Historic Iran nuke deal resets Eurasia’s ‘Great Game’, by Pepe Escobar

Source: Asia Times

This is it. It is indeed historic. And diplomacy eventually wins. In terms of the New Great Game in Eurasia, and the ongoing tectonic shifts reorganizing Eurasia, this is huge: Iran — supported by Russia and China — has finally, successfully, called the long, winding 12-year-long Atlanticist bluff on its “nuclear weapons.”

And this only happened because the Obama administration needed 1) a lone foreign policy success, and 2) a go at trying to influence at least laterally the onset of the new Eurasia-centered geopolitical order.

So here it is – the 159-page, as detailed as possible, Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA); the actual P5+1/Iran nuclear deal. As Iranian diplomats have stressed, the JCPOA will be presented to the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), which will then adopt a resolution within 7 to 10 days making it an official international document.

Foreign ministers pose for a group picture at UN building in Vienna
Foreign ministers pose for a group picture at UN building in Vienna

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif has described the deal — significantly — as a very Chinese “win-win” solution. But not perfect; “I believe this is a historic moment. We are reaching an agreement that is not perfect for anybody but is what we could accomplish. Today could have been the end of hope, but now we are starting a new chapter of hope.”

Zarif also had to stress — correctly — this was a long-sought solution for an “unnecessary crisis”; the politicization — essentially by the US — of a scientific, technical dossier.

Germany’s Foreign Minister Steinmeier, for his part, was euphoric; “A historic day! We leave 35 years of speechlessness + more than 12 years of a dangerous conflict behind us.”

Looking ahead, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani tweeted now there can be “a focus on shared challenges” – referring to the real fight that NATO, and Iran, should pursue together; against the fake Caliphate of ISIS/ISIL/Daesh, whose ideological matrix is intolerant Wahhabism and whose attacks are directed against both Shi’ites and westerners.

Right on cue, Russian President Vladimir Putin stressed the deal will contribute to fighting terrorism in the Middle East, not to mention “assisting in strengthening global and regional security, global nuclear non-proliferation” and — perhaps wishful thinking? — “the creation in the Middle East of a zone free from weapons of mass destruction.”

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov stressed the deal “fully corresponds” with Russia’s negotiating points. The fact is no deal would have been possible without extensive Russian involvement — and the Obama administration knows it (but cannot admit it publicly).

The real problem started when Lavrov added that Moscow expects the cancellation of Washington’s missile defense plans, after the Iran deal proves that Tehran is not, and won’t be, a nuclear “threat.”

There’s the rub. The Pentagon simply won’t cancel an essential part of its Full Spectrum Dominance military doctrine simply because of mere “diplomacy.” Every security analyst not blinded by ideology knows that missile defense was never about Iran, but about Russia. The Pentagon’s new military review still states — not by accident — major Eurasian players Iran, China and Russia as “threats” to U.S. national security.

Now from the brighter side on Iran-Russia relations. Trade is bound to increase, especially in nanotechnology, machinery parts and agriculture. And on the all-pervasive energy front, Iran will indeed compete with Russia in major markets such as Turkey and soon Western Europe, but there’s plenty of leeway for Gazprom and the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) to coordinate their market share. NIOC executive Mohsen Qamsari advances that Iran will prioritize exporting to Asia, and will try to regain the at least 42% of the European market share that it had before sanctions.

Compared to so many uplifting perspectives, Washington’s reaction was quite pedestrian. US President Barack Obama preferred to stress — correctly — that every pathway to an Iranian nuclear weapon has been cut off. And he vowed to veto any legislation in the US Congress that blocks the deal. When I was in Vienna last week I had surefire confirmation — from a European source — that the Obama administration feels confident it has the votes it needs in Capitol Hill.

And what about all that oil?

Tariq Rauf, former Head of Verification and Security Policy at the IAEA and currently Director of the Disarmament and Non-Proliferation Program at the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), hailed the deal as “the most significant multilateral nuclear agreement in two decades – the last such agreement was the 1996 nuclear test ban treaty.” Rauf even advanced that the 2016 Nobel Peace Prize should go to US Secretary of State Jon Kerry and Iran’s Foreign Minister Zarif.

Rebuilding trust between the US and Iran, though, will be a long and winding road.

Tehran agreed to a 15-year moratorium on enriching uranium beyond 3.67 percent; this means it has agreed to reduce its enrichment capacity by two-thirds. Only Natanz will conduct enrichment; and Fordo, additionally, won’t store fissile material.

Iran agreed to store no more than 300 kg of low-enriched uranium — a 96% reduction compared to current levels. The Arak reactor will be reconfigured, and won’t be used to produce plutonium. The spent fuel will be handled by an international team.

The IAEA and Iran signed a roadmap in Tehran also this Tuesday; that was already decided last week in Vienna. By December 15, all past and present outstanding issues — that amount to 12 items — should be clarified, and the IAEA will deliver a final assessment. IAEA access to the Parchin military site — always a very contentious issue — is part of a separate arrangement.

One of the major sticking points these last few days in Vienna was solved — with Tehran allowing UN inspectors to visit virtually any site. But it may object to a particular visit. A Joint Commission — the P5+1 + Iran — will be able to override any objections with a simple majority vote. After that Iran has three days to comply — in case it loses the vote. There won’t be American inspectors — shades of the run-up towards the war on Iraq; only from countries with diplomatic relations with Iran.

So implementation of the deal will take at least the next five months. Sanctions will be lifted only by early 2016.

What’s certain is that Iran will become a magnet for foreign investment. Major western and Asian multinationals are already positioned to start cracking this practically virgin market with over 70 million people, including a very well educated middle class. There will be a boom in sectors such as consumer electronics, the auto industry and hospitality and leisure.

And then there’s, once again, oil. Iran has as much as a whopping 50 million barrels of oil stored at sea — and that’s about ready to hit the global market. The purchaser of choice will be, inevitably, China — as the West remains mired in recession. Iran’s first order of work is to regain lost market share to Persian Gulf producers. Yet the trend is for oil prices to go down – so Iran cannot count on much profit in the short to medium term.

Now for a real war on terror?

The conventional arms embargo on Iran essentially stays, for five years. That’s absurd, compared to Israel and the House of Saud arming themselves to their teeth.

Last May the US Congress approved a $1.9 billion arms sale to Israel. That includes 50 BLU-113 bunker-buster bombs — to do what? Bomb Natanz? — and 3,000 Hellfire missiles. As for Saudi Arabia, according to SIPRI, the House of Saud spent a whopping $80 billion on weapons last year; more than nuclear powers France or Britain. The House of Saud is waging an — illegal — war on Yemen.

Qatar is not far behind. It clinched an $11 billion deal to buy Apache helicopters and Javelin and Patriot air defense systems, and is bound to buy loads of F-15 fighters.

Trita Parsi, president of the National American-Iranian Council, went straight to the point; “Saudi Arabia spends 13 times more money on its defense than Iran does. But somehow Iran, and not Saudi Arabia, is seen by the US as the potential aggressor.”

So, whatever happens, expect tough days ahead. Two weeks ago, Foreign Minister Zarif told a small group of independent journalists in Vienna, including this correspondent, that the negotiations would be a success because the US and Iran had agreed on “no humiliation of one another.” He stressed he paid “a high domestic price for not blaming the Americans,” and he praised Kerry as “a reasonable man.” But he was wary of the US establishment, which to a great extent, according to his best information, was dead set against the lifting of sanctions.

Zarif also praised the Russian idea that after a deal, it will be time to form a real counter-terrorism coalition, featuring Americans, Iranians, Russians, Chinese and Europeans — even as Putin and Obama had agreed to work together on “regional issues.” And Iranian diplomacy was giving signs that the Obama administration had finally understood that the alternative to Assad in Syria was ISIS/ISIL/Daesh, not the “Free” Syrian Army.

That degree of collaboration, post-Wall of Mistrust, remains to be seen. Then it will be possible to clearly evaluate whether the Obama administration has made a major strategic decision, and whether “normalizing” its relation with Iran involves much more than meets the eye.

(Copyright 2015 Asia Times Holdings Limited, a duly registered Hong Kong company. All rights reserved. Please contact us about sales, syndication and republishing.)

Pepe Escobar is the roving correspondent for Asia Times, an analyst for RT and Sputnik, and a Sputnik regular. His latest book is Empire of Chaos. Follow him on Facebook by clicking here.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of Oceania Saker.

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Beware the electronic iceberg!, by Mohsin Siddiqui

So the Greek pseudo-left’s poster boy has come back to Athens victorious after selling his country off to the vultures. But it is all that he could do you see, the negotiations were very tough. I suppose a good meal, a decent sleep, a morning swim and a new $3,000 suit will put his mood right. After all, most Greek pensioners do the same thing to feel better.

The Syrian people are waiting for the tens of thousands of Jihadis to die out so that they can rebuild. Well, that is if enough Syrians remain to rebuild. The conveyor belt of Islamic State recruitment to deployment, command and control and media are continuing to receive full support from NATO,EU,UK,USA, GCC and Israel. The systematic destruction of Syria is a shame on humanity.

But do not despair, Iran has just signed its deal of the century with the “Great Satan”. A deal so flaky that eco-friendly toilet paper probably has a better chance of survival.

Before you get too worked up, when is your next bill due? Are you behind on your mortgage payment? Or have you finally taken that vacation you have been talking about?

It is ok if you cannot afford it for now. You see, we are very important cogs in the system. Without our essential roles to buy and sell meaningless shit, how would the world go round?  Without your essential job, how would you get electronic money in your bank account and watch it disappear?

Money makes the world go round they say. The debt bubble is growing! Trillions in derivatives and this is just the tip of the electronic iceberg! Are you excited by collapse porn?! It sure is entertaining!

Surely, there is no way us humans can survive without bankers, paper money, pedophile politicians and monarchs. I mean, how could we ever figure out how to run our countries, schools, police and economy so brilliantly as the current leadership. Nonsense! Hearsay!

But hey, lets not ask dangerous questions. Lets not wonder who came around when and privatized the planet so that you and I are customers and not humans on the planet anymore. Lets not ask why we have to pay to exist? Nonsense! Hearsay!

Mohsin Siddiqui

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The Radical Reconfiguration of Southern European Politics: The Rise of the Non Leftist Left, by James Petras

Source: James Petras

Introduction: Over the past decade fundamental changes have taken place in Southern Europe, which have broken with previous political alignments, resulting in the virtual disappearance of traditional leftist ’parties, the decline of trade unions and the emergence of ‘middle class radicalism’.

New political movements, purportedly on the left, no longer are based on class conscious workers nor are they embedded in the class struggle. Likewise on the right, greater attention is paid to escalating the repressive capacity of the state instead of state intervention in pursuit of economic markets.

Radicalization of the right, including massive cutbacks in social spending, has demolished welfare programs. The dispossession of households has uprooted cohesive neighborhood-based social organizations.

In place of the class based traditional left, ‘non-leftist left’ movements have emerged. Their leaders embrace ‘participatory democracy’ but engage in vertical political practice.

On the right, politics no longer revolve around conserving national economic privileges. Rightwing leaders willingly subordinate their economies and society to imperial led crusades, which empty national sovereignty of any meaning while pillaging the national treasury.

This essay will proceed to discuss these complex changes and their meaning.

The ‘Non-Leftist Left’ in Southern Europe

The economic crisis, in particular the imposition of severe cuts in wages, pensions and other social welfare programs by rightwing and social democratic governments have led to widespread discontent, which the traditional workplace based leftist parties have been unable to address and mobilize the people. Prolonged and deepening unemployment and the growth of temporary employment have affected over 50% of the labor force.

Union representation has declined precipitously, further weakening the presence of traditional leftist parties in factories.

Large-scale evictions, foreclosure of mortgages and accompanying job losses have led to neighborhood-based anti-eviction movements and struggles. Millions of young workers now depend on their grandparents’ pensions and remain with two older generations in their parents’ home. For the young workers, the degradation of everyday life, the loss of personal autonomy and the inability to live independently have led to revolts for ‘dignity’.

The traditional left parties and trade unions have failed (or not attempted) to organize the unemployed. They have failed to attract the young and the downwardly mobile temporary workers in anything resembling class-based, class struggle-oriented movements.

Paradoxically despite the deepening crisis among most workers, the traditional left has declined. Its workplace orientation and its language of class struggle do not resonate with those without jobs or prospects. For the radicalized middle class the traditional left is too radical in seeking to overturn capitalism and too distant from power to realize changes.

The radicalized middle class includes public employees, professionals and self-employed private contractors who aspire to, and until recently, experienced upward mobility but have now found their path blocked by the austerity programs imposed by rightwing, as well as, social democratic parties.

Frustrated by the social democrats’ betrayal and facing downward mobility, the radicalized middle class are disoriented and fragmented. Many have joined amorphous street protests; some have even embraced, temporarily in most cases, the alternative traditional rightwing parties only to encounter even more brutal job cuts, insecurity and downward mobility.

The middle classes deeply resent being denied the opportunity for upward mobility for themselves and their children. They resent their formerly ‘moderately progressive’ Social Democratic leaders’ betrayal of their interests. Their radicalism is directed toward restoring their past access to social advancement. Their deep-seated hostility to the authorities is rooted in the loss of their previous status as a result of the crisis.

Middle class radicalism is tempered by nostalgia for the past. This radicalism is rooted in the struggle to restore the European Union’s social subsidies and growth policies. They remember a recent past of rising living standards and “social inclusion”, now denied their own children. This vision guides the rhetoric that the progressive middle class had earned and enjoyed theirrising incomes as a result of their own ‘merit’.

Today the radicalized middle class looks for practical, specifically defined and government-sponsored policies that can restore their past prosperity. They do not aim to ‘level the playing field’ for everyone but to prevent their proletariazation. They reject the politics of the traditional left parties because class struggle and worker-centered ideologies do not promote their own social aspirations.

For most radicalized middle class activists the culprits are ‘austerity’, the mega-bank swindlers and the political kleptocrats. They seek parties that can reform or moralize capitalism and restore ‘individual dignity’. They want to kick out corrupt officials. They demand ‘participatory democracy’ rather than the traditional left’s goal of public ownership under worker control.

Under the specific conditions generated by the current social crisis, a non-leftist left (NLL) has emerged throughout Europe. Spontaneous, amorphous, ‘anarchic’, extra-institutional and ‘street-centered’, the NLL has adopted an irreverent style. The NLL, in its origins, rejected political parties, well-defined programs and disciplined cadres in favor of spontaneity and irreverence toward institutions.

As the appeal of the NLL grew, the unemployed, the temporary workers, the insecure and unprotected non-unionized workers and the radicalized middle class joined demonstrations and found safety in the crowds. They were attracted by the appeals from ‘the street’ to oust the incumbent kleptocrats.

Emerging from this movement aimed at the downwardly mobile middle class’ anger, Podemosin Spain, Syriza in Greece and Five Stars in Italy have appealed to all the people disconnected from power, by promising a restoration of ‘dignity and respect.’ They made amorphous appeals to ‘end austerity’ with only a vague promise that they would create jobs.

The NLL leadership, however, is most clearly influenced by the non-radical resentments of the downwardly mobile middle class.

They never engaged in class struggles and have rejected class ideology. For the NLL leaders, social polarization is mostly a vehicle for building an electoral base. Their participation in small-scale local struggles was presented as ‘proof’ that the NLL leaders spoke to authentic popular aspirations.

The Non-Leftist Left’s Transition: From Street to Public Office

From the street, the NLL moved swiftly to elections and from elections they proceeded to form coalitions with traditional parties. Strategic decisions were taken by a small coterie of personalistic leaders: They redefined ‘participatory democracy’ to refer only to local neighborhood activism and issues – not national issues, which were the realm of ‘experts’.

Syriza, the first NLL to reach power, reflected the immense gap between the radical posturingof its leaders in opposition and their cringing conformity before Established Power (the Troika: IMF, European Commission, Central Bank) once elected to government.

Syriza embodied middle class resentment toward the Euro-technocratic elite in Brussels whom they blamed for their loss of past prosperity and job security and for the ongoing degradation of everyday life. Syriza denounced the Troika while it remained under its tutelage. It excoriatedthe EU elite in the highest moral tones for doing what its elite class interests dictated, that is, defend the EU bankers, extract debt payments and threaten their underlings. In practice,Syriza never applied any class analysis to the Troika’s policy as it continued to refer to their ‘EU partners’. ..even as they imposed brutall demands.

Once in power the Syriza leaders never mobilized a single mass protest and never even threatened a general strike in the face of EU colonial dictates.

Syriza’s personalist leader, Alexis Tsipra,s appointed right wingers from former regimes to key posts. He negotiated with the Troika and caved on all strategic issues dealing with debt payments, austerity and privatizations. Syriza never considered ‘going to the people’. Syriza’smoral crusade’ against capitalism ended by their embracing capitalism and the colonial Eurozone system.

Syriza’s lack of class analysis, class struggle and class mobilization and its total commitment to working within a moralized capitalism and the Eurozone to restore middle class status and security has resulted in the most abject conformity and surrender – punctuated by shameless buffoonery on the part of some leaders.

In the end, Syriza surrendered to the dictates of higher powers of the Troika ad their Eurozone acolytes, but not until it had emptied the Greek Treasury. The leaders have combined the worst of all worlds: a bankrupt national economy, a ‘protesting’ but fundamentally colonial regime and a disenchanted electorate.

Where Syriza wildly succeeded was in marginalizing the traditional left (the Greek Communist Party). It reaffirmed the historic pattern: free floating movements of the moment end up being run by personalistic leaders who presume to speak for “the people” while bending over to their overseas overlords.

NLL in Spain and Italy: Podemos and Five Stars

Podemos in Spain and Five Stars in Italy are ready to follow Syriza’s path of colonial subservience. They rejected and successfully marginalized the traditional left. They have gained mass support, organized mass protests and loudly rejected austerity and the dictates of the Troika.

While Podemos leaders talk of ‘participatory democracy’, a handful of leaders make all policy pronouncements, decide which candidates to support in the elections and determine what kind of post-election coalition governments they will join.

What gives Podemos and Five Stars their radical appearance is their opposition to the governing parties, their rejection of ‘austerity’, their criticism of neoliberalism – and their support for ‘micro-politics’ of local grassroots direct-action.

At no time or place have they counterpoised an alternative to capitalism. Nor have they repudiated illicit debts or supported the expropriation of the banks responsible for the pillage their economies.

Podemos and Five Stars deliberately obscure their politics: They are whatever any of their affiliates’ claim to be…

The leaders raise populist demands and speak about ‘dignity’, employment and punishment of corrupt officials. They call for an end to authoritarian measures, but avoid any real commitments to institutional change, especially of the repressive courts, police or armed forces.

Podemos and Five Stars criticize the EU’s austerity programs while staying in the EU as subordinate members of an organization dominated by German bankers. They promote popular mobilizations which they have turned into vote-gathering machines for electing their members to office.

The NLLs contradictory politics of populist gestures and institutional commitments reflect the politics of a frustrated and blocked middle class demanding a restoration of its past status and security. Podemos and Five Stars leaders put on the grand show of thumbing their noses at the establishment to promote limited middle class demands. On a much broader front, the leaders of the NLL have not organized any mass protests – let alone formed a mass movement which would seriously challenge the imperialist powers, NATO, the Middle East wars and US-EU sanctions against Russia.

Since most of their supporters are anti NATO, in favor of Palestinian independence and critical of the Kiev regime the popular base of the NLL will act on their own but will have no real impact on the current national leadership.

The reason for the disparity between leaders and followers is clear: The NLL leaders intend to form post-electoral coalitions with the corrupt and reactionary ‘center left’ parties so despised and rejected by their own electorate.

Following the nationwide Spanish municipal and regional elections, Podemos allied with corrupt Socialist Party (PSOE). In the municipality of Madrid, Podemos supported the left-center coalition Ahora Madrid (Madrid Now), which in turn has allied with the center-right Socialists to elect the ‘progressive’ mayoral candidate, Manuela Carmena.

While the entire ‘progressive camp’ celebrates the defeat of the hard-right Popular Party candidate –little has been said about consequential changes in the municipal and regional budgets, structures of economic power and class relations.

Five Stars’,( Movimento Cinque Stelle or M5S), Italy’s non-leftist left is dominated by a single ‘anti-leader’, Beppe Grillo, he defines the party’s programs and affiliations. He is known for making clownish, provocative gestures against the authorities, calling for a “Fuck the Parliament Day”.

It is Beppe who selects the candidates to run for Parliament. While in opposition, M5S loudly opposed all NATO wars in the Middle East, US military interventions in Latin America and free trade agreements. But now ensconced in the European Parliament, Beppe has aligned with the Libertarian Right.

Five Stars (M5S) central demands revolve around ‘direct democracy’ and ‘sustainable development’. It has captured the electoral support of the majority of the lower middle classgaining 26% of the vote (9 million voters) in the 2013 general elections.

While Beppe and his colleagues engage in fist fights within the Parliament, make radical gestures and spout belligerent rhetoric, ‘M5S’ has not supported a workers general strike. It participates in each and every election, but has stayed away from factory struggles.

Radicalism, as grand ‘gesture politics’, is an entertaining, non-threatening response to capitalism since there is no concerted effort to form class alliances with workers engaged in workplace struggles.

M5S’, like Podemos and Syriza, expresses the disorganized radicalism of the young, frustrated lower middle class raging against their downward mobility, while refusing to breakwith the EU .They rail against the concentration of power in the hands of the banks, but refuse to pursue their nationalization. M5S mobilized 800,000 people in Rome recently but led them nowhere. ‘Five Stars’ convokes crowds to meet and cheer its leaders and to ridicule the power brokers. Afterwards they all go home.

Conclusion

While the ‘NLL’ movements capture the support of the ‘indignant’, the mass of unemployed workers and the evicted householders, their leaders do not articulate a serious plan of action capable of challenging the economic power structures: they raise popular expectations via demands for ‘change’. However, these vague and deceptive slogans allow the NLL leaders to join in a medley of opportunist electoral coalitions and governmental alliances, with decidedly establishment personalities and parties.

In Greece, Italy and Spain the traditional left has either disappeared, or shrunk to a marginal force. With little or no base outside of the workplace and trade unions, they barely secure five percent of the votes.

The NLL has deepened the isolation of the traditional left and has even attracted a part of its social base. NLL’s rejection of the traditional left’s tight organization and top down leadership and its pluralistic rhetoric appeals to the young. Moreover, as the left trade unions have sought compromises with the bosses to save the jobs of employed workers and ignored the unemployed, the latter has looked to the ‘open and spontaneous’ NLL to express their opposition. In Spain’s municipal elections, the United Left, a Communist-led electoral formation, joined with Podemos to elect Manuela Carmena, the ‘insurgent mayor’ of Madrid.

While the Euro-US academic left has rightly celebrated the emergence of mass opposition to the rightist regimes in Southern Europe, they have failed to understand the internal dynamicswithin the NLL movements: the limitations of middle class radicalism and their conformists’ goals.

The example of Syriza in Greece is a warning of the fatal consequences of middle class leaders trying to realize radical changes, within the neo-liberal framework imposed by the EU.

Epilogue

Currently, the best example of the opportunism and bankruptcy of the NLL is found in the successful Mayor-elect of Madrid, Manuela Carmena, whose victory was hailed by Podemos as the ‘great victory for the people’ at recent celebration.

For her part, Mayor-elect Carmena has wasted no time repudiating all ‘five basic emergency reforms’ promised during the elections. In a press conference, the so-called ‘progressive Mayor of Madrid’ announced (with a cynical grin) that ‘promise number one’ – a public bank – was no longer needed because she was satisfied to work with the private banking oligarchy. She refused to pursue ‘promise number two’ – to provide subsidies for electricity, water and gas for poor families cut off from those services, claiming such support was too early and could wait until winter

Regarding Podemos ‘promise number three’ – a debt moratorium, Carmena insisted that “we will keep paying, for now”. On ‘promise number four’ favoring public over private contractors for municipal contracts, Carmena reversed the position: “We can’t change right away”.

Carmena even repudiated ‘promise number five’ – to immediately implement a summer meals program for poor children, insisting that she would rely on the inadequate programs of far right predecessor.

Moreover, Mayor-elect Carmena went even further, staffing her administration with far-right holdovers from the previous government to strategic policy-making positions. For example, sheappointed Carmen Roman, a former Director General of the far right Prime Minister Aznar, as Senior Executive of Madrid. She defended these reactionary decisions claiming that she was looking for “technocrats who are the best professional administrations”. Indeed, Carmen Roman had implemented mass firing of public workers and the dismantling of social programs in the ‘best professional’ manner possible!

Carmena further betrayed her Podemos electorate by insisting she looked forward to working with the hard right Prime Minister Rajoy and flatly rejected the idea of promoting a progressive alternative!

In less than one week, the euphoria over the victory of Podemos backed candidates has been dissipated by these acts of cynical opportunism: the non-leftist left has betrayed its electorate, from the very start!

James Petras, a former Professor of Sociology at Binghamton University, New York, owns a 50-year membership in the class struggle, is an adviser to the landless and jobless in Brazil and Argentina, and is co-author of Globalization Unmasked (Zed Books).

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of Oceania Saker.

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The Care and Feeding of a Financial Black Hole, by Dmitry Orlov

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A while ago I had the pleasure of hearing Sergey Glazyev—economist, politician, member of the Academy of Sciences, adviser to Pres. Putin—say something that very much confirmed my own thinking. He said that anyone who knows mathematics can see that the United States is on the verge of collapse because its debt has gone exponential. These aren’t words that an American or a European politician can utter in public, and perhaps not even whisper to their significant other while lying in bed, because the American eavesdroppers might overhear them, and then the politician in question would get the Dominique Strauss-Kahn treatment (whose illustrious career ended when on a visit to the US he was falsely accused of rape and arrested). And so no European (never mind American) politician can state the obvious, no matter how obvious it is.

The Russians have that pretty well figured out by now. Yes, maintaining a dialogue and cordial directions with the Europeans is important. But it is well understood that the Europeans are just a bunch of American puppets with no will or decision-making authority of their own, so why not talk to the Americans directly? Alas, the Americans too are puppets. The American officials and politicians are definitely puppets, controlled by corporate lobbyists and shady oligarchs. But here’s a shocker: these are also puppets—controlled by the simple imperatives of profitability and wealth preservation, respectively. In fact, it’s puppets all the way down. And what’s at the bottom is a giant, ever-expanding, financial black hole.
Do you like your black hole? If you aren’t sure you like it, then let me ask you some other questions: Do you like the fact that your credit cards still work, or that you can still keep money in the bank and even get cash out of an ATM, or that you are either receiving or hope to eventually receive a pension? Do you like the fact that you can get useful things—food, gas, airline tickets—for mere pieces of paper with pictures of dead white men on them? Do you like the fact that you have internet access, that the lights are on, and that there is water on tap? Well, if you like these things, then you must also like the financial black hole, because that’s what’s making all of these things possible in spite of your country being bankrupt. Perhaps it’s a love-hate relationship: you love being able to pretend that everything is still OK even though you know it isn’t, and you wish to enjoy a bit more of the business-as-usual before it all goes to hell, be it for a few more days or another year or two; but you hate the fact that eventually the black hole will suck you in, after which point things will definitely… suck.

[Please click below to continue reading] Continue reading The Care and Feeding of a Financial Black Hole, by Dmitry Orlov

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Ecuador and Greece – Two Different Struggles, by Andre Vltchek

Source: New Eastern Outlook

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Ask people in Quito, Ecuador about the struggle of Greek nation again EU usurpers and greedy banks. Chances are they will know at least something. Educated people know a lot. I asked, and I was impressed by detailed answers, by awareness.

I also asked, quite recently, in Athens; what is known there about our Latin American revolutions, and about the terrible suffering of people; suffering that is clear a result of devastating actions of pro-Western elites in Venezuela, Ecuador, Brazil, Bolivia, even in Argentina and Chile. These ‘elites’ are trying to derail “the Process”, on behalf of Western governments and multinationals. They are doing exactly what their predecessors had done in Chile, in 1973, before the coup against socialist President Salvador Allende: spreading right-wing propaganda, creating shortages, and preparing for military coup.

In Athens, I detected absolute bewilderment, ignorance and disinterest. Whenever I began talking about Latin America, the topic was quickly changed.

Greece is white, it is European, and therefore the eyes of entire Western “progressive” world are now directed towards Athens: will its government dare to default, would Greece leave euro-zone and eventually the European Union? As if the answer to this question could change the world; as if Athens is where the fate of humanity will be decided.

Ecuador is predominantly indigenous, and therefore, inhabited by ‘un-people’, to borrow from George Orwell’s colorful terminology. Battered by its own, mainly Euro-centric and pale-skinned ‘elites’ who are enjoying extremely close links with both EU and the United States, Ecuador and its determinedly left-wing government can count very little on international solidarity, especially on the camaraderie from ‘so-called progressive’ forces in the West.

It is not the only one: China, South Africa, Venezuela, Iran and other countries all over the world have been addressed and treated in the most despicable, patronizing, and even racist way by so-called left wing individuals and groups in the West.

The Left got thoroughly defunct in both Europe and in North America. But it continues to be distressingly self-righteous, self-indulged, bossy and arrogant. It does not govern and does not inspire almost anybody, anymore. But it is behaving as if it would be holding some mysterious right to judge and advice others: those who do fight, those who do inspire and those who do govern! It is evident that it wants none-Western socialist and communist governments and movements, those that are now proudly governing all over the world, to go straight to hell!

It is because even the Left in Europe and US is constructed on Christian and Euro-centric mindset, with exceptionalism and supremacist sentiments at its core.

Unable to lead, and most likely unwilling to govern, too lethargic and intellectually spent, most of Western ‘progressive’ thinkers are constantly regurgitating lunatic economic and political theories that no one in other parts of the world, especially the poor world, would ever take seriously, let alone want to implement.

Most of them hide behind ‘anarchism’. Any left-wing leader who gets to govern in Asia, Latin America or Africa, is put under insane and thoroughly detailed scrutiny, and criticized as “undemocratic”, “dogmatic” or worse.

Many Chinese comrades I spoke to in Beijing already completely gave up on the Western Left; they see it, mainly, as the extremely reactionary force (ideologically), which is backstabbing real opposition to Western imperialism.

***

And so, while Greece votes on its financial future, Ecuador is facing one of the most vicious subversions in its history. It is facing it alone. It appears that everyone from none-Latin American left who matters is now in Athens, and as far as I know, there are no solidarity ‘delegates’ descending on Quito!

***

My priority now is Ecuador. My priority is Latin America. This is where I see great battle for the future of humanity taking place. Here and in Asia. Definitely not in Europe!

Latin American governments here are not perfect. But they are doing all they can, after decades and centuries of plunder, after Europe, the United States, in unison with local elites and multinational companies, were pillaging and raping everything “south of the border”.

I described it all in my latest 800-page book: “Exposing Lies of the Empire”. I demonstrated how the Empire is destabilizing country after country. Ecuador may be next.

Corruption could not be eradicated in one year, or in one decade. Things can improve, greatly, in one decade or even in one year, but horror structures built during long centuries of European and North American colonialism and neo-colonialism could not be fully reversed in a short period of time. ‘The Process’ has to be in place for many years, and it has to flow uninterrupted.

Yes, we are not perfect, but we are trying to get better as we go forward. And yes, Latin America is moving forward! We are trying, stumbling and falling, passing through fire, filth, conspiracies and intrigues. It is moving forward, damn it! As others like Russia, China, South Africa and Iran are!

***

Ecuadorian elites are protesting and they are sabotaging everything great that was done by Correa and his administration.

Many of my friends and comrades in Ecuador believe that the coup may happen at any moment, most likely after Pope Francis will end his visit to South America.

Not one word is uttered about great progress; new highways and airports, modern hospitals and schools, medical posts, countless playgrounds for children, free culture, libraries… Right wing in Ecuador owns most of mass media – television stations and newspapers. But not much positive is written about Ecuador by Western ‘progressive’ media outlets, either.

Of course, Western left-wing elite is not writing much good about China, Vietnam, Eritrea, South Africa, Zimbabwe or Iran, either. To Western left wing “purists”, all these countries are actually “not good enough”, not socialist enough, because they don’t follow some socialist or communist path approved by the West. China, Russia and even Ecuador also see democracy extremely differently then European and North American Left. Therefore, they can count of very little support.

***

Greece should default. That fortress, fascist European Union, should not get away with bullying it.

But Greece should fight for internationalist, global ideals, not just for its own gain.

When things were going well, when money was flowing in, when Greek farmers were enjoying driving the latest models of German cars on their newly built smooth motorways, Greek people were content. They were not asking where the money was coming from. Of course money came mainly from plundering of none-Western world, of exploiting those ‘non-people’. That was fine, wasn’t it?

Even now, even recently, many Greeks were complaining bitterly about illegal immigration from Africa! I was told outrageous things that I previously associated with German neo-Nazis. Don’t those writers who are now writing their flattering essays, glorifying Greek nation, know that? Or they pretend not to see and hear?

There is so much open racism in all over Greece! And there is so little solidarity with the rest of the world.

Greece is fighting for its own goals. It’s incomes dropped, from 1.400 to 800 euros a month, per capita, in many cases. Terrible, but in many African nations where money to support Greek farmers often came from in the past (EU was busy finishing African agriculture, making it dependent on its own food production), incomes are sitting at around 30 euros per month. I tried to address these issues in Athens, but encountered stone faces and total bewilderment, even hostility. I was told: “But we are used to different standards! We are not some Africans. We are Europeans!”

And therefore I repeat: what is happening in Greece is not some left wing, internationalist revolution.

Greeks are fighting for Greece. And Latin America is fighting for humanity! It never exploited anybody. It sends doctors, teachers, all over the world. It sends oil to the poor, even in the United States. It supplied unfortunate countries like East Timor with instructors. It offers solidarity to Palestine, Iran, and to so many others!

***

If Ecuador will get under direct fire, I will go back, and I will stand by its people, doing all that I could to support it. The revolution may survive, or it may not. It will be extremely tough fight with uncertain outcome. Many people will die.

As many wrote: Greece will survive. “It is, after all, in Europe”. Even when it is down, it is, somehow, up. It will not disappear; will not get raped. There will be no tanks sent to the streets again, to murder its people.

We, “down here”, may not get another chance. The Empire will try to smash all resistance in Latin America, in what it considers to be its own backyard. Then if we fall, entire non-Western world may be forced to return to square zero!

But everyone is now in Athens!

Andre Vltchek is a philosopher, novelist, filmmaker and investigative journalist. He covered wars and conflicts in dozens of countries. His latest books are: “Exposing Lies Of The Empire” and Fighting Against Western Imperialism. Discussion with Noam Chomsky: On Western TerrorismPoint of No Return is his critically acclaimed political novel. Oceania – a book on Western imperialism in the South Pacific. His provocative book about Indonesia: “Indonesia – The Archipelago of Fear”. Andre is making films for teleSUR and Press TV. After living for many years in Latin America and Oceania, Vltchek presently resides and works in East Asia and the Middle East. He can be reached through his websiteor his Twitter.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of Oceania Saker.

 

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Why there is still no Iran nuke deal in Vienna, by Pepe Escobar

Consider this a back to back special on the ongoing Iranian Nuclear negotiations. If you have not already read Pepe’s last piece, then please do here for some background.

AE

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on

Source: Asia Times

VIENNA – As the Iran-P5+1 negotiation hit the crucial stage on Monday night, and the technical teams pushed for a clean text to be released on Tuesday – albeit unsuccessfully – the top sticking point turned out to be the conventional arms embargo imposed on Iran by the UNSC, a senior European diplomat told Asia Times.

BRICS members Russia and China had a coordinated position; “yes” to the end of the embargo. The US and the UK voted “no.” And, crucially, France was wavering.

If this was a decision solely in the hands of French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, the vote would be “no.” But arguably if the final decision rests with President Francois Hollande, it would be a “yes.” There is nothing the French weapons industry would like better than to add Tehran to its still meager list of customers for Rafales and Mistrals.

Turning to the Big Picture, Iranian diplomats were stressing that, “all nuclear-related sanctions should be removed. That was agreed upon in Lausanne.” This means the conventional arms embargo – imposed by the UN in 2007, and tied up in the nuclear sanctions – should also go.

So what was reported by Asia Times early this week continued to apply; there are severe cracks within the P5+1 on several key issues — thus their need to spend more time negotiating amongst themselves than with Iran.

That’s the key reason for a new deadline extension — to Thursday, July 9. And even that may not be the end of the road.

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Iran nuke deal — what’s behind the new Vienna deadline, by Pepe Escobar

Unparalleled insight from one of the most well known geopolitical analysts around, Pepe is absolutely a pleasure to read!

This is the closest you will get to the negotiating table.

AE

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Source: Asia Times

VIENNA – The decision mechanism at the UN Security Council (UNSC) is the main sticking point preventing a nuclear deal between Iran and the P5+1 being reached this Tuesday, a top Iranian official told Asia Times.

This is directly related to “the credibility of the UNSC at stake,” after “so many imposed resolutions” considered as unjust and illegal by Tehran.

Iranian diplomats insist on a “fundamental shift” at the UNSC; “The Iranian file should not have been sent to the UNSC in the first place,” says another official. And here Iranian diplomats open a complex discussion on two fronts; the politicization of the IAEA, and the UNSC being used to arbitrate on an eminently technical dossier.

So it’s no wonder that for Iran, the removal of past UN resolutions is considered “only as a starting point.”

Iran has floated the idea of a UN resolution revoking all previous sanctions immediately after the announcement of a deal in Vienna. Iranian negotiator Abbas Araghchi had advanced on Iranian TV the idea that a deal — including the annexes — could be endorsed by the UNSC as early as this week.

That’s extremely unlikely; the US Senate would go ballistic — as in US sovereignty being seriously compromised. This does not prevent the fact that the extremely sensitive text of a UN resolution erasing all previous sanctions is being discussed at the negotiating table in Vienna.

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Continue reading Iran nuke deal — what’s behind the new Vienna deadline, by Pepe Escobar

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The Triumph of Thierry Meyssan, by Paul Matthews

«When, on September 6, 2006, President Bush admitted to the existence of the secret torture program of the CIA, he defended the practice, arguing that it had yielded information that saved lives. It was based on the false reports of the CIA and he was unaware that it manufactured evidence instead of searching for it. From that point, the Atlanticist media descended into barbarism and debated the merits of torture by presenting it as a necessary evil». The Congressional report on torture confirms that Al Qaeda was not involved in the attacks of September 11 – Thierry Meyssan : 15 Decembre 2014 (Cf. infra).

Quién puede pensar en  él? c. 1814-1823 Francisco de Goya y Lucientes Sepia wash and Indian ink,Museo del Prado, Madrid
Quién puede pensar en él? c. 1814-1823 Francisco de Goya y Lucientes Sepia wash and Indian ink,Museo del Prado, Madrid

The founding chairman of the Voltaire Network multilingual website has finally come into his own. In two articles in 2009 [1] and 2014 [2] he highlights the rôle of a certain “US academic”, Martin Seligman, relating to the real nature of the Camp Delta «conditioning» and detention centre at Guantánamo Naval Base. All of which has to be seen in the light of the recently published US Congressional report on the secret CIA torture programme and concerning a vast criminal operation, known officially as «Extraordinary Rendition» ie the system for kidnapping and sequestering people from all over the world put in place by the CIA and the US Navy during the presidential terms of office of both William Jefferson Clinton and George Walker Bush.

Some would use the word apotheosis after the years the French author and investigative journalist spent in the wilderness after publishing 11 Septembre : l’Effroyable Imposture (9/11 : The Big Lie) and a companion volume Pentagate. English-language editions of both now republished by USA Books.  Here is the man who has courageously defended in public the governments of Muammar Gaddafi  and of Bashar Assad during a so-called Arab Spring [3] and whose website helps expose numerous scandals including Operazione Gladio [4].

Rightly observing that «real-time information has been paradoxically transformed into a show in which the truth is incidental» [5] he is anticipated by Karl Marx (alienation theory and commodity fetishism) and Guy Debord (Society of Spectacle). But in an existence crucified increasingly by money worship, Mother Nature’s commodification is yielding an abundance of stigmata inconceivible before the twenty-first century.

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Conversation: Life of African-Russians In the Russian Federation

This article originally appeared on: Slavorum

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When we think of multicultural society we always think of USA, and naturally during Cold War Era of Soviet Union one could not see black people from Africa located inside Russia. In other words maybe just some African delegations, but as Russian population none. However as USSR fell apart, and as Russia also turned to capitalist system things have changed in last years and as you are about to see many more people have come to become naturalized Russians. These people today live in Russia and work on positions from mayors, to policemen, army-men and anything else that comes to ones mind.

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They are now sucesfully incorporated in all branches of society, so they work in public transport:

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One Russian town has recently elected an African mayor:

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This was the new Russian mayor during his campaign:

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Orthodox church has also become un-orthodox in it’s composition:

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Locals come to holy mass held by African priests:

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Group of young naturalized Russians taking a photo before “whitey” town sign.

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After hard work many enjoy their time in traditional Russian food and drinks:

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Cossacks have also strengthen their ranks:

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Communist Russian party also has new members:

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Soldier ranks also have new members from Mozambican Army which are in Russia for training

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Police in Siberia also became more colorful:

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Many have learned how to play traditional Russian Balalaika instrument:

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Ice baths that Russians enjoy are also loved by African-Russians:

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Now it’s proven Lenin also had it’s African-Russian twin:

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They enjoy Russian cos-plays and history re-enactments:

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All in all happy bunch! Don’t you think? :)

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of Oceania Saker.

 

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