Bulletin N° 619
Subject: ON REVOLUTION, COUNTER-REVOLUTION AND EVERYDAY LIFE IN THE CONTEMPORARY WORLD.
11 July 2014
Dear Colleagues and Friends of CEIMSA,
The practice of removing ideas from their material context and sifting through disembodied abstractions until some pattern seems to emerge that connects several of these ideas is a process that has a long tradition. The ancient Chinese used techniques such as cracking bones and thrown sticks to decipher the world around them. Closer to our own civilization the ancient Babylonians and Egyptians, and later the Greeks, came up with the method of using chicken entrails and cloud formations to acquire ideas that might bring them closer to reality. Other peoples have used animal torture and human sacrifice as a means of transcending their surroundings and gaining new insights into the world from elsewhere. For many of us, the methods for understanding the world in which we live have changed very little over the millennia. Our primitive minds, still search desperately for ideas that would offer a sense of security and understanding, the illusion of control, while we routinely accept as normal the cruel judgment that “ends” can be used to justify “means.” We simply close our eyes and wait!
No one understood this human capacity for self-deception better than Frederick Nietzsche, whose judgment of man was: “he is the sick animal” ("What do Ascetic Ideals Mean?" in Genealogy of Morlas, Anchor Books, 1956, p.257). To paraphrase Plato, most humans apprehend only shadows, and fail to see the material reality from which these images are cast. And from these representations they construct concepts which are always distortions of the real relationships from which they originate. These images eventually become lodged in our brains and exist as conventional understandings, replacing reason; they gain influence and soon begin to govern our normative behavior. Very few of us are permitted to live outside this Norm, which is to say to live our lives guided by our faculties of reason and memory, rather than by automatically following social conventions. Mathematicians, tenured professors, and death-row inmates are among those few non-conformists, but they exhibit little or no social solidarity and are easily dismissed.
Corporatism (sometimes known as Shintoism, Fascism, Nazism, and Neo-Conservatism) is a political belief based on normative behavior; it imposes a rigid hierarchical systemic ideology into the minds of a susceptible population which has been convinced, one way or another, to accept living as objects to be experimented on by self-appointed elites, whose bad faith is apparent to anyone who has the courage to see. However, these norms never last forever, and the self-destructive behavior of any ruling elite is of paramount importance in historical studies, since the larger populations which constitute the base of these pyramids have been largely neutralized, i.e. deprived of leadership, confused with anxieties, urged to gratuitous acts of violence and vengeance, benighted with ideals and accompanying feelings of duty and guilt, or in other ways marginalized so that they can be more easily governed by a few well-placed super-beings located, in their own estimations, somewhere towards the top of the Great Chain of Being.
Such dependent power hierarchies, both large and small, have existed throughout history; today they are ubiquitous. For a discussion of Professor Anthony Wilden’s concept of illegitimate dependent power hierarchies and the extinction test that he devised to determine the legitimacy of dependent power hierarchies, see CEIMSA Bulletin N° 286.
In the meantime, we return to the minds of rulers and of those they rule, whose motives, habits of thought, and evasions were a subject of analysis in Nietzsche’s last essay, The Genealogy of Morals (1887).
On slave morality, Nietzsche compares the mentality of the slave with a more ‘noble’ mentality.
The slave revolt in morals begins by rancor turning creative and giving birth to values –the rancor of beings who, deprived of the direct outlet of action, compensate by an imaginary vengeance. All truly noble morality grows out of triumphant self-affirmation. Slave ethics, on the other hand, begins by saying no to an ‘outside,’ an ‘other,’ a non-self, and that no is its creative act. This reversal of direction of the evaluating look, this invariable looking outward instead of inward, is a fundamental feature of rancor. Slave ethics requires for its inception a sphere different from and hostile to its own. Physiologically speaking, it requires an outside stimulus in order to act at all; all its action is reaction. The opposite is true of aristocratic valuations: such values grow and act spontaneously, seeking out their contraries only in order to affirm themselves even more gratefully and delightedly. Here the negative concepts, humble, base, bad, are late, pallid counterparts of the positive, intense and passionate credo, ‘We noble, good, beautiful, happy ones. . . . .
All this stands in utter contrast to what is called happiness among the impotent and oppressed, who are full of bottled-up aggressions. Their happiness is purely passive and takes the form of drugged tranquility, stretching and yawning, peace, ‘sabbath,’ emotional slackness. Whereas the noble lives before his own conscience with confidence and frankness … , the rancorous person is neither truthful nor ingenuous nor honest and forthright with himself. His soul squints; his mind loves hide-outs, secret paths, and back doors; everything that is hidden seems to him his own world, his security, his comfort; he is in silence, in long memory, in waiting, in provisional self-depreciation, and in self-humiliation. A race of such men will, in the end, inevitably be cleverer than the race of aristocrats, and it will honor sharp-wittedness to a much greater degree, i.e., as an absolutely vital condition for its existence. . . . The noble person will respect his enemy, and respect is already a bridge to love . . . . Indeed he requires his enemy for himself, as his mark of distinction, nor could he tolerate any other enemy than one in whom he find nothing to despise and much to esteem. Imagine, on the other hand, the ‘enemy’ as conceived by the rancorous man! For this is his true creative achievement: he has conceived the ‘evil enemy,’ the Evil One, as a fundamental idea, and then as a pendant he has conceived a Good One –himself. (from the First Essay:“’Good and Evil,’ ‘Good and Bad’.”( pp.171-173)
And on the abuse of ideas, he describes the fraud of ‘objective idealism’:
But to return to business: our inquiry into the origins of that other notion of goodness, as conceived by the resentful, demand to be completed. There is nothing very odd about lambs disliking birds of prey, but this is no reason for holding it against large birds of prey that they carry off lambs. And when the lambs whisper among themselves, ‘These birds of prey are evil, and does not this give us a right to say that whatever is the opposite of a bird of prey must be good?’ there is nothing intrinsically wrong with such an argument –though the birds of prey will look somewhat quizzically and say, ‘We have nothing against these good lambs; in fact, we love them; nothing tastes better than a tender lamb.’ –To expect that strength will not manifest itself as strength, as the desire to overcome, to appropriate, to have enemies, obstacles, and triumphs, is every bit as absurd as to expect that weakness will manifest itself as strength. A quantum of strength is equivalent to a quantum of urge, will, activity, and it is only the snare of language (of the arch-fallacies of reason petrified in language), presenting all activity as conditioned by an agent –the ‘subject’ – that blinds us to this fact. For, just as popular superstition divorces the lightening form its brilliance, viewing the latter as an activity whose subject is the lightening, so does popular morality divorce strength from its manifestations, as thought there were behind the strong a neutral agent, free to manifest its stringy or contain it. But no such agent exists, there is no ‘being’ behind the doing, acting, becoming; the ‘doer’ has simply been added to the deed by the imagination –the doing is everything. The common man actually do7ubles the doing by making the lightning flash; he states the same event once as cause and then again as effect. The natural scientists are no better when they say that ‘energy moves,’ ’energy causes.’ For all its detachment and freedom from emotion, our science is still the dupe of linguistic habits; it has never yet got rid of those changelings called ‘subjects.’ The atom is none such changeling, another is the Kantian ‘thing-in-itself.’ Small wonder, then, that the repressed and smoldering emotions of vengeance and hatred have taken advantage of this superstition and in fact espoused no belief more ardently than that it is within the discretion of the strong to be weak, of the bird of prey to be a lamb. Thus they assume the right of calling the bird of prey to account for being a bird of prey. We can hear the oppressed, downtrodden, violated whispering among themselves with the wily vengefulness of the impotent, ‘Let us be unlike those evil ones. Let us be good. And the good shall be he who does not do violence, does not attack or retaliate, who leaves vengeance to God, who, like us, lives hidden, who shuns all that is evil, and altogether asks very little of life –like us, the patient, the humble, the just ones.’ Read in cold blood, this means nothing more than ‘We weak ones are, in fact , weak. It is a good thing that we do nothing for which we are not strong enough.’ But this plain fact, this basic prudence, which even the insects have (who, in circumstances of great danger, sham death in order not to have to ‘do’ too much) has tricked itself out in the garb of quiet, virtuous resignation, thanks to the duplicity of importance –as though the weakness of the weak, which is after all his essence, his natural way of being, his sole and inevitable reality, were a spontaneous act, a meritorious deed. This sort of person requires the belief in a ‘free subject’ able to choose indifferently, out of that instinct of self-preservation which notoriously justifies every kind of lie. It may well be that to this day the subject, or in popular language the soul, has been the most viable of all articles of faith simply because it makes it possible for the majority of mankind –i.e., the weak and oppressed of every sort—to practice the sublime sleight of hand which gives weakness the appearance of free choice and one’s natural disposition the distinction of merit.
Would anyone care to learn something about the way in which ideas are manufactured? Does anyone have the nerve? . . . Well then, go ahead! There’s a chink through which you can peek into this murky shop. But wait just a moment, Mr. Foolhardy; your eyes must grow accustomed to the fickle light . . . Al right, tell me what’s going on in there, audacious fellow; now I am the one who is listening.
‘I can’t see a thing, but I hear all the more. There’s a low, cautious whispering in every nook and corner. I have a notion these people are lying. All the sounds are sugary and soft. No doubt you were right; they are transmuting weakness into merit.’
‘Impotence, which cannot retaliate, into kindness; pusillanimity into humility; submission before those one hate into obedience to One of whom they say that he has commanded this submission –they call him God. The inoffensiveness of the weak, his cowardice, his ineluctable standing and waiting at doors, are being given honorific titles such as patience; to be unable to avenge oneself is called to be unwilling to avenge oneself –even forgiveness (‘for they know not what they do –we alone know what they do.’) Also there’s some talk of living one’s enemy –accompanied by much sweat.’
‘I’m sure they are quite miserable, all these whisperers and smalltime counterfeiters, even though they huddle close together for warmth. But they tell me that this very misery is the sign of their election by God, that one beats the dogs one loves best, that this misery is perhaps also a preparation, a test, a kind of training, perhaps even more than that: some5thing for which eventually they will be compensated with tremendous interest –in gold? No, in happiness. They call this bliss.’
“Now they tell me that not only are they better than the mighty of this earth, whose spittle they must lick (not from fear –by no means—but because God commands us to honor our superiors), but they are even better off, or at least they will be better off someday. But I’ve had all I can stand. The smell is too much for me. This shop where they manufacture ideals seems to me to stink of lies.”
“But just a moment. You haven’t told me anything about the greatest feat of these black magicians, who precipitate the white milk of loving-kindness out of every kind of blackness. Haven’t you noticed their most consummate sleight of hand, their boldest, finest, most brilliant trick? Just watch! These vermin, full of vindictive hatred, what are they brewing out of their own poisons? Have you ever heard vengeance and hatred mentioned? Would you ever guess, if you only listened to their words, that these are men bursting with hatred?”
“I see what you mean. I’ll open my ears again –and stop my nose. Now I can make out what they seem to have been saying all along: ‘We, the good ones are also the just ones.’ They call the thing they seek not retribution but triumph of justice; the thing they hate is not their enemy, by no means –they hate injustice, ungodliness; the thing they hope for and believe in is not vengeance, the sweet exultation of vengeance (‘sweeter than honey’ as Homer said) but ‘the triumph of God, who is just, over the godless’; what remains to them to love on this earth is not their ‘brothers in hatred, but what they call their ‘brothers in love’ –all who are good and just.”
“And what do they call that which confronts them in all their sufferings –their phantasmagoria of future bliss?”
“Do I hear correctly? They call it Judgment Day, the coming of their kingdom, the ‘Kingdom of God.’ Meanwhile they live in ‘faith,’ in ‘love,’ in ‘hope.’”
“Stop! I’ve heard enough.”(pp.178-182)
And, again…. on feelings of guilt, Nietzsche writes:
Then the guild-ridden man seized upon religion in order to exacerbate his self-torment to the utmost. The thought of being in God’s debt became his new instrument of torture. He focused in God the last of the opposites he could find to his true and inveterate animal instincts, making these a sin against God …. He stretched himself upon the contradiction ‘God’ and ‘Devil’ as on a rack. . . . In such psychological cruelty we see an insanity of the will that is without parallel: man’s will to find himself guilty, and unredeemably so; his will to believe that he might be punished to all eternity without ever expunging his guilt; his will to poison the very foundation of things with the problem of guilt and punishment and thus to cut off once and for all his escape from the labyrinth of obsession; his will to erect an ideal (God’s holiness) in order to assure himself of his own absolute unworthiness. What a mad, unhappy animal is man! What strange notions occur to him, what perversities, what paroxysms of nonsense, what bestialities of idea burst from him, the moment he is prevented ever so little from being a beast of action! . . . All of this is exceedingly curious and interesting, but dyed with such a dark, somber, enervating sadness that one must resolutely tear away one’s gaze. Here, no doubt, is sickness, the most terrible sickness that has wasted man thus far. And if one is still able to hear –but how few these days have ears to hear it! –in this night of torment and absurdity the cry love ring out, the cry of rapt longing, of redemption in love, he must turn away with a shudder of invincible horror. . . . Man harbors too much horror, the earth has been a lunatic asylum for too long.(from the Second Essay: “’Guilt,’ ‘Bad Conscience,’ and Related Matters,” pp.226-227)
This should take care, once and for all, of the origins of ‘Our Holy Lord.’ --A single look at the Greek gods will convince us that a belief in gods need not result in morbid imaginations, that there are nobler ways of creating divine figments—ways which do not lead to the kind of self-crucifixion and self-punishment in which Europe, for millennia now, has excelled. . . . [T]he Greeks, even in the heyday of their prosperity and strength, allowed that foolishness, lack of discretion, slight mental aberrations might be the source of much evil and disaster. Foolishness, not sin . . . . But even those mental aberrations were a problem. ‘How can such a thing happen to people like us, nobly bred, happy, virtuous, well educated?’ For many centuries noble Greeks would ask themselves this question whenever one of their number had defiled himself by one of those incomprehensible crimes. ‘Well, he must have been deluded by a god,’ they would finally say, shaking their heads. This was a typically Greek solution. It was the office of the gods to justify, up to a point, the ill ways of man, to serve as ‘sources’ of evil. In those days they were not agents of punishment but, what is nobler, repositories of guilt.(pp.227-228)
The 13 items below offer CEIMSA readers the opportunity to evaluate the social and ideological obstacles which are often confronted when we attempt to find collective solutions to our everyday problems. These obstacles are seem more clearly than ever to exist as part of a larger structure which serve as a function within a system that has been designed to prevent us from orienting ourselves toward fulfilling some of our most basic human needs, such as community, creativity, and respect (and in many cases depriving us of our animal needs for uncontaminated air, water and food, shelter, and affection.)
Item A., from Moshé Machover, is a call for support for Palestinian resistance from the organization Assawra, with a response by George Pumphrey.
Item B., from The New York Times, is video report on Israeli military tactics known as ‘cutting the grass’ to maintain the status quo in Gaza.
Item C., from Black Agenda Report, is an article by Glen Ford analyzing the shift of power relations in the Middle East.
Item D., from Fox News, is a damning report on Neo-Con strategies and the US ‘loss’ of the Middle East.
Item E., from Garance Upham, is report on Argentina's 'vulture fund' crisis, which threatens profound consequences for international financial system.
Item F., from The Independent, is an article by Patrick Cockburn on the fiercest wars ahead in Iraq.
Item G., from Syria News, is an interview with Middle East political insider, Nabil Naim, discussing (in Arabic, with English subtitles) the Grand Strategy in Middle East of US-Israeli political elites and their latest tactics, according to Arabi Souri.
Item H., is a Russian Television interview with NYU Professor Mark Crispin Miller, discussing ‘The Forbidden Bookshelf’.
Item I., from Information Clearing House, is an article by Glen Ford on the new curriculum in US universities: “The Terrorism Studies.”
Item J., from Information Clearing House, is a copy of the original document outlining the US-Israeli Grand Strategy (a.k.a. “Clean Break”) in the Middle East, written at the end of the last decade by the Study Group on a New Israeli Strategy Toward 2000.
Item K., from ZNet, is an article by Pepe Escobar on the Jihad Summer of 2014 and the new “Islamic State”.
Item L., from Information Clearing House, is some good news by James Petras on the fruits of class struggle in China.
Item M., from National Security Archives, is
newly released documentation of the Brazilian
military regime’s use of a "sophisticated and elaborate psychophysical
duress system" to "intimidate and terrify" suspected leftist
militants in the early 1970s.
And finally, we invite CEIMSA readers to visit the discussions on “The Phoenix Program” and “The New Phoenix Program”: the history and the future of the social engineering in “Managed Chaos,” with author Douglas Valentine :
The ‘New’ Phoenix Program
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
From Moshé Machover :
Dates: 9 July 2014
Subject : [Assawra1] Israël rattrapé par ses demons.
Site du Mouvement démocratique arabe
"Résister à l'occupation, c'est vivre libre"
A RESPONSE BY GEORGE PUMPHREY (from Berlin)
I have been receiving your mails for quite a few years. I congratulate
you on your work in keeping the discussion going. If I were still in
France, I would probably be participating more.
I am now writing because in the link that you sent, I discovered a very
common mistake that authors make when referring to attacks that take
place against Israelis. The Israeli authorities almost always attribute
it to Palestinians as a first suspicion. There is almost never a
confirmation of this first suspicion, but the media has long since
transformed the suspicion into a hard fact. The author writes: "Tout
d’abord l’émotion, après l’annonce le 30 juin de l’abominable assassinat
de trois adolescents israéliens en Cisjordanie, vraisemblablement par
des militants du Hamas."
I would allege that the Israeli government does not have the slightest
bit of evidence to attribute the deaths to Hamas. The government is
seeking a reason to "punish" Hamas for forming a unity government. So if
it links Hamas to the deaths - even without evidence - the Israeli
population will find it justified to AGAIN use the population of Gaza
for target practice.
For your information, in the attachment I am including a paper I did a
few years ago, dealing with the Zionist manipulation of "anti-Semitism." *
My examples come from France. (In Germany it is nearly impossible to do
this research, because there is no public follow-up on the cases. A
"suspicion" of Judeophobia suffices for it to be classed as a
Judeophobic attack. (The paper is long. The part dealing with the
contradiction between first suspicions and facts is in the sector
entitled "Statistics another form of propaganda" at the bottom of page
*[For a copy of this paper, please use the following link: http://www.palaestina-portal.eu/Stimmen_international/pumphrey_george_zionist_judeophobic_semitism.htm.]
Again, thanks for the information. I wish you all the best.
From The New York Times :
Dates: 9 July 2014
Subject : « Cutting the Grass ».
How Israel's latest airstrikes on Gaza are seen as part of a larger tactic known metaphorically as "cutting the grass", the belief that military incursions are inevitable to manage conflict.
From Black Agenda Report :
Dates: 2 July 2014
Subject : The World Will Never be the Same.
The Superpower and the Caliphate
by Glen Ford
The Contradictions of the U.S. Riding the Jihadist Tiger
ISIS Declares Caliphate As US Middle East Policy Continues To Unravel
From : Fox News :
Dates: 6 July 2014
Subject : The Neo-Cons concede defeat?
Video purportedly shows ISIS leader delivering sermon in Iraq
From: Garance Upham :
Dates: 5 July 2014
Subject : UNCTAD on the consequences of the Argentina case – debt.
[Argentina's 'vulture fund' crisis threatens profound consequences for international financial system]
25 June 2014
In a special online essay, UNCTAD reiterates its long-standing call for a sovereign debt workout mechanism.
Global and systemic implications of United States Supreme Court rulings in favour of hedge funds over Argentina on 2001 defaulted bonds.
The United States Supreme Court issued a ruling on 16 June 2014 declining to hear Argentina's appeal against a lower New York court decision that had ordered it to pay suing hedge funds $1.33 billion, which is principal plus interest for holdout bonds. This was followed shortly by another decision by the Supreme Court to order the relevant financial institutions of the United States of America to turn over information to these hedge funds about assets that Argentina holds worldwide, including accounts held by entities of the Government of Argentina and by individual officials1.
These two rulings targeted at Argentina's 2005 and 2010 debt swaps, in the wake of its catastrophic 2001-2002 default on $100 billion bonds governed by New York law, resonate well beyond the borders of Argentina and the United States. The rulings are a resounding victory for the specific hedge funds that have held out on Argentine debt swaps. They also open the door for other "vulture" funds and holdout investors to come forward to request full payment on Argentine bonds, estimated at around $15 billion. If Argentina pays the holdout bond holders, it must extend full payment to the bond holders that accepted the 2005 or 2010 debt swaps, due to a "Rights upon Future Offers" clause in its law. This would amount to an estimated cost of over US$120 billion2. In fact, the rulings could open floodgates to other similar cases depending on interpretations given by courts under New York law, British law or other laws. Copycats will abound.
But they also set legal precedents which could have profound consequences for the international financial system:
• First, by removing financial incentives for creditors to participate in orderly debt workouts, the rulings will make future debt restructuring even more difficult, in particular for outstanding bonds without a Collective Action Clause, the actual amount of which is unknown but is likely to be large.
• Second, obligating third-party financial institutions to provide information about assets of sovereign borrowers will have a significant impact on the international financial system as it forces financial service institutions to provide confidential information on the sovereign borrower's global financial transactions to facilitate the enforcement of debt contracts for the creditors.
• Third, the ruling will erode sovereign immunity.
A setback for debt restructuring
After defaulting on its $100 billion sovereign bonds in 2001, Argentina offered debt swaps in 2005 and in 2010. Investors holding about 93 per cent of the old bonds participated in these debt swaps. The Congress of Argentina passed a law in February 2005 that forbade the Government to make payments on any bonds not tendered, to later reopen the exchange or to settle with non-participating creditors one by one on the side. However, a handful of hedge funds purchased the bonds after the default when they were at deep discounts. Since then, they have repeatedly demanded to be paid at 100 per cent of their face value. This is considered by many as predatory. For example, NML Capital purchased the majority of their Argentine bonds from June-November 2008, paying an estimated $48.7 million for over $220 million in defaulted bonds, a price of just over 20 cents on the dollar3.
According to estimates by Morgan Stanley, bond holders who accepted the 2005 offer have received returns of about 90 per cent4 thanks in particular to a coupon linked to gross domestic product growth, which significantly increased the amount actually received. In response, the holdout bond holders led by NML Captial changed tactics and took out law suits (based on the pari passu, or equal treatment, clause in bond contracts) in New York's lower court which would tie any future payments on restructured bonds to payment in full to holdout bond holders This was an unheard of interpretation of the clause which shocked even veterans in the debt restructuring world. However, on 18 November 2013, the United States Second Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favour of NML Capital. Argentina appealed the ruling to the United States Supreme Court. With the Supreme Court leaving the lower court rulings intact, it has created a precedent for awarding holdout creditors and penalizing creditors who participated in a debt restructuring.
Since the Argentine default, there has been a more prevalent introduction of the Collective Action Clause in bond contracts which has the potential of restricting the likelihood of a small number of creditors holding out on debt restructuring. However, it is important to note that existing bonds without Collective Action Clause will take years to expire. This means that, with the Supreme Court rulings, the world has limited tools to initiate debt restructuring for bonds with a pari passu clause and without Collective Action Clause. The Supreme Court ruling has given bond holders a strong weapon to get full payments. As stated in the recently published International Monetary Fund (IMF) paper on debt restructuring, "in essence, the [United States] courts have interpreted a 'boiler plate provision' of these contracts (the pari passu clause) as requiring a sovereign debtor to make full payment on a defaulted claim (in this case, held by the secondary market purchaser) if it makes any payments on the restructured bonds"5.
Given such consequences, the Governments of France and Germany supported Argentina in its legal struggle. Economists such as Joseph Stiglitz and Anne Kruger petitioned against the hedge funds.
Obliging financial institutions to assist debt collectors
The Second Circuit also rules that third parties (banks in this case) who make payments on behalf of the Government of Argentina to bond holders which participated in the two debt swaps will be punished and viewed and treated as being in contempt of law if they continue to make such payments and holdouts are paid in full. On top of this, the second ruling of the Supreme Court confirmed NML Capital's request that banks involved in handling the payment of Argentine bond holders must turn over information to holdout bond holders on assets that Argentina holds worldwide. Obliging financial institutions to provide information about assets of sovereign borrowers' assets worldwide will have significant impact on the international financial system as it forces financial service providers to provide confidential information on the sovereign borrower's global financial transactions to facilitate enforcement of debt contracts on behalf of the creditors. Third parties have been dragged from the wings to centre stage. In addition, it also seems they are obliged to assist holdout bond holders in reclaiming their debt. Once again, exchange holders are punished and holdouts are rewarded.
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a member in the Supreme Court's group of justices deciding the case, asked: "By what authorization does a court in the United States become a 'clearinghouse for information' about any and all property held by Argentina abroad?6" By setting this legal precedent, it would not be surprising to see changes in the financial market and ways to aid creditors in enforcing contracts and punishing borrowers.
Erosion of sovereign immunity
The ruling does not only impact the financial service providers involved, it also severely erodes sovereign immunity and is not in compliance with the United States Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act. The Government of the United States filed a brief in favour of Argentina and stated that a ruling in favour of bond holders would harm international relations and could provoke "reciprocal adverse treatment of the United States in foreign courts"7. An official representing the Administration cautioned at the Court that "the United States would be gravely concerned about an order of a trial court in a foreign country, entered at the behest of a private person, seeking to establish a clearinghouse in that country of all the United States' assets"8. However, the Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court did not seem to feel any apprehension. In response to concern of the Government of the United States on non-compliance with the Immunities Act, the Justice advised the Government to amend the Act.
With the Supreme Court ruling, the likelihood of aggressive holdout investors snatching assets of defaulted sovereigns might increase. In 2012, NML Capital detained an Argentine navy vessel in Ghana as part of its effort to gain repayment on the defaulted securities.
Following an Argentine proposal to pay exchange bond holders in Argentina under Argentine law on 17 June, one day after the Supreme Court rulings, the United States Second Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that this kind of act is in violation of the rulings and proceedings now in place in the Southern District of New York.
Restating the case for a sovereign debt workout mechanism
The United States Supreme Court rulings have once again demonstrated what can happen in the absence of an international debt workout mechanism. This vacuum has led to fragmentation of legal forums, thereby creating inconsistency and unpredictability. Different courts have very different interpretations of the same contractual clause and can impose a wide array of rulings. Politics and interests groups can impact on the outcome of rulings and debt restructurings, compromising consistency and fairness.
The rulings have made future debt restructuring much more difficult as debtors are left with only moral suasion and foreign relations as weapons to encourage creditor coordination. They have also strengthened the hand of creditors even though their behaviour can be among the underlying causes of debt crises.
The June 2014 IMF Policy Paper entitled "The Fund's lending framework and sovereign debt - preliminary considerations" and its annexes (in a separate paper) reviewed the lessons of past debt restructurings. However, when it comes to possible directions for reform, the proposals are to maintain a market-based approach (based on debt contracts) and debt reprofiling - extending debt maturity - based on the IMF's judgement that an unsustainable debt situation exists. Debt reprofiling has the potential to trigger credit default swaps and is viewed by some as a debt restructuring. One wonders whether the IMF is best positioned to give timely and fair judgements and how unsustainable debt could eventually be restructured when the world does not possess sufficient tools to deal with the problems encountered so far. To rely on the market approach under which different courts are to interpret clauses of the debt contracts as the United States Supreme Court has done would lead to outcomes with "broad systemic implications", just as the IMF warned.
In this chaotic context, the formulation of global and harmonious rules and principles guiding sovereign debt restructurings has become of paramount importance. This is why UNCTAD has been a long-standing advocate of a sovereign debt workout mechanism and is currently working on a project financed by the Government of Norway to further clarify how it could work in practice. The list of general principles and issues identified thus far by a group of experts under the project includes:
• Standstill/stay of litigation
• Debt thresholds and indicators
• Comprehensiveness and seniority (equity among creditors, collective action
• Impartiality (institutional)
• Institutional oversight and the relation between international and domestic
1 United States, Supreme Court of the United States, 2013, Syllabus, Republic of Argentina v. NML Capital.
2 Wall Street Journal, 2014, Argentina wants to continue paying its debts: but they won't let it, 21 June.
3 A Phillips and J Johnston, 2013, Argentina vs. the vultures: What you need to know, 2 April, Center for Economic and Policy Research.
4 D Benson, 2012, Billionaire hedge funds snub 90% returns, Bloomberg News, 23 January.
5 IMF, 2014, The Fund's lending framework and sovereign debt - preliminary considerations, IMF Policy Paper, June.
6 United States, Supreme Court of the United States, 2013, Syllabus, Republic of Argentina v. NML Capital.
7 United States, United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, 2013, Brief for the United States of America as amicus curiae.
8 New York Times, 2014, Argentina's debt appeal is rejected by Supreme Court, 16 June.
From : The Independent :
Dates: 6 July 2014
Subject : The Risk of a Ukraine Bloodbath.
A demoralized army is hoping that the US will step in with drones, but their use could bring devastating revenge attacks.
As Shia Shrines Are Targeted And Tikrit Is Strangled, The Fiercest Of Wars Lies Ahead
by Patrick Cockburn
From : Syria News :
Dates: 2 July 2014
Subject : The ‘Clean Break” Strategy in the Middle East, and its Latest Tactics.
Nabil Naim, an insider into the political and revolutionary events in the Middle East, says that Muslims are being conned by a sophisticated scheme drawn up by Zionists.
Exposed: Obama Regime's Support Of Al Qaeda And ISIS
From: Mark Crispin Miller :
Dates: 25 June 2014
Subject : The Forbidden Bookshelf.
These 5 Censored Books Tell a History the Establishment Wants Hidden
(interview with Professor Mark Crispin Miller)
From : Information Clearing House :
Dates: 6 July 2014
Subject : The New Curriculum in US Universities: “Terrorism Studies”.
The military has commissioned U.S. universities to help it figure out how to deal with dissatisfied and, therefore, dangerous populations all around the world, including the United States.
U.S. Funds “Terror Studies” to Dissect and Neutralize Social Movements
by Glen Ford
From : Information Clearing House :
Dates: 6 July 2014
Subject : "Study Group on a New Israeli Strategy Toward 2000."
A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm
From : ZNet :
Dates: 6 July 2014
Subject : The Jihad Summer.
Arab Spring, Jihad Summer
by Pepe Escobar
Welcome to IS. No typo; the final goal may be (indiscriminate) regime change, but for the moment name change will do. With PR flair, at the start of Ramadan, the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS, or ISIL – the Islamic State of the Levant – to some) solemnly declared, from now on, it will be known as Islamic State (IS).
“To be or not to be” is so … metaphysically outdated. IS is – and here it is – in full audio glory. And we’re talking about the full package – Caliph included: “the slave of Allah, Ibrahim Ibn ‘Awwad Ibn Ibrahim Ibn ‘Ali Ibn Muhammad al-Badrial-Hashimi al-Husayni al-Qurashi by lineage, as-Samurra’i by birth and upbringing, al-Baghdadi by residence and scholarship”. Or, to put it more simply, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
IS has virtually ordered “historic” al-Qaeda – yes, that 9/11-related (or not) plaything of one Osama bin Laden – as well as every other jihadi outfit on the planet, to pledge allegiance to the new imam, in theological theory the new lord over every Muslim. There’s no evidence Osama’s former sidekick, Ayman “the doctor” al-Zawahiri will obey, not to mention 1.5 billion Muslims across the world. Most probably al-Qaeda will say “we are the real deal” and a major theological catfight will be on.
After all, in Syria, ISIL as well as Jabhat al-Nusra were initially fighting under the banner of al-Qaeda, until the brand – in spectacular fashion – decided to dump al-Baghdadi. He and ISIL went too far – with all those videos of decapitations and crucifixions and serial profanation of Shi’ite, Sufi and Christian sanctuaries.
Al-Baghdadi, born Ibrahim al-Badri in Samarra, is an average Sunni Iraqi cleric with a degree in pedagogy from the University of Baghdad. His alter ago was born after Shock and Awe in 2003, and soon metamorphosed into a de facto serial killer – blowing up Shi’ite kids at ice-cream shops or scores of women at Shi’ite weddings.
ISIL’s track record in Syria includes banning every flag apart from its own; the destruction of any “polytheist” temple or sanctuary (except if it is Sunni); and strict imposition of Islamically correct women wear. Most of all, it is a track record of terror. This is not an army, rather a well-trained militia of professional mujahid, European passport holders included, with battlefield experience in Iraq, Afghanistan and, to a lesser degree, Chechnya. Heavy weaponizing is petrodollar-financed – the usual, wealthy “Gulf donors”, which does not exclude official connections.
Sources of income diversified mightily when ISIL captured the oilfields surrounding Deir Ezzor in Syria; and after the recent offensive across Niniveh province in Iraq, they were able to lay their hands on vast arsenals of heavy artillery, lots of cash and gold bullion and, why not, US Humvees left behind. Their trademark, of course, are those columns of brand new white Toyota Land cruisers – free off road advertising Toyota HQ in Japan may not find particularly welcome.
Loaded with oil and profiting from tax revenue, IS is now firmly on its way to provide (minimal) services and support a (mighty) Jihadi Army – much like the Taliban from 1996 to 2001. One may be sure IS will continue its massive “social engagement” strategy; talk about a chatty Caliphate which loves YouTube, Facebook and Twitter. No wonder they are a hit among Google generation recruits – as well as becoming fund-raising aces via gruesome videos. In thesis, indoctrination progresses hand in hand with “charity work”; residents of Aleppo, for instance, can dwell on how ISIL (gruesomely) looks and feels on the ground.
Mission forever unaccomplished
It’s unclear how the new IS reality will play on the ground. The new Caliph has in fact declared a jihad on all that basket of corrupt and/or incompetent Middle East “leaders” – so some fierce “battle for survival” reaction from the Houses of Saud and Thani, for instance, is expected. It’s not far-fetched to picture al-Baghdadi dreaming of lording over Saudi oilfields – after decapitating all Shi’ite workers, of course.
And that’s just a start; in one of their Tweeter accounts IS has published a map of all the domains they intend to conquer within the span of five years; Spain, Northern Africa, the Balkans, the whole Middle East and large swathes of Asia. Well, they are certainly more ambitious than NATO.
Being such a courageous bunch, the House of Saud is now tempted to accept that imposing regime change on Nouri al-Maliki in Iraq is a bad idea. That puts them in direct conflict with the Obama administration, whose plan A, B and C is regime change.
Turkey – the former seat of the Caliphate, by the way – remains mute. No wonder; Ankara – crucially – is the top logistical base of IS. Caliph Erdogan’s got to be musing about his own future, now that he’s facing competition. In theory, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Jordan are all saying they’re ready to fight what would be a “larger-scale war” than that gift that keeps on giving, the original, Cheney junta-coined GWOT (global war on terror).
And then there’s the future of the new $500 million Obama fund to “appropriately vetted” rebels in Syria, which in fact means the expansion of covert CIA “training facilities” in Jordan and Turkey heavily infiltrated/profited from by IS. Think of hordes of new IS recruits posing as “moderate rebels” getting ready for a piece of the action.
It’s easier for Brazil to win the World Cup with a team of crybabies with no tactical nous than having US Secretary of State John Kerry and his State Department ciphers understand that the Syrian “opposition” is controlled by jihadis. But then again, they do know – and that perfectly fits into the Empire of Chaos’s not so hidden Global War on Terror (GWOT) agenda of an ever-expanding proxy war in both Syria and Iraq fueled by terror financing.
So 13 years ago Washington crushed both al-Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan. Then the Taliban were reborn. Then came Shock and Awe. Then came “Mission Accomplished”. Then al-Qaeda was introduced in Iraq. Then al-Qaeda was dead because Osama bin Laden was dead. Then came ISIL. And now there’s IS. And we start all over again, not in the Hindu Kush, but in the Levant. With a new Osama.
What’s not to like? If anyone thinks this whole racket is part of a new live Monty Python sketch ahead of their reunion gig this month in London, that’s because it is.
Pepe Escobar is the author of Globalistan: How the Globalized World is Dissolving into Liquid War (Nimble Books, 2007), Red Zone Blues: a snapshot of Baghdad during the surge and Obama does Globalistan (Nimble Books, 2009). He may be reached at email@example.com.
From: Information Clearing House :
Dates: 7 July 2014
Subject : The Fruits of Class Struggle in China : Higher Wages!
The sharp and sustained rise in Chinese wages, resulting from the class struggle, has world historical significance as it ripples through the global economy by setting in motion a chain of positive socio-political movements.
Positive Thoughts on Dark Times
by James Petras
From : National Security Archive :
Dates: 8 July 2014
Subject : BRAZIL: TORTURE TECHNIQUES REVEALED IN DECLASSIFIED U.S. DOCUMENTS.
-BRAZIL: TORTURE TECHNIQUES REVEALED IN DECLASSIFIED U.S. DOCUMENTS
-DICTATORSHIP-ERA RECORDS GIVEN BY VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN TO PRESIDENT ROUSSEFF DETAIL "PSYCHOPHYSICAL" SYSTEMS OF TORTURE, SECRET EXECUTIONS
-43 STATE DEPARTMENT RECORDS MADE PUBLIC BY BRAZILIAN TRUTH COMMISSION
National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 478
Posted July 8, 2014
Edited by Peter Kornbluh
For more information contact:
Peter Kornbluh 202/374-7281 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Washington, D.C., July 8, 2014 -- The Brazilian military regime employed a "sophisticated and elaborate psychophysical duress system" to "intimidate and terrify" suspected leftist militants in the early 1970s, according to a State Department report dated in April 1973 and made public yesterday. Among the torture techniques used during the military era, the report detailed "special effects" rooms at Brazilian military detention centers in which suspects would be "placed nude" on a metal floor "through which electric current is pulsated." Some suspects were "eliminated" but the press was told they died in "shoot outs" while trying to escape police custody. "The shoot-out technique is being used increasingly," the cable sent by the U.S. Consul General in Rio de Janeiro noted, "in order to deal with the public relations aspect of eliminating subversives," and to "obviate 'death-by-torture' charges in the international press."
Peter Kornbluh who directs the National Security Archive's Brazil Documentation Project called the document "one of the most detailed reports on torture techniques ever declassified by the U.S. government."
Titled "Widespread Arrests and Psychophysical Interrogation of Suspected Subversives," the document was among 43 State Department cables and reports that Vice President Joseph Biden turned over on June 17 to President Dilma Rousseff during his trip to Brazil for the World Cup competition for use by the Brazilian Truth Commission. The Commission is in the final phase of a two-year investigation of human rights atrocities during the military dictatorship which lasted from 1964 to 1985. On July 2, the Commission posted all 43 documents on its website, accompanied by this statement: "The CNV greatly appreciates the initiative of the U.S. government to make these records available to Brazilian society and hopes that this collaboration will continue to progress."
The records range in date from 1967 to 1977. They report on a wide range of human rights-related issues, among them: secret torture detention centers in Sao Paulo, the military's counter-subversion operations, attitudes of the Church on human rights violations, and the regime's hostile reaction in 1977 to the first State Department human rights report on abuses. Some of the documents had been previously declassified under routine release procedures; others, including the April 1973 report on psychophysical torture, were reviewed for declassification as recently as June 5, 2014, in preparation for Biden's trip.
During his meeting with President Rousseff, Biden announced that the Obama administration would undertake a broader review of still highly classified U.S. records on Brazil, among them CIA and Defense Department documents, to assist the Commission in finalizing its report. "I hope that in taking steps to come to grips with our past we can find a way to focus on the immense promise of the future," he noted.
Since the inception of the Truth Commission in May 2012, the National Security Archive has been assisting the Commissioners in obtaining U.S. records for their investigation, and pressing the Obama administration to fulfill its commitment to a new standard of global transparency and the right-to-know by conducting a special, Brazil declassification project on the military era. "Advancing truth, justice and openness is precisely the way these classified U.S. historical records should be used," according to Kornbluh. "Biden's declassified diplomacy will not only assist the Truth Commission in shedding light on the dark past of Brazil's military era, but also create a foundation for a better and more transparent future in U.S.-Brazilian relations."
To call attention to the records and the Truth Commission's work, the Archive is highlighting five key documents from Biden's timely donation.
Check out today's posting at the National Security Archive's website - http://www2.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB478/
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THE NATIONAL SECURITY ARCHIVE is an independent non-governmental research institute and library located at The George Washington University in Washington, D.C. The Archive collects and publishes declassified documents acquired through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). A tax-exempt public charity, the Archive receives no U.S. government funding; its budget is supported by publication royalties and donations from foundations and individuals.