January 2, 2016 - No. 1

In 2016 Organizing Work Will Be the Key to Our Victory

All Out for Democratic Renewal and
an Anti-War Government!

In 2016 Organizing Work Will Be the Key to Our Victory

All Out for Democratic Renewal and
an Anti-War Government!

Today, as the year 2015 has come to an end and we usher in the New Year, people all over the world are yearning for a human society; a society where all human beings can flourish and the barbarities of the present conditions are a thing of the past. On this occasion, the Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist) greets its members and supporters and all the workers, youth, students and seniors who battled so hard during 2015 to defeat the Harper dictatorship and war government. The aim of the broad masses of the people was and continues to be to end the anti-social offensive and nation-wrecking which are destroying the lives of the peoples at home and abroad. In this regard, great efforts were made to organize for people's empowerment. This work will continue throughout 2016, as the communist and workers' movement makes the building of Committees for Democratic Renewal and People's Empowerment a priority.

As 2015 comes to a close, the utter barbarity of bourgeois civil society reveals itself more and more. While the problems facing the economy and the anachronistic constitutional and political arrangements are no fault of the people, the ruling elite have launched a brutal anti-social offensive. This offensive seeks to dispossess the peoples of everything that belongs to them by right at home while wars of aggression and occupation are launched against the peoples of other countries to effect regime change and covet what belongs to them by right. The destruction of productive forces on a mass scale is creating grave dangers for the world's people and the natural environment as well.

Both at home and abroad what do we see? Do we see what we think is there, or shall we lift the veil of enforced ignorance by raising our concerns and sorting out what is happening in a manner that sorts out the problems in favour of humankind?

Establish a Public Authority Consistent with the Needs of the Times!

After deliberating on the achievements of the workers' and communist movement in 2015, CPC(M-L) has concluded that what is called civil society is a concept in tatters because all that is left of the public authority is its police powers. These police powers are outside the government of laws. A government of laws legitimizes rule; police powers do not. Police powers are used to decide who to punish and on what basis. They have a main role in maintaining the person of state which includes both government and police powers. It is done by ensuring compliance.

The number one obligation of the state is to defend the well-being of the person of state. In fact, this is how what are called liberties are secured. In this equation the state takes the absolute position which explains why the elite keep discussing the need to strike the right balance between rights and security. It has nothing to do with upholding the rights which belong to the people by virtue of their being. The problem emerges, however, of how the rule can be legitimized when everything that concerns the relations which human beings must enter into in order to live is dictated from outside the government of laws?

Far from legitimizing the rule, the unfolding events reveal that civil society is established and sustained by police powers. This in turn reveals that the peoples are no longer served by what is called a civil society. Calls by ruling elite to rewrite constitutions so that the police powers presently outside the government of laws are brought into a government of laws show the depths of irrationality which has gripped the minds and actions of the ruling elite in the imperialist heartlands. Their desperation to see the results they wish to attain come to life, no matter what, imbues their every word and deed with a madness beyond their control. This leads them to become ever more vengeful in seeking retribution when their irrational deeds do not meet with success.

From the direction of the economy, to the laws which are used to declare what can and cannot be done, to the identity which defines us and the values we must espouse, the police powers and government, which together form the person of state, decide. Civil society's promise to provide equality, prosperity and peaceful relations within and between nations lies in tatters. The more elusive its promise becomes, the more the ruling elite speak in its name.

This is what we see. Once it is revealed that the rights civil society was created to provide were defined by the police powers as property rights or to preserve property rights, it follows that modern definitions of rights are required on the basis that people have rights by virtue of being human. So too arrangements must be brought into being which favour the peoples, not the financial oligarchs whose rule is tearing society asunder and inflicting wars for the redivision of the world. And once all that is left of the public good is the police powers, where is the "good" which people want restored and to whom should they appeal to restore it?

These are the challenges we must take up in 2016. Or are we to be driven mad by utopian liberal ideals of what might be if only we all espouse the right thinking and conduct ourselves in the right way? Can individual and collective rights be brought on par on the basis of expectations spun out of liberal illusions or will succumbing to liberal illusions provide a basis for individual and collective forms of punishment?

Let Us Together Provide Society with a Modern Definition of Rights!

What is the work we must accomplish in 2016? What does the New Year hold in store? How can we take up the major concerns of the peoples in a manner that provides solutions which open society's path to progress?

CPC(M-L) thinks that a good starting point is to recognize that the problems which exist in fact reveal for all to see a glimpse of the new world which is striving to be born. For the New to come into being and problems to be sorted out, it is incumbent on the working class to raise the expectation that the economy must be organized to fulfill its responsibilities to the people and society. It must deprive monopoly right of its power to deprive the actual producers of what belongs to them by right. A new direction is required to solve the economy's fundamental problems and contradictions, and to mobilize the full power of the socialized economy, in particular the human factor/social consciousness.

Finance capital cannot harmonize individuals and collectives and thus it increasingly resorts to exercising the power of public authority through police powers. But while police powers may permit robbery, they cannot sort out the problems of the economy.

An economy is an integrated whole. For the economy to function an equilibrium must be established. Individual right cannot be reduced to a property right which must be provided with a guarantee no matter what. It requires at a minimum the recognition of the rights of the actual producers. Individual right must be defined on a new basis while collective rights must be put on par and both harmonized within the context of the general interests of society. These general interests are greater than the sum of its parts.

The ruling elite with their sycophants, pundits, leading academic lights and monopolized media nonetheless blame their inability to sort out the fundamental contradictions at the base of the economy on the working class and people. They loathe their resistance and struggle for their rights and their very right to be. The more the contradictions inherent in the relations of production split the society asunder, the more irrational the elite become. Evidence of this is seen in the refusal to renew the political process so as to eliminate the role of power and privilege and permit the participation of the people in creating the conditions for their own living. It is seen in the promotion of fraudulent schemes, double standards and hypocrisy to cover up self-serving agenda. The increasing use of the courts, prisons and detention camps to keep the people in check and the deployment of police and armed forces to make the problems go away are acts of desperation, not acts of finding solutions to the problems which exist.

Far from the people and their existence being the cause of the problems at home and wars abroad, the peoples' resistance gives rise to a forward-looking perspective and direction and a bright future. Actions which criminalize the workers and peoples for trying to solve the problems which face them and their societies reveal a criminal outlook which must also be opposed.

Organizing Work Will Be the Key to Our Victory

In 2016, CPC(M-L) thinks organization will be the key to our victory. The Party dedicates all its efforts to assist the working class to put on its agenda the necessity to develop its organization, thinking, practical politics and empowerment to attain a determining influence over the political affairs of the country and broad control of the economy in all the basic sectors. This entails depriving those who own and control great social wealth, the imperialist bourgeoisie and their state, of the power to deprive the working class of its empowerment and right to democratic renewal and a new direction for the economy.

For the working class to become a dynamic Proletarian Front it must have its own organizational forms, theory and practical politics. To move forward, the communist and workers' movement must look to itself and what it needs to do to accomplish its tasks within the objective conditions. To succumb to the siren song of convincing the imperialist bourgeoisie to change and behave in a pro-social manner is not an option. Change comes when the social class which produces the wealth society depends on for its living is organized and pursues its own independent politics, theory and actions with analysis.

This year, CPC(M-L) is also putting its full weight behind efforts by Youth for Democratic Renewal to make sure a political climate prevails across the country. The youth will organize themselves to oppose attempts to liquidate the people's political movement on the basis of post-modern irrationality and incoherence. Volunteerist programs which claim to deliver progressive solutions while the right to conscience and behaviour of those who do not agree to fall in step are criminalized must be opposed. Only by involving everyone in political forums where people raise their concerns and sort them out and enlightened solutions are discussed can the conditions be created whereby the youth can organize a bright future for themselves.

In 2016, let us work to establish a public authority consistent with the needs of the times! Let us work so that society provides itself with a modern definition of rights!

In 2016, All Out for Democratic Renewal and an Anti-War Government!

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57th Anniversary of the Triumph of the Cuban Revolution

Long Live the Cuban Revolution!

Celebration of the 57th Anniversary of the Cuban Revolution
Saturday, January 9, 2016 -- 6:00 pm
Casa Maiz, 1280 Finch Ave. W. (East of Keele), Unit #204
For poster, click here.
Organized by: Toronto Forum on Cuba, Juan Gualberto Association of Cubans in Toronto, CCFA-Toronto and others
For information:

The Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist) joins the Cuban people and people all over the world in celebrating the 57th anniversary of the triumph of the Cuban Revolution. On the occasion of this important anniversary, the Party sends militant revolutionary greetings to the legendary leader of the Cuban people Comrade Fidel Castro, to Comrade Raúl Castro who is boldly leading Cuba through the complexities and difficulties at this time to fortify the Revolution and ensure the people's well-being, and to the Cuban people, whose outstanding achievements at home and abroad are celebrated by the world's peoples as their own, with many more yet to come.

Since January 1, 1959 when the Cuban revolution triumphed, Revolutionary Cuba has accomplished great things on all fronts of life and work. It has done this despite the brutal, inhuman blockade of the U.S. imperialists designed to starve the people, crush their efforts to create a human-centred society and defeat the Revolution.

This year's anniversary comes in the context the ongoing renovation and consolidation of Cuba's socialist economy and the important developments taking place in the year since diplomatic relations were re-established with the U.S. While the return of all the Cuban Five anti-terrorist heroes to their homeland and other developments are historic and important achievements, the main impediment to the proper development of Cuba's economy and the full normalization of relations continues to be the U.S. criminal blockade. The blockade must be lifted immediately!

CPC(M-L) calls on everyone to go all out in 2016 to deepen the friendship between the Cuban and Canadian peoples and see to it that the U.S. blockade is finally brought to an end.

Long Live Revolutionary Cuba!

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National Assembly of People's Power Reiterates
Fidelity to Principles and Ideals for Which
Generations of Cubans Have Fought

On December 29, the Sixth Ordinary Session of the Eighth Legislature of the National Assembly of People's Power was held, the second of its biannual meetings. In plenary, deputies approved the 2016 National Economic Plan and the State Budget, which were looked at in detail in permanent parliamentary commissions in the three days prior to the plenary.

Remarks by President Castro

The President of the Councils of State and Ministers, Army General Raúl Castro Ruz, in his speech to close the session, stated that the history of Cuba's Revolution is full of glorious chapters in the face of challenges, risks and threats.

President Castro noted that despite the economic crisis and the U.S. economic, commercial and financial blockade of Cuba, the country's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew by four per cent in 2015 and will continue to grow in 2016, albeit at a slower pace.

President Castro noted that the number of foreign tourists visiting the country this year rose to 3.5 million; the highest number recorded to date. He also reaffirmed the Cuban government's intention to honour its commitments resulting from the agreements reached in the renegotiation of the country's debt.

Regarding the issue of relations with the U.S., President Castro stressed that Cuba has repeatedly advised the U.S. government that in order to normalize bilateral relations, the blockade must be lifted. "The essential thing now is that President Barack Obama uses with determination his vast executive powers to modify the implementation of the blockade, which would give meaning to what has been achieved so far and permit solid progress to continue," he said.

President Castro also reiterated that the territory illegally occupied by the U.S. Naval Base at Guantánamo must be returned. He also reaffirmed that in its relations with the U.S., "Cuba should not be asked to abandon its independence nor renounce the principles and ideals for which generations of Cubans have fought for a century and a half."

A related matter addressed by the Cuban president was the plight of thousands of Cuban migrants left stranded in Costa Rica en route to the U.S. Cuba has long demanded that the U.S. end the politicization of its migration policy that encourages illegal, unsafe and disorderly migration.

Last month, Nicaragua closed its border and prohibited an influx of people attempting to enter the country. Guatemala and Belize quickly followed suit after Mexico said it would also refuse them entry, arguing that its current migration laws would prohibit such a move. However, an agreement with the Costa Rican government was made December 28 to relocate the thousands of Cubans. According to a release from Costa Rica's Presidency, the countries agreed to conduct a pilot exercise to fly out some of the Cubans to El Salvador, where they would be put on buses to cross Guatemala and enter Mexico, Prensa Latina reports.

"Our government has been in contact from the very beginning of this situation with the region's governments, searching for a suitable and quick solution, as Pope Francis has also called for, and taking into account the difficult circumstances of the migrants," said Castro.

Remarks by Other Cuban Leaders

With the forthcoming celebration of the January 1 anniversary of the triumph of the Revolution, Esteban Lazo, President of the National Assembly, acknowledged the people's contribution to build a prosperous and sustainable socialist system. He highlighted the work of the deputies and delegates in response to proposals, complaints and suggestions from the public.

Likewise, Lazo reiterated that the right to independence, sovereignty and self-determination are essential to the defence of the Cuban people. He reaffirmed that "economic, diplomatic and political relations with any other state can never be negotiated in the presence of aggression, threat or coercion by a foreign power."

Marino Murillo, a member of the Party Political Bureau, a vice president of the Council of Ministers and Minister of Economy and Planning, explained that the four per cent growth in Cuba's GDP this year was mainly due to the acquisition of cash advances, contracts to secure credit, as well as a downward trend in the price of imports.

Murillo noted that all sectors have seen an increase with respect to 2014 and referred specifically to the sugar industry, which grew by 16.9 per cent, construction by 11.9 per cent and manufacturing by 9.9 per cent.

He stressed the need to prioritize and protect domestic producers in order to further reduce imports. He added that the average monthly wage of workers in the state enterprise sector had increased, although this is still insufficient, considering retail prices.

Murillo outlined the main areas in which the country is working to achieve the expected economic growth in 2016. Among these, he mentioned the need to enhance efficiency in the use of hard currency, to take advantage of the downward trend in prices, for the rational use of stocks and supplies, and for consumption rates that encourage savings.

He announced that growth is estimated to be around two per cent next year, with the largest increases projected in construction, hotels and restaurants, agriculture, livestock, forestry, transport, warehousing, communications, the sugar industry and the supply of electricity, water and gas. He added that "Considering the current global crisis, the two per cent increase of the gross domestic product in 2016 is also favourable."

Minister of Finance and Prices Lina Pedraza noted that calculations regarding the implementation of the State Budget for 2015 reflected the Economic Plan, such that estimates for net income were met to the tune of 97 per cent and total costs are on the order of 96 per cent of the amount forecast.

She insisted that this year's budget dedicated 30 per cent and 23 per cent respectively to public health and education, adding that 9 billion pesos were allocated for the enterprise sector, mainly to the Ministry of Agriculture, the AZCUBA business groups (in the sugar industry) and the food industry.

The 2016 State Budget was unanimously approved by the deputies. It includes a fiscal deficit of 6,000,223,200 pesos, representing 7.1 per cent of GDP, at current prices.

New Member of the Council of State and Supreme Court Lay Judges Elected

During the afternoon session, the deputies elected Jennifer Bello Martínez, president of the Federation of University Students, as a member of the Council of State, replacing Abelardo Colomé Ibarra, who was relieved of his responsibilities at this level due to health problems.

This is the first time a student leader has held a position on this important governmental body, confirming the confidence of the Revolution in youth, Granma International writes.

In addition, 285 lay judges for the People's Supreme Court (TSP) were elected; 28 assigned to the military chamber and 257 to other TSP chambers.

Review of Cuba's Economic Reality by Parliamentary Commissions

The performance of the economy and forecasts for 2016 were closely analyzed by the ten permanent commissions of the National Assembly that met at Havana's Convention Center from December 26 to 28.

Minister of Economy and Planning Murillo reported that 58 per cent of the resources in next year's Economic Plan will be directed toward investments in areas that are key to the country's development, such as tourism, which will receive 1.3 billion pesos; the oil industry; renewable energy sources; and agriculture, with a budget of 600 million pesos.

During the final sessions of the parliamentary commissions, Murillo called for a continued policy of savings, increased production of material goods and the reduction of imports.

Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, First Vice President of the Councils of State and Ministers, participated in the Education, Culture, Science, Technology and Environment Commission, where the application of scientific innovation in food production was analyzed.

In discussing the connection between the university and society, Dr. Rodolfo Alarcón Ortiz, Minister of Higher Education, reviewed the major changes implemented in this sector.

Among the most significant changes are the reduction to four years for degrees in pedagogical studies, beginning next September; the integration of universities; the creation of short-cycle higher education as a new level of education; and the incorporation of the English language as a mandatory requirement in every degree course.

This commission also highlighted the role of family, school and other institutions in the formation of values. Following the presentation of a report by the Ministry of Culture on confronting social indiscipline in this and other sectors, the deputies agreed to work on how to achieve a comprehensive culture for the society.

The Health and Sports Commission addressed the country's preparations in the lead up to the 2016 Olympic Summer Games in Brazil, Cuban demographics, population aging, funeral services and primary health care.

The Defense Commission included in its agenda the impact of drought in 137 municipalities, 37 of which are moderately affected, 50 that are severely affected and another 50 that face extreme difficulties.

In the Care for Children, Youth and Equal Rights for Women Commission, National Assembly President Lazo, also a member of the Communist Party of Cuba's Political Bureau, affirmed the need to encourage workers in the non-state sector. This sector currently employs more than half a million Cubans, three out of ten of whom are young people, with an equal proportion of women.

The International Relations Commission focused on the upcoming Fourth Summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) to be held January 27 in Quito, Ecuador, that will focus on the reduction of social inequality in the region. The commission outlined proposals to be presented there.

As well, Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez reviewed the results of Cuba's foreign policy in 2015 and described it as outstanding work. For the coming year, Rodriguez said advances in Cuba's relations with the U.S. are expected based on the lifting of the blockade and the return of the territory in Guantánamo.

On the links with the countries of the region, Rodriguez explained that Cuba continued the struggle against the onslaught of U.S. imperialism, the oligarchy and in defence of revolutionary processes such as those in Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia and Nicaragua.

(Granma International, Prensa Latina, Xinhua. Photos: CubaDebate)

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Central Committee of Communist Party
Holds Twelfth Plenum

The Twelfth Plenum of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba convened (CPC) on December 26. The proceedings were presided over by Raúl Castro Ruz in his capacity as the Party's First Secretary. It assessed the renovation of the Cuban economic and social model of socialist development, and the report on the progress on the work objectives adopted at the First National Conference of the Party in January 2012.

Granma newspaper reported that during the meeting CPC leaders analyzed aspects related to the Party's political organization and the leading role of Party militants at all levels to ensure full compliance with the Revolution's political, economic and social policies.

Several speakers made reference to the positive influence on the daily work of the organization and the continuity of the guidelines outlined by the First Secretary during the conclusions of that conference.

The Plenum noted that progress has been made in the functioning of the structures of the Party at all levels and revealed how its organizations have particularly focused on the implementation of the Economic and Social Policy Guidelines set by the Party's 6th Congress in 2011 throughout their meetings and plenary sessions.

However, it was acknowledged that shortcomings remain in the work of the organization, which should be rectified in the shortest time possible.

The Plenary considered it appropriate to continue to discuss the issues associated with the renovation of the country's development model and resume their analysis in January.

Members of the Central Committee also analyzed the performance of the Cuban economy in 2015, as well as the reports on the Economic Plan and State Budget for 2016, which were submitted for the approval of the National Assembly of People's Power on December 29.

(Granma International, Prensa Latina. Photo: Granma International)

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212th Anniversary of the Haitian Revolution

Haitians Defend Historic Victory for Rights and Liberty

"Combat de Vertières" by Patrick Noze, oil on canvas, from Haitian Art in the Diaspora. The Battle of Vertières was the decisive conflict of the Haitian revolution, fought in November 1803.

January 1, 2016 marked the 212th anniversary of the Haitian Revolution. Beginning in 1791, the organized resistance of the enslaved peoples of the French colony of Saint-Domingue took hold and eventually overthrew both slavery and colonial rule. The revolutionaries led by Toussaint L'Ouverture and Jean-Jacques Dessalines fought off successive European powers -- the French, Spanish and British -- to proudly establish their independent republic, Haiti, in 1804.

The Haitian Revolution was an earth-shattering development in the struggle for the emancipation of labour all over the world and the establishment of citizenship rights on a modern basis, namely that they belong to people by virtue of their being human as members of a body politic. This was a decisive break from the conception of rights of the colonial powers based on the ownership of property and a system of privileges. Haiti's outstanding achievement continues to have great relevance for its people today and all the peoples of world who are fighting for new arrangements that recognize rights on a modern basis.

From 1804 to the present, the colonial and imperial powers have worked non-stop to wreak vengeance on the Haitian nation-building project to once again enslave the people so that their historic example cannot inspire other nations and peoples in their struggles against slavery, colonialism and imperialism.

A serious assault on the Haitian people came in 2004 when a military coup was staged against the democratically-elected President of Haiti Jean-Bertrand Aristide, organized by the U.S., France and Canada.

The Liberal governments of Jean Chrétien and Paul Martin were fully embroiled in this dirty deed. Denis Paradis, as Secretary of State for La Francophonie (currently Liberal MP for Brome--Missisquoi) played a key role in setting the stage for this coup in 2003. Paradis hosted a "diplomatic" event in Ottawa in January 2003 called the Ottawa Initiative on Haiti in which representatives from the U.S., France, Canada and the Organization of American States agreed on the need to remove Aristide and put Haiti under "trusteeship."[1] Paradis' successor as Minister responsible for La Francophonie was Denis Coderre (current Mayor of Montreal), who also served as special advisor on Haiti to Prime Minister Paul Martin. In February 2004, one year after the Ottawa meeting, Canadian troops took over the Port-au-Prince airport while U.S. marines kidnapped Aristide and removed him from the country.

This coup set the stage for the "death-squad democracy" used to brutally suppress the progressive and popular forces in Haiti. It is to their great disgrace that Canada, France and the U.S. not only staged the coup but, along with the United Nations and legions of so-called non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to this day do not permit Haiti to recover from the devastating earthquake of January 12, 2010.

The ongoing foreign occupation and humiliation of Haiti must be ended. Under the guise of the UN, the MINUSTAH peacekeeping force in Haiti has been directly involved in suppressing the Haitian people's popular actions against foreign domination of Haiti's politics and economy. As well, the Haitian National Police, (PNH), disbanded by Aristide for its brutality and corruption, was revived after the coup and its members trained by Canadian police forces. Many NGOs in Haiti have been put in place by the imperialists to do their dirty work of disorganizing the political mobilization of the people for independence and self-determination. With the coup and nation-wrecking imposed on Haiti, these NGOs often operate under the guise of replacing the public services and social programs destroyed by the imperialists.

The consequences of the 2004 coup are also evident in the crisis and corruption imposed on Haiti's electoral system, to ensure that the people cannot elect a government which defends their interests. Outgoing president Michel Martelly, a disciple of the hated Duvalier dictatorship, was virtually appointed by the U.S. to defend monopoly right and facilitate the further plunder of Haiti and its people. The political crisis is such that the presidential election, in which a runoff was to take place December 27, 2015, has been thoroughly discredited and postponed to January 17.

The indomitable spirit of the Haitian revolutionaries lives on in their descendants who will surely prevail once again. On the anniversary of their extraordinary achievement, TML Weekly sends its militant revolutionary greetings to the heroic people of Haiti and all those in the diaspora, including those who are part of the ranks of the Canadian and Quebec working class. The attempts to enslave Haiti anew attest to the profound racism and inhumanity of the imperialists and the need to settle scores with them once and for all. Peace- and justice-loving Canadians must continue the work to see that Haiti achieves justice, especially that Canada cease its diplomatic, military and police interference in Haitian affairs, and make reparations for its criminal role in the 2004 coup.

All Out to Support the Haitian People to See that Justice Is Done!


1. "Secret Ottawa Meeting to Overthrow President Aristide Revealed," Jean Saint-Vil, December 31, 2013.

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Electoral Crisis Postpones Second Round of Presidential Election to January 17

Port-au-Prince, November 12, 2015. One of the ongoing mass protests against fraud
in the Haitian presidential election.
(J. Voordouw)

As a result of concerted political action by the Haitian people in defence of their rights, the second round of the Haitian presidential election has been postponed from December 27 to January 17. This comes amidst a crisis among the country's U.S.-backed ruling circles which have been unable to bestow legitimacy on the electoral process that keeps the vast majority of Haitians disempowered while foreign powers call the shots. The Haitian people are saying No! to more attempts by U.S., France and other colonial powers to interfere in their elections and block their striving to determine their own destiny.

The results of the first round of voting on October 24 put Jovenel Moïse of the ruling PHTK party and Jude Célestin, former advisor to the previous Haitian government of René Préval and former head of Haiti's state construction company, as the leading candidates to square off in the second round.

However, not only did almost 70 per cent of voters not cast a ballot in the first round, it was reported that close to 23 per cent of the eligible voters were not even registered to vote, nearly 10 per cent more than in the previous election in 2010. Despite the refusal of Haitians to participate and the widespread reports of irregularities,[1] the U.S. government, international observers, the ruling party as well as the Haitian Provincial Electoral Council all endorsed the first round election results as fair and legitimate. Haitians reject these "results" and are demanding that the authorities account for their actions.

The Haitian people held nationwide demonstrations to protest the ballot tampering by the ruling party on December 17 and continue to demand an independent investigation into election fraud. After weeks of delaying tactics Haitian Prime Minister Evans Paul called for a special electoral commission to look into the alleged electoral fraud, which was given three days to conclude its investigation. However, the commission was not even able to conduct its first meeting as it was itself mired in crisis, thus leading to the impasse in the elections and the announcement that the vote would not take place on December 27. President Michel Martelly has attempted to resolve the impasse by declaring that the next round of voting will take place January 17, which the Provincial Electoral Council says is the latest date that would make it possible to inaugurate a new president by the February 7 constitutional deadline.


1. "Another U.S.-Backed Electoral Coup in Haiti: Violence and Fraud Used to Disenfranchise the People," TML Weekly, October 31, 2015 - No. 34.

(With files from Haiti Sentinel, TeleSUR)

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Turkish-ISIL Oil Trade

Iraq, Iran, Syria, and Russia All Accuse Turkey of Smuggling Oil

Because of the Turkish government's role in the multi-spectrum U.S.-led war against the Syrian Arab Republic, a war of words has ignited between Ankara and Moscow. Russia, however, is not alone in accusing Turkey of being involved in the theft of Syrian and Iraqi oil. Turkish opposition politicians, Turkish media, and various governments in the Middle East have also raised their voices about the role of Turkish officials in smuggling from the conflict zones in Syria and Iraq.

Russo-Turkish Tensions

A Russian Sukhoi Su-24M tactical bomber jet operating in Syrian airspace at the request of Damascus was shot down by two Turkish F-16 Fighting Falcon fighter jets at 9:30 a.m. Moscow Standard Time (or, according to local time in the war theatre, 8:30 a.m. Eastern European Time) on November 24, 2015. The Kremlin reacted by asking for an explanation and apology. The Russian military quickly summoned the Turkish military attaché in Moscow and called the Su-24M's downing an unfriendly act by Ankara while Russian President Vladimir Putin, speaking from Sochi during a meeting with Jordan's King Abdullah II, described it as a "stab in the back, carried out against us by accomplices of terrorists." Ramzan Kadyrov, the leader of the Chechen Republic, would later describe the Turkish attack as an assault on the opponents of the so-called Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/ISIS/IS/DAESH) by the Turkish government on behalf of the U.S..

On the day of the Russian jet's downing, Turkey would immediately call for consultations of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) to be held at 4:00 p.m. Greenwich Mean Time. It would get NATO's backing against Russia. In 2012, however, both the NATO and Turkish positions were the opposite. When a Turkish F-4 Phantom reconnaissance jet was shot down by the Syrians on June 22, the Turkish government and NATO said that such a short-term violation did not merit a military response by the Syrians.

The analysis of the Kremlin quickly concluded that the Turkish attack on the Su-24M was intentional. Russo-Turkish tensions began to mount. "We have serious doubts this was an unintended incident and believe this is a planned provocation," Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov announced two days later, on November 26, after meeting Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu.

When Ankara refused to apologize, the Kremlin reacted by banning Turkish food imports and barring citizens of the Russian Federation from travelling to Turkey as tourists. Moscow also announced that it suspended negotiations for the construction of the Turk Stream gas pipeline crossing the Black Sea, but Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan counter-claimed that the Turkish government had already decided to end consultations on Turk Stream due to Russian non-compliance with Turkish demands. In an announcement that pleased Washington, Erdogan also threatened to turn away from Russia as an energy trading partner by finding and switching to new energy suppliers -- a point that should be kept in mind when Ankara's ties to the Kurdistan Regional Government and the Turkish military deployment to the Mosul District in Iraq are analyzed.

Despite Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu's claims that an open line of communication was needed between Ankara and Moscow, the flight plans of the Russian bomber jet had been given to the Pentagon as a means of reducing the risk of collisions and accidents in the air between the Russian Federation and Washington's military cohort. The Turkish government, however, claimed that the Su-24M was shot down over its territory, but this was sharply rejected by the data provided by Russia and Syria. Even Turkish statements that the Su-24M was flying away from Turkey create doubts about the Turkish government's claims. By Ankara's own account the Russian bomber was only in Turkish airspace for a few seconds, but this is mathematically inconsistent with Turkish claims that ten warnings were issued to the Su-24M in a period of five minutes. It is also universally recognized that the Russian pilots parachuted inside Syrian territory. The only way the Turkish argument, which has been supported by the U.S. envoy at the North Atlantic Council, could even make sense is if Ankara's argument was deceptively formulated on an illegal assessment by Ankara under which the Turkish military operates as though the Turkish border has been extended by eight kilometers southward into Syrian territory.

The day after the Su-24M's downing, on November 25, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu announced that the S-400 mobile air defense system was being deployed to Russia's Khmeimim (Hmeymim) Airbase in Latakia; the S-400s were then airlifted from Russia to Syria by means of the Antonov An-124 Ruslan strategic cargo jumbo jet on November 26. In an indirect message to Turkey and the U.S., the Russian Aerospace Defense Forces announced that Sukhoi Su-34 fighter-bombers equipped with air-to-air missiles -- used for air combat -- were operating in Syria. The Russian Navy would also deploy the Moskva guided missile cruiser off the Levantine coast in the waters of the Eastern Mediterranean. Putin took a vow a few weeks later, on December 11, during a meeting with Chief of the Russian Armed Forces General Staff Valery Gerasimov that the Russian military will "immediately destroy" any hostile player threatening Russian operations in Syria.

Black Gold Rush: Looting Syrian and Iraqi Oil

Even more damning to Turkish officials, respectively on November 24 and December 2, Putin and Russian Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov publicly revealed that Turkey was buying oil from the ISIL terrorists and that President Erdogan and his family were personally profiting from the theft of oil from Syria. Russia had already presented evidence a few weeks earlier at the G-20 meeting in Antalya that some members of the forum were helping finance the ISIL. While Erdogan's government and Washington rejected this, the hard evidence, from witness statements and videos to oil shipment data from Turkey's own port of Ceyhan incriminate Turkey as the transit point for the oil that the ISIL has been stealing.

As early as June 2014, Turkish parliamentarian Ali Ediboglu, the Meclis representative of the Turkish border province of Hatay on the Syrian border, revealed that 800 million U.S. dollars worth of stolen Syrian oil was being sold to Turkey by the insurgents and terrorists in Syria. His statements were followed by similar accusations by the Turkish newspaper Taraf Gazetesi. The Wall Street Journal even casually revealed that the major political parties in Turkey had long accused Erdogan's government of being in bed with the terrorists by writing that "Moscow has resurrected accusations by rivals of Turkey's most powerful leaders that Ankara has covertly fueled the rise of Islamic State [IS/ISIL], deepening the diplomatic rift over last week's shootdown of a Russian bomber."

Mowaffak Al-Rubaie, who the U.S. had appointed as the national security advisor of Iraq in July 2003, would corroborate that Ankara was involved with the ISIL oil stealing operations on November 28, 2015. A few weeks later, on December 7, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi would add his voice to accusations by saying during a meeting with German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier that most the oil that the ISIL was stealing from Iraq and Syria was being smuggled and sold via Turkey.

Referring to the theft of oil from his own country, Syrian Information Minister Omran Al-Zoubi told RIA Novosti that Erdogan had personally ordered the Turkish military to shoot down the Sukhoi Su-24M as a reprisal for the Russian airstrikes against the ISIL oil smuggling business that was managed by his son, Necmettin Bilal Erdogan. A short time later, various reports surfaced about Bilal Erdogan's ownership of a BMZ Group-affiliated Maltese shipping business named the Oil Transportation and Shipping Company. It was also reported that over a hundred oil tankers belonged to the Turkish Bayrak Company owned by Berat Albayrak, who is Erdogan's son-in-law who was appointed Turkey's energy and natural resource minister by Prime Minister Davutoglu after the Turkish general elections on November 1, 2015.

In a similar context, Turkey has been accused of stealing industrial equipment from Aleppo and Syrian historical artifacts. Speaking to Reuters, the director-general of antiquities and museums in Syria, Maamoun Abdulkarim, has testified that over two thousand stolen Syrian artifacts are being kept in Turkey and that the Turkish government refused to document or return the historical artifacts that have been looted. These antiquities from places like the Roman ruins of Palmyra are being resold through Turkey on the international black market. According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), historic sites in Syria have been looted "on an industrial scale" by the ISIL and other insurgent groups supported by Turkey.

The evidence provided by Russia was corroborated by Tehran. Iran had been complaining about Turkey's illegal oil smuggling operations in Syria and Iraq before the Kremlin even made its revelations. Laleh Eftekhari, an Iranian parliamentarian sent an open letter on December 2 to President Erdogan's wife, Emine Erdogan, asking her how she could remain silent about Bilal's criminal activities.

Erdogan reacted to the Iranian position by claiming in front of the Turkish public that he had demanded to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to halt criticism from the Iranian media and that Tehran stops supporting Russian revelations about his family's involvement in the illegal oil trade. On December 4, Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hussein Jaber Ansari diplomatically responded by saying that the Turkish government should instead reverse its disastrous regional policies and support for terrorism, whereas other Iranian officials said that Erdogan was blatantly lying about his exchange with Rouhani. Mohsen Rezaie, the Iranian Expediency Discernment Council's secretary, responded by saying that "Iranian military advisors in Syria have taken photos and filmed all the routes used by ISIL's oil tankers to Turkey; these documents can be published."

Iran is unequivocally supportive of the Russian position in Syria. Despite the analyses arguing that the Russian military presence in Syria is marginalizing the Iranians in Syria, Moscow and Tehran are working closely together. Russian airstrikes in Syria have been coordinated with Iranian ground operations. Russian operations in Syria are believed to have been discussed when Qassem Soleimani, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard commander fighting the ISIL in Syria and Iraq, visited Moscow in August 2015. Russia military jets have been using Iranian military bases to enter Syria, Iranian military jets are escorting Russian bombers to Syria through Iranian airspace, and Tehran has allowed the Russian Navy's Caspian Flotilla to use its waters and airspace. Even U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has complained that the two powers operate in tandem in regards to the conflict in Syria.

Russia is not alone, militarily or in its charges against Turkish officials. While NATO has backed Turkey, the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), Syria, Iraq, and Iran have backed the Russian position against Turkey. Like the Russian Federation, the major countries bordering Turkey, as well as politicians within Turkey, also accuse Erdogan's government of working with the ISIL and stealing oil from Iraq and Syria.


Ominous Timing: Turkish Dispatch to Mosul

Amidst the Russo-Turkish row, the Turkish government dispatched a Turkish battalion of twenty-five M-60 Patton tanks to the Mosul District of Iraq's Ninawa Governorate. The Turkish press even announced that Ankara had declared that it was establishing a permanent military base inside Iraq's Mosul District. The Iraqi federal government reacted immediately by calling the Turkish move a hostile act that violated international law and Iraqi sovereignty.

Ankara tried to justify its military deployment to the Iraqi town of Bashiqa, in the close proximity of 30 kilometers to the northeastern outskirts of the ISIL-controlled city of Mosul, by claiming that it was a routine rotation of military personnel. Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu claimed that the Turkish military had been dispatched to the area to train and reorganize Iraqi locals to fight the ISIL at the request of Baghdad. The Turkish deployment was presented as part of an ongoing process of security cooperation between Iraq and Turkey by Davutoglu and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

At first the Turkish government claimed that the deployment was approved by the Iraqi federal government and military, but this was quickly rejected as untrue in Baghdad by President Mohammed Fouad Masum, Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi, Foreign Minister Ibrahim Al-Jaafari, and Defence Minister Khaled Al-Obeidi. Not only was the Turkish deployment rejected by the Iraqi government, it was also described as much too big for a training mission and Erdogan was derided as an outright liar by Iraqi authorities and parliamentarians. Then Ankara tried to defend its actions by absurdly claiming that it was approved by the Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Government.

The Turkish-Kurdistan Regional Government Alliance: Dividing Iraq?

It turned out that the senior diplomat Feridun Sinirlioglu, who was Turkey's foreign minister at the time, in violation of international law had made an illegal agreement with the corrupt Kurdistan Regional Government President Massoud Barzani for establishing the base in the Mosul District on November 4, 2015. As a regional government, the Kurdistan Regional Government has no constitutional authority to make defensive agreements without the Iraqi federal government in Baghdad. Nor does it have legal jurisdiction over the area the Turkish military deployed to. Bashiqa is in disputed territory in the Nineveh Governorate that Kurdistan Regional Government claims. Other territorial claims include Diyala Governorate, Kirkuk Governorate, and Saladin Governorate. In June 2014, Massoud Barzani took advantage of the ISIL offensive on Mosul to send his forces to take control over these territories while the Iraqi military was busy fighting. Thus, in parallel to the ISIL offensive against Iraq from Syria, the Kurdistan Regional Government opportunistically used the ISIL attacks to send its Peshmerga troops into the energy-rich Kirkuk Governorate, to gain control over part of the Mosul District, and unilaterally take control of the territory that the Iraqi federal government administrated.

The excuses from the Turkish government continued as tensions with Iraq increased. Instead of removing the Turkish military unit that was sent to Bashiqa, Ankara pledged not to send any more military reinforcements until Baghdad's concerns were placated. Indirectly meaning Iran and Russia, Davutoglu would write in a letter to Baghdad saying the governments "who are disturbed by the cooperation of Turkey and Iraq and who want to end it should not be allowed to attain their goal" on December 6, 2015.

Dragging his feet, Erdogan would add that it was "out of the question" and "impossible" to remove the Turkish military units and that the Turkish unit had been sent to Iraq to protect Turkish military trainers and advisors who he argued were posted 15 to 20 kilometers from the ISIL's positions. Interestingly, there has been no record of the Turkish forces ever facing a serious attack by the ISIL, during the zenith of the terrorist organization's full strength, before the Russian strikes in Syria commenced on September 30. Speaking on Turkish television, President Erdogan would blame Iran and Russia for engineering the crisis between Turkey and Iraq, and then ingenuously arguing that his government's soldiers had entered Iraq to defend Turkish security interests and that Ankara did not have the luxury of waiting for the invitation of the central Iraqi government while Turkey was under threat from the ISIL. Mohammed Ali Al-Hakim, the Iraqi ambassador to the United Nations, would eventually deliver a letter from Baghdad to the UN Security Council on December 11 asking the UN to get Turkey to withdraw its military from Iraq.

Ankara's deployment to the outskirts of Mosul is a reaction to the successful campaigns by Iran, Russia, Syria, Iraq, and Hezbollah -- the security alliance also referred to as the "4+1" -- in weakening the ISIL. For the first time ever, the Turkish military had entered Iraq's northern region without the justification of fighting Kurds. Calculating that the Iraqi federal government will be able to refocus its attention on the territorial dispute with the Kurdistan Regional Government, the Turkish deployments are meant to help the Kurdistan Regional Government consolidate the territory and energy reserves it opportunistically annexed from the Iraqi federal government in 2014; it was also revealed by Ankara that it intended to dispatch Turkish soldiers and military equipment to the Soran and Qala Cholan districts near the Iranian border.

Iraqi parliamentarians, like Awatif Nima, have accused Turkey of entering Iraq to help the ISIL in Mosul and working to partition Iraq. Turkey has been cultivating ties with the clans of Mosul, particularly the Nujaifis. Turkish support for Iraqi Kurdistan's separate oil export capacity has also weakened the unity of Iraq and the finances of both Baghdad and the Kurdistan Regional Government.

Speaking to Al Jazeera in Orwellian language on December 9, Erdogan claimed that the governments in Iraq, Iran, and Syria were executing sectarian policies and then himself justified the Turkish deployment to the Mosul District in sectarian language. He told Al Jazeera that Turkey had elevated its military presence to protect Iraq's Arabs, Turkomans, and Kurds that are Sunni Muslims. He then added that the Sunni Muslims all need to be armed and trained to fight, which is the objective of Turkey's mission. In this regard, not only has Turkey been planning to train and arm the Kurdistan Regional Government's security forces, but it is also planning on doing the same with local volunteers in Zilkan that the Kurdistan Regional Government and Peshmerga Major-General Noorudeen Herki supportively claim are part of the Hashad Al-Watani in the Mosul District. Regardless of any affiliation to the Hashad Al-Watani, the "volunteers" in Mosul may end up being like the U.S. and its allies' trained and supported so-called "moderates" that later joined the ISIL in Syria.

Preparing for the Aftermath of the Future ISIL Defeat in Iraq?

Iraqis protest against Turkish troops in Mosul.

Despite Erdogan's assertions that the Turkish forces in the Mosul District could not leave, they were redeployed northward inside Iraq into territory administered by the Kurdistan Regional Government on December 14. Prime Minister Davutoglu's office commented that this was a part of a "new arrangement" where ten to twelve of the tanks were being relocated northwards. While Turkey attempted to get some legal backing from the Kurdistan Regional Government for its military presence, the redeployment from Bashiqa is an omission that both Turkey and the Kurdistan Regional Government understand that the latter has no jurisdiction to okay Ankara's deployment into the Mosul District.

The Turkish redeployment is the result of coordination between Ankara and the Kurdistan Regional Government. The Kurdistan Regional Government President Massoud Barzani went to Turkey on December 9 for meetings with Erdogan and Davutoglu. Subliminal messages were being sent: very tellingly the Iraqi flag was absent and only the flag of Iraqi Kurdistan was put alongside the Turkish flag during the meetings. Ankara and Barzani are trying to salvage the situation and sidestep the Iraqi government in Baghdad. A few days earlier, in this context, Erdogan announced that a trilateral meeting between the Turkish government, the Kurdistan Regional Government, and the U.S. would take place on December 21.

The Turkish military movements inside Iraq are additionally tied to petro-politics and protection of energy supplies from Iraqi Kurdistan. The Turkish deployment to Bashiqa took place right after Russian airstrikes weakened the ISIL's oil smuggling infrastructure. Undoubtedly, the subject of oil was mentioned between Barzani and Turkish leaders, because of Bazani's involvement in Turkey's illegal oil exporting business.


Genel Energy PLC

Genel Energy PLC has its headquarters in the English Channel's Crown Dependency of the Bailiwick of Jersey, which is an offshore tax haven governed by Britain's monarchy as a separate entity from the United Kingdom and its overseas territories. With the involvement of Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Cazenove, the Jersey-based energy company surfaced in 2011 after a £2.5 billion reverse merger takeover of Genel Enerji International Limited by Vallares PLC, an investment company setup by former BP oil conglomerate executive Anthony ("Tony") Bryan Hayward, JNR Limited financier and banking dynasty scion Nathaniel ("Nat") Rothschild, Nat's financier cousin Thomas ("Tom") Daniel, and Dresdner Kleinwort and Goldman Sachs investment banker Julian Metherell. Vallares is modeled on the Jersey-incorporated predecessor of Asia Resource Minerals PLC, Vallar (later BUMI PLC), which in 2010 raised £707.2 million in initial public offering and was co-founded by Nat Rothschild and Tom Daniel.

In June 2011, Hayward, Rothschild, Daniel, and Metherell quickly raised £1.35 billion (or $2.2 billion) for the deal between Valleres and Genel Enerji. Half this money came from investors in the U.S. during the Jersey-based company's initial public offering and involved investments from firms like the British asset management company Schroders and the Lloyds Banking subsidiary Scottish Widows. Two of Turkey's richest men, billionaire business mogul and banker Mehmet Emin Karamehmet, who was appealing an eleven-year jail sentence for embezzlement at the time of the deal, and Genel Enerji CEO Mehmet Sepil, who was caught and fined for insider trading of shares from Heritage Oil by the British Financial Services Authority in February 2010, were given half of the new company by the quartet and issued a further £1.25 billion in equity from the deal.

It was agreed that Mehmet Karamehmet would be represented on Genel Energy's board by his daughter Gulsun Nazli Karamehmet Williams and Sepil would be represented by the lawyer Murat Yazici of Yazici Law Offices, who formerly represented Royal Dutch Shell, the Turkish Petroleum Company (TPAO), and Exxon from 1974 to 1989. Sepil was appointed president of Genel Energy PLC and given a "key executive role" as Metherell puts it, "a key member of the leadership" due to his "unique knowledge of Kurdistan." A former BP executive and chair of the Jersey-based Petrofac oilfield services corporation, Rodney Chase, and a former U.S. ambassador to Turkey, Mark Parris, were reported as being part of the new company too.

War and Profit

This was a forecast in 2011 about Genel Energy's expected production: "Genel owns stakes in valuable oil fields in Kurdistan, currently producing 42,000 barrels per day for the Turkish market. The new management, led by former BP boss Mr Hayward as chief executive, is planning to double output. ‘We want to be producing 110,000 barrels per day by 2012 and by 2015 the expectation is 150,000 barrels,' Mr Metherell said."

Were escalated war and the plunder of Syrian oil foreseen and part of the equation? It is worth mentioning that the Anglo-Turkish energy company has been involved in illegal export of Iraqi oil to Israel, appeared to be working to integrate the energy infrastructure of the Eastern Mediterranean with Israel and Turkey, and was planning on announcing a deal to work with a "consortium responsible for oil and gas explorations in Lebanon" in 2012. This would all only be feasible if regime change in Damascus took place and compliant regimes were established in Syria and Lebanon. A noteworthy omission by Nat Rothschild to the British journalist Simon Goodley that certain locations in the world were outside of the limits of Genel Energy, including Venezuela and post-Soviet Central Asia, confirms that geopolitical rivalries are taken into consideration in the Anglo-Turkish company's operations.

According to the South African journalist Khareen Pech, these interlocked directorship and companies are part of a labyrinth of networks that profit off insecurity and war. In this context, an earlier merger deal between Genel Enerji and Heritage Oil, another English Channel-based offshore company founded by mercenaries connected to the British military, that collapsed in 2009 should be examined with scrutiny. Explaining about Heritage Oil and Gas, Pech states thus: "In London, a similar web of companies can be found at the Heritage Oil and Branch Energy offices at Plaza 107. Over fifteen companies operate from this suite, share the same telephone numbers and the same UK-based directors and personnel. This clandestine approach to business enables EO [South African mercenary company Executive Outcomes] and its British principals to operate and benefit from a hidden empire of corporate and military companies."

Funding Division: Iraqi Kurdistan and the Kirkuk-Ceyhan Pipeline

In 2009, Genel Energy's Turkish predecessor Genel Enerji began exporting oil from Iraqi Kurdistan to the Turkish coast with the opening of the Kirkuk-Ceyhan Pipeline. The port of Ceyhan is run by Botas International Limited, a Turkish state company that also operates the Turkish portions of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan Pipeline that deliberately circumvents Russia and Iran exporting Caspian Sea oil from the Republic of Azerbaijan by going through Georgia and Turkey. According to Reuters, using sanitized language hiding the illegal nature of the operations, this "export route to the Turkish port of Ceyhan, designed to bypass Baghdad's federal pipeline system, has created a bitter dispute over oil sale rights" inside Iraq.

Since 2002, the Turkish company had been illegally making inroads into Iraqi Kurdistan and slowly working to integrate the area's energy infrastructure with Turkey through illegitimate trade agreements with local Kurdish chieftains that circumvented Iraq's government in Baghdad and the Iraqi State Organization for Marketing of Oil (SOMO). The Guardian also pointed this out in 2011, amidst similar circumstances involving a deal between Exxon Mobil and the Kurdistan Regional Government, by writing that with the British government's support Hayward, Rothschild, Daniel, and Metherell categorically threw their "money and efforts into drilling rights obtained in [Iraqi] Kurdistan which have never been ratified by the federal government in Iraq."

From an economic standpoint and in practice, Genel Energy is supporting the balkanization of the Middle East and Africa by providing revenues for breakaway republics and secessionist tendencies. The oil it is illegally exporting from Turkey is financing the Kurdistan Regional Government and helping Kurdistan Regional Government President Massoud Barzani reject the constitutional authority of the Iraqi federal government. Genel Energy even calls itself "a partner for the Kurdistan Region" in its corporate literature. In 2012, in this regard, the Anglo-Turkish company secured an exploration license from the unrecognized government of the breakaway republic of Somaliland, which declared its independence from Somalia on May 18, 1991.

The Israeli Connection and the Port of Ceyhan

It is also no coincidence that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu backed Massoud Barzani's takeover of Kirkuk and other disputed territories in Iraq. Barzani and Netanyahu even called for the independence of Iraqi Kurdistan simultaneously in 2014. In fact, with the help of Turkey and Genel Energy, the Kurdistan Regional Government used its energy links to Turkey to transport oil through the Kirkuk-Ceyhan Pipeline to Israel. Large oil conglomerates, like BP and Exxon Mobile, were afraid to buy this oil publicly due to the threat it could pose to their existing deals in Iraq. Thus, according to Kurdistan Regional Government Natural Resource Minister Ashti Hawrami, Israel and Malta became key actors for avoiding detection of the smuggled oil from Iraq. Reuters reported the following on June 20, 2014: "A tanker delivered a cargo of disputed crude oil from Iraqi Kurdistan's new pipeline for the first time on Friday in Israel, despite threats by Baghdad to take legal action against any buyer." Reuters also explained that the sale of oil from the Kirkuk-Ceyhan Pipeline that bypasses the network of energy pipelines controlled by the Iraqi federal government is crucial for the Kurdistan Regional Government's drive for "greater financial independence from war-torn Iraq."

According to the conclusions of a University of Greenwich study authored by George Kiourktsoglou and Alec D. Coutroubis, oil export from the port of Ceyhan includes oil smuggled from Iraq and Syria to Turkey. Since 2014, according to the study's analysis of the export data from Ceyhan, the "tanker charter rates from Ceyhan re-coupled up to a degree with the ones from the rest of the Middle East." While the authors of the report are inconclusive about the increased imports being "attributed to additional [Iraqi Kurdistan] crude, whose export via Ceyhan coincided with the rise of" the ISIL's oil smuggling or as a "result of boosted demand for ultra-cheap smuggled crude," it can be confidently assessed that it is a result of both. Kiourktsoglou and Coutroubis also point out that "through the concurrent study of the tanker charter rates from the port" of Ceyhan and the timeline of the fighting with the ISIL it "seems that whenever the Islamic State is fighting in the vicinity of an area hosting oil assets, the exports from Ceyhan promptly spike" which "may be attributed to an extra boost given to crude oil smuggling with the aim of immediately generating additional funds, badly needed for the supply of ammunition and military equipment."

The oil that Turkey is selling for the ISIL is being camouflaged with the oil that the Kurdistan Regional Government is illegally selling from Iraq. In fact, the ISIL has been transporting stolen Syrian oil into Iraq's Ninawa Governorate and then from close proximity to the city of Mosul smuggling the oil into Turkey, where it is sent to Ceyhan for re-export. The Turkish military deployment in the Mosul District and its plans to establish a permanent military base are meant to protect these oil routes and dually maintain the flow of illegally sold Iraqi oil by the Kurdistan Regional Government and to secure the stolen Syrian and Iraqi oil taken by the ISIL.


U.S. and NATO Culpability

On December 1, Alexander Grushko, the Russian permanent representative to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Headquarters, pointed out that the U.S. and NATO gave "political cover" to Turkey for its attack on Russia's Sukhoi Su-24M bomber jet in Syria. On the same day, Russian parliamentarian Irina Yarovaya pointed out that the military alliance is also involved in protecting ISIL and theft of Iraqi and Syrian oil. NATO's response to the Turkish incursion into Iraq was also muted, even after Iraq' Prime Minister Al-Abadi called NATO Secretariat on December 8 asking it to get NATO member Turkey to withdraw its forces.

According to Russian President Vladimir Putin, the U.S. was even given the Su-24M's flight plans. Two days after Turkey shot down the Russian bomber, on November 26, Putin said that it appeared that Washington had given the Su-24's operational plans to Ankara ahead of the incident and that it was "precisely" when the flight plans were passed to the U.S. that Turkish military attacked the Russian jet. To deny culpability and avoid verification, U.S. officials would anonymously reject this.

The U.S. government is fully aware of all the oil smuggling and has deliberately pretended not to know. Both the U.S. and Turkey have violated United Nations Security Council Resolution 2199 as Vitaly Churkin, the permanent representative of the Russian Federation to the UN, pointed out when he told RIA Novosti in an interview that the U.S. and Turkey are legally obliged to give any information they had collected on how ISIL was being financed. Holding a press conference on December 2 out of the National Defense Control Centre in Moscow, Russian military presented detailed evidence showing how Turkey was involved in stealing oil and trading with ISIL through three major smuggling routes. The response from Washington was to whitewash this by saying that the photographs provided by Russia were authentic, but that there was no evidence to show that Turkish checkpoints were being crossed. "What I have not seen is imagery of the border crossing with trucks crossing the border, and that's because I don't believe that exists," an unnamed senior U.S. Department of State official commented to Reuters on December 4 under the condition of anonymity.

Russian military released an important statement in English on its social media page. It explained that if the U.S. was not satisfied with Moscow's evidence, then it should watch the video footage collective by Washington's own drones that Russia had observed becoming increasingly active over Syrian-Turkish border and Syria's oil fields.

The Evidence Falls into Place with Turkey's Weapons Smuggling Pattern

Aside from photographs and satellite data, video evidence was presented by Russia where ISIL oil tankers could be seen being allowed to freely cross the Syrian-Turkish border by guards at Turkish checkpoints without being stopped like other vehicles. This is part of a pattern that corresponds to incidents in 2014 where trucks owned by the Turkish National Intelligence Organization (MIT), which were disguised as humanitarian convoys, were caught sending weapons across the Syrian-Turkish border to the insurgents in Syria. Reports began to widely circulate that the head of the MIT, Hakan Fidan, was even reported by Turkey's own state media, the Anadolu Agency, to have said in October 2015 that ISIL is a political reality that needs to be accepted and protected from Russia. The Anadolu Agency would respond by taking legal measures to erase the story and releasing a statement saying that the reports were a fabrication on October 20, 2015.

On the same day that the Russian Sukhoi Su-24M was attacked by Turkey, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan indirectly acknowledged the MIT's activities. He rhetorically asked his government's domestic critics what was their problem with the MIT sending weapon shipments across the border to Syria. "I believe that our people will not forgive those who sabotaged this support," he even told a room full of Turkish teachers in criticism of those who revealed that the MIT was sending weapons to the insurgents inside Syria.

The Turkish government's ties to ISIL are unambiguous. Due to the lack of communication between local authorities and the MIT, arms shipments were discovered in January 2014 by Colonel Ozkan Cokay, the commander of the Adana Provincial Gendarmerie Regiment, and his men. Despite the Turkish government's attempts to hide the facts and persecute the security officials who uncovered the MIT's links to the death squads in Syria, a report authored by the Gendarmerie General Command candidly stated that the MIT trucks were carrying weapons and supplies to Al-Qaeda.

Dividing and Conquering Eurasia

A Machiavellian game is at hand. While the U.S. has been behind a disinformation campaign saying that the Russian Federation has not been targeting ISIL in Syria, the truth is that Russia and its partners have heavily downgraded ISIL and its oil smuggling operations. This provoked the ire of Turkish officials, which, as Moscow believes, motivated the attack on its Su-24M bomber jet. The U.S. facilitated the attack by giving the coordinates of the Russian jet to Ankara.

After the December 2 press conference at the National Defense Control Centre in Moscow, a defiant Erdogan accused Russia itself of being behind the ISIL's illegal oil trade. On the other hand, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu on December 9 began accusing Russia of being behind a campaign to "ethnically cleanse" the Turkoman in Syria, which Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova would dismiss as "groundless." The irony is that it is Turkey that supports the sectarian death squads that are deliberately trying to fragment Syria.

While Erdogan's greed and pettiness have helped fuel the Russo-Turkish tensions, the clash between Turkey and Russia serves Washington's interests of political and economical destabilization of Eurasia by using its own allies as cannon fodder against its rivals. Mohsen Rezaei, the secretary of Iran's Expediency Discernment Council, has even warned that the Middle East has become a powder keg that could ignite a world war.

Despite the differences between Iran and the Turkish government and the reduction of Iranian winter gas supplies to Turkey, Tehran has publicly offered to mediate between Ankara and Moscow. Iranian First Vice-President Jahangiri even held a meeting with Erdogan on December 12 at the sidelines of an international conference in Turkmenistan. After speaking to Jahangiri and the Iranian delegation in Turkmenistan, Erdogan's tune mellowed down. Possibly looking for a way out, he returned from Ashgabat to Turkey blaming the dead Russian Su-24M pilot, Lieutenant-Colonel Oleg Peshkov, for Russo-Turkish tensions by saying that bilateral relations between Ankara and Moscow must not be affected by a "mistake of a pilot."

(Strategic Culture Foundation, December 17-20, 2015)

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