Category Archives: Europe

Defend the Greek workers! Oppose the diktat of Schäuble and Merkel!

By Partei für Soziale Gleichheit
July 14, 2015
World Socialist Web Site

 

The Partei für Soziale Gleichheit (PSG—Socialist Equality Party) denounces the agreement forced on Greece by German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble at Sunday’s euro group summit. We call upon workers in Germany and throughout Europe to declare their solidarity with the workers in Greece and organize mass resistance to the policies of the German government.

The new austerity demands, to which the government of Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras capitulated on Monday morning, go far beyond the measures the Greek population rejected, by a large majority, in the referendum held just one week before. For millions of Greeks, the implementation of these measures means poverty, unemployment, disease and even death. Greece will be transformed into a de facto protectorate of Germany and the most powerful European financial interests.

The troika (European Union, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund) is returning to Athens and will dictate government policy. The role of parliament is to be reduced to rubber-stamping austerity measures and signing off on automatic budget cuts. State property valued at €50 billion will be transferred to a fund, to be sold off to the highest bidder, modeled on the Treuhandanstalt, set up in 1990 to liquidate state property in East Germany.

The agreement amounts to a carte blanche for the ruthless exploitation and plundering of the Greek working class.

Even establishment commentators could not overlook the agreement’s undemocratic character. In the Financial Times, Wolfgang Münchau accused Greece’s creditors of reverting to “the nationalist European power struggles of the 19th and early 20th century” and transforming the euro zone into a system “run in the interests of Germany” and “held together by the threat of absolute destitution for those who challenge the prevailing order.”

Paul Krugman in the New York Times accused the euro group of “pure vindictiveness, complete destruction of national sovereignty, and no hope of relief.”

The brutal actions of Schäuble and Merkel recall the darkest chapter in German history. Less than seventy-five years have passed since Hitler’s Wehrmacht occupied Greece, established a brutal regime of terror, and ruthlessly plundered the country. The imposition of high occupation costs, the export of virtually all of Greece’s industrial goods, and the theft of machinery and vehicles led to a famine that took the lives of hundreds of thousands of people.

The Wehrmacht responded to resistance from partisan fighters by massacring the inhabitants of numerous villages, including Distomo, Lingiades and Kommeno. At least 30,000 civilians fell victim to these reprisals. Eight thousand Jews were deported and murdered, and the Jewish community in Thessaloniki, one of the world’s oldest, was completely wiped out. None of the victims were ever compensated, and virtually none of the perpetrators were punished.

Schäuble and Merkel are now walking in the footsteps of their predecessors. The German ruling class is spewing forth all the undigested filth of the past. Their arrogance suggests that they see themselves, once again, as Europe’s master race.

The politicians are supported by a spineless press, for which no cliché or prejudice is too cheap to be hurled at the Greek people. The media spread propaganda and do everything in their power to confuse and mislead the public.

The government also relies on historians such as Jörg Baberowski of Humboldt University, who falsifies history to trivialise German crimes in World War II. It is backed by economists, who declare the impoverishment of the Greek working class a historical necessity, and political scientists, such as Herfried Münkler, who formulates the political arguments for German hegemony in Europe.

All of the parties represented in the German parliament support the government. The Social Democratic (SPD) chairman Sigmar Gabriel has led the way, seeking to outdo Schäuble and Merkel from the right.

They are all convinced that history has been forgotten. But they are deceiving themselves. The working class of Greece, Germany and Europe cannot and will not allow them to repeat Germany’s historic crimes.

The German government is pursuing two goals in its aggressive actions in Greece. It intends to set an example to intimidate all resistance to its austerity course in Europe and Germany. And it seeks to strengthen its hegemonic domination of Europe.

By the time of the 2008 financial crisis, the government had decided that Germany could no longer maintain its dominance through compromises and financial assistance. Germany had to become, in the words of Münkler, Europe’s “taskmaster,” instead of its “paymaster.” Early last year, leading government officials demanded that Germany play a role in Europe and the world that corresponded to its actual influence.

This new great power politics was first tested out in Ukraine, where the German government backed the pro-Western coup that has driven the country to civil war and brought NATO to the brink of a military confrontation with nuclear-armed Russia. These same policies are being continued in what amounts to a civilian coup in Athens.

The face of the European Union has been transformed in the process. It is becoming ever more obvious that the EU is not a mechanism for the peaceful coexistence of Europe’s peoples, but rather an instrument for the predominance of the most powerful imperialist powers and the ruthless exploitation of the working class. Masses of people now view the EU with a mixture of disgust and hatred.

The more openly Germany uses the EU to attain the position of a world power, the more intense the national conflicts within Europe become—above all between Germany and France. Prior to Sunday’s summit there were sharp exchanges between Berlin and Paris, which, due to domestic political considerations, was favoring a more conciliatory course towards Greece. The French government eventually submitted to Germany’s dictates because it fears the threat from its own working class much more than it fears German hegemony. These tensions, however, will flare up again, as will the developing conflict between the US and Germany over who will control Europe.

It is the task of the working class in Germany and throughout Europe to oppose these dangerous actions, which threaten to plunge the working class into desperate poverty, and the continent, once again, into war and dictatorship. To this end, it is vital to draw the lessons of the events in Greece and the role played by Syriza.

It is hard to find a parallel in history to the cowardly and shameful betrayal carried out in the past few days by Tsipras and his government. Elected in January on the basis of a promise to end austerity, Tspiras’ party made one concession after another to Berlin and Brussels.

Finally, it organized a referendum, hoping that a majority would favour the EU-backed austerity measures. Confronted, instead, with an overwhelming majority against austerity, it capitulated completely to the German diktat within a week. Even a right-wing bourgeois government would not have gone so far.

This surrender confirms the PSG’s assessment that Syriza is not a left, and certainly not a socialist, party, but rather a pseudo-left organization representing wealthy, selfish middle class layers primarily concerned with their own well-being. They have nothing but contempt for the working class, which they fear. Their capitulation is grist for the mill of far-right extremists such as Golden Dawn, which, from a reactionary, nationalist standpoint, poses as a more determined opponent of the dictates of Brussels and Berlin than does the supposedly “left” Syriza.

What is true for Syriza also applies, as well, to its international co-thinkers, including the Left Party in Germany and Podemos in Spain.

The Left Party bears immense responsibility for the fate of Greece. In February, it voted for the “aid program” for Greece, including the austerity measures attached to it. Occasionally it criticizes the policies of the German government, in order to maintain a shred of credibility, but it has done absolutely nothing to support the Greek workers.

It has refused to organize a single demonstration in their defense. If the Left Party assumes power in Berlin, it will pursue the same course as Syriza. This has already been proven by its record in power at the state level.

The Left Party works closely with the trade unions, which have sought to aid the German government by shutting down and selling out strikes by train drivers, postal and daycare workers, hospital employees and other professionals.

The working class of Germany must rise to the defense of its class brothers and sisters in Greece. The PSG calls upon all workers involved in social struggles, all young people and the entire working population: Support the Greek workers! Organize solidarity strikes against the dictates of Schäuble and Merkel! Break with the Left Party and the SPD and organize independently!

The fundamental question is the necessity of building a revolutionary leadership—in Greece, Germany and throughout the European continent. Join the PSG, the German section of the International Committee of the Fourth International, and build sections of the ICFI all over Europe that will fight for the unity of the European working class and the establishment of the United Socialist States of Europe!

 

 

The Problem of Greece Is Not Only a Tragedy. It Is a Lie

By John Pilger
July 13, 2015
Global Research

 

greeceAn historic betrayal has consumed Greece. Having set aside the mandate of the Greek electorate, the Syriza government has willfully ignored last week’s landslide “No” vote and secretly agreed a raft of repressive, impoverishing measures in return for a “bailout” that means sinister foreign control and a warning to the world.

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has pushed through parliament a proposal to cut at least 13 billion euros from the public purse – 4 billion euros more than the “austerity” figure rejected overwhelmingly by the majority of the Greek population in a referendum on 5 July.

These reportedly include a 50 per cent increase in the cost of healthcare for pensioners, almost 40 per cent of whom live in poverty; deep cuts in public sector wages; the complete privatization of public facilities such as airports and ports; a rise in value added tax to 23 per cent, now applied to the Greek islands where people struggle to eke out a living. There is more to come.

“Anti-austerity party sweeps to stunning victory”, declared aGuardian headline on January 25. “Radical leftists” the paper called Tsipras and his impressively-educated comrades.  They wore open neck shirts, and the finance minister rode a motorbike and was described as a “rock star of economics”. It was a façade. They were not radical in any sense of that cliched label, neither were they “anti austerity”.

For six months Tsipras and the recently discarded finance minister, Yanis Varoufakis, shuttled between Athens and Brussels, Berlin and the other centres of European money power. Instead of social justice for Greece, they achieved a new indebtedness, a deeper impoverishment that would merely replace a systemic rottenness based on the theft of tax revenue by the Greek super-wealthy – in accordance with European “neo-liberal” values — and cheap, highly profitable loans from those now seeking Greece’s scalp.

Greece’s debt, reports an audit by the Greek parliament, “is illegal, illegitimate and odious”. Proportionally, it is less than 30 per cent that of the debit of Germany, its major creditor. It is less than the debt of European banks whose “bailout” in 2007-8 was barely controversial and unpunished.

For a small country such as Greece, the euro is a colonial currency: a tether to a capitalist ideology so extreme that even the Pope pronounces it “intolerable” and “the dung of the devil”. The euro is to Greece what the US dollar is to remote territories in the Pacific, whose poverty and servility is guaranteed by their dependency.

In their travels to the court of the mighty in Brussels and Berlin, Tsipras and Varoufakis presented themselves neither as radicals nor “leftists” nor even honest social democrats, but as two slightly upstart supplicants in their pleas and demands. Without underestimating the hostility they faced, it is fair to say they displayed no political courage. More than once, the Greek people found out about their “secret austerity plans” in leaks to the media: such as a 30 June letter published in the Financial Times, in which Tsipras promised the heads of the EU, the European Central Bank and the IMF to accept their basic, most vicious demands – which he has now accepted.

When the Greek electorate voted “no” on 5 July to this very kind of rotten deal, Tsipras said, “Come Monday and the Greek government will be at the negotiating table after the referendum with better terms for the Greek people”. Greeks had not voted for “better terms”. They had voted for justice and for sovereignty, as they had done on January 25.

The day after the January election a truly democratic and, yes, radical government would have stopped every euro leaving the country, repudiated the “illegal and odious” debt – as Argentina did successfully — and expedited a plan to leave the crippling Eurozone. But there was no plan. There was only a willingness to be “at the table” seeking “better terms”.

The true nature of Syriza has been seldom examined and explained. To the foreign media it is no more than “leftist” or “far left” or “hardline” – the usual misleading spray. Some of Syriza’s international supporters have reached, at times, levels of cheer leading reminiscent of the rise of Barack Obama. Few have asked: Who are these “radicals”? What do they believe in?

In 2013, Yanis Varoufakis wrote:

“Should we welcome this crisis of European capitalism as an opportunity to replace it with a better system? Or should we be so worried about it as to embark upon a campaign for stabilising capitalism? To me, the answer is clear. Europe’s crisis is far less likely to give birth to a better alternative to capitalism …

“I bow to the criticism that I have campaigned on an agenda founded on the assumption that the left was, and remains, squarely defeated …. Yes, I would love to put forward [a] radical agenda. But, no, I am not prepared to commit the [error of the British Labour Party following Thatcher’s victory].

“What good did we achieve in Britain in the early 1980s by promoting an agenda of socialist change that British society scorned while falling headlong into Thatcher’s neoliberal trip? Precisely none. What good will it do today to call for a dismantling of the Eurozone, of the European Union itself  …?”

Varoufakis omits all mention of the Social Democratic Party that split the Labour vote and led to Blairism. In suggesting people in Britain “scorned socialist change” – when they were given no real opportunity to bring about that change – he echoes Blair.

The leaders of Syriza are revolutionaries of a kind – but their revolution is the perverse, familiar appropriation of social democratic and parliamentary movements by liberals groomed to comply with neo-liberal drivel and a social engineering whose authentic face is that of Wolfgang Schauble, Germany’s finance minister, an imperial thug. Like the Labour Party in Britain and its equivalents among those former social democratic parties still describing themselves as “liberal” or even “left”,  Syriza is the product of an affluent, highly privileged, educated middle class, “schooled in postmodernism”, as Alex Lantier wrote.

For them, class is the unmentionable, let alone an enduring struggle, regardless of the reality of the lives of most human beings. Syriza’s luminaries are well-groomed; they lead not the resistance that ordinary people crave, as the Greek electorate has so bravely demonstrated, but “better terms” of a venal status quo that corrals and punishes the poor. When merged with “identity politics” and its insidious distractions, the consequence is not resistance, but subservience. “Mainstream” political life in Britain exemplifies this.

This is not inevitable, a done deal, if we wake up from the long, postmodern coma and reject the myths and deceptions of those who claim to represent us, and fight.

Paris Ramadan Stunt: A Comedian, a Propagandist, and the Social Engineers

By Tony Cartalucci
July 12, 2015
Land Destroyer Report

 

When tasteless alleged French comedian Yacine Hasnaoui decided to pose as a “Muslim,” shouting at Paris restaurant patrons for “eating during Ramadan,” before overturning tables and frightening by-standers, he probably realized shortly after just how un-funny his stunt was – which is precisely why he officially apologized for it on his Facebook page.

However, that the incident centered around a remorseful comedian, and not actually a Muslim, or even a brainwashed extremists posing as a Muslim, did not matter to what is essentially an industry built upon anti-Islamic propaganda serving not just the function of social engineering through elementary divide and conquer, but also serving as the rhetorical basis to continue waging war overseas, while stripping away the rights of citizens back home.

Leading the charge was career Neo-Conservative propagandist Robert Spencer, long-ago exposed at the center of other manufactured stunts including the “Ground Zero Mosque” and more recently, a shooting in Texas during a “Mohamed Drawing Contest.” Regarding Hasnaoui’s tasteless joke, Spencer’s website, “Jihad Watch,” shamelessly posted a headline reading, “Paris: Muslim overturns restaurant tables, shouts “People can’t eat, it’s Ramadan!”,” before concluding:

It’s simple: in Muslim countries, non-Muslims must conform their behavior to suit Muslim sensibilities. In non-Muslim countries, non-Muslims must conform their behavior to suit Muslim sensibilities.

The one thing Spencer gets right is the fact that it is indeed simple: people are easily manipulated, so much so that a comedian’s stunt which he has already apologized for, can still be used to inspire fear, terror, hatred, division, and obedience across what is apparently still a supremely ignorant and easily manipulated population. Spencer’s article was picked up across both Neo-Conservative circles and unfortunately, even in the alternative press where cognitive infiltration has been making steady headway.

It is clear that once again, that which provokes fear, hysteria, hatred, and outrage amongst the peoples of the West the most, is a stunt of their own creation, having nothing at all to do with the supposed enemy of “Islam.” And even that perceived enemy of “Islam” is owed to networks of militant extremists funded, armed, organized, and directed by Washington, London, Brussels, and their regional allies in Riyadh, Doha, Ankara, Tel Aviv, and Amman.Readers responded to Spencer’s allegations with predictable condemnation toward all Muslims and calls for genocide against all practitioners of Islam. In order to implement these easily provoked desires of war and genocide, the corporate-financier interests across the West have an array of ready-made legislation at home and wars abroad prepared – the same interests that fund Spencer’s otherwise unproductive, divisive, and apparently poorly researched work.

And in the battle against these extremists, were you to ask one of Spencer’s readers, they would tell you they and Mr. Spencer himself are at the forefront of the battle. In reality, tens of thousands of Muslims, alongside Christians, Druzes, and the secular, have shed their blood from North Africa to the Levant and beyond, fighting this scourge face-to-face on the battlefield and paying the ultimate price in the process.

Image: The Syrian Arab Army. Those that fight militant extremism the hardest are Muslims themselves. Dying in the tens of thousands, Syrians have fought bitterly to defeat the scourge of Al Qaeda, the so-called “Islamic State” and other Western-armed and backed groups laying waste to their nation disingenuously in the name of “Islam.” If Spencer was serious about defeating the threat he writes about daily, he would be shoulder-to-shoulder with these men,
not attempting to undermine them.

And while Hasnaoui may be condemned for his tasteless, divisive joke, he has in actuality provided us with an immensely valuable public service – he has exposed the irrational hysteria that seizes the minds of men and empowers the manipulators in controlling society at home to in turn, empower subjugation abroad. Spencer either didn’t know, or care about the truth behind the Paris stunt – it was simply another opportunity to fan the flames of conflict that fuel both is own personal ambitions and those who have allowed him pursue professional manipulation as a career instead of having to find a real, constructive occupation.

For those that find themselves regularly repeating Spencer’s propaganda and that of those who circle in his orbit, they must take this most recent incident to heart as a warning that the only thing they will accomplish is the division of society, the further empowerment of the establishment, and the complete and utter annihilation of their credibility.

Greek government approves brutal austerity measures in proposal to EU

By Alex Lantier
July 10, 2015
World Socialist Web Site

 

Greece’s Syriza-led government agreed to a massive new €13 billion (US$14.34 billion) package of austerity measures yesterday evening, less than a week after Sunday’s landslide “no” vote in a referendum on European Union (EU) austerity.

The proposal would be the deepest package of cuts since the EU austerity drive began in Greece in late 2009. It goes well beyond the proposed €8 to 9 billion in cuts initially demanded by the EU in talks with Syriza.

The 13-page proposal was submitted to the EU, International Monetary Fund (IMF) and European Central Bank (ECB) before the midnight deadline previously set by the institutions. In exchange for cuts, the Greek government is reportedly asking for a €53.5 billion ($59.2 billion) loan to the Greek state and some form of debt restructuring, allowing it to avoid state bankruptcy and remain in the euro currency area.

The austerity measures reportedly include sharp increases in the regressive VAT sales tax and an increase in the retirement age to 67 by 2022. The elimination of additional payments to the poorest pensioners will take place by the end of 2019, a year earlier than previously scheduled.

Plans for the privatization of state assets, including ports and airports, will go forward. The proposal also includes a reported increase of the corporate tax to 28 percent, rather than 29 percent, a reduction requested by the IMF.

In proposing the new austerity package, Syriza has with extraordinary rapidity repudiated the vote in Sunday’s referendum, which Syriza itself had called and presented as a model of democratic accountability. More than 61 percent of the population rejected precisely the measures that the government has now adopted.

Even as Syriza officially called for a “no” vote, Tsipras had no intention of fighting EU austerity. The prime minister expected to lose the vote and, in response, abandon office and leave it to another government to impose the cuts. (See also: Tsipras petitions EU for new austerity deal)

Following the vote, the Syriza-led government has moved as quickly as possible to reach an accommodation with the pro-austerity parties within Greece and approve a deal that would be acceptable to the European banks.

The measures were finalized in discussions between Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, Deputy Prime Minister Yiannis Dragasakis, Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos and Economy Minister Giorgios Stathakis—all from the ruling Syriza (“Coalition of the Radical Left”) party—and adopted by the Greek cabinet on Thursday.

The government is planning to seek a vote in the Greek parliament today, relying on support from the openly pro-austerity New Democracy and PASOK parties. On Saturday, eurozone finance ministers are scheduled to meet to review the proposal, followed by a meeting Sunday of the EU leaders.

The new austerity proposal was rushed through amidst threats from European officials to entirely cut off funding for Greece and force the country out of the eurozone. In response to these threats, Syriza continually refused to take any measures that would threaten capitalist property relations and rejected any appeal to workers throughout Europe for a common struggle against austerity.

It is uncertain whether an agreement will be approved by the EU, even on the surrender terms being offered by Syriza. Sections of the European ruling class are discussing forcing Greece to default on its debts, expelling it from the euro zone, and pushing it through a drastic economic crisis by forcing it to restore a devalued national currency.

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said yesterday that any significant restructuring of Greece’s debt was unlikely, as this would violate EU rules.

Other European officials have indicated a desire to reach agreement with the Greek government. Syriza members told the Guardian that French finance ministry officials had worked with Greek Finance Minister Tsakalotos to rewrite the austerity package Athens was proposing, in order to make it acceptable to the EU.

Donald Tusk, the chair of the EU summit, urged European officials to take certain measures to allow Greece to pay back its debt. “The realistic proposal from Greece will have to be matched by an equally realistic proposal on debt sustainability from the creditors,” Tusk said.

Germany has also come under pressure from the Obama administration to ensure that Greece is not pushed out of the eurozone. On Wednesday, US Treasury Secretary Jack Lew publicly intervened to push for an agreement on austerity between Greece and the EU and call for some form of “debt restructuring.”

Criticizing those who “create more of these kind of life-and-death deadlines,” Lew said they were creating far greater economic and political risks, including a broader financial panic across southern Europe and the possible splitting of Europe. The US wants to ensure that Greece remains within NATO and continues to support the campaign of military and economic aggression against Russia.

With Greece’s banks still closed and depositors limited to €60 in daily cash withdrawals amid the crisis, the Greek economy is rapidly grinding to a halt.

The National Confederation of Hellenic Commerce released a report Wednesday that found that consumption had fallen 70 percent since the closure of Greece’s banks, costing €1.2 billion to the economy. Greeks are reportedly stocking up on key medicines as well as non-perishable foods, such as rice and pasta, fearing a possible collapse of supplies of imported food and medicine.

Planned US Coup in Greece?

By Stephen Lendman
July 08, 2015
Global Research

 

alexis-tsiprasWashington’s geopolitical strategy when bullying fails is either assassinating independent leaders, color revolutions, military coups or naked aggression.

If Moscow-based independent investigative journalist John Helmer is right, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is a marked man and SYRIZA governance on thin ice showing cracks:

 ”(a) putsch in Athens to save allied Greece from enemy Russia is in preparation by the US and Germany, with backing from the non-taxpayers of Greece  – the Greek oligarchs, Anglo-Greek shipowners, and the Greek Church.”

“At the highest and lowest level of Greek government, and from Thessaloniki to Milvorni, all Greeks understand what is happening. (Sunday) they voted overwhelmingly to resist.”

“According to a high political figure in Athens, a 40-year veteran, ‘what is actually happening is a slow process of regime change.’ “

Wherever neocon Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland shows up (Hillary Clinton’s handpicked choice for the job), trouble usually follows.

Helmer says she’s “in charge of warmaking in Europe.” Her notorious involvement in Ukraine’s February 2014 coup is well documented.

According to Helmer, she gave Tsipras two ultimatums in Athens last March – surrender to Troika demands and remain allied with US-dominated NATO’s anti Russian agenda.”

Her spokeman Mark Toner said Washington is “focused on, frankly, the opposite (of Sunday’s referendum), which is finding a path forward that allows Greece to continue to make reforms (more austerity), return to growth (by letting Troika bandits rape its economy and population), and remain in the Eurozone.”

Since the 19th century, Greece had five military coups or attempted ones. Junta dictatorship ruled from 1967 – 1974. Another one can’t be ruled out.

Over five dozen former high-ranking military officials fired a shot across the bow declaring their “oath to the Fatherland and the Flag. By choosing isolation, we place the Fatherland and its future in danger,” they warned.

They publicly called for a “yes” vote ahead of Sunday’s referendum. Will not getting it mobilize them along with other Greek dark forces, Washington and Brussels to oust Tsipras forcibly or otherwise?

Grexit “will make our country weaker,” they claimed – even though Greeks weren’t asked about it and most oppose the idea. “We will lose allies that have stood by our side. We will lose the strength we gain from associations and groupings to which we belong historically and culturally,” the former military officials said.

Ties to Washington and Brussels run counter to what best serves long-suffering Greeks.

Will conditions be made worse than ever by greater austerity if coup rumblings become reality? Is this US/Eurogroup’s Plan B?

Helmer cited political sources in Athens saying Tsipras and other SYRIZA officials acted preemptively to prevent one – replacing military and intelligence leadership with their own “but not radically.”

Moscow remains skeptical about Tsipras withstanding Washington/Brussels pressure – especially given dominant Germany’s hardline position.

He faces enormous pressure. His six months in office shows he promises Greeks one thing and does another.

He agreed to nearly all Troika demands. Not good enough. They want total surrender. Germany’s Merkel and France’s Hollande told him to capitulate fully for further bailout aid.

Greek banks remain closed. They’re close to collapse. The ECB raised the amount of collateral they must post for further emergency loans.

Does Finance Minister Varoufakis’ resignation signal Tsipras’ capitulation to follow – negating popular opposition to austerity he pledged to support?

Hollande spoke for himself and Merkel saying Tsipras must “offer serious, credible proposals” for bailout help – code language for demanding unconditional surrender, a Greek Versailles.

He and new Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos are heading to Brussels for further talks. Hardline Troika officials intend cutting them no slack.

Will Tsipras cave to their demands and betray millions of Greeks in the process? Given his record so far in office, it’s hard imagining otherwise. Hopefully he’ll surprise but don’t bet on it.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.

His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs. 

Greece — The One Biggest Lie You Are Being Told By The Media

By Global Research News
Global Research, July 05, 2015
Truth and Satire, July 3, 2015

 

No to blackmail and austerityBy Truth and Satire

Every single mainstream media has the following narrative for the economic crisis in Greece: the government spent too much money and went broke; the generous banks gave them money, but Greece still can’t pay the bills because it mismanaged the money that was given. It sounds quite reasonable, right?

Except that it is a big fat lie … not only about Greece, but about other European countries such as Spain, Portugal, Italy and Ireland who are all experiencing various degrees of austerity. It was also the same big, fat lie that was used by banks and corporations to exploit many Latin American, Asian and African countries for many decades.

Greece did not fail on its own. It was made to fail.

In summary, the banks wrecked the Greek government, and then deliberately pushed it into unsustainable debt … while revenue-generating public assets were sold off to oligarchs and international corporations. The rest of the article is about how and why.

If you are a fan of mafia movies, you know how the mafia would take over a popular restaurant. First, they would do something to disrupt the business – stage a murder at the restaurant or start a fire. When the business starts to suffer, the Godfather would generously offer some money as a token of friendship. In return, Greasy Thumb takes over the restaurant’s accounting, Big Joey is put in charge of procurement, and so on. Needless to say, it’s a journey down a spiral of misery for the owner who will soon be broke and, if lucky, alive.

Now, let’s map the mafia story to international finance in four stages.

Stage 1: The first and foremost reason that Greece got into trouble was the “Great Financial Crisis” of 2008 that was the brainchild of Wall Street and international bankers. If you remember, banks came up with an awesome idea of giving subprime mortgages to anyone who can fog a mirror. They then packaged up all these ticking financial bombs and sold them as “mortgage-backed securities” for a huge profit to various financial entities in countries around the world.

A big enabler of this criminal activity was another branch of the banking system, the group of rating agencies – S&P, Fitch and Moody’s – who gave stellar ratings to these destined-to-fail financial products. Unscrupulous politicians such as Tony Blair joined Goldman Sachs and peddled these dangerous securities to pension funds and municipalities and countries around Europe. Banks and Wall Street gurus made hundreds of billions of dollars in this scheme.

But this was just Stage 1 of their enormous scam. There was much more profit to be made in the next three stages!

Stage 2 is when the financial time bombs exploded. Commercial and investment banks around the world started collapsing in a matter of weeks. Governments at local and regional level saw their investments and assets evaporate. Chaos everywhere!

Vultures like Goldman Sachs and other big banks profited enormously in three ways: one, they could buy other banks such as Lehman brothers and Washington Mutual for pennies on the dollar. Second, more heinously, Goldman Sachs and insiders such as John Paulson (who recently donated $400 million to Harvard) had made bets that these securities would blow up. Paulson made billions, and the media celebrated his acumen. (For an analogy, imagine the terrorists betting on 9/11 and profiting from it.) Third, to scrub salt in the wound, the big banks demanded a bailout from the very citizens whose lives the bankers had ruined! Bankers have chutzpah. In the U.S., they got hundreds of billions of dollars from the taxpayers and trillions from the Federal Reserve Bank which is nothing but a front group for the bankers.

In Greece, the domestic banks got more than $30 billion of bailout from the Greek people. Let that sink in for a moment – the supposedly irresponsible Greek government had to bail out the hardcore capitalist bankers.

Stage 3 is when the banks force the government to accept massive debts. For a biology metaphor, consider a virus or a bacteria. All of them have unique strategies to weaken the immune system of the host. One of the proven techniques used by the parasitic international bankers is to downgrade the bonds of a country. And that’s exactly what the bankers did, starting at the end of 2009. This immediately makes the interest rates (“yields”) on the bonds go up, making it more and more expensive for the country to borrow money or even just roll over the existing bonds.

From 2009 to mid 2010, the yields on 10-year Greek bonds almost tripled! This cruel financial assault brought the Greek government to its knees, and the banksters won their first debt deal of a whopping 110 billion Euros.

The banks also control the politics of nations. In 2011, when the Greek prime minister refused to accept a second massive bailout, the banks forced him out of the office and immediately replaced him with the Vice President of ECB (European Central Bank)! No elections needed. Screw democracy. And what would this new guy do? Sign on the dotted line of every paperwork that the bankers bring in.

(By the way, the very next day, the exact same thing happened in Italy where the Prime Minister resigned, only to be replaced by a banker/economist puppet. Ten days later, Spain had a premature election where a “technocrat” banker puppet won the election).

The puppet masters had the best month ever in November 2011.

Few months later, in 2012, the exact bond market manipulation was used when the banksters turned up the Greek bonds’ yields to 50%!!! This financial terrorism immediately had the desired effect: The Greek parliament agreed to a second massive bailout, even larger than the first one.

Now, here is another fact that most people don’t understand. The loans are not just simple loans like you would get from a credit card or a bank. These loans come with very special strings attached that demand privatization of a country’s assets. If you have seen Godfather III, you would remember Hyman Roth, the investor who was carving up Cuba among his friends. Replace Hyman Roth with Goldman Sachs or IMF (International Monetary Fund) or ECB, and you get the picture.

Stage 4: Now, the rape and humiliation of a nation begin. For the debt that was forced upon them, Greece had to sell many of its profitable assets to oligarchs and international corporations. And privatizations are ruthless, involving everything and anything that is profitable. In Greece, privatization included water, electricity, post offices, airport services, national banks, telecommunication, port authorities (which is huge in a country that is a world leader in shipping) etc.

In addition to that, the banker tyrants also get to dictate every single line item in the government’s budget. Want to cut military spending? NO! Want to raise tax on the oligarchs or big corporations? NO! Such micro-management is non-existent in any other creditor-debtor relationship.

So what happens after privatization and despotism under bankers? Of course, the government’s revenue goes down and the debt increases further. How do you “fix” that? Of course, cut spending! Lay off public workers, cut minimum wage, cut pensions (same as our social security), cut public services, and raise taxes on things that would affect the 99% but not the 1%. For example, pension has been cut in half and sales tax increase to more than 20%. All these measures have resulted in Greece going through a financial calamity that is worse than the Great Depression of the U.S. in the 1930s.

Of course, the ever-manipulative bankers demand immediate privatization of all media which means that the country now gets photogenic TV anchors who spew propaganda every day and tell the people that crooked and greedy banksters are saviors; and slavery under austerity is so much better than the alternative.

If every Greek person had known the truth about austerity, they wouldn’t have fallen for this. Same goes for Spain, Italy, Portugal, Ireland and other countries going through austerity.The sad aspect of all this is that these are not unique strategies. Since World War II, these predatory practices have been used countless times by the IMF and the World Bank in Latin America, Asia, and Africa.

This is the essence of the New World Order — a world owned by a handful of corporations and banks.

So, it’s time for the wonderful people of Greece to rise up like Zeus and say NO (“OXI” in Greece) to the greedy puppet masters, unpatriotic oligarchs, parasitic bankers and corrupt politicians.

Dear Greece, know that the world is praying for you. Vote NO to austerity. Say YES to freedom, independence, self-government, and democracy. Yes, democracy, the word that was invented by YOU!

P.S. (You can also watch this video where John Perkins – author of “Confessions of an Economic Hit Man” – talks about exploitation of Latin American and Asian countries using the same tools of debt-austerity-privatization. He used to do this for a living!  

Copyright Truth and Satire, 2015

America’s Multinational Ramadan Assault

By Tony Cartalucci
July 02, 2015
New Eastern Outlook, June 30, 2015

 

rtr3wktz.siIt is not hard to fathom who on Earth possesses both the resources and the motivation to coordinate multiple, horrific militant attacks, ending scores of lives and provoking both fear and anger on a global scale such as seen during the recent Ramadan attacks that unfolded in France, Tunisia, Kuwait, and reportedly in China’s western Xinjiang region.

Only a few nations on Earth possess the operational capacity to run coordinated, multinational operations such as this. Only one axis among them has the motivation to do so.

The Attacks 

In Tunisia, nearly 30 were killed in a brazen attack targeting British tourists with assault rifles. Tunisia, which had been for years a bastion of stability in an otherwise troubled region, saw street demonstrations and violence during 2011 amid the wider US-engineered “Arab Spring” which sought to overturn regional political orders in favor of those selected by Wall Street and Washington. After briefly ousting Zine El Abidine Ben Ali from power, his allies appear to have made a comeback. With their rise back to power, Al Qaeda and now the so-called “Islamic State” (ISIS) have conveniently stepped up operations within the country to match.

Tunisia is in close proximity to Libya, a nation destroyed by NATO’s intervention in 2011, and one that has become a hotbed of terrorist activity, particularly in the nation’s eastern most region where the US has been literally running weapons to Al Qaeda militants both in Libya and as far as Syria via NATO-member Turkey. With US-backed terrorists flowing from Libya to as far as Syria, it is clear that this terrorist nexus possesses the necessary logistics to carry out operations in neighboring Tunisia as well.

Another 27 were killed when a Saudi national with a bomb strapped to himself detonated it at a Shia’a mosque in Kuwait. This fits a recent pattern where what little Al Qaeda/ISIS activity that exists in Saudi Arabia and other Persian Gulf autocracies, is aimed not at the ruling regimes – all stalwart, long-standing allies of the United States and Great Britain – but against Shia’a targets in what is a clear escalation of a proxy war targeting Iran and its regional allies.

A bizarre murder unfolded in France as well, with a suspect apparently decapitating his employer and leaving the severed head at a chemical plant he attempted to crash a vehicle into. The suspect had been well known to security agencies for previous terrorist activity, but allowed, perhaps even coaxed to carry out this latest, fatal attack – a familiar pattern that fits nearly all terrorist attacks carried out in Europe and North America, including the most recent attacks proceeding this latest episode in France itself.

And finally, in China’s Xinjiang region, the US State Department’s “Radio Free Asia” reported at least 18 were killed in an attack carried out by Uighur terrorists. As a side note, the US State Department added in a tasteless attempt to justify the terrorism, claiming that:

Turkic-speaking minority Uyghurs have complained about pervasive ethnic discrimination, religious repression, and cultural suppression by Chinese authorities.

Despite this, it is confirmed that Uighur terrorists have joined the ranks of ISIS in Syria, have received training, and are returning home to China to carry out terrorist attacks. The Lowy Institute’s Interpreter magazine in an article titled, “Tough choices for Beijing following execution of Chinese ISIS militants,” admits:

The involvement of Chinese citizens in ISIS is increasingly under scrutiny. Just two weeks ago, Malaysia’s Home Minister confirmed that 300 Chinese militants had used his country as a transit point to join ISIS. Three weeks ago, Chinese authorities arrested 10 Turkish nationals for providing false passports to alleged terrorists from Xinjiang.

And once again, US support can be found throughout the region in which these terrorists are based in western China. The US State Department’s National Endowment for Democracy (NED) even goes as far as listing China’s Xinjiang region as “East Turkistan,” a fictional name for the client state the US and its terrorists hope to carve out of Chinese territory.

The Motivation 

It is clear that ISIS is not carrying out these attacks in the hopes of “winning” its war, but instead, to seemingly perpetuate it, expand it, and even push it into so-far spared regions of the planet. The attacks in France and Tunisia served only to anger and frighten European populations who will in turn, only support further foreign wars aimed at “fighting ISIS” but conveniently accomplishing all of Wall Street and Washington’s other goals along the way.

The attack in Tunisia in particular, was another stroke aimed at the ruling government. The attacks in Kuwait were aimed directly at the only viable opposition that threatens the US-backed regime in Kuwait City. Similar attacks have been made in Saudi Arabia itself, aimed not at the US-proxy regime, but at its opposition.

In China it is clear that the United States supports Uighur terrorists and their ambitions to carve off a large portion of China to create a client state the US can further strengthen its encirclement strategy versus Beijing. The US State Department openly funds the political wings of these terrorist groups and fully backs their separatist rhetoric.

It appears that only the United States and its hegemonic ambitions stood to gain from the otherwise senseless violence perpetrated this Ramadan. Its enemies have been directly attacked, and its allies given further justification for military adventures abroad. And not coincidentally, it is only the United States and its vast, criminal intelligence community that possess the operational capacity and network of proxies necessary to organize and execute such large scale and conveniently timed attacks.

The Ramadan attacks serve as a warning that modern-day imperialism is alive and well. Its methods of projecting hegemony are both direct and indirect. With terrorism so potent a weapon, it is assured that this modern empire will continue employing it for as long as it is profitable.

Tony Cartalucci, Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazine New Eastern Outlook”.

Financial Bombshells: Greece and JPMorgan

By Bill Holter
July 02, 2015
Global Research

 

GRTV: Mutual Indebtedness: Euro Titanic has Hit the IcebergNot that almost any and all news today is enough to make you scratch your head, two pieces of news yesterday were bombshells!  I am talking about Greece’s stance of staying IN the Eurozone and the Zerohedge article regarding JPMorgan “cornering” the global commodity markets.

Let’s first start with Greece, who could have seen this one coming?  They are taking the stance “Greece and ONLY Greece” can decide if they leave the EU.  Greece Threatens ‘Unprecedented’ Injunction Against EU To Block Grexit  I believe this is correct, there is no law allowing the EU to kick someone out.  The only way an exit can occur is if a nation decides to leave.  This is incredibly interesting because Greece can default and put a moratorium on payments yet remain as a Euronation.  I guess you might call it “squatter’s rights”, they stay …but don’t pay.  Before going any further, I do understand Greece originally entered the EU “fraudulently” and with well cooked numbers.  As I understand it, “too bad so sad” it is water under the bridge, was not caught upon their entrance and cannot be used to negate their inclusion now.

What is extremely interesting is this: the Greek debt has already been largely offloaded onto the balance sheet of the ECB.  This was done to try to insulate private bank balance sheets from the risk of default and thus being underfunded.  But a fork in the road now exists, as I understand it, if Greece leaves then the debt goes back to the original banks who own the debt.  If Greece stays, the debt will stay on the ECB’s balance sheet.  Do you see the ramifications?  If Greece leaves, we have a banking failure through Europe ... but if they stay then the ECB eats the losses.  Thinking this through, if Greece stays they will effectively force a mass printing by the ECB to cover up the losses.  This will effectively dilute the euro and certainly hamper the ECB’s ability to function as they desire.

Call me crazy but I don’t think this is by any mistake at all.  This is a financial chess match where Mr. Tsipras/Varoufakis and Vladimir Putin are using great gamesmanship.  I believe it was decided Greece will stay, not pay ..and watch the ECB/Eurozone suffer with this.  Eventually Greece will leave but that will be AFTER the fire and AFTER the smoke clears.  I also believe a pipeline deal through Greece is a foregone conclusion and as this whole thing plays out, Europe will become “closer” to Russia, China, India and the BRICS  …which means what exactly?  They will be further away from the U.S.!!!  This is not rocket science, we are watching socialists who have legally hacked into one of the West’s “cars” … and have the ability to control it!  They can start it, stop it, make it go right, left or even just turn it off!  Maybe I am giving too much credit and this was just a coincidence, I highly doubt it!  To top this strategy off, I still believe we will be served a “truth bomb” by Mr. Putin which will effectively cut the dollar off at the knees!

The other head scratcher is the revelation JP Morgan has cornered the commodity markets

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-06-29/jpm-just-cornered-commodity-derivative-market-and-time-we-have-proof .

Before starting on this one, let me say there are many moving parts and unknowns (probably designed this way).  I have queried my mentor and spoken with Jim, I have spoken to several others whom I respect and value their opinions.  Though the takeaway was by no means unanimous, the following is my personal opinion.

To set the stage, it must be understood the U.S. is at WAR, a financial war where the survival of the dollar is at stake.  We watched late last year and early this year where huge pressure was put on the price of oil.  This I believe was done to pressure Russia as energy is their biggest export.  Oddly enough, Russia and our “ally” Saudi Arabia just signed six deals last week.  We do not even know what these deals were but a good speculation is Saudi Arabia is moving toward Russia and away from the U.S..  Remember, the Saudis are the cornerstone underlying the petrodollar.  Gold and silver have also been pressured at every turn over the last four years and in particular the last 12 months.

I assume JP Morgan and the Fed are one and the same.  There have been stories JPM has amassed 350 or more ounces of silver.  We also know China/Russia/India have been huge buyers of gold.  We now know JPM has increased their derivatives by over $3 trillion in just one quarter.  It is obvious to me, they are the ones sitting on the paper prices of gold and silver.  This would make sense for the Fed to attack the metals and thus support the dollar.  In fact, standard procedure in any war is to strengthen your currency while weakening your opponents.  I believe the neocons know the bottom of our “gold barrel” is close at hand, they have decided to go all in on price suppression knowing full well “contracts were made to be broken” (defaulted on).

 

Bill Holter

Holter-Sinclair collaboration

Comments welcome!  bholter@hotmail.com

Carpet-Bombing History

By Nick Alexandrov
June 29, 2015
Counterpunch

 

Fakhreddin's Castle (top), is pictured in the historical city of Palmyra, Syria (Reuters / Nour Fourat)J. E. Curtis, Keeper of the British Museum’s Middle East collections, was on grim business in Iraq. Armed occupiers held an ancient city there—“tantamount to establishing a military camp around the Great Pyramid in Egypt or around Stonehenge in Britain,” he wrote. The site was “irrevocably contaminated,” he added, suffering “permanent damage that will last forever.”

Curtis was describing Babylon in 2004, under U.S. occupation. But commentary on ISIS ignores Washington’s legacy of cultural ruin, assuming the Islamic State has some unique capacity for wrecking artifacts. The group’s “obliterators,” as historian Simon Schama termed them, “all act from the same instinct of cultural panic that the supreme works of the past will lead people astray from blind, absolute obedience.” Toppling Palmyra would reveal “Isis’s littleness,” architecture critic Rowan Moore asserted, asking “how could anyone be so threatened by ancient ruins, unless they lacked belief in their ability to create something themselves?”

“Palmyra,” Moore emphasized, “is an ancient Roman site whose significance and value is exceeded by very few others: those in Rome itself, Pompeii, possibly Petra in Jordan.” So in his view, a “littleness” rivaling Islamic State’s would motivate, say, bombing raids on Pompeii—which the U.S. and British Air Forces carried out in 1943. The first strike happened August 24, “ironically the anniversary of the eruption of Vesuvius,” according to the Getty Museum’s Kenneth Lapatin. “Damage was incurred at various points throughout the archaeological site (over 160 hits were recorded), and some of its most famous monuments were struck,” with dozens “totally destroyed,” he explains.

The Allies bombed the Cathedral of Benevento that same month. “For 1,100 years this medieval church stood as a small but precious religious monument,” LIFE reported, though after the attack only “the bell tower, parts of the façade and one side wall” remained. “Fire that swept the cathedral burned rare Sixth Century Langobardic manuscripts,” though perhaps “the loss of the cathedral’s famous 12th Century bronze doors” was worse.

Six months later, in February 1944, Allied bombers demolished the Abbey of Monte Cassino, where “the only people killed,” David Hapgood and David Richardson clarify, “were among the civilians.” Dating from the 6th century, the Abbey was “the site where St. Benedict himself had founded the world-famed Benedictine Order,” John S. D. Eisenhower noted. He pointed out that Nazi officials ordered Monte Cassino’s Abbot, Gregorio Diamare—who “could not bring himself to believe that the Allies would destroy such a venerated edifice as the Abbey”—to send its art and archives to a safe location.

Allied bombers brutalized German historic sites for the rest of the war. “The center of Trier, for instance, was subjected to twenty raids between 14 August and 24 December 1944, causing severe damage to the fourth-century AD basilica and the Liebfrauenkirche, one of the oldest Gothic churches in Germany,” Nicola Lambourne writes. After the January 1945 raid on Nuremberg, much “of the historic center was destroyed, including the Albrecht Dürer house and the nineteenth-century building housing the German National Museum.” Sönke Neitzel explains that the February 1945 attack on Dresden badly damaged nineteen of the city’s thirty most significant cultural structures, leveling the other eleven.

And the U.S. Army Air Forces, while firebombing Japan, leveled Kobe’s 700-year-old Yakusenji Temple, Nagoya’s 17th-century Castle, and Tokyo’s Taitokuin mausoleum—“a spectacular complex,” historian William H. Coaldrake affirms—built in 1632. Mark Michael Rowe writesthat “Isshinji, an extremely popular Jōdo temple in Osaka, began collecting anonymous remains in 1887. The ashes were ground up, combined with concrete and molded into life-sized, seated Bone Buddha statues.” When U.S. incendiaries razed it, “the remains of nearly one million people, abandoned and otherwise, had been entrusted to the temple.” Washington’s campaign to ignite these cities also “accounted either directly or indirectly for the destruction of 50 percent of the total book resources in Japanese libraries,” Rebecca Knuth writes.

The destruction was equally broad in North Korea, years later. “Pyongyang is usually presented as an ancient city,” Andrei Lankov observes. “The area has been the site of a major settlement for nearly two millennia,” he acknowledges, but adds that “the present Pyongyang was built almost from scratch in the mid-1950s”—mainly because “a major US bombing campaign that reached its height in 1952” wiped out “some 90 percent of the city,” erasing much of its history. Justin Corfield, in his Historical Dictionary of Pyongyang, lists what was lost. The Kwangbop Buddhist Temple dated to 392; Potong Gate “was one of the ancient city gates of the walled city of Pyongyang, built in the mid-sixth century;” Sungryong Hall, a temple, “was built in 1429,” and like the other structures “destroyed during the Korean War,” Corfield concludes.

Or consider Mỹ Sơn Sanctuary. The Global Heritage Fund explains it “is one of Vietnam’s only archaeological sites to be inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage site and was inhabited from the 4th– through the 15thcenturies AD,” when the Champa Kingdom blossomed. But “a large majority of Mỹ Sơn’s exquisite architecture was destroyed by aerial bombing during a single week of the Vietnam War.” A team of scholars, involved in the “ongoing conservation effort” there, admit their work “cannot change one sad truth: one of the towers that the [B-52] bombing crew saw that day [in August 1969], the temple once described as the ‘most perfect expression of Cham architecture,’ is gone forever.’”

Anthropologist Christina Schwenkel uncovered “another buried history of US aerial bombing in Vietnam: that of the demolished city of Vinh, provincial capital of Nghệ An.” From 1964-1973, “the city was subjected to more than 4,700 air strikes,” during which its “historical and cultural patrimony”—including the 18th-century Diệc Pagoda and 19th-century imperial citadel—was finished off. Mervyn Brown, in his memoir recounting years spent in Laos, describes a similar U.S. bombing. “The destruction of Xieng Khouang, a former royal capital with many beautiful temples and other buildings of historical and artistic interest, was a particular act of cultural vandalism.” The ruin was so complete “that it was not feasible to rebuild the town,” he laments.

There were, in other words, precedents for what the British Museum’s Curtis saw in U.S.-occupied Babylon. And that city’s damage stemmed from Washington’s antiquities policy. “During preparations for the 2003 war on Iraq,” writes journalist Robert Bevan, “US military planners identified 150 important archaeological sites to be avoided. US archaeologists responded with a list of 4,000 vital locations—a degree of ‘duty of protection’ that the Pentagon rejected despite international law demanding it.” Familiar results followed. Vandals torched the National Library and Archives and the Ministry of Religious Endowment’s Koranic Library. Looters hit the Museum of Archaeology. “The US forces did not seek to prevent the destruction here and elsewhere,” Bevan argues, “despite being implored to do so.”

“Why does the nihilistic effort to wipe out an ancient civilization echo so strongly?” Thanassis Cambanis asked in the Boston Globe. He was writing about ISIS, with justifiable outrage. But we should ask another question: Why doesn’t Washington’s global bombing of cultural sites—accompanying mass slaughter—echo at all?

Nick Alexandrov lives in Washington, DC.  He can be reached at: nicholas.alexandrov@gmail.com

US, NATO powers intensify preparations for nuclear war

By Thomas Gaist
June 26, 2015
World Socialist Web Site

 

25a0a-war-looms-for-obama-in-iran-syria-and-north-korea-img_The NATO military alliance is preparing to implement a more aggressive nuclear weapons strategy in response to alleged “Russian aggression,” according to NATO sources cited by the Guardian Wednesday evening.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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