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Strategic Culture Foundation

Strategic Culture Foundation
17 Apr 2024 | 7:23 pm

1. Could the Russians Seize Congress?


The Russians have been coming, off and on, for seven-plus decades. While these conjured imaginings may be laughable, the consequences of a culture of Cold War fear are far from funny

By Patrick LAWRENCE

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The Russians are coming — or coming back, better put.

As the November elections draw near, let us brace for another barrage of preposterous propaganda to the effect Russians are poisoning our minds with "disinformation," "false narratives," and all the other misnomers deployed when facts contradict liberal authoritarian orthodoxies.

We had a rich taste of this new round of lies and innuendo in late January, when Nancy Pelosi, the California Democrat who served as House speaker for far too long, asserted that the F.B.I. should investigate demonstrators demanding a ceasefire in Gaza for their ties, yes indeedy, to the Kremlin.

Here is Pelosi on CNN's State of the Union program Jan. 28:

"For them to call for a cease-fire is Mr. Putin's message. Make no mistake, this is directly connected to what he would like to see. Same thing with Ukraine…. I think some financing should be investigated. And I want to ask the F.B.I. to investigate that."

O.K., we have the template: If you say something that coincides with the Russian position, you will be accused of hiding your "ties to Russia," as the common phrase has it.

Be careful not to mention some spring day that the sky is pleasantly blue: I am here to warn you—"make no mistake" — this is exactly what "Putin," now stripped of a first name and a title, "would like to see."

There is invariably an ulterior point when those in power try on tomfoolery of this kind. In each case they have something they need to explain away.

In 2016, it was Hillary Clinton's defeat at the polls, so we suffered four years of Russiagate. Pelosi felt called upon to discredit those objecting to the Israeli–U.S. genocide in Gaza.

"Thank you Congress/Biden, your aid was received!" Protest against Israeli genocide in Freedom Plaza, Washington, D.C., Nov. 4, 2023. (Diane Krauthamer, Flickr, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Now we have a new ruse. Desperate to get Congress to authorize $60.1 billion in new aid to Ukraine, Capitol Hill warmongers charge that those objecting to this bad-money-after-bad allocation are… do I have to finish the sentence?

Two weeks ago Michael McCaul, a Republican representative who wants to see the long-blocked aid bill passed, asserted in an interview with Puck News that Russian propaganda has "infected a good chunk of my party's base." Here is the stupid-sounding congressman from Texas, as quoted in The Washington Post,  elaborating on our now-familiar theme:

"There are some more nighttime entertainment shows that seem to spin, like, I see the Russian propaganda in some of it — and it's almost identical on our airwaves. These people that read various conspiracy-theory outlets that are just not accurate, and they actually model Russian propaganda."

I read in the Post that McCaul's staff abruptly cut short the interview when Julia Ioffe, a professional Russophobe who has bounced around from one publication to another for years, asked him to name a few names.

So was this latest ball of baloney set in motion.

A week after McCaul's Puck News interview, Michael Turner, an Ohio Republican who, as chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, swings a bigger stick, escalated matters when, reacting to McCaul's statements, reported that this grave Russian penetration was evident in the upper reaches of the American government, as again reported in The Washington Post:

"Oh, it is absolutely true. We see directly coming from Russia attempts to mask communications that are anti–Ukraine and pro–Russia messages, some of which we even hear being uttered on the House floor."

Masked communications uttered on the House floor: Hold the thought, as I will shortly return to it.

The VOA Rendition

The taker of the cake — so far, anyway — arrived last week from Voice of America, the Central Intelligence Agency front posing as a radio broadcaster, under the headline, "How Russia's disinformation campaign seeps into U.S. views." Same theme: The Rrrrrussians are poisoning America's otherwise pristine discourse in an effort to block authorization of the assistance bill, which also includes aid to Israel ($14.1 billion) and Taiwan ($4 billion).

To drive home its point, VOA quotes a lobbyist named Scott Cullinane, who works for something called Razom, which means "together" in the Ukrainian language. Razom is a non-governmental organization "formed in 2014 to support Ukrainians in their quest for freedom." That is, Razom's founding coincided with the coup in Kiev the U.S. orchestrated in February 2014.

Feb. 18, 2014: Protesters throwing pieces of brick pavement at Ukrainian troops obscured by the smoke of burning tires in Kiev. (Mstyslav Chernov, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons)

Razom works with a variety of Ukrainian NGOs to advance this cause and sounds to me like a player in the old civil-society-subterfuge game, though one cannot be sure because, on its website and in its annual reports, it does not say, per usual in these sorts of cases, who funds it.

Here is a little of VOA's report on Cullinane's recent doings on Capitol Hill:

"On a near daily basis, Scott Cullinane talks with members of Congress about Russia's war in Ukraine. As a lobbyist for the nonprofit Razom, part of his job is to convince them of Ukraine's need for greater U.S. support to survive.

But as lawmakers debated a $95 billion package that includes about $60 billion in aid for Ukraine, Cullinane noticed an increase in narratives alleging Ukrainian corruption. What stood out is that these were the same talking points promoted by Russian disinformation.

So, when The Washington Post published an investigation into an extensive and coordinated Russian campaign to influence U.S. public opinion to deny Ukraine the aid, Cullinane says he was not surprised.

'This problem has been festering and growing for years,' he told VOA. 'I believe that Russia's best chance for victory is not on the battlefield, but through information operations targeted on Western capitals, including Washington.'"

Straight off the top, there has been no Washington Post "investigation." The Post simply quoted two paranoid congressmen without bothering to question, never mind investigate, the veracity of their assertions.

Beyond this, the question of Ukrainian corruption is another case of the sky being blue. There is no "alleging" the Kiev regime's corruption: It is thoroughly documented by, among other authorities, Transparency International, which ranks Ukraine among the world's most corrupt nations.

You see what is going on here?  This is an echo chamber, ever treasured by the propagandists.

Puck News, a web publication of no great account, puts out a warmongering reporter's interview with a warmongering congressman, The Washington Post reports it, another congressman seconds the assertions of the first, the Post reports that, and then VOA joins the proceedings to report that well-established, beyond-dispute facts are Russian disinformation.

And the echoes multiply, like the circles in a pond when a rock is tossed in. Here is how Tagesspiegel, a Berlin daily whose Russophobia dates to its founding during the U.S. occupation after World War II, reported on the assistance bill immediately after the VOA report:

"The controversy about the aid, which has already passed the U.S. Senate, is reflected in numerous posts on social media and articles on news sites. As The Washington Post reports, one actor has played a decisive role in this: the Russian government."

When propaganda is king, you have to conclude, what goes around keeps going around.

It is well enough to laugh at this silly business, transparently calculated as it is.  Except that this kind of chicanery has a long history, and we learn from it that the Russians have been coming, off and on, for seven-plus decades. The consequences of these conjured imaginings, we also learn, are very other than funny.

When I decided to write the book that came out last autumn as Journalists and Their Shadows, exploring the past was essential to the project. If we want to understand our "press mess," I call the current crisis in our media, we had better understand how it got this way.

President Harry Truman in 1948. (National Archives)

In the course of my researches into the exuberant anti–Communism of the early Cold War years, I came upon a lengthy takeout Look magazine published on Aug. 3, 1948, under the headline, "Could the Reds Seize Detroit?" This piece was exemplary of its time.

"Detroit is the industrial heart of America," the writer began. "Today, a sickle is being sharpened to plunge into that heart…. The Reds are going boldly about their business."

Before he finishes, James Metcalfe — let this byline be recorded — has Motor City besieged in "an all-out initial blow in the best blitzkrieg fashion." The presentation featured masked Communists murdering police officers and telephone operators, seizing airports, blowing up bridges, power grids, rail lines, and highways.

"Caught in the madness of the moment, emboldened by the darkness, intoxicated by an unbridled license to kill and loot, mobs would swarm the streets." Communist mobs, naturally.

It is easy to read this now with some combination of derision and contempt. Do we have any grounds to do so? Are we doing things so differently now?

There were dangers implicit in the Look piece. It published Metcalfe's paranoic fantasy a year and a few months after President Harry Truman gave his famous "scare hell out of the American people" speech to Congress in March 1947. Look was in essence recruiting the public as the Truman administration launched the Cold War crusade.

Representatives McCaul and Turner are on a recruitment drive of the very same kind. They are not lying to one another in any kind of effort to clean up Congress. Do not wait for them to lift a finger on that score. They are lying to you and me in what amounts to a scare-hell operation.

And the danger this time is the same as the danger last time. It is the cultivation of a climate of fear wherein the American public is to acquiesce as the new Cold War proceeds and all manner of laws and constitutional rights are abused.

Last Friday the House reauthorized, for two more years, the law known as Section 702, which allows the intelligence cabal to surveille Americans' digital communications — without warrants and on U.S. soil — if they claim to be targeting foreigners suspected of subversive activities.

What does this have to do with the way the paranoids on Capitol Hill, reporters at The Washington Post, and professional propagandists at VOA are currently carrying on about assistance to Ukraine?

Nothing. And everything.

Original article: consortiumnews.com

Strategic Culture Foundation
17 Apr 2024 | 7:11 pm

2. Facebook designates Grayzone journalist Kit Klarenberg a “dangerous individual”


The notoriously intelligence-friendly social media network appears to have imposed a ban on posting a recent report by Kit Klarenberg, and is automatically restricting users who re-publish his work.

By Kit KLARENBERG

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Multiple Facebook users have reported being banned, or having their posts censored, after sharing an investigation by The Grayzone's Kit Klarenberg into CIA and MI6 involvement in the creation of ISIS. Readers who post links to the piece on the social network find themselves frozen out of their accounts, on the apparent grounds that Facebook has classified Klarenberg as a "dangerous individual."

"I just shared this article from @Kit Klarenberg on Facebook and the post was immediately deleted," wrote Ricky Hale, the founder of popular independent left-wing outlet Council Estate Media.

In a Substack article published April 5, Hale wrote that "the page was hit with restrictions and I was told I had shared a post from a dangerous individual or organisation."

Hale was only able to regain control of his Facebook page, which boasts over 44,000 fans, by removing administrative privileges from the user who shared it — which happens to be himself.

Other restrictions imposed due to sharing Klarenberg's work have not been lifted, and may well never be. Hale says he has been blocked from changing the page's name, inviting people to join the page, or creating new Facebook groups. "Given Facebook had already reduced my page's visibility for another absurd violation, I'm assuming my posts are going to be invisible," Hale lamented. "This means a Facebook page with 44,000 users has been rendered useless because of state censorship that's been outsourced to big tech. This is not how a free society operates."

It was not the first time that Facebook censored one of its users for posting Klarenberg's article. Hours beforehand, another social media user revealed the piece had been removed from her Facebook timeline mere "seconds" after it was posted.

pic.twitter.com/jTlUMdmiXu

— Sterling Hartnett🇵🇸 (@SterlingHartne2) April 5, 2024

That a social media network has labeled Klarenberg a "dangerous individual" and is suppressing attempts to publicize his investigative journalism comes as little surprise. Klarenberg was previously banned from X, Elon Musk's "free speech app," for offending the sensibilities of Zionist users. And in Facebook's case, the company's Global Threat Intelligence division is staffed by former spies for the CIA, Pentagon, and NSA.

Though little information on the division can be found online, it is known to be led by Ben Nimmo, a former NATO propagandist and alumnus of Integrity Initiative — a secret British Foreign Office information warfare operation itself staffed by military intelligence veterans. Frances Haugen, the now-forgotten Facebook "whistleblower" who lambasted her employers before Congress for failing to provide enough "content moderation" towards foreign "disinformation" threats, also hailed from Global Threat Intelligence.

Other senior positions in Global Threat Intelligence are reportedly occupied by David Agranovich, ex-Pentagon analyst and intelligence director for the White House National Security Council; Nathaniel Gleicher, former Council cybersecurity chief and Justice Department senior counsel for computer crime and intellectual property; and Mike Torrey, who previously worked as an NSA and CIA cyber analyst.

Agranovich and Torrey were key authors of Facebook's State of Influence Operations 2017-2020, a report which alleged that China, Iran and Russia sought to weaponize the social network for malign purposes. The paper omitted any mention of Western cyber warfare operations known to target social media, such as the British Army's 77th Brigade and the Pentagon's psychological warfare division. But recent reporting indicates those were precisely the government-backed groups most likely to target Western social media users.

In 2022, the Department of Defense was forced to conduct what mainstream media described as a "sweeping audit" of its "clandestine psychological operations" after the Pentagon was busted running a network of fake profiles to push propaganda online about Russia, China, and Iran.

Facebook's Global Threat Intelligence unit first detected the US military's malign activities, but instead of penalizing them, Facebook warned the Pentagon to better conceal its psychological operations, lest they be discovered by others. In September 2022, the Washington Post reported that "officers at Facebook and Twitter contacted the Pentagon to raise concerns about the phony accounts they were having to remove, suspicious they were associated with the military."

The outlet wrote that in the previous months, Global Threat Intelligence's Agranovich spoke to the Pentagon's Christopher C. Miller, then assistant director for Special Operations/Low Intensity Conflict, which oversees influence operations policy. Agranovich had reportedly warned his counterpart that "if Facebook could sniff them out, so could US adversaries." A source with knowledge of the matter told the newspaper, "his point was: 'Guys, you got caught. That's a problem.'"

For Klarenberg, however, Facebook would extend no such charity, or even offer an explanation for classifying an investigative journalist as a national security threat.

Original article: The Grayzone

Strategic Culture Foundation
17 Apr 2024 | 7:00 pm

3. U.S. military considers civilians expendable despite harm mitigation plan


It has a long history of killing civilians in airstrikes, not investigating the deaths and ignoring pleas for apology.

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In war, people die for absurd reasons or often no reason at all. They die due to accidents of birth, the misfortune of being born in the wrong place — Cambodia or GazaAfghanistan or Ukraine — at the wrong time. They die due to happenstance, choosing to shelter indoors when they should have taken cover outside or because they ventured out into a hell-storm of destruction when they should have stayed put. They die in the most gruesome ways — shot in the street, obliterated by artillery, eviscerated by air strikes. Their bodies are torn apart, burned, or vaporized by weapons designed to destroy people. Their deaths are chalked up to misfortune, mistake, or military necessity.

Since September 2001, the United States has been fighting its "war on terror" — what's now referred to as this country's "Forever Wars." It's been involved in Somalia almost that entire time. U.S. Special Operations forces were first dispatched there in 2002, followed over the years by more "security assistance," troops, contractors, helicopters, and drones. American airstrikes in Somalia, which began under President George W. Bush in 2007, have continued under Presidents Barack Obama, Donald Trump, and Joe Biden as part of a conflict that has smoldered and flared for more than two decades. In that time, the U.S. has launched 282 attacks, including 31 declared strikes under Biden. The U.S. admits it has killed five civilians in its attacks. The UK-based air strike monitoring group Airwars says the number is as much as 3,100% higher.

On April 1, 2018, Luul Dahir Mohamed, a 22-year-old woman, and her 4-year-old daughter Mariam Shilow Muse were added to that civilian death toll when they were killed in a U.S. drone strike in El Buur, Somalia.

Luul and Mariam were civilians. They died due to a whirlwind of misfortune — a confluence of bad luck and bad policies, none of it their fault, all of it beyond their control. They died, in part, because the United States is fighting the Somali terror group al-Shabaab even though Congress has never declared such a war and the 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force on which the justification for the conflict rests predates the group's existence. They died because Somalia has limited options when it comes to rural public transport and they caught a ride with the wrong people. They died because the United States claims that its brand of drone warfare is predicated on precision strikes with little collateral damage despite independent evidence clearly demonstrating otherwise.

In this case, members of the American strike cell that conducted the attack got almost everything wrong. They bickered about even basic information like how many people were in the pickup truck they attacked. They mistook a woman for a man and they never saw the young girl at all. They didn't know what they were looking at, but they nonetheless launched a Hellfire missile that hit the truck as it motored down a dirt road.

Even after all of that, Luul and Mariam might have survived. Following the strike, the Americans — watching live footage from the drone hovering over the scene — saw someone bolt from the vehicle and begin running for her life. At that moment, they could have paused and reevaluated the situation. They could have taken one more hard look and, in the process, let a mother and child live. Instead, they launched a second missile.

What Luul's brother, Qasim Dahir Mohamed — the first person on the scene — found was horrific. Luul's left leg was mutilated, and the top of her head was gone. She died clutching Mariam whose tiny body looked, he said, "like a sieve."

In 2019, the U.S. military admitted that it had killed a civilian woman and child in that April 1, 2018, drone strike. But when, while reporting for The Intercept, I met Luul's relatives last year in Somalia's capital, Mogadishu, they were still waiting for the Pentagon to contact them about an apology and compensation. I had obtained a copy of the internal U.S. military investigation which the family had never seen. It did acknowledge the deaths of a woman and child but concluded that their identities might never be known.

Expendable People

The Pentagon's inquiry found that the Americans who carried out the strike were both inexperienced and confused. Despite that, the investigation by the very unit that conducted the attack determined that standard operating procedures and the rules of engagement were followed. No one was judged negligent, much less criminally liable, nor would anyone be held accountable for the deaths. The message was clear: Luul and Mariam were expendable people.

"In over five years of trying to get justice, no one has ever responded to us," another of Luul's brothers, Abubakar Dahir Mohamed, wrote in a December 2023 op-ed for the award-winning African newspaper The Continent. He continued:

"When I found out later that the U.S. admitted that they killed civilians in the attack, I contacted them again, telling them that the victims were my family members. I am not sure if they even read my complaint.

"In June 2020, [U.S. Africa Command] added a civilian casualties reporting page to their website for the first time. I was very happy to see this. I thought there was finally a way to make a complaint that would be listened to. I submitted a description of what happened and waited. No one got back to me. Two years later, in desperation, I submitted a complaint again. Nobody responded. I now know that the U.S. military has admitted not only to killing Luul and Mariam, but doing so even after they survived the first strike. It killed them as Luul fled the car they targeted — running for her life, carrying Mariam in her arms. The U.S. has said this in its reports, and individual officers have spoken to journalists. But it has never said this to us. No one has contacted us at all."

Late last month, a coalition of 24 human rights organizations called on Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin to make amends to Luul and Mariam's family. The 14 Somali groups and 10 international non-governmental organizations devoted to the protection of civilians urged Austin to take action to provide the family with an explanation, an apology, and compensation.

"The undersigned Somali and international human rights and protection of civilians organizations write to request that you take immediate steps to address the requests of families whose loved ones were killed or injured by U.S. airstrikes in Somalia," reads the letter. "New reporting illustrates how, in multiple cases of civilian harm in Somalia confirmed by the U.S. government, civilian victims, survivors, and their families have yet to receive answers, acknowledgment, and amends despite their sustained efforts to reach authorities over several years."

Days later, the Pentagon unveiled its long-awaited "Instruction on Civilian Harm Mitigation and Response," which clarified "the Department's enduring policies, responsibilities, and procedures for mitigating and responding to civilian harm" and laid out "further steps to protect civilians and to respond appropriately when civilian harm occurs." Under the DoD-I or "dody," as it is known at the Pentagon, the military is directed to take steps including:

(1) Acknowledging harm suffered by civilians and the U.S. military's role in causing or otherwise contributing to that harm.

(2) Expressing condolences to civilians affected by military operations.

(3) Helping to address the harm suffered by civilians.

Under the DoD-I, the military is instructed to "acknowledge civilian harm resulting from U.S. military operations and respond to individuals and communities affected by U.S. military operations… This includes expressing condolences and helping to address the direct impacts experienced…"

The mandate seems clear. The implementation is another story entirely.

Phoning It In

Since the letter from the humanitarian organizations was sent to Austin, the defense secretary has been both everywhere — and nowhere to be found. In December, he traveled to Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar to thank American military personnel for their "selflessness and service." He met with the king and crown prince of Bahrain to discuss their "enduring defense partnership" with the United States. On December 20th, he paid a visit to the USS Gerald R. Ford carrier strike group in the Mediterranean Sea to thank the sailors for their "patriotism and professionalism."

A couple days later, Austin underwent surgery without informing his deputy Kathleen Hicks, much less his boss, President Biden. On January 1st, Austin was rushed back to the hospital, in "intense pain," but that information, too, was withheld from the White House until January 4th, and from Congress and the American public for an additional day.

Austin reportedly worked from his hospital room, monitoring American and British air attacks on Houthi rebel targets in Yemen — more than 150 munitions fired from the sea and air on January 11th, alone — and conducting meetings by phone with military officials and the National Security Council. He was released from the hospital four days later and began working from home. "Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III spoke by phone today with Ukrainian Minister of Defense Rustem Umerov to discuss the latest on the situation on the ground," Pentagon spokesman Major General Pat Ryder announced on January 16th. Two days later, he had a call with Israeli Minister of Defense Yoav Gallant. And on the 19th, he talked shop with Swedish defense minister Pål Jonson.

Austin has had plenty of time for phone calls, travel, and elective surgery. He's been around the world and is now hunkered down at home. But what he hasn't done, since the letter from those 24 humanitarian groups was sent to the Pentagon more than a month ago, is make any apparent effort to contact Luul and Mariam's family.

"Since the strike, our family has been broken apart. It has been more than five years since it happened, but we have not been able to move on," wrote Abubakar in December. It's been a common story. In Yemen, where the U.S. has recently ramped up air strikes, victims of past U.S. attacks wait — just like Luul and Mariam's family — for acknowledgment and apology.

Between 2013 and 2020, for example, the U.S. carried out seven separate attacks in Yemen — six drone strikes and one raid — that killed 36 members of the intermarried Al Ameri and Al Taisy families. A quarter of them were children between the ages of three months and 14 years old. The survivors have been waiting for years for an explanation as to why it happened while living in fear. In 2018, Adel Al Manthari, a civil servant in the Yemeni government, and four of his cousins — all civilians — were traveling by truck when a U.S. Hellfire missile slammed into their vehicle. Three of the men were killed instantly. Another died days later in a local hospital. Al Manthari was gravely wounded. Complications resulting from his injuries nearly took his life in 2022. He beseeched the U.S. government to dip into the millions of dollars Congress annually allocates to compensate victims of U.S. attacks. They ignored his pleas. His limbs and life were eventually saved by the kindness of strangers via a crowdsourced GoFundMe campaign.

The U.S. has a long history of killing civilians in air strikes, failing to investigate the deaths, and ignoring pleas for apology and compensation. It's a century-old tradition that Austin continues to maintain, making time to issue orders for new strikes but not to issue apologies for past errant attacks. Through it all, Luul and Mariam's family can do nothing but wait, hoping that the U.S. secretary of defense will eventually respond to the open letter and finally — almost six years late — offer amends.

"My sister was killed, and she won't be back again — but doesn't she have the right to get justice, and for her family to at least be compensated for the loss of her life?" Abubakar wrote in his op-ed. He and his relatives find themselves endlessly grappling with their loss as the Pentagon puts out press releases filled with high-minded and (as yet) hollow, rhetoric about "improving the Department's approach to mitigating and responding to civilian harm," while promising to make amends under the DoD-I.

It isn't the only War on Terror pledge to be broken. President Joe Biden entered the White House promising to end the "forever wars." "I stand here today for the first time in 20 years with the United States not at war," Biden announced in 2021. "We've turned the page." It wasn't remotely true.

Instead, the Forever Wars grind on from the Middle East to the African Sahel. And despite assertions to the contrary, America's conflict in Somalia grinds on, too, without apology — from Biden for the broken campaign promise and from the Pentagon for Luul Dahir Mohamed and Mariam Shilow Muse's deaths.

"The U.S. claims that it works to promote democracy, social justice, the rule of law, and the protection of rights around the world," Abubakar wrote. "As we struggle to get them to notice our suffering, we hope the U.S. will remember what they claim to stand for."

Original article: Truthout

Strategic Culture Foundation
17 Apr 2024 | 6:58 pm

4. Os ataques “kalibrados” contra o neocolonialismo


Se há coisa que o ocidente monopolista não entende é como unir coisas que são diferentes, como aceitar as diferenças alheias, como criar uma força comum entre diferentes, unidos apenas por um sentimento, a liberdade.

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Pouco tempo depois da resposta Iraniana ao ataque sionista, que destruiu o seu consulado na Síria, vitimando mortalmente o Comandante sénior Mohammad Reza Zahedi, eis que é a própria Casa Branca, e Biden, a puxar as rédeas de Netanyahu e transmitir ao mundo que a acção foi devidamente "calibrada". Isto, depois das autoridades sionistas cuspirem fogo, ameaçando com apocalípticas consequências, contra o renascido potentado persa.

Esta "calibragem" no discurso de Washington é a consequência óbvia do que se havia passado antes da retaliação Iraniana; nas 48 horas que a antecederam foram vários os estafetas europeus a pedirem "contenção" ao Irão, alertando para as consequências gravosas que essa falta de "contenção" poderia despoletar. Os sinais de preocupação eram tão evidentes quanto o tinham sido, até aí, o branqueamento e legitimação, da acção provocadora de Israel, face aos seus vizinhos da região.

Quem não esteve, contudo, com meias medidas foi Ursula von der Leyen. Em mais um show de hipocrisia de proporções bíblicas, esta senhora veio ameaçar com a única resposta que conhece: pacotes de sanções contra o Irão, por ter desenvolvido um "ataque não provocado". Também Macron não poderia ficar para trás e veio dizer que é preciso continuar a "isolar o Irão" com as sanções do costume.

Se algo há a retirar deste comportamento é mesmo este facto: Úrsula Von Der Leyen e os Macrons deste mundo vive numa realidade que já não existe, na qual o ocidente "racial, moral e intelectualmente superior" tinha a legitimidade para punir, perseguir, invadir, ameaçar e destruir todos os que se lhe opunham. Mas se, na sua odiosa cegueira, ainda não o constataram, não se pode dizer o mesmo de quem neles manda. O mundo mudou e está em processo de acelerada transformação.

A impunidade acabou quando a Federação Russa disse não aceitar a ultrapassagem da linha vermelha que havia imposto e que determinava a neutralidade da Ucrânia; o mundo mudou quando Irão, Hezbollah, Huthis e Hamas declararam não aceitar mais os abusos sionistas, contras as suas populações e dos seus aliados; o mundo mudou quando a China não desistiu da Rússia e Irão, demonstrando que o mundo multipolar estava para ficar. Para destruir um, terão de os destruir aos três. Todos interligados por alargadas parcerias estratégicas.

Consequentemente, a resposta do Irão tratou de sinalizar que o país está preparado para dar uma resposta decisiva, no que considera constituir uma escalada de abusos crescentes, por parte do sionismo e seus apoiantes, e que não continuará a tolerar o desrespeito genocida, por parte da entidade sionista que controla e se confunde com Israel.

Este comportamento por parte do Irão, antes impensável e intolerável pela "comunidade internacional", encontra agora um espaço de legitimidade absolutamente revelador de como mudou o mundo, nestes anos de crescimento da multipolaridade. Nem as sanções têm já o mesmo peso, tendo o Irão – tal como a Rússia, Coreia do Norte, Cuba, Venezuela, Nicarágua – aprendido a ser auto-suficiente, transformando a agressão em força de oposição; nem o ocidente domina já o sul global com a força que estava acostumado a fazê-lo; nem os EUA, e o seu espaço vital, constituem ainda aquela potência militar de que todos tinham medo.

Hoje, potências como o Irão podem dar-se ao luxo de aumentar a parada e encurralar o arrogante ocidente. O mais interessante é que, do ponto de vista estratégico, os EUA haviam apostado numa profusão de provocações múltiplas, cada vez mais alargadas e que visavam escaladas militares localizadas, as quais tinham como função conter a expansão dos países que constituem os pilares centrais desta libertação do sul global: Rússia, China e Irão.

Resultando na expansão continuada do mundo multipolar, do desenvolvimento do "sul global", que mais não é do que a "maioria global"; acompanhada da perda, pelo ocidente, de posições estratégicas que ditam o acesso às reservas estratégicas de mão de obra da Ásia e África; às reservas de commodities na Rússia, Médio Oriente, América Latina e África; ou, à capacidade industrial instalada da Ásia; a tríplice entente multipolar que dirige o processo anti-imperialista, através dos seus ataques "calibrados", está provocar uma corrosão progressiva da entidade imperialista, anunciando-se, algures no tempo, o seu colapso.

E este constitui o grande mérito destes três países e dos seus aliados, a Africa do Sul, mais convicta, a India e o Brasil, mais periclitantes, a que se juntaram agora outros cinco países, e que, em breve, se juntarão muitos outros, entre os quais o próprio Vietname, o qual já oficializou a sua intenção de aderir aos BRICS. Estes países têm tido a paciência, a sabedoria e a competência para agir de forma tão concertada quanto possível, mas também de forma tão desconcentrada quanto necessário, sem se deixarem enredar em insanáveis contradições internas que os exponham à máquina de destruir nações que são os EUA. Deste modo, a expansão desconcentrada coloca problemas extremamente difíceis de ultrapassar, a quem pretende destruir este processo de expansão, que é também um processo de libertação do neocolonialismo.

Não se pode dizer, contudo, que estamos num momento histórico totalmente original. Com efeito, é bom recordarmos as palavras de Zbigniew Brzezinsky, ao Nouvelle Observateur, em 1998, aquando, numa entrevista, este reconheceu que, não só os EUA, conscientemente, haviam contribuído para a invasão do Afeganistão, pela URSS, como se regozijou – como gostam de fazer os arrogantes supremacistas -, pelo facto de, mesmo com um milhão de mortos, ter valido a pena o apoio aos Mujahidine (Talibãs), o qual sabiam, antecipadamente, ser visto por Moscovo, como algo de intolerável nas suas fronteiras e que não deixaria de provocar uma guerra.

Num processo com semelhanças ao que se passou na Ucrânia – formação de uma elite dirigente profundamente anti-Russa (ou anti-URSS) praticante de uma ideologia odiosa e extremista -, o mais importante que Brzezinsky disse, contudo, foi que os EUA, estando ideologicamente na defensiva, com a agenda dos direitos humanos foi possível virar a maré e colocar a URSS na defensiva. Hoje, a ideia de um mundo multipolar recolocou o Sul Global, como um todo, numa posição ideológica ofensiva e, ao mesmo tempo, os EUA voltaram a encontrar-se na defensiva. E desta feita, bem que podem vir com a agenda dos direitos humanos outra vez, que já ninguém acredita neles.

Deste posicionamento podemos retirar um ensinamento valioso para os nossos dias: por muito agressivos, arrogantes e beligerantes que pareçam, os EUA – incluindo Israel – foram novamente colocados numa posição defensiva. Tudo o que fazem, acontece como resposta a uma realidade em que o mundo multipolar se continua a expandir e o ocidente "alargado" a contrair. Por muitos "alargamentos" que a OTAN possa propagandear, o espaço vital dos monopólios ocidentais, que constituem as raízes do imperialismo, tem vindo progressivamente a diminuir. Este é um facto indesmentível e só um endividamento brutal da Casa Branca faz como que a economia dos EUA continue, artificialmente, a crescer e com ela, a alimentar o processo de "contenção" do crescimento do mundo multipolar.

O que é impossível de esconder é que o problema dos EUA, desta feita, é mais complicado. Não será tão fácil passar "à ofensiva" como o foi com a URSS. Embora a URSS constituísse um desafio formidável e que a elite dirigente, em Washington, logo identificou como sendo algo de vida ou de morte, o facto de a potência soviética ser, à data, o único pilar em que assentava o desafio, facilitava as coisas. Era muito fácil partir o mundo em dois e diabolizar a outra parte. Ao contrário de hoje, a URSS não se podia suportar na China.

Já o desafio que é imposto através da China, Rússia e Irão, secundados pela India, África do Sul, Brasil e muito outros, é muito mais complexo e deslocalizado. Em primeiro lugar, não se trata de um bloco monolítico com uma mesma ideologia. Tratam-se de países com sistemas de governação muito diferentes, desde os mais liberais, como Brasil e África do Sul, aos socialistas como a China ou os nacionais desenvolvimentistas como a Rússia, ou mesmo o Irão, associando-lhe ainda a sua dimensão teocrática e democrática. Do ponto de vista da propaganda, isto coloca muitas dificuldades, daí que, nos últimos meses tenhamos assistido a um crescente desenvolver de uma linha de propaganda, segundo a qual a China tem interesse na vitória de Trump – ele que a quer destruir – e que é a extrema direita europeia quem apoia a China e é por esta apoiada. É uma espécie de "Rússiagate", desta feita em versão chinesa. Enfiar uma mesma carapuça a todos e diaboliza-los, não tem sido nada fácil.

Acresce que, estes países, cada um da sua forma – o Irão menos – estão conectados com as cadeias de valor ocidentais, o que impede uma acção decisiva e brutal, independente de consequências. Veja-se o que aconteceu com as sanções à Rússia, agora pense-se no que aconteceria se essa agressão se desse contra a economia chinesa.

É esta a essência da "multipolaridade", a que outros chamam "multiplexidade", que consiste na sua enorme capilaridade, como cogumelos que se multiplicam por todo o mundo, cada um com a sua morfologia, mas todos com a mesma natureza, tornando-se virtualmente impossível de conter o seu crescimento. Como os EUA aprenderam com a Rússia, não basta atacar um, é preciso fazê-lo a todos, mas, a todos, é impossível, como estarão, agora, a perceber. Esta diversidade é absolutamente desafiadora para a lógica totalitária e unicista estado-unidense, que se via a dominar um mundo uniforme.

Se há coisa que o ocidente monopolista não entende é como unir coisas que são diferentes, como aceitar as diferenças alheias, como criar uma força comum entre diferentes, unidos apenas por um sentimento, a liberdade. Para unir, o imperialismo estado-unidense sente uma necessidade imperiosa de uniformizar, desrespeitando e destruindo culturas, tradições, crenças e ideologias, com o sentido de impor a sua.

Estes países multipolares, alicerçados num estado interventivo (algo de comum a todos e que rejeita a proposta ocidental do estado mínimo neoliberal, substituído pelos monopólios), que controla os sectores estratégicos da economia e apostados na soberania económica, tornam o controlo das suas economias muito complicado. Não admira que uma das linhas de ataque dos EUA à China seja a necessidade de abolição dos "controlos de capital". É que a história da "liberalização" é vantajosa para quem tem mais poder de aquisição. Nós sabemos quem tem mais dinheiro acumulado, fruto de 500 anos de pilhagem e escravatura.

A verdade é que os EUA, olhando para esta realidade, perceberam que a estratégia de Brezinsky teria de ser adaptada à realidade actual, nomeadamente, deveria ser desconcentrada ou capilar, devendo optar-se por provocações deslocalizadas, aproveitando a dispersão de bases militares por todo o mundo. À Rússia, seria a Ucrânia, Geórgia, Moldávia, Arménia, secundados de perto pela OTAN; à China seria Taiwan, Coreia do Sul, Tailândia, Filipinas, Japão e a escorregadia India; ao Irão, Israel.

As provocações deslocalizadas, através de proxys muito bem armados, colocam um problema, problema esse agora demonstrado pela retaliação Iraniana. A manta é curta, para um ocidente que não tem a capacidade industrial de outrora, deslocalizada por culpa exclusiva sua, através de uma impopular política de destruição de postos de trabalho, ao serviço dos monopólios.  E isto acontece num quadro de contracção financeira, económica e social. Até do ponto de vista do financiamento destas operações, o ocidente acaba preso às suas contradições: ao contrário dos estados, os monopólios não investem no bem comum, apenas na concentração da riqueza. Tirar do estado para dar aos monopólios acabou no que estamos a ver.

Alicerçados em complexos militares industriais em que as principais empresas são públicas e, mesmo quando privadas, obrigadas a concorrer com as públicas, o Irão, China e Rússia, produzem muito barato o que ao ocidente sai caríssimo (a defesa aérea do Iron Dome, na noite da retaliação Iraniana, gastou à volta de mil milhões de dólares). Esta realidade possibilita uma resposta "calibrada" de valor relativamente baixo. Em comparação, quem mais gasta com estas operações, é quem tem as economias a cair; quem menos gasta, é quem tem as economias a crescer. Uma vez mais, uma consequência do estado mínimo neoliberal, saído do consenso de Washington.

Daí que o grande desafio que se coloca ao mundo multipolar será o de continuar a apostar em respostas suficientemente "calibradas", para coloquem em sentido o agressor, sem entrar numa escalada de vida ou de morte, mas mantendo o agressor ocupado, corroendo-se cada vez mais, e cuja actividade o leva a acreditar que está a avançar, quando, na verdade, se está a retrair. A Rússia fê-lo magistralmente com a Operação Militar Especial e a China também o está a fazer do ponto de vista não militar.

Daí que, ouvir Ursula von der Leyen com a sua proverbial arrogância, ameaçar o Irão com ineficazes sanções, ouvir Trump e o seu MAGA, Sunak a querer falar grosso e Macron armado em Napoleão, ao mesmo tempo que dizem "o mundo está com a Ucrânia", "a Rússia está isolada", "vamos conter a China" ou "o Irão atacou Israel", demonstre isso mesmo: os servidores de monopólios andam entretidos a jogar aos soldadinhos de chumbo sem constatarem que o fazem num tabuleiro cada vez mais pequeno.

Consiga o mundo multipolar continuar a proferir os seus ataques "calibrados", seja sob que forma forem tais ataques (uns mais militarizados, outros mais comerciais e tecnológicos) e teremos por garantido que serão capazes de completar a tarefa, antes iniciada por outros: acabar com o neocolonialismo que amordaça, ainda, o sul global.

Vamos lá Kalibr!

Strategic Culture Foundation
17 Apr 2024 | 6:35 pm

5. “Israel fue derrotado”: El colapso de su arma-maravilla basada en algoritmos de IA


El periodista israelí Yuval Abraham ha escrito un informe detallado, con múltiples fuentes, en el que detalla cómo las fuerzas israelíes han marcado a decenas de miles de gazatíes como sospechosos de ser asesinados mediante un sistema de inteligencia artificial.

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El derecho internacional se basa en la responsabilidad humana y la rendición de cuentas en última instancia cuando los seres humanos matan a otros seres humanos. La ley con respecto a los combatientes armados es la más amplia, pero la responsabilidad personal se aplica igualmente al asesinato de civiles, mujeres y niños.

Pero ¿qué ocurre si se afirma que el asesinato está dirigido por una «máquina», por la Inteligencia Artificial, basada en la «ciencia» algorítmica?

¿La responsabilidad humana por matar a «otros» queda de algún modo absuelta por la intención «científica» de las listas de asesinatos generadas por máquinas de IA, cuando «se vuelven locas»?

Esta es la cuestión que plantea el uso por las fuerzas israelíes de la IA «Lavender» para proporcionar a Israel listas de asesinatos en Gaza.

El periodista israelí Yuval Abraham ha escrito un relato detallado, con  múltiples fuentes y 'delatores', en el que detalla cómo las fuerzas israelíes han marcado a decenas de miles de gazatíes como sospechosos de ser asesinados utilizando un sistema de selección de objetivos de IA con escasa supervisión humana y una política permisiva respecto a las bajas.

El creador del sistema, el actual comandante de la unidad de élite de inteligencia israelí 8200, había defendido anteriormente el diseño de una «máquina de objetivos» basada en IA y algoritmos de aprendizaje automático que pudiera procesar rápidamente cantidades masivas de datos para generar miles de «objetivos» potenciales para ataques militares, en el fragor de una guerra.

Como detalló Abraham

Formalmente, el sistema Lavender está diseñado para marcar a todos los presuntos operativos de las alas militares de Hamás y la Yihad Islámica Palestina (YIP), incluidos los de bajo rango, como posibles objetivos de bombardeo. Las fuentes dijeron a +972 y a Local Call que, durante las primeras semanas de la guerra, el ejército dependió casi por completo de Lavender, que marcó hasta 37.000 palestinos como presuntos militantes -y sus hogares- para posibles ataques aéreos.

Durante las primeras fases de la guerra, el ejército dio su aprobación generalizada para que los oficiales adoptaran las listas de asesinatos de Lavender, sin ningún requisito de comprobar a fondo por qué la máquina hacía esas elecciones o de examinar los datos de inteligencia brutos en los que se basaban. Una fuente declaró que el personal humano a menudo sólo servía de «sello de goma» [aprobación] para las decisiones de la máquina, y añadió que, normalmente, sólo dedicaban personalmente unos «20 segundos» a cada objetivo antes de autorizar un bombardeo.

Para ser claros: El «genocidio» generado por la IA clava una estaca en el corazón del Derecho Internacional Humanitario.

El resultado es que miles de palestinos -en su mayoría mujeres y niños o personas que no participaban en los combates- fueron aniquilados por los ataques aéreos israelíes, especialmente durante las primeras semanas de la guerra, debido a las decisiones del programa de IA.

Entonces, ¿quién es responsable? ¿Quién debe rendir cuentas?

El sistema era defectuoso desde el principio. Las fuerzas militares de Al-Qassam de Hamás operan desde profundos túneles subterráneos, donde tienen sus dormitorios, todo lo cual las hace impermeables a los programas de reconocimiento facial operados desde el reconocimiento aéreo israelí sobre Gaza.

En segundo lugar, como explicó un alto cargo de la oficina «B» a Abraham, «no sabíamos quiénes eran los operativos de «nivel inferior» [en la superficie]». Los combatientes Qassam y los civiles de Gaza no parecen diferentes. No hay ninguna característica identificativa del «hombre de Hamás» que lo distinga positivamente de cualquier otro varón de Gaza, por lo que Lavender identificó a estos «objetivos» como «afiliados a Hamás» en líneas fronterizas fluidas, como que alguna vez se unieron a algún grupo de Whatsapp que incluía a un miembro de Hamás, o que prestaron su teléfono a sus familias o se lo dejaron cargando en casa.

Querían permitirnos atacar [a los agentes subalternos] automáticamente. Ese es el Santo Grial. Una vez que te vuelves automático, la generación de objetivos se vuelve loca.

Según las fuentes, la máquina da a casi todas las personas de Gaza una calificación del 1 al 100, que expresa la probabilidad de que sean militantes.

Habiendo pasado algunos años trabajando en Gaza, permítanme decir que todo el mundo conocía o hablaba con alguien de Hamás en Gaza. Hamás ganó abrumadoramente las elecciones allí en 2006: Por tanto, casi todo el mundo podría decirse -de una forma u otra- que está «afiliado».

La cosa empeora:

A las 5 de la mañana, [la fuerza aérea] venía y bombardeaba todas las casas que habíamos marcado», dijo B. «Eliminamos a miles de personas. No las revisamos una por una, sino que lo pusimos todo en sistemas automatizados, y en cuanto una de [las personas marcadas] estaba en casa, se convertía inmediatamente en objetivo. Le bombardeábamos a él y a su casa.

«El ejército prefería utilizar sólo bombas «tontas»… No quieres desperdiciar bombas caras en personas sin importancia – es muy caro para el país y hay escasez [de esas bombas]», dijo C.

El autor del sistema Lavender, el general de brigada Yossi Sariel, había escrito anónimamente en The Human Machine Team (2021) que la sinergia entre «la inteligencia humana y la artificial revolucionará nuestro mundo».  Evidentemente, su entusiasmo por esta revolución en la guerra fue creído por los dirigentes israelíes (y también por algunos en Washington; véase, por ejemplo, este artículo de John Spencer, Catedrático de Estudios de Guerra Urbana en la academia militar de élite del ejército estadounidense, WestPoint).

De ahí la repetida afirmación de Netanyahu de que Israel estaba al borde de una «Gran Victoria» en Gaza con 19 de las 24 Brigadas de Hamás desmanteladas. Ahora sabemos que era una tontería.

La IA iba a ser el arma secreta de Israel. Yossi Sariel (el creador de Lavender) hizo recientemente su mea culpa (de lo que informó The Guardian): Los críticos de Sariel, en un informe citado por The Guardian, creen que el hecho de que la Unidad 8200 diera prioridad a la tecnología «adictiva y excitante» frente a métodos de inteligencia más anticuados había conducido al desastre. Un veterano funcionario declaró a The Guardian que la unidad bajo el mando de Sariel había «seguido la nueva burbuja de inteligencia [IA]».

Por su parte, se cita a Sariel diciendo a sus colegas tras el 7 de octubre que «acepto la responsabilidad de lo ocurrido en el sentido más profundo de la palabra». «Fuimos derrotados. Yo fui derrotado».

Sí, y decenas de miles de palestinos inocentes, mujeres y niños, han sido brutalmente asesinados como consecuencia de ello. Y Gaza reducida a escombros. El reportaje de investigación de Yuval Abraham debería remitirse a la Corte Internacional de Justicia (CIJ) para que examine las pruebas del «presunto genocidio» en Gaza.

Publicado originalmente por Al Mayadeen English
Traducción: observatoriodetrabajadores

Strategic Culture Foundation
17 Apr 2024 | 5:24 pm

6. Faster, Higher, Stronger in Kamila Valieva’s home city of Kazan


More eyes would turn to the Russian and Chinese companies that act as technological anchors for Kazan and less profits will be available for AirBnB, CocaCola, Procter & Gamble, Toyota, Panasonic, Samsung and Visa and the other suckers underwriting Paris 2024.

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This year's BRICS Games are scheduled to be held from 11-24 June in Kamila Valieva's home town of Kazan. And, though Valieva is the brightest jewel in Kazan's sporting throne, she is far from the only one. Retired skater and winner of umpteen Olympic medals Evgenia Tarasova also hails from Kazan, as does artistic gymnast Aliya Mustafina and a bunch of other top Russian athletes we need not concern ourselves with here. Let's hope the organisers give them and all of Kazan's other jewels their well-deserved day in the sun, even if Valieva's chosen art form is not currently in their schedule, which is of interest in its own right for a number of important reasons.

First off, though the range of sports seems relatively limited when compared with the summer Olympics, many more sports are on offer than was the case when these games were last held in China, which was then operating under very restrictive Covid lockdown conditions. Further, as these games were only established as recently in 2016, the future is theirs, if they can only establish their particular market niche. Kazan offers the BRICS countries an opportunity to make their mark in a variety of important ways.

Though showcasing Valieva but also Mustafina and Tarasova would send a message to the world's sporting bodies that Russia's finest will continue to exude greatness, it will also send a message of hope and inspiration to all the young Russian, Chinese and other gymnasts and skaters who are lucky enough to either visit Kazan in person or to simply watch them on MatchTV, which has secured the franchise to broadcast the Games.

And not just gymnasts and skaters. As the Kazan Games also include such traditional sports as Greco-Roman wrestling, boxing and weight lifting, Kazan offers the BRICS countries a chance to re-invigorate those traditional games, which are struggling for sponsors in the West because they are not profitable enough for the gangsters who run NATO's sporting bodies.

Although acrobatic rock n roll, beach volleyball and breakdancing are included in the schedule, that is to miss the point that these games, with folk like Valieva at the helm, offer the greatest of opportunities to connect back to the grassroots, to those Mongolian kids who practice wrestling in their down time as well as Chinese, North Korean and Iranian weightlifters, whose sport can be also traced all the way back to the original Olympics of ancient Greece.

Though Russian Sports Minister Oleg Matytsin has made the point that "the capital of Tatarstan has extensive experience in holding sporting events at the international and all-Russian level, as most recently Kazan successfully hosted the first-ever 'Games of the Future' competition," he missed the point when he declared that the BRICS Games are not meant to rival any other competitions and will not interfere with the international sports calendar as well as with the IOC-approved calendar of events.

Although that might be the objective reality, it is not one that is shared by NATO, which wants to break the spirit of Valieva, as well as all other Tatars and Russians who, NATO's spoilsports insist, must be deplatformed along with their international friends and allies. If Mongolians want to wrestle each other in their school yards or if Valieva wants to skate on a frozen lake in the middle of nowhere, that is ok with NATO, as long as it does not interfere with their business models, much of which factors around making the Olympics and similar circuses commercial successes.

Let us first of all recall that the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, where the Soviet Union did not compete, was an unprecedented commercial success and that Los Angeles will again be hosting the Olympics in 2028 where the objective of making coin will remain the organisers' overriding concern.

Given that Association of Summer Olympic International Federations (and second rate tennis player) President Francesco Ricci Bitti has warned Russia against any "very contentious" plans to stage rebel events outside of the Olympic Movement, we must note what is at stake not only for Bitti's crew but also for the technological companies they depend on.

The modern Olympics cannot work without world class technological companies ensuring there are no technical glitches with time keeping, simultaneous broadcasts and very much more. It was, for example, a major feather in Japan's cap that the 1964 Olympics were such a technological success. Though this is more of a problem in the sub zero conditions of the winter Olympics that Valieva excels at, imagine if the BRICS Games go without a hitch and Paris turns out to be the rat infested technological nightmare it is shaping up to be.

More eyes would turn to the Russian and Chinese companies that act as technological anchors for Kazan and less profits will be available for AirBnB, CocaCola, Procter & Gamble, Toyota, Panasonic, Samsung and Visa and the other suckers underwriting Paris 2024.

And, although Paris 2024's website has some babes dressed as Athenian chics of 2000 and more years ago, NATO's sporting model is more akin to that of the Emperor Nero than the one the Spartans, the Peloponnesians and the rest of them competed in. Nero, the historians tell us, won an impressive seven gold medals at a variety of events, some traditional and some not so traditional, because the organisers did not want to be fed to the lions at circus time if they did not humour the Uncle Sam of their era. Nero, in that respect at least, was ahead of his time because the United States would like for its competitors to win any and all medals going so that its companies and those affiliated with them might reap the fruits of those garlands. That, at heart, is their driving force.

Sad to say, however, that just with the ancient Olympics which, with the Pythian, Nemean, and Isthmian Games, made up the Panhellenic Games, other models, the most famous of which are the Maccabiah Games aka the Jewish Olympics, are out there in the long grass. The relevance of the Maccabiah Games, in the context of the BRICS Games, is that legendary stars like Mark Spitz and Jason Lezak have found themselves pitted against others who were not quite in the same class. And, though nobody is in the same exalted class as Kamila Valieva, every single kid who aspires to skating greatness has a right to see her, and will hopefully see her and many more like her who aspire to be faster, higher, stronger in Kazan in June, as well as in the BRICS Games that follow. NATO and other spoilsports will just have to suck it up.

Strategic Culture Foundation
16 Apr 2024 | 8:36 pm

7. Occidente insiste en tratar de inventar un nuevo “caso Guaidó”


Las ONG y los gobiernos atlantistas han decidido tratar de inventar un nuevo "caso Guaidó" en Venezuela.

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Tal vez pensando que la insistencia puede compensar la falta de competencia, las corporaciones mediáticas, las ONG y los gobiernos atlantistas han decidido tratar de inventar un nuevo "caso Guaidó" en Venezuela.

Según la narrativa occidental, Nicolás Maduro está impidiendo que su "principal rival", María Corina Machado, se presente a las elecciones para poder permanecer indefinidamente en el poder como un "dictador", con unas elecciones "maquilladas", en el contexto de las elecciones presidenciales que se celebrarán el 28 de julio de este año.

La acusación recuerda a las lanzadas contra Putin en relación con Navalny, y la idea parece ser dar la impresión de que Maduro concurrirá solo a las elecciones. En realidad, sin embargo, 13 candidatos presidenciales se han clasificado e inscrito para presentarse al más alto cargo de Venezuela, apoyados por 37 partidos; además, todos los candidatos, excepto Maduro, pertenecen a la oposición venezolana.

De hecho, el principal partido de la oposición, Un Nuevo Tiempo, inscribió a Manuel Rosales, gobernador de Zulia, como candidato presidencial sin ningún problema. El resto de la oposición también logró inscribir a sus candidatos. Este es un punto relevante porque, de hecho, Un Nuevo Tiempo es precisamente el partido de oposición con las bases más concretas en términos de posiciones electorales.

También es bastante peculiar que María Corina haya atacado a Rosales como "traidor" por lanzar su propia candidatura. Si ella estuviera realmente interesada en concurrir a las elecciones contra Maduro y derrotarlo en las urnas, ¿no sería lógico apoyar al oponente más experimentado y con mayor base de apoyo? Eso no es lo que hizo María Corina, así que está claro que aquí hay gato encerrado.

La inhabilitación de María Corina para presentarse a las elecciones era de esperar y no supone ninguna sorpresa ni novedad. Aunque supuestamente ganó las primarias opositoras de 2023 (supuestamente porque había graves acusaciones de fraude electoral por parte de otros sectores de la oposición), ya existía una causa contra ella por su implicación en las conspiraciones de Juan Guaidó contra Venezuela, incluyendo una condena en primera instancia, que le impedía ejercer cargos públicos.

Guaidó es un personaje tan insignificante que casi nos hemos olvidado de que existe. Pero durante un tiempo, a partir de 2019, se autodenominó "Presidente de Venezuela" y fue reconocido como tal por los países atlantistas y sus aliados, después de que la OEA acusara a Venezuela de "autogolpe" por la suspensión de prerrogativas y poderes parlamentarios por parte del Tribunal Supremo venezolano debido a actos de desacato de la Asamblea Nacional.

Todo podría haber sido una pantomima si no hubiera tenido una serie de complicadas repercusiones que agravaron la crisis venezolana: la principal, la confiscación de los activos de CitGo y PDVSA en el exterior en 2018, por "órdenes" de Guaidó, así como la apropiación del oro venezolano almacenado en Londres en un conflicto que se extiende desde 2018 hasta ahora.

En todo ello, así como en la alevosa campaña de sanciones y embargos contra Venezuela, María Corina ha participado activamente, abiertamente, como una de las principales aliadas de Guaidó, lo que viene siendo desde hace más de 10 años.

Como era de esperar, desde el primer gobierno de Chávez, Maria Corina Machado ha sido una ongue financiada por la NED estadounidense, a través de la ONG Súmate, que incluso participó en el intento de golpe de Estado contra Hugo Chávez en 2002. También ha sido ampliamente reconocida y promovida por el Foro de Davos como "el futuro de Venezuela", el tipo de narrativa que siempre escuchamos cuando los globalistas tienen algún proyecto especial para un país en particular.

También ha sido entrevistada varias veces en los últimos 10 años, la última en febrero de 2024, por el Atlantic Council, uno de los principales think tanks dedicados a promover el atlantismo en todo el mundo, financiado en gran medida por la Fundación Rockefeller, el banco Goldman Sachs, la corporación ucraniana Burisma (vinculada a Hunter Biden y posiblemente implicada en los atentados terroristas del Ayuntamiento de Crocus) y otros donantes. Además de la entrevista, Corina ha recibido mucha atención en las publicaciones en línea del Atlantic Council.

En la práctica, además del caos institucional, que provocó varias muertes y la destrucción de bienes públicos gracias a los disturbios en las calles y al vandalismo planificado en plena crisis política venezolana, la "militancia" de María Corina generó daños materiales por valor de 32.000 millones de dólares para su propio país.

La confirmación de la orden judicial que la inhabilitaba para ejercer cargos públicos llegó en enero de este año. Así que aquí no hubo ninguna irregularidad. Incluso se podría especular si la insistencia de María Corina en presentarse a las elecciones presidenciales a pesar de estar ya inhabilitada para ejercer cargos públicos no era una estratagema para alegar persecución y represión tras su evidente incapacidad para concurrir a las elecciones. Pero luego vino una puesta en escena aún más chapucera, la de la sustituta propuesta por Maria Corina Machado, Corina Yoris.

Se ha inventado un "sabotaje" inexistente para impedir que Corina Yoris registre su candidatura. La narrativa es que el gobierno está provocando a propósito fallos que le impedirían a ella (y sólo a ella) presentarse a través del sistema electrónico de uso común.

La realidad es más simple. Es el partido al que representará el candidato el que tiene que registrarlo. Al parecer, Corina Yoris intentó registrarse por su cuenta, lo que le resultó imposible. Para que ella se registrara por su cuenta los requisitos serían otros, y no contaba con la cuota mínima de apoyo para registrarse como candidata independiente.

De hecho, en los últimos días de registro, María Corina Machado pidió a los demás partidos de la oposición que abandonaran sus candidaturas e inscribieran a Corina Yoris como candidata, a lo que todos se negaron.

Para mí, todo este drama es completamente artificial.

Quizás más plausible que una simple incompetencia, me parece una dramatización urdida para acusar al gobierno venezolano de impedir que participe en las elecciones el potencial candidato que, según las encuestas controladas por los opositores, podría derrotar a Maduro. Prueba de ello es que han seguido incluyendo a María Corina Machado en los sondeos de opinión, incluso después de que fuera inhabilitada el año pasado.

Con esto, se puede presentar el caso a la OEA y a los países occidentales para que no reconozcan los resultados de las elecciones venezolanas.

Lamentablemente, el Ministerio de Asuntos Exteriores de Brasil llegó a comentar las elecciones venezolanas sin tener en cuenta este contexto y los detalles técnicos del proceso electoral venezolano y las disputas políticas de los dos últimos años, lo que ha provocado un malestar en las relaciones entre los dos países, normalmente socios.

Strategic Culture Foundation
16 Apr 2024 | 8:00 pm

8. The Christmas gift that keeps giving


By Jack F. MATLOCK, Jr.

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On December 24, 1989, Soviet Deputy Foreign Minister Ivan Aboimov informed me on behalf of the Soviet government, 'We have given the Brezhnev Doctrine to you with our compliments. Consider it a Christmas gift."

Now, some thirty-four years later, I should explain what the Brezhnev Doctrine was, the circumstances under which the gift was conveyed, and why I believe that it was a gift that has infused US foreign policy to this very day.

The Brezhnev Doctrine

The Brezhnev Doctrine alleged that "socialist" (communist-dominated) countries had the right and duty to intervene in any country where a "socialist" government had been threatened. The term developed after the Soviet Union invaded Hungary in 1956 and Czechoslovakia in 1968. The underlying rationale was that "socialism" was an inevitable stage in human development and that, if it was threatened in a given country, it was the duty of other "socialist" states to intervene to preserve it. Karl Marx had predicted that the "proletariat" would rebel against the ruling "bourgeoisie" and by dictatorship would produce a socialist society that would evolve from socialism (to each according to his contribution) to communism (to each according to his need). Although the "socialist" states had not reached the goal of communism, they were led by the Soviet Union ruled by a party whose name evoked the ultimate goal: the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.

The Circumstances

In world politics, December 1989 began with the first summit meeting of George H. W. Bush and Mikhail Gorbachev, which took place on a Soviet passenger ship in the Malta harbor. (Stormy seas prevented planned meetings on an American destroyer anchored nearby.) The two knew each other since they had met several times when Bush was vice president, but this was their first meeting since Bush had taken office as president. For both, it meant the end of the Cold War. Their joint announcement stated that the Cold War was over, that the USSR would not intervene in Eastern Europe to prevent political change, and that the United States would not "take advantage" of Soviet restraint. President Bush reaffirmed these commitments in a letter to Gorbachev which I was instructed to deliver when I returned to Moscow from Malta.

On December 16, violence against the Ceausescu regime erupted in Romania. Up until then, the fall of Soviet-dominated governments in Eastern Europe had been remarkably peaceful. Gorbachev was true to his word that the Soviet Union would not intervene. In fact, his policies favored the transition of power since he insisted that the communist governments in Eastern Europe needed to reform and refused any help to keep them in power. He welcomed the ambassadors the new democratic governments sent to Moscow as they replaced the ones representing the communist-dominated satellites. By late December, Romania was in the throes of a bloody revolution.

Then, on December 20, the United States invaded Panama to remove its drug-dealing dictator Manuel Noriega, an invasion that lasted through the following January. According to Wikipedia, it caused 516 Panamanian casualties (314 military and 202 civilian) and 26 American (23 military and 3 civilian). A pretty steep price to arrest a drug lord who once worked for the CIA.

On December 23, I received a telegram from the State Department instructing me to seek an appointment with Deputy Minister Aboimov, who had responsibility for Eastern Europe, to get the Soviet assessment of the situation in Romania. The appointment was scheduled for 12:30 the following day. Meanwhile, I received on our recently installed secure telephone a call from the Deputy Secretary for Political Affairs instructing me to make clear to Aboimov that if the Soviet government found it necessary to use military force in Romania—for instance to extract its citizens—President Bush would not consider this a violation of their agreement during the Malta meeting. He added that I should be careful not to imply that we were encouraging intervention. I commented to him that I didn't see how I could convey that message without it seeming that we were encouraging intervention, but of course I would follow instructions.

I wondered at the time why this request had not been in my written instructions, but assumed that was an afterthought by Secretary James Baker's staff (or perhaps Baker himself) when they saw the cable to me, presumably drafted and cleared by EUR (the Bureau of European Affairs). It did not occur to me then—though it should have—that senior officials in the Bush administration actually hoped that there would be some Soviet intervention in Romania in order to "balance" perceptions about appropriate behavior in respective spheres of influence.

It was no surprise to me when Aboimov assured me that the Soviet Union would not intervene in Romania. It did surprise me that he would use the term "Brezhnev Doctrine" to refer to earlier Soviet practice since, though it was in common usage in the West, it was not normally used by Soviet officials to describe their policy toward Eastern Europe. Therefore, I accepted his statement as a clever quip and reported it as such to the State Department. The rebellion in Romania ended the day following our meeting with the capture and execution of the Ceausescus.

At the time I had no idea the invasion of Panama would last another month or take anything like the number of lives it did. I believed that the invasion of Panama was a one-off action, taken because so long as Noriega was in control of Panama it was unlikely that the US Senate would ratify the Panama Canal Treaty. Vote on ratification was imminent and ratification was considered of vital importance for our future relations with our neighbors in Latin America.

It did not occur to me then that military intervention would be adopted by the American government as a favored instrument to promote "democracy" in other countries. After all, if democracy is, as Lincoln stated, government of, by, and for the people, how can an outsider create it? Overt intervention in another country's politics is likely to boomerang, strengthening the autocratic forces who can claim that the democratic forces are agents of a foreign adversary—or worse—an enemy.

From the Brezhnev Doctrine to the "Liberal World Order"

Marx had predicted that communism was the inevitable future of mankind, therefore attempts to assist it were simply acting in accord with the flow of history. In the mid 1980s, Soviet leaders still held to that belief. When President Ronald Reagan, during their first meeting, asked Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko if he believed in a world-wide communist state, Gromyko replied that he did, but it was like his belief that tomorrow the sun would rise in the east. It did not require Soviet help. (He didn't add, "But there is nothing wrong with helping," which he probably thought.)

Later, when Reagan first met Gorbachev, he complained about Soviet support for revolutionary movements in Africa and Latin America. Gorbachev explained that the Soviet Union was acting in harmony with the inevitable decolonization of these areas and the United States should understand that this was the future. In effect, he advised Reagan to get used to it; it's going to happen so stop complaining.

By the end of 1988, Gorbachev had changed his mind on that question. In a speech to the United Nations General Assembly in December, he declared that Soviet policy would be based on the "common interests of mankind." This was an implicit but clear rejection of the Marxist "class struggle" which had earlier been the foundation of Soviet foreign policy, including the Brezhnev Doctrine. Gorbachev then showed that the change of ideology was genuine by not attempting in 1989 to thwart the democratic revolutions in Eastern Europe. Therefore, the Brezhnev doctrine was available for transfer when Aboimov conveyed the gift.

The Soviet Union passed into history on December 25, 1991, when Gorbachev announced, "I am ceasing my activity in the post of president of the USSR," the Soviet red flag was lowered from the Kremlin flagpole, and the Russian tricolor raised. This event engendered widespread belief in three questionable assumptions: (1) that the United States, or the West "won" the Cold War; (2) that Western pressure caused the break-up of the Soviet Union; (3) that Russia was a defeated party.

Close attention to all the facts would have suggested: (1) that the Cold War ended by negotiation when the Soviet leader abandoned the policies that caused it in the first place and was as much in the interest of the USSR as it was in the interest of the United States and NATO; (2) the Soviet Union broke up because of internal pressures, not external ones from the United States and NATO, and (3) Boris Yeltsin, the elected president of the Russian Socialist Federated Soviet Republic, declared Russia's independence and engineered the break-up of the USSR.

This happened over the period of a few months in 1991. During that time, the Bush administration hoped Gorbachev could preserve a voluntary union minus the three Baltic countries. In a speech delivered to the Ukrainian Verkhovna Rada on August 1, 1991, Bush advised the Ukrainians (and implicitly the other non-Baltic Soviet republics) to join a voluntary union as Gorbachev proposed and to avoid "suicidal nationalism."

Therefore, the total break-up of the USSR in December 1991 was a defeat for American policy at the time, not a victory as would subsequently be claimed and believed by most people, in both the United States and Europe.

* * *

After the Soviet collapse, America's Neocons—who had argued that negotiation with the USSR would be fruitless—suddenly proclaimed that the United States was the sole surviving "superpower," which meant that while world politics had been "bipolar," controlled by the US and the USSR, it was now "unipolar," controlled by the US alone. The only debate in those circles was whether "unipolarity" would be a permanent condition or only temporary, a "unipolar moment" as some dubbed it.

The problem with this interpretation was at least twofold: military power could destroy but was hardly useful in building something new, and military threats to another country were much more likely to encourage authoritarianism than democracy.

In 1993, Francis Fukuyama, a political scientist who worked for a time on the State Department's Policy Planning staff, provided another foundation element for what came to be called the "Liberal World Order" in a widely cited book entitled The End of History and the Last Man, published in 1993.

What we may be witnessing is not just the end of the Cold War, or the passing of a particular period of post-war history, but the end of history as such: that is, the end point of mankind's ideological evolution and the universalization of Western liberal democracy as the final form of human government.

The prediction that any present system could be "the final form of human government" was a breathtaking allegation totally void of any supporting historical fact. It was just as fanciful as Karl Marx's prediction that a proletarian revolution would result in a world free of competing classes, government compulsion and strife. Yet it led to a presumption that the United States could use its military and economic power to transform other societies into democracies with capitalist economies that would live in peace with one another.

The goal came to be called the Liberal World Order. Note the following correspondences:

BREZHNEV DOCTRINE

Ability and duty of USSR and its allies to spread and defend "socialism" from internal or external threats.

LIBERAL WORLD ORDER

Ability and duty of US and its allies to spread and defend "democracy" from internal or external threats.

Note also that in neither case did the sponsors of the Brezhnev Doctrine and the Liberal 
World Order define precisely what they meant by socialism or democracy. In practice, only nation-states they dominated were considered to meet the necessary criteria.

End of Cold War to Hot War?

In the early 1990s, it appeared that the world was headed for a period—maybe even a future– of peace between and among the larger nations. There were conflicts here and there, some involving serious atrocities, but they were local and, it would seem, possible to mitigate or even resolve without the direct participation of the United States on one side or the other. The United States, itself virtually invulnerable to attack by other countries, had an opportunity to develop a security system based on cooperation among the larger countries. Instead, the US too often chose hegemony over cooperation, just as the Soviet Union had done in its heyday in Eastern Europe.

Let me suggest just a few examples which illustrate why Aboimov's gift has kept giving. They are extracted from highly complex situations which require much more detailed examination and discussion to understand in full. But, in all, there is a constant thread of American attempts to use military force or economic power to favor one side or the other in disputes that can only be solved by diplomacy and compromise.

Europe

Following the Cold War and the Soviet collapse, Europe needed a security system that bridged the earlier East-West division and guaranteed the security of all. Following World War II, the United States had wisely insisted that France and Germany bury the hatchet and start uniting rather than dividing Western Europe. This was an implicit but real condition for the economic aid the Marshall Plan provided.

In the 1990s, the task in Europe was to bring Russia and the successor states of the Soviet Union into a system of mutual security so that they could undertake the difficult task of converting their state-controlled command economies into market economies. As they did so, they could negotiate economic relations with the European Union as a group, planning the gradual development of a common market. Instead of supporting this process, the US tried to split the former Soviet republics from Russian influence.

In the security sphere, from the late 1990s each succeeding American administration added new members to NATO and then began to station military bases on the territory of the new members. The Clinton administration and its successor failed to continue efforts to reduce nuclear weapons and by the second Bush administration the US started withdrawing from the arms control agreements that had halted the nuclear arms race and permitted an end to the Cold War. This process continued until the one remaining nuclear arms control agreement (New Start) was suspended by Russia after its invasion of Ukraine.

In Europe, we are approaching the third year of war in Ukraine, a war that could have been prevented if the US had been willing to guarantee that Ukraine would not be granted NATO membership. Instead, the US and its NATO allies are trying to strangle Russia economically with sanctions of a severity that normally would be permissible only during a formal declaration of war. In the process, Ukraine's very existence as an independent, sovereign nation is under threat and there are few impediments to the use of nuclear weapons if this war continues.

Middle East

War is also underway in what we traditionally have called the Middle East: Israel continues to attack Gaza, where for decades it has kept Palestinians, many of them refugees from Israel proper, in an open-air prison. A war of this intensity bears the earmarks of genocide since the avowed Israeli purpose is to eliminate or expel Palestinians from their traditional home. It is not a war initiated by the United States, but it is one that might well have been prevented by a different diplomacy. In the 1990s, quiet diplomacy by Norway brought the Israeli government and leading Palestinians to the brink of a settlement that would have provided two states in the Palestinian area, one Jewish and one Palestinian. Ultimately this failed and, despite US opposition and warnings, Israel continued to increase the Jewish presence in the occupied "West Bank," to maintain a blockade of the two million plus Palestinians in the tiny Gaza strip, and when it perceived threats (often inaccurately) to attack its neighbors in violation of international law.

Elsewhere in the Middle East and contiguous areas, the US has initiated or participated in at least three full-scale wars and numerous other military interventions. Since 2000, the US has invaded and occupied Afghanistan (for a time), Iraq (where we destroyed an entire government and gave impetus to the terrorist forces we were ostensibly fighting), and Syria, where we intervened without the request of the government we recognized and, in part, in an effort to remove it. For decades we have maintained extensive economic sanctions against Iran. After the Obama administration participated in a multilateral agreement to prevent Iran's acquisition of nuclear weapons, President Trump withdrew. As a candidate for the presidency, Joseph Biden promised to re-enter the agreement but failed to do so after he took office.

Now, in mid-January 2024, the entire Middle East and adjacent areas (note the recent military exchanges between Iran and nuclear-armed Pakistan) seem to comprise a giant powder keg on the brink of explosion. Attacks from Aden threaten shipping in the Red Sea. Most Arab and many non-Arab Muslim countries are seething over what they consider ongoing genocide in Gaza and violent ethnic cleansing in the Palestinian West Bank. Missile exchanges continue between Lebanon and Syria on the one hand and Israel on the other.

The point is not that the US created all this violence. In some cases (the invasion of Iraq) it did, but in others it was not the main offender. Nevertheless, Israel could not continue pounding the entrapped population of Gaza to extinction if the US refused to supply the ordnance. As for the other conflicts, they may well have been contained or avoided if the US, rather than jumping in with military force, had used its influence to calm or keep local the area's many territorial and doctrinal disputes.

East Asia

Since the end of the Cold War, China has made unprecedented progress in meeting the human needs of its population. Despite its apparent rejection of "democracy" when it quelled the uprising in Tienanmen Square in 1989, the Chinese Communist Party started promoting capitalist development in a big way. It did so without losing its ultimate grip on power, in contrast to the experience of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union when its leader, attempting to democratize, lost control. The result was spectacular: from the early 1990s to 2020 (the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic), China probably set a world record for achieving the greatest improvement in the lives of the most people in the shortest time. This happened without free, competitive elections or any pretense at "Western style" democracy.

Now, in the grip of Chinese leader Xi Jinping, some political dissidents have been arrested, some of the high-flying capitalists have been brought to heel, the electoral freedom of Hong Kong has been restricted, and members of the Uighur minority in Xinjiang have been herded into "re-education" camps. All of these are regrettable developments which will affect the quality of life for many Chinese, but they are developments that only the Chinese can reverse or modify. They are not going to be ameliorated by reprovals from the US government, particularly when accompanied by policies designed to "contain China" or hobble its economic development.

Nevertheless, US economic policy in itself is not likely to produce armed conflict with China. The danger comes from US policies and actions that the Chinese government perceives threaten China's security, national dignity, or deserved status in the region. The US practice of patrolling the coast of China by air and sea and controlling adjacent waterways is seen as provocative. American support for Taiwanese independence is seen as an impermissible interference in a Chinese domestic struggle.

Senior American politicians and military commanders are urging preparations for a war with China if necessary to defend Taiwan. As much as one may admire the economic progress the people of Taiwan have made and sympathize with their desire not to be controlled by an autocratic government in Beijing, it would be reckless to the point of insanity for the United States to risk war with China in defense of Taiwan.

While overall the United States has a much stronger military establishment than China, China has developed a modern army, air force, and navy with a growing number of nuclear weapons. China is not able to compete with the United States as a global hegemon as some seem to fear. But China is acutely sensitive to foreign attempts to limit its sovereignty, having been carved up by Western imperialists in the nineteenth and early twentieth century, then invaded by Japan in the twentieth. China can almost certainly prevail locally in a conflict near its border. If it chose to use nuclear weapons against the US fleet in the Taiwan Strait, how could the US retaliate without endangering its own homeland?

The Common Thread

I have cited just a few examples of American military intervention in faraway conflicts that did not threaten the American people's security or well-being. Just as the USSR supported revolutions to create "socialism" and military intervention in other countries to preserve it (the Brezhnev Doctrine), so has the United States justified its military activity abroad as necessary to create, support, and defend what it calls "democracy."

Numerous questions arise. Here are a few, chosen almost at random from some that are basic and at least one trivial:

If, in a Liberal World Order (sometimes called the "rules-based order"), one country does not invade or make war against another unless attacked or authorized by the United Nations Security Council, how is it that the US and its NATO allies unleashed an undeclared war by bombing Serbia in 1999? A more egregious offense occurred subsequently when the United States, along with Great Britain and a few others, invaded, occupied, and destroyed the entire government of Iraq, justifying the action by the false assertion that Iraq had illegally retained weapons of mass destruction.

How is it that the United States and NATO are conducting an all-but-declared war against Russia because of its invasion of Ukraine, but are providing the weapons and political cover to Israel to conduct a genocidal campaign against the people living in Gaza?

Does a "rules-based order" allow a country to invade another and attempt to remove its leader? (Note Syria.)

Is it proper for a powerful country that has more than once violated the rules of the Liberal World Order to assume the role of enforcer of rules it has violated, even to the point of conducting economic warfare against an alleged offender?

If the US goal is to create and defend democracies, how is it that it arms one of the world's last remaining absolute monarchies, Saudi Arabia?

If NATO is an alliance of democracies, how is it that Montenegro, an autocracy and one of the world's most corrupt countries, qualified for membership?

The list could be extended much longer, but the overall conclusion must be that with all the complexity and uncertainty that marks today's conflicts, there is one common thread: military intervention by the US to resolve conflicts between and within other countries. Just as Brezhnev invaded "socialist" countries to preserve socialism, our American government is attempting to use its military and economic power to impose its political system on the world. It is not working any better than it did for Brezhnev. It is time the United States discarded the poisoned chalice Deputy Minister Aboimov handed me that Christmas Eve of 1989.

Original article: americandiplomacy

Strategic Culture Foundation
16 Apr 2024 | 7:41 pm

9. Kiev regime promotes terror in liberated Donbass’ regions


Unable to win on the battlefield, the neo-Nazi regime targets non-military civilian zones in its attacks.

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The Kiev regime continues to promote terror in peaceful regions of the Russian Federation to disguise its defeat on the front lines. On April 13, several Western missiles were launched by Ukraine against the capital of the Lugansk People's Republic (LPR), destroying civilian structure. The absolute absence of any military objective makes the attack terrorist according to international law.

Although there are still hostilities in LPR, the oblast's capital and surrounding cities are almost completely pacified. The city of Lugansk – capital of the LRP – is a region quite far from the front lines, which is why civilian life is gradually returning to normal, with ordinary people moving freely through the streets even under circumstances of martial law. In December I was in LPR as a correspondent and wrote important reports about the situation on the ground. At the time, I emphasized the advanced pacification process in Lugansk.

However, the Kiev regime does not seem willing to allow peace to prevail in the New Regions of Russia. Recently, neo-Nazi forces launched missile attacks against the capital of LPR, hitting a machinery factory that was about to be opened. As expected, this was another attack against civilian targets, without any military relevance. The reason for the incursion appears to be related to the Ukrainian objective of preventing life from returning to normal in Donbass, as this factory would employ dozens of people and accelerate the process of economic stabilization in Lugansk.

The attack injured at least three civilians, according to data published by the Coordination Council of Reintegration of New Regions. This was the first Ukrainian attack on Lugansk City in ten months. The region is one of the safest in Donbass, considering the distance from the "zero line" – where infantry troops fight. The people of Lugansk have long lived peacefully, but Kiev clearly wants to prevent security from prevailing.

It must be emphasized that it is not easy for Kiev to reach the capital of LPR, with most of the missiles launched being neutralized by Russian defense artillery. The attack on the 13th was successful because Kiev used long-range British missiles, the well-known Storm Shadow projectiles – capable of reaching more than 250km. At least two of these missiles were launched against LPR, which made the attack successful. The last successful attack against the city of Lugansk was in May 2023, also using Storm Shadow projects. At the time, neo-Nazi forces attacked a food factory and a home goods store, injuring dozens of people.

As we can see, Ukrainian attacks use lethal Western weapons to destroy civilian facilities and harm ordinary people, without any strategic purpose. The bombings in LPR come amid a recent wave of terrorist raids against civilian areas, including Zaparozhye, where, in addition to constant attacks on the nuclear power plant, three children were murdered in an artillery attack in the city of Tokmak on April 13. It is also necessary to remember that terror continues to spread on Russian borders, with Belgorod and Kursk being attacked by missiles and drones in terrorist operations that constantly generate civilian casualties.

Losing on the battlefield, the neo-Nazi regime uses terror to divert the attention of the global media and pretend that it still has some kind of chance to cause damage to the Russian Federation. The deliberate murder of civilians has become commonplace for Ukrainian troops, who frequently target non-military targets in peaceful regions to make it appear that they are having some strategic success – thus justifying the delivery of more weapons from NATO.

Moscow has already shown that it will not respond to terror with terror. While Russian civilian targets are killed, retaliations are only carried out against legitimate targets (military and critical infrastructure facilities). For Ukraine it would be very advantageous if Moscow attacked Ukrainian civilian targets, as this would generate arguments to boost the NATO war machine against Russia, but for its part Russia continues to understand this war as a conflict against the neo-Nazi regime and its sponsors, not against the Ukrainian people.

However, the constant use of Western weapons in these terrorist incursions tends to generate a serious escalation not only in the conflict, but also in the diplomatic sphere. Ties between Russia and the West will become increasingly unfriendly as Russian civilians are targeted by Western missiles.

Strategic Culture Foundation
16 Apr 2024 | 7:21 pm

10. The “Kalibrated” attacks against neo-colonialism


However aggressive, arrogant and belligerent they may seem, the U.S. — including Israel — has once again been placed in a defensive position.

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Shortly after the Iranian response to the Zionist attack that destroyed its consulate in Syria, killing senior commander Mohammad Reza Zahedi, it was the White House itself, and Biden, who pulled the reins from Netanyahu and told the world that the action had been properly "calibrated". This happened, after the Zionist authorities spat fire, threatening apocalyptic consequences against the reborn Persian potentate.

This "calibration" in Washington's discourse is the obvious consequence of what happened before the Iranian retaliation; in the 48 hours leading up to it, several European couriers called for "restraint" from Iran, warning to the serious consequences that this lack of "restraint" could trigger. The signs of concern were as obvious as the whitewashing and legitimization of Israel's provocative action towards its neighbors, in the region, had been until then.

Ursula von der Leyen, however, was not one to mince her words. In yet another show of hypocrisy of biblical proportions, she threatened the only response she knows: sanctions packages against Iran for carrying out an "unprovoked attack". Macron couldn't be left behind either and came out to say that "we" must continue to "isolate Iran" with the usual sanctions.

If there is anything to take away from this behavior, it is this: Ursula Von Der Leyen and the Macrons of this world live in a reality that no longer exists, in which the "racially, morally and intellectually superior" West had the legitimacy to punish, persecute, invade, threaten and destroy all those who opposed it. But if, in their hateful blindness, they haven't yet realized this, the same cannot be said of those who rule them. The world has changed and is undergoing an accelerated transformation.

Impunity ended when the Russian Federation said it would not accept the crossing of the red line it had imposed and which determined Ukraine's neutrality; the world changed when Iran, Hezbollah, Huthis and Hamas declared they would no longer accept Zionist abuses against their populations and those of their allies; the world changed when China did not give up on Russia and Iran, demonstrating that the multipolar world was here to stay. To destroy one, you have to destroy all three. All interconnected by extensive strategic partnerships.

Consequently, Iran's response signaled that it is prepared to give a decisive response to what it considers to be an escalation of abuses by Zionism and its supporters, and that it will not continue to tolerate genocidal disrespect from the Zionist entity that controls Israel.

This behavior on the part of Iran, previously unthinkable and intolerable by the "international community", now finds a space of legitimacy that is absolutely revealing of how the world has changed in these years of growing multipolarity. Sanctions no longer carry the same weight, since Iran — like Russia, North Korea, Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua — has learned to be self-sufficient, transforming aggression into a force of opposition; nor does the West now dominate the global South with the force it used to; nor do the U.S. and its vital space still constitute that military power that everyone was afraid of.

Today, powers like Iran can afford to raise the stakes and corner the arrogant West. The most interesting thing is that, from a strategic point of view, the U.S. had bet on a profusion of multiple provocations, ever more widespread and aimed at localized military escalations, whose function was to contain the expansion of the countries that constitute the central pillars of this liberation of the global south: Russia, China and Iran.

Resulting in the continued expansion of the multipolar world, the development of the "global south", which is nothing more than the "global majority"; accompanied by the consequent loss of strategic positions by the west, that dictate access to the strategic labor reserves of Asia and Africa; the reserves of commodities in Russia, the Middle East, Latin America and Africa; or the installed industrial capacity of Asia; the multipolar "Triplice Entente" that directs the anti-imperialist process, through its "calibrated" attacks, is provoking a progressive corrosion of the imperialist entity, announcing, somewhere in time, its collapse.

And this is the great merit of these three countries and their allies, South Africa, more convinced, India and Brazil, more perilous, which have now been joined by five other countries, and which will soon be joined by many others, including Vietnam itself, which has already made official its intention to join the BRICS. These countries have had the patience, wisdom and competence to act as concertedly as possible, but also as decentralized as necessary, without allowing themselves to become entangled in insurmountable internal contradictions that expose them to the nation-destroying machine that is the USA. In this way, decentralized expansion poses problems that are extremely difficult to overcome for those who want to destroy this process of expansion, which is also a process of liberation from neo-colonialism.

It cannot be said, however, that we are at a totally original historical moment. In fact, we should remember the words of Zbigniew Brzezinsky to the Nouvelle Observateur in 1998, when, in an interview, he acknowledged that not only had the U.S. knowingly contributed to the invasion of Afghanistan by the USSR, but he was also delighted — as arrogant supremacists like to be — that even with a million dead, it was worth supporting the Mujahideen (Taliban), which they knew in advance would be seen by Moscow as something intolerable on its borders and which would not fail to provoke a war.

In a process similar to what happened in Ukraine — the formation of a deeply anti-Russian (or anti-USSR) ruling elite practicing a hateful and extremist ideology — the most important thing Brzezinsky said, however, was that the U.S., being ideologically on the defensive, with the human rights agenda it was possible to turn the tide and put USSR on the defensive side. Today, the idea of a multipolar world has recovered the Global South, as a whole, to an ideological offensive position and, at the same time, U.S. finds itself on the defensive side once again. And this time, they might as well come with the human rights agenda again, but no one is believing in them anymore.

From this position we can learn a valuable lesson for today: however aggressive, arrogant and belligerent they may seem, the U.S. — including Israel — has once again been placed in a defensive position. Everything they do is in response to a reality in which the multipolar world continues to expand and the "enlarged" West to contract. Whatever many "enlargements" NATO may propagandize, the living space of the Western monopolies, which are the roots of imperialism, has been progressively shrinking. This is an indisputable fact and only the brutal indebtedness on the part of the White House makes that the U.S. economy continues to grow artificially and, with it, fuels the process of "containing" the growth of the multipolar world.

What is impossible to hide is that the U.S. problem is more complicated this time around. It won't be as easy to go "on the offensive" as it was with the USSR. Although the USSR was a formidable challenge and one that the ruling elite in Washington soon identified as a matter of life and death, the fact that the Soviet power was, at the time, the only pillar on which the challenge rested, made things easier. It was very easy to split the world in two and demonize the other side. Unlike today, the USSR could not support itself in China.

The challenge posed by China, Russia and Iran, seconded by India, South Africa, Brazil and many others, is much more complex and dislocated. Firstly, they are not a monolithic bloc with the same ideology. These are countries with very different systems of governance, from the most liberal, like Brazil and South Africa, to the socialist like China or the national developmentalist like Russia, or even Iran, with its theocratic and democratic dimension. From the point of view of propaganda, this poses many difficulties, which is why in recent months we have seen a growing line of propaganda develop, according to which China has an interest in Trump's victory — him that wants to destroy it — and that it is the European extreme right that supports China and is supported by it. It's a kind of "Russiagate", this time in a Chinese version. Fitting everyone into the same hat and demonizing them has not been easy.

What's more, these countries, each in their own way — Iran least of all — are connected to Western value chains, which prevents decisive and brutal action, regardless of the consequences. Look what happened with the sanctions on Russia, now think what would happen if that level of aggression were to hit the Chinese economy.

This is the essence of "multipolarity", which others call "multiplexity", which consists of its enormous capillarity, like mushrooms multiplying all over the world, each with its own morphology but all with the same nature, making it virtually impossible to contain its growth. As the U.S. learned from Russia, it's not enough to attack one, you have to attack all, but it's impossible to attack all, as they're now realizing. This diversity is absolutely challenging to the totalitarian and unicist logic of the U.S., which saw itself as dominating a uniform world.

If there's one thing the monopolistic West doesn't understand, it's how to unite things that are different, how to accept other people's differences, how to create a common force between different people, united only by one sentiment: freedom. In order to unite, U.S. imperialism feels an imperative need to standardize, disrespecting and destroying cultures, traditions, beliefs and ideologies, in order to impose its own.

These multipolar countries, founded on an interventionist state (something common to all and which rejects the Western proposal of the neoliberal minimal state, replaced by monopolies), which controls the strategic sectors of the economy and is committed to economic sovereignty, turns the control of their economies very complicated. It's no wonder that one of the U.S.'s lines of attack on China is the need to abolish "capital controls". The whole "liberalization" thing is to the advantage of those who have the most purchasing power. We know who has the most accumulated money, the result of 500 years of pillage and slavery.

The truth is that the U.S., looking at this reality, realized that Brezinsky's strategy would have to be adapted to the current reality, namely, it would have to be deconcentrated or disperse, opting for relocated provocations, taking advantage of the dispersion of military bases around the world. For Russia, it would be Ukraine, Georgia, Moldova, Armenia, closely followed by NATO; for China it would be Taiwan, South Korea, Thailand, the Philippines, Japan and slippery India; for Iran, Israel.

The dispersed provocations, through very well-armed proxies, pose a problem, a problem now demonstrated by the Iranian retaliation. The blanket is short for a West that doesn't have the industrial capacity of the past, relocated through no fault but its own, through an unpopular policy of destroying jobs, at the service of the monopolies. And this is happening against a backdrop of financial, economic and social contraction. Even from the point of view of financing these operations, the West ends up trapped in its own contradictions: unlike states, monopolies don't invest in the common good, only in the concentration of wealth. Taking from the state to give to the monopolies ended up in what we are seeing.

Founded on military-industrial complexes in which the main companies are state-owned and, even when they are private, forced to compete with state-owned companies, Iran, China and Russia produce very cheaply what is very expensive for the West (the air defense of the Iron Dome, on the night of the Iranian retaliation, cost around a billion dollars). This reality allows for a relatively low-value "calibrated" response. In comparison, those who spend the most on these operations are the ones whose economies are falling; those who spend the least are the ones whose economies are growing. Once again, this is a consequence of the neoliberal minimal state, which emerged from the Washington consensus.

That's why the great challenge facing the multipolar world will be to continue betting on responses that are sufficiently "calibrated" to put the aggressor in its senses, without escalating to life and death, but keeping the aggressor busy, eroding itself more and more, and whose activity leads it to believe that it is advancing, when in fact it is retreating. Russia has done this masterfully with the Special Military Operation and China is also doing it from a non-military point of view.

That's why listening to Ursula von der Leyen with her proverbial arrogance, threatening Iran with ineffective sanctions, listening to Trump and his MAGA, Sunak wanting to talk big and Macron playing Napoleon, while saying "the world is with Ukraine", "Russia is isolated", "we're going to contain China" or "Iran attacked Israel", shows just that: the servants of monopolies are busy playing with small lead soldiers without realizing that they are doing so on an increasingly smaller board.

If the multipolar world can continue to deliver its "calibrated" attacks, in whatever form they take (some more militarized, others more commercial and technological), we can be sure that they will be able to complete the task that others have already begun: to put an end to the neo-colonialism that still gags the global South.

Come on, Kalibr!

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