Archive for the Russia Category

“Military to Military – Seymour M. Hersh on US intelligence sharing in the Syrian war” [London Review of Books]

Posted in CIA, Egypt, George W. Bush, Germany, Israel, Libya, Obama, Pentagon, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey, U.K., US Government Cover-up, US imperialism, USA on February 10, 2016 by Zuo Shou / 左手

Vol. 38 No. 1 · 7 January 2016
pages 11-14 |

Barack Obama’s repeated insistence that Bashar al-Assad must leave office – and that there are ‘moderate’ rebel groups in Syria capable of defeating him – has in recent years provoked quiet dissent, and even overt opposition, among some of the most senior officers on the Pentagon’s Joint Staff. Their criticism has…

Article excerpted; full article here

Human Rights Watch report documents attack on democratic rights in US and Europe [World Socialist Website]

Posted in Africa, Anti-Islam hysteria, Egypt, EU, European Union, Fascism, France, Greece, Guantanamo Bay concentration camp, Islamophobia, National Security Agency / NSA, NSA, Obama, Police, Police brutality, Police State, Roma people, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey, US imperialism, USA, Yemen on February 4, 2016 by Zuo Shou / 左手

By Tom Hall
1 February 2016

Last week, US-based watchdog group Human Rights Watch warned of mounting attacks on democratic rights throughout Europe and North America, which governments have justified as a response to the migrant crisis.

The group’s annual report warned that the arrival of refugees fleeing war and repression in the Middle East is “driving many Western governments to roll back human rights protections,” adding, “these backward steps threaten the rights of all” sections of the population, not just refugees.

In the report’s lead essay, Human Rights Watch Executive Director Kenneth Roth notes, “In Europe and the United States, a polarizing us-versus-them rhetoric has moved from the political fringe to the mainstream. Blatant Islamophobia and shameless demonizing of refugees have become the currency of an increasingly assertive politics of intolerance.”

“Public discourse,” Roth continues, “has been filled with voices of hatred and fear of Muslims, for whom the refugees [arriving in Europe] are surrogates.” This climate contributes to “the persistent discrimination, hopelessness, and despair that pervade neighborhoods on the outskirts of some European cities.”

2015 saw a dramatic rollback of democratic rights throughout Europe and America. In France, the Hollande government pushed through sweeping expansions of government surveillance and curtailing freedom of speech, seizing upon the attacks in Paris this November and the Charlie Hebdo attacks at the beginning of the year. In the United States, the military was deployed to Baltimore to crack down on peaceful protests against police brutality at the beginning of the year, while mass government spying continued unimpeded.

The report contains comprehensive summaries for more than 90 countries for the year of 2015. By far the largest single section, with 24 pages, is on the European Union, more than Saudi Arabia, whose absolute monarchy beheaded record numbers of people last year, including many political prisoners, and countries currently embroiled in civil wars such as Syria and Libya. The United States came in second place, with 17 pages…

…Previous agreements by European governments to resettle asylum seekers throughout the continent remain a dead letter as countries throughout Europe close off their borders to refugees. Only 159 asylum seekers have been relocated from Italy and Greece in spite of an agreement last year to resettle 160,000 asylum seekers from these countries.

Attacks on Muslims rose sharply last year, as far-right and neo-Nazi groups are emboldened by the discriminatory policies of European governments. Such attacks have grown by 46.7 percent in London in the first half of 2015. However, racist attacks are by no means limited solely to Muslims; reports of anti-Semitic attacks are also on the rise, and discriminatory evictions of Roma by governments throughout the EU continue. Widespread discrimination also exists in the Baltic countries against native Russian speakers.

As Roth notes, Europe is joined in its persecution of refugees by the United States. Last year 30 US governors tried to prevent Syrian refugees from entering their states, while current Republican front-runner Donald Trump floated the idea of banning Muslims from entering the country altogether. The United States, the report declares, also “continued the dramatic expansion of detention of migrant mothers and their children from Central America,” many fleeing violence in their home countries, over the course of last year. While not mentioned in the report, the Obama administration rang in the new year last month with a new round of targeted deportations of Central American children.

The report also notes with concern the continued drive to expand state repression and surveillance in the United States and Europe, justified in the main by the supposed threat of terrorism…

…In the United States, spy agency leaders seized upon the Paris attacks last year to renew their calls for a “back door” to online encryption, despite the fact that the Paris attackers did not encrypt their communications. Meanwhile, Guantanamo Bay’s detention center remains open despite years of empty promises by Obama to close it. And last year’s National Defense Authorization Act, signed into law by Obama, “tightened existing restrictions on the transfer of detainees out of Guantanamo,” making the release or transfer of detainees even more difficult.

Many of the worst human rights violations elsewhere in the report were committed by allies of the United States or the European imperialist powers. In discussing the Saudi-led invasion of Yemen, for example, in which civilian infrastructure has been deliberately targeted, the report argues that by virtue of providing “intelligence, logistical support and personnel” to the Saudis the United States would be “potentially jointly responsible for laws-of-war violations by coalition forces.” The report also cites continuing US aid to Egyptian dictator Abdel Fattah al-Sisi as well as the Obama administration’s waiving of provisions of the Child Soldier Prevention Act to continue supporting the militaries of several African countries.

World imperialism has justified countless criminal wars over the past quarter century under the fraudulent pretext of “humanitarian interventionism.” Now, a leading human rights group is compelled to admit that these same powers are responsible for major human rights violations within their own borders. This not only exposes imperialism’s professed concern for “human rights” as a fraud, it is also an indication of the growth of police-state forms of rule within these countries…

Excerpted; full article link: http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2016/02/01/hrw-f01.html

Political Smears in U.S. Never Change: the NYT’s 1967 Attack on MLK’s Anti-War Speech [The Intercept / Sweet & Sour Socialism Essential Archives]

Posted in Bourgeois parliamentary democracy, Corporate Media Critique, National Security Agency / NSA, New York Times lie, NSA, Psychological warfare, Russia, Sweet and Sour Socialism Essential Archives, US imperialism, USA, Vietnam on April 29, 2015 by Zuo Shou / 左手

by Glenn Greenwald

4/8/2015

Article link: https://firstlook.org/theintercept/2015/04/07/political-rhetoric-us-never-changes-nyts-attack-mlks-anti-war-speeches/

Obama declares “national emergency” based on alleged cyber threats from Russia, China [World Socialist Website]

Posted in Anti-China propaganda exposure, Black propaganda, Capitalism crisis early 21st century, China, China-bashing, DPR Korea, FBI, Internet Global Hegemony, Iran, Pentagon, Psychological warfare, Russia, US imperialism, USA, USA 21st Century Cold War on April 12, 2015 by Zuo Shou / 左手

By Thomas Gaist
3 April 2015

In yet another escalation of the drive by the US ruling class to establish unconstrained control over the world’s information networks, US President Barack Obama issued an executive order Wednesday declaring a “national emergency” over cyber attacks on US targets. The order authorizes economic sanctions and the seizure of financial assets and other forms of property from any entity considered a “security risk…”

Excerpted; full article link: http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2015/04/03/cybe-a03.html

AIIB, a paradigm power shift [Xinhua]

Posted in Beijing, Brazil, BRICS - Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa, China, Early 21st Century global capitalist financial crisis' US origins, Economic crisis & decline, Economy, France, Germany, India, Italy, Malaysia, Pakistan, Russia, Singapore, South Africa, Taiwan, US imperialism, USA, Wall Street on April 2, 2015 by Zuo Shou / 左手

BEIJING, March 31 (Xinhua) — …As of 6 p.m. Tuesday, 46 countries had applied to be founders of the bank, but the United States and Japan have remained on the sidelines. The financial authority of China’s Taiwan said on Tuesday afternoon that the island has submitted a letter of intent on joining the mainland-proposed AIIB. Founders will be finalized on April 15.

TIMELINE

The bank was proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping in October 2013.

A year later, and 21 Asian nations, including China, India, Malaysia, Pakistan and Singapore had signed an agreement to establish the bank, headquartered in Beijing.

On March 12, 2015, Britain applied to join the AIIB as a prospective founding member, the first major western country to do so. France, Italy and Germany quickly followed suit.

Other nations will still be able to join the bank after the deadline, but only as ordinary members.

Negotiations on the AIIB charter are expected to conclude in the middle of the year and the bank should be formally established by the end of this year.

BUILDING FOR SUCCESS

As its name suggests, the AIIB will finance infrastructure–airports, mobile phone towers, railways, roads–in Asia.

There is a yawning infrastructure funding gap in Asia. The Asian Development Bank (ADB) pegged the hole at about eight trillion U.S. dollars between 2010 and 2020.

The World Bank and Asian Development Bank are more focused on poverty reduction and their funds alone are insufficient to bridge the gap, according to Hans-Paul Burkner, chair of the Boston Consulting Group.

While both the ADB and World Bank focus on a broad range of development programs including agriculture, education and gender equality, the AIIB will concentrate on infrastructure alone. The IMF, World Bank and ADB have all welcomed the AIIB initiative and see room for collaboration

The bank will have an authorized capital [of] 100 billion U.S. dollars and the initial subscribed capital is expected to be around 50 billion dollars. Although hardly enough to meet demand, it will still be a helpful boost.

GOOD FOR ASIA; GOOD FOR ALL

As the first China-proposed multilateral financial institution that has included developed nations as members, the AIIB offers an opportunity to test China’s ability to play its role as a responsible country, analysts said.

The initiative followed years of frustrated attempts to reform the existing international financial institutions, which have failed to reflect the changing landscape of global economy.

The existing economic system, shaped by the Bretton Woods agreement seven decades ago, is dominated by western countries and increasingly unrepresentative of the world’s economic architecture. Since the global financial crisis, emerging markets are becoming the main development drivers. Asian countries now make up one third of the global economy.

As global economic power shifts to emerging markets, it is only fair that they should play a bigger role in global institutions. Burkner said, “if it is not happening, then it is important to create additional institutions which, to some extent, cooperate and compete with existing institutions.

“There will be cooperation and also some healthy competition with the ADB and the World Bank.”

Good for Asia; good for the world as a whole.

Jin Liqun, secretary general of the interim secretariat of the AIIB, regards the bank as a complement to, rather than a substitute for, the World Bank and the ADB. It will improve the existing international financial system, not overturn it, Jin said.

The AIIB is just the start. Jim O’Neil, coiner of the BRICs acronym and former chairman of Goldman Sachs Asset Management, believes there are plenty more areas where China needs to be drawn in.

With its Belt and Road initiatives, the AIIB and other entities (a joint development bank with BRICs partners Brazil, Russia, India and South Africa, for example) China is trying to make its own development beneficial to the whole continent.

After over three decades of fast expansion, benefiting from globalization and opening-up, China can now share the fruits of its development and build a “community of common destiny” through international and regional cooperation.

INTO THE UNKNOWN

Even after membership is finalized, many questions will remain. How will the AIIB be governed? What will be the decision-making process be? Wha t lending criteria will it adopt? Will its policies be transparent and address issues like the environment?

The answers to those questions will determine whether the bank stands or falls.

While details are pending, China has repeatedly stated that the AIIB will uphold high standards and learn from the best practices at existing multilateral financial institutions.

During an interview with Xinhua, Lou Jiwei said the bank will have a three-tier structure — a council, a board of directors and management, as well as a supervising mechanism to ensure sufficient, open and transparent policy-making.

The prime challenge for the AIIB is how to channel funds to the most productive projects while maintaining security of repayment.

Zhang Yuyan, chief of the institute of world economics and politics at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, a government think tank, believes that, since infrastructure projects usually have long funding cycles and great potential for waste, sustainable profitability will be the real test of the AIIB.

Rigorous consultation and skillful management to coordinate and balance various demands and interests among members will be of the essence, Zhang said. This will be challenging at the very least, with so many histories, cultures and development stages on show.

Edited by Zuo Shou

Article link: http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2015-03/31/c_134114065.htm

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/