Tag Archives: democracy

The Open Society for the Taking

Haneul Na’avi
18 April 2014 

The trumpeting horns of war have sounded over Ukraine with an old familiar tune—one that has been heard all too often in recent years. The putsch against Eastern Europe by neoliberal forces have threatened the cities of Donetsk and Luhansk with renewed aggressions, further drives for IMF and World Bank enslavement, and a renewed vigor for oligarchic control over the lands.

Thursday, April 17th was an important day for developments in Ukraine as Dnipropetrovsk governor, Privatbank co-owner, and energy sector aristocrat Igor Kolomoisky offered monetary compensation to murder-for-hire juntas to fight “Russian saboteurs” responsible for shootings against Ukrainian military and security forces in Mariupol in the Donetsk Oblast.

“Aides to banking and energy tycoon Igor Kolomoisky, who was appointed last month by the new government in Kiev to run the industrial region of Dnipropetrovsk, also offered payments for weapons handed in to the local authorities and a reward of $200,000 for anyone who “liberated” an occupied public building”, a Reuters report stated.

A Twitter posting has recently surfaced on the Internet verifying the Privatbank bounty, which offered the reward in US dollars, giving a clear stance on the current Ukrainian administration’s ambitions: No matter how broke and behind on its Gazprom bills Ukraine has become, the Privatbank still has enough to pay rouge thugs generous sums of fiat money to hunt dissidents, courtesy of the US Federal Reserve.

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A photo of Privatbank’s bounty for Russian soldiers [Photo: Ruthen]

To further enflame the crisis, the Reuters article reports that Yuri Bereza, a spokesman for a newly formed regional militia, released a video statement in which he reaffirms monetary support for new recruits to attack with violence against the pro-Russian resistance movements in the east of the country. “For each saboteur handed over, the headquarters of the national defences in Dnipropetrovsk region announces a reward in the amount of 10,000 U.S. dollars,” he said.

A recent wave of propaganda came about on April 16th after leaflets were handed to members of the Jewish community in Donetsk, orchestrated in order to rally support for NATO military intervention, tarnish the Russian Federation, and to further instill tensions in the growing conflict between the eastern, pro-Russian side and the western, neo-Nazi occupied sections of Ukraine.

The London Guardian reported that “US secretary of state John Kerry soon waded into the media storm over the piece of paper, describing it as “grotesque” and “beyond unacceptable”. But on Friday the chairman of the Donetsk People’s Republic and the city’s chief rabbi both stated that the flyer was a fake meant to discredit the so-called republic or the Jewish community.” Whether it was the machination of internal forces, the US government, or Russia, remains a mystery.

Clearly, the people calling the shots here are not the voice of Ukraine, and “local authorities” are once again calling for useful idiots from around the nation to do their dirty work. Yet another Arkham has been midwifed by the unseen hands of foreign policy, and it comes as no surprise that, even after the exposure of US-supported Euromaidan snipers, financed by neocon forces such as John McCain, Victoria Nuland and Lindsey Graham, reality had revealed to the world once again how quickly local authority can change its voice.

Regardless of the core causes of this conflict, or the explicit exposure of the coup d’etat by EU and American ambassadors, the propagandists of many corporate Western media channels boldly continued to recognize the neo-fascist control of Svoboda in the Ukrainian parliament as the “legitimate authority” and Right Sector in the streets of eastern Ukraine as if the violent overthrow of the country, desecration of synagogues, and murders and abuses of minority groups had never occurred.

The disinformation has grown so extreme that a Pravda.ru article highlighted a report from the United Nations, which called for objectivity in media reporting on all sides of the conflict. The report urged “all sides to refrain from publishing misinformation” and that the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay had mentioned that “facts on the ground need to be established to help reduce the risk of radically different narratives being exploited for political ends. People need a reliable point of view to counter what has been widespread misinformation and also speech that aims to incite hatred on national, religious or racial grounds.”

The report also acknowledges that all sides of the conflict have participated in nationalistic plugging for their perspective of the story; however, disinformation on the side of Western media has consistently eradicated all traces of fascism from the collective minds of many of its viewers. The report also succesfully dovetails the human rights abuses of the Berkut special police forces, and how their actions have radicalized pro-Russian opposition in the eastern provinces of the country.

Excessive use of force by the Berkut special police and other security forces led to the radicalisation of the protest movement, the report found. “Violations related to the Maidan protests should be investigated and addressed in order to ensure accountability of perpetrators,” the report states.

Information gathered so far indicates that 121 people were killed in violence between December 2013 and February 2014. Most acts of severe beatings, torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment were reportedly attributed to the Berkut.

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Anti-government protesters clash with Ukrainian police during a rally in Kiev on January 19, 2014. [Photo: PressTV]

Furthermore, the Western media’s portrayal of pro-EU sentiments of the original Euromaidan movement has now been proven as blatant doublespeak by an April 17th OSCE report. A few monitoring missions of the organization recorded the distress of several representatives of the popular protest that had expressed concerns over new policies shaping the nation, in addition to growing economic and political instability.

Representatives of the local population had previously expressed concerns to the Team that Ukraine’s signing of an Association Agreement with the European Union and the current political instability would have a negative impact on businesses and the labour market in the region. According to an interlocutor representing the “Euromaidan” movement, the occupiers of the SBU building, as well as the local police, were controlled by “local elites”, and people occupying the building came mostly from Stakhanov and Alchevsk– towns in the Luhansk district”, says the report.

The original turmoil that had spilled over from the Euromaidan movement was guided by the glittering public relations’ campaigns coordinated by groups such as the National Endowment for Democracy, George Soros’ Open Society, and the International Republican Institute, and over time their interactions with the public had gathered enough ammunition in the form of a movement of disenfranchised youth to support the overthrow of yet another democratically elected president.

An article by Paul Joseph Watson of Infowars clearly notes the relationship between foreign-backed NGOs and the Euromaidan movement in which a highly popularized video supporting the protest had surfaced. The video, entitled “I am a Ukrainian”, was produced by the director of the film “A Whisper to a Roar”, a propaganda film which covered the protest movements of Egypt, Malaysia, Ukraine, Venezuela and Zimbabwe. However, the connections that Watson makes between the film, its origins, and its producers, show a disturbing trend in guiding public opinion by elitist organizations.

The origins of the video are not quite as ‘grass roots’ as is portrayed. The clip was produced by the team behind A Whisper to a Roar, a documentary about the “fight for democracy” all over the world, which was funded by Prince Moulay Hicham of Morocco. The “inspiration” behind the documentary was none other than Larry Diamond, a Council on Foreign Relations member. The Council on Foreign Relations is considered to be America’s “most influential foreign-policy think tank” and has deep connections with the U.S. State Department.

Diamond has also worked closely with the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). The National Endowment for Democracy is considered to be the CIA’s “civilian arm” and has been deeply embroiled in innumerable instigated uprisings, attempted coups and acts of neo-colonial regime change since its creation in 1983, including the contrived 2004 “Orange Revolution” that brought US puppet Viktor Yushchenko to power in Ukraine.

Larry Diamond also played an instrumental role in the Arab Spring under the auspices of the NED, a series of supposedly grass roots revolts that were in fact organized and managed by some of the most powerful western institutions on the planet.

The Euromaidan movement is one of many co-opted demonstrations around the world, following the geopolitical aspirations of those that orchestrated the Otpor! Movement of Serbia, the Rose Revolution of Georgia, the Arab Springs of Libya, Egypt, Syria, as well as the Orange Revolution of Ukraine in 2004. Many of these protests were orchestrated by a program called CANVAS, which were exposed by Wikileaks’ Global Intelligence files via thousands of cables collected on the role of Stratfor. The cables reveal Stratfor’s role in the collection of information from local activist groups in exchange for direct investments to intelligence agencies and multinational defense contractors.

Stratfor’s use of insiders for intelligence soon turned into a money-making scheme of questionable legality. The emails show that in 2009 then-Goldman Sachs Managing Director Shea Morenz and Stratfor CEO George Friedman hatched an idea to “utilise the intelligence” it was pulling in from its insider network to start up a captive strategic investment fund. CEO George Friedman explained in a confidential August 2011 document, marked DO NOT SHARE OR DISCUSS: “What StratCap will do is use our Stratfor’s intelligence and analysis to trade in a range of geopolitical instruments, particularly government bonds, currencies and the like”, Wikileaks quotes.

Srdja Popovic’s, the executive director and representative of CANVAS—a form of COINTEL-PRO on steroids—and plays a distinct role in geopolitical espionage and regime change efforts against Eastern European countries, acting as the muscle behind policies crafted by Zbigniew Brzezinski in his book The Grand Chessboard. His specific role is to orchestrate the support of activist movements around the world, steer public opinion, and gather intelligence for privatized entities for further exploitation. The result is insight into the resistance movements of respective countries, their disbandment, and the further confiscation of public and natural resources under corporate entities.

A groundbreaking article from Carl Gibson and Steve Horn of the Occupy movement further illustrates the connections made from the leaked documents of Wikileaks’ GI Files. The authors disclose “the emails reveal Popovic worked closely with Stratfor, an Austin, Texas-based private firm that gathers intelligence on geopolitical events and activists for clients ranging from the American Petroleum Institute and Archer Daniels Midland to Dow Chemical, Duke Energy, Northrop Grumman, Intel and Coca-Cola.” The article then further incorporates the connections made between Popovic and his role in the soft-power attacks against sovereign countries around the world.

“They…basically go around the world trying to topple dictators and autocratic governments (ones that U.S. does not like ;),’ [former Stratfor Eurasia Analyst Marko] Papic says in one email. Replying to a follow up to that email, he states, “They just go and set up shop in a country and try to bring the government down. When used properly, [they are] more powerful than an aircraft carrier battle group”, the article commented. 

In order to understand the purpose behind the foreign-backed revolution in Ukraine, one must look to another key country for answers: Georgia. This country, rich in resources and strategically located in the southern Caucasus, experienced its own uprising in 2003 with the Rose Revolution against Eduard Shevardnadze, and, following his disposal, US-friendly and National Movement Party candidate Mikheil Saakashvili was quickly placed into power by the same elite groups instrumental to the following Orange Revolution protests in Ukraine, and a wave of neoliberal policies soon followed.

The successes touted by the Rose Revolution’s overthrow of Shevardnadze were supplanted by the conflict of the South Ossetian War of 2008 and further backtracking in policy-making. The false hope given to people at the outset of post-Revolution Georgia quickly turned into disenchantment due to Saakashvili’s blatant human rights abuses against journalists and political dissidents, and the opening of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) pipeline in 2005, which was squarely given to its shareholders and backing regimes—Turkey, Azerbaijan, the US and Europe—under the new pro-Western government.

“Georgia sits in a tough neighborhood, shoulder to shoulder with huge Russia, not far from Iran, and astride one of the most important crossroads for the emerging wealth of the rich Caspian Sea region. A U.S.-backed oil pipeline runs through Georgia, allowing the West to reduce its reliance on Middle Eastern oil while bypassing Russia and Iran,” an AP article writes.

According to the company Azerbaijan Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan Limited, some of the largest shareholders of the pipeline is none other than British Petroleum (BP), the company responsible for the Gulf of Mexico Deepwater rig disaster, to which 30.10% of the profits reside, followed by Azerbaijan (BTC) Limited (25%), Chevron (8.90%) and Statoil (8.71%), and others.

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Map of the existing and planned oil and gas pipelines from Baku. [Photo: Thomas Blomberg]

In a publication from the John Hopkins University Central Asian Caucasus Institute Silk Roads Study Program, Vladimer Papava gives a clear motivation for the construction of the BTC pipeline, which confirms the West’s interests in the creation of regime change in Georgia:

Almost immediately after the emergence of the idea of transportation of the Caspian oil to the West and the construction of the BTC pipeline (by avoiding the territories of Russia and Iran), Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey formed one “team” that has enjoyed significant support from the United States.

This proved to be in perfect harmony with the key political objectives of the United States in the region: the isolation of Iran; the prevention of the re-establishment of Russia’s monopolistic position in the region; encouraging Turkey in her efforts to increase her influence in the region; and supporting U.S. companies to invest in the region.

This alliance was well underway before Shevardnadze was deposed, and there were several important accords that had been underwritten by major players in the region, including himself along with the US and multinational companies. However, seeing that his usefulness had run its course, the other signatures of the Istanbul Declaration needed to install a candidate that unquestionably complied to international standards for IMF financing to fuel the BTC project. All of these agreements came to a head during the activation of the Rose Revolution.

“On November 18 in 1999 during the OSCE’s Istanbul meeting the Presidents of the Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey signed the agreement on “Transportation of Crude Oil Through the Territories of Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey via Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan Main Export Pipeline”. On the same day, the Presidents of Azerbaijan, Georgia, Turkey, Kazakhstan and United States of America signed the “Istanbul declaration” which pledges support to the Project. This was an important step in the oil strategy of Heydar Aliyev which is aimed at ensuring sustainable economic growth of Azerbaijan,” the website of Azerbaijan BTC Limited espouses.

Speaking on the human rights abuses of post-revolution Georgia, two people died in March 2006 when arrests had “[…] become commonplace under Saakashvili’s clean-up operations. Some 9,000 Georgians, out of a total population of more than four million, are currently filling the country’s prisons beyond their capacity, with two-thirds of these prisoners in detention awaiting trial,” a 2006 article by Der Spiegel states.

Following these protests and detentions, the US authorities had become mute. This was predominantly due to the agreements made with Saakashvili during the inauguration of the BTC pipeline and the mutually beneficial sales of arms and ammunition to the country. Additionally, and most importantly, the increasingly important recognition of Georgia as a closely cooperative partner with NATO under the Individual Partnership Action Plan (IPAP) was underway, and the revelation of human rights abuses in the country would both tarnish the image of the US-European military alliance, as well as further anger the Georgian administration’s grip on power. The key point to note is that Georgia could not be a member of NATO with Shevardnadze, a pro-Russian bureaucrat, in power.

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Mikheil Saakashvili, President of Georgia. UN [Photo: Eskinder Debebe]

However, under Saakashvili, the aspirations of NATO in Georgia came under fire due to the wars with South Ossetia and Abkhazia. “The August 2008 conflict was devastating for Georgia. It lost lives, land, prestige and credibility with the West, including with the United States. It also seriously damaged what had been Georgia’s top foreign policy priority since the Rose Revolution: NATO membership,” author James Nixey writes in a Chatham House publication.

The futures of both Georgia and Ukraine are uncertain, but it has now become an imperative for people around the world to connect the dots in the geopolitical game in which millions of lives are at stake. Witnesses to the current conflict in Ukraine can learn from the mistakes of other co-opted states, most notably Georgia, in order to genuinely assess their current level of democratic participation. This conflict in Eastern Europe is the linchpin of greater World War, is a clear machination of previous administrations, and blame does not squarely lie in the administration of Yanukovich.

It is clear that democracy is not the goal of those shaping political institutions in the region, but in networking new alliances, regardless of political affiliation as noted by Svoboda’s collaboration with factions of the US, to create the Brzezinski dream of Central European and Asian resource hegemony. As stated in a publication by the World Socialist Web Site, “the made-in-America pedigree of these ‘democrats’ and ‘revolutionaries’ goes further than mere political and ideological affinities.” In Ukraine, lie after lie can never justify neo-fascist and oligarchic control.

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Obama administration quietly suspends military aid to Egypt, mulls ‘coup’

Published time: August 20, 2013 00:11
Edited time: August 20, 2013 01:00 Get short URL

Egyptian soldiers walk amid the remains of the destroyed camp of ousted Mohammed Morsi supporters outside Rabaa al-Adawiya mosque on August 15, 2013 in Cairo, Egypt. (AFP Photo)

Top US lawmakers have quietly agreed to temporarily suspend most military aid to Egypt, indicating that behind the scenes Washington is starting to treat the military’s ouster of President Morsi as a coup, according to a new report.

The Obama administration has temporarily halted the delivery of weapons to the Egyptian military as well as some forms of economic aid to the government, despite deciding not to officially describe the military takeover as a coup. The office of Senator Patrick Leahy, the head of the Appropriations State and Foreign Operations Subcommittee, told The Daily Beast on Monday that the administration has implemented these changes over the past month as it formulates an official determination on the coup. 

If a coup is determined to have taken place, current law requires the government to cut off aid funding. While the Obama administration has maintained that its $585 million aid package is not technically on hold, it is not due until September 30 and “no final decisions have been made.”

“It would be inaccurate to say that a policy decision has been made with respect to the remaining assistance funding,” US State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Monday.

Multiple sources said that US leaders are acting as if a coup had taken place, even as lawmakers work to formulate their official position.

“The decision was we’re going to avoid saying it was a coup, but to stay on the safe side of the law, we are going to act as if the designation has been made for now,” one official told The Daily Beast. “By not announcing the decision, it gives the administration the flexibility to reverse it.”

The US will also hold off on delivering a fleet of Apache helicopters that the Egyptian military has already paid for, and will not yet deposit economic support funds for programs that are expected to directly help the government – although the Obama administration has repeatedly denied claims of this sort.

“Programs with the government designed to promote free and fair elections, health assistance, programs for the environment, democracy, rule of law, and good governance can also continue in cases even where a legal restriction might apply,” Psaki said on Monday. “But to the extent where there are ESF programs that would benefit the government, which is obviously, a section, we are reviewing each of those programs on a case by case basis to identify whether we have the authority to continue providing those funds or should seek to modify our activities to ensure that our actions are consistent with the law.”

Last week, Obama criticized the Egyptian military’s violent crackdown on protests – an assault that killed hundreds of civilians – but refused to directly comment on US aid to the African nation.

“While we want to sustain our relationship with Egypt, our traditional cooperation cannot continue as usual when civilians are being killed in the streets and rights are being rolled back,” he said.

This Sunday, thousands of americans plan to rally against surveillance.

stopprism:

Check out this website to see which local metropolis has a planned rally near you! This is important, we cannot cease supporting this cause.

Recent revelations about the NSA’s surveillance infrastructure provide concrete evidence that phone and email records of US and foreign nationals are being collected and stored by the government.

We demand that our government protect our right to privacy with respect to data from our digital communications devices. This includes metadata, as well as our communications.

Participatory democracy is a two way street. Our online efforts are already causing changes in Congress. By rallying this Sunday, we are sending a very loud message to our Representatives that to earn our trust they must restore the Fourth Amendment, and support the passage of legislation to revoke the NSA’s authorization to conduct mass surveillance of US and foreign citizens.

This Sunday, thousands of americans plan to rally against surveillance.