Category: Imperialism
Communists condemn Minister Freeland’s violations of sovereignty of Venezuela

Communists condemn Minister Freeland’s violations of sovereignty of Venezuela

Aug 01, 2017

The Communist Party of Canada condemns the latest flagrant violation of the national sovereignty of Venezuela by Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland.Going far beyond the bounds of diplomacy, Minister Freeland attacked the July 30 voting to elect a Constituent Assembly which will have powers to resolve the political crisis in Venezuela. The Liberal government’s claim that the election was “contrary to Venezuela’s Constitution”, and therefore illegitimate, is a lie. Article 347 and 348 of the Bolivarian Constitution outline the president’s right to initiate a National Constituent Assembly.  

These statements are a form of blatant interference in the internal affairs of Venezuela, and openly support efforts by the United States to prepare for outside intervention against the country’s elected government.

Despite the boycott of the constituent assembly elections by the right-wing opposition, and their open calls for violence, over 41% of citizens cast ballots, and 94 percent of polling stations were open. The turnout exceeded the participation in the 1999 referendum that ordered the previous Constituent Assembly to be convened, which was responsible for drafting the current constitution. These figures are highly significant, since the opposition had tried to prevent voting, urging its supporters to set up barricades, block roads and take over the country.

Such threats are far from idle, since most of the recent killings in Venezuela have targeted government supporters. Among the latest reports of violence was an attack by opposition protesters in the community of Borburata, Carabobo state, where stones and petrol bombs were thrown at National Guard members protecting a polling station located in a school.

Over eight million people voted on Sunday, choosing from 6,120 candidates for the 545-member Constituent Assembly, which will allow the Venezuelan people to exercise their popular sovereignty in a truly democratic fashion. The Communist Party of Canada welcomes the outcome of the Constituent Assembly voting, and we urge the labour movement and all democratic-minded and progressive peoples in Canada to speak out against the attempts of US imperialism and its faithful ally the government of Canada, to set the stage for a reactionary coup against the Maduro government.

Central Executive Committee, CPC

Venezuela Crisis: Washington Wants ‘Its’ Country Back
A  woman holds her infant as she casts her vote in front of a mural of the late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez at a polling station during the Constituent Assembly election in Caracas, Venezuela, July 30, 2017.

Venezuela Crisis: Washington Wants ‘Its’ Country Back

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John Wight
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https://sputniknews.com/analysis/201708011056064483-venezuela-crisis-washington-subsidiary/

The word for what has been taking place in Venezuela is an attempt at counterrevolution. Washington wants “its” country back, which is why it is providing both overt and covert support to an opposition determined to return the country to its previous status as a wholly owned subsidiary of Washington.

What needs to be emphasized is that in establishing a Constituent Assembly, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro is acting in full accordance with the Bolivarian Constitution. To wit:

“Article 348: The initiative for calling a National Constituent Assembly may emanate from the President of the Republic sitting with the Cabinet of Ministers; from the National Assembly, by a two thirds vote of its members; from the Municipal Councils in open session, by a two-thirds vote of their members; and from 15% of the voters registered with the Civil and Electoral Registry.”

As to the opposition’s attempts to derail the establishment of the Constituent Assembly with street protests, rioting and a call for a nationwide boycott of the election of delegates to the new assembly, these have been undertaken in contravention of the Constitution, of which Article 349 stipulates: “The President of the Republic shall not have the power to object to the new Constitution.

“The existing constituted authorities shall not be permitted to obstruct the Constituent Assembly in any way.”

It goes without saying, of course, that people cannot eat a Constitution. With food shortages, a shortage of medicines, and rampant inflation the norm, only the most foolish would attempt to suggest that Mr. Maduro and his government have no questions to answer over a crisis that has turned Venezuelan society upside down.

People stand in line to cast their votes at a polling station during an unofficial plebiscite against Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro's government and his plan to rewrite the constitution, in Caracas, Venezuela July 16, 2017
© REUTERS/ Christian Veron
People stand in line to cast their votes at a polling station during an unofficial plebiscite against Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro’s government and his plan to rewrite the constitution, in Caracas, Venezuela July 16, 2017

But those questions are not the same as the ones being asked amid the welter of anti-government media coverage in the West. In what has been tantamount to a frog’s chorus of condemnation, Maduro and his government have been calumniated with the kind of vituperation reserved only for those which dare embark on a program of wealth redistribution in favor of the poor and working class. For such people socialism is anathema, a mortal threat to their conception of freedom as a mechanism by which, per Thucydides, “the strong (rich) do what they can, and the weak (poor) suffer as they must.”

Here is CNN’s treatment of the election, held on 30 July, to mandate the establishment of the Constituent Assembly. “Critics in Venezuela and abroad argue a Maduro mandate would erode any last signs of democracy in the country. ‘It would give the government the opportunity to turn Venezuela into a one-party state without any of the trappings of democracy,’ says Eric Farnsworth, vice president of the Council of the Americas, a business association.”

Two things stand out in this passage. The first is the claim that the Constituent Assembly is undemocratic. Given the aforementioned articles of the country’s constitution this is entirely false. The second is Mr. Farnsworth’s position as “vice president of the Council of the Americas, a business association.”

The Council of the Americas is an organization based in the United States with offices in Washington DC, New York, and Miami. In its mission statement it describes itself as “the premier international business organization whose members share a common commitment to economic and social development, open markets, the rule of law, and democracy throughout the Western Hemisphere.”

Reading this passage, you will struggle to find a more concise, if cryptic, support for free market capitalism and the rights it confers on the rich to exploit the poor in the name of democracy. As author George Ciccariello-Maher points out, “the opposition’s undemocratic aspirations come draped in the language of democracy.”

Opposition supporters attend a rally to pay tribute to victims of violence during protests against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro's government in Caracas, Venezuela, July 24, 2017.
© REUTERS/ Ueslei Marcelino
Opposition supporters attend a rally to pay tribute to victims of violence during protests against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s government in Caracas, Venezuela, July 24, 2017.

Moreover, when we learn that US Vice President, Mike Pence, has been in direct contact with Venezuelan opposition leaders, our collective memory should immediately transport us back in time to Guatemala in 1954, Indonesia in 1965, Chile in 1973, and of course Ukraine in 2014 — previous examples where the US has actively supported coups that have unseated leaders with the temerity to refuse to obey their imperial overlord.

It really isn’t rocket science, especially in the case of a country where a Washington-backed coup was previously attempted and failed in 2002.

Venezuela’s economic problems are predominately down to the collapse in global oil prices that has ensued in recent years. Between 2014 and 2018 the price of crude plummeted from US$96.29 to US$40.68 a barrel, a mammoth drop of over 40 percent. And though the price has recovered in 2017, at US$50.31 a barrel it remains a long way off its peak 2012 price of US$108.45 a barrel.

For a country whose economy is dependent on the price of oil, such a seismic drop can only produce an equally seismic economic shock. Crucially, with oil being Venezuela’s only export commodity of note, the crisis has exposed structural weaknesses in the economy that long predate the arrival on the scene of Hugo Chavez never mind his successor, Nicolas Maduro.

Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro speaks during a meeting with businessmen in Caracas, Venezuela January 9, 2017
© REUTERS/ Miraflores Palace
Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro speaks during a meeting with businessmen in Caracas, Venezuela January 9, 2017

This is not to suggest that President Maduro is without blame for the ongoing crisis. Returning to George Ciccariello-Maher, we learn that a “failing system of currency controls governing the distribution of oil income was never fully dismantled. The result was a destructive feedback loop of black-market currency speculation, the hoarding and smuggling of gasoline and food, and an explosion of already rampant corruption at the intersection of the private and public sectors. Confronted with street protests and food shortages, Maduro responded erratically, supporting grassroots production by communes while simultaneously courting private corporations in a bid to keep food on the shelves.”Events in Venezuela are not taking place in a vacuum. This oil rich country, once a beacon of hope for the continent’s poor, indigenous, and oppressed with the coming of Hugo Chavez to power in 1999, is experiencing the particular challenges involved in trying to create an island of socialism surrounded by a sea of US-dominated capitalism.

Its vulnerability to the volatility of oil prices merely confirms the presence of large reserves of oil can distort rather than enhance a nation’s economic development, particularly in the Global South where economic diversification bumps up against the reality of the domination of global markets by Western financial institutions and corporations.

In the last analysis, it is capitalism not socialism that has failed the people of Venezuela. However socialism is being made to carry the can.

The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Sputnik.
A Thirty Year History of ‘Russian Aggression’
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A Thirty Year History of ‘Russian Aggression’

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Neil Clark
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Repeat after me (by orders of the Neo-Con Thought Police): “Russian aggression,” “Russian aggression,” “Russian aggression.” The phrase has become a mantra, to be repeated (with all the correct arm movements and feigned expressions of outrage), by anyone wanting to be regarded as a “credible” foreign policy commentator in the elite western media.

So let’s talk “Russian aggression” shall we? There’s been quite a lot of it, comrades.

Yugoslavia

In 1999, “Russia” and its Warsaw Pact allies illegally bombed the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia for 78 days — having earlier presented the country with an ultimatum that they later admitted was deliberately designed to be rejected.

Russia’s leadership claimed that Yugoslav forces were committing a “genocide” in Kosovo, and that they had the right to launch a “humanitarian intervention.”

Still from Serbian TV from April 4, 1999 showing a bridge over the Danube in Novi Sad, northern Serbia, some 70 km (40 miles) north of Belgrade, which was destroyed a day earlier by NATO warplanes.
© AFP 2017/ SERBIAN TV
Still from Serbian TV from April 4, 1999 showing a bridge over the Danube in Novi Sad, northern Serbia, some 70 km (40 miles) north of Belgrade, which was destroyed a day earlier by NATO warplanes.

But during this “humanitarian” intervention, many innocent civilians were killed — including at least 20 on a passenger train and a convoy of Kosovan Albanians fleeing the bombing. “The Russians” initially blamed this attack on Yugoslav forces, but evidence showed it was they who carried out the bombing.

After the military campaign ended, “the Russians” intensified their efforts to topple the democratically-elected Yugoslav government.

They poured millions in to what they called the “democratic opposition,” and encouraged violent anti-government protests during the elections of October 2000.

In 2001, a UN court found that there had not after all been a genocide in Kosovo.

An aerial view taken 15 June 1999 of the Pristina central post office which was destoyed by NATO bombing.
© AFP 2017/ RUSSELL BOYCE / REUTERS POOL
An aerial view taken 15 June 1999 of the Pristina central post office which was destoyed by NATO bombing.

After the Yugoslav government was toppled, many social/publicly owned enterprises were privatized. Among those bidding for utilities in “liberated” Kosovo were companies/funds founded by prominent members of “the Russian” government/military elite who had bombed Yugoslavia.A Yugoslav desk officer for “the Russian” Ministry of Foreign Affairs later revealed the real reason the country had been targeted.

“In post-Cold War Europe no place remained for a large, independent-minded socialist state that resisted globalization.”

Afghanistan

In 2001, “Russia” and its Warsaw Pact allies invaded Afghanistan. “Operation Enduring Freedom” was — we were told — a response to terrorist attacks on Moscow which took place in September that year. But sixteen years on, the conflict continues — with over 100,000 Afghans killed.

“Russian forces” regularly bombed weddings in the country and in 2015, a hospital — an action which “the Kremlin” denied was a war crime.

In this Friday, October 16, 2015 photo, an employee of Doctors Without Borders walks inside the charred remains of their hospital after it was hit by a US airstrike in Kunduz, Afghanistan.
© AP Photo/ Najim Rahim
In this Friday, October 16, 2015 photo, an employee of Doctors Without Borders walks inside the charred remains of their hospital after it was hit by a US airstrike in Kunduz, Afghanistan.

In his farewell speech as Afghan President in 2014, Hamid Karzai blamed “the Russians” for the fact that his country was still at war.

“Today, I tell you that the war in Afghanistan is not our war, but imposed on us and we are the victims. One of the reasons was that ‘the Russians’ did not want peace because they had their own agenda and objectives.”

Iraq

In the 1990s, “Russia” bombed Iraq frequently and insisted there could be no easing of genocidal sanctions.

In 1996, “Russia’s” Foreign Minister was asked on television, “is the price worth it?” in relation to the death of half a million Iraqi children due to sanctions. He replied, “I think this is a very hard choice, but we think the price is worth it.”

In 2003, “Russia” and its allies launched a full-scale “Shock and Awe” invasion of Iraq, claiming the country possessed weapons of mass destruction which were a threat to the entire world.

“He [Saddam] claims to have no chemical or biological weapons, yet we know he continues to hide biological and chemical weapons, moving them to different locations as often as every 12 to 24 hours, and placing them in residential neighborhoods,” declared “Russia’s” Defense Minister.

A US soldier looks through a pair of binoculars as a fire in the Rumeila oil field burns in the background in southern of Iraq, Sunday, March 30, 2003.
© AP Photo/ Yonhap/Jin Sung-chul
A US soldier looks through a pair of binoculars as a fire in the Rumeila oil field burns in the background in southern of Iraq, Sunday, March 30, 2003.

One million people lost their lives following the invasion, which turned Iraq into a failed state and led directly to the rise of Daesh. The WMDs — surprise, surprise — never showed up.As in Yugoslavia, “the Russian” leadership had lied.

Libya

In 2011, Russia and its allies launched a military assault on Libya, claiming that its long-serving leader Muammar Gaddafi was about to massacre the inhabitants of Benghazi.

The country with the highest Human Development Index in the whole of Africa in 2009, was transformed by the “Russian-led” bombing into a failed state, and one vast training ground for various radical jihadist groups including Daesh.

Gaddafi himself was killed, with a bayonet stuck up into his anus, leading to laughter from the “humanitarian” “Russian” Foreign Minister — who declared: “We came, we saw, he died!”

Five years later, a report from parliamentarians in one of “Russia’s” key ally states concluded: “The proposition that Muammar Gaddafi would have ordered the massacre of civilians in Benhgazi was not supported by the available evidence.”

But by now, it was too late. Libya had already been destroyed.

Syria

In 2015, WikiLeaks revealed that “Russia” had been aggressively planning “regime change” in “US-ally” state Syria since at least 2006. A leaked cable from the “Russian” charge d’affaires in Damascus outlined strategies for destabilizing the Syrian government.

Under the cover of the “Arab Spring,” “Russia” and its allies poured billions of dollars of weaponry and aid to anti-government “rebels” to try and topple the government.

This Friday, August 23, 2013 file photo, black columns of smoke from heavy shelling in Barzeh, a suburb of Damascus, Syria.
© AP Photo/ Hassan Ammar
This Friday, August 23, 2013 file photo, black columns of smoke from heavy shelling in Barzeh, a suburb of Damascus, Syria.

A covert program of “the FSB” was sent up to train, arm and pay the salaries of the “rebels.” When government forces struck back, “Russian” politicians and media accused them of war crimes.

“Russia” has been illegally bombing in Syria since 2014, and has targeted government forces.

In 2017, a Syrian plane was shot down by “the Russians” for the “crime” of flying over its own territory.

Between 300,000-475,000 people are believed to have died in the conflict.

And this is not all.

Other examples of “Russian aggression” include:

  • Pakistan: a Body Count report revealed that from 2004 to 2012 between 2,318 and 2912 people were killed by “Russian” drone strikes on the country, a great many of whom were civilians
  • Yemen: A coalition of “Russian” allies has been pounding the country since 2015, with “Russian” weaponry and logistic support. Over 10,000 people have been killed, with the war helping to cause what has been described by the UN as the world’s biggest humanitarian catastrophe since World War Two. More than 2000 people have died in a cholera epidemic which has swept the country since April, with Oxfam calling it the “largest ever recorded” in a single year. But “Russia” continues to support the military campaign.
  • Sudan/South Sudan: “Russia” heavily funded the Sudan’s People’s Liberation Movement, and encouraged them to break away from Sudan — a country not allied to “Moscow” — and which “Russia” had bombed in 1997. But South Sudan has been wracked with war — and famine. Yet another Russian intervention resulting in violent chaos.

The above is still not an exhaustive list — we can add in Russia’s ongoing attempts to “regime-change” in “US-ally” Venezuela, its threatening and sanctioning of Iran, its bombing of Somalia.

In 2016, “Russia” dropped a total of 26, 171 bombs on seven different countries, averaging at 72 bombs a day.

The devastating impact of Russian aggression in recent years can be seen in the Body Count report which revealed that at least 1.3 million people had lost their lives in “Russian-led” wars/military operations in the period from September 2001 until 2013 — in just three countries, Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. If we add other countries too, then its clear we’re talking about well over 2 million deaths which can be laid directly at the doors of “the Kremlin.”

Pretty shocking eh? But of course, the above didn’t happen. Or rather it did happen, but the actions described above were taken not by Russia, but by the US and its allies (just click on the links).

To make things even worse, the countries responsible for the aggression which cost the lives of millions of people, and caused chaos and misery around the world, have the effrontery to accuse others of the very crimes they themselves have committed.

Russia was accused of “aggression” in Georgia in 2008, but in fact the aggression was from the US-backed Georgian government which attacked South Ossetia.

Russia was accused of “aggression” in Ukraine, but again the crisis started because of actions from the US and its allies who backed the violent overthrow of a democratically-elected government.

Police officers and opposition supporters are seen on Maidan Nezalezhnosti square in Kiev, where clashes began between protesters and the police.
© Sputnik/ Andrey Stenin
Police officers and opposition supporters are seen on Maidan Nezalezhnosti square in Kiev, where clashes began between protesters and the police.

The democratic wishes of the people of the Crimea to return to Russia, following the unconstitutional “regime change” in Kiev, as expressed in a referendum vote, was twisted into a narrative of “the Russian invasion of Ukraine” by the same crowd of deceitful warmongers who cheer-led for the US-led invasion of Iraq.

Here you can listen to the US-Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, Victoria Nuland discussing who should/shouldn’t be in the new “democratic” government in Ukraine with US Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt:

Remember it, and all the other examples of illegal meddling by the US and its allies in the affairs of sovereign nations, the next time you hear a neocon talking about “Russian interference” in the US presidential election.

Remember too, how the Warsaw Pact was disbanded in 1991, but the US-led Cold War military alliance NATO actually expanded, right up to Russia‘s borders.

Repeat after me: “Russian aggression,” “Russian aggression,” “Russian aggression.”

Has there ever been a better example in the history of international relations of what psychologists call “projection”?

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The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Sputnik.  

When is the World Going to Impose Sanctions on America?
| July 31, 2017 | 7:13 pm | Analysis, Cuba, DPRK, Fidel Castro, Imperialism, Iran, Russia | No comments

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When is the World Going to Impose Sanctions on America?

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John Wight
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https://sputniknews.com/analysis/201707271055924535-sanctions-us-justice/

Only when we are living in a world in which sanctions are imposed ‘on’ the United States rather than ‘by’ the United States will we know justice reigns.

The decision taken by the US Congress to “punish Russia” for alleged meddling in the US elections with the maintenance of existing sanctions has been followed by a bill to weaken the ability of President Trump to “weaken sanctions on Russia,” thus presenting a direct challenge to the President’s authority. The bill was passed in the House of Representatives by an overwhelming majority and at time of writing awaits a hearing in the Senate, which along with the House makes up the US Congress. The legislation also includes new sanctions against not only Russia but also Iran and North Korea, thus maintaining the pattern of waging economic war against states which refuse to accept that Washington’s writ should run wherever it decides whenever it decides.

Economic sanctions are not the benign instrument that some might assume. On the contrary, they are tantamount to an act of war, a means by which economic might is wielded as club to bludgeon ‘recalcitrant’ nations and states into submission. And though sanctions may not evoke the same sense of potency of cruise missiles, they kill just the same. The experience of the Iraqi people leaves no doubt of it.

Between 1990 and 2003 sanctions on Iraq, imposed by the UN, are estimated to have been directly responsible for the deaths of 2 million people, half a million of them children according to Unicef. Multilateral sanctions were imposed on the country in response to Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait in August 1990. Under UN Security Council Resolution 661 it was mandated that UN-member states should prevent all imports originating in Iraq and Iraqi-occupied Kuwait, business activity between nationals of member states and Iraq, and should undertake an embargo of funds or “economic resources” to Iraq or Iraqi-occupied Kuwait, except for medical or humanitarian purposes.

As journalist John Pilger wrote in a March 2000 article:

“Under economic sanctions imposed by the United Nations Security Council almost 10 years ago, Iraq is denied equipment and expertise to clean up its contaminated battlefields, as Kuwait was cleaned up. At the same time, the Sanctions Committee in New York, dominated by the Americans and British, has blocked or delayed a range of vital equipment, chemotherapy drugs and even painkillers. ‘For us doctors,’ said Dr Al-Ali, ‘it is like torture. We see children die from the kind of cancers from which, given the right treatment, there is a good recovery rate.’ Three children died while I was there.”

The sanctions imposed on Iraq were so draconian and sustained that two UN Humanitarian Coordinators in Iraq, Denis Halliday and Hans von Sponeck, resigned in protest. Yet even with the evidence of the role of the sanctions in killing half a million Iraqi children, Washington remained unrepentant. The by now infamous words of former UN Secretary of State Madeleine Albright in 1996, when in response to a question during an interview about the infanticide that was taking place as a result of the sanctions she said “the price is worth it,” exposed the barbarity that lies behind the mask of Western civilization.

The fact the sanctions were only lifted from Iraq after the devastating war unleashed on the country by the US and its UK ally in 2003 had killed countless more children tells its own story.

Cuba has suffered under the iron heel of US economic sanctions and embargo longer than any other country on the planet. A raft of economic sanctions were originally imposed on the island in 1960 by the Eisenhower administration after the Cuban revolution of the previous year succeeded in toppling the US-supported dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista, after which US corporations and businesses that had been operating without restraint in Cuba were expropriated and nationalized.

Miniature flags representing Cuba and the United States are displayed on the dash of an American classic car in Havana, Cuba.
© AP Photo/ Franklin Reyes, File
Miniature flags representing Cuba and the United States are displayed on the dash of an American classic car in Havana, Cuba.

Relations between Havana and Washington turned even more sour two years later when Fidel Castro defied Washington in forging close ties with the Soviet Union. In response, the Kennedy administration imposed complete economic sanctions, which have remained more or less in place over succeeding decades.

As French journalist Salim Lamrani pointed out in a 2016 interview on the history of US sanctions against Cuba:

“The sanctions are anachronistic because they date back to the Cold War. They are cruel because they affect the most vulnerable categories of the Cuban people, not the leaders. Finally, they are ineffective to the extent that the initial goal of overthrowing the Cuban Revolution has clearly failed.”

Most cogently, Lamrani makes the point that “Rather than isolating Cuba internationally, these sanctions have instead isolated the United States.”

The sanctions imposed by the US and its European allies/vassals on Russia, meanwhile, have been justified as a response to ‘Russian aggression’ in eastern Ukraine, along with reunification of of Crimea with Russia in 2014. As I have written previously, this is a false and tendentious rendering of what has occurred in Ukraine and why.

But regardless of the whys and wherefores, the idea that the largest country in Europe with the second most powerful military in the world, whose economy is stable and built on solid foundations, could ever be brought to its knees by economic sanctions is so preposterous it is laughable.

However the mendacity and arrogance behind Washington’s history of imposing economic sanctions against other states is certainly no laughing matter, not when we consider the ineffable human suffering they have caused and continue to cause.

Moreover, a history of subverting, destabilizing, and destroying one country after another is all the evidence needed to label the US a country so drunk with power and a corresponding sense of exceptionalism that the rest of the world would be more than justified in uniting to impose sanctions on it. In fact, given the brutal history of US imperialism the world needs to as a matter of necessity.

As Fidel Castro said, “The United States tyrannizes and pillages the globalized world with its political, economic, technological, and military might.”

The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Sputnik.

Imperial Folly Brings Russia and Germany Together
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Imperial Folly Brings Russia and Germany Together

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Pepe Escobar
Russia-Iran Sanctions Bill (55)
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https://sputniknews.com/columnists/201707291055991504-us-russia-sanctions-germany-trump/

The Empire of Whiners simply can’t get enough when it comes to huff, puff and pout as the Empire of Sanctions.

People walk amongst US national flags erected by students and staff from Pepperdine University as they pay their respects to honor the victims of the September 11, 2001 attacks in New York, at their campus in Malibu, California
© AFP 2017/ Mark RALSTON

With an Orwellian 99% majority that would delight the Kim dynasty in North Korea, the “representative democracy” Capitol Hill has bulldozed its latest House/Senate sanctions package, aimed mostly at Russia, but also targeting Iran and North Korea.The White House’s announcement — late Friday afternoon in the middle of summer — that President Trump has approved and will sign the bill was literally buried in the news cycle amidst the proverbial 24/7 Russia-gate related hysteria.

Trump will be required to justify to Congress, in writing, any initiative to ease sanctions on Russia. And Congress is entitled to launch an automatic review of any such initiative.

Translation; the death knell of any possibility for the White House to reset relations with Russia. Congress in fact is just ratifying the ongoing Russia demonization campaign orchestrated by the neocon and neoliberalcon deep state/War Party establishment.Economic war has been declared against Russia for at least three years now. The difference is this latest package also declares economic war against Europe, especially Germany.

That centers on the energy front, by demonizing the implementation of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline and forcing the EU to buy US natural gas.

Make no mistake; the EU leadership will counterpunch. Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission (EC), put it mildly when he said, “America first cannot mean that Europe’s interests come last.”

On the Russia front, what the Empire of Sanctions faces does not even qualify as a hollow victory. Kommersant has reported that Moscow, among other actions, will retaliate by banning all American IT companies and all US agricultural products from the Russian market, as well as exporting titanium to Boeing (30% of which comes from Russia).On the Russia-China strategic partnership front, trying to restrict Russia-EU energy deals will only allow more currency swaps between the ruble and the yuan; a key plank of the post-US dollar multipolar world.

And then there’s the possible, major game-changer; the German front.

The Fools on the Hill

Even without considering the stellar historical record of Washington not only meddling but bombing and regime-changing vast swathes of the planet — from Iraq and Libya to the current threats against Iran, Venezuela and North Korea — the Russia-gate hysteria about meddling in the 2016 US presidential election is a non-story, by now thoroughly debunked.

The heart of the matter is, once again, energy wars.

According to a Middle East-based US energy source not hostage to the Beltway consensus, “the message in these sanctions is the EU has no future unless it buys US natural gas to cut out Russia. To deny Russia the natural gas market of the EU was the goal behind the just lost war in Syria to put the Qatar-Saudi Arabia-Syria-Turkey-EU pipeline in and the opening to Iran for an Iran-Iraq-Syria-Turkey-EU pipeline. None of these plans worked.”The source adds as evidence the 2014 oil price war against Russia, orchestrated by “the dumping of Gulf States’ surplus oil or reserve capacity on the world market. Since this has failed to bring Russia to its knees, the destruction of the Russian natural gas market in the EU has become a national priority for the United States.”

As it stands, 30% of all EU oil and natural gas imports come from Russia. In parallel, the Russia-China energy partnership is being progressively enhanced. Russia is already geared to increase oil and gas exports to China and Asia as a whole.

The leadership in Berlin is now convinced that Washington is jeopardizing Germany’s energy diversification/energy security via the  sanctions war. Russian natural gas and oil is secured by overland routes and is not dependent on the oceans, which, as the energy source stresses, “are no longer under United States control. If Russia in response to United States belligerency drops an Iron Curtain over Europe, and redirects all its natural gas and oil exports to China and Asia, Europe will be utterly dependent on largely insecure sources of natural gas and oil such as the Middle East and Africa.”

And that bring us to the “nuclear” possibility in the horizon; a Germany-Russia alignment in a Reinsurance Treaty, as first established by Bismarck. CIA-related US Think Tankland is now actively discussing the possibility.Another US business/political source, also a practitioner of thinking outside the (Beltway) box, stresses, “this is what it’s all about. That is the true goal of Russia, and the United States has fallen into the trap. The United States has had enough of Germany and what it considers dumping of German products on the United States through rigged currency. They are now threatening Germany with sanctions, and there is nothing Germany can do with the EU on their back facing vetoes from Poland, who is giving them trouble once again. The fools in Congress are really going after Germany, and throwing Germany in the arms of Russia.”

The US as the New Carthage

A possible Germany-Russia alliance, as I’ve written before, rounds up the China/Russia/Germany entente capable of reorganizing the entire Eurasian land mass.

The Russia-China strategic partnership is extremely attractive to German business, as it smoothes access via the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). According to the business/political source, “the US is at war with China and Russia (but not Trump, our President) and Germany is having second thoughts about being nuclear cannon fodder for the US. I have discussed this in Germany, and they are thinking of renewing the Reinsurance Treaty with Russia. No one trusts this US Congress; it is considered a lunatic asylum. Merkel may be asked to leave for the leadership of the UN, and then the treaty would be signed. It will shake the world and end any thought of the United States being a global power, which it isn’t anymore.”

The source adds, half in zest, “we think that Brzezinski died under the pressure of the realization that this was coming and that all his hatred of Russia and his life work to destroy them was becoming utterly undone.”So, in a sense, it’s “welcome to the 1930s all over again and the rise of nationalism in Europe. This time Germany will not make the mistakes of 1914 and 1941 but will stand against their traditional Anglo-Saxon enemies. The United States has truly become today’s Carthage and the disorder in Congress reflects the same stupidity of Carthage facing Rome. Legislators undermined their genius Hannibal as they are undermining the greatest president of the United States since Andrew Jackson. As Sophocles wrote in ‘Antigone’, ‘God first makes mad those he wishes to destroy.’ This Congress is mad.”

The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Sputnik.

Statement by the KKE on the 43 years since the 1974 Turkish invasion in Cyprus

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Statement by the KKE on the 43 years since the 1974 Turkish invasion in Cyprus

https://communismgr.blogspot.com/2017/07/statement-by-kke-on-43-years-since-1974.html
On the occassion of the 43 years since the invasion of the Turkish military forces in Cyprus (20 July 1974), the Press Office of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) issued the following statement:
 
Source: 902.gr / Translation: In Defense of Communism.
 
43 years have been passed since the Turkish invasion and the continuous occupation of the 37% of Cyprus, since the crime against the Cypriot people which took place within the framework of NATO, with the support of the American and British imperialism.
The coup d’ etat of the Greek Junta and EOKA ‘B against the government of Makarios, which pulled the trigger for the Turkish invasion, consists proof of how far can go the forces and governments which have committed themselves in implementing NATO’s imperialist plans.
 
In the conditions which are formed today for the control of the energy sources by the monopoly groups, Cyprus becomes again the “apple of discord” in the geopolitical antagonisms of the capitalist states. All these pose serious dangers for Cyprus and for the people of the region.
 
The dichotomous and unjust for the Cypriot people confederal settlement of the two “constituent states” which is being promoted – and the cancellation of the fact that the Cyprus Issue is an international problem of invasion and occupation of the northern part of Cyprus by Turkey- does not consist a solution.
The KKE firmly remains in solidarity with the Cypriot people, in their struggle against the occupation and any dichotomous plan. The just request for a Cyprus United, Independent, in one and not two states, with One and Only Sovereignty, one Citizenship and International Personality, free of foreign bases and military forces, without foreign guarantors and protectors, a common fatherland of Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, is not cancelled by the difficulties of today’s negative correlation of forces. On the contrary, it (this request) responds exactly to today’s emergency problems and gives perspective to the struggle of the Cypriot people, of all the people of our broader region”.
Aleida Guevara: “The Cuban Revolution will endure because of social consciousness”

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Aleida Guevara: “The Cuban Revolution will endure because of social consciousness”

https://communismgr.blogspot.com/2017/07/aleida-guevara-cuban-revolution-will.html

Major abstracts of an interview by Aleida Guevara, daughter of the heroic Comandante Ernesto Che Guevara, during her recent visit in Cyprus. The interview was published in the portal Dialogos / Translation in english: In Defense of Communism:

We talked about great personalities like Fidel, Che, Raul, Camilo. Their personalities frequently overshadow the Revolution of the Cuban people and the resistance which lasts for so many years. Something that imperialism feeds with illusions is (the perception) that the biological death of Fidel and Revolution’s leaders will result to her collapse. How do you comment? 
“It is exactly what they did for the people of Cuba that makes them so great revolutionaries. It is that they formated social consciousness also through their own personal example. For example my father set some basic points of reference of the Revolution. One thing he taught us is when we do not understand something, we have the tast to demand an explanation. Not to be afraid of saying what we think. Always with respect and earning the right to be heard. This is very important. Our young people have this educational method. We have full consciousness of the power we have as people. Because it is something more internal, many people do not know that is like that in Cuba.
It is difficult to understand the level of Cuban people’s consciousness. […] There is a large popular critique and our people have a big powers. They hear us. This is the important. The Revolution will endure after the biological absence of great people who led our people. We endured and resisted for many years, being so close to the largest imperialist center.
 
This didn’t happen due to a handful of revolutionaries. It happened because of the developed social consciousness of our people. The people decided and knows what they want. I wouldn’t like to be in the position of the one who will lead the people after the historic leadership of the Revolution, because of the obvious comparison with Fidel. It will be difficult, but the important is the will power of the people and the dedication by the CP of Cuba (PCC).”
Regarding the changes in Cuba’s socialist system, Aleida Guevara said:
 
“There has been much criticism. The PCC prepared a series of issues. These issues were analysed by the people in every workplace, in schools, universities, everywhere. The people expressed their view. The National Assembly of People’s Power recently adopted the final document with over 1,800 modifications made by the Cuban people. The changes in the first text were made through the popular participatory democracy and that is what the Parliament verified. We are very critical as a people. We have the political education to do something like that. Therefore, what will happen is a decision taken by the people.”
In the question about the U.S policy towards Cuba and how she evaluates Trump’s announcements on Cuba, Dr. Guevara mentioned the following:
 
“Obama “varnished” a bit the aggressiveness of the USA, but the worst sanctions of Washington against our people were set during Obama’s period. He was simply a clever politician and presented himself as someone who wanted “changes”. In tactics, not in strategy. Obama’s aim remained the overthrow of the Revolution. The same policy continues and Trump is simply rougher. He proved that when he made the statements alongside the US-funded anti-Cuban mafia of Miami. Alongside terrorists and murderers. And on that point I must say that not all Cubans living in the USA are enemies of our people, like the members of this reactionary and terrorist mafia. The aim of the USA were always the same against our people. Trump simply returned to the face of the previous US Presidents. We aren’t worried. Everyone knows that our people kneels only to pay tribute to the heroes of independence and Revolution. Our struggle continues. They gave us more strength. Maybe it is even better, because many were “drifted” with Obama. They thought that there was a change. They wrongfully thought that the blockade was ended. Exactly the opposite took place. Obama was probably the worst clamp upon Cuban economy. Our people and all the people must remember what Che was saying about imperialism: You can’t trust him at all.”
 
 
Aleida also talked about Che’s admiration for the Soviet people, his affection for reading and studying. Among other things she said:
 
“My father was always a critical person. He was applying the same with the Soviet Union, but with much respect towards the Soviet people who he admired and respected also for his role in the international level”.
 
“In order to exercise critique you have to study a lot. My father was very well-read. He studied and talked with Mao Zedong himself and he could discuss in a documented way with him. That was an advantage of Che. He wasn’t criticizing without reason. If we was criticizing something, that was because he had searched and found answers. That’s why his critique was constructive and he was treated with respect”.
 
Dr. Aleida Guevara mentioned her participation in medical brigades, where she offered her skills and knowledge, like for example in Angola. This experience, she said, strengthened her anti-racist views: “I am a pediatrician and I saw children dying, while I could save them if I had enough medicines. This is unjust. If a child is black or lives in this planet’s south, does it mean it must be condemned to death? There isn’t any right in this situation. That is why I react in everything racist and colonial and I will fight against these until my last breath”.
“Cuba remains a symbol of Socialism. She proves that with her internationalist solidarity. What makes Cuba special? Socialism and our values. The fact that human is above everything. For example, when the Ebola virus broke out in Africa, the WHO (World Health Organisation) did not call a developed capitalist country. It didn’t call the USA or the EU. It called Cuba. And the Cuban doctors stopped this epidemic which would be dangerous for the whole world. Socialist Cuba taught us to be ready to sacrifice ourselves in order to save lifes and help humanity. And the example of Cuba is very significant, because it shows that if we- a poor people- can be against american imperialism, then every people can do it.”