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Ukraine’s Broader Impact

12:35 pm in Uncategorized by Deena Stryker

Anyone who has witnessed European farmers drive their tractors into the center of Brussels and dump crops in front of EU headquarters, knows the hold they have on legislators. Much of European agriculture takes place on family farms and the EU has had to create special rules and subsidies to keep its food producers happy.
Ukraine!
Since 2008, the US has caused immense suffering across the EU by allowing Wall Street a free rein, and as I’ve written before, I believe this is partly a deliberate attempt to eliminate the welfare state. For information about its benefits are finally seeping through decades of media silence, making American workers wonder why they can’t have one too. The latest installment in America’s use of the EU for its own purposes consists of getting it to impose sanctions on Russia, with which, since the fall of the Soviet Union, it has developed close commercial ties.

Washington succeeded in getting the individual EU leaders, notwithstanding their better judgement, to vote together in Brussels to impose sanctions on Russia, by claiming that Russia ‘took over’ Crimea, a land that had historically been part of Russia except for a few decades after a Soviet leader gifted it to Ukraine, and whose inhabitants, largely ethnic Russians, voted in an internationally monitored referendum to rejoin the mother country. The accusation makes a mockery of US interventions around the world to impose hand-picked rulers, however it had fifty years of fear-mongering behind it: since the end of World War II, Western Europe has lived under a constant barrage of   propaganda warning that Soviet tanks are about to take it over, with the countries of Eastern Europe held up as hapless examples, in a rewrite of large pages of history. (The Yalta agreements on spheres of influence and the fact that those countries, still living under more or less feudal regimes, had significant communist and socialist parties.) During the entire Post-War period up until the fall of the Soviet Union, U.S. diplomates, aided by a powerful propaganda apparatus (Voice of America, Radio Free Europe, etc.), continued to warn European leaders that Russian tanks were poised to overrun their defenseless lands, justifying American-manned bases and NATO.

Not only is Washington still living those bygone days, its chosen ally in Kiev is imitating the enemy it’s trying to defeat, an imaginary Russian Communism, by adopting legislation reminiscent of the Iron Curtain, banning Russian broadcasts into Ukraine, and now, declaring that a fleet of 280 aid trucks carrying 2,000 tons of aid, including grain, sugar, medicine, sleeping bags and power generators, will be denied entry to assist the victims of its aggression in the east of the country. In what seems eerily like a vindication of all those Cold War warnings of an imminent Russian takeover of Europe, the drumbeat is as absurd now as it was then. According to The Guardian (http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/aug/13/russia-aid-convoy-reach-ukraine-within-hours);

“On Monday, NATO secretary general, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, said there was a ‘high probability” of a Russian attack which might happen under the guise of a humanitarian operation’…. Ukraine’s interior minister, Arsen Avakov, said in a statement on Wednesday that ‘no humanitarian convoy from Putin will be let through the Kharkiv region…A provocation by a cynical aggressor on our territory cannot be allowed’, he said.” On Tuesday, the French president, François Hollande, told Putin in a phone call that he had ‘grave concerns’ about Russia’s ongoing unilateral mission in Ukraine…..and “Andrei Illarionov, a former economic policy adviser to Putin who is now a fellow at the conservative Cato Institute in Washington, told the Ukrainian publication Gordon on Monday that any humanitarian convoy to Ukraine would be a sign of Russian aggression aimed at supporting the separatist cause.”

It seems clear to me – and probably to many others whose vision is not clouded by propaganda – that Kiev’s aim is to rid eastern Ukraine of its Russian inhabitants, and that Moscow, understanding that this is the lesser of all evils, welcomes them to Russia instead of starting World War III. And yet, in a move that should provoke international outrage, but hasn’t, Kiev has banned Russian broadcasts into Ukraine, contradicting everything liberal democracy is supposed to stand for.  (The almost irrelevant OSCE did say TV ban needs to be reversed.) In another demonstration of its ridiculous behavior, the Ukrainian parliament voted to freeze all Russian assets, ban Russian internet activity, prevent Russian goods from entering the country, threatening to also block entrance by Russian citizens and giving Security personnel the right to shoot without warning.

Such behavior is explained by the presence, within the ruling coalition, of self-proclaimed Neo-Nazis. (Though they shout their beliefs from the rooftops, the Western does not report them.) Recently, Andriy Biletsky, the commander of the Azov special battalion, who in June described Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko’s decision to cease fire in the east of Ukraine as a strategic mistake, declared in a commentary titled:  “A crusade against the Semite-led Untermenschen,” that “The historic mission of our nation in this critical moment is to lead the White Races of the world in a final crusade for their survival.” A former history student and amateur boxer, Mr Biletsky also heads the Ukrainian parliamentary group called The Social National Assembly (for Social National, read National Socialist…).

Even more than the horrific pictures of the Ukraine tragedy circulating on the web, declarations such as these – and there have been many since the early days of the coup – show that Ukraine is not only not part of Europe, it is not even part of the 21st century: its ‘liberals’ have accepted to rely on the extreme-right’s thugs, failing to realize that even those in the West who agree with them would not publicize the slogans of Nazi Germany.

Meanwhile, a few more cracks are appearing in the sacred Atlantic Alliance: Latin America, Washington’s ‘backyard’, is stepping into the sanctions breach, ready to sell the foods Russia can no longer buy from the EU.  And as Poland and Lithuania get ready to sue the EU for their export losses, Putin is negotiating a free trade zone Egypt’s new president, former General Al-Sisi – a good example of ‘the enemy of my enemy is my friend’ that is sure to cock a snoot at Washington, not least because it suggests that Putin’s planned Eurasian Community could also be open to the Arab world.
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Summer Signs Confirmed

11:15 am in Uncategorized by Deena Stryker

As hooligans in Jerusalem shout anti-Arab slogans and threaten individual Arabs, giving rise to the word ‘Zio-fascists’, Israel prepares to invade Gaza yet again, while Kiev shells villages and towns as it prepares to besiege Eastern Ukraine’s two largest cities. The Gaza invasion is clearly an effort to torpedo the Palestinian unity government, while the Ukraine offensive is just as clearly a US-led attempt to draw Russia into a shooting war with NATO. Both illustrate the increasingly fascistic nature of globalization. The question is whether Europe, which has known the horrors of fascism up close, will continue to go along with Washington’s and Tel Aviv’s plans.BRICS Business Council, 20 Aug 2013

A hopeful sign that indeed it may not, is the French Finance Minister daring to say out loud what many leaders have been thinking: that it’s time for the world to stop using the dollar as its reserve currency. His remark came after a major French bank received a humungous fine for infringing US sanctions. Until now, only the BRICS countries were talking about the need for a different reserve currency, and it was easy to brush them off as incapable of making this happen. But when the second most economically important country in the EU talks this way, something is afoot. The fact that it is not Germany, Europe’s biggest economy, that made the remark is irrelevant: there has always been a division of labor within the duo.

For its part, Germany is taking steps to counter U.S. snooping and spying. As the Guardian reported Tuesday, Angela Merkel considers that: “If the allegations (about Germans working for the CIA) are true, it would be … a clear contradiction to what I consider to be trusting cooperation between agencies and partners.” And today Des Spiegel writes: “In what amounts to a diplomatic earthquake, Berlin has asked the country’s top CIA official to leave Germany.” This unprecedented move will further strain ties with Washington, which have never been the same since revelations last year that the NSA was wire-tapping Germans – including the Chancellor herself.

Even more significantly, Merkel’s declaration was made during her seventh official trip to Beijing, where economic agreements signed and the two countries compared notes the United States.

I began writing this article Thursday, and yesterday much of it was confirmed:

As President Obama is attacked for supposed inaction abroad and overreach at home, (Speaker of the House John Boehner plans to sue him over his use of executive actions), President Putin turns up in Cuba on the first leg of a trip that will also take him to Argentina and Brazil. Russia is canceling 90% of Cuba’s debt, with the 10% remaining to be invested in joint development projects, and will drill for oil. One news source announced that former Soviet bases in Cuba are to be reactivated, to be verified.  In any case, the comment that Putin excels at the judoist art of waiting patiently for one split-second right moment to act, is borne out:

On the eve of the BRICS summit in the Brazilian city of Fortaleza, where the location of the BRICS Development Bank will be decided, the Russian President announced that Russia would back Brazil’s bid for a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council. Time recently commented that Putin allowed himself to be distracted during the Sochi Games from the birthing crisis in Ukraine.  It seems he will be making up for it Sunday during the World Cup finals, when he is expected to meet with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

It’s no coincidence that while Russia and Brazil take steps to liberate themselves from American electronic systems, Germany, recognizing the power shift that is under way, moves closer to both – as well as to China.

Put all these developments together and you cannot deny that a new play is premiering on the world stage: After pretending for seventy years that it had eradicated fascism, with communism as the remaining foe of ‘democratic’ nations, Washington is using Islamic ‘terrorism’ (anything ranging from the Shi’a state of Iran to Hamas but not including ISIS, which just took control of a large swathe of the Iraq we thought we had birthed as a ‘democratic’ self-governing state), as a cover for total global domination that increasingly uses the tools perfected by Nazi Germany.

However, it doesn’t take a degree in international relations to see that the peoples of the world are increasingly sharing the same memes, which tend toward some form of socialism and oppose frenetic consumption. (When the Chinese wake up to its downside, the movement will become unstoppable.) Last summer, while ISIS was announcing that it would set up a Caliphate, Turkish youth demonstrated for weeks to prevent Gezi Park from being turned into a shopping mall, while Brazilians did likewise against the money being spent to host the World Cup. As the games draw to a close, Dennis Trainor, Jr. shared the results of a Pew Poll: 61% of Brazilians think the World Cup is bad for Brazil, more than a million people having taken to the streets of major cities in the past year to protest corruption, rising inflation and a lack of government investment in public services such as education, health care and public transportation.) On May 29th the Guardian took a look at Turkey a year after the Gezi protests and found, among other things that: “Social movements and ideas of how to challenge power certainly emerged from the June protests in Gezi Park – neighborhood forums, politically motivated squatting, and volunteer election observers are just a few of the social experiments now under way in Turkey.

As for the Middle East, which Washington planned to remake to its advantage, it may be slipping from its grasp – but then again, perhaps not: With only ten thousand men, ISIS has taken control of a good chunk of both Syria and Iraq. While the West feigns surprise, it’s hard to believe that the world’s biggest intelligence apparatus, not to mention drones and just plain folks on the ground, including Embassies and their staffs, didn’t know what was going on. More likely, the Caliphate is part of the well-oiled (sic) march toward “total dominance” (see Fascism; Which Flavor Do You Prefer?

As the Arab spring morphs into a long, hot summer, Europe too is rethinking its situation: after seventy years of subservience, America’s allies are beginning to realize that they must break with the U.S. Although their peoples strenuously opposed the Vietnam War, after the demise of the Soviet Union they allowed NATO to go back on its promises and move right up to the Russian border, while their economies became ever more subservient to Wall Street. The ‘mini’ depression of 2008 dealt a devastating blow to the European welfare state, forcing governments to implement austerity measures instead of continuing to meet the needs of their people. But the takeover of Ukraine engineered by the Neo-Conservative guardians of American business, and implemented by third generation storm troopers, is where the rubber is meeting the road. The French statement is not a sign of pique, but the inevitable result of America’s total lack of historical perspective. Forgetting that Europeans experienced real fascism, Washington assumed they would not realize what was happening to them.

Europeans are not only determined to resist fascism, they notice the dichotomy between Obama’s persistent belligerence in both word and deed, and the Russian President’s consistent calls for negotiations and dialogue in each and every conflictual situation. If their hitherto pusillanimous governments finally assert their independence, the hundredth anniversary of the First World War may not coincide with the outbreak of a Third World War, as many have feared. Instead, Turkish, Brazilian, Egyptian and Ukrainian youth may become the forerunners of a global polity that rejects all forms of totalitarianism and turns its energies from mindless consumption to saving the planet.
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Europe: Copycats and the Arrow of Time

7:25 am in Uncategorized by Deena Stryker

Closeup of 6 o'clock portion of an antique clock face, with hour and minute hands at 4:30.

Time’s arrow pulls Europe forward.

I’ve often written about the application of the modern physics principle — that the arrow of time is irreversible — to world affairs and politics in general. Today it is combined with copycat behaviors, thus becoming all the more important to understand

As Ukrainians pursue the historically-dictated split of their country, the West once again joining with Poland while the largely Russian-speaking East either becomes independent or joins again with Russia, using popular brute force not seen in Europe since the Second World War — or perhaps the Russian Revolution — European demonstrators fed up with Brussels and IMF imposed austerity are obviously thinking ‘We can do that, too!’

Ever since the end of World War II, in which Communist and Socialist parties across Europe played a major role in resisting and undermining German occupation, trade unions have provided the left with a strong backbone, allowing workers to demand and obtain benefits American workers cannot even imagine. Their resilience continues to be seen every day on images of demonstrations across the European continent against levels of unemployment that hitherto had not existed in the welfare states.

European workers are also well aware of the role militarism plays in diminished social welfare, as EU countries have allowed themselves to be increasingly co-opted by Washington since 9/11. Although Vladimir Putin correctly noted the similarity between Kosovo’s right to independence and that of Crimea, the crisis in Ukraine is different from the nineteen-nineties war in Serbia.  Serbia lay in the heart of a Europe that was merely in the process of becoming united. Ukraine’s only claim to belong to a united Europe lies in its long history of being part of Poland; but it has an even longer history of being part of Russia. As for today’s Europeans, the fact that Ukraine looms as a putative relative inevitably dares them to show that they are just as capable of putting their bodies where their convictions are.

So much for the copycat aspect of the situation. As for the irreversibility of the arrow of time, this refers to the fact that once a trend is set in motion, it continues until it reaches a bifurcation point, when it can ‘dissipate’ (in the language of physics) to something different. What direction bifurcations take is unpredictable, but is usually influenced by previous history. Translated, this means that as revolts gather steam, the likelihood of them being stopped through negotiation or compromise is slight because each side is propelled inexorably forward. Revolutions and wars are the most obvious examples of bifurcations.

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Of Governments and Mobs

9:56 am in Uncategorized by Deena Stryker

As the Europeans dither over what sanctions they could apply to Russia that would not hurt them more, a two-pronged question: In an age of growing mass literacy and electronic communication, what kinds of governments stand the best chance of being effective — and hence, durable — and is the expression ‘mob rule’ justified?

 Flag held over burning tires at Euromaidan

Some thoughts on “mob rule.”

The Western press has had a field day since the Sochi Olympics, depicting the Russian President as a megalo-maniac jock whose word is law, while complaining in the same breath that the American President cannot get anything done. Given the unprecedented dangers the world has concocted for itself, it would seem that any sane, rational person would be more interested in how the presidents of nuclear armed nations use their power, than in how much power they have.

Americans are told that leaders must be ‘democratically elected,’ with ‘checks and balances’ on their power.  Yet given the myriad ways big business has to make Presidents do its bidding, checks and balances is now but a pious invocation: real power lies not with elected officials, but with their financiers.

How else to explain that President Obama admits to ordering the assassination of American citizens, while allowing purveyors of consumer goods to learn our most intimate wants and needs? Or the fact that though he’s a professor of constitutional law, he disregards the laws that bar him from supporting rulers who gain power by force — as in Egypt or Ukraine.

And yet I’m sure there are days when Obama envies Putin his legislators’ obedience:

“I need a vote on the possible use of force in Ukraine.”

“Done.”

Personally, I prefer a president who easily gets an authorization to use force because his legislators are well-educated and know what’s happening in the larger world, but only uses that authorization as a real last resort, to one who uses force first and justifies it to a largely ignorant Congress later — or not.  I’d rather have a president who offers to negotiate with the European Union and the U.S. over the Ukraine (as Putin did early on), than one who sends his minions to deliver cookies and CIA arms to achieve what is commonly referred to as ‘mob rule’ — except when they are ‘our’ mob.

The term ‘mob rule’ has been in wide use, I believe, since shortly after the Constitution was adopted, inspired by the storming of the Bastille during the contemporaneous French Revolution, and reinforced a century and a half later by newsreels of the storming of the Winter Palace during the 1917 Russian Revolution. The American system of ‘checks and balances’ has been so successfully contrasted to the idea of wild-eyed club-wielding men destroying fine furniture that the press freely associates demonstrations with ‘mob rule,’ invariably opposing them to the ‘democratic’ way of achieving change through the ballot box. It mindlessly parrots the vocabulary used by the political class, especially the derogatory expressions with which it designates those over whom power weighs most heavily.

This leads to the two issues, which in fact is really one: the relationship of power to the people — or the other way around. The most significant element in any discussion of  power today is the exponentially growing number of people on the planet, which makes it almost impossible for any regime to govern satisfactorily. Populations now have to be ‘managed;’ and the more they resist being managed, the tighter the controlling screws are turned, via high-tech bureaucracies, militarily-armed police and spying on a scale never seen before. This could be called the Rousseau aspect of governance, that of bringing man from a ‘state of nature’ to ‘civilization,’ and it is sometimes accused of leading to totalitarianism.

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Venezuela, Syria, Ukraine: Axis of Evil or Civilization Flatlining?

2:46 pm in Uncategorized by Deena Stryker

 One can’t help but notice the geographic pattern formed by the three countries that are currently in the United States’ crosshairs, roughly across the middle of the globe.

Beyond that fanciful note, the governments of these three countries may appear to be very different from one another, however they share a crucial element: the Catholic Latin American, the Muslim Mediterranean, and the Orthodox Eastern European, are all located on the left end of the political spectrum.

Although Ukraine has been a ‘capitalist’ country since the fall of the Soviet Union, its current president is allied with a Russia that, as I have noted before, has not thrown the socialist baby out with the communist bathwater (demonstrators recently tore down the statue of Lenin in Kiev); moving westward, Syria has been ruled by the Arab Socialist Ba’ath Party since the 1960’s, and is the only truly secular Arab state (some of my readers believe this was also the case for Libya, but although all religions were tolerated, Gaddafi declared Islam to be the only universal religion in his Socialist Republic). And across the Atlantic, facing the Pacific, since Hugo Chavez became President, Venezuela has sought to implement the economic independence and equitable distribution of revenues called for by the 19th century revolutionary Simón Bolívar.

This could be considered a coincidence if all three regimes did not also share two other characteristics: their relationship with Russia and their relevance to the supply of oil.

The illogical desire of the Ukrainian people to be accepted as ‘Europeans’ given the EU’s dire economic situation, has been amply reported. Elements of the situation that have been given short shrift – at least in the Western MSM – include the fact that the Russia-Europe pipeline passes through Ukraine; that the leaders of the revolt have maintained World War II Nazi affiliations, and that they have been armed as no demonstrators in recent memory have. (Without arms, demonstrations remain demonstrations; they do not degenerate into civil war.)

As for Syria, let no one be deceived by references to Russia’s access to its Mediterranean seaport of Tartus; an Arab regime that is close to Iran by virtue of its religious affiliation to Shi’a Islam is on the other side of the ideological divide from, say, Al Sissi’s - or even Morsi’s – pro-capitalist, pro Western Egypt, not to mention Saudi Arabia and the Gulf monarchies.

Washington’s three pronged aggression that almost spans the globe from West to East is not about democracy, or even replacing regimes that ‘have blood on their hands’. It represents a desperate attempt by the most powerful nation that has ever existed to maintain its dominance while the world increasingly rejects its values and goals. That is why we are seeing a united front between the younger generation of Islamic and left-wing activists: both are opposed to globalization and inequality.

Ukraine’s Hissy Fit

8:57 am in Uncategorized by Deena Stryker

 

The country that used to be the breadbasket of Europe is a new bone of contention between the European Union and Russia. Ukraine, the land of the southern Russians (as Yugoslavia was the land of the southern Slavs), sits on Russia’s Western frontier.

According to one RT commentator, the Poles and Lithuanians are pushing Brussels to bring Ukraine into the European fold. Although they have old scores to settle, these pale in comparison to a shared desire to cock a snoot at Russia in retaliation for a historical pattern of domination.

It is difficult for Westerners to understand why any country would want to join a European Union that is currently experiencing so many problems. In fact, this is a totally irrational desire: the Orthodox former Soviet Republics, whether it be Bela Rus, Ukraine or Georgia, are obsessed with not wanting to be identified with historically backward or Communist Russia. Notwithstanding their own backwardness they want to  be considered part of the culturally superior West.  Having lived in Eastern Europe for six years when it was still part of the Soviet Empire, I can testify that it is impossible to overestimate this longing.  When I worked at the Hungarian Radio, lack of recognition that together with Poland and Czechoslovakia it was indeed part of Europe was expressed as: ‘They think we still cook meat under the saddle.’  Of all the countries of the East European block, Hungary most actively strove to play the role of bridge between East and West. Its efforts culminated in the opening of its frontier with Austria starting in May 1989 that allowed thousands of East German tourists to reach the West. A previously unthinkable act, it led to the fall of the Berlin Wall in November and the dissolution of the Soviet block.

But Bela Rus, Ukraine and Georgia have far less of a claim to a European identity than the Eastern European satellite nations. In the Middle Ages, Bela Rus, Ukraine and Russia were all part of the principality of Kiev, or Kievan Rus, which extended from the Baltic to the Black Sea. While all three countries claim Kievan Rus as their cultural heritage, today independent Bela Rus and Ukraine constitute a sort of no-man’s land that buffers their vast and powerful neighbor.  As of 2011, Ukraine was the world’s third-largest grain exporter, and according to Wikipedia, it is one of ten most attractive agricultural regions. Although regarded as a developing economy with high potential, indispensable economic and legal reforms would be more brutally implemented under Brussels tutelage than if they happened at Ukraine’s own pace.

And yet, for western Ukrainians, (as opposed to the pro-Russian eastern half), the fact that Brussels cannot afford to bring them up to speed economically is obviously less important than being part of glamorous, sophisticated Europe.  They probably feel that they are well-acquainted with hardship, but the demonstrators in Kiev should ask themselves whether they would they be happy in a European Union that is being forced to walk back its welfare state?

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Future EU Agreements with Israel Won’t Apply to Territories

6:29 am in Uncategorized by Deena Stryker

This morning I received this story that ran in Ha’aretz:

Israeli flag

Do new European Union regulations forestall an EU boycott of Israel?

The European Union has published a binding directive to all 28 member states forbidding any funding, cooperation, awarding of scholarships, research funds or prizes to anyone residing in the Jewish settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. The regulation, which goes into effect on Friday, requires that any agreement or contract signed by an EU country with Israel include a clause stating that the settlements are not part of the State of Israel and therefore are not part of the agreement.

 A senior Israeli official, speaking on condition of anonymity, described the new ruling, which was published on June 30, as an « earthquake. »   Jerusalem says decree will make it impossible to sign accords with Brussels without recognizing in writing that West Bank settlements are not part of Israel.

 « This is the first time such an official, explicit directive has been published by the European Union bodies, » the senior official said. « Until today there were understandings and quiet agreements that the Union does not work beyond the Green Line [the pre-1967-war border]; now this has become a formal, binding policy. »

 The official noted that the significance of the regulation is both practical and political: From now on, if the Israeli government wants to sign agreements with the European Union or one of its member states, it will have to recognize in writing that the West Bank settlements are not part of Israel.

 In the Prime Minister’s Office and Foreign Ministry there is great tension and anxiety over the new regulation and its implications for Israeli-EU relations. The efforts of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Deputy Foreign Minister Ze’ev Elkin to stop the move have all failed. Senior EU officials say they would like to hold talks with Israel concerning the new directive, but since it will go into effect by the end of this week, the chance of its being amended is extremely slim.

 « We will have to decide what to do from this day forward, » a senior Israeli official said. « We are not ready to sign on this clause in our agreements with the European Union. We can say this to the Europeans, but the result could be a halt to all cooperation in economics, science, culture, sports and academia. This would cause severe damage to Israel. »

 The new directive was published by the European Commission, which is the executive branch of the European Union. The ruling determines the parameters for cooperation between the Union, along with its member states, and Israeli private and governmental entities between 2014 and 2020.

 The most significant part of the directive is its « territorial clause, » which for the first time will appear as a binding rule on all agreements between the European Union and Israel. The new clause determines the areas in Israel that are entitled to cooperation with the Union, and those that are not. The territorial clause determines that all agreements will be valid only within Israeli borders recognized by the European Union, meaning the borders prior to the 1967 Six-Day War.

 The new directive forbids any cooperation by European Union members with private or governmental bodies located beyond the Green Line. It allows cooperation with Israeli government offices in East Jerusalem, such as the Justice Ministry, but only if the activities themselves are carried out within the 1967 borders.

 EU: ‘Prevents boycott of Israel’

 Senior European officials briefed the Israeli delegation to the European Union in Brussels about the new directive immediately after it was published, and offered to discuss how it would be implemented in pending agreements.

 Thus, for example, the new regulation is already in force in negotiations between Israel and the European Union over the EuroMed Youth agreement, which deals with joint youth projects, conventions, classes and exchanges of delegations. EU negotiators told Israeli representatives that the EuroMed Youth agreement must include the ‘territorial clause’ spelling out that the pact can only be implemented within the Green Line.

 EU officials said the new rules were drawn up as a result of the decision by European foreign ministers last December, which stated that « all agreements between the State of Israel and the EU must unequivocally and explicitly indicate their inapplicability to the territories occupied by Israel in 1967. »

 The EU delegation is Israel further noted: « The guidelines are also in conformity with the EU’s longstanding position that Israeli settlements are illegal under international law and with the non-recognition by the EU of Israel’s sovereignty over the occupied territories, irrespective of their legal status under domestic Israeli law. »

 The new rules are intended to prevent a boycott against Israel, and to enable Israel to cooperate in EU projects and benefit from the funding they bring, the delegation pointed out. The European Union « wants to be sure that Israel’s participation is not put in question so that Israel will be in a position to make use of all possibilities offered by the new financial framework, » the delegation stated.

/Haaretz/

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Obama Should Watch RT!

7:40 am in Uncategorized by Deena Stryker

The ‘end user’ of the security state’s intelligence should also get information from Russia Today, Moscow’s English language channel. He might better realize the long-term significance of his decision to order Europe to close its airspace to the plane of a Latin American president. That initiative put the crowning touch on the transformation  of the continent once known as our ‘backyard’ into a world player. The process started fifty years ago, with the Cuban Revolution, and while Washington still clings to its embargo on the island, the rest of the continent appears to have reached a Cuban level of rejection of its American hegemon.

Fifth BRICS Summit, 26 Mar to 27 Mar

Fifth BRICS Summit, 26 Mar to 27 Mar

The largest Latin American country, Brazil, is also one of the BRICS – the group of fastest growing economies. RT revealed today that together with  China and Russia it has been the object of surveillance by the United States. (No doubt India and South Africa will be added to the list, courtesy of Edward Snowden and Glenn Greenwald.)

The BRICS are only the biggest of a growing list of nations, large and small, that have different political systems but share a couple of basic ideas: war is bad, governments have responsibilities toward the many, and nothing is forever. President Obama should beware of his own administrations’s spin that dismisses the new international alignment.

It suggests that the 20th century is only now coming to an end, the teens ushering in a new era, as they did a century ago, when the Victorian Era didn’t really end until the First World War and the Russian Revolution. Coincidentally, that period marked the beginning of America’s rise as the most powerful nation the world has ever known.  Although we entered its wars late, the American policy of isolation from the affairs of an ever squabbling Europe was gradually transformed into one of domination. After coming to Europe’s rescue for the second time in 1942, from benefactor we became its economic and military tutor, guaranteeing the existence of its post-war liberal half against so-called threats of takeover by the Soviet Union. When unexpectedly, the ‘monolith’ fell apart, we assumed it was our doing and that we could go on to bigger and better triumphs ad infinitum.

Twenty years later, a God-like United States dispenses both life and death electronically. But having failed to take into account the cumulative effect of our ever bolder actions on populations around the globe, as daily reporting by a tough, talented multi-lingual staff gathered by Moscow shows, the world has reached another watershed: the American century is ending.

Ironically, Europe’s status has changed in tandem: when in the fifties Coca-Cola was introduced in France, it was so indignantly rejected by a population raised on wine that the formula had to be changed, giving French Coke a slightly different taste. Today, although French farmers led by Jose Bove represent a significant anti-globalization force, thanks to decades-long initiatives like the Fulbright Program, which brings opinion makers to the United States to experience the superiority of the American Way of Life, the French elite has largely been co-opted.

France has been alternately ruled by an Americanized (but caviar-loving) left and a no less Americanized right that knew it could not attack the welfare state. A similar situation exists throughout Western Europe, while Eastern Europe once liberated from Soviet domination has been more willing to scrap its protections. The 2008 economic probably had as much to do with Washington’s determination to finish off a welfare system that increasingly reveals America’s shame as it did with greedy banksters. But petrified by the growing threat of Islamization, Europe now puts its faith in snooping and the war on terror, just as previously it acquiesced in a growing American military presence, complete with Pershing missiles, to forestall a Soviet onslaught.

The alacrity with which three European countries acceded to Washington’s demand to deny their airspace to President Morales’ plane right after learning they were being extensively spied on by the United States, is related to the start of negotiations for a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, which they hope will solve their unemployment problems without too many negative side-effects.  Delaying yet again a long-deferred adulthood, Europe has chosen to ignore the fact that in the twenty-first century, a finite planet calls for less trade and more self-reliance - as Bolivia’s president Evo Morales stated.
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Raining on Our Parade – and Europe’s

2:54 pm in Uncategorized by Deena Stryker

On this 237th anniversary of the adoption of the American Declaration of Independence from the British crown, the nations of Latin America have declared their independence from the United States.

The plane carrying Bolivian president Evo Morales home from a conference in Moscow saw its overflight permissions cancelled in mid-flight by France, Spain and Portugal, on American suspicions that Edward Snowden might be on board. Noting that no presidential plane has ever been denied airspace in the world since 1945, Latin American leaders have called a special meeting of their organization, UNASUR for tomorrow. (UNASUR includes virtually every Latin American country and is headquartered in Quito, Ecuador and Cochabamba, Bolivia, two countries considering granting asylum to Snowden….)

Meanwhile, France’s President Hollande reminded me of a childhood protest that amused my family when someone tickled me: “Stop it I like it!” France’s – and to a certain extent Europe’s – ‘street walker’ relationship to the United States belies affirmations of independence.  This particular instance of government kowtowing has infuriated all sides of the French political spectrum, who point out that France drafted the original Declaration of Human Rights. Lamely apologizing for ‘faulty intelligence’ about Morales’ plane, Hollande reacted to Snowden’s revelations of outrageous spying by the U.S. with an unconvincing call for the EU – also copiously spied upon – to delay the start of negotiations on the transatlantic trade and investment partnership (TTIP) destined to replace NATO as America’s controlling organization in Europe.

The extent of U.S. spying on countries it touts as allies underlines the fact that the Cold War is not over but has simply gone underground. No European took seriously the Soviet Union’s references to a ‘Common European House’ under Gorbachev. Twenty some odd years later, Russia pipes gas to Europe and signs all manner of economic deals with individual countries ever less keen to support America’s wars in the Middle East (except for Syria). The monumental spy scandal involving a country, not an individual, mock America’s tireless assertions of morality and respect for international law, providing Russia with a golden opportunity to defend them.

Sadly, it seems unlikely that this irrefutable proof of American duplicity will give Europe the spine to join the  movement of the most populous countries of the world toward independence from the American Empire. Read the rest of this entry →