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Thursday, January 15, 2015

A Celebration of Western Hypocrisy



A Celebration of Western Hypocrisy

The Charlie Hebdo White Power Rally in Paris

The “civilized” have created the wretched, quite coldly and deliberately, and do not intend to change the status quo; are responsible for their slaughter and enslavement; rain down bombs on defenseless children whenever and wherever they decide that their “vital interests” are menaced, and think nothing of torturing a man to death; these people are not to be taken seriously when they speak of the “sanctity” of human life, or the conscience of civilized world. (James Baldwin)
We have witnessed the spectacle of Eurocentric arrogance many times over my long years of struggle and resistance to colonial/capitalist domination and dehumanization. The grotesque, 21st Century version of the “white man’s burden,” which asserts that the international community (meaning the West) has a moral and legal “responsibility to protect,” is one current example; the generalized acceptance by many in the West that their governments have a right to wage permanent war against the global “others” to maintain international order is another.
If Europe want to be the slave of the Zionist.....what the diff??
Yet, when we think we have seen it all, along comes the response to the attack at the racist, Islamophobic publication Charlie Hebdo. Even though I shouldn’t be surprised, we are still left in complete wonderment at the West’s unmitigated self-centeredness and self-righteous arrogance.
The millions who turned out on Sunday claimed to be marching in solidarity with the victims at Charlie Hebdo and against terrorism. They were joined by political leaders from across Europe, Israel and other parts of the world – on the same weekend reports were emerging that 2,000 Nigerians may have lost their lives at the hands of Boko Haram so to remember thousand of Palestinian murdered by the zioinist regime.
Surely there would be expressions of solidarity with the survivors in Nigeria at a gathering ostensibly to oppose terrorism and uphold the sanctity of life. But the expressions of solidarity never came. In fact, based on the attention the massacre received from the Western press, it was if the massacre had never happened.
It is clear that there was a different agenda for the march and a different set of concerns for Europe. The people of France mobilized themselves to defend what they saw as an attack against Western civilization. However, the events in Paris did not have to be framed as an existential attack on the imagined values of the liberal white West. Providing some context and making some political links may have been beneficial for attempting to understand what happened in the country and a political way forward beyond the appeal to racial jingoism.
The attack could have sparked an honest conversation about how many Muslims experience life in contemporary France and viewed French policies in various Muslim and Arab nations. It could have examined the relationship between the rise of radical Islam and the connection of that rise to the activities of various branches of the French intelligence services. An open discussion might have framed it as a classic blowback operation resulting from the weaponization of radical Wababanism as a tool of Western power from the late 1970s to its current assignment in Syria. But those ideas were not allowed a forum on that massive stage.
Je Suis Charlie: European lives have always mattered more than others
The Je Suis Charlie slogan like one of those mindless advertising themes meant to appeal to the unconscious and the irrational, nevertheless, has to have cultural reference points, culturally embedded meanings that evoke the desire to want to buy a product, or in this case to identify with an imagined civilization. It does not matter that the supposed superiority of Western civilization and its values is based on constructed lies and myths, it is still the basis of a cross-class, transnational white identity.
The white identity is so powerfully inculcated while simultaneously invisibalized that identification is not seen as the essentialized identity politics that people of color supposedly engage in, instead it is just being “human.” And as we witnessed this weekend and throughout the colonial world, identification with whiteness is not limited by one’s racial or national assignment.
It is not necessary in this short essay to even address the contradictory nature of the European self-understanding, how that self-perception is utterly disconnected from its practice, and how many people in the world see the 500-years European hegemony as an interminable nightmare.However, for those folks who believe the simple assertion that black lives matter and that “racial progress” will be realized through progressive legislative reform derived from a better understanding of the harmful impact of racially discriminatory practices, the unfiltered expressions of white solidarity and the privileging of white life should be a wake-up call.
However, for those folks who believe the simple assertion that black lives matter and that “racial progress” will be realized through progressive legislative reform derived from a better understanding of the harmful impact of racially discriminatory practices, the unfiltered expressions of white solidarity and the privileging of white life should be a wake-up call.
The humanity and cultures of Arabs and Muslims have been denigrated in France for decades. Full recognition of the humanity of Arabs and Muslims has always come at a cost – Arabs and Muslims are required to “assimilate,” to mimic French lifestyles, embrace the language, adopt the values and worldview of their cosmopolitan patrons. Older generations of fully colonized individuals subjected themselves to that degrading ritual, but later generations see this requirement as the colonial assault on their being that it is and have resisted.
It is the arrogant lack of respect for the ideas and culture of non-European peoples that drove the French ban on the wearing of the niqab and other traditional veiling clothing for Muslim women, just one example of the generalized discriminatory treatment of Arabs and Muslims in France. In this lager context, Charlie Hebdo’s blatant disregard and disrespect for another religion, shielded by an absolute commitment to freedom of speech that gives them blanket immunity, is now compounded by the “Je Suis Charlie campaign,” orchestrated in the name of upholding the values of liberal, Western civilization.
What it means for many of us in the colored community is that Je Suis Charlie has become a sound bite to justify the erasure of non-Europeans, and for ignoring the sentiments, values and views of the racialized “other.” In short, Je Suis Charlie has become an arrogant rallying cry for white supremacy that was echoed at the white power march on Sunday in Paris and in the popularity of the new issue of Charlie Hebdo.
What it means for many of us in the colored community is that Je Suis Charlie has become a sound bite to justify the erasure of non-Europeans, and for ignoring the sentiments, values and views of the racialized “other.” In short, Je Suis Charlie has become an arrogant rallying cry for white supremacy that was echoed at the white power march on Sunday in Paris and in the popularity of the new issue of Charlie Hebdo.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Ebola: A Disease of Extraordinary Poverty (1/2)


"It seems to me that although Ebola vaccine have been developed , there is jockeying from various pharmas to be get there first now. So there is vaccines by Johnson&Johnson, GlaxoSmith&Kline and Canadian government but it costs money and until they smell money, they don't do much
Look at this vaccine below. One small American company has bought the license from Canadian government for mere $200k! and even then they did not develop it till they got massive outbreak"

 .....The capitalist agenda of the big pharma.



Allyson Pollock is professor of public health research and policy at Queen Mary University of London. She was previously director of the Centre for International Public Health Policy at the University of Edinburgh and prior to that was head of the Public Health Policy Unit at University College London and director of research and development at University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. She is known for her research into, and opposition to, part privatisation of the UK National Health Service (NHS) via the Private Finance Initiative (PFI) and other mechanisms.


http://www.bloomberg.com/image/isiLU5.FLglQ.jpg
Transcript

SHARMINI PERIES, EXEC. PRODUCER, TRNN: Welcome to The Real News Network. I'm Sharmini Peries, coming to you from Baltimore.

The Ebola virus is taking hold of West African nations, and news of Ebola continues to be one of the most heavily covered stories in the world. Until now, much of the news focused on concerns of screening, containment, and vaccines. Little attention is paid to addressing the root causes of the problem, says our next guest. She says that the social determinants and the role of poverty and political economy of these countries have had very little attention in the media.

Allyson Pollock is professor of public health, research, and policy at Queen Mary University of London. Allyson is joining us today from London.

Thanks a lot for joining us, Allyson.

ALLYSON POLLOCK, PROF. PUBLIC HEALTH RESEARCH AND POLICY, QMUL
: Good afternoon. Thanks for inviting me.

PERIES: Allyson, what is great about the virus today is that if you contract this virus, you have a 55 percent chance that you will die from it. What is happening to the other 45? Why are they surviving? Is it conditions or is it the virus?

POLLOCK: Well, I don't know if that's quite the right question to ask. I suppose we should be asking why are so many people dying of the virus in Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Liberia, where the disease is taking hold. And the real issue is that the high case fatality rate is due largely because this is a disease of extraordinary poverty. So there's malnutrition, poor sanitation, poor nutrition. So that creates poor housing. That creates the economic climate for the spread of the disease.

But on top of that, these three countries, it's no coincidence that these three countries are among the very poorest in the world. And over the last few decades, the little public health care infrastructure they did have has been gradually hollowed out. The problem is not that people are falling sick so much as when they fall sick there hasn't been the means to both contain the disease and to nurse them back to proper health. And so [incompr.] low immune systems and poor social conditions, it means their immunity's reduced and they're more vulnerable to infection and, of course, disease spreads more easily.

But the real issue, of course, is that it should be managed very easily by isolation and quarantine, and also by barrier nursing. But the problem is that it spreads because the infrastructure, the health care systems, cannot support the sick and the needy at the moment.

PERIES: Allyson, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea, they have lots of natural resources. Why are they not able to afford the basic health services required to deal with this problem? What has happened?

Ebola: A Disease of Extraordinary Poverty (1/2)POLLOCK: Well, it's quite a complicated picture, but it really boils down to two or three factors. The first is, of course, some of these countries have had decades of civil war. So money has been spent on fighting, and /ɪtsˈlɛtən/ wars always are disastrous for countries. They always result in the decay and collapse of economies, and it takes a long time to recover. And, of course, wars also result in displaced people, so you have a lot of migration, you have a lot of refugees moving across the border, and that also creates conditions for the propagation of disease. So that's the first thing, economic collapse on the back of major civil wars and mass migration.

The second thing, of course, is, as you rightly say, these countries are very rich. They've got mines, mineral rights, forests, agriculture, palm oil, rubber, coffee, cocoa. So really they've got a lot of natural resources. But we've got a second problem going on, which is, increasingly, foreign direct investors and Western governments have been coming in and using public-private partnerships. There's been sequestration of land and mineral rights and the mines, so that increasingly the people in these countries are being used as employees and as cheap labor. But very little of the resources that are within the country are contained within the country. They're actually flowing out. And they're flowing out through very expensive public-private partnerships and deals where you've seen the undermining and loss of land. You see this especially, for example, in Sierra Leone. And then [incompr.] collapse of the economy, and you've got the foreign direct [snip] coming in. You've also got corruption of governments and government officials. So you've got a whole undermining of the democratic base of countries and their ability to determine their future.

And really this is what we should be looking at is the issue of self-determination. How do these countries, which are among the poorest in the world, which also are very resource-rich, how do they actually recover?

And Western governments play a big role in the determination of their future. The West has benefited hugely, over centuries, actually, in the scramble for Africa, as it's called, undermining the resources and the agriculture and the rights. And the West must now begin to put back even a tiny bit of what it's actually taken away.

PERIES: Allyson, in your interview with Tariq Ali, you indicated that a lot of the health and the infrastructure and social services have been eroded. What has been eroded? What was there before?

POLLOCK: Well, all these countries have had public health care systems, many modeled on the [sort of (?)] U.K. systems of public administration or European systems of public administration. But what's happened is, of course, the doctors and nurses, even if they are being trained in these countries, are either leaving these countries to go and seek employment elsewhere, so you've got a brain drain, or wealthy people are encouraging their children--the wealthy elite--to go and have their education elsewhere, and then they stay away. So it's really critical. I mean, Liberia, which has a population of about 5 or 6 million, has fewer than 100 doctors, fewer than 1,000 nurses. Now, the equivalent in the West would be tens of thousands of doctors and tens of thousands of nurses. So what we've seen is almost no capacity there, a complete either--there's no capacity for training and infrastructure, and then there are no incentives to keep doctors and nurses and health care workers in place.

And this is further compounded in some countries in Africa by the entry of public-private partnerships such as those funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates fund and others, where we have the entry of vertical disease programs. So what you have is a parachuting in of workers to tackle single diseases like TB or malaria or AIDS. But what happens, in turn, when you bring in a lot of foreign money and foreign direct investment is that you actually undermine the local economies, because, of course, that then attracts the few remaining doctors, nurses, and workers to these vertical disease programs and actually accelerates the hollowing out of the public health care infrastructure and also results in a major problem. You've got loss of capacity, both at the primary care level, but also in terms of the whole system. You don't have the integrated health care systems anymore.

PERIES: Right. So has there been any dialog with the Melinda and Bill Gates Foundation about addressing, say, Ebola and having a more comprehensive approach to the way in which they provide funds and direct services?

POLLOCK: I mean, there's been a lot of discussion about vertical disease programs and critiques. One of the problems is that these funds are very, very powerful. And then when they're put in conjunction with Western government funding, they drive the new design of health systems, and even of the research. So you've seen the targeting of TB, malaria, AIDS, HIV, for example, we've got these vertical disease programs come in, but they're not integrated anywhere, they're not holistic, and above all, they don't represent /oʊmɑːtə/, in that they're not about health for all and starting with primary care and community health services as the building blocks--together with data and information, as the building blocks of a health system.

And this is one of the--this is not a new problem. This is a really chronic problem is that health care systems are increasingly--the public health care systems which were integrated, which were built up from primary care--very simple, basic measures--are increasingly being verticalized in order to deliver new interventions and technologies, some of which actually [may not be appropriate (?)] for the poorest countries in the world, and some of which are actually distorting and undermining the public health care systems, for example, of Africa. And we've got good illustrations of that, with new interventions around diagnostics and treatments which may not be the essential medicines and essential treatments that governments need.

PERIES: If you wouldn't mind joining me for a second segment so that we can continue this discussion on what an appropriate response at this time might be, I'd appreciate that.

POLLOCK: Yes. Pleased to do so.

PERIES: Thank you for joining us on The Real News Network.

POLLOCK: Thank you very much. Thank you.

PERIES: And thank you for joining us on The Real News Network.
http://ebolaoutbreaknews.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/Dogs-Eat-Dead-Ebola-Victims-from-Graves.jpg
Dog ate Ebola victim.





The Role of Russia and NATO in Ukraine's Civil War

The Role of Russia and NATO in Ukraine's Civil War. 

http://i.telegraph.co.uk/multimedia/archive/02252/putin-obama_2252410b.jpg
See for yourself  After the cold war.

JESSICA DESVARIEUX, TRNN PRODUCER: Welcome to The Real News Network. I'm Jessica Desvarieux in Baltimore. More than 2,600 Ukrainians have been killed in fighting between pro-separatist groups and the Ukrainian government. This civil war is deeply affecting the civilian population, with a million Ukrainians fleeing their homes to become refugees in Russia or other cities within Ukraine. The crisis in Ukraine is center stage at this week's NATO summit in the U.K.. President Obama has already called for increasing NATO support for the Ukrainian government, despite Ukraine not being a member of NATO. Though NATO claims it has no intention of incorporating the country as a member state, Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk has called for steps towards membership, while Russia says any move to enter into the alliance would undermine current peace efforts. 

 Meanwhile, a possible ceasefire still remains on the table after rebel leaders and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko agreed to meet on September 5. Now joining us to help us unpack this conflict is our guest, David Mandel. He joins us from Montreal, and he teaches political science at the University of Quebec in Montreal, and he specializes in countries of the former Soviet Union, and specifically labor. Thank you so much for joining us, David.

 DAVID MANDEL, PROF. POLI. SCI., UNIVERSITÉ DU QUÉBEC À MONTRÉAL: Hi!

 DESVARIEUX: So, David, the mainstream press has made it really difficult to know the basic facts of what's going on. I mean, a lot of the reports are just a compilation of, really, statements and public officials' quotations from them and things of that nature, and there's really know on-the-ground verification by journalists. So, essentially, here at The Real News, we're trying to understand what's happening here. Many U.S. and Western officials place Russian influence at the center of the conflict. And I want to point to a press conference that President Obama recently had. And this is what he had to say about Russia's role.

http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/multimedia/archive/00526/148084070_Ukraine_526535c.jpg
Killing ..carnage in Ukraine

BARACK OBAMA, U.S. PRESIDENT: The violence is encouraged by Russia. The separatists are trained by Russia. They are armed by Russia. They are funded by Russia. Russia has deliberately and repeatedly violated the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine. And the new images of Russian forces inside Ukraine make that plain for the world to see. This comes as Ukrainian forces are making progress against the separatists.

DESVARIEUX: So you just heard President Obama, David. Is Russia the main driver of the rebellion?

MANDEL: Well, there's two competing narratives here. One is the narrative of the government in Kiev, which is firmly supported by U.S. and the NATO countries, that the only cause of this conflict is Russian intervention and Putin's plan to restore the old Soviet Empire. And then there's the Russian narrative which is shared by the militia in Eastern Ukraine, the Donbas, who claim it's fundamentally a civil war. And, in fact, Russia basically denies its involvement, although there's been some admission of volunteers fighting [incompr.]

DESVARIEUX: But what are you saying? What's the truth in all this, then?

MANDEL: My strong sense is it is a civil war, basically, and there is--foreign intervention plays a significant role. But it couldn't play any role if the country were not so deeply divided.

You had reaction of the Eastern and Southern provinces, which are mostly Russian-speaking, to the overthrow of the former government February 21. And immediately there were protests [incompr.] and there were occupations of the buildings. This was a copy of the tactics that had been used by the anti-government forces, the forces that had just overthrown the government, that are basically animated by a desire to get closer to the West and [incompr.] Russian nationalism.

DESVARIEUX: So what about Russia's role in all of this? I mean, we talked about this a little bit before, but do you think that they are sort of causing the situation to escalate by annexing Crimea? And some are pointing to the fact that this anxiety that these NATO countries are having is somewhat justified. Would you agree with them?

MANDEL: Well, it's true. The annexation of Crimea, first of all, gave a boost to anti-Russian nationalist forces in Ukraine, which bolstered the current government. And also it encouraged the forces in the militia and the forces in Eastern Ukraine that regarded the government in Kiev as illegitimate. So, I mean, in that sense it did add fire to the fuel to this conflict.

There's also been--we know there's been--put it this way: we don't really know exactly how much Russia's been aiding, but we know that at least Putin hasn't closed the front, the borders, that, at the very least, volunteers, people have crossed the border to take part, and probably some arms have gone across. But, I mean, as far as arms are concerned, there's tons of arms locally, both captured and within the arsenals, are scattered all around the Eastern part of Ukraine. So I think that's a big issue.

http://www.whatdoesitmean.com/zzr2.jpg
Killing of fellow Ukranian from the Eastern Side - Crimea.

There's a claim now that there's 1,000 Russian troops that have invaded, that have come across. I think the claim came--it was on August 25. That was really a response to the major defeats that the government forces had been suffering, and this was a kind of way of making it look a little bit better. But there's actually no coordination of organized Russian forces. And, anyway, at least what they say is that a majority of the local militia in the East are local people. Their relationship to the rest of the population, I think, is complex. I think the rest of the population doesn't support the government in Kiev, it views it as hostile. As far as supporting, I think by this time everyone's tired. Everyone would like, actually, to return to peace, probably [incompr.] It's not really clear.

But even closer than recently by reliable institutes in Kiev have had found out, as far as the government in Kiev is concerned, the bulk of the population in the East doesn't regard this government is legitimate.


DESVARIEUX: But what about the role of NATO in all this, David? 'Cause some would argue that NATO's decision to provide additional soldiers, weapons, and security, it sort of justifies further Russian response and military preparations.

MANDEL: Yeah, NATO's role has been a very pernicious role. But, of course, it goes back much farther. It goes back, first of all, to the European Union's proposal of economic association. It's basically forced Ukraine to choose between Russia and Europe, whereas the population is divided on this question. In fact, the majority in the surveys before the overthrow of the former government felt that the decision not to go ahead with this European Union, this European agreement, was the correct one, so that from Russia's point of view--and I think there's some basis to it--it looks like another case of regime change on the part of the U.S. and NATO, especially since there was an agreement to form a coalition government in the days leading up to February 21 and the overthrow of the security government. And Russia feels and I think that people in the Donbas feel that this agreement was basically thrown out. And so they formed a government which consisted mainly of--in fact, fully, of politicians that represent the Western provinces, the anti-Russian, Ukrainian-speaking, and pro-Western provinces. And there's no representation at all for the rest of the east and [central provinces, (?)] which are [incompr.] which are close historically, economically, ethnically, family ties, to Russia.

The immediately [where in the east (?)] the opposition, which was unarmed at the beginning and which wasn't demanding separation, and this opposition formed, the government in Kiev immediately called these guys--they're terrorists and launched a so-called anti-terror--in really Orwellian language--antiterrorist operation. In this version has been fully backed by NATO and by the United States, so that today, when the government says, well, this war is not the Civil War, it's a big patriotic war against Russian invaders, it's supported by the West. So, I mean, all this destruction and bloodshed, I think that a lot of it should weigh on the conscience of NATO and the United States.


Transcript
The Role of Russia and NATO in Ukraine's Civil WarJESSICA DESVARIEUX, TRNN PRODUCER: Welcome to The Real News Network. I'm Jessica Desvarieux in Baltimore.

More than 2,600 Ukrainians have been killed in fighting between pro-separatist groups and the Ukrainian government. This civil war is deeply affecting the civilian population, with a million Ukrainians fleeing their homes to become refugees in Russia or other cities within Ukraine. The crisis in Ukraine is center stage at this week's NATO summit in the U.K.. President Obama has already called for increasing NATO support for the Ukrainian government, despite Ukraine not being a member of NATO. Though NATO claims it has no intention of incorporating the country as a member state, Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk has called for steps towards membership, while Russia says any move to enter into the alliance would undermine current peace efforts.

Meanwhile, a possible ceasefire still remains on the table after rebel leaders and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko agreed to meet on September 5.

Now joining us to help us unpack this conflict is our guest, David Mandel. He joins us from Montreal, and he teaches political science at the University of Quebec in Montreal, and he specializes in countries of the former Soviet Union, and specifically labor.

Thank you so much for joining us, David.

DAVID MANDEL, PROF. POLI. SCI., UNIVERSITÉ DU QUÉBEC À MONTRÉAL: Hi.

DESVARIEUX: So, David, the mainstream press has made it really difficult to know the basic facts of what's going on. I mean, a lot of the reports are just a compilation of, really, statements and public officials' quotations from them and things of that nature, and there's really know on-the-ground verification by journalists. So, essentially, here at The Real News, we're trying to understand what's happening here. Many U.S. and Western officials place Russian influence at the center of the conflict. And I want to point to a press conference that President Obama recently had. And this is what he had to say about Russia's role.


BARACK OBAMA, U.S. PRESIDENT: The violence is encouraged by Russia. The separatists are trained by Russia. They are armed by Russia. They are funded by Russia. Russia has deliberately and repeatedly violated the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine. And the new images of Russian forces inside Ukraine make that plain for the world to see. This comes as Ukrainian forces are making progress against the separatists.
http://tribktla.files.wordpress.com/2014/03/ukraine-protest.jpg
Which is which now ?

DESVARIEUX: So you just heard President Obama, David. Is Russia the main driver of the rebellion?

MANDEL: Well, there's two competing narratives here. One is the narrative of the government in Kiev, which is firmly supported by U.S. and the NATO countries, that the only cause of this conflict is Russian intervention and Putin's plan to restore the old Soviet Empire. And then there's the Russian narrative which is shared by the militia in Eastern Ukraine, the Donbas, who claim it's fundamentally a civil war. And, in fact, Russia basically denies its involvement, although there's been some admission of volunteers fighting [incompr.]

DESVARIEUX: But what are you saying? What's the truth in all this, then?

MANDEL: My strong sense is it is a civil war, basically, and there is--foreign intervention plays a significant role. But it couldn't play any role if the country were not so deeply divided.

You had reaction of the Eastern and Southern provinces, which are mostly Russian-speaking, to the overthrow of the former government February 21. And immediately there were protests [incompr.] and there were occupations of the buildings. This was a copy of the tactics that had been used by the anti-government forces, the forces that had just overthrown the government, that are basically animated by a desire to get closer to the West and [incompr.] Russian nationalism.

DESVARIEUX: So what about Russia's role in all of this? I mean, we talked about this a little bit before, but do you think that they are sort of causing the situation to escalate by annexing Crimea? And some are pointing to the fact that this anxiety that these NATO countries are having is somewhat justified. Would you agree with them?

MANDEL: Well, it's true. The annexation of Crimea, first of all, gave a boost to anti-Russian nationalist forces in Ukraine, which bolstered the current government. And also it encouraged the forces in the militia and the forces in Eastern Ukraine that regarded the government in Kiev as illegitimate. So, I mean, in that sense it did add fire to the fuel to this conflict.

There's also been--we know there's been--put it this way: we don't really know exactly how much Russia's been aiding, but we know that at least Putin hasn't closed the front, the borders, that, at the very least, volunteers, people have crossed the border to take part, and probably some arms have gone across. But, I mean, as far as arms are concerned, there's tons of arms locally, both captured and within the arsenals, are scattered all around the Eastern part of Ukraine. So I think that's a big issue.


But even closer than recently by reliable institutes in Kiev have had found out, as far as the government in Kiev is concerned, the bulk of the population in the East doesn't regard this government is legitimate.

DESVARIEUX: But what about the role of NATO in all this, David? 'Cause some would argue that NATO's decision to provide additional soldiers, weapons, and security, it sort of justifies further Russian response and military preparations.


DESVARIEUX: So, for you, David, what is the solution beyond negotiations and a ceasefire? What is a long-term solution? Look, are we talking about federalization, autonomy, or something completely different?

MANDEL: I think, well, first of all, the Ukrainian political system is extremely centralized. It's not a federal system like the United States or like in Canada, so that the governments that ran the different regions or provinces are all appointed and responsible to Kiev. Now, they're not elected by the local population, so that federalization, it's not a big deal. I mean, a lot of states have it and they function quite well. In a country with a population so divided and a state that's so fragile--I mean, Ukraine didn't exist as a state until 1991. So that, it makes a lot of sense. Coming from Canada, living in a French-speaking part of Canada, if Quebec, if it wasn't this kind of asymmetrical federalism where Quebec actually has more power than other provinces, and quite a bit of power and central government, Quebec would have left many, many decades ago.

DESVARIEUX: So you're saying essentially what we have in Canada we could see transported to Ukraine and have a sort of federalization system that way.

MANDEL: Well, that's what would be logical. The question is--I mean, the nationalists and Ukraine say that this is just a step for Russian annexation. And even now with the ceasefire, there's a lot of--the prime minister came out in opposition to the ceasefire. You know, I think that Poroshenko deserves some credit. At least he seems to have the welfare of the country in mind. But Yatsenyuk, the prime minister, who's condemned it as a Russian plot, as a way to [incompr.] the conflict and for the East eventually to join Russia. I mean, he's continuing this line--you know, it's going to continue to lead Ukraine to disaster. I mean, economically, Ukraine is a complete disaster, a basket case. And even the IMF 15 odd 17 billion, that's not going to be enough.

DESVARIEUX: Alright. Well, let's pause the conversation there, because in part two of the conversation, I want to talk about the economics, and specifically the socioeconomic problems and how that's created division within Ukraine and the civil war that we're seeing now.

Islamic State Born of Deteriorating Economic Conditions in Iraq

Islamic State Born of Deteriorating Economic Conditions in Iraq. So, which imperialist destructive touch start all this? Think!!

Vladimir Putin: "Which ever nation touched by US  will turn into chaos just like Libya and Somali". It is Afghanistan the first country touch by evil, followed by Iraq. US a new con imperialist now return as the devil on earth.

Daily turmoil in Iraq cities.

Islamic State Born of Deteriorating Economic Conditions in Iraq.
Poverty and inequality created by the plunder of Iraq's wealth by elites and multinational corporations after the US occupation of Iraq were a great recruiting tool for ISIS, says Professor Sabah Alnasseri of York University's Department of Political Science.

 SHARMINI PERIES, EXEC. PRODUCER, TRNN: Welcome to The Real News Network. I'm Sharmini Peries, coming to you from Baltimore. We're now in part two of an interview we're doing with Sabah Alnasseri. We're going to explore one of the most overlooked dimensions of the rise of the Islamic State, the current economic conditions on the ground that is allowing more and more people in the region to join the IS, or the Iraqi military, for that matter. Several hundred other militias that are also on the ground are gaining momentum. Why is this happening? Why are people opting to become soldiers or militia? Well, it's perhaps the economic conditions on the ground. Now joining us again is Sabah Alnasseri. Sabah Alnasseri is joining us from York University in Toronto, where he is teaching at the Department of Political Science.

 Thank you so much for joining us, Sabah.SABAH ALNASSERI, ASSOC. PROF. OF MID. EAST POLITICS, YORK UNIV.: Good to be with you, 

Sharmini.PERIES: So, Sabah, one of the things that everyone will agree, and when we imagine the IS in the region, we see it gaining momentum, gaining strength. But one of the underlying issues here is, of course, the economic conditions on the ground. What is happening economically in Iraq?

ALNASSERI: Right. I'm glad you asked about the social question, because I think the social question is at the core of all the violence and instabilities and extremism that [are] taking place since years in Iraq--and, by the way, not only in Iraq, but the whole Middle East. You see, according to the ILO, the International Labor Organization, almost 23 percent of the young population in the Arab Middle East are unemployed, and that's the average. But when we talk about Iraq, I would argue it's above 40 percent. And if you would think about that the majority, two-third of the Iraqi population are under 30 years old and 45 percent under 14 years old, you will see hundred of thousand of kids in Iraq--a new phenomenon. These kids, they sell cigarettes and chewing gums and so on on the street to help the parents survived. Decades ago, you wouldn't encounter a single kid on the street. The reason was simple. In 1972, the Ba'athist Party, they wanted to nationalize the oil, so they needed the Communist Party, they needed the working class and trade union. So they built at that time a popular front. And the outcome of this popular front was one of the most progressive constitution in Iraq, or maybe in the Middle East, in which the social rights of the people--free health care, free education, unemployment, and pention, etc.--were constitutionally guaranteed. Even Saddam Hussein, in his worst times in the 1990s and before 2003, didn't dare touch on this constitution. What happens is the first thing that the U.S. did after Bremer--or what people in Iraq call the caliph of Baghdad--in May 2003 issued more than 100 decrees to privatize the economy, the public industry, gas, oil, water, communication, agriculture, etc. What happens is the first thing when they draft the new constitution, the first thing they did away with was precisely the social securities of the people. So in the Constitution now, the state cares for its population as long as the resources are there. But if the resources are privatized so the state cannot do anything, what happens is instead, since the invasion and the occupation of Iraq, what we see is the institutionalization of systematic corruption, or what Marx would term primitive accumulation. So all the public resources were plundered by small elites supported by the U.S. and by international corporation. So now when they accuse the Islamic State of imposing taxes on the people or occupying oilfields or agricultural land and controlling the harvest or smuggling oil and sell it on the black market--by the way, for Turkey, there's--the only way they can do it is through Turkey. So this is a reflection of the overall system that was institutionalized by the U.S. in Iraq, a systematic plunder and looting of the wealth of Iraq. So no wonder when you see a lot of young people, educated or not educated, they have no social guarantees, no prospective whatsoever to find a job or to get a decent education, when they are offered by these extremist group--by the way, all the militias, not only the Islamic State, but all the militias--when they ofter them $500 a month and they share with them some of the land or oil resources or what have you they plunder--so for the young people, there's a systematic plunder at the top of the state. So why not join the groups on the ground and benefit from this primitive accumulation rather than just staying home and being subjugated to all possible intimidation, arrest, and unemployment, etc., etc.?

PERIES: And, Sabah, it's important to recall the Bremer doctrine, as soon as the U.S. invaded Iraq in 2003, destroyed and re-created the state, that it immediately began pursuing neoliberal economic policies that would provide global markets to have access to the oil. And with their creation of the state of this sort began--part of the Sunni population that were previously civil servants were essentially barred from gaining employment in the state. All of this fed to where we are now. And I think if you could shed some light on that history it would be very useful. We lived through that Iraq war, but there's a younger generation now following this, the war with the IS, and don't really understand how we got here economically.

ALNASSERI: Yes. One of the most and the false assumption of the American occupation of Iraq was to say that the majority of the civil servant and the Ba'ath Party, the members of Ba'ath parties, are Sunni, which is not true. The majority of the civil servant--and, by the way, even the Ba'ath party, up to 67 percent were Shiite. So the Ba'ath party was not organized along ethnic or sectarian lines. It was a nationalist party. So you have all segment of the Iraqi population, be them Shiite, Sunni, Christian--and some Kurds, by the way--were in the Ba'ath Party or in the same institutions. So when the United States occupied Iraq and dismantled the whole state institutions and led of hundred of thousands of people--bureaucrats, military police, etc., who were not involved with any act of crimes or terrorization of the population, they created not only a mass of educated and well-trained people who used to run the institutions, state institution, and destroyed the normal function of the state--by the way, until today, the Iraqi populations suffer under this dismantling of the institutions--was still--Iraq was economically organized similar to ex-Yugoslavia under Tito--you have different regions with huge national resources, like gas and oil, especially in the southern part of Iraq, in Basra, for instance--Rumaila oilfield is the biggest in Iraq--and you have it also in the north, especially in Kirkuk. But the western and northwestern provinces of Iraq, which are the biggest provinces in Iraq, they don't have these natural resources. So the way the economy was organized, it was centralized. And the resources from public industries or gas, oil, etc., were then redistributed to all population, regardless if they have resources, natural resources or not. So now when you have a state structured along ethnic lines, what do you see? You see some of the Kurds--not all of them, of course--some of the Kurds, especially the powerful elite in Kurdistan Iraq, and the so-called Shiite party in the south, especially in Basra, trying to be not only autonomous, but to sustain their autonomy economically, which mean a systematic exclusion of million of Iraqi people who happen to be, to live in provinces where they don't have these resources. So that's a systematic exclusion not only politically and institutionally in this state, but also economically. And that's why the majority of the people in the western in northwestern parts of Iraq are the unemployed, the young unemployed people who suffer under this restructuring of the state and the economy.

PERIES: Sabah, we should also be reminded of the Obama plan. When he took office the first time, the withdrawal from Iraq also contained plans for reconstruction, development, and for rebuilding society. I mean, that was one of his big commitments. What has happened to all those plans now?

ALNASSERI: Well, as I said, reconstruction is the surest way for the elite to accumulate wealth qua corruption. What do you see? You see a system of contracting or subcontracting through the state. But who have access to these contracts? The same party, governing party, and their clientalist networks. Those are the people who have the access to international contract, or even domestic contracts, and who secure through this corrupt networking all the major contract of reconstruction and building in Iraq. But what they do is not reconstruction. What they do is they sell this contract to subcontractor, who in his turn sell it to another subcontractor and make money qua speculation and subcontracting rather than pursuing a project of construction. So overall in Iraq, what do you see? Halfway started project, but never ended, when it comes to electricity, to water, to housing, to streets or hospitals, and so on. You don't see project that were fulfilled on time and serve the interests of the people. Rather the contrary. Also almost 14 years after the occupation of Iraq, most of the people of Iraq, they don't have electricity, clean water, or health care, etc. So, as I said, this sustained corruption institutionalized by the U.S. in order to ensure the loyalties of these elites is precisely the core and the cause of all social misery in Iraq. And if there's no radical change here, I don't think that the phenomena of ISIS or Islamic State or any other militia would be resolved in a year or two or three, or ten, for that matter.

PERIES: Are there any glimmers of hope? Is there any sector of the Iraqi population that is organizing that are sort of examples where we could invest more resources and time into?

ALNASSERI: Yes, absolutely. You know, sometimes I would say class consciousness trump the sectarian and ethnic dividing line. So you see when the Islamic State attacked some villages and towns in Ramadi and Falluja (most of the populations are Sunni), most of the family fled these villages and they went to Karbala and Najaf, which is mostly Shiite, but the people there, especially working-class, the poor people, they welcomed them in their homes precisely because they are in the same social situation; or where you can see young Iraqi people in different part of Iraq, a reality which is not so much articulated by the media, because they love violence and terror, etc. (this makes money), but de facto you see around Iraq and different part of Iraq young people getting organized, going on the streets, protesting and demonstrating against the misery, and asking, demanding their rights. Of course they are faced by the same militia who allegedly fight against ISIS but de facto use their weapons against the young protesters who are asking for their demands. So, yes, there are signs of hopes on the ground. And these forces, progressive forces, working together to overcome ethnic sectarian line, they should be supported. They should get all the support and aid they get, not bombing and creating a new conflict and new instabilities. If the U.S. and the European are serious about Iraq and helping the Iraqi people, they should support the democratic progressive movement in Iraq, just like in Tunisia or Egypt and so on, and not side with the military or the militias just because that suit their geopolitical agenda.

 

 

Monday, November 3, 2014

“The only hope for humanity is to have more Vladimir Putins.”

Freedom Rider: Liar in a Tan Suit

by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley.

The only hope for humanity is to have more Vladimir Putins.”
“According to Obama the loss of life and destruction of property in Ukraine is all Russian president Putin’s fault.”
On August 28th, president Obama delivered remarks in the White House press room. That is hardly newsworthy but on that day the president wore a tan suit, not the usual presidential dark blue uniform. This simple fashion choice exposed many things that are wrong with America, from shallow media reporting to popular obsession with trivialities. The substance of the president’s statements was lost in the repetition of nonsense and silly jokes. That is unfortunate because the president used this occasion to tell terribly dangerous lies about this country and the rest of the world.
The primary motivation for the press conference was to repeat the Obama doctrine of enacting regime change against sovereign nations and violating the right of human beings to live without fear of death from the American empire. The president called ISIL “a cancer” not once but twice during the briefing. Of course he neglected to mention that ISIL is the Frankenstein monster created by the United States and NATO interventions which always includes supporting jihadists who inevitably end up turning on their sponsors.
The man who bombed Libya into ruin had the gall to condemn Syrian president Assad for “killing tens of thousands of people.” Assad has the right to protect his country from western intervention and the resulting death toll and massive displacement of people can be laid at the halls of power in Washington, London and Paris. Assad’s ability to withstand the assault has made the West nervous and caused the NATO leadership to begin making desperate and foolish decisions. One of the worst was provoking a coup against the elected leadership of Ukraine and turning it into a western vassal state on Russia’s border.
The western ginned up conflict in Ukraine was of course on the menu of deceit for the guy in the light colored outfit. According to Obama the loss of life and destruction of property in Ukraine is all Russian president Putin’s fault. There is no evidence of a “homegrown, indigenous uprising in eastern Ukraine” said the Peace Prize winner. This assertion would be laughable were it not so dangerous. The western gambit in Ukraine created a civil war pitting one region of that country against another and forcing citizens who didn’t want to be part of the puppet government to take up arms to defend themselves.
“Assad has the right to protect his country from western intervention, and the resulting death toll and massive displacement of people can be laid at the halls of power in Washington, London and Paris.”
They have done a good job of fighting against the western mob and that has sent Obama and his minions into a vortex of panic and impulse. Just days after the great taupe debate NATO announced the formation of a “strike force” meant to counter what it calls Russian aggression. Even as the man in tan blamed Russia for ignoring diplomatic solutions, it is in fact the western nations which have blocked these efforts at every turn. They created the crisis themselves and so have no incentive to undo their dirty work.
So while the West acts like the injured party, it continues to create havoc everywhere on the planet. Obama didn’t announce it on the day of the big fashion reveal but just days later he ordered drone attacks on Somalia, where killing thousands of people isn’t called a war crime because America is the perpetrator. The excuse of fighting al-Shabab “terrorists” should have worn thin by now, but the destruction of Somalia was never a big news story and even if it were, the corporate media would provide the White House with all of the propaganda it wants.
Just one day after Obama’s sartorial choices made headline, Russian president Vladimir Putin also made public remarks and the contrast was striking. It is clear that the saber rattling and talk of strike forces and sanctions are a result of Putin’s ability to give as good as he gets.
Not only can he put the crooks in their place but he can get his digs in too. “Do you remember the joke: ‘Whatever Russians make, they always end up with a Kalashnikov?’ I get an impression that whatever Americans touch they always end up with Libya or Iraq.” All jokes aside, Putin was blunt and warned that “it is better not to mess with us” and in case anyone forgot reminded Obama and company that “Russia is one of the most powerful nuclear states. It’s not words, it is the reality.”
“The only hope for humanity is to have more Vladimir Putins.”
While he was chided by Americans for pointing out the obvious he should have been applauded. NATO behaves as if Russia is a weak nation like Libya or Iraq that can be overthrown easily. The more it is pointed out to them that Russia is their military equal, the safer the world may be.
The only hope for humanity is to have more Vladimir Putins. That is not to say that Putin is somehow virtuous. None of the major world leaders are. All of them have committed human rights abuses and brought war to innocent people. In an age with so much wrongdoing, we are forced to cheer for those people who can stop some of it.
The end of August is always a slow week for news. Perhaps that is why the suit made headlines and set social media ablaze. It is important to comb through the clutter and note that our government’s agenda is to destroy and then acquire. Just ask Iraqis, Libyans or Somalis. The only question is who will be next and how many lies will the White House occupant tell in order to get the dirty job done.
Margaret Kimberley's Freedom Rider column appears weekly in BAR, (not Malaysia Bar Council with it stupid agenda)