Archive for the Serbia Category

Charlie Hebdo, the free press and racism [Workers World]

Posted in Afghanistan, Africa, Anti-Arab / Antisemitism, Anti-Islam hysteria, Black propaganda, Canada, Capitalist media double standard, Corporate Media Critique, Fascism, France, Gaza, Germany, Iraq, Israel, Libya, Nazism, Palestine, Police, Police brutality, Police State, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Syria, Turkey, U.K., USA, USSR, Yugoslavia - former FRY on January 14, 2015 by Zuo Shou / 左手

by Sara Flounders

January 13, 2015

How do we put in perspective the international media focus on the massacre of 12 journalists in Paris on Jan. 7 at the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, notorious for its racist anti-Muslim caricatures and lack of response to the routine, daily, racist police murders of Black youth in the U.S.? Why were any protests banned in France of 15 journalists who were killed among the 2,000 deaths in the Israeli assault of Gaza this past summer? Don’t those lives matter?

The Charlie Hebdo assassinations strengthen the hand of the state, which is using them in an ideological offensive, even if the state had a role in arming and training the killers.

Why are other murders not mourned, not respected, not even reported — even the murders of other journalists? A crucial role of the corporate media is to try to shape the perception of which lives matter.

Consider the mass outpourings following several different, very public killings in the U.S. Hundreds of thousands of youths have been in the streets again and again in the U.S. confronting the refusal of the state to prosecute killer cops, even when their murderous crimes have been seen on video by millions.

Hundreds of thousands of people were in the streets of Paris on Jan. 11. French, other European, U.S. and Israeli politicians led the march honoring the slain journalists.

Twice, on Dec. 27 and Jan. 4, thousands of police in uniform from all over the U.S. converged on New York City for separate funerals of two police officers shot in their patrol car in Dec. 20. Jet Blue offered free flights to all police traveling nationally to the funeral. The U.S. vice president, New York state’s governor and the city’s mayor attended the funerals. Roads in the areas were closed; giant outdoor TV screens were erected.

Not a free speech issue

The French government’s protection of the racist journal Charlie Hebdo had nothing to do with protecting freedom of speech. This is a deception that must be confronted. In 2012 the same government that protected this vile publication banned any demonstrations or protests or even public prayers opposing the racist publication.

French law allows for the prosecution of “public insults” based on religion, race, ethnicity or national origin. But the racist, sexist, bigoted, grossly insulting cartoons in Charlie Hebdo magazine were never once a source of any successful legal action.

However, France did ban anyone from even protesting the cartoons that insulted Muslims or the prophet Muhammed.

In 2012, as protests swept the Muslim world in response to an anti-Muslim film made in the U.S., French Interior Minister Manuel Valls said prefects had orders to prohibit any protest and to crack down if the ban was challenged. “There will be strictly no exceptions. Demonstrations will be banned and broken up.” (Daily Mail, Sept. 21, 2012) Even prayer meetings and street prayers were banned. (CNN, Sept. 19, 2012)

In the same week Charlie Hebdo put out an extra run of cartoons featuring a grossly obscene caricature of a naked prophet Mohammed. The magazine was given extra police protection.

Freedom of speech and of the press is hardly sacred in France. It was punishable by a year in prison to even post on the Internet a notice of a demonstration opposing the Israeli onslaught on Palestine during the Israeli 2014 summer offensive on Gaza. France was the only country in the world to bar all demonstrations and protests in any form supporting Palestine during that time. The penalty was one year in jail and 15,000 euro fine.

It is worth noting the double standard: There is no similar crackdown against the current right-wing, fascist demonstrations against immigrants.

Role of Nazi caricature

Charlie Hebdo serves a very important purpose for French imperialism, and that is why its virulent racism has been protected at the very time that protests against it are prohibited.

Charlie Hebdo may have run cartoons to ridicule the powerful 40 years ago when it claimed to be left wing, irreverent and nonconformist. But there is a big difference between satire ridiculing the powerful — a French tradition going back to Voltaire — and the current imagery promoting fear and loathing of the oppressed and powerless. The latter is right wing and fascist in character.

In this period when Muslims are facing increasing, extreme right-wing attacks, and fascist mobilizations are growing in Europe, Charlie Hebdo functions as did the Nazi publication Der Sturmer with its vehemently anti-Semitic caricatures. Jewish people in Der Sturmer, as Muslims in Charlie Hebdo, were depicted with exaggerated facial features and misshapen bodies. Both publications use obscene, sexually explicit caricatures.

The Nazi newspaper’s caricatures were part of a policy to make Jews an object of hatred, fear, ridicule and disdain. At the end of World War II, Julius Streicher, the editor of Der Sturmer — though he didn’t run death camps but used the press to incite hatred — was put on trial, convicted of crimes against humanity and executed.

Charlie Hebdo is protected because it hardens the population against Muslim people in order to divide the population. The French government has announced a grant to Charlie Hebdo of 1 million euros, and Google donated 250,000 euros.

Charlie Hebdo is not freedom of expression and freedom of press. It is an instrument of war mobilization. It ran cartoons demonizing Serbs during the NATO campaign against Yugoslavia, and it supported NATO’s attack on Libya.

No free press

Although “free speech” and “free press” are being lauded and glorified in the murder of the French journalists, no such thing exists in any capitalist state. The press in France or in the U.S. is not free, open or accessible. The media are owned by and serve the interests of the ruling class. What can be said and who can say it is tightly controlled. The corporate media in capitalist society are owned to serve class rule. What is covered depends entirely on who can pay for publication or airtime. A handful of multibillion-dollar media conglomerates control almost all information, culture and entertainment in the Western capitalist countries — though in the past decade social media and the Internet have opened a few cracks in this overwhelming corporate control.

The media industry has an enormous impact in shaping what lives have value and what deaths go unreported, unmarked or consciously covered up.

The hundreds of thousands of deaths in wars initiated by U.S. imperialism, and with full support of French and British imperialism, are unmarked, unmourned and callously labeled “collateral damage.” The media ignore or barely mention the enormous toll in Iraq, Syria, Libya and Afghanistan. No mass sympathy is created when a U.S. drone wipes out a wedding party in Pakistan or a whole village with a hellfire missile.

The assassinations of journalists in these wars are hardly noted. There were no state funerals for the 166 journalists killed in Iraq under U.S. occupation. Chelsea Manning is in prison for releasing videos of U.S. helicopters gunning down two Reuter’s camera operators in Iraq and then circling to kill the family that stopped their van to try to help them.

According to The Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms, 15 journalists were killed in the 2014 Israeli bombing of Gaza. They “were killed in civilian sites which are supposed to be safe for civilians.” Eight media centers were targeted and bombed.

U.S. bombers targeted and destroyed the RTS, Radio TV Serbia, in the 1999 U.S./NATO war on Yugoslavia, killing 17 journalists.

The most dangerous country in the world for journalists is Honduras. Since the U.S.-backed coup, 46 media and information workers have been assassinated.

The International Federation of Journalists sharply criticized NATO 2011 air strikes against Libyan television, which killed three people and injured 15. The IFJ stated that the strikes violated international law and U.N. resolutions.

If a free press existed, then Chelsea Manning would not be in prison or Edward Snowden and Julian Assange on the run, living in exile.

What media are even allowed coverage in imperialist countries demonstrates how little freedom of the press is respected. For example, PRESS TV, an Iranian news channel broadcasting in English, is banned from broadcasting via satellite throughout Europe, Canada and the U.S. Al-Manar, a Lebanese satellite station affiliated with Hezbollah, has also been banned by France, Germany and the U.S. Both Press TV and Al Manar have protested, to no avail, that this is a grave breach of freedom of speech. While both news channels are available via the Internet in limited form, Apple and Google have removed Al-Manar mobile apps.

National oppression

National oppression and racism in France cannot be ignored. There are 5.5 million residents of African origin, many of them born in France and most of them citizens. A large number are from Muslim background, although not all are practicing. They are isolated by poverty in suburbs that have high unemployment, inferior schools and substandard housing.

Just as prisons in the U.S. overwhelmingly imprison Black and Brown youth, so too do French prisons. About 60 to 70 percent of all inmates in the country’s prison system are Muslim, according to Muslim leaders, sociologists and researchers, though Muslims make up only about 12 percent of the country’s population. (Washington Post Foreign Service, April 29, 2008)

Imperialism needs hatred of targeted peoples. Western politicians have cynically used Islamophobia to advance right-wing political agendas and curtail freedoms.

Who benefits?

Regardless of whether a police conspiracy is ever exposed, we do know that the French ruling class and the corporate media are always primed to take full advantage of such acts to reinforce the repressive state apparatus and sow division among the working class.

There should not be an iota of confidence in the news stories of this massacre at Charlie Hebdo. We know only what we are being told in the corporate media by French military police and state intelligence agencies. We do know that three men, who are now dead, were tools of imperialism in their wars of conquest in Syria and Libya. More than 1,000 French citizens of Arab and North African descent have been recruited, trained, armed and used as weapons conduits, saboteurs and terrorists in the efforts of U.S. France, Britain, Turkey and Saudi Arabia to overthrow the government of Syria.

This leads to the fundamental question of whose policies are responsible for the massacre and who gains from the massacre?

Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, U.S. imperialism, aided by the old colonial powers of Europe, has been engaged in a whole series of wars to reconquer countries that had achieved a high level of development based on sovereignty and control of their resources.

In their frantic efforts to recolonize Iraq, Syria and Libya, they have cynically whipped up sectarian divisions, organized deadly militias and promoted fanaticism and anarchy. That has aroused deep-seated rage against the U.S., France and Britain.

It is also highly unpopular that French imperialism is widely involved in Africa, primarily in the majority-Muslim countries of Mali, Central African Republic, Chad, Ivory Coast and Djibouti, and in Abu Dhabi on the Arabian peninsula.

The French ruling class wants to divert mass attention from their expanding wars and increasingly militarized society. The mobilizations claiming to defend a free press by defending racism must be opposed and countered.

Article link: http://www.workers.org/articles/2015/01/13/charlie-hebdo-free-press-racism/

Copyright © 2015 Workers.org

Feature: People of former Yugoslavia pay respects to Tito [Xinhua]

Posted in Croatia, Kosovo, Serbia, Yugoslavia - former FRY on May 13, 2014 by Zuo Shou / 左手

BELGRADE, May 4 (Xinhua) — Several thousand people coming from across their former country walked on Sunday around the grave of the lifetime president of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, and lied wreaths and flowers on the 34th anniversary of his death on May 4th, 1980 at the age of 87.

People from all six former republics of the former Yugoslavia: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Serbia, Slovenia, Macedonia and Montenegro gathered since the morning in front of the “House of Flowers” that is a part of the Museum of Yugoslavian History and contains graves of Josip Broz Tito and his wife Jovanka that died in 2013.

All of them came here with organized tours across the former Yugoslavia, because, as they say, all of them share the same feeling that Tito’s country was a fulfilment of a dream that will hardly ever repeat.

“Our father died on this day, but he is still in our hearts. In his time we had everything and it was all for free-medicine, books everything. That is why we come here for ten consecutive years”, says Zivko Mitrev from Kocani, Macedonia to Xinhua.

Another one from the same Macedonian group, Georgi Nikolov says that Yugoslavia for him never fell apart. “In my heart Yugoslavian spirit still survives, and I’ll never give up from it, as it is my path – Tito’s path for all of us,” he told Xinhua.

Rade Sobic that was born back in 1940s in Drvar, Bosnia and Herzegovina but lives for 50 years in Belgrade says that he owes everything to Yugoslavia and Tito, as he got educated, had a job, and now receives a pension.

“Josip Broz Tito liberated the people from Hitler’s slavery but our nations got divided twenty five years from the outside, by foreign mercenaries,” he says, after leaving a red flower at the white marble plate with four large golden letters carved on top.

Sadika Badic Abdic from Cazin in Bosnia and Herzegovina says that seeing all these people “and to see all this, presented in front of me raises on my head and tears rushed on my eyes.”

“Tito’s country was a state. This now is nothing,” she says and explains she came to the “House of Flowers” for the first time and is amazed with the look of the grave of Josip Broz Tito and his wife Jovanka who died in 2013 and buried next to her husband.

Ramiza Bemic also from Cazin came to Belgrade with her friend, Emina Hadzic, to celebrate her 31st birthday, and visit Tito’s grave.

“Although I only lived in Tito’s country for a short while, everything echoes with memories on what things once were. I came here to see it”, Ramiza Bemic told Xinhua.

Several hundred people attended the ceremony at the Museum that started with anthems of Yugoslavia and the official anthem of the Socialist International.

Lieutenant General of the Yugoslav People’s Army, JNA Stevan Mirkovic, that was also a member of the Yugoslav Partisans during the liberation struggle in the Second World War made a speech to the gathered people in which he criticized former republics of Yugoslavia for misinterpreting historical facts and denying the benefits that communists brought to the Yugoslavian people.

Editor: Mu Xuequan

Article link: http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/world/2014-05/04/c_126460579.htm

Anti-Empire Report #127: “Barack Obama – Indoctrinating a new generation with Washington’s lies” [Williamblum.org]

Posted in DU Depleted Uranium weapons, Genocide, George W. Bush, Historical myths of the US, Iraq, Kosovo, NATO, Nelson Mandela, Obama, Pentagon, Psychological warfare, Russia, Serbia, South Africa, State Department, Ukraine, UNSC, US foreign occupation, US Government Cover-up, US imperialism, USA, War crimes, Yugoslavia - former FRY on April 21, 2014 by Zuo Shou / 左手

‘Indoctrinating a new generation’

by William Blum

April 7, 2014

Is there anyone out there who still believes that Barack Obama, when he’s speaking about American foreign policy, is capable of being anything like an honest man? In a March 26 talk in Belgium to “European youth”, the president fed his audience one falsehood, half-truth, blatant omission, or hypocrisy after another. If George W. Bush had made some of these statements, Obama supporters would not hesitate to shake their head, roll their eyes, or smirk. Here’s a sample:

– “In defending its actions, Russian leaders have further claimed Kosovo as a precedent – an example they say of the West interfering in the affairs of a smaller country, just as they’re doing now. But NATO only intervened after the people of Kosovo were systematically brutalized and killed for years.”

Most people who follow such things are convinced that the 1999 US/NATO bombing of the Serbian province of Kosovo took place only after the Serbian-forced deportation of ethnic Albanians from Kosovo was well underway; which is to say that the bombing was launched to stop this “ethnic cleansing”. In actuality, the systematic deportations of large numbers of people did not begin until a few days after the bombing began, and was clearly a reaction to it, born of Serbia’s extreme anger and powerlessness over the bombing. This is easily verified by looking at a daily newspaper for the few days before the bombing began the night of March 23/24, 1999, and the few days following. Or simply look at the New York Times of March 26, page 1, which reads:

… with the NATO bombing already begun, a deepening sense of fear took hold in Pristina [the main city of Kosovo] that the Serbs would NOW vent their rage against ethnic Albanian civilians in retaliation. [emphasis added]

On March 27, we find the first reference to a “forced march” or anything of that nature.

But the propaganda version is already set in marble.

– “And Kosovo only left Serbia after a referendum was organized, not outside the boundaries of international law, but in careful cooperation with the United Nations and with Kosovo’s neighbors. one of that even came close to happening in Crimea.”

None of that even came close to happening in Kosovo either. The story is false. The referendum the president speaks of never happened. Did the mainstream media pick up on this or on the previous example? If any reader comes across such I’d appreciate being informed.

Crimea, by the way, did have a referendum. A real one.

– “Workers and engineers gave life to the Marshall Plan … As the Iron Curtain fell here in Europe, the iron fist of apartheid was unclenched, and Nelson Mandela emerged upright, proud, from prison to lead a multiracial democracy. Latin American nations rejected dictatorship and built new democracies … “

The president might have mentioned that the main beneficiary of the Marshall Plan was US corporations 1, that the United States played an indispensable role in Mandela being caught and imprisoned, and that virtually all the Latin American dictatorships owed their very existence to Washington. Instead, the European youth were fed the same party line that their parents were fed, as were all Americans.

– “Yes, we believe in democracy – with elections that are free and fair.”

In this talk, the main purpose of which was to lambaste the Russians for their actions concerning Ukraine, there was no mention that the government overthrown in that country with the clear support of the United States had been democratically elected.

– “Moreover, Russia has pointed to America’s decision to go into Iraq as an example of Western hypocrisy. … But even in Iraq, America sought to work within the international system. We did not claim or annex Iraq’s territory. We did not grab its resources for our own gain. Instead, we ended our war and left Iraq to its people and a fully sovereign Iraqi state that could make decisions about its own future.”

The US did not get UN Security Council approval for its invasion, the only approval that could legitimize the action. It occupied Iraq from one end of the country to the other for 8 years, forcing the government to privatize the oil industry and accept multinational – largely U.S.-based, oil companies’ – ownership. This endeavor was less than successful because of the violence unleashed by the invasion. The US military finally was forced to leave because the Iraqi government refused to give immunity to American soldiers for their many crimes.

Here is a brief summary of what Barack Obama is attempting to present as America’s moral superiority to the Russians:

The modern, educated, advanced nation of Iraq was reduced to a quasi failed state … the Americans, beginning in 1991, bombed for 12 years, with one dubious excuse or another; then invaded, then occupied, overthrew the government, tortured without inhibition, killed wantonly … the people of that unhappy land lost everything – their homes, their schools, their electricity, their clean water, their environment, their neighborhoods, their mosques, their archaeology, their jobs, their careers, their professionals, their state-run enterprises, their physical health, their mental health, their health care, their welfare state, their women’s rights, their religious tolerance, their safety, their security, their children, their parents, their past, their present, their future, their lives … More than half the population either dead, wounded, traumatized, in prison, internally displaced, or in foreign exile … The air, soil, water, blood, and genes drenched with depleted uranium … the most awful birth defects … unexploded cluster bombs lying in wait for children to pick them up … a river of blood running alongside the Euphrates and Tigris … through a country that may never be put back together again. … “It is a common refrain among war-weary Iraqis that things were better before the U.S.-led invasion in 2003,” reported the Washington Post. (May 5, 2007)

How can all these mistakes, such arrogance, hypocrisy and absurdity find their way into a single international speech by the president of the United States? Is the White House budget not sufficient to hire a decent fact checker? Someone with an intellect and a social conscience? Or does the desire to score propaganda points trump everything else? Is this another symptom of the Banana-Republicization of America?..

Full text of Anti-Empire Report #127, with notes: http://williamblum.org/aer/read/127

U.S. bombing of Serbia, after 15 years [Workers World]

Posted in Fascism, GDR / East Germany, Germany, International Action Center, Kosovo, NATO, Pentagon, Serbia, UNSC, Wall Street, Yugoslavia - former FRY on March 29, 2014 by Zuo Shou / 左手

March 25, 2014

by Sara Flounders

The following statement was issued March 24 by the International Action Center in advance of a demonstration outside the United Nations in New York set for 5 p.m. on the same day. It was 15 years ago on this day that the United States began bombing Serbia in its quest to break up Yugoslavia and further expand NATO. The demonstration will demand recognition of Kosovo as part of Serbia and U.S./NATO hands off the Balkans, Ukraine and Russia.

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On the 15th anniversary of the U.S. bombing of Serbia, and as new, even more ominous dangers arise in Ukraine and Crimea, it is important to remember history.

Wall Street dominates peoples through the destructive strategy of “divide and rule.” In the Balkans and in Eastern Europe this has meant policies aimed at breaking solidarity among different nationalities and religions by imposing sanctions and economic destabilization and by funding right-wing and fascist organizations and granting immediate recognition to their regimes.

It was U.S. and European Union criminal policy that broke the Yugoslav Federation into six unstable, impoverished micro-states. They executed this crime by bombing Bosnia in 1994 and carrying out a 78-day bombing in 1999 of Serbia, especially the Serbian province of Kosovo. These wars aimed at expanding the U.S.-commanded NATO alliance into the Balkans, Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Republics.

Despite U.S. and German commitments to the former Soviet Union not to expand NATO one inch further if Soviet troops were withdrawn from East Germany, NATO has now expanded to 12 countries in the Balkans, Eastern Europe and former Soviet Republics.

After the massive destruction of schools, hospitals, industries and communication in Yugoslavia in 1999, Washington still agreed, in the imposed ceasefire and in United Nations Security Council Resolution 1244, that Kosovo is historically part of Serbia and would remain an autonomous part of sovereign Serbia, although under U.S./NATO occupation and administration. In 2008, in violation of this signed U.N. agreement, the U.S. recognized the puppet government it had set up and that government’s illegal declaration of independence for Kosovo. The overwhelming majority of the people of Serbia of all nationalities opposed this theft of Kosovo by NATO. They continue to raise the slogan: “Kosovo is Serbia.”

Article link: http://www.workers.org/articles/2014/03/25/u-s-bombing-serbia-15-years/

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The Anti-Empire Report #124 by Wm. Blum – US gov’t leaders actually love jihadis, terrorists & dictators [Williamblum.org]

Posted in Afghanistan, Colombia, Honduras, Indonesia, Israel, Kosovo, Nobel Peace Prize, Obama, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Syria, Torture, US Government Cover-up, US imperialism, USA, USSR, Yugoslavia - former FRY on January 26, 2014 by Zuo Shou / 左手

January 9, 2014

by William Blum

The horrors reported each day from Syria and Iraq are enough to make one cry; in particular, the atrocities carried out by the al-Qaeda types: floggings; beheadings; playing soccer with the heads; cutting open dead bodies to remove organs just for mockery; suicide bombers, car bombs, the ground littered with human body parts; countless young children traumatized for life; the imposition of sharia law, including bans on music … What century are we living in? What millennium? What world?

People occasionally write to me that my unwavering antagonism toward American foreign policy is misplaced; that as awful as Washington’s Museum of Horrors is, al-Qaeda is worse and the world needs the United States to combat the awful jihadists…

…let me tell you about American leaders. In power, they don’t think the way you and I do. They don’t feel the way you and I do. They have supported “awful jihadists” and their moral equivalents for decades. Let’s begin in 1979 in Afghanistan, where the Moujahedeen (“holy warriors”) were in battle against a secular, progressive government supported by the Soviet Union; a “favorite tactic” of the Moujahedeen was “to torture victims [often Russians] by first cutting off their nose, ears, and genitals, then removing one slice of skin after another”, producing “a slow, very painful death”.

With America’s massive and indispensable military backing in the 1980s, Afghanistan’s last secular government (bringing women into the 20th century) was overthrown, and out of the victorious Moujahedeen arose al Qaeda…

…President Carter’s National Security Adviser, Zbigniew Brzezinski, was a leading force behind the US support of…the Moujahedeen…What does that tell you about that American leader? Or Jimmy Carter – an inspiration out of office, but a rather different person in the White House? Or Nobel Peace Laureate Barack Obama, who chose Brzezinski as one of his advisers?

Another proud example of the United States fighting the awful jihadists is Kosovo, an overwhelmingly Muslim province of Serbia. The Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) began an armed conflict with Belgrade in the early 1990s to split Kosovo from Serbia. The KLA was considered a terrorist organization by the US, the UK and France for years, with numerous reports of the KLA having contact with al-Qaeda, getting arms from them, having its militants trained in al-Qaeda camps in Pakistan, and even having members of al-Qaeda in KLA ranks fighting against Serbia. But Washington’s imperialists, more concerned about dealing a blow to Serbia, “the last communist government in Europe”, supported the KLA.

The KLA have been known for their torture and trafficking in women, heroin, and human body parts (sic). The United States has naturally been pushing for Kosovo’s membership in NATO and the European Union.

More recently the US has supported awful jihadists in Libya and Syria, with awful consequences.

It would, moreover, be difficult to name a single brutal dictatorship of the second half of the 20th Century that was not supported by the United States; not only supported, but often put into power and kept in power against the wishes of the population. And in recent years as well, Washington has supported very repressive governments, such as Saudi Arabia, Honduras, Indonesia, Egypt, Colombia, Qatar, and Israel.

Not exactly the grand savior our sad old world is yearning for. (Oh, did I mention that Washington’s policies create a never-ending supply of terrorists?)

And what do American leaders think of their own record? Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was probably speaking for the whole private club when she wrote that in the pursuit of its national security the United States no longer needed to be guided by “notions of international law and norms” or “institutions like the United Nations” because America was “on the right side of history…”

Excerpted; link to full report with footnotes: http://williamblum.org/aer/read/124

Chinese defence paper warns of US “hegemonism” [World Socialist Website]

Posted in Afghanistan, Australia, China, CPC, Diaoyu Islands, Iraq, Japan, Libya, Nukes, Obama, Pentagon, PLA, Serbia, Syria, Taiwan, Tibet, US imperialism, USA, Xinjiang, Yugoslavia - former FRY on April 27, 2013 by Zuo Shou / 左手

By John Chan
20 April 2013

The Chinese defence ministry issued a major white paper on Tuesday, in what amounts to a response to the aggressive US “pivot” to Asia. Entitled, “The Diversified Employment of China’s Armed Forces,” the document warns of the danger of US “hegemonism.”

Confronted by the Obama administration’s efforts to undermine China strategically, as well as diplomatically and economically, Beijing is being forced to rethink its military doctrine, and prepare for a potential nuclear war instigated by Washington.

As part of the “pivot,” the Pentagon’s Air/Sea Battle strategy envisages a massive bombardment using conventional weapons of China’s basic command and communications infrastructure and missile forces to cripple the Chinese military. Aided by key allies such as Japan and Australia, the US would blockade the Chinese mainland by cutting key shipping routes through South East Asia for energy and raw materials from Africa and the Middle East.

For the first time, Beijing’s latest white paper stresses the protection of China’s maritime territories, overseas investments and shipping routes. “With the gradual integration of China’s economy into the world economic system, overseas interests have become an integral component of China’s national interests,” it states. “Security issues are increasingly prominent, involving overseas energy and resources, strategic sea lines of communication (SLOCs), and Chinese nationals and legal persons overseas.”

Without naming the US, the paper refers to a country that “has strengthened its Asia-Pacific military alliances, expanded its military presence in the region, and frequently makes the situation tenser.” Japan, the principal US Asian ally, is specifically accused of “making trouble” over the disputed Diaoyu/Senkakus islands in the East China Sea.

The paper points to “signs of increasing hegemonism… and neo-interventionism.” This is a reference to the repeated military interventions led by the US, in particular since the late 1990s, from the bombing of Serbia to the invasions of Afghanistan in 2001 and Iraq in 2003, the violent toppling of the Libyan regime in 2011, and the mounting intervention in Syria.

The paper also nominates threats to China’s “national unification.” Among them are “terrorism, separatism and extremism”—that is, separatist movements among national minorities such as Tibetans and Xinjiang’s Uyghur Muslims that could be exploited by the US and other imperialist powers. At the same time, the paper warns that “Taiwan independence” forces and their activities are still “the biggest threat to the peaceful development of cross-Straits relations.”

China continues to maintain a large military presence along its coastline facing Taiwan, including hundreds of thousands of Peoples Liberation Army (PLA) troops and an estimated 1,000 tactical ballistic missiles. The Obama administration, although aware of the extreme sensitivity of China’s claims over Taiwan as its integral territory, has begun selling billions of dollars of weapons to Taiwan. The US is also including Taiwan in its Asia-Pacific anti-ballistic missile network, which is part of the Pentagon’s preparations for a potential nuclear war against China.

The white paper refers to the first ever large-scale overseas evacuation mounted by China. During the Libyan war in 2011, some 35,860 Chinese nationals were pulled out with the assistance of Chinese warships and air force transport planes. As a result of the US- and European-led “regime change” operation, billions of dollars’ worth of Chinese investments were lost in Libya.

Yue Gang, a former officer in the PLA General Staff, noted on Sina.com that China has huge economic interests at stake. Total Chinese investment overseas has reached $US500 billion, and is projected to reach $1 trillion by 2020. He said 81 million Chinese travelled overseas each year, half a million seamen were working around the world, and China operated a merchant fleet of 3,300 ships—the fourth largest in the world. As 55 percent of China’s energy production depended on imports and 93 percent of its exports relied on sea shipment, protecting China’s maritime routes was a vital question.

Yue noted that China’s military had only begun to face these tasks and lacked sufficient aircraft carriers or amphibious assault ships, as well as large transport planes capable of the “strategic lifting” of forces to distant regions.

In an effort to counter the mounting US threat, China’s military spending has steadily risen during the past decade, from $20 billion in 2002 to $114 billion this year. China has made some breakthroughs in military equipment. It is testing two prototype stealth fighters, the only nation to do so, apart from the US.

However, the US military budget of more than $680 billion dwarfs China’s. Moreover, the US possesses more than 5,100 nuclear warheads, compared to China’s estimated 240-400. The US has 11 nuclear-powered aircraft carriers, while the Chinese navy has just one conventionally-powered carrier, and will take years to form a functional battle group with warplanes and escort warships. The US also has military bases and alliances throughout Asia and around the world.

The US media has focused on the fact that the white paper makes no mention of China’s long-standing “no first use” nuclear warfare policy. Beijing’s longstanding pledge not to launch a first nuclear strike has been reiterated in all previous defence white papers. Its omission from the latest indicates deep concerns that the US is developing the capacity to knock out China’s entire nuclear arsenal.

The US has never relinquished its “first strike” nuclear war doctrine. Moreover, it is clearly constructing the anti-ballistic missile systems to enable it to invoke that doctrine with impunity, by neutralising any Chinese counter-attack with nuclear weapons.

The Chinese white paper is another sign that Beijing is being compelled to respond to the Obama administration’s “pivot” that is aimed at preventing China from becoming a future threat to American global domination. Washington’s aggressive policies have dangerously inflamed flashpoints in Asia such as the Korean Peninsula and are fuelling an arms race throughout the region that can only lead to conflict and war.

Article link: http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2013/04/20/chin-a20.html

“Civil Society Intervention as a Geopolitical Instrument” – NGO ‘color revolutions’ destructive transformation of foreign youth into tools of Western imperialists [Strategic Culture Foundation]

Posted in Belarus, Bill Clinton, Bourgeois parliamentary democracy, CIA, Egypt, Georgia, Germany, Obama, Romania, Russia, Serbia, U.K., Ukraine, US Agency for International Development, US imperialism, USA, Venezuela, Yugoslavia - former FRY on October 8, 2012 by Zuo Shou / 左手

Hannes HOFBAUER | 01.10.2012 | 00:00

…in spring 2005 Ukraine had turned orange. At that time only a few observers in the West were aware, to what extent the local dissatisfaction in Ukraine was missused by Western foundations for their own interests. Today we do not only know how the orange experiment ended, but we also clearly can see the system behind the Western interventions in civil societies across the world.

Who are the coloured revolutionaries?

Roses in Georgia (2003), cedars in Lebanon (2005), tulips in Kyrgyzstan (2005), cornflowers in Belarus (2006)… most of the coloured revolutions are named after flowers or plants. Their radical activists organise themselves under names like «Kmara» («Enough»/ Georgia), «Mjaft» («Enough»/ Albania), «Zubr» («Bison»/ Belarus), «Kifaya» («Enough»/ Egypt). Most of them are young, long for the Western way of life, speak excellent English and – first of all – hate the ruling political class in their home country. All of them had obtained a good education within the respective system they detest. After their studies neither the state nor the market are able to provide them with a future adequate to their education. Their high demands in politics and way of life were disappointed, which lead them straight into the opposition. There they face a system of (state) power, which they experience as politically paralysed, economically corrupt und culturally back-warded.

These are the structural social conditions, in which a disappointed youth finds itself mainly in societies of transformation. These conditions are hardly discussed by the institutions of power and also mostly ignored by the young people themselves. Coloured revolutions are rooted in social discontent and disappointment. These phenomena can be observed at first and best in peripheral societies east and south of the European Union. There the economic crisis, which followed the transformation period of the 1990s, did not only destroy the industrial and sometimes the agricultural basis of the respective countries and people, but also their social relations and cultural identities. These so-called «reform-societies» are not able to offer perspectives for a large part of the young generation, first of all the well-educated youth. Many of them see only two alternatives: emigration or revolt.

* It started in Serbia *

The mother of all coloured revolutions was black and white. Its name: «Otpor», «Resistance». Its symbol: a white [fist] in front of a black ground…. «Otpor» was founded in the beginning of the 1990s in Belgrade. The group understood itself in sharp opposition to the rise of Slobodan Milosevic and his «Socialist Party of Serbia» (SPS). «Otpor’s» battle-cry: «gotov je!», «he is finished». «He» was the big enemy: Milosevic. The first manifestations against his government began in 1988. Their social character was evident. People protested against rising prices… These «bread-riots» pointed at the government, but meant the IMF that dictated what they called «reform», the abolishment of state subsidies for housing and goods of daily use. Out of parts of these protesters «Otpor» formed a political group with one single goal: to get rid of whom they called «the autocrat», Slobodan Milosevic.

After the end of the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia the legitimacy of rule and governance was debated widely in a political and philosophical sense. Where rulers of the old type or their supposed revenants did not give way voluntarily, oppositional groups felt legitimated to overthrow the system. This also happened in Serbia. Slobodan Milosevic and his SPS undermined the shock therapy of the IMF in Winter 1990/91 by setting in motion the money-printing machine. The fresh banknotes allowed paying state employers like teachers, doctors and military. Hence he obstructed the restrictive monetary policy, prescribed by the IMF. What was appreciated by vast parts of the people, provoked Western organisations, and he became an enemy of them. «Otpor» repeated its standpoint: «Milosevic has to leave». It took some time until the potential of this oppositional group was discovered by Western financiers.

* Civil society intervention *

Since the middle of the 1990s masses of so-called Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) have been operating in the countries of ex-Comecon and Yugoslavia. Their «mission» followed slogans of «democracy», «nation-building» or «new governance». They aimed at interfering in politics by supporting local oppositional groups of civil society.

One of the most prominent and strongest «Mission»-organisation to bring Western democracy to Eastern and Southern countries is the American foundation named «National Endowment for Democracy» (NED). Founded by the US-Congress in 1983 and financed by state-money since then, NED has the function to distribute an annual amount of a three-figure million Dollar number to four so-called NGOs: The «National Democratic Institute for International Affairs» (NDI), which stands under the influence of the Democratic Party, its Republican vis-à-vis, the «International Republican Institute» (IRI), the «Center for International Private Enterprise» (CIPE) and the «American Center for International Labor Solidarity» (ACILS), one representing the Chamber of commerce, the other the AFL/CIO-union. These four NGOs, all of them fully backed by state-money and therefore cheating with the «N» in their self-representation as «NGO», work in their respected fields on the ground in Eastern Europe, the Islamic world and elsewhere.

The ideological background of foundations like NED, the United States Agency for International Development USAID, «Freedom-House» or its British variant «Westminster Foundation for Democracy» is rooted in a specific understanding of what they call «universal democracy», which they claim to be spread all over the world. The concept is based on the declared necessity of economic competition and its political administration through democratic institutions. Democratic institutions have to follow the principles of market economy and not vice versa. The ideal, universalistic form of this model of democracy can be described as «constitutive liberalism» in a parliamentary two-party-system under a strong presidency. The electoral freedom excludes the social and economic system and reduces socio-economic debates, if admitted at all, to measures of tax policy.

This understanding of democracy is not compatible with revolutionary processes having taken place in Eastern Europe and North Africa. There the vision of democracy reaches beyond the system of «constitutive liberalism» and its defence of property. On the contrary: revolutions overwhelm such things like property laws and open new radical perspectives. Political and media observers are well aware of this fact and its potential danger. Therefore all missions of civil society-interventions by Western foundations are united by one goal: to direct revolutionary processes in East and South towards the Western understanding of liberal democracy; to pave the way for «constitutional liberalism».

Many democratic elections, for example in Eastern Europe, but also in the Arab world after 1989/91, did not reflect the Western idea of liberal democracy. The outcome were «false results» in the cases of Yugoslavia, Romania, and Slovakia, when leaders like Milosevic, Iliescu, Meciar or Fico received majorities at the ballot-box. The American political scientist and redactor in chief of the influential magazine «Foreign Affairs», Fareed Zakaria, named these democratic elections, when Milosevic or Meciar took legal power, «illiberal democracies». (1) In his view it is not the democracy as such that are in ill health condition, but the constitutional liberalism. He even makes his view more concrete: «Democracy without constitutional liberalism is not simply inadequate, but dangerous». Meciar, Iliescu, Milosevic, Yanukovych… they all won elections and got majorities, some of them more than one time. Nevertheless Western media and politicians call them despots, autocrats, nationalists, communists or national communists. Western foundations like NED, USAID, Westminster or Freedom House see their task in spreading their universalistic claim of a bourgeois, liberally constituted democracy throughout the world. In the societies of transformation they intervene into civil society by moulding local protests into coloured revolution.

How do these interventions function? At the beginning local or national discontent, which almost always is rooted in social problems, has to be «politicised». That means that social revolutionary elements have to be excluded. They could be dangerous for the establishment of a liberal democracy. In a second step cadres are formed. They run through different seminars in «regime change», «liberal democracy», «institution building», «nation building» etc. Allen Weinstein, one of the founders of NED, once stated openly, what the function of organisations like NED was like at the beginning of the 1990s: «A lot of what we [NED] do was done 25 years ago covertly by the CIA». (2) In some cases like in the case of James Woosley this statement can be proved even biographically. Woosley was head of the CIA between 1993 and 1995, before he led the board of «Freedom House».

If the civil society interventions do not fulfil the aim of «regime change», a military intervention can take place, like it did in Yugoslavia in March 1999. Since the rule of Bill Clinton civil mission and military threat go hand in hand. Barack Obama brings this system to perfection [sic].

With the help of Western foundations, the Serbian «Otpor» positioned itself as a more or less successful export model. From Georgia to Ukraine, Belarus and Egypt former activists of «Otpor» hold trainings and seminars in civil resistance to form NGO-units of oppositional groups to overthrow the respective political leaders and governments like Shevardandze, Kuchma/Yanukovych or Lukashenko. Not everywhere the plan is functioning, like the case of Belarus shows. There the local coloured revolutionaries were persecuted and moved to Lithuania or Poland, where they now maintain their infrastructure like radio stations, offices and «universities».

Moscow is warned

In July 2012 the Russian Duma passed a law which obliges civil society organisations to financing transparency. This includes the declaration and control of foreign money. The Western resentment at this law is dishonest in some regards. On the one hand, the civil society interventions of Western foundations for Eastern and Southern coloured revolutions get more and more visible. Their function is evident. Even more: For example NED is publishing openly which NGO is getting how much grants. In its annual statement of accounting (2011) NED notes that it concentrated on subsidising NGOs in Belarus, where organisations like «Freedom of information» ($1,23m ) or «Civil Society» ($300.000) all together received $3,5m in 2011.

On the other hand, Russia is not the first country to hinder civil society interventions from outside. So Venezuela closed down the NED-bureau in Caracas in December 2010. And Egypt checked the bureaus of five foreign foundations and brought more than 40 responsible employees (Americans, Germans, Serbians and Egyptians) to the court. They are accused of «illegal activities with illegal money transfers».

After all the experiences with intervening in civil societies in Serbia, Ukraine, Georgia, and Belarus, nobody can be astonished that Moscow is trying to protect its civil society from foreign attempts to implement coloured opposition. Let’s be frank: what would happen if Russian foundations would intervene in Western European civil societies? How would the European Union, for example, react, if Russian of Chinese financial support would be given to – let’s say – groups for national self-determination. They could even use the same political argument Berlin did in the 1990s by supporting Croatian and Bosnian nationalists and their fight against Belgrade. National discontent is widespread in Europe. And easily young people from Greece to the Netherlands could be found to fight EU-establishment with social or national arguments. Russian money could help them to organise. It is for sure that in the case of logistical and financial intervention into EU-inner politics, Brussels would immediately stop the flow of money from outside, for example from Moscow. This restriction would be labelled as a necessary «capital control» to protect EU-European interests, as it is done in other fields of the economy. Moscow is doing exactly the same, but Western media and politicians are defaming the restriction for being «undemocratic» representing «Soviet-type politics». With the new Russian law controlling foreign money flow into civil society organisations, the Western «NGOs are forced to react. USAID is the first to close down its office end of September 2012…

Article link: http://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2012/10/01/civil-society-intervention-as-a-geopolitical-instrument.html

Edited by Zuo Shou