VIDEO: Tortured Law (Welcome to the American doctrine)

Tortured Law, a new 10-minute documentary by Alliance for Justice, examines the role U.S. lawyers played in authorizing torture. Join those calling on Attorney General Eric Holder to release the report of the DOJ Office of Professional Responsibility, and hold accountable those who ordered, designed, and justified torture.

You can join the call by signing Alliance for Justice’s petition: http://ga1.org/campaign/release_tortu…

And by signing up to host a screening in your area: http://www.afj.org/films-and-programs…

SUMMARY OF THE MAIN TERRORIST ACTIONS AGAINST CUBA(1990-2000)

From 1959 on, counterrevolutionary groups created and run by the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) have carried out numerous terrorist activities which have cost our country valuable lives and vast amounts of resources.

Encouraged by the fall of the socialist camp at the beginning of the 90s, these groups intensified their violent actions against the Cuban people and its leaders from US territory and from other bases of operations in Central America.

Below are listed some of the most important of these actions, which are of public domain.

July 17, 1990. Following lobbying by Florida Republican Congresspersons, Ileana Ross and Connie Mack, U.S. President George H. Bush released from jail well-known terrorist Orlando Bosch, the man chiefly responsible for the October 1976 blasting of a Cuban civil airplane in mid-flight, killing all 73 on board.

October 14, 1990. Two armed terrorists sneaked into Santa Cruz del Norte as part of an action concocted in Miami. They had orders to carry out violent actions. Their weapons and false documents supplied in Miami were confiscated. They also carried literature urging people to join what they called “The Cuban Liberation Army” headed by Higinio Díaz Anne who had given them money and propaganda before they set out.

May 15,1991. José Basulto, an ex-Bay of Pigs mercenary and well-known terrorist and CIA agent founded the so-called “Brothers to the Rescue”. He asked U.S. President George H. Bush for three U.S. Air Force type 0-2 planes, the military version of the Cessna which had been used in the war in El Salvador. Congresswoman Ileana Ross started a public campaign and lobbied until the three planes were obtained. A photo of the planes received by this counterrevolutionary group appeared in the press for the first time with a July 19 article by the publisher of the Miami Herald, who flew with Brothers to the Rescue. The letters USAF (United States Air Force) are clearly visible on the planes.

September 17,1991. Two counterrevolutionaries from Miami infiltrated into Cuba. Their mission was to sabotage tourist shops to spread terror among foreign tourists. Their weapons and a radio transmitter were confiscated.

December 29, 1991. Three terrorists from the so-called Commandos L group in Miami entered Cuba illegally. Their weapons and other war materiel were confiscated. These three had received training with 50 or 60 other men in a camp on 168 Street in Miami.

May 8 1992. Cuba files a complaint with the United Nations about terrorist activities organized against its territory. At Cuba’s request, a June 23, 1989 decision of the U.S. Department of Justice is circulated as an official Security Council document. The decision states that Orlando Bosch is banned from entering the U.S. territory because there is substantial proof concerning his past and present terrorist activities, including the 1976 blasting off of a Cuban civil aviation plane in mid-flight.

Today this individual freely walks the streets of Miami after George H. Bush granted him a presidential pardon.

July 4, 1992. A group of terrorists set out from the United States to attack economic targets along the Havana coastline. Once detected by Cuban patrol boats, they moved to waters off Varadero, where U.S. coastguards rescued them after their boat had a mechanical failure.

The FBI released them after the confiscation of weapons, maps and videos made during their journey.

July 1992. An operation to infiltrate an U.S. based terrorist into Cuba with the mission to sabotage an economic target in Villa Clara province failed. He was carrying the weapons and explosives needed for the job and had the assistance of Brothers to the Rescue who kept him informed about the position of the U.S. coastguard to make it easier for him to reach Cuban territory.

September 9, 1992. The FBI for illegal possession of firearms and violation of the Law of Neutrality arrests a Cuban born terrorist. He is released without charges.

October 7, 1992. An armed attack against the Varadero Meliá Hotel is perpetrated from a vessel manned by four Miami terrorists who were later arrested and questioned by the FBI, then released.

October 19, 1992. Three Miami based counterrevolutionaries entered Cuba illegally with plenty of weapons and military equipment that were confiscated. At the same time, three other terrorists were arrested in the Bahamas with weapons and explosives apparently destined for Cuba, which were also seized from them. These terrorists had left Miami on October 17.

January 1993. Five terrorists on board a vessel armed with heavy machine guns and other weapons were arrested by the U.S. coastguard as they were heading toward the Cuban coastline. They were soon released.

January 7, 1993. At a press conference in Miami, Tony Bryant, leader of the terrorist group “Commandos L” announced plans to carry out more attacks against targets in Cuba, especially hotels. He said: “from now on we are at war with Cuba” and warned foreign tourists to “stay away from Cuba.”

April 2, 1993. The tanker ship “Mikonos” sailing under the Cypriot flag was fired on 7 miles north of Matanzas from a vessel crewed by Cuban born, U.S. based terrorists.

May 18, 1993. A violation of Cuban airspace by a plane registered to “Brothers to the Rescue” with the number N8447.

May 21, 1993. Nine terrorists arrested by the U.S. Customs Service on board a vessel as they prepared to sail for Cuba to launch attacks on that country. Their weapons and explosives were seized. On August 21, Judge Lawrence King dismissed charges against them.

May 1993. “Brothers to the Rescue” planned to blow up a high-tension pylon near San Nicolás de Bari in Havana province.

October 1993. “Brothers to the Rescue” publicly encouraged attempts on the life of President Fidel Castro and violence against Cuba. It also confirmed its readiness to accept “the risks that come with doing this”. Andrés Nazario Sargén, head of terrorist group Alpha 66, makes an announcement in the United States that his organization has recently carried out five operations against Cuba.

October 18, 1993. A terrorist living in the United States is arrested on his arrival in Cuba. His orders were to carry out acts of violence on Cuban soil.

November 7, 1993. Humberto Pérez, spokesperson for Alpha 66, said in a press conference in Miami that their war against Cuba would soon be extended to any tourist visiting the island: “We consider anyone staying in a Cuban hotel to be an enemy “, he affirmed.

1993. A Cuban citizen visiting the United States is recruited by a terrorist organization to carry out sabotage in Cuba against the tourism and agricultural sectors. He was supplied with some of the materials needed for such actions and was offered the sum of 20,000 US dollars.

March 11, 1994. A terrorist group from Miami fires on the “Guitart Cayo Coco Hotel.”

April 17, 1994. Planes owned by “Brothers to the Rescue” fly at extremely low altitude over Havana and drop smoke bombs. In the following months of 1994 the same group carried out at least seven other similar violations of Cuba’s airspace.

September 4, 1994. Two U.S. based terrorists infiltrated into the area around Caibarién, Villa Clara, with the aim of carrying out sabotage in that province. A number of weapons and large amounts of military equipment were seized.

October 6, 1994. Another armed group fired automatic weapons at the “Guitart Cayo Coco Hotel” from a boat that set out from Florida.

October 15, 1994. A group of armed terrorists coming from the United States landed on the causeway to “Cayo Santa María” near Caibarién, Villa Clara, and murdered comrade Arcelio Rodríguez García.

October 1994. “Brothers to the Rescue” uses one of its planes to train members of a Florida based counterrevolutionary organization to carry out acts of sabotage on the Cienfuegos oil refinery.

In November of that same year, they also planned to make an attempt on the life of President Fidel Castro and other leaders of the Revolution and to smuggle arms and explosives into Cuba.

November 1994. Terrorist Luis Posada Carriles and five of his accomplices smuggled weapons into Cartagena de Indias, Colombia, during the IV Ibero-American Summit of Heads of State and Government in order to make an attempt on the life of President Fidel Castro. However, the security belt keeps him at a distance thus thwarting his aim. Posada Carriles later told the New York Times: “I was standing behind some journalists and I saw Castro’s friend, García Márquez, but I could only see Castro from a long way away.”

November 11, 1994. Four terrorists were arrested in Varadero, Matanzas. After sneaking into Cuba, they were relieved of weapons and munitions.

March 2, 1995. Two terrorists from the United States sneaked into the coast near Puerto Padre, Las Tunas. They were carrying 51 pounds of C – 4 explosives and other munitions.

April 4, 1995. A C – 337 light plane violates Cuban airspace north of Havana between Santa Fé and Guanabo beach.

May 20, 1995. The “Guitart Cayo Coco Hotel” was once again attacked by terrorists manning a fast launch coming from the United States.

July 12, 1995. Three terrorists were arrested in the United States as they were preparing to sneak into Cuba using an act of provocation just off the Cuban coast as cover. Despite confiscation of their weapons and explosives, U.S. authorities released them.

July 13, 1995. Organized by “Brothers to the Rescue” eleven vessels, six light planes and two helicopters coming from the United States enter Cuban territorial waters and airspace. One of the light planes flew over the heart of Havana and dropped propaganda material.

December 16, 1995. Two terrorists were arrested in the United States as they readied to sneak into Cuba through Pinar del Río to carry out subversive actions. Despite confiscation of their weapons and explosive, U.S. authorities released them.

January 9, 1996. Two light planes departing from Opa-locka airport in Florida violated Cuban airspace.

January 12, 1996. A Cuban immigrant living in the United States was arrested while trying to transport explosives from the City of Havana to Pinar del Río.

January 13, 1996. Several “Brothers to the Rescue” planes violated Cuban airspace over the City of Havana. Later, terrorist Basulto said: “They say I was flying over Cuban airspace, something everybody knows and which I have never denied.”

January 23, 1996. U.S. authorities intercepted a vessel in Marathon Key with five armed terrorists on board. It was headed for Cuba. The FBI released the five that same day.

February 11, 1996. After firing on our coastline, a vessel coming from the United States carrying three terrorists was captured by the Cuban a cost guard patrol.

February 24, 1996. “Brothers to the Rescue” launched a new foray. Three light planes violated Cuban airspace over the heart of Havana and two of them were shot down. In the 20 months prior to this incident there had been at least 25 other violations of Cuban airspace.

June 26, 1996. At a session of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the Chairman of the Investigating Committee acknowledges that at least one of the “Brothers to the Rescue” planes in Opa-locka airport still has the insignia of the U.S. Air Force on it: “the ‘F’ is a little pale, it looks as if it is beginning to fade, but you can still see it”.

August 21, 1996. An U.S. citizen is arrested in Cuba. He had clandestinely brought military equipment into the country and was planning to carry out terrorist actions on Cuban soil.

September 16, 1996. A person is arrested who was sneaking into Cuba through Punta Alegre, Ciego de Ávila, on a boat carrying weapons and a great deal of military equipment.

21 October 1996. An SS-RR light plane, registration number N3093M owned by the U.S. State Department sprays a substance containing the pest “Thrip Palmi Karny” as it flies over the “Girón” international corridor about 25-30 kilometers south of Varadero.

November 1996. Miami television channel 23 carried a live interview with Luis Posada Carriles and Orlando Bosch where they stressed their intentions of continuing with their terrorist activities against Cuba.

April 12, 1997. An explosive device was detonated in the “Meliá Cohíba” Hotel in the City of Havana.

April 30, 1997. Discovery of an explosive device in the “Meliá Cohíba” Hotel.

July 12, 1997. Bombs blasted in the “Capri” and “National” hotels.

August 4, 1997. Another bomb exploded in the “Meliá Cohíba” Hotel.

August 11, 1997. The Miami press published a statement from the Cuban American National Foundation (CANF) giving unconditional support to the terrorist bomb attacks against civilian and tourist targets in Cuba. The chairman of this organization claimed: “We do not think of these as terrorist actions” and went on to say that any action against Cuba was legitimate.

August 22, 1997. Bomb exploded in the “Sol Palmeras” Hotel in Varadero.

September 4, 1997. Several bombs exploded in the “Tritón”, “Chateau Miramar” and “Copacabana” hotels. The explosion in the latter killed young Italian tourist Fabio Di Celmo. On that same day another bomb exploded at “La Bodeguita del Medio ” restaurant.

September 10, 1997. The Cuban Government announced the arrest of Salvadoran national Raúl Cruz León, the person responsible of placing six of the bombs that exploded in various hotels in the Cuban capital, including the one that killed Italian tourist Fabio Di Celmo. Cruz León admitted that he had been paid 4,500 US dollars for each bomb.

October 19, 1997. An explosive device was found in a tourist van.

October 27, 1997. The U.S. Coastguard arrested a vessel West of Puerto Rico. They confiscated 2 high velocity rifles .50 caliber with their tripods, night vision gear, and military uniforms and communications equipment. These sophisticated weapons, strictly military in nature, are designed for long-range attacks on vehicles and aircraft. One of those on the vessel said that his aim was to assassinate President Fidel Castro when he arrived on Margarita Island, Venezuela, on November 7, 1997 to attend the Ibero-American Summit.

U.S. authorities found that the vessel was registered by a Florida company whose chief executive officer, manager, secretary and treasurer is José Antonio Llama, a director of the CANF and a Bay of Pigs mercenary.

One of the guns was registered in the name of José Francisco “Pepe” Hernández, CANF co-chairman. A member of Brigade 2506 had bought the other in 1994.

The four crew members on the vessel were identified as: a well-known CIA agent; the captain of a CIA boat used by Florida infiltration teams sneaking into Cuba; the chairman of a New Jersey counterrevolutionary group and a member of Alpha 66.

Despite their confessions and clear proof of the illegal possession of arms, false testimony and arms smuggling, these terrorists were acquitted by a Federal court of law in December 1999 after a rigged trial.

October 30, 1997. Discovery of an explosive device in a kiosk outside terminal 2 at the “José Martí” International Airport in the City of Havana. Two men originally from El Salvador and three originally from Guatemala would later be arrested for crimes against tourist facilities. They all were linked with terrorist Luis Posada Carriles.

November 16, 1997. Following a two months investigation, a Florida newspaper reported that the series of bomb explosions in Havana were bankrolled and directed by Miami anti-Cuban groups and that Luis Posada Carriles, a fugitive from justice for having blown up a Cuban plane in 1976, was at the heart of the operation.

May 1998. Two terrorists sneaked into Santa Lucía, Pinar del Río. They had set out from the United States with a great deal of weapons and war materiel.

June 16, 1998. After several meetings in which the Cuban Government gave information to the FBI and other U.S. Government agencies about terrorist activities concocted in the United States against Cuba, an official U.S. delegation traveled to Havana including two of FBI top brass, which was given precise details, even films, recordings and other material evidence on the activities of 40 terrorists who operated out of the United States.

July 12, 1998. An article in The New York Times for this date published statements by Cuban American Antonio Jorge Alvarez concerning the fact that the FBI had not investigated information he had volunteered related to an attempt on the life of President Fidel Castro that was being planned for the Ibero-American Summit in Venezuela. Alvarez claimed that the previous year he had provided information that Posada Carriles, and a group working in his factory in Guatemala, were preparing this attempt and the bomb explosions in Havana: “I risked my business and my life and they did nothing,” he said.

July 12 and 13, 1998. In an interview with The New York Times, Luis Posada Carriles admitted to having organized the bomb campaign against Cuban tourist centers. He also acknowledged that the leaders of the CANF had bankrolled his operations and that its chairman Jorge Mas Canosa was personally in charge of overseeing the flow of funds and logistic support to those operations: “Jorge Mas Canosa controlled everything, whenever I needed money he would say that he would give me 5 0000, 10 000, even 15 000 and he did.”

Posada also admitted to having paid Raúl Cruz León for placing the bombs in Havana hotels. Referring to the Italian tourist killed by one of those bombs, he told the Times: “… he was sitting in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

In compiling these reports, the Times used CIA and FBI files, testimony from more than 100 people and more than 13 hours of recorded interviews with Posada Carriles and even documents signed by him.

July 23, 1998. The Miami press published an article entitled “In the United States anti-Castro plots rarely lead to jail”. The article mentions several cases, such as the 1990 acquittal of 6 terrorists who took guns and other weapons to Nicaragua for an attempt on the life of the Cuban President. It also mentions the Rodolfo Frómeta and Fausto Marimóm’s 1994 acquittals of charges of planning to use Stinger antiaircraft missiles and other weapons in terrorist attacks. The article quotes statements too from well-known terrorist Tony Bryant who said that in 1989 the FBI stopped him in a boat loaded with weapons and explosives and they let him go. He added that he had been intercepted in two of his 14 missions against Cuba, but they never did anything to him.

August 2, 1998. Posada Carriles, in an interview for the program Opposing Points of View for CBS news, said that he intended to launch more attacks on Cuban facilities, either inside or outside the island.

August 1998. Even before President Fidel Castro’s announcement that he would attend the Summit of Heads of State and Government of CARIFORUM in the Dominican Republic, several Cuban born terrorists had planned an attempt on his life to be carried out some time between August 20 and 25.

To that end, terrorist Posada Carriles arranged a meeting in the Guatemala City Holiday Inn Hotel one month before the summit to plan how to get weapons and explosives into Santo Domingo.

September 12 1998. Five Cuban patriots were arrested in Miami who were defending both Cuban and U.S. citizens from the terrorist actions which, with total impunity, are organized, prepared and launched against Cuba from the United States territory.

November 17, 2000. A group of terrorists headed by Posada Carriles was arrested in Panama. They had entered Panama with false documents to make an attempt on the life of President Fidel Castro during the X Ibero American Summit of Heads of State and Government. Their weapons, explosives and a sketch of Castro’s route and public meetings were seized from them. The Cuban American National Foundation is paying for the team of lawyers defending the terrorists.

April 26, 2001. Three terrorists of the Commandos Groups F-45 and Alpha 66 tried to land on the north coast of Villa Clara province and, after firing shots at Cuban coastguard troops who had spotted them, were taken prisoner. Four AKM rifles, one M-3 rifle with a silencer, 3 hand guns, a great deal of materiel, night vision equipment and communications equipment were confiscated to them, all of which they intended to use to carry out sabotage and terrorist actions on Cuban soil.

In addition to the plots listed above, our authorities learned of 16 other plots to assassinate the President of Cuba, 8 plots to try to kill other leaders of the Revolution and 140 other terrorist plots hatched between 1990 and 2001. These were foiled, discouraged or prevented by the work of the Cuban Security and Intelligence Services.

Syria accuses US of deadly raid

Syria has accused the United States of killing at least eight people in a helicopter raid in the country’s east, close to the border with Iraq.

The government condemned the act as “serious aggression” and summoned the senior US and Iraqi envoys to Damascus to protest against the raid, the Syrian Arab news agency (Sana) reported on Sunday.

A US military official speaking on condition of anonymity told The Associated Press in Washington that the raid by US special forces were targeting al-Qaeda-linked foreign fighters moving through Syria into Iraq.

“We are taking matters into our own hands,” AP quoted him as saying.

Syrian state television said American helicopters raided the village of Sukariya, which lies 550km northeast of Damascus, before flying back towards Iraqi territory.

“Four American helicopters violated Syrian airspace around 4:45pm local time [13:45 GMT] on Sunday,” state television and Sana news agency reported.

During the raids, two of the helicopters landed and dropped off eight US soldiers, who then entered a house, Syrian media reported.

“American soldiers … attacked a civilian building under construction and fired at workmen inside, causing eight deaths,” the reports said.

Children killed

The government said civilians were among the dead, including four children.

“Syria condemns this aggression and holds the American forces responsible for this aggression and all its repercussions”

Syrian government statement
“Syria condemns this aggression and holds the American forces responsible for this aggression and all its repercussions. Syria also calls on the Iraqi government to shoulder its responsibilities and launch and immediate investigation into this serious violation and prevent the use of Iraqi territory for aggression against Syria,” a government statement said.

Since the 2003 invasion of Iraq, there have been some instances in which American troops crossed areas of the 600-km border in pursuit of fighters, or aircraft violating Syria’s airspace.

But Sunday’s raid, if confirmed, would be the first conducted by aircraft and on such a large scale.

Akram Hameed, one of the injured who said he was fishing in the Euphrates river, told Syrian television he saw four helicopters coming from the border area under a heavy blanket of fire.

“One of the helicopters landed in an agricultural area and eight members disembarked,” the man in his 40s said. “The firing lasted about 15 minutes and when I tried to leave the area on my motorcycle, I was hit by a bullet in the right arm about 20 metres away,” he said.

Syria TV showed what it said was the injured wife of the building’s guard, in bed in hospital with a tube in her nose, saying that two helicopters landed and two remained in the air during the attack.

US reaction

The alleged attack came just days after the commander of US forces in western Iraq said American troops were redoubling efforts to secure the Syrian border, which he called an “uncontrolled” gateway for fighters entering Iraq.

US Major-General John Kelly said on Thursday that Iraq’s western borders with Saudi Arabia and Jordan were fairly tight as a result of good policing by security forces in those countries but that Syria was a “different story”.

IN VIDEO

US raid on Syrian soil
“The Syrian side is, I guess, uncontrolled by their side,” Kelly said. “We still have a certain level of foreign fighter movement.”

However, Lieutenant-Colonel Chris Hughes, a spokesman for US forces in western Iraq, said the US division that operates on the Iraqi side of the border was not involved in Sunday’s incident.

A Pentagon spokesman in Washington said he had no immediate information on the reported strike but would check further while the White House and CIA declined to comment.

The US and the US-backed Iraqi government frequently say Damascus is not doing enough to stop anti-US fighters, including those from al-Qaeda, from crossing the border into Iraq.

The area targeted by Sunday’s raid lies close to the Iraqi border city of Qaim, which in the past has been a crossing point for fighters, weapons and money used to fuel the armed Sunni opposition against Iraq’s Shia-led government.

Thabet Salem, a political analyst, told Al Jazeera that the US had appeared to have taken the building workers for infiltrators.

“The Syrian government will be very worried because from the beginning of the Iraq war in 2003 until now, nothing has happened [in Syria]. There have maybe been a few cases, but nothing like eight people killed inside Syria,” he said.

“It will raise questions as to why this is happening at this moment – towards the end of the current US administration.

“Syria has deployed large numbers [of security staff] and they have checkpoints every four kilometres along the border. The Syrians have, according to my information, stopped five or six thousand people trying to cross the Syria-Iraq border throughout the last few years.”

Iraq security

The raid comes 10 days after Iraqi forces arrested seven Syrian “terrorist” suspects at a checkpoint near the city of Baquba, a base for al-Qaeda fighters, the Iraqi government said.

But last month, Jalal Talabani, Iraq’s president, told his US counterpart George Bush that Iran and Syria no longer pose a problem to Iraqi security.

Syria’s first ambassador to Iraq in 26 years took up his post in Baghdad this month, bringing more than two decades of discord between the nations to an end.

In September, Condoleezza Rice, the US secretary of state, said she had met Walid Muallem, Syria’s foreign minister, to discuss Middle East peace efforts.

Syrian and American diplomats said the talks touched on Iraq, Lebanon and Middle East peace negotiations.

Ref: Al Jazeera

Exposing the Un-Democratic Face of Capitalism

The simultaneous unfolding of the US presidential campaign and unraveling of the financial markets presents one of those occasions where the political and economic systems starkly reveal their nature.

Passion about the campaign may not be universally shared but almost everybody can feel the anxiety from the foreclosure of a million homes, and concerns about jobs, savings and healthcare at risk.

The initial Bush proposals to deal with the crisis so reeked of totalitarianism that they were quickly modified. Under intense lobbyist pressure, they were reshaped as “a clear win for the largest institutions in the system . . . a way of dumping assets without having to fail or close”, as described by James Rickards, who negotiated the federal bailout for the hedge fund Long Term Capital Management in 1998, reminding us that we are treading familiar turf. The immediate origins of the current meltdown lie in the collapse of the housing bubble supervised by Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan, which sustained the struggling economy through the Bush years by debt-based consumer spending along with borrowing from abroad. But the roots are deeper. In part they lie in the triumph of financial liberalisation in the past 30 years – that is, freeing the markets as much as possible from government regulation.

These steps predictably increased the frequency and depth of severe reversals, which now threaten to bring about the worst crisis since the Great Depression.

Also predictably, the narrow sectors that reaped enormous profits from liberalisation are calling for massive state intervention to rescue collapsing financial institutions.

Such interventionism is a regular feature of state capitalism, though the scale today is unusual. A study by international economists Winfried Ruigrok and Rob van Tulder 15 years ago found that at least 20 companies in the Fortune 100 would not have survived if they had not been saved by their respective governments, and that many of the rest gained substantially by demanding that governments “socialise their losses,” as in today’s taxpayer-financed bailout. Such government intervention “has been the rule rather than the exception over the past two centuries”, they conclude.

In a functioning democratic society, a political campaign would address such fundamental issues, looking into root causes and cures, and proposing the means by which people suffering the consequences can take effective control.

The financial market “underprices risk” and is “systematically inefficient”, as economists John Eatwell and Lance Taylor wrote a decade ago, warning of the extreme dangers of financial liberalisation and reviewing the substantial costs already incurred – and proposing solutions, which have been ignored. One factor is failure to calculate the costs to those who do not participate in transactions. These “externalities” can be huge. Ignoring systemic risk leads to more risk-taking than would take place in an efficient economy, even by the narrowest measures.

The task of financial institutions is to take risks and, if well-managed, to ensure that potential losses to themselves will be covered. The emphasis is on “to themselves”. Under state capitalist rules, it is not their business to consider the cost to others – the “externalities” of decent survival – if their practices lead to financial crisis, as they regularly do.

Financial liberalisation has effects well beyond the economy. It has long been understood that it is a powerful weapon against democracy. Free capital movement creates what some have called a “virtual parliament” of investors and lenders, who closely monitor government programmes and “vote” against them if they are considered irrational: for the benefit of people, rather than concentrated private power.

Investors and lenders can “vote” by capital flight, attacks on currencies and other devices offered by financial liberalisation. That is one reason why the Bretton Woods system established by the United States and Britain after the second World War instituted capital controls and regulated currencies.*

The Great Depression and the war had aroused powerful radical democratic currents, ranging from the anti-fascist resistance to working class organisation. These pressures made it necessary to permit social democratic policies. The Bretton Woods system was designed in part to create a space for government action responding to public will – for some measure of democracy.

John Maynard Keynes, the British negotiator, considered the most important achievement of Bretton Woods to be the establishment of the right of governments to restrict capital movement.

In dramatic contrast, in the neoliberal phase after the breakdown of the Bretton Woods system in the 1970s, the US treasury now regards free capital mobility as a “fundamental right”, unlike such alleged “rights” as those guaranteed by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights: health, education, decent employment, security and other rights that the Reagan and Bush administrations have dismissed as “letters to Santa Claus”, “preposterous”, mere “myths”.

In earlier years, the public had not been much of a problem. The reasons are reviewed by Barry Eichengreen in his standard scholarly history of the international monetary system. He explains that in the 19th century, governments had not yet been “politicised by universal male suffrage and the rise of trade unionism and parliamentary labour parties”. Therefore, the severe costs imposed by the virtual parliament could be transferred to the general population.

But with the radicalisation of the general public during the Great Depression and the anti-fascist war, that luxury was no longer available to private power and wealth. Hence in the Bretton Woods system, “limits on capital mobility substituted for limits on democracy as a source of insulation from market pressures”.

The obvious corollary is that after the dismantling of the postwar system, democracy is restricted. It has therefore become necessary to control and marginalise the public in some fashion, processes particularly evident in the more business-run societies like the United States. The management of electoral extravaganzas by the public relations industry is one illustration.

“Politics is the shadow cast on society by big business,” concluded America’s leading 20th century social philosopher John Dewey, and will remain so as long as power resides in “business for private profit through private control of banking, land, industry, reinforced by command of the press, press agents and other means of publicity and propaganda”.

The United States effectively has a one-party system, the business party, with two factions, Republicans and Democrats. There are differences between them. In his study Unequal Democracy: The Political Economy of the New Gilded Age, Larry Bartels shows that during the past six decades “real incomes of middle-class families have grown twice as fast under Democrats as they have under Republicans, while the real incomes of working-poor families have grown six times as fast under Democrats as they have under Republicans”.

Differences can be detected in the current election as well. Voters should consider them, but without illusions about the political parties, and with the recognition that consistently over the centuries, progressive legislation and social welfare have been won by popular struggles, not gifts from above.

Those struggles follow a cycle of success and setback. They must be waged every day, not just once every four years, always with the goal of creating a genuinely responsive democratic society, from the voting booth to the workplace.

Note

* The Bretton Woods system of global financial management was created by 730 delegates from all 44 Allied second World War nations who attended a UN-hosted Monetary and Financial Conference at the Mount Washington Hotel in Bretton Woods in New Hampshire in 1944.

Bretton Woods, which collapsed in 1971, was the system of rules, institutions, and procedures that regulated the international monetary system, under which were set up the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) (now one of five institutions in the World Bank Group) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which came into effect in 1945.

The chief feature of Bretton Woods was an obligation for each country to adopt a monetary policy that maintained the exchange rate of its currency within a fixed value.

The system collapsed when the US suspended convertibility from dollars to gold. This created the unique situation whereby the US dollar became the “reserve currency” for the other countries within Bretton Woods.

Ref: Counterpunch By NOAM CHOMSKY

This column originally appeared in the Irish Times.

US Meltdown – USA + Death of the American Dream? (empire bye bye) + New world order


On the other side…

The global financial machine has ground perilously close to a halt. This timely film explores what went wrong with economic globalisation. How could the financial world have miscalculated so badly?
We chart financial liberalisation in East Asia, privatisation in Latin America, the reckless transition to capitalism in Russia and Chinas more cautious evolution to a market economy. Our vision of the economy is a caring economy, an economy where the State has to be the fundamental engine, not the market explains economic reformer President Hugo Chavez. We ask whether the policies of lending institutions like the IMF have exacerbated financial crises, as its rescue packages have ended up servicing bank debt. Of course these packages end up rescuing private lenders from the consequences of their own actions, admits economist Paul Krugman, echoing concerns about bailout loans.

Gulf of Tonkin – “War Made Easy”



We all knew this as it happend.
American history is the very evidence of the aggression spuring from
this nation. Today the hegemony is in recession and the world should
be celebrating as the rotten root is decreasing into internal decay.

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American Hegemony – the timeline A must read!

The US maintains to this day over a dozen direct dependencies, the largest of which is Puerto Rico. Its military forces are active over most of the globe: at last audit about 226 countries have US military troops, 63 of which host American bases, while only 46 countries in the world have no US military presence – a projection of military power that makes the Roman, British, and Soviet empires pale in comparison. The bulk of this document will deal with what is alternatively referred to as “neo-colonialism”, “hegemony”, “proxy rule”, or “informal empire”: roughly, a system of “dual elite” political rule, in which domestic elites (the proxy) recieve backing from (are dependent on – to varying degrees) a foreign elite, and in return protect (to varying degrees) the foreign power’s interests in the country (security, economic, or domestic political interests). This is, at least, the framework within which I use the terms – as it is generally accepted by students of history. To take an explanation cited by Ariel Cohen as “One of the more successful attempts made to create a coherent theory of empires” in Russian Imperialism:

“Empire is a relationship, formal or informal, in which one state controls the effective political sovereignty of another political society. It can be achieved by force, by political collaboration, by economic, social, or cultural dependence. Imperialism is simply the process or policy of establishing or maintaining an empire.”
–Michael Doyle, Empires
As a point of reference formal American imperialism begins (or not – one would have to completely ignore the genocide of the native population, African and Native-American slavery, rapid and continuous expansion of the national borders through war, rapid and continuous expansion of mercantilism through war and the threat of war, the ethnic cleansing of indigenous peoples, the mid 1800s mercantilist state established in Nicaragua, etc.) with the aquisition of Cuba, Puerto Rico, Guam and the Phillipines after the Spanish-American War of 1898. It’s a good point to remember how that war started: part hoax, part sensationalized, war mongering “journalism”, and of course much talk about the brutality of the enemy and the necessity of our intervention on behalf of the suffering – in this case on behalf of the Cubans and their savage treatment at the hands of the tyrannical Spaniards: much better for them to suffer at our hands.

Old habits die hard.

For the sake of what has become a very very poor attempt at brevity, or in recognition of the precedent set by the Nuremberg Tribunal and principles laid out under the UN charter, these notes will mostly focus on post-WWII history – though it would seem imperative to include interventions that fly in the face of the popular misconception that the United States ended its imperial project at the end of the Spanish-American war. There were military involvements during the 1890s by the USG in Argentina, Chile, Haiti, Hawaii, Nicaragua, China, Korea, Panama, Samoa, in extremely brutal labour conflicts within the nation, and something akin to a war on working Americans waged by the National Association of Manufacturers that will otherwise go undiscussed. The Phillipines makes a decent representative example of the US’ first official exercise in colonial imperialism and formal empire [*], also referred to as “civilizational imperialism” – a project we’re presently repeating.

“Lest this seem to be the bellicose pipedream of some dyspeptic desk soldier, let us remember that the military deal of our country has never been defensive warfare. Since the Revolution, only the United Kingdom has beaten our record for square miles of territory acquired by military conquest. Our exploits against the American Indian, against the Filipinos, the Mexicans, and against Spain are on a par with the campaigns of Genghis Khan, the Japanese in Manchuria and the African attack of Mussolini. No country has ever declared war on us before we first obliged them with that gesture. Our whole history shows we have never fought a defensive war. And at the rate our armed forces are being implemented at present, the odds are against our fighting one in the near future.”
–Major General Smedley D. Butler, America’s Armed Forces: ‘In Time of Peace’, 1935.


1898-1914: The Phillipines
1903-1936: Panama
1904-1978: Dominican Republic
1915-1934: Haiti
1912-1979: Nicaragua
1917-1920: Russian Civil War
1932-1972: The Tuskegee Syphilis Study
1936-1958: America
1940: The McCollum Memo.
1942-1945: Japanese-American internment.
1945-1974: Greece.
1945-1960s: China. Tibet. Taiwan.
1945-1952: South Korean Occupation, Cheju Island, the Korean War
1945-1994: Vietnam: “Remember! Only you can prevent forests.”
1945-Present: Projection of American Nuclear Power
1946-1954: Phillipines
1946-1996: Marshall Islands.
1949-1961: Burma
1948-1976: Italy.
1948-1956: Peru
1949: Syria
1949-1953: Ukraine
1949-1976: Thailand
1950-?: Congress for Cultural Freedom/International Association for Cultural Freedom
1950: Puerto Rico
1950s-1970s: United States
1950-1975: Spain
1952-1959: Cuba
1952-1992: South Korea
1953: Costa Rica
1953-1979: Iran
1950-1952: Albania
1950-1952: Poland
1950s: Japan
1953: Segue: explosion of the first Russian hydrogen bomb; Destalinization begins; the McCarthy Era
1953-1996: Guatemala
1954-1965: Pakistan
1955-1958: Indonesia – Operation HAIK
1956-1976: Jordan
957-1975: Laos.
1957-1986: Haiti
1957: Syria
1958-1973: Cambodia
1958: Lebanon
1959: Iraq
1959-Present: Cuba
1960-1963: Ecuador
1960-Present: Congo
1961-Present: Diego Garcia
1962: Brazil
1962-Present: Guyana
1962-1975: Paraguay
1962-1977: Chile
1962-1989: South Africa
1962-1979: The Enemy of Communists are Islamic Fundamentalists are Our Kind of Bastards
1963-1979: Iraq *
1964: Brazil
1964: Panama
1963-1994: Malawi
1964-1971: Uruguay
1965-1987: Phillipines – the Democratizing Virtues of “Constitutional Authoritarianism”
1965: Indonesia.
1966-1967: Guatemala
1966: Ghana
1967: Bolivia; Assassination of Ernesto Guevara
1967: Detroit, Michigan
1968: El Salvador
1968-2000: Peru
1970s: Mexico
1971: Pakistan East and West, or ‘Don’t squeeze Yahya’ [*] [*]
1971: Uganda
1971-1978: Bolivia
1972: Philippines
USG backs overthrow of Philippine republic.
1972-1976: Ecuador
1973: Oman
1973-Present: The “War on Drugs”
1973: Uruguay
1973-1978: Afghanistan
1974: Pine Ridge, South Dakota
1974-1976: Portugal
1974-Present: The Navajo-Hopi Land Settlement Act
1975: Australia
1975-1992: Angola
1975-1999: East Timor: the Indonesian Occupation
1975-?: US backs the Khmer Rouge.
1975-Present: Morocco
1976: Operation CONDOR
Plan CONDOR, Part Deux
1976-1980: Jamaica
1976-1984: Mozambique
1976-1983: Argentina
1977-1978: Ethiopia; Somalia; the Ogaden Swap
1978-2002: Kenya
July 3, 1979-1989: Afghanistan, Pakistan, Operation CYCLONE
1979: Greensboro Massacre.
1979-2001: Sudan
1979-1990: Nicaragua, “The Threat of a Good Example.”
1980s: Iran-Contra; the CIA and the Crack Trade
1980s: Romania
1980: Grenada
1980: Guyana. Fun with FOIA.
1980-1992: El Salvador
1980-1989: Liberia [2]
1962 and 1980.
1980: The Nojeh Coup and the origins of the Iraq-Iran war.
1980-1988: The Gulf War, Genocide of the Kurds
1980-Present: Turkey
Turkey becomes a long-running top recipient of US foreign military aid shortly after the 1980 coup, upon which time the new regime passes several laws banning cultural and literary expression of Kurdish identity: the Kurdish language becomes illegal, as were Kurdish broadcasts, publications, and other means of cultural expression – everything down to Kurdish first names (until August 2002, when such restrictions began being lifted with some relationship to reality under European pressure, though still not much).
Out from under the harsh state repression a Kurish seperatist movement forms in 1984, which the Turkish government duly attempts to wipe out with violence. Throughout the conflict, which by any standard is an explicit campaign of outright cultural genocide, Turkey remains a top recipient of US military support. In fact military aid escalates through the counter-insurgency campaign, in which some of the most brutal tactics are largely dependent on lethal resources generously delivered by the USG.

The war against Kurdish society and the PKK forcibly evacuated anywhere between 500,000 to 2,000,000 Kurds and killed over 30,000; Turkish military razed entire villages as part of the force evacuation program, burning nearly all Kurdish villages in southeast Turkey to the ground by the end of the campaign. Uncritical, unconditional support for Turkey continued despite ongoing political repression and numerous human rights abuses, including the use of torture, “virginity exams”, and racist governmental policies.

The PKK in the meantime has the onerous distinction of being considered freedom fighters when in Iraq and terrorists when in Turkey, demonstrating once again Western politicians’ inability to just call an indigenous nationalist movement an indigenous nationalist movement.

After the capture of the PKK’s top leader the conflict diminished in intensity, but the conflict remains largely unsettled in terms of general Turkish repression of the Kurdish population.

Human Rights Watch: Turkey: Weapons Transfers and Violations of International Law, 1995
1981: Libya
Two Libyan jets shot down in 1981. Evidence of CIA involvement dates back to the early 70s and extends into the late 90s.
1982-84: Lebanon
1982-84 marines expel PLO and back Phalangists and Navy bombs and shells Muslim positions.
1982-1990: Chad
1982: Guatemala
1982-1983: Surinam ^
1983: Guatemala
1983: Grenada
1984-1990: Honduras
1986: Libya
1987: Fiji ^
1987: Bolivia
1988-1989: Panama [*]
1988-Present: Columbia
1989: Libya
1989: Phillipines
1989-1994: Afghanistan.
1990: Segue: Collapse of the Soviet Union
1991: Gulf War II – The Empire Strikes Back.
1991: Kuwait, or “Liberate this!”
1991-2003: Iraq Sanctions, Disarmament, and Bombing
1991-?: De-Industrialization of Russia
1992-95: Balkans
1992: Los Angeles, California.
1992-1994: Somalia, or “Defense Contractor Job Security”
1992: Algeria
1993: Waco: “Crush Satan, Crush Satan”.
1993-2006: Central Asia – The New Friendly Dictators
1994: Rwanda
1995: Croatia
1995: Bosnia
1995-Present: Mexico: Chiapas, Mexico
1998: Sudan
1998: Nicaragua.
1998-Present: Indonesia/East Timor (continued)
2002-Present: Iraq – ‘The attack has been spectacular.’
2004-Present: Somalia – The Hard Power of Reverse Psychology
2006-Present: Iran
Present: The New Colonialism – US Military Cities Abroad
1944-Present: The US government tries to erase its own history.
1950-Present: The IMF, World Bank, GATS, FTAA, NAFTA, WTO, etc.
10/2001-Present: US campaign in Afghanistan. You Too Can Make a Desert and Call It Peace.
4/2002: Venezuela.
School of the Americas: Now the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation – an old dog with a new name.
2001-Present: Haiti [* *]

Ref: Flagrancy

Intresting? Then follow the american colonialism thread …
Further reading:

Empire’s Workshop, Greg Grandin.
Legacy of Ashes, Tim Weiner.
Hope and Memory, 1801-2004.
CCR: The Complete 9/11 Timeline
US Foreign Policy in the Periphery: 30 case studies.
PeaceWorks: Backgrounder on the current crisis
The Acts of Democracies, 1945-Present.
US Uses of Force 1870-1995 [pdf].
US Crimes in Africa.
CIA Death Squad Timeline compiled by Ralph McGehee.
US Interventions in the Middle East – A Timeline.
McGehee: CIA Death Squad Timeline
A list of covert US operations, prepared by “Tom Gervasi of the Center for Military Research and Analysis in 1984”.
FAS: Coldwar and US Military Interventions.
Zmag: Timeline of US Policy in the Middle East, US military interventions.
Blum: US Assassination Plots. Read a fairly full accounting of disservices to the nation: Killing Hope. I haven’t yet, but you should.
American Peace
US Intervention in the Middle East
US Labor Timeline
Instances of Use of United States Forces Abroad, 1798 – 1993
imperial stats

Further resources:
American Studies Resources.
1975 Congressional Church Interim Report.
Cold War International History Project.