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Cops Refuse to Stop Chase Plowing Over Multiple Children, Killing Them During Neighborhood Pursuit

By Eva Decesare | The Free Thought Project | June 27, 2015

police-kill-2-children-during-high-speed-chase,-don't-stop

Officers must place the protection of human life above all other considerations.”

Detroit, MI — Or so says the official policy of the Detroit Police Department. Yet, on Wednesday, Detroit police continued a high-speed chase into a busy neighborhood, resulting in two small children being killed and others injured.

Brother and sister Michaelangelo and Makiah Jackson, ages 6 and 3 respectively, were playing in front of their home when a police car appeared, chasing what appeared to be a red Challenger. According to eyewitnesses, the police car bumped the Challenger, and the car “flew up in the air.” Witnesses heard tire squeals, as if the car was attempting to stop, but by then it was going too fast and had lost control and hit the two small children, killing them instantly.

A friend of the family described the horrible scene:

“[The police] were right on their rear, the police car bumped their tail a little bit, and the car flew up in the air,” the friend said. “There was no need for the police to be that close. I yelled ‘WATCH OUT’ but it was too late. When the car hit them, both of them just looked at me. They screamed. It just keeps re-playing in my head. … I ran down there, I yelled out their names, but they were gone. Makiah’s eyes were wide open, they died on impact.”

“I’m the last one they talked to. They looked at me, they were here, I saw their faces. L’il Mama (Makiah) thought I was going to take them to the park, so she came with me to the sidewalk. I told her I promise I’ll take you to the park tomorrow.”

Even after the car had dragged the children a distance down the street, the police did not stop their pursuit. They continued to chase the car across one front lawn after another, finally crashing, critically injuring three more children including three year old Darius Andrews, Jr., Isaiah Williams, 5, and Zyaire Gardner, 7. Twenty-two-year-old LaKendra Hill sustained injuries. The father of the youngest called seven-year-old Zaire “the real hero,” adding, “He saved my son’s life. He grabbed him and tried to hold him.”

Police report that the driver of the car they were chasing was 29 year old Lorenzo Harris, who was on parole but had not been reporting in to his parole officer. An unidentified passenger in the car was also in serious condition.

As to other details of the event, police reports are conflicting. On the night of the incident, police Chief James Craig said that the police car had already stopped the chase after they “lost sight of the car.” After many eyewitnesses had refuted that claim, Craig said that a supervisor had ordered a stop to the pursuit.

Furthermore, in an early report, Craig claimed that police saw an occupant of the car holding a gun. The next day the chief said there was no gun, and that the case started when the police “made eye contact” with the occupants of the car.

Two small children being killed while playing in their own front yard and several more being injured during a pursuit over what may have been nothing more than a parole violation shows a drastic imbalance in police judgment and in police priorities. For the police to create such a horribly dangerous situation – a situation that proved tragically fatal – sends a very clear message. Those with badges are far more concerned with having control and gaining compliance by any means necessary than they are with actually protecting the innocent.

On paper, the official policy of the Detroit Police Department includes this:

“Members involved in a pursuit must question whether the seriousness of the violation warrants continuation of the pursuit. A pursuit shall be discontinued when, in the judgment of the primary unit, there is a clear and present danger to the public which outweighs the need for immediate apprehension of the violator. Officers must keep in mind that a vehicle pursuit has the same potential for serious injury or death as the use of fatal force. … Officers must place the protection of human life above all other considerations.”

Their true attitude, priorities, “policy” is written in the blood of small children on those front lawns. Our hearts go out to the victims of this horrible tragedy.

The family of Mikiah and Michael Angelo Jackson has set up a GoFundMe account to help with their funeral expenses, which they said they cannot afford.

June 28, 2015 Posted by | Aletho News | , | 1 Comment

Media Coverage of Europe’s Migrant Crisis Ignores Root Cause: NATO

Danielle Ryan | Russia Insider | June 23, 2015

The scale of the migrant crisis Europe is facing today cannot be understated. It is truly unprecedented. What is habitually understated, however — and in fact almost completely ignored by mainstream media — are the real roots of the crisis.

The debate around migration into the EU is happening nearly entirely without reference to the causes of the recent influx of migrants from North Africa and the Middle East. The elephant in the room is NATO and nobody really wants to talk about it.

Hundreds of articles, laden down with numbers and proposals and predictions fail to make any direct link between cause and effect. News anchors sit seemingly baffled, mouths agape, at the apocalyptic-like pictures they are seeing land on their desks, and yet few are willing to draw the appropriate conclusions. But it is such a basic and logical connection that it’s hard to believe it is not being made very loudly and very persistently.

Maybe it’s just that these journalists are so conditioned to framing U.S. and NATO policy in a positive light that the links don’t even really occur to them. Or maybe they’re simply embarrassed and trying to shift focus from their long-recorded support for various military interventions in these countries.

Either way, the result is that the story is framed in such a way that it makes the timing of the crisis sound almost random. We’re witnessing a conversation about how to ‘deal’ with boats full of Libyans making their way across the Mediterranean — as if Libya was a country that had just self-imploded yesterday, and for no discernible reason.

A fierce debate is raging over ‘what to do’ about these migrants — and in a way that’s understandable because that is the more immediate problem — but the debate we really need to be having is about the policies, NATO’s policies, which were the catalyst.

Even if Europe unites in formulating a ‘solution’ to the problem, it will be nothing more than a band-aid fix because it will only deal with symptom. After all, what’s the point in covering your open wound with a band-aid when the guy who cut you is still wielding a knife in the same room? It doesn’t take a genius to work out how that story ends.

Whenever the cause is grudgingly mentioned by the media, it is mentioned briefly and abstractly where the author or anchor might refer to “conflict” or make mention of how violence has “reignited” in these countries in recent years and months.

The editors at the New York Times in particular, are big fans of loading all the blame squarely onto Europe’s shoulders. Here a Times piece argues that the migrant crisis “puts Europe’s policy missteps into focus”. Another piece, from the editorial board, lectures Europe on how to handle the situation.

In April, NATO head Jens Stoltenberg called for a “comprehensive response” to the crisis and promised that NATO would help to stabilize the situation. The alliance’s role in “stabilizing” Afghanistan was part of its broader approach to the refugee crisis in the Mediterranean, he said.

That is rich coming from the head of a ‘security’ and ‘defensive’ alliance which for years has pursued a policy of offensive destabilization in the very regions which people are fleeing from in their hundreds of thousands. But Stoltenberg’s comments and NATO’s actions are easily decoded by the employment of some basic common sense.

The NATO modus operandi is clear. The pattern, repeated over and over, involves the complete destabilization of a region, to be swiftly followed up with another NATO-led ‘solution’ to the problem. When you couple that with the use of spokespeople who are unashamed to feign ignorance and lie blatantly (Jen Psaki, Marie Harf etc.), and a compliant media that will regurgitate the line without question, this is what you get.

The 2011 NATO intervention in Libya was authorized by the United Nations on “humanitarian” grounds and resulted in the deaths of between 50,000 and 100,000 people and the displacement of 2 million. Very humanitarian.

Similarly, after the U.S.-led campaign to destabilize Syria in an effort to topple Bashar al-Assad, facilitating (and even supporting) the rise of ISIS in the region, a staggering 10 million have been displaced (according to Amnesty International) and European countries are left to help pick up the pieces. Germany, for example, has pledged to resettle 30,000 Syrian refugees. Sweden, a non-NATO nation, has taken in similar numbers.

It should be made clear however, that the numbers European countries have taken or pledged to take pale in comparison to the numbers being hosted in other Middle Eastern countries. Lebanon, for example, is hosting 1.1 million Syrian refugees. Jordan is hosting more than 600,000. Iraq hosts nearly a quarter of a million. Turkey hosts 1.6 million.

There is one country that’s getting off scot-free in all of this — at least on the Syrian front. That country is the United States. The U.S. has taken in less than 900 Syrian refugees after four years of war. American officials have cited “national security” in their explanations for not yet taking more, although they have said they would like to see the number increase.

Maybe this has something to do with it?

Debate not allowed

There is a second media crime flying under the radar here and it is this: In European countries where the massive influx of migrants from the Middle East and North Africa have caused serious societal divisions, where migrants have failed to assimilate (for a variety of reasons, including both government policies and often radical religious beliefs), Western media will allow no one to talk about it honestly — and woe betide the person who tries.

Take Sweden, where the disease of political correctness is at an even more advanced stage than it is in the rest of Europe. There, any attempt to debate the coherence of a ‘doors wide open’ immigration policy is branded as “racist”. A further irony in the Swedish context, is that the country is facing a housing crisis and has nowhere to put most of the people they are pledging to resettle. There’s some real forward-thinking, common sense policy for you.

This is a dangerous combination for Europe: An unsustainable influx of migrants, foreign policy which ensures its continuation, a docile media, and an epidemic of political correctness which has infected the entire continent.

Media 101 on the migrant crisis: Talk a lot about migrants, don’t mention why they fled and then call anyone who has a problem with it a “racist” — success! Oh, and you get an added bonus if you can somehow link it all to ‘Russian aggression’, Vladimir Putin and NATO as a ‘defensive’ alliance.

Some European countries are taking a more hardline approach and are getting slammed for it. Hungary, for example, is looking at building a barrier wall along its border with Serbia, similar to barriers along the Greek-Turkish and Bulgarian-Turkish borders. Again, this has sparked accusations of xenophobia and racism from media and political quarters.

But that’s part of the game, isn’t it? If NATO’s war supporters can focus the debate around the idea that anyone who wants to address or critically assess immigration policy is “racist” then we won’t have to talk about why the migrants are here in the first place or why they are facing such dire circumstances at home.

Russia Today’s Oksana Boyko tried recently, to broach this topic with Peter Sutherland, the UN’s special representative on international migration and development, but she got nowhere. She argued that the debate around migration into the EU can’t really be had without addressing the essence and heart of the problem, but found that NATO policy is apparently a topic not up for discussion.

Debating Europe’s migrant crisis without acknowledging the context in which it has been created it useless. It would be like asking Americans to debate police brutality without talking about race. The two are inescapably interlinked and any ‘solutions’ that come from an incomplete debate will ultimately fail.

For now though, it seems Europe will continue to debate this humanitarian crisis in terms of ‘what to do’ without addressing the ‘how to stop’ and we’ll keep running around in a vicious circle.

An easier solution, of course, would be for NATO to put an end to its campaign of destabilization in the Middle East and North Africa, but that would require the acceptance and acknowledgement of some very hard truths.

June 28, 2015 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, War Crimes | , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Nuclear Warfare in the 21st Century

June 28, 2015

As NATO and Russia revive the old nuclear Cold War, the public is being prepared to accept the first-strike use of tactical nuclear weapons on targets in the Middle East and elsewhere. And as the world inches closer to a World War III scenario, we find the old MAD doctrine being revived in a new round of madness.

June 28, 2015 Posted by | Militarism, Timeless or most popular, Video, War Crimes | , , , , | Leave a comment

Freedom Flotilla III en route to Gaza; military plane spotted overhead

nasser-hamdaduche-with-ann-wright-and-abouzaid-el-mokrie-el-idrissi-and-abdul-latif-freedom-flotilla-III

From left to right: Algerian MP Nasser Hamdaduche; Former US Army colonel and retired State Department official Ann Wright; Moroccan MP Abouzaid El Mokrie El Idrissi; and journalist Abdul Latif from Echorouk TV on one of boats of the Freedom Flotilla III, sailing in international waters towards Gaza

By Celine Hagbard | IMEMC News | June 28, 2015

On June 26th 2015, four boats of the 2015 the Freedom Flotilla III set sail toward Gaza to try to break Israel’s nine-year-long economic siege on Gaza. The ships are planning to sail from international waters directly into Palestinian waters, with no Israeli involvement. But just hours after setting sail, the captain of one of the ships took note of a military reconnaissance plane that appeared to be tracking the ships.

The captain of the lead ship, ‘The Marianne’, noticed military vessels and reconnaissance planes near Marianne on Saturday afternoon. The crew could not identify nationality for neither the vessels or the planes. The vessel and plane disappeared around 5pm, and the crew has not seen any sign of them since then.

According to a statement by the group, the Flotilla is due to reach Gaza in just a few days. Participants on board include about 50 human rights activists, journalists, artists, and political figures representing 17 countries. This is the third Freedom Flotilla, in addition to nine single boats that have undertaken to sail to Gaza, beginning in 2008 when several voyages reached Gaza City harbor and returned to Europe after their mission of bringing supplies and solidarity to the people of Gaza.

Israeli forces attacked every subsequent attempt to break the siege on Gaza by sea, seizing the humanitarian goods, medical supplies and water treatment equipment on the ships and arresting the participants. In an attack which garnered international attention, Israeli paratroopers dropped onto a Freedom Flotilla ship called the ‘Mavi Marmara’ and began shooting the passengers, killing nine.

In the current Freedom Flotilla, a converted fishing trawler, dubbed the ‘Marianne of Gothenburg’ left Sweden in May to join the flotilla and has made numerous stops along its journey around Europe. Marianne is carrying solar panels that will help alleviate the serious problem of electricity in Gaza, as well .as medical equipment. Three other sailing vessels (Rachel, Vittorio and Juliano II) are accompanying Marianne in its mission to break the blockade of Gaza, in solidarity with the 1.8 million Palestinians in Gaza. With different strategies and different itineraries, the group says they will continue to sail until the blockade is lifted and Gaza’s port is open.

Dr. Basel Ghattas, a member of the Israeli Knesset, is on board one of the ships, as well as Dr. Moncef Marzouki, former President of Tunisia, the first president after the 2011 popular uprising. Members of parliament from Spain, Jordan, Greece and Algeria are also on board, together with members of European Parliament. Ten of the current participants and crew have been on previous missions. Media outlets on board the flotilla are Al Jazeera, Euronews, Maori TV (New Zealand), Al-Quds TV, Channel 2 TV (Israel) and Russia Today TV, as well as several independent print journalists.

Over 100 European Parliamentarians have signed a letter to the EU’s High Representative, Federica Mogherini, in support of the Freedom Flotilla and calling for an end to the blockade of Gaza.

June 28, 2015 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Solidarity and Activism | , , , , | Leave a comment

Saudi Arabia Thwarts UN Emergency Aid for Yemen

Sputnik – 27.06.2015

Months after the Saudi government pledged to single-handedly meet the United Nations’ (UN) “flash appeal” for humanitarian aid to Yemen, Riyadh is making it clear that the donation doesn’t come without strings attached.

On April 12, as the Saudi-led air campaign rained bombs over Yemen, the UN issued an emergency flash appeal calling for $274 million in aid for the country to address the increasingly dire humanitarian condition. Less than 24 hours later, the call was met entirely by the very government that was leading the attacks against Yemen.

Yemen_FamilyOverseen by the UN Office for Coordination of Human Affairs (UNOCHA), emergency funds are meant to be distributed quickly to where they are most needed. Over two months have passed since Riyadh pledged the full $274 million, however, and the money has yet to be delivered to Yemen.

A UN memo obtained exclusively by VICE news has revealed the reason for this delay is the restrictive conditions the Saudi government has placed on the aid disbursement. What’s more, the UN appears to have consented to these conditions.

On Tuesday, Riyadh announced that $244 million of the total amount pledged will be split between nine UN agencies. The next day, the UN’s undersecretary for humanitarian affairs and emergency relief coordinator Stephen O’Brien sent a letter to the Interagency Standing Committee, a global humanitarian coordinating body for humanitarian agencies.

In the letter, O’Brien explained that the funds would go through the King Salman Center for Relief and Humanitarian Work (KSC). He also noted that KSC would dictate the terms of the fund distribution with each of the nine agencies.

“The KSC would like to negotiate the Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) with each recipient agency,” he wrote. “They would also like to be assured that the Government of Yemen in exile is consulted.”

The memo indicates that the pledge was a calculated move on the part of the Saudi government to monopolize the aid and control where it goes and when. According to VICE, the letter alarmed many aid workers who say that it was too vaguely worded, thereby giving Riyadh leeway for further delays.

“It’s really unusual for a single donor to have any substantive role once they contribute funds, let alone negotiate individual MoUs with agencies,” an anonymous official involved in the Yemen response told VICE.

He also noted the UN’s acquiesce to Riyadh’s stipulations.

“The charitable way of saying it is this is a compromise – the less charitable way of saying it is that they folded,” he said. “Now the UN has punted and handed off the problems to these agencies. I’ve never seen that before.”

The letter comes as the UNOCHA struggles with massive funding deficits in over two dozen countries, including in Yemen where the agency estimates that 80% of the population needs humanitarian aid, and may explain the UN’s agreement to the Saudi government’s stipulations.

“With regard to NGOs, I am aware that there are sensitivities in receiving funding directly from the KSC,” O’Brien wrote, acknowledging the unusual Saudi stipulations. “We therefore must work actively to mobilize additional funds to be allocated directly, or via the Pooled Fund, to our front-line partners.”

However, another aid worker with an organization that delivers humanitarian supplies to Yemen told VICE that O’Brien’s acknowledgement does not take away from the UN’s concession to Saudi over control of the fund disbursement.

“The thing about this communication that we all got, it’s really vague,” he said. “We are trying to assume and guess what they mean by this plan, but it’s not clear. The Saudis might very well sit on it for a long time.”

While it is not unusual for donor countries to have a degree of control over the distribution of funds, InterAction humanitarian vice president Joel Charny notes that emergency situations require agencies like the UN to make the final call.

“It’s not that donors don’t care where the money goes, but there’s a sense that in an urgent case like Yemen you let the professionals make the call,” he said.

O’Brien also told VICE a day before the letter was released that, as a general rule, the UN does not “condone any modality based on geography,” meaning that donors cannot restrict aid distribution from certain areas.

Yet Riyadh has already asked for the restriction of aid distribution to Houthi-held areas in Yemen.

Saudi Arabia launched its air campaign against Houthi rebels in Yemen in March in an effort to reinstate Yemeni President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi. Since the beginning of the airstrike campaign, over 2,800 people have been killed in the fighting and 13,000 have been wounded, according to local hospitals.

June 28, 2015 Posted by | Subjugation - Torture, War Crimes | , , | Leave a comment

US, NATO powers intensify preparations for nuclear war

By Thomas Gaist | WSWS | June 26, 2015

The NATO military alliance is preparing to implement a more aggressive nuclear weapons strategy in response to alleged “Russian aggression,” according to NATO sources cited by the Guardian Wednesday evening.

Proposed changes include provisions for greater involvement of nuclear forces in ongoing NATO military exercises along Russia’s borders and new guidelines for nuclear escalation against Russia, according to the NATO officials.

The alliance’s nuclear doctrine has been the subject of quiet, informal discussions “on the sidelines” of the ongoing NATO summit. The new policies will be formally articulated and confirmed at an upcoming conference of the alliance’s Nuclear Planning Group, which was rescheduled for an earlier date this week as word got around about the secretive planning.

“There is very real concern about the way in which Russia publicly bandies around nuclear stuff. So there are quite a lot of deliberations in the alliance about nuclear weapons,” an unnamed NATO diplomat told the Guardian.

The claim that discussion about a revision of nuclear weapons policy is in response to Russian aggression turns reality on its head. In the aftermath of the US and NATO-backed coup in Ukraine last year, the major imperialist powers have engaged in a relentless militarization of Eastern Europe, including the establishment of a rapid reaction force of 40,000 troops.

This week, US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter announced that the US would permanently deploy tanks, military vehicles and other equipment to countries bordering Russia. There are also ongoing discussions about directly arming Ukraine, beyond the extensive assistance the right-wing government already receives.

NATO is now planning to respond to any attempt by Russia to maintain or counter US imperialism’s aggressive moves in Eastern Europe with even more massive military response, including nuclear weapons.

An indication of the thinking of NATO strategists was provided by a report in the Financial Times. In the event of a conflict involving one of the Baltic countries, “Russia might… accuse the alliance of escalating the conflict and threaten to use intermediate range nuclear weapons.” The Times quotes Elbridge Colby, of the Center for a New American Security (CNAS): “NATO does not need a total nuclear rethink. But it needs to be realistic about how it would respond and willing to show Putin that he would not get away with it.”

This scenario builds on allegations from the US that Russia has violated the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF), allegations that the Russian government has denied. US officials have stated that the Pentagon is preparing to launch preemptive attacks against missiles or other targets in Russia, including with nuclear weapons, in response to Moscow’s alleged violation of the treaty.

The announcement of major revisions to NATO’s nuclear strategy came just days after the publication of an extensive report, “Project Atom: Defining US Nuclear Strategy and Posture for 2025-2050,” by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). The main portions of the report were authored by a career US government strategist and senior CSIS analyst, Clark Murdock, a man who previously worked in high-level strategy jobs at the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the Department of Defense (DOD), the US Air Force and the National War College. The report included contributions from a large team of researchers and experts, including panels from the CNAS and the National Institution for Public Policy (NIPP).

The thrust of the CSIS analysis is that the US must make its nuclear arsenal easier to use in a war with Russia, China or some other power. The military must adopt “a US nuclear strategy designed for twenty-first century realities,” based on new generations of tactical warheads and delivery systems.

More advanced tactical nuclear weapons will enable Washington to threaten and launch small nuclear wars, without being “self-deterred” by concerns that its actions would lead to a nuclear holocaust, the CSIS report argues.

“The United States needs to develop and deploy more employable nuclear weapons,” the CSIS wrote, including “low collateral damage, enhanced radiation, earth penetration, electromagnetic pulse, and others as technology advances.”

Such advances, the report argues, are the only way to counter the erosion of American technological superiority by the growth of the Chinese and Russian nuclear arsenals, together with the addition of as many as nine new governments to the “nuclear club.”

Under the “Measured Response” theory advocated by the CSIS and Murdock, these types of highly mobile nuclear strike forces could engage in “controlled nuclear operations,” firing “low yield, accurate, special effects” nukes against enemy targets without leading to a full-scale nuclear war.

By “forward deploying a robust set of discriminate nuclear response options,” the US could launch tactical nuclear strikes “at all rungs of the nuclear escalation ladder,” Murdock wrote.

Such “small-scale” nuclear conflicts would inevitably claim tens, if not hundreds of millions of lives, even assuming they did not escalate into a global nuclear war.

The continental US, according to this theory, would be protected from the consequences of regional-scale nuclear warfare by the deterrent effect of Washington’s huge arsenal of high-yield strategic weapons. Any “controlled” nuclear conflicts started by the US government, moreover, would not involve nuclear operations targeting or launched from North America.

“The US homeland would not be engaged in the US response to a nuclear attack on a regional ally,” the CSIS wrote.

In barely veiled language, CSIS is suggesting that the US should utilize allied and client governments as staging areas and arenas for “controlled” atomic warfare.

As the product of collaboration between an extensive network of ruling-class policy theorists, such proposals are extremely ominous and represent a grave warning to the international working class.

There have been other calls for a significant expansion of US nuclear weapons capacity. In comments to the Atlantic Council earlier this week, US Congressman Mac Thornberry, the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, called for a “national conversation about building new nuclear weapons.”

“That’s something we haven’t been able to even have a conversation about for a while, but I think we’re going to have to,” Thornberry declared.

Late last year, the Obama administration announced plans for a $1 trillion, three-decades-long upgrade of nuclear weapons capability.

In the writings of the CSIS and the other discussions within the state apparatus, there is a degree of insanity. The strategists of American imperialism are coldly calculating the best tactics for waging and winning nuclear war. Yet this insanity flows from the logic of American imperialism and the drive by the financial aristocracy to control—ever more directly through the use of military force—the entire world.

June 28, 2015 Posted by | Militarism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Ukraine Masses Troops on Border With Transnistria

Sputnik – 28.06.2015

Ukraine continues to mass troops and heavy weapons on the border with Transnistria on the pretext that the self-proclaimed republic may launch a military campaign against Ukraine, Russian media reported on Saturday.

“It looks like the Kiev authorities want to picture themselves as encircled by enemies, ready to attack,” a representative of the Transnistrian KGB told Russia’s Zvezda TV channel.

“That we may have a war here tomorrow is hard to say, but we are not ruling out a Ukrainian provocation either… They could use for this purpose one of their many small private armies which refuse to take any orders from Kiev,” the official added.

On June 22, the deputy foreign minister of the Transnistrian Republic, Vitaly Ignatyev, said that Ukraine was moving its troops towards the borders of the self-proclaimed republic, sandwiched between Ukraine and Moldova.

“The situation here is very bad… Economic production is going down, foreign trade is shrinking, the security situation is equally alarming with our Moldovan partners holding military drills with NATO and the Ukrainian pressure mounting every day,” Ignatyev said.

He also mentioned the curbs Kiev has imposed on the transit of Transnistrian nationals and citizens of Russia, almost 200,000 of whom currently live in Transnistria.

“They haven’t been able to travel to Russia via Ukraine for more than a year now. They have to move across Moldova, but Chisinau is creating problems too, along with economic sanctions,” Ignatyev added.

The newly appointed governor of Ukraine’s Odessa region Mikheil Saakashvili earlier announced plans to reinforce Ukraine’s border with Transnistria.

“We have two major tasks — to reinforce the border and curb corruption. Drug and weapons trafficking across this border means nothing good,” Saakashvili told a news conference in Odessa.

He also blamed the Transnistrian authorities for destabilizing the situation in Ukraine.

June 28, 2015 Posted by | Militarism | , , , | Leave a comment

“Sewer Socialist” Bernie Sanders’ Anti-Russian Propaganda

bernie-sheepdog01

By Caleb Maupin – New Eastern Outlook – 28.06.2015

The presidential campaign of Bernie Sanders — an anti-Russia, Israel-supporting politician from Vermont — revives an archaic feud among leftists. The old debate about “sewer socialism” is back.

In the early part of the 20th century, there was a broad movement of people in the United States who advocated the overthrow of capitalism. Among them were many revolutionaries like Eugene Debs, William Z. Foster, Lucy Parsons, and Paul Robeson.

However, there was another current of people who called themselves “socialists” but had no interest in revolution. They were called “sewer socialists.” The term originated in reference to Victor L. Berger, a “socialist” who ran on a platform of improving the city’s sewer system and eventually became the mayor of Milwaukee. The sewer socialists did not want to overthrow capitalism, but simply to be elected to local public office and improve government policy. They wanted to make a global system built on exploitation of people all over the world a little more comfortable for those living within the western economic centers.

The battle between these two poles of the left movement – with the revolutionary and anti-imperialist wing of socialism on the one hand and the “sewer socialist” wing on the other — played out on a global level. Commenting on the debate, Russian socialist revolutionary Vladimir Lenin described the trend this way: “The bourgeoisie of an imperialist ‘Great’ Power can economically bribe the upper strata of ‘its’ workers by spending on this a hundred million or so francs a year, for its superprofits most likely amount to about a thousand million… this little sop is divided among the labour ministers, ‘labour representatives’… labour members of War Industries Committees… labour officials, workers belonging to the narrow craft unions…”

In the modern United States, it isn’t sewer socialism but “Vermont socialism” that plays the role of the ‘Labor Ministers.’ US Senator Bernie Sanders is running for president, and openly describes himself as a “socialist.” Despite using this word to describe himself, with many well intentioned anti-capitalist activists supporting him, Sanders’ platform in reality articulates a strategy for strengthening global monopoly capitalism and its expanding militarism.

Big Oil’s Campaign Against Russia

Currently, Wall Street is doing all it can to suppress Russia, a rising competitor on the global markets. US oil and natural gas corporations in particular want to attack and isolate the Russian Federation, as hydraulic fracking floods the market and drives down oil prices and profits. As Russia stabilizes and expands, continuing to export more and more natural gas, big business desperately needs to purge the country’s oil from the global market.

In service of the western oil and natural gas cartels, US agents overthrew the democratically elected government of Ukraine. The orgy of street violence in Kiev that deposed Yanukovich was conducted with the direction of the CIA and billions of dollars in US funding. In Ukraine, the intervention of the United States has pushed a formerly peaceful country into civil war and installed a fanatically anti-Russian government. Russia now faces a hostile, US-aligned regime directly on its doorstep. Civil war is unfolding as the peoples of eastern Ukraine have taken up arms against it.

US-funded terrorists are waging a campaign of death and destruction in Syria, another Russian-aligned country. Hundreds of thousands have already been killed. The US and its allies in Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Jordan continue to pour money into the so-called “Free Syrian Army” — a group that openly tortures, kidnaps, and beheads innocent people, and has a history of collaborating with ISIS.

Despite giving demagogic anti-corporate speeches, Sanders brags that he is even more in line with big oil’s anti-Russia campaign than President Obama. “The entire world has got to stand up to Putin. We’ve got to deal with sanctions, we’ve got to deal with freezing assets,” he declared in a TV interview with FOX news host Bill O’Reilly.

In the same interview, he declared: “You’ve got to totally isolate them politically. You’ve got to totally isolate them economically… You freeze assets that the Russian government has all over the world… International corporations have huge investments in Russia, you could pull them out…”

A “Socialist” who Loves War and Israel

Sanders is very much a friend of the military industrial complex. In his home state of Vermont, Sanders “rarely misses a photo opportunity with Vermont National Guard troops when they are being deployed to Afghanistan or Iraq.” While criticizing Bush’s invasion of Iraq, Sanders consistently votes for the massive US military budget. In fact, Sanders is vocally very supportive of Obama’s drone strikes program, and has worked to bring US military research corporations into his home state to set up facilities.

As a highly rated ally of the American-Israeli Public Affairs Committee, Sanders has consistently voted and spoken out in support of Israel. When criticized for it, he often replies with standard Israel lobby talking points, saying things like, “Hamas is sending missiles into Israel… some of those missiles are coming to populated areas…” Other than vaguely saying that Israel may have “overreacted,” he blatantly supports and defends Israeli military policy.

Sanders openly believes that the Palestinian resistance to Israeli occupation is “terrorism,” and that the existence of a “Jewish state” on Palestinian land is somehow ethical. In his 2013 interview with Playboy, he declared: “The Palestinians must fulfill their responsibilities to end terrorism against Israel and recognize Israel’s right to exist.”

A Friend of the Rising Police State

As a loyal ally of military corporations, he not only supports their war against people in Ukraine, Syria, and Palestine, but also their profitable activities at home. Big business is making huge profits from a prison industrial complex as well as the rapid expansion of the role of police in US society. As police patrol the halls of elementary schools, and “stop and frisk” people on the streets without probable cause, it is young African-Americans who are their primary targets.

Sanders has never been an opponent of the prison industrial complex or the rising incidents of police violence. In Michael Moore’s 2009 film “Capitalism: A Love Story,” Moore interviewed Sanders and asked him to explain what it meant to be a socialist. Sanders responded with a vague, populist rant in which he portrayed the police as victims: “We’ve become very religious in worshipping greed. We put on the front pages of magazines guys who have made millions of dollars, we ignore the cops… who every day are doing so much in improving the lives of people.”

More recently, in response to the massive uprising against police brutality and mass incarceration in the United States, Sanders has declared: “Look, the issue here is…. I was a mayor for eight years, and being a cop is a very, very difficult job. But the word has got to get out that when police act inappropriately, and of course in this case there has to be a thorough investigation.” Sanders gives standard, Obama-style talking points on the issue, saying he supports “body cameras” and wants more community cooperation and involvement with police departments.

Inevitably, whenever the issue of police brutality is raised, Sanders changes the subject to economics. In response to the Baltimore uprising after the killing of Freddie Grey, Sanders declared, without ever even mentioning Grey’s name: “In the neighborhood where this gentleman lives, as I understand it, the unemployment rate is over 50 percent, over 50 percent. What we have got to do as a nation is understand that we have got to create millions of jobs, to put people back to work, to make sure that kids are in schools, and not in jails…. so they’re not hanging out on street corners.”

No one can deny that unemployment is a huge problem, especially for Black and Brown communities in the United States. However, Eric Garner wasn’t choked to death by a bill collector. The direct issue at hand is the fact that police officers have essentially been given a “license to kill” by the courts, and routinely face no penalty after blatantly and intentionally killing people of color.

By diverting the conversation to economics and not calling out the police in harsh terms, and then using racially loaded phrases like “hanging out on street corners,” Sanders is essentially saying: “If only Black people had more economic opportunities, they wouldn’t be worthless, low-life criminals who the police have to kill.”

A Bigger Slice of Empire?

Often Bernie Sanders is asked what it means to be a socialist. He does not respond with a call for public management of the economy, “workers’ control of the means of production,” a workers and farmer’s government, or any of the definitions of “socialism”  used by socialists historically. Instead, he talks about Norway, Sweden, and other US-aligned imperialist countries. He emphasizes that these countries have a national health service, and provide free university education. […]

Sanders’ political viewpoint, based on his experience of decades in governing his home state — where only 1.2% of the population is Black — has been: “If we give white middle class Americans a bigger slice of the pie, they will be far more willing to line up with Wall Street against Russia, China, Iran, and the Palestinians.”

Lenin accurately described leaders like Sanders as “opportunists and social-chauvinists,” saying, “They are defending the temporary privileges of a minority of the workers…” Back in 1916, Lenin urged his followers to “go down lower and deeper, to the real masses… teach the masses to appreciate their true political interests, to fight for socialism and for the revolution.”

The following year, Lenin and the Bolsheviks were victorious. Capitalism, along with its mischievous and demagogic defenders like Bernie Sanders, was overthrown in Russia. That was nearly 100 years ago. How this battle will play out among 21st-century leftists remains to be seen.

Caleb Maupin is a political analyst and activist based in New York. He studied political science at Baldwin-Wallace College and was inspired and involved in the Occupy Wall Street movement.

June 28, 2015 Posted by | Economics, Militarism, Progressive Hypocrite, Wars for Israel | , | 7 Comments

Argentine court orders seizure of Falklands/Malvinas ‘illegal’ oil drillers’ assets

RT | June 28, 2015

Argentina has ordered the seizure of assets belonging to foreign drilling companies operating in the vicinity of Falklands / Malvinas Islands, saying they have failed to obtain the necessary permissions from Buenos Aires to conduct exploration.

A federal judge in Tierra del Fuego, Lilian Herraez, has ordered authorities to seize the assets of five companies drilling for oil in the Falklands worth $156 mn. The measure was ordered following a request of a prosecutor from the Office of Economic Crime and Money Laundering (PROCELAC).

According to the prosecution, the order to seize assets was issued for “illegal activities of exploration, search and eventual extraction of hydrocarbons in proximity to the Falkland Islands” because the companies in question failed to obtain permits issued by “the competent authority in Argentina.”

According to a legal brief, the order involves halting the activities of the semi-submersible “Eirik Raude” rig and the floating dock“Noble Frontier”. Herraez also ordered the seizure of all vessels.

The five companies mentioned are: Premier Oil Plc, Rockhopper Exploration Plc, Falkland Oil and Gas Ltd, Noble Energy Inc and Edison International Spa. Three of them are UK based, one is American and the fifth is French-owned, based in Italy.

It remains unclear how these companies’ assets are supposed to be appropriated from territory officially under the jurisdiction and sovereignty of the United Kingdom. The companies in question do not generally hold any assets in Argentina or use Argentine waters, a source told Reuters.

However, the Argentine prosecutor’s office said it “had identified the assets of the foreign companies and discovered that one of them, the US firm Noble Energy, has a local office registered in Argentina.” Authorities will move to freeze those assets, it said.

“The foreign ministry will be notified of the court order so that by diplomatic means and in compliance with international treaties it can be carried out,” the prosecutor’s office said in a statement.

In April, a group of British exploration companies found oil and gas in an area north of the Falkland Islands. The oil was discovered by the Eirik Raude floating drilling rig as part of an eight month exploration campaign. Argentina has predictably not been happy about the exploration activity, which is bound to further inflame tensions over the island’s disputed ownership.

In Argentina, the Falkland Islands are known as the ‘Islas Malvinas.’ The dispute between the UK and Argentina over the sovereignty of the islands has reemerged in recent years under President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner.

June 28, 2015 Posted by | Economics, Illegal Occupation | , , , | Leave a comment