Blaise Compaoré took power in a coup in Burkina Faso and stayed in office for 27 years.
By HERVÉ TAOKO and ALAN COWELL
OUAGADOUGOU, Burkina Faso — After violent protests in which demonstrators set fire to Parliament and surged through the streets in a wave of dissent, Blaise Compaoré, the president of Burkina Faso, announced Friday that he had stepped down, forced from office 27 years after he seized power as an army captain in a coup.
Residents reported that a heavily armed convoy carrying the president was seen leaving the capital and heading south toward Po, near the border with Ghana, even as his resignation announcement was being read out on television.
Gen. Honoré Nabéré Traoré, the chief of staff of Burkina Faso’s armed forces, said at a news conference that, having taken note of the president’s resignation, he would “assume the responsibilities of head of state.” He said he was acting to fill the power vacuum left by the president’s departure and to “save the life of the nation.”
Smoke billowed from Burkina Faso’s Parliament building on Thursday. President Blaise Compaoré angered people with his plans to further extend his 27-year rule, inciting the uprising.Violent Protests Topple Government in Burkina FasoOCT. 30, 2014
Protesters celebrated seizing the offices of state television in Burkina Faso’s capital, Ouagadougou, on Thursday.Open Source: Images of a Dramatic Day in Burkina FasoOCT. 30, 2014
Letter From Europe: France Takes a Step Back in Its HistoryFEB. 11, 2013
Opposition supporters protested in recent weeks in Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso, against the rising cost of living.In Burkina Faso, Leader Keeps Cool Under FireMAY 9, 2011
Burkina Faso Protesters Demand President’s OusterAPRIL 30, 2011
Only hours earlier, the general had announced plans to form a transitional government leading to elections in a year’s time. Events here were closely watched across the region.
The announcement from Mr. Compaoré came on the fourth day of turmoil in Ouagadougou, the capital, as military commanders met behind closed doors and demonstrators urged them to oust the president.
His departure was the culmination of 24 hours of frantic maneuvering. Mr. Compaoré declared martial law for a few hours on Thursday, then seemed to relent, offering negotiations on a transitional government and rescinding his martial law decree.
Overnight, the president said he had “heard the message” from the protesters in the capital of this impoverished West African nation and understood “the strong desire for change.”
Mr. Compaoré also abandoned plans to change the Constitution so he could run for office again next year — the issue that the protests. But he rejected calls for his immediate resignation.
On Friday, opposition leaders urged their followers to “keep up the pressure,” rejecting the president’s blandishments and calling for his immediate ouster — “pure and simple.” Thirty-four opposition groups also said the “precondition for any discussion of a political transition is the unconditional departure, pure and simple, of Mr. Blaise Compaoré.”
As huge crowds gathered in Ouagadougou, one army officer, who was not identified by name, signaled that the military had abandoned the president, telling protesters that the “army is henceforth at the side of the people.” The demonstrators urged the military to sweep Mr. Compaoré from office.
Opposition to the president’s plans for another term had been building for weeks. Anger exploded Thursday as protesters stormed the Parliament building, bursting past police lines to prevent lawmakers from voting on a draft law that would have allowed Mr. Compaoré to run again next year.
Thousands rampaged through Ouagadougou, burning the homes of presidential aides and relatives and looting state broadcasting facilities. Social media sites showed images of demonstrators toppling a statue of Mr. Compaoré.
The violence set off a series of decrees from the embattled president, who declared martial law, permitting the military to suspend both the Parliament and the government, and to inaugurate a 12-month transition to elections under an interim government.
Opposition leaders called his actions a coup.
In his statement late Thursday, Mr. Compaoré, a former army officer who ranks among Africa’s longest-serving leaders, said that the government would remain “dissolved,” but that martial law would be “canceled.”
Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven was sworn-in earlier this month.
By LAMIAT SABIN
Sweden became the first Western European nation to formally recognise the state of Palestine today in a move that drew an angry response from Israel as they publicly opposed the decision.
Prime Minister Stefan Lofven announced the move at his swearing-in ceremony on 3 October, which Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas described as “brave and historic”.
Israel, which has built settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, has claimed that Palestine can only get their promised state through direct negotiations and not through other diplomatic channels.
The United States said Sweden’s action is “premature” and echoed Israel by saying that the Palestinian state could only come through discussions between Israelis and Palestinians.
The Swedish foreign minister, Margot Wallstrom said, in the Swedish daily Dagens Nyheter: “Some will claim that today’s decision comes too early. I’m rather afraid it’s too late.
“The past year, we’ve seen how the peace negotiations once again have halted, how decisions on new settlements on occupied Palestinian land have obstructed a two-state solution and how violence has returned to Gaza.”
Worldwide protest put the long-standing territory dispute since 1949 back in the spotlight after the latest 50-day conflict ended on 26 August with 2,100 Palestinian and 73 Israeli deaths during the holy month of Ramadan.
Seven EU member states – Bulgaria, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Malta, Poland and Romania – have already recognised Palestine as its own nation as well as 127 other countries.
Non-EU member Iceland is the only other western European nation to have done so.
A spokesman for Mr Abbas reportedly said: “All countries of the world that are still hesitant to recognise our right to an independent Palestinian state based on 1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital, [should] follow Sweden’s lead.”
Benjamin Netanyahu’s office says it will not give in to pressure from the White House
By JONATHAN TOPAZ
Benjamin Netanyahu’s office on Wednesday said the prime minister won’t bow to any “pressure” from the U.S., after a report that a senior Obama administration official had called the Israeli leader a “chickenshit.”
“Netanyahu will continue to uphold the security interests of Israel and the historical rights of the Jewish people in Jerusalem, and no amount of pressure will change that,” the prime minister’s office said in a statement to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz.
The response came after a report in The Atlantic that a “senior Obama administration official” called Netanyahu “a chickenshit,” rhetoric that will likely only inflame tensions between the administration and Israel.
(From POLITICO Magazine: Doubling down on disaster in Syria)
“The good thing about Netanyahu is that he’s scared to launch wars,” the official said in the Atlantic story by Jeffrey Goldberg. “The bad thing about him is that he won’t do anything to reach an accommodation with the Palestinians or with the Sunni Arab states. The only thing he’s interested in is protecting himself from political defeat.” The official later added that Netanyahu has “no guts.”
The report said that a second senior administration official expressed agreement with the criticism. That official also called the prime minister a “coward” with regards to Iran’s nuclear program and said he is “bluffing” when calling for a pre-emptive strike on that country to prevent it from reaching nuclear capacity.
Israeli Economy Minister Naftali Bennett criticized the administration following the report: “Such severe curse words against the Israeli prime minister are harmful to millions of Israeli citizens and Jews worldwide.” He added that the administration “intends to throw Israel under the bus” if the Atlantic report is accurate.
President Barack Obama and Netanyahu had a friendly meeting at the White House earlier this month, and Israeli officials have lauded U.S. airstrikes against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. But the relationship between the two administrations has frayed in recent months, largely due to disagreements over the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Reports indicated that Israeli officials spoke critically of Secretary of State John Kerry and his attempted peace efforts through Turkey and Qatar. The White House criticized Israel for shelling a United Nations facility in Gaza and on several occasions expressed concerns about the high number of civilian casualties from Israeli airstrikes.
By Robert Fisher,
John Tory has what he wanted, and it would seem the people of the city got what they wanted: a new mayor and a new approach at city hall. But, it was a lot closer than many predicted.
In many private conversations leading up to election day with voters, incumbent councillors and newcomers, it was clear they believed as many of them put it to me that “the circus had to leave town” — code for an end to Ford rule at Toronto City Hall and an end to what many, frankly, called “Toronto’s embarrassment.”
But, city hall is not a Ford-free zone, with Rob Ford easily winning his brother’s Etobicoke ward and offering up a defiant speech that the Fords “never give up.”
Tory was, by and large, elected to bring steady but not necessarily spectacular leadership to city hall, though people who know him and who have worked with him say he is capable of both.
Their one concern is the nagging question of whether Tory’s tough enough to take on the 44 city councillors.
He will clearly have his backers on the new council. But, there will be others determined to make his life as mayor difficult.
As provincial Conservative leader at Queen’s Park, Tory faced some difficult times as a so-called “Red Tory” in trying to wrangle his very “blue” caucus.
After he failed at that and was unable to win a seat in the legislature and, resigned as leader, one of his former MPPs said Tory was “too nice to be leader,” though there was never any question about his dedication to the job.
Many others thought he was out of step, with the civility he tried to bring to the daily question period, asking solid questions and expecting in return solid answers.
Tory seemed more interested in conversation and not confrontation — ironically, exactly the same approach Kathleen Wynne brought to the legislature as Liberal leader and premier. She succeeded. Tory did not. But the times were different.
In the years since, while the wounds have healed from his Queen’s Park experience, Tory’s approach has not changed, whether it was pushing ideas as head of the group Civic Action or fielding phone calls as host of a Toronto open-line radio show.
Better prepared, cooler than in 2003 bid
He’s polite and developed along the way an ability to listen — a skill not easily learned by someone who’s spent a lifetime as an adviser to premiers, prime ministers and mayors.
People around Tory in this campaign openly say he learned from past mistakes and past setbacks — that he was better equipped this time than he was in 2003 when ran and lost to David Miller.
Tory is not quick to anger, unless it’s an attack on, for example, his integrity, which he jealously guards.
He is not into name-calling. And, his pre-written “jabs” during the long mayoral campaign often fell flat — primarily because he wasn’t always comfortable in delivering them.
Tory will respect city councillors — something absent on many days under Toronto’s current mayor — and, in return he will work to win their respect.
Some will be won over and, some not.
Some may not be able to see past “party labels” — forgetting perhaps that his mentor — former Premier Bill Davis was a master at occupying the so-called “mushy middle” on the political spectrum with an ability to move “left” and bring in rent controls and move “right” and buy into Suncor.
So, Tory’s a Tory. He is a fiscal conservative. But, his time as Davis’s principal secretary and, years later, heading up successful United Way campaigns in Toronto, should be seen as proof, regardless of his upbringing in wealth and privilege, that he understands people in the city are being left behind and that he’s prepared to do something about it.
In large part, even though she didn’t win, Olivia Chow’s message on the need for better affordable housing and childcare should not be lost on Tory.
And in his victory speech Tory indicated he understands that those votes for the one-time MP represent support for improvements to city issues besides transit.
But, change will take time at Toronto City Hall, especially after the Ford years and because Tory is, after all, just one vote.
A healing process at city hall
So, he’s got his work cut out for him. There is a long list of election promises, bringing the city back together — ending the “them and us” attitude though the results don’t match his slogan of: “OneCity.” And he’s got to unite the council, to almost immediately begin the healing process.
Then, there is the city’s critically important relationship with the two other levels of government.
Tory’s election has come as a huge relief to Premier Wynne and her government — many members of which came out, with her blessing, to endorse Tory’s campaign — something that should not have come as a surprise — since it’s been an open secret that Wynne and Ford had little use for each other, especially with the mayor’s threat to unleash what he likes to calls “Ford Nation” against the Liberals — a threat Dalton McGuinty initially worried about but then dismissed.
Wynne and Tory — even as former foes — liked and respected each other, and that ongoing friendship will change the dynamic between city hall and Queen’s Park.
And then there’s Ottawa.
The Fords — Mayor Rob and councillor- turned-mayoral-candidate Doug — always made much of their ties to the Harper government.
But, with the death of former finance minister Jim Flaherty, a life-long Ford family friend, the connection quickly disappeared, as it became clear the Harper Tories, including the prime minister, wanted to keep their distance from the antics and turmoil at Toronto City Hall.
It was not by accident that someone last month leaked to the Globe and Mail the fact that Tory and Harper had met in Ottawa over the summer to discuss all things Toronto.
And, in confirming that, Tory acknowledged to reporters that, in fact, he had had “several meetings” with the prime minister long before he decided to run for mayor of Toronto — a city where Harper was born — a city the Tories need in the next federal election to secure another mandate.
So, it is ironic that Tory’s win is welcome news to the provincial Liberals and the federal Conservatives. But, there it is: “politics does make for strange bedfellows.”
But at city hall, while Tory will still have to win over some of those on council, there is nothing strange about their collective desire to change what has gone on there for the past four years — a view shared by Torontonians who voted for Tory and turned out in record numbers — wanting decisions and not division. As mayor, he may well appear on U.S. network television but only as the butt of jokes by late-night talk show hosts.
Brazil’s President and Workers’ Party (PT) presidential candidate Dilma Rousseff celebrates during news conference after disclosure of the election results, in Brasilia October 26, 2014.
BY BRAD HAYNES AND PAULO PRADA
President Dilma Rousseff’s narrow re-election victory met with cold reality on Monday as Brazil’s financial markets tumbled on doubts that can restore confidence in the economy and maintain political support in a sharply divided nation.
Rousseff overcame dissatisfaction with a sluggish economy and poor public services to clinch a second term on Sunday by a slim margin, dashing the hopes of investors and nearly half the electorate who bet on her pro-business challenger.
After a bitter, unpredictable campaign, Rousseff now faces the challenge of making good on a promise to expand social benefits for the poor while balancing a strained federal budget.
Most investors are skeptical that Rousseff can pull off a swift recovery after four years of ineffective industrial policies. Brazil’s benchmark Bovespa stock index .BVSP fell around 5 percent in early trading, while Brazil’s real currency BRBY slumped 3 percent to a nearly six-year low.
Rousseff and aides consistently shrug off market pessimism as little more than tantrums by speculators. As her camp celebrated victory late on Sunday, longtime foreign policy advisor Marco Aurelio Garcia told reporters that investors should relax and “take tranquilizers.”
Investors are awaiting the name of a replacement for the beleaguered Guido Mantega, her outgoing finance minister.
They hope for a more market-friendly minister who can help restore fiscal discipline, bring transparency to the federal budget and better engage with business leaders. Some believe that Rousseff will be forced by economic realities to soften some of her interventionist policies.
Announcements of new cabinet members are unlikely in coming days, presidential aides said, as Rousseff rests after a demanding campaign that went down to a photo finish.
Speaking to a relieved crowd of supporters on Sunday night, Rousseff struggled to raise her voice as she acknowledged the call for change expressed by many voters in remarks that some observers hoped were a sign of a shift to the center.
“I know that I am being sent back to the presidency to make the big changes that Brazilian society demands,” she said after winning the runoff with 51.6 percent support. “I want to be a much better president than I have been until now.”
Her slim, three-point margin over centrist candidate Aecio Neves came largely thanks to gains against inequality and poverty since the Workers’ Party first came to power in 2003.
Using the fruits of a commodity-fueled economic boom in the last decade, Brazil’s government expanded welfare programs that helped lift more than 40 million people from poverty despite the current economic woes.
The “Brazilian model” has been adopted by center-left parties across Latin America and Rousseff’s victory, however narrow, is a blow for conservatives in the region.
It also means there will be no dramatic improvement in ties with the United States, hit in recent years by trade disputes and U.S. government spying programs that infuriated Rousseff.
LITTLE ROOM FOR REFORM
About 40 percent of Brazil’s 200 million people live in households earning less than $700 a month, and it was their overwhelming support that gave Rousseff victory on Sunday.
Now, she pledges to deepen social benefits while working to revive an economy that fell into recession this year.
In her victory speech, Rousseff also renewed her calls for a political reform to reduce corporate influence in campaign finance and restore faith in Brazil’s messy multi-party politics. The president will have a tougher time with far-reaching reforms, however, after her coalition lost seats in both houses of Congress in this election.
“Such a tight result reduces her capacity to radicalize policies,” said Alberto Bernal, a Miami-based economist with Bulltick Capital Markets. “Pretty much half of the country is against what she has been doing.”
But Neves, a senator and former state governor who enjoyed support among many business leaders and upper-middle class Brazilians, failed to convince most voters that he had enough new ideas to pull Rousseff from power.
It didn’t help that many poor Brazilians associate his centrist Brazilian Social Democracy Party with a less inclusive past, a perception that the Rousseff camp deftly exploited.
“Even if things are getting worse, many voters prefer to stick with what they know than take a risk on the unknown,” said Fernando Abrucio, a political science professor at the Getulio Vargas Foundation, a business school in Sao Paulo.
A second Rousseff term will not be easy, especially as a slowing economy strains a government model accustomed to high tax revenues to finance social programs and subsidized credit for companies and consumers.
Brazil’s economy, after growing by as much as 7.5 percent the year before she took office, is on track to expand less than 1 percent this year. Prior efforts to gun growth, largely through tax breaks and other subsidies for select industries, have largely fallen flat.
Meanwhile, inflation, long a problem in a country with a history of runaway prices, is now hovering above the government’s tolerance ceiling of 6.5 percent.
And while unemployment is near record lows, economists don’t expect it to remain so for long as plunging investment, slower growth and further uncertainty prompt employers to cut back.
To correct the course, economists say Rousseff must pursue long-pending tax and labor reforms in order to increase productivity and engage further with the global marketplace.
But Rousseff will face gridlock in a Congress increasingly weary of the ruling party, which lost seats in this election along with its most important ally. Leading lawmakers promise to make hay over a snowballing corruption scandal at the state-run oil company known as Petrobras (PETR4.SA).
“She will face resistance on a number of fronts,” said Carlos Melo, a political scientist at Insper, a Sao Paulo business school.
Student Jaylen Fryberg is seen during a homecoming celebration at Marysville-Pilchuck High School in Marysville, Wash., on Friday, Oct. 17, 2014,
By Martha Bellisle and Nigel Duara
The Tulalip Indian Reservation sits on the Puget Sound on Washington’s scenic northwest coast, a small community where everyone is “related in one shape or form.”
Tribal members struggled to find answers Saturday following a shooting at a nearby high school in which a young gunman from a prominent Tulalip family opened fire, killing one person and injuring four others – including two of his cousins.
“What triggered him? That’s what we need to find out,” said state Sen. John McCoy, a tribal member, who knew the shooter’s family. “Because from all we have determined, he was a happy-go-lucky, normal kid.”
The shooter was Jaylen Fryberg, a popular freshman at Marysville-Pilchuck High School, a government official with direct knowledge of the shooting told The Associated Press. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.
As the community coped and the investigation continued, a newly hired teacher was being hailed as a hero for confronting the gunman Friday morning.
First-year social studies teacher Megan Silberberger intervened in the attack in Marysville, 30 miles north of Seattle, teachers union president Randy Davis said.
The teacher intercepted the gunman as he paused, possibly to reload, student Erick Cervantes told KIRO-TV.
“I’m completely amazed by her actions and I feel for her,” Davis told The Associated Press. “I don’t know why she was in the cafeteria but I’m just grateful she was there.”
A school resource officer also ran to the scene, Davis said.
The attacker killed one girl and seriously wounded four others before he died of what police said was a self-inflicted wound.
It wasn’t clear if the shooter committed suicide or if he accidentally shot himself in the struggle with the teacher.
Davis said he had spoken briefly with Silberberger, who was traumatized. The Marysville School District released a statement from he in which she thanked people for support and asked for privacy.
Students and parents said Fryberg was a member of a prominent family from the nearby Tulalip Indian tribes and a freshman who played on the high school football team. He was introduced at a football game as a prince in the 2014 Homecoming court.
Fryberg left months of troubling messages on social media, and friends said he’d recently been in a fight over a girl. One of his tweets said, “It breaks me … It actually does …”
Witnesses described the shooter as methodical inside the cafeteria. Students said the gunman stared at his victims as he fired.
Lucas Thorington, 14, had known the victims and the shooter since middle school.
“He had a good life. He was very well known,” Thorington said Saturday. “I don’t know what happened.”
Authorities said a .40-caliber handgun was recovered at the shooting scene.
Three of the victims had head wounds and were in critical condition Saturday. Two 14-year-old girls were at Providence Everett Medical Center, and were identified by the facility as Shaylee Chucklenaskit and Gia Soriano. Andrew Fryberg, 15, was at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, a hospital official said.
Providence said the next three days will be key in the girls’ treatment.
Soriano’s family released a statement, saying they appreciated “your thoughts and prayers. Our hearts go out to the other victims and their families.”
Another victim, 14-year-old Nate Hatch, was listed in serious condition at Harborview, the hospital said. Family members told KIRO that Andrew Fryberg, Hatch and Jaylen Fryberg are cousins. Two other students were treated at the high school for minor wounds, authorities said. The girl who was killed had not yet been officially identified.
Marysville-Pilchuck High School has a number of students from the Tulalip Indian tribes. The reservation juts into the eastern rim of Puget Sound, where a series of rocky beaches form its border.
McCoy said the community met in private Friday night and a prayer service was set for Saturday.
Tribal chairman Herman Williams Sr. said in a statement his community was “reeling.”
“These are our children. They are suffering, and their lives will be forever changed,” he said.
Ray Sheldon, 82, said Tulalip and nearby Marysville where the shooting occurred are relatively integrated, though he remembers being the only Native American in his class when he went to school.
“Time moves along and we move with it,” Sheldon said.
McCoy said on the reservation, everyone “is related in one shape or form.” On Saturday, he said the shooter’s grandmother was his secretary for about 15 years.
“The family, both sides, are very religious,” he said. “If I were to walk into their homes right now, they would probably be praying.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks at the wrap-up session of the 11th Meeting of the Valdai Discussion Club in Sochi on October 24, 2014.
Paul Craig Roberts
On October 24 at the Valdai International Discussion Club meeting in Sochi, Russia’s President Putin correctly and justifiably denounced Washington for destabilizing the world in order to serve its own narrow and selfish interest and the interests of the private interest groups that control Washington at the expense of the rest of the world. It is about time a world leader denounced the thuggish neocon regime in Washington. Putin described Washington’s double standards with the Roman phrase: “What is allowed for God [the US] is not allowed for cattle [the rest of the world].”
Curiously, the Russian media has not, at this time of writing, produced an English translation of Putin’s full remarks. Perhaps the Russian media do not realize the importance of Putin’s words. Too much of the Russian media is owned by foreign interests who use the access to Russian readers to attack and discredit the Russian government. It is amazing that the Russian government allows Washington’s propaganda within its own ranks. Perhaps Moscow accepts Washington’s propaganda among Russians in order to protect the broadcasts in the US of RIA Novosti, RT and Voice of Russia. But the balance is uneven. The Russian broadcasts in the West report otherwise unreported news; they do not defame America.
I did not see any reporting of Putin’s address in the US print and TV media. Clearly in the US there is an absence of public discussion of US foreign policy and foreign reaction to it. A country in which propaganda and silence rule out awareness and public discussion is not a democracy regardless of what it calls itself.
Washington long ago learned the dark art of silencing truth with defamation. Washington used defamation to overthrow Iran’s elected leader, Mossadegh in 1953, to overthrow Congo’s prime minister Patrice Lumumba in 1960, to overthrow Guatemala’s President Arbenz in 1954, to overthrow Venezuela’s President Hugo Chevez in 2002, a coup that was cancelled by the Venezuelan people and military who threw out Washington’s stooge replacement and reinstalled Chavez, to overthrow Ukraine’s elected President Yanukovych in 2013, to overthrow Honduras President Manuel Zelaya in 2009 , to overthrow in 2013 Mohamed Morsi, president of the first democratically elected government in Egypt’s history, to overthrow Gaddafi in Libya, Saddam Hussein in Iraq, in ongoing efforts to overthrow Assad in Syria and the government of Iran, and in failed attempts to overthrow Indonesia’s Sukarno, Ho Chi Minh in Vietnam, and Castro in Cuba.
Today Washington’s target is Vladimir Putin. This is the height of folly and hubris. Putin’s public support far exceeds that of any American president in history. Currently, the level of public support for the Obama regime and the US Congress is far too low to be compatible with a functioning democracy. If the US is actually a democracy, it is the most dysfunctional democracy in world history. Practically no one, except the powerful private interest groups who own Washington, supports the US government. Everyone else despises Washington.
As the result of 13 years of murderous destruction of life and property in the Middle East and Africa, a dysfunctional and collapsing US economy, and a display of unrivaled arrogance, Washington has destroyed America’s soft power. Abroad only the deluded few and those paid by US-financed NGOs still have a good opinion of the United States.
In all world polls, the US ranks as the greatest threat to world peace. Washington has made our country a despised nation, and we the people have done nothing about it.
You would never know this from the US print or TV media or even from most of the UK and Western European media. As I reported on October 16, Udo Ulfkotte, a former editor of one of Germany’s most important newspapers, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, has written a best-selling book in which he reports that the CIA owns everyone of significance in the major European media. In his own words Udo Ulfkotte says that he was “taught to lie, to betray and not to tell the truth to the public.”
As a former Wall Street Journal editor, Business Week columnist, columnist for the Scripps Howard News Service, columnist for a German magazine and French and Italian newspapers, I observed and experienced the gradual impoundment of any dissent from Washington’s line. It became clear that the path to journalism success in the West was to lie for the Establishment in Washington, largely a private establishment along with the dark off-budget “security” agencies bolstered by the neoconservative ideology of US world hegemony.
Much of Russian media and Putin’s advisors are fully aware of Washington’s media campaign to defame President Vladimir Putin. The internet site Russia Insider today asked the pertinent question: “Is the CIA Running a Defamation Campaign Against Putin?” As Russia Insider makes clear, the answer is most certainly.
Take a look at the front pages of the UK Sun, Daily Mirror, and Daily Express. I would bet that these are front pages designed in Washington or Langley and are in fact paid ads by the CIA or National Endowment for Democracy or by one of the Republican or Democrat organizations that sponsor Washington’s overseas propaganda.
Of course, these UK rags can be dismissed as sensational junk comparable to the US versions that are for sale at grocery store checkout counters–”movie star abducted by aliens in UFO.” So scroll down the page of the above URL and look at the covers of Newsweek and The Economist. Once these were respected publications. Today I would bet that no one reads them and that they are dependent on CIA subsidies for their existance. Nevertheless, they impact the European, Canadian, Australian, and Japanese media and no doubt the media of other countries on the borders of the US empire. These gullible fools still think that America has a free press.
Be sure to notice this section of the report from Russia Insider:
“The issue of manipulation of news by intelligence services has been in the news recently with revelations that the CIA and German Secret Service (GSS) have long-running programs to influence how media executives and top journalists convey and interpret the news, including direct cash payments.
“Here are some examples they point to:
• Portraying him [Putin] as a scheming dictator trying to rebuild a repressive empire.
• Claiming he personally ordered the murder of a number of journalists, and personally ordered a KGB defector to be murdered with radiation poisoning.
• Frequently citing unsubstantiated rumors he is having an affair with a famous gymnast.
• Allegations that he has stashed away billions for his personal benefit, without providing evidence.
• Recent article in newsweek claiming he leads a luxurious and lazy lifestyle, sleeping late.
• Recent article in NYT focusing on a supposed personal arrogance.
• Hillary Clinton mentioning in speech after speech that he is a bad guy, a bully, that one must confront him forcefully.
• Frequently using pejoratives to describe his person – “a jerk and a thug” (Thomas Friedman this week in the NYT)
• Mis-quoting him on his regret about the collapse of the Soviet Union.
• Articles about a supposed super-luxury villa built for him in southern Russia.
• The over-the top headlines in the western media (they were worst of all in Germany) portraying him personally responsible for murdering the victims of MH17.
• And soft stuff – magazine covers making him look sinister, monstrous, etc.”
If you are not already aware, I am pleased to introduce you to The Saker, a pseudonym for a high level US military analyst who lives in Florida. No, it is not me. Be sure to read Saker’s interview with Russia Insider.
Every day readers ask me what they as individuals can do. Some possibly are government trolls who hope I will answer “overthrow the government” so that I can be arrested as a terrorist. My answer to the question is that people are powerless until enough of them are informed. If people become informed and will take a stand, then the people can force the government back under their control. If this does not or cannot happen, democracy in America is dead, and our life as a free people protected by the Constitution and law against the power of the state is finished.
Possibly America is already finished and will now finish the rest of the world in its insane neoconservative drive to establish Washington’s hegemony over the entire world.
Russia and China are not going to submit to being Washington’s vassals and India had enough of being a colony under Great Britain. If the crazed hegemons in Washington persist, nuclear war will be the outcome.
BY CHARLE MAGNE
IT BEGAN with a bleeding nose and ended with a punch in the face. Yesterday’s meeting of European Union heads of government in Brussels started inauspiciously, when the Cypriot president was taken to hospital after a series of nosebleeds; caused, said doctors, by high blood pressure. (The Greek prime minister stepped in to represent Cypriot interests.) The day ended on a yet sourer note, when it emerged that Britain would have to stump up an extra €2.1 billion ($2.7 billion) for the EU budget by December, after the European Commission revised its calculations for gross national income, on which budget contributions are partly based, over the past 20 years. Italy, the Netherlands and Greece, among others, must also pay more; deliciously, the French and the Germans will enjoy rebates of varying amounts.
Commission officials were quick to point out that they were just applying rules agreed to by all EU members, including Britain, back in 2010. But the timing of the news was dreadful. Not only did it land in the middle of a European summit supposedly devoted to the tricky matter of climate change, it arrived in Britain at an extremely delicate moment in the European debate. In recent weeks the Conservative government of David Cameron [pictured] has adopted an increasingly hostile posture towards the EU, squeeezed by the rise of the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP), which wants Britain to leave the club. Last night Nigel Farage, UKIP’s leader, described the EU as a “thirsty vampire feasting on taxpayers’ blood”. MPs from several parties have urged the commission to rethink its demand.
The issue resurfaced this morning as leaders reconvened to discuss, appropriately, the sorry state of Europe’s economy. Mr Cameron gave an earful to José Manuel Barroso, the outgoing head of the commission, and Britain is calling for an “urgent” meeting of EU finance ministers to discuss the issue. The Italian prime minister, Matteo Renzi, was also furious. There are rumours that different parts of the Brussels machinery may disagree over the application of the commission’s rules. But the British government was evidently caught on the hop, and it is far from clear what the legal grounds for complaint may be.
For many, though, the big news from last night will be the deal struck on climate change, under which the EU has committed to reduce its overall greenhouse-gas emissions by at least 40% from 1990 levels by 2030. Each country will be obliged to reduce its emissions by a certain amount to reach the aggregate target. Some details remain to be worked out, but officials will be immensely relieved to have found a formula to satisfy all 28 members; just days earlier they had warned that negotiations might break down. It will be of scant comfort to No 10 today, but the deal represents something of a victory for the British position.
The negotiations had been peculiarly complex, even by EU standards. Poland, which relies on coal to produce 90% of its energy, threatened to veto any deal that would lead to higher domestic energy prices, but was won around after being promised various goodies, such as the right to issue free emission permits to its power sector. The Spanish, and particularly the Portuguese, were exercised over the need to build electricity interconnectors over the Pyrenees to allow them to increase energy exports; they won a pledge to increase interconnection rates to 15% by 2030. Britain and others wanted to ensure that targets on renewable energy and energy efficiency were not made legally binding, and largely succeeded: the efficiency target of 27% was lower than originally proposed and will be “indicative” (ie, little more than hot air), and the pledge that renewable sources will make up 27% of the overall energy mix by 2030 will be “binding at EU level”, a formula that appears toothless in the absence of national targets.
Such compromises were inevitable to secure the consensus needed for a deal. Green groups growl that the 40% target is woefully unambitious, and that the renewables and energy-efficiency goals should have been made nationally binding. But the headline figure at least secures the EU the leadership position it craves ahead of a global climate-change conference in Paris in December 2015, where leaders hope to strike a global deal on climate after failing to do so in Copenhagen in 2009. (The Kyoto protocol, which directs current emission-reduction efforts, expires in 2020.)
The EU is responsible for just 11% of global carbon emissions, and that number will fall further as the European economy continues its relative decline. But officials believe the EU still wields considerable soft power in international climate negotiations: they speak of a sequencing effect in which a European commitment triggers movement in the United States, which in turn shifts the Chinese towards a more accommodating position. And the European pledge to reduce emissions by “at least” 40% leaves room to promise further cuts in Paris if other countries prove willing to make comparable commitments.
As Europe’s countries squabble over economic stagnation and fiscal rules, the climate discussion offered a rare opportunity to present a unified front to the outside world. The EU’s gesture on emissions reductions should indeed help give a fillip to the talks in the run-up to Paris. But the bitter acrimony into which this summit has descended will not soon be dispelled.
Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper speaks during a nationally televised address on CBC in this still image taken from video in Ottawa, October 22, 2014.
BY RANDALL PALMER AND DAVID LJUNGGREN
The Canadian government determined to return to business as usual on Thursday after a reported convert to Islam shot dead a soldier at the National War Memorial and rampaged through Parliament before being killed himself.
Employees began returning to the Parliament Hill complex amid tighter security. The House of Commons was set to open on schedule at 10 a.m. (1400 GMT), with Prime Minister Stephen Harper speaking at that time.
“This sends a clear message of Canada’s resolve to maintain its free and democratic way of life,” House Speaker Andrew Scheer said in a statement.
The flag flying over Parliament’s Center Block, where the gunman had burst in on Wednesday morning, was at half mast.
Members of Parliament said they would gather at the War Memorial, near the parliament, to honor Canadian soldier Nathan Cirillo who was shot at the site.
Parliament Hill and the downtown core were under lockdown for 10 hours on Wednesday as police scoured the area for more possible suspects.
“There was only one gunman,” said a Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer who was guarding Parliament Hill on Thursday morning, checking the identity cards of workers and media going into the parliament complex.
He said in the confusion on Wednesday morning, witnesses saw things from different angles, suggesting the possibility of second shooter but videos and further interviews showed this was not the case.
The killing of the Canadian soldier was the second this week with a possible link to Islamist militants.
In a brief address to the nation on Wednesday night, Harper pledged to redouble the country’s fight against “terrorist organizations.
“Let there be no misunderstanding, we will not be intimidated. Canada will never be intimidated,” he said.
“This will lead us to strengthen our resolve and redouble our efforts and those of our national security agencies to take all necessary steps to identify and counter threats.”
A convert to Islam on Monday ran over two Canadian soldiers with his car, killing one, near Montreal.
Both attacks took place after Canada announced this month it would send six jets to take part in air strikes against Islamic State fighters who have taken over parts of Iraq and Syria.
Harper said Canada would now “redouble our efforts to work with our allies around the world and fight against the terrorist organizations who brutalize those in other countries with the hope of bringing their savagery to our shores”.
Defense Minister Rob Nicholson said Canada’s deployment to Iraq would go on unimpeded.
The two attacks in quick succession could push the Canadian government to pause and rethink before introducing a planned bill to change the Canadian Security Intelligence Service Act, said Wesley Wark, a professor at the University of Ottawa, who is an expert on national security and intelligence issues.
The bill to boost the powers of Canada’s main spy agency, CSIS, was slated to be introduced in parliament this week.
“What the government is now confronting is a choice with going forward on whatever its original, probably small-scale changes might have been, or sitting back and thinking about whether there is something more that needs to be done,” he said.
Canadian police were investigating Michael Zehaf-Bibeau as a suspect in Wednesday’s attack, said a source familiar with the matter.
Court documents show he previously faced a robbery charge in Vancouver and multiple drug-related charges in Montreal.
U.S. officials said they had been advised the dead gunman in Wednesday’s shootings was also a Canadian convert to Islam.
Treasury Board Minister Tony Clement tweeted that he would convene a regularly scheduled meeting on Thursday and added “#terroristsbedamned”.
“The last thing anyone in our community wants is to cower to this outrageous … murder,” Mayor Jim Watson said on CBC radio.
Hong Kong government officials, from right, the Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Undersecretary Bureau Lau Kong-wah, Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Secretary Raymond Tam, Chief Secretary for Administration Carrie Lam, Justice Secretary Rimsky.
By KELVIN CHAN and JACK CHANG
On one side of the table sat the idealistic and earnest students in jeans and black T-shirts, knapsacks by their sides. Facing them was the lineup of seasoned government officials in formal suits.
In an unprecedented two-hour televised meeting Tuesday, the students passionately explained why they had taken to the streets for more than three weeks to fight for greater democracy in the specially-run Chinese region. The officials responded that the students’ demands were not legally feasible.
The discussion yielded scant progress, and protesters remained camped in the streets of three busy districts of the Asian financial hub on Wednesday.
The meeting also highlights the vast generational and political divide that needs to be bridged to end Hong Kong’s biggest political crisis since China took control of the city 17 years ago.
The student-led protests are rooted in growing discontent among young people about poor economic prospects in the territory with one of the world’s biggest wealth gaps. The protesters want Hong Kong’s government to abandon a requirement by China’s legislature for a committee to screen candidates for inaugural 2017 elections for the top leader. The students say it gives the city’s pro-Beijing elite too much say.
President Xi Jinping, who has taken a hard-line approach to dissent in other Chinese regions, is unlikely to give any ground.
As student leaders considered whether to meet officials again, protesters vowed to keep occupying the protest zones despite three court injunctions granted this week to taxi and minibus operators and the owner of an office tower ordering them to leave.
Cheung Kuen, a retired 55-year-old stock trader who watched the entire meeting, said there were no winners.
“The students have their rights, and the government has its problems,” Cheung said. “Nothing has changed. The government side already gave some proposals, which were not very deep. The students and society already know them. Hong Kong is only a region and can’t do any more so now it’s about who has more patience.”
He said he agreed with the students’ reform proposals calling for open nominations for the election candidates, but he didn’t see any chance of them becoming a reality.