Voices from Russia

Saturday, 20 May 2017

Ajamu Baraka On “Be Careful What You Wish For”

_______________________

People aren’t thinking. Don’t you see that the moves being made against Trump by the unelected forces in and outside of the state, if successful, demonstrate why it’s questionable if a radical people-centred movement could ever expect to take power through the electoral process? If they’re doing this to Trump, what would’ve happened if Jill and I had actually won the vote? There’s no celebration here, folks. They aren’t concerned that Trump’s a racist or xenophobe, or that he colluded with the Russians to win the election because they don’t believe that.

Ajamu Baraka

Facebook

Monday, 8 May 2017

Dissent Denied: “Emergency” US State Law to Silence Protesters

________________________

New laws intended to punish those exercising their constitutional right to disagree with existing legislation and policy will now see possible fines of up to 1 million USD (58.1 million Roubles. 6.9 million Renminbi. 64.3 million INR. 1.37 million CAD. 1.35 million AUD. 910,000 Euros. 770,000 UK Pounds) in the US state of Oklahoma after legislators rushed “emergency” anti-protest laws into effect. The new laws allow for increased fines on those found guilty in Oklahoma of engaging in protest actions that result in the damage of infrastructure, especially oil and gas equipment. They also include a new wrinkle, in which the state could fine those who support, or “conspire” (in the terms of the bill), with the protest up to one hundred times the amount levied on the guilty party. The new statutes allow fines for up to 10,000 USD (581,000 Roubles. 6,900 Renminbi. 643,000 INR. 13,700 CAD. 13,500 AUD. 9,100 Euros. 7,700 UK Pounds) against anyone found guilty of simply intending to destroy infrastructure. The state can assess fines up to 100,000 USD (5.81 million Roubles. 690,000 Renminbi. 6.43 million INR. 137,000 CAD. 135,000 AUD. 91,000 Euros. 77,000 UK Pounds) if protestors actually do real damage. However, the real kicker is a 1 million USD fine for any person or organisation found to be supporting an activist found guilty, including, ostensibly, human rights groups or medical, legal, and logistical assistance at the protest site.

The laws are in direct correlation with increased attempts across America to stymie any dissent against new petrochemical infrastructure, including pipelines and fracking wells. Considered a major oil and gas transfer hub for much of the USA, Oklahoma has a long history of its state government acting as a front for oil companies. According to The Intercept, the town of Cushing OK (the so-called “Oil Pipeline Crossroads of the World”) and surrounding regions saw a striking rise in earthquakes during the fracking boom due to the pumping of a toxic mix of wastewater and chemicals directly into the ground. The Oklahoma Oil and Gas Association is a vocal supporter of the new legislation.

Many are suspicious of the loose wording of the new Oklahoma anti-protest laws, however. Doug Parr, a lawyer who has represented several environmental activists in Oklahoma, told The Intercept that the statute’s claims are too broad:

Say they lock themselves to a piece of construction equipment, and a claim can be made that there were damages from that trespass. Does this statute create a civil action for a pipeline company to then go after a person or organisation that posted a bond or helped pay for a lawyer for that civil disobedience? Those organising peaceful actions of civil disobedience can now be heavily penalised if any attendee chooses to take on a solo act, such as spray-painting a message on a wall. Suppose an organisation decides they want to support a perfectly legal, no civil disobedience, action. Somebody in that crowd, who came to the protest at the request of that organisation, then jumps the fence and runs in there, and spray-paints on a storage tank, “This equipment causes earthquakes. Shut it down”. These statutes could be used to attack that organisation and impose financial liability on them.

The Sierra Club’s Oklahoma head, Johnson Bridgwater, pointed out the possibly illegal ramifications of the new laws, stating:

We don’t necessarily know everyone who’s attending the events. There’s a strong and real fear that this could be used as an attempt to crush a group or a chapter of Sierra Club unfairly.

Common Dreams identified 19 new anti-protest bills in the USA, as of April 2. Similar legislation in Colorado, North Dakota, and South Dakota aims directly at civil disobedience actions that seek to stop or limit the expansion of petrochemical operations. Many see new laws in Minnesota and other states as responses to previous protest actions blocking roads and highways after white police killed unarmed black men and women in US cities. Referring to an earlier high-profile action of civil disobedience seeking to shut down the Dakota Access oil pipeline, the Sierra Club’s Bridgwater observed:

We see all of these bills as nothing more than corporate America being fearful of how successful the Standing Rock protests were.

8 May 2017

Sputnik International

https://sputniknews.com/business/201705081053369767-us-state-law-silences-protest/

Saturday, 6 May 2017

6 May 2017. Ajamu Baraka: Healthcare is a Human Right, But You Have to Fight For It!

________________________

Thursday, 4 May 2017

Five Reasons Why the Ukraine Is a Bigger Threat to Peace and Safety than the DPRK Is

________________________

It doesn’t fit the western narrative, but the Ukraine is a far bigger threat to its own people and its neighbours than the DPRK is or has been for decades.  Often, people think of the Korean Peninsula as a volatile region, a dangerous region, an unpredictable “weaponised” region.  In particular, the USA accused the DPRK of being a threat to regional peace and stability.  Objectively, there is some truth to all of this, but the Demilitarised Zone (DMZ) separating the two Korean states is far less unstable than the Syria/Iraq border currently controlled by ISIS.  However, when it comes to threatening regional instability and causing bloodshed, one place is vastly more deadly and volatile than the Korean Peninsula… the battlezone between the fascist Ukraine and the Donbass Peoples Republics.  Despite the fact that the ROK and the DPRK are technically still at war, the region has been remarkably stable and calm since the ceasefire that ended the hot conflict on the peninsula in 1953.  Despite occasional worrying movements on the DMZ separating the two Koreas since 1953, life in the ROK and the DPRK has developed in such a way that all Koreans live their daily lives in a normal way according to the standards that each unique Korean state set for its citizens over the decades since the hot period of the Korean War.  For all of its rhetorical bluster, the DPRK remains technically committed to a “no first strike” policy in respect of nuclear weapons.  Because of this, letting a sleeping dog lie would be good advice for the more hawkish forces in Washington.  Compare that to the Ukraine/Donbass conflict.

1. Duration and Nature of the Conflicts

The Ukraine, a united country between 1991 and 2014 but with deep political divisions, has split.  The DNR and LNR arose after the fascist coup in Kiev.  Since then, regular forces, mercenaries, and terrorists loyal to Kiev invaded and attacked the DNR and LNR, almost without cessation.  This is in total violation of the Minsk II ceasefire agreement, which unlike the successful Korean War ceasefire, was dead on arrival.  The Ukrainian war of aggression against the Donbass Republics started in February 2014 and still rages.  It’s already gone on for longer than the 37 months of the Korean War.  That war lasted between June 1950 and July 1953 before the ceasefire took effect.  Besides this, there were attempted terrorist attacks on neighbouring Russia, attacks thankfully thwarted by Russian security services.  By contrast, the last time the DPRK violated the ceasefire with the ROK was in 1975 when DPRK soldiers committed an “axe murder” of two American soldiers chopping down a tree in the DMZ.  When all was said and done, the USA reacted by chopping down the rest of the tree as a “show of force”.

2. Chemical Weapons 

Whilst no heavy weapons have fired from one Korean state to another since 1953, the Ukraine is guilty of using illegal chemical weapons on civilian targets in the Donbass.  The SK RF concluded that white phosphorus was Kiev’s chemical weapon of choice when attacking the Donbass.

3. Deaths

While death hasn’t been a daily feature of Korean life since 1953, you can’t say the same for the Donbass.  As of December 2016, the UN reported that nearly 10,000 people, including women and children, died in the Donbass conflict, and many suggest the UN figure is low, compared to the even grimmer realities on the ground.  Many more people, including civilians, died since then.  Beyond the deaths, torture and rape, including child rape is a feature of Kiev’s war of aggression.  No such analogue exists in the Korean states.

4. Political Maturity 

Although both Koreas have a goal of uniting the peninsula under their respective flags, so, in turn, don’t acknowledge the political legitimacy of the other state, in reality, both accept the fact that for the foreseeable future they’ll have to live side by side.  Not even the most radical anti-communists in the ROK plan to storm the border in a “war of liberation”, nor will the DPRK turn Seoul into a “sea of flames” unless provoked.  It’s all bombastic rhetoric and has been since the 1950s.  Just as the Federal Republic of Germany and the DDR lived side-by-side without engaging in war, a similar “cold peace” exists between the ROK and the DPRK.

By contrast, the Ukraine is totally confused about its own position on the Donbass Republics.  On the one hand, they claim that the territory is part of a unitary Ukrainian state, but on the other, they cut off water, electricity and other vital supplies to the Republics.  The Ukraine legally removed the rights of Russian speakers throughout the country and purged Russian from Ukrainian media.  The Kiev régime refuses to allow trains from the Donbass into Kiev-controlled regions and they don’t issue passports and birth certificates in the Donbass, which led Russia to accept legal ID issued in the Donbass Republics as legitimate documents.  The Ukraine calls the Donbass people terrorists, “Russian agents”, and everything else to make them as distant as possible.  By contrast, neither Pyongyang nor Seoul challenges the “Korean-ness” of those on the other side of the DMZ.  Just yesterday, President Putin said that Moscow didn’t lure the Donbass Republics into its realm, but rather Kiev simply cut them off, isolated them, alienated them, and pushed them away.  One could add historical inevitability to this list. 

5. The Nuclear Question 

While there are no longer nuclear weapons in the Ukraine, there are many nuclear power facilities and most are in a state of total disrepair.  The Ukrainian nuclear sector is amongst the least safe in the world. The combination of lack of funds and a disorganised central government allowed a situation to develop that could result in another Chernobyl-style disaster.  The Energy Post described the Ukrainian nuclear sector as having “persistent safety problems”.  In an article from 2016, the Energy Post described how the Ukraine’s neighbours live in fear of another nuclear meltdown in the Ukraine:

“The Ukraine’s neighbours are also concerned.  Romania, Slovakia, Hungary, and Austria sent multiple questions for clarification and requests for participation in transboundary consultations.  However, Kiev, in response, denied its obligation to conduct any.  One might think that this experience, or perhaps civil society’s repeated warnings, would make decision makers reconsider this reckless adventure, but not the Ukrainian government”.

While “nuclear war” is a better headline than “nuclear safety concerns”, the fact is that since 1945, the world’s biggest nuclear disasters were the result of poorly managed nuclear power facilities and not nuclear weapons.  In this sense, the Ukraine’s “nuclear problem” is a more dire danger to global safety than the DPRK’s nuclear weapons programme, which thus far has never fired a missile in anger.

Between 2014 and the present day, the Ukraine killed more innocent civilians than either Korean state has even attempted to do since 1953.  The Ukraine breaks ceasefire agreements on a daily basis while the Korean states haven’t.  The Ukraine used chemical weapons on civilians whilst neither Korean state has done so, nor unlike the quiet Korean political conflict, Kiev’s war of aggression is going on at this very moment.  Furthermore, the Ukraine’s silent nuclear problem is manifestly more worrying than the DPRK’s weapons programme.  Objectively, no one could argue that either Korean state is as dangerous or as volatile as post-coup Ukraine.

3 May 2017

Adam Garrie

The Duran

http://theduran.com/5-reasons-why-ukraine-is-a-bigger-threat-to-peace-and-safety-than-north-korea/

« Previous PageNext Page »

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.