Wednesday, 25 September 2013

MUBARAK INTERVIEW SHOWS FALL OUT WITH uSA & HE RESISTED PLAN TO PUT GAZANS IN SINAI (WHICH THE MUSLIM SELL-OUT HOOD WOULD NO DOUBT FACILITATE)


Secret Recordings Reveal Mubarak’s Frank Views on a Range of Subjects

[source]

He said “the Americans” were “liars.” He accused them of spreading false rumors that Mr. Mubarak might try to hand the presidency to his son Gamal, who had taken up a senior position in the ruling party and begun shaping Egyptian policy. “And people believed them!” Mr. Mubarak complained. “I told them, ‘People, we are a democratic regime!’ but to no avail. The media is stronger than us.”

Mr. Mubarak insisted that he stood up to “the Americans” at a confrontational meeting in December 2010. “I wouldn’t give them a base, or a port, or communications or anything,” Mr. Mubarak said, although there is no evidence that Washington made such requests. “They wanted to get me out of the way at any cost,” he added.

The next month, when the popular uprising against him began and President Obama called to urge him to step aside, he flatly refused, Mr. Mubarak said. “I said, ‘You know Americans better than I do, and I know Egyptians better than you do,’ ” he recalled. “ ‘I only do what the people want, not anybody else.’ ”


CAIRO — Hosni Mubarak looked like a stalwart American ally but worried for years that Washington was trying to oust him as president of Egypt, he confided to a doctor recently in surreptitiously recorded conversations that came to light here last week.

“How did the revolution start?” Mr. Mubarak mused about his ouster, in early 2011. “The Americans worked on it since 2005, and I had a feeling then.”

The conversations were recorded over a period of months this year and were authenticated over the weekend when the doctor, an ear, nose and throat specialist, was summoned to testify about them. They offer a rare, unadulterated taste of the former president’s attitudes about a host of subjects — Washington, Israel, his Arab neighbors, Jews, the Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt’s new military leaders and most of all himself.

For all the aid the United States gave Egypt during his 30 years in power, his comments suggest that Washington gained little sway over Mr. Mubarak. And he expressed nothing but pride in his rule despite the steady decline of Egypt’s economy and influence.

The Islamists who won power after his removal “blame ‘the former regime’ for everything,” Mr. Mubarak is heard complaining in one recording. Speaking of the Egyptian population, he said, “They lived — they were 43 million when I received them and 90 million when I handed them over.”

The recordings were released last week through the Web site of the newspaper Youm el-Saba, and quickly captivated Egyptians with details like Mr. Mubarak’s boasts of his heroism as a pilot in the 1973 war against Israel, and his shock at the high prices of groceries. “An egg is one pound?” he said in shock, joking, “So let’s eat potato sandwiches!”

Mr. Mubarak apparently did not foresee the ouster in July of his successor, Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood. In a recording made in the spring, he was asked whether he thinks the military will act to stop the turmoil between Mr. Morsi’s opponents and his supporters; he responded, “What would they do?” He is heard guessing wrongly about Gen. Abdul-Fattah el-Sisi, the head of the military, saying he thought General Sisi supported Mr. Morsi and his Islamist allies: “The defense minister, I think, is to their liking.”

He realized his mistake after General Sisi seized power. In a later recording, someone said the general had turned out not to be a Muslim Brotherhood supporter after all. Mr. Mubarak laughed wryly: “No, no, he turned out to be devious.”

The recordings suggest that Mr. Mubarak subscribes to some of the far-fetched conspiracy theories that are now commonly heard in Egypt, claiming collaboration among the United States, Israel and the Muslim Brotherhood. “Of course they’re in a deal with the Brotherhood, for Sinai,” Mr. Mubarak said of the Western powers in one recording.

At another point, Mr. Mubarak said that about six months before he was forced from office, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “tested the waters” about a plan to displace the Palestinian population of Gaza into the Egyptian Sinai Peninsula.

“No, no,” Mr. Mubarak said he had replied. “Forget about it unless you want to start another war between you and us. The borders can’t be touched.”

But he is also heard saying he sometimes used Israel’s influence in Washington for his own purposes, perhaps alluding to the role that pro-Israeli lobbyists often played in securing American aid for their allies in Cairo. “I exploit the Israelis this way, and I stirred sedition” between Israel and the United States, Mr. Mubarak said. “I put them in confrontation with each other.”

At another point, Mr. Mubarak dismissed Mr. Morsi as overly reliant on Qatar, an oil-rich monarchy allied with the United States and supportive of the Brotherhood. “Qatar will bring American Jews” to Egypt, Mr. Mubarak said. “All will have American and Jewish passports, they will start projects and I don’t know what, and it will be worse.”

He speculated that Jews might have played a role in a proposal to dam the Nile upstream from Egypt in Ethiopia, a major worry in Cairo. “The Jews work there,” Mr. Mubarak said. “Africa is full of Jews.” He said of a former chief of the International Monetary Fund, “He was a Jew, but skillful.”

Mr. Mubarak is also heard insisting that, in addition to conspiring with the United States, Mr. Morsi was collaborating with the Palestinian militant group Hamas, which the United States has labeled a terrorist organization. “They’re the ones who helped him during the revolution,” Mr. Mubarak said of Hamas.

He said in the recordings that American efforts to remove him began in 2005 when Washington pressed him to allow at least token rivals to run for president against him instead of holding a one-candidate plebiscite for another term in the office. He said that he had promised to “hand it over” in the next election, scheduled for 2011, but that the Americans had not trusted him.

He said “the Americans” were “liars.” He accused them of spreading false rumors that Mr. Mubarak might try to hand the presidency to his son Gamal, who had taken up a senior position in the ruling party and begun shaping Egyptian policy. “And people believed them!” Mr. Mubarak complained. “I told them, ‘People, we are a democratic regime!’ but to no avail. The media is stronger than us.”

Mr. Mubarak insisted that he stood up to “the Americans” at a confrontational meeting in December 2010. “I wouldn’t give them a base, or a port, or communications or anything,” Mr. Mubarak said, although there is no evidence that Washington made such requests. “They wanted to get me out of the way at any cost,” he added.

The next month, when the popular uprising against him began and President Obama called to urge him to step aside, he flatly refused, Mr. Mubarak said. “I said, ‘You know Americans better than I do, and I know Egyptians better than you do,’ ” he recalled. “ ‘I only do what the people want, not anybody else.’ ”

Mr. Mubarak is suing the doctor for recording him. Despite periodic reports that Mr. Mubarak, 85, is in failing health, he sounds hearty and high-spirited in the recordings, cheerfully joking and telling stories. He even offered some dietary advice. “Between you and me, meat is bad for you,” he told doctors, saying he ate red meat only once a month and preferred fish most of the time.

His former subjects, Mr. Mubarak complained, never appreciated his constant efforts to raise money from abroad to feed them, albeit without making structural changes that might have fostered self-sufficiency. “I broke my back for 30 years, building it and bringing in money,” he said. “And now they tell you: the president has $70 billion.”

He complained that investigators had asked his butler and office boy if the president sent bags of money abroad. “I never saw such moral degradation. I don’t lie. If I have it, I would say so.”


MADURO & THE BOLIVARIAN REVOLUTION CONTINUE TO DEEPEN RELATIONS WITH MOST IMPORTANT ECONOMIC ALLY - CHINA


[source]

Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli pledged on Sunday to further advance the strategic partnership with Venezuela as Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro visited Beijing.

Since the strategic partnership for common development was established in 2001, the China-Venezuela relationship has entered a new period of development, Zhang said as he delivered a speech at the closing ceremony of the 12th meeting of the China-Venezuela High-Level Joint Commission.

The joint commission is an important mechanism for the Chinese and the Venezuelan governments to communicate and coordinate on cooperation in various fields.

Maduro, who is making a state visit to China from Saturday to Tuesday, also attended Sunday's closing ceremony. Zhang and Maduro held a meeting before attending the ceremony.

Maduro expressed the Venezuelan side's willingness to enhance the bilateral relationship and to boost reciprocal cooperation between the two countries.

China and Venezuela have become good friends with mutual trust and reciprocal partners, Zhang said at the speech, highlighting deepening political trust, expanding practical cooperation and mutual understanding and support on issues of core concern.

Zhang said that China's new leaders attach great importance to ties with Venezuela and look forward to increasing high-level interactions, expanding practical cooperation and enhancing communication and coordination with the country.

Hailing the important role of the China-Venezuela High-Level Joint Commission, Zhang said he hopes that the commission will make more contributions to the stable and healthy development of the bilateral relationship.

During the speech, the vice premier also called for concerted efforts of all countries to address the ongoing international financial crisis.

While briefing the audience on China's push for reform and opening up, Zhang said the Chinese economy is undergoing a key period of transformation and upgrade, adding that he is confident that all economic targets set for this year will be achieved as expected.

Some 300 officials and entrepreneurs from China and Venezuela attended Sunday's meeting.

The sustained and healthy development of the Chinese economy will generate positive spillover effects for the global economy, Zhang added.

During the meeting, the two sides signed a series of cooperation agreements on energy, agriculture and other sectors.

MINIMUM DEMANDS FOR A VIABLE ANTI-WAR MOVEMENT IN eNGLAND COMPARED TO THE COLLABORATIONIST ONE WE HAVE NOW


Decriminalising Bashar – towards a more effective anti-war movement
[source]

On 10 April 1993, one of the greatest heroes of the anti-apartheid struggle, Chris Hani, was gunned down by a neo-fascist in an attempt to disrupt the seemingly inexorable process of bringing majority rule to South Africa. Although direct legal culpability for this tragic assassination belonged to only two men – a Polish immigrant by the name of Janusz Waluś and a senior Conservative Party MP named Clive Derby-Lewis – the crime formed part of a much wider onslaught against the ANC and its allies. This onslaught – paramilitary, political, legal, psychological, journalistic – was not primarily conducted by fringe lunatics such as Waluś and Derby-Lewis, but by the mainstream white political forces and their puppets within the black community (such as the Inkatha Freedom Party). The leaders of the ANC, and particularly the MK (Umkhonto we Sizwe, the armed liberation movement with which Chris Hani’s name will forever be associated) were subjected to a wide-ranging campaign of demonisation. This campaign created conditions such that political assassinations of anti-apartheid leaders became expected, almost inevitable. Of course, the more ‘dovish’ leaders of the main white party, the National Party, were quick to denounce Hani’s assassination; but the truth is that they were at least partly responsible for it.

Speaking at Hani’s funeral, Nelson Mandela spoke of this phenomenon: “To criminalise is to outlaw, and the hunting down of an outlaw is regarded as legitimate. That is why, although millions of people have been outraged at the murder of Chris Hani, few were really surprised. Those who have deliberately created this climate that legitimates political assassinations are as much responsible for the death of Chris Hani as the man who pulled the trigger.”

Turning to the current situation in Syria, we see a parallel between the “climate that legitimates political assassinations” in early-90s South Africa and a media climate that legitimates the “limited military strikes” being planned in Washington.

The Syrian state has been under direct attack by western imperialism for the last two and a half years (although the US and others have been “accelerating the work of reformers” for much longer than that). The forms of this attack are many: providing weapons and money to opposition groups trying to topple the government; implementing wide-ranging trade sanctions; providing practically unlimited space in the media for the opposition whilst effecting a near-total media blackout on pro-government sources; and relentlessly slandering the Syrian president and government. In short, the western media and governments have – consciously and deliberately – “created this climate that legitimates” a military regime change operation against Syria.


An anti-war movement that takes part in war propaganda
Building a phoney case for imperialist regime change is, of course, not unusual. What is really curious is that the leadership of the anti-war movement in the west – the people whose clear responsibility is to build the widest possible opposition to war on Syria – has been actively participating in the propaganda and demonisation campaign. Whilst opposing direct military strikes, they have nonetheless given consistent support to the regime change operation that such strikes are meant to consummate.

Wilfully ignoring the indications that the Syrian government is very popular, Tariq Ali – perhaps the most recognisable figure in the British anti-war movement – feels able to claim that “the overwhelming majority of the Syrian people want the Assad family out”. Indeed, he explicitly calls for foreign-assisted regime change, saying “non-violent pressure has to be kept up externally to tell Bashar he has to go.”

Rising star of the British left Owen Jones used his high-profile Independent column of 25 August this year (just as the war rhetoric from Cameron, Hollande and Kerry was reaching fever pitch) to voice his hatred of the “gang of thugs” and “glorified gangsters” that run Syria, before worrying that “an attack could invite retaliation from Iran and an escalation of Russian’s support for Assad’s thugs, helping to drag the region even further into disaster.” Jones evidently doesn’t know very much about Syria, but that doesn’t stop him from participating in the Ba’ath-bashing: last year, his response to a bomb attack in Damascus which killed several Syrian ministers was the gleeful “Adios, Assad (I hope)”.

According to Stop the War Coalition national officer John Rees, “no-one can minimise the barbarity of the Assad regime, nor want to defend it from the justified rage of its own people.” Any objectively progressive actions ever taken by the Syrian government (such as its support for Palestine and Hezbollah) are nothing more than “self-interested and calculated acts of state policy” – which claim is rather reminiscent of the Financial Times accusing Hugo Chávez of “demagogy” in pushing for land reform in Venezuela!

Rees is only too clear that the number one enemy for Syrians is the government, and that pro-west sectarian Saudi-funded rebels are a secondary enemy – a position virtually indistinguishable from the Israelis, who state: “We always wanted Bashar Assad to go, we always preferred the bad guys who weren’t backed by Iran to the bad guys who were backed by Iran.” Further, Rees believes that what is really needed is to “give the revolutionaries the chance to shake off their pro-western leaders and defeat Assad.” That’s presumably if they’re not too busy eating human hearts or murdering people on the basis of their religious beliefs.

These are not isolated examples. It is decidedly rare to find a British anti-war leader mentioning Bashar al-Assad and his government in anything but an intensely negative light. Bashar is “brutal”; he is a “dictator”; he should be indicted at the International Criminal Court. Frankly, this leader of independent, anti-imperialist Syria is subjected to far more severe abuse from the mainstream left than are the leaders of Britain, France and the US. In the imperialist heartlands of North America and Western Europe, the defence of Syria has been left to a small minority, although thankfully the (far more important) left movements in Venezuela, Cuba, Nicaragua and elsewhere have a much richer understanding of anti-imperialist solidarity.

At the risk of stating the bleedin’ obvious: if you’re trying to spread anti-war sentiment and build the most effective possible movement against military action, then taking part in the demonisation of the country under threat is probably not a very smart strategy.

This campaign of propaganda, lies and slander has been very effective in creating a public opinion that is ambivalent at best in relation to the attack that is under preparation. Whilst most people may be “against” bombing Syria in principle, to what extent are they passionate enough to actually do anything to prevent this criminal, murderous act from taking place? Two million people marched against war in Iraq (and given the right leadership, they would have been willing to do considerably more than just march); yet no demonstration against war on Syria has attracted more than a couple of thousand people. Would thousands of people be willing to participate in direct action? Would they be willing to conduct, say, a one-week general strike? Would workers follow the great example of the Rolls Royce workers in East Kilbride and actively disrupt imperialist support for regime change? Highly unlikely. And this is because all they have heard about Syria – from the radical left to the fundamentalist right to the Saudi-sponsored Muslim organisations – is that Bashar al-Assad is a brutal dictator whose overthrow is long overdue.


OK, but haven’t we just prevented a war?
In the light of the House of Commons exhibiting an unusual level of sense by voting against Cameron’s motion authorising use of force against Syria, some anti-war activists were quick to claim that the “sustained mass power of the anti-war movement” has “undoubtedly been a decisive factor.” Members of this movement should “recognise what we have achieved in recent weeks : we have stopped the US and Britain from waging a war that, if the British parliament had voted the other way, would already have taken place, with who knows what consequences.”

Now, optimism and jubilation have their place, but they shouldn’t be used to deflect valid criticism or avoid serious reflection. Anybody who has been involved in the anti-war movement in Britain over the past decade will have noticed the level of activity steadily dwindling. Just two years ago, we witnessed a vicious war fought by the western imperialist powers (with Britain one of the major instigators) in order to effect regime change in Libya. Over 50,000 died. Murderous racists were brought to power. A head of state was tortured and murdered , while imperialism celebrated. Decades of development – that had turned Libya from a colonial backwater into the country with the highest living standards in Africa – have been turned back. Stop the War Coalition weren’t able to mobilise more than a tiny protest against this war, and yet we are expected to believe that, two years later, Britain suddenly has a vibrant and brilliantly effective anti-war movement capable of preventing war on Syria? This is obviously not the case.

Regardless of how much attention the British public pays to the anti-war movement, the fact is that public opinion in the west is only a small factor in the much larger question of the balance of forces. Syria is different to Libya in that it has powerful allies and that it has never disarmed. Furthermore, it shares a border with Israel and is capable of doing some serious damage to imperialism’s most important ally in the Middle East. This makes military intervention a highly dangerous and unpredictable option from the point of view of the decision-makers in Washington, London and Paris.

The uprising was supposed to take care of this problem. A successful ‘Arab Spring’ revolution – armed, trained and funded by the west and its regional proxies in Saudi, Turkey, Qatar and Jordan – would have installed a compliant government and would have constituted an essential milestone in the imperialist-zionist regional strategy: the breakup of the resistance axis and the overthrow of all states unwilling to go along with imperialist diktat. This strategy – seemingly so difficult for western liberals and leftists to comprehend – is perfectly well understood by the Lebanese resistance movement Hezbollah: “What is happening in Syria is a confrontation between the resistance axis and the U.S./Israeli axis. They seek aggression against the resistance axis through Syria in order to destroy Syria’s capabilities and people, marginalize its role, weaken the resistance and relieve Israel.”

Beyond the Middle East, a successful ‘revolution’ in Syria would of course be a vital boost to the US-led global strategy: protecting US hegemony and containing the rise of China, Russia and the other major developing nations.

And yet, in spite of massive support given to the armed opposition; in spite of the relentless propaganda campaign against the Syrian government; in spite of Israeli bombing raids on Damascus; in spite of a brutal and tragic campaign of sectarian hatred being conducted by the rebels; in spite of the blanket support given to the rebels by the imperialists and zionists; the Syrian Arab Army is winning. The tide has clearly turned and the momentum is with the patriotic forces. Hezbollah have openly joined the fray. Russia has sent its warships to the region and has demonstrated some genuine creative brilliancein the diplomatic field in order to prevent western military strikes. Russia, China, Iran, Venezuela and others have been immovable in their demands for a peaceful, negotiated solution to the crisis.

Nobody in imperialist policy circles expected things to turn out like this. The ‘revolution’ was supposed to have succeeded long ago. As a result, the western ruling classes have moved from a firm, united policy (i.e. help the rebels to victory and then ‘assist the transition to democracy’) to chaos, confusion and division. There are hawkish elements that want to bomb their way to victory, and there are more cautious/realistic elements that realise this would be an incredibly dangerous course of action for the western powers and for Israel. Imperialism is faced with a very delicate, even impossible, balance: trying to preserve its increasingly fragile hegemony whilst actively attacking the global counter-hegemonic process. It is a case of “damned if they do and damned if they don’t”.

Such divisions within the ruling circles in the west are to be welcomed, but it would be an act of significant deception to claim victory for a western anti-war movement that has persistently refused to ally itself with global anti-imperialism.

Decriminalise and defend Syria
If we are going to build an anti-war movement capable of mobilising people in a serious way to actually counter imperialist war plans for Syria, we cannot continue with the hopeless “neither imperialism nor Assad” position, which is designed to avoid the obvious question: when imperialism is fighting against the Syrian state, which side should we be on?

A far more viable anti-war slogan is: Defend Syria from imperialist destabilisation, demonisation and war.

But can we really defend this brutal, oppressive, repressive regime? Wasn’t the much-missed Hugo Chavez just being a bit of a nutcase when he expressed his fondness for “brother President Bashar al-Assad” and worked to counter the offensive against Syria by shipping fuel to it?

As with so many things, we have to start with a total rejection of the mainstream media narrative. The country they paint as a brutally repressive police state, a prison of nations, a Cold War relic, is (or was, until the war started tearing it apart) a dignified, safe, secular, modern and moderately prosperous state, closely aligned with the socialist and non-aligned world (e.g. Venezuela, Cuba, DPR Korea), and one of the leading forces within the resistance axis – a bloc that the imperialists are absolutely desperate to break up.

In the words of its president, Syria is “an independent state working for the interests of its people, rather than making the Syrian people work for the interests of the West.” For over half a century, it has stubbornly refused to play by the rules of imperialism and neoliberalism. Stephen Gowans shows that, in spite of some limited market reforms of recent years, “the Ba’athist state has always exercised considerable influence over the Syrian economy, through ownership of enterprises, subsidies to privately-owned domestic firms, limits on foreign investment, and restrictions on imports. These are the necessary economic tools of a post-colonial state trying to wrest its economic life from the grips of former colonial powers and to chart a course of development free from the domination of foreign interests.”

The Syrian government maintains a commitment to a strong welfare state, for example ensuring universal access to healthcare (in which area its performance has been impressive) and providing free education at all levels. It has a long-established policy of secularism and multiculturalism, protecting and celebrating its religious and ethnic diversity and refusing to tolerate sectarian hatred.

Syria has done a great deal – perhaps more than any other country – to oppose Israel and support the Palestinians. It has long been the chief financial and practical supporter of the various Palestinian resistance organisations, as well as of Hezbollah. It has intervened militarily to prevent Israel’s expansion into Lebanon. It has provided a home to hundreds of thousands of Palestinian refugees, who are treated far better than they are elsewhere in the Arab world. In spite of massive pressure to do so – and in spite of the obvious immediate benefits that it would reap in terms of security and peace – it has refused to go down the route of a bilateral peace treaty with Israel. Palestine is very much at the forefront of the Syrian national consciousness, as exemplified by the Syrians who went to the border with Israel on Nakba Day 2011 and were martyred there at the hands of the Israeli ‘Defence’ Forces.

True to its Pan-Arabist traditions, Syria has also provided a home to hundreds of thousands of Iraqi refugees in the aftermath of NATO’s 2003 attack.

Whatever mistakes and painful compromises Ba’athist Syria has made over the years should be viewed in terms of the very unstable and dangerous geopolitical and economic context within which it exists. For example:


It is in a permanent state of war with Israel, and has part of its territory occupied by the latter.


While it has stuck to the principles of Arab Nationalism and the defence of Palestinian rights, the other frontline Arab states – Egypt and Jordan, along with the reactionary Gulf monarchies – have capitulated.


It has suffered constant destabilisation by the western imperialist countries and their regional allies.


It shares a border with the heavily militarised pro-western regime in Turkey.


It shares a border with the chronically unstable Lebanon (historically a part of Syria that was carved out in the 1920s by the French colonialists in order to create a Christian-dominated enclave).


Its most important ally of the 70s and 80s – the Soviet Union – collapsed in 1991, leaving it in a highly precarious situation.


Its economic burdens have been added to by longstanding sanctions, significantly deepened in 2003 by George W Bush, specifically in response to Syria’s support for resistance movements in the region.


Its economic problems of recent years have also been exacerbated by the illegal imperialist war on Iraq, which created a refugee crisis of horrific proportions. Syria absorbed 1.5 million Iraqi refugees and has made significant sacrifices to help them. Given that “Syria has the highest level of civic and social rights for refugees in the region,” it’s not difficult to understand how its economic and social stability must have been affected.


In recent years, Syria has been suffering from a devastating drought “impacting more than 1.3 million people, killing up to 85 percent of livestock in some regions and forcing 160 villages to be abandoned due to crop failures”. The root of this problem is the Israeli occupation of the Golan Heights, as one-third of Israel’s water is supplied from Golan.


Given the number of different religious sects and ethnicities within Syria, it has never been difficult for the west and its regional proxies to stir up tensions and create unrest.

While there is clearly a need to enhance popular democracy and to clamp down on corruption and cronyism (in what country is this not the case?), this is well understood by the state. As Alistair Crooke writes: “There is this mass demand for reform. But paradoxically – and contrary to the ‘awakening’ narrative – most Syrians also believe that President Bashar al-Assad shares their conviction for reform.”

So there is every reason to defend Syria. Not because it is some sort of socialist utopia, but because it is an independent, anti-imperialist, anti-zionist state that tries to provide a good standard of living for its people and which aligns itself with the progressive and counterhegemonic forces in the region and worldwide.


Tasks for the anti-war movement
If the anti-war movement can agree on the need to actively defend Syria, then its tasks become relatively clear:


Clearly explain to the public that this is not a revolution or a civil war, but an imperialist war of regime change where the fighting has been outsourced to sectarian religious terrorists. It is not part of a region-wide ‘Arab Spring’ process of “overthrowing reactionary regimes”; rather, it is part of a global process of destabilising, demonising, weakening and removing all states that refuse to play by the rules. It is this same process that brought about regime change in Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan, Yugoslavia, Grenada, Nicaragua, Chile, Argentina, Congo, Iran, Guatemala, Indonesia, Brazil and elsewhere. This process was described in a very clear, straightforward way by Maurice Bishop, leader of the socialist government in Grenada that was overthrown 30 years ago: “Destabilisation is the name given to the newest method of controlling and exploiting the lives and resources of a country and its people by a bigger and more powerful country through bullying, intimidation and violence… Destabilisation takes many forms: there is propaganda destabilisation, when the foreign media, and sometimes our own Caribbean press, prints lies and distortions against us; there is economic destabilisation, when our trade and our industries are sabotaged and disrupted; and there is violent destabilization, criminal acts of death and destruction… As long as we show the world, clearly and unflinchingly, that we intend to remain free and independent; that we intend to consolidate and strengthen the principles and goals of our revolution; as we show this to the world, there will be attacks on us.”


Stop participating in the demonisation of the Syrian state. This demonisation – repeating the media’s lies against Syria, exaggerating the negative aspects of the Syrian state and downplaying all the positive things it has done – is totally demobilising. It is preventing the development of a meaningful, creative, courageous, audacious anti-war movement.


Campaign for an end to trade sanctions on Syria.


Campaign for an end to the arming and funding of rebel groups by the British, French and US governments and their stooges in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey, Jordan and Kuwait.


Send peace delegations to Syria to observe the situation first hand and report back. The recent delegation by Cynthia McKinney, Ramsey Clark, Dedon Kamathi and others is an excellent example that should be emulated.


Campaign for wide-ranging industrial action in the case of military attack.


Support all processes leading to a peaceful, negotiated resolution of the Syrian crisis, reflecting the will of the vast majority of the Syrian people.

The defence of Syria is, at this point in time, the frontline of the struggle worldwide against imperialist domination. It is Korea in 1950, Vietnam in 1965, Algeria in 1954, Zimbabwe in 1970, Cuba in 1961, Nicaragua in 1981, Iraq in 2003, Libya in 2011, Palestine since 1948. It’s time for us to step up.





Further reading

Patrick Seale’s biography of Hafez al-Assad, ‘Asad: The Struggle for the Middle East’, provides an excellent overview of 20th century Syria and a very balanced, detailed depiction of the Ba’athist government.

The following articles are also particularly useful:

Alastair Crooke: Unfolding the Syrian Paradox

Asia Times: A mistaken case for Syrian regime change

Amal Saad-Ghorayeb: Assad Foreign Policy (I): A History of Consistence

Amal Saad-Ghorayeb: Assad Foreign Policy (II): Strategies of Confrontation

Monthly Review: Why Syria Matters: Interview with Aijaz Ahmad

Stephen Gowans: Syria, The View From The Other Side

Stephen Gowans: What the Syrian Constitution says about Assad and the Rebels

Up-to-date anti-imperialist analysis of the Syria crisis can generally be found at Workers World,Liberation, FightBack, Lalkar, Socialist Action, Global Research, Pan-African News Wire, Proletarian,What’s Left and ASG’s Counter-Hegemony Unit.

PRES ASSAD ON CHINESE TV: CRISIS OR NOT, WE ARE ALWAYS ON ALERT AGAINST IMPERIALISM


Syria's Assad criticises U.S. threat of strikes: China TV

"If the U.S. wants to find excuses for war, it will find them as it has never stopped war," Assad said in an interview with China's state television, CCTV, in the Syrian capital.

"With or without the Syrian crisis, we will always be on alert against some Western countries' intention to override the U.N. Charter and the international laws,"

[source]

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad criticised the United States for threatening to attack Syria over its chemical weapons program, saying it was finding "excuses for war", China's state television said on Monday.

U.S. President Barack Obama has said he is prepared to attack Syria, even without a U.N. mandate, if Assad reneges on a U.S.-Russian deal to put Syria's chemical arms stockpiles under international control.

Russia and the United States brokered the deal to avert U.S. military strikes that Washington said would punish Assad for a poison gas attack last month.

"If the U.S. wants to find excuses for war, it will find them as it has never stopped war," Assad said in an interview with China's state television, CCTV, in the Syrian capital.

"With or without the Syrian crisis, we will always be on alert against some Western countries' intention to override the U.N. Charter and the international laws," he added, according to a transcript of his translated remarks from CCTV.

Russia and China have both vetoed Western efforts to impose U.N. penalties on Assad. But China has also been keen to show it is not taking sides and has urged the Syrian government to talk to the opposition and take steps to meet demands for political change. It has said a transitional government should be formed.

Assad said China and Russia would ensure there could be no pretext for military action against Syria, and CCTV's website quoted him as saying Syria would honor "everything that we have agreed to do".

"And more importantly, I want to say, by submitting the draft to the U.N. Security Council, or by urging the U.S. and Russia to agree on a deal, the U.S., France, and Britain are just trying to make themselves winners in a war against a Syria which is their imaginary enemy."

The United States has blamed Assad's forces for the August 21 chemical attack, which it said killed more than 1,400 people.

Assad blamed rebels battling to overthrow him, saying it made no sense for his forces to use chemical weapons when they were gaining the upper hand and while U.N. chemical inspectors were staying in central Damascus.

"We also have confessions made by the terrorists who transported the materials from the neighboring countries," he said in the interview.

"OBEYING ORDERS"

Envoys from the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council - the United States, Britain, France, Russia and China - met last week to discuss a draft resolution Western powers hope will make Syria's chemical disarmament deal legally binding.

Russia, a key ally of Assad, is unhappy with the draft's references to possible punitive measures against Syria under Chapter 7 of the U.N. charter, which can authorize sanctions and military force.

Assad said gunmen could hinder the access of inspectors to sites where the weapons were stored and made.

"We know that these terrorists are obeying the orders of other countries and these countries do drive these terrorists to commit acts that could get the Syrian government blamed for hindering this agreement," he said.

Asked whether Syria had a lot of chemical weapons, Assad said: "Syria has been manufacturing chemical weapons for decades so it's normal for there to be large quantities in the country."

But he said Syria stopped production at least 15 years ago.

"In the 1980s, when we started production (of chemical weapons) there was a gulf in terms of conventional weapons between Syria and Israel, the enemy occupying our territory," he said in extracts broadcast on Syrian television.

"In the second half of the 1990s, Syria stopped producing these weapons...because the gap had been partially bridged," he added. "The justification in the 1980s for weapons of mass destruction in Syria was no longer there."

He made no mention of Israel's 2007 bombing of a site in eastern Syria which U.S. intelligence reports described as a nascent reactor designed to produce plutonium for atomic bombs. Syria has denied it had a clandestine nuclear program.

Assad said the country's chemical weapons were stored "under special conditions" to prevent anyone tampering with them.

"So there is nothing to worry about. The chemical weapons in Syria are in a safe place that is secure and under the control of the Syrian army."

Separately, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon that China was willing to send experts to help in the Syrian chemical weapons destruction process, and reiterated that a political solution was the only way to solve the crisis in Syria.

The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons said on Saturday Syria had handed over information about its chemical weapons arsenal, meeting the first deadline of the disarmament operation.

ZIMBABWEAN-bRIT RELATIONS THAW, ZANU-PF ALLOWED TO OPERATE FREELY IN bRITAIN


Zimbabwe: Zanu-PF Gets Green Light to Operate Freely in UK

[I am sure Zim President and ZANU-PF Robert Mugabe is well aware that the current thaw in Zim-brit relations are to do with the fact that the brits and collective imperialism has failed to win the last 15year battle with ZANU/ZIM/Mugabe to regime-change the country. The brits failed. They are now back tracking somewhat. However, Mugabe I am sure realises that they just want to get closer to Zim in order to cultivate and prepare sell-outs to them in the lead up to a post-Mugabe Zimbabwe. - Sukant Chandan, Sons of Malcolm]

Zanu pf) cannot be ' free' to operate in the UK when its ' high command' especially its President are not allowed to enter the UK to address their members, many Zimbabweans and their supporters who live in those countries that imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe. 

As long as the EU Directives and ZEDERA ( the sanctions) remain in place this is a side show. Further not only should these sanctions be removed unconditionally, the West should pay the billions of US$ that Zimbabwe lost because of these illegal sanctions. A luta continua. - George Shire

[source]

THE British Government has given Zanu-PF UK branch the green light to operate freely in that country after years of acrimonious relations that saw many cadres being threatened with deportation and loss of jobs as London pursued the illegal regime change agenda here.Britain and its Western allies put Zanu-PF leaders on travel sanctions, in addition to imposing blanket economic sanctions on the entire country after the fallout over funding for the land reform programme.

Zanu-PF supporters resident in the UK could not freely express themselves fearing deportation. Zanu-PF UK branch said British Foreign and Commonwealth Officer, MP Mark Simmonds, announced in a statement yesterday that Zanu-PF members were now free to operate in the UK without hindrances.

Said Mr Simmonds: "There would be no bar on your activities here in the UK, provided you do not contravene UK law, as is the case for any political party."

Reports from London say Zanu-PF was now being recognised just like any other local British party and may soon start enjoying other privileges.

Zanu-PF UK interim chairman Cde Nick Mangwana said they were happy that the British Government now recognised them like any other political party.

"A lot of cadres were persecuted in machinations led by their own regime change countrymen who continued to campaign for their deportation and expulsion from the country.

"Those in public service jobs nearly lost them and some lost them. Those in academic research had grants and funding withdrawn. However, through continuous engagement by the current steering committee and its interim leadership and our assurance that our intention was to give the other side of the story and represent masses of Zimbabweans who clearly supported Zanu-PF but feared for their stay in the country, we have been allowed to operate freely.

"Assurances were initially given verbally but on insistences of written assurances the details of the leadership was sought and the steering committee obliged," said Cde Mangwana.

The move is likely to see the revival of Zanu-PF UK which flourished during the era of former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in the 80s.

FORMER BRAZILIAN PRESIDENT LULA ON SYRIA, LIBYA, INDIA, yANKEE SPYING, INTERNATIONAL SITUATION AND MORE


LUIS INÁCIO LULA DA SILVA: ‘The independence and economic growth of countries such as India and Brazil seem to bother the U.S, which is now committing a crime against democracy.’

[source]

‘The problem is that the U.N. of 2013 does not represent the world of 2013.’

In his eight years as President of Brazil, Luis Inacio Lula da Silva transformed the country with a mix of sound economic policies and social welfare schemes. Lula, who put Brazil on the map as a global heavyweight, had 87% approval ratings when he left office in 2011. After winning a bout with cancer, he now runs Instituto Lula, a think-tank, and engages public forums as a South American statesman.

In an exclusive interview to The Hindu at his institute in Sao Paulo, Mr. Lula spoke to Shobhan Saxena about the NSA surveillance, role of BRICS countries and Brazil-India relations

A series of exposes about mass surveillance by the US National Security Agency (NSA) has revealed that America is spying on everyone, including the president of Brazil. How should the world respond to this challenge? 

The U.S. president should apologise to the world for thinking that it can control global communications and ignore the sovereignty of other countries. The U.S. can’t just capture the activities of India, Brazil, China and several other countries. This is very serious. We need to force the United Nations to make a decision on this. Where is the security in the world today, with the U.S. intelligence agency snooping on everything? Where is the confidence in mobile communication or emails? When the NSA revelations came out, the U.S. vice-president (Joe Biden) called Brazil to apologise. It’s not the vice-president who has to apologise, it’s the U.S. president who should apologise to us. What would happen if the U.S. was target of spying? Now, they can steal any information and industrial secrets; they have access to information of our scientists. It means the end of freedom within the territory of a nation state.

The U.S. has joined hand with Germany and UK in collecting information from other countries and even about their own citizens. All this is being done in the name of national security and the fight against global terrorism. What threat does this pose to democracy? 

It's a grave moment. We can’t allow a country to have supremacy over others. The impression I get is that the rich countries are not ready to accept the rise of emerging countries which are making a strong impact on the world economy. The creation of BRICS and IBSA and the fact that Brazil, India, China, Russia and South Africa have turned into global players seems to bother the U.S. and some European countries, particularly those who are part of the UN Security Council. The independence and economic growth of countries such as India and Brazil seem to bother the U.S, which is now committing a crime against democracy. The argument that they are doing this to take care of the security of other countries is absurd. Nobody asked them to do so. Nobody hired the American espionage system. Democracy is less democratic if one nation has the power to intervene in others.

Last month, David Miranda, a Brazilian and partner of Glenn Greenwald who has exposed the NSA’s activities, was detained at London airport in the name of national security. What can the BRICS countries do to make sure that such incidents don’t happen again? 

What happened to the Brazilian in London was very serious. But look what happened to Evo Morales, the president of Bolivia. How can they stop a presidential plane and investigate it? How can they detain a Brazilian for nine hours just because he is related to a journalist who has released very important information? Why do the defenders of press freedom not want these things to be disclosed?

The BRICS group already has a substantial economic power. They also have large populations. What remains to be done is turn it into a group of political importance. We praise the great country that the U.S. is, but we have to have the same and equal rights. We must be respected on equal terms. The U.S. already has the privilege of having the default currency for world trade, and only they have the machine to produce it. Earlier, it was gold. They themselves decided and imposed the dollar on the whole world. Every time they try to make a fiscal adjustment in the U.S., they do not have any obligation to discuss it with the world. They make a decision, and the world is damned. So, it is necessary that the BRICS create a world currency which is not dependent on the currency of a country.

I think the BRICS need to achieve politically what they have in economics and commercial fields. To give you an example, at the Copenhagen meeting on environment in 2009, both Europe and the U.S. were trying to blame China for the lack of consensus. But when China, India, South Africa and Brazil came together, we changed the rules of the game. We didn’t go to the U.S. and Europe. We stayed together and they came to us. So, I think, when we have the political will to face the situations, we can change the rules of the game.

Can these countries come together and create an alternative to the dollar? 

You must have a world currency, and not a currency of a country dominating the global trade. In 2008, we proposed in BRICS that India, Brazil, Russia, South Africa and Brazil should trade in their own currencies, without buying more dollars. But economists who work in governments and the central banks do not want that. I think it's important to build a world currency that is not the domain of a country and that provides service to the humanity and meets the interest of fairer trade. As long as the world is globalised, we need common things between us. The currency is one of them. We also need multilateral institutions to make decisions that are above the interests of individual states.

With the U.S. and France all set to attack Syria, it seems there is going to be another war in the West Asia. Can anything to be done to break this cycle of never-ending wars? 

China and Russia, both permanents are members of the UN Security Council, do not want this war. The British parliament has rejected it. Until today, there has been no explanation for what France and NATO did in Libya. Until today, there has been no explanation for the lies told by the Americans for the invasion of Iraq. What threat did Gaddafi pose to the world? But suddenly NATO decided to invade the country and kill its president. Why? If the UN actually fulfilled the role for which it was created, we would not have had Iraq, Libya, Syria, and many other conflicts. The UN is watching. It has no power to intervene. The problem is that the UN of 2o13 does not represent the world of 2013. The geopolitics of 2013 is not the same as that of 1945 when the UN was created. It’s because India is not in the UN Security Council. Why is Brazil not in the Security Council? Why Egypt, South Africa, Germany, Nigeria, Japan or Indonesia not in the Security Council?

I do not support President Assad because I am a democrat by nature. When I was president of this country, I had 87 per cent approval rating and my party wanted me to be a candidate for a third term, but I refused a third term because democracy is a fundamental achievement of the people and I can’t play with democracy. I do not wish to see Assad stay in power forever. You have to have democracy. But who are the rebels in Syria? I can see the rebels fighting the government with equal strength. Who sells guns and arms to these rebels? If the UN could intervene before the conflict began, there could have been some negotiations. But the Americans do not want peace. Their interest is in conflict and tension in the Middle East. These problems will continue if we do not have the ability to build a new political order, with stronger multilateral institutions and a UN Security Council that is more representative of the world today and with less hegemony of one nation. Otherwise, we are in serious danger.

But is the developed world ready to accept change? 

The G-8 countries are not ready to accept a new global actor. They always treated me with great sympathy, but they can’t accept the fact that there are new global players. When I went to Iran in 2010, I believed it was possible to make Ahmadinejad do what the world wanted. Then Obama became very upset. I was in Qatar when Hillary Clinton called me to convince me not to go to Iran, saying that I was naive. Then I was in Moscow and Obama called Medvedev to talk, saying that I was naive and that Ahmadinejad was not going to accept anything. But I went to Iran in May 2010. Ten days before arriving in Iran, I received a letter from Obama. He said he did not believe that Ahmadinejad was going to give in, but he sent some suggestions. I took the letter to Ahmadinejad and he signed on exactly what Obama had put in the letter. When we -- Brazil , Turkey and Iran -- concluded the agreement , I thought that the developed world would thank us, but Iran was punished with economic restrictions. It was apparent that they did not accept the idea of the presidents of Brazil and Turkey achieving what they thought was impossible.

Political relationship is based on trust, not fear. Here in South America, the U.S. government does not look kindly at the role Brazil has played in strengthening MERCOSUR (South American Common Market) and rejecting the Free Trade Areas of the Americas (FTAA) . They did not accept the UNASUR (Union of South American Nations), the South Bank and the American Council of Defense. It seems to me that they only accept those who have the atomic bomb. No other region of the world is so peaceful as South America, and it seems to have no value for them. What is important for them is to bomb Afghanistan. It seems they have to justify the payment of salaries to their soldiers. That’s why the war machine has to keep working.

As President, you worked hard to bring India and Brazil closer to each other. What do you think of the current state of relations between the two countries? 

India has been a partner of Brazil, but unfortunately our volume of bilateral trade is still small. In 2003, it was just $ 1 billion and we created a goal of reaching $ 10 billion. But a country of 200 million inhabitants as Brazil, the sixth largest economy in the world, and a country with 1.2 billion people as India, should trade in the range of $ 20-30 billion. We have created several instruments to ease the negotiations. But until we have a direct flight linking Brazil and India, everything will be difficult. I think Brazil and India need to improve our relations more. President Dilma Rousseff has an extraordinary vision to strengthen IBSA, BRICS and Brazil's relations with India, but you need to involve entrepreneurs and politicians so that things can happen more easily. I have a deep friendship with India. I really like Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Sonia Gandhi, the leader of the Congress party.

You launched a social welfare programme Bolsa Familia some 10 years ago. What real impact has it made on Brazilian society? 

Bolsa Familia is the largest cash transfer programme in Brazil. This is not a political palliative, but a state policy. There was also an effective gain in real wages of workers. For 10 years, workers have been receiving a real increase in wages above inflation. The minimum wage increased by 70 % above inflation. It also legalised the so-called individual entrepreneurs who sell things like hot-dogs and popcorn on streets. They can now pay for their pension. It also gave strong support to the small and big agriculture. We also created a programme "Light for All ", which benefited 14 million people. It was because of this set of public policies that 36 million people came out of absolute poverty and 40 million people moved into the middle class. At the same time, it generated some 20 million formal jobs. In 2007, 48 million people traveled by flights in Brazil. In 2012, this number was already 102 million.

Because of this programme, the poor began to study more and eat better. And it was these achievements that made the poor people more demanding with respect to public policy of the State. The demonstrations that happened in Brazil (in June and July) were a result of this achievement. The people want more healthcare and education. A hungry person does not fight; he becomes subservient. But if he learns to eat and someone tries to take his food, he will fight. The Brazilian people have changed their paradigm.

So you see the demonstrations as a positive development? 

Today, we are a people who want more and this is a fantastic time to discuss democracy in Brazil. Also, we are discussing how the public services can be improved more. We are living in this extraordinary moment.

During the demonstrations, there was speculation about your return to active politics. Is that right? 

I never got out of politics. I can’t get out of politics because I do not believe there is no way out of politics. In Brazil, we had a movement which didn’t challenge the government. But people wanted better education, transportation and less police violence. However, many people rejected politics and this is very serious issue. This rejection of politics is something done by the media in Brazil all the time. If you do not like me because you think I’m not a good politician, it’s okay but do not reject politics. I'll keep doing politics. I will continue discussing politics because I believe that only through politics we can build a just world. I hope you succeed in doing the same in India. They always treated me with great sympathy, but they can’t accept the fact that there are new global players. When I went to Iran in 2010, I believed it was possible to make Ahmadinejad do what the world wanted. Then Obama became very upset. I was in Qatar when Hillary Clinton called me to convince me not to go to Iran, saying that I was naive. Then I was in Moscow and Obama called Medvedev to talk, saying that I was naive and that Ahmadinejad was not going to accept anything. But I went to Iran in May 2010. Ten days before arriving in Iran, I received a letter from Obama. He said he did not believe that Ahmadinejad was going to give in, but he sent some suggestions. I took the letter to Ahmadinejad and he signed on exactly what Obama had put in the letter. When we -- Brazil , Turkey and Iran -- concluded the agreement , I thought that the developed world would thank us, but Iran was punished with economic restrictions. It was apparent that they did not accept the idea of the presidents of Brazil and Turkey achieving what they thought was impossible.

Political relationship is based on trust, not fear. Here in South America, the U.S. government does not look kindly at the role Brazil has played in strengthening MERCOSUR (South American Common Market) and rejecting the Free Trade Areas of the Americas (FTAA) . They did not accept the UNASUR (Union of South American Nations), the South Bank and the American Council of Defense. It seems to me that they only accept those who have the atomic bomb. No other region of the world is so peaceful as South America, and it seems to have no value for them. What is important for them is to bomb Afghanistan. It seems they have to justify the payment of salaries to their soldiers. That’s why the war machine has to keep working.

As President, you worked hard to bring India and Brazil closer to each other. What do you think of the current state of relations between the two countries? 

India has been a partner of Brazil, but unfortunately our volume of bilateral trade is still small. In 2003, it was just $ 1 billion and we created a goal of reaching $ 10 billion. But a country of 200 million inhabitants as Brazil, the sixth largest economy in the world, and a country with 1.2 billion people as India, should trade in the range of $ 20-30 billion. We have created several instruments to ease the negotiations. But until we have a direct flight linking Brazil and India, everything will be difficult. I think Brazil and India need to improve our relations more. President Dilma Rousseff has an extraordinary vision to strengthen IBSA, BRICS and Brazil's relations with India, but you need to involve entrepreneurs and politicians so that things can happen more easily. I have a deep friendship with India. I really like Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Sonia Gandhi, the leader of the Congress party.

You launched a social welfare programme Bolsa Familia some 10 years ago. What real impact has it made on Brazilian society? 

Bolsa Familia is the largest cash transfer programme in Brazil. This is not a political palliative, but a state policy. There was also an effective gain in real wages of workers. For 10 years, workers have been receiving a real increase in wages above inflation. The minimum wage increased by 70 % above inflation. It also legalised the so-called individual entrepreneurs who sell things like hot-dogs and popcorn on streets. They can now pay for their pension. It also gave strong support to the small and big agriculture. We also created a programme "Light for All ", which benefited 14 million people. It was because of this set of public policies that 36 million people came out of absolute poverty and 40 million people moved into the middle class. At the same time, it generated some 20 million formal jobs. In 2007, 48 million people traveled by flights in Brazil. In 2012, this number was already 102 million.

Because of this programme, the poor began to study more and eat better. And it was these achievements that made the poor people more demanding with respect to public policy of the State. The demonstrations that happened in Brazil (in June and July) were a result of this achievement. The people want more healthcare and education. A hungry person does not fight; he becomes subservient. But if he learns to eat and someone tries to take his food, he will fight. The Brazilian people have changed their paradigm.

So you see the demonstrations as a positive development? 

Today, we are a people who want more and this is a fantastic time to discuss democracy in Brazil. Also, we are discussing how the public services can be improved more. We are living in this extraordinary moment.

During the demonstrations, there was speculation about your return to active politics. Is that right? 

I never got out of politics. I can’t get out of politics because I do not believe there is no way out of politics. In Brazil, we had a movement which didn’t challenge the government. But people wanted better education, transportation and less police violence. However, many people rejected politics and this is very serious issue. This rejection of politics is something done by the media in Brazil all the time. If you do not like me because you think I’m not a good politician, it’s okay but do not reject politics. I'll keep doing politics. I will continue discussing politics because I believe that only through politics we can build a just world. I hope you succeed in doing the same in India.

BRAZILIAN PRESIDENT SLAMS uSA SPYING ON BRAZIL AT UNITED NATIONS SPEECH



Brazil’s President Dilma attacks Internet Spying at UN General Assembly Speech

[source]

The annual UN General Assembly summit opened on Tuesday 24 September.  The atmosphere was electrifying when the first speaker among political leaders, President Dilma Rousseff of Brazil, strongly criticised the internet spying activities of the United States that have been recently revealed in the global media.

The Brazilian President described the internet spying as “a situation of grave violation of human rights and of civil liberties; of invasion and capture of confidential information concerning corporate activities, and especially of disrespect to national sovereignty.

She also called for the creation of “multilateral mechanisms for the worldwide network” and proposed five principles for the multilateral governance of the internet.

President Obama of the United States spoke directly after President Dilma, but did not make any reference to her speech.

Below is an excerpt of President Dilma Rousseff’s speech at the General Assembly that pertains to the internet spying issue and global internet governance.

"Mr. President,

I would like to bring to the consideration of delegations a matter of great importance and gravity.

Recent revelations concerning the activities of a global network of electronic espionage have caused indignation and repudiation in public opinion around the world.

In Brazil, the situation was even more serious, as it emerged that we were targeted by this intrusion. Personal data of citizens was intercepted indiscriminately. Corporate information - often of high economic and even strategic value - was at the center of espionage activity. Also, Brazilian diplomatic missions, among them the Permanent Mission to the United Nations and the Office of the President of the Republic itself, had their communications intercepted.

Tampering in such a manner in the affairs of other countries is a breach of International Law and is an affront to the principles that must guide the relations among them, especially among friendly nations. A sovereign nation can never establish itself to the detriment of another sovereign nation. The right to safety of citizens of one country can never be guaranteed by violating fundamental human rights of citizens of another country.

The arguments that the illegal interception of information and data aims at protecting nations against terrorism cannot be sustained.

Brazil, Mr. President, knows how to protect itself. We reject, fight and do not harbor terrorist groups.

We are a democratic country surrounded by nations that are democratic, pacific and respectful of International Law. We have lived in peace with our neighbors for more than 140 years.

As many other Latin Americans, I fought against authoritarianism and censorship, and I cannot but defend, in an uncompromising fashion, the right to privacy of individuals and the sovereignty of my country. In the absence of the right to privacy, there can be no true freedom of expression and opinion, and therefore no effective democracy. In the absence of the respect for sovereignty, there is no basis for the relationship among Nations.

We face, Mr. President, a situation of grave violation of human rights and of civil liberties; of invasion and capture of confidential information concerning corporate activities, and especially of disrespect to national sovereignty.

We expressed to the Government of the United States our disapproval, and demanded explanations, apologies and guarantees that such procedures will never be repeated.
Friendly governments and societies that seek to build a true strategic partnership, as in our case, cannot allow recurring illegal actions to take place as if they were normal. They are unacceptable.

Brazil, Mr. President, will redouble its efforts to adopt legislation, technologies and mechanisms to protect us from the illegal interception of communications and data.

My Government will do everything within its reach to defend the human rights of all Brazilians and to protect the fruits borne from the ingenuity of our workers and our companies.

The problem, however, goes beyond a bilateral relationship. It affects the international community itself and demands a response from it. Information and telecommunication technologies cannot be the new battlefield between States. Time is ripe to create the conditions to prevent cyberspace from being used as a weapon of war, through espionage, sabotage, and attacks against systems and infrastructure of other countries.

The United Nations must play a leading role in the effort to regulate the conduct of States with regard to these technologies.

For this reason, Brazil will present proposals for the establishment of a civilian multilateral framework for the governance and use of the Internet and to ensure the effective protection of data that travels through the web.

We need to create multilateral mechanisms for the worldwide network that are capable of ensuring principles such as:

1 - Freedom of expression, privacy of the individual and respect for human rights.

2 - Open, multilateral and democratic governance, carried out with transparency by stimulating collective creativity and the participation of society, Governments and the private sector.

3 - Universality that ensures the social and human development and the construction of inclusive and non-discriminatory societies

4 - Cultural diversity, without the imposition of beliefs, customs and values.

5 - Neutrality of the network, guided only by technical and ethical criteria, rendering it inadmissible to restrict it for political, commercial, religious or any other purposes.

Harnessing the full potential of the Internet requires, therefore, responsible regulation, which ensures at the same time freedom of expression, security and respect for human rights".


MUGABE's COMMENTS ON CHINA DURING CURRENT VISIT THERE



Mugabe said Zimbabwe firmly adheres to its "Look East" policy, as China is the only country in the world that has provided sincere and selfless assistance to Africa and cooperated with the continent on the basis of mutual respect, equal treatment, mutual benefit and win-win results.

[source]

China will work with Zimbabwe and other African nations to push for greater development in the relations between the Asian country and the continent to benefit the two peoples, Foreign Minister Wang Yi said Tuesday.

Wang made the remarks during a meeting with Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe at the UN headquarters in New York.

He said Mugabe is not only a well-known leader of the national liberation movement in Africa, but also an old friend of the Chinese people.

Chinese-Zimbabwean ties have stood the test of time and the two countries' traditional friendship is full of fresh vigor and vitality, said the Chinese top diplomat.

Mugabe agreed that Africa and China have enjoyed an unbreakable traditional friendship.

China was the most reliable friend of Africa during the continent's national liberation movement decades ago, he said, adding that the Asian country is still the most reliable, cooperative partner when African nations seek better development.

Mugabe said Zimbabwe firmly adheres to its "Look East" policy, as China is the only country in the world that has provided sincere and selfless assistance to Africa and cooperated with the continent on the basis of mutual respect, equal treatment, mutual benefit and win-win results.

The president also voiced his belief that cooperation between China and Zimbabwe, as well as other African nations, has bright prospects.

===================================

Zimbabwe looks to China as West maintain sanctions

[source]

Zimbabwe will increase economic ties with friendly countries like China to develop its economy as Western nations maintain their sanctions after President Robert Mugabe's re-election, the new Finance minister said yesterday.

Mugabe, Africa's oldest leader at 89 - who won a fresh five-year term in a July 31 vote which his opponents say was rigged - yesterday swore in his Cabinet, including Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa who was named on Tuesday.

Pointing to multiple flaws in last month's election cited by domestic vote observers, Western governments, especially the United States, have questioned the credibility of the outcome and are considering whether to prolong sanctions against Mugabe.

However, African election observers broadly endorsed the voting and its result as peaceful and free. Chinamasa told reporters the Zanu-PF government had accepted the reality that the West would not remove financial and travel sanctions on Mugabe and his senior allies and would not release any direct financial assistance.

"Because the doors have been closed by those who used to be our traditional partners, we have to intensify new economic relationships and friendships.

"That means every country that is friendly to Zimbabwe, including China," he said.

After Western states imposed sanctions a decade ago against Mugabe over alleged violations of democracy and rights abuses in the former British colony he has ruled for 33 years, China has emerged as a major investor in the Southern African State.

It has built the largest alluvial diamond mine in the east of the country and runs the biggest ferrochrome producer.

A Chinese-backed firm will start mining coal in western Zimbabwe and build a 600 mega watts coal-fired power station next year. The government has also given $1,7 billion of contracts to Chinese firms to expand the country's two largest power plants.

Under the now dissolved unity government that followed a disputed 2008 election, the economy had begun to recover.

The International Monetary Fund said in June it agreed to monitor economic programmes until the year end, paving the way for the clearing of billions of dollars of Zimbabwe's debt arrears.

Chinamasa, Zanu-PF's top legal official and a staunch defender of Mugabe's re-election, refused to comment on whether these programme would continue but said the economy faced enormous challenges.

While Washington has made clear it intends to maintain US sanctions, Belgium, the centre of the global diamond trade, is demanding that the European Union lift sanctions on one Zimbabwean mining firm.

Mugabe later told reporters yesterday his new Cabinet would focus on agriculture and diamond and gold mining to raise money to restart shut industries and increase government wages. 

Thursday, 19 September 2013

VERY GOOD DOC-FILM ON THE ANTI-bRIT RESISTANCE IN MALAYA (RIP CHEN PING)



DOC-FILM HERE

EXCELLENT doc-film featuring the leader of the socialist-oriented anti-imperialist guerilla movement organised by the Malayan communists led by Chin Peng who is interviewed for the first time about it all. Interviews with the colonialists in Malaya and activists and leaders of the Revolution against the brits. The english white left's beloved clement atlee labour government was responsible for some of the most disgusting crimes against our people in Malaya. Chin Peng in the doc actually says he and his comrades were naive to think that the labour govt would have been any better, they werent, they became those who conducted the chopping off of our peoples limbs in Malaya, which resulted in an infamous painting of a english soldier holding the heads of two of our beloved Malayan people.

This was the Revolution which was one of the biggest threats to the brits in the post 2nd WW, and IMPORTANT TO REMEMBER, this movement directly threatened that wealth which the brits used to fund the welfare state, so you have a direct connection here between the welfare state which the brit left LOVE on a BASIS of colonialism coming into direct conflict with the interest of the peoples of the South, in this case the Asian peoples of Malaya (modern day Malaysia). The mass guerilla movement was a fundamental contributor to the independence of Malaysia.

When the english white left go on about "the spirit of 45", remember they are talking about a 'spirit' which was DIRECTLY based on the genocide against our peoples across the world. And it is this that the left are actually bemoaning, that their colonialism is weaker and hence taking away the crumbs colonialism threw at them as a result of the force of pressure of the victories of anti-imperialism and socialism across the world, esp in the USSR and Eastern European Socialist Countries.

- Sukant Chandan, Sons of Malcolm

CHINA WAS HUGO CHAVEZ'S MAIN BANK


Hugo’s Banker: How China propped up Chávez

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Hugo Chávez, resplendent in crisply pressed fatigues and paratrooper boots with red shoelaces, had a very special guest. Meeting him that day in mid-September 2011 in Caracas was the world’s most powerful banker, who had lent Chávez’s government at least $40 billion over the four years from 2008 to 2012, or about $1,400 for every man, woman, and child in Venezuela.

The guest, stooped and looking older than his 66 years, drank chrysanthemum tea, staring across the table at Chávez, bald from his chemotherapy treatments. He handed the Venezuelan president a 600-page book filled with recommendations on how Chávez should run, manage, and build ports, roads, and railroads.

What bank in this day and age can lend so much money to one of the world’s riskiest regimes, a country with two centuries of credit defaults, and then tell its debtor how to spend the proceeds of the loan?

Not Goldman Sachs. Chávez’s banker had governmental ties that the legendary New York firm, incubator to former U.S. Treasury secretaries Hank Paulson and Robert Rubin, could only dream of. The man sitting across from Chávez was the Chinese equivalent of royalty. His father was one of the founding fathers of the People’s Republic of China.

Not the World Bank. That Washington-based product of Pax Americana had a loan book only a fraction of the size of this man’s company, the world’s biggest policy bank. Chávez’s Chinese bank had bragging rights over the World Bank as well, having helped craft the biggest and arguably most successful poverty-reduction program in history, which saw hundreds of millions of Chinese peasants become middle-class city dwellers. The bank has funneled billions of dollars into Africa, stoking Ethiopian exports and reviving Ghana’s railroad network after decades of neglect.

Not the Fed. The U.S. Federal Reserve might have trillions of dollars at its disposal, and it might have staved off a depression in the wake of the 2008 financial meltdown. But when it comes to results, Chávez’s bank arguably had an even more impressive record: It devised a system to fund local infrastructure projects that helped China sail through the global financial crisis while the United States and Europe stumbled.

Chávez’s guest was Chen Yuan, chairman of China Development Bank (CDB) and the world’s most powerful banker. You can’t buy shares in CDB; it is wholly owned by the Chinese government. But it would be a mistake to call it a government bureaucracy that is at the state’s beck and call. It is a bank, claiming the lowest nonperforming-loan rate of any major Chinese lender and having a reputation for hardball negotiations with both domestic and foreign clients. While other low- to middle-income countries have development banks that help fund their national companies and bolster economic growth to catch up to more advanced powers, the scale of CDB and the amount it can lend make it a different animal.

But the world’s most powerful bank? Yes. Let us count the ways.

Exhibit 1: China. CDB wrote the manual for the biggest economic and urbanization boom in history, pioneering a system of lending to local government-backed companies that funneled more than $2 trillion across China to build roads, bridges, subways, and stadiums. The turnkey financing system it set up, beginning in 1998 in Anhui province, meant that Chinese growth barely hiccupped while the United States went into the deepest economic crisis since the Great Depression. CDB’s recently retired vice governor, Gao Jian, is regarded as the father of China’s bond market, now Asia’s largest and a growing source of funding for Chinese companies. CDB in one year sold more bonds than China’s Finance Ministry, an indication of how easy it is for the bank to access large sums of money in China’s financial system.

Exhibit 2: Africa. China has lent more to Africa since 2001 than the World Bank, and CDB’s lending is focused on building industry and infrastructure for the next stage of Africa’s growth and harnessing its biggest clients, China’s elite state-owned companies, to do much of the work. While much of Chinese lending in Africa focuses on the extraction of oil and metals to fuel China’s insatiable thirst for raw materials (driven in part by the bank’s funding of China’s urbanization), that is only part of the story. The bank’s private-equity arm, the China-Africa Development Fund, is spurring the continent’s manufacturing as labor costs rise at home, helping transform Ethiopia into an exporter of leather and helping Chinese companies such as Chery Automobile open factories. In Ghana, CDB provided a $3 billion loan — that country’s largest ever — to finance roads, railroads, and an oil terminal and pipeline network. The loan mandates that 60 percent of the money must go to Chinese companies in the form of contracts, guaranteeing Chinese companies will be the big winners.

Exhibit 3: Latin America. CDB’s massive, unprecedented lending to Chávez’s government has helped secure access for its state-owned oil companies to long-term supply in the competitive global oil market as China’s demand continues to rise. CDB client Citic Group, China’s largest state-owned investment company, has provided railroads and housing complexes; its client Sinohydro Group, the state-owned hydropower behemoth, has built power stations.

It has also been good business for a host of Chinese companies. Chen’s point man for Venezuela is a rail-thin man named Liu Kegu, with the buzz cut and booming voice of a Marine Corps gunnery sergeant. Chávez affectionately called him “brother.” A decade ago, Li worked under Bo Xilai, the disgraced former Chongqing Communist Party boss who is now awaiting trial for his role in his wife’s murder of a British businessman. The Venezuelan opposition frets that Chinese influence is eroding the country’s sovereignty and drawing it into a risky alliance of dependence. U.S. companies such as ExxonMobil played the role of bogeymen of 20th-century Yanqui imperialism; CDB might take that role for China.

Exhibit 4: Clean energy and telecommunications. CDB has funneled more than $92.4 billion of credit to China’s leading wind, solar, and telecommunications companies, which have used the cash to overwhelm global competitors, securing loans because lenders know the companies have the backing of the world’s most powerful bank. Huawei, the Chinese company that is the world’s largest telecommunications equipment-maker, is also the biggest single recipient of these credit lines — to the tune of $30 billion. It has used CDB credit to help its vendors in Latin America, Africa, Asia, and Europe buy its gear. In 2009, Mexico City-based América Móvil, Latin America’s largest mobile-phone carrier, was seeking $1 billion to upgrade its mobile network — and chose CDB. Chinese solar-energy companies continue to ramp up production even as losses mount, backed by CDB lines of credit that dwarf the U.S. government’s loans to the now-bankrupt Solyndra. The CDB loans are helping to cement Chinese domination in an industry of the future and helping to drive U.S. and European companies to insolvency. Many Chinese companies have debt loads and quarterly losses that should have driven them to bankruptcy as well, but for the CDB loans.

The danger for China? Local resentment over Chinese loans, such as in a post-Chávez Venezuela, will lead to demands for renegotiation or even default. If that happens, it will be an expensive lesson for a rising financial power.