Friday, 27 January 2012
Thursday, 26 January 2012
"What is losing a shoe compared to losing an entire continent?"
Security officers dragged Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard out of a Canberra restaurant Thursday after an angry mob of protesters surrounded the building during a luncheon ceremony, police said.
Gillard and federal opposition leader Tony Abbott were taken out of the building after a group of between 50 and 100 protesters from a nearby ceremony gathered around the building, bashing windows and brandishing sticks and rocks, according to federal police.
The prime minister was presenting medals to emergency service workers during an Australia Day celebration. In a nearby venue, a spontaneous protest erupted with an Aboriginal rights group. The group was commemorating the 40th anniversary of an Aboriginal "tent embassy."
The Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) reported the protesters were chanting "shame" and "racist" as they banged on the restaurant's three glass sides.
Gillard and Abbott were taken out a side door, the ABC said. At least 50 police were called to help escort them from the restaurant.
Local media reported Gillard was visibly shaken, and stumbled during the encounter.
Photographs showed her being dragged to a waiting vehicle by a group of at least seven security officers, losing a shoe in the process.
Video showed her being hustled into the vehicle, surrounded by security officers, some carrying shields, as protesters shouted, "Shame on you."
The shoe was collected by protesters, who proclaimed it a trophy. On the tent embassy's Facebook page, according to the ABC, there was a picture of Gillard losing her shoe with the caption: "What is losing a shoe compared to losing an entire continent?"
Australia's Nine Network captured the conversation inside the restaurant as the two were being escorted out.
"OK, what about Mr. Abbott? Have you got him? We'd better help him through too, hadn't we?" Gillard asks her security guard after he told her it was not safe to stay much longer.
There were no injuries, and no arrests were made, Australian Federal Police said. Video from the ABC showed some minor struggles breaking out between authorities and protesters.
As Gillard and Abbott left, the protesters chased her vehicle down the street, banging on its roof, the broadcasting corporation reported.
The protesters apparently were angry about remarks made by Abbott earlier Thursday, in which he suggested it may be time to reconsider the tent embassy's relevance.
The establishment of the embassy was a symbolic protest against then-Prime Minister Billy McMahon's refusal to acknowledge land rights for indigenous Australians, the ABC said. Over the years, it has been a controversial site and the scene of clashes, the broadcasting corporation said.
"I think the indigenous people of Australia can be very proud of the respect in which they are held by every Australian," Abbott said earlier Thursday, according to the ABC. "But I think a lot has changed since then and I think it probably is time to move on from that."
Activist Sean Gordon told the ABC, "We have no economic base for who we are as Aboriginal people. We have title to land we aren't able to do anything with. How have we moved on?'
Following the incident, Gillard put on a "brave face" as she held a function for international ambassadors, the ABC said.
"Oh, I'm fine, I'm fine," the prime minister told the network. "The only thing that really kind of angers me about it is that it disrupted such a wonderful event for great people, emergency services medals, just amazing people."
"I am made of pretty tough stuff and the police did a great job," she said.
Last week, an Australian panel suggested changes to the nation's constitution to give better recognition to indigenous Australians, often referred to as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
The groups have suffered at the hands of later settlers and the government they established. Australian politicians have since apologized for the past mistreatment, but Aborigines remain disadvantaged socially and economically compared with the overall population.
Explicit references to Aborigines in the original Constitution, drafted in the late 19th century, were subsequently deemed to be negative. Australians voted overwhelmingly to remove those points in a 1967 referendum, but many people say the document can be further improved to acknowledge the role of the country's indigenous population.
The panel -- which included Aboriginal leaders, business executives, legal experts and members of the main political parties -- handed over its report to Gillard, whose government has promised to hold a referendum on the matter by the next general election.
Wednesday, 25 January 2012
Monday, 23 January 2012
Fighters loyal to Muammar Gaddafi have seized back the town of Bani Walid and raised the late dictator's green flag, in a blow to Libya's struggling provisional government.
Reports said at least four people were killed during clashes between besieged forces loyal to the ruling National Transitional Council (NTC) and armed and well-organised supporters of Gaddafi. "They control the town now. They are roaming the town," one militia member was quoted as saying of the pro-Gaddafi fighters, according to Reuters.
Bani Walid, a former regime stronghold 110 miles south-east of Tripoli, was one of the last to succumb to pro-government forces after the capital fell in August. The latest clashes mark the most significant loyalist attack since Libya was officially "liberated" on 23 October. It appears further evidence of the NTC's weakness, incapacity and internal divisions ahead of supposed national elections later this year.
About 30 pro-government were reported to have been injured in exchanges of fire. Mahmud Warfelli, spokesman of Bani Walid local council, said 100-150 men armed with heavy weapons launched a carefully planned attack, swiftly overwhelming the town. Soldiers from the May 28 Brigade were pinned down in a compound and the attackers took up sniper positions in a mosque and a school, preventing the pro-government fighters from helping their wounded to safety.
Warfelli said the defenders' ammunition supplies had almost run out and he had had appealed to Tripoli and the defence ministry to send reinforcements. No help had come, he said. "We're out of the frying pan into the fire. We've been warning about this for the past two months," he said, according to AFP.
Units from the coastal city of Misrata, home to the most powerful of the government militias, scrambled armoured units towards Bani Walid with orders to block routes out of the town. Libya's defence minister, Osama Jweli, said he would not order army units to enter until he had established whether the fighting was indeed a pro-Gaddafi uprising or a battle between rival clans. "There is conflict at Bani Walid," Jweli told the Guardian. "For the moment we are waiting to assess the situation."
Bani Walid was the scene of prolonged fighting last November when pro-government forces entered the town searching for war crimes suspects and battled with local militias, leaving twelve fighters dead. Skirmishes between competing militias have been common in western Libya since the Gaddafi regime was toppled last October. But the recapture of Bani Walid is something new – not least because with Gaddafi dead and his son Saif al-Islam in custody, anti-government forces have no leadership figure around whom they can unite.
The green flag of Libya's ousted regime was reportedly flying again over many parts of the city. There were reports that the attackers were shouting the old regime slogan: "Allah, Muammar, Libya, that's it!" They were also carrying green flags.
The NTC is supposed to be paving the way for a new constitution and democratic elections, but it has been struggling to assert its political authority. On Sunday it was due to announce a new electoral law and the composition of an election commission. The announcement was delayed after protesters ransacked the NTC's offices in the eastern city of Benghazi, where Libya's revolution began almost year ago.
The protesters, made up of former rebels, had been demonstrating outside the building for weeks, unhappy at the lack of transparency within the NTC and the apparent appointment of ex-Gaddafi loyalists to the ruling body. They believe that opportunists have been allowed to join the government, with some saying the NTC represents western rather than Libyan interests.
Interim officials counter that it is impossible to sack all of the officials who worked for the Gaddafi regime, and say those involved in human rights abuses and other crimes will be prosecuted.
On Sunday the NTC's deputy leader, Abdul Hafez Ghoga, resigned after being manhandled at the protest.
Meanwhile, the international criminal court denied a claim by the Libyan justice minister, Ali Humaida Ashour, that it had agreed that the war crimes trial of Saif Al Islam would take place in Libya. The court said no decision had yet been taken.
SUKANT CHANDAN ON RUSSIA TODAY ON THE LIBYAN COUNTER-REVOLUTION OF SODOMISERS AND LYNCHERS OF BLACKS
The deputy head of Libya’s National Transitional Council is resigning in light of continuing protests. Sukant Chandan, a spokesman for British Civilians for Peace in Libya, says the Council’s head may resign as well – if he doesn’t get killed first.
“The Gaddafi regime could control all of Libya, could find peace amongst all the tribes. The new regime cannot even control something in one town or one area," Chandan told RT. "They’ve been selling their oil and natural resources and sovereignty to NATO. And now the thieves – that is, the rebels – are all falling out with each other, they can’t even be paid by their own masters." He continues, "they've performed regime change on behalf of the former colonialists of Libya.”
Chandan says those who wish not to believe what Gaddafi said of life in Libya after the fall of his regime should listen to Jalil, who he says “probably is about to resign – if he’s not assassinated, like NTC military head Abdel Fatah Yunis.”
The analyst says Jalil has warned that Libya is “in danger of descending into a bottomless pit.”
“So really, this is the achievement of ‘freedom and democracy’ by NATO,” Chandan concluded.
And Abdel Hafiz Ghoga, the NTC's deputy head, has been accused of opportunism after dropping his allegiance to Gaddafi as the uprising kicked off. On Saturday, crowds of protesters stormed the NTC headquarters in Benghazi, angered by how the council has been handling the country's assets. Demonstrators threw rocks and metal bars at the building, breaking windows and damaging Jalil's car.
Mass rallies have been raging for weeks in the city of Benghazi, which is considered the cradle of the revolution that toppled the Gaddafi regime.
Friday, 13 January 2012
Sons of Malcolm has carried many posts as to how Brother Julius Malema, former leader of the young wing of the ANC, is an important new generation leader of Africa and the Global South. Please search the tag 'Julius Malema' for other posts on the brother.
Bro Malema represents nothing but the basic interests of the masses of South Africa, and for this the imperialist media have conducted a dirty and racist campaign against this brother, and the pressure of empire seems to have done its job with the ANC leadership suspending Bro Malema and other ANCYL leaders a little while ago. Sons of Malcolm is not interested in bashing the ANC and in so doing echoing imperialist pressure, rather the ANC is respected as the majority rank and file of the ANC and its youth league are committed to African unity, independence and socialism.
Sukant Chandan - Sons of Malcolm
The 5 most powerful statements Julius Malema has ever made
by Malaika Wa Azania on Friday, April 8, 2011
President of the ANCYL,Julius Malema,has been dismissed by many of us as a clown,and correctly so.His fondness for senseless radicalism that contradicts his reality is undebatable.Since his appointment as ANCYL president in 2007,the man has made many a ludicrous political statement devoid of substance.But say what we may, Malema is powerful.
He has proven on many occasions that the power he yields surpasses even that of the president of the Republic of SA.When Malema speaks,the disgruntled youth listen-and the ANC can do nothing about it.
Malema is a populist,and an excellent one at that.He might not be the brightest crayon in the box,but he understands what even intellectuals fail to understand: the politics of space and time.
Substance or not,we live in an age of "rule by noise politics",where the louder you are,the more impact you make.
Below,are 5 statements which according to me,are the most intelligent to have ever been uttered by Malema:
1."WHEN IMPERIALISTS AND COLONISERS WANT TO COLLAPSE YOUR GOVERNMENT,THEY USE NGOs"
I agree.NGOs are responsible for the perpetuation of dependence on our oppressors.Most NGO funding comes from European and AmeriKKKan donors.Do we honestly believe that the very countries that survive on our exploitation could ever emancipate us from economic bondage?
2."THESE POPCORN AND MUSHROOMING POLITICAL PARTIES IN ZIMBABWE WILL NEVER FIND FRIENDSHIP IN US."
This speaks to us pan Afrikanists.We cannot allow a situation where we are supporting factions in our bloc.Pan Afrikanism is a philosophy that advocates for unity among Afrikans.We can never have a United States of Afrika if,whenever we don't see eye-to-eye with each other,we break away to form new movements.We need to learn to solve our differences instead of taking the easy way out by walking away.
3."I AM AN ACTIVIST.I MUST BREAK NEW GROUNDS ON TOPICS AND SAY THINGS THAT PEOPLE ARE SCARED TO SAY."
There is a serious threat to revolution in Azania: the inability to think independently.Many activists and politicians are slogan chanters.The following of popular view and blind-loyalism has engulfed our country.We are creating cowards who parrot the views of others instead of taking their own positions.For example,many Azanians hate former state president,Thabo Mbeki due to the alleged AIDS denialism issue.When you ask them why,they say "He let people die".Granted.But WHAT did he deny? Does asking legitimate questions equate to denialism? Most don't even know what Mbeki said,but they hate him...because everyone else does too! And those individuals who dare to ask,are labeled as "sell-outs" by people in their bloc.You are a comrade when you are a blind-loyalist and a sell-out when you are a thinker.
4."IF YOU DEFINE RICHNESS ON THE BASIS OF MATERIAL LIKE CLOTHES AND CARS,THAT'S NARROW.WHO MUST WEAR THESE CLOTHES? MUST I LEAVE THEM FOR CHILDREN OF WHITE CAPITALISTS?"
Undoubtedly the most interesting point Malema has ever raised.
The misconception that material wealth equates to richness is flawed.In Soweto where i live,Black people wear R1300 Carvela shoes,R2000 True Religion jeans etc.My peers are Blackberry totters.Women put on R1000 weaves and people drive Mini Coopers and Golf 5s.Does it make Soweto any less of a concentration camp? No.
Until Black people have ownership and access to the means of production,particularly natural resources like land,then the Black condition will never change.
Furthermore,Azania in its entirety belongs to Black people.If we are not going to live in Sandton, Rondebosch or Umhlanga Rocks, then who must? White foreigners?
5."THE RACIST SA MEDIA,IN ITS MAJORITY FOREIGN OWNED,IS A MOUTHPIECE OF CAPITAL."
This holds true for all media,not just SA media.
The propaganda that we see on the news,and the bias reporting that is widespread serves as nothing but a tool of mass indoctrination.The media reports what serves the interests of the West.Look at the Côte d'Ivoire situation.All media is painting Laurent Gbagbo as this ruthless dictator and Alassane Ouattara as an angel with a shining halo when both have blood in their hands.The media understands the power of perception,and uses that to its advantage and to further the interests of capitalists.
It is unfortunate that Malema doesn't mean these powerful things,but says them to stir up controversy and deepen the soporification of the masses and particularly our vulnerable and apolitical youth.
If Malema was genuine,he wouldn't be part of the problem,because the reality of the situation is that the party that he belongs to is the one nurturing these problems.
Some will argue that he's progressive.I have even heard people say that he is a pan Afrikanist.I disagree completely.
Julius is a conniving politician,a ruthless capitalist and an uneducated yet brilliant populist.But he is NOT stupid.Stupid people don't get this far in the game of politics.And sometimes (not too often, though) Malema does make a lot of sense...
The following article is an good contribution in the understanding of why the Russian state under the leadership of Putin is such a target for attack, containment and ideally (for imperialism, that is) for regime change.
The old Soviet Union was probably the most important state for the movements for independence against imperialism, along with the People's Republic of China. The USSR funded, trained, educated many leading cadres of the anti-colonial and socialist movements across the world right until the last years of its existence in 1991.
The collapse of the Socialist Bloc and the related historic defeat of the world anti-imperialist revolution saw the west lose its head in celebrations, and we saw the rest of the 1990s as a victory march of the empire, with it expressing its world dominance with the concept of the 'New Word Order', and Iraq being crucified with the deaths of millions of Iraqi people and especially children, which in the words of yankee sec of state Albright said the deaths of millions of Iraqis was "worth it".
However, although the Socialist Bloc was smashed, in Russia the army and the intel services from the Soviet era maintained their control of the state, but the progressive socialist policies were lost with the defeat of the Communist Party. However, the CP of the Russian Federation led by Zyuganov remains the second biggest political party in Russia, and pushed for socialist policies and a more assertive anti-imperialist position that even Putin.
After the years under Russian president Yeltsin, the state assets of the old Soviet Union were all sold off with the resultant catastrophe in social conditions of the Russian masses.
Putin represents the more patriotic elements of the Russian elite, who believe in standing up against western hegemony, and in this position it has sucessfully fought off many aggressive moves of imperialism, most clearly illustrated in ostensibly defeating nato over the Georgian conflict in 2008, and turning off the gas to europe in Jan 2009, showing that it has the political will to confront and defeat empire in these battles.
The situation in Syria is also indicative of why imperialism wants the current Russian leadership smashed, it is well know throughout Syria and the wider world, that without Russian diplomatic and ultimately military support, Syria would now be subject to the war and trauma that befell Libya. All commentators state that Russia and China will not fall for the massive media and diplomatic swindle which was the lead up to the implementation of the "no fly zone" on Libya in early 2011.
Anti-imperialists call for the Russian leadership to increase its current support for the struggle of the Global South against western hegemony, and although one would like to see the leadership of Russia going to a political movement such as the CPRF with its more militant anti-imperialist position and progressive socialist policies, we must at the same time support anti-imperialist unity within Russia. In this regard relations between Putin and Zyuganov and the CPRF look quite cordial despite their differences. Finally, it is fundamentally important for anti-imperialists that in the interests of our peoples and countries of the Global South that Russia and China continue to develop its assertiveness in relation to empire.
Without Russia and China, imperialism would be ravaging a lot more countries across the world that it is currently doing.
Without Russia and China Syria would be destroyed.
Sukant Chandan - Sons of Malcolm/Friends of China
Regime Change in the Russian Federation?
Why Washington Wants ‘Finito’ with Vladimir Putin
By F. William Engdahl
Washington clearly wants ‘finito’ with Russia’s Putin as in basta! or as they said in Egypt last spring, Kefaya--enough!. Hillary Clinton and friends have apparently decided Russia’s prospective next president, Vladimir Putin, is a major obstacle to their plans. Few however understand why. Russia today, in tandem with China and to a significant degree Iran, form the spine, however shaky, of the only effective global axis of resistance to a world dominated by one sole superpower.
On December 8 several days after election results for Russia’s parliamentary elections were announced, showing a sharp drop in popularity for Prime Minister Putin’s United Russia party, Putin accused the United States and specifically Secretary of State Hillary Clinton of fuelling the Russian opposition protesters and their election protests. Putin stated, “The (US) Secretary of State was quick to evaluate the elections, saying that they are unfair and unjust even before she received materials from the Office of Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (the OSCE international election monitors-w.e.) observers.”
Putin went on to claim that Clinton’s premature comments were the necessary signal to the waiting opposition groups that the US Government would back their protests. Clinton’s comments, the seasoned Russian intelligence pro stated, became a “signal for our activists who began active work with the US Department of State.” 
Major western media chose either to downplay the Putin statement or to focus almost entirely on the claims of an emerging Russian opposition movement. A little research shows that, if anything, Putin was downplaying the degree of brazen US Government interference into the political processes of his country. In this case the country is not Tunisia or Yemen or even Egypt. It is the world’s second nuclear superpower, even if it might still be an economic lesser power. Hillary is playing with thermonuclear fire.
Democracy or something else?
No mistake, Putin is not a world champion practitioner of what most consider democracy. His announcement some months back that he and current President Medvedev had agreed to switch jobs after Russia’s March 4 Presidential vote struck even many Russians as crass power politics and backroom deal-making. That being said, what Washington is doing to interfere with that regime change is more than brazen and interventionist. The same Obama Administration which just signed into law measures effectively ripping to shreds the Bill of Rights of the US Constitution for American citizens is posing as world supreme judge of others’ adherence to what they define as democracy.
Let’s examine closely Putin’s charge of US interference in the election process. If we look, we find openly stated in their August 2011 Annual Report that a Washington-based NGO with the innocuous name, National Endowment for Democracy (NED), is all over the place inside Russia.
The National Endowment for Democracy (NED) is financing an International Press Center in Moscow where some 80 international NGOs can hold press briefings on whatever they choose. They fund numerous “youth advocacy” and leadership workshops to “help youth engage in political activism.” In fact, officially they spent more than $2,783,000 in 2010 on dozens of such programs across Russia. Spending for 2011 won’t be published until later in 2012. 
The NED is also financing key parts of the Russian “independent” polling and election monitoring, a crucial part of being able to claim election fraud. They finance in part the Regional Civic Organization in Defense of Democratic Rights and Liberties “GOLOS.” According to the NED Annual Report the funds went “to carry out a detailed analysis of the autumn 2010 and spring 2011 election cycles in Russia, which will include press monitoring, monitoring of political agitation, activity of electoral commissions, and other aspects of the application of electoral legislation in the long-term run-up to the elections.”
In September, 2011, a few weeks before the December elections the NED financed a Washington invitation-only conference featuring the Russian “independent” polling organization, the Levada Center. According to NED’s own website Levada, another recipient of NED money,  had done a series of opinion polls, a standard method used in the West to analyze the feelings of citizens. The polls profiled “the mood of the electorate in the run up to the Duma and presidential elections, perceptions of candidates and parties, and voter confidence in the system of ‘managed democracy’ that has been established over the last decade.”
One of the featured speakers at that Washington conference was Vladimir Kara-Murza, member of the federal council of Solidarnost (“Solidarity”), Russia’s democratic opposition movement. He is also “advisor to Duma opposition leader Boris Nemtsov” according to NED. Another speaker came from the right-wing neo-conservative Hudson Institute. 
Nemtsov, one of the most prominent figures of the Putin opposition today is also co-chairman of Solidarnost, a name curiously enough imitated from the Cold War days when the CIA financed the Polish Solidarnosc workers’ opposition of Lech Walesa. More on Nemtsov later.
And on December 15, 2011, again in Washington, just as the series of US-supported protests were being launched against Putin, led by Solidarnost and other organizations, the NED held another conference titled, Youth Activism in Russia: Can a New Generation Make a Difference? The featured speaker was Tamirlan Kurbanov, who according to the NED, “most recently served as a program officer at the Moscow office of the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs, where he was involved in developing and expanding the capacities of political and civic organizations; promoting citizen participation in public life, youth engagement in particular.”  The National Democratic Institute is an arm of the NED.
The Shady History of The National Endowment for Democracy (NED)
Helping youth engage in political activism is precisely what the same NED did in Egypt over the past several years in the lead up to the toppling of Mubarak. The same NED was instrumental by informed accounts in the US-backed “Color Revolutions” in 2003-2004 in Ukraine and Georgia that brought US-backed pro-NATO surrogates to power. The same NED has been active in promoting “human rights” in Myanmar, in Tibet, and China’s oil-rich Xinjiang province. 
As careful analysts of the 2004 Ukraine “Orange revolution” and the numerous other US-financed color revolutions discovered, control of polling and ability to dominate international media perceptions, especially major TV such as CNN or BBC is an essential component of the Washington destabilization agenda. The Levada Center would likely be in a crucial position in this regard to issue polls showing discontent with the regime.
By their description, the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) is a “private, nonprofit foundation dedicated to the growth and strengthening of democratic institutions around the world. Each year, with funding from the US Congress, NED supports more than 1,000 projects of non-governmental groups abroad who are working for democratic goals in more than 90 countries.”
It couldn’t sound more noble or high-minded. However, they prefer to leave out their own true history. In the early 1980’s CIA director Bill Casey convinced President Ronald Reagan to create a plausibly private NGO, the NED, to advance Washington’s global agenda via other means than direct CIA action. It was a part of the process of “privatizing” US intelligence to make their work more “effective.” Allen Weinstein, who helped draft the legislation establishing NED, said in a Washington Post interview in 1991, “A lot of what we do today was done covertly 25 years ago by the CIA.” Interesting. The majority of funds for NED come from US taxpayers through Congress. It is in every way, shape and form a US Government intelligence community asset.
The NED was created during the Reagan Administration to function as a de facto CIA, privatized so as to allow it more freedom of action. NED board members are typically drawn from the Pentagon and US intelligence community. It has included retired NATO General Wesley Clark, the man who led the US bombing of Serbia in 1999. Key figures linked to clandestine CIA actions who served on NED’s board have included Otto Reich, John Negroponte, Henry Cisneros and Elliot Abrams. The Chairman of the NED Board of Directors in 2008 was Vin Weber, founder of the ultraconservative organization, Empower America, and campaign fundraiser for George W. Bush. Current NED chairman is John Bohn, former CEO of the controversial Moody’s rating agency which played a nefarious role in the still-unraveling US mortgage securities collapse. As well today’s NED board includes neo-conservative Bush-era ambassador to Iraq and to Afghanistan, Afghan-American Zalmay Khalilzad.
Putin’s well-rehearsed opposition
It’s also instructive to look at the leading opposition figures who seem to have stepped forward in Russia in recent days. The current opposition “poster boy” favorite of Russian youth and especially western media is Russian blogger Alexei Navalny whose blog is titled LiveJournal. Navalny has featured prominently as a quasi-martyr of the protest movement after spending 15 days in Putin’s jail for partaking in a banned protest. At a large protest rally on Christmas Day December 25 in Moscow, Navalny, perhaps intoxicated by seeing too many romantic Sergei Eisenstein films of the 1917 Russian Revolution, told the crowd, “I see enough people here to take the Kremlin and the White House (Russia’s Presidential home-w.e.) right now...”
Western establishment media is infatuated with Navalny. England’s BBC described Navalny as "arguably the only major opposition figure to emerge in Russia in the past five years," and US Time magazine called him "Russia's Erin Brockovich," a curious reference to the Hollywood film starring Julie Roberts as a researcher and legal activist. However, more relevant is the fact that Navalny went to the elite American East Coast Yale University, also home to the Bush family, where he was a “Yale World Fellow.” 
The charismatic Navalny however is also or has been on the payroll of Washington’s regime-destabilizing National Endowment for Democracy (NED). According to a posting on Navalny’s own blog, LiveJournal, he was supported in 2007-2008 by the NED.  
Along with Navalny, key actors in the anti-Putin protest movement are centered around Solidarnost which was created in December 2008 by Boris Nemtsov, Vladimir Ryzhkov and others. Nemtsov is hardly one to protest corruption. According to Business Week Russia of September 23, 2007, Nemtsov introduced Russian banker Boris Brevnov to Gretchen Wilson, a US citizen and an employee of the International Finance Corporation, a financing arm of the World Bank. Wilson and Brevnov married. With the help of Nemtsov Wilson managed to privatize Balakhna Pulp and Paper mill at the giveaway price of just $7 million. The enterprise was sucked dry and then sold to the Wall Street-Swiss investment bank, CS First Boston bank. The annual turnover of the mill was reportedly $250 million. 
CS First Boston bank also paid for Nemtsov's trips to the very expensive Davos World Economic Forum. When Nemtsov became a member of the cabinet, his protégé Brevnov was appointed the chairman of the Unified Energy System of Russia JSC. Two years later in 2009 Boris Nemtsov, today’s “Mr anti-corruption,” used his influence reportedly to get Brevnov off the hook for charges of embezzling billions from assets of Unified Energy System. 
Nemtsov also took money from jailed Russian oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky in 1999 when the latter was using his billions to try to buy the Russian parliament or Duma. In 2004 Nemtsov met with exiled billionaire oligarch Boris Berezovsky in a secret gathering with other exiled Russian tycoons. When Nemtsov was detailed by Russian authorities for allegations of foreign funding of his new political party, “For Russia without Lawlessness and Corruption,” US Senators John McCain and Joe Liberman and Mike Hammer of the Obama National Security Council came to support of Nemtsov. 
Nemtsov’s close crony, Vladimir Ryzhkov of Solidarnost is also closely tied to the Swiss Davos circles, even founding a Siberian Davos. According to Russian press accounts from April 2005, Ryzhkov formed a Committee 2008 in 2003 to “draw” funds of the imprisoned Khodorkovsky along with soliciting funds from fugitive oligarchs such as Boris Berezovsky and western foundations such as the Soros Foundation. The stated aim of the effort was to rally “democratic” forces against Putin. On May 23, 2011 Ryzhkov, Nemtzov and several others filed to register a new Party of Peoples’ Freedom to ostensibly field a presidential candidate against Putin in 2012.
Another prominent face in the recent anti-Putin rallies is former world chess champion turned right-wing politician, Garry Kasparov, another founder of Solidarnost. Kasparov was identified several years ago as being a board member of a Washington neo-conservative military think-tank. In April 2007, Kasparov admitted he was a board member of the National Security Advisory Council of Center for Security Policy, a "non-profit, non-partisan national security organization that specializes in identifying policies, actions, and resource needs that are vital to American security." Inside Russia Kasparov is more infamous for his earlier financial ties to Leonid Nevzlin, former Yukos vice-president and partner of Michael Khodorokvsky. Nevzlin fled to Israel on being charged in Russia on charges of murder and hiring contract killers to eliminate “objectionable people” while Yukos vice-president. 
In 2009 Kasparov and Boris Nemtsov met with no less than Barack Obama to discuss Russia’s opposition to Putin at the US President’s personal invitation at Washington’s Ritz Carlton Hotel. Nemtsov had called for Obama to meet with opposition forces in Russia: “If the White House agrees to Putin’s suggestion to speak only with pro-Putin organizations... this will mean that Putin has won, but not only that: Putin will become be assured that Obama is weak,” he said. During the same 2009 US trip Nemtsov was invited to speak at the New York Council on Foreign Relations, perhaps the most influential US foreign policy think-tank. Significantly, not only has the US State Department and US-backed political NGOs such as NED poured millions into building an anti-Putin coalition inside Russia. The President personally has intervened into the process.
Ryzhkov, Nemtzov, Navalty and Putin’s former Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin were all involved in organizing the December 25th Moscow Christmas anti-Putin rally which drew an estimated 120,000.
The salient question is why Putin at this point? We need not look far for the answer.
Washington and especially Barack Obama’s Administration don’t give a hoot about whether Russia is democratic or not. Their concern is the obstacle to Washington’s plans for Full Spectrum Dominance of the planet that a Putin Presidency will represent. According to the Russian Constitution, the President of the Russian Federation head of state, supreme commander-in-chief and holder of the highest office in the Russian Federation. He will take direct control of defense and foreign policy.
We must ask what policy? Clearly strong countermeasures against the blatant NATO encirclement of Russia with Washington’s dangerous ballistic missile installations around Russia will be high on Putin’s agenda. Hillary Clinton’s “reset” will be in the dustbin if it is not already. We can also expect a more aggressive use of Russia’s energy card with pipeline diplomacy to deepen economic ties between European NATO members such as Germany, France and Italy, ultimately weakening the EU support for aggressive NATO measures against Russia. We can expect a deepening of Russia’s turn towards Eurasia, especially with China, Iran and perhaps India to firm up the shaky spine of resistance to Washington’s New World Order plans.
It will take more than a few demonstrations in sub-freezing weather in Moscow and St. Petersburg by a gaggle of corrupt or shady opposition figures such as Nemtsov or Kasparov to derail Russia. What is clear is that Washington is pushing on all fronts—Iran and Syria, where Russia has a vital naval port, on China, now on Russia, and on the Eurozone countries led by Germany. It has the smell of an end-game attempt by a declining superpower.
The United States today is a de facto bankrupt nuclear superpower. The reserve currency role of the dollar is being challenged as never since Bretton Woods in 1944. That role along with maintaining the United States as the world’s unchallenged military power have been the basis of the American Century hegemony since 1945.
Weakening the role of the dollar in international trade and ultimately as reserve currency, China is now settling trade with Japan in bilateral currencies, side-stepping the dollar. Russia is implementing similar steps with her major trade partners. The primary reason Washington launched a full-scale currency war against the Euro in late 2009 was to preempt a growing threat that China and others would turn away from the dollar to the Euro as reserve currency. That is no small matter. In effect Washington finances its foreign wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Libya and elsewhere through the fact that China and other trade surplus nations invest their surplus trade dollars in US government Treasury debt. Were that to shift significantly, US interest rates would rise substantially and the financial pressures on Washington would become immense.
Faced with growing erosion of her unchallenged global status as sole superpower, Washington appears now to be turning increasingly to raw military force to hold that. For that to succeed Russia must be neutralized along with China and Iran. This will be the prime agenda of whoever is next US President.
F. William Engdahl is the author of A Century of War: Anglo-American Oil Politics and the New World Order, He may be reached via his website at www.engdahl.oilgeopolitics.net
 Alexei Druzhinin, Putin says US encouraging Russian opposition, RIA Novosti, Moscow, December 8, 2011
 Jonathan Turley, The NDAA's historic assault on American liberty, guardian.co.uk, 2 January 2012, accessed in http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2012/jan/02/ndaa-historic-assault-american-liberty.
 National Endowment for Democracy, Russia, from NED Annual Report 2010, Washington, DC, published in August 2011, accessed in http://www.ned.org/where-we-work/eurasia/russia.
 NED, Elections in Russia: Polling and Perspectives, September 14, 2011, accessed in http://ned.org/events/elections-in-russia-polling-and-perspectives.
 NED, Youth Activism in Russia: Can a New Generation Make a Difference?, December 15, 2011, accessed in http://ned.org/events/youth-activism-in-russia-can-a-new-generation-make-a-difference.
 F. William Engdahl, Full Spectrum Dominance: Totalitarian Democracy in the New World Order, 2010, edition. Engdahl press. The book describes in detail the origins of the NED and various US-sponsored “human rights” NGOs and how they have been used to topple regimes not friendly to a larger USA geopolitical agenda.
 National Endowment for Democracy, About Us, accessed in www.ned.org.
 David Ignatius, Openness is the Secret to Democracy, Washington Post National Weekly Edition, 30 September-6 October,1991, 24-25.
 F. William Engdahl, Op. Cit., p.50.
 Yulia Ponomareva, Navalny and Kudrin boost giant opposition rally, RIA Novosti, Moscow, December 25, 2011.
 Yale University, Yale World Fellows: Alexey Navalny, 2010, accessed in http://www.yale.edu/worldfellows/fellows/navalny.html.
 Alexey Navalny, emails between Navalny and Conatser, accessed in Russian (English summary provided to the author by www.warandpeace.ru) on http://alansalbiev.livejournal.com/28124.html.
 Business Week Russia, Boris Nemtsov: Co-chairman of Solidarnost political movement, Business Week Russia, September 23, 2007, accessed in http://www.rumafia.com/person.php?id=1648.
 Russian Mafia.ru, Vladimir Ryzhkov: Co-chairman of the Party of People's Freedom, accessed in http://www.rumafia.com/person.php?id=1713.
 Russian Mafia.ru, Garry Kasparov: The leader of United Civil Front, accessed in http://www.rumafia.com/person.php?id=1518.
 The OtherRussia, Obama Will Meet With Russian Opposition, July 3, 2009, accessed in http://www.theotherrussia.org/2009/07/03/obama-will-meet-with-russian-opposition/.
 Yulia Ponomareva, op. Cit.
Wednesday, 11 January 2012
About time our side developed their gaming to counter the neo-colonial violence in games like C.O.D - Sons of Malcolm
Recently, an office from China's Nanjing Military Region has finished developing a military game named Glorious Mission, which has China-owned property rights, jointly with Giant Interactive Group, Inc. (Wuxi).
Military games have been developed for years. They have formed a system and been put into use in education as well as training in some foreign armies. However, China's own development of military games is still in the primary steps.
Although some foreign military games have been used in some Chinese armies' daily training, they may not suit Chinese soldiers and even mislead them due to the different concepts of values and military thoughts.
The finished Glorious Mission with completely-independent China-owned property rights is not only full of Chinese characteristics but also brings China up to speed on military game development.
The Glorious Mission is set from a soldier's perspective and his barrack life. The game follows along as the soldier keeps promoting himself in training and finally qualifies to join a large-scale military exercise codenamed "Glorious Mission" and how he does in the military exercise.
The departments that invented the game are promoting the current game and looking forward to integrating more informationized and systematic concepts into it. And the promoted game software will be tried in some chosen armies.
By Wang Hanlu, People's Daily Online
Full Speech of President Assad of Syria 10 Jan 2012
I know that I have been away from the media for a long time, and I have missed having direct contact with the citizens, but I have always been following up with the daily occurrences and gathering the information so that my speech can be built on what is said by the street.
I would like to salute you in the name of pan-Arabism which will continue to be a symbol of our identity and our haven in difficult times, as we will continue to be its heart beating with love and affection. I would also like to greet you in the name of our home country which will always be the source of our pride and dignity, as we will remain faithful to its genuine values for which our fathers and grandfathers sacrificed dearly to keep the country glorified and independent. And I am proud of your steadfastness which will keep Syria an invincible fortress in the face of all forms of penetration, and free in resisting submission to foreign forces.
Today, I am addressing you ten months after the outbreak of the unfortunate events which befell the country imposing new circumstances on the Syrian arena. For all of us, these conditions represent a serious test of our national commitment, and we cannot pass this test except by our continuous work and honest intents based on our faith in God, the genuine character of our people, and its solid nature which has been polished over the ages and made brighter and more robust. Although those events have made us pay, until now, heavy prices which made my heart bleed, as it made the heart of every Syrian bleed, yet they require the sons of Syria, regardless of their beliefs and doctrines, to be wise and sensible, and to be guided by their deep national feelings. Only then our entire country can achieve victory with our unity, our fraternity, and our will to go beyond narrow horizons and momentary interests and reach where our noble national issues lie. For this is our destination and there lies the strength of our country and the glory of our history.
External Conspiring Is No Longer a Secret
External conspiring is no longer a secret because what is being plotted in the pal talk rooms has started to be clearly revealed before the eyes of the people. It is not possible anymore to deceive others except for those who do not want to listen or see; as the tears shed by the dealers of freedom and democracy for our own victims can no longer conceal the role they played in the bloodshed which they tried to use for their own purposes. At the beginning of the crisis, it was not easy to explain what happened. Emotional reactions and the absence of rationality were surpassing the facts. But now, the fog has lifted, and it is no longer possible for the regional and international parties which wanted to destabilize Syria to forge the facts and the events. Now the masks have fallen off the faces of those parties, and we have become more capable of deconstructing the virtual environment which they have created to push Syrians towards illusion and then make them fall. That virtual environment was created to lead to a psychological and moral defeat which would eventually lead to the actual defeat. That unprecedented media attack was meant to lead us to a state of fear, and this fear, which could paralyze the will, would lead to defeat.
Over Sixty T.V. Channels in the World Are Devoted to Work against Syria
Over sixty T.V. channels in the world are devoted to work against Syria. Some of them are devoted to working against the Syrian domestic situation, and some others are working to distort the image of Syria abroad. There are tens of internet websites, and tens of newspapers and different media channels, which means that we are talking about hundreds of media networks.
Their aim was to push us to a state of self-collapse in order to save their efforts in waging many battles; and they failed in doing so, yet they did not give in.
One of their attempts which you are aware of is what they did with me personally in my interview with the American news channel. Usually I do not watch myself on T.V whether in an interview or a speech. That time I watched the interview and I was about to believe what I myself was presented to have said. If they were capable of convincing me of the lie, how can they not convince others! Fortunately, we had an original version of the interview, and they did what they did because they thought that we did not have an original version which we can present to the citizens to compare with their version. Had that not been the case, no one would have ever believed the professional fabrication which they did even if I talk now for hours and try to tell you I did not say what was misrepresented on that news channel.
Of course, they had one aim in mind. When they failed in causing a state of collapse on the popular and institutional levels in Syria, they wanted to target the top of the pyramid of the state in order to say to the citizens, on the one hand, and, of course, to the West, on the other hand, that this person lives in a cocoon and does not know what has been going on. They also wanted to say to the citizens, especially those in the state, that if the top figure in the pyramid is evading responsibility and feeling that things are falling apart, then it is normal for things to go out of control.
There were continuous rumors like saying that the president has left the country, as to say that the president has given up on his responsibilities. They did their best to circulate those rumors but we say to them, ‘in your dreams, for I am not a person who surrenders his responsibilities.’
When I sipped some water in my previous speech, they said the president is nervous, but we never fish in troubled waters, neither in crises nor in normal situations. Now they will use the previous statement to say that the Syrian president is announcing that he will not relinquish his post. In fact, they do not distinguish between the two notions of ‘office' and ‘responsibility’, and I did say in the year 2000 that I am not after office and I do not run away from responsibility. An office does not have any value. It is a sheer device and whoever seeks to office does not get respect.
We are talking now about responsibility, and this responsibility derives its importance from public support. This means that I acquire a position with the support of the people; and when I leave it, it will be with the will of this people. This is final, and regardless of what you heard, I always based my external policy in all our positions on public support and public will. What do we make of the interview with the American channel in the media framework? There was repeated talk about the good intention of many from within Syria and the outside world. Why did we not allow the media to enter Syria? In fact, during the first month or month and a half of the crisis, Arab and foreign media networks were completely free to move inside Syria. However, all the media fabrications, and the whole political and media campaign against Syria, were built on that phase of forging and distortion; and there is a difference between distorting the truth then giving it credibility as being presented from the inside of Syria, on the one hand, and distorting the truth from the outside of Syria where less credibility tends to be given to such misrepresentation. That is why we took a decision not to close the door to all media networks, but to be selective in the access given to them in order to control the quality of the information or the falsification which goes beyond the borders.
Victory Is Very Close As Long As We Are Able to Survive and Invest in Our Points of Strength
We were patient in an unprecedented battle in Syria's modern history; a battle that made us stronger. If this battle carries significant risks and decisive challenges, the victory is very close as long as we are able to survive and invest in our points of strength which are many, and to know weaknesses of opponents which are even more. Your public awareness which is based on facts, not on hype, underestimation, exaggerations or simplifications, had the most important role in uncovering the scheme and restricting it in preparation for thwarting it entirely. In our quest to dismantle that virtual environment and to ensure the importance of the internal situation in confronting any external interference, we took the initiative to talk transparently on having a default here and a defect or delay there in some areas. I mean in previous speeches when I was talking about mistakes, but we did not mean at all to underestimate the importance of such external schemes. I do not think that a reasonable person can deny today those schemes that shifted acts of sabotage and terrorism to another level of crime which targeted minds, highly qualified people and institutions. The aim of which is to generalize the state of panic, to destroy morale and to make you reach the state of despair which would open the way for what was planned in the outside to become a reality, but this time with local hands.
At the beginning, they searched for their desired revolution, but their revolution was against them and against their vandals and their tools. Since the early days, however, the people revolted against them, thus precluding them and their henchmen. When they were shocked by your unity, they tried to dismantle and fragment this unity through using the hideous sectarian weapon after masking it with the cover of holy religion. When they lost hope to achieve their goals, they shifted into acts of sabotage and murder under different headings and covers such as the utilization of some peaceful demonstrations and the exploitation of wrong practices done by persons in the state. Thus, they started the process of assassinations and attempted to isolate cities and dividing the various parts of the country. They stole, looted and destroyed public and private facilities and after experimenting with all possible ways and means in today's world with all the regional and international media and political support, they did not find a foothold for their hoped-for revolution.
Arab Countries Are Not the Same in Their Policies towards Syria
Here comes the foreign role after they failed in all attempts; there was no choice but the foreign intervention. When we say foreign, it usually comes to our minds that it is the foreign outside. Unfortunately, this foreign outside has become a mix of Arab and foreign, and sometimes, in many cases, this Arab part is more hostile and worse than the foreign one. I do not want to generalize; the image is not that bleak because Arab countries are not the same in their policies. There are countries which tried during this stage to play a morally objective role towards what is happening in Syria. In contrast, there are countries that basically do not care about what is happening in general. I mean they stand on the fence in most cases, and there are countries that carry out what they are asked to do. What is strange is that some Arab officials are with us in heart and against us in politics. When we ask for clarifications, it is said or the official says I am with you, but there are external pressures. I mean this is a semi-official declaration of losing sovereignty. It is not a surprise that the countries will one day link their policies to the policies of foreign countries just like linking local currency to foreign currencies, and thus giving away sovereignty becomes a sovereign matter.
The truth is that this is the peak of deterioration for the Arab situation, but any deterioration always precedes a renaissance; when we move from the first independence which is the first liberation of land from occupation to the second independence which is the independence of the will. We will reach this independence when Arab peoples take the lead in the Arab world in general. This is because the official policies we see do not utterly reflect what we see on the public arenas in the Arab world.
We do not see this Arab role, which we have suddenly seen now, when there is a crisis or a dilemma in an Arab country. In contrast, we see it in its best forms when there is trouble in a foreign country or a superpower. Saving that state from its crisis is often at the expense of another state or at the expense of Arab states, and often through the destruction of an Arab country. This is what happened in Iraq and this is what happened in Libya, and this is what we see now in the Arab role towards Syria. After they failed in the Security Council when they could not convince the world of their lies, there was a need for an Arab cover and a need for having an Arab platform. Here comes this initiative. The truth of this initiative and the monitors' issue is that I am the one who proposed this issue in my meeting with the Arab League delegation a few months ago. We said since the international organizations came to Syria, reviewed the facts and they got a positive reaction at least through reviewing things - we do not say things are all positive; they see positive and negative things and we do not want more than knowing the truth as it is – it is more worthy of the Arabs to send a delegation to see what is happening in Syria. Of course, there was not any interest in this proposal put forward by Syria, but suddenly after several months, we see that this topic became the focus of global attention. It was not sudden attention towards what we put forward at all, but because the scheme has started from the outside under this title.
In all cases we continued dialogue with various parties and the Foreign Minister spoke in his press conferences on details I will not repeat here. We were focusing on one thing only which is the sovereignty of Syria. We were considering that the Arab citizen, the Arab official or the Arab observer has feelings towards us; I mean we remain Arabs who sympathize with each other no matter how bad the Arab situation is. Why they started the Arab initiative? The same countries that claim concern for the Syrian people were initially advising us to reform. Of course, these countries do not have the least knowledge of democracy and have no heritage in this area, but they were thinking that we will not be moving towards reform and there will be a title for these countries to use internationally that there is a conflict inside Syria between a state that does not want reform and the people who want reform, freedom or the like.
When we started reform, this thing was confusing for them, thus they shifted to the issue of the Arab League or the Arab initiative. The truth is that if we are to follow these countries, which give us advice, we have to go backward at least a century and a half. What happened a century and a half ago? We were part of the Ottoman Empire and we had the first parliament which we are concerned with in one way or another. The first parliament was opened in the year / 1877 / and if we put this aside, the first parliament in Syria was in 1919; this means less than a century ago. Therefore, imagine these countries that want to advise us about democracy! Where were these countries at that time? Their status is like the status of a smoking doctor who advises the patient to quit smoking while putting a cigarette in his mouth.
Eventually, outrage of the Arab or public reaction in Syria towards the issue of the Arab League was the result. In fact, I was not angry; why to get angry with someone who does not know his decision. If someone attacks us with a knife, we defend ourselves not by struggling with the knife but with the person. The knife is just a tool. Our struggle is not with these people but against those who stand behind them. The public reaction was outrage, indignation and surprise; why did not the Arabs stand with Syria rather than standing against Syria? I ask a question: when did they stand with Syria?! I will not go back far in the past, but let us just talk about the past few years. Let us start by the war on Iraq, after the invasion, when Syria was threatened with bombing and invasion. Who stood with Syria in 2005 when they exploited the assassination of Hariri? Who stood alongside Syria in 2006? Who supported our positions against the Israeli aggression on Lebanon in 2008? Who supported us in the IAEA in relation to the alleged nuclear file? Arab states vote against us. These facts may be unknown to many citizens. That is why we need to explain everything in these junctures and situations.
Recently, Arab states voted against Syria with regard to the Human Rights issue. In contrast, some non-Arab countries stand with Syria. That is why we should not be surprised. I mean we should not be surprised with the Arab League status because it is just a reflection of the Arab situation. The Arab League is a mirror of our situation.
The Arab League mirrors our current miserable situation. If it has failed in over six decades in taking a position in the Arab interest, why are we surprised today if the general context is the same and hasn’t changed except in the sense that it is pushing the Arab condition from bad to worse and in that what was happening in secret is now happening in public under the slogan of the nation’s interest.
Has the Arab league actually gained independence for its states, and consequently for itself? Has it ever implemented its decisions and removed the dust off its files and achieved only a fragment of the aspirations of the Arab peoples? Or has it contributed directly to sowing the seeds of sedition and disunity? Has it respected its charter and defended its member states whose land, or the rights of whose peoples, have been violated? Has it returned one olive tree uprooted by Israel or prevented the demolition of one Palestinian house in occupied Arab Palestine? Has it been able to prevent the partition of Sudan or prevent the killing of over a million Iraqis or feed a single starved Somali?
Today, we are not in the process of attacking the Arab League because we are part of it, although we are in the age of decadence. Nor am I talking about the Arab league because it or the Arab states have taken a decision to suspend Syria’s membership in it. This does not concern us in the least. I am talking about it because I have noticed the extent of popular frustration which we need to put in its natural context. The Arab League has been doomed for a long time. When we used to sit in Arab summits listening to criticism and denunciation whose echo reverberated in conference halls, we used to talk about this candidly, as Arab officials; some felt ashamed and some behaved as if it was no concern of theirs. So, being out of the Arab League, or suspending Syria’s membership, and all this talk is not the issue. The issue is who wins and who loses. Does Syria or the Arab League lose? For us, we and the Arab states are losing as long as the Arab condition is bad. This is a chronic situation, nothing new in it, and there are no winners. We have been working for years to minimize the losses because it is not possible to win. But suspending Syria’s membership raises a question: can the body live without a heart? Who said that Syria is the throbbing heart of Arabism? It wasn’t a Syrian, it was President Abdul Naser, and this is still true.
Many Arabs have the same conviction. For Syria Arabism is not a slogan, it is a practice. Who offered, more than Syria, and is still offering and paying the price? Who, more than Syria, has offered to the Palestinian cause in particular? Who, more than Syria, has given to the process of Arabizing culture and education everywhere, in the mass media? Syria is quite strict about Arabization, particularly in school curricula. Who has offered more to Arabism and to Arabization and insisted on Arab culture in their school curricula more than Syria does in its schools and universities. The issue for us is not a slogan. If some countries seek to suspend our Arabism in the League, we say to them that they are suspending the Arab identity of the League itself. They cannot suspend Syria’s Arab identity. On the contrary, the League without Syria suspends its own Arab identity.
If some believe they can get us out of the League, they cannot get us out of our Arab identity, because the Arab identity is not a political decision. It is heritage and history. Those countries, which you know, have not acquired, and will not acquire, the Arab identity. If they believe that with money they can buy some geography and rent and import some history, we tell them that money does not make nations or create civilizations. Consequently, and as I heard from many Syrians, and I agree with them on this point, maybe in our present condition we are freer in exercising our real and pure Arabism which Syrians have been the best to express throughout history. That is why we say that with this attempt they don’t focus on getting Syria out of the League, but rather on suspending Arabism itself so that it becomes an Arab League only in name. It will no longer be a league – bringing people together – or Arab. It will be a mock-Arab body in order to be in line with their policies and the role they are playing on the Arab arena. Otherwise, how can we explain this unprecedented and unreasonable tact with the Zionist enemy in everything it does and this decisiveness and toughness with Syria?
We have been trying for years to activate the Israel-boycott office; and we have been receiving excuses of the type that this is no longer acceptable; but, within a few weeks, they activate a boycott against Syria. This means that their objective is replacing Syria with Israel. This is only a pattern; and we are not naïve. We have known this Arab condition for a very long time. We have not clung to illusions. By showing our patience regarding these practices, before and during this crisis, we wanted to prove to all those who have their doubts about the bad intentions, wrapped in beautiful and ornamented language, that their intentions are bad and their objectives are vile. I think now this has become abundantly clear to most people.
We realize all that. But based on our genuine Arab character, and our desire to restore the original idea of the Arab League, in which we are supported by some sisterly countries keen on making the Arab League a truly collective and Arab body, we haven’t closed the doors to any solution or proposal; and we shall never close the door to any Arab endeavor as long as it respects our sovereignty, the independence of our decision and the unity of our people.
All these negative accumulations on the Arab arena, throughout decades, in addition to the current situation, led some of our citizens to take their anger out on Arabism which has been wrongly confused with the Arab League or the performance of some pseudo-Arabs to the extent that they denounced it.
Brothers and sisters,
The social structure of the Arab world, with its large diversity, is based on two strong and integrated pillars: Arabism and Islam. Both of them are great, rich and vital. Consequently, we cannot blame them for the wrong human practices. Furthermore, the Muslim and Christian diversity in our country is a major pillar of our Arabism and a foundation of our strength. When we get angry with Arabism or abandon it because of what some have done on this wide Arab arena we commit a gross injustice. As we have refused to generalize the mistakes done by some officials to the whole country, we shouldn’t generalize the mistakes of some pseudo-Arabs to Arabism. What we are doing now is similar to what the west did against Islam in the wake of 9/11.
We say that there is a great religion – Islam, and there are terrorists taking cover under Islam. Who should we banish: religion or terrorism? Do we denounce religion or terrorists? Do we fight those who trade in Islam or fight terrorism? The answer is clear: It is not the fault of Islam when there are terrorists who take cover under the mantle of Islam.
Christianity is a religion of love and peace. What is the fault of Christianity in the wars waged under its name and in the crimes committed in the heart of America or in European countries by people who claim to be committed to Christian values? The same applies to Arabism. We should not link it to what some pseudo-Arabs are doing; otherwise we head towards the greatest sin. There are things which have existed through a historical process and we cannot respond to them by an act or a decision. These things didn’t take place through a decision. There is a historical context and there is a divine will behind religions and nationality which we cannot face through reaction.
The first reaction was proposing the “Syria first” concept. It is natural to put Syria first. Every person belongs to his country first and foremost. One’s homeland cannot be in the second, third or fourth place; but the context in which this concept was made was isolationist – only Syria.
Every person belongs first to his city more than to other cities. He is naturally connected to it. Everyone likes the village he grew up in more than other villages, but this doesn’t prevent one from being patriotic and like the whole of the homeland. Being Syrian doesn’t prevent us from being Arabs; and being Arab doesn’t create any contradiction between our Arab and Syrian identities.
That is why we should stress that point, that the relationship between Arabism and patriotism is a close and vital one for the future, for our interests and for everything. It is not about romanticism or principles. It is about interests too. If we separate this fact from reaction, we should always know that Arabism is an identity not a membership. Arabism is an identity given by history not a certificate given by an organization. Arabism is an honor that characterizes Arab peoples not a stigma carried by some pseudo-Arabs on the Arab or world political stage.
Some might wonder about all this talk about Arabism and Arabs while in Syria there are only Arabs. My response is: who said that we are talking about an Arab race? Had Arabism been only the Arab race, we wouldn’t have had much to be proud of. The last thing in Arabism is race. Arabism is a question of civilization, a question of common interests, common will and common religions. It is about the things which bring about all the different nationalities which live in this place. The strength of this Arabism lies in its diversity not in its isolation and not in its one colordness. Arabism hasn’t been built by the Arabs. Arabism has been built by all those non-Arabs who contributed to building it and those who belong to this rich society in which we live. Its strength lies in its diversity. Had there been a group of non-Arabs who wanted to change their traditions and customs and abandon them, we would oppose them on the grounds that they weaken Arabism. The strength of our Arabism lies in openness, diversity and in showing this diversity not integrating it to look like one component. Arabism has been accused for decades of chauvinism. This is not true. If there are chauvinistic individuals, this doesn’t mean that Arabism is chauvinistic. It is a condition of civilization.
All the above will not affect our vision of the internal situation in Syria and how we deal with it. There is no doubt that the current events and their repercussions have posed a huge number of questions and ideas which aim at finding different solutions for the current situation Syria is going through. If it is natural and self evident, but it cannot be positive and effective except when it is based on the importance of facing the problem not running away from it, or when it is based on courage not panic and escaping forward.
If we want to talk about the internal situation – and I think it is the issue over which all Syrians’ concerns are focused - we should identify issues clearly. There are numerous ideas, which might be good. But unless they are put in the appropriate framework they remain useless and sometimes harmful. Instead of having ideas moving in one strain contradicting and fighting with each other, let’s draw some definitions before we get into the details. First, we cannot carry out internal reform without dealing with facts as they are on the ground, whether we like them or not. We cannot just hang on to a straw in the air. Neither the straw nor the air will carry us. This means falling. Under the pressure of the crisis, some talk about any solution and call for any solution. We shall not give ‘any’ solution. We shall only give ‘solutions’. Solutions mean that the results are known beforehand. ‘Any solution’ will lead to the abyss. It might lead to deepening the crisis. It might get us into an impasse. The pressure of the crisis will not push us to adopt just ‘any’ plan. Even though time is very important, but it is not more important than the quality of the solution which we shall provide.
Today, we are dealing with two aspects of internal reform: the first is political reform and the second is fighting terrorism which has spread recently to different parts of Syria. In the reform process, there are those who believe that what we are doing now is the way to get out of the crisis or is the whole solution to the crisis. This is not true. We are not doing it for this reason. The relationship between reform and the crisis is limited. In the beginning, it had a larger role, when we decided to separate those who claim reform for terrorist objectives and those who genuinely want reform. This has happened. My vision from the very beginning was that there is no relation between the two, but it wasn’t easy to talk about it then because, as I said, things were not clear for many Syrians as they have become clear now.
What is the relationship between the reform process and the outside plot? Will the outside plots against Syria stop if we introduce the reforms today? I’ll tell you something. We know a great deal about discussions taking place outside Syria, particularly in the West about the situation in Syria. None of those involved cares about neither the number of the victims nor about reforms, neither about what has been achieved nor what will be achieved. Everyone is talking about Syria’s policies and whether Syria’s behavior has changed from the beginning of the crisis till now.
On the other hand, there were those who came to bargain, saying if you do 1, 2, 3, 4, at least the outside part of the crisis and its internal tentacles will stop immediately. So, there is no relation between reform and the outside part of the crisis, because this part is against reform and because reform will make Syria stronger. If Syria is stronger, this means strengthening Syrian policies, and we all know that Syrian policies are not well liked in foreign circles. On the contrary, such policies are loathed by many countries which want us to be mere lackeys.
The second point: what is the relationship between reform and terrorism? If we carry out the reforms, will terrorists stop? Does this mean that the terrorists who are killing and destroying are keen on the political parties law, the local administration elections or things of that kind? They are not. Terrorists don’t care. Reform will not prevent terrorists from being terrorists. So, what is the component which concerns us?
The greatest part of the Syrian people want reform, and they have not come out, haven’t broken the law, haven’t killed. This is the largest part of the Syrian people, it is the part which wants reform. For us, reform is the natural context. That is why we announced a phased reform in the year 2000. In my swear-in speech I talked about modernization and development. At that time, I was focused on state institutions. In 2005, we talked about political reform. Part of what we are doing now was proposed in 2005 in the Bath party conference. At that time there were no pressures in this regard. Pressure was different, in a different direction. No one was talking about internal reform. We proposed it because we thought of it as a natural context not a forced one. It cannot be forced. It is a natural requirement for development. We cannot develop without reform. Whether we were late or not is a different question. Why we were late is a different question. But it remained a natural need. Had reform been part of the crisis, it would fail; and if reform were forced, it would fail. That’s why, in our discussion of reform, let’s separate natural needs from the crisis.
If we start from the current crisis, reform will be abrupt and tied to its current circumstances which are temporary. What about future decades? Things will be different. We have to connect what is before the crisis with what is after it regardless of it and then base our work on the reform process. Of course this is not in the absolute. Sometimes, we take into account what we are going through now in our reform efforts. We don’t separate it completely from the timetable. Sometimes we move quickly. Sometimes we assume that people’s reaction needs a move in a certain direction. There are some impacts of the crisis; but we don’t build our reforms on the crisis. If we do so, we justify foreign powers’ intervention in our crisis under the title of reform. So, let’s agree on separating the two and deal with the details on these grounds.
Now that we talked about the details, I proposed in my speech in this auditorium last June about an action plan; and I talked mainly about the legislative component in relation to laws and the constitution. At that time, I offered a timeframe for the laws which have all been passed within the timeframe identified at the time. Now, we hear many people saying “we haven’t seen any tangible results”. I always like to talk transparently, and I’ll address every subject separately.
The first law we passed was lifting the state of emergency. In such circumstances that Syria is going through, can any state lift the state of emergency. On the contrary, any state would have imposed the state of emergency. Nevertheless, we didn’t do that. We insisted on lifting the state of emergency. Some Syrians accused us of abandoning part of the security of Syria because we lifted the state of emergency. Of course this is inaccurate, because lifting the state of emergency or the state of emergency itself doesn’t provide security. It is rather an organizational issue. When there is a state of emergency, there are certain measures and when it is lifted there is a different set of measures. We haven’t abandoned security. No state could accept to abandon security. The laws and the measures now in place give us full authority to control security regardless of the state of emergency law. But lifting the state of emergency needs training for the relevant services, including the security and police forces which deal with citizens. We all know that they are all over Syria now; and some of them haven’t taken leave for months. So, it is logical, reasonable or practical to train them now? This is impossible. There will be no training in the current circumstances. Nevertheless, we insist that the services stress some basic regulations in relation to lifting the state of emergency. When there is an environment of terrorism, destruction and law breaking, if there are errors they will multiply tens of folds. That is why we are not dealing only with the results but with the causes too. The results are the mistakes we see being committed by some, but the causes are related to the state of chaos in itself. We need to control the chaos in order to feel the results. In other words, we cannot feel the true effects of lifting the state of emergency while chaos prevails. And here I distinguish, of course, between different levels of mistakes, on the one hand, and killing, on the other.
There is no cover for anyone; but the issue of killing needs evidence. Some people believe that none of those who committed acts of killing have been arrested. That’s not true in relation to those working for the state. A limited number of people have been arrested in relation to murder and other crimes. I say limited because the evidence was limited and connected with those people. The existence of evidence or searching for evidence needs institutions; and institutions need appropriate conditions; and the current conditions hamper the work of such institutions. But I would like to stress that there is no cover for anyone; and there is no order, I stress, no order at any level of the state to shoot at any citizen. Shooting, under the law, is allowed only in the case of self defence and in defence of citizens and in cases of engaging an armed person. So, there is a specific case in the law. In this regard, I stress the need to deal with causes and effects.
Concerning the political parties, the political parties law has been issued. Some parties have applied and have been given licenses. The first license was given to the first party a few weeks ago; and I believe that yesterday or today there is a second party on the way which met all the conditions. There are many other parties which are still trying to meet the conditions and submit the necessary documents to be licensed. Of course we didn’t feel the existence of these parties, because political parties need time. But, in any case, after the political parties law has been passed, we haven’t only given licenses, but encouraged many groups to form parties. I don’t think that the state is responsible in this regard. We will not form any parties, will not appear in the media or conduct activities on behalf of anyone. So, there are no obstacles in this regard and it is only a question of time.
The local administration law has been passed and elections have been held. Of course they have been held in difficult circumstances; and it is natural that they will not give the desired results because participation, neither on the part of the candidates or the voters, was not as they were supposed to be with a new law because of the security conditions. There was a point of view saying that we should postpone local administration elections to a later stage. But there was a different opinion, which we adopted, saying that there should be change because every change is positive, particularly that most citizens’ complaints were about the performance of local administration. We embarked on that effort. But in any case, anything related to elections will not give results if there is no broad participation on the part of candidates and also on the part of voters, so that there is competition. That is why you will not feel the results. In general, with anything related to elections, part of the responsibility lies on the citizens and not only on the state.
As for the media law, I think the government has completed last week the preparation of executive instructions and have become ready for implementation. There are requests ready for television, press and others. The election law was issued and the aim of which is to frame all these ideas that we hear on the political scene, and anyone who has an idea should go to the ballot box which is the voice of law for everything in this country; this is the core of the issue.
The important law is the law of fighting corruption. It is the only law which has been delayed for several months. The first reason is related to the fact that this law is very important and has many aspects. Therefore, I asked the government to extensively consider it in collaboration with various bodies and parties. It was put on the internet and there were many posts and useful ideas. The government finished this and sent it to the Syrian Presidency which sent it back recently to the government. It is a good law which includes very important points and a point related to the inspecting authority.
In the current law, the anti-corruption law, the inspection commission was abolished, and the Anti-Corruption Commission replaced the inspection commission, but the anti-corruption law is specialized in corruption cases. This means that it deals only with small issue which is often not does not list all cases of corruption. This commission deals with corruption after its appearance, while the inspection commission was in charge of broader functions, including organization of management, raising proposals in the field of management and control of state action in terms of administration as well as combating corruption. Thus, the abolition of all these tasks and linking them only to one title which is corruption is not good, especially that fighting corruption cannot be done in isolation from the organization of the administration.
We cannot fight corruption alone because this is a great imbalance apart from other points that are present. There are proposals on the integration of the inspection commission with the Financial Control Commission, but this issue is not important. The most important thing is to know the relationship between inspection and Anti-Corruption Commissions. If there is a cancellation of the inspection commission, will the Anti-Corruption Commission include all the tasks of the two bodies or should we leave the two commissions and specify different tasks for each one of them, or should we coordinate between both of them in respect of the issue of corruption? That is why this law was resent to the government to resolve this point. After that, the law of fighting corruption will be issued.
Anyway, if the law was passed in the best of conditions, it will be easy for the state to fight corruption at the intermediate level and above, but it is difficult to fight it from the intermediate level and below without the contribution of the citizens and the media. This means that prosecution will not be done even by this commission because it will only receive information. Thus, we need to look for the information and report them to this commission. This means that the success of this law needs significant popular awareness.
Within the framework of the corruption topic, many people whom I meet say we want the President to hold corrupt people accountable. Here, I want to clarify that the President does not replace institutions; I handle one or two issues when I see an error, but the institution holds thousands of people accountable or address thousands of cases. When the President replaces the institutions, this will not be reassuring even if he is doing the right thing. Therefore, we have to work in order to activate institutions.
I told them that I will take care of this law and the activation of these institutions, and I want to see fighting corruption through normal legal channels. At that time, we solved the problems of thousands, tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands and millions of Syrians. I always focus on institutional work. If I solved a problem, it is an individual problem; I solve the problem of someone but not the problem of thousands of people.
The other pillar in reform is the Constitution. The decree that provides for establishing a committee to draft the constitution was issued. This committee was given a deadline of four months and I think that it has become in its final stages. This constitution will focus on a fundamental and essential point which is the multi-party system and political pluralism. They were talking only about article eight, but we said that the entire Constitution should be amended because there is a correlation among articles. The Constitution will focus on the fact that the people is the source of authority, especially during elections, the dedication of the institutions' role, the freedoms of the citizens and other things and basic principles.
There was a question: why we had legal reform before changing the Constitution? Logically, we must begin with the Constitution and then laws come after that. This is true in terms of logic, but people's pressure and questioning the credibility of the state that it wishes to carry out real reform, have led us to work in parallel. Moreover, issuing laws is faster in terms of time; it takes a few months and this is less than needed by the Constitution. If logic contradicts reality, we go with reality and in any case this is not an important issue. What is really important is that when laws are passed and the Constitution is drafted, we will be in a new phase which is not a transition. This is related to the legislation aspect.
As for things that we can do as initiative, we heard a lot about a national unity government. I always like to check terminology because we should not take the term without knowing its content. We hear about the national unity government in the states that have complete division on the national level between parties, a civil war, war-lords communities or princes of nationalities who are directly gathered at the table or through representatives to form a government of national unity. We do not have a national division. We have problems, we have a split in certain cases, but we do not have a national division in the sense that could be asked. I know they do not mean this, but I do not use such an expression as 'national unity government'. For this reason we do not have a government of national division. At any rate, governments in Syria are always diversified governments which include independents and various parties. But now we have a new political map for the crisis and the new Constitution. With the new parties' law, new political forces have emerged and must be taken into consideration. Some may propose the participation of all these political forces in the government. Some others focus on the opposition. I say all political parties from the center to the opposition to the pro-government forces and everyone should contribute because the government is the homeland's government not a government of a party or a state. The more we extend participation, the more benefits we achieve in all aspects and generally for the sake of the national feeling. Thus, expanding the government is a good idea. I do not know what label we may use here because some call it a national consensus and some others call it expansion participation; this does not matter. What is important is that we welcome the participation of all political forces. In fact, we started dialogue recently even in general headlines with some political forces to take their views in this participation and the answer was positive.
I want to go back to a point in the Constitution which is related to the dates. When the Committee finishes the draft constitution within the time limit, there will be several propositions either to be issued by the President as a decree, or to be referred to parliament in order to be issued by a law. I refused the first and the second and I stressed the fact that there should be a referendum because the Constitution is not the state's Constitution; it is an issue related to every Syrian citizen. Therefore, we will resort to a referendum after the committee finishes its work and presents the Constitution which will be put through constitutional channels to reach a referendum. The referendum on the Constitution could be done at the beginning of March.
Tuesday, 10 January 2012
Major General Luo Yuan
This is an interesting commentary from Major Gernal Luo Yuan of China's Peoples Liberation Army in the Liberation Army Daily. China clearly understands the military plans and strategies of imperialism, it has known ever since the revolution that led to the establishment of Communist China in 1949.
Especially interesting is the comments regarding the u.s imperialist strategy in the Asia Pacific region to develop its military presence, and develop relations with countries on the basis of militarily containing and aggressing China. The usa and uk's rapproachment with Myanmar is indeed in line with their regional strategy of trying to bring certain nations closer to their hegemony in order to isolate China. Major Luo Yuan states in the article below:
""We must be adept at maneuvering and use smart diplomacy, and the more friends we can make the better," he wrote.
"Some countries have been swindled by America, and now are walking alongside the United States out of their own interests, but in essence they don't fit together," said Luo. "They share the same bed but have different dreams.""
This is classic Chinese diplomatic strategy, the Chines realise that there is no real long term sense in any country building relations with imperialism due to imperialism economic and military decline historically, however the Chinese also realise that while imperialism is in historic decline, it is at the same time prepared to take humanity into war and trauma in a desperate attempt to maintain its domination.
Sukant Chandan - Sons of Malcolm
China top military paper warns U.S. aims to contain rise
The United States' new defense strategy focused on the Asia-Pacific region is directed at containing China's rise, the People's Liberation Army's newspaper said on Tuesday in Beijing's strongest warning yet against the new Pentagon stance.
The commentary in the Liberation Army Daily, however, also said China's sensible response to the U.S. military re-focus on Asia should be "vigilance" and smart diplomacy, not panic.
The United States is "laying out forces across the Asia-Pacific region in advance to contain the rise of China," said the commentary in the paper by Major General Luo Yuan.
Washington's assertions that the military re-focus announced last week is not directed at China are "simply making their real intent all the more obvious."
"Casting our eyes around we can see that the United States has been bolstering its five major military alliances in the Asia-Pacific region, and is adjusting the positioning of its five major military base clusters, while also seeking more entry rights for military bases around China," wrote Luo.
"Who can believe that you are not directing this at China? Isn't this the return of a Cold War mentality?"
Luo is well-known for his hawkish views, often published in popular Chinese newspapers and online. But the appearance of his commentary in the Liberation Army Daily, which is heavily vetted as the chief paper of the military, suggests that his latest comments enjoy some level of official endorsement.
On Monday, China's Ministry of Defense warned the United States to be "careful in its words and actions" after last week announcing the defense rethink that stresses responding to China's rise by shoring up U.S. alliances and bases across Asia.
The new U.S. strategy promises to boost strength in Asia in an attempt to counter China's growing ability to check U.S. power in the region, even as U.S. forces draw back elsewhere across the globe.
Under the new strategy, the United States will maintain large bases in Japan and South Korea and deploy U.S. Marines, navy ships and aircraft to Australia's Northern Territory.
The strategy also calls for countering potential attempts by China and Iran to block U.S. capabilities in areas like the South China Sea and the Strait of Hormuz.
China has sought to balance voicing its wariness about the U.S. moves with its desire for steady relations with Washington, especially as both sides grapple with domestic politics this year, when President Barack Obama faces a re-election fight and China's ruling Communist Party undergoes a leadership handover.
Luo warned against panic.
Instead, Beijing must do a better job at courting friends in the region, charming countries away from the United States' orbit, he wrote.
"In the face of this adjustment in the U.S. strategic focus, we must possess a sense of peril and maintain a high degree of vigilance, but there is no need to be alarmed about the expected," wrote Luo.
"We must be adept at maneuvering and use smart diplomacy, and the more friends we can make the better," he wrote.
"Some countries have been swindled by America, and now are walking alongside the United States out of their own interests, but in essence they don't fit together," said Luo. "They share the same bed but have different dreams."