the serious transgressions of those who are far more powerful –

July 3, 2013

The NSA revelations continue to expose far more than just the ongoing operations of that sprawling and unaccountable spying agency. Let’s examine what we have learned this week about the US political and media class and then certain EU leaders…

Full article link: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/jul/03/clapper-lying-snowden-eu-bolivia

(c) Guardian News & Media Ltd

Forcing down the Bolivian president’s plane was an act of piracy [JohnPilger.com]

Posted in Austria, Bolivia, Fascism, France, Genocide, Germany, Historical myths of the US, Obama, US drone strikes, US Government Cover-up, US imperialism, USA, War crimes, Wikileaks on July 6, 2013 by Zuo Shou / 左手

As Glenn Greenwald has pointed out in a Guardian commentary, France/Spain/Portugal were all willing to repeatedly host CIA rendition torture flights. But despite Snowden’s revelations that the US spies on its ‘allies’ with the most inconceivable total(itarian) breadth, these political toadies all fell in line with their imperial ringleader. – Zuo 4 July 2013

Imagine the aircraft of the President of France being forced down in Latin America on “suspicion” that it was carrying a political refugee to safety – and not just any refugee but someone who has provided the people of the world with proof of criminal activity on an epic scale.

Imagine the response from Paris, let alone the “international community”, as the governments of the West call themselves. To a chorus of baying indignation from Whitehall to Washington, Brussels to Madrid, heroic special forces would be dispatched to rescue their leader and, as sport, smash up the source of such flagrant international gangsterism. Editorials would cheer them on, perhaps reminding readers that this kind of piracy was exhibited by the German Reich in the 1930s.

The forcing down of Bolivian President Evo Morales’s plane – denied air space by France, Spain and Portugal, followed by his 14-hour confinement while Austrian officials demanded to “inspect” his aircraft for the “fugitive” Edward Snowden – was an act of air piracy and state terrorism. It was a metaphor for the gangsterism that now rules the world and the cowardice and hypocrisy of bystanders who dare not speak its name.

In Moscow for a summit of gas-producing nations, Morales had been asked about Snowden who remains trapped in Moscow airport. “If there were a request [for political asylum],” he said, “of course, we would be willing to debate and consider the idea.” That was clearly enough provocation for the Godfather. “We have been in touch with a range of countries that had a chance of having Snowden land or travel through their country,” said a US state department official.

The French – having squealed about Washington spying on their every move, as revealed by Snowden – were first off the mark, followed by the Portuguese. The Spanish then did their bit by enforcing a flight ban of their airspace, giving the Godfather’s Viennese hirelings enough time to find out if Snowden was indeed invoking article 14 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states: “Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution.”

Those paid to keep the record straight have played their part with a cat-and-mouse media game that reinforces the Godfather’s lie that this heroic young man is running from a system of justice, rather than preordained, vindictive incarceration that amounts to torture: ask Bradley Manning and the living ghosts in Guantanamo.

Historians seem to agree that the rise of fascism in Europe might have been averted had the liberal or left political class understood the true nature of its enemy. The parallels today are very different; but the Damocles sword over Snowden, like the casual abduction of the Bolivian president, ought to stir us into recognising the true nature of the enemy.

Snowden’s revelations are not merely about privacy, nor civil liberty, nor even mass spying. They are about the unmentionable: that the democratic facades of the United States now barely conceal a systematic gangsterism historically identified with if not necessarily the same as fascism. On Tuesday, a US drone killed 16 people in North Waziristan, “where many of the world’s most dangerous militants live”, said the few paragraphs I read. That by far the world’s most dangerous militants had hurled the drones was not a consideration. President Obama personally sends them every Tuesday.

In his acceptance of the 2005 Nobel Prize in Literature, Harold Pinter referred to “a vast tapestry of lies, upon which we feed”…The most enduring silence of the modern era covered the extinction and dispossession of countless human beings by a rampant America and its agents. “But you wouldn’t know it,” said Pinter. “It never happened. Even while it was happening it never happened. It didn’t matter. It was of no interest.”

This hidden history – not really hidden, of course, but excluded from the consciousness of societies drilled in American myths and priorities – has never been more vulnerable to exposure. Edward Snowden’s whistleblowing, like that of Bradley Manning and Julian Assange and WikiLeaks, threatens to break the silence Pinter described. In revealing a vast Orwellian police state apparatus servicing history’s greatest war-making machine, they illuminate the true extremism of the 21st century. Unprecedented, Germany’s Der Spiegel has described the Obama administration as “soft totalitarianism”. If the penny is finally falling, we might all look closer to home.

This article first appeared in the Guardian

© John Pilger 2010 – 2013

Full article link: http://johnpilger.com/articles/forcing-down-the-bolivian-president-s-plane-was-an-act-of-piracy