15 years on: Looking back at NATO’s ‘humanitarian’ bombing of Yugoslavia

from RT

Exactly 15 years ago, on March 24, NATO began its 78-day bombing of Yugoslavia. The alliance bypassed the UN under a “humanitarian” pretext, launching aggression that claimed hundreds of civilian lives and caused a much larger catastrophe than it averted.

Years on, Serbia still bears deep scars of the NATO bombings which, as the alliance put it, were aimed at “preventing instability spreading” in Kosovo. Questions remain on the very legality of the offense, which caused casualties and mass destruction in the Balkan republic.

Codenamed ‘Operation Allied Force,’ it was the largest attack ever undertaken by the alliance. It was also the first time that NATO used military force without the approval of the UN Security Council and against a sovereign nation that did not pose a real threat to any member of the alliance.

NATO demonstrated in 1999 that it can do whatever it wants under the guise of “humanitarian intervention,” “war on terror,” or “preventive war” – something that everyone has witnessed in subsequent years in different parts of the globe.

Nineteen NATO member states participated to some degree in the military campaign against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro), which lasted for 11 weeks until June 10, 1999.

(and from the comment section. It’s very telling in terms of what is happening in Ukraine right now:

Kiza 24.03.2014 11:39

McFaul is in a faul. Even Jelena is not showing the best graph. The relevant graph is the debt of Serbia during Milosevic and after Milosevic. You could easily say that Serbia under Milosevic had to be bombed because it was not in debt slavery. Something similar also happened to Romania after Ceaușescu. Before Ceaușescu was killed in a coup – almost zero debt. Now, Romania is a member of EU and under a mountain of debt – the Romanian state is owned by the Western bankers. It is obvious that any leader who rejects debt slavery to the Western Bankers is called The Dictator, The Butcher, The Hitler, and blah blah.)

[read the rest, here]

Who In Ukraine Will Benefit From An IMF Bailout?

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from Naked Capitalism

HUDSON: The objective of IMF loans is to deindustrialize the economy. It is to force the economy–meaning the government when you say the economy–the government has to pay the IMF loan by privatizing whatever remains in the public domain. The Westerners want to buy the Ukrainian farmland. They want to buy the public utilities. They want to buy the roads. They want to buy the ports. And all of this is going to be sold at a very low price to the Westerners, and the price that the Westerners pay will be turned over to the Ukrainian government, that then will turn it back to the Ukraine. So whatever the West gives Ukraine will immediately be taken back.

Sommers: The problem with this idea that somehow by joining the E.U. everything is going to be good for the people of Ukraine is that what the Ukrainians are essentially seeing are the echoes of a social democratic past which is being euthanized in the European Union… structurally, it’s being destroyed… there are offshore gas fields just off offshore of Crimea. Exxon put in a rather substantial bid in for those. They are going to lose that.

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Egypt’s military expands its control of the country’s economy

UPDATE: Egypt delays trial of over 1,200 Morsi supporters

from the Washington Post

In the shadows of a harsh political crackdown, the military that overthrew Egypt’s first democratically elected president last summer is positioning itself to become the country’s uncontested economic power.

Egyptians have focused in recent months on the likely ascent of military commander Abdel Fatah al-Sissi to the presidency in the nation’s first post-coup election this spring. But already, the generals have used their July power grab to slip their allies into key economic posts and expand their authority over government development deals, including a lucrative Suez Canal project.

The industries owned by the military have always been a powerful force in the country’s economy, though their profits and scope have never been disclosed to the public. In the years before the 2011 revolution, the military and its businesses sometimes competed for economic policymaking power with the family of longtime autocrat Hosni Mubarak and a handful of oligarchs.

Now, experts say, the Egyptian economy is increasingly shaped by the opaque desires of the ruling generals. And the military’s business activities appear to be expanding — from the manufacture of basic items such as bottled water and furniture into larger infrastructure, energy and technology projects, analysts say.

“We’re dealing with a brand-new economy that’s now run by ‘Military Inc.,’ ” said Joshua Stacher, an Egypt expert at Kent State University who has studied the military economy.

[read the rest, here]

Mass march for political reform in Chile ends in clashes

from RT

A mass protest was cut short in Santiago, Chile, after police dispersed activists with tear gas and water cannon. Over 150,000 people had gathered in the city center to urge newly-elected President Michelle Bachelet to push ahead with her reform program.

Over 30 different organizations attended the “March of all Marches” in the center of the Chilean capital, calling for the Pinochet-era constitution to be replaced with new legislation that protects the rights of all citizens. Among other things, activists demanded environmental reform, gay marriage, the legalization of abortion, the recognition of the right to self-determination of Chile’s indigenous communities, and the vote for Chileans residing abroad…

… Michelle Bachelet, who was previously president of Chile between 2006 and 2010, was elected in December of last year and assumed the presidency on March 12. During her presidential campaign, Bachelet pledged to make significant structural reforms, which include the implementation of a free university education and improved healthcare.

Furthermore, Bachelet has said she will dispense with the political and economic bodies that were founded under the dictatorship of General Pinochet, who governed the country from 1973 to 1990.

[read the rest, here]

101 injured, 29 arrested in Madrid as anti-austerity march turns violent

from RT

Protesters clashed with police in Madrid as thousands of people trekked across Spain to protest austerity which they claim is destroying their country. Under the banner “no more cuts!” the protesters called for an end to the government’s “empty promises.”

Police arrested at least 29 protesters following the clashes which took place after the march. According to emergency service, 101 people were injured – 67 of them police, El Mundo newspaper reports.

Protesters were seen throwing stones and firecrackers at police. According to witnesses, officers used tear gas to disperse the demonstrators.

Clashes broke out during a final speech at the demonstration when protesters tried to break through a police barrier. Riot police took charge by beating protesters with batons, AP reported.

[read the rest, here]

Five years of Obama’s “recovery”

by Patrick Martin, WSWS

This week marks five years since the New York Stock Exchange hit its low point at the bottom of the financial crash that erupted with the collapse of Lehman Brothers investment bank. On March 6, 2009, Dow Jones Industrial Average hit its post-collapse low of 6,443. Three days later, on March 9, 2009, the S&P 500 hit its post-collapse low of 676.

Yesterday, at the close of stock trading for the week, the Dow Jones average closed at 16,452, up a colossal 10,000 points over five years, or 154 percent. The S&P 500 stood at 1,878, rising even faster than the Dow, gaining 170 percent over five years.

These are only the most striking of a barrage of numbers reported in recent weeks, demonstrating that for the US financial aristocracy, the Crash of 2008 has been used to engineer a historic redistribution of wealth.

Continue reading

Soros Praises “Ukrainian renaissance” – He’s An Apologist for Neo-Nazi Violence and Brutal Repression

by Scott Creighton

[see updates at the end of this article]

“[N]obody who has read a business magazine in the last few years can be unaware that these days there really are investors who not only move money in anticipation of a currency crisis, but actually do their best to trigger that crisis for fun and profit. These new actors on the scene do not yet have a standard name; my proposed term is ‘Soroi’.” Paul Krugman 1999

You can’t make this stuff up. You just can’t.

Billionaire speculator and vulture capitalist George Soros (family changed their name from Schwartz in 1936) has penned an Op Ed praising the outcome of the recent IMF serving color revolution in the Ukraine. For a man who famously hates anti-Semitism, it seems rather odd that he would be aligning himself with the rise of the neo-Nazi nationalist parties in the Ukraine. But then again, Soros (Schwartz) has always been more about the money than he was about his religious identity.

That’s probably because money is his religion.

Not only is Mr. Soros (chosen name means “designated successor” or “next in line” in Hungarian) busily rewriting the history of this bloody conflict in his new Op Ed, he’s actually serving as an apologist for the neo-Nazi’s brutal violence which ultimately brought down the elected government of the country and now is positioning itself to wipe out what they consider to be enemies of the true Ukrainian state; Jews and other leftists.

Continue reading

4 Ways the U.S. Is Violently Meddling In the Syrian Civil War

by Alex Kane, AlterNet

American intervention in this brutal war has involved arming the rebels (terrorists) and training people (terrorists) how to kill.

As the Syrian civil war grinds on and the brutality that accompanies it mounts, calls for deeper American involvement and armed intervention have increased. The fact that public pressure and a deal with Russia staved off a bombing campaign five months ago hasn’t stopped prominent voices to call for the Obama administration to do something, anything, to stop the bloodshed engulfing Syria and the wider Middle East.  What’s frequently missing from these calls to intervene is that the US is already deeply involved in the violence in Syria.

A recent call for intervention was published by the Washington Post on February 14. The author, former Clinton national security adviser Sandy Berger, argued for stopping Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad’s atrocities against civilians by force.

“Hindering Assad’s use of helicopters and jets to kill civilians would enable the moderate Syrian opposition to demonstrate that it has helped deliver some freedom from the constant fear of death from the air,” wrote Berger. “There are many ways to achieve this goal with partners and allies, from working with proxies in the region to airstrikes — actions limited in scope and that do not involve U.S. troops on the ground.”

[read the rest, here]

USA declares war on democracy

by Kevin Ryan, Press TV

Since the days of President Woodrow Wilson – that is, for roughly 100 years – the USA has been on a self-styled crusade to “make the world safe for democracy.”

Colossal wars, hot and cold, were fought against German kaisers and fuhrers, Russian communists, and Third World nationalists. The American people were told they were “defending democracy.”

Americans slaughtered 3.5 million Vietnamese, and nearly another million Cambodians, to “defend democracy” in Southeast Asia.

They murdered millions of Iraqis through wars and sanctions to “defend democracy” in the Middle East.

According to André Vltchek and Noam Chomsky’s book On Western Terrorism, the US government has murdered between 55 and 60 million people since World War II in wars and interventions all over the world. If we believe the imperial propagandists, this American Holocaust has been one big defense of democracy.

But now, on the eve of the 100th anniversary of World War I, the US has embarked on a new crusade – to make the world UNSAFE for democracy.

In Ukraine, Venezuela, and Thailand, the US is spending billions of dollars to unconstitutionally eject democratically-elected governments. In Palestine, the US has been trying to overthrow the democratically-elected Hamas government ever since it came to power. In Egypt, the US – under Zionist pressure – recently overthrew the only genuinely democratic government in 5,000 years of recorded history. In Syria, the US insists that the people must not be given the opportunity to re-elect Assad, no matter how many international observers and safeguards ensure honest elections. And in Turkey, the US is undermining the democratically-elected Prime Minister Erdogan in favor of CIA puppet Fethullah Gulen.

Taking the long view, the US is working patiently to destroy democracy in Iran, Russia, and Latin America.

Why does the US government hate democracy?

Because the international bankers who own the US government and run the US empire cannot always buy enough votes to impose their will on every country. So democracy is fine – as long as voters elect the New World Order candidate. But if they vote for a candidate who doesn’t suit the oligarchs, get ready for a coup!

The banksters will overthrow any government that stands up to them – even in the USA. The “termination with extreme prejudice” of the presidency of John F. Kennedy sent a message to all future US presidents.

[read the rest, here]

Ukraine’s Brown Revolution: Brought to you by your friends at the IMF

by Scott Creighton

Just a couple of quotes from recent articles to put all of this Ukrainian “democracy” into perspective for you.

  • Among the reasons Mr. Yanukovych turned away from signing political and trade accords with Europe in November was his unwillingness to carry out austerity measures and other reforms that the International Monetary Fund had demanded in exchange for a large assistance packageNew York Times
  • A $15 billion bailout package secured by Mr. Yanukovych from Russia in December has been suspended, and Ukraine is now hurtling toward default. New York Times
  • Arseniy P. Yatsenyuk, the leader in Parliament of the Fatherland Party and a leading contender to serve as acting prime minister, pleaded with colleagues to swiftly reach an agreement on the designation of an interim government, which is needed to formally request emergency economic assistance from the International Monetary Fund. New York Times
  • The International Monetary Fund has made clear that it will demand austerity measures and other long-stalled economic changes in exchange for any assistance package. New York Times

As I have written in the past, the color revolution currently unfolding in Thailand was also brought to you by your friends at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) as was the illegal Washington backed coup in Egypt.

 

As Expected, Democracy Hating Color Revolution in Thailand Takes Violent Turn – Syria Redux?

by Scott Creighton

The color revolution in Thailand is hitting a critical stage. Public support for the regime changers is dwindling fast as Thais come to understand the nature and ambitions of the oligarch serving “opposition”

In spite of evaporating public support, hired influence peddlers like “Tony Cartalucci” working diligently for the country’s elite business class, are still doing their level best to mislead the alternative news community in Thailand and elsewhere in hopes that they can gin-up international support for things like sanctions or even “humanitarian” bombing campaigns from NATO. These disingenuous actors will say and do just about anything to bring about undemocratic regime change on behalf of the billionaire oligarchs of Thailand.

As is usually the case, once bloom is gone from the phony color revolution, the regime change operation always takes a more desperate, violent turn where the oligarch’s thugs create violent events so influence peddlers like Mr. Cartalucci can systematically blame those acts on the current government in Thailand. A prime example is Syria but unfortunately, there are many others to make comparisons to. True to form, Mr. Cartalucci is now ranting about the “regime thugs” attacking various high profile business class oligarchs.

Continue reading

Russia condemns Adra massacre, calls on world community to react

from RT

Russia’s Foreign Ministry has condemned massacre in the town of Adra, 20 kilometers north of Damascus. Survivors say jihadist rebel groups executed dozens of civilians, including children, beheading them or burning them alive.

Moscow is convinced that such acts have to be decisively condemned and the international community should actively confront the perpetrators and financers of those acts,” Aleksandr Lukashevich, spokesman for the Russian Foreign Ministry, said in a statement.

While the Syrian army continues its broad push to get the insurgents out of Adra, RT Arabic has gathered eyewitness accounts of what happened in the town last week, when it was captured by Islamist rebels of the Al-Nusra front and the Army of Islam.

Those who managed to flee the violence in Adra and reach Damascus say they saw the militants slaughtering Alawites, Druze, Christians and Shiites indiscriminately. Fearing their interviews might do harm to their relatives still in the occupied town, the fugitive survivors asked not to reveal their identities.

[read the rest, here]

US meeting with al-Qaeda-linked Syria militants possible, Kerry says

from Press TV

US Secretary of State John Kerry has announced that a meeting between American officials and al-Qaeda-linked “Islamic Front” fighting against the Syrian government is possible.

“The United States has not met yet to date with the Islamic Front. There has not been a discussion,” Kerry told reporters during his visit to the Philippines on Tuesday.

“It’s possible that it could take place,” he added.

US officials are reportedly set to meet with commanders of the militant group in Turkey.

The Saudi-backed Islamic Front seized control of weapons stores belonging to the so-called Free Syrian Army near a Turkish border crossing over a week ago.

The Islamic Front was created by the unification of at least six extremist Salafist groups last month.

[read the rest, here]

US ‘manipulated public opinion,’ ignored appeals for Syria chem attack evidence – Churkin

from RT

While building up a case against the Syrian government, the US has relied on the sophisticated filtration of information and manipulation of public opinion through carefully weighted statements with no hard proof, Russian UN envoy Vitaly Churkin said.

“Our requests for additional information which could prove the Syrian government involvement in the use of chemical weapons were ignored by Washington,” Ambassador Vitaly Churkin said after a closed-door UN Security Council (UNSC) meeting on two UN chemical weapons reports by Ake Sellstrom.

The sarin attacks near Aleppo on March 19 and in Ghouta on August 21 are the two most “alarming” incidents of the Syrian conflict, Churkin told reporters, adding that the story becomes “full of contradictions” if blame is placed on the Syrian government.

“Why would the Syrian government use chemical weapons on August 21?” Churkin said. “To cross the red line drawn by Washington and invite a missile strike upon itself? Why would the opposition use chemical weapons? Exactly because of the red line. To provoke foreign military intervention in the Syrian conflict.”

The August 21 attack was a provocation by the rebels, Churkin believes, noting that Sellstrom’s investigation got acquainted with the OPCW-certified (Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons) report. He added that the UN team did not refute the results found by Russian experts in the report.

The Russian team’s analysis concluded that “home-made” sarin was used near Aleppo on March 19. It stated that the sarin was likely delivered by a crudely made missile. The team also named the particular opposition group most likely behind the attack.

[read the rest, here]

‘Slaughtered like sheep’: Eyewitnesses recount massacre in Adra, Syria

from RT

“New details of atrocities carried out by Islamist rebel fighters in the town of Adra, 20 kilometers north of Damascus, continue to pour in from survivors of the massacre there, in which reportedly at least 80 people lost their lives.

“The decapitators” is how the Adra residents, who managed to flee the violence there, now call the people who currently have the town under their control. Adra, a town with a population of 20,000, was captured by Islamist rebels from the Al-Nusra front and the Army of Islam last week, following fierce fighting with the government forces. The town’s seizure was accompanied by mass executions of civilians.

RT Arabic has managed to speak to some of the eyewitnesses of the atrocities. Most of them have fled the town, leaving their relatives and friends behind, so they asked not to be identified in the report for security reasons.

An Adra resident said he escaped from the town “under a storm of bullets.” He later contacted his colleagues, who described how the executions of civilians were carried out by the militants.

They had lists of government employees on them,” the man told RT. “This means they had planned for it beforehand and knew who works in the governmental agencies. They went to the addresses they had on their list, forced the people out and subjected them to the so-called “Sharia trials.” I think that’s what they call it. They sentenced them to death by beheading.

A woman, hiding her face from the camera, told RT of the beheadings she had seen.

There was slaughter everywhere,” she said. “The eldest was only 20 years old; he was slaughtered. They were all children. I saw them with my own eyes. They killed fourteen people with a machete. I don’t know if these people were Alawites. I don’t know why they were slaughtered. They grabbed them by their heads and slaughtered them like sheep.”

[read the rest, here]

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