Archive for the U.K. 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

UK must stop inciting hatred against migrants: UN human rights chief [Xinhua]

Posted in Anti-Arab / Antisemitism, Anti-Islam hysteria, Corporate Media Critique, Media smear campaign, U.K. on May 24, 2015 by Zuo Shou / 左手

GENEVA, April 24 (Xinhua) — The United Nations Human Rights chief on Friday urged authorities in Britain, media and regulatory bodies to take steps to curb incitement to hatred, in the wake of a recent article in The Sun newspaper calling migrants “cockroaches.”

Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, also called on all European countries to take a firmer line on racism and xenophobia which he said often feeds a vicious cycle of vilification, intolerance and politicization of migrants under the guise of freedom of expression.

“This vicious verbal assault on migrants and asylum seekers in the British tabloid press has continued unchallenged under the law for far too long,” he said, adding that while he was an unswerving advocate of freedom of expression, the right was not absolute.

Zeid said the tabloid press was “sapping compassion for the thousands of people fleeing conflict, human rights violations and economic deprivation who are drowning in the Mediterranean.”

“The nasty underbelly of racism may also risk making the crisis even worse, and could sadly result in further massive loss of life,” he added.

Zeid noted that the Sun article was simply one of the more extreme examples of thousands of anti-foreigner articles that have appeared in UK tabloids over the past two decades.

The High Commissioner noted that “while migration and refugee issues are completely valid topics for public debate, it is imperative that migration policy decisions that affect people’s lives and fundamental human rights should be made on the basis of fact — not fiction, exaggeration or blatant xenophobia.”

Earlier this week a British NGO, the Society of Black Lawyers, reported The Sun to Britain’s Metropolitan Police and requested the matter be investigated under the 1986 Public Order Act to see whether the article amounts to incitement to racial hatred.

Editor: Mu Xuequan

Article original title: “Stop inciting hatred against migrants: UN human rights chief”

Article link: http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2015-04/24/c_134182685.htm

How Covert Agents Infiltrate the Internet to Manipulate, Deceive, and Destroy Reputations – GCHQ’s secret ‘dirty tricks’ unit, JTRIG (Joint Threat Research Intelligence Group) [The Intercept / Sweet & Sour Socialism Essential Archives]

Posted in National Security Agency / NSA, NSA, U.K., USA on April 29, 2015 by Zuo Shou / 左手

By Glenn Greenwald

2/25/2015

Article link: https://firstlook.org/theintercept/2014/02/24/jtrig-manipulation/

Seven Things You Didn’t Know the U.S. and Its Allies Did to Iran [The Intercept]

Posted in Iran, Iraq, Nukes, Saudi Arabia, U.K., US imperialism, USA on April 17, 2015 by Zuo Shou / 左手

by Jon Schwarz
7 April 2015

Article link: https://firstlook.org/theintercept/2015/04/07/10-things-didnt-know-weve-done-iran/

“US faces another debacle on Pacific economic treaty” – TPP, fake free trade pact, in trouble [World Socialist Website]

Posted in Anti-China propaganda exposure, Australia, Canada, Capitalism crisis early 21st century, Chile, China, China-bashing, Economic crisis & decline, Economy, Encirclement of China, EU, European Union, Germany, Japan, Malaysia, Media cover-up, Mexico, New Zealand, Obama, Peru, Protectionist Trade War with China, Singapore, south Korea, U.K., US imperialism, USA, USA 21st Century Cold War, Vietnam on April 5, 2015 by Zuo Shou / 左手

By Mike Head
4 April 2015

Having suffered a decisive defeat in its efforts to block other countries from joining the new China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), the US government faces mounting difficulties with regard to its most far-reaching move to dominate the Asia-Pacific region: the so-called Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

In Hawaii last month, the latest round of five-year-long TPP talks between the 12 governments involved broke up without any further agreement. For the third year in a row, the White House’s deadline for a final deal looks set to be breached in 2015.

Significantly, the main stumbling block this time was reportedly not ongoing differences between the US and Japan over auto and agricultural markets, but doubts over President Barack Obama’s capacity to get congressional approval for the pact.

Falsely presented as a “free trade” deal, the TPP is the opposite. It is aimed at creating a vast US-controlled economic bloc. In return for favoured access to the US market, which is still the largest in the world, the TPP requires its members to scrap all legal, regulatory and government impediments to American investment and corporate operations.

The TPP is an essential component of Washington’s military and strategic “pivot” to Asia, aimed at establishing unchallenged hegemony over the region, including China, which has thus far been excluded from the treaty. The “partnership” seeks to restructure every aspect of economic and social life across the Asia-Pacific in the interests of Wall Street finance capital and the largest US corporations, particularly the IT, pharmaceutical and media conglomerates.

A similar drive is underway to incorporate the European Union into a Transatlantic Trade and I nvestment Partnership (TTIP) bloc. Like the TPP, the European treaty is being negotiated behind the backs of the international working class amid tight secrecy, with hundreds of the world’s largest corporations taking part.

Obama has resorted to blatant anti-Chinese rhetoric in a bid to overcome opposition to aspects of the TPP from sections of the Democratic and Republican congressional leaderships. In one recent interview, the US president declared: “If we don’t write the rules out there, China’s going to write the rules and the geopolitical implications of China writing the rules for trade almost inevitably means that we will be cut out or we will be deeply disadvantaged. Our businesses will be disadvantaged, our workers will be disadvantaged.”

Washington is concerned that other imperialist powers, such as Germany, Britain and Japan, could strengthen their positions in China at the expense of the US unless America “writes the rules” for world trade in the 21st century.

Global financial commentators are drawing attention to what is at stake. Under the headline, “Round two in America’s battle for Asian influence,” David Pilling wrote in the London-based Financial Times on April 1: “Washington’s attempt to lead a boycott of the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank ended in farce after Britain broke ranks and other nations from Germany to South Korea fell over themselves to join. If round one was a defeat for America, round two hangs in the balance.”

Pilling noted that the TPP’s exclusion of China, on the grounds that its economy was state-owned and centrally planned, was obviously concocted. “In a peculiar display of diplomatic contortion,” he wrote, “Vietnam — a country whose economy is as centrally planned and as rigged [sic] as the best of them — is somehow considered fit for entry.”

The Financial Times Asia editor pointedly added that the TPP was “just as likely to annoy America’s allies in the region as reassure them” because of its intrusive demands, which include the dismantling of state-owned enterprises, tendering restrictions, financial regulations, data protection rules and intellectual property laws.

Washington’s aggressive drive to establish the TPP and TTIP economic blocs marks a reversal of its post-World War II role, when the ascendancy of American industry permitted it to champion the reconstruction of its Japanese and European rivals, albeit always for its own benefit, including via the expansion of markets for its exports.

Today, amid the ongoing decline of US industry, its ruling elite depends increasingly on the parasitic activities of Wall Street, the exploitation of patents by Silicon Valley, Hollywood and the drug companies, and contracts for the supply of military hardware. These rapacious interests will most directly benefit from the TPP.

Many details remain secret, but pro-TPP lobbying efforts highlight the anticipated profit bonanzas. Mireya Solis of the Brookings Institution think tank stressed advantages such as “internationalisation of financial services, protection of intellectual property and governance of the Internet economy.”

US technology firms would benefit from a ban on requiring companies to house customers’ data within a specific country. “If we’re going to serve the customer of Malaysia from, say, a data center in Singapore, the data has to be able to move back and forth between those two countries,” Brad Smith, Microsoft general counsel, told the Wall Street Journal.

Central to the treaty are punitive Investor-State Dispute Settlements (ISDS) clauses, which permit transnationals to sue governments for losses allegedly caused by official policy decisions. WikiLeaks last month published a chapter of the TPP treaty showing that firms could bypass a country’s courts to obtain damages for changes in “environmental, health or other regulatory objectives.”

Apart from the US and Japan — the two biggest partners by far — the other TPP participants are Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.

The willingness of many of these countries to make the required concessions to the US has been undermined by Obama’s failure to secure support for a Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) bill so that he can sign the TPP and then have it ratified by Congress with a single “yes” or “no” vote. Without TPA, Congress could force amendments to the negotiated pact, effectively rendering the agreement void.

According to a Japan Times report: “Several negotiating partners, including Canada and Japan, have publicly stated they will not put their final negotiating positions on the table until Congress grants TPA for the Obama administration. With a presidential election looming in the United States, further delay creates a real risk of TPP being delayed until 2017.”

Much of the US congressional resistance is bound up with protectionist lobbies, based on national-based industries and their trade unions. In response, the Obama administration is ramping up a campaign that explicitly spells out the expected benefits to corporate America.

On March 30, the White House published letters from former senior economic officials, including 10 ex-commerce secretaries representing every administration, Democratic and Republican, since 1973, urging congressional leaders to give Obama TPA authority.

The commerce secretaries stated: “Once completed, the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) will give the United States free trade arrangements with 65 percent of global GDP and give our businesses preferential access to a large base of new potential customers.”

This demand for “preferential access” by US imperialism threatens to break up the world economy into the kind of rival blocs that preceded World War I and World War II.

Edited by Zuo Shou

Article link: http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2015/04/04/tppo-a04.html

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/

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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