No 1541 5th September 2018
Anti-Myanmar “warcrime” accusations are sickest hypocrisy yet from a world imperialist system now imposing non-stop deliberate violence, massacre and war from Palestine and Yemen, to the destruction and slaughter in Ukraine, endless war in Afghanistan, deliberate civil war provoked in Syria and the daily disruption and killing in the Congo. But UN report on Saudi crimes is buried away, covered over by lying hysteria against Rangoon (deliberately released one day earlier) and the artificial “left anti-semitism” furore raised to defend Nazi-Jewish occupation of Palestine. The West could not care less about the Rohingya people except as emotional fodder to whip up demonising hate and self-righteous middle class moralising to keep brutal warmongering going, dragging public opinion behind much greater conflicts and destruction to come, as capitalist catastrophic collapse heads for inter-imperialist hot war. Trump’s trade war US belligerence the place to look for the causes – Leninist revolutionary theory for the answers
The cynicism of capitalism’s Big Lie demonising of assorted “rogue states” to set them up for imperialist crisis war-blitzing grows more glaring but still goes unremarked by the fake-“left”, cowed by class collaborationist “moral principles” and longterm capitulation to the “war on terror.”
Or worse still they bow to the propaganda poison, helping feed the Goebbels lies into the working class, setting it up for coming inter-imperialist war.
Their pretence of “revolutionary” anti-capitalism becomes more hollow by the day with their failure to draw the most basic lessons for the working class from each more glaring propaganda stunt, preparing the world for the all-out war conflict that capitalism’s Catastrophic economic and political collapse is inexorably heading for as vicious trade war escalates.
The latest Goebbels trickery sees release of yet more lurid and wild accusations of “genocide” against the Myanmar government over the Rohingya refugee crisis from ever more grotesquely stooging United Nations (funded and dominated by the US and other major capitalist imperialist powers).
On the back of alleged “witness accounts”, but no actual video or photographic evidence, this piles on the usual stream of “baby butchering” and “organised rape” allegations now routinely poured out against any Western hate target and, almost as frequently, later exposed as invention and/or wild exaggeration, from “Belgian babies on the ends of German bayonets” in the Great War to the “deliberately emptied baby incubators in Kuwait” anti-Iraqi lies of the first Gulf War, the non-existent “thousands slaughtered in Tian An Men” anti-China fantasy, the made-up Srebrenica and Racek “massacres by Serbs” and the even more inventive nonsense of “Gaddafi’s Viagra fueled rape squads” used to feed popular anti-Libyan emotion to “justify” the barbaric 2011 NATO blitzkrieg invasion to head off Middle East rebellion (which was a real war crime in its destruction then, and in the devastated anarchic chaos it left behind which has destroyed civilised life there ever since) – to name just a few.
As always the other side of the story is casually dismissed, and all attempts by the hapless accused to present a case or defend themselves, sneeringly written off as “disinformation”.
The full imperialist crisis warmongering context of the events – without which nothing can be assessed rationally – does not even get a look in.
But it is only from a world spanning and historic revolutionary perspective that it can seen clearly that this is a cynical stunt designed to cover-up and distract from the increasingly fascist bludgeoning of the world by a desperate Washington bourgeoisie, (and its stooge sidekicks) struggling to escape the greatest ever failure of the capitalist system.
No one has to defend or support the Myanmar nationalist regime as such to understand this is done to cover up its own (and sole) responsibility for the world’s horrors, trying to wring some last vestiges from the long-bankrupt pretence that capitalism “cares” about the world’s peoples and even has created a “world authority” to police and maintain them (the US controlled and dominated United Nations stooge).
Cue therefore a stream of strident denunciations by assorted Western politicians (across the board) and loud demands for “something to be done” in thundering articles in the bourgeois press, not least the “liberal” Guardian, always at the (subtle) forefront of anti-communist campaigning.
“We name the regime generals” declared the United Nations “investigation team” in the hearsay report designed not only to keep the pot boiling on this monstrous hate-campaign but to set things up for yet more of the laughably biased and one-sided “International Criminal Court” pretences of justice and “accountability to the international community”.
Setting aside for a moment the highly suspect and distorted specific UN allegations over this deliberately provoked Myanmar issue, and its background anti-China trade-war and residual anti-communist agenda, (examined in EPSR 1520 and further below), the most obvious giveaway of this pretence is that virtually none of the grotesque blitzing violence of the last two decades – or in fact of the entire post-WW2 period – by imperialism, which has killed tens of millions maintaining or trying to re-establish its tyrannical control across the planet, has been or will be equally arraigned, investigated, indicted, and so forth, let alone actually brought to “justice” and fair “punishment”.
Henry Kissinger for Chile, Kampuchea and Vietnam anyone? (with foul torture and millions of dead). Reagan for butchering Grenada? For the horrific massacre of tens of thousands in Guatemala and El Salvador? The Indonesian government and its British Labourite arms supply and intelligence backing for killing millions in East Timor or for the earlier CIA-MI6 informed butchery of at least one million “suspected communist sympathisers” in 1965 (see the film The Act of Killing)? The long running support for brutal apartheid South Africa? Tony Blair and George Bush, Barack Obama and Hilary Clinton for destroying the Middle East with millions dead since 2002? Obama and Clinton for the Kiev Nazi coup and its war on Eastern Ukraine with ten thousand dead (so far) by the Western installed and armed Swastika-toting Nazis? The same for the Honduras coup...and Afghanistan escalation and the strangulation of Latin American “left” reformism? Trump as well for obliterating most of the great cities in Iraq like Mosul and Falluja, or Raqqa in Syria, and butchering or destroying the lives of hundreds of thousands of civilians?? Turkey for its constant blitzing of the Kurdish self-determination struggle? Angola? The horrors of endless Western colluded Rwandan/Ugandan invasions of the Congo with a death toll again in millions? Endless ethnic cleansing to break up Yugoslavia and then bomb its Serbian core? The scale of the hypocrisy this time reaches even greater cynical levels.
And of course the Jewish colonialist occupation of Palestine, the false landtheft “state of Israel”, and its quotidian persecution, terrorising, besieging, torture and assassinations of that people and regular all-out blitzings and mass killings, subsidised and armed by Western imperialism?
Just one day after almost saturation media coverage against Rangoon and the choir of bogus “righteous concern” by imperialism’s politicians (taken up and chorused by the fake-“left” Trots, ever ready to swallow a bourgeois moralising stunt if it has anti-communist undertones) came this:
UN human rights experts believe war crimes may have been committed by all parties to the conflict in Yemen.
In their first such report, they allege Yemeni government forces, the Saudi-led coalition backing them, and the rebel Houthi movement have made little effort to minimise civilian casualties.
They point to attacks on residential areas in which thousands have died.
The warring parties are also accused of arbitrary detentions, torture, enforced disappearances and recruiting children.
The experts will present their report to the UN Human Rights Council next month.
Yemen has been devastated by a conflict that escalated in early 2015, when the Houthis seized control of much of the west of the country and forced President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi to flee abroad.
Alarmed by the rise of a group they saw as an Iranian proxy, the UAE, Saudi Arabia and seven other Arab states intervened in an attempt to restore the government. They have received logistical and intelligence support from the US, UK and France.
At least 6,660 civilians have been killed and 10,563 injured in the fighting, according to the United Nations. Thousands more civilians have died from preventable causes, including malnutrition, disease and poor health.
The fighting and a partial blockade by the coalition has also left 22 million people in need of humanitarian aid, created the world’s largest food security emergency, and led to a cholera outbreak that is thought to have affected 1.1 million people.
The so-called Group of Experts note that coalition air strikes have caused most direct civilian casualties, and that they have hit residential areas, markets, funerals, weddings, detention facilities, civilian boats and medical facilities.
The report says they “have reasonable grounds to believe that individuals in the government of Yemen and the coalition may have conducted attacks in violation of the principles of distinction, proportionality and precaution that may amount to war crimes”.
They add that the naval and air restrictions imposed by the coalition on rebel-held areas to halt alleged weapons smuggling may also constitute a violation of the proportionality rule of international humanitarian law, while the effective closure of Sanaa airport may violate the principle of protection for the sick and wounded.
The experts also expressed concern at the situation in the southern city of Taiz, where the Houthis have been besieging a government-held area for three years.
The report says civilians, including women and children, have been hit by shelling and snipers from the Houthis and other parties while in their homes, fetching water at local wells, or on their way to purchase food or seek medical attention.
The Houthis are accused of indiscriminately using “weapons with wide area effect” in Taiz and other urban settings, which would constitute a war crime.
The experts also found evidence of widespread arbitrary detention throughout the country by all parties, and ill-treatment and torture of some facilities.
Victims and witnesses also described to the experts “persistent and pervasive aggressive behaviour”, including sexual violence perpetrated by a pro-government force known as the Security Belt and UAE personnel, according to the report.
The experts say they also received information indicating all parties had conscripted or enlisted children - some as young as eight years old - and used them to participate actively in hostilities.
There was no immediate response from the coalition, Yemen’s government, or the Houthis.
But the BBC’s Imogen Foulkes in Geneva says Saudi Arabia did not want this inquiry, and will not like its findings.
On Monday, the coalition accused the UN team in Yemen of bias after it called for expressing condolences to the families of more than 30 civilians, including 22 children, reportedly killed in two air strikes last week.
The experts say they have identified, where possible, individuals who may be responsible for war crimes and passed a confidential list of their names to the UN high commissioner for human rights.
They also urged the international community to “refrain from providing arms that could be used in the conflict” - an apparent reference to Western countries, who are selling weapons to the coalition, and to Iran, which the coalition alleges is smuggling weapons the Houthis.
“Despite the severity of the situation, we continue to witness the total disregard for the suffering of the people of Yemen. This crisis has reached its peak with no apparent sight of light at the end of the tunnel,” Charles Garraway, one of the experts, told a news conference.
No front page tirades here; this almost simultaneous UN “warcrimes” report was buried away (page 20 of the Guardian for example).
And its mealy-mouthed “condemnation” has none of the anti-Myanmar tone, playing down the sheer depravity of the Western backed, hi-tech armed and militarily “advised” Saudi Arabian onslaught, with absurd “even handedness” and the pretence that there are comparable atrocities “on all sides” (in the same way the Zionist’s genocidal oppression of the Palestinians is always presented as some kind of balanced “conflict” between “two sides”).
Note how this typical bourgeois report presents Saudi “denials” while underplaying the scale of the “humanitarian disaster” i.e the callous siege starvation being quite consciously imposed on millions, now in near famine condition because of deliberate bomb targeting of the food and resources import infrastructure like ports, bridges, roads and rail.
Radio 4’s Today programme promptly rolled out a UN “spokesperson” to further play things down by denying any Saudi “callous intent”, as usual unchallenged by the “terrier” interruption/browbeating questions that even the most tepid “left” would get.
But the West constantly boasts of its “precision guided” weaponry so there is no doubt whatsoever about the intent.
But this apologia is undermined by the sheet gruesomeness of the recent attacks such as on a children’s school outing, which unlike all the allegations against Myanmar, was fully witnessed and videoed and will not go away.
The Saudi “coalition” (with its many US and UK embedded military targeting “advisers”) has finally had to admit culpability, (after weeks of denial) while as usual pretending it was an “unfortunate one-off”. You can smell the tear-inducing onions being held up to noses:
The Saudi-led coalition in Yemen has admitted an air attack in August that killed dozens of people, including children travelling on a bus, was unjustified and pledged to hold accountable anyone who contributed to the error.
The rare concession follows mounting international pressure, including from allies, to do more to limit civilian casualties in the three-and-a-half-year civil war that has killed more than 10,000 people and pushed the already impoverished country to the brink of famine.
The western-backed alliance fighting the Iranian-aligned Houthi group said at the time that the 9 August air strikes at a market in Saada province had targeted missile launchers used to attack southern Saudi Arabia a day earlier, and accused the Houthis of using children as human shields.
The Joint Incident Assessment Team, an investigative body set up by the coalition, said on Saturday that the strikes had been based on intelligence indicating the bus was carrying Houthi leaders, a legitimate military target, but delays in executing the strike and receiving a no-strike order should be further investigated.
“There was a clear delay in preparing the fighter jet at the appropriate time and place, thus losing [the opportunity] to target this bus as a military target in an open area in order to avoid such collateral damage,” JIAT legal adviser Mansour Ahmed al-Mansour said in the Saudi capital, Riyadh.
“The team believes that the coalition forces should immediately review the application of their rules of engagement to ensure compliance.”
The coalition later announced that it accepted those findings and pledged to hold accountable anyone who was proven to have made a mistake.
“The joint forces command of the coalition expresses regret over the mistakes, extends its sympathies, condolences and solidarity to the families of the victims,” said a statement carried by the Saudi state news agency SPA.
The coalition said it would coordinate with the Yemeni government
(in a civil war against that government!!!)
to compensate victims and would continue reviewing the rules of engagement to prevent the repeat of such incidents.
The US military welcomed the decision and said it appreciated the coalition’s decision “to take legal measures to ensure accountability and make the necessary improvements to its rules of engagement to prevent such a tragedy in the future”.
Last week, a UN panel of human rights experts said that some coalition air strikes may constitute war crimes. The US secretary of defence, Jim Mattis, said US support for the Saudi-led coalition was not unconditional, but suggested the United States would continue to support the alliance as it works to reduce fallout on civilians.
Gobsmacking PR evasion!!
And just one day after all the strident sanctimony about “bringing the Myanmar generals to justice” etc., not one politician was demanding “action” against the Saudis and their Western arms dealers, and the “advisers” helping run the “war”.
The timing is of course no coincidence, focusing “world outrage” in another direction.
Were it not for the unhideable stench from this Western onslaught (continuing nearly two decades of US/Zionist warmongering butchery on Iraq, Syria, Libya, and above all Palestine, and with more in train) nothing at all would have been “investigated”.
But the foul fascist atrocities are so obvious that this carefully timed pretence has had to be made.
The same unstoppable leakage from the real world sees the bourgeois “liberal” press occasionally try to cover its back, though as usual with a buried away article by an obscure academic and an “ignore him, he’s biased” foreign-sounding name:
On 9 August, the US-backed Saudi-led coalition waging war in Yemen against a Houthi-led rebellion dropped a bomb on a school bus packed with children. According to reports, the excited kids had been on a school trip marking the end of their summer classes, and as they passed a busy marketplace, the bomb directly hit their vehicle.
The results were horrific. Of the 54 people killed, 44 were children, with most between the ages of six and 11. The pictures of the dead and injured children, some of whom can be seen wearing their blue Unicef backpacks, are beyond heartbreaking.
And the tragedy in Yemen is unrelenting. Just this past Thursday, a mere two weeks after the school bus attack, Saudi-led coalition airstrikes killed yet another 26 children and four women fleeing the fighting in the western province of Hudaydah.
If this sounds to you like I’m relating a story about how terrible the civil war in Yemen is, then you’d be correct, although – and let’s be honest here – the war in Yemen occupies almost none of our collective political attention today. Could it be that we don’t care all that much about this war because Yemenis are Muslim, brown, and poor, and we’ve already been droning them for years on end?
The reality is that the war has created the world’s worst humanitarian catastrophe today. Three-quarters of the population, some 22 million Yemenis, require humanitarian assistance and protection. About 8.4 million people hang on the brink of starvation and another 7 million lie malnourished. Since 2015, more than 28,000 thousand people have been killed or injured, and many thousands more have died from causes exacerbated by war, such as a cholera epidemic that has afflicted more than a million people and claimed over 2,300 lives. At least one child dies every 10 minutes from causes linked to the war, according to the United Nations.
But this is also a story about the responsibility of the United States. A report by CNN indicates that the bomb used in the school bus airstrike was a 500-pound laser-guided MK 82 bomb, manufactured by Lockheed Martin, one of the largest US defense contractors. Having facilitated the sale to the Saudi-led coalition of the weapon used to kill these children, does the United States bear any responsibility for their deaths?
Undoubtedly. For one thing, these latest bombings are hardly the only times the Saudi-led coalition has killed civilians from the air. An independent monitoring group, the Yemen Data Project, found that there have been 55 airstrikes against civilian vehicles and buses in the first seven months of this year alone, and that of the 18,000 airstrikes between March 2015 to April 2018, almost a third (31%) of the targets were non-military (either civilians or civilian infrastructure) and another 33% of the strikes were classified as having unknown targets. That’s 64% of the strikes that could not be determined as having clear military targets.
And then there’s existing law. In a 2017 report, the American Bar Association concluded that “in the context of multiple credible reports of recurring and highly questionable strikes … further sales [of arms] under both the Arms Export Control Act and the Foreign Assistance Act are prohibited until the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia takes effective measures to ensure compliance with international law and the President submits relevant certifications to the Congress”.
The United States is certainly aware of how poorly the coalition is prosecuting the war. How can it not be? The US provides aerial targeting assistance to the coalition, for Pete’s sake, along with intelligence sharing and mid-flight aerial refueling for coalition aircraft. And of course, the US supplies (with the UK) the bulk of the coalition’s weapons. Lots of them. Hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth.
This failed strategy was begun under the Obama administration, not under Trump. But when coalition fighter jets bombed a funeral hall and killed over 140 people in October 2016, the Obama administration began mulling their options. In his last weeks in office, Obama finally restricted sales of precision-guided munitions to Saudi Arabia amid concerns over civilian casualties, but by May 2017, sales resumed when the secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, overturned the ban. Obama was no peace-monger president, however. His administration oversaw the sales of more weapons than any other president since 1945, and most of the arms sold during his time in office went to Saudi Arabia.
Opposition to the US’s blank-check policy regarding this war has been growing not only among lawyers but also among lawmakers. Earlier this year, Senators Bernie Sanders, Mike Lee and Chris Murphy introduced a joint resolution in the Senate to end US support for the coalition, though it was effectively defeated in March by a vote of 55-44. (John McCain did not vote.)
On 22 August, Murphy also introduced an amendment to the defense appropriations bill that would have cut off funds for the coalition until the secretary of defense could certify that rules for the protection of civilians were being properly followed. His efforts were blocked by the Republican senator Richard Shelby, whose donors, perhaps not coincidentally, are Boeing (also a major defense contractor) and Lockheed Martin.
With Trump, the situation is as you would expect. It is his administration after all that bans Yemenis from coming to the United States. The massive $717bn National Defense Authorization Act, recently signed into law by the president, does contain specific limited language designed to minimize civilian deaths in Yemen. The president, however, has issued a signing statement. He won’t abide by these provisions of the law. Unsurprisingly, his justification is that he has “exclusive constitutional authorities as commander in chief and as the sole representative of the nation in foreign affairs”.
Trump’s indifference to the suffering in Yemen is to be expected, But what about ours? Do the American people not realize that our bombs are killing innocent children in Yemen or do we just not care? The lack of public outrage – or even just attention – to what the US-backed Saudi-led coalition is doing with American support and American-made munitions indicates something disturbing. Despite the evidence that we have become more politically engaged since the 2016 election, we still have little to no interest in what is done in our name overseas.
Moustafa Bayoumi is professor of English at Brooklyn College, City University of New York
But while this reveals some of the petty bourgeois discomfort being caused by this nazi butchery, the point is still being obscured (by phrases like “blank check policy” or “poor prosecution”) that its warmongering horror is being consciously inflicted, driven by a ruling class that is facing the greatest ever crisis breakdown of its private profit system.
No capitalist solution is in sight (or possible) for its catastrophe except the destruction of the mountains of “surplus capital” dragging down its ability to make profit – for which only world war scale devastation will do once more, this time World War Three.
That applies first of all locally to the degenerate and primitive pre-feudal US-stooge Saudi ruling class, facing the complete collapse of the economy as the world oil glut continues to force prices down, a reflection of the unravelling monopoly capitalist crisis missed by all the fake-“left” and their narrow undialectical “war for oil” theories pumped out as the Iraq and Afghanistan wars got underway and still uncorrected.
Far from war being driven by the need to get more oil, the real issue is the world economic collapse, meaning demand has plummeted (helped by the post-2008 easy credit low-interest “gold rush” investment in fracking in the US itself, adding hugely to world supply, which not only reduces international demand from the US itself, but adds to its bullying pressure for others to buy its production - trying to shut down the German-Russian Nord Stream pipeline project for example and substituting US gas deliveries).
Oil as an aspect of world strategic control remains important but the war in Yemen is driven by Riyadh’s Slump desperation first and foremost, looking for distractions and diversions as it hurtles towards bankruptcy.
But behind it stands the whole of imperialism.
That is partly but not simply for the cynical sale of arms.
Such deals are part of the constant trade war battling to get an edge on other major powers (and arms are at the centre of capitalist economic production both in themselves as major commodities and as the symbol and means of ensuring technological supremacy and strategic alliances).
But even more it fits with the overall “shock and awe” turn, long planned and then escalated by a dazed and shattered US after the 9/11 attacks, to suppress all Middle East revolt by blitzing first Afghanistan and then Iraq.
This bullying has had to continue ever since because it proved a disastrous failure, and far from re-establishing US status and authority in a New American Century, has stirred massive regional and Third World “terrorist” and “jihadist” revolt, and eventually the mass street revolts of the Arab Spring.
That Egyptian anti-imperialist upheaval (for all its Muslim Brotherhood ideological form) in turn inspired the Yemeni rebellion against the American stooge regime running things there for the last decades (and assorted Gulf anti-Western upheaval in Bahrain etc).
Its example in turn threatened to spill over into Saudi Arabia itself against the grotesquely privileged and corrupt tribalism still in charge (and against which the original Bin Laden Al-Qaedism had arisen, later carrying out the dramatic 9/11 guerrilla war attack).
Suppressing the Houthis now becomes part of the bloody repression and Balkanisation throughout the Middle East to keep imperialism in the saddle and to prepare the ground for potentially widened attacks on Iran in particular.
Beyond even these factors is the overall crisis need of imperialism to stir warmongering in general, to re-acclimatise the entire planet to the notions of war conflict and destruction as the norm after decades of pretence that “peace, prosperity, and the rule of law” are the aims of its “free market, democratic” system.
Previously the only fly-in-the-ointment allegedly was “the tyranny of communism”, to be held down by the Cold War.
But revisionist liquidation of the (still viable) Soviet workers state means that it is no longer blamable for world chaos and breakdown.
Instead it daily becomes clearer that capitalism itself is the cause of breakdown into the vicious hatreds and chauvinism of the past once more, as Marxism has always said, driven by the inescapably deepening contradictions of the production for private profit system and the to-the-death cutthroat battle for over-saturated markets by increasingly concentrated monopoly combines.
So Saudi Arabia’s frenzy feeds into the all out inter-imperialist conflicts that are coming and rapidly being intensified by US belligerent trade war moves.
Deliberate whipping up of chauvinism and scapegoating jingoism is equally underway everywhere, from revived German Nazi street hostility, to Italian anti-Roma barbarity, a slew of outright reaction throughout Eastern Europe and the deluded British Brexit “Empire nationalism”, to the biggest fascist movement of all, the “America First” turn of US imperialism itself.
While this is personified by Donald Trump’s White House, it is neither caused by Trump nor limited to his crudeness and aggression; just the opposite it has been steadily unrolling for decades.
Trade war hostility has been building long-term, particularly between the bankrupt US and the re-established bourgeoisies of Germany and Japan (see multiple past EPSRs), the great powers that challenged for topdog supremacy in the First and Second World Wars (the last great eruptions of capitalist crisis and the inevitable destruction it brings).
It was their US-allowed re-emergence as anti-Soviet bulwarks which then unstoppably grew, transforming by qualitative leap eventually into major challengers to America’s previous post-war supremacy.
That triggered the revisionist liquidation of the Soviet Union by the end of the 1980s as Reagan/Thatcher held back the most extreme aspects of Cold War to concentrate on the trade competition which was slaughtering once unquestioned American production.
The way that soft-brained Gorbachevite revisionism was fooled by these moves into a belief that Western anti-Soviet belligerence was cooling off - and thereby into dismantling the USSR workers state (a proletarian dictatorship still) in favour of the supposedly more benign “free market” and illusions in “democracy” and “our common European home” is dealt with elsewhere (particularly ILWP [EPSR] book Vol 13 Step by step class collaborating Gorbachev group capitulation and Vol 21 Unanswered Polemics).
But the point here is that the contradictions of capitalist production are once more reaching breaking point and on a scale far beyond the antagonisms and Slump disaster of any previous collapse, as became clear in 2008 when world banking failure was just hours away, threatening a financial “nuclear winter”.
It is precisely the point revisionist anti-Leninism abandoned as far back as Stalin’s Economic Problems analysis and the one that makes a revolutionary solution not “desirable” but a necessity for all mankind.
Insane Quantitative Easing credit creation (effectively pumping out tens of billions of valueless dollars) has “rescued” the world economy for a few years, albeit at the cost of savage “austerity” and stagnation for ordinary people in even the richest economies and particularly hammering weaker nations (Greece, Portugal, Spain eg. much of Latin America) Turkey, Egypt (helping trigger the Arab Spring) and the destruction of whole countries in the Middle East.
But the QE induced “recovery” so hollowly boasted about by the ruling class, has never been anything but a stopgap measure at the cost of further massively polluting the already near shot-to-pieces international trade dollar, for which all serious economic analysis predicts a total collapse in the near future, unleashing even greater international mayhem in bank failures and/or raging inflation or more (see eg EPSR 1533).
Its major purpose was to buy enough time for a crisis-shattered American ruling class to try to pull itself together and once again attempt to bully and intimidate the rest of the world into continued acceptance of its topdog imperialist exploitation and of the US’s “right” to the lion’s share of the booty.
The desperate world blitzing plans around the George W Bush neocon White House, which failed in Iraq and Afghanistan, are revived again by Trumpism and its Nazi belligerent threats in all directions, including now a threat to tear up even the fundamental World Trade Organisation rules established only 30 years ago after years of fraught negotiations (boding ill for the desperate British ruling-class Brexit fantasies of new WTO deals!)
Federal Reserve increased interest rates are being used to force the crisis conditions onto weaker economies forced to borrow heavily in the last ten years to survive.
Whole countries are already being driven to the wall, such as already previously bankrupted Argentina, forced to jack interests rates to 60% this week and to introduce severe austerity cuts and Turkey facing currency meltdown; Venezuela too has been pushed to the edge by oil price collapses compounded by US blockade, vicious sanctions and endless violent counter-revolutionary street disruption and economic sabotage.
Brazil is facing economic disaster too and Putin’s compromise Bonapartist balancing act in Russia, which has used remnant forms of past soviet state control to rein in the worst excesses of restored capitalism’s oligarch plundering, and direct oil funds into maintaining some of the social conditions of the past Soviet times (employment, pensions, education and health provision) is now shaken too:
Vladimir Putin has made a direct appeal to Russians to ask for their support in raising the retirement age, warning that without urgent action, the country risked economic collapse and hyperinflation, as well as threats to its national security.
In a televised address to the nation, the president offered some concessions on the government’s unpopular draft legislation, and detailed a series of measures to alleviate fears that some older people could be left without pensions or jobs.
Putin’s approval rating has slid to a four-year low since the proposed pension changes were first announced on 14 June, the opening day of the World Cup, which Russia hosted. About 90% of Russians are against raising the retirement age, according to opinion polls, and there have been protests across the country involving an unusually broad spectrum of opposition groups.
In a 30-minute speech, Putin diluted the government’s plans, saying the national retirement age for women should be increased from 55 to 60, instead of 63, as previously proposed. “In our country, there is a special, gentle attitude to women,” he said.
The national retirement age for men, however, would still rise by five years, from 60 to 65.
The president also said laws should be introduced to make it an offence for employers to fire workers who are approaching pension age, as well as to clamp down on age discrimination in the workplace.
Putin said he had always been against the “painful” changes to the pension system and reminded Russians that he had pledged in 2005 that there would be no alteration to the age at which Russians can retire and claim a state pension while he was president. But he said “serious demographic problems” meant there was no alternative to the increase, which would represent the first adjustment to national retirement ages established under Joseph Stalin.
According to government statistics, Russia’s population decreased by 164,000 in the first six months of this year, compared with 119,000 during the same period last year. By 2044, the number of pensioners could equal the number of people in work, according to government forecasts, putting massive pressure on the national budget.
Putin said a failure to adopt the pension changes would lead to a rise in poverty and catastrophic consequences for the economy, which would leave the government unable to guarantee national security.
It is not “demography” but capitalism which is the “serious problem" but the idiot anti-communist religious relic lover Putin cannot make the point.
It remains to be seen how deeply this reverse will shake the Russian population but the long 70 year history of titanically fought for and heroic Soviet achievement remains an irreversible legacy that must surely make itself felt in renewed demands for a return to communism (as it will in Eastern Europe more and more, suppressed only by the rampant Nazism being whipped up).
But whatever emerges, this world bullying is making clear for everyone just what a brutal, barbarous, unfair, wasteful, degenerate and, above all, ultimately destructive system capitalism is.
It is only such a broad perspective which gives the working class a measure of the accusations against Myanmar and the demented media deluge.
On principle the “witness statements” etc from the UN reported Rohingya mess need to be taken with a gigantic pinch of salt, and all the more the allegations of “deliberate genocide”, echoing the same one-sided hysterical accusations used to destroy Libya, Syria and before that Yugoslavia (where the Nazi legacy of the breakaway republics has been on full display again this summer around the Croatian football “celebrations”).
Myanmar has been a target for imperialist hatred and plotting for decades and particularly from British imperialism, still smarting from the loss of Empire in the post-war anti-colonialist period and pouring out a stream of disinformation and poison against national independence struggles like Zimbabwe, Sri Lanka and South Africa which bested its control, and which partly or completely refuse to come into line with neo-colonial financial exploitation (unlike such capitalist stoogery as Kenya, oil-corrupted Nigeria and others bribed into compliance, or even Sierra Leone, invaded by the Blairites to bring it back in line).
Myanmar’s national struggle tipped towards socialism for a long period after the 1947 expulsion of Britain and continues to have strong ties with the revisionist Chinese workers state and significant economic links.
It is no coincidence that assorted smaller “self-determination struggles” erupted in Myanmar just as it declared independence, all supported and treated sympathetically by the Western and particularly British bourgeois media (including once again the fake-“left” Trots following their petty bourgeois anti-communist instincts and trapped by their mechanical “principles” about “self-determination”).
The Rohingya chaos has been festering for all that period, stirring up divisions that were left by the legacy of the British Empire and the import of populations from India as a colonial workforce, and which have been further fed by migration since across the notoriously porous India and Bangla Desh borders (both with huge struggling populations).
Much of this resentment has been egged on and provoked by Western intelligence and bourgeois media attention, finally erupting in the present mess after a series of murderously violent attacks by Muslim Rohingya separatists, a triggering factor heavily downplayed by the latest Western media and UN accounts.
And while the heavy handed response by the Myanmar nationalist military may have seen its share of undisciplined or vengeful atrocities, compounded by some ethnic attacks by the more reactionary wing of the local Buddhist sections, to present this one-sidedly as an “out of the blue” “final solution” and “genocide” is ludicrous.
Its twisted logic is further exposed by the even grosser hypocrisy that until recently the West was supporting and urging on the backward and reactionary nationalism among the Buddhist “indigenous” population which it hoped to use to topple the anti-imperialist military government.
And part of that subversion was to build up the “martyrdom” of the British-trained petty bourgeois Aung San Suu Kyi for the long-running bogus “democracy” protests attempting to disrupt and overturn the firm nationalist leadership and install a pro-Western stooge.
That has backfired badly, with her training in “principles” proving to be more than the fraudulent pretence it was intended to be and her presidency now standing alongside the nationalist leadership instead, and refusing to twist in the wind with the latest imperialist racket, and its opportunist switching from the failed Buddhist “cause” to the Rohingya provocation, rightly declaring the Western stunt and its lurid allegations to be wild distortion.
Hence the apoplectic fury of the Western bourgeoisie (and the fake-“left” echo), as its decades long “investment” in her “martyrdom” turns against them, in the way that the crisis pressures and the underlying anti-western sentiment they induce, have caused numerous past stooges to “bite the hand that feeds them” from Panama’s Noriega and Iraq’s Saddam Hussein.
It makes a mockery of another of the Western “democracy” stunts too, the risible Nobel Peace Prize, (recipients including many of the potential war criminals listed at the top of this article!!) now subject to all kinds of demands that it “be rescinded”.
What a humiliation for this po-faced propaganda pretence (by the “liberal” Swedes!!)
Desperate efforts to recover ground have poured out in recent days like this obviously intelligence agency planted story:
A new book on the Rohingya crisis written by Myanmar military propagandists uses fake photographs and a chilling rewriting of history in what appears to be an attempt to justify the killing of thousands of Rohingya over the last year in attacks by the army that the UN has condemned as genocide.
The 117-page book, published in July by the army’s department of public relations and psychological warfare, includes what it calls “documentary photos”. A Reuters investigation reveals that the provenance of three of the eight historical photographs contained in the book were faked.
The book purports they were taken in the western state of Rakhine, when in fact one was taken in Bangladesh, one in Tanzania and a third is falsely labelled as depicting Rohingya entering Myanmar from Bangladesh, when in reality it shows them attempting to leave.
One of the photographs shows a man standing over two bodies, wielding a farming tool. The text says the image shows Buddhists murdered by Rohingya during ethnic riots in the 1940s. But a Reuters examination of the photograph shows it was actually taken during Bangladesh’s 1971 independence war when hundreds of thousands of Bangladeshis were killed by Pakistani troops.
Another image shows a crowd of men who appear to be on a long march with their backs bent over. “Bengalis intruded into the country after the British Colonialism occupied the lower part of Myanmar,” the caption reads.
The photo is apparently intended to depict Rohingya arriving in Myanmar during the colonial era, which ended in 1948. Reuters determined the picture is in fact a distorted version of a colour image taken in 1996 of refugees fleeing the genocide in Rwanda.
The photograph was taken by Martha Rial for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. The newspaper did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the use of its photo.
Another picture, also printed in black and white, shows men aboard a rickety boat. “Bengalis entered Myanmar via the watercourse,” the caption reads.
Actually, the original photo depicts Rohingya and Bangladeshi migrants leaving Myanmar in 2015, when tens of thousands fled for Thailand and Malaysia. The original has been rotated and blurred so the photo looks grainy. It was sourced from Myanmar’s own Ministry of Information.
Government spokesman Zaw Htay and a military spokesman could not be reached for comment on the authenticity of the images. U Myo Myint Maung, permanent secretary at the Ministry of Information, declined to comment, saying he had not read the book.
The 117-page “Myanmar Politics and the Tatmadaw: Part I” relates the army’s narrative of August last year when some 700,000 Rohingya fled Rakhine to Bangladesh, according to United Nations agencies, reporting mass killings, rape, and arson.
Much of the content is sourced to the military’s True News information unit, which has distributed news giving the army’s perspective since the start of the crisis, mostly via Facebook.
On Monday, Facebook banned the army chief and other military officials accused of using the platform to “inflame ethnic and religious tensions”. The same day, UN investigators accused Senior General Min Aung Hlaing of overseeing a campaign with “genocidal intent” and recommended he and other senior officials be prosecuted for crimes against humanity.
In its new book the military denies the allegations of abuses, blaming the violence on “Bengali terrorists” it says were intent on carving out a Rohingya state named Arkistan.
Attacks by Rohingya militants calling themselves the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army preceded the military’s crackdown in August 2017 in Rakhine state, in which the UN investigators say 10,000 people may have been killed. The group denies it has separatist aims.
The book also seeks to trace the history of the Rohingya – who regard themselves as native to western Myanmar – casting them as interlopers from Bangladesh.
So from a detailed pouring over of a nearly 120 (!!) page account there are detected three errors.
Such minor points in a long and detailed account, which is summed up in just two sentences at the end of this planted story, is hardly a rebuttal and certainly not proof of a “chilling” rewrite.
What about the actual content?
Well, noone can find that out because “Facebook banned the army chief” – apparently with no qualms despite much huffing and puffing about it “not being responsible for content” in various other current disputes.
So much for the “free speech” which is being made so much of, because of the arrest of two “journalists” caught trying to break the local Official Secrets laws.
This “fake news” accusatory propaganda is now standard practice for the CIA etc alongside the pre-emptive accusations of “ballot rigging” which are now standard technique.
But it is thin gruel.
And so too is the journalist “freedom” stunt - what happens to those breaking Britain’s Official Secrets (which is where the draconian censorship and suppression laws were invented) and just as pertinently, how many journalists could attempt to work at all in Saudi Arabia and what would happen to them if they were caught accessing state secret documents????
As said above, Marxists do not have to declare outright support for Myanmar or any other (often flaky) bourgeois nationalism, not even such “left” orientated versions as the Maduro government in Venezuela, or barbarically attacked like the Assad regime in Syria.
Just the opposite; Marxism needs to stand independently to make clear that revolutionary understanding is the critical factor and putting any faith in anything else is to keep the working class and the proletarian masses tied back to step-by-step reformism.
But exposing, and defeating, monopoly capitalist skulduggery, propaganda lies and sabotage victimising such regimes or leaderships is vital.
Defeat for imperialism from wherever it comes, and by whatever revolt or rebellion, however seemingly barmy its ideology might be, is fundamental and the key to opening up revolutionary developments.
Unconditional support should certainly be given to workers states, including China while strongly criticising Beijing’s revisionism.
That includes taking up its failure to speak out clearly on this Myanmar question, and all the more so since the whole racket is aimed as much at China as it is Myanmar itself, and particularly so as the world crisis intensifies, stepping up the trade war pressure particularly against China’s highly successful use of capitalist economic methods to develop.
That continually gives rise to claims that “China has gone capitalist” as shallow petty bourgeois impressionist defeatism (and much of the Trot fake-“left”) declares, though there still has been nothing remotely close to a counter-revolution in China since the failed attempt by imperialism to extend the Gorbachevite liquidationism to Beijing with the “pro-democracy” demonstrations in Tian An Men in 1989 as EPSR 956 30-06-98 recalled (see also EPSR Books Vol 16 China:Tiananmen):
All imperialism’s counter-revolutionary forces and influences bent their entire might to unleash, in 1989, a similar revisionist liquidationism in the Chinese workers state, using petty-bourgeois-minded privileged students to spark off the proletarian dictatorship’s capitulation, mobilised around a replica of the American Statue of Liberty erected on Tiananmen Square and around non-stop free concerts by the leading popular rock-and-roll stars from Hong Kong and elsewhere in the capitalist-affluent Far East.
These revisionist delusions in the complete fraud which is ‘multi-party democracy’ (i.e. bourgeois-capitalist dictatorship) were eventually defeated inside the party leadership of the Chinese Revolution. The Western-inspired, Western-financed, and largely Western-organised counter-revolutionary stunts, centred on Tiananmen Square sit-ins, were dispersed. Murderous assaults on state officials in an attempt to start violent riots which would require bloody state repression for the benefit of Western TV cameras and Western propaganda material, - were routed.
It is these provocations which have been consciously fictionalised in contemporary Western history (by bourgeois reactionaries and Trots alike) as the non-existent ‘Tiananmen Square massacre’.
Of the 100-or-so total death toll in these provocation-disturbances, most of whom were officers of the workers state like soldiers or policemen, - not one single fatality took place on Tiananmen Square, nor any grave injuries leading to fatalities. The few brief skirmishes leading to bloodshed took place elsewhere in Central Beijing, away from Tiananmen.
Later figures suggest a total over 300 but it is still nothing like the ludicrous 10,000 allegedly slaughtered in the Square without a single photograph, video or sound recording as evidence, despite the presence of world’s media in China throughout the events (some of whom, such as BBC correspondent John Simpson have admitted subsequently that there was no killing in the Square).
That does not stop the repeated lying use of the term "massacre" by the West.
China remains a workers state and for all the continuing frustration of seeing China’s leadership fall short on anti-imperialist grasp and remaining stuck with revisionist “don’t rock the boat” refusal to give any revolutionary lead to the world, the signs are encouraging that it is determined to defend the core dictatorship of the proletariat, and particularly so with the recent ascendancy of Xi Jinping.
Recent reports suggest his programme has seen a tightening of party authority and tackling at least some of the corruption, opportunism and inevitably arising from widespread use of capitalist development even when it is kept under the overall control of the workers state (and particularly without the Leninist perspectives that can best counter “all the old shit reviving”):
The Chinese president, Xi Jinping, has called for “absolute loyalty” from the military in a speech to leaders of the People’s Liberation Army.
State-owned CCTV devoted a third of its Sunday evening broadcast to the event at which Xi, dressed in the PLA uniform, shook hands with officers and received a standing ovation.
“Strengthening the party’s leadership in the army is necessary for making China and its army powerful. The party’s absolute leadership of the army should be insisted on,” he said, according to CCTV. “We must … cast the ideological foundation of the army’s absolute loyalty to the party.”
Since taking office in 2012, Xi has amassed more control over the military than almost any predecessor who also held a position as chairman of the central military commission, or head of the Chinese military.
One of China’s most powerful organs, the PLA is coming under tighter control by the party. Under Xi’s tenure, both high and lower level military cadres have been replaced by those seen as more loyal to him. He has reduced the size of the military commission from 11 to seven members, concentrating power in a smaller group. And as of this month, the military has begun implementing the party’s internal disciplinary regulations over its own protocols.
The regulations govern everything from how PLA soldiers use their mobile phones to their behaviour online. All social media accounts of PLA soldiers must be registered with the authorities. Xi’s presence has also been increasingly visible in military parades, exercises, and events such as Sunday’s.
“Xi is trying to assert control in an attempt to make sure the party has 100% control of the PLA, far more than any time in the past,” Ni said. “Just as the line between the party and the state has increasingly been blurred, that’s also happening in the military.”
The capitalist media would not be doing their job if they did not try to lard this with defeatist notions of course as in this continuation:
Yet, his insistence on loyalty may indicate a level of insecurity. Xi’s speech at a conference of the military commission comes amid a flurry of rumours and reports of criticism within China’s political class and intellectual circles over his handling of the economy, domestic health scandals, and a trade war with the US.
Adam Ni, a China researcher and visiting fellow at the Australian National University, said: “The PLA is the final backstop to any political backlash that Xi may confront in presenting himself as absolute leader. In the end, those critical voices can only go so far because he has control of the gun.”
Sunday’s speech was Xi’s first public appearance since the end of the secretive annual summer retreat of China’s most influential leaders in the seaside town of Beidaihe.
Ni said: “The fact that he has to keep having these campaigns means he is encountering certain resistance within the military, that he’s feeling insecure, that he’s paranoid about his position …
To which the only comment can be “who Ni??” as Private Eye might put it about such an obscure “expert” axe-grinder.
The capitalist press desperation over this firming up has led to some even thinner propaganda gruel like this staggering front page story (!) which even admits it is based entirely on hearsay, “said to have been” and specious dissident opinion. It is tempting to say “you could not make it up” but obviously you can:
Rumours have swirled in Beijing in recent weeks that China’s seemingly invincible leader, Xi Jinping, is in trouble, dogged by a protracted trade war with the US, a slowing economy and a public health scandal involving thousands of defective vaccines given to children.
Xi’s name seemed to have disappeared for a while from the cover of the People’s Daily, replaced with articles about his deputy, Li Keqiang, and large portraits of him were said to have been taken down after a young woman filmed herself throwing ink at his image.
On 13 July, online reports claimed there was gunfire in central Beijing as a coup unfolded. A cryptic slogan emerged online: “No. 1 will rest while Ocean takes over the military,” a reference to a rival politician taking power.
For now, Xi remains in full control of the government and party, and mentions of him in state-run media are as frequent as ever, but the hearsay is a sign all is not right with China’s most powerful leader in decades.
“Such rumours may well lack credibility, but they do offer some indication that the disharmony within China’s party elite is increasing ,” the Hong Kong political analyst Lee Yee wrote in the online journal China Heritage.
This week, an essay by a law professor at Tsinghua University, one of the country’s top schools, made the rounds on Chinese social media. The essay - Our dread now and our hopes - by Xu Zhangrun offered one of the most direct criticisms of the Chinese government under Xi’s direction.
Referring to Xi only as “that official”, Xu accused him of reversing years of reforms, effectively returning China to an era of totalitarian politics and a style of dictatorship last seen under Mao Zedong.
“After 40 years of reform, overnight we’re back to the ancien régime,” he wrote, calling for the return of term limits, abolished under Xi earlier this year, the rehabilitation of those punished for the 4 June pro-democracy protests crushed by the government and an end to the cult of personality surrounding Xi.
“The party is going to great lengths to create a new idol, and in the process it is offering up to the world an image of China as modern totalitarianism,” he wrote.
Xu is one among several intellectuals voicing dissent. Zi Zhongyun, an international politics scholar, blamed the US-China trade war on the Xi administration’s failure to implement reforms in an article in June. Wenguang Sun, a retired professor at Shandong University published an essay in July urging Xi to stop spending money abroad on projects such as the Belt and Road initiative, and spend it at home instead.
“For the first time since Xi Jinping gained power in 2012, he is facing a pushback from within the party, from liberal intellectuals and so forth,” said Willy Lam, a senior fellow at the Jamestown Foundation and adjunct professor at the Center for China Studies at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.
The pushback is also emerging in other ways. A group of alumni from Tsinghua published an open letter on Wednesday calling for the sacking of a professor over his claims China had emerged as the world’s top superpower.
Hu Angang, who claimed in a series of speeches that China had surpassed the US in economic strength and technological know-how, is one of many who have echoed Xi’s claims that China has entered a new era of power on the world stage, reversing his predecessors’ more muted global aspirations.
“[Hu] misleads government policy, confuses the public, causes other countries to be overly cautious about China and for neighbours to be afraid of China. Overall, it does harm to the country and its people,” the former students said, according to images of the letter posted online.
Such criticism is an indirect rebuke of Xi’s more assertive foreign policy, and comes as his opponents use economic troubles and failed trade negotiations with the US as pretext to question him, according to analysts.
That dissent, while very unlikely to push Xi from power, could impede what had appeared to be his absolute hold over the party and the government. “His position is safe,” Lam said. “It’s just his authority has been dented to some extent. His authority has suffered.”
So not a collapse in authority at all then?
This stuff helps give away the sheer desperation of the ruling class as its crisis inexorably deepens, and is a further lesson in the twisted lying it will resort to.
That will not stop the endless repetition of the lies about a “massacre in Tian an Men” from being pumped out by a bourgeois system which has no other way to “justify” its barbaric anti-communism and degeneration into war except by pretending “the alternative is even worse”.
To further quote 956:
But both Trot and bourgeois-reactionary anti-communism need these lying fictions against the Chinese workers state to justify their non-Marxist philosophy. Any country’s success, not achieved by the capitalist free market, must be denigrated for the peace of mind of all bourgeois reactionaries (i.e. of all bourgeois). And any socialist success achieved through Leninist leadership-discipline via the dictatorship of the proletariat must be shown to be murderously unjust and intolerable for the peace of mind of all Trotskyites.
In either case, factual reality is utterly irrelevant to both varieties of subjective-idealist dogma.
So the myth is kept going on all sides about a non-existent ‘Tiananmen Square massacre’, - in reality, a remarkably restrained response by the Chinese workers state to disperse an outrageous counter-revolutionary provocation, inspired from abroad-based imperialist circles.
And the obscene feudal relics, overthrown by socialist revolution in China’s Tibet province, receive hero-worship, led by Hollywood’s reactionary billionaires but backed by petty-bourgeois fake-’lefts’ everywhere.
And with 1.2 billion Chinese to talk to about their country’s important attitudes and responses to the present crisis-situation in the world, all that the idiot Western correspondents want to do is search desperately everywhere for just one ‘repressed dissident’ to interview, no matter how irrelevant, obscure, unrepresentative, deluded, or even deranged and making-it-up such ‘dissidents’ might be.
But China remains a disciplined workers state, with the same communist aim as ever of transforming society completely to give boundless opportunities for ALL its people EQUALLY at the conclusion of the long transformation process of building a totally abundant planned economy ultimately.
Myanmar is not yet a workers state but the poisonous hate campaign against it is part of the same imperialist Goebbels lie machinery.
But it is capitalism which imposes all the tyranny in the world and it is the overthrow of its rule which alone can take the world forwards, allowing planned socialist development and rational humanity to flourish.
But that will only be achieved by class war to establish the dictatorship of the proletariat, using the firmest class authority to suppress this degenerate and brutal ruling class.
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