November 21, 2015 - No. 36

Ramifications of Anti-Terror Measures in France

The French President's Irrational Proposal to Legalize Exceptional Measures and Violation of Rights by Rewriting the French Constitution

War in Syria, Revision of the Constitution and Discriminatory Laws: What Is Hidden Behind François Hollande's Headlong Rush Forward?
- Nicolas Bourgoin -

Washington Refines Its False Flag Operations
- Paul Craig Roberts -

Tale of Two Cities: Why Silence When Beirut Gets Bombed
but Tears for Paris?

- Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya -

For Your Information
Statement of the Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist)
Crime and Punishment
A Secret Army of Mercenaries for the Middle East and North Africa
- Manlio Dinucci, May 24, 2011 -

Peoples in Action Against
Neo-Liberal Globalization and State Terrorism

Activists Oppose APEC Summit in Manila, November 12-20
Activists Defy Ban on Protests at G20 Summit in
Antalya, Turkey, November 15-16

Revamping Peacekeeping to Meet War Aims
U.S. Calls Summit to Discuss UN Peacekeeping
U.S. President's New Memorandum

Coming Events
Vancouver Rally Defends Bolivarian Revolution on Occasion of December 6 Legislative Elections

Ramifications of Anti-Terror Measures in France

The French President's Irrational Proposal to Legalize Exceptional Measures and Violation of Rights by Rewriting the French Constitution

In France, the country that gave humanity the Declaration of the Rights of Man, the situation is unfolding as expected with broad attacks on civil liberties and rights following the November 13 terrorist attacks in Paris. French President François Hollande, in his November 16 address to a special joint session of the National Assembly and the Senate, declared that the French authorities cannot respond to terrorism within the rule of law. Since France is a country that abides by the rule of law, he said, the rule of law as embodied in the Constitution must be rewritten.

He said he had the options within the Constitution to declare a state of emergency through the state of emergency law passed in 1955 (which he did on November 14) or to take a more drastic course and declare martial law through Article 36. According to an RFI report, Article 36 "allows the government, in the event of a 'state of siege,' to transfer powers to military authorities in the event of an attack or an armed insurrection," and Article 16 "allows the presidency to grant itself 'exceptional measures' when France's institutions or territory are confronted with a 'serious and immediate' threat." Article 36 of the Constitution permits a state of emergency to be in place for 12 days, after which Parliament must agree to extend it. Neither option suits him or is sufficient, said Hollande, and he called for the Constitution to be rewritten accordingly so that the war can then be waged legally.

In the interim, Hollande called for the immediate restoration of border controls and blanket powers for the security forces to conduct "administrative searches" and "house arrests" as they see fit. He is also striving for a "complete and comprehensive legal regime" that includes provisions to revoke citizenship, including that of French-born citizens who also have citizenship in another country.

To confront the terrorist threat beyond France's borders, Hollande says a "broad and unique" alliance is required. All the stops must be pulled out in coordination with Russian President Vladimir Putin and U.S. President Barack Obama. The European Union has its duty; NATO has its duty and the countries of the Middle East are also expected to join in. Syria must also be included, but only after President Bashar Al-Assad is removed, Hollande said.

France immediately escalated bombing of what it said were ISIL targets in Syria at the same time that it was being said the source of the problem was domestic "radicalization." This irrationality results from the refusal to recognize the rights of the people nationally and the sovereignty of nations internationally even as the destruction caused by decades and decades of colonial and imperialist intrigues, aggression, plunder and war are coming home to roost.

On November 19, the National Assembly approved an extension of the state of emergency for three months and amendments to the state of emergency law by a vote of 551 to six. These were approved by the Senate on November 20.

"We're enlarging the possibility to use [the state of emergency], not just for proven dangerous activities, but also for threats stemming from serious suspicions," said French Prime Minister Manuel Valls, the Financial Times reports.

The Rule of Law Becomes the First Casualty of a Dictatorial State

All of it shows the profound crisis in which the French nation-state is mired along with all other Anglo-American and European nation states which are entertaining similar measures. All the things that the police authority cannot do using a government of laws have to be done as government by police powers. But the rule cannot be legitimized so long as the police powers are seen to constitute the public authority, hence the demand for the constitution to be rewritten to make the police powers the alleged government of laws. It goes against everything the institutions of the bourgeois nation-state were established to achieve: the defence of individual property right and negation of collective rights of members of society so as to serve the general interests of society on this basis. This aim can no longer hide the fact that the essence of the public authority is the police authority because that is all that is left of the pubic authority. The civil rights and liberties are all stripped down to this essential feature. The demand of the French president that this police authority can now be enshrined in a new constitution and a government of law can be established once again is a blatantly irrational hope. Such irrationality is the result of the refusal to renew the democratic processes so as to eliminate the role of privilege and provide rights with a guarantee.

This irrationality in which the police powers are plunging the world makes it is as clear as clear can be that no solution can be found to any problem of this era without depriving the police authority of its privilege to eliminate the striving of the people for empowerment. The security of human beings today lies in fighting for the rights of all so as to provide them with a guarantee. This is the truth which lies within the irrational demands of the French president to rewrite the constitutional law to incorporate the police powers within the government of laws. It is not without consequence and that consequence will not be favourable to the moribund rulers who today preside over the killings of the people on a massive scale by providing themselves with impunity.

State of Emergency

The State of Emergency in France has the official aim of removing the legal constraints on the army mandated in peace time and to strengthen the powers of the executive and security forces. RFI reports, "The state of emergency, as defined by a law passed in 1955, allows severe restrictions of civil liberties and could involve curfews, restricted movements, house arrests, closing public establishments, expanded powers for police to make arrests and to control the press and broadcast media, all of which are liberties the constitution is meant to guarantee."

This exceptional measure that reduces fundamental freedoms and strengthens police powers has been invoked five times in the history of France. Four instances were in the context of France's wars with its colonies -- three times during the Algerian War of Independence (April 1955, May 1958 and April 1961) and once during the war in New Caledonia (December 1984). It was last applied by then-French President Nicolas Sarkozy on November 8, 2005 during the riots given rise to by the racism and social exclusion facing national minority youth in France.

RFI reports the following are the main provisions of the bill passed by France's parliament:

"House arrests: Anyone seriously suspected of being a threat to public order can be placed under house arrest and forbidden to contact other people suspected of preparing acts deemed to threaten public order.

"Searches of premises: The interior minister can order premises to be searched without a warrant from a judge and copies of all digital information found can be made, although the premises of MPs, lawyers, magistrates and journalists are exempt.

Message appearing on web-site blocked by French Ministry of the Interior after the Charlie Hebdo attacks in January 2015.

"Blocking websites and social media: The government can order websites or social media deemed to be justifying terrorism or inciting terrorist acts [blocked], although the possibility of censoring the press and radio, present in the 1955 [state of emergency] law but never used, has been scrapped.

"Banning organisations: Organisations that participate in, facilitate or incite acts deemed a threat to public order may be banned, as can any that people placed under house arrest are members of.

"A re-education centre for radicalised youth: Young people deemed to have fallen prey to jihadist propaganda may be sent to a centre whose site will be decided before the end of the year.

"Overseas territories: The state of emergency is to be extended to French overseas territories in the West Indies and the Indian Ocean."

The restriction of movement, curfews, censorship and curtailment of public freedoms -- all these measures erode the democracy by revealing that above the civil power lies its essence, the arbitrariness of the police powers.

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Security Measures Outlaw All Marches and Outdoor Events During Climate Conference

Peoples Climate March in New York, September 21, 2014. Such marches are being outlawed in France during the World Climate Conference this month.

Host state says climate marches will not take place,
all outdoor events cancelled

France is hosting the UN Conference on Climate Change from November 30 to December 11 in Le Bourget. The Conference is the 21st session of the Conference of the Parties (COP21) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the 11th session of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (CMP 11).

In the wake of the November 13 attacks in Paris, the French Presidency announced on November 19 that as the host country France "has decided to not allow the climate marches planned in the streets of Paris and other cities throughout France." Also banned are all school trips to the venue where the COP21 Conference is being held from, even to inside events.

The French Presidency says "global mobilization for climate and civil society" will have to play their role "on-site at the venue Le Bourget, where the '[Climate Generations Areas]' will host, for the whole duration of the Conference, more than 300 events, debates and conferences." The Climate Generations areas are described on the COP21 Conference website as "Open to the general public, and also to observers and negotiators, the Climate Generations areas' 27 000 m² will be a place for debate and knowledge."

The French Presidency explains that the reasons the host state has banned outside events and demonstrations are "the heinous attacks on 13 November and the investigations carried out since then." The Presidency says the host state does not feel confident in its ability to secure outside venues from attack, adding, "This is a difficult decision to make but in the current context, safety requirements prevail. This decision does not, in any way, put into question the need for COP21 to widely welcome civil society and its organizations, who will play a major role at the conference."

The COP21 Conference restrictions form part of an extended state of emergency declared by the French government. Measures attacking the rights of the people include those imposed in 1955 during the brutal French colonial war to occupy and control Algeria. The police have the power to act and even kill with impunity. They can search people and places without judicial warrants and detain people without charges. Anyone the police suspect of posing a threat to the state can be placed under house arrest indefinitely. Even if the house arrest is lifted, suspects can be prevented from meeting others the police identify. Electronic tagging will be used to ensure house arrest is not violated and to track individuals. State authorities will block Internet sites they deem dangerous. All public demonstrations are banned and groups the police want to target can be dissolved.

Police power throughout France is the open face of the imperialist state in defence of class privilege and the ruling elite. Armed soldiers and police are patrolling the streets and engaging in raids on apartments and other sites. The governmental representative of the host state through the COP21 Presidency expresses regret at having to display the police power so openly, and excuses it as the unfortunate norm now in France and throughout the imperialist system of states.

The peoples of the world are taking note of how the French state and others have once again cast aside their façade of bourgeois democracy and reverted to open forms of police power, called Nazism, fascism and militarism in the 1930s.

CPC(M-L) in response to the Paris violence says, "Measures which further deprive the people of their rights in the name of protecting the security of the French state are not an acceptable answer.

"The reactionary violence displayed in Paris is directed against the working people who are not to blame for the instigation of state terrorism but are its victims. Attempts to protect the French state which deprive the people of their rights and, furthermore, target sections of the people for attack, are self-serving and create an even more dangerous situation.

"All of it shows the anarchy and violence which has been unleashed by the U.S. striving for world domination in which the NATO bloc is doing its utmost to isolate Russia and not permit a political solution to problems which have emerged.

"CPC(M-L) reiterates its opposition to the use of force to settle conflicts. We reiterate our opposition to the use of the state to suppress the rights of the people in the name of security. All of it shows that political solutions are not on the agenda of the U.S. and European powers, as well as Canada. Instead, civil wars and state terrorism are fomented to get an upper hand. It must not pass!"

The people gathering for the COP21 Conference are now expected to deliberate calmly and critically in an atmosphere of state terror. Some raise the demand of changing the venue to one where issues can be debated openly without the broad intimidating interference of an imperialist state.

Others remark that the biggest single institution in human affairs causing pollution and climate change remains the war machine of the imperialist states and their police power. One widely reported response of the French state to the Paris violence has been to escalate its bombing campaign against Syria. Within the atmosphere of state terror surrounding the COP21 Conference, the participants will be directed not to speak out against U.S. imperialism's military striving for world domination and ongoing predatory wars and war preparations. Yet, the U.S. military is the single greatest polluter in the world not to speak of the waste of resources and human work in the preparation for war, the building and maintenance of its worldwide war machine and mobilization of tens of thousands of youth for war. The presence of the U.S. military and its agents and spies throughout the world inhibits the peoples and nations from resolving international and even national problems peacefully without resorting to force.

The response of the French state to the Paris violence reminds Canadians of the declaration of the War Measures Act in 1970, said to be necessary because of an upsurge in the movement for Quebec sovereignty and the staging of numerous police-organized terrorist events. Prime Minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau, the infamous father of the present Prime Minister, in a fit of bravado declared, "Just Watch Me!" in speaking of how he would unleash open police power on the streets of Quebec. He dropped any pretense of the democratic right of Quebeckers to choose, without interference from the Anglo-Canadian colonial state, whether to exercise their sovereign right to be independent or not.

The people must draw the warranted conclusions from these events and prepare themselves and their organizations to defend their rights against an imperialist state that has police power at its core and will use it against the people whenever events, whether exceptional or not, warrant its use according to those in control.

The security measures surrounding the COP21 Conference remind everyone that all issues and problems in the world, from climate change to the direction of the economy, are dominated by the question of control. Who controls the decisions that are made surrounding the issues and problems confronting humanity: the people or those who possess great social wealth and class privilege?

The representatives of great social wealth and class privilege are going to gather in Paris at the Leaders' Forum and make dubious statements about pollution, climate change and the need for security, all bundled up in nice sounding policy objectives that mostly serve the business interests of this or that monopoly. The issue of humanizing the social and natural environment will be left to the vagaries of unprincipled pragmatism serving narrow private interests.

The peoples of the world have to themselves raise their voices for pro-social change and an alternative through organizing themselves to defend their interests and the general interests of society. Only the independent politics of the people outside the control of the imperialist state and upholding human-centred principles can lead to humanizing the social and natural environment and an anti-war government. The people have the right to bring into being a pro-social, anti-war alternative, as they possess rights by virtue of being human, which no imperialist state can negate. The terrible violence in Paris and the extremist response of the French imperialist state prove the thesis that the people's security lies in the organized and determined struggle to defend the rights of all and to deprive the imperialist state of the power to deprive the people of their rights.

(With files from UNFCCC)

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War in Syria, Revision of the Constitution and Discriminatory Laws

What Is Hidden Behind François Hollande's
Headlong Rush Forward?

Like a windfall, the November 13 terrorist attacks gave the executive a free hand to impose its ultra-security agenda by enlisting the support of public opinion. The scenario has been rehearsed -- an act of terrorism followed by media hype and the security response -- but the response this time is surprising for its brutality and unprecedented scale. Constitutionalization of the state of emergency, the anti-Muslim offensive on the home front and a militarized war externally. Behind the inconsistency of French diplomacy, the Islamophobia of leading politicians and the manipulation of the terrorist threat for security purposes, hides a project now admitted to by the head of state himself: a war of civilization against the Muslim world, following in the footsteps of the Bush administration in the wake of September 11. The effects of this policy are known: economic collapse, geopolitical tensions and migratory chaos. Three evils that only fuel the terrorist threat. So who benefits from these crimes?

As might be expected, the executive seized the window of opportunity opened by the November 13 terrorist attacks, profiting from the lessons of the good old strategy of shock: take advantage of the disarray caused by an exceptional event to push through measures unacceptable in normal times. The Bataclan carnage thus opened the door to a policy replete with dangers to peace, security and civil liberties.

Continuing the Strategy of Tension in Syria

After delivering arms to the "rebel" enemies of the Syrian regime, France continues to make the ouster of Bashar Al-Assad an explicit priority, responding to the wishes of its Saudi, Qatari, Turkish and Israeli allies. In his speech to the Congress of the French parliament in Versailles, François Hollande declared once again that the search for a political solution excluded the Syrian president. Renewed support for terrorist groups operating in Syria will only continue to encourage their actions, as was the case following the statements by [Foreign Minister Laurent] Fabius concerning Al-Nusra Front.[1]

State Islamophobia on the Home Front

Ever the scapegoats, Muslims are again being stigmatized by leading politicians. Bernard Cazeneuve (Minister of the Interior) proposes the dissolution of many mosques deemed "radical" -- several dozen, even hundreds could be closed -- as well as "associations that attack the values of the republic," measures that would be in addition to the expulsion of imams calling for jihad. He made clear that a provision to that effect would soon be considered by the Cabinet. The creation of a special regime for bi-national French-born Muslims authorizing the revocation of their French citizenship as well as prohibiting them from staying on French territory in the event of their radicalization is also envisioned, a measure that was raised after the January attacks but later abandoned under pressure from associations defending human rights. Once back in France, some could be submitted to "draconian surveillance conditions" such as house arrest or "participation in a de-radicalization program." A Nuremberg Law for modern times, this measure institutionalizes a distinction between two categories of French citizens: those who are full citizens whose nationality is acquired definitively and those who are Muslim.

Establishing a Permanent State of Emergency

But the measure bearing the heaviest consequences is probably the planned creation of a special legal order -- a "state of crisis" -- allowing for the implementation of unconstitutional and exceptional measures detrimental to civil liberties but meeting the requirements of the war against terrorism. It involves nothing less than revising the Constitution in order to perpetuate the conditions of the state of emergency, authorizing the transfer of police powers from the civil authority to a military authority; the establishment of military courts; and the extension of police powers. According to François Hollande, this constitutional reform "will enable public authorities to act, in accordance with the rule of law, against war-like terrorism." This martial law that is already in the pipeline will go even beyond what is covered by the 1955 law on the state of emergency, which, moreover, he wants to extend by three months and which has already resulted in hundreds of raids and house arrests. In the words of the head of state, the new law he wants to see adopted as soon as possible will be "more protective, more suited to the development of new technologies, and to the terrorist threat."

The War of Civilization Is Now!

By invoking self-defence to justify this string of regressive measures adopted against a background of sacred unity, the executive considers that France is at war and that it will have to confront new attacks. At war against whom? [Prime Minister Manuel] Valls had come out with it by saying a few months ago that France was involved "in a war of civilization" against the Arab-Muslim world. A true self-fulfilling prophecy, the war waged against Islamic terrorism feeds the same threat it claims to combat by encouraging actions in the opposing camp through the considerable collateral damage it causes. To qualify the attacks last Saturday, Hollande spoke of an "act of war," the phrase used at the time by George W. Bush after the attacks of September 11. This semantic choice, which is anything but trivial, opens the door to special rules comparable to the U.S. Patriot Act.

Like all ideologies, the model of the clash of civilizations presents a schematic and falsified image of reality that masks the fundamental issues. The binary vision it offers (Judeo-Christian civilization against barbaric, conquering Islam or "human civilization" against "barbarism," as Bernard Cazeneuve put it) is misleading because the first victims of Islamic terrorism are Muslims themselves. By making out Islam to be a threat by its very nature, understanding of the social, economic and geopolitical roots of terrorism is precluded. Yet this is the only way to effectively repel it and avoid a headlong rush toward staggering costs for all parties, except the arms manufacturers who are seeing their profits skyrocket. Scapegoating primarily serves the interests of the powerful who seek to divide and conquer. This evidence reminds us that the very function of ideology is to protect the system of domination: the oligarchy obviously has everything to lose from a reading of terrorism that would challenge Western domination, neo-colonial rapaciousness and the destabilizing effects of financial globalization to which it is party.

TML Note

1. French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius faces accusations in a Paris court of appeal, including "provocation to commit mass crimes," following statements he made about the Syrian conflict in 2012. During a visit to a refugee camp in August he said "Bashar Al-Assad doesn't deserve to be on this earth." In December Le Monde quoted him as saying that "all Arabs" are opposed to the U.S. inclusion of Al-Nusra on its terrorist list because Al-Nusra "are doing a good job on the ground" fighting the Syrian army. Al-Nusra is an Al-Qaeda affiliate in Syria. The plaintiffs are Syrians who lost family members and close friends in massacres by so-called rebels supported by Fabius in word and deed.

(November 17, 2015. Translated from original French by TML.)

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Washington Refines Its False Flag Operations

Washington and its French vassal have refined how they conduct their false flag operations. With the Charlie Hebdo operation, they knew to immediately set the story in stone in order to avoid any questions from the print and TV media and in order to use the set story to take the place of an investigation.

The set story made it unnecessary to explain the mysterious "suicide" of one of the main police investigators while engaged in the investigation of the event. The set story also made it unnecessary to explain why it was necessary to kill rather than capture the alleged perpetrators, or to explain how the French authorities could be so wrong about the alleged get-away-driver but not about the two gunmen. There has been no explanation why the authorities believed there was a get-away-driver, and no such driver has been captured or killed. Indeed, there are many unanswered questions of no interest to any media except the alternative Internet media.

What the US and France learned from the Charlie Hebdo skepticism on the Internet is to keep the story flowing. Charlie Hebdo involved two scenes of violence, and the connection between the two acts of terrorism was vague. This time there were several scenes of violence, and they were better connected in the story.

More importantly, the story was followed quickly by more drama, such as the pursuit of a suspected perpetrator into Belgium, a French bombing attack on the Islamic State, a French aircraft carrier sent to the Middle East, a declaration of war by the French President against ISIL, and speculation that Hollande, pressured by Washington, will invoke NATO's Article V, which will pull NATO into an invasion of the Islamic State. By superceding each event with a new one, the public's attention is shifted away from the attack itself and the interests served by the attack. Already the attack itself is old news. The public's attention has been led elsewhere. How soon will NATO have boots on the ground?

The Western media has avoided many interesting aspects of the Paris attacks. For example, what did the directors of the CIA and French intelligence discuss at their meeting a few days prior to the Paris attacks? Why were fake passports used to identify attackers? Why did the attacks occur on the same day as a multi-site simulation of a terrorist attack involving first responders, police, emergency services and medical personnel? Why has there been no media investigation of the report that French police were blinded by a sophisticated cyber attack on their mobile data tracking system? Does anyone really believe that ISIL has such capability?

The Western media serves merely as an amplifier of the government's propaganda. Even the non-Western media follows this pattern because of the titillating effect. It is a good story for the media, and it requires no effort.

Initially even the Russian media served to trumpet the set story that rescues the Western political establishment from political defeat at home and Russian defeat in Syria. But it wasn't too long before some of the Russian media remembered numerous false stories about a Russian invasion of Ukraine, about Assad's use of chemical weapons, about US ABMs being placed on Russia's borders to protect Europe from nonexistant Iranian nuclear ICBMs. And so on.

Russian media began asking questions and received some good answers from Gearoid O Colmain.[1]

To understand the Paris attacks, it helps to begin with the question: "What is ISIL?" Apparently, ISIL is a creation of the CIA or some deep-state organization shielded by the CIA's operations department. ISIL seems to have been used to overthrow Quadaffi in Libya and then sent to overthrow Assad in Syria. One would think that ISIL would be throughly infiltrated by the CIA, Mossad, British and French intelligence. Perhaps ISIL is discovering that it is an independent power and is substituting an agenda of its own for Washington's, but ISIL still appears to be at least partially dependent on support, active or passive, from Washington.

ISIL is a new group that suddenly appeared. ISIL is portrayed as barbaric knife-wielding fanatics from medieval times. How did such a group so quickly acquire such extensive global capability as to blow a Russian airliner out of Egyptian skies, conduct bombings in Lebanon and Turkey, outwit French intelligence and conduct successful multi-prong attacks in Paris? How come ISIL never attacks Israel?

The next question is: "How does the Paris attack benefit ISIL?" Is it a benefit to ISIL to have Europe's borders closed, thus halting ISIL's ability to infiltrate Europe as refugees? Does it help ISIL to provoke French bombing of ISIL positions in the Middle East and to bring upon itself a NATO invasion?

Who does benefit? Clearly, the European and American political establishment in so many ways. Establishment political parties in France, Germany, and the UK are in trouble, because they enabled Washington's Middle East wars that are bringing floods of refugees into Europe. Pegida is rising in Germany, Farage's Independent Party in the UK, and Marine Le Pen's National Front in France. Indeed, a recent poll showed Marine Le Pen in the lead as the next president of France.

The Paris attack takes the issue and the initiative away from these dissident political parties. Among the first words out of the mouth of the French president in response to the attack was his declaration that the borders of France are closed. Already Merkel's political allies in Germany are pushing her government in that direction. "Paris changes everything," they declare. It certainly saved the European political establishment from defeat and loss of power.

The same result occurred in the US. Outsiders Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders were slaughtering the establishment's presidential candidates. Trump and Sanders had the momentum. But "Paris changes everything." Trump and Sanders are now sidelined, out of the news. The momentum is lost. The story has changed. "Paris attacks become focus of 2016 race," declares CNN.[2]

Also among the early words from the French president, and without any evidence in support, was Hollande's declaration that the Islamic State had attacked the French nation. Obviously, it is set for Hollande to invoke NATO's Article V, which would send a NATO invasion force into Syria. This would be Washington's way of countering the Russian initiative that has saved the Assad government from defeat by the Islamic State. The NATO invasion would overthrow Assad as part of the war against the Islamic State.

The Russian government did not immediately recognize this threat. The Russian government saw in the Paris attack the opportunity to gain Western cooperation in the fight against ISIL. The Russian line has been that we must all fight ISIL together.

The Russian presence, although highly effective, is small in Syria. What does the Russian government do when its policy in Syria is crowded by a NATO invasion?

The only benefactor of the Paris attack is the Western political establishment and Washington's goal of unseating Assad in Syria. The Paris attack has removed the threat to the French, German, and British political establishments from the National Front, Pegida, and the UK Independence Party. The Paris attack has removed the threat to the US political establishment from Trump and Sanders. The Paris attack has advanced Washington's goal of removing Assad from power.

The answer to the Roman question, "cui bono," is clear.

But don't expect to hear it from the Western media.


1. "Political author Gearoid O Colmain discusses the Paris attacks with RT International," RT (Youtube), November 14, 2015.

2. "Paris attacks become focus of 2016 race," Eric Bradner, CNN, November 16, 2015.

(Information Clearing House, November 16, 2015)

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Tale of Two Cities

Why Silence When Beirut Gets Bombed
but Tears for Paris?

Universally, governments have condemned the attacks that took place in the French capital's northern suburb of Saint-Denis on November 13, 2015. Unquestionably, the murder and mayhem that happened in Paris was despicable and tragic. Questions need to be asked, however, as part of an important discussion about the narrative that is emerging.

Putting up French flags and showing solidarity for the people of Paris has immersed vast stretches of the international public. Memes and symbols of support are appearing everywhere. Showing support for Paris has become a major trend on social media and in Euro-Atlantic capitals.

A Tale of Two Cities and Two Standards

Aftermath of terrorist bombing in Beirut, November 12, 2015.

The Saint-Denis attacks come a day after the attacks on Beirut's southern Dahiyeh area on November 12, 2015. The murder and mayhem in Beirut virtually went unnoticed in North America and the European Union. This is important to note, because it means that two different standards are being applied.

The role of the media and the messages it is sending to audiences cannot be overlooked whatsoever. If the terrorist attacks in Beirut were even mentioned, the mainstream media casually only did so. On the other hand, the mainstream media reports about the tragedy in Paris have shown concern and emotion for the attacks there. Victims in places like Baghdad, Mogadishu, Damascus, Donetsk, Tripoli, Gaza, and Sanaa do not even register as newsworthy. News channels have continuously broadcast images and reports about the violence in Paris while politicians and officials across the US Empire have begun their epithets, in the process stoking fear and saturating public opinion and emotions. Facebook even began asking users who were in Paris if they were safe by checking in, but did not provide the same service for Beirut users. Has this service even been provided once for the Baghdadis that have been plagued with constant terrorist bombings since the illegal Anglo-American invasion of Iraq in 2003?

As an example of how people's emotions can be engaged and influenced, the Lebanese-Canadian singer Sari Abboud, known by the stage name Massari, who was in Paris at the time, was engrossed in the misfortune of Saint-Denis to the point where he made a statement on social media saying that he was praying for Paris. He overlooked his own ancestral land and said nothing about Lebanon. One of his fans quickly responded by asking him why he did not pray for the people of Beirut. The revealing comments were removed quickly. Massari was clearly swept up by the current of the day.

Political interests define terrorism and atrocities in conjunction with who it is perpetrated against. They try to define who merits our concerns and sympathy, and which do not deserve our sympathy. There is a message when US, British, Australian, French, Canadian, and German politicians and leaders make statements in solidarity with the Parisian people, but virtually ignore Beirutis and the peoples of Libya, Yemen, Somalia, Iraq, Nigeria, East Ukraine, and Palestine.

Differential Politics

Audiences are being inundated by mass media about the tragedy in Paris whereas the terrorism in Beirut is being ignored or sanitized. This is happening for a reason. It is a matter of the differentials that power interests are projecting. As a part of this, a subtle discourse is tacitly implying that what happened in Beirut is not a tragedy and that the Lebanese people are less deserving of global sympathy than the French people.

This discourse is part of the illusive discursive process of the "Global War on Terror" that aims to justify conquest and domination in humanitarian and righteous terms. The victims of the terrorism in Beirut are disregarded and go unseen, because the people that were murdered in Beirut were an accumulation of Lebanese citizenry, Arab identity, Muslim faith, Shiite confession, working class, and people that lived in a spatial entity known to back Hezbollah. The civilian victims in Beirut are essentially condemned to being lower on the hierarchical totem pole of humanity than their counterparts in Paris.

In the US, a Pennsylvanian candidate running for the US Senate, Everett Stern, wrote multiple times how he supported the terrorist attacks on Beirut. On Twitter, he declared: "Good news!!! I hope Hezbollah terrorists were killed." When confronted, Stern categorized the attack in Beirut as an attack on Hezbollah.

Hezbollah Fights ISIL Death Squads,
But the French Government Supports ISIL

Moreover, the historical patterns of how these events are manipulated cannot be overlooked either. Whenever these attacks take place and governments and mass media go into overdrive to inundate society, they opportunistically promote certain interests. These interests can take the form of curbing civil liberties or justifications for wars. This is what the US government did after the tragic events of September 11, 2001.

France quickly closed it borders when the tragedy in Paris occurred and before the dust has settled the opportunistic and unpopular French President François Hollande has begun talking of a "merciless" war. This does not auger well. Migrants and immigrants are being blamed while Islamophobia and xenophobia in the European Union will be fuelled. Undoubtedly, the tragedy in Paris will be used to justify and promote the dirty wars in the Middle East that the French government has partnered itself up to wage with the United States. Already reports about Syrian and Egyptian passports found at the Stade de France are being widely circulated, especially with emphasis on Syria. It was soon reported after the attack that the Charles De Gaulle French Aircraft Carrier was being sent from Toulon to the Middle East to help the US-led military operations.

At the end of the day it cannot be ignored that the ilk behind the attack in Paris are the same breed of people that France has directly or indirectly supported in Syria, Libya, Lebanon, and the broader Middle East. The French government and President Hollande have been supporters of Al-Qaeda, Al-Nusra, and the ISIL/ISIS/DAESH/IS in one form or another. These are the groups that the French government and its allies, such as the US and Saudi Arabia, have supported with weapons, trained, and provided diplomatic and political cover for as proxies in regime change operations in the Middle East. When the same criminals and offenders act the same way in Damascus or Aleppo, their crimes are excused or overlooked. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad quickly made this point about what took place on November 13, 2015.

President Hollande has described the attacks on Paris as a war conducted from abroad. The truth is the opposite. The source is not abroad as the French government claims. There is a connection between this violence and French foreign policy. France's government is one of the authors of the terror that has trained, supported, and encouraged these types of activities. "Now they call them terrorists because today they are killing French people, but when they used to kill Syrian people they were considered jihadists," Bashar Al-Jaafari, the Syrian envoy to the United Nations, has commented.

Less than a year ago, an attack on Charlie Hebdo was conducted by individuals that were supported and encouraged by the French government to go fight in Syria and topple the government in Damascus. Ultimately, the people in France should be angry at the French government for supporting these individuals and groups when they went to fight in Syria and other countries. One way or another, these attacks in Paris are the results of the regime change policies of the US allies, including France. If you encourage people to murder and fight overseas, or to support that type of conduct, what do you think they will do inside your country or when they get back?

(Strategic Culture Foundation, November 17, 2015. Photos: Al-Manar.)

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For Your Information

Statement of the Communist Party of Canada

The Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist) categorically condemns the heinous crimes committed in Paris, France on the afternoon of November 13. We express our deepest sympathies with the families, friends and colleagues of the victims and call for sober-minded measures to be taken which do not turn the French and world's people into targets of counter-violence. Measures which further deprive the people of their rights in the name of protecting the security of the French state are not an acceptable answer.

The reactionary violence displayed in Paris is directed against the working people who are not to blame for the instigation of state terrorism but are its victims. Attempts to protect the French state which deprive the people of their rights and, furthermore, target sections of the people for attack, are self-serving and create an even more dangerous situation.

CPC(M-L) calls on its members and supporters to take these events very seriously, remain calm and lead their peers to draw warranted conclusions. Who is behind these attacks? Are they an attempt to further murky the waters surrounding the U.S. striving to bring about regime change in Syria, which is now leading to a new round of violence, such as the targeting of a hospital in Afghanistan by the U.S. and to bombings such as what took place in Lebanon that targeted Hezbollah, and other similar activities?

All of it shows the anarchy and violence which has been unleashed by the U.S. striving for world domination in which the NATO bloc is doing its utmost to isolate Russia and not permit a political solution to problems which have emerged.

CPC(M-L) reiterates its opposition to the use of force to settle conflicts. We reiterate our opposition to the use of the state to suppress the rights of the people in the name of security. All of it shows that political solutions are not on the agenda of the U.S. and European powers, as well as Canada. Instead, civil wars and state terrorism are fomented to get an upper hand. It must not pass!

Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist)
November 14, 2015

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Crime and Punishment

Excerpt from the book "State Terrorism and Human Rights" by Justice Ajit Singh Bains (Ret'd) written from Burail Jail, Chandigarh, July 1992.


When a private person kills another person, it is a crime, declared as such in every civilized country. The law moves against the killer. Each country with a democratic constitutional government has its code of criminal acts and punishes those who violate that code. But what is most agonizing in the world today is the prevalence of governments which deny their citizens basic human rights and which, in many cases, use terrorism against their own populace.

Dictatorial governments habitually deprive the citizen of his or her rights to life and liberty, either by enacting laws or by issuing informal instructions to their officers and agencies. In strictly legal terms, when a police officer receives orders to kill a suspect in custody, he is protected by law because he is obeying his superior authority and, therefore, the force of law does not touch him. It follows that an officer of the law may interfere with the right to life and liberty very easily, compared with a private citizen who has to be concerned about the force of the law and that of the opponent whose rights he intends to violate.

The moment a private citizen kills another or violates another person's physical integrity, his act becomes a criminal act. Immediately, the sanction of law can be invoked against him and usually, the victim himself does not need to set the legal machinery in motion to get the perpetrator of the crime punished in accordance with law. The essence of law consists of a person who commits a criminal act being brought to justice in accordance with the punishment prescribed by legislation.

In theory, whenever a government official indulges in any illicit act, the law should work against him also and he too must be punished in the same fashion as a member of the general public. Unfortunately, since the government works through its officials, in day-to-day situations the criminal acts of a government functionary are difficult to check. In most of the situations, he is simply obeying the instructions of his superiors who themselves have some ulterior motive or vested interest. The experience of the twentieth century proves that the maximum violation of the rights of the citizens of this planet has been inflicted by governments. [...]

In theory, the rule of law recognizes that nobody is above it and that whosoever commits an offence must be punished. However high-ranking in the state apparatus an individual may be, the rule of law is above him. This attribute of the law provides protection to all who want to get on with their lives. Punishment and protection are essential features of law, but when the state protects with partiality, the rule of law is jeopardized. The use of a state position and the conducting of affairs as if an individual or group is above the law leads to the elimination of its rule.

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A Secret Army of Mercenaries for the
Middle East and North Africa

2011 satellite view of the Xe training camp under construction in the Emirates.

In Zayed Military City, in a training camp in a desert area of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), a secret army is in the making.

This secret army of mercenaries, which is slated to be used not only in the Emirates but throughout the Middle East and North Africa, was created by Erik Prince, a former member of the U.S. Navy SEALS who in 1997 founded Blackwater, the largest private military company on contract to the Pentagon in Iraq, Afghanistan and other war zones. The company, which in 2009 was renamed Xe Services (also in order to escape legal action for the massacres of civilians in Iraq), owns a large training camp in the United States, where more than fifty thousand "specialists of war and repression" have been trained. And Xe is in the process of opening other training camps.

In Abu Dhabi, Erik Prince, without appearing in person but through the joint-venture Reflex Responses, signed a first contract of $529 million (on July 13, 2010, according to the New York Times).

In several countries including South Africa and Colombia, they started recruiting mercenaries to form an initial battalion of 800 men. They are trained in the UAE by U.S., British, French and German military professionals, with a background in special forces and the secret services. The trainers are paid $200,000-300,000 a year, while the recruits receive about $150 a day.

Once the efficiency of the battalion has been tested in a "real action" scenario, Abu Dhabi will fund with billions of dollars a whole brigade of several thousand mercenaries. It is expected to set up a large training camp in the UAE, similar to that operating in the United States.

The main supporter of the project is the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Sheik Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan, who was trained in the British military academy Sandhurst.

Sheik Mohammed bin Zayed is a trusted Pentagon associate. He also supports military intervention directed against Iran. The crown prince and his friend Erik Prince, however, are the executors of the project, which was decided in Washington. Its purpose was revealed in documents quoted by the New York Times:

"[The secret army trained in the UAE will conduct] special operations missions to put down internal revolts, like those sweeping the Arab world this year."

The secret army of mercenaries will therefore be used to suppress the people's struggles in the Gulf countries, with interventions similar to those last March in Bahrain involving troops from the Emirates, Qatar and Saudi Arabia. These troops brutally crushed the people's demands for democracy.

"Special operations missions" will also be conducted by the secret army in countries such as Egypt and Tunisia, to break people's movements and to ensure that power remains in the hands of governments which support the interests of the United States and major European powers.

The secret army is also slated to be sent to Libya, where the U.S. and NATO have envisaged sending in both European troops as well as troops from the Arab World, theoretically to "provide humanitarian aid to civilians."

Whatever the scenario will be -- either a "balkanized" Libya divided into two territories under the control of Tripoli and Benghazi, or a situation similar to Iraq or Afghanistan, geared towards overthrowing the Libyan government -- the US-NATO military alliance is planning to use the secret army of mercenaries. The underlying objectives are:

1) To protect the oil facilities in the hands of American and European oil companies, 2) to eliminate their opponents, 3) to keep the country weak and divided. Such are the "innovative solutions," which Xe Services (formerly Blackwater) is proud to provide to the U.S. government.

(Originally published in Il Manifesto. Translated from Italian by Global Research. Slightly edited for grammar by TML.)

Peoples in Action Against Neo-Liberal Globalization and State Terrorism

Activists Oppose APEC Summit in Manila,
November 12-20

Activists from around the world gathered in Manila, the capital city of the Philippines, to oppose the neo-liberal nation-wrecking of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) during its 2015 Economic Leaders' Week there, November 12 to 20.

The major mass action took place November 19, the day world leaders met as part of the APEC Summit. Despite President Aquino government's "no permit, no rally" policy and large numbers of riot police, workers, women and Indigenous peoples were undeterred and made sure their voices were heard.

Pinoy Weekly reported, "President Aquino's state security forces did all [they could] to prevent protests: declare a 'no permit, no rally policy,' set up police barricades across much of the city of Manila, block and, in some cases, even detain protesters from the provinces. By the evening of November 18, cops had blocked all exits from the Baclaran Redemptorist Church, where 700 Lumad and Mindanaoans had camped out after being driven away from Freedom Park Liwasang Bonifacio. [They] deployed hundreds of cops from different provinces [...] to Liwasang Bonifacio.

"Aquino still failed to dampen the protests.

"An estimated 10,000 people showed up out of nowhere, it seemed [on] Taft Avenue on the morning of November 19, and marched from Kalaw to Buendia, where a phalanx of armed PNP [Philippine National Police] Special Action Force blocked the way. The protesters proceeded to march along Buendia, until they were stopped by a throng of anti-riot cops and container vans near the corner of Roxas Boulevard and Buendia."

Joining local activists were many others coming from overseas to express their opposition to APEC. Filipino website reported on November 14 that "350 activists from 36 countries [arrived] in the Philippine capital this week."

In a press conference in Quezon City on November 13, Canadian film and television director Malcolm Guy told reporters that they are in Manila to present "another point of view on the world economy, on the Indigenous question -- the opinion of the great majority of the people." Guy is the Secretary General of the International League of People's Struggle (ILPS). The League held its assembly in Manila last week with the participation of delegates from 91 countries.

Guy stated that APEC's promises of "building a better world and inclusive economics" are false and that it serves the interests of the wealthy ruling elites, while everyone else faces "environmental degradation, rampant militarization, climate change catastrophes like [Typhoon] Yolanda (Haiyan) here in the Philippines, and precarious working conditions with falling wages."

Indigenous Peoples Fight for Their Right to Be

An important issue brought out during the anti-APEC protests is the situation facing Indigenous peoples across the Philippines.

In the south of the Philippines, the various Indigenous peoples are known collectively as the Lumád. They organized a "people's caravan and mobilization from the rural communities of Mindanao to the heart of Manila to seek immediate action on the killings of Lumád in the name of militarization and plunder by big mining and plantations." The caravan was called "Manilakbayan ng Mindanao." The Lumád highlighted the attacks on their schools and communities and the killings of their leaders that are part of the government's assault on the Indigenous peoples. The Lumád's actions showed the stark reality that APEC's promises of prosperity are only for the monopolies, and come at the expense of the Indigenous peoples' right to be.

"It's appalling that our own government is much more willing to listen to foreign investors in the APEC summit, acting like a pimp to sell the Filipinos' wealth, to sell our ancestral lands to foreign countries to invest in our country," said Datu Jomorito Goaynon, spokesperson of Manilakbayan. reported that anti-APEC protesters were "gearing up for even more intensified security restrictions this week, in the wake of the terror attacks by suspected Islamic State (IS) members in Paris, France, which killed at least 129 people" and that "....Aquino is trying to make himself look good by condoling the victims of the Paris attacks, even as he ignores the calls to stop the killings and attacks that continue against Lumád communities in Mindanao."

From the north of the Philippines, Northern Luzon, came another caravan. Marjo Malubay, reporting for Pinoy Weekly, informed, "Groups from Northern Luzon organized a caravan going to Manila dubbed as 'Martsa ti Amianan' to stage protests against [APEC].

"The caravan is constituted mainly of Indigenous people and peasants from Cordillera, Cagayan Valley, Isabela, and Ilocos Region.

"The caravan converged with the Manilakbayan ng Mindanao 2015 delegates from Mindanao to join the Peoples Campaign Against APEC and Imperialist Globalization (PCAIG). The protest campaign aims to highlight, among others, the human rights violations and environmental destruction ushered in by decades of destructive extractive industries such as large-scale mining and corporate energy projects. [...]

"According to Amianan Salakniban, the Northern Luzon environment and human rights network, the extractive operations of multinational corporations do not only result [in] massive damage to the environment but also the displacement of peasants and indigenous people from their lands.

"'Those who fight to defend their lands become victims to various human rights violations and extra-judicial killings,' said Fernando Mangili, spokesperson of Amianan Salakniban. He added that last year alone, five environmental activists and mining advocates were killed by the elements of the military.

"Data from the Mines and Geosciences Bureau on mining tenements shows that out of 999 mining applications in the Philippines, 497 of them are in Northern Luzon. Three of the oldest mines (Lepanto, Benguet Corp, and Philex) are still operating in Benguet."

Amongst the other mining firms responsible for the destruction of the social and natural environment in the Philippines is Canadian firm Barrick Gold, which purchased Placer Dome in 2006. Michelle Harrison, in a March 31, 2014 item on, entitled, "Barrick Gold Using Coercive Settlement Provisions to Perpetuate Legacy of Environmental Harm" points out the massive destruction caused by Placer Dome/Barrick Gold:

"For decades, Placer Dome operated two mines in the Province of Marinduque, during which time it intentionally dumped hundreds of millions of tons of toxic mine waste into traditional fishing areas, and catastrophic dam failures flooded rivers with toxic mine waste. Notably, Placer Dome's long time business partner during much of that period was notorious dictator Ferdinand Marcos, until he was overthrown. The company left the island soon after a massive toxic waste spill in 1996 that rendered the Boac River 'biologically dead.'"

The people of Marinduque have been fighting for a settlement. Harrison writes, "The parties have been engaged in settlement negotiations since 2011 and significant details have surfaced about the terms of Barrick's offer. The amount on the table is reportedly $20 million USD, which, after litigation costs and attorneys' fees, is expected to be closer to $13 million -- far less than the projected cost of cleanup.

"But here's the worst part: Barrick's take-it-or-leave-it offer would expressly prohibit the Province from using any of the settlement fund to rehabilitate and remediate the environmental damage caused by the mine's operations or to stabilize the dangerous mine structures abandoned by the company more than a decade ago. According to two Marinduque lawmakers who have voiced opposition to the terms, the agreement would stipulate 'that the settlement proceeds can never be used for the repair and rehabilitation of the damaged ecosystem of the island-province [...]'"

(, Pinoy Weekly, Manila Bulletin, Photos: Pinoy Weekly, KMU)

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Activists Defy Ban on Protests at G20 Summit in Antalya, Turkey, November 15-16

Mass protests took place in Antalya, Turkey, near the site of the G20 Summit, despite a government ban on protests and the arrests of activists in the days leading up to the meeting.

Turkish website reported on November 10, that the "Antalya Governorate has announced [protest] bans before the summit. According to the [Governorate's] statement, acts such as indoor and outdoor meetings, gatherings and demonstration rallies, press releases, sit-in protests, chaining oneself, distributing leaflets, unfurling banners, posters, etc. are prohibited on the dates between November 9-18 2015 in almost the entire city.

"In the history of G20 summits, such large scale prohibitions on freedom of expression is the first.

"Antalya is the 8th most populous city in Turkey and one of the most important [tourist] cities of the country."

News agencies report that dozens of people were detained on Sunday, November 15 during a series of protests against the G20. One of these actions was called by the Youth Union of Turkey (Türkiye Gençlik Birligi, TGB), whose members travelled to Antalya from across the country. Hundreds of them held up cardboard effigies of U.S. President Barack Obama and denounced U.S. interventions in the Middle East. Police allowed the group to march briefly only after they agreed to leave the effigies behind, the Associated Press reports.

Another protest was organized by trade unionists and political activists. They carried a banner that read in Turkish and in English: "Killer, colonialist, imperialist war organization G-20 get out!"

Earlier in the day, police detained four protesters who were attempting to walk to the Summit venue, which was some 25 km from Antalya, to deliver a letter to participants. Police also detained a group of about 20 protesters who refused to undergo a security check, the state-run Anadolu Agency reported.

Police arrested four demonstrators outside a domestic flights terminal at Antalya airport, near the conference venue, Anadolu Agency also reported. Placards held up by protesters read, "Murderer U.S. get out of the Middle East," Dogan news agency reported.

Seven other demonstrators were detained in Istanbul after protesting outside the German and British consulates.

The Turkish authorities prepared for the possibility of mass arrests by converting a sports centre in Antalya into a makeshift mass detention centre.

Protest in New York City

In the U.S., a coalition of groups held an action in New York City to oppose the G20 and any warmongering agenda it puts forward as a response to the attacks in Paris. The call for the action stated in part:

"We mourn for those who were killed and injured in Paris on Friday. But mourning is not enough. We must also remember that what happened in Paris is yet another terrible example of the bitter fruits that are the fallout from endless war, occupation, shock-and-awe bombings, and regime change.

"That fallout also includes the decimation of Iraq, and a human rights crisis in both Syria and Iraq of epic proportions -- including the displacement of millions of people. Now is the time to remember how 911 was used as a pretext for war, racism and repression."

(Anadolu Agency, AP,, People's Power Assemblies. Photos: @iskraxa, Izmir Halkevi, Istanbul Indymedia, TBG, G. Butterfield )

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Revamping Peacekeeping to Meet War Aims

U.S. Calls Summit to Discuss UN Peacekeeping

A Leaders Summit on Peacekeeping convened by the United States took place September 28 on the margins of the 70th United Nations General Assembly in New York.

The 2015 Leaders Summit was preceded by a similar meeting chaired by U.S. Vice-President Joe Biden on the margins of the UN General Assembly last year. A number of other meetings have also been convened to take up the issue of reforming the UN peacekeeping system, including regional meetings in the Netherlands, Uruguay, Indonesia and Ethiopia and a meeting of Chief of Defence Staffs.

The 2015 Leaders Summit was convened by U.S. President Barack Obama and co-hosted by the leaders of Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Japan, Netherlands, Pakistan, Rwanda and Uruguay and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon. It convened only leaders of those countries "committed to strengthening peacekeeping operations and prepared to announce significant, new, and concrete commitments to these operations." Just under 50 heads of state and government as well as officials of the European Union, African Union and NATO were reported to have attended and spoken. A declaration issued at the conclusion of the summit was signed by 43 countries. Canada was not one of them.

Canada's delegation to the General Assembly this year is said to have been smaller than usual. It was led by the Harper Government's International Development Minister Christian Paradis who was not seeking re-election and is reported to have attended only some events on the sidelines of the General Assembly. Neither then Prime Minister Stephen Harper nor then Foreign Affairs Minister Rob Nicholson attended the General Assembly. A senior government bureaucrat, Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Daniel Jean, who delivered remarks on Canada's behalf was among the last three speakers on the last day as he was not an elected official.

In opening the 2015 Leaders' Summit, Obama said its purpose was to strengthen and reform UN peacekeeping. "This is not something that we do for others; this is something that we do collectively because our collective security depends on it," he said. This was reflected in the self-serving remarks made later by British Prime Minister David Cameron. Totally denying who is responsible for the break up of countries, the "migration problem," and how "countries" become "havens of terror," he said: "I believe these things are in our own national interest. When countries break up, we see the problems of migration  can affect us all. When countries become havens to terror, we all suffer as a result."

Obama said UN peacekeeping operations were experiencing unprecedented strains and that too few nations were bearing a disproportionate burden of providing troops. He referred to new challenges, including "more armed conflicts, more instability driven by terrorism and violent extremism, and more refugees," which he said the current supply of peacekeepers can't keep up with. He said the U.S. would work to double the number of military advisers that it contributes and offer logistical support, including air and sea lifts, and training. Incidentally, the proposal of the new Liberal government in Canada is not much different. When it comes to UN peacekeeping, while the U.S. funds around 28 per cent of the UN's peacekeeping budget, it has not traditionally been one of the troop-supplying countries. It currently has 39 police, six military experts and 34 troops, according to the UN website, involved in peacekeeping operations in Haiti, South Sudan and Liberia.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, who spoke following Obama's opening remarks, said that "the situations into which peacekeepers are deployed have never been more challenging, as tasks multiply and we face extremists, criminal groups and others who show no regard for international humanitarian or human rights law." He spoke of the need "to act urgently, boldly and collectively" and "to have predictable and effective military capabilities, a qualified police personnel, including more female officers, and a standby reserve for tomorrow to ensure that UN peacekeeping is up to these and future challenges." He said there are more than 120 countries currently contributing over 125,000 military, police and civilian personnel to 16 peace operations on four continents.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg also addressed the Leaders Summit. Stoltenberg offered NATO's unique capabilities to help UN peace operations, according to a report on NATO's website: "NATO is doing more with, and more for our partners, helping them to better cope with their security challenges themselves. This cooperation on capacity building is central to how the Alliance helps to address crises around the world." Stoltenberg said NATO could support the protection of UN forces, particularly in the area of countering Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs); provide enhanced training, education and exercise opportunities; and enhanced support, if needed, to help the UN improve its rapid deployment abilities.

Stoltenberg also said NATO could consider specific requests from the UN within the context of NATO's Defence and Related Security Capacity Building Initiative and to enhance NATO-UN cooperation on defence sector reform, saying NATO stood ready to enhance its support of the UN.

A Declaration issued at the conclusion of the summit was signed by the governments of Armenia, Australia, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Chile, China, Colombia, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ethiopia, Finland, Fiji, France, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Nepal, Netherlands, Norway, Pakistan, Peru, Republic of Korea, Romania, Rwanda, Turkey, Senegal, Serbia, Sierra Leone, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Thailand, Ukraine, United States, United Kingdom, Uruguay and Vietnam.

It pledged to support reforms to how UN peacekeeping is organized and supported. It "welcomed the efforts to advance the cause of reform through the report of the Secretary-General, entitled 'The Future of Peace Operations: Implementation of the Recommendations of the High-Level Independent Panel on Peace Operations,' and the report of the High-Level Independent Panel on Peace Operations.

Among other things, the declaration reaffirmed the protection of civilians as a solemn shared responsibility and "acknowledge[d] the critical role played by subregional and regional organizations in confronting some of the world's most difficult stabilization challenges, and underscore[d] our commitment to supporting deeper partnerships and cooperation between the UN and such regional organizations to address threats to international peace and security." Nothing was said about blocking the use of force to interfere in the internal affairs of sovereign nations and the abandonment of the UN Charter which establishes that all nations, big or small, are equal and have the right to self-determination. In the absence of enforcing  the principles on the basis of which the UN is founded, international gendarmes then defend the imperialist system of states and their inter-imperialist, inter-monopoly competition. Far from the protection of civilians being "the solemn shared responsibility," civilians are the casualty every time. More and more resources are devoted to military means while the anarchy and violence caused by the big-power striving for domination over the resources of the world's people and over zones of influence and for the export of capital are denied and ignored.

Following the meeting, The Guardian newspaper reported that total commitments were more than three times the original White House target. More than 40,000 troops and police, and more than 40 helicopters, 22 engineering companies, 11 naval and riverine units, and 13 field hospitals were pledged.

China is reported to have made the largest commitment by saying it would establish a standby peacekeeping force of 8,000 soldiers and a permanent peacekeeping police squad. It also pledged $100 million in military assistance to the African Union. In announcing his country's contribution, President Xi Jinping said China advocates abiding by the basic principles of peacekeeping and sticks to the principles established in the UN Charter. He said the UN Security Council resolutions should be completely implemented without any nation's acting beyond its authority.

Another major troop contribution came from Colombia. Addressing the summit, President Juan Manuel Santos cited his country's "success in fighting terrorism, drug trafficking, the insurgency and international crime," which he said Colombia was now ready to share with the world. He committed to providing three battalions totalling 5,000 troops on a gradual basis over three years.

Sri Lanka said it would commit troops as well. According to The Guardian some officials were wary of this given the Sri Lankan military's war crimes during the conflict with the Tamil Tigers.

Italy is reported to have offered to make a significant contribution but linked it to the launching of a UN peacekeeping operation in Libya to "stem the flow of migrants."

The Indian ambassador to the UN, representing the country that has the most peacekeepers deployed of any country told The Guardian his government remains committed to peacekeeping, "provided peacekeeping is what we know it to be." "The soldiers in the blue helmets, under the blue flag, are impartial. They are not supposed to be partisan. If somebody wants soldiers to go in and fight they should hire mercenaries, not take UN soldiers. If peacekeeping is to be seen as peace enforcement, then unfortunately we can't see the UN Charter allowing such a radical departure of the use of peacekeeping," he said.

(Photo: UN Media)

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U.S. President's New Memorandum

A fact sheet on the website of the White House refers to a Presidential Memorandum issued by Barack Obama on September 28 to U.S. government departments and agencies on the subject of United States Support to United Nations Peace Operations. The new policy was established it said "to ensure the United States' continued leadership in helping UN peacekeeping to quell the crises of today, and face the challenges of tomorrow." According to reports the Memorandum represents the first Presidential guidance on multilateral peace operations in more than 20 years. The fact sheet states that the Leaders' Summit on Peacekeeping was the culmination of a year-long effort to address critical gaps in peacekeeping missions initiated at a leader-level summit a year ago co-hosted by U.S.Vice-President Biden.

The fact sheet lists actions the U.S. is prepared to take to "strengthen and modernize UN operations for a new era" by building partner capacity, expanding U.S. contributions and driving reform. Included are such things as enhancing UN, TCC [troop contributing countries] and PCC [police contributing countries] preparation and readiness for the field through military exercises, deeper military-to-military relations with TCC partners, and the provision of U.S. expertise in training, planning, doctrine, and situational analysis; supporting deeper cooperation between the UN and regional organizations to strengthen UN peace operations and the transitions to and from them.

With respect to deepening cooperation between the UN and regional organizations, Obama's Memorandum indicates that the Department of State "will intensify consultations with relevant international partners on how the UN and other organizations -- including the African Union, the European Union, and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization -- can better cooperate in expanding the collective pool of high caliber, rapidly deployable troops and police for UN and other multilateral peace operations. These consultations should also include identifying where non-UN bridging forces may be required to establish the conditions for follow-on UN missions."

The fact sheet says the United States will "more actively consider and facilitate the provision of U.S. military, police, and civilian personnel to UN peace operations" pointing out however that these forces would always have to be under U.S. command. The Memorandum qualifies this longstanding U.S. policy by saying that as Commander-in-Chief the president has the authority to place U.S. forces under the operational control of a foreign commander if he deems it to serve U.S. national security interests.

The Memorandum lays out considerations for the U.S. push for peacekeeping reform, such as U.S. national security, reducing costs and risks to the U.S., gaining opportunities for ties to the militaries of other countries and experience in the field. It also spells out why the U.S. considers itself to be "well-positioned to play a leading role in driving reform and shaping the future of UN peace operations," stating:

"As articulated in the 2015 National Security Strategy, the United States has a critical national security interest in mitigating state fragility and preventing, containing, and resolving armed conflict. There are currently dozens of fragile and conflict-affected states. Their numbers are now rising globally, and may continue to do so over the next decade or more. Left unassisted, many of these fragile states, where conflict festers and development stagnates, could become hosts of violent extremism; afford safe havens that transnational terrorists and criminals exploit; generate large flows of refugees and displaced persons that can destabilize neighboring countries and sow regional instability; create humanitarian emergencies; facilitate the spread of pandemic disease; and increase the risk of mass atrocities. The United States has a compelling national security interest in preventing the outbreak, escalation, and spread of conflicts that could contribute to these threats, but we cannot and should not seek to assume that burden on our own. To the contrary, it is in our interest to strengthen international response mechanisms that enable the burden to be shared globally.

"Multilateral peace operations, particularly United Nations (UN) peace operations, will, therefore, continue to be among the primary international tools that we use to address conflict-related crises. These operations include a spectrum of conflict prevention, peacemaking, and peacebuilding interventions authorized by the UN Security Council. The scale and scope of activities they now perform have expanded significantly since the issuance of the last formal Presidential guidance on multilateral peace operations (Presidential Decision Directive-25 of May 3, 1994). This memorandum takes into account evolutions in UN peace operations over the last two decades. PDD-25 remains in effect to the extent it does not conflict with this memorandum. [...]"

"In some instances, these operations are deployed in countries such as Haiti and Liberia, where in the absence of a UN peacekeeping operation, historic and other ties might have led to longer-term deployment of U.S. forces that would entail far greater risks and costs for the United States. The United States derives other indirect benefits from our support to UN peace operations, including strengthened military-to-military collaboration, diplomatic, and other ties with countries to which we provide training. United States military, police, and civilian personnel deployed within these missions gain indispensable field experience working alongside personnel from many other nations. Military forces in UN-led peace operations can also replace national or coalition military forces in operations once an area has transitioned from an immediate crisis to a more permissive environment.

"The United States has compelling reasons to support the effective conduct of UN and other multilateral peace operations, but must be judicious about where we advocate their establishment since they are not the appropriate response in all instances. [...]

"As such, peace operations cannot substitute for diplomatic solutions to end a war, nor for more forceful military interventions that need to be carried out in non-permissive environments by individual states or coalitions that possess the will and capacity to do so. [...]

"The United States is well positioned to play a leading role in driving reform and shaping the future of UN peace operations, working closely with the UN and with partners in every region. As a permanent member of the UN Security Council, we play a key role in crafting and authorizing each operation's mandate. As the top financial contributor to UN peacekeeping, we scrutinize each mission budget and the regulations, rules, and policies that govern the allocation and oversight of resources. As the top provider of training and equipment for military and police contingents, we have a role to play in promoting the highest standards of conduct and discipline. Ultimately, the United States has both significant interests in, and influence on, multilateral peace operations and the systems that support them.

"Accordingly, building on the 2015 National Security Strategy, the 2015 Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review, the 2014 Quadrennial Defense Review, and the 2015 National Military Strategy, it shall be the policy of the United States to strengthen and modernize UN peace operations. We shall do so principally through three core lines of effort:

A. Building partner capacity to support UN peace operations;

B. Contributing U.S. diplomatic support, enabling capabilities, and personnel; and

C. Leading and supporting efforts at the UN for systemic reform.

"All executive departments and agencies will ensure that the Presidential priority the United States attaches to effective multilateral peace operations, and these core lines of effort for supporting that objective, are appropriately reflected in national strategy, policy, and planning guidance documents."

A list of the reforms Obama says the U.S. will advocate for is prefaced by the following assertion: "Given the implications for U.S. national security interests and resource commitments, the United States must continue to lead the drive for reform of UN and regional peace operations."

Commentary on U.S. Approach to Peacekeeping

Speaking in March 2015 at a forum on UN Peacekeeping reform in Washington, Deputy Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken gave an example of what he considered to be an effective, modern peace operation: "Just last month, on February 10th, MINUSCA and French forces [ie. forces of the country's former colonial ruler] engaged rebels in the Central African Republic without a single death or injury among their forces or the civilians. Not long after the operation, the rebel leader ordered his troops out of government buildings and opened the door to peace by allowing grassroots consultations to proceed."

Offering his take on UN peacekeeping and the new U.S. policy, Paul D. Williams, an academic affiliated with the U.S-based International Peace Institute writes in Foreign Affairs: "For the past decade, UN peacekeeping and the UN Security Council's agenda have mainly focused on sub-Saharan Africa. In part, this is due to the large number of crises that have regularly afflicted the continent. But it is also because decisions to deploy UN peace operations to Africa have generated less controversy than in some other regions, notably the Middle East. Unfortunately for the United Nations, most member nations rank this region as their lowest geostrategic priority, which had made it especially difficult to generate contributions to peacekeeping operations deployed there. A look over the strategic horizon, however, reveals plausible scenarios in which the UN's peacekeeping operations could shift toward the greater Middle East, for example in Libya, Syria, and Yemen, or Eastern Europe, for example Ukraine. These conflicts are also more strategically critical to Western powers, and so creating a robust force would be considered more important there than for African nations. [...]

"[T]he Obama administration was likely correct in assuming that strengthening the UN peacekeeping system will hinge on persuading former members of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan to contribute to UN peace operations in a major way. Some ISAF countries -- including Australia, Georgia, Germany, South Korea, Romania, and Turkey -- have failed to contribute large numbers of troops or assets regularly to UN peacekeeping operations in the past. Others -- including Canada, Finland, France, Ireland, the Netherlands, Poland, and the United Kingdom -- have deep experience on the front lines. Either way, with the end of the Afghanistan campaign, many ISAF contributors will have troops free up for other missions, perhaps including the United Nations."

(US State Department, Reuters, The Guardian, Ottawa Citizen, UN News Centre, Foreign Affairs)

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Coming Events

Vancouver Rally Defends Bolivarian Revolution on Occasion of December 6 Legislative Elections

Sunday, December 6 -- 1:00 pm
U.S. Consulate, 1075 W. Pender St.

On Sunday, December 6, elections will be held for the Venezuelan National Assembly. On this occasion rallies are being organized to support the people of Venezuela.

- U.S. Hands Off Venezuela!

- Respect Venezuela's sovereignty!

- Lift all sanctions on Venezuela; rescind Obama's March 9 Executive Order against Venezuela

- Stop U.S. financing of the right-wing opposition, destabilization and coup attempts

- Stop the corporate media slander campaign

Rallies in the United States

Los Angeles: Saturday, December 5, 1:00 pm at the CNN Building, 6430 W. Sunset Blvd. For the Facebook event, click here .

New York City: Sunday, December 6, 1:00 pm at the Venezuelan Consulate, 7 East 51st St. To download the flyer, click here.

San Francisco: Sunday, December 6, 1:00 pm at 24th & Mission. To download the flyer, click here.

Details on other rallies to come. Details of the events you are planning can be sent to for posting on the website of the U.S. Cuba and Venezuela Solidarity Committee:

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