Subject : ON CULTURE WARS AND THE 'WARRIORS' WHO MUST DIE IN THEM.
10 July 2013
Dear Colleagues and Friends of CEIMSA,
Just as an aerial photograph of a Los Angeles, California traffic jam would be of little use to an automobilist trapped in the rush-hour traffic, so one might believe that an understanding of the historical origins of capitalist doctrine is quite useless for those of us caught in the vice-grip of economic recession and political repression. How are we to free ourselves from those received ideas, and learn to take the risk of creating new relationships, more beneficial to ourselves and less hostile to our community?
The German existentialist philosopher Karl Jaspers wrote in his famous intellectual history, Way to Wisdom (1949), that "extraordinary events" are crowded into one period which he labeled, The Axial Age, dating between 800 and 200 BC. American anthropologist David Graeber, in Chapter 9 of his book, Debt, the First 5000 Years, revises Jaspers’ time frame and for his own purposes extends The Axial Age from 800 BC to 600 AD, into what Jaspers had differentiated as The Spiritual Age, so as to include in the era that saw the creation of the world’s major philosophical tendencies, also, the period which ushered in today’s major world religions: Zoroastrianism, Prophetic Judaism, Buddhism, Jainism, Hinduism, Confucianism, Taoism, Christianity, and Islam; thereby spawning a cultural or spiritual elite, "whether Greek sophists, Jewish prophets, Chinese sages, or Indian holy men" etc, etc.... (p.224)
The core period of Jaspers’ Axial Age (800-200 BC) --the life times of Pythagoras, Confucius, and Buddha-- corresponds, Graeber points out, to the period when coinage was invented and furthermore to the actual locations where coins first appeared. Minor kingdoms and city-states in these three parts of the world --the Yellow River in China, the Ganges Valley in India, and the shores of the Aegean Sea-- were the epicenters of Axial religious and philosophical creativity, and at the same time the locations where coins were first invented by private citizens; then quickly monopolized by the state. (pp.224-225)
The usage of coins, as a measurement of value, facilitated the expansion of the market economy, and the demise of our ancestral human economy, which, according to Graeber, was based not on exchange value, but rather on use value and fulfillment of community needs, in short on mutual aid, without which no society could successfully function. Graeber refers to this economic relationship as baseline communism, traces of which are necessarily plentiful to this day, especially among the more affluent population, whose micro-economic relations frequently reflect the everyday give and take: “to each according to his need; from each according to his ability.” (e.g. “Can I borrow your car? Can you lend me ten dollars? Please pass the bottle of water! Would you like to take my seat?"etc., etc....)(pp. 97-99)
This early economic system, the human economy and all that it implies, was eventually displaced at the macro-economic level by the requirements of professional armies used in warfare, and the development of the slave trade. The belief in Exchange Value was an essential part of the market economy (also called the commercial economy), which included “truck and barter,” as well as purchase and sale for profit. It has become the ubiquitous metaphysics of modern capitalism, which reduces incomparable qualities to interchangeable quantitative characteristics, thus dissolving the need for appreciating the complexity of human context. As slaves were necessarily reduced to chattel property, representing no more than an assigned quantitative value, so rental labor today reduces workers to the quantified value of wages, and legitimizes the very process of tearing selected objects from their social context in order to reduce them to interchangeable numerical values.
Such is the toxic wasteland that we have inherited from antiquity, our “civilization,’ which we are now urged to defend from other poisoned residents of this same planet earth, who have been equally captivated into beliving that the chains which bind them are merely decorative ornaments, serving to enhance their appearance.
Returning to our metaphorical automobile stalled on Los Angeles freeway, we can grasp the larger context of where we are located and we might even gain some notion as to why we are in this situation, but the original violence which deprived us of our birthright --which is nothing less than our knowledge of the social context in which we have lived-- has left us shredded, unable to piece together the meaning of our experiences. We remain reduced to the status of an interchangeable object, and we practice this reductive thinking, at various levels of competence, on those who live among us, often for no apparent reason; sometimes for ephemeral advantages.
The 6 items below offer readers an opportunity to evaluate the effects of reductive thinking on the practitioner as well as on the objects of his/her appraisals.
Item A., sent to us by Professor Edward S. Herman, is an article by Paul Craig Roberts on the “moral failure” of the Obama administration and the violent consequences of removing people from their social context.
Item B. is an article by Julian Assange first published in the UK Guardian, explaining why and how the internet must be kept securely in the public domain.
Item C., from Democracy Now!, is an interview with Edward Snowden, discussing precisely “Why He Stood Up to the NSA . . . .” where and when he did.
Item D., from Professor Edward Herman, is a description, Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya, of “America’s Plan B in Egypt,” after aiding and abetting the subversion of the democratically elected government of Mohamed Morsi.
Item E., sent to us by a Palestinian cultural defense group, is a series of sites describing the continuation of zionist culture wars in Paris : “Menaces de mort et alertes à la bombe dans un musée parisien.”
Item F., from Jim O’Brien, is a list of current articles of interest selected by Frank Brodhead for Historians Against the War.
And finally, we offer readers a view of The Real News Network video on Israel's culture against Palestinian children's theater :
Israeli Authorities Clamp Down on Theaters
Three theaters, two Palestinian and one Israeli, were targeted. One was physically attacked, one closed by administrative order, and the third threatened by the municipality - July 7, 13
Professor of American Studies
University of Grenoble-3
Director of Research
University of Paris-Nanterre
Center for the Advanced Study of American Institutions and Social Movements
The University of California-San Diego
P.S. This week in Grenoble more than 250 young European actors are celebrating the town's 25th year of European Youth Theater performances. (For more information, please see: www.crearc.fr.)
From Edward S. Herman:
Date: 9 July 2013
Subject: Lawlessness Is The New Normal.
This old Reaganite makes the Obama liberals look like the milquetoasts and moral copouts that they are.
Lawlessness Is The New Normal
by Paul Craig Roberts
In various articles and in my latest book, The Failure of Laissez Faire Capitalism And Economic Dissolution Of The West, I have pointed out that the European sovereign debt crisis is being used to terminate the sovereignty of the countries that are members of the EU. There is no doubt that this is true, but the sovereignty of the EU member states is only nominal. Although the individual countries still retain some sovereignty from the EU government, they are all under Washington’s thumb, as demonstrated by the recent illegal and hostile action taken on Washington’s orders by France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, and Austria against the airliner carrying Bolivia’s President Evo Morales.
Flying back to Bolivia from Moscow, Morales’ plane was denied overflight and refueling permission by Washington’s French, Italian, Spanish, and Portuguese puppets and had to land in Austria, where the presidential plane was searched for Edward Snowden. It was a power play by Washington to kidnap Snowden from Bolivia’s presidential airliner in defiance of international law and to teach upstart reformers like Morales that independence from Washington’s orders is not permitted.
The European puppet states went along with this extraordinary breach of diplomacy and international law despite the fact that each of the countries is incensed that Washington is spying on their governments, diplomats, and citizens. Their thanks to Snowden, whose revelations made them aware that Washington was recording their every communication, was to help Washington capture Snowden.
This tells us how much morality, honor, integrity there is left in Western civilization: Zero.
Snowden informed the countries of the world that their communications have no independence or privacy from Washington’s eyes and ears. Washington’s hubris and arrogance are shocking. Yet, no country has been willing to stand up to Washington and to give Snowden asylum. Ecuador’s Correa was intimidated and slapped down by Washington and withdrew his offer to Snowden. For China and Russia, Washington’s favorite targets for human rights demonization, giving Snowden asylum would have been a propaganda triumph, but neither country wanted the confrontations that Washington’s reprisals would have caused.
In short, the governments of the countries on earth want Washington’s money and good graces more than they want truth and integrity or even their independence.
Washington’s sordid interventions against Snowden and Morales give the world another chance to hold Washington accountable before Washington’s hubris and arrogance force the world into a choice between accepting Washington’s hegemony and World War III. The countries, split among themselves and grasping for money and favor, are, instead, permitting Washington to establish that whatever it does is legitimate. Washington’s lawlessness is being established as the new normal.
The South American governments are unlikely to stand together against Washington’s affront. A few of the countries are led by reformers who represent the people instead of the rich elites allied with Washington, but most prefer calm relations with Washington and domestic elites. South Americans assume that Washington will succeed in overthrowing the reformers as it has in the past.
In Europe headlines are that “NSA surveillance threatens the EU free trade deal” and “Merkel demands explanations.” The protests are the necessary public posturing of puppets and will be regarded as such by Washington. The French government says the trade talks should be temporarily suspended “for a couple of weeks to avoid any controversy.” However, the German government says, “We want this free trade agreement and we want to start the talks now.” In other words, what Merkel describes as “unacceptable Cold War-style behavior” is acceptable as long as Germany gets the free trade agreement.
The lust for Washington’s money blinds Europe to the real consequences of the free trade deal. What the deal will do is to fold Europe’s economies into Washington’s economic hegemony. The deal is designed to draw Europe away from trade with Russia, just as the Trans-Pacific Partnership is designed to draw Asian countries away from China and fold them into US-structured relationships. These deals have little to do with free trade and everything to do with US hegemony.
These “free trade” deals will commit the European and Asian “partners” to support the dollar. Indeed, it is possible that the dollar will supplant the euro and Asian currencies and become the monetary unit of the “partners.” In this way Washington can institutionalize the dollar and protect it from the consequences of the printing press that is being used to boost the solvency of banks too big to fail and to finance never-ending federal budget deficits.
Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy and associate editor of the Wall Street Journal. He was columnist for Business Week, Scripps Howard News Service, and Creators Syndicate. He has had many university appointments. His internet columns have attracted a worldwide following. His latest book, The Failure of Laissez Faire Capitalism and Economic Dissolution of the West is now available.
From The Guardian:
Date: 9 July 2013
Subject: The internet as an imperialist tool and beyond….
by Julian Assange, Guardian UK
What began as a means of retaining individual freedom can now be used by smaller states to fend off the ambitions of larger ones.
he original cypherpunks were mostly Californian libertarians. I was from a different tradition but we all sought to protect individual freedom from state tyranny. Cryptography was our secret weapon. It has been forgotten how subversive this was. Cryptography was then the exclusive property of states, for use in their various wars. By writing our own software and disseminating it far and wide we liberated cryptography, democratised it and spread it through the frontiers of the new internet.
The resulting crackdown, under various "arms trafficking" laws, failed. Cryptography became standardised in web browsers and other software that people now use on a daily basis. Strong cryptography is a vital tool in fighting state oppression. That is the message in my book, Cypherpunks. But the movement for the universal availability of strong cryptography must be made to do more than this. Our future does not lie in the liberty of individuals alone.
Our work in WikiLeaks imparts a keen understanding of the dynamics of the international order and the logic of empire. During WikiLeaks' rise we have seen evidence of small countries bullied and dominated by larger ones or infiltrated by foreign enterprise and made to act against themselves. We have seen the popular will denied expression, elections bought and sold, and the riches of countries such as Kenya stolen and auctioned off to plutocrats in London and New York.
The struggle for Latin American self-determination is important for many more people than live in Latin America, because it shows the rest of the world that it can be done. But Latin American independence is still in its infancy. Attempts at subversion of Latin American democracy are still happening, including most recently in Honduras, Haiti, Ecuador and Venezuela.
This is why the message of the cypherpunks is of special importance to Latin American audiences. Mass surveillance is not just an issue for democracy and governance - it's a geopolitical issue. The surveillance of a whole population by a foreign power naturally threatens sovereignty. Intervention after intervention in the affairs of Latin American democracy have taught us to be realistic. We know that the old powers will still exploit any advantage to delay or suppress the outbreak of Latin American independence.
Consider simple geography. Everyone knows oil resources drive global geopolitics. The flow of oil determines who is dominant, who is invaded, and who is ostracised from the global community. Physical control over even a segment of an oil pipeline yields great geopolitical power. Governments in this position can extract huge concessions. In a stroke, the Kremlin can sentence eastern Europe and Germany to a winter without heat. And even the prospect of Tehran running a pipeline eastwards to India and China is a pretext for bellicose logic from Washington.
But the new great game is not the war for oil pipelines. It is the war for information pipelines: the control over fibre-optic cable paths that spread undersea and overland. The new global treasure is control over the giant data flows that connect whole continents and civlisations, linking the communications of billions of people and organisations.
It is no secret that, on the internet and on the phone, all roads to and from Latin America lead through the United States. Internet infrastructure directs 99% of the traffic to and from South America over fibre-optic lines that physically traverse US borders. The US government has shown no scruples about breaking its own law to tap into these lines and spy on its own citizens. There are no such laws against spying on foreign citizens. Every day, hundreds of millions of messages from the entire Latin American continent are devoured by US spy agencies, and stored forever in warehouses the size of small cities. The geographical facts about the infrastructure of the internet therefore have consequences for the independence and sovereignty of Latin America.
The problem also transcends geography. Many Latin American governments and militaries secure their secrets with cryptographic hardware. These are boxes and software that scramble messages and then unscramble them on the other end. Governments purchase them to keep their secrets secret - often at great expense to the people - because they are correctly afraid of interception of their communications.
But the companies who sell these expensive devices enjoy close ties with the US intelligence community. Their CEOs and senior employees are often mathematicians and engineers from the NSA capitalising on the inventions they created for the surveillance state. Their devices are often deliberately broken: broken with a purpose. It doesn't matter who is using them or how they are used - US agencies can still unscramble the signal and read the messages.
These devices are sold to Latin American and other countries as a way to protect their secrets but they are really a way of stealing secrets.
Meanwhile, the United States is accelerating the next great arms race. The discoveries of the Stuxnet virus - and then the Duqu and Flame viruses - herald a new era of highly complex weaponised software made by powerful states to attack weaker states. Their aggressive first-strike use on Iran is determined to undermine Iranian efforts at national sovereignty, a prospect that is anathema to US and Israeli interests in the region.
Once upon a time the use of computer viruses as offensive weapons was a plot device in science fiction novels. Now it is a global reality spurred on by the reckless behaviour of the Barack Obama administration in violation of international law. Other states will now follow suit, enhancing their offensive capacity to catch up.
The United States is not the only culprit. In recent years, the internet infrastructure of countries such as Uganda has been enriched by direct Chinese investment. Hefty loans are doled out in return for African contracts to Chinese companies to build internet backbone infrastructure linking schools, government ministries and communities into the global fibre-optic system.
Africa is coming online, but with hardware supplied by an aspirant foreign superpower. Will the African internet be the means by which Africa continues to be subjugated into the 21st century? Is Africa once again becoming a theatre for confrontation between the global powers?
These are just some of the important ways in which the message of the cypherpunks goes beyond the struggle for individual liberty. Cryptography can protect not just the civil liberties and rights of individuals, but the sovereignty and independence of whole countries, solidarity between groups with common cause, and the project of global emancipation. It can be used to fight not just the tyranny of the state over the individual but the tyranny of the empire over smaller states.
From Democracy Now ! :
Date: 9 April 2013
Subject: Animal Rights.
Edward Snowden on Why He Stood Up to the NSA: Mass Spying "Not Something I’m Willing to Live Under"
From Edward S. Herman :
Date: 10 July 2013
Subject: America's Plan B in Egypt: Bring Back the Old Regime.
Strategic Culture Foundation
A persuasive analysis. Helps clarify a murky scene.
America’s Plan B in Egypt:
Bring Back the Old Regime
by Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya
The road that has been taken in Egypt is a dangerous one. A military coup has taken place in Egypt while millions of Egyptians have cheered it on with little thought about what is replacing the Muslim Brotherhood and the ramifications it will have for their society. Many people in cheering crowds have treated the Egyptian military’s coup like it was some sort of democratic act. They fail to remember who the generals of the Egyptian military work for. Those who are ideologically opposed to the Muslim Brotherhood have also cheered the military takeover without realizing that the military takeover ultimately serves imperialist behaviour. The cheering crowds have not considered the negative precedent that has been set.
Egypt was never cleansed of corrupt figures by the Muslim Brotherhood, which instead joined them. Key figures in Egypt, like Al-Azhar’s Grand Mufti Ahmed Al-Tayeb (who was appointed by Mubarak), criticized the Muslim Brotherhood when Mubarak was in power, then denounced Mubarak and supported the Muslim Brotherhood when it gained power, and then denounced the Muslim Brotherhood when the military removed it from power. The disgraced Muslim Brotherhood has actually been replaced by a far worse assembly. These figures, whatever they call themselves, have only served power and never democracy. The military’s replacements for the Muslim Brotherhood—be it the new interim president or the leaders of the military junta—were either working with or serving the Muslim Brotherhood and, even before them, Hosni Mubarak’s regime.
The Undemocratic Egyptian Full Circle
Unlike the protests, the military takeover in Egypt is a blow to democracy. Despite the incompetence and hypocrisy of the Egyptian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood’s leadership, it was democratically elected into power. While the rights of all citizens to demonstrate and protest should be protected and structured mechanisms should securely be put into place in all state systems for removing any unpopular government, democratically-elected governments should not be toppled by military coups. Unless a democratically-elected government is killing its own people arbitrarily and acting outside the law, there is no legitimate excuse for removing it from power by means of military force. There is nothing wrong with the act of protesting, but there is something wrong when a military coup is initiated by a corrupt military force that works in the services of Washington and Tel Aviv.
Things have come full circle in Cairo. The military oversight over the government in Cairo is exactly the position that Egypt’s corrupt military leaders wanted to have since the Egyptian elections in 2012 that brought the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party into power. Since then there has been a power struggle between the Egyptian military and the Muslim Brotherhood.
Expecting to win the 2012 elections, at first the Egyptian military fielded one of its generals and a former Mubarak cabinet minister (and the last prime minister to serve under Mubarak), Ahmed Shafik, for the position of Egyptian president. If not a Mubarak loyalist per se, Shafik was a supporter of the old regime’s political establishment that gave him and the military privileged powers. When Ahmed Shafik lost there was a delay in recognizing Morsi as the president-elect, because the military was considering rejecting the election results and instead announcing a military coup.
The High Council of the Armed Forces, which led Egypt’s military, realized that a military coup after the 2012 elections would not fare too well with the Egyptian people and could lead to an all-out rebellion against the Egyptian military’s leadership. It was unlikely that many of the lower ranking soldiers and commissioned officers would have continued to follow the orders of the Egyptian military’s corrupt upper echelons if such a coup took place. Thus, plans for a coup were aborted. Egyptian military leaders instead decided to try subordinating Egypt’s civilian government by dissolving the Egyptian Parliament and imposing a constitution that they themselves wrote to guarantee military control. Their military constitution subordinated the president’s office and Egypt’s civilian government to military management. Morsi would wait and then reinstate the Egyptian Parliament in July 2012 and then nullify the military’s constitution that limited the powers of the presidency and civilian government after he worked with the US and Qatar to pacify Hamas. Next, Morsi would order Marshall Tantawi, the head of the Egyptian military, and General Anan, the second most powerful general in the Egyptian military, into resigning—neither one was a friend of democracy or justice.
Was Morsi’s Administration Really a Muslim Brotherhood Government?
Before it was ousted, the Muslim Brotherhood faced serious structural constraints in Egypt and it made many wrong decisions. Since its electoral victory there was an ongoing power struggle in Egypt and its Freedom and Justice Party clumsily attempted to consolidate its political control over Egypt. The Muslim Brotherhood’s attempts to consolidate power meant that it has had to live with and work with a vast array of state institutions and bodies filled with its opponents, corrupt figures, and old regime loyalists. The Freedom and Justice Party tried to slowly purge the Egyptian state of Mubarak loyalists and old regime figures, but Morsi was forced to also work with them simultaneously. This made the foundations of his government even weaker.
The situation for the Muslim Brotherhood in 2012 was actually similar to the one Hamas faced in 2006 after its electoral victories in the Palestinian elections. Just as Hamas was forced by the US and its allies to accept Fatah ministers in key positions in the Palestinian government that it formed, the Muslim Brotherhood was forced to do the same unless it wanted the state to collapse and to be internationally isolated. The main difference between the two situations is that the Muslim Brotherhood seemed all too eager to comply with the US and work with segments of the old regime that would not challenge it. Perhaps this happened because the Muslim Brotherhood feared a military takeover. Regardless of what the reasons were, the Muslim Brotherhood knowingly shared the table of governance with counter-revolutionaries and criminals.
In part, Morsi’s cabinet would offer a means of continuation to the old regime. Foreign Minister Mohammed Kamel Amr, Morsi’s top diplomat, was a cabinet minister under Marshal Tantawi and served in key positions as Mubarak’s ambassador to the United States and Saudi Arabia. Morsi’s cabinet would only have a few members of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party whereas the ministerial portfolios for the key positions of the Interior Ministry, Defence Ministry, and the Suez Canal Authority would be given to Mubarak appointees from Egypt’s military and police apparatus. Abdul-Fatah Al-Sisi, Mubarak’s head of Military Intelligence who has worked closely with the US and Israel, would be promoted as the head of the Egyptian military and as Egypt’s new defence minister by Morsi. It would ironically, but not surprisingly, be Al-Sisi that would order Morsi’s arrest and ouster after extensive consultations with his American counterpart, Charles Hagel, on July 3, 2013.
The Muslim Brotherhood and the Obama Administration: An Alliance of Convenience?
As a result of the Muslim Brotherhood’s collaboration with the US and Israel, large components of the protests in Egypt against Morsi were resoundingly anti-American and anti-Israeli. This has to do with the role that the Obama Administration has played in Egypt and the regional alliance it has formed with the Muslim Brotherhood. In part, it also has to do with the fact that Morsi’s opponents—even the ones that are collaborating with the US and Israel themselves—have capitalized on anti-American and anti-Israeli sentiments by portraying Morsi as a US and Israeli puppet. In reality, both the United States and Muslim Brotherhood have tried to manipulate one another for their own gains. The Muslim Brotherhood has tried to use the Obama Administration to ascend to power whereas the Obama Administration has used the Muslim Brotherhood in America’s war against Syria and to slowly nudge the Hamas government in Gaza away from the orbit of Iran and its allies in the Resistance Bloc. Both wittingly and unwittingly, the Muslim Brotherhood in broader terms has, as an organization, helped the US, Israel, and the Arab petro-sheikhdoms try to regionally align the chessboard in a sectarian project that seeks to get Sunnis and Shias to fight one another.
Because of the Freedom and Justice Party’s power struggle against the Egyptian military and the remnants of the old regime, the Muslim Brotherhood turned to the United States for support and broke all its promises. Some can describe this as making a deal with the “Devil.” At the level of foreign policy, the Muslim Brotherhood did not do the things it said it would. It did not end the Israeli siege on the people of Gaza, it did not cut ties with Israel, and it did not restore ties with the Iranians. Its cooperation with the US allowed Washington to play the different sides inside Egypt against one another and to hedge the Obama Administration’s bets.
The Muslim Brotherhood miscalculated in its political calculus. Morsi himself proved not only to be untrustworthy, but also foolish. Washington has always favoured the Egyptian military over the Muslim Brotherhood. Like most Arab militaries, the Egyptian military has been used as an internal police force that has oppressed and suppressed its own people. Unlike the Muslim Brotherhood, the Egyptian military gives far greater guarantees about the protection of US interests in Egypt, Israel’s security, and US sway over the strategically and commercially important Suez Canal. Furthermore, the Muslim Brotherhood had its own agenda and it seemed unlikely that it would continue to play a subordinate role to the United States and Washington was aware of this.
Revolution or Counter-Revolution?
Indeed a dangerous precedent has been set. The events in Egypt can be used in line with the same type of standard that allowed the Turkish military to subordinate democracy in Turkey for decades whenever it did not like a civilian government. The Egyptian military has taken the opportunity to suspend the constitution. It can now oversee the entire political process in Egypt, essentially with de facto veto powers. The military coup not only runs counter to the principles of democracy and is an undemocratic act, but it also marks a return to power by the old regime. Egypt’s old regime, it should be pointed out, has fundamentally always been a military regime controlled by a circle of generals and admirals that operate in collaboration with a few civilian figures in key sectors.
Things have really gone full circle in Egypt. The judiciary in Egypt is being aligned with the military or old regime again. Mubarak’s attorney-general, Abdel Meguid Mahmoud, who was removed from power in November 2012 has been reinstated. The Egyptian Parliament has been dissolved again by the leaders of the High Council of the Armed Forces. President Morsi and many members of the Muslim Brotherhood have been rounded up and arrested by the military and police as enemies of the peace.
Adli (Adly) Al-Mansour, the Mubarak appointed judge that President Morsi was legally forced to appoint as the head of the Egyptian Supreme Constitutional Court, has now been appointed interim president by the High Council of the Armed Forces. Al-Mansour is merely a civilian figure head for a military junta. It is also worth noting that the Egyptian Supreme Constitutional Court, like much of the Mubarak appointees in the Egyptian judiciary, has collaborated with the Egyptian military against the Muslim Brotherhood and tried to dissolve the Egyptian Parliament.
Mohammed Al-Baradei (El-Baradei / ElBaradei), a former Egyptian diplomat and the former director-general of the politically manipulated International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), has been offered the post of interim prime minister of Egypt by the military. He had returned to Egypt during the start of the so-called Arab Spring to run for office with the support of the International Crisis Group, which is an organization that is linked to US foreign policy interests and tied to the Carnegie Foundation, the Ford Foundation, and George Soros’ Open Society Institute. Al-Baradei himself has been delighted every time that the Egyptian military has announced a coup; he supported a military takeover in 2011 and, to his benefit, he has supported it in 2013. Where he could not secure a position for himself through the ballot box, he has been offered a government position undemocratically through the military in 2013.
Many of the Muslim Brotherhood’s supporters are emphasizing that an unfair media war was waged against them. The Qatari-owned Al Jazeera Mubasher Misr, Al Jazeera’s Egyptian branch which has worked as a mouth piece for the Muslim Brotherhood, has been taken off the air by the Egyptian military. This, along with the ouster of Morsi, is a sign that Qatar’s regional interests are being rolled back too. It seems Saudi Arabia, which quickly congratulated Adli Al-Mansour, is delighted, which explains why the Saudi-supported Nour Party in Egypt betray the Muslim Brotherhood. Other media linked to the Muslim Brotherhood or supportive of it have also been censored and attacked. Much of the privately owned media in Egypt was already anti-Muslim Brotherhood. Like Grand Mufti Ahmed Al-Tayeb, many of these media outlets were supportive of Mubarak’s dictatorship when he was in power, but only changed their tune when he was out of power. The point, however, should not be lost that media censorship against pro-Muslim Brotherhood media outlets does not equate to democratic practice whatsoever.
The figures that have supported the military coup, in the name of democracy, are themselves no friends of democracy either. Many of these opportunists were Mubarak lackeys. For example, the so-called Egyptian opposition leader Amr Moussa was highly favoured by Hosni Mubarak and served as his foreign minister for many years. Not once did Moussa ever bother or dare to question Mubarak or his dictatorship, even when Moussa became the secretary-general of the morally bankrupt and useless Arab League.
The Egyptian Coma Will Backfire on the US Empire
Despite the media reports and commentaries, the Muslim Brotherhood was never fully in charge of Egypt or its government. It always had to share power with segments of the old regime or “Washington’s and Tel Aviv’s men.” Key players in different branches of government and state bodies from the old regime stayed in their places. Even President Morsi’s cabinet had members of the old regime. The discussions on Sharia law were predominately manipulated by the Muslim Brotherhood’s opponents primarily for outside consumption by predominantly non-Muslim countries and to rally Egypt’s Christians and socialist currents against Morsi. As for the economic problems that Egypt faced, they were the mixed result of the legacy of the old regime, the greed of Egypt’s elites and military leaders, the global economic crisis, and the predatory capitalism that the United States and European Union have impaired Egypt with. Those that blamed Morsi for Egypt’s economic problems and unemployment did so wrongly or opportunistically. His administration’s incompetence did not help the situation, but they did not create it either. Morsi was manning a sinking ship that had been economically ravaged in 2011 by foreign states and local and foreign lenders, speculators, investors, and corporations.
There was an undeniable constant effort to sabotage the Muslim Brotherhood’s rule, but this does not excuse the incompetence and corruption of the Muslim Brotherhood. Their attempts at gaining international respectability by going to events such as the Clinton Global Initiative hosted by the Clinton Foundation have only helped their decline. Their hesitation at restoring ties with Iran and their antagonism towards Syria, Hezbollah, and their Palestinian allies only managed to reduce their list of friends and supporters. All too willingly the Muslim Brotherhood seemed to let itself be used by the US, Israel, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar to pacify Hamas in an attempt to de-link the Palestinians in Gaza from the Resistance Bloc. It continued the siege against Gaza and continued to destroy the tunnels used to smuggle daily supplies by the Palestinians. Perhaps it was afraid or had very little say in the matter, but it allowed Egypt’s military, security, and intelligence apparatuses to continue collaborating with Israel. Under the Muslim Brotherhood’s watch Palestinians were disappearing in Egypt and reappearing in Israeli prisons. Morsi’s government also abandoned the amnesty it had given to the Jamahiriya supporters from Libya that took refuge in Egypt.
The United States and Israel have always wanted Egypt to look inward in a pathetic state of paralysis. Washington has always tried to keep Egypt as a dependent state that would fall apart politically and economically without US assistance. It has allowed the situation in Egypt to degenerate as a means of neutralizing the Egyptians by keeping them divided and exhausted. The US, however, will be haunted by the coup against Morsi. Washington will dearly feel the repercussions of what has happened in Egypt. Morsi’s fall sends a negative message to all of America’s allies. Everyone in the Arab World, corrupt and just alike, is more aware than ever that an alliance with Washington or Tel Aviv will not protect them. Instead they are noticing that those that are aligned with the Iranians and the Russians are the ones that are standing.
An empire that cannot guarantee the security of its satraps is one that will eventually find many of its minions turning their backs on it or betraying it. Just as America’s regime change project in Syria is failing, its time in the Middle East is drawing to an end. Those who gambled on Washington’s success, like the Saudi royals, the Muslim Brotherhood, and Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Erdogan, will find themselves on the losing side of the Middle East’s regional equation…
Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya is a social scientist, award-winning writer, columnist, and researcher. His works have been carried internationally in a broad series of publications and have been translated into more than twenty languages. He is also a frequent guest on international news networks as a geopolitical analyst and expert on the Middle East.
From PCDG :
Date: 10 July 2013
Subject: More on zionist culture wars.
Non aux menaces et attaques contre le Musée du jeu de Paume et sa directrice!
et d'autres médias l'ont revelés: l'artiste palestinienne Ahlam Shibli
ainsi que la directrice du Musée du Jeu de Paume ont reçus des menaces
de morts de groupes pro-israéliens, ainsi que des alertes à la bombe.
Des groupuscules sionistes ont par ailleurs provoqué dimanche dernier la
fermeture du musée, lire l'information sur lesite de l'Agence
à été lancée pour soutenir le Musée face à ces attaques contre la liberté d'expression et l'art.
Nous vous invitons le plus nombreux-ses possible à visiter cette exposition
qui est au Musée du Jeu de Paume jusqu'au 1er septembre prochain.
*Colonisation: le plan Prawer adopté*
Le plan Prawer qui prévoit le déplacement forcé de 30 à 40 000 Bédouins
a été voté en première lecture au parlement israélien, à une courte
Le collectif national pour une Paix juste et durable entre Palestiniens
et Israéliens dénonce ce projet dans un communiqué, appelle à une "forte
pression internationale pour faire reculer le gouvernement israélien".
Sur lesite de l'Agence
le communiqué du Collectif et sur ce lien
la pétition contre ce projet. A lire également le communiqué à ce sujet de la Plateforme des ONG pour la Palestine sur leur site
*"World War Z" : Un nouveau film de propagande pro-israélienne?*
A lire ci-dessous un article du Monde publié en intégralité sur le site de l'Agence
en date du 2 juillet dernier sur le film sorti la semaine dernière sur les écrans américains, "World War Z". Un nouveau film de propagande pro-israélienne? Oui à en croire la journaliste: " Le territoire a été préservé de l'invasion zombie grâce à la barrière de séparation érigée par les Israéliens contre les terroristes palestiniens. Le mur de la honte comme atout géopolitique ? On n'en revient pas."
*Charles Enderlin gagne son procès contre le désinformateur pro-israélien Philippe Karsenty*
Bonne nouvelle: Charles Enderlin gagne son procès contre le désinformateur pro-israélien Philippe Karsenty.
Celui-ci est en outre condamné à verser 7000e au journaliste et à France2, comme le rapporte cet article du Monde
en date du 26 juin dernier.
A lire également, sur le blog de Charles Enderlin, son billet " La
diffamation de P. Karsenty
*Lettre de Michel Warchawski suite à la délégation EELV en Israël*
La délégation de quelques députés EELV qui s'est rendue en Israël
récemment n'en finit pas de susciter l'indignation. Nous le rapportions
dans la dernière newsletter, celle-ci a notamment participé à un voyage
organisé par l'officine ELNET
, qui a pour vocation "d'oeuvrer au rapprochement entre Israël et l'Europe". Michel Warchawski vient de leur écrire une lettre ouverte, à lire sur le site de l'Agence
Si vous souhaitez prendre contact avec nous ou nous transmettre une information, n'hésitez pas à nous contacter au 06.14.04.11.32 ou par e-mail: email@example.com
From Historians Against the War :
Date: 7 July 2013
Subject: Recent articles of interest.
Historians Against the War is posting Frank Brodhead's "Iran War Weekly,' as a helpful resource for our members and friends. Frank earned a PhD in history at Princeton University and has co-authored several books on US foreign policy. He is a scholar and political activist who has worked with peace and social justice movements for many years. In 2010-2011 he produced the “Afghanistan War Weekly,” which was widely used by antiwar groups across the country.
Iran War Weekly
Hello All – The few reporters and writers who remained at their posts over this sweltering July 4th weekend have been focused primarily on the events in Egypt, and there is relatively little new news about Iran, its nuclear program, and/or the prospects for war or peace. The events in Egypt, of course, have some bearing on events in Syria and thus with Iran, and I will address them below.
Although newly elected President Rowhani will assume Iran’s presidency on August 3, there are still no signs that the United States intends to modify its negotiating position re: Iran’s nuclear program; nor, indeed, do the “P5+1” seem anxious to get back to the negotiating table at all. As a reminder of how unrealistic are the US “offers” now on the table, I’ve linked below their “confidence building” proposals from last March.
Indeed, rather than indicating a “reverse course” toward Iran, Washington is plunging ahead on the familiar path of sanctions and demonization. A Tehran spokesman expressed disappointment last week that a new round of sanctions – this time against Iranian financial institutions – went ahead as scheduled on July 1. And the Foreign Relations Committee of the House of Representatives just forwarded to the President an AIPAC-crafted document calling on him to implement a new round of economic sanctions to put a stop to “Iran’s pursuit of a nuclear weapons capacity.” More on this below.
Much of the writing in the blogosphere about Iran is still focused on how and why Rowhani won the presidential election, and what his presidency might mean for Iran and for its future relations with “the West.” I’ve linked several interesting essays on these topics below.
On Syria - One recent think tank report described the Syrian cockpit as having completed the transition from a Syrian war with regional implications to a regional war based in Syria. The news from Syria this week points to increasing disarray in the Opposition camp; with all this, of course, taking place against the backdrop of steady gains by the Assad government in its fighting with the Opposition.
In response to the last issue of the IWW, which reported on the election of Rowhani, I received an email from a friend asking if it wasn’t time to rename the Iran War Weekly to (perhaps) the Iran News Weekly, something more in tune with the optimism afforded by the new regime in Iran. I replied in part by recalling that, when the IWW began in early 2012, the title was intended to reflect the actuality of the “low-level” war then underway, with US sanctions, Stuxnet, assassinations of Iranian nuclear scientists, and CIA activity in (at least) the Baluchistan region of Iran. Of these acts of aggression, sanctions (at least) continue, now escalated to unprecedented economic warfare in “peacetime.” Also, as noted above, we have yet to see any indication that Washington is prepared to take advantage of the supposed “moderation” of Rowhani by changing its negotiating positions to something that could conceivably lead to an accommodation between the two sides. Barring such changes, it is still reasonable to frame the US strategy towards Iran as one of seeking regime change, rather than simply focused on Iran’s nuclear program. Needless to say, I would be the first to rejoice in the disappearance of any need for an Iran War Weekly, when I could retire to my country estate and read novels.
Once again I would like once again to thank those of you who have forwarded this newsletter or linked it on your sites. This “issue” and previous issues of the Iran War Weekly are posted at http://warisacrime.org/blog/46383. If you would like to receive the IWW mailings, please send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
NEGOTIATIONS ABOUT IRAN’S NUCLEAR PROGRAM
Russia worried by lack of progress towards Iran nuclear talks
By Alissa de Carbonnel, Reuters [July 4, 2013]
---- Russia voiced concern on Thursday that no progress has been made towards organizing new talks between Iran and six world powers on Tehran's nuclear program, despite the election of a relative moderate as Iran's president. Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said a diplomatic push had been launched to arrange a new round of talks after Hassan Rouhani was elected president on June 14 but made clear there had been no breakthrough. "There is no agreement now on when and where the next round will be. That worries us," Ryabkov told Interfax news agency. "After the election of the Iranian president, we stepped up work in preparation for a new round of talks but so far the work is not being done transparently." The last high-level talks between Iran and the United States, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany were held in the Kazakh city of Almaty in April. http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/07/04/us-nuclear-iran-russia-idUSBRE9630AZ20130704
The P5+1 nuclear proposal to Iran in Almaty: Document
From Laura Rozen, Al-Monitor [June 9, 2013]
IRAN’S PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION
Return of Old Guard Marks a New Stage in Iran’s Politics
By Yasaman Baji, Inter Press Service [July 1, 2013]
---- The victory of Hassan Rouhani in Iran’s Jun. 14 election marked a significant shift in Iranian politics, occasioned by the forceful return of the two most important political factions of the Islamic Republic – traditional conservatives and reformists. These two factions had been sidelined in the past decade. In fact, many had assumed that they had permanently lost their significance, giving way to either a more radical version of conservatism or the personal dictatorship of Leader Ali Khamenei. But the alliance that was created in support of Rouhani’s candidacy by three key figures of the Islamic Republic – former presidents Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and Mohammad Khatami, as well as former speaker of the Parliament and presidential candidate Ali Akbar Nateq Nouri – set the stage for the return of both traditional conservatism and reformism to Iranian politics. These two factions were effectively the founding pillars of the Islamic Republic. In the 1980s, they were identified as the right and left wings of the Islamic Republic because of their disagreements over the economic direction of the country. http://www.ipsnews.net/2013/07/return-of-old-guard-marks-a-new-stage-in-irans-politics/
The Rise of the Iranian Moderates
By Seyed Hossein Mousavian, Al-Monitor [July 5, 2013]
---- With Rouhani’s victory, politics of Iran will shift toward the center and reduce 16 years of factionalism in the administration. Rouhani — a moderate centrist — believes the government cannot be ruled by one faction, neither Reformist nor Principalist. Instead, he advocates for the full utilization of the best and most capable public servants from both factions. … Rouhani’s victory and moving the political spectrum to the center will have wide socioeconomic and political implications for Iran. The domestic and foreign policies of the country from 2013 to 2017 will ensure the pendulum does not swing toward the extremes; instead, it will be based on moderate policies in all arenas. http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2013/07/rise-iranian-moderates.html
Region by Region breakdown of Iran presidential election vote
[FB – An interesting region-by-region interactive map showing the electoral support for each candidate.]
Also interesting on Iranian politics and the election – Reza Marashi, “Parsing Rouhani’s Victory,” Lobe Log [July 1, 2013] http://www.lobelog.com/parsing-rouhanis-victory/; By Ali Reza Eshraghi and Amir Hossein Mahdavi, “How 'Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's candidate' lost the election,” Tehran Bureau [July 4, 2013] http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/iran-blog/2013/jul/04/iran-ayatollah-ali-khamenei-election?CMP=twt_gu; Ali Reza Eshraghi, “A Prudent Triumph,” Lobe Log [July 2, 2013] http://www.lobelog.com/a-prudent-triumph; and Milad Odabaei, “On ‘the Moderate Choice’: Thoughts on the Political Significance of the Iranian Elections,” Jadaliyya [July 5, 2013]
WHAT TO EXPECT FROM A ROWHANI PRESIDENCY
Iran’s Next Leader Advocates a Less Intrusive State
By Thomas Erdbrink, New York Times [July 3, 2013]
---- Iran’s president-elect, Hassan Rowhani, repeated in a speech on Wednesday his promises of more freedoms for Iranians, saying the government should not interfere in people’s private lives. “We need a strong society,” Mr. Rowhani told a group of Shiite Muslim clerics during the speech in Tehran, which was broadcast live, telling them to trust the people, whom he called the owners of the Islamic republic. “We should talk to the people,” he said. “We should hear what they say. We should kindly hear what they say. We should lessen the chances of total rule by the government.” http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/04/world/middleeast/irans-next-leader-Hassan-Rowhani-advocates-a-less-intrusive-state.html?src=un&feedurl=http%3A%2F%2Fjson8.nytimes.com%2Fpages%2Fworld%2Findex.jsonp&_r=1&
Why Iran looks set to lighten up under Rohani
By Scott Peterson, Christian Science Monitor [July 3, 2013]
Iran's President-Elect Rohani Talks Economic Reform
By Ladane Nasseri, Business Week [July 3, 2013]
US POLICIES AND STRATEGIES
Why does Washington always get Iran wrong?
By Trita Parsi and Reza Mrashi, Aljazeera [July 1, 2013]
---- Some said the elections were irrelevant because whatever the outcome, Khamenei would be the winner. Yet the frequency with which conventional wisdom in Washington gets Iran wrong is striking. Why is that? And how can Washington's ability to read Tehran be improved? Rouhani's resounding victory sheds light on at least three factors contributing to a systemic misreading of Iran. http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2013/06/2013630111133190971.html
Why Have An Intelligence Community When AIPAC Knows Better?
By Jim Lobe, Lobe Log [July 3, 2013]
---- I guess that’s one of the things that occurred to me when I received [a] Press Release and [a] letter to the president from the House Foreign Affairs Committee (HFAC) yesterday. All but one of the 47 members of the Committee signed on. The letter, which was initially drafted in the offices of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), calls for a whole new round of sanctions to be imposed against companies and countries doing business with Iran, notably in its mining, engineering and construction-based sectors, as well as other measures that will “increase the pressure on Iran in the days ahead.” While noting that president-elect Hassan Rouhani was “widely perceived as the most moderate of the candidates” running in last month’s election and that its outcome “reflected considerable dissatisfaction by the Iranian people with an autocratic and repressive government that has internationally isolated Iran,” it stressed that the election “unfortunately has done nothing to suggest a reversal of Iran’s pursuit of a nuclear weapons capacity.” “[T]here appears nothing ‘moderate’ about [Rouhani's] nuclear policies…”
Also interesting – Paul Pillar, “Iran South of the Border,” The National Interest [June 28, 2013] http://nationalinterest.org/blog/paul-pillar/iran-south-the-border-8680?page=show
CIVIL WAR/INTERVENTION IN SYRIA
Introduction: Egypt and Syria
---- The pundit and blogosphere debate this weekend is whether events in Egypt were a military coup that took advantage of the chaos of a popular uprising against President Morsi, or was it a revolution assisted in its final stage by the intervention of the army. Because US legislation requires aid to Egypt to be cut off if a “coup” has taken place, this issue will undoubtedly dominate the Beltway debates in the immediate future. Far more interesting, of course, is what happens next in Egypt; but for the modest mission of the IWW, our main concern is how the ouster of President Morsi might affect events in Syria, and thus the prospects for war between the United States/Israel and Iran.
I do not know whether ex-president Morsi’s pledge of support to the Syrian opposition had advanced beyond rhetoric before his overthrow. As noted below, one interpretation of the Army’s move against him was the concern generated within its ranks by Morsi’s calling at a rally on June 15th for military intervention and a holy war against the “infidels” in Syria. As also noted below, the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood, perhaps the largest organized force of the Syrian opposition inside Syria, regards Morsi’s overthrow as a serious blow. And it is perhaps significant, as Anne Barnard writes below, that the candidate backed by Qatar, the leading supporter of the Brotherhood in Syria, was defeated in last week’s election to head the (external) Syrian National Coalition; his opponent was supported by Saudi Arabia, which is strongly anti-Muslim Brotherhood. - FB
Out of Control: the Syrian Rebels and the US
[An Interview With Syria's Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad]
By Patrick Cockburn, Counterpunch [July 3, 2013]
---- Syria is convinced the US cannot control the rebel groups it is arming and will be unable to get them to declare a ceasefire that would be central to any successful peace talks, says the country’s Deputy Foreign Minister. This puts a further obstacle in the way of negotiations in Geneva proposed by the US and Russia which seem the best chance of ending the Syrian civil war. It now appears they will either not take place, or if they do, they will achieve nothing. Faisal Mekdad says in an interview in Damascus that the Americans “provide arms and money but they have absolutely no control. Nobody will listen. The US has been trying to unify this opposition for two years and you can see the results: more disintegration.” Mr Mekdad has been at the centre of Syrian foreign policy at a time when the country has been progressively isolated, while still managing to retain crucial allies.
Why Iran’s Gambit in Syria Might Not Pay Off
By David Shams, Muftah [July 3, 2013]
---- In a June 11 report in the Washington Post, journalist Liz Sly writes that the Islamic Republic of Iran is “emerging as the biggest victor in the wider regional struggle for influence that the Syrian conflict has become” and that “the regional balance of power appears to be tilting in favor of Tehran, with potentially profound implications for a Middle East still grappling with the upheaval wrought by the Arab Spring revolts.” Despite Ms. Sly’s assertion, which echoes claims made elsewhere in the media, Iran might not be quite the winner she imagines it to be. http://muftah.org/why-irans-gambit-in-syria-might-not-pay-off/
Trying to End Rifts, Syria Opposition in Exile Elects President
By Anne Barnard, New York Times [July 6, 2013]
---- But questions remained about whether Mr. Jarba, elected with a narrow majority amid new challenges for the coalition, could help unify the group. Mr. Jarba, seen as close to the government of Saudi Arabia, defeated Mustafa Sabbagh, a businessman viewed as an ally of Qatar, in a runoff election in Istanbul. Hanging over the election was the ouster last week of Egypt’s president, Mohamed Morsi, who was backed by the Muslim Brotherhood. The coalition has suffered from criticism that it is dominated by the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood, the best-organized exile group. The choice of a president close to Saudi Arabia, which is hostile to the Brotherhood, was seen as a counterweight to its influence. Mohammed Farouk Tayfour, a Brotherhood member, was elected one of three vice presidents. Saudi Arabia and Qatar, which backs the Brotherhood, are two of the main financiers of the Syrian uprising and have wrestled for influence over the movement. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/07/world/middleeast/trying-to-end-rifts-syria-opposition-in-exile-elects-president.html?ref=world
Morsy role at Syria rally seen as tipping point for Egypt army
From Reuters [July 3, 2013]
---- Army concern about the way President Mohamed Morsy was governing Egypt reached tipping point when the head of state attended a rally packed with hardline fellow Islamists calling for holy war in Syria, military sources said. At the June 15 rally, Sunni Muslim clerics used the word "infidels" to denounce both the Shi'ites fighting to protect Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and the non-Islamists that oppose Morsy at home. Morsy himself called for foreign intervention in Syria against Assad, leading to a veiled rebuke from the army, which issued an apparently bland but sharp-edged statement the next day stressing that its only role was guarding Egypt's borders. http://www.egyptindependent.com/news/morsy-role-syria-rally-seen-tipping-point-egypt-army