Voices from Russia

Saturday, 30 June 2018

America’s Problem Isn’t Immigration… America’s Problem Is White Supremacy

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The USA appears to be destined by Providence to plague [the continent of] America with misery in the name of liberty.

Simón Bolívar

These words of the great 19th-century Latin American emancipator accurately describe the relationship between the USA and Latin America to this day. It’s why the punitive treatment by the Trump Administration of migrants attempting to cross the border from Mexico into the USA constitutes a double injustice.

The first injustice is the role that Washington plays and played in destabilising and impoverishing the economies of Latin American states over generations, while subverting and helping to bring down those governments south of the border that dares attempt to unshackle their countries from the chains of US imperialism, in process of which rampant crime, corruption, and violence prosper. The second injustice is the dehumanisation and demonisation meted out to the victims of the ensuing instability and social and economic dislocation wrought when in a state of extremis they flee their homes for sanctuary across the border with their families. Under no moral code can you justify or defend the forced separation of children, including infants, from their parents… none whatsoever. We saw this in the justifiable outcry unleashed in response, which eventually forced Trump to rescind the policy. However, this being said, the nauseating hypocrisy of liberals excoriating the president over the policy of separating children at the border with Mexico has been near impossible to bear. The likes of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, people who when they weren’t responsible for the mass slaughter of children in the Middle East with their régime-change wars, have, in the case of Clinton, supported mass incarceration in the USA itself, involving the forced separation of families, such people have absolutely no right to take any moral high ground on this issue.

Focusing on the whys and wherefores of mass migration, it’s incumbent on those who are serious about grasping the issue at its roots to identify its causes, rather than continue to deal with its symptoms, and thereby only succeed in creating more causes. In so doing we come to the role of US imperialism in sowing uneven and combined development throughout the Americas. Putting it another way, the development and wealth of the USA were contingent on the underdevelopment and poverty of Latin America… the former impossible without the latter. As Uruguayan writer Eduardo Galeano pointed up in his classic work Open Veins of Latin America:

Underdevelopment isn’t a stage of development, but its consequence. Latin America’s underdevelopment arises from external [European and US] development and continues to feed it. The strength of the imperialist system as a whole rests on the inequality of its parts.

No leader of a Latin or Central American country defied and resisted the juggernaut of US imperialism more than Fidel Castro did. Of the countless speeches he gave during his time at the helm of Cuban politics and society, The Second Declaration of Havana (1962), is among the most powerful:

Since the end of World War II, the countries of Latin America have become more and more impoverished. Their exports have less and less value, their imports cost more. The per capita income falls, the frightful rate of infant mortality doesn’t decrease. The number of illiterates is higher; the people lack jobs, land, adequate housing, schools, hospitals, means of communication, and means of life. Latin America is the provider of cheap raw materials and the buyer of expensive finished articles.

Lest anyone believe that Castro’s views of the relationship between North and South America in the early 1960s bear no relation to the same relationship today, consider, if you will, the plight of Honduras. According to Human Rights Watch, the Central American country in 2018 has violent crime, corruption, and political repression. Meanwhile, according to the World Bank, over 6o percent of its people live in poverty. What we shouldn’t forget is that in 2009 the army toppled the country’s democratically elected leftist President, Manuel Zelaya, in a coup sanctioned by the Honduran Supreme Court and supported by the Obama Administration. As Stephen Zunes reminded us in a 2016 article:

During his [Zelaya’s] tenure, he raised the minimum wage and provided free school lunches, milk for young children, pensions for the elderly, and additional scholarships for students. He built new schools, subsidised public transportation, and even distributed energy-saving light bulbs. None of these was particularly radical, but it was nevertheless disturbing to the country’s wealthy economic and military élites. More frightening was that Zelaya sought to organise an assembly to replace the 1982 constitution written during the waning days of the US-backed military dictator Policarpo Paz García.

With this sorry fate of the country in mind, is it any accident that the number of illegal Honduran migrants into the USA across the Mexican border spiked in recent years? At this juncture, I feel obliged to make a confession. Back in the early to mid-1990s, I was an illegal immigrant living in the USA. However, unlike those crossing the border from Mexico, I wasn’t fleeing natural disaster, grinding poverty, political repression, or a society plagued by crime and violence. I instead had travelled to the USA compelled to do so by nothing more than personal ambition, succumbing to the myth of the American Dream, which as the saying goes is a dream because you have to be asleep to believe it. Anyway, I spent five years in LA as part of the British expat community in Santa Monica, replete with its British pubs, shops, and all the rest, rubbing shoulders and working alongside many other Brits who lived there illegally, many of them having done so for a long time. I worked, paid tax, and was able to exist as if completely legal.

Of course, the difference boils down to the fact that I, and we, happened to be white Europeans, and thus accorded the unwritten but nonetheless obvious privileges white skin affords you in the land of the free. This, ultimately, brings us to the heart of the matter. America’s problem isn’t immigration, its white supremacy. Whether conscious or unconscious, it matters not. The result is brutal treatment meted out to people of colour, migrant and non-migrant alike.

25 June 2018

John Wight

Sputnik International

https://sputniknews.com/columnists/201806251065767940-us-problem-not-immigration/

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Sunday, 10 June 2018

10 June 2018. Brother Ajamu Speaks

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We must bring in the UN to play a role in a sustainable peace process in Syria since it’s clear that the USA, Russia, and Israel are playing a cynical game in Syria that won’t result in peace and national reconciliation.

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The Tamimi family continues to suffer from Israeli brutality. This is why the focus has to be on US imperialism because this criminality couldn’t occur without US support for the Zionist apartheid project. https://goo.gl/ZZHYiK

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Did people read the incredible comments from Obama about being too early because the dumb masses just weren’t ready for his version of enlightened politics? The only difference between Trumps’ megalomania and Obama’s is that Obama is supposed to be the nice one.

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The USA brings a threat of war, suffering, and insecurity to every region of the world, yet activists in the USA continue to give political cover for US aggression. Opposing war and militarism isn’t an add-on… it’s a position fundamental to being a human being.

Ajamu Baraka

Facebook

Saturday, 26 May 2018

26 May 2018. Brother Ajamu Speaks On This and On That

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If they get Assange, don’t let this incident get transformed into a Trump initiative. The rightwing Obama Administration used the Espionage Act to clamp down on unauthorised information getting to the public… that initiated the attack on Assange.

Memo to the US ruling class… no one is afraid of you, even with your awesome capacity to destroy and cause the suffering of millions. Those of us from the working class pledge that we won’t turn our sons and daughters over to you to use as cannon fodder. Take a knee for peace.

As I said on a number of occasions, the psychopathology of white supremacy makes it very difficult for most to understand why the North Koreans reacted the way they did to the comments from Bolton and Pence and to the framing by the liberal press that suggested threats and intimidation forced the “natives” to the negotiating table.

The NFL plantation owners passed a policy to make patriotism mandatory for their property. Either pay deference to the symbol of white nationalism, which is what the anthem is, or pay a price. This is the answer to the “win” in Georgia and the message couldn’t be clearer.

Where are the opponents to guns on the issue of war? Is it only lives in the USA that we’re supposed to be concerned with? Is official state violence in the form of war acceptable, is that the implication of their silence on war?

It should be a joke, as information on corruption and abuse of state power during the last presidential election emerges, that the USA would claim that the election in Venezuela was a sham. Message to the USA… build a democracy first before you criticise others.

Folks, don’t let the fact that Trump is raising the possibility of illegal activity on part of the Obama Administration to dismiss what’s appearing to be an incredible abuse of state power for partisan politics. The corruption of both of these parties and their system is incredible.

21-25 May 2018

Ajamu Baraka

Facebook

Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Make Russia Great Again Through Negligence

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After a year and a half of silence (accompanied by much media noise) from the Mueller investigation into Trump the Terrible’s collusion with the Russians (and their lord and master the Dread Pirate Putin) to steal the election from innocent young Hillary “Twinkle-Toes” Clinton, Mueller finally laid an egg. He indicted 13 Russians for identity theft and wire fraud. He alleges that they bought some stolen personal info (Social Security numbers, names, birth dates, etc.) on the internet, used these to set up PayPal and Facebook accounts, and then used these to buy Facebook ads to undermine the American people’s faith in the wholesome goodness of their democracy. There’s no evidence that anyone in the Trump campaign or administration knew that this was happening. There’s no evidence that any of the 13 Russians had anything to do with Putin or the Russian government. There’s no evidence that anything they did had any measurable effect on the outcome of the election. However, there’s ample evidence that this indictment will go nowhere.

There’s a difference between an indictment and a conviction… a convicted person is guilty; the presumption of innocence protects an indicted person until convicted. To receive a conviction in a criminal trial, a person has to be physically present in court as one has the right to face one’s accusers. Automatically, a trial held in absentia is a kangaroo court. The 13 Russians are Russian nationals residing in Russia. The Russian constitution stipulates that you can’t extradite Russian citizens to stand trial in a foreign court, and it seems exceedingly unlikely that they’d face criminal charges in Russia based on Mueller’s indictment. Therefore, these 13 Russians are innocent under US law… forever… even if they spend time in a Russian jail, convicted under Russian law. It’s possible that one of these Russians would at some point travel abroad, get abducted, go to the USA to stand trial, and be convicted of money laundering, identity theft, and wire fraud. However, the charge of working to undermine the American people’s faith in the wholesome goodness of their democracy would be rather hard to prove, mostly because there isn’t much of it these days. The accusation is like accusing somebody of despoiling an outhouse by crapping in it, along with everyone else, but the outhouse in question had a sign on its door, “No Russians!”, but the 13 Russians just ignored it and crapped in it anyway.

The reason the Outhouse of American Democracy has the sign “No Russians!” is that Russia is the enemy. There aren’t any compelling reasons why it should be the enemy, and treating it as such is incredibly foolish and dangerous, but that’s beside the point. Painting Russia as the enemy serves a psychological need and not a rational one… Americans desperately need some entity onto which they can project their own faults. The USA is progressing toward a fascist police state; therefore, they say that Russia is a horrible dictatorship run by Putin. Traditionally, the USA meddles in elections around the world, including Russia; therefore, they say that the Russians meddle in US elections. The USA is the most aggressive country on the planet, occupying and bombing dozens of countries; therefore, they accuse the Russians of “aggression”… never-ending. If (for whatever stupid reason) Russia is actually America’s enemy, it makes sense that Americans would want to make it weaker and not stronger. Working to strengthen one’s enemy seems like a poor strategy. Yet, that’s what happened… the last two US administrations (Obama and Trump) both steadfastly aided and abetted Russia’s rise to greatness. Aiding and abetting the enemy is bad enough, but it’d also appear that they did so unwittingly. Thus, if Mueller really had the health and beauty of American democracy in his heart, he’d indict both the Obama and the Trump administrations for aiding and abetting the enemy through gross negligence. Here’s how the indictment would read:

One

The Obama administration falsely accused the Syrian government of carrying out an attack using chemical weapons near Damascus on 21 August 2013 to find an excuse to attack and invade Syria. In fact, chemical weapons were part of that incident, but the Syrian government forces didn’t use them. Since the Syrian government had no interest either in using chemical weapons or in maintaining its chemical weapons stockpile, this gave Russia an opening to negotiate an international deal under which Syria surrendered its entire stockpile of chemical weapons, leading to their destruction, and international inspectors then certified Syria as being free of them. This incident showed Russia to be a trustworthy partner, able to resolve crises peacefully through negotiation, raising its stature in the world. It showed the USA to be a rogue state willing to use any means, including the use of chemical weapons against civilians, to justify its illegal use of force. Following Obama’s example, the Trump administration, soon after assuming office, used similar unverified accusations of a Syrian chemical weapons attack to bomb (ineffectually) a Syrian airbase using Tomahawk missiles.

Two

In February 2014, the Obama administration organised and carried out a bloody coup in Kiev, staging a massacre using foreign mercenaries, falsely accusing the Ukraine’s constitutional government of carrying it out, overthrowing it, and installing a puppet régime managed by the CIA and the US State Department. The Obama administration hid the nature of this régime, comprised of oligarchs and criminals allied with neo-Nazi groups, and which elevated to the status of national heroes perpetrators of genocide against Jews, Poles, and others during World War II, from the American public. However, because Russia and the Ukraine aren’t ethnically, linguistically, culturally, or religiously distinct, existing as a single entity through most of their history, most Russians understood what happened. The chaos and mayhem that followed the putsch gave the Russian government an opening to hold a referendum in the Crimea, which was briefly part of the Ukraine, but was part of Russia since 1783, to reclaim the territory. It also led to armed rebellion in the eastern Ukraine and the formation of two de facto independent republics there, making the Ukraine into a semi-defunct state that doesn’t control its own territory. All of these developments led to a tremendous surge of patriotic feeling among Russians, who felt proud of being able to reclaim what they saw as rightfully theirs and felt threatened by seeing the Ukraine once again fall to the fascists. True to form, the Trump administration continued Obama’s policy of Making Russia Great Again by providing the Ukrainian military with lethal weapons and advice.

Three

Although the Russian reintegration of the Crimea, based on an overwhelming victory in a popular referendum and a great showing of public support, was impeccably legal in upholding the Crimea’s right to self-determination (unlike NATO’s previous annexation of Kosovo), the Obama administration saw it fit to impose economic sanctions on Russia in retribution. These sanctions, together with Russia’s countersanctions on food exports from the EU, finally provided the impetus for Russia to break with the past pattern of exporting gas and oil and importing just about everything else, and to embrace a strategy of import replacement. This allowed Russia to become self-sufficient in many areas, such as oil and gas exploration and production technology, agriculture, and many other areas. Although Russia experienced a period of considerable economic difficulty that saw the purchasing power of the population dwindle substantially, Russia’s economy survived. The national leadership’s popularity didn’t suffer because most Russians understand what they’re fighting for and, given the barrage of negative news from the Ukraine, who their enemy is, and what would happen to them if they were to show weakness.

Four

Although the Trump administration mostly followed Obama’s example in Making Russia Great Again, the most recent round of anti-Russian sanctions, which the Trump administration didn’t impose but only announced, as required by an act of Congress, was inadvertently an act of pure genius. What Trump’s flunkies did was take the Kremlin directory and the Forbes list of Russia’s wealthiest individuals, and put them together into a single list of people. If they actually imposed these sanctions and not merely threaten them, those having any dealings with the individuals on this list would suffer legal repercussions. The plan’s brilliance is in two parts. Firstly, there are some differences of orientation among the members of the Kremlin administration… some were more US-oriented than others were. What this list did was make them look foolish in their hopes of ever appeasing the USA. Before, the USA had a few lukewarm champions inside the Kremlin; now, it has zero. Secondly, Russia had a problem with wealthy individuals moving their capital abroad, to Switzerland, to various offshore tax havens, and most notably to the USA (the money-laundering capital of the world). Now, Trump threatened them with wealth confiscation. At the same time, the Russian government extended a tax amnesty for those wishing to repatriate their capital. As a result, a flood of money is re-entering the Russian economy, giving it a major boost.

Once you put it all together, the charge against the last two US administrations for Making Russia Great Again by aiding and abetting it, unwittingly and through gross negligence, becomes compelling. Of course, there’s no chance at all that anybody will stand trial for it, but that may not be necessary. As shown by the #MeToo movement, it’s no longer necessary in contemporary America to prove a crime; a mere allegation is now sufficient to end careers and to ruin reputations. You can play this game too… of each US policy or initiative announced against Russia, ask yourself, “How is it going to help Make Russia Great Again?” It probably will.

20 February 2018

Dmitry Orlov

Cluborlov

https://cluborlov.blogspot.com/2018/02/make-russia-great-again-through.html

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