Archives for category: War

This is a translation of my responsibility of a PCP document on Syria situation.

The PCP strongly condemns the dangerous escalation of threats against Syria by the governments of the U.S., France and Britain and its allies in the region.

If implemented, direct military aggression of imperialist powers and NATO against Syria is not only the corollary of the covert war already triggered against the Syrian people, and to all the peoples of the Middle East, but an adventure of unforeseen consequences that threatens to ignite the entire region.

A direct military aggression against Syria would be a qualitative leap in contempt international law and the sovereignty of peoples. The belligerent imperialists powers deliberately affront the principles of international law embodied in the UN Charter – beforehand the repudiation of war and respect for state sovereignty – and the proper UN. The replacement of these principles by the law of force is an undeniable objective of the imperialist powers.

The PCP, reaffirming its position as the frontal condemnation of the use of weapons of mass destruction, stresses that it is impossible to ignore the long history of disinformation, fabrications and lies that have served as a pretext for imperialist wars, whether in Afghanistan, Iraq, Yugoslavia or Libya. Consider also to be equally impossible to ignore the long history of crimes committed by armed terrorist gangs, trained, funded and served the imperialist powers – as those who have performed on the ground aggression against Syrian people.

The PCP, considering the necessary full clearance of facts, draws attention to the gravity to convey or accept uncritically a campaign of manipulation of facts which

not only lack of sound evidence – whether in nature, either as to its possible authorship – as witness the above situations are themselves created by imperialist forces. The PCP register the repeated statements of the Syrian government, which denies categorically any chemical weapons attack and attributed to so-called “rebels” to their use, or the statements of various international authorities on existence of evidence to attribute the use of chemical weapons in the Syrian conflict, not to Syrian army but the so-called “rebels”.

The PCP recalls that the imperialist powers who now say they are shocked by the alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria have a long history of use of chemical weapons, biological and even nuclear against civilians, including weapons whose terrible effects if felt on later generations (as the atomic bombs dropped on Japan, the

Agent Orange” which devastated Vietnam or weapons based on depleted uranium in destruction of Yugoslavia). It is an unacceptable hypocrisy that leaders of the U.S., France or England invoke this argument to unleash another war of aggression.

The PCP denounces and condemns the role of the most violent and reactionary regimes in the region – Saudi Arabia and Qatar – in the aggression against Syria, the promotion of more barbaric terrorist groups of Islamic fundamentalism and inciting sectarian conflict in many countries of the region, as well as the military crackdown on popular uprisings in fair countries such as Bahrain (headquarters of the U.S. Naval Fleet V) and Yemen.

The PCP recalls the consequences of previous imperial wars, many of them triggered by invoking pretexts “humanitarian”. Hundreds of thousands dead, millions

refugees, countries destroyed, fragmented and reduced to chaos, dominated by armed gangs often connected to sordid trafficking of arms, drugs and people, are the current reality of  Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya or Kosovo.

(…)

The PCP cannot but underline the prominent role that social democracy has played in the active promotion of the most violent assaults of imperialism, confirmed,

once again, the positions of the “socialist” governments by statements of French responsible of PS regarding Syria.

The real reasons of endless imperialist military aggression have nothing to do with the legitimate aspirations of peoples to freedom, sovereignty, social progress and

economic development of their countries but residing in intensions to recolonize the planet and more immediately this region and theires crucial energy reserves as well as ensuring – through the successive destruction of sovereign states with a history of imperialist resistance domination in the region

The PCP requires the Portuguese Government a posture that not only move away from the current climbing and blackmail warmongers, but that strives, as required by the Portugue Constitution, the peaceful resolution of conflicts, intransigent defense of the sovereignty of

people and for the principles enshrined in the UN Charter and international law.

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here the article of Chomsky on Hiroshima’s destruction and here an article by Portuguese Communist Party on the same issue

August 6 should have been a day of somber reflection, not only on the terrible events of that day in 1945, but also on what they revealed: that in their dedicated quest to extend their capacities for destruction, humans finally found a way to approach the ultimate limit.

This year’s August 6 memorials to the victims of Hiroshima have special significance. They took place shortly before the 50th anniversary of the Cuban missile crisis, “the most dangerous moment in human history,” in the words of historian and Kennedy advisor Arthur Schlesinger. Graham Allison writes in Foreign Affairs that Kennedy ordered actions he knew would increase the risk of nuclear war, with a likelihood of perhaps 50 percent, an estimate that Allison regards as realistic. Kennedy took Chairman Khrushchev “right to the brink of nuclear war and he looked over the edge and had no stomach for it,” according to General David Burchinal, then a high official in the Pentagon planning staff. One can hardly count on such last-minute sanity forever.

Disaster was perilously close in 1962, and there have been extremely dangerous moments since. In 1973, in the last days of the Arab-Israeli war, Henry Kissinger called a high-level nuclear alert. India and Pakistan have come close to nuclear war. And there have been cases when human intervention aborted nuclear attack after false reports by automated systems.

The events of October 1962 are widely hailed as Kennedy’s finest hour. Allison offers them as “a guide for how to defuse conflicts, manage great-power relationships, and make sound decisions about foreign policy in general.” In particular, today’s conflict with Iran.

Allison joins many others in regarding Iran’s nuclear programs as the most severe current crisis–even more complex than the Cuban missile crisis, because of the threat of Israeli bombing. The attack against Iran is in fact already well underway, including economic sanctions that have reached the level of “undeclared war,” in the judgment of Iran specialist Gary Sick, who served on the National Security Council under Presidents Ford, Carter and Reagan.

Consider, for another example, the Flame virus, revealed in mid-July, developed jointly by the United States and Israel, and used to secretly monitor Iranian computer networks. The Wall Street Journal reports that the Pentagon regards cyberwarfare as “an act of war” that authorizes the target “to respond using traditional military force” (though with the usual exception: not when the United States or an ally is the perpetrator).

The escalation of the undeclared war against Iran increases the possibility of a large-scale war being sparked, even accidentally. The danger was illustrated when a U.S. Navy vessel, part of the huge deployment in the Gulf, fired on a civilian fishing boat July 16, killing one and wounding three. It would not take much more to ignite a major conflict.

The Iran threat has recently been outlined by General Giora Eiland, who Haaretz describes as“one of the most ingenious and prolific thinkers the [Israeli military] has ever produced.” Of the threats he cites, the most credible is that “any confrontation on our borders will take place under an Iranian nuclear umbrella.” Israel might therefore be constrained from resorting to force. Eiland agrees with the Pentagon and U.S. intelligence, which also regard deterrence as the major threat Iran poses.

One sensible way to avoid such dread consequences is to pursue, in the wording of U.N. Security Council Resolution 687 of April 1991, “the goal of establishing in the Middle East a zone free from weapons of mass destruction and all missiles for their delivery and the objective of a global ban on chemical weapons.” The U.S. and the U.K. invoked those words in their effort to provide a thin legal cover for their invasion of Iraq 12 years later. The goal has been an Arab-Iranian objective since 1974, regularly re-endorsed. It now has near unanimous global support, at least formally. An international conference to consider ways to implement such a treaty may take place in December. Progress is unlikely unless there is mass public support in the West.

Failure to grasp the opportunity will, once again, lengthen the grim shadow that has darkened the world since that fateful August 6.

In Portuguese, and a translation (a google one, sorry) of this important article on Syria war and Syria resistance

For whatsoever greater the wickedness of the media campaign, this cannot overshadow the truth of the ongoing war in Syria. A war instigated, architected, financed and conducted from abroad, exacerbating the expression of the class struggle internationally.

Without the criminal action of U.S.,powers aligned with NATO (which pontificates in the colonial revival trio Erdogan, Hollande and Cameron fighting for a greater role and higher profit), Israel and the Gulf petrodollar dictatorships, the current terrorist war in Syria would not be possible.

This is the crucial element that overrides the other. So it isn’t odd the cloak of silence of the media about the character, driving forces and regional and international context of this war. We would not assist the bloody escalation, or the framework of “civil war” in Syria without the fresh trail of imperialist wars in Yugoslavia, Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya. In Afghanistan the war drags on. More than 2000 soldiers from the United States lost their life only there. But after the inevitable withdrawal of the bulk of NATO military presence, announced in 2014, the U.S. intends to continue using flammable focus of Afghan instability as blackmail directed to the borders of neighbouring states, including the autonomous province of Xinjiang from China.


As we know Beijing is a major concern already assumed by the US. The sinister retroactive gear of Al-Qaeda terrorism  (a culture of greenhouses CIA in the 80s), the barbaric attacks with unmanned devices operated daily in the territory of Yemen, Pakistan, Somalia, etc.  constitute an organic soup of not only military’s own projection of U.S. imperialism, as the forces that destroy Libya yesterday and today is dumped into the reckoning caught in Syria.

All in the name of freedom and democracy. Here we see the modus operandi of promoting religious extremism and network of swarming sects of radical Islam, the fostering of fratricide ethnic-confessional divisions, as already seen in the recent occupation of Iraq.

This is the scenario of fragmentation and destabilization sponsored envisaged in Washington for the region called the Greater Middle East, where important interests intersect to control the world economy and its geopolitical. A vision that is nonetheless symptomatic of imperialist megalomania in the limbo of the world capitalist crisis.

The war “without quarter” against Damascus, the obsession with overthrowing the ‘regime’ of Bashar al-Assad does not forget for a minute the legacy of decades of post-colonial Syria, Arab resistance bastion of anti-imperialist solidarity with the Palestine cause, despite the vicissitudes of a nonlinear route.

Trampling and bury the flag of patriotism and dignity of Arabs, violating the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria, is a vital task for the attackers. The sovereignty of Iran emerges as an ‘obstacle’ background (and one should remember the CIA coup that overthrew Mossadegh in 1952). But the ramp propagation of “conflict” Syrian goes further, pointing also to the multinational Russia (see the recent terrorist attacks in the Caucasus and Tatarstan).

Notwithstanding, the incendiary mission led by the U.S. has no hands free. The Syrian patriotic resistance is an example of courage and dignity deserving of wider solidarity; and the summit of the Non-Aligned freshly held in Tehran, despite the contradictory elements it contained, is an important sign of hope for the people.

Winners invariably believe that they are entitled to rewrite the past from the vantage point of history’s vindication, but official histories are always challenged by the ‘losers’.

With the approach of the 25th anniversary of the battle of Cuito Cuanavale, the controversy over who won this pivotal engagement in southern African history is being revisited. It is as if the battle has been rejoined as protagonists from both sides of the conflict press their claims as victors.

I was young then but I was against Apartheid and I supported, then and now all the peoples fighting against oppression. To me, Cuito Cuanavale was a great defeat of UNITA and the racist South Africa.

Book review

Moreover, we are fortunate that these fragments survived because they provide us with searing glimpses into the nature of the Nazi occupation of Poland. As Shallcross compellingly shows, Szlengel, Ginczanka, Nałkowska, Miłosz, Andrzejewski, and Borowski all focused on the wartime fate of ordinary material objects in especially intense and vivid ways. They wrote about the seizing, sifting through, recycling, and abandonment of things, the detritus of genocide–sheets, desks, dishes, tables, shoes. In so doing, these early scribes of the Holocaust created some of the first attempts to represent the Nazi murder of European Jews. As Shallcross writes: “I believe that the nature of this genocide is representable, even though those who lived through it, and first spoke of it, were given no real opportunity or time to master strategies of representation that would express their experience. This representation occurs more vividly when the Holocaust experience is evoked through ordinary objects” (p. 11).

Two early writers of the Holocaust, along with Shallcross’s illuminating analysis of them, struck me most powerfully. The first writer is little known outside the field of Polish Jewish studies. Born in 1917, Zuzanna Polina Gincburg, who published under the pen name of Zusanna Ginczanka, was a noted poet in Warsaw’s interwar literary scene. When the Nazis invaded Poland in 1939, she fled to her hometown of Równe and then to Lwów, before ending up in Kraków, where she was executed in December 1944 in a Gestapo prison courtyard. While Ginczanka wrote little during the war, her untitled poem of 1942, which somehow made it to a childhood friend who submitted it for publication in 1946, wrenchingly tells of plundering and death in Ginczanka’s own bedroom.

The ordinary objects of her bedroom function as props of murder. Ginczanka’s enumeration of her things in the poem, as Shallcross puts it, “becomes so intense that the reader can feel [them] almost tangibly” (p. 44). And yet this is not a poem of self-pity; it is one, rather, of jouissance in Shallcross’s reading. Ginczanka secured an uncanny victory over her perpetrators; she endowed her Polish neighbors–whom she called “my dear ones”–with the inheritance of permanent guilt for their participation in looting and murder, a guilt to which her blood-soaked goods would remind them long after the war had ended.

O, how they will work, like a house on fire,
Skeins of horsehair and sea grass,
Clouds from torn pillows and feather beds apart
Will cling to their hands, will change both hands into wings;
My blood will glue the oakum with fresh down
And will suddenly transform the winged to angels (p. 38).

Shallcross has rendered Ginczanka’s poem into English for the first time; the poem will now receive the broader audience that it most certainly deserves.

Borowski is the second early writer of the Holocaust whose poetry Shallcross examines with particular force. While Borowski has received no shortage of attention, Shallcross provides fresh analysis of his work. She examines, among other themes, the loss of tactility in his writings, analyzing the ending to Borowski’s “A Day at Harmenz.” Borowski concluded this story with the image of Becker, an older Polish Jewish prisoner who is near death, struggling to feel his way to his last meal. Becker is “vainly groping with his hand for the board to pull himself on to the bunk,” Borowski wrote (p. 117). Shallcross argues that Borowski articulated here the Nazi destruction of the human body and its sense of touch. He revealed a process of degradation that ended with the body turning almost into an object. In Borowski’s words: “I stared into the night, numb, speechless, frozen with horror. My entire body trembled, and rebelled, somehow even without my participation. I no longer controlled my body, although I could feel its every tremor” (p. 125).

Shallcross has written an erudite book that provides novel insights into a broad range of themes, including memory, representation, ethics, the human senses, and Polish Jewish relations. From my perspective as a cultural historian of memory and of the Holocaust, I see her book making two key interdisciplinary contributions. First, Shallcross labors, in many ways, as a cultural historian as much as she does as a literary scholar. Her analysis of Polish and Polish Jewish responses to the Holocaust as it was taking place (or just shortly after it ended) vividly reconstructs the Nazi destruction of Polish Jewry and the distinct literary encounters with human violence that the Holocaust engendered. Her book marks a significant addition to the historiography of the Holocaust. Second, Shallcross’s work enriches our understanding of early Polish and Polish Jewish responses to the Holocaust. Analyzing Miłosz’s poem “A Poor Christian Looks at the Ghetto,” she pauses to reflect on the significance of its creation: “To my knowledge, no non-Jewish author who lived under the terror of the Nazi rule would have signed an audacious poetic document of this caliber. The fact that Miłosz kept his poem close to him, in a suitcase, demonstrates an incredibly high level of both self-awareness and ethical conscience fused with a sense of responsibility” (p. 83). In analyzing the artifacts of writers who took up the ethical and precarious charge of testifying to the destruction engulfing and surrounding them, Shallcross has written an important book.

 

Michael Meng. Review of Shallcross, Bożena, The Holocaust Object in Polish and Polish-Jewish Culture

Over the last few years, at the kinds of conferences where the world’s technological elite gathers to mainline caffeine and determine the course of history, Google has entertained the crowds with a contraption it calls Liquid Galaxy. It consists of eight large LCD screens, turned on their ends and arranged in a circle, with a joystick at the centre. The screens display vivid satellite imagery from Google Earth, and the joystick permits three-dimensional “flight”, so that stepping inside Liquid Galaxy feels like boarding your own personal UFO, in which you can zoom from the darkness of space down to the ocean’s surface, cruising low over deserts, or inspecting the tops of skyscrapers. (The illusion of real movement is powerful; your legs may tremble.) You can swoop down to street-level in Cape Town, spot ships in the Mekong river, or lose yourself in the whiteness of Antarctica.

But you don’t, of course. What you do – or what I did, anyway, but watch anyone using Google Earth for the first time, and you’ll see they do the equivalent – is to hurtle across continents to the semi-detached house on the outskirts of York where you grew up, to peer down at a street you know well. In an era of previously unimagined opportunities for exploring the far-off and strange, we want mainly to stare at ourselves.

Instead of recognising that the world we lived in, with increasingly sophisticated communications, transportations and weapons systems necessitated sophisticated leadership that would bring the global family together, the then-leaders of the US and UK fabricated the grounds to behave like playground bullies and drive us further apart. They have driven us to the edge of a precipice where we now stand – with the spectre of Syria and Iran before us.

By initiative of the PCP (Portuguese Communist Party) we publish the Joint Statement signed, until today, by 35 communist and workers parties from all over the world on the NATO Summit held in Chicago on the 20-21 May 2012.

In an international situation marked by the deepening crisis of capitalism and by the violent imperialist offensive against the achievements and rights of the workers and peoples, a NATO summit will take place on the 20th and 21st of May, in Chicago, USA.

In the context of an ever-deeper crisis of capitalism, imperialism embarks on a militaristic and interventionist escalation.

Having renewed NATO’s strategic concept in 2010 – a new and dangerous qualitative step in its interventionist ambitions, of which the aggression against Libya was an example – the USA and NATO, which has the EU as its European pillar, seek to expand their sphere of influence, promote an arms race and ever greater military spending and invest in new weapons and in their worldwide network of military bases.

Imperialism militarizes international relations, proceeds with occupations, threatens new aggressions and promotes conspiracies and manoeuvers of interference in countries of every continent and through a permanent militaristic escalation, violates the existing agreements for international disarmament. The principles of the UN Charter are seriously jeopardized and there is a growing instrumentalization of the UN, with a view to providing a cover for imperialist violence. The process of destruction of theInternational Law that emerged from the defeat of Nazi-fascism in World War II, paves the way for the imperialist goal of controlling resources and of dominating the planet on a military and geo-strategic level.

As imperialism’s main instrument in its quest for world domination, NATO is an enormous threat to world peace and security.

But, as the facts are demonstrating, imperialism’s force-based response to the crisis of capitalism is coming face to face with the progressive and revolutionary struggle of the peoples, who in various parts of the world are taking into their own hands the defense of their rights and the sovereignty and independence of their countries and are resisting in the most diversified ways, imposing setbacks to the strategy of imperialist domination.

Reaffirming their commitment to the struggle for peace, for the right of every people to determine freely its destiny, for social progress and socialism, the Communist and Workers’ Parties signing this declaration:

Demand the immediate withdrawal of all foreign troops from Afghanistan, as well as from all other imperialist interventions in the world;
– Reject the escalation of war in the Middle East, namely against Syria and Iran;
– Demand the dissolution of NATO and support the sovereign right of peoples to decide to disassociate their countries from this aggressive alliance;
Reject the deployment of the US and NATO’s new antimissile system in Europe and demand an end to foreign military bases;
Demand an end to the arms race and nuclear disarmament starting with the world’s major nuclear powers – such as the USA – and the complete destruction of all chemical and biological weapons;
Express their solidarity with the peoples that resist imperialist occupation, aggression and interference, namely in the Middle East, Asia, Latin America and Africa

21st May 2012

List of signatories Parties

 

what a peacemakers: a vivid image of our world.

Toward these and other ends, Congress has authorized putting up to 30,000 drones in U.S. skies within the next eight years. That is to say, Congress passed the bill. Lobbyists from the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International openly took credit for having written it.

Domestic drones have civil liberties groups in an uproar. But the potential for the strongest resistance probably lies in forming partnerships with peace groups already outraged that drones are being used to murder large numbers of people abroad.

As political activist and Code Pink co-founder Medea Benjamin documents in her new book, Drone Warfare: Killing by Remote Control, the United States has avoided detaining people, only to murder them with a drone days later. The president has even authorized using drones to kill Americans in Yemen, including a drone strike on Anwar al-Awlaki, and a later strike that killed his teenage son.

And using drones for warfare isn’t always as expedient as billed either. In February 2002 a drone pilot thought he’d killed Osama bin Laden, but the victim turned out to be an innocent man. Expert observers, including Shahzad Akbar, a Pakistani lawyer representing drone victims, believe the vast majority of drone victims are not the individuals who were targeted—which is not to suggest any moral or legal case for killing those who are targeted. Often victims are not counted as “civilians” because they were carrying guns, but in some areas all men carry guns. Noor Behram, who photographs drone victims, says, “For every ten to fifteen people, maybe they get one militant.”