April 3, 2022
Reality Does Not Conform to U.S. Wishes to Control the World
Dictating Unity Does Not Make It So
Signs that Anti-Russian Sanctions Will Backfire
Resolute Actions Mark Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
Reality Does Not Conform to U.S. Wishes to Control the World
All Out to Support Dialogue and Negotiations Which Produce Desired Results and a Peaceful Resolution of the Ukraine Conflict
The need to support dialogue and negotiations which produce desired results and a peaceful resolution of the Ukraine conflict is urgent but the U.S./NATO forces will not permit such a dialogue and negotiations to take place. Their lies, disinformation and warmongering get ever more frenzied the more the facts of life expose them. This makes it clear they do not want a peaceful resolution which favours the peoples of Ukraine, Russia, the rest of Europe or the world.
In this vein, the Extraordinary Summit of NATO Heads of State held in Brussels on March 24 was an occasion to present the U.S./NATO forces as all-powerful and the reactionary forces in Ukraine as winning against the Russians. News media and pundits in the U.S. and NATO countries were filled with opinions that Russia is bogged down, it did not get the 72-hour win they allege it was seeking, its younger soldiers allegedly do not know why they are there, they are allegedly not properly supplied and the like. Since then, they continue the narrative that Russia is committing war crimes, that it is about to be defeated "by the Ukrainian resistance" and/or cannot win this war and so on. Meanwhile, they step up their campaign of sending lethal weapons to Ukraine and training Ukrainians to use them.
On the eve of the NATO Summit, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced that "the U.S. government assesses that members of Russia's forces have committed war crimes in Ukraine." President Biden called Russian President Putin a war criminal. The U.S. and its mouthpieces have been making these claims about Russia and Putin since 2014 despite the evidence that shows the crimes are committed by the neo-Nazi battalions within and alongside Canadian-trained Ukrainian special forces, especially in the Donbass region.
The U.S.-directed 2014 coup, in which Canada played a major role, brought neo-Nazis into positions in the armed forces and special forces. The U.S., dictating to the government of Ukraine it installed, sanctioned violent actions and crimes -- by the government and these neo-Nazi battalions, like the Azov Battalion -- against people of the Donbass, in Odessa and elsewhere.
These neo-Nazis have been armed and trained by the U.S., Canada and NATO. Their Nazi salute, Glory to Ukraine, Glory to the Heroes has been taken up by Canadian official circles as well as in the U.S. promoted by Senator Marco Rubio and Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland, who is directly involved today and was involved, with Biden, in the 2014 coup. Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi also promoted the Nazi salute on March 16 when Ukraine President Zelensky spoke virtually before Congress, and called for more weapons and planes.
With all the promotion of Russian "failure," everything is done to divert attention from U.S./NATO crimes and the fact that the U.S. is using NATO to make sure there is no settlement to the conflict in Ukraine. It has become clear that the U.S./NATO plan is to create a never-ending "no war, no peace" situation when what is needed is dialogue and negotiations which produce desired results and a peaceful political resolution.
A "no war, no peace" situation could continue indefinitely, as in Palestine for instance, where the U.S./Zionist policy of destruction permits no political solution while Israel gets away with war crimes and crimes against humanity. The historical fraud promoted by the U.S. claims an alleged right of Israel to self-defence so Israel is not held to account for its duties as an occupying power, duties it has never upheld. Israel has trampled in the mud all the requirements for its founding in 1948, yet is presented by the U.S. as a democratic country acting in self-defence while the Palestinians' right of return is denigrated and ignored.
Israeli bombardment of
Palestine, April 14, 2021.
By deliberately continuing the "no war, no peace" situation in Israel, from time to time open war can break out in the form of another destructive assault on the Palestinian people, while daily the siege of Gaza, illegal settlements, arrests and imprisonment of people without charges take place. Palestinians are forced to live in ever smaller pieces of occupied Palestine while Israel, backed by the U.S., goes unpunished for its crimes.
A "no war, no peace" situation is also consistent with conditions where the U.S. launches and backs wars of destruction. Such wars do not have political aims. They are not politics by other means which is why there are no negotiations to reach a peace settlement. The aim is not negotiations to settle disputes but to destroy those who cannot be forced to submit. Their tactics include "shock and awe" bombings of cities, as was done against Iraq and Afghanistan as well as atrocities against civilians which they call collateral damage.
It is the policy of destruction which leads to the commission of war crimes, crimes against humanity and accusations of genocide as it is directed not primarily against military targets but against civilians and civilian infrastructure. The many examples of massive bombings as well as drone attacks targeting weddings and civilian homes are evidence of this, often using the excuse that the victims were being used as "human shields." The U.S./NATO bombing of Yugoslavia is another example, as is Libya and the U.S.-backed Saudi bombing of Yemen. The notion of "endless wars" develops in part because wars of destruction only destroy; they do not seek negotiations and a peaceful resolution of conflicts. The U.S./NATO forces will not agree to be held to account and rein in their pursuit of narrow private interests however they see fit, and call this a "rules-based international order."
In the current situation, Russia has made its political aims very clear: to denazify and demilitarize Ukraine. This is why its forces encircled Mariupol, for example, a main base of the neo-Nazi forces, but they did not bomb residential areas where the neo-Nazi forces ensconced themselves, using the population as human shields, torturing and killing whosoever would not cooperate. It is not the Russians who committed war crimes in Mariupol. Their aim is to denazify Ukraine, not occupy Ukraine. Colonel Douglas McGregor, former Security Advisor to the Trump administration, said that the evidence supported Russia's charge that in Mariupol it was the neo-Nazi Azov Battalion, not the Russian forces, that was refusing to allow civilians to leave through the humanitarian corridors established.
To demilitarize, Russia has targeted military facilities and it has not used a massive air bombing campaign -- the go-to method of the U.S. -- as it does not want to see Ukraine and its people and infrastructure destroyed. It wants the neo-Nazis eliminated and the non-stop U.S./NATO militarization of the country ended.
Russia has political aims and seeks negotiations, as it has shown in practice. Ukraine, under the dictate of the U.S./NATO forces, is thus far not serious in pursuing negotiations. The U.S./NATO actions are guided by destruction not politics, and by sending more lethal weapons, encircling Russia with battleships and more troops, they are acting to block negotiations and prolong the conflict.
The U.S., however, has become notorious for its inability to accurately predict outcomes and sooner or later it will suffer the consequences of its miscalculations as concerns the desire of Ukrainians and Europeans for a peaceful settlement of the Ukraine conflict. The vast majority of Ukrainian refugees want to go home, not into exile. They are the ones suffering the most and paying the price of U.S. prolonged war and its "no war, no peace" equation.
The peoples of the world can readily see who pays the price for the striving of the U.S. war oligopolies and profiteers to prevail. There is nothing redeeming about their aim to encircle, isolate and crush Russia under the pretext of high ideals. For the people of Canada and Quebec, what the U.S./NATO forces are up to is a clarion call to oppose Canada's integration into the U.S. war machine and to dismantle NATO, dismantle NORAD and support dialogue and negotiations which produce desired results and a peaceful resolution of the problems in Ukraine.
The U.S. has little ability to predict the outcome of its Ukraine strategy as its various means for doing so no longer function. This includes the inability of its intelligence agencies to accurately assess the situation; its dysfunctional institutions including Congress; whether it can force the NATO members to continue to submit to its dictate and for how long; its inability to assess the mood of the peoples at home and abroad and more. For instance, the U.S., all evidence to the contrary, calculates that it can succeed in using China against Russia or India against China and Russia and all the countries of the Asia-Pacific against China and Russia.
It calculates that whatever incentives it sees fit to offer will keep countries like India and others in Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean from pursuing relations with Russia and China. The refusal of many of these countries to submit to the sanctions is evidence of the miscalculation, but the U.S. assumes it will nonetheless prevail. As well, it thinks it can patch up its contradictions with the European Union and contradictions within it and reconcile the peoples of the world to more and more wasteful war spending. It believes its own disinformation about what Russia is doing in Ukraine, which is a serious problem.
War funding and war economies provide enormous wealth to the war oligopolies and financial profiteers, all while the poor get poorer, social spending continues to decline and social programs continue to be gutted and privatized. The most recent war budget of the U.S. provided billions more for the annual Pentagon budget of $782 billion, a 42 per cent increase over last year. The bill also included an additional $13.6 billion for Ukraine, mainly for the deployment of more troops to NATO countries, more weaponry and to enforce sanctions.
The U.S. imperialists think they can overcome all the crises in which the U.S. is mired -- financial, economic, commercial, constitutional as well as social, political and existential -- by fomenting wars abroad, but this has not quelled the threat of violent civil war at home. By strengthening Russian sanctions, the U.S. thinks it can save its financial system from diving into a new crisis even more profound than the last in 2008, which was more profound than the one before. It thinks that by seizing and concentrating Russian real estate and financial assets in the hands of the narrow private interests it serves, against others which will fight this tooth and nail, its crises will be resolved. Foolish indeed, and dangerous. Real problems require solutions which befit the problems, not a desperation to dominate and control the world which merely threatens yet greater war and destruction, exacerbating all the problems.
By deploying more U.S. troops in European countries and forcing those countries to increase spending on weapons and war-related materiel for the benefit of the war profiteers, the U.S. thinks it can unite NATO and its military and civilian bureaucracy at home. It thinks this will quell the conflicts between contending private interests within the United States itself.
What is the quid pro quo for those deals, the masses of people in the U.S. and other countries are asking themselves. The people in the U.S. continue to fight for equality and accountability, for voting rights, against funding of police violence and the cover-up of police killings, against Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Biden's deportation of millions and massive detention of families and other refugees, for the right to health care for all and safe working conditions. These are among the many just claims that the people are entitled to make on the society they depend on for their living.
So too, the people of the NATO countries are not submitting to U.S. demands. The U.S. is forcing them to agree to increase spending on arms and indebt themselves further within the U.S. financial architecture. Whether France and Germany submit to U.S. dictate willingly or unwillingly, the U.S. is using NATO to keep both in check. But the U.S. is already having trouble achieving this, as concerns about the lack of oil and gas supplies increase and millions of Ukrainian refugees flood Europe.
The peoples of Europe and the world are becoming ever more aware that the navies and bombers of the U.S., Britain and other countries, including Canada, are prowling the oceans, engaging in war exercises and brinkmanship in the Asia-Pacific. They are positioning themselves to threaten Russia in the Mediterranean and the Arctic.
All told, the U.S. measures to bring the entire world under its control show a country which is not interested in peace, freedom and democracy and which cannot predict outcomes because it is self-serving to the extreme and the world does not conform to its narrative.
On March 23 and 24, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participated in a European tour which mirrored that of U.S. President Biden. A press release by his office says he held a bilateral meeting with the President of the European Parliament, Roberta Metsola, delivered an address to the EU Parliament and held a bilateral meeting with the Prime Minister of Finland, Sanna Marin. He also met with the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen. The two delivered remarks at the European Commission Headquarters.
On March 24 he participated in the NATO Extraordinary Summit and a meeting of the G7 Heads of State and Government.
The proffered quote for the media for the Prime Minister's travels reads: "Canada has been working in lockstep with our NATO, G7, and European Union allies and other partners around the world to hold Russia accountable for its ongoing, illegal, and unjustifiable invasion of Ukraine. Together, we will continue to support Ukraine as it defends its people, sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence, including through further coordinated economic sanctions and delivering critical humanitarian aid where it is needed most."
The statement from the Prime Minister's office describes his trip as successful, and says that Canada is building on its "coordinated response to Russia's illegal, unprovoked, and unjustifiable aggression against Ukraine." It says the Prime Minister "today announced additional measures to support Ukraine and hold Russia accountable for its invasion."
The Prime Minister's office states that the Canadian Government is: "Imposing new sanctions under the Special Economic Measures (Russia) Regulations on 160 members of the Russian Federation Council for having facilitated and enabled violations of Ukraine's sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity;
"Also under the Special Economic Measures (Russia) Regulations new prohibitions prohibit the export of certain goods and technologies to Russia, with the aim of undermining and eroding the capabilities of the Russian military;
"Allocating the remaining $50 million, from Canada's $100 million contribution for humanitarian aid to Ukraine and neighbouring countries, including Moldova, to: the World Food Programme, the World Health Organization (WHO), the UN Refugee Agency, the Canadian Red Cross and People in Need to provide immediate assistance where it is needed most; and
Allocating a total $4.8 million to UNESCO to protect Ukraine's cultural and heritage sites."
Dictating Unity Does Not Make It So
Banner drop in Baltimore,
Maryland, March 25, 2022.
The more U.S. President Biden dictates to Europe to unite by submitting to U.S. control, the more it becomes evident that conditions of life have their own trajectory and do not obey dictates. The same is the case within the United States where Biden is failing to unite the military and the military and civilian bureaucracies with his NATO expansion, troop deployment in Europe and provoking the conflict in Ukraine.
Biden's forte is supposed to be his ability to broker deals which get consensus around what the presidency is proposing. This was not at all evident in the major speech Biden gave in Warsaw, Poland on March 26, after the Extraordinary Meeting of NATO held in Brussels on March 24 and of the G7 and European Commission also on March 24.
Titled, "United Efforts of the Free World to Support the People of Ukraine," the speech echoed Biden's March 1 State of the Union address. Again, he attempted to resurrect his failed unity doctrine -- that U.S. Presidential powers could unite the vying factions and overcome government dysfunction at home and ensure U.S. domination abroad and control of Europe in particular. His speech instead reflected U.S. desperation in the face of yet more failure, as plans to use Ukraine and sanctions to isolate and crush Russia are not materializing according to U.S./NATO calculations.
Biden demanded that Europe submit in "lockstep" with the U.S., at a time when major economies like Germany, France and Italy are all contending with the consequences of U.S.-demanded sanctions against Russia. These have already resulted in various countries complaining about limited gas and oil supplies and food shortages.
Meeting with Poland’s President Duda earlier that day, before his “United Efforts” speech, Biden referred to the G7 and NATO heads of state, “My colleagues, I’m confident, agree with me -- that America’s ability to meet its role in other parts of the world rests upon a united Europe and a secure Europe.” “That stability in Europe is critically important to the United States in terms of our interest not only in Europe, but around the world,” he added.
He makes it very clear that what is at stake are U.S. interests and striving for world domination. Despite the media hype when he hugged a Ukrainian refugee child, the concerns of the peoples of Europe and the world, their interests or even the interests of European governments, do not figure into the U.S. equation.
From this vantage point of U.S. interests for world domination, he elaborated: "The single-most important criterion in this time of a changing world -- so much has changed, and not just here but in other parts of the world -- is that NATO stay absolutely, completely, thoroughly united; that there be no separation in our points of view; that whatever we do, we do in unison; and everyone -- everyone comes along."
He reiterated this same demand that night in his "United Efforts" speech: "First, Europe must end its dependence on Russian fossil fuels. And we, the United States, will help." In the face of the disparate directions European countries are taking, he said: "Most urgently, we maintain absolute unity -- we must -- among the world's democracies."
In what amounts to a declaration that the U.S. will not permit a peaceful resolution to the Ukrainian crisis by providing Russia's security concerns with a guarantee, Biden suggested he will preside over a perpetual “no war, no peace situation.”
He declared: "I came to Europe again this week with a clear and determined message for NATO, for the G7, for the European Union, for all freedom-loving nations: We must commit now to be in this fight for the long haul. We must remain unified today and tomorrow and the day after and for the years and decades to come."
Why does Biden feel it is necessary to repeat over and over that NATO, the G7 and European Union must stay "absolutely, completely, thoroughly united," and that "everyone" must submit to the U.S.? When unity actually exists, there is no need to talk about a "separation in our points of view" within NATO and among European countries, and between the U.S. and many of them, such as Germany. The U.S. comes across as desperate to keep its place as "indispensable nation" with Biden striving, and failing, to secure this by demanding everyone submit.
Unlike former U.S. President Donald Trump, who put forward pursuing U.S. actions unilaterally and spoke about leaving NATO and deliberately insulted U.S. allies including Canada, Biden is pursuing the policy adopted during the Cold War to use NATO to control Europe. This is done in the belief that whoever controls Europe will dominate Asia.
Nonetheless, like Trump, he is pursuing a tripolar geopolitical policy on the basis of which the U.S. thinks it can play China and Russia against each other and come up the middle as the "indispensable nation."
To the dismay of the U.S., the attempt to play China against Russia and vice-versa is not working and its attempt to use NATO as a weapon to crush Russia is also bound to fail. This is because a new situation has come into being.
Russia and China and other countries of Asia make up about 60 per cent of the world's population. Asia comprises about 40 per cent of the world's production and rising. China is number two, after the U.S., in Gross Domestic Product (GDP); India is six; and Russia, 11. Both China and India are expected to surpass the U.S. in GDP within a few years.
These countries are setting their own path to development. The geopolitics of days gone by, centred on the U.S. striving to control Europe to dominate Asia are no longer consistent with the conditions that prevail today. The U.S. "pivot" to Asia -- including militarily -- attempts to impose U.S. dominance, but as actions by China, India and others show, it too is failing.
The U.S. is working overtime to better contend with China and block potential agreements between Russia, China and India as well as with other countries of Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean.
Many of these countries are not supporting U.S. sanctions and are persisting in relations with Russia. Many are abstaining on UN votes targeting Russia, considering alternative financial structures independent of the U.S. dollar, and taking other measures which do not depend on the U.S.-dominated financial architecture, trade relations, energy corridors, communications and transportation corridors, or security arrangements. Venezuela and Iran, both rich in oil, are also maintaining relations with Russia. Europe itself, with strong relations with Russia and its own contending interests, is not readily going along with what the U.S. dictates.
All of it shows that Biden's "United Efforts" Warsaw speech merely underscored the disunity which exists within the U.S./NATO alliance and failure in terms of the U.S. striving for world domination.
Biden also seems to think the peoples of the world have no memory of U.S. actions using NATO as part of its war machine. "The Kremlin wants to portray NATO enlargement as an imperial project aimed at destabilizing Russia. Nothing is further from the truth. NATO is a defensive alliance. It has never sought the demise of Russia," he said. Why then expand it with an additional 14 countries, putting NATO, its armaments and missiles, on Russia's borders? Why the troop build up and war games before the current conflict and even more now, with 100,000 U.S. troops and more battleships and bombers in the region?
Far from being a "defensive alliance," U.S./NATO actions are those of wars of aggression and violations of international rule of law, meant to eliminate it. Drone warfare, carpet bombing of civilian infrastructure, use of depleted uranium weaponry, all go against international norms and standards. So too do the many coups and efforts at regime change by the U.S., including the 2014 coup in Ukraine that removed an elected president and brought in one decided by the U.S. -- something Biden was directly involved in.
The peoples worldwide are making clear that the U.S. and NATO are aggressive forces for war. Soccer fans in Serbia, for example, brutally bombed by U.S./NATO aggression, had banners speaking to the many U.S. wars of aggression and those where NATO also took part. These included Korea, Guatemala, Indonesia, Cuba, Vietnam, Congo, Laos, Brazil, Dominican Republic, Greece, Argentina, Nicaragua, Grenada, Philippines, Panama, Iraq, Sudan, Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Yemen, Somalia, Libya, Syria.
Serbian football club Red Star
Belgrade's fans, March 17, 2022, hold banners showing the nations which
the U.S. has invaded.
As the banners in Serbia, and demonstrations in Germany, Italy and other countries indicate, the peoples have not forgotten U.S. crimes, have not forgotten U.S./NATO bombings in Europe and the Middle East and will not abandon their fight against aggressive imperialist wars. They are fighting to develop Zones for Peace, as declared in Latin America and the Caribbean, and demanded by peoples in Canada and worldwide.
In Warsaw, Biden attempted to use a conception of democracy which no longer exists and is no longer seen to exist. "And [Ukraine's] brave resistance is part of a larger fight for essential democratic principles that unite all free people: the rule of law; free and fair elections; the freedom to speak, to write, and to assemble; the freedom to worship as one chooses; freedom of the press," he said.
The fact is that U.S. elections have been discredited in the eyes of the people as undemocratic and unfair. They do not ensure a peaceful transition of power by resolving conflicts among the rulers -- as the continuing battle over the Trump coup attempt on January 6, 2021 shows. He is also speaking just after the Ukraine government on March 20 banned 11 political parties, not allowing them to speak or participate in elections. Ukraine, like the U.S., is also notorious for its corruption.
Failure of U.S. Constitutional Arrangements
Biden was chosen by the ruling circles to be President of the United States in large part because he was seen as a unifier, that he could contend with the vying factions and preserve the Union in conditions where open civil war threatens. He had a long history in the Senate of achieving agreements among the vying factions. He promised to first deal with issues at home, including COVID and "systemic racism," and has failed on both counts. He was also thought to have standing in terms of foreign relations. Instead, he has already had three major foreign policy failures, in Venezuela, Afghanistan and Cuba. Rallying all in support of Ukraine was to overcome these failures, but it now threatens to become another of them.
Biden came to power representing those forces that think by resurrecting the appearance of respect for the Constitution and building alliances, the government of police powers that now exists could overcome its dysfunction and the broad dissatisfaction among the people.
Instead, most recently, Biden failed to unite forces, even among those who support him, so his main legislation "Build Back Better" did not pass. A massive budget that greatly increased funding for the Pentagon and the hated Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) did pass in the name of supporting Ukraine. That same budget completely eliminated funding for COVID, along with facilities providing free testing and vaccines, and Medicaid health care assistance for an estimated 15 million people as a result of the cuts.
All of this has increased the broad anti-war sentiment across the country and the great anger that the U.S. is bent on more war while conditions at home deteriorate, with homelessness, poverty and insecurity of all kinds increasing. This too is a failure of Biden -- to convince the people to follow him. They are instead stepping up resistance, including through strike struggles, and increasingly concluding that all those in power are unfit to rule. Calls for an anti-war government and peace economy are resonating.
Biden attempted to spread more disinformation, defending U.S./NATO actions as "right." He could not help but reflect the civil war conditions in the U.S., choosing to quote Abraham Lincoln, president during the U.S. Civil War from 1860-65. Saying it is Putin who believes that "Might Makes Right," Biden said, "In my own country, a former president named Abraham Lincoln voiced the opposing spirit to save our Union in the midst of a civil war. He said, 'Let us have faith that right makes might.' Right makes might." Lincoln did not prevent the civil war and only resolved the conflict, among the rulers, between the two labour systems -- one based on slave labour and the other on "free" labour -- through violent war.
It was not Lincoln who emancipated the people enslaved. It was they themselves who did so, together with workers and farmers south and north. It is also they who gave rise to a flowering of democracy, brutally crushed by the government, all in the name of "saving the Union."
Threat of Open Civil War Increasing
It is worth noting that far from succeeding in uniting the contending forces inside the U.S., the threat of open civil war has increased. The contention over January 6 persists, with many Biden supporters pushing for charges against Trump and many others saying this would trigger violent conflict. This includes those on the House Committee investigating January 6, which is testing the waters for leveling charges against Trump and those in the Justice Department who have yet to bring charges but leave open the possibility to do so.
On March 28, a federal judge in a case brought by the House Committee ruled that Trump "more likely than not" broke the law and "corruptly attempted to obstruct" Congress in his attempts to overturn the 2020 election results. Also reflecting state and federal conflicts, in New York, a State Supreme Court Judge has now said Trump and his two older children, Donald Jr. and Ivanka must testify. The case is a civil suit involving Trump's business and financial dealings. The Manhattan District Attorney is also pursuing criminal charges for tax fraud. Some consider that guilty verdicts could prevent Trump from running, others that charges should be dropped, all hoping to stave off violent conflict.
In addition, those with presidential ambitions are also openly opposing Biden's actions, in Ukraine and elsewhere. Senators Ted Cruz of Texas and Marco Rubio of Florida are among those doing so. Cruz has been allied with Trump and joined with him for the January 6 coup attempt. Rubio did not and voted for certification of the election. However, he has been endorsed by Trump for re-election to the Senate in November.
Both are providing themselves with a national profile for potential runs for the presidency in 2024, facing off first against Trump. Both have long been associated with the mafia forces linked to U.S. intelligence agencies that foment assassinations and counterrevolutions within the U.S. and abroad. These include efforts to secure regime change in Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua, and other countries of the Americas and Caribbean, as well as spearheading the Iran-Contra affair, the use of certain paid warlords and mujahadeen against the Soviets in Afghanistan and the crimes committed by mercenary pro-Nazi forces in the former Yugoslavia. Both Florida and Texas are their watering holes.
Senator Rubio, vice chair of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, for example, called for the U.S. to find a way to send fighter jets to Ukraine, right while Biden and the Pentagon said this was not going to happen. Rubio was also among those that did not condemn a tweet by Senator Lindsey Graham, of South Carolina, that someone should assassinate Russian President Vladimir Putin and "take this guy out."
Rubio, in an op-ed in the Washington Post, urged Biden to take more action against China. The editorial especially targets the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and calls for punishing China now. "Instead of cooperating with Beijing, the United States must act to prevent it from strengthening Putin and undermining freedom," Rubio said. "To protect our national and economic security, we must ensure that [China's President] Xi and the CCP pay a price for that partnership," with Russia, he said. He introduced a bill that would impose sanctions on any Chinese bank that attempts to deal with Russia. While Biden has also warned China, Rubio is inciting far harsher immediate actions. He also reflects the concern that China, together with Russia, India and others, will create a financial architecture independent of the U.S. dollar -- a main weapon for U.S. dominance.
Such demands defy Biden's role as head of the executive power with prerogative powers over foreign affairs and as Commander-in-Chief. They reflect the dysfunction of Congress and its contention with the presidency. Speaking in public against the President and Commander-in-Chief has become commonplace amongst ranking military forces and the civil bureaucracy, including diplomatic people. This is another indication that while war funding was secured from Congress for funding the Pentagon and Ukraine, Biden's hope to unify the contending forces, in Congress and the military and civilian bureaucracy, is not succeeding.
The civil war conditions are also evident in the conflicts within Republican ranks, especially as contention for the presidency increases. Senator Rick Scott, also of Florida, is the campaign chief for Senate Republicans in the upcoming November elections. He is allied with Trump and is in direct contention with current Senate Republican head Mitch McConnell.
Scott openly compares himself to Civil War General Ulysses S. Grant. He likens his situation in battling fellow Republicans to Grant at Vicksburg, where Grant ordered multiple bloody assaults on the Confederate stronghold and eventually took it over. "I think of myself more like Grant taking Vicksburg, and I think as a result of that, I'm always going to be perceived as an outsider," Scott said in an interview. "I'm going to keep doing what I believe in whether everybody agrees with me or not."
The dysfunction of existing institutions, the increasingly open and hostile conflicts, the inability of Biden and Trump, Obama and Clinton before him to unite the contending forces and unite the people, both at home and abroad, behind the U.S. presidency reflect a failed governing system with obsolete constitutional arrangements. The U.S. Constitution with its arrangements of inequality and keeping the rich in power and the people out is not modern or democratic.
Biden's failures also come from the fact that the huge human productive powers that now exist are not in the control of the rulers. What they cannot control, they destroy, including through their wars of destruction. These immense powers created by human beings can be brought under control if power resides with the people and serves their interests while protecting Mother Nature.
At present the ensemble of human relations, all the relations between humans and humans and humans and nature, are such that the need for empowering the people is both a reality and a necessity. Conditions are demanding it, as the threats of greater war and intensifying conflicts also make clear.
The peoples worldwide have strong anti-war stands, have strong desires for fraternal relations among the peoples, relations of mutual benefit and respect. The U.S. and its striving for world domination are the main force standing in the way of such relations -- of organizing to harmonize relations and developing the modern democracies of people's empowerment required.
Signs that Anti-Russian Sanctions Will Backfire
in Central African Republic, March 6, 2022.
Only 48 countries are participating in the U.S.-imposed sanctions against Russia. "Most of the countries are in Europe and North America, with six of their closest partners in the Asian-Pacific region. That does not even amount to a fourth of the total 193 members of the United Nations," germanforeignpolicy.com points out. Three-quarters of all UN member states are refusing to comply, despite the considerable pressure exerted on them. India is increasing its purchase of Russian oil and is continuing to develop a payment system independent of the U.S. dollar and SWIFT (a global provider of secure financial messages and instructions used by banks and major financiers). The volume of this year's import by India is already at 13 million barrels -- almost as much as throughout all of 2021 (16 million barrels). It is also seeking to expand the import of Russian coking coal for steel production and is purchasing huge quantities of Russian sunflower oil, which has become scarce in Western Europe due to the sanctions.
On April 11, "2 plus 2 talks" between India and the U.S. are scheduled. It is a regular meeting between the two countries' foreign and defence ministers. Pundits say the U.S. wants to use these talks to try to drive a wedge between New Delhi and Moscow. "In the run-up to the talks, a flock of western government representatives are visiting India to systematically increase the pressure," germanforeignpolicy.com writes. Victoria Nuland, Under-Secretary of State for the U.S. State Department, visited the Indian capital for talks. On March 30 President Joe Biden's Deputy National Security Advisor Daleep Singh arrived. He is a main architect of the sanctions against Russia. The report adds, "Within the framework of the traffic of western visitors that is beginning to take on aspects of stalking, Jens Plötner, foreign policy advisor to (German) Chancellor Olaf Scholz also appeared in New Delhi on March 30. On March 31, on the one hand, Britain's Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Liz Truss, and on the other hand, Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov arrived in the Indian capital for talks." The report continues:
"In the meantime, the mounting pressure from the West has begun to provoke unexpected reactions on the part of New Delhi. On March 22, the Indian ambassador to Moscow participated in a meeting with his counterparts from Brazil, China, and South Africa with Russia's Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sergei Lavrov – an indication that the BRICS format [of these five countries] has not been abandoned, in spite of either Russia's intervention in Ukraine or the acute tension between India and China. Western observers have meticulously noted that, so far, none of the BRICS states have made statements of public condemnation of Russia's intervention. On March 25, China's Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi made a surprise visit to his Indian counterpart Subrahmanyam Jaishankar in New Delhi. Wang's first visit since the escalation of the Indian-Chinese border dispute in May 2020 was overshadowed by that conflict, but not restricted to it. Importance was given to a discussion on the war in Ukraine and the West's sanctions campaign against Russia. Similar to India, China is also under pressure from the West, however, with the difference that the West, so far, has sought to avoid damaging its relations to New Delhi, because India is needed for their power struggle against Beijing."
Russia is also acting to develop a financial architecture independent of the U.S. dollar. Part of this is its demand that all gas and oil purchases now be made in rubles. Russia is to establish bank accounts, in Russia, for countries purchasing gas and oil, so that they can purchase rubles. Even though the G7 claimed on March 28 that they would not support Russia's demand to be paid in rubles, the Europeans expressed their concerns. France, for example called for "those who can" to conserve energy, including electricity and gas, focusing especially on businesses and public facilities. Italy had already issued a "pre-alert of the risks" to its natural gas supply days after the Ukraine conflict broke out.
Germany's Economy Minister and Vice-Chancellor Robert Habeck triggered an "early warning" system March 30, the first of three levels of response that establishes a crisis team to step up monitoring of the gas supply. Germany imports about 55 percent of its gas from Russia, 33 percent of oil and 45 percent of coal, and currently has reserves of only about 25 percent of capacity.
Habeck said Germany is prepared for a sudden stop in Russian gas supplies but warned of "considerable impacts" and urged consumers to help prevent a shortage by reducing their use, claiming "every kilowatt of energy saved helps." The second warning level would require companies in the gas industry to take necessary measures to regulate supply. The third means full state intervention to ensure that those who most need gas -- such as hospitals and private households -- receive it, Habeck said.
Private oligopolies may or may not go along. U.S. oil and gas oligopolies Halliburton and Koch, for example, have not left Russia as demanded by the U.S. government. As well, whether Germany sticks with not securing more oil and gas by paying in rubles or will do so to avoid these "considerable impacts," -- including broader resistance among the people -- cannot be predicted by the U.S. or NATO. What is evident is that Russia can secure other areas for export and still has other tactics to pursue, such as limiting supplies.
Also, in a thoroughly callous manner, in meetings with NATO Biden spoke of food shortages without concern for what it means for working people: "With regard to food shortages, yes we did talk about food shortages and it's going to be real. The price of these sanctions is not just imposed upon Russia. It's imposed upon an awful lot of countries as well, including European countries and our country as well. And because both Russia and Ukraine have been the breadbasket of Europe in terms of wheat for example."
In this regard, Cargill is one of the major food oligopolies that has not left Russia and, like the war oligopolies, is benefitting from the current conflict. Profits for energy and food oligopolies are already soaring, while people bear the burden of escalating prices for food, gas and other goods.
President Biden has been promising to "help" Europe with its energy needs, given its reliance on Russia for oil and gas. In 2021 the EU imported about 132.4 billion cubic meters of natural gas. Biden has promised 15 billion cubic meters, which amounts to a drop in the bucket and far from what is immediately needed for industrial production, home heating and more. COVID has already contributed to disruptions and U.S. sanctions have only made things worse. Russia has countered U.S. sanctions by demanding that gas and oil be purchased in rubles.
In his Warsaw speech Biden claimed, "As a result of these unprecedented sanctions, the ruble almost is immediately reduced to rubble." He said it takes 200 rubles to equal one dollar to prove that the Russian economy is "on track to be cut in half in the coming years." In fact, the ruble has been rebounding since March 22, now less than 85 to the dollar and dropping -- in part because of Russia's demand for oil and gas to be bought in rubles, something Europe cannot prevent.
Russian Federation Council Speaker Valentina Matviyenko said April 1 that Russia would be exposed to groundless risks if it continued to sell gas to unfriendly countries for dollars and euros. Both currencies have lost credibility, she said at a meeting devoted to the development of Russia's regional retail gas distribution networks. Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak also attended.
"Amid the strongest pressures and illegitimate sanctions we still prefer to act as a responsible member of the international economic community. We have been doing nothing that might worsen conditions for our partners who are the recipients of our hydrocarbons. All contracts for them remain in force: the supply dates, the amounts and the prices set in the euros and dollars. The sole difference is the actual settlements will be performed in rubles," Matviyenko said
"Nobody should over-dramatize or politicize this. It is our sovereign right and our sovereign decision. In the past, we were paid for gas in dollars and euros, and part of the payments went into our gold and foreign exchange reserves. We have been stripped of an opportunity to use these. In fact, this is a gross violation of international law and of the rules of international trade. We will no longer accept payments in currencies that have lost credibility. Selling hydrocarbons without being paid on time would be tantamount to charity," she added.
The new procedure of payment for Russian pipeline gas in rubles by buyers from what Russia calls unfriendly countries came into force on April 1. A statement issued by Gazprom said such buyers are required to open special ruble and foreign currency accounts with Gazprombank to pay for gas supplies. Currency conversion will be carried out on Russian exchanges. In case of incomplete payment, the Russian customs are authorized to ban deliveries. The government commission for the control of foreign investment in Russia has the right to issue exceptions to these rules for individual buyers, Gazprom said.
The list of unfriendly countries includes the United States, Canada, European Union countries, Britain (including Jersey, Anguilla, the British Virgin Islands and Gibraltar), Ukraine, Montenegro, Switzerland, Albania, Andorra, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Norway, San Marino, North Macedonia, as well as Japan, south Korea, Australia, Micronesia, New Zealand, Singapore and Taiwan (considered as the territory of China, but since 1949 governed by its own administration).
Meanwhile, because of price gouging and speculation, oil prices continue to float above $100 a barrel. The United States announced a "historic release" of one million barrels a day of oil from the country's emergency stockpile on March 31, one day before European countries would have to start paying for Russian oil and gas in rubles and hours after the OPEC +, OPEC and non-OPEC Ministerial Meeting, agreed on another modest increase in output. Even the Saudi energy minister, who the U.S. relies on to defend its interests, said OPEC+ will leave politics out of output decisions.
The U.S. administration said in a statement that the release would last for six months, amounting to about 180 million barrels in total, draining almost a third of the U.S.'s Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR).
"The scale of this release is unprecedented: the world has never had a release of oil reserves at this 1 million per day rate for this length of time," the White House said. "This record release will provide a historic amount of supply to serve as a bridge until the end of the year when domestic production ramps up." Part of the aim is to lessen the broad anger with skyrocketing gas prices while also providing a guarantee for oil supplies for the military, the largest single consumer of oil.
What it also shows is that the U.S. has in various ways shot itself in the foot with its sanctions against the importation of Russian oil, gas and coal. On March 8 the White House announced:
"Today, President Biden will sign an Executive Order (E.O.) to ban the import of Russian oil, liquefied natural gas, and coal to the United States -- a significant action with widespread bipartisan support that will further deprive President Putin of the economic resources he uses to continue his needless war of choice."
The Executive Order bans the importation into the United States of Russian crude oil and certain petroleum products, liquefied natural gas and coal. Last year, the U.S. imported nearly 700,000 barrels per day of crude oil and refined petroleum products from Russia and this step is meant to deprive Russia of billions of dollars in revenues from the U.S. However, the U.S. Energy Information Administration informed that in the week ending March 26 the U.S. still imported 100,000 barrels per day of Russian crude oil and oil oligopolies like Haliburton and Koch remain active in Russia.
Since 2019 the U.S. has blockaded heavy oil imports from Venezuela and replaced them with imports of heavy Ural variants from Russia. It sent two officials to Caracas on March 5 allegedly to negotiate getting Venezuela's oil flowing again, but there is no word of any agreement being reached or in the works. A lack of willingness by the U.S. to agree to Venezuela’s conditions that it lift all its sanctions and return all of the country’s illegally seized assets likely contributed to that.
Diesel and heating oil consist of long hydrocarbon chains. Lighter types of crude oil lack these. There are ways to create longer hydrocarbon chains from shorter ones but those processes are expensive. It is much easier to start off with heavy crude oil and to break it down as needed. Certain interests in Canada who serve the oil and gas industry are using the occasion to lobby for more pipelines to be approved to deliver heavy oil to the refineries on the Gulf Coast.
Diesel was in short supply even before the sanctions began. Diesel is used by the military. It is used for freight transport to deliver goods to consumers. About 90 per cent of fresh food deliveries in the U.S. are done by trucks requiring diesel, for example. Diesel is also what industrial transport uses for fuel. With Russian refiners cutting their processing rates in the wake of several waves of Western sanctions, the already tight diesel supply is going to get a lot tighter and prices higher, which will increase dissatisfaction and resistance among truck drivers and others, as well as major private interests requiring diesel.
"Governments have a very clear understanding that there is a clear link between diesel and GDP, because almost everything that goes into and out of a factory goes using diesel," the director general of Fuels Europe, part of the European Petroleum Refiners Association, told Reuters on April 1. "Europe imports about half of its diesel from Russia and about half of its diesel from the Middle East. That systemic shortfall of diesel is there," Vitol's Russell Hardy noted earlier in the week. Vitol is a major energy and commodities trader.
Writing for Reuters, John Kemp said Europe is not the only one feeling the diesel pinch as related stocks are on a decline in the United States as well.
As with Biden's other attempts to use sanctions to unite Europe behind U.S. dictate while acting to crush Russia, sanctions concerning oil and gas are doing the opposite.
Canada's ruling circles are using the events in Ukraine, the war hysteria against Russia, and specifically the energy sanctions imposed on Russia to call for further integration of Canada's energy sector into the U.S. war economy. Several examples during the week of March 21-25 show how the energy issue is being used for the purpose of integrating Canada even more into the U.S. war machine.
On March 24, the International Energy Agency (IEA) started its two-day ministerial summit meeting in Paris, France, by issuing a Member statement which repeated the U.S./NATO narrative justifying its illegal sanctions against Russia in an attempt to isolate and crush it.
"Russia's invasion threatens global energy security and democratic principles. Russia's actions, including its use of energy as a weapon, threatens the rules-based international order that has prevailed since the end of the Second World War. Energy should never be used as a means of political coercion or to threaten national security."
IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol said all member countries came to the organization's summit armed with plans, policies and various other tools to reduce reliance on Russian oil and gas. "They were different policies, different measures, different timelines, but one single target -- reducing, radically, Russian oil and gas imports," Birol said.
IEA is presently made up of 31 member states. It was set up in 1973-74 by member states of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) that were dependent on oil imports -- such as the United States, Japan, European nations and Canada -- to counter the influence of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). OPEC nations had cut their exports drastically in opposition to the 1973 U.S.-sponsored Israeli aggression against neighbouring Arab countries, such as Egypt, Syria, Jordan and Lebanon.
It is the countries linked to the IEA that use energy as a weapon. After meeting with his global counterparts in Paris during the same week as the IEA meeting took place, Canada's Natural Resources Minister Jonathan Wilkinson pledged to pump out more oil and gas "to alleviate Europe's energy crisis."
"We have our European allies who are facing the prospect of not being able to heat their homes or fill up their trucks to actually service their grocery stores and their restaurants. It would be incredibly irresponsible for Canada to say 'we don't care,'" Wilkinson told reporters.
On March 24, he announced that Canada's industry is expected to increase oil production by 200,000 barrels per day, and the equivalent of 100,000 barrels of natural gas per day, by the end of the year.
Currently, Canada produces about 4.7 million barrels per day (bpd) of oil, and exports about four million bpd, 99 per cent of which goes to the United States. More than three-quarters of Canada’s crude oil exports to the U.S. go to the Midwest refineries and the refineries and ports on the Gulf Coast, mainly by pipeline but also by rail. Oil is also exported through the Trans Mountain pipeline, with the majority going by pipeline to refineries in Washington State, and through the railways leading to Irving's oil refinery and East Coast port facility located in St. John, New Brunswick.
Following a G7 summit in Brussels on March 23, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in a joint statement with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen that officials would be meeting that same week to discuss enhancing energy-related co-operation and eliminating the European bloc's dependence on Russian energy.
"A dedicated working group on green transition and LNG [liquid natural gas] is being created to develop a concrete action plan on these matters," the statement read.
Last year, Russia exported about 4.6 million barrels per day of crude oil, according to energy consultancy group Wood Mackenzie. It claims those exports have fallen because of the widespread economic and energy-focused sanctions against the country.
A practical roadmap for achieving independence from Russian fuels has been the subject of "intense back-and-forth" in recent weeks, U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan told reporters during the same week the IEA summit was being held.
Narrow Private Interests Leading the Fray
The same day IEA concluded its 2-day summit, Victor Dodig, Chief Executive Officer of the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce and the new Chair of the Business Council of Canada (BCC) held a zoom meeting with journalists during his week long trip to Washington, DC, where he met with his U.S. and Mexican counterparts.
"We talked about energy resilience," Dodig said. "We talked about food and agriculture resilience. We talked about resilience in our manufacturing supply chains. [...]"
Dodig, along with BCC President Goldy Hyder, said their U.S. and Mexican counterparts "asked primarily about energy."
"It's important we get that right," Dodig added. "It's important that we're seen as a constructive player both in our region and globally."
The BCC delegation made up of Dodig and Hyder met with the Chairman of the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Democratic Senator Joe Manchin from West Virginia, and Republican Senator Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, who, Hyder said, were "very welcoming" to the delegation's ideas.
There were also talks during the same week Dodig was in Washington, DC, about Canada as a NATO member state having to fulfill its commitment to spend two per cent of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) on military spending.
"Canada needs to invest as a member of NATO to the expectations that NATO sets for itself and its membership," Dodig said. "I believe that we can do that, and I believe that we can do that sensibly to benefit everyone through peace and stability," he added.
Three days after Dodig said this, the Trudeau government announced it would begin negotiations for the purchase of 88 Lockheed Martin F-35 fighter jets at the cost of $19 billion.
During that same week of announcements, the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission gave its approval in reconsidering the completion of three interstate gas pipelines, one of them the controversial and widely opposed Mountain Valley Pipeline. Another, the Atlantic Coast Pipeline that could have also shipped fracked gas from West Virginia to the strategic Atlantic sea port of Norfolk, Virginia, had already been cancelled due to the people's opposition to the project.
In arguing for completing the Mountain Valley Pipeline that will transport fracked gas from West Virginia, his home state, Senator Joe Manchin said on March 3 that "the U.S., working together with our allies, can put an end to Putin's ability to weaponize energy against Ukraine and our NATO allies." Ironically, Manchin favours the same kind of approach by the U.S. presenting the need to use North American fossil fuels and infrastructure as a way to "strengthen our ability to use energy as a geopolitical tool to fight for our values abroad and support our strategic partners."
So much for not using energy as a weapon.
While U.S. Senator Manchin talked about building infrastructure to counter Russia and take over European fossil fuel markets, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney tweeted in a similar vein, "Now if Canada really wants to help defang Putin, then let's get some pipelines built! Alberta stands ready, willing and able to supply the energy markets to displace Russia from global markets. Message to Ottawa and Washington: stop helping Putin and OPEC by killing pipelines."
In the words of Tristan Goodman, President of the Explorers and Producers Association of Canada (EPAC), there are opportunities to increase production to address affordability issues in North America and the energy security problem around the world, but it's not a certainty.
"You will need investors to have confidence that they should increase production. And if you're not going to have investor confidence, you will not see increased production," he said.
Goodman, who took part in a panel focusing on Canadian energy at CERAWeek sponsored by Standard&Poor Global in Houston in early March, was referring to the fact that in recent years, instead of increasing oil and gas production, investors have pushed oil companies to give more cash to shareholders.
"In the long-term, or in the mid-term, there does need to be a conversation with Canadians over infrastructure related to natural gas and oil," added Goodman. In other words, governments have to step in with more pay-the rich schemes to restore what they call "investor confidence."
Canadian Oil: 'Godsend' for U.S. Imperialists
On March 23, a senior leader with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce stated he would rather see the country focus on oil imports from Canada than other potential partners. The Canadian Energy Centre, an Alberta government corporation, reports:
"'From a pure, selfish U.S.-centric viewpoint, we should be careful and very particular where we import from,' says Christopher Guith, Senior Vice-President at the Chamber's Global Energy Institute.
"'We have an administration that is currently begging OPEC, specifically Venezuela and potentially even Iran to increase production when Canada has significant spare capacity, especially long term, that could come online. But the takeaway capacity is not there, primarily because this administration revoked permits for Keystone XL on the first day in office.'
"Guith says U.S. imports of Canadian oil -- which doubled between 2005 and 2019, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration -- have been a 'godsend' for 'energy security.'
"'If you look back over the last 25 years, bringing Alberta's oil sands production online is the second most important advent to American energy security, second only to our own shale revolution. It transformed our energy economy incredibly and enabled us to push out OPEC imports,' he says. [...]
"[I]t makes more sense that much of the U.S. oil is sold on global markets while U.S. refineries stick to Canadian heavy oil, Guith says. 'It is more economic for the U.S. to export a good portion of the light, sweet crude that we produce and then import the heavy crude from Canada,' he says.
"'If we could get all that we needed, we wouldn't even have to worry about Venezuela, or potentially Saudi Arabia, even Russia, other producers of heavy crude, but the lack of takeaway capacity limits the amount of crude that we get from Canada. And so, we have to turn to others like Russia.'"
A report by the Canadian Energy Centre notes, "A strong American oil and gas industry is a critical element of economic prosperity and the North American energy security network linking Canada, the United States, and Mexico."
It fails to point out that this "strong American oil and gas industry is a critical element" not in our joint prosperity but as a pillar of the U.S. economy and its gigantic aggressive military spread throughout the world that could not function without Canadian oil and gas.
All of this shows that none of these plans will help Canada's energy sector become an important component in creating a self-sufficient economy, one that addresses the needs of the people, develops trade relations with other countries on the basis of mutual benefit and respect, and contributes to making Canada a factor for peace on the world scale, instead of wars of aggression, occupation and regime change.
What these plans mean is that the current pay-the-rich direction of the economy will continue to cause havoc across the country. Governments at the federal and provincial levels will continue to clash and collude over stepping up the extraction of fossil fuels while simultaneously promoting a "green economy." The people will continue to pay "carbon taxes" while the federal government claims it is meeting their required cutback of carbon emissions.
Significantly, it means a continuation of the policy to build pipelines by splitting the working people, pitting the well-being of the environment and hereditary rights of the Indigenous peoples against the need for jobs. It will mean they will step up their violation of Indigenous hereditary rights to decide what happens on their territories and further criminalize dissent, while taking no responsibility for the harm done to the land, water and people's health.
People are demanding a new pro-social direction for the economy that gives them control over the natural and social environments
(With files from The Financial Post, CBC, IEA, Canadian Energy Centre, Appalachian Voice, National Observer)
Resolute Actions Mark Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
To mark the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, actions were organized in communities across Canada that were coordinated with actions in Jamaica, Cayman Islands, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines as well as Trinidad — countries from which seasonal agricultural workers and other migrants come to Canada each year. The action reflected that in today's world, the working class is international. The protesters also opposed the division of workers into arbitrary categories to be exploited and abused by employers driving down the wages, working conditions and safety of all workers.
The actions also called for the rights of the Indigenous peoples to be respected and upheld, as well as supporting the fighting Palestinian people, the people of Yemen and others. It was also pointed out that refugees from India, Africa and the Middle East leaving Ukraine were being rejected by NATO countries such as Romania and Poland while Canada is fast-tracking Ukrainian refugees in the name of high ideals. At the same time many working class migrants in Canada from Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean are denied status year after year, which reflects the racist outlook of the Canadian state and its governments.
The main theme of the actions which were organized by the Migrant Rights Network and their affiliate organizations was the rejection of the racist immigration and refugee policies of the Canadian state and the private interests it serves, and to demand equality, rights and permanent status for the estimated 1.6 million migrant workers, stateless workers, undocumented refugees and their families living in conditions of virtual slavery, fear and insecurity in Canada. The right of agricultural workers who come to Canada from the Caribbean to status for themselves and their families was also raised in the course of the actions. The plight of the more than 150,000 international students in Canada was also highlighted in the day of action. Lured here with the promise of a rosy future, they find themselves on an endless treadmill trying to find work that qualifies them for permanent residence, often paid less than minimum wage or not at all.
Gig workers, international students, care workers, and others spoke about their own experiences of living and working in Canada, many on the front lines under the adverse conditions of the pandemic. Various workers highlighted that the pandemic has been used by employers to further abuse and exploit them and deny them basic rights to wages, decent working conditions and safety in the work place. They pledged to continue to work together as part of the Canadian working class for their rights and the rights of all.
The Migrant Rights Network announced that more actions will be organized for May Day 2022.
(Photos: TML, MWAC, WANNL, M. Suinnl, J. Burnt, C. Eyfe)
Reproduced below is a letter from injured migrant workers, taken from Harvesting Freedom, the newsletter of Justicia for Migrant Workers (J4MW), written on the occasion of March 21, International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. The letter is addressed to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Canadian Immigration Minister Sean Fraser, Ontario Premier Doug Ford, Ontario Minister of Labour Monte McNaughton and Ontario WSIB President & CEO Jeffery Lang.
We are a diverse grassroots group of injured migrant farm workers and allies who have been fighting for fair compensation and respect from the WSIB [Workplace & Safety Insurance Board] for all workers. We want changes to the system to help, not hinder, the lives of injured workers.
On March 21st, the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, we, injured migrant workers formerly employed by Canada's temporary foreign worker program, want to bring to light the conditions that we have faced as a result of becoming injured or sick. We believe that the workers' compensation system is racist and that we are treated very badly. This systemic racism does not treat us like we are human. There are power differences between us as workers and our bosses. The system is set up for the bosses, not for us. Our voices are not taken seriously. It is like the system believes the bosses rather than us when we are telling the impact of our injuries. We are treated like we are lying; neither our injuries nor our pain are seen as serious. Rather than let us heal, the bosses send us back to work while we are still injured and in pain. It's like we must beg for benefits that we are entitled to.
We face racism because of our complexion and our status as migrants. We are considered disposable to the WSIB, the government of Canada, employers, and our liaisons. We have been verbally, physically, mentally, and emotionally abused. Rather than helping us heal, the current system makes it worse for us. We have been denied the right to function as humans in Canada. For those of us who have been repatriated, we are returning to our home countries with injuries and traumas. We pay upfront for our transportation, our healthcare, and our medicine to come to Canada, but we must beg friends and family members after we get injured in Canada when we should rightfully be getting benefits from WSIB in Canada. Our work injuries suffered in Canada put us in further debt. This is not fair. Many of us suffer high blood pressure, stress and anxiety because we cannot pay our bills. In many cases, we miss our medical appointments, which means we get more sick.
It is WSIB that is in charge, which holds the responsibility when a worker gets injured on the job in Canada. Because of the systemic racism, WSIB is failing injured migrant workers. The injured people are finding it hard to communicate with the WSIB caseworkers on the phone, even when our medical information is placed on their desks or on computers. The injured people are re-traumatized on top of what they have already been through, which leads to even more depression and frustration. There needs to be a system in place to investigate when the WSIB is not doing their job. Our lives are in misery and it's taking a toll on our children's education and their well being due to poverty, separation, no access to health care, mental break down, and so many more issues. Our health and safety must not be put in jeopardy. The WSIB system must change so that we receive the same protections that other Canadian nonfarm workers receive. We should not be penalized for standing up for our rights or refusing dangerous working conditions. It is not right that the laws do not protect us for the essential work we do while in Canada.
In the WSIB system, there are no rights for injured migrant workers. They are biased in the way they treat workers and also biased in the compensation injured workers get. Injured migrants cannot get to see a proper doctor nor do they have the money to pay for it. However, WSIB is giving so-called "surplus" money to employers that should rightfully be going to injured workers and our families. This money should be returned to us so we can take care of our families. When our families are sick, we cannot take care of them, nor can we send our children to school. It is outrageous for WSIB to reward those employers rather than fix the system that has left injured workers in crisis. We are angry, we are in pain, and our lives have been forever changed because of our work injuries. We don't want nice words, nor do we want pity. We want justice. We want the system to change. We want to receive the medical treatment we deserve and the benefits that make sure we are not given a death sentence. We want a system that helps us, not traumatize us further.
We will not be silent and we will not give up. We will continue fighting with all workers, past or present, who have been mistreated by the WSIB. We will continue to fight for our families, our children, our co-workers, and future generations of workers so that they do not suffer the same pain and suffering that we have faced. Our struggle is for all migrant workers, whatever country you are from or whatever language you speak. Our struggle is for the betterment of Canadian workers and migrant workers alike. We will not accept racial mistreatment because we are black or brown.
We urge both federal and provincial governments' immediate actions to protect all workers. The following demands will provide immediate support and a safety net to the workers and families of workers who have been killed, injured and got sick at work:
- The Canadian government must provide permanent immigration status for all undocumented and migrant workers, status on arrival, status when injured, and no one should be deported. The federal program recently proposed is grossly inadequate to allow more than a tiny fraction of farm workers and other essential workers to qualify. That's not enough at all. All workers, including those injured workers must be allowed to stay and access justice and health care in Canada.
The Ontario government:
- Abolish Bill 27, Schedule 6, Working for Workers Act, 2021: Absolutely, this does not work for workers. Immediately return the WSIB Surplus to Injured Workers, not to employers.
- End the WSIB practice "deeming" (phantom jobs) and provide benefits when injured workers are not able to get a job or no job is available in the market, especially those undocumented and migrant workers who are already deported to their countries, but systemically deemed in 12 weeks without any benefits. The WSIB says they can continue working as a cashier, gas bar attendant, or a call centre worker in Ontario. This is not acceptable.
- Real Healthcare for Injured Workers: Based on the "Bad Medicine" report (IAVGO, 2017), the WSIB payment of drug benefits decreased 35% ($33M) from $96M in 2010 to $63M in 2015 while the new claims entering the system are consistent during that period. It says, "About 18,000 injured workers per year have disappeared from the drug benefits program, with no viable explanation from the WSIB." However, the WSIB's own Annual Financial Reports confirmed that the benefits paid out to injured workers' were cut in half from 2010 to 2015. The WSIB should provide health care injured workers need and fund medical treatments and medication our doctors prescribe, especially for those workers and migrant workers injured in precarious workplaces and repatriated to their countries with no medical attention.
- Change the WSIB law to listen [to] injured workers treating healthcare providers' recommendations regarding the injured workers' health care and health & safety about time to heal and return to work instead of wasting money on the WSIB paper doctors to override injured workers' doctors' recommendation. Also, eliminate pre-existing conditions or age-related degeneration in the WSIB policy. Researchers and injured workers' advocates said that these conditions had not affected worker's ability to do the job or had shown no symptoms (were asymptomatic).
Both Federal and Ontario governments:
- Work together to fully investigate all work-related deaths and health and safety conditions (abuse/harassments, work injuries, bunkhouse, PPE, safety equipment), including on SAWP (Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program) and TFWP (Temporary Foreign Workers Program), also reinforce all legal requirements that employers must be responsible for unsafe work environments and held accountable for any violation of the Occupational Health and Safety Act.
- Provide social assistance benefits with a real living-cost increase and implement a new Canada disability income benefit for people with disabilities to sustain their life. Any social safety net should be available to everyone who needs it regardless of immigration status. Review access and data requests on EI/CPP/CPPD/WSIB/Social assistance (ODSP/OW) programs accesses for migrant workers, to determine how many workers are facing the systemic issues.
We as injured migrant farm workers and communities are united and organizing together to make sure that these are implemented and followed by our representatives in both governments. We will continue working with our allies and people in the communities to help our representatives do their jobs to protect all workers during this critical time. We urge both governments' immediate response and actions.
Please contact your MPP and MP to protect all workers. We stand in solidarity with all migrants and people of colour in the world against racism.
An Injury to One Is an Injury to All!
(Injured Migrant Farm Workers. Photo: R. Maise)
Protest against Balikatan
U.S./Philippines Joint Military exercises, May 2018.
The 37th Balikatan U.S./Philippines Joint Military exercises have begun in and around the Philippines and will continue until April 8. It is the largest military exercise conducted between the U.S. military and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP). Balikatan is a Tagalog word meaning "shoulder to shoulder." Since 2014, Australia has also participated in these provocative military drills aimed at containing China in the Indo-Pacific Region as well as suppression of the revolutionary movement of the Filipino people for their national liberation. Canada also has a hand in this, having trained hundreds of Filipino military personnel in Canadian bases since 2014.
This year's war drills, the largest to date, will involve 3,800 Filipino soldiers and 8,100 U.S. troops and a large number of artillery, planes and ships. According to Major General Charlton Sean Gaerlan, the AFP director, "Exercise Balikatan is a testament to the strength of the Philippines and United States' security relationship. The experience gained in the exercise complements our security cooperation endeavors and will help to enhance existing mutual security efforts."
Major General Jay Bargeron, Commanding General of the 3rd Marine Division which is the main U.S. force taking part in Balikatan, adds "During Balikatan, the U.S. military and AFP will train together to expand and advance shared tactics, techniques, and procedures that strengthen our response capabilities and readiness for real-world challenges, the friendship and trust between our forces will enable us to accomplish any mission across the spectrum of military operations."
Balikatan and other joint military exercises in the Philippines led by the U.S. imperialists are justified under the Mutual Defence Treaty (MDT) signed between the Philippines and the U.S. on August 30, 1951, to consolidate the use of the Philippines as a forward staging ground in the U.S. war of aggression in Korea, and to maintain U.S. domination of the Philippines. The Philippines was also used as a staging ground in the U.S. war against the Vietnamese people, the First Gulf War and other wars.
A report in the U.S. military's Stars and Stripes magazine quotes Rand Corporation Senior Defence Analyst Derek Grossman as saying: "U.S.-Philippine security engagement has strengthened recently. Russia's invasion of Ukraine provides impetus to get the relationship right. The counterpoint to Russia in the Indo-Pacific is China." The article notes that in March 2021, then U.S. Indo-Pacific Commander, Admiral Philip Davison had warned that China might attack Taiwan "in the next six years" based on its rapid military expansion. The U.S. promotes this disinformation about China attacking Taiwan to justify its military presence in the region and prepare the grounds for increased measures and attacks against China.
Also significant is that the Balikatan 2022 will include U.S. and Philippines military jointly "practicing counterterrorism and urban warfare with local forces at Crow Valley and Fort Magsaysay." Who is this aimed at if not the revolutionary movement of the Filipino people?
Balikatan 2022 is to counter not only China in the Asia Pacific Region, but also to suppress the revolutionary movement of the Filipino people led by the Communist Party of the Philippines and the New People's Army. It is also aimed at using the entire Philippines as a forward staging ground to project U.S. power and increase its military presence in the Asia-Pacific as part of its dangerous brinkmanship against Russia and China.
That these exercises are being held weeks from the May 9 presidential elections in the Philippines is also to project U.S. dominance of the Philippines against the efforts of the Filipino people to use the elections to advance their interests.
For these reasons the people of the Philippines have continuously opposed all U.S./Philippine war exercises, demanded an end to the U.S. military presence in their country, as well as the scrapping of the MDT of 1951. They continue courageously and heroically to organize to get rid of the U.S. military and all foreign domination of their nation and to affirm their sovereignty and independence, thus making an important contribution to humanity's fight for peace in the world.
No to Balikatan 2022!
U.S. Troops Out of the
(Photos: Bayan, Gabriela)
In November 2021, an article entitled "NATO and the Philippines: The First Step to a Strategic Partnership" was published by the NATO Association of Canada (NAOC). The Association was founded in 1996 and self-describes as "a Non-Governmental Organization" which aims to "promote knowledge and understanding of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in Canada. It strives to educate and engage Canadians about NATO and its goals to promote international peace, prosperity and security."
According to the article, "President Duterte's new reorientation strategy is good news for the U.S. and NATO, as it is the exact opposite of his previous claims in 2016, where he discussed a want to embrace alliances with Russia and China."
The article further states: "Since President Duterte has announced his intentions to reorient back to alliances with the U.S. and western allies, NATO should examine the possibility of enhancing relations with the Philippines. The NATO 2030 global approach currently focuses on developing relations with four key partners in the Indo-Pacific: Japan, Australia, New Zealand and the Republic of Korea. The new Philippines pivot is a good starting point for NATO to begin looking towards the Philippines as a strategic partner for its global approach."
The article points out that the U.S. considers the Philippines to be a "Major Non-NATO ally," giving it "a designation that includes a status of military and economic privilege." The people of the Philippines have been resisting U.S. imperialist domination and exploitation for more than 120 years and are not about to accept such “privileges” that further U.S. interests at their expense.
The article emphasizes: "However, the Philippine Constitution requires President Duterte to step down in June 2022, when his term will come to an end. Keeping the Philippines in the strategic loop of the western alliances is more important now than ever, and NATO can help bolster this relationship."
The article ends by stating: "A strategy that welcomes the Philippines as a strategic partner in the Indo-Pacific can only help enhance the Indo-Pacific relations that NATO has already established. There is a pocket of opportunity presented when looking at the Philippines and their strategy to pivot back to the United States [...] Promoting a partnership with the Philippines now is crucial to avoiding a pro-China Philippines in the future."
Thus it can be seen that for NATO the Philippines and its people are nothing more than pawns in the drive for U.S. hegemony in the Asia Pacific Region. The Filipino people are seasoned fighters against U.S. imperialism and U.S./NATO schemes to corral them into the U.S./NATO camp and to use them as cannon fodder in a battle against China will not succeed.
1. NATO 2030 is "an ambitious agenda to make sure NATO remains ready, strong and united for a new era of increased global competition. NATO Leaders asked Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at their meeting in London in December 2019 to lead a forward- looking reflection to make NATO stronger and fit for the future." (Source: NATO)
President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines, whose term of office ends in May this year, has pledged military support for the U.S. in the event that the war in "Ukraine spills over into Asia." The Philippines is one of the countries which were lined up by the U.S./NATO forces to vote on March 2 in favour of the UN General Assembly Special Session resolution on Ukraine condemning Russia and to demand the immediate withdrawal of all Russian troops from Ukrainian territory.
Philippine Ambassador to the U.S. Jose Manuel Romualdez stated in a press conference on March 10 that: "He [Duterte] says if they're asking for support from the Philippines, it is very clear that, of course, if push comes to shove, the Philippines will be ready to be part of the effort, especially if the Ukrainian crisis spills over to the Asian region." Romualdez further stated that Duterte pledged that the "Philippines is ready to offer whatever facilities or whatever things that the United States will need being a major... our number one ally."
Media reports note that while Duterte did not specify which "facilities" or "whatever things" he would offer the U.S., it will certainly include the large Clarke Air Base and Subic Bay Naval Base northwest of Manila, the capital, at one time the largest U.S. military bases outside the continental United States.
Subic Bay was established in 1904 for the U.S. Seventh Fleet. In 1945, following the Second World War, the Clarke Air Base was established as a military base for the 13th Air Force and 55 units of the Pacific Air Force Command which were involved in the U.S. wars of aggression against the Korean people and later against the Vietnamese people. These bases remained as part of the U.S.-Philippines Mutual Defence Treaty of 1951 forced upon the Filipino people by the U.S. imperialists. It was through the resistance of the Filipino people led by the Communist Party of the Philippines and the New People's Army, as well as the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo which caused extensive damage to Clark Air Base, that U.S. forces withdrew from Clarke in 1991 and Subic Bay in 1992.
In 1987, the Philippine Constitution forbid any U.S. or other foreign bases. The U.S. acted against this and the firm resistance of Filipinos by securing the 1999 Visiting Forces Agreement, and the 2014 Enhanced Defence Cooperation Agreement (EDCA, updated in 2021). They allow the U.S. military to bring in troops and make use of all existing Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) bases anywhere in the Philippines. The Filipino people have had to bear the burden of these costs financially and politically and continue to oppose these onerous and dangerous military agreements which endanger not only the people of the Philippines but the peoples of Asia and the world. The National Democratic Front of the Philippines and the New People's Army have condemned the decision of the Duterte regime of March 10, and have called for stepped up resistance to rid the Philippines of U.S. imperialist domination.
(With Files from National Democratic Front of the Philippines, New People's Army, Toronto Star)
In response to the test-launch of the Hwasong-17 by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), a new intercontinental ballistic missile that puts the entire U.S. mainland within reach of its missiles, the U.S. urged the 15-member UN Security Council on March 25 to discuss strengthening sanctions against the DPRK in order to counter its "egregious and unprovoked escalation."
The last open meeting of the UN Security Council regarding the DPRK's nuclear and missile program was held in December of 2019. Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the U.S. ambassador to the UN, said during the March 25 open meeting that "we also cannot stand idly by in the face of [north Korea's] repeated security resolution violations," adding that the U.S. will be introducing a resolution to "update and strengthen the sanctions regime" against Pyongyang.
The U.S. argued that additional sanctions against north Korea should automatically follow the current situation according to Security Council Resolution 2397 which was introduced in response to Pyongyang's test of the Hwasong-15 missile. Unanimously adopted in late December of 2017, the resolution limited crude oil supplies to the DPRK to 4 million barrels a year and refined petroleum supplies to the country to 500,000 barrels a year. The resolution also included a "trigger clause" that read, "if [north Korea] conducts a further nuclear test or a launch of a ballistic missile system [. . .] then the Security Council will take action to further restrict the export to [north Korea] of petroleum."
Thomas-Greenfield said that "a launch of a ballistic missile system" was "precisely what happened." "Now is the time to take that action," she added.
Cho Hyun, south Korea's ambassador to the UN, expressed the country's support of U.S. plans to introduce a new resolution. The UK as well as other countries voiced their support for additional sanctions as well.
However, China and Russia made clear that they will not be cooperating with the U.S. Stating that "no parties should take any action that would lead to greater tensions," China's ambassador to the UN, Zhang Jun, said, "the U.S. must not continue to brush aside [the DPRK's] legitimate demands" and "offer an attractive proposal to pave the way for early resumed dialogue."
Similarly, Anna Evstigneeva, Russia's Deputy Ambassador to the UN, stressed that added sanctions will "expose the people of north Korea to risks of inadmissible socio-economic and humanitarian turbulence."
China and Russia have been advocating for the easing of sanctions against the DPRK ever since April 2018, when the country began engaging in dialogue with south Korea and the U.S. and even declared a moratorium on testing nuclear weapons and missiles.
"With China and Russia expressly rejecting the U.S. call for action, it became highly unlikely that additional sanctions against Pyongyang at the level of the Security Council will be implemented," the newspaper Hankyoreh published in south Korea wrote. "Observers say the two countries of China and Russia have been displaying a permissive attitude towards north Korea and its behaviour crossing the 'red line' due to the rift they've widened within the Security Council in the past five years as its permanent members."
In related news, on March 25, Special Representative of the Chinese Government on Korean Peninsula Affairs, Liu Xiaoming, met with Vice Foreign Minister of Russia, Igor Morgulov, in Moscow. The two sides exchanged views on the situation on the Korean Peninsula.
Liu and Morgulov expressed concern over the current situation on the Peninsula and agreed that all parties should remain calm and exercise restraint, avoid any move that could cause further deterioration, and work together to maintain peace and stability on the Peninsula. They called on relevant parties to stick to dialogue and seek effective and balanced solutions to their respective concerns. They agreed to stay in close communication and coordination and play a constructive role for promoting political settlement of the Peninsula issue.
During his visit in Russia, Special Representative Liu Xiaoming also met with Rector of the Diplomatic Academy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia, Alexander Yakovenko, and had an in-depth discussion on the Peninsula issue with scholars from the Institute of Far Eastern Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences.
(Lee Bon-young, Hankyoreh Washington correspondent, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, People's Republic of China)
For several years now a common front in the relentless propaganda war by Western media and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) against Nicaragua's Sandinista government has involved false accusations that the authorities damage or neglect the rights and well-being of the country's Indigenous peoples.
In fact, the opposite is the case. Nicaragua's Indigenous peoples enjoy the most progressive and advanced system of autonomous self-government in the hemisphere. But reporting by the Western human rights industry, in particular by U.S. and European NGOs claiming to defend Indigenous peoples, consistently omits that fact to focus on sporadic incidents of violence, which they systematically misrepresent.
In general, North American and European anti-Sandinista propaganda published by corporate or billionaire-funded organizations like Global Witness or the Oakland Institute and international news media advance three main false claims:
- Nicaragua's government permits and even encourages invasion by outsiders called "colonos" of Indigenous lands, in particular affecting the Biosphere Reserve of Bosawa
- the government fails to investigate or remedy incidents of violence against the country's Indigenous peoples' communities
- the Indigenous peoples concerned are invariably innocent victims whose interests are genuinely represented and defended by local foreign-funded NGOs
First-hand reporting over the last year has categorically demonstrated that every one of these propaganda claims is untrue.
Most recently, a team of reporters visited the site of a violent attack that took place in Kiwakumbai in the nucleus of the Bosawas Biosphere Reserve. Their reporting demonstrated that some members of local Indigenous communities themselves not only promoted illicit use of their people's lands causing deforestation and contamination of water sources but also participated in murderous violence.
The incident at Kiwakumbai and a subsequent incident involving a nearby community called Palan cast new light on similar events in the community of Alal in January 2020.
All these events demonstrate:
- land settlement in the area has a long history not infrequently involving members of local Indigenous communities engaged in irregular land transactions with outsiders, leading occasionally to violent disputes in which some members of Indigenous communities themselves have engaged in murderous attacks
- despite the area's remoteness and difficult terrain, violent incidents invariably receive prompt and thorough investigation by the authorities
- government institutions including the police and the army coordinate with the regional autonomous government, the Indigenous territorial governments and the Indigenous community governments as well as the relevant local municipal authority both to remedy loss and damage to the victims, and also to resolve the immediate conflict while seeking to prevent future conflicts
None of this reality is ever reported by local opposition media, who uncritically cite information from local foreign funded NGOs like the Center for Justice and Human Rights of Nicaragua's Atlantic Coast (CEJUDHCAN), the Center for Legal Assistance to Indigenous Peoples (CALPI) or the Fundación del Río, all aligned with Nicaragua's political opposition.
These NGOs falsely claim to represent the area's Indigenous peoples, a claim rejected by Indigenous leaders themselves, for example by the leaders of the Mayangna Nation whose lands include the communities of Alal, Kiwakumbai and Palan. In an extensive interview from November 2020, those leaders acknowledge the positive role of the Nicaraguan government in conflict remediation and resolution. They also acknowlege the involvement of some members of their own Indigenous people's communities in irregular land transactions.
This makes available reporting on conflicts affecting Indigenous peoples in Nicaragua very different to reporting on such conflicts in neighboring Honduras, for example. In Honduras, reporting on the situation of Indigenous peoples is often based on information from the Consejo Cívico de Organizaciones Populares e Indígenas de Honduras (COPINH) which is an organization authentically representing the Lenca people in western Honduras.
Likewise, the Organización Fraternal Negra Hondureña (OFRANEH), genuinely represents the Garífuna people living along the country's Caribbean coast. Both organizations have mass support from their peoples at grass roots resisting corporate depredation abetted by the corrupt Honduran authorities.
So when international NGOs base their reports on information from these or similar organizations in Honduras, they can be regarded as generally trustworthy. This has been borne out, for example, in the cases of Bertha Cáceres or of the four garífuna activists forcibly disappeared in July 2020.
But in the case of Nicaragua, international NGOs posing as defenders of Indigenous rights base their reports on unrepresentative local foreign funded organizations all of whom are aligned with the country's political opposition. Their version of events in Nicaragua's Caribbean Coast is directly contradicted by elected representatives of the region's Indigenous people's governments.
The material collected here includes a review by independent writer John Perry of reporting on the situation of Nicaragua's Indigenous peoples, as well as interviews and reports about the violent incident at Kiwakumbai and its social and economic context. Practically everything emerging from those interviews and reports confirms the views expressed by the leaders of the Mayangna Nation in the interview they gave in November 2020. All told, this material demonstrates the utter falsity of reporting on Nicaragua by international NGOs and news media.
It is a mistake to dismiss this reality as some kind of unfortunate oversight or misunderstanding on the part of the international organizations concerned. The Western human rights industry depends on corporate and related funding whose objective is to advance the social, economic and political interests of the wealthy elite interests concerned. Self-evidently, a corollary of that objective is to attack any government prepared to defend its country's national sovereignty against corporate and related elite interests.
To that end, Western human rights organizations and international institutions like those of the United Nations have been intensely coopted by sinister corporate and related power brokers like, for example, the influential Clinton network, among others. That is the underlying explanation for the relentless assault on Nicaragua's Sandinista government by the Western human rights industry in general and its subsidiary Indigenous peoples' rights branch in particular. These international organizations and the local NGOs they depend on are financed by Western elites who for centuries have plundered, enslaved and massacred Indigenous peoples around the world. For its part, Nicaragua's revolutionary government has defended the rights of the country's Indigenous peoples by promoting the most advanced model of autonomy in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Ceremony Celebrates 75th Anniversary of
Return to Tuyen Quang to
Lead the National Resistance War
Cultural performance held
as part of the celebration, March 31, 2022.
ceremony was held in the
province of Tuyen Quang on March 31 to celebrate the 75th
anniversary of President Ho Chi Minh's return to Tuyen Quang April
9, 1947 to lead the nation in its resistance war against the French
In his speech, Member of the Party Central Committee and Secretary of the Tuyen Quang Provincial Party Committee Chau Van Lam said Tuyen Quang is associated with great events and brilliant milestones of the country's revolutionary history.
Politburo member, President of the Ho Chi Minh National Academy of Politics and Chairman of the Central Theoretical Council Nguyen Xuan Thang speaks at the ceremony.
In the early years of the revolution, the Party Central
Uncle Ho chose Tan Trao and Tuyen Quang as the capital of the
Liberation Zone, the centre of the country's revolutionary base, where
many important events took place, such as the national Party
Conference when the general uprising order was issued and the Party
led the entire people to rise and seize power; and the National
People's Congress of Tan Trao, the predecessor of the National
Assembly of Vietnam, unanimously endorsed the policy of the
General Uprising and established the National Liberation Committee,
or Provisional Government, chaired by President Ho Chi Minh.
The national resistance war broke out, Uncle Ho and the Party Central Committee, National Assembly, and Government returned to Tan Trao and Tuyen Quang to lead the resistance war against the French colonialists. In Tuyen Quang, President Ho Chi Minh, together with the Party Central Committee and the Government, led the people to implement a long-term, all-people and comprehensive resistance war as well as national construction.
Speaking at the ceremony, Politburo member, President of the Ho Chi Minh National Academy of Politics and Chairman of the Central Theoretical Council Nguyen Xuan Thang emphasised that the event aimed to express gratitude for Uncle Ho's great contributions to the revolutionary cause of the Party and nation, while at the same time contributing to the revolutionary tradition of cadres, party members and people, especially the younger generations.
He urged the Party Committee, administration and people of Tuyen Quang to continue to promote its revolutionary tradition and solidarity to overcome all difficulties and challenges as well as exert efforts to build Tuyen Quang into a modern and sustainably developed province in the North region.
(Nahn Dan, April 1, 2022)
National strike, March 28-29, 2022, Patna, Bihar
Millions of workers joined in a national strike on March 28 and 29 for the fulfillment of their economic and social demands. The strike was called by a forum of national trade unions and was supported by farmers across India. Their demands include scrapping the labour codes, ending privatization in any form, stopping the National Monetisation Pipeline (NMP), increasing the allocation of wages under The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA), and regularizing contract workers.
Last year 250 million people joined in a national shutdown. Today, many workers and farmers are asking the hundreds of millions of people who run everything and produce everything, why don't we take over the administration at the local and national level? Why do we remain in begging mode? What is it that we are lacking? Farmers Morchas showed that the toilers can run everything, so why beg from the ruling elite? How long will we keep just protesting?
These are signs of coming times.
As expected, after consulting fake farmers who reported that 80 per cent of farmers in India support the central government on farm laws and policies, the Supreme Court appointed a committee on the demands of the farmers. It is a cruel joke by the ruling elite to give its anti-farmer laws legitimacy. The Sanyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM) opposed this committee when it was constituted and now has opposed its report.
A rally was held in Chandigarh along with tractor marches in Punjab on March 25 by the SKM to highlight the demands of farmers and Punjab. They called on the new government of Punjab to address the problems of a Minimum Produce Price (MSP), electricity, water, health, education and other issues as it promised to do during the election.
Farmers rally in
Chandigarh, March 25, 2022
A meeting of the SKM is being called to set its plans for the coming months. Committees of farmers across India are going to meet all the chief ministers as part of their protest movement. Farmers also warned the people of Punjab and Haryana that the ruling elite is trying to split the unity of the people of Punjab and Haryana and called on them to remain vigilant.
According to news reports, a parliamentary committee found that the Union government had vowed to double farmers' incomes between 2015 and 2022 but, at the halfway point, farms in at least four states had less income than when the pledge was made. In Jharkhand, a farming family's average income fell from Rs 7,068 to Rs 4,895; in Madhya Pradesh, it fell from Rs 9,740 to Rs 8,339; in Nagaland, from Rs 11,428 to Rs 9,877 and for Odisha, it dipped from Rs 5,274 to Rs 5,112.
The new chief minister of Punjab met with Prime Minister Modi and asked him for a package of 1 Lakh Crore rupees for Punjab to fulfill his election promises for "development." His party, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), is setting a course of blaming the central government for its failures to deliver and cover up the fact that they have no interest in fighting for Punjab and its rights that have been usurped by the central government and the colonial constitution. The colonial constitution concentrates all the power in Delhi.
This is the stand taken by several state governments to cover up that they are not addressing the problems faced by the people which includes how to handle the central government and renew the constitution. The new first minister of Punjab promised that his government will not be run from Delhi, but he is begging Delhi for funds. It is a replay of the old adage "he who pays the piper calls the tune." The battle over where the seat of power of Punjab lies continues.
Another serious problem which persists is seen in attempts to raise the diversion that the problems of Punjab stem from Pakistan. The people of Punjab need friendly relations with Pakistan. They need to open trade and border crossings between west Punjab and Pakistan.
The new first minister announced that pre-paid electricity meters will be installed ending subsidies for electricity to farmers and handing it over to private companies owned by the oligarchic families Adani and Ambani. Farmers have announced that they will not permit these meters to be installed.
It is also reported that the new government has doubled the amount of water going to Delhi from Punjab without informing anyone in Punjab. Amit Shah, the home minister of India announced measures which further concentrate control of Chandigarh in the hands of Delhi. The AAP, with its eyes on elections in Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat, is silent on the rights and claims of Punjab against Delhi. It serves the same longstanding plans to concentrate power in Delhi and serve the ruling elite.
Photos from National Strike March 28-29
(Photos: H.S. Sangha, D. Sandhu, V. Vast, AIKS, M. Biswas, Labour Start, IFTUS, Industriall)
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