• All governments lie, but disaster lies in wait for countries whose officials smoke the same hashish they give out.

  • I.F. Stone

zaterdag 18 oktober 2014

Lenni Brenner

Lenni Brenner: An Interview on Palestine Solidarity, Black Liberation and Anti-Zionism

Saturday, 18 October 2014 00:00 By Dan FalconeTruthout | Interview 
2014 1018 pal stRally outside of the White House before the march in protest against the US's unconditional support of Israel's ongoing military operation in Gaza, Washington, DC, August 2, 2014. (Photo: Megan Iorio)Civil rights activist and author Brenner discusses the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee's work against Zionism and racism, Bayard Rustin, Kwame Ture, anti-Semitism, anti-Zionism, Palestine and more.
Author, activist and historian Lenni Brenner was born into an orthodox Jewish family in 1937. His participation in the civil rights movement began in 1952, at age 15, when he met Jim Farmer of the Congress of Racial Equality, who was later to become the organizer of the "freedom rides" of the early 1960s. Brenner was active in the 1950s with Bayard Rustin, who later organized Martin Luther King's 1963 March on Washington.
Brenner was arrested three times during civil rights sit-ins in the San Francisco Bay Area. When he was sent to prison in 1964 for his activities during the Berkeley Free Speech movement, he spent hours in intense discussion with Huey Newton, later the founder of the Black Panther Party, whom he encountered in the court holding tank. After he was freed, in 1968, he worked with Professor Kathleen Cleaver. He also worked with Kwame Ture, (better known as Stokely Carmichael) the legendary "Black Power" leader of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), in their Committee against Zionism and Racism, from 1985 until Ture's death in 1998.
Brenner is the author of many articles and five books.
Dan Falcone for Truthout: Thanks very much Lenni for taking the time to talk to us today. My interest in activism and history is connected to education and my work as a teacher. Can you tell me something about your own education and how you became interested in a life of dissent, activism, writing and intellectualism? 
Lenni Brenner: I became a history freak at 7, when I read Hendrik Willem Van Loon's The Story of Mankind. I joined the Young People's Socialist League, the youth section of the Socialist Party [SP] at 15, in 1952. I never went to college because I was always busy with work in the civil rights and antiwar movements.
I was very interested to learn that you knew Bayard Rustin. My research of him taught me that he finished his career much less militant and politically oriented compared to when he started. Can you discuss him briefly? 
I encountered Bayard in the SP. He had been a member of the Young Communist League (YCL) during the Hitler-Stalin pact period. In 1941 the YCL assigned him to fight against US military segregation and then called off the campaign when the Nazis invaded the Soviet Union. He quit in disgust and joined A. Philip Randolph (1889 - 1979), president of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, in calling for a black march on Washington against racial discrimination in war industries and segregation in the military. The march was cancelled after Roosevelt issued Executive Order 8802, banning war industry discrimination. The military remained segregated, but the Executive Order was seen by many blacks as a partial victory. 
When I met him in 1958, he was a follower of Max Shachtman, an ex-Trotskyist leader who was moving to the right. Bayard, embittered of Stalinism because of CP abandonment of the fight against military segregation, joined up with him and moved even faster to the right.
Your work with Kwame Ture and other militants galvanized an important tradition people do not hear of often in my view, opposition to racism and Zionism. Am I correct that these two issues conceptually get minimal coverage together in the contemporary United States? 
As I said, I never went to college, so I'm no academic. 
Kwame became an anti-Zionist in his SNCC days. He came to me in 1985 after reading my book, Zionism In The Age Of The Dictators. I think most historians see his post-SNCC period as a decline from his previous civil rights leadership, so they pay little attention to his anti-Zionism in that later period. But the fact that he was such a central civil rights leader has served ever since to legitimatize anti-Zionism in the black community.
Can you comment on the current situation in the Middle East? For example, how deeply ingrained is the falsified idea that the "Arabs' inherent anti-Semitism" is the root of this flashpoint? 
The recent Gaza war produced a sharp increase in sympathy for the Palestinians, in the US and worldwide. But "Arabs' inherent anti-Semitism" isn't a "falsified idea." It is strong in Hamas.  
Below are parts of "The Covenant of the Islamic Resistance Movement" - 18 August 1988:
Article Twenty Two - "Supportive Forces Behind the Enemy:
For a long time, the enemies have been planning, skillfully and with precision, for the achievement of what they have attained . . . With their money they stirred revolutions in various parts of the world with the purpose of achieving their interests and reaping the fruit therein. They were behind the French Revolution, the Communist revolution and most of the revolutions we heard and hear about, here and there. With their money they formed secret societies, such as Freemasons, Rotary Clubs, the Lions, and others in different parts of the world for the purpose of sabotaging societies and achieving Zionist interests . . . They obtained the Balfour Declaration, formed the League of Nations through which they could rule the world.  . . . There is no war going on anywhere, without having their finger in it."
Article Twenty-Seven - "The Palestinian Liberation Organization: Because of the situations surrounding the formation of the Organization, of the ideological confusion prevailing in the Arab world as a result of the ideological invasion under whose influence the Arab world has fallen since the defeat of the Crusaders and which was, and still is, intensified through Orientalists, missionaries and imperialists, the Organization adopted the idea of the secular state - And that it how we view it.
Secularism completely contradicts religious ideology. Attitudes, conduct and decisions stem from ideologies.
That is why, with all our appreciation for The Palestinian Liberation Organization - and what it can develop into . . . we are unable to exchange the present or future Islamic Palestine with the secular idea. The Islamic nature of Palestine is part of our religion, and whoever takes his religion lightly is a loser."
Article Thirty-Two - "The Attempt to Isolate the Palestinian People: 
After Palestine, the Zionists aspire to expand from the Nile to the Euphrates. When they will have digested the region they overtook, they will aspire to further expansion, and so on. Their plan is embodied in the 'Protocols of the Elders of Zion,'  and their present conduct is the best proof of what we are saying."
There is zero chance of Hamas beating Zionism militarily, and Netanyahu uses its "Protocols" ('B.S.') to immunize Israelis against all types of anti-Zionism. Zionism can only be defeated politically by a democratic secular bi-national movement analogous to South Africa's ANC, which won after it directly recruited whites and asians into its ranks and leadership.  
How does your historical work specifically address the dispossession of the indigenous Arabic people?  Are you often called "anti-Semitic" in an attempt to discredit your work?
Since I'm ethnically a Jew, Zionists don't call me an anti-Semite. Instead I'm a "self-hating Jew." But I've made a joke out of the charge. When I lecture, I cite the accusation and then tell how my 42 million ex-girlfriends insist that "The Zionists don't know what they are talking about. Lenni Brenner is definitely not a self-hating Jew. Lenni is in love with himself. The only one he ever loved is himself!" My audiences always roar with laughter.
What is your opinion of the work of authors such as James Petras? In some respects, the organized left has internal disputes while ensuring that the correct questions are being asked. For instance, while leftists may agree that violent Israeli occupation fueled by the American government and media structure is detrimental, elitist tactics such as boycott and divestment need to be measured. It seems that reading Peter Beinart or John Mearsheimer may be helpful, but focusing on the lobby at the detriment of challenging our elected officials and media/educational sources continue to give leverage to American foreign policy. Am I correct to assume that citizens need to be focused on activism that alters policy and takes the consideration of the victims into genuine account? 
The lobby's hold on our Democratic and Republican politicians is based on pro-Zionist campaign contributions. Us Jewish guys are only 2.2 percent of Americans, but a June 7, 2011, article, "Democrats launch major pro-Obama pushback among Jews," by Ron Kampeas, the Zionists' Jewish Telegraphic Agency's Washington bureau chief, said that "estimates over the years have reckoned that Jewish donors provide between one-third and two-thirds of the party's money." And Netanyahu's pal, Sheldon Adelson, gave $102 million to the Republicans, making him the biggest election campaign donor in US history.
Of course some Jewish billionaires throw money at the Democrats and Republicans for reasons unconnected to Zionism. But they don't complain about the bipartisan hyper-Zionism. 
I'm for focusing on both the lobby and the politicians. Anti-Zionists and other critics of Israel must grasp that demonstrations calling on Obama and the congressional Democrats to change their pro-Israel policies won't work as long as that Zionist money keeps going there. Most critics keep voting for them as the lesser evil. Democratic politicians ask themselves one question about everybody: "If I don't give them what they want, what will they do to hurt me?" Pro-Palestinians must demonstrate and also join the pro-Palestinian Green Party and vote against the Democrats and Republicans. 
A growing percentage of young American Jews are breaking with both Judaism and Zionism. According to the Pew Research Center's 2013 "A Portrait of Jewish Americans" survey, 25 percent of Jews under age 30 say that the US is too supportive of Israel. The poll also said that 22 percent of the general American public also thinks the US is too supportive. 
The NY Times and the Wall Street Journal both say that millions of voters are very troubled by America's pay-to-play politics. If we denounce those huge Zionist contributions as part of the larger pay-to-play issue, an increasing number of those concerned voters will become critical of Zionism and vote Green.
In 2005, Steven Plaut in writing for Front Page Magazine called Professor Lisa Hajjar a "Jihadnik." And A Guide to the Political Left, lists Hajjar along with Norman Finkelstein, Bill Ayers, Phyllis Bennis, Richard Falk, Noam Chomsky, Juan Cole, Lawrence Davidso, and you, Lenni Brenner - as "anti-Semites who believe that Hamas genuinely seeks to reach a peace accord with the Zionist entity but has been overcome by Israel's intransigence and duplicity." Many of these individuals I have met and written about. All of them are simply ethical readers, researchers, and activists who question Zionism and for that matter, any defective imperial colonialist world-view where the rights of the indigenous inhabitants are marginalized and erased. What are your thoughts on these attempts to misrepresent and censor?  
That misrepresentation is failing. The Times and other media agree with the Pew poll and also say that increasing numbers of Jews and gentiles are growing critical of Israel. 
What do you regard as the primary issues concerning the Palestinians? 
Intifada literally means "shaking off" and is usually translated as "uprising" or "resistance." Of course Palestinians are affected by and will resist all aspects of Zionism. The real question is how violently or non-violently?
Not being a prophet, I don't like to speculate about the future, but there is enough evidence regarding some aspects of the present that lead me to cautiously discuss the immediate future.
When the Gaza war ended, Hamas said it was a victory for it. But the reality is that Gaza was devastated. Now Israel, Egypt, the US, etc. are arranging for big bucks to be sent there to rebuild it. If that isn't done, if the electric system, sewers, etc., aren't repaired, it is reasonable to expect outbreaks of communicable diseases, etc. Israel says OK to repair, providing Assad reestablishes the Palestine Authority there to administer the repairs and Israel, Egypt, the UN, etc. inspect everything coming into Gaza and the repair work so that none of the supplies get diverted to building new tunnels, etc. 
This puts Hamas on the spot. If it tries to reestablish itself militarily, Israel, Egypt, and particularly the US, will stop the repair money flow into Gaza. It is reasonable to think that Hamas will not try to rebuild its military strength under those circumstances because it knows that the people of Gaza will blame it if the repairs aren't done and an even deeper humanitarian crisis develops. 
If Hamas does "cool it," that would open up opportunities for a nonviolent movement in Gaza, the West Bank and "pre-'67" Israel, particularly among its 20 percent Palestinian minority, but also among left Jews, to struggle on to get the Palestinians their rights in those three zones.
Copyright, Truthout. May not be reprinted without permission

DAN FALCONE

Dan Falcone is an educator with more than 10 years of experience in both the public and private setting. He has a master's degree in Modern American History from LaSalle University in Philadelphia and currently teaches secondary education history near Washington, DC. He has previously interviewed Noam Chomsky, Richard Falk and Lawrence Davidson.

    U.S. Democracy?

    Secret space plane lands at US air force base after unknown two-year mission

    Resembling a small space shuttle, the X-37B landed in southern California after a 674 days in orbit on a secret mission
    • theguardian.com
    US space plane lands after secret two-year mission - video
    A top-secret space plane landed Friday at an air force base on the southern California coast.
    The plane spent nearly two years circling Earth on a classified mission. Known as the X-37B, it resembles a mini space shuttle.
    It safely touched down at 9.24am Friday, officials at Vandenberg Air Force Base said.
    Just what the plane was doing during its 674 days in orbit has been the subject of sometimes spectacular speculation.
    Several experts have theorized it carried a payload of spy gear in its cargo bay. Other theories sound straight out of a James Bond film, including that the spacecraft would be able to capture the satellites of other nations or shadow China’s space lab.
    In a written release announcing the return of the craft, the air force only said it had been conducting “on-orbit experiments”.
    The US air force's first unmanned re-entry spacecraft landed at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.
    The US air force’s first unmanned re-entry spacecraft landed at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. Photograph: US AIR FORCE/Reuters
    The X-37B program has been an orphan of sorts, bouncing since its inception in 1999 between several federal agencies, Nasa among them. It now resides under the air force’s rapid capabilities office.
    The plane that landed Friday is one of two built by Boeing. This is the program’s third mission, and began in December 2012.
    The plane stands 9.5ft tall and is just over 29ft long, with a wingspan under 15ft. It weighs 11,000lbs and has solar panels that unfurl to charge its batteries once in orbit.
    The air force said it plans to launch the fourth X-37B mission from Cape Canaveral, Florida, next year.

    Neoliberal Democracy

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    Purchase of Election by Chevron Shows We Have 'Oligarchy, Not Democracy': Sanders

    According to estimates, fossil fuel company is on track to spend $3 million in attempt to gain control of city council in Richmond, California
    Oil giant Chevron is spending millions of dollars to make sure its preferred candidates in the city of Richmond, California receive the financial boost they might need to win. (Image: MSNBC / Screenshot)
    The Independent U.S. Senator from Vermont Bernie Sanders was in the city of Richmond, California on Thursday and said local elections in the city have become prime examples of how U.S. politics, at all levels, have become corrupted by the unlimited amount of money wealthy corporations and individuals can spend on campaigns.
    "We are not living in a democracy when giant corporations like Chevron can buy local governments. That's called oligarchy, not democracy.  We have got to fight back.” 
    —Sen. Bernie Sanders
    So far, the oil giant Chevron—which has a major refinery in Richmond and has been in a battle with city officials and residents over safety at the facility following a large fire in 2012—has pumped an estimated $3 million dollars into the local elections, backing its own slate of candidates while funding attack ads on their opponents. One of Chevron’s prime targets is the current mayor, Gayle McLaughlin, an oil company critic who is running for a seat on the city council and who filed suit against the energy companyfollowing the 2012 disaster. Chevron, using its virtually unlimited financial resources, has also targeted other candidates for city council who have voiced criticism of the company's role in the community, as Steve Early reported for Common Dreams last month.
    On Thursday, Sanders met with local activists and progressive politicians at an event titled "Fight for Justice," hosted by the Richmond Progressive Alliance and which focused on addressing global warming, improving health care for veterans, expanding Medicare and reducing the influence of money in politics. In addition to McLaughlin, two other council candidates, Jovanka Beckles and Eduardo Martinez, are members of the alliance and have also faced attack ads funded by Chevron.
    “Chevron is trying to buy the Richmond City Hall. We can’t let them get away with it,” Sanders said ahead of the meeting. “This is not what democracy is supposed to be about.”
    According to the Richmond Progressive Alliance, "Chevron is on track to spend between $2 and $3 million trying to gain control of the Richmond City Council on Election Day. The corporation will likely pay out $120 per voter—and that’s just the reported expenditures. The other candidates will be lucky to spend one-tenth as much, combined. Two million dollars buys a lot of billboards, mailers, door knocking and phone-banking. Plus lots of hit pieces on candidates Chevron doesn’t like. It isn’t fair. But it is legal, so this election will be a real test of the power of money in our democracy."
    "$3 millions buys a lot of billboards, mailers, door knocking and phone-banking. Plus lots of hit pieces on candidates Chevron doesn’t like. It isn’t fair. But it is legal, so this election will be a real test of the power of money in our democracy." 
    —Richmond Progressive Alliance
    Sanders' office, referencing a series of decisions in recent years by the U.S. Supreme Court, said that Chevron’s campaign in a local election like Richmond's is "a vivid example" of how the U.S. electoral process has been corrupted by "letting corporations and billionaires spend unlimited sums to sway elections."
    According to Sen. Sanders, “Three million dollars may sound like a lot of money, but to Chevron it’s nothing.  Over the past decade Chevron has made more than $200 billion in profits ripping off Americans at the gas pump, even as it has paid hundreds of millions in fines for polluting the air we breathe, the water we drink, violating health and safety laws and evading taxes.  We cannot allow a company like Chevron that has thumbed its nose at the law to buy politicians.”
    Sanders urged progressives in California and across the country make sure they turn out to vote for this year's upcoming mid-term elections and cautioned against a pattern where less than 40 percent of eligible voters cast a ballot. “We are not living in a democracy when 60 percent of Americans are not voting, while billionaires like the Koch Brothers are spending hundreds of millions to buy the United States Senate," he said. "We are not living in a democracy when giant corporations like Chevron can buy local governments. That's called oligarchy, not democracy.  We have got to fight back.”
    On her evening news show on MSNBC earlier this week, Rachel Maddow offered this reporton the interplay between Chevron and the local politics in Richmond:

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    Sergey Lavrov Minister Foreign Affairs Russia

    Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov speaks to the World — Paul Craig Roberts

    Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov speaks to the World — Paul Craig Roberts
    Dear Readers, I now have for you the complete English transcript of Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s speech to the United Nations. Lavrov’s speech, together with President Putin’s remarks in his Serbian press conference (excerpts posted on this site) clearly indicate that the moral leader of the world is Russia, not Washington. 
    The Russians have come out of tyranny as America descends into tyranny. Washington’s barbarity in the world is unprecedented. For 13 years Americans have permitted their government to bomb women, children and village elders in seven countries based entirely on lies and the selfish interests of the ruling elite. Washington has spewed depleted uranium everywhere, causing massive birth defects and health problems. We must remember that Washington is the only government that dropped nuclear weapons on helpless civilian populations. The victims were Japanese when the Japanese government was trying to surrender.
    Putin’s warning to the White House Fool that humanity’s existence requires that Obama “remember what consequences discord between major nuclear powers could bring for strategic stability” is a pointed demand that the White House Fool halt Washington’s aggression toward Russia. We have had enough, Putin said. We are a patient people, but we are running out of patience with your idiocy. 
    It is not ebola but Washington that is a plague upon the world. Washington has declared itself to be above both the US Constitution and International Law. Washington has destroyed the sovereignty of Great Britain, all of Europe, and Japan and permits none of the countries in its empire of captive nations to have a foreign policy independent of Washington. Europe and Japan are nothing but punk puppet states whose “leaders” are well paid for their subservience to Washington. 
    Insouciant Americans are told that as they are the exceptional, indispensable people, their government has a right to be unaccountable to law. Law is what Washington imposes on others. Washington’s hegemony over others is the right of the “exceptional nation.” No other country counts or has any rights.
    Russia and China disagree with Washington. Russia formed between the third and eighth centuries and reformed after the Mongol invasion. China has been around for five thousand years. The US is 238 years old, and judging by its behavior remains a two-year old.
    Here is Lavrov speaking for Russia to the world. No one in the US government is capable of giving such a speech. The speech follows after these excerpts:
    “Attempts to put pressure on Russia and to compel it to abandon its values, truth, and justice have no prospects whatsoever for success.”
    “The [US] policy of ultimatums and the philosophy of supremacy and domination do not meet the requirements of the 21st century, and run counter to the objective process of developing a polycentric and democratic world order.”
    “Washington has openly declared its right to the unilateral use of military force anywhere to advance its own interests. Military interference has become a norm, even despite the dismal outcome of all operations of force that the US has carried out over recent years. The sustainability of the international system has been severely shaken by the NATO bombardment of Yugoslavia, intervention in Iraq, the attack against Libya, and the failure in Afghanistan.”
    No One Has A Monopoly on Truth — Sergey Lavrov
    “Ladies and gentlemen, 

    “There is growing evidence today of a contradiction for collective and purposive efforts in the interest of developing adequate responses to challenges common to all of us, and the aspiration of a number of states for domination and a revival of the archaic block thinking based on military drill discipline and the erroneous logic of friend or foe”.
    “The US-led western alliance that portrays itself as a champion of democracy, the rule of law, and human rights within individual countries acts from a directly opposite position in the international arena, rejecting the democratic principles of sovereign equality of states, and trying to decide for everyone what is good and what is evil”.
    “Washington has openly declared its right to the unilateral use of military force anywhere to advance its own interests. Military interference has become a norm, even despite the dismal outcome of all operations of force that the US has carried out over recent years. The sustainability of the international system has been severely shaken by the NATO bombardment of Yugoslavia, intervention in Iraq, the attack against Libya, and the failure in Afghanistan”.
    “Only due to intensive diplomatic efforts was the aggression against Syria prevented in 2013. There was an involuntary impression that the goal of various color revolutions and other projects to change unsuitable regimes is to create chaos and instability. Today, Ukraine has fallen victim to this arrogant policy. The situation there has revealed the remaining deep-rooted systematic flaws of the existing architecture in the Euro-Atlantic area. The West has embarked on a course towards vertical structuring of humanity, tailored to its own far-from-inoffensive standards”.
    “After they declared victory in the Cold War and the so-called End of History, the US and the EU have opted to expand the geopolitical area that is under their control without taking into account the balance of legitimate interests of all people of Europe. The western partners did not heed our numerous warnings of the inadmissibility of violating the principles of the UN Charter and the Helsinki Final Act. Time and again, they have avoided serious joint work to establish a common space of equal and indivisible security and cooperation, from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean”.
    “The Russian proposal to draft the European Security Treaty was rejected. We were told directly that the legally binding guarantees of security are only meant for the members of the North Atlantic Alliance, and at this time they continue to expand to the East in spite of the promises that were given to the contrary. The instantaneous switch of NATO to hostile rhetoric, to the drawdown of its cooperation with Russia even to the detriment of the West’s own interests, and the buildup of military infrastructure on Russia’s borders reveal the inability of the alliance to change its genetic code which it created during the Cold War”.
    “The US and the EU supported the coup d’état in Ukraine and reverted to outright justification of any acts by the self-proclaimed Kiev authorities that opted for suppression by force of the part of the Ukraine people which had rejected attempts to impose throughout the country an anti-constitutional order and wanted to defend its right to tis native language, culture, and history. It is precisely the aggressive assault on these rights that helped the population of Crimea to take its destiny in its own hands and make a choice in favor of self-determination”.
    “This was an absolutely free choice, no matter what was invented by those who are primarily responsible for the internal conflict in Ukraine. General attempts to distort the truth and hide facts behind blanket accusations have been undertaken at all stages of the Ukrainian crisis. Nothing has been done to try to hold to account those responsible for the bloody February events at Maidan, and the massive loss of human life in Odessa, Mariupol, and other regions of Ukraine. The scale of appalling humanitarian disaster provoked by the acts of the Ukrainian army in Southeastern Ukraine has been deliberately underscored”.
    “Recently, new horrifying facts have been brought to light, when mass graves were discovered in the suburbs of Donetsk. Despite UN Security Council Resolution 2166, a thorough and independent investigation of the circumstance of the loss of the Malaysian airliner over the territory of the Ukraine has been drawn out. The perpetrators of all these crimes must be identified and brought to justice, otherwise it will be difficult to count on national reconciliation occurring in Ukraine”.
    “Russia is sincerely interested in the restoration of peace in this neighboring country, and this should be well understood by all who are slightly acquainted with the history of the deep-rooted and fraternal ties between these two peoples. The way towards political settlement is well known. Last April, Kiev already took upon itself an obligation in the Geneva Declaration of Russia, Ukraine, the US, and EU to immediately begin a broad national dialogue with the participation of all regions and political forces in Ukraine, with a view to carrying out constitutional reform. The implementation of this obligation would allow all Ukrainians to agree on how to live in accordance with their traditions and culture, and would enable Ukraine to restore its organic role as a binding link between the various parts of the European space, which naturally implies the preservation and respect by all of its neutral and non-block status”.
    “We are convinced that with goodwill and the refusal to support the party of war in Kiev which is trying to push the Ukrainian people into the abyss of national catastrophe, a way out of the crisis is within our reach. The way to overcome a crisis has been opened with the achievement of the ceasefire agreement in Southeastern Ukraine on the basis of initiatives by Presidents Poroshenko and Putin. With the participation of their representatives of Kiev, Donetsk, Lugansk, as well as the OSCE and Russia, practical measures are being agreed upon for the successive implementation of those agreements, including the separation of the parties to the conflict, the removal of heavy weapons of Ukraine and militia forces, and the setting up of monitoring through the OSCE”.
    “Russia is prepared to continue to actively promote the political settlement under the well known Minsk process as well as other formats. However, it should be crystal clear that we are doing this for the sake of peace, tranquility, and the well-being of the Ukrainian people – rather than to appease someone’s ambitions. Attempts to put pressure on Russia and to compel it to abandon its values, truth, and justice have no prospects whatsoever for success”.
    “Allow me to recall some history from not so long ago. As a condition for establishing diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union in 1933, the US government demanded of Moscow guarantees of non-interference into the domestic affairs of the United States and obligations not to take any actions with a view to changing the political or social order in America. At that time, Washington feared a revolutionary virus, and those guarantees were put on record. And this was the basis for, of course, reciprocity between the US and the Soviet Union. Perhaps it makes sense to return to this topic and reproduce the demands of that time of the US government – on a universal scale”.
    “Why would the General Assembly not adopt a declaration on the inadmissibility of interference into the internal affairs of sovereign states and the non-recognition of a coup d’état as the method for the change of power? The time has come to completely exclude from international interactions attempts to exert illegitimate pressure by some states on others. The senselessness and counter-productive nature of unilateral sanctions is obvious if we look at the example of the US blockade on Cuba”.
    “The policy of ultimatums and the philosophy of supremacy and domination do not meet the requirements of the 21st century, and run counter to the objective process of developing a polycentric and democratic world order”.
    “Russia is promoting a positive and unifying agenda. We always were, and continue to be, open to discussion of the most complex issues no matter how unresolvable they may seem to be in the beginning. We will be prepared to search for compromises and a balance of interests, and even to exchange concessions, but only if the discussion will be truly respectful and equitable. The Minsk agreements of 5 and 19 September, on the way out of the Ukrainian crisis, and the compromise on the timeline of the agreement between Kiev and the EU are good examples to follow as is the declaration, finally, of the readiness of Brussels to begin negotiations on the establishment of a free-trade agreement between the European Union and the Customs Union of Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan as had been proposed by President Putin back in January of this year”.
    “Russia has consistently called for the harmonization of integration projects in Europe and Eurasia. The political on political benchmarks and timelines of such a convergence of integrations would make a real contribution to the work of the OSCE on the topic of Helsinki Plus 40″.
    “Another crucial area of this work would be to launch a pragmatic discussion, free from ideology, about the political and military architecture of the Euro-Atlantic region, so that not only members of NATO but all countries of the region including Ukraine, Moldova, and Georgia would experience equal and indivisible security, and would not have to make a false choice of ‘either with us, or against us’. New dividing lines in Europe must not be allowed, even more so because in the era of globalization those lines can turn into a watershed divide between the West and the rest of the world”.
    “It should be stated honestly that no one has a monopoly on truth and no one is now capable of tailoring global and regional processes to their own needs. There is no alternative today to the development of consensus regarding the rules of sustainable governance and new historical circumstances with full respect of the cultural and civilizational diversity of the world, and a multiplicity of models of development. It will be a difficult and perhaps a tiresome task to achieve such a consensus on every issue, but the recognition of the fact that democracy in every state is the worst form of government except for all the others also took time to break its way through, until Churchill proclaimed his verdict”.
    “The time has come to realize the inevitability of this fundamental truth in international affairs, where today there is a huge deficit of democracy. Of course, some will have to shatter centuries-old ideas and abandon claims to eternal uniqueness, but there is no other way forward. Joint efforts can only be built on the principle of mutual respect and taking into account one another’s interests, as is the case for example in the framers of the United Nations Security Council, the G20, BRICS, and the SCO”.
    “The theory of the value of collective work has been reaffirmed by practice, and this includes progress in the settlement of the situation around the Iranian nuclear program and the successful conclusion of the chemical de-militarization of Syria. On the point, speaking of chemical weapons, we would like to receive authentic information on the state of the chemical arsenals in Libya. We understand that our NATO colleagues, having bombed this country in contravention of UN Security Council resolutions, would not like to stir up the mayhem that they have created. However, the problem of uncontrolled Libyan chemical arsenals is too serious to turn a blind eye to”.
    “We think that the UN Secretary General has an obligation to show proof of his responsibility on this issue as well. What is important at this point is to see the global priorities and to avoid holding them hostage to a unilateral agenda. There is an urgent need to refrain from double standards and approaches to conflict settlement. Generally, everyone agrees that the key issue is to resolutely counter terrorists who are attempting to bring under their control increasingly broader territories in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, the Sahara-Sahel area”.
    “That being the case, this task should not be sacrificed to ideological schemes or the desire to settle personal scores. Terrorists, no matter what slogans they hide behind, should remain outside the law. Moreover, it goes without saying that the fight against terrorism should rely on a solid foundation of international law. An important phase in this matter was the unanimous adoption by a number of UN security resolutions, including those on the issue of foreign terrorist fighters, and, to the contrary, attempts to contravene the charter of our organization do not contribute to the success of joint efforts”.
    The struggle against terrorists on the territory of Syria should be organized in cooperation with the Syrian government, which has clearly stated its readiness to join it. Damascus has already shown its capability of cooperating with international programs when it participated in the destruction of its chemical arsenals. From the very beginning of the Arab Spring, Russia called for it not to be left to extremists and for the establishment of a united front to counter the growing terrorist threat. We went against the temptation to make allies of almost anyone who proclaimed himself an enemy of Bashar Al Assad, whether it be Al Qaeda, Al Nusra, or other fellow travelers seeking regime change, including ISIL, which today is the focus of our attention”.
    “As the saying goes, better late than never. It is not for the first time that Russia is making a very real contribution to the fight against both ISIL and other terrorist factions in the region. We have sent large supplies of weapons and military equipment to the governments of Iraq, Syria, and other countries in the Middle East and North Africa, and we will continue to support their efforts to suppress terrorists. The terrorist threat requires a comprehensive approach; we want to eradicate its root cause rather than be condemned to react only to the symptoms. ISIL is only part of the problem”.
    “We propose to launch, under the auspices of the United Nations Security Council, an in-depth and broad study on extremist and terrorist threats and aspects of their threat in the Middle East and North African region”.
    “This integrated approach implies also the long-standing conflict should be considered primarily between the Arabs and Israel. The absence of a settlement of the Israel-Palestine issue over several decades remains and is widely recognized one of the main factors of instability in the region which is helping the extremists to recruit more and more jihadists”.
    “Another literally urgent area of our common work together is the joining of our efforts to implement decisions of the UN General Assembly and Security Council to combat the Ebola virus. Our doctors are already working in Africa. There are plans to send additional humanitarian assistance, equipment, medical instruments, medicines, and teams of experts to assist the UN programs in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone.
    The United Nations was established on the ruins of World War II, and it is entering the year of its 70th anniversary. It is an obligation for us all to celebrate in an appropriate manner the anniversary of the great victory, and to give tribute to the memory of all who perished for freedom and the right of each people to determine its own destiny”.
    “The lessons of that terrible war, and the entire course of events in today’s world, require us to join efforts and forget about unilateral interests and national election cycles. When it comes to countering global threats to all humanity, it should not be allowed for national egoism to prevail over collective responsibility”.