Tensions in the Persian Gulf are reaching a point of no return. In recent weeks, six oil tankers have been subjected to Israeli sabotage disguised to look like Iranian attacks to induce the United States to take military action against the Islamic Republic. Some days ago Iran rightfully shot out of the sky a US Drone. […]
globalcrisis/globalchange News February 9, 2019
Martin Zeis, email@example.com
Stephan Best, firstname.lastname@example.org steven25.com
Since Jan 23 the international resistance against an US-orchestrated regime change / coup d’etat in Venezuela has apparently risen.
Initiated by the International Action Center a globally coordinated day of actions has been set for February 23 – the one month anniversary of the U.S.-backed coup attempt.
see: No U.S. War on Venezuela! – https://www.nowaronvenezuela.org/
( full text and partial lists of organisations + individual signers attached … more news, articles, interviews, vidos see e.g.: popularresistance.org, globalresearch.ca, counterpunch.org, consortiumnews.com … some links of selected articles are attached too …)
In Germany a similar call was published on http://multipolare-welt-gegen-krieg.org
( more infos / calls, analysis, reports, actions see: http://multipolar-world-against-war.org/2019/01/31/venezuela-information )
On Feb 07 Medea Benjamin an Nicolas J.S. Davies gave a review about the 68 US- regime change operations / tactics since 1945 including now Venezuela. (see: excerpts below)
Parallel Whitney WEBBdocumented on mintpressnews a leaked Wikileaks doc revealing the US Military Use of IMF, World Bank as “Unconventional” Weapons – Chapter-Headline: Financial Instrument of U.S. National Power and Unconventional Warefare.
“… The document, officially titled “Field Manual (FM) 3-05.130, Army Special Operations Forces Unconventional Warfare” and originally written in September 2008, was recently highlighted by WikiLeaks on Twitter in light of recent events in Venezuela as well as the years-long, U.S.-led economic siege of that country through sanctions and other means of economic warfare. Though the document has generated new interest in recent days, it had originally been released by WikiLeaks in December 2008 and has been described as the military’s “regime change handbook.” …” (full text attached) see: https://www.mintpressnews.com/leaked-wikileaks-doc-reveals-how-us-military-uses-of-imf-world-bank-as-unconventional-weapons/254708/
Venezuela: America’s 68th Regime-Change Disaster
by Medea Benjamin and Nicolas J. S. Davies, February 7, 2019
In his masterpiece, Killing Hope: US Military and C.I.A. Interventions Since World War II, William Blum, who died in December 2018, wrote chapter-length accounts of 55 US regime change operations against countries around the world, from China (1945-1960s) to Haiti (1986-1994).
Noam Chomsky’s blurb on the back of the latest edition says simply, “Far and away the best book on the topic.” We agree. If you have not read it, please do. It will give you a clearer context for what is happening in Venezuela today, and a better. understanding of the world you are living in.
Since Killing Hope was published in 1995, the US has conducted at least 13 more regime change operations, several of which are still active: Yugoslavia; Afghanistan; Iraq; the 3rd US invasion of Haiti since WWII; Somalia; Honduras; Libya; Syria; Ukraine; Yemen; Iran; Nicaragua; and now Venezuela.
William Blum noted that the US generally prefers what its planners call “low intensity conflict” over full-scale wars. Only in periods of supreme overconfidence has it launched its most devastating and disastrous wars, from Korea and Vietnam to Afghanistan and Iraq. After its war of mass destruction in Iraq, the US reverted to “low intensity conflict” under Obama’s doctrine of covert and proxy war.
Obama conducted even heavier bombing than Bush II, and deployed US special operations forces to 150 countries all over the world, but he made sure that nearly all the bleeding and dying was done by Afghans, Syrians, Iraqis, Somalis, Libyans, Ukrainians, Yemenis and others, not by Americans. What US planners mean by “low intensity conflict” is that it is less intense for Americans. (…)
This does not mean that the US is any less committed to trying to overthrowing governments that reject and resist US imperial sovereignty, especially if those countries contain vast oil reserves. It’s no coincidence that two of the main targets of current US regime change operations are Iran and Venezuela, two of the four countries with the largest liquid oil reserves in the world (the others being Saudi Arabia and Iraq).
In practice, “low intensity conflict” involves four tools of regime change: sanctions or economic warfare; propaganda or “information warfare”; covert and proxy war; and aerial bombardment. In Venezuela, the US has used the first and second, with the third and fourth now “on the table” since the first two have created chaos but so far not toppled the government.
The US government has been opposed to Venezuela’s socialist revolution since the time Hugo Chavez was elected in 1998. Unbeknownst to most Americans, Chavez was well loved by poor and working class Venezuelans for his extraordinary array of social programs that lifted millions out of poverty. Between 1996 and 2010, the level of extreme poverty plummeted from 40% to 7%. The government also substantially improved healthcare and education, cutting infant mortality by half, reducing the malnutrition rate from 21% to 5% of the population and eliminating illiteracy. These changes gave Venezuela the lowest level of inequality in the region, based on its Gini coefficient.
Since Chavez’ death in 2013, Venezuela has descended into an economic crisis stemming from a combination of government mismanagement, corruption, sabotage and the precipitous fall in the price of oil. The oil industry provides 95% of Venezuela’s exports, so the first thing Venezuela needed when prices crashed in 2014 was international financing to cover huge shortfalls in the budgets of both the government and the national oil company. The strategic objective of US sanctions is to exacerbate the economic crisis by denying Venezuela access to the US-dominated international financial system to roll over existing debt and obtain new financing.
The blocking of Citgo’s funds in the US also deprives Venezuela of a billion dollars per year in revenue that it previously received from the export, refining and retail sale of gasoline to American drivers. Canadian economist Joe Emersberger has calculated that the new sanctions Trump unleashed in 2017 cost Venezuela $6 billion in just their first year. In sum, US sanctions are designed to “make the economy scream” in Venezuela, exactly as President Nixon described the goal of US sanctions against Chile after its people elected Salvador Allende in 1970.
Alfred De Zayas visited Venezuela as a UN Rapporteur in 2017 and wrote an in-depth report for the UN. He criticized Venezuela’s dependence on oil, poor governance and corruption, but he found that “economic warfare” by the US and its allies were seriously exacerbating the crisis. “Modern-day economic sanctions and blockades are comparable with medieval sieges of towns,” De Zayas wrote. “Twenty-first century sanctions attempt to bring not just a town, but sovereign countries to their knees.” He recommended that the International Criminal Court should investigate US sanctions against Venezuela as crimes against humanity. In a recent interview with the Independent newspaper in the U.K., De Zayas reiterated that US sanctions are killing Venezuelans.
Venezuela’s economy has shrunk by about half since 2014, the greatest contraction of a modern economy in peacetime. The World Health Organization (WHO) reported that the average Venezuelan lost an incredible 24 lb. in body weight in 2017.
Mr. De Zayas’ successor as UN Rapporteur, Idriss Jazairy, issued a statement on January 31st, in which he condemned “coercion” by outside powers as a “violation of all norms of international law.” “Sanctions which can lead to starvation and medical shortages are not the answer to the crisis in Venezuela,” Mr. Jazairy said, “…precipitating an economic and humanitarian crisis…is not a foundation for the peaceful settlement of disputes.”
While Venezuelans face poverty, preventable diseases, malnutrition and open threats of war by US officials, those same US officials and their corporate sponsors are looking at an almost irresistible gold mine if they can bring Venezuela to its knees: a fire sale of its oil industry to foreign oil companies and the privatization of many other sectors of its economy, from hydroelectric power plants to iron, aluminum and, yes, actual gold mines. This is not speculation. It is what the US’s new puppet, Juan Guaido, has reportedly promised his American backers if they can overthrow Venezuela’s elected government and install him in the presidential palace.
Oil industry sources have reported that Guaido has “plans to introduce a new national hydrocarbons law that establishes flexible fiscal and contractual terms for projects adapted to oil prices and the oil investment cycle… A new hydrocarbons agency would be created to offer bidding rounds for projects in natural gas and conventional, heavy and extra-heavy crude.”
The US government claims to be acting in the best interests of the Venezuelan people, but over 80 percent of Venezuelans, including many who don’t support Maduro, are opposed to the crippling economic sanctions, while 86% oppose US or international military intervention. (…)
Mexico, Uruguay, the Vatican and many other countries are committed to diplomacy to help the people of Venezuela resolve their political differences and find a peaceful way forward. The most valuable way that the US can help is to stop making the Venezuelan economy and people scream (on all sides), by lifting its sanctions and abandoning its failed and catastrophic regime change operation in Venezuela. But the only things that will force such a radical change in US policy are public outrage, education and organizing, and international solidarity with the people of Venezuela. – emphasis added —
— wöchentl. Artikel
EDITORIAL, 6 February 2017
#467 | Johan Galtung
Two important words enriching each other. “Nonviolent” easily becomes bla-bla, and “economy” is too general. But, does “nonviolent” make a difference for the better to the economy? And vice versa, can “economy” make “nonviolent” more positive, beyond resistance to evil?
Let us start with “economy”, here conceived of as a cycle with three poles: Nature, Production, Consumption. And three processes: Extraction from Nature, Distribution from Production to Consumption, and Pollution from Production-Consumption back to Nature. The cycle flow is in that order: Nature → Production → Consumption → Nature.
A simple summary of the economy: humans extract resources from nature, produce-process for (end) consumption, and sends what they cannot consume back to nature (but economists, like book-keepers, left out the Nature part). And we want it all to be nonviolent!
“Do no harm!”, nonviolent, is insufficient. “Peace”, “peaceful” include positive peace–Peace Economics, A Theory of Development are my books (TRANSCEND University Press, 2012, 2010)–with “do good!”.
And: Nature can evolve better without us, not we without Nature.
Enters money, speeding up the cycle at the Distribution link. Not only products in return for labor or other products but anything in return for anything at the same price. The general flow of money is contrary to the cycle flow: there is monetized consumer demand (and producer supply to stimulate demand), to be met by monetized producer supply, to be met by resources from nature. We notice that consumers pay for products (goods and services), producers pay for resources, and nobody pays nature; not only extracted, but exploited. Violence.
Money takes on its own life, generalized to “financial objects”, including complex “derivatives”. Added to the “real economy” for end consumption then there is a “finance economy” for buying and selling of financial objects, with no end consumption. It just goes on and on.
Nonviolence to nature only as non-depletion and non-pollution is not good enough; only negative peace. Positive peace with nature would enhance nature, cater to nature’s need for diversity and symbiosis, increase the diversity of biota and abiota, stimulate photosynthesis and other syntheses enriching nature. A model is forestry, clearing to improve the access of plants, trees, animals to sun and (not too much) water. This is also done in animal parks as opposed to the very violent zoos with cages, etc. They should be forbidden, right away.
But the basic violence is slaughter, for food. Let nature yield its fruits voluntarily. A nonviolent economy is vegetarian and beyond.
Does this limit extraction to the “sustainable”, reproducible? “Sustainable”, status quo, is not good enough, “enhanceable” is better. A better nature will offer more to extract and less of nature’s violence, drought-flooding-tsunamis-earthquakes. A nature at ease with itself and humans, without being tamed like we tame animals. Plowing furrows for monocrop seeds, remedying lost diversity with manure and poison, is violence. Permaculture, diverse, symbiotic, is nonviolent; enriching nature to offer more and better fruits.
We move on to Production-Distribution-Consumption, with humans all over but no Protagoras “man is the measure of all things”. Our discourse for the economy certainly also includes nature as “measure”.
The argument would be the same. Not to do harm to human beings is to meet their basic needs, to stay alive, and for water and food, clothing and shelter, health, and education to relate to others. Not good enough, we want both the real and the finance economy also to do good to humans, to enhance them, not merely not to do harm. Too modest. Or, a discourse advanced by not very modest people wanting to protect an economy serving elites, not people, with some minor modifications?
Cooperation, not competition? Both, competition is fun, like in sports, games as long as losing does no real harm. A false dichotomy.
Dialogue is the key, between consumers and producers. Consumers having a say in what is produced would also be in the interest of the producers. Diversity is another key, individual consumers differ.
Instead of producers doing “market studies”, they should enter into dialogue with people. They might discover that instead of cars that all look alike and are the same except for class geared to class society, people want slower, less risky cars, more like Tivoli cars. And computers that save automatically, erasing being an option.
Instead of spying on people to offer packages geared to their demand “profiles”, let people express individual wishes and meet them. Humans seem today to be increasingly individualist and diverse; and they want to be in command as subjects, not manipulated as objects.
In short, equality between the Production and Consumption poles, like between them and the Nature pole. However, the cycle itself should also be nonviolent: a cycle with the three poles in three different continents is violent by being beyond control, even comprehension. Contract the cycle to the regional-state-provincial-local levels to facilitate dialogues on equal terms. An argument for localism.
Distribution uses long chains for products to reach consumers, even across regional and state borders; transport at the expense of Nature, fees for the consumers. Again an argument for localism.
Finance economy for nonviolent investment; not derivative chains for speculation at the expense of many. To be forbidden, right away.
In a nonviolent economy consumption not only makes no harm but is a delight, like meetings in virtual space, or driving at no risk. Or, by making drinking and eating more delightful. To quench thirst water does the job, straight down. But anything with taste should stay sometime in the mouth, near the taste and smell buds. Chew slowly, with no violence by “washing it down”. Nonviolent quantities of good wine and juices are for tasting and smelling, not for washing. Bon apétit!