Archive for the Ukraine Category

‘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/

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US-backed Kiev regime faces military debacle in east Ukraine war [World Socialist Website]

Posted in Russia, Ukraine on February 21, 2015 by Zuo Shou / 左手
By Alex Lantier
20 February 2015

Reports of the fighting in the strategic east Ukrainian city of Debaltseve make clear that the US-backed Kiev regime sustained a humiliating defeat this week.

Late Wednesday, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko claimed that six soldiers had been killed and 100 wounded in a hurried evacuation of Debaltseve.  He justified the evacuation by claiming that 2,475 soldiers and 200 military vehicles had been pulled out in time from the encirclement maneuver launched by Russian-backed forces of the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR).

Yesterday, Poroshenko revised the casualty count upwards to 13 killed, 157 wounded, 90 captured, and “at least” 82 missing. However, according to the New York Times, “the number of dead would likely grow considerably higher.”

With estimates of the number of Ukrainian soldiers trapped in the Debaltseve area ranging from 5,000 to 8,000, it appears the Kiev regime’s losses are to be counted in the thousands.  Yesterday, DPR leader Alexander Zakharchenko declared, “We have completed an operation to clear Debaltseve.  Unfortunately, Ukrainian authorities have failed to listen to reason and lay down arms … The losses of the Ukrainian Armed Forces in the [Debaltseve] pocket are estimated at around 3,000 to 3,500.”

Zakharchenko said that DPR authorities were negotiating with the Kiev regime for the return of the bodies of the fallen and the release of Ukrainian prisoners of war.

“The amount of equipment Ukrainian units have lost here is beyond description.  We have taken loads of ammunition both in Debaltseve and Uglegorsk,” said Zakharchenko.  He added that the Kiev regime had “lost its best units and a large amount of hardware and ammunition in the Debaltseve trap.”  He said many fighters from the Ukrainian 128th mountain rifle brigade, the 8th special force regiment, and the far-right Ukrainian National Guard had been killed.

DPR officials claimed yesterday that they were ending major combat operations.  DPR Defense Ministry spokesman Eduard Basurin said, “On the whole, the situation along the contact line is gradually stabilizing.  Units of the DPR’s armed forces strictly abide by a ceasefire and don’t fall for sporadic provocations by Ukrainian troops.”

Basurin reported, however, that fighting was still ongoing to crush isolated groups of Kiev regime fighters on the outskirts of Debaltseve.

Interviews of Ukrainian troops by Western journalists sympathetic to the Kiev regime painted a picture of total collapse.  Ukrainian supply lines to Debaltseve were cut off for a week by DPR forces prior to the final assault, the Guardian reported, calling the Kiev regime’s situation in east Ukraine “catastrophic.”

“We knew that if we stayed there, it would definitely either be captivity or death,” Ukrainian Lieutenant Yuriy Prekharia told the Guardian .

Ukrainian troops refused a DPR offer to let them to retreat unharmed if they abandoned their arms, and they repeatedly came under artillery and small arms fire as they fled.  Medic Albert Sardarian said that after his column of armored vehicles carrying 1,000 men came under artillery fire, survivors had to flee on foot, leaving their dead and wounded behind.

As Ukrainian soldiers fleeing from Debaltseve arrived in Artemivsk, New York Times journalists reported, “Many soldiers were in a demoralized and drunken state.  Shellshocked soldiers from the battle in Debaltseve wandered the streets through the day Wednesday, before beginning to drink heavily…At Biblios, an upscale restaurant in Artemivsk, soldiers staggered about in the dining room, ordering brandy for which they had no money to pay, and then firing shots into the ceiling as other guests quietly fled the premises.”

The debacle suffered by the Kiev regime exposes the utterly reckless and frankly stupid character of the policy pursued by Washington and its EU allies in Ukraine.

One year ago, Washington, Berlin and the other NATO powers backed a putsch led by pro-Nazi forces of the Right Sector, exploiting the right-wing, pro-EU Maidan protests to topple President Viktor Yanukovych.  The putsch had no popular support, and the Maidan protests rarely gathered more than a few thousand people bused in from western Ukraine.  The regime that emerged, led by right-wing forces, including the fascist, anti-Russian Svoboda Party, deeply alienated the population in the more pro-Russian industrial heartland of east Ukraine.

The initial attempts of the Kiev regime and its CIA backers to subjugate east Ukraine by sheer military terror, relying on fascist militias and select units of the Ukraine army that it considered to be reliable, have failed.  Popular opposition and covert Kremlin support for east Ukrainian forces has sufficed to defeat those units that Kiev could throw against the Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

Nevertheless, Washington is pressing Kiev to prepare for a renewed offensive and is still discussing directly arming the Ukrainian army against Russia with US weapons. While Washington pursues a strategy that could trigger a direct conflict between NATO and Russia, a nuclear-armed power, its proxy regime in Kiev is disintegrating.

In west Ukraine, the population is evading or resisting draft orders to obtain more cannon fodder for the east Ukraine war. At the same time, Ukraine’s economy, cut off from its main industrial base in east Ukraine and its export markets in Russia, is collapsing.

“The country is at war that they cannot afford to fight. There is no economy any longer. When you look at where the industrial base of Ukraine is, and the conflict going on in the east, there is absolutely no doubt as to why it is happening,” Gerald Celente of Trends Journal told Russia Today. “That $160 billion loss of trade with Russia has destroyed the economy, when it was already in a severe recession. It went from very bad to worse than depression levels..,”

Excerpted; full article link:  http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2015/02/20/ukra-f20.html

 

New evidence implicates pro-US opposition in Maidan killings during Kiev coup [World Socialist Website]

Posted in False flag, Fascism, France, Germany, Media cover-up, Media smear campaign, NATO, Russia, Ukraine on February 19, 2015 by Zuo Shou / 左手
By Andrea Peters
16 February 2015

Further evidence has emerged that the deadly shootings on Independence Square (Maidan) in Kiev last February, in the final stages of the NATO-backed putsch that ousted pro-Russian Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, were carried out by the far-right.

Recently published investigative coverage by the BBC and the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) in Germany indicates that snipers were recruited by fascist forces to fire on targets on the Maidan. Until that point, police had engaged in violent confrontations with anti-government protesters but had yet to resort to live ammunition.

This suggests that the far-right forces were trying to escalate the conflict, in order to shatter plans for a negotiated settlement that European officials were trying to work out between the Yanukovych regime and the far-right, pro-NATO opposition forces.

The 98 deaths during the Maidan protests—now referred to as the “Heavenly Hundred”—were utilized to promote the myth that the fascist-led coup was a democratic movement of peaceful protesters martyred by Ukrainian riot police. The Kiev regime established the “Order of the Heavenly Hundred,” which recognizes people for “civic courage, patriotism, the upholding of constitutional principles of democracy.” Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko recently declared February 20 the “Day of the Heavenly Hundred Heroes” to commemorate the “Revolution of Dignity.”

The BBC and FAZ investigations give the lie to this propaganda. They point to the anti-democratic intrigue that underlies the current Kiev regime and ongoing US provocations against Russia in the region, which threaten the world with what France’s president recently described as “total” war…

Excerpted; full article link:  http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2015/02/16/maid-f16.html

Croatia Elects Former NATO Official President [Strategic Culture Foundation]

Posted in Albania, Anti-communism, CIA, Croatia, EU, European Union, Georgia, Germany, NATO, Nazism, Poland, Ukraine, US imperialism, USA, USA 21st Century Cold War, USSR, Yugoslavia - former FRY on February 11, 2015 by Zuo Shou / 左手

2015/1/15

by Wayne Madsen

Croatia has become the latest European nation to propel a confirmed Atlanticist and former resident of the United States into high political office. Conservative politician and former NATO assistant secretary general for public diplomacy Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic defeated incumbent center-left president Ivo Josipovic by a…razor-thin vote. In the case of Croatia’s second-round, the vote was 50.54 percent for Grabar-Kitarovic to 49.46 percent for Josipovic…

Grabar-Kitarovic’s majority was enabled by receiving the required 21,000-vote majority from Croatians living abroad. Grabar-Kitarovic lived as a graduate student in Washington, DC and Boston and soon became Croatian ambassador in Washington and the chief propaganda assistant to NATO’s neoconservative Secretary General, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, the former Danish prime minister.

As an international exchange student, Grabar-Kitarovic graduated in 1986 from Los Alamos High School in New Mexico, the home to the Los Alamos National Laboratories, where U.S. intelligence and military agencies develop the latest nuclear weaponry and other warfare technology…

…Grabar-Kitarovic’s political science master’s thesis at the University of Zagreb in Croatia was titled «American-Soviet Relations during the Reagan Administration and the End of the Cold War», which is very reminiscent of the Cold War academic pursuits of former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Rice’s PhD dissertation dealt with the Czechoslovak Army and the Communist Party. Her book, which was based on her dissertation, was titled, «The Soviet Union and the Czechoslovak Army, 1948-1983: Uncertain Allegiance». During her PhD studies at the University of Denver, Rice was taken under the wing of Dr. Josef Korbel, the father of former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, whose god-daughter, Susan Rice is Barack Obama’s national security adviser. Korbel, Albright, the two Rices, and Grabar-Kitarovic represent a post-World War II U.S. intelligence operation to groom the next generation of Cold Warriors and seed U.S. citizens and residents of Eastern and Central European descent into the top echelons of government from Estonia to the Republic of Georgia.

Croatia, along with Albania, were the last two countries to join NATO. Croatia joined the Western military bloc in 2009.

Grabar-Kitarovic is a member of the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ), the neo-fascist oriented party of the late Croatian president Franjo Tudjman. She served as foreign minister of Croatia from 2005 to 2008 and was instrumental in pushing for Croatia’s joining the European Union in both that position as European Integration Minister from 2003 to 2005. Croatia joined the EU in 2013. EU membership brought Croatia the fourth-highest unemployment rate in Europe and a 50 percent jobless rate of Croatians under the age of 25. These statistics, which should have hurt the pro-EU Grabar-Kitarovic’s razor-thin victory in the presidential election even more suspicious and dubious.

Grabar-Kitarovic was a resident Fulbright scholar at George Washington University in Washington, DC where she specialized in international relations. Fulbright scholarship programs are used by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency to recruit foreign students with future political potential into the ranks of the intelligence agency’s vast network of assets and agents.

Eastern and Central European governments teem with such American agents of influence and intelligence assets…[examples follow, see original article]

…Grabar-Kitarovic is just the latest American agent-of-influence to lead a NATO country in Eastern/Central Europe. Placing American puppets in governance of supposedly-independent nations is reminiscent of Nazi Germany’s and Fascist Italy’s appointment of puppet leaders and administrators in some of the same nations where U.S. lackeys now rule. Today, hardly a soul recalls the names of these puppet entities: the Lokot Autonomy, the Principality of the Pindus, and the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia. Grabar-Kitarovic is the ideological heir of the puppet Nazi State of Croatia, which was led by the fascist Ustashe movement, from which Grabar-Kitarovic’s HDZ party receives so much of its inspiration.

Excerpted by Zuo Shou

Full article link: http://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2015/01/15/croatia-elects-former-nato-official-president.html

French, European imperialists escalate Islamophobia [Workers World]

Posted in Afghanistan, Anti-Arab / Antisemitism, Anti-Islam hysteria, Belgium, CIA, Economic crisis & decline, Fascism, France, Genocide, Germany, Guantanamo Bay concentration camp, Iraq, Obama, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Spain, Syria, Torture, Turkey, U.K., Ukraine, US "War on Terror", US foreign occupation, US imperialism, USA, Yemen on January 26, 2015 by Zuo Shou / 左手

By Fred Goldstein January 19, 2015

French, U.S. and British imperialism and their partners, each in their own way and for their own aims, are determined to escalate wars abroad and repression at home.

The French ruling class has imposed an undeclared state of siege on its own Muslim population and has used troops in North and West Africa to repress rebellions protesting the publication of Islamophobic cartoons in the magazine Charlie Hebdo.

French President Francois Hollande, of the misnamed “Socialist Party,” has declared that France is “at war,” echoing a previous statement by Prime Minister Manuel Valls. France has deployed 122,000 heavily armed troops and police throughout the country and has declared a “high alert.” Soldiers and police with heavy weapons patrol the streets, train stations and other public places. Raids have been carried out and dozens of people arrested.

In neighboring Belgium, the authorities deployed 300 troops to Antwerp and Brussels, carried out sweeps and shot two people dead in a raid in the town of Verviers. In Germany, Interior Ministry spokesperson Tobias Plate spoke of an “abstract high danger” as the authorities deployed 250 police in pre-dawn raids. The racist frenzy in France led to the stabbing death in a village outside Avignon of a Moroccan man, Mohamed El Makouli, by an Islamophobic neighbor.

Imperialists step up international aggression

The European imperialists are doubling down on their attacks abroad as well. The French government is flying Mirage jets over Iraq in a joint operation with the U.S. Instead of addressing the crushing poverty and racism suffered by the millions of French youth and workers of African or Middle Eastern ancestry, the answer of the regime is to deploy troops and step up surveillance in the oppressed communities and at airports.

Instead of pulling back from war on Muslim people in Iraq, Syria and North and West Africa, the Hollande regime is pressing ahead with the policies that led to the attacks against the unspeakable racism and chauvinism expressed by the cartoons of Charlie Hebdo.

Hollande and his fellow imperialists organized a mass march in Paris on Jan. 11 allegedly for “free speech,” which defended and celebrated the magazine that insulted the religion of nearly 2 billion oppressed people worldwide. In fact, you do not have to be religious at all to be revolted by the arrogant, insensitive depiction of the Prophet Muhammad in sexual poses and other objectionable images.

Hollande is partly motivated by the fact that his popularity in France was at a dismally low point before the crisis. And he is struggling to fend off challenges from the fascist National Front Party, led by Marine le Pen, who got a quarter of the vote in the 2014 election for the European Parliament. It is characteristic of social democrats such as Hollande that the way they fight the right is to move to the right themselves and occupy the political territory of the National Front.

President Obama and his administration have been trying to bob and weave through the crisis. The Obama administration stayed away from the Paris demonstration. Attorney General Eric Holder, who was in Paris just blocks away at a conference, stayed away from the march.

Washington is universally hated by Muslims

This is for purely imperialist purposes. Washington is the most universally hated power by Muslims — from the Middle East to Pakistan, to Afghanistan to Yemen and Somalia, and other parts of the world — for its wars of aggression, its drone strikes, its torture policies, its massacres of civilians, its prisons from Abu Ghraib to Guantanamo, and more.

The recent exposure of the CIA torturers in the Senate Intelligence Committee report is filled with graphic descriptions of U.S. torture. These have been read around the world. Washington is trying to placate Muslim public opinion and has even banned references to “Islamic extremism.” In addition to the fact that the neocons and militarists in Washington despise French imperialism and do not want to increase its prestige, they certainly did not want to be identified with defense of the insult to the Prophet Muhammad at a time when they are escalating their attacks on Muslims in Iraq and Syria and at home.

Washington and the Pentagon have no intention of pulling back on their aggression. Obama held a joint press conference on Jan. 16 with his junior partner, British Prime Minister David Cameron, to announce common measures to “fight terrorism.” Cameron announced new cooperation in the war in Iraq and in Ukraine, among other gestures of imperialist subordination.

But Washington intends to keep leadership of the imperialist assault against the oppressed. While in Paris during the march, Eric Holder announced that the administration will host a summit in Washington on Feb. 18 on preventing violent extremism.

Washington recently announced a new deployment of 1,000 U.S. troops to Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey. They will be used to train carefully vetted, Pentagon-approved Syrian counterrevolutionaries in order to build up a 5,000-person force to continue the war against Syria and the Islamic State.

Washington is also behind the counterrevolutionary government of Petro Poroshenko in Ukraine, which is planning a new offensive to try to recapture the east from anti-fascist forces of resistance to a U.S.-Europe takeover.

Rise of Islamophobia

The background on the rise of Islamophobia is the growing economic crisis that is engulfing Europe. Islamophobia has become the battle cry of the ultra-right and fascist forces in Europe, just as racism, sexism and homophobia make up the battle cry of right-wing extremists and fascists in the U.S.

Fascist, Islamophobic and anti-Semitic parties exist in France, Germany, Britain, Belgium, Sweden, Greece and other countries in Europe. Prior to the most recent publication of cartoons defaming the Prophet Muhammad, there were demonstrations throughout Europe demanding crackdowns on immigration and immigrants.

In recent days specific Islamophobic demonstrations have taken place in Germany and France. It is an illusion that Islamophobia can be stopped by a government ban of right-wing demonstrations.

The social soil for political reaction exists in France, for example, where the official unemployment rate is 10 percent and youth unemployment is 20 percent. At the same time, unemployment rates have reached 40 percent in the oppressed neighborhoods.

French capitalism, and European capitalism in general, has been unable to lift itself out of the global capitalist crisis which began in 2007. There has been no recovery for the European working class. Unemployment in the eurozone, as in France, is above 10 percent, and youth unemployment is double that. In some countries such as Greece and Spain unemployment is between 15 and 20 percent.

This is part of a general crisis of overproduction that has plagued the global profit system and which is intensifying every month. Right now the right wing has seized the advantage and is feeding on the discontent of the masses to garner support for divisive, racist ideology. This is aggravated by the inability of the capitalist governments to turn the economic situation around.

Persistent and growing unemployment should be a signal for a revival of the working-class movement. It is high time for the communists and progressive, anti-racist, anti-imperialist and pro-working class forces to unite to defend the Muslim population and push back the fascists.

Copyright © 2015 Workers.org

Article link: http://www.workers.org/articles/2015/01/19/french-european-imperialists-escalate-islamophobia/

China challenges US economic war against Russia [World Socialist Website]

Posted in BRICS - Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa, China, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, NATO, Neo-colonialism, Obama, Pentagon, Russia, SCO Shanghai Cooperation Organization, Sino-Russian, Syria, Ukraine, US imperialism, USA, USA 21st Century Cold War, USSR, Wall Street on January 7, 2015 by Zuo Shou / 左手

By Alex Lantier
23 December 2014
Directly challenging the NATO powers’ policy of cutting off credit to Russia to undermine the ruble and bankrupt the Russian economy, China is pledging to extend financial aid to Moscow.

On Saturday, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi stressed the need for mutual aid between China and Russia in remarks on the ruble crisis, which has seen a drastic 45 percent fall in its value against the dollar this year. “Russia has the capability and the wisdom to overcome the existing hardship in the economic situation,” Wang said. “If the Russian side needs it, we will provide necessary assistance within our capacity.”

On Sunday, Chinese Commerce Minister Gao Hucheng told Hong Kong’s Phoenix TV that Beijing would strengthen ties with Moscow in energy and manufacturing, predicting that Chinese-Russian trade would hit its target of $100 billion this year despite the ruble crisis. As the ruble’s value in dollars or euros swings wildly, Gao proposed moving away from the dollar in financing Chinese-Russian trade and instead using the Chinese currency, the yuan or renminbi.

Gao said China would focus on “fundamental factors such as how the two economies complement each other,” Reuters reported. “Capital investors may be more interested in a volatile stock or foreign exchange market. But in terms of concrete cooperation between the two nations, we shall have a balanced mentality and push forward those cooperations,” Gao said.

Yesterday, China Daily cited Li Jianmin of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences saying that aid to Russia could pass through channels like the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) or the BRICS forum. Significantly, both the SCO (an alliance of China, Russia, and Central Asian states) and the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) exclude the United States and Europe.

Li noted that already last month, when Chinese and Russian premiers Li Keqiang and Dmitry Medvedev met in Kazakhstan, they signed extensive deals on railways, infrastructure and development in Russia’s Far East region, north of China. “Loans, cooperation in major projects, and participation in domestic infrastructure investment in Russia are options on the table,” he added. In one such deal last month, China signed a $400-billion, 30-year deal to buy Russian gas.

These offers of assistance cut across the economic war on Russia launched by US and European imperialism to punish Moscow for opposing their neo-colonial restructuring of Eurasia.
In retaliation for Russian support for President Bashar al-Assad against NATO’s proxy war in Syria and Russian opposition to the NATO-backed Ukrainian regime in Kiev, the NATO powers sought to financially strangle Russia. As Russian oil revenues fell in line with the fall in world oil prices and the ruble collapsed, they worked to cut off credit to Russia and demanded that Russia acquiesce to the Kiev regime.

The basic financial mechanism of this strategy was laid out in London’s Financial Times by Anders Aslund of the Petersen Institute for International Economics. “Russia has received no significant international financing—not even from Chinese state banks—because everybody is afraid of US financial regulators,” he wrote. With a yearly capital outflow of $125 billion, liquid foreign currency reserves of only $200 billion, and total foreign debts of $600 billion, Russia would run out of dollars and be bankrupted in as little as two years, Aslund calculated.

Now, however, Beijing appears to be accepting the risk of a showdown with the United States and publicly preparing to throw a financial lifeline to Russia. Chinese currency reserves of $3.89 trillion are the world’s largest and, on paper at least, allow Beijing to easily repay Russia’s debts.

Significantly, the calls of Wang and Gao to aid Russia came a day after a divided European Union (EU) summit on Russia last week. Though the EU supported US sanctions against Russia, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, French President François Hollande and Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi all publicly opposed calls for more sanctions. Leading European newspapers also warned of the risk of a collapse of the Russian state…

…The economic conflicts erupting between the major powers over the oil crisis and the imperialist war drive in Eurasia testifies to the advanced state of the crisis of world capitalism, and the rising risk of world war.

Chinese aid to Russia, should it materialize, will exacerbate US conflict with China. Washington has tried to militarily encircle it through the “pivot to Asia,” allying with Japan, Australia, and India. Plans for war with China, both economic and military, are doubtless being pored over on Wall Street and in the Pentagon.

A year ago, in an article titled “China must not copy the Kaiser’s errors,” Financial Times columnist Martin Wolf warned China against any action that could be construed as a challenge to US global hegemony. He indicated that a Chinese policy replicating the German Kaiser’s challenge to British hegemony before the outbreak of World War I in 1914 would lead to a similar outcome: all-out conflict.

“If open conflict arrived, the US could cut off the world’s trade with China. It could also sequester a good part of China’s liquid foreign assets,” Wolf wrote, recalling that China’s “foreign currency reserves, equal to 40 percent of GDP are, by definition, held abroad.” Such naked theft of trillions of dollars that China has earned from trade with the United States and Europe would directly raise the prospect of a collapse of global trade and preparation for war between nuclear-armed powers.

With its ever more reckless and violent policies, US imperialism is vastly overplaying its hand, discrediting itself at home and fueling opposition from rival states. By driving Russia and China together, in particular, Washington is undoing what was long seen as a major achievement of US imperialist statecraft: the 1972 rapprochement between US President Richard Nixon and Chinese leader Mao Zedong, which turned China into a US ally against the former Soviet Union.

“Many Chinese people still view Russia as the big brother, and the two countries are strategically important to each other,” Renmin University Associate Dean Jin Canrong said, referring to Soviet backing for China as it fought the United States in the Korean War, shortly after the…Chinese Communist Party (CCP) came to power in 1949. “For the sake of national interests, China should deepen cooperation with Russia when such cooperation is in need.”

“Russia is an irreplaceable partner on the international stage,” the CCP-linked Global Times wrote in an editorial yesterday. “China must take a proactive attitude in helping Russia walk out of the current crisis.”

Edited by Zuo Shou

Article link: http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2014/12/23/chin-d23.html

US torture report exposes European powers’ involvement in CIA crimes [World Socialist Website]

Posted in Albania, Austria, Belgium, CIA, Croatia, Czech Republic / Czechoslovakia, Denmark, France, George W. Bush, Germany, Greece, Guantanamo Bay concentration camp, Iceland, Italy, Libya, National Security Agency / NSA, NATO, NSA, Poland, Police State, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Syria, Torture, Turkey, U.K., U.K. War Crimes, Ukraine, US "War on Terror", US Government Cover-up, US imperialism, USA on December 14, 2014 by Zuo Shou / 左手

By Alex Lantier
12 December 2014

The publication of the US Senate Intelligence Committee report on CIA torture has exposed the European powers’ complicity in ghastly crimes of US intelligence. Even though European states’ complicity in CIA torture and rendition operations has been documented for nearly a decade, no European officials have been held accountable.

In 2005, the Council of Europe tasked former Swiss prosecutor Dick Marty with preparing a report on secret CIA prisons in Europe. He released two reports, in 2006 and 2007, documenting the complicity of dozens of European states in setting up facilities for illegal CIA rendition and torture. The states involved included Britain, Germany, Belgium, Italy, Greece, Turkey, Cyprus, Spain, Portugal, Finland, Sweden, Iceland, Denmark, Austria, the Czech Republic, Croatia and Albania.

The existence of approximately 1,000 CIA flights and of secret prisons in Bosnia-Herzegovina, in Bucharest (Romania), Antavilas (Lithuania), and Stare Kiejkuty (Poland) has since been confirmed.

Nonetheless, after the US Senate recognized CIA use of the grisliest forms of torture — including murder, sexual assault, sleep deprivation and forcing inmates to stand on broken limbs —officials across Europe reacted by insisting that they should enjoy immunity.

Top officials of the Polish government, which is appealing a July ruling against it over its role in CIA torture by the European Court on Human Rights, denounced the report. “Certain secrets should stay that way,” said Polish Defense Minister Tomasz Siemoniak.

Polish prosecutors have been investigating the case for six years, including a two-year investigation of former Polish intelligence chief Zbigniew Siemiatkowski, without bringing any charges. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the alleged mastermind of the September 11 attacks, was waterboarded as soon as he arrived at Stare Kiejkuty. One medical officer there noted: “We are basically doing a series of near-drownings.”

Other detainees at Stare Kiejkuty, which housed Saudi, Algerian and Yemeni detainees, were subjected to mock executions with a power drill while standing hooded and naked.
Former Polish President Aleksander Kwasniewski lamely claimed that CIA officials did not explain how they planned to use their secret prisons in Poland. “It was a question as we saw it only of creating secret sites,” he said, adding that he closed down the facility in 2003 because “the Americans’ secret activities began to worry” Polish authorities.
Lithuanian officials confirmed that the black site named “detention center Violet” by the US Senate report appears to be the Lithuanian detention center near the capital, Vilnius, identified in a 2009-2010 parliamentary investigation. Lawmaker Arvydas Anusauskas told Reuters, “The US Senate report, to me, makes a convincing case that prisoners were indeed held at the Lithuanian site.”

Abu Zubaydah, a Saudi detainee now kept at Guantanamo Bay, has stated that he was kept and tortured at the site. Washington paid the Lithuanian government $1 million to “show appreciation” for operating the prison, according to the US Senate report, though the funds were reportedly paid out through “complex mechanisms.”

Lithuanian Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevicius has asked Washington to confirm whether or not the CIA tortured prisoners at its secret prisons in Lithuania.

British Prime Minister David Cameron dismissed the issue of torture and Britain’s role in rendition flights to countries including Libya, saying that it had been “dealt with from a British perspective.” He told the public to trust British intelligence to police itself, as official investigations had “produced a series of questions that the intelligence and security community will look at … I’m satisfied that our system is dealing with all of these issues.”

In fact, the CIA torture report has revealed the advanced state of collapse of democratic forms of rule not only in the United States, but also in Europe. What has emerged across Europe since the September 11 attacks is the framework of a police state far more technically powerful than even the most ruthless dictatorships of twentieth-century Europe. The methods deployed as part of the “war on terror” will also be used against opposition in the working class to unpopular policies of austerity and war.

European governments participate in the digital spying on telecommunications and Internet activities of the European population, carried out by the US National Security Agency and its local counterparts, as revealed by Edward Snowden. They also are planning joint repression of social protests, based on talks between German federal police, France’s Gendarmerie, and other security forces with the European Commission.

“During my investigation, people called me a traitor and said I was making things up,” Marty told the Tribune de Genève. “The Europeans disappointed me. Germany, the United Kingdom, and many others blocked the establishment of the truth. In fact, most European countries actively participated in a system that legitimated large-scale state crimes.”

“I think we must recall, and it is very important, that this operation, this anti-terrorist policy, was decided and carried out under the aegis of NATO,” Marty told Swiss television channel RTS.

“The United States invoked Article 5 of the NATO Charter, which says that if one member of the alliance is attacked militarily [e.g., as Washington claimed, on September 11], all NATO members are required to come to its aid,” Marty said. Once this was accepted, he added, “there were a whole series of secret accords between the United States and European powers. And all the European countries pledged to grant total immunity to CIA agents, which is manifestly illegal.”

The European powers’ participation in the CIA torture program underscores the utter hypocrisy of the humanitarian pretensions used to justify operations ranging from NATO wars in Syria and Libya to this February’s NATO-backed, fascist-led putsch in Ukraine.

The ferocious opposition of the European ruling elites to attempts to bring this criminality to light is the clearest indication that the democratic rights of the population cannot be secured by appeals to any section of the state. The defense of the population’s democratic and social rights is a question of the revolutionary mobilization of the working class in an international struggle against European capitalism.

Article link: https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2014/12/12/euto-d12.html