Russian President Vladimir Putin Leads BRICS Uprising

 

 

putin-brics-economies-alliance.si_-400x224There’s been a virtual blackout of news from this year’s seventh annual BRICS summit in Ufa, Russia.  None of the mainstream media organizations are covering the meetings or making any attempt to explain what’s going on.  As a result, the American people remain largely in the dark about a powerful coalition of nations that are putting in place an alternate system that will greatly reduce US influence in the world and end the current era of superpower rule.

Let’s cut to the chase: Leaders of the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) realize that global security cannot be entrusted to a country that sees war as a acceptable means for achieving its geopolitical objectives.  They also realize that they won’t be able to achieve financial stability as long as Washington dictates the rules, issues the de facto “international” currency, and controls the main levers of global financial power. This is why the BRICS have decided to chart a different course, to gradually break free from the existing Bretton Woods system, and to create parallel system that better serves their own interests. Logically, they have focused on the foundation blocks which support the current US-led system, that is, the institutions from which the United States derives its extraordinary power; the dollar, the US Treasury market, and the IMF. Replace these, the thinking goes, and the indispensable nation becomes just another country struggling to get by.  This is from the Asia Times:

“Leaders of the BRICS… launched the  New Development Bank, which has taken three years of negotiations to bring to fruition. With about $50 billion in starting capital, the bank is expected to start issuing debt to fund infrastructure projects next year. They also launched a foreign-exchange currency fund of $100 billion.

The two new endeavors are statements that the five largest emerging markets are both looking out for each other and, simultaneously, moving away from the western financing institutions of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund.

“The BRICS states intend to actively use their own resources and internal resources for development,” Putin said, according to Reuters. “The New (Development) Bank will help finance joint, large-scale projects in transport and energy infrastructure, industrial development.”…..Birthing the two initiatives in Russia had been Putin’s top priorities.”

(“Russia’s Putin scores points at Ufa BRICS summit“, Asia Times)

Can you see what’s going on? Putin has figured out the empire’s vulnerabilities and he’s going straight for the jugular.  He’s saying: ‘We’re going to issue our own debt, we’re going to run our own system, we’re going to fund our own projects, and we’re going to do it all in our own currency. Kaboom. The only thing you’re going to be doing, is managing your own accelerating economic decline. Have a good day.’ Isn’t that the gist of what he’s saying?

So can you see, dear reader, why none of this is appearing on the pages of US newspapers or on US television.   Washington would rather you didn’t know how they’ve bungled everything by alienating the fastest growing countries in the world.

The Ufa conference is a watershed moment. While the Pentagon is rapidly moving troops and military hardware to Russia’s borders, and one bigwig after another is bloviating about the “Russian threat”; the BRICS have moved out of Washington’s orbit altogether.  They are following the leadership of men who, frankly speaking, are acting exactly like US leaders acted when the US was on the upswing. These are guys who “think big”; who want to connect continents with high-speed rail, lift living standards across the board, and transform themselves into manufacturing dynamos. What do America’s leaders dream about: Drone warfare? Balancing the budget? Banning the Confederate flag?

It’s a joke. No one in Washington has a plan for the future. It’s all just political opportunism and posturing.  Check this out from The Hindu:

“China and Russia have described BRICS, the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) and the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) as the core of a new international order…

Russian President Vladimir Putin said… “There is no doubt — we have all necessary premises to expand the horizons of mutually beneficial cooperation, to join together our raw material resources, human capital and huge consumer markets for a powerful economic spurt.”

Russia’s Tass news agency also quoted Mr. Putin as saying that the Eurasian continent had vast transit potential. He pointed to “the construction of new efficient transport and logistics chains, in particular, the implementation of the initiative of the Silk Road economic belt and the development of transportation in the eastern part of Russia and Siberia. This may link the rapidly growing markets in Asia and Europe’s economies, mature, rich in industrial and technological achievements. At the same time, this will allow our countries to become more commercially viable in the competition for investors, for creating new jobs, for advanced enterprises,” he observed.”….

The summit also acknowledged “the potential for expanding the use of our national currencies in transactions between the BRICS countries.”   (“BRICS, SCO, EAEU can define new world order: China, Russia“, The Hindu)

The dollar is toast. The IMF is toast. The US debt market (US Treasuries) is toast.  The institutions that support US power are crumbling before our very eyes. The BRICS have had enough; enough war, enough Wall Street, enough meddling and hypocrisy and austerity and lecturing. This is farewell. Sure, it will take time, but Ufa marks a fundamental change in thinking, a fundamental change in approach, and a fundamental change in strategic orientation.

The BRICS are not coming back,  they’re gone for good, just as Washington’s “pivot to Asia” is gone for good. There’s just too much resistance. Washington has simply overplayed its hand, worn out its welcome. People are sick of us.

Can you blame them?

Mike Whitney lives in Washington state. He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press). Hopeless is also available in a Kindle edition. He can be reached at fergiewhitney@msn.com.

Disclaimer: The contents of this article are of sole responsibility of the author(s). Unruly Hearts will not be responsible for any inaccurate or incorrect statement in this article.

Noam Chomsky calls US ‘world’s leading terrorist state’

U.S. linguist and philosopher Noam Chomsky (Reuters/Jorge Dan)

U.S. linguist and philosopher Noam Chomsky (Reuters/Jorge Dan)

 

RT news

The United States is the “world’s leading terrorist state,” based on its deadly, CIA-run operations in the likes of Nicaragua and Cuba, according to new op-ed by historian and social philosopher Noam Chomsky.

In a new piece posted at Truthout.org, Chomsky pointed to the Central Intelligence Agency’s classified review of its own efforts to arm insurgencies across the globe in its 67-year history. As RT previously reported, the CIA conducted the effectiveness analyses while the Obama administration contemplated arming rebels fighting against President Bashar Assad’s forces in Syria.

The New York Times was the first to uncover the story and Chomsky opened by suggesting the Times’ own headline for it should have been titled, “It’s official: The U.S. is the world’s leading terrorist state, and proud of it,” rather than “CIA Study of Covert Aid Fueled Skepticism About Helping Syrian Rebels.”

 

A rebel fighter from the Free Syrian Army holds a position with a Belgium made FAL rifle at a front line in the Salah al-Din neighbourhood of the northern Syrian city of Aleppo (AFP Photo)

A rebel fighter from the Free Syrian Army holds a position with a Belgium made FAL rifle at a front line in the Salah al-Din neighbourhood of the northern Syrian city of Aleppo (AFP Photo)

The longtime MIT professor went on to detail some of the instances assessed in the CIA’s review and why they amount to an American regime – “the world champion in generating terror” – bent on antagonizing its opposition around the world.

“The first paragraph of the Times article cites three major examples of ‘covert aid’: Angola, Nicaragua and Cuba. In fact, each case was a major terrorist operation conducted by the US,” Chomsky wrote.

He added that it was the US, in the 1980s, that supported Apartheid-era South Africa as it invaded Angola to protect itself “from one of the world’s ‘more notorious terrorist groups,” according to Washington: “Nelson Mandela’s African National Congress.”

“Washington joined South Africa in providing crucial support for Jonas Savimbi’s terrorist Unita army in Angola,” wrote Chomsky.

Unita army (AFP Photo)

Unita army (AFP Photo)

“The consequences were horrendous. A 1989 U.N. inquiry estimated that South African depredations led to 1.5 million deaths in neighboring countries, let alone what was happening within South Africa itself.”

Chomsky also mentioned the decades-long “murderous and destructive campaign” the US aimed at Cuba, including the failed Bay of Pigs invasion and a harsh embargo that continues to this day.

“The toll of the long terrorist war was amplified by a crushing embargo, which continues even today in defiance of the world. On Oct. 28, the UN, for the 23rd time, endorsed ‘the necessity of ending the economic, commercial, financial blockade imposed by the United States against Cuba,’” he wrote.

Chomsky mentioned the dirty wars the US brought to opposition in Central America in the 1980s and current airstrikes in Syria and Iraq aimed at Islamic State, a jihadist group, like others, compiled and strengthened through American interventions in the Middle East, namely the recent Iraq war, he wrote.

 

AFP Photo/U.S. Air Force

AFP Photo/U.S. Air Force

He ended with a note on President Barack Obama’s unmanned drone regime patrolling the skies in the likes of Pakistan and Yemen.

“To this we may add the world’s greatest terrorist campaign: Obama’s global project of assassination of ‘terrorists.’ The ‘resentment-generating impact’ of those drone and special-forces strikes should be too well known to require further comment,” he wrote.

“This is a record to be contemplated with some awe.”

Listen to the sound of the Global South

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Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff (R) makes a speach during the 6th BRICS Summit in Fortaleza, Brazil, on July 15, 2014. (AFP Photo / Yasuyoshi Chiba)

 

Listen to the sound of the Global South

By Pepe Escobar

Published by ASIAN TIMES

July 17, 2014 

Pepe Escobar

Pepe Escobar is the roving correspondent for Asia Times/Hong Kong, an analyst for RT and TomDispatch, and a frequent contributor to websites and radio shows ranging from the US to East Asia.

 

 

The BRICS summit in northeast Brazil has already made history for one key reason; the creation of the New Development Bank.

Call it the Global South antidote to that structural adjustment racket, the IMF. Over and over again, BRICS member nations and others have insisted on an institutional IMF reform that would recognize the economic weight of the Global South. Reform packages have been languishing in the US Congress since 2010. And once again they were blocked last April.

The New Development Bank will be way more democratic than the US/EU-controlled IMF. Look at the funding; a flat $10 billion contribution by each member country. This means, sooner or later, that other developing nations will also join. I have called it casino capitalism versus a productive capitalism model.

The summit agenda was humongous; the BRICS discussed trade, sustainable development strategies, macroeconomic policy, energy, finance, terrorism, climate change, regional security, drug smuggling, transnational crime, the industrialization of Africa. The BRICS are already advancing a slew of strategic multilateral projects in terms of setting up an alternative network infrastructure; for instance, the BRICS cable, currently being laid from Vladivostok to Shantou, Chennai, Cape Town and Fortaleza (where the summit took place). The BRICS cable is all about IT security, technology transfer, commodity turnover – and facilitating financial operations. Crucially, the cable bypasses the US.

On the second day of the summit, the five BRICS leaders spent four and a half hours at a round table with leaders of Unasur, the Union of South American Nations. There they were – Argentina’s Kirchner, Chile’s Bachelet, Colombia’s Santos, Bolivia’s Evo Morales, Ecuador’s Correa, Uruguay’s Pepe Mujica, Venezuela’s Maduro, Peru’s Umala, among others. That was the Global South in action; a substantial chunk of the real “international community” discussing production, investment, integration – not sanctions and bombs.

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff (L) talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin upon his arrival to the 6th BRICS summit in Fortaleza, Brazil, on July 15, 2014. (AFP Photo / Yasuyoshi Chiba)

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff (L) talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin upon his arrival to the 6th BRICS summit in Fortaleza, Brazil, on July 15, 2014. (AFP Photo / Yasuyoshi Chiba)

They talked myriad possibilities of BRICS investment in infrastructure – and integration – projects all across Latin America. For instance, as Chinese President Xi Jinping suggested, the perennially dreamed railway from the Pacific Ocean in Peru to the Atlantic in Brazil. A trilateral Brazil-Peru-China working group was set to plan, design, build and operate the transcontinental rail.

Russia shared its experience on dealing with money laundering and transnational cross-border crime. On security, Russia and China shared the synergy between the BRICS and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) which binds Russia and China into a common security policy with Central Asia.

They talked about multiple strategies to bypass the Orwellian/Panopticon complex. And they talked about slowly implementing a multilateral, multipolar world.

From Brasilia to Brussels

In a nutshell, Putin and Xi played chess in Obama’s “backyard”, while the Yes We Can cipher was too busy playing with – what else – more sanctions.

Here is the common BRICS voice on sanctions; “We condemn unilateral military interventions and economic sanctions in violation of international law and universally recognized norms of international relations. Bearing this in mind, we emphasize the unique importance of the indivisible nature of security, and that no State should strengthen its security at the expense of the security of others.”

As the BRICS and Unasur talked cooperation and integration in Brasilia, in Brussels, France, Germany and Italy were the key EU members who refused to follow Washington and impose “sectorial trade and economic sanctions” on Russia. Still, the divided EU could not but end up singing to His Master’s Voice (US sanctions do wonders to promote the Transatlantic Trade Partnership, the multibillion dollar “free” trade still resisted by many within the EU.)

Thus the European Investment Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) will block new projects in Russia, and the European Commission will also suspend most of the grants and loans it set aside for Russia.
The White House, of course, remains in a mean and vindictive class all by itself. So here are more sanctions on Rosneft, Gazprombank, Novatek, and state economic development bank VEB, plus a rash of others on eight state-owned defense firms, Russian government officials, an oil shipping facility in Crimea, and federalists in Donetsk and Luhansk in Eastern Ukraine. The proverbially anonymous “US officials” were on hand to pronounce these sanctions would “restrict” Russia’s access to “US debt markets.”

-

AFP Photo / Dmitry Kostyukov

Now compare it to the BRICS’s unified voice on Ukraine, pushing for “a comprehensive dialogue, the de-escalation of the conflict and restraint from all the actors involved, with a view to finding a peaceful political solution, in full compliance with the UN Charter.”

Alexei Pushkov, Chairman of the Russian State Duma Committee on International Affairs, had pretty well defined, even before the summit, what the BRICS are for; “When it is said in the West that there is a kind of world community, which condemns us, they mean 28 NATO member states and the EU. However, this is not the world, but the West, the Euro-Atlantic community. And it is, with all its weight, not all of the world community, but only part of it.”

So not only this is the BRICS against the Washington consensus; it’s also the BRICS against the Western sanctions “model”. And the superimposed messages coming out from Fortaleza are crystal clear; the West’s monopoly on setting the global agenda is over.

Take also the BRICS’s unified voice on Israel/Palestine; they support “a contiguous and economically viable Palestinian State existing side by side in peace with Israel, within mutually agreed and internationally recognized borders based on the 4 June 1967 lines, with East Jerusalem as its capital”. They also “oppose the continuous construction and expansion of settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories by the Israeli Government, which violates international law, gravely undermines peace efforts and threatens the viability of the two-State solution.”

Israel, of course, is not listening. They’d rather go on with their slow motion ethnic cleansing of Gaza.

After all, former bouncer turned truculent Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman told the Knesset, “the operation must end with the IDF controlling the entire Gaza strip.”

The BRICS, at the insistence of Russia and China, even introduced an updated draft treaty on the need to prevent the weaponization of outer space – as in Star Wars, an essential part of the Pentagon’s Full Spectrum Dominance doctrine. Guess who has always voted against it at the UN; Tel Aviv and Washington.

So the choice presented to the Global South is very simple, really. Pick your model; one is characterized by integration, cooperation, mutual respect. The other orders you to bow to His Master’s Voice; if you disobey, the model sanctions you to death, targets your energy industry, your access to financial markets, your wellbeing and, pushed to the limit, bombs you back to medieval times.

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

Comment:

Christian Noyer, Governor of the Bank of France and a member of the European Central Bank’s Governing Council, said that “Washington’s sanctions are driving companies and countries out of the dollar payments system”. The huge sum extorted from the French bank, BNP Paribas, for doing business with countries disapproved by Washington makes clear the increased legal risks that arise from using the dollar when Washington makes the rules”

Controversy over Red Hot Chili Peppers heats up

Red Hot Chili Peppers

Red Hot Chili Peppers

Just as a cultural boycott was enforced on apartheid South Africa, so must one be enforced on Israel.

I was 10 years old when I stole my older brother’s cassette tape of the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ album Blood Sugar Sex Magik. In my small town in Massachusetts that fall, I traded in my air guitar for a much cooler air bass, rocking out to Flea’s rhythm on the hit single “Give It Away”. Twenty years later, the Red Hot Chili Peppers are still cranking out great music to a huge fan base and were just inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

On September 10, the Chili Peppers are scheduled to play a concert in Tel Aviv, Israel. The decision has caused quite a stir. More than 7,000 people have signed a petition calling on the band to cancel its performance in Israel. More than a dozen groups around the world have written letters calling on the band to cancel the show. I work with one of those groups.

Why would I call on a band I loved so much as a child, a band I still listen to today, to cancel a concert?

In 1948, my pregnant grandmother, countless relatives, and 750,000 other Palestinians were displaced from their homeland, making way for the creation of the state of Israel. My grandmother never saw her birthplace again, never picked another piece of fruit from her orchard, but spoke and dreamed of a dignified return until her final breath in 2009. Palestinians continue to languish in refugee camps; four million live under a system of increasingly brutal Israeli occupation, and 1.5 million Palestinians are relegated to second-class status inside of a state that is falsely presented as a democracy.

Boycott, divest and sanction

In 2005, Palestinian civil society, consisting of more than 170 unions, women’s organisations, cultural groups, academic institutions and nearly every other facet of society, called for boycott, divestment, and sanctions against the state of Israel until it complied with three basic demands based on international law: an end to occupation, the right of return for Palestinian refugees, and equal rights for Palestinians living inside of the state of Israel. Following the ethical, effective, and rights-based approach of cultural boycott against apartheid in South Africa, tens of thousands of voices in support of Palestinian rights have stated clearly: it is time to take action for freedom, justice, and equality.

Mashrou’ Leila, a Lebanese band scheduled to open for the Chili Peppers in Lebanon, cancelled its lucrative slot after band members were asked to pull out of the concert in protest to the Chili Peppers’ decision to play in Israel. A growing list of artists, including Bono, Santana, the late Gil Scott-Heron, Elvis Costello, Cat Power, the Klaxons, the Gorillaz, and the Pixies, have refused to cross the international picket line and have pulled out of scheduled shows. Roger Waters, frontman for Pink Floyd and human rights advocate, said the boycott call is “a perfectly legitimate, nonviolent… political tool” and South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu stated in support of cultural boycott, “Just as we said during apartheid that it was inappropriate for international artists to perform in South Africa… it would be wrong… to perform in Israel.”

What I have learned in my years as a spoken word performer is that art is not above politics. Reading my work in the Jim Crow South to an all-white audience would not have upended racism, nor would it have sparked a journey of introspection among the masses. The power of art lies with the oppressed, it wrote the freedom songs in South Africa, tuned the humming of prisoners in the H Blocks in Northern Ireland, and laced the chants against despotism in Tahrir Square.

Artists were targeted and shamed when they played Sun City in South Africa and lent aid to the image of the apartheid regime. This is why Boycott From Within, a group of Israelis, has called on the Chili Peppers to cancel their show. When art is used to bolster support for an oppressive state, when it is used to “present Israel’s prettier face” as an official for the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs proclaimed in the New York Times, and when it used as a form of propaganda as stated by a former Israeli Foreign Ministry official – “I do not differentiate between hasbara [propaganda] and culture” – it is time for artists to end complicity.

Art alone cannot break down a wall that appropriates Palestinian land and resources, it cannot uproot illegal settlements, it cannot tear down checkpoints that restrict freedom of movement, it cannot release prisoners from administrative detention, and it cannot rebuild water wells. But artists and their art can inspire millions to take conscientious action against occupation and discrimination.

Towards justice

As the Chili Peppers concert date approaches, there are millions of people under Israeli rule who are unable to reach the concert simply because they are Palestinian. The Chili Peppers will not meet with Palestinians who worked in cultural centres attacked by the Israeli army, they will not hear the work of young recording artists who are separated by walls and checkpoints, and they won’t meet with the Palestinian hip hop artist who cancelled his tour because he was denied the right to leave his open-air prison. These details are left out of concert planning, but they are the daily reality for occupied, displaced, and oppressed Palestinians.

While I may not be that young kid strumming my air bass on my parents’ deck in Massachusetts, I still turn up the radio when the Chili Peppers come on. That is what makes writing these words so difficult. It is an easy choice to stand on the wrong side of history, when the history books have yet to be written. It is easy to call a show in Israel just another show when few accurately label Israel an apartheid state. At the moment, it still takes little effort to ignore the plight and call of millions of occupied Palestinians. But it is not the just stand. Martin Luther King once proclaimed, “the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice”.

King was right. This week, the Red Hot Chili Peppers have the option to bend toward justice or enable oppression.

Blowing Hot and Bold: Erik Truffaz Quartet Live Show

Swiss-French trumpeter Erik Truffaz blurs boundaries with his richly textural explorations of musical atmospherics.

24 Aug 2012 – Evan Milton

When Erik ­Truffaz played in South Africa in 2001, the Cape Town International Jazz Festival was still the North Sea Jazz Festival: Cape Town. That schizophrenic title formed the perfect backdrop for the Swiss-born French national to unleash a deftly ­navigated mix of warm-timbre trumpet, break beat-inspired drums, effects pedals and haunting vocals, courtesy of Tunisian vocalist Mounir Troudi.

Little more than a decade later, he returns to play songs mainly from a new album, In Between, which returns to the moody, smoky intimacy of slower atmospheric songs.

“The new music is more … atmospheric,” Truffaz said, speaking from his home in Paris, between brief interruptions (“Désolé, it is my daughter” and “Ah, please wait, I must find the right word to say this”).

Something of an elder in France — he has recorded a dozen albums on the renowned Blue Note label and is regarded by many as a worthy successor to the innovations of Miles Davis — bizarrely Truffaz is relatively unknown further afield.

His music has often prickled purists, because he has tried deliberately to be widely accessible and has included a delightfully individualistic complement of collaborators — Indian classical musicians, electronic luminary Murcof, poet-rapper Nya, delightful vocal discovery Sophie Hunger, remixers such as DJ Goo and Alex Gopher, and musique concrète composer Pierre Henry.

Through it all, he has been accompanied by the other members of his quartet — Benoît Corboz (piano, keyboard and, on In Between, Hammond organ), Marcello Giuliani (bass) and Marc Erbetta (drums and, especially in the Mantis era, time-delayed vocals and megaphone).

“I have performed with my band for 20 years and we have four hours of repertoire,” he said, matter-of-factly.

Indeed, the group tours widely and has played in Canada, India, Brazil and Russia, and he is eager to return to South Africa.

“One of my preferred books of last year was the autobiography of ­Nelson Mandela, because the man was incredible. It is a common thing to praise him for how strong he was, but I believe this very much. Even through all the time that he was in jail, he never lost the belief that human beings can be better.

“It is always possible to think that humanity is just like merde [shit], but he always saw that it is more, and that we can be more.

“The story is even more incredible because, just as he was leaving 20 years in the cell, his wife made some strange decisions and, even there, Mr Mandela tried to show the positive things.”

Wrapping up the conversation, he turned the tables and asked a question: “What is the temperature in South Africa now?”

I said that our winters were mild by European standards, but his real question was lost in translation.

He rephrased it: “What is the temperature now in South Africa between black and white?”

I said the answer was complicated — most of the vestiges of apartheid government were gone, although inequalities in employment, education and housing persisted; the tensions now tended to be between those who had wealth and opportunities and those who did not; and that, although the local temperature was largely “mild”, jazz festival audiences tended to be more harmoniously mixed than the rest of society.

He was pleased by that last part, but troubled by the rest, which were in a sense global.

“In Europe, in some parts of every town, there are people who do not have a job and there are people who do not get a good education.

“This quartet does not play jazz; we play popular instrumental music. But we also try to collaborate with many, many kinds of people and we do not stay inside the borders. Maybe this is a political message; maybe this is saying that we must talk together so that we can be better and so that we can live together.”

More at eriktruffaz.com

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