Frederick Engels was born 193 years ago, on November 28,
1820. Frederick Engels was the brilliant teacher and leader of the
international proletariat, who together with Karl Marx, his closest
friend and comrade, founded scientific socialism, the indispensable
theory of the struggle of the working class for its emancipation. This
genius, whose tremendous revolutionary activity spanned more than half
a century, together with Karl Marx showed that the struggle for
socialism is not a matter of a utopian dream, of some excellent "ideas"
of which the rulers and governing classes only need to be convinced,
but the inevitable consequence of the development of the productive
forces of modern society and of the equally inevitable class struggle
of the proletariat against the bourgeoisie which this development gives
Frederick Engels was born in Barmen, in the Rhine province of the kingdom of Prussia. While still at school, Engels developed a profound hatred for autocracy and political despotism. A follower of the revolutionary teachings of Hegel, like Marx he soon rejected Hegel's idealist views and used the dialectical approach in making a materialist analysis of the world. He used this outlook and approach in carrying out a comprehensive study of the conditions of the English working class after he settled in Manchester, in the heartland of British industry, in 1842 and saw firsthand the poverty and misery of the workers. The fruit of his studies and observations was a work of tremendous revolutionary and scientific value: The Conditions of the Working Class in England. In it, Engels was the first to point out the revolutionary side to the deplorable plight of the proletariat: this was that the conditions of the working class were irrevocably leading it to fight for its complete emancipation. The political movement of the working class would inevitably bring the workers to the conclusion that their interests demand the destruction of the very foundations of capitalist society, the rule of the tiny minority of exploiters and private property, and that there was no way forward except through socialism. Engels also showed on the basis of the dialectical materialist analysis of human society that socialism would only become a force when it became the aim of the political struggle of the working class. It was in England during this period that Engels became a socialist.
In 1844, he was to meet Marx for the first time, with whom he had already begun to correspond, and to commence their revolutionary collaboration which was to provide the working class with the revolutionary science for its emancipation. That very year, they worked together to write The Holy Family, or a Criticism of Critical Criticism, in which are laid down the rudiments of revolutionary materialist socialism. In it they incisively criticized the philosophy of the Bauer brothers and their "critical" approach to the situation in the world, and pointed out that the issue was not contemplating the world but struggling for a better order of society.
From 1845 to 1847, Engels continued his revolutionary work amongst German workers in Paris and Brussels where both he and Marx established contact with the secret German Communist League which commissioned them to enunciate the main principles of socialism as they had worked them out. In November 1847, having taken up this task, Engels completed the first draft of the Manifesto of the Communist Party. In this immortal work published in 1848, Marx and Engels brilliantly put forward the doctrine of scientific socialism, the program for the emancipation of the working class and the building of the new communist society. They placed the proletariat at the centre of social development and as the leader, inspirer, organizer and mobilizer in the irreconcilable class struggle against the bourgeoisie, its grave-digger, pointing out, "its fall and the victory of the proletariat are equally inevitable," that the working class must become the ruling class, that the working class must use violence to counter the violence of the bourgeois state as it works to achieve the transformation of society and that the proletariat must establish its dictatorship to emancipate itself and all humankind. Marx and Engels issued the clarion call, Workers of All Countries, Unite! It embodies the principles of proletarian internationalism and shows the international character of the proletariat's struggle for liberation from capitalist exploitation and wage-slavery so as to overthrow the capitalist order and its state power on the world scale.
The revolutions of 1848 in countries throughout Europe brought both Marx and Engels back to Germany. In Cologne, in Rhenish Prussia, they put out the democratic newspaper Neue Rheinische Zeitung and became the central figures in the revolutionary democratic struggle against the forces of reaction there. Reaction gained the upper hand, the paper was suppressed, and while Engels continued to fight after Marx was deported, actively participating in the armed popular uprising in which he fought in three battles, he too was forced to leave the country following the defeat of the revolutionary forces.
Shortly thereafter, he settled in England where Marx also settled, and their close revolutionary collaboration continued until Marx's death in 1883, yielding a wealth of revolutionary material which continues to be an indispensable guide to the revolutionary proletariat in its struggles to this day, having lost none of its validity and value. It was here that Marx was to write the greatest work ever done on political economy -- Capital. While Marx carried out his tremendous work on the analysis of the complex phenomena of capitalist economy, Engels took up the elaboration of the revolutionary science and outlook on a wide range of questions, often writing simple, concise works in a polemical style. Amongst his major contributions to the theory of scientific socialism during this period are the famous polemical work Anti-Duhring, in which he deals with fundamental questions of philosophy, natural science and social science, The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State, The Housing Question and Ludwig Feuerbach. It was Engels too, who carried out the major task of preparing and publishing the second and third volumes of Capital, after Marx died leaving this work only in draft form.
Engels' revolutionary work, however, went beyond this invaluable enunciation of the revolutionary theory of the proletariat. Like Marx, he, too, was active in the international working class movement, including his active participation in the International Working Men's Association founded by Marx in 1864. Even after the dissolution of the Internationale and the death of Marx, Engels continued to pay great attention to the development of the international working class movement. The correspondence which he conducted with communists and working class leaders throughout Europe and North America is amongst the treasures which he left the international proletariat, being rich in principles and in the enunciation of the revolutionary strategy and tactics of the proletariat.
In all his work, the revolutionary essence of this brilliant fighter for the interests of the working class is always apparent. He never for a moment lost sight of the interests for which he was fighting, never lapsed into empty theorizing, but, on the contrary, repeatedly pointed out that "Marxism is not a dogma, but a guide to action." His writings to this day form an integral and essential part of the theory of scientific socialism -- an indispensable and invaluable guide in the struggle of the working class for its emancipation, for socialism and communism.
30th Anniversary of the Death of British Communist Leader
Long Live the Memory of Our Comrade John Buckle
Today, November 27, is the 30th anniversary of the death in 1983 of John Buckle, then General Secretary of the Revolutionary Communist Party of Britain (Marxist-Leninist). He was just 34, and had led the Party since its founding in 1979.
On this occasion, we honour John's memory, appreciating more than ever the sacrifice of those who, like John, came forward at a crucial time in history to contribute to providing solutions to serious problems of the times.
John Buckle came forward as an anti-fascist fighter and leader at a time when the state tried to float a fascist movement as a respectable political organisation, and he led the movement to smash this. John had joined the work of the forerunner organisations of RCPB(ML) as a student, and from then on dedicated his whole existence to the cause of the revolutionary transformation of society, taking up the work in Britain which led to the founding of the Party in March 1979. He died in a terrible air crash in Madrid, Spain, while on his way to attend an international communist conference in Colombia, South America. Thus his contribution was so tragically cut short, but the cause to which he dedicated his life lives on in the work today to renew all the arrangements at the base of society, provide it with a new economic direction and ensure that the political and social institutions are human centred, not capital centred.
Today, at a time the ruling class is engaged in all-sided wrecking and is perpetrating wars of aggression, having absolutely no way forward for society, it is common to rehash Cold War anti-communist rhetoric and try to dismiss those who came forward in the sixties, seventies and eighties, as well as the current generations, as extremists for believing that a better world is possible and working to bring about social change. It would be laughable if it were not so tragic to see virulently extremist and right-wing advocates of neo-liberal privatisation, and the rich who are becoming ever richer, blame others for extremism so as to give the impression that they themselves stand for something moderate. Furthermore, they criminalise those engaged in political activity and social action which upholds rights, so that no political movement of the people can coalesce. They commit horrible crimes in the name of human rights even as the world sees them trample the human rights of the most vulnerable the world over and say to hell with the human condition so long as they get richer and their private interests are served.
At the height of the time John Buckle became active, the
US secret agencies launched Operation CHAOS in North America and Europe
to create phoney "left-wing" groups which engaged in extremist
activities, such as those of the Red Brigades, and then blamed the
Marxist-Leninists. They also engaged in coups d'état such as that in
Chile of 1973, and launched Operation Condor to commit horrible crimes
against the people who demanded democracy and human rights.
John Buckle speaking at the historic Conference against Racism and Fascism, Conway Hall, London, June 7, 1981.
It is important to study the work carried out by John Buckle and the Party which he led, in order to defeat the attempts of the ruling circles to use disinformation to bring down new tragedies onto the peoples, tragedies much worse than those committed by the Hitlerites in the thirties and forties because of the limitless power these ruling elites control today.
On this occasion, RCPB(ML) calls on everyone to channel the human power which is also without limitations so as to bring these reactionary forces under control.
May the life and work
of John Buckle serve as an inspiration to the youth of today!
Falsifications of History to Keep Canadians Disempowered
Harper Government Continues to Repeat the
Minister Jason Kenney (far right) signs agreement with Chair of Tribute to Liberty Ludwik Klimkowski to fund anti-communist monument with public funds, on "Black Ribbon Day" in Ottawa, August 23, 2013. Tribute to Liberty has been unable to get public support to build the monument that would commemorate those who fought with the Nazis and were defeated by the Soviet Union. (CIC)
Previously in 2008, the Harper dictatorship had passed into law Bill C-459, the Ukrainian Famine and Genocide ("Holodomor") Memorial Day Act, a private member's bill put forward by Manitoba Conservative James Bezan, Secretary of the Canada-Ukraine Parliamentary Friendship Group. The bill followed a 1998 decree by the President of the Ukraine which set aside the fourth Saturday in November as a national day of remembrance. The Harper bill went so far as to officially recognize the Holodomor as an act of genocide against the Ukrainian people. The only other parliaments which have done this are Argentina, Austria, Estonia, Georgia, Hungary, Lithuania, Poland, Ukraine and the United States. The inclusion of Estonia and Lithuania on the list is interesting because they are two of the states now at the forefront of the neo-Nazi revival in Europe.
On November 9, Harper attended the 24th Triennial Congress of Ukrainian Canadians, held in Toronto. In an interview during the Congress, Harper bragged that he was "very aware of the history of the Ukrainian people and...the famine, the Holodomor and other great tragedies of Ukrainian history." Since his primary aim is to oppose communism and everything progressive, he then tried to absolve his own dictatorship of any responsibility to oppose fascism and Nazism by claiming that "there has been a full reckoning of the terrible nature and terrible events of fascism." This is a lie because not only did many Nazi war criminals and their collaborators escape justice through the machinations of the Anglo-American imperialists and the Vatican, but there is currently a full-blown campaign to revive Nazism, especially in certain European countries such as Estonia which Harper touts as his allies.
In the interview, Harper also publicized his so-called Canadian Museum of Human Rights (CMHR), assuring his hosts that the museum would definitely recognize the mythical Holodomor. This was to try to smooth over an internal brawl between the Ukrainian Canadian Congress and other groups, which all want their own narrow interests served by the Museum. Harper is fine with including the Holodomor, not because he supports human rights, but because he aims to use the CMHR as a propaganda tool against the communists and other progressive forces by lying that they are "human rights violators" just like the Nazis. The well-worn term "totalitarianism" will once again be freely used to falsely suggest that the Nazis and the communists were the same, even though fascism is the dictatorship of monopoly capital while communism is the ideology of the working class.
Falsified photos to promote the Holodomor, from a public exhibit in Sebastopol, Ukraine in March 2009, organized by the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU). The photos were captioned to say they were from the alleged famine in 1932-33 but the three on the left were proven to be depression-era photos from the U.S. and the one at the right from Russia in 1921. (www.nr2.ru)
Harper carefully omits from all his Holodomor speeches the fact that while there were difficult times mainly due to the ongoing imperialist interventionist campaign against the Soviet Union, there never was a "man-made famine" in the Ukraine. It was actually the Hitlerite Nazis who first created the famine myth in 1933 to discredit the Soviet Union, the enemy they most feared. The Nazis wrote front page stories in German newspapers, which were then picked up by the reactionary British press. In September 1934, millionaire William Randolph Hearst, the leading U.S. publisher of the "yellow press" and an open supporter of Nazism, met with Hitler and Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels in Berlin and signed a cash deal to promote a positive image of the Nazis in the U.S. The Hearst papers carried paid-for columns by both Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini and Hearst attended the 1934 Nazi Party Nuremburg rally. Egged on by the Hitlerites, Hearst's papers became the biggest propagandists for the myth of the Ukrainian famine, using fake photographs and printing lies that have been refuted by the evidence over and over again.
During his 2010 trip to the Ukraine, Harper laid a
wreath in Kiev to commemorate the so-called Holodomor. He also laid a
wreath at the Babi Yar memorial, the ravine near Kiev where Nazi troops
massacred more than 150,000 people from 1941-43, mostly Jews, Gypsies
and Soviet prisoners of war. The most notorious massacre was of more
than 33,000 Jews in two days in September 1941. It is no accident that
Harper's visit to Babi Yar was only mentioned briefly at the time, both
by the Harperites and the monopoly media, and only for the purposes of
once again trying to force the false conclusion that the Nazis and the
Soviet Union were "the same." Also omitted is that the Babi Yar
massacres were carried out not by the Nazis alone but with their
Ukrainian collaborators who served in the Auxiliary Police and the
Waffen SS Nachtigall and Roland battalions. Many war criminals from
these groups were allowed to enter Canada after the Second World War
while the governments of the day turned a blind eye. They continue to
be among the most ardent promoters of the famine myth.
Left: Nazis carry out mass killings in Vinnytsia, Ukraine, 1942. Right: the SS Galicia Division is founded in the spring of 1943.
Harper has never once denounced the fact that more than
three million people were killed in the Ukraine as part of Nazi
extermination policies. It is as if such events never occurred or are
of no consequence. The crimes of the Nazis against the Ukrainian people
have disappeared into thin air to serve the Harperite agenda. Harper
has also never raised a peep about the fact that the Canadian state has
a long history of allowing Nazi war criminals, including from the
Ukraine, into Canada and has done almost nothing to bring them to
justice. For example, nothing was ever done to scrutinize the 2,000
members of the Ukrainian-based Galicia Division who were permitted to
enter Canada after the Second World War, even though they were members
of the Nazi SS and fought for the Nazis against the Soviet Union and
its allies. The Galicia Division was denounced as a criminal
organization at the Nuremburg Trials.
During his anti-communist, pro-fascist speeches, Harper
(and Kenney too) likes to use high-sounding words and phrases such as
freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law. While the
Canadian people do cherish such values, under the Harper dictatorship,
freedom, democracy, rights and the rule of law exist only for the
monopolies. In fact, on behalf of the monopolies, Harper is pursuing an
anti-social, anti-labour offensive against the people with a vengeance.
He forced through legislation to end the job actions of the postal
workers in June 2011, the Air Canada workers in March 2012, and the CP
Rail workers in May 2012. He forced through legislation against the
wishes of the majority of farmers in 2011 to eliminate the Canadian
Wheat Board and hand the grain trade over to Cargill and others. He has
given full support to U.S. Steel in its wrecking of the Canadian steel
industry. When monopoly rule is challenged, as it was at the G8/G20 in
the summer of 2010 or as is being done by the Elsipogtog First Nation
in New Brunswick in 2013, the Harper dictatorship uses Gestapo methods
to attack the dissenters and criminalize the right to conscience.
Harper's real attitude toward freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law is well-known to the people of the world. The Harper dictatorship's infamous activities in support of the dictate of U.S. imperialism, which took up the mantle of the Nazis after the Second World War, include the terror bombing of Libya, participating in the imperialist war in Afghanistan and unqualified support for Israeli state terrorism against the people of Gaza and the rest of the Middle East. The Harper government is now involved in war preparations against Syria and Iran, with the intent to participate in another predatory war. The war fervour sweeping the Harper dictatorship was never more evident than in the disgusting Remembrance Day speech by Jason Kenney on November 11, 2012, when he systematically glorified numerous unjust colonialist and imperialist wars such as the crushing of the Northwest Rebellion, the Boer War, World War I, the Korean War and the post-9/11 aggressions as great victories for the Canadian people.
Harper's disinformation about the Holodomor is mainly
aimed at obscuring the historical fact that it was the Soviet Union,
the communists and Stalin who led the world-wide opposition to fascism
and played the leading role in defeating the Hitlerite Nazis. The
Harperites are promoting the false view that the Soviet Union was even
worse than the Nazis, not because they misunderstands history, but
because they want to groom and egg on the fascist forces in the present
by giving them every support to organize against the people. Even now,
Nazism is being revived in various countries. For example, a regular
annual meeting of Estonian Waffen SS veterans now takes place in
Sinimae, Estonia every July, with government approval. Overall,
Harper's regular rantings about the Holodomor and his attacks on the
communists and other progressive people are part and parcel of the
financial oligarchy's continuing campaign to try to reverse the
people's verdict which long ago condemned Nazism to the dustbin of
history. It must not pass!
1. The Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada,
Justin Trudeau, made the following statement on November 18, taking the
same pro-fascist stand as Harper: "This year marks the 80th anniversary
of the Holodomor in Ukraine, where millions were systematically starved
in a calculated effort to destroy and suppress a nation."
NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair issued a similar statement: "New Democrats stand with Canadians of Ukrainian descent and people around the world to honour the memories of the millions of innocent women, men and children who died of starvation in the horrific famine between 1932 and 1933. We condemn this grave crime against humanity and the policies that brought this tragedy to bear.
"This sad anniversary serves as an important reminder that we must remain vigilant to ensure we prevent similar crimes from being visited on others. "
2. The Ukrainian Canadian Congress is the state-supported organization which in 1940 brought together all the most reactionary Ukrainian circles by illegally seizing the assets of the progressive Ukrainian organizations in Canada.
3. The Hearst "yellow press" sensationalized and exaggerated news stories, including actual fabrication, simply to try to sell more newspapers. Hearst was also a racist who hated minorities, particularly Mexicans.
The Harper government has again revealed its subservience to U.S. interests and support for those who would glorify the Nazis and their collaborators by voting against an anti-Nazi resolution at the UN on November 21. The final tally was 126 votes in support of the resolution and three votes against -- the U.S., its tiny Micronesian protectorate Palau and Canada; 50 countries, including the EU member states, abstained.
The resolution condemns the glorification of Nazism and "modern forms of racism, racial discrimination and xenophobia." It was prepared by Russia and a group of more than 40 other countries and submitted to the UN General Assembly's Social Third Committee, the Humanitarian Cultural Affairs Committee on November 12. Russia's Ambassador to the UN Grigory Lukyantsev explained that it is aimed at addressing "concern over the escalation of extreme groups, like neo-Nazi and skinheads using violence."
A statement posted on the official Russian Foreign Ministry website following the vote stated, "It's beyond our understanding and we're disappointed that the U.S., Canada and Palau voted against the document while EU member countries' delegations abstained from voting on the draft resolution supported by the majority of UN member countries."
The UN General Assembly last year adopted a separate resolution submitted by Russia condemning the construction of memorials in honour of former Nazis and the holding of public pro-Nazi demonstrations. Russia has frequently expressed its dismay at annual rallies of Waffen-SS veterans in Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia.
Last year's resolution was approved by the majority of the UN member states, but was rejected by a number of countries, notably the United States and Canada, while 54 countries abstained from voting.
In the U.S., under the First Amendment of the Constitution, the right to freedom of expression has been used in the past by white supremacists to legally justify the public expression of extremist political views, RIA Novosti points out.
A previous UN resolution on holding public pro-Nazi demonstrations was opposed by, among other countries, the Baltic states of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia.
In related news, a petition is underway in Latvia to have authorities dismantle a monument in the capital Riga which commemorates the Red Army soldiers who liberated the country in World War II. Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Aleksandr Luashevich said on November 20 that the petition is further evidence of "Latvia's policy of falsifying the results of World War II." He criticized Latvia's "obsessive wish to rehabilitate the Nazis."
Latvian Prime Minister Valdis Bombrovskis said Latvia is
bound by agreements with Russia to tend to such war memorials.
In 2007, Estonia relocated a memorial known as the "Bronze Soldier," which honours the Soviet soldiers who liberated the country during the war. Following pressure from anti-Soviet forces, it was moved from its place of honour in central Tallinn and put in an out of the way military cemetery.
An attempt to rewrite history and glorify the Nazis is also taking place in Canada. Reactionary elements known as Tribute to Liberty are attempting to build an anti-communist monument in Ottawa to win sympathy for those who fought on the side of the Nazis. This project has been unable to find any popular support amongst Canadians and thus the Harper government has stepped in to provide it public funds.
(With files from RIA Novosti, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty)
U.S. Attempts to Use Spying to Dominate the World
The widespread operation of
U.S. imperialism in Canada and its control over Canadian security
agencies continues to be revealed, putting the lie to Harper's claims
about "putting Canada first" or defending Canada's sovereignty.
In addition to the fact that the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), which is headed by U.S. Northern Command, was overseeing security operations at the G8 and G20 summits in Canada, Prime Minister Stephen Harper's government also allowed the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA), the largest American spy agency, to conduct widespread surveillance in Canada during the summits, according to new "secret documents" released by Edward Snowden, dubbed the U.S. "whistleblower." The news has been reported exclusively by CBC News.
The Communications Security Establishment Canada (CSEC) spy agency was a partner in this venture, the documents show. An NSA briefing note describes the agency's operational plans at the Toronto summit meeting and notes they were "closely co-ordinated with the Canadian partner," the CBC says.
"The secret documents do not reveal the precise targets of so much espionage by the NSA -- and possibly its Canadian partner -- during the Toronto summit. [...]
"Notably, the secret NSA briefing document describes part of the U.S. eavesdropping agency's mandate at the Toronto summit as 'providing support to policymakers.'[...]
"Documents previously released by Snowden, [...] suggested that support at other international gatherings included spying on the foreign delegations to get an unfair advantage in any negotiations or policy debates at the summit."
The CBC news further says: "NSA spies on everyone from leaders of U.S. allies to millions of Americans. Personal information has been scooped up by the agency's penetration of major internet and phone companies."
"The spying at the Toronto summit in 2010 fits a pattern of economic and political espionage by the powerful U.S. intelligence agency and its partners such as Canada," the CBC writes.
"That espionage was conducted to secure meeting sites and protect leaders against terrorist threats posed by al-Qaeda but also to forward the policy goals of the United States and Canada.
"The G20 summit in Toronto had a lot on its agenda that would have been of acute interest to the NSA and Canada.
"The world was still struggling to climb out of the great recession of 2008. Leaders were debating a wide array of possible measures including a global tax on banks, an idea strongly opposed by both the U.S. and Canadian governments. That notion was eventually scotched.
"The secret NSA documents list all the main agenda items for the G20 in Toronto -- international development, banking reform, countering trade protectionism, and so on -- with the U.S. snooping agency promising to support 'U.S. policy goals.'
"Whatever the intelligence goals of the NSA during the Toronto summit, international security experts question whether the NSA spying operation at the G20 in Toronto was even legal.
"'If CSEC tasked NSA to conduct spying activities on Canadians within Canada that CSEC itself was not authorized to take, then I am comfortable saying that would be an unlawful undertaking by CSEC,' says Craig Forcese, an expert in national security at University of Ottawa's faculty of law.
"By law, CSEC cannot target anyone in Canada without a warrant, including world leaders and foreign diplomats at a G20 summit.
"But, the Canadian eavesdropping agency is also prohibited by international agreement from getting the NSA to do the spying or anything that would be illegal for CSEC."
According to the CBC: "The documents obtained by the CBC do not indicate what, if any, role CSEC played in spying at the G20 in Toronto.
"But the briefing notes make it clear that the agency's co-operation would be absolutely vital to ensuring access to the telecommunications systems that would have been used by espionage targets during the summits."
The CBC News report reiterates the following context within which the CSEC operates:
"The NSA isn't Canada's only partner in the covert surveillance business.
"They are part of a multinational partnership that includes sister organizations in the U.K., Australia and New Zealand -- the so-called 'Five Eyes.'
"CSEC has roughly 2,000 employees and an annual budget of about $450 million. It will soon move into a new Ottawa headquarters costing taxpayers more than $1.2 billion, the most expensive federal government building ever constructed.
"By comparison, the NSA is the largest intelligence agency in the U.S., with a budget of over $40 billion and employing about 40,000 people. It is currently building what is believed to be one of the largest and most powerful computers in the world.
"CSEC is comparatively much smaller but has become a formidable and sophisticated surveillance outlet. Canadian eavesdroppers are also integral to the Five Eyes partnership around the world."
Brazil and Germany tabled a resolution titled, "The Right to Privacy in the Digital Age" in the Third Committee of the United Nations General Assembly on Thursday, November 7. This was part of an effort to determine the role the UN can assume in exploring how to counter the widespread Internet and Telecommunications espionage by the US that whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed.
In his statement to the Third Committee introducing the draft resolution, the Brazilian Ambassador to the UN, Antonio de Aguiar Patriota said:
"The extraordinary advances in information and communication technologies in recent years have presented us with opportunities and challenges as regard to promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms. As President Dilma Rousseff stated as she opened this year's General Debate, we are facing a situation of grave violations of human rights and civil liberties as a result of mass surveillance of personal communications and collection of data. She made clear that in the absence of the right to privacy, there can be no true freedom of opinion and expression and no effective democracy."
The German Ambassador to the UN, Peter Wittig told the Third Committee:
"Over the past months, reports about mass surveillance of private communication and the collection of personal data have alarmed people all over the world. Where do we draw the line between legitimate security interests and the individual right to privacy? And how do we ensure that human rights are effectively protected both online and offline? Germany and Brazil believe that these complex and highly relevant questions require global answers. We therefore want to take this discussion to the most relevant international framework, protection from the abuse of people by peoples and the governments around the world."
Even the United Nations itself has seen its integrity undermined by the fact that the US government has spied on diplomats at the UN in order to achieve US government goals.
An example, first reported in the German publication Der Spiegel and then in the French publication Le Monde, described how in 2010, Susan Rice, then the US Ambassador to the UN, expressed her appreciation that the US National Security Agency (NSA) provided her with information on how the French government planned to vote on a resolution about putting sanctions on Iran, thereby helping her to obtain the vote she desired on the resolution.
The remote espionage is described as helping to shape US-UN Security Council negotiations. The NSA quotes Ambassador Susan Rice, commending the work of the NSA, as it 'helped me to know ... the truth ... revealed their real position on sanctions ... gave us an upper hand in the negotiations ....'
Similarly, there have been revelations that not only has the US spied on several other missions at the UN, for example, the Indian Mission, but also, the NSA spied on the United Nations processes and on the activities of its Secretary General and others.
After the resolution was introduced, several nations added their names to the list of sponsors in support of the resolution. These nations included Austria, Bolivia, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Ecuador, France, Indonesia, Lichtenstein, Peru, Switzerland and Uruguay. As the resolution goes through the procedures of the Third Committee, more names can be added as sponsors.
"The Right to Privacy in the Digital Age" draft resolution, (A/C.3/68/L.45) reaffirms the various treaties and agreements that already forbid the kind of massive surveillance abuse that the US has been engaged in. These agreements include the UN Charter, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action.
The resolution notes that just as information and communication technologies empower people around the world, these technologies also make increased surveillance possible by governments, companies and individuals. The resolution stresses "the importance of the full respect for the freedom to seek, receive and impart information," and includes "the fundamental importance of access to information and democratic participation."
Among the mechanisms recommended in the resolution is one calling on states, "to establish independent national oversight mechanisms capable of ensuring transparency and accountability of State surveillance of communications, their interception and collection of data."
Also the resolution requests that the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights submit an interim report to the 69th session of the General Assembly and a final report to the 70th session on the state of the protection of the right to privacy in the context of "the massive surveillance, interception and collection of personal data" that has been carried out. The purpose of the report would be to provide views and recommendations to be considered by member states toward "identifying and clarifying the principles, standards, and best practices on how to address security concerns" raised by the massive abuse that has occurred of the right to privacy and freedom of expression and opinion.
In his statement to the Third Committee, Ambassador Wittig encouraged the contribution of other nations to the development of the resolution and invited additional sponsors for the resolution.
"We look forward to close consultation with you on this draft resolution," he said. "I also invite all of you to co-sponsor this important resolution and thereby to send out a strong message that the international community is ready to address one of the most pressing challenges in international human rights law: protecting privacy in the digital age."
1. UN Draft Resolution A/C.3/68/L.45,
2. Jacques Follorou,: La diplomatie française sur écoute aux Etats-Unis, Le Monde, October 22, 2013.
U.S. Double Standards on Nuclear Question
In a recent commentary, the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) exposes the bankruptcy of the U.S. conception of building a "world without nuclear weapons" and condemns the U.S. hypocritical stance on the nuclear question. KCNA points out that "Obama was even awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for making a commitment before the world community that the U.S. would not conduct nuclear weapons development and testing, while noisily advertising a 'world without nuclear weapons' in the early period of his administration."
Contrary to the U.S. pompous public declarations, KCNA points out that the U.S. recently disclosed that it conducted another test of a plutonium-based nuclear weapon a few months ago, despite the repeated protests of the international community.
Furthermore, while the U.S. has decided to cut down its military spending by as much $1 trillion over the next decade due to its inescapable financial crisis, the Department of Defense announced that it would spend about $400 billion over the next nine years to modernize the U.S. nuclear arsenal.
Thus, KCNA justly points out that the U.S. plan to squander such a fabulous amount of money to modernize its nuclear weapons despite its dire financial straits clearly shows the U.S. hypocrisy on this question and that "Obama's conception of building a 'world without nuclear weapons' is no more than a smokescreen and sophism to cover up the U.S. ambition to dominate the world by virtue of nuclear superiority."
Instead of following through on its commitment to end nuclear weapons testing, the U.S. has instead conducted its nuclear tests more frequently and in a more devious manner during Obama's administration.
KCNA points out that the U.S. has been censured by international public opinion after the disclosure of its deceptive sub-critical nuclear tests. Such tests involve the use of plutonium and are not accompanied by a nuclear explosion.
"It is preposterous for the U.S. to talk about the conception of a 'world without nuclear weapons' while it runs the whole gamut of wrong-doings such as conducting nuclear weapons tests and development in a bid to reinforce its huge nuclear arsenal," states KCNA.
Worldwide, there have been at least 2,000 nuclear tests, KCNA points out, adding that the U.S. has conducted the majority of these and possesses world's biggest nuclear arsenal. This aggressive nuclear policy and weapons development and production has continued since it inflicted the first nuclear disaster upon humankind. Thus, the U.S. strategy to maintain its military supremacy worldwide through its unchallenged nuclear superiority and realize its ambition for building a unipolar world remains unchanged.
In other words, the conception of "denuclearization" promoted by the U.S. is in essence the denuclearization of all other countries and regions except itself, so as to establish a monopoly on nuclear weapons, KCNA states.
"It is nothing but a mockery of the international community for the U.S. to talk about a 'world without nuclear weapons' as it regards nuclear weapons as a main lever for carrying out its policy of aggression," writes KCNA.
"It is quite natural that the world community questions whether the stepped-up U.S. nuclear development, tests and blackmail mean a 'world without nuclear weapons.'
The U.S. should stop trying to fool the world over the nuclear issue, the KCNA commentary concludes.
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