Oligarchical topography of Ukraine. Andrei Fursov


Publicado em 26/04/2014
Many domestic and foreign interests coincided to create the Banderite coup d’état in Ukraine. Andrei Fursov, historian and sociologist, explains who needed what out of Ukraine and how the events of 2014 had been in the making for years. Also how Russia has been the target of the Western elite for 200 years, the disastrous Gorbachev & Yeltsin period, when Russia’s assets were given away, and the Rubicon that has been crossed by Russia’s defense of Syria and Crimea, which begins a new era of adversarial relations between the West and Russia

RT: ‘Last thing US wants in the world is democracy. It wants control’


Publicado em 28/04/2014
The crisis in Ukraine and the steadily dropping temperature in relations between Moscow and Washington made many talk about a new Cold War; and many others are worried it may turn ‘hot’. But there’s another war going on right now: the information war. US Secretary of State Kerry has already attacked RT, calling it “Putin’s propaganda machine.” But Washington itself uses dubious evidence and fake facts. What is the information war? What methods is America using? Sophie talks to Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and veteran correspondent Chris Hedges

Overthrowing Governments 101, CIA Coups


Publicado em 26/04/2012
The United States government has a long history of coup making around the world. With our guest, author and former New York Times Bureau Chief Stephen Kinzer, we take a detailed look at the American overthrow of governments in Iran 1953, Guatemala 1954 and Chile 1973. In examining these coups, we learn the tried and true techniques employed by governments to destabilize and bring down foreign governments. We, also, examine the corporate interests which typically provide the impetus for coups.

Mr. Kinzer is the author of “Overthrow”, a history of 14 American coups ranging from Hawaii in 1893 to Iraq in 2003. He is, also, the author of “All the Shah’s Men, An American Coup and the Roots of Middle East Terror” and co-author of “Bitter Fruit: The Untold Story of the American Coup in Guatemala.”

Note: This YouTube production is based on an edition of the nationally broadcast radio series “History Counts”, now called “In Context”.

About “In Context”
In Context is broadcast on listener sponsored, non-commercial radio WPKN 89.5 FM, Bridgeport, Connecticut. The broadcast can be heard in most of Connecticut and parts of New York. Programs stream at http://www.wpkn.org and are archived after broadcast at http://www.incontextreport.com for free listening and download. Please visit our website for the current broadcast schedule, audio podcasts, videos and original articles.

History Counts and In Context are produced by MDR Productions, Inc. This YouTube edition of History Counts was created for MDR Productions by Ken MacDermotRoe.

Federalism holds the key to democracy in India

Federalism holds the key to democracy in India

What will save India from the toxic juggernaut of the BJP leader Narendra Modi is that it doesn’t have a presidential system
Supporters of Narendra Modi, the PM candidate for BJP, during a rally for the 2014 general elections

Narendra Modi supporters. ‘Indians continue to vote in high numbers because of pride in having secured the ballot through the freedom movement.’ Photograph: Ahmad Masood/Reuters

India’s elections are a statistician’s dream. Between 7 April and 12 May the Indian people will elect their 16th parliament (Lok Sabha). About 814 million of them are eligible to vote, 100 million more than for the previous parliamentary election in 2009. If about half of this population goes to the polls – the average turnout – then these 400 million voters will outnumber the total population of the US.

In 1952, when India elected its first parliament, the election commissioner Sukumar Sen called it “the biggest experiment in democracy in human history“. His judgment holds true today: the scale of the endeavour is remarkable and the enthusiasm of the population to elect their representatives is exemplary – particularly since the gains to the vast majority seem minimal. Indians continue to vote in high numbers because of pride in having secured the ballot through the freedom movement, the immense social pressure often exercised through caste and community channels, and the way in which resources are distributed by the electoral victor.

The incumbent for this election is the Congress Party-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA), which has been wracked by scandal and malaise. The UPA resembles an old shaggy dog that drifts in from the rain with its election manifesto dragged behind it like a wet blanket. Little about the UPA’s decade in office inspires confidence: the situation for the poor remains miserable, with a recent study showing that 680 million Indians experience deprivation; no number of malls and freeways will lift them out of poverty. Increasingly, the UPA appears as the alliance of the well-heeled elite – less Gandhiji and Nehruji, the wags say, and more 2G (the telecom scandal) and CWG (the Commonwealth Games scandal). Its standard bearer, Rahul Gandhi, is the scion of the Gandhi family but without the charisma and intelligence of his grandmother (Indira Gandhi) and grandfather (Jawaharlal Nehru). His is a pitiful task.

India’s main opposition over this decade has been the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA), a right-leaning group with a muscular and controversial leader, Narendra Modi. On economic issues the BJP and the Congress are identical, although the former says it will provide governance without corruption. The achilles heel of the BJP is its toxic social agenda, which has been demonstrated in Modi’s home state of Gujarat, in its anti-Christian pogrom in Dangs in the 1990s and its anti-Muslim pogrom in 2002. The National Human Rights Commission of India found that the Gujarat state apparatus was complicit in the 2002 violence. Modi cleverly ignores this while putting himself forward as the champion of development. With the Congress unable to extricate itself from the quicksand of corruption, Modi’s feint impresses the middle class and the corporate elite.

What will save India from the Modi juggernaut is that it doesn’t have a presidential system. The people will elect 543 new members of parliament. The winning bloc will have to secure half the seats, not easy for the Congress (206 seats in the last parliament) or the BJP (117 seats). Since 1967, the Indian government has been formed out of alliances that include regional parties with deep roots in the Indian states. The old days of a single party ruling the roost are gone; regional parties are now able to dictate terms for the coalition. It is what moderates the extremism of the BJP – but only out of necessity. Modi’s toxicity has turned off core allies, leaving the BJP with the confidence of a lion but the alliances of a skunk. To complicate matters, a new anti-corruption party – the Aam Aadmi Party – promises to directly challenge the Congress and the BJP in their north Indian heartlands. If they are able to do so, it will strengthen the hand of the Third Front.

The Third Front, under various names, has made an appearance in each election since 1967. It brings together regional parties and the Left Front, which is often its backbone. They are united by their antipathy to both the Congress and the BJP, and their commitment to secularism and social justice. No easy common programme can be produced, largely because the parties in the Front differ hugely in their assessment of how the country should develop. Nevertheless, one of its contributions has been to move India in a federal direction to empower the states (Uttar Pradesh, India’s most populous state, has a population of 200 million, larger than most countries in the world).

In a country of India’s scale, federalism is a pathway to democracy. In a fractured parliament the Third Front could broker a government committed to social justice and secularism – as it did in 2004 when the Congress was pushed to create social welfare schemes such as the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act. When the Left broke with the Congress in 2009, the alliance that remained – the UPA – departed from any commitment to relief. Only when the Left is a vital part of the Third Front has this alliance been able to push for reforms to rebuild the hopes and lives of hundreds of millions of Indians who live below any given standard of a poverty line. Only when the Left and its allies are stronger yet will they be able to chart an alternative direction for India.

Fonte: The Guardian

Did the U.S. Carry Out a Ukrainian Coup?


AISAL NOOR, TRNN PRODUCER: Welcome to The Real News Network. I’m Jaisal Noor in Baltimore.
Russian forces have invaded Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula, escalating tensions in the already volatile region. European countries and the United States have threatened political and economic sanctions, and officials have denounced the Russian intervention as a violation of international law. According to some reports, the commander of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet has demanded Ukraine military forces in the region surrender or face a military assault. But the Russian Defense Ministry has denied this.
Now joining us to discuss this is Robert Parry. He’s a renowned investigative journalist, founder and editor of ConsortiumNews.com.
Thank you so much for joining us, Robert.
NOOR: So let’s first start by addressing this move by the Russians. Is it a violation of international law? And they’ve justified it by saying there’s a humanitarian crisis. Is there any indication to support this?
PARRY: Well, I think it seems like international law is–almost depends on the eye of the beholder at this point.
We have, in the case of Ukraine, a democratically elected leader in Yanukovych who was overthrown by a coup d’état that was spearheaded by neo-Nazi militias after he’d agreed to move up the elections so people could even vote him out of office if they wished. That led to his being forced to flee and a sort of rump parliament begin to pass a bunch of laws while some of these neo-Nazi militias control the government buildings.
So I think how you look at this depends on whether you consider President Yanukovych still a legitimate leader, elected leader of the country. He has asked for Russian help. And the situation with Ukraine is a bit complicated in that Crimea was historically part of Russia. It was only moved into Ukraine as part of a procedural matter when Ukraine was part of the Soviet Union.
So it’s a much more mixed situation, I suppose, than, say, the U.S. invading Iraq back in 2003, which was more clearly a violation of international law. But I suppose legal scholars could give you different opinions about it.
NOOR: And you write a lot about–you’ve written a lot about what the neocons and other officials in the Obama administration have–their roles in this and how it’s played out. But let’s kind of talk about, let’s address the internal factors as well, because it did appear, especially in the western parts of Ukraine, that there was this popular sentiment that Yanukovych had to go. What’s your response to that?
PARRY: Well, I mean, obviously Yanukovych is an imperfect leader, and many flaws. But that’s probably true of all the Ukrainian politicians, and, frankly, it’s probably true of all our politicians. But he was elected in 2010. He even agreed to move up the elections so the policy dispute that was at the center of this could be tested out. He was chosen by a majority of the Ukrainian people. Now, many of them come from the South and East, which are more Russian-oriented. And Kiev is based in the western part, which is more European-oriented. But still, the idea that a minority would be able to overthrow an elected leader doesn’t strike me as particularly democratic. It would be as if some group [snip] decided to get rid of a president of the United States who has strong support across the country. It’s not a real act of democracy for a minority to overthrow a democratically elected leader.
And the issue at play, really, was not one like possibly a structural issue. It wasn’t as if Yanukovych had said, we’re not going to have future elections and I’m just going to be president for life. The issue was whether or not he should accept an E.U. economic package that involved major concessions to the IMF, i.e. more austerity for Ukraine, or whether he would accept a more generous package of a $15 billion from Russia, which is already supporting Ukraine through discounted natural gas. So it was really a policy issue, not an issue of whether democracy would go forward.
Yet it became this issue where a group, a minority group in the streets, decided to get rid of their president. And that can be cheered on by some people, I suppose, but it’s not exactly an act of democracy for a minority to overthrow a democratically elected president.
NOOR: And so talk about what the West’s role has been in this, especially the United States and Germany, which is another player in this whole affair that hasn’t gotten as much attention.
PARRY: Well, the United States has been trying to pry Ukraine away from a close relationship with Russia. Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland said in December to a group of business leaders that the United States had invested $5 billion, she said, in helping Ukraine achieve its European aspirations, that is, moving it away from Russia into the E.U. So, obviously, the United States has played a role in trying to achieve this antidemocratic transition. As much as they may call it democratic, overthrowing an elected leader is on its face not democratic.
There’s also the issue of the National Endowment for Democracy and another U.S.-funded political operations. NED, according to its report, has 65 projects underway in Ukraine, including training activists, supporting journalists, organizing business groups, essentially creating a sort of a shadow political structure that could be put in play to destabilize the country. And that’s what we’ve seen here. We saw a destabilization of a country–which had problems, no question, and had leadership that was very flawed. But still, instead of going through a constitutional electoral process, another approach was taken.
And Yanukovych did agree–after the protests turned violent, he agreed to a deal negotiated by the E.U. to advance the elections and to have the police stand down.
NOOR: The counter–.
PARRY: And it was after that [the militias] intervened and took power, basically, and forced him to flee, along with his administration.
NOOR: And–sorry about that. Our connection cut out for a moment.
But I guess–so the counterpoint would be, despite the external pressure, despite the role the West has played in Ukraine, this could not have happened without this popular uprising. And some reports, at least, have indicated that at least–you know, there are definitely fascist groups, part of this opposition movement. But it did include some broader parts of the middle and the working class, at least in the western region.
And I also wanted to get your take on what’s at stake here. Why is this such a vital part of–economically and with the industrial base there, what exactly is at stake for the West and for Russia?
PARRY: Well, you know, I think for Russia this is a–has an important strategic value. It’s on their border. And along the Black Sea in the Crimea, the Russians have had traditional military bases. And Crimea was historically part of Russia. It was–as I say, it was only put into the Ukraine for more of a bureaucratic reason when they all were part of the Soviet Union, so it didn’t really matter much.
So you have your Russian people of Russian ethnicity who speak Russian, who feel that they essentially are Russian, who are now being put under this minority-coup-generated government.
And, you know, this goes back historically to many ways where the United States has overthrown elected governments in the past. And in all those cases, you could say that the elected leaders had flaws and that there was some legitimacy, there was some opposition to them, whether it was Mosaddegh in Iran in ’53 or Árbenz in Guatemala in ’54 or Allende in Chile in ’73 or Morsi a year or so ago in Egypt, you can always–and there are many, many more, Aristide twice in Haiti. So you can always cite these flawed leaders and say that there are elements in those countries that legitimately want to get rid of their elected leadership, and the United States sides with them. That doesn’t necessarily mean it’s good for the people of those countries, ultimately. In all the cases I mentioned, I think you could argue that it was worse for them. They ended up under severe dictatorships, often fascist dictatorships. In the case of Iran you had decades of control by the Shah of Iran. In the case of Guatemala, you had 200,000 peasants being slaughtered. You had–in the case of Chile, you had widespread repression under Pinochet. So, you know, you don’t always–so while it may seem like it’s all very nice that Victoria Nuland, our assistant secretary of state for European affairs goes out and passes out cookies to the demonstrators in the plaza, it doesn’t always lead to what is best for the people of that country.
NOOR: And, Robert Parry, finally–we’re almost out of time, but what does a principled position on this conflict look like for you, in your opinion?
PARRY: Well, a principled position was, I think, what was ultimately negotiated before the coup occurred, which was to have the police back off, let the protesters have their say, allow for early elections, allow the people of Ukraine to really have a voice in what they want their government to do. I suppose what we’re now faced with, essentially, is a civil war on the Russian border, which maybe some of the neocons in the United States thinks is a pretty clever idea, but it’s obviously a very dangerous idea. So I think principle is almost one thing at this point. Practicality and how to avoid a worse conflict or a worse crisis is what people really should be focused on, rather than trying to make hay out of being tough and swaggering, which is what we’re seeing in official Washington. We’re seeing a lot of chests puffed out. We’re seeing a lot of tough talk about standing up to the Russians. We’re seeing kind of a Cold War mentality sort of clamp down on us. That’s a very dangerous thing. And it’s also dangerous because Putin and Obama have had a constructive relationship in avoiding confrontations or worsened confrontations in places like Iran, in places like Syria. Violence there has been avoided, or at least the escalation of the violence has been avoided, because Putin and Obama have been able to strike deals. Now that whole relationship is at risk, which puts a whole number of other issues in play: whether or not the Syria conflict will spiral further out of control with U.S. intervention, whether Iran’s negotiations will fail, whether that will lead to bombings of the nuclear sites. So a lot is in play here. And I think the neoconservatives who have been trying to stir this up, including Victoria Nuland, who is a holdover at the State Department from the Bush years, that the neocons want to achieve this idea of creating more pressure and more confrontation. They have achieved that. But I’m not sure it’s a good idea for the world or for the United States’ policies.
NOOR: And I just wanted to follow up on one point you make. And I don’t mean to keep badgering this point. So, you know, you listed a number of countries where the U.S. intervened or the U.S. supported a coup and toppled democratically elected leader. But the U.S. also tried that in places like Venezuela and Bolivia, and they weren’t successful, because the government did enjoy popularity, and it was able to–well, in the case of Venezuela, at least, get back into power after the overthrow, after the coup of the president. So, just quickly, if you could, respond to that.
PARRY: Well, in Venezuela we’re seeing a similar set of circumstances now against the government of Maduro. Whether he can survive is another question.
But not every coup the United States has tried to instigate in the last, you know, 40, 50 years has been successful. But a lot of them have been. And the ones that have been have usually ended up in worse situations for the people of those countries. I don’t think historically that can be disputed. So the fact that some coups are successful and some aren’t doesn’t reflect, really, the popular will of the countries. I don’t think the people of Iran, broadly speaking, were interested in having the Shah back in ’53 or the people of Guatemala were eager to have the military clamp down on them in ’54 or the people of Chile were that thrilled about having Pinochet in ’73, but that doesn’t mean because those leaders were overthrown that there’s some particular flaw in those leaders. But not every coup that the U.S. has tried to instigate has worked. That’s also true.

TRNN: Popular Uprising, Foreign Manipulation and Rising Fascism in Ukraine


Political economist Aleksandr Buzgalin and international law professor John Quigley discuss the internal rivalries for power taking place within Ukraine, and the history of its relations with Russia
ESSICA DESVARIEUX, TRNN PRODUCER: Welcome to The Real News Network. I’m Jessica Desvarieux in Baltimore.
Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych fled Kiev after the Parliament called for his removal. Now elections are to be held on May 25.
Authorities have issued an arrest warrant for Yanukovych and are holding him responsible for the deaths of protesters in recent months. Right now, Russia will retain the $15 billion loan package it offered to Ukraine in December until a new government is in place.
Meanwhile, the U.S. and Russia have voiced support for a new IMF loan to assist the country with its economic problems.
Here to discuss this, two guests.
First we have joining us Aleksandr Buzgalin. He’s a professor of political economy at Moscow State University.
Also we have John Quigley. He’s a professor emeritus of international law at Ohio State University. And he previously dealt with conflicts between Ukraine and Russia arising from the breakup of the U.S.S.R., on behalf of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe.
Thank you both for joining us.
DESVARIEUX: So, Aleksandr, I’m going to start off with you. Many commentators are trying to really discuss the uprising and ouster of Yanukovych as an external manipulation by either the E.U., Russia, and the U.S. And many also mention the E.U. deal as the cause of the protests. But clearly, by the scale of the protests alone, there’s clearly some internal struggle that we’re seeing happening between the governing elite. Can you just sort of break down these internal rivalries?
BUZGALIN: So, first of all, of course there is big influence of European Union, of the United States government and officials, acting directly and through Poland. So it’s true. The same I can say about Russian influence, and this is also true.
But, first of all, it was protest during many years. It was first Maidan, and now it’s second Maidan. And people were angry and are angry about bureaucratic oligarchic regime which took place in Ukraine and, I am afraid, which will be restored again, as it was after first Maidan.
So this is, first of all, spontaneous protest from below interconnected with struggle of elites, and interconnected also with far right activity. In Ukraine during last years, or maybe even decades, after collapse of the Soviet Union, appeared very strong and growing semi-fascist, very nationalistic movement which is interconnected historically. And they connect themselves openly with fascists in Ukraine who supported German fascism and occupation of our countries and so on.
So this is three different forces. Open protest of the people–of course, in the beginning it was not open, but now it was open protest of the people who want to change the system, who wants to overcome bureaucratic oligarchic regime, first. Second, big influence from European Union–NATO countries, better to say–from one hand, and Russia from another hand. Third force: struggle of pro-European and pro-Russian oligarch capitals in Ukraine. And this is extremely important factor which is behind all fights.
And finally, these right-wing forces, who are now also in the peak of their activity–and this is extremely dangerous for not only Ukraine, but for all over the world. In some respects, Ukraine now was similar and is similar with Weimar Republic and threat of far-right dictatorship as a result of chaos which took place now in Ukraine is maybe main factor and main threat, and we have to understand this and take in the consideration.
DESVARIEUX: John, you just heard Aleksandr really lay out those three different groups.
I want to get your impression, though, of who’s in control of the state now. What will they likely do now that they’re in power?
QUIGLEY: The interim government, if you can call it that, seems to be oriented towards closer ties with Europe. So I think they’re clearly going to go in that direction. And I think Aleksandr was perfectly correct in saying that the outside powers have tried to influence things. I don’t think that their outside influence proved decisive–at least, has proved decisive so far. I think it has been internal considerations that have led to this change.
But the United States was clearly trying to bring about a change in the government, as is clear from the telephone conversation that was overheard of Ms. Nuland talking with the U.S. ambassador in Kiev not long ago.
DESVARIEUX: Aleksandr, what’s your take?
BUZGALIN: So, first of all, I partly agree with John, and I want to stress that now we have another contradiction. This is contradiction between the right bloc, real force which has power in the country. It’s not Parliament. It’s not any former state organization. Now it’s troops, I can say, troops and groups of nationalists and right bloc (this is their name) militants–who has weapons, by the way, very often NATO weapons, who are very well trained, who are very well organized. And among them there are a lot of professionals who had great experience of the direct street fight, even shooting and so on. So it’s not just ordinary people who came with sticks. It’s very organized force and active in Kiev, first of all, but not only in Kiev, in many cities of Ukraine. And they are not big enthusiasts about joining to European Union. They want to have a self-independent Ukraine as a Ukrainian country with Ukrainian population, Ukrainian language, Ukrainian traditions. And this is right-wing nationalism, which is against both Russia, against European Union, and so on. And there is big conflict between Tymoshenko and other forces, from one hand, and this right bloc, from another hand.
And there are also ordinary people who are also divided. They’re divided because it is big contradiction between east and west of Ukraine. East is mainly Russian-speaking and more oriented on real production–steel, coal production. This is workers and ordinary people, mainly, and pro-Russian oligarchs. West is more peasant and more oriented on the European Union business.
Plus, this is also a big contradiction between people–and I can say majority of people–and such forces as Tymoshenko and their friends, because when Tymoshenko was prime minister, she was also very interconnected with bureaucratic, oligarchic power, and ordinary people understand this very well. She is not hero. She is just victim of the struggle between the two clans of oligarchs, nothing more. And this is very important and very well expressed in many interviews which we have in Russia.
DESVARIEUX: Okay. I’m happy, Aleksandr, you mention that right-wing sector that is very nationalistic, wants Ukraine for Ukrainians. But it’s undeniable that the Ukrainian border and the Russian border–obviously, there’s a considerable amount of migration between the two sides. And I’m going to quote an International Organization for Migration report in 2013. They say that it’s the second-largest migration corridor in the world, and that’s only behind Mexico and the United States. So Ukraine also has an agreement with Russia to keep a Russian naval sea base. And can you just talk about the history?
BUZGALIN: A few words about Sevastopol. This is a Navy fleet base in Black Sea, where there is both Ukrainian and Russian fleet. And, by the way, this town/city is a Russian-speakin city. And it was also something like Maidan. But on the Square, they elected new mayor, who is protector of Crimea as a independent, I can say, region, independent territory, which will be not joining to the European Union. And this is opinion of, I think, 90 percent of citizens of Crimea, except a very small party of Tartar population and a few others. So this is a big problem.
In Odessa, million city, again, port in Black Sea, it was 10,000 [demonstrators] with weapons, so-called people’s military–not military–people’s voluntary defense groups, or something like that. I don’t know how to translate exactly into English. And they said that they don’t want to be inside European Union, and especially they are against this slogan “Ukraine for Ukrainians” and right bloc. So this is extremely contradictory situation on the border of civil war.
DESVARIEUX: So, John, just talk about the history of the relationship between the two countries, particularly in terms of economic ties and how this might play a role in May elections.
QUIGLEY: Oh. They’ve been together for hundreds of years. And the industrial heartland of the entire Soviet Union was in Ukraine, was in the eastern part of Ukraine, the industrial base that Aleksandr was mentioning. So the connection is very strong. And Ukraine is getting its fuel supplies from Russia at favorable prices. So it would be very difficult for Ukraine to completely disaffiliate with Russia in some kind of orientation to Europe.
The situation is probably most difficult with respect to Crimea, which is territory that was actually part of Russia until 1954, when it was transferred into the Ukrainian Republic. Then, when the Soviet Union split apart, Crimea found itself suddenly outside of an orientation with Russia. And that has led to very serious disputes, and in particular because of the fact that the Black Sea Fleet, as Aleksandr mentioned, the fleet of the former Soviet navy, now the Russian Navy, is based there. So that’s been one of the major issues and conflict. And when Tymoshenko was in power, the Ukrainian government indicated that the fleet would have to leave. And now, when Yanukovych came in, he extended the arrangement till, I think, the year 2042. So that’s a major strategic issue.
But in terms of the population, the population, as Aleksandr said, in Crimea is very heavily Russian, very, very small Ukrainian component. The major minority there actually is the Tartars of Crimea, as he mentioned. And the people in Crimea are very concerned that they will suffer discrimination at the hands of a Ukraine that is in control of these more right-wing Ukrainian elements.
DESVARIEUX: Thank you both for joining us.
BUZGALIN: Thank you very much for the opportunity to talk with you. And I’m glad to be in contact anytime.

Fonte: The Real News Network