zaterdag 30 mei 2015

Ton Lankreijer en Ais Loupatty

Ieder mens heeft zo zijn eigen voorkeuren,
alle dingen zoeken hun eigen metgezel.
Ik begin te vrezen dat er in de wereld van de jeugd
geen ruimte is voor een man met lang wit haar.
Ik wend mijn hoofd en vraag een paar stenen:
‘Kunnen jullie metgezellen zijn voor een oude man’
Hoewel de stenen niet kunnen spreken,
zijn ze het ermee eens dat we vriendjes worden.

Bai juyi (772-846) Sacrale stenen 2

  Bai Juyi (772 – 846) 

Change Obama Believes In

Published on 

Is US Trade Rep a Wall Street Crony? Groups Demand Transparency.

Public interest watchdogs say Americans deserve to know what US top trade negotiator Michael Froman 'has been privately saying to big banks'
US Trade Representative Michael Froman, the groups note, "received a more than $4 million golden parachute from Citigroup upon leaving the large financial institution to join the Obama administration in 2009." (Photo: US Institute of Peace/flickr/cc)
Noting deep ties between the country's top trade negotiator and Wall Street banks, ten groups representing millions of Americans are calling on the White House to make public all communications between U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman and the massive financial institutions that stand to benefit from proposed trade deals.
In a letter (pdf) addressed to Froman—lead champion of President Barack Obama's corporate-friendly trade agenda—groups including National People's Action, Public Citizen, Friends of the Earth, and CREDO Action request "the prompt, voluntary, and proactive disclosure of all records of communication between yourself and representatives of the ten largest U.S. financial institutions—including lobbyists, employees, and trade associations—during your tenure as U.S. Trade Representative."
"If the Obama administration gets Fast Track, it would delegate Congress’s constitutional authority to a U.S. Trade Representative who, by background and mindset, responds to Wall Street rather than ordinary people."
—Michelle Chan, Friends of the Earth
Those financial institutions include JP Morgan Chase & Co., Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Goldman Sachs, and Citigroup.
In particular, the letter's signatories are concerned that provisions in proposed trade agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) or the TransAtlantic Trade & Investment Partnership (TTIP) would weaken or rollback existing U.S. financial regulations, for the benefit of big banks.
Critics have warned, for example, that Wall Street lobbyists are pushing to undercut the Dodd-Frank banking reforms through international trade negotiations.
"Citigroup snuck a lobbyist-written Dodd-Frank rollback into last December’s CRomnibus, so we already know they’re willing to hijack unrelated bills to weaken regulations on Wall Street," said Kurt Walters of Rootstrikers. "Wall Street has been lobbying to include financial regulation in ongoing trade negotiations, and Americans deserve to know what Froman has been privately saying to these big banks."
In a press release, the groups highlighted the links between Citigroup—which has lobbied extensively on the TPP, TTIP, and Fast Track authority—and Froman, who they note "received a more than $4 million golden parachute from Citigroup upon leaving the large financial institution to join the Obama administration in 2009."
"It’s no surprise that the [Trans-Pacific Partnership]—an unprecedented corporate giveaway—is being negotiated by someone as cozy with Wall Street banks as Michael Froman," said Murshed Zaheed, deputy political director at CREDO Action. "The American people deserve transparency," he added, in order "to see what kinds of commitments Froman is making to his Wall Street cronies behind closed doors."
The letter specifically points to how Fast Track authority, which would provide a means for legislation to be passed under expedited rules by a mere 50-vote simple majority in the Senate, could provide a mechanism for future presidents to use the process  to roll back U.S. financial regulatory policies that would not survive normal Senate voting procedures.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass), made a similar point in a May 5 speech to the Institute for New Economic Thinking in Washington, D.C. "In the next few weeks, Congress will decide whether to give the president Fast Track authority," she said. "If Fast Track passes, a Republican president could easily use a future trade deal to override our domestic financial rules."
Furthermore, stated Michelle Chan, director of Economic Policy at Friends of the Earth: "If the Obama administration gets Fast Track, it would delegate Congress’s constitutional authority to a U.S. Trade Representative who, by background and mindset, responds to Wall Street rather than ordinary people."
Should Froman's communications demonstrate that he "personally and privately communicated" to Wall Street banks that financial reform rollbacks would "never happen under any circumstances, that would help build trust in the Administration's position," the letter reads.
"On the other hand," it continues, "if your communications with large financial institutions on this issue are somewhere less clear with respect to these regulatory concerns—or if there is anything in your communication that undercuts the Administration’s public position that these concerns are 'baseless'—that is something members of Congress and the American people have a right to know."

Ukraine 155

U.S. Pressures Nobel Committee to Declare Ukraine’s President a Peace Prize Nominee, Leaked Letter

Global Research, May 29, 2015
A leaked letter dated May 19th and sent by the Chairman of Ukraine’s parliament, Vladimir Groysman, to the chargé d’affaires of the U.S. Embassy in Oslo Norway, thanks her for “the efforts you have made to have Petro Oleksiyovych Poroshenko nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize,” but continues: “Still we consider your assurances of support by the two members of the Nobel Committee as insufficient,” because there are five members of the Committee, and the support of 3 of them is necessary.
“We expect further efforts aimed at shifting the position of Berit Reiss-Andersen, Inger-Marie Ytterhorn and especially that of the Chair of the Nobel Committee Kaci Kullman Five. Regarding the latter, we recommend that you take advantage of the information you are going to receive from Germany. Your colleagues in Berlin have assured us that the dossier will soon be delivered to the U.S. Embassy in Oslo. It is of utmost importance for Mr. Poroshenko to have firm guarantees that he will be awarded the 2015 Nobel Peace Prize, since it could highlight the unanimous support of Ukrainian integrity by the democratic community of the world. Assistant Secretary of State Viktoria Nuland has highly estimated your job during her visit to Kyiv.”
The three mentioned Nobel Peace Prize Committee members are a politically varied group. Ms. Reiss-Andersen is from the social democratic or “Labour” party; Ms. Ytterhorn is from the libertarian or “Progress” party; and Ms. Five is from the Conservative Party. The two unidentified members are Thorbjørn Jagland from the Labour Party, and Henrik Syse from the Conservative Party. If this letter is correct, those are the two who are referred to by the letter’s phrase, “your assurances of support by the two members.”
The letter also makes a vague reference to the poor reputation that the Committee has engendered on account of the Committee’s having granted the Prize to Barack Obama in 2009 (a decision that the Committee’s Chairperson, Ms. Five, concurred with and has been criticized for):
“We understand the difficulties you face when promoting the candidacy of the President of Ukraine, therefore we ask you to exert additional leverages by engaging those U.S. Senators who effectively cooperated with the Committee in 2009.”
Presumably, this means that whomever “those U.S. Senators” were, the Chairman of Ukraine’s parliament thinks that they were “effective.”
President Poroshenko entered office on 25 May 2014 after a U.S.-sponsored coup in Kiev that installed Arseniy Yatsenyuk as Ukraine’s Prime Minister on 26 February 2014, after the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European and Asian Affairs, Victoria Nuland, had instructed the U.S. Ambassador in Kiev on 4 February 2014 to get “Yats” appointed as the junta’s leader; she issued that instruction to him by phone on February 4th and the coup occurred on February 22nd; Yatsenyuk was then appointed on February 26th, and he remains in power today.
One pro-Russian part of Ukraine, Crimea, then seceded and joined Russia, and another, Donbass, seceded and was not accepted by Russia; it thus was bombed by the Ukrainian Government during May through December 2014, since Donbass’s repeated requests to be allowed to join Russia were spurned by Vladimir Putin. (Yet, Ukraine accuses Russia of providing the fighters who are actually the men of Donbass, who refuse to be ruled by the U.S.-coup regime.
Russia sends them guns, and volunteers have come from Russia and many other countries to help the Donbass defenders.) German intelligence estimates that “up to 50,000” people were killed in that bombing campaign, but U.S. and other official estimates are only around 5,000.
Even before Poroshenko took office, the new Ukrainian government of “Yats” Yatsenyuk invaded Donbass, using bombers, tanks, rocket-launchers, and everything it had; and, when Poroshenko gave his victory speech in the ceremonial Presidential election on May 25th, he promised, and it was very clear from him, that: “The anti-terrorist operation [he called the residents there ’terrorists’] cannot and should not last two or three months. It should and will last hours.” (Another translation of it was “Antiterrorist operation can not and will not continue for 2-3 months. It must and will last hours.”)
But it did last months — Poroshenko’s prediction was certainly false; and, moreover, he lost first one round of the war, and then another — his prediction of its outcome was likewise false. And recently, he said that the war must be resumed for yet a third round, in order that Ukraine win back both Crimea and Donbass. However, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry warned him on May 12th that he must not do that, and that if he did he’d be violating the Minsk II ceasefire accords which had been arranged by France’s Francois Hollande and Germany’s Angela Merkel. Then, three days later, his Assistant Secretary Victoria Nuland, who had arranged the February 2014 coup, told both Yatsenyuk and Poroshenko to ignore what Kerry had just said, and that, “We continue to stand shoulder to shoulder with the people of Ukraine and reiterate our deep commitment to a single Ukrainian nation, including Crimea, and all the other regions of Ukraine.”
Perhaps a reason why the Chairman of Ukraine’s parliament is boldly demanding the U.S. State Department to arrange for Poroshenko to get at least a nomination for the Peace Prize (and even goes so far as to assert that,
“It is of utmost importance for Mr. Poroshenko to have firm guarantees that he will be awarded the 2015 Nobel Peace Prize”) is that otherwise they will follow through on Nuland’s statement of U.S. commitment, and re-invade Donbass. However, any invasion by Ukraine of Crimea would be exceedingly unlikely, because that would give Russia a virtual carte blanche to attack Ukraine, and neither the U.S. nor any other power will go to war against Russia in such an instance; Ukraine isn’t yet a NATO member, and NATO would be exceedingly reluctant to go so far as a third world war, this time against Russia, in order to defend the Ukrainian Government from the consequences of that Government’s own then-blatant ceasefire violation — especially in the wake of what virtually everyone now recognizes to have been a U.S. coup that had installed the present Ukrainian regime (and even EU officials were shocked to find out that it had been a coup). And it was a very violent coup, which was followed shortly thereafter by the extremely violent ethnic-cleansing campaign to get rid of the residents in Donbass.

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity, and of Feudalism, Fascism, Libertarianism and Economics.

Henk Hofland en de Massa 72

Wat bedoelt Henk Hofland precies wanneer hij in De Groene Amsterdammer van 28 mei 2015 beweert dat er een 'Kans op rechtvaardigheid' bestaat met betrekking tot de 'waandenkbeelden en leugens' van de 'grootscheepse oplichter' George W. Bush, de president die door de illegale inval in Irak 'de dood van honderdduizenden mensen en de verwoesting van een staat op zijn geweten heeft'? Hoewel hij aangeeft dat er genoeg strafbare feiten zijn gepleegd, doelt Hofland er in elk geval niet op dat 'Bush en zijn neoconservatieven,' voor het gerecht moeten worden gedaagd. Ze zijn immers politici en die staan boven de wet. Daarom betitelt hij 'Hillary' de 'ideale kandidaat' voor het presidentschap, terwijl zij als Senator vóór het verwezenlijken van de Amerikaanse terreur stemde. En ondanks het feit dat er een Internationaal Strafhof in het leven is geroepen, te weten het in Den Haag gevestigde permanente 'hof voor het vervolgen van personen die verdacht worden van genocide, misdaden tegen de menselijkheid en oorlogsmisdaden zoals deze zijn omschreven in diverse internationale verdragen,' moet Hofland niets hebben van het recht. Dat is begrijpelijk, aangezien hij in zijn columns meermaals voorstander is geweest van grove schendingen van het internationaal recht. Waar de stem van de gevestigde orde op mikt is 'een nieuwe discussie' onder politici en journalisten over wat hij kwalificeert als een 'wereldcatastrofe.' Hofland eindigt zijn beschouwing in De Groene met de woorden: 

Misschien bieden de Amerikaanse verkiezingen de laatste kans om achter de Nederlandse waarheid in Irak te komen. Dat wil zeggen: achter ons aandeel in de wereldgeschiedenis die tot de puinhopen van vandaag heeft geleid. Van onze politiek valt in dit opzicht weinig tot niets te verwachten. Het zal aan de media liggen.

Kortom, van de Nederlandse mainstream-journalisten wordt nu verwacht dat zij tot op het bot onderzoeken hoe de Nederlandse politici door Washington en Wall Street op sleeptouw zijn genomen. En dit allemaal omdat er een '[k]ans op rechtvaardigheid' zou bestaan die de polderpers niet zomaar aan haar neus voorbij kan laten gaan. Het probleem is alleen dat 'we' hier te maken hebben met dezelfde 'vrije pers' die zich in de Oekraïense burgeroorlog opnieuw op sleeptouw heeft laten nemen door de neoconservatieven in de regering Obama en door het Amerikaanse militair-industrieel complex dat momenteel mega-winsten binnensleept dankzij het door de VS/NAVO veroorzaakte geweld in Afghanistan, Irak, Libië en Syrië. Opmerkelijk is daarbij dat Hofland zelf zijn eigen krant, NRC Handelsblad, nooit onmiddellijk heeft bekritiseerd toen zij een platform bood aan de 'war mongers.' Dinsdag 28 januari 2003, bijna twee maanden voor het begin van het Amerikaanse en Britse geweld tegen Irak interviewde de NRC-hoofdredacteur Folkert Jensma de Amerikaanse minister van Buitenlandse Zaken, Colin Powell. Een fragment daaruit: 

Jensma: Hoe lang blijven de VS in Irak? 

Powell: Net zo lang als nodig. Dat hebben we vaker gedaan. In Japan, in Europa. Mensen hebben een slecht geheugen, maar we gaan vaker naar landen in nood en zorgen dan voor een oplossing. Daarvoor gebruiken we de middelen van het Amerikaanse volk -- ons geld, ons politieke kapitaal en onze mannen en vrouwen, onze grootste schat. We houden koers, ook als we het moeilijk krijgen. We hebben dat ook in Afghanistan bewezen. Als we de enorme verantwoordelijkheid nemen om een coalitie van gelijkgestemde landen Irak te leiden, als dat echt niet kan worden voorkomen, dan kennen we onze plicht en onze verantwoordelijkheid. We willen dat land intact houden en de humanitaire nood lenigen. En we willen dat land beter achterlaten dan we het aantroffen.

Intussen wisten toen al goed geïnformeerde bronnen dat Powell werd ingezet om het neoliberale expansionisme van de grote Amerikaanse wapenfabrikanten en olie-concerns mogelijk te maken. Ikzelf schreef een aantal artikelen over dit onderwerp en maakte een serie radioprogramma's voor de VPRO over de ware redenen van de 'agressieoorlog,' tegen de Iraakse bevolking. 
en de serie radioprogramma's voor de VPRO (de huidige VPRO heeft de programma's verwijderd, kennelijk omdat iemand de informatie niet relevant vond, hetgeen een treffend voorbeeld is van de wijze waarop de Nederlandse media de geschiedenis ook  achteraf vertekenen.)

Hoewel ik er een prijs voor kreeg van het Humanistisch Vredesberaad, werd de context van de oliebelangen angstvallig door de Nederlandse mainstream-pers verdoezeld dan wel angstvallig verzwegen. Het melden van de ware achtergrond van het westerse geweld tegen een soevereine staat was absoluut taboe, zoals ondermeer bleek uit het feit dat op de dag van de inval, 20 maart 2003, de NRC in een redactioneel commentaar benadrukte:

Nu de oorlog is begonnen, moeten president Bush en premier Blair worden gesteund. Die steun kan niet blijven steken in verbale vrijblijvendheid. Dat betekent dus politieke steun - en als het moet ook militaire.

Het absurde was daarbij dat de NRC-hoofdredactie en de redacteuren, onder wie de hoogleraar journalistiek Marc Chavannes, liet weten dat zij tegelijkertijd

Aan de casus belli tegen Irak twijfelen,

namelijk dat Irak over massavernietigingswapens beschikte die in 45 minuten via raketten gelanceerd konden worden en Europa konden bereiken. De NRC rechtvaardigde de terreur van 'shock and awe,' dat volgens Hofland tot een 'wereldcatastrofe heeft geleid, als volgt:

Het Iraakse volk heeft recht op eerbiediging van de mensenrechten en moet kunnen profiteren van de rijkdommen van het land, 

zijnde de oliebronnen, die inmiddels in handen zijn gevallen van westerse oliemaatschappijen. Niet voor niets werd het ministerie van Olie in het centrum van Bagdad als eerste omsingeld en bezet door Amerikaanse mariniers, terwijl niet ver daar vandaan de millennia-oude onbeschermde kunstschatten van de mensheid werden geplunderd.

Maar olie als belangrijke reden van de VS om het op één na olierijkste land ter wereld binnen te vallen komt in het interview van de NRC met minister Colin Powell niet voor. De Nederlandse mainstream journalistiek weet exact wat zij wel en vooral ook wat zij niet mag vragen. Toch kon de NRC-interviewer niet helemaal zwijgen over olie, aangezien Shell en Rotterdam, waar destijds nog de NRC werd geproduceerd, onlosmakelijk aan elkaar zijn verbonden. Dus vroeg Folkert Jensma via een voorzichtige omweg of er ook voor Shell nog wat in het vat zat. Powell antwoordde:

Wat gebeurt er met de olie van Irak? Die olie is van het volk van Irak. Als er een conflict komt en de VS komen tijdelijk aan de macht in een ander land, dan zullen ze met inachtneming van internationaal recht die olievoorraden beschermen en ter beschikking houden van het volk van Irak. Dat de VS die olie zelf zouden willen controleren, is nonsens. Dat klopt ook niet met onze geschiedenis van de laatste vijftig jaar.

De Nederlandse kwaliteitsjournalistiek, Folkert Jensma. Blank en Atlanticus. 

Ook die bewering van Powell was een leugen, zoals de NRC wist maar keurig verzweeg, want het was algemeen bekend dat in Irak’s buurland Iran de CIA al in 1953 de democratische regering van premier Mossadeq met geweld ten val had gebracht, omdat diens regering de Iraanse oliebronnen had genationaliseerd. En ziedaar: ook nu weer worden de westerse oliemaatschappijen beloond. Want ondanks Powell's stellige bewering in de NRC  dat

Het Iraakse volk... moet kunnen profiteren van de rijkdommen van het land,

is de werkelijkheid als volgt: 

Western oil firms remain as US exits Iraq. The end of the US military occupation does not mean Iraqis have full control of their oil. 

Baghdad, Iraq - While the US military has formally ended its occupation of Iraq, some of the largest western oil companies, ExxonMobil, BP and Shell, remain.

Hofland zweeg eveneens toen nog op 20 oktober 2013 NRC-'redacteur' Marc Chavannes, destijds tevens hoogleraar journalistiek aan de Rijksuniversiteit Groningen, benevens commentator bij de NOS en andere omroepen, in zijn krant onder de kop ‘De Aftakeling van de democratie’ het volgende beweerde:

Democratie is geen exportartikel meer. Dat was wel anders toen de Verenigde Staten in 2003 met het gelijk van de zendeling Irak binnenvielen en dictator Saddam verwijderden. De landen van het Midden-Oosten waren toe aan bestuur van het volk door het volk; de ene dominosteen na de andere zou kantelen. Na weken verlammende geruzie in Washington lijkt de Amerikaanse democratie zelf vastgelopen en uitgewoond. 

Intussen was al sinds 2007 publiekelijk bekend dat Alan Greenspan de ware reden had verteld:

It was oil all along. The former head of the Federal Reserve writes in his memoir, The Age of Turbulence: Adventures in a New World, ‘I am saddened that it is politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows: the Iraq war is largely about oil.’ Greenspan even advised Bush that ‘taking Saddam Hussein out was essential’ to protect oil supplies.

Dit feit, uit de mond van een Amerikaan die als hoofd van de Amerikaanse Federale Bank achttien jaar lang één van de invloedrijkste autoriteiten ter wereld is geweest, werd nog eens bevestigd in de herfst van 2011 door de Amerikaanse oud-ambassadeur bij de Verenigde Naties, John Bolton, toen deze neoconservatief op Fox News een militaire aanval op Iran rechtvaardigde met de opmerking dat  

Iran er nauwelijks een geheim van maakt dat het naar de hegemonie streeft in de regio van de Perzische Golf, het cruciale olie-en gas producerende gebied waarover wij zovele oorlogen hebben gevoerd om onze economie te beschermen tegen de nadelige impact van het verlies van deze voorraden of wanneer we er alleen maar over kunnen beschikken tegen zeer hoge prijzen. 

De regering Bush junior had de Shock and Awe terreur gerechtvaardigd met uitspraken als deze:

Iraq could decide on any given day to provide biological or chemical weapons to a terrorist group or to individual terrorists... The war on terror will not be won until Iraq is completely and verifiably deprived of weapons of mass destruction.

We know that Saddam Hussein is determined to keep his weapons of mass destruction, is determined to make more.

There can be no doubt that Saddam Hussein has biological weapons and the capability to rapidly produce more, many more. And he has the ability to dispense these lethal poisons and diseases in ways that can cause massive death and destruction. If biological weapons seem too terrible to contemplate, chemical weapons are equally chilling.
Colin Powell, Secretary of State
 Remarks to the UN Security Council

In Iraq, a dictator is building and hiding weapons that could enable him to dominate the Middle East and intimidate the civilized world - and we will not allow it.
George W. Bush, President
 Speech to the American Enterprise Institute

De Nederlandse kwaliteitsjournalistiek. Ko Colijn. Blank en Atlanticus.

Zoals inmiddels geen zinnig mens meer kan ontkennen werden deze beweringen, die niet op feiten berustten, in Nederland ook nog eens gepropageerd door opiniemaker, professor Ko Colijn, directeur van het Instituut Clingendael, die met grote stelligheid verklaarde:

het [gaat] niet meer om de vraag of Saddam Hoessein massavernietigingswapens verbergt – niemand twijfelt daar nog aan. 

Al op 9 september 2005 had de New York Times bericht:

Powell Calls His U.N. Speech a Lasting Blot on His Record

The former secretary of state, Colin L. Powell, says in a television interview to be broadcast Friday that his 2003 speech to the United Nations, in which he gave a detailed description of Iraqi weapons programs that turned out not to exist, was ‘painful’ for him personally and would be a permanent ‘blot’ on his record.

28 februari 2013 deden een voormalige hoge Amerikaanse diplomaat en zijn echtgenote, een oud CIA-medewerkster uit de doeken:

How the Bush administration sold the war.

As former White House press secretary Scott McClellan put it:

‘Bush and his White House were engaging in a carefully orchestrated campaign to shape and manipulate sources of public approval to our advantage.’

In februari 2013 berichtte de Huffington Post, tien jaar na het begin van de inval, in een terugblik het volgende:

Lie After Lie After Lie: What Colin Powell Knew Ten Years Ago Today and What He Said

On that February 5 in front of the UN Security Council, was Colin Powell certain what he was saying was accurate? He certainly was:

POWELL: My colleagues, every statement I make today is backed up by sources, solid sources. These are not assertions. What we're giving you are facts and conclusions based on solid intelligence.

Later, regarding whether Iraq had reconstituted a nuclear weapons program, he said:

POWELL: [T]here is no doubt in my mind...

That's in public. What about in private? According to Larry Wilkerson, Powell's chief of staff, here's what Powell was thinking at the time:

WILKERSON: [Powell] had walked into my office musing and he said words to the effect of, I wonder how we'll all feel if we put half a million troops in Iraq and march from one end of the country to the other and find nothing.

In  2012 verontschuldigde Powell zich opnieuw voor zijn beweringen:

During an interview with The Daily Show host Jon Stewart, former Secretary of State Colin Powell said he regretted telling the United Nations that Iraq was harboring weapons of mass destruction.

Desondanks blijven 'kwaliteits-journalisten' van de Nederlandse 'politiek-literaire elite' als Mark Chavannes en Raymond van den Boogaard en ook Henk Hofland zelf de mythe verspreiden dat de VS in Irak de 'democratie' willen exporteren, en dat het Westen 'vredestichtend' is. 

De Nederlandse kwaliteitsjournalistiek. Marc Chavannes. Blank en Atlanticus.

Wanneer in Nederland een hoogleraar in de journalistiek aan een Rijksuniversiteit onweersproken kan beweren dat voor de VS ‘[d]emocratie geen exportartikel meer [is],’ terwijl dit nooit het geval is geweest, de bestseller-journalist Geert Mak in zijn Reizen zonder John met grote stelligheid onweersproken kan verkondigen dat de VS ‘decennialang als ordebewaker en politieagent [fungeerde] -- om maar te zwijgen van alle hulp die het uitdeelde,’ en de door zijn collega's tot 'beste journalist van de twintigste eeuw' uitgeroepen Henk Hofland onweersproken kan beweren dat het Westen 'vredestichtend' is, zal de '[k]ans op rechtvaardigheid,' nooit gegrepen worden. Hofland mag dan wel stellen dat het 'aan de media [zal] liggen' om 'achter de Nederlandse waarheid in Irak te komen,' maar dat is kletskoek. Bovendien weten de meeste mensen die 'waarheid' allang. Hoflands opmerking onderstreept nog eens hoe doortrapt de opiniemaker van De Groene Amsterdammers is dat hij nog steeds pretendeert niet te weten dat het allemaal om geld draait. Zo ordinair is 'de waarheid' van de economische elite en haar 'politiek-literaire elite.' Niet voor niets constateerde de journalist Martin van Amerongen in een portret van Hofland dat de éminence grise van de polderpers op kritieke momenten 'instinctmatig' kiest voor de gevestigde orde, 'of voor de man die zijn declaraties tekent.' De Nederlandse opiniemaker speelt al naar het uitkomt de rol van dominee dan wel koopman. 'Rechtvaardigheid' legt het hier altijd af tegen de belangen van de eigen portemonnaie. Daarom houdt Hofland het op zijn 87ste nog steeds vol. 

De Nederlandse kwaliteitsjournalistiek, Raymond van den Boogaard. Blank en Atlanticus.

De Nederlandse kwaliteitsjournalistiek, Henk Hofland. Blank en Atlanticus.

In George Orwell’s oft-quoted and insightful book 1984, we clearly see how this work of fiction has become reality, and in turn how reality is turned back into fiction through the manipulative, inaccurate and deceptive reporting of mainstream media. As Orwell accurately wrote:

'Day by day and almost minute by minute the past was brought up to date. In this way every prediction made by the Party could be shown by documentary evidence to have been correct; nor was any item of news, or any expression of opinion, which conflicted with the needs of the moment, ever allowed to remain on record. All history was a palimpsest, scraped clean and reinscribed exactly as often as was necessary.'

Indeed, this is the 'reality' we face when we turn to mainstream news networks, a reality colored and created through corporate interests which reflect their own agendas instead of the truth.

For example, political leaders and the mainstream media continue to explain to us that the reason for NATO’s armed interventions here and there are to bring freedom and democracy to the subjugated masses. However, as Global Research has been consistently pointing out through deep analysis and on-the-ground reporting, the concept of 'humanitarian war' is a gross oxymoron. As Prof. Michel Chossudovsky wrote about the 2011 intervention in Libya:

'The objective of the NATO bombings from the outset was to destroy the country’s standard of living, its health infrastructure, its schools and hospitals, its water distribution system. And then "rebuild" with the help of donors and creditors under the helm of the IMF and the World Bank.' 

Now the West and its Middle Eastern antidemocratic allies are waging a renewed 'War on Terror' in Iraq and Syria against an enemy they created, once again in the name of democracy.

We are dealing with a diabolical military agenda whereby the United States is targeting a rebel army which is directly funded by the US and its allies. The incursion into Iraq of the Islamic State rebels in late June was part of a carefully planned intelligence operation.

The rebels of the Islamic state, formerly known as the ISIS, were covertly supported by US-NATO-Israel to wage a terrorist insurgency against the Syrian government of Bashar Al Assad. (The Engineered Destruction and Political Fragmentation of Iraq. Towards the Creation of a US Sponsored Islamist Caliphate)

Turning the lens to Europe and North America, Dr. Paul Craig Roberts minces no words in describing the bleak state of the economy, with people living in poverty while funds are directed into the coffers of inflated corporate and defense funds. And true to form, the mainstream media employs distraction techniques to keep people in the dark about where their money is really going and how it is being mishandled:

'The Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank have taken the West back to the days when a handful of aristocrats owned everything. The stock markets are bubbles blown by central bank money creation. On the basis of traditional reasoning there is no sound reason to be in equities, and sound investors have avoided them. But there is no return anywhere else, and as the central banks are run by the rich for the rich, sound reasoning has proved to be a mistake for the past six years.'

Big banks run everything: Austerity, the IMF and the real story about world economy that the media won’t tell you 

If you want to understand what's really happening in Greece and Ukraine, just follow the money 

Big banks run everything: Austerity, the IMF and the real story about world economy that the media won't tell youLawrence Summers, Timothy Geithner, Christine Lagarde  (Credit: AP/Reuters/Molly Riley/J. Scott Applewhite/Ruben Sprich/Photo montage by Salon)
Fascinating to watch the International Monetary Fund as it fronts for the U.S. Treasury and international lenders in the Greek and Ukrainian debt crises. In the former, the fund pins the Syriza government to the wall because it dares to represent its electorate. In the latter, it stands by the Poroshenko government because it has no intention of representing anybody other than banks, corporations and the global strategy set.
“Fascinating” is one word for this and it holds. “Greed in action” is three but they do a better job.
Coincidentally enough, both the Greek and Ukrainian cases now near their respective denouements. Miss this and you miss a singularly plain display of power, the way it works and what it works for in the early 21st century.
Athens has debt payments of €1.6 billion ($1.76 billion) due in June and must make them if it is to receive a further tranche of European and I.M.F. funding. This is essential if Greece is to recover—not from the 2008 financial crash and its economic fallout, which was long ago absorbed, but from the recovery program the fund and the European Union imposed in 2012. That is textbook neoliberalism, naturally, and the results are before us. Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras calls it “a humanitarian crisis,” and I have heard no one dare counter him on the point.
The Kiev government owes international bondholders $35 billion, and $23 billion of it is also due in June. Slightly different situation here: Ukraine, too, needs to shake loose I.M.F. and European funds to revive an economy even worse than Greece’s, but this is not about ameliorating any kind of social crisis. It is about inducing one, in effect, so the neoliberalization process can be completed and working people in Ukraine are made properly, structurally desperate.
It is highly unlikely you will read about these two crises in the same news report—this would be asking too much of media committed to conveying disembodied data without context so that readers and viewers cannot understand what they are (not) being told. Let us, then, treat Greece and Ukraine together. It is where the fascination comes in.
The Greek case. The story starts with the first bailout, in 2010, a €110 billion deal, and the second, two years later, worth €130 billion more. The Socialists negotiated the first bailout and it cost them power within a year. The second was agreed by New Democracy, the rightist party founded in 1974, shortly after the dictatorship of the colonels collapsed.
The New Democrats accepted the extensive austerity measures the I.M.F. and its European co-lenders insisted upon. These included budget targets requiring severe cuts in public service wages, pensions, nationalized health care provisions and all else Europe’s social democracies built over a long period of time. Labor law was to be eviscerated along with (and not coincidentally) regulations governing foreign investment. Privatizations of public-sector enterprises—rails, ports, airlines and airports, the profitable and potentially profitable first—were essential stipulations.
Under Carlos Menem—remember that clownish greedhead?—Argentinians took to call this brand of economic ideology “savage capitalism,” and the phrase has ever since proved its usefulness. Same thing in post-2012 Greece, the bailout years that matter most.
We have read of the consequences often enough: a 25 percent drop in GDP, wage cuts of equal size, unemployment hovering above 25 percent, people losing their homes and finding supper in dumpsters, shuttered schools, malnourished children, on and on. Among the technocrats in Brussels and at the I.M.F. and the bankers in Frankfurt and London, this is recovery. The macroeconomic targets are being approached if not met.
By tradition the I.M.F. tends to shape country programs with two features. It lends to stricken countries and conditions payments on multiple austerity measures. In effect, it writes checks to indebted governments, which then write checks to lenders. Bailouts are structured to rescue banks, not any given citizenry. The No. 1 casualty, apart from all those who suffer the effects of the fund’s conditionality, is the democratic process, since bankers and the fund assume, effectively via blackmail, the authority to dictate social policy.
One post-crisis variation is to be noted. In the 2012 bailout, the I.M.F. required lenders to accept a writedown in the principal and interest Athens owed. This is the famous “bail-in” or “haircut.” The 2012 haircut was 74 percent, although this is nominal, as it means not a loss of that percentage but a reduction in potential profit, and the reduction will not necessarily come to that, depending on market conditions.
Here is what we are looking at now.
Syriza, an impossible rainbow of leftist constituencies, defeated the rightist New Democrats in a snap election earlier this year. It immediately set out to renegotiate New Democracy’s bailout deal, and it has been crisis management ever since.
Yanis Varoufakis, finance minister in Alexis Tsipras’s government, developed an alternative economic strategy to recover from the recovery. It holds up, as analyzed previously in this space. The other day he presented E.U. officials with minutely detailed flow charts demonstrating that the bailout terms he and Tsipras inherited and the root of Greece’s problems now.
The technocratic facts of Greece’s case seem to matter not. Christine Lagarde, the I.M.F.’s director, makes no argument for burden sharing among lenders this time, and the E.U. has nothing of the kind on offer.
Neither wants to hear anything about a recovery plan that does not include more cuts in pensions and social spending, an increase in a highly regressive value-added tax and privatizations, which seem to be the third rail here: without them, nothing doing for Athens.
But there are facts other than technocratic. They are political and ideological.
One, Brussels and the I.M.F. do not want a left social democracy that works contaminating the European Union. It is enough to keep right-wing social democracies such as France’s contained and co-opted. Two, nothing is to be allowed to challenge the validity of the neoliberal orthodoxy, and certainly not facts on the ground.
As the Obama administration makes clear, it wants a settlement with Greece, but it has said nothing about a fair one. Per usual, Washington’s concerns are strategic. A Greek exit from the eurozone, now a distinct possibility, would evaporate leverage over a nation with a long tradition of left resistance and divided sympathies between East and West. It is not lost on the State Department, surely, that Tsipras has been playing footsie with Moscow almost since taking office.
With a payment deadline a week away, Tsipras continues to seek a compromise with E.U. ministers. It is hard to say if he will achieve one, although European stocks jumped Wednesday on news that a deal was nearly done. We will know soon one way or another.
At home, Athenians are exactly where they ought to be: in the streets. Syriza is splitting, predictably. Some factions support Tsipras and some, now shifting to internal opposition, assert that Greece should leave the euro as a project that proves simply not worth it. “This is a dysfunctional union that doesn’t serve the interests of most of its members,” Costas Lapavitsas, a prominent Syriza parliamentarian, said in an interview published in Wednesday’s Los Angeles Times. “To me it’s only a matter of time before this is recognized.”
Greece’s fate is up to Greeks, of course. My take is this: If the European project requires subverting the democratic process in a given country, to hell with it: It is 180 degrees upside down from its admirable intent at the start. If the Tsipras government’s choice lies between the dignity of serving the human beings who put trust in it or meeting technocratic targets and obliging bankers and ideologues, where is the choice?
The Ukraine case. It has to be a little embarrassing that the I.M.F. and its allies cannot get money to the Kiev government quickly enough even as they traffic in fear and a kind of terrorism with the Greeks. Doesn’t it? Please, tell me, somebody somewhere is at least a smidge ashamed.
The I.M.F. has been an adjunct of Washington’s miscalculated intervention in Ukraine from the first. Anyone requiring persuasion should consider the curious sequence of events surrounding the Minsk II ceasefire talks, concluded with an agreement signed by Germany, France, Russia and Ukraine in February.
It was an agony, especially for Chancellor Merkel, to get Poroshenko even to send a delegate to Minsk. The political captive of his extreme right, he consented only at the last moment. The deal was signed February 11 after protracted talks. A day later Lagarde announced that the fund would proceed with its $17.5 billion share of Ukraine’s $40 billion bailout plan.
Which did she wield, carrot or stick? Both, I would say.
At the moment, Natalie Jaresko, Poroshenko’s finance minister, is negotiating to get foreign lenders to accept the haircut the fund and the E.U. adamantly refuse the Greeks. All involved appear to stand behind it. “The case for debt reduction is as strong as any that I have encountered over the past quarter century,” Lawrence Summers wrote recently in a Financial Times opinion piece. Clinton administration vet, urger-on of the catastrophic Boris Yelstin, neoliberal evangelist, nonchalant advocate of regime change: Yes, that Lawrence Summers, a mess usually trailing in his wake.
The case Summers refers to rests on the I.M.F.-mandated reforms Prime Minister Arseny Yatsenyuk detailed in parliament last December. It is so cookie-cutter it is boring to type it: Very big time privatizations and across the board cuts in social services, energy subsidies essential to most Ukrainians, labor protections, impediments to foreign investment and so on. The battle against endemic corruption proceeds, Summers assures us.
Let there be no mistaking: Yatsenyuk is getting this done. As we speak he is in Washington cajoling the Obama administration to cajole, in turn, American corporations to buy up or into the 1,200 public-sector companies he proposes to put on the block, primarily valuable energy and other resource corporations. “It’s a fire sale,” Forbes observed on its web site Monday.
Some problems here, however. The Ukrainian economy makes Greece’s look like the Klondike. It is half its size in 2008 and shrank 18 percent in the first quarter of this year alone. The central bank is down to $5 billion in reserves—beer money.
Kiev pays roughly 175 percent to issue short-term Eurobond debt. Long-term debt denominated in dollars costs it 26 percent or so, and this is down from the mid-30s earlier this year. This is not junk, Forbes tells us. It is not super-junk, either. It is “super-duper junk.”
Into the valley of debt rides Lagarde.
The latest from Kiev has most people in the markets dumbstruck. Last week the parliament voted to authorize Jaresko to refuse any further payments to foreign lenders on the grounds she “has the right not to return loans borrowed by a kleptocratic government.”
This is called the “odious debt argument,” the reasoning being that a new government cannot take responsibility for a corrupt predecessor’s capriciously incurred borrowing. It has been tried before, sometimes with justification, but I seriously question if the Poroshenko government can make any such case stick.
The referenced kleptocratic regime, of course, was Viktor Yanukovych’s, which was brought down in last year’s coup. “These funds have not reached the public,” Kiev argues. “They were wasted. … Government has the right to direct the funds paid by taxpayers in Ukraine to the needs of its citizens and not to return loans….”
This looks like trouble across the board.
First of all, I have numerous reports from solid sources over many months that corruption problems, which I will address shortly, are worse now than under Yanukovych. Lenders are not stupid. They will know this. The I.M.F. is not stupid, either, and neither is the Obama administration. But to these latter this point does not matter. They already look the other way.
Second, another phrase in the bill references “unscrupulous external creditors.” Essential to note here is that 1) Russia holds a $3 billion bond issued by the Yanukovych government and is plainly considered one of these and 2) Russian Prime Minister Dimitry Medvedev said in a televised interview last week that Moscow has no intention of renegotiating the terms on these instruments.
It shapes up as a showdown. Under the circumstances, one can hardly blame the Russians for this position. It will be interesting, maybe even fascinating, to watch how Kiev’s backers line up if it defaults on the Yanukovych bonds—the odious debt argument being simply a lunge for legal protections as debts are ignored.
Third and last, this is a reckless way into debt resolution and a depressing measure of just how irresponsible the people governing Ukraine are. I am hard pressed to recall a client regime this shabby and ignorant, and Washington has settled on some real losers over the decades. Funds Yanukovych borrowed did not benefit the citizenry, and therefore…. Where does this chicanery end?
A further point on the financing question comes from a good source in European banking and financial circles: He wrote in an e-mail note the other day:
“I cannot understand for the life of me why the I.M.F., i.e., the Treasury, the E.U. et al. aren’t demanding that Kiev recover some of the approximately $1 trillion stolen over the past 20 years, except that some of the thieves are central to the current government one way or another. Even if they recovered 10 percent—which would not be hard to do—that would be three times the total public debt of $35 billion—of which they now want to force lenders and especially Ukrainians to swallow 40 percent to 50 percent.”
As to progress combating corruption, more problems. Transparency International rates Ukraine businesses worse than the oligarchs Yeltsin created and Putin now struggles to rein in. Yatsenyuk, it transpires, is under investigation on suspicion he and others in his administration have already made $325 million in public funds disappear.
On the political side, Poroshenko appears to have little leverage over his extreme right. They are on the record—not least via legislation already passed in parliament—that they will not abide any deal done within the Minsk II framework. There has been talk of a coup to depose the now-despised Yatsenyuk, I am told by reliable sources wired into Kiev.
Worthy? At this point, Yatsenyuk is nothing more than a carny tout, if you ask me. So are people such as Summers, who should be ashamed of himself. Worthiness is not the criterion, if this is not obvious by now. The true criteria are two.
One, Ukraine’s strategic importance is such that it will enjoy Western political and institutional support—and probably the haircut Jaresko wants to give the bankers—so long as there is anyone left in Kieve to cash the checks. Two, I question there is any case of the neoliberals’ ideological compulsions as extravagantly on display as they are in Ukraine today. This prize cannot be lost.
Look at Greece. You have a government made of some serious intellects. Read what they write and listen to what they say. They are in search of credible, constructive alternatives. They have one on the table. The problem with it is simple: It is an alternative.
Now Ukraine. Know-nothing stooges, evidence to the contrary always welcome. Yatsenyuk is a ventriloquist’s dream. And to propose an alternative to the orthodoxy must be the furthest thing from his mind.
Fascinating. Among other things.
Patrick Smith is the author of “Time No Longer: Americans After the American Century.” He was the International Herald Tribune’s bureau chief in Hong Kong and then Tokyo from 1985 to 1992. During this time he also wrote “Letter from Tokyo” for the New Yorker. He is the author of four previous books and has contributed frequently to the New York Times, the Nation, the Washington Quarterly, and other publications. Follow him on Twitter, @thefloutist.


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