Friday, 30 May 2014


Only Chinese-born parliamentarian in UK to quit politics over racist abuse

Anna Lo says she will not run again for the centrist Alliance party and may leave Northern Ireland because of loyalists' abuse


The UK's only Chinese-born parliamentarian is leaving Northern Ireland politics because of continued racist abuse by loyalists.

Anna Lo said she had had enough of the attacks and would not run again for the centrist Alliance party in the next round of Stormont assembly elections in 2016.

Hong Kong-born Lo, a Northern Ireland resident for four decades, said she was also considering leaving for good because of enduring sectarianism and now rising racism.

Lo, who represents South Belfast in the regional parliament, also cited first minister Peter Robinson's support for a born-again Christian preacher's depiction of Islam as "the spawn of the devil" as a reason for wanting out of Ulster politics.

She is the first Chinese-born politician ever to have been elected to a British regional assembly or parliament.

In an interview with the Guardian on Thursday, Lo, said she had been shaken by a recent incident during the European election campaign when a loyalist mob followed her out of an east Belfast shopping centre.

"They started hurling abuse at me and I decided to get out of Connswater shopping centre as quickly as possible. About three or four individuals then followed me to the car park but I kept ahead of them walking as quickly as I could. Even when I got inside my car there was a young girl who climbed out of the wound-down window of a parked car and started shouting vile things at me. If I hadn't decided to act quickly and get out of there I don't know what would have happened to me."

She also revealed that her two sons had been trying to persuade her to join them in England because of their concerns for her safety.

"What can I do? I know they are worried about me but I have just bought a house and I have so many friends here. But I am seriously considering it."

The Alliance party's European election candidate, who gained 44,432 first preference votes in the poll last week, was scathing about Robinson's support for Pastor James McConnell, who denounced Islam as evil during a sermon a fortnight ago.

"To support a lunatic who makes remarks like that is adding fuel to the flames in Northern Ireland.
"In the last few weeks there have been two to three racist incidents per day in Belfast and other parts of Northern Ireland.

"And it isn't just Peter Robinson who is supporting this man. Sammy Wilson [the former Democratic Unionist party Stormont minister] and Edwin Poots [the DUP's health minister in the power-sharing executive] are supporting this preacher."

Lo, 63, moved to Northern Ireland at the height of the Troubles in 1974 after meeting a local man while working in London.

She initially worked on Chinese language programmes for the BBC and then in 1978 started the first evening class for Chinese immigrants living in Northern Ireland. A qualified social worker, she worked for the Chinese Welfare Association in Belfast and was later the first vice-chair of the Northern Ireland Council for Ethnic Minorities.

She was made an MBE in 1999 for work with the Chinese immigrant community and entered local politics in 2007, standing for the nonsectarian Alliance party in the assembly elections. She was elected to the Stormont parliament and re-elected in the South Belfast constituency four years later, when she topped the poll.

During the recent European election campaign she provoked controversy by telling a Belfast newspaper, the Irish News, that she believed the region's best long-term prospects lay in a united Ireland. "I've had enough of the inability of this society and its political leaders to escape from the past," she said on Thursday. "And what's worse is the rising racism in our community. I have been living here for 40 years and this has forced me out of politics, and made me think about getting out of Northern Ireland altogether. So what must immigrants who have come here only recently think about this place?"

The first minister on Thursday sought to defuse a toxic political row that further polluted relations between himself and his power sharing partners, most crucially deputy first minister Martin McGuinness.

Robinson said he had not meant to insult Islam when he defended McConnell's comments and stated himself that he would not trust any Muslim who adhered to sharia law.

The Democratic Unionist leader claimed his original remarks had been misinterpreted.

He added: "For the avoidance of any doubt, I make it clear that I welcome the contribution made by all communities in Northern Ireland, and in the particular circumstances, the Muslim community.

"I very much value their contribution at every level to our society and I will take the opportunity to meet with local Muslim leaders to demonstrate my ongoing support for them as integral law-abiding citizens in Northern Ireland."

On Thursday night, Muslim representatives said that they have received and accepted an apology from Robinson.

Three members of Belfast's Islamic Centre met the leader at Stormont Castle.

Their spokesman, Dr Raied Al-Wazzan, said: "We accepted an apology in private and for us that was a sincere apology and we accepted it."

A further statement issued by the DUP after the meeting said Robinson was willing to apologise to anyone who had been hurt or distressed by his comments.

A party spokesman said the meeting had been "valuable, friendly and relaxed".

"Mr Robinson outlined his views and made it clear that there was never any intention on his part to offend or cause distress to anyone. He said that if anyone interpreted his remarks in that way that he would apologise to them and that he would welcome the opportunity to continue conversations at the Belfast Islamic Centre. Robinson also came under fire from a highly decorated army officer recently elected as an Ulster Unionist Party councillor.

Doug Beattie, who won a Military Cross in Afghanistan, said it was wrong to generalise about all Muslims. "The most bravest, noble man I ever met in my life was a Muslim, an Afghan army major who during 13 days of fighting the Taliban in 2006 saved my life and lost his own during battle," Councillor Beattie said.


Sukant Chandan
Sons of Malcolm

5 points on how western media is focusing on the deeply depraved stoning to death of Farzana Parveen outside Lahore courts in Pakistan and the gang rape and killing of two teenagers in a village in Uttar Pradesh in India:

1 - Both these incidents show the deep problems of anti-women/girl violence/sexual violence in the Homeland, something which our peoples are working on and need to find justice through mobilsing the grassroots.

2 - The west have no right to make any comment on this in the white supremacist and colonial way they are. They looted and emptied undivided India of its wealth for centuries, then divided our land, both acts and more which has directly pushed against conditions conducive to our peoples addressing these and other challenges.

3 - Peoples should see that despite some of our own internalising colonial divide and rule/ruin strategies, that the european enemy hates us the same, look at their depiction of both Indian and Pakistani peoples (with many media reports putting both incidents in the same article etc), despite we are of different faiths, the enemy hates us and moves against us the same.

4 - While william hague and angelina jolie are heading a british state-backed conference on sexual violence in conflicts in london, the brits and european powers have directly helped violence against women by their actions and alliances and use of death squads in the wars in Libya, Syria, Mali, Afghanistan and elsewhere.

5 - Our peoples are in different forms of Resistance in the Homelands, while the west is trying to depict our peoples protesting these incidents as somehow in line and harmony with eurocentric loyalties (some of these NGOs *are* funded and loyal to their imperialist masters like george soros, ned etc), much of them are not and are moving in the interests of our peoples.


President Assad: Both Syria, North Korea Standing against Imperialist plots


President Bashar al-Assad stressed that both Syria and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) have been on the same footing, standing against the imperialist plots.

As he received a Democratic Korean delegation headed by Minister of Foreign Trade Ri Ryong Nam, president Assad highlighted the need for boosting the historical ties binding Syria and DPRK as both countries have been for years undergoing all forms of siege and pressure, official news agency reported on Thursday.

The Syrian leader said both countries have been on the same footing, refusing to bow to pressures, rejecting subordination, sticking to sovereignty and independent decision and standing against the imperialist plots targeting the interests and capabilities of the peoples in their two regions.

The meeting tackled the common desire to build on and develop the solid friendship relations between Syria and Democratic Korea, SANA reported.

For his part, the North Korean minister affirmed that his country will continue to stand by the Syrian people in the face of the unjust war waged against them.

He hailed the Syrian people, saying they are able to achieve victory and rebuild a free prosperous Syria.


Wednesday, 28 May 2014


10 reasons why prince charles equating Putin with hitler is so wrong and offensive:

Sukant Chandan
Sons of Malcolm

1, Putin, as well as Russians, identify closely with the Soviet war against nazi germany.

2, Soviets sacrificed more than all other european ppls put together in their victorious fight against fascism with over 20 million martyrs

3, While prince charles talks silly to a Polish Jew, fact is that Soviet Red Army liberated more jews from hitherto nazi oppression, Soviet liberated more death camps than anyone else.

4, prince charles' country was 'appeasing' hitler (official policy) and encouraged hitler to war against the Soviets, Stalin and Soviet leadership called that bluff signed a peace deal with hitler and then for a short time (1939-1941) hitler warred on the west not on the east, hitler conquered nearly every euro country no probs cos they were so rotten with pro-nazi forces in their state's, until 1941 when brits n yanks very late in the day decided to ally with Soviets against axis powers (hitler-italy-spain-Japan), with the Soviets (and Chinese) doing most of the fighting and sacrifice.

5, The brits have invaded, occupied and conducted more genocide than anyone else on the planet ever, much more so than hitler.

6, brits STILL today along with yanks and french still are carrying on with hitler's legacy in being *the* purveyors of violence in the world, overthrowing, invading other countries in a white supremacist framework. Who's the hitler followers again???

7. brits continuing hitler's direct policy of attacking the "bolshevik jew" (ie., Russian/Soviet-led world resistance against the 'west'), by teaming up with nearly every pro-hitler force in the world in every region. For eg: old fascists in every continent who hold hitler as their most respected and inspirational figure (Ukraine, Chile, 'middle east'/Gulf monarchies etc).

8, hitler only learned from the brits how to conduct genocide, except according to white imperialist europe he did genocide against the 'wrong people', ie., he did it against white europeans when, according to the entire west, its fine as long as done only on 'non-whites'/Black n Brown people.

9, hitler's propaganda chief - goebbels - strategy of repeating a lie so often that it becomes truth, is one of THE methods used by the brits and their yank and french allies to achieve their hitlerite goals today.

10, The brits are part of the current axis powers who are threatening, invading, destroying countries just as hitler did, and the Russians, Chinese and BRICS, NAM and other GlobalSouth formations and peoples are, like the second world war, increasingly in a life or death struggle against the modern day nazis. Like the Red Army and Soviet and Chinese peoples if we develop the quality of leadership, mass organisation, ideological clarity and military/army loyalty, we will raise the victory flag just as the Red Army did over the reichstag in that perhaps the most iconic picture of the 20th century

Friday, 23 May 2014


Related article from 2009:

Washington is Playing a Deeper Game with China


After the tragic events of July 5 in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in China, it would be useful to look more closely into the actual role of the US Government’s ”independent“ NGO, the National Endowment for Democracy (NED). All indications are that the US Government, once more acting through its “private” Non-Governmental Organization, the NED, is massively intervening into the internal politics of China.

The reasons for Washington’s intervention into Xinjiang affairs seems to have little to do with concerns over alleged human rights abuses by Beijing authorities against Uyghur people. It seems rather to have very much to do with the strategic geopolitical location of Xinjiang on the Eurasian landmass and its strategic importance for China’s future economic and energy cooperation with Russia, Kazakhastan and other Central Asia states of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.

The major organization internationally calling for protests in front of Chinese embassies around the world is the Washington, D.C.-based World Uyghur Congress (WUC).

The WUC manages to finance a staff, a very fancy website in English, and has a very close relation to the US Congress-funded NED. According to published reports by the NED itself, the World Uyghur Congress receives $215,000.00 annually from the National Endowment for Democracy for “human rights research and advocacy projects.” The president of the WUC is an exile Uyghur who describes herself as a “laundress turned millionaire,” Rebiya Kadeer, who also serves as president of the Washington D.C.-based Uyghur American Association, another Uyghur human rights organization which receives significant funding from the US Government via the National Endowment for Democracy.

The NED was intimately involved in financial support to various organizations behind the Lhasa ”Crimson Revolution“ in March 2008, as well as the Saffron Revolution in Burma/Myanmar and virtually every regime change destabilization in eastern Europe over the past years from Serbia to Georgia to Ukraine to Kyrgystan to Teheran in the aftermath of the recent elections.

Allen Weinstein, who helped draft the legislation establishing NED, was quite candid when he said in a published interview in 1991: “A lot of what we do today was done covertly 25 years ago by the CIA.”

The NED is supposedly a private, non-government, non-profit foundation, but it receives a yearly appropriation for its international work from the US Congress. The NED money is channelled through four “core foundations”. These are the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs, linked to Obama’s Democratic Party; the International Republican Institute tied to the Republican Party; the American Center for International Labor Solidarity linked to the AFL-CIO US labor federation as well as the US State Department; and the Center for International Private Enterprise linked to the US Chamber of Commerce.

The salient question is what has the NED been actively doing that might have encouraged the unrest in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, and what is the Obama Administration policy in terms of supporting or denouncing such NED-financed intervention into sovereign politics of states which Washington deems a target for pressure? The answers must be found soon, but one major step to help clarify Washington policy under the new Obama Administration would be for a full disclosure by the NED, the US State Department and NGO’s linked to the US Government, of their involvement, if at all, in encouraging Uyghur separatism or unrest. Is it mere coincidence that the Uyghur riots take place only days following the historic meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization?

Uyghur exile organizations, China and Geopolitics

On May 18 this year, the US-government’s in-house “private” NGO, the NED, according to the official WUC website, hosted a seminal human rights conference entitled East Turkestan: 60 Years under Communist Chinese Rule, along with a curious NGO with the name, the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organisation (UNPO).

The Honorary President and founder of the UNPO is one Erkin Alptekin, an exile Uyghur who founded UNPO while working for the US Information Agency’s official propaganda organization, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty as Director of their Uygur Division and Assistant Director of the Nationalities Services.

Alptekin also founded the World Uyghur Congress at the same time, in 1991, while he was with the US Information Agency. The official mission of the USIA when Alptekin founded the World Uyghur Congress in 1991 was “to understand, inform, and influence foreign publics in promotion of the [USA] national interest…” Alptekin was the first president of WUC, and, according to the official WUC website, is a “close friend of the Dalai Lama.”

Closer examination reveals that UNPO in turn to be an American geopolitical strategist’s dream organization. It was formed, as noted, in 1991 as the Soviet Union was collapsing and most of the land area of Eurasia was in political and economic chaos. Since 2002 its Director General has been Archduke Karl von Habsburg of Austria who lists his (unrecognized by Austria or Hungary) title as “Prince Imperial of Austria and Royal Prince of Hungary.”

Among the UNPO principles is the right to ‘self-determination’ for the 57 diverse population groups who, by some opaque process not made public, have been admitted as official UNPO members with their own distinct flags, with a total population of some 150 million peoples and headquarters in the Hague, Netherlands.

UNPO members range from Kosovo which “joined” when it was fully part of then Yugoslavia in 1991. It includes the “Aboriginals of Australia” who were listed as founding members along with Kosovo. It includes the Buffalo River Dene Nation indians of northern Canada.

The select UNPO members also include Tibet which is listed as a founding member. It also includes other explosive geopolitical areas as the Crimean Tartars, the Greek Minority in Romania, the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria (in Russia), the Democratic Movement of Burma, and the gulf enclave adjacent to Angola and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and which just happens to hold rights to some of the world’s largest offshore oil fields leased to Condi Rice’s old firm, Chevron Oil. Further geopolitical hotspots which have been granted elite recognition by the UNPO membership include the large section of northern Iran which designates itself as Southern Azerbaijan, as well as something that calls itself Iranian Kurdistan.

In April 2008 according to the website of the UNPO, the US Congress’ NED sponsored a “leadership training” seminar for the World Uyghur Congress (WUC) together with the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization. Over 50 Uyghurs from around the world together with prominent academics, government representatives and members of the civil society gathered in Berlin Germany to discuss “Self-Determination under International Law.” What they discussed privately is not known. Rebiya Kadeer gave the keynote address.

The suspicious timing of the Xinjiang riots

The current outbreak of riots and unrest in Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang in the northwest part of China, exploded on July 5 local time.

According to the website of the World Uyghur Congress, the “trigger” for the riots was an alleged violent attack on June 26 in China’s southern Guangdong Province at a toy factory where the WUC alleges that Han Chinese workers attacked and beat to death two Uyghur workers for allegedly raping or sexually molesting two Han Chinese women workers in the factory. On July 1, the Munich arm of the WUC issued a worldwide call for protest demonstrations against Chinese embassies and consulates for the alleged Guangdong attack, despite the fact they admitted the details of the incident were unsubstantiated and filled with allegations and dubious reports.

According to a press release they issued, it was that June 26 alleged attack that gave the WUC the grounds to issue their worldwide call to action.

On July 5, a Sunday in Xinjiang but still the USA Independence Day, July 4, in Washington, the WUC in Washington claimed that Han Chinese armed soldiers seized any Uyghur they found on the streets and according to official Chinese news reports, widespread riots and burning of cars along the streets of Urumqi broke out resulting over the following three days in over 140 deaths.

China’s official Xinhua News Agency said that protesters from the Uighur Muslim ethnic minority group began attacking ethnic Han pedestrians, burning vehicles and attacking buses with batons and rocks. “They took to the street…carrying knives, wooden batons, bricks and stones,” they cited an eyewitness as saying. The French AFP news agency quoted Alim Seytoff, general secretary of the Uighur American Association in Washington, that according to his information, police had begun shooting “indiscriminately” at protesting crowds.

Two different versions of the same events: The Chinese government and pictures of the riots indicate it was Uyghur riot and attacks on Han Chinese residents that resulted in deaths and destruction. French official reports put the blame on Chinese police “shooting indiscriminately.” Significantly, the French AFP report relies on the NED-funded Uyghur American Association of Rebiya Kadeer for its information. The reader should judge if the AFP account might be motivated by a US geopolitical agenda, a deeper game from the Obama Administration towards China’s economic future.

Is it merely coincidence that the riots in Xinjiang by Uyghur organizations broke out only days after the meeting took place in Yakaterinburg, Russia of the member nations of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, as well as Iran as official observer guest, represented by President Ahmadinejad?

Over the past few years, in the face of what is seen as an increasingly hostile and incalculable United States foreign policy, the major nations of Eurasia—China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan have increasingly sought ways of direct and more effective cooperation in economic as well as security areas. In addition, formal Observer status within SCO has been given to Iran, Pakistan, India and Mongolia. The SCO defense ministers are in regular and growing consultation on mutual defense needs, as NATO and the US military command continue provocatively to expand across the region wherever it can.

The Strategic Importance of Xinjiang for Eurasian Energy Infrastructure

There is another reason for the nations of the SCO, a vital national security element, to having peace and stability in China’s Xinjiang region. Some of China’s most important oil and gas pipeline routes pass directly through Xinjiang province. Energy relations between Kazkhstan and China are of enormous strategic importance for both countries, and allow China to become less dependent on oil supply sources that can be cut off by possible US interdiction should relations deteriorate to such a point.

Kazak President Nursultan Nazarbayev paid a State visit in April 2009 to Beijing. The talks concerned deepening economic cooperation, above all in the energy area, where Kazkhastan holds huge reserves of oil and likely as well of natural gas. After the talks in Beijing, Chinese media carried articles with such titles as “”Kazakhstani oil to fill in the Great Chinese pipe.”

The Atasu-Alashankou pipeline to be completed in 2009 will provide transportation of transit gas to China via Xinjiang. As well Chinese energy companies are involved in construction of a Zhanazholskiy gas processing plant, Pavlodar electrolyze plant and Moynakskaya hydro electric station in Kazakhstan.

According to the US Government’s Energy Information Administration, Kazakhstan’s Kashagan field is the largest oil field outside the Middle East and the fifth largest in the world in terms of reserves, located off the northern shore of the Caspian Sea, near the city of Atyrau. China has built a 613-mile-long pipeline from Atasu, in northwestern Kazakhstan, to Alashankou at the border of China’s Xinjiang region which is exporting Caspian oil to China. PetroChina’s ChinaOil is the exclusive buyer of the crude oil on the Chinese side. The pipeline is a joint venture of CNPC and Kaztransoil of Kazkhstan. Some 85,000 bbl/d of Kazakh crude oil flowed through the pipeline during 2007. China’s CNPC is also involved in other major energy projects with Kazkhstan. They all traverse China’s Xinjiang region.

In 2007 CNPC signed an agreement to invest more than $2 billion to construct a natural gas pipeline from Turkmenistan through Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan to China. That pipeline would start at Gedaim on the border of Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan and extend 1,100 miles through Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan to Khorgos in China’s Xinjiang region. Turkmenistan and China have signed a 30-year supply agreement for the gas that would fill the pipeline. CNPC has set up two entities to oversee the Turkmen upstream project and the development of a second pipeline that will cross China from the Xinjiang region to southeast China at a cost of some $7 billion.

As well, Russia and China are discussing major natural gas pipelines from eastern Siberia through Xinjiang into China. Eastern Siberia contains around 135 Trillion cubic feet of proven plus probable natural gas reserves. The Kovykta natural gas field could give China with natural gas in the next decade via a proposed pipeline.

During the current global economic crisis, Kazakhstan received a major credit from China of $10 billion, half of which is for oil and gas sector. The oil pipeline Atasu-Alashankou and the gas pipeline China-Central Asia, are an instrument of strategic ‘linkage’ of central Asian countries to the economy China. That Eurasian cohesion from Russia to China across Central Asian countries is the geopolitical cohesion Washington most fears. While they would never say so, growing instability in Xinjiang would be an ideal way for Washington to weaken that growing cohesion of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization nations.

William Engdahl is the author of Full Spectrum Dominance: Totalitarian Democracy in the New World Order.


" [...] There is really an amazing set of contradictions in Africa when you stop to ponder over it. Africa has moved away from colonialism and straight into the end of the 20th century. The problems the African people are facing are 20th century problems. We see on the African continent that the era is the era of neo-colonialism. We don't have to go through that long historical experience which the United State went through for a whole century in order to understand it. Because, in a way, their history is our history. Likewise, the history of Asia is our history. 

So Africa has all these contradictions staring it in the face just ten years after independence. In some cases the country becomes independent after these contradictions have already manifested themselves in other adjacent areas of Africa, as happened in the case of Guinea-Bissau and Angola. One's sense of what is to be done and where Africa is going must take into account these very many facets. I haven't even mentioned the problem of the Palestinians, which is virtually a North African problem and, in a sense, an African problem that is going to be another factor for change on the African scene."

- p44, Walter Rodney Speaks, Africa World Press


China revives regional clubs


Until a few days ago, most western diplomats in Beijing had never heard of a minor regional security conference established by Kazakhstan in the 1990s and known by the snappy acronym Cica.

But as Russian President Vladimir Putin, President Hassan Rouhani of Iran and a dozen other heads of state or government arrived in Shanghai on Monday, many of these diplomats were scrambling to learn more about the Conference on Interaction and Confidence-building measures in Asia.

The ceremony surrounding this previously obscure summit provides the latest example of China’s efforts to reinvigorate moribund multilateral organisations or establish new ones that explicitly and pointedly exclude the US.

The event also highlights Beijing’s growing frustration at the glacial pace of reform in existing, Western-dominated multilateral institutions such as the World Bank.

“As a permanent member of the UN Security Council, China is supportive of existing international organisations but China is neither the founder nor the leader of any of these,” said Shi Yinhong, director of the Center on American Studies at People’s University in Beijing.

“Now China would like to find international institutions where it can play a more critical role and where it can focus more on its own rights, interests and expectations.”

Beijing’s search for multilateral organisations where it can play a more assertive and influential role is part of a more “active” foreign policy under the administration of President Xi Jinping, which took power early last year.

China will “broaden its horizons and be much more active” in “making the international order more just and equal”, said Wang Yi, foreign minister, in March.

Some of the alternatives to the US-dominated global order that China has championed include the Brics emerging markets bloc of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa; a “16+1” grouping of China with 16 central and eastern European countries; and the 21-member Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, which China is the chair of.

“The US has not paid much attention to Apec in recent years and China sees an opportunity; it has placed a huge emphasis on the importance of Apec this year,” said one western diplomat who asked not to be named because he was not allowed to speak to the media.

At an Apec meeting of trade ministers over the weekend, China aggressively pushed the idea of a new free trade-zone in the region, despite objections from the US, Japan and other countries engaged in their own competing trade negotiations.

China’s proposal to push forward with the ambitious Free Trade Area of the Asia Pacific met an especially chilly reception from the US, which is focused on a 12-country trade agreement known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which excludes China.

Many Chinese analysts see China’s efforts to establish alternative multilateral groups as a logical and restrained response to Washington’s economic and military “pivot” to Asia, which Beijing has angrily condemned as an attempt to contain the country’s rise.

“The US wants [to use the TPP] to tighten its alliance with Japan and the EU and deal with the challenge from emerging powers,” said Wang Yiwei, director of the EU Studies Centre at People’s University. “They co-operate with Vietnam and Malaysia but not China and other emerging powers. This is the game between the new world order and the traditional G7 order.”

People familiar with the Apec disagreements say the contest between the US and China in that forum is shaping up as a battle for who will get to decide future regional trade rules.

China is also pushing an agreement known as the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership between 16 countries in Asia, which excludes the US.

But compared with its efforts to have more say at Apec, China’s latest multilateral project is far more of a concern from Washington’s perspective.

With its explicit focus on regional security, its near-total exclusion of the US, and its welcoming of Russia and Iran, Cica can only be viewed as a challenge to continued US dominance in Asia.
China has assumed chairmanship of Cica until 2016 and on Tuesday, Bangladesh and Qatar both signed up as full member states of the grouping, which last convened in Istanbul in 2010 with just a handful of state leaders present.

While countries like India, South Korea and Israel are full member states, about half the 26 member countries are authoritarian regimes.

China’s arch-enemy Japan has only been given “observer” status, as has the US.


South African CP, ANC victory 

A decisive mandate to press ahead with the radical second phase of our transition


On Wednesday May 7th, millions of our people the overwhelming majority of whom are workers and the poor came out in their numbers to cast their votes in our country`s fifth democratic general election.

With over 90 percent of the vote declared, it is clear that the ANC will once more receive a decisive majority. After 20 years in power and in the midst of an ongoing global capitalist crisis that has impacted on our own country, this is a significant achievement for an incumbent governing party. This victory underlines the trust placed in the ANC and its Alliance particularly by the great majority of the workers and the poor. This trust also comes with important responsibilities going forward.

The SACP congratulates the millions of South Africans who voted in the face of many ongoing attempts to sow mistrust and indifference in deepening and consolidating our democracy. The election outcome once more underlines the vast gap between private media-manufactured "public opinion" and real popular opinion in tens of thousands of working class townships, informal settlements and rural villages. With few exceptions the South African media remains untransformed and sometimes willing propagandist for the opposition. The ANC has emerged with a renewed mandate amidst sustained baseless attacks by the opposition and its other detractors, yet it remained tolerant, humble and was not distracted from its historic mission to build a united, non-racial, non-sexist, democratic and prosperous South Africa in which there is a better life for all.

The SACP is proud of the important role that Communist activists and volunteers played in ensuring this decisive ANC victory, working together with our Alliance partners and formations of our Mass Democratic Movement. Let our structures therefore not demobilise but instead continue ongoing engagement with the masses in order to ensure a close partnership between our people and government in driving our objectives in the wake of this victory. Ours must always be a people-centred and people-driven developmental programme.

The ANC election victory is an overwhelming mandate to pursue our state-led, inclusive growth and job creation programmes. With this renewed mandate the ANC and its Alliance must now ensure that, in line with the ANC`s Mangaung National Conference resolutions, a radical second phase of our democratic revolution is pursued with greater rigour. This must build on the many advances we have achieved since 1994 and over the past five years, and include the strengthening of state intervention into the economy to ensure job creation, re-industrialisation, greater beneficiation of our natural resources, a sustained public sector led infrastructure programme, salary and wage policies that ensure greater equality, and land reform that is focused on sustainable livelihoods, and productive activity by those who work the land. The scourge of corruption must be tackled vigorously in line with commitments made in our shared ANC election manifesto.

Above all, together as the Alliance, we must ensure that we foster a better daily working relationship between the state, particularly the local state, and working class communities. This will require better resourcing of these communities, local economic development, and greater levels of participatory democracy and social activism.



Thursday, 22 May 2014


On sub-imperialism and BRICS-bashing
By Yash Tandon*


Pambazuka News 673 (April 2014) carried nine articles on ‘sub-imperialist’ BRICS – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. Three of the articles are by Patrick Bond and four by his present or past students at the University of KwaZulu-Natal Centre (UKNC) for Civil Society of which Bond is the Director. This essay focuses on the paper by Bond – ‘BRICS and the tendency to sub-imperialism’ - that is a little better grounded in theory than the others. I argue that Bond and his colleagues are inventing a category that simply does not exist. It is a distraction from real issues of concern to progressive forces everywhere. I write in the hope that others might feel inclined to join in this debate.


I will focus on the ‘theory’ angle. There are several empirical observations made by Bond, but they make sense only if properly located in some theory. So I will ignore several obvious contradictions in his empirical observations. For example, he credits the BRICS for their ‘coherent strategy within the G20 to halt Washington’s threatened attack on Syria last September.’ But this was quickly negated by the following: ‘However, everywhere else, the BRICS failed on nearly every count.’

Bond’s main thesis is that BRICS are simply posturing to be anti-imperialist, but are themselves imperialist – or to use his words, that they have a ‘sub-imperialist or inter-imperialist positioning that belies anti-imperialist posturing’.

Three countries - China, Russia and South Africa– are particularly targeted for Bond’s critique. He talks of China’s ‘investment invasion of Africa’; ‘South African capital’s drive to accumulate’; and Russia’s ‘blunt takeover of Crimea’. I know that these and several such phrases have resonance in some parts of the popular media in Africa as also in the West. But leaving aside journalistic forays, it is necessary that we undertake a serious analysis of the theory behind this outburst of BRICS-bashing … and its political implications. Bond subjects the five – he calls them the ‘Fragile Five’ – to an indiscriminate collective clobbering. He quotes numerous ‘authorities’ – among them, Rosa Luxemburg, David Harvey and Sam Moyo. I have a fairly good knowledge of the writings of these, and I cannot but wonder if they would support Bond’s rather generous amplifications of these to bolster the case about BRICS acting as ‘sub-imperialists’ on the African continent.


I don’t really know the origin of the term ‘sub-imperialism’. Patrick Bond traces it back to 1974. He says: ‘In his pioneering writing about Latin American geopolitics dating to the 1960s, Marini (1974) argued that 1970s-era Brazil was “the best current manifestation of sub-imperialism,” because of regional economic extraction, export of capital typically associated with imperialist politics, and internal corporate monopolization, including financialization.’

I carried out a quick literature survey, and I did not find many citations on the subject. In the Wikipedia, the most current citations refer mainly to Bond, and a recent (December 2013) paper by [url=file:///D:/1 Tandon/C WRITINGS/8 Blog - global intifada/2014/0422 %2310 On sub-imperialism/. http:/]Michael Abbott[/url] - ‘Sub imperialism the U.S. and Brazil in Morales' Bolivia’ - where Abbott describes President Evo Morales, as an ‘eager’ agent of Brazilian sub-imperialism through collaborating in exploiting the Amazonian forest resources. However, I discovered that the most erudite and theoretically sophisticated paper on the subject is by the Turkish scholar Elif Çagli. In a paper ‘On Sub-imperialism Regional Power Turkey’, (2009) she explores the term at great length using Marxist categories of analysis.

Çagli argues that under globalisation capitalism has moved to a new stage of imperialism, where the law of ‘uneven and combined development’ has created a three-tier hierarchy of states: between the imperialist countries at one end and the neo-colonies or ‘semi-colonies’ on the other are located the middle level ‘sub-imperialist’ countries. The BRICS form the core of this in-between category. But BRICS are not the only sub-imperialists. There are others – such as Turkey and Iran. She has an interesting and in-depth analysis of the contradictions between the ‘old’ and the ‘new’ Turkish ‘bourgeoisie’ – the old under the army tutelage and the new based on Islamic circles. But despite the populist rhetoric of the ‘new’ bourgeoisie, they are even more of a ‘sub-imperialist’ in the region than the ‘old’ bourgeoisie, and they have embraced the neo-liberal economic agenda with greater zeal than the ‘old’ bourgeoisie.


1. There is an obvious need for further elaboration of the theory of ‘sub-imperialism’. In the UKNC discourse the analysis is entirely empiricist. It is important for Bond and his colleagues to undertake a deeper analysis - like Çagli - of what they might describe as ‘the South African bourgeoisie’. Who are they? What is the source of their capital? Who owns and controls this capital?

2. I have problems with Çagli’s theory too. Her analysis, as also Bond’s and Abbott’s, makes out every country that follows the neoliberal economic paradigm, and seeks market or an avenue for capital export to a neighbouring country a sub-imperialist. Thus, in their lexicon, Kenya becomes a sub-imperialist country in the East African region – it exports both goods and capital within the region. But then what about Uganda? It exports Chinese-made ‘sub-imperialist’ goods to Rwanda and the DRC, as well as acting as conduit for Chinese capital in the region. Does that make Uganda also ‘sub-imperialist’? Or is it now a ‘neo-colony’ of China?

3. In Abbott’s analysis President Evo Morales becomes an ‘agent’ of sub-imperialist Brazil because he allows Bolivian resources to be exploited by the Brazilian oil giant, Petrobras. Applying the same logic, then, practically every head of state in Africa – from Haig Geingob in Namibia to John Mahama in Ghana - who have opened their countries to South Africa-based capitalist corporations, become, de facto, agents of sub-imperialist Jacob Zuma. But then who is left in Africa who is not either a sub-imperialist or an agent of sub-imperialists?

4. It is obvious that in the conceptual framework of the sub-imperialist theorists there is simply no room for regionalism in Africa or regional struggles against the imperialist countries of the US and Europe. I find this most disempowering. For the last almost 30 years some of us have been actively engaged in battling against Europe’s attempt to impose a totally iniquitous ‘Economic Partnership Agreements’ (EPAs) on our countries – among them, for example, that our countries stop all domestic production and export subsidies. The latest deadline for signing the EPA is October 2014. If we fail to sign it, Europe will impose sanctions on Africa. Civil society organisations – such as the Southern and Eastern African Trade and Information Institute (SEATINI) and the human rights organisations in the region - have been carrying out a sustained struggle against the EPAs and have so far succeeded in holding back their governments to signing the EPAs. Should they stop doing their campaigns?

5. The one concept missing from the sub-imperialist literature is that of the ‘national question’. This is not the place for an elaboration of this. All I can say is that it is not to be equated with national autarchy; it is about the people of a ‘nation’ to want to determine their own destiny. This has been the struggle in Africa since the 1884-85 Berlin conference that arbitrarily divided up the continent among imperial countries. In recent years, even some ‘nations’ in Europe – such as the Scottish and Catalonian peoples – are also seeking national self determination. Is this an unjust struggle?

6. In terms of their analysis, there is just one legitimate struggle – that of the popular masses to rise up against the governments in their countries, in their regions, their local agents, and the entire imperialist global system. Patrick Bond recommends that this should be done ‘as quickly as possible’. This is what he says: ‘The challenge for 'BRICS -from-below' critics is to link and internationalise as quickly as possible, because their interests and campaigning analyses, strategies, tactics and alliances have many points of overlap - with each other and with the world's progressive forces. Only then will a genuine global anti-imperialist project become possible, i.e., when anti-sub-imperialists of the world also unite’. With this sweeping global strategy, Patrick would have us rise up against – among others - anti-US Evo Morales in Bolivia; popularly elected Nicolás Maduro in Venezuela; Zuma in South Africa; Mugabe in Zimbabwe; Museveni in Uganda; the sub-imperialist Chinese states of China and India; and of course, Vladimir Putin for his ‘blunt takeover of Crimea’. But would that not make us all de facto allies of the US and Europe in the ensuing post-Ukraine evolving scenario?

7. This raises larger geo-political issues, and the place of BRICS in the evolving scenario. For forty years in the 1950s to 1980s NATO was supplying arms to apartheid South Africa and to Portugal to deny self-determination to its African colonies. During those decades it was the USSR and China that had come to their aid. Of course, things have changed. China and Russia are not the same. But NATO remains more or less the same. NATO unleashed the nearly 15-years war against Afghanistan leaving a trail of destruction and mayhem - like in Iraq. Age-old religious dissensions and economic frustrations in Libya, Syria, Mali, the Central African Republic – among other countries – have been exploited by the west for its geo-political and economic interests. This is not to mention Iran which has been under US sanctions now for over three decades since the collapse of the US-backed Shah regime in 1979; and Palestine which has been ghettoed for 60 years ever since the founding of the state of Israel. Further afield, the US has increased its military presence in the Pacific and has warned China against interfering with the ‘freedom of navigation’ in the South China Sea. In South America, the US has been financing – like in Syria and the Ukraine – dissident elements in countries like Venezuela, Bolivia and Ecuador. So the question: how does Africa position itself in this fast evolving geo-political situation?

These are difficult and complex issues. The sub-imperialist theorists are caught up in the exuberance of their conceptual creation. They need to provide a better theoretical foundation of their concept. In my view, they have invented a category that simply does not exist. It is a distraction from real issues of concern to progressive forces everywhere.

* Yash Tandon is from Uganda and has worked at many different levels as an academic, a teacher, a political thinker, a rural development worker, a civil society activist, and an institution builder.


China calls for security alliance with Iran, Russia

Press TV

Chinese President Xi Jinping has called for the creation of a new Asian organization for security cooperation with the participation of Iran and Russia.

Xi voiced his call while addressing the fourth summit of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA) in Shanghai, China.

“We need to innovate our security cooperation (and) establish new regional security cooperation architecture,” Xi told the summit, which was also attended by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The Chinese president said CICA should also create a security response center to deal with emergencies.

Xi said Asian nations should respond collectively to such significant problems as transnational crime, cyber security, energy security, terrorism and natural disasters.

“We should have zero tolerance for terrorism, separatism and extremism and should strengthen international cooperation and step up the fight against the 'three forces',” he said.

The Chinese president also issued a veiled warning to the United States against building up a military presence in Asia, saying, “To beef up military alliances targeted at a third party is not conducive to maintaining common security in the region.”

CICA is a multinational forum to enhance cooperation in a bid to promote peace, security and stability in Asia.

The forum groups 24 countries, among them Afghanistan, Azerbaijan Republic, China, Egypt, India, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Russia, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates.

Nine countries and four international organizations, including the United Nations, have observer status.

The CICA summit is convened every four years in order to conduct consultations, review the progress of CICA, and set priorities for its activities.


Washington plays victim of espionage

Global Times

The US Justice Department on Monday filed criminal charges against five Chinese army officers, claiming that they helped Chinese firms steal business information on US companies and that all of them came from Unit 61398 of the Chinese People's Liberation Army. Since February last year, the US government has been accusing the same unit of theft of US trade secrets.

The Department of Justice issued "wanted" posters for the officers with their photos. The Wall Street Journal stated in an article "the indictment may act instead as a public effort to name and shame the suspects."

The 48-page indictment providing details of the officers looks "real." Nevertheless, the specific country that made the allegations is the one that spies both home and abroad with the PRISM program of the National Security Agency (NSA), revealed by Edward Snowden, former NSA contractor. Washington was condemned by international public opinion and therefore its pretentious accusation against Chinese army officers is ridiculous.

The US government's claims that Chinese army officers have gathered US business intelligence in an organized way are beyond our imagination. It's fresh to us that Chinese military and civil companies have such a close relationship.

Perhaps all countries believe the US is the No.1 intelligence power. It has been taking bold steps in cyber espionage, as was shown by Snowden. Washington has also helped the rest of the world comprehend the meaning of "intelligence superpower" by not only collecting overseas information but also playing the victim role.

The materials disclosed by Snowden showed that the US hacked into China's backbone networks, universities, government departments and other organs. And the White House still owes an apology to Beijing. Interpol should have ordered the arrest of designers and implementers of the PRISM program but they did not. Therefore the US is acting so shameless by posting photos of the five Chinese army officers.

It appears that Washington has mistaken its domestic law for a law applicable to the international community by directly indicting active-duty Chinese army officers. It has severely infringed their human rights. Despite the relatively weak awareness and ability of Chinese to safeguard their legal rights, the five officers should file a lawsuit against the US government for damaging their reputation. China should not tolerate the US' malignant accusation this time. In announcing the suspension of activities of the China-US Cyber Working Group, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs made the right move. But we should take further actions.

Beijing has published US computer attacks on China's networks, which, however, lack detailed information except figures. We should encourage organizations and individuals whose rights have been infringed to stand up and sue Washington. Regarding the issue of network security, the US is such a mincing rascal that we must stop developing any illusions about it.


Yes vote ‘worse than Suez’ for UK defence policy


SCOTTISH independence would be a “more seismic event” for British defence and foreign policy than the 1957 Suez crisis which effectively ended the UK’s status as a world imperial power, a leading expert has claimed.

In an article in the Chatham House Journal, Professor Andrew Dorman claims the loss of Scottish Labour MPs means it is more likely that the rest of the UK would leave the EU. He also warned that “it is far from guaranteed” that an independent Scotland would be allowed back into the EU and Nato.

However, his greatest concerns are on the rest of the UK’s spending power on defence, which he argues would drop by at least a twelfth without Scotland.

He has also criticised the Scottish Government white paper for containing few details on defence and failing to identify the foreign policy objectives on which a defence policy needs to be built.

But on the overall impact of a Yes vote, he added: “A ‘yes’ vote would constitute a seismic event for the UK far greater than the withdrawal from ‘East of Suez’, and could contribute to an exit from the EU.”

The withdrawal from east of Suez in the 1960s followed the humiliation of the Suez crisis, when a bid by Britain and France to militarily intervene against Colonel Nasser’s decision to block the Suez Canal to shipping and change the government was blocked by the US government.

The fiasco was an international humiliation for the UK, led to prime minister Sir Anthony Eden resigning and accelerated the dismantling of the Empire, ending the UK’s place as a leading imperial power.

However, the concerns in the paper were dismissed by SNP defence spokesman Angus Robertson.

Mr Robertson said: “Recently the RUSI think-tank used the word ‘reasonable’ in response to defence proposals by the Scottish Government for an independent Scotland, and the plans laid out in the white paper Scotland’s Future were described as co-operative. On the other hand – with just four months to the referendum – the MoD has consistently and repeatedly said it refuses to ‘spend any time planning for the possibility of a Yes vote’ – which is a dereliction of responsibility.”

But Labour’s shadow defence minister Gemma Doyle said: “This is yet another intervention from an expert making clear the failure of the nationalists to provide any credible policies on defence in a separate Scotland. It’s clear that the white paper manifesto for breaking up the UK was nothing more than a wish list without a price list.”


Xi defines new Asian security vision at CICA


Chinese President Xi Jinping Wednesday advocated a new security vision for Asia, which stressed the role played by Asians themselves in building security, viewed as a rejection of interference from outside the region.

Xi raised the vision in a keynote speech at the fourth summit meeting of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA) in Shanghai.

The summit is widely regarded as a multilateral platform for China to play a more active role in the wider Asian community, as CICA involves almost all the major players in Asia. China took over the CICA presidency from Turkey for 2014 to 2016.

The president said one cannot live in the 21st century with "outdated thinking," referring to holding onto a Cold War mentality and advocating a zero-sum game.

"We believe that it is necessary to advocate common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security in Asia," Xi said.

Su Hao, director of the Asia-Pacific Research Center at China Foreign Affairs University, said that Asia is in desperate need of a new security vision, as it still lacks a security mechanism that fits the countries in the region.

"Asian countries have mainly used traditional means to uphold national security, such as strengthening defense or forming bilateral alliances," said Shen Dingli, a deputy dean of the Institute of International Studies at Fudan University in Shanghai.

"This will ultimately lead to security dilemmas in international security, because in this way better security of one country will mean weakened security of another," Shen said.

Stressing that security must be universal, Xi slammed some practices of seeking security.

"We cannot just have the security of one or some countries, leaving the rest insecure. And no country should seek the so-called absolute security of itself at the expense of the security of other countries," the president said.

"No country should attempt to monopolize regional affairs or infringe upon the legitimate rights and interests of other countries," Xi added.

He also noted that beefing up a military alliance targeted at a third party is not conducive to maintaining a common regional security.

Although the president did not mention a specific country, analysts believe the remarks were alluding to the US.

According to Shen, after the decolonization of Asia, big powers left behind many unsolved sovereign disputes, and foreign powers still take advantage of this competition and conflicts.

"Certain non-Asian powers, through forming alliances and cliques with some Asian countries, have constantly interfered in the balance and cooperation of Asia," he said.

Su interpreted the president's remarks as an attempt to build a new security order in Asia which seeks to minimize US influence.

"After all, security in Asia should be maintained by Asians themselves," Xi told the summit meeting.

It was a rejection of intervention by forces from outside the region, Su said, noting it reflected Beijing's vigilance toward Washington's recent moves in the region.

US President Barack Obama last month visited four Asian nations, including Japan, in a bid to reassure allies that the US is serious in its rebalance to Asia.

Translating the vision into reality will not be so easy.

Zhao Gancheng, director of the Center for Asia-Pacific Studies at the Shanghai Institutes for International Studies said he does not believe that China is trying to exclude the US, but even so, this would not be possible, due to the large US military presence across parts of Asia.

From the Western Pacific to the Middle East, the US has many military bases in the region and some parties to CICA are also US allies.

"The resistance exists," said Su, adding that Washington, which is concerned that it might be excluded from the region, has been strengthening its presence in a high profile manner.

"Some other Asian countries, who keep close security cooperation with the US, are not likely to accept China's advocacy. For them, Washington's presence in the region serves as a counterbalance to China," he said.

In his speech, President Xi proposed making CICA a platform for security dialogue and cooperation that covers the whole of Asia and exploring the establishment of a new regional security cooperation architecture.

"China believes that it is advisable to increase the frequency of CICA foreign minister meetings and even summits," he said, while also proposing the establishment of a defense consultation mechanism.

Currently, CICA is not an international organization, and the leaders meet every four years.

Xi highlighted development, which he said is the key to all the security problems for the majority of Asian countries, and called for the early launch of an Asian infrastructure investment bank.

The summit meeting, which ended Wednesday, drew dignitaries from 47 countries or international organizations. CICA has 26 members and 11 observers.


Wednesday, 21 May 2014


[More on-line writings of Walter Rodney]

Walter Rodney speaking in May 1975, quoted in Walter Rodney Speaks, Africa World Press, 1990 p5. This is an interesting comment and analysis, exploring the situation and tension of the relationship to struggle of Black people in the 'west' and Black people in newly formally independent countries in Africa. 

I think the relevance of this is that those involved actively in any way of the advocacy of the actual effective Global struggle taking place against white supremacy and imperialism in the South are even more important to the success of our struggle seeing that the 'west' has managed to co-opt wide swathes of our peoples within the west, and wider than that has corrupted our peoples in becoming on auto-pilot agents of the enemy amongst us. 

The major change from what Rodney is saying below to now, is that the brothers and sisters in the west are no of the opinion the 'system is totally fraudulent', but that the system is being perpetuated but with a more 'assimilationist', more 'integrationist' cloak of even Brown and Black skin.

- Sukant Chandan, Sons of Malcolm

"Ironically, the black person in this society [in the usa] in many ways is the most advanced at a given level of perception, They have perceived that the system is essentially fraudulent. This is what the brothers and sisters here see, which many Africans and West Indians have not yet perceived. It is because we [West Indians and Africans] take the system too seriously, at its own evaluation, that we want to move up within it, and so there is that dedication to get there. However, brothers and sisters here in America perceive the sham of the system. They say, we're not into that at all. That's foolishness. That;s the white man's game. What really matters is to "make it" somehow. So better to hustle and "make it" than to fall into the trap of thinking that producing term papers will really make you a scholar. 

This attitude has strength, but its weakness is that it fails to confront an old decaying order with a new discipline, with a new mental and intellectual discipline, with new habits of work etc. It tends to escape in ways that really are characteristic of the system, because to say that one will hustle and "make it" is really to fall into the trap which the system sets. Yes, we must have our work ethic and its a very important ongoing factor, provided we don't take ourselves too seriously, provided we moves towards understanding that we're working seriously to establish an alternative, as distinct from working seriously to participate in the system.

The reason why Africans are at the top of the pole in this regard is because, even though there is a lot more appearance than reality, there is still the definite appearance that they have the opportunity to recreate their society after their own image. After all, you can teach an African student in a university this year, and next year he's in the Ministry of Finance as a permanent secretary. He's actually making policy, trying to construct, in his own way, the lives of his people and intervening in history in a manner in which the black student in [the usa] knows he will never, in this system, be able to do. I think the immediacy of the possibility of participating in change is a critical variable." 


In the 'west' we are not told of the other half of the second world war in Asia. Much of that story is told by Mao tse tung of that period in his selected works here and here. Much of the Soviet side of the war can be read here. - Sukant Chandan, Sons of Malcolm

Russia and China unite around the memory of World War II


Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping talked grandly of a new phase of cooperation that beckoned between their two nations when they met on the sidelines of an Asian security summit in Shanghai on Tuesday.

The two men have a few things in common: both are strong, authoritarian leaders, fiercely nationalistic and keen to counter Washington’s influence in the region, albeit in different ways: but they also found something else they shared this week, a desire to commemorate World War II.

In their joint statement, the two men talked about celebrating the 70th anniversary of the end of the war, an anniversary that does not even fall until next year. A strange priority you might think, except that both men have been intent for some time on making as much political capital as possible about their respective country’s roles in defeating fascism.

China is locked in an increasingly bitter rivalry with Japan, not only involving a maritime territorial dispute but also an unresolved argument about the legacy from that war. Beijing argues that Japan has never come to terms with, or properly apologized for, the atrocities committed by its troops during World War II, and that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is intent on undermining the country’s pacifist constitution put in place after its defeat in 1945. Its newspapers are full of reminders of Japan’s warlike past, while memories of the massacre of hundreds of thousands of civilians in Nanjing in 1937 are repeatedly revived to make a political point. The United States and the West, it argues, should be taking China’s side in its dispute with Japan, because they were on the same side against Japanese fascism seven decades ago. It has become such a hot issue that Germany refused Xi permission to include an official visit to a famous Holocaust memorial during his trip to Berlin in March, worried that he would try to make political capital out of the event, by arguing that Germany, unlike Japan, had indeed come to terms with its past.

In Ukraine, World War II is just as topical and divisive an issue. There, pro-Russian separatists cast themselves as the inheritors of the Soviet army that defeated Nazi Germany. Their enemy -- the government in Kiev -- is cast as fascist, because of the presence of ultra-nationalist groups within the interim coalition. Never mind that the separatists and their Russian allies have been using quasi-fascist tactics themselves, capturing the organs of state by force, threatening and driving out journalists, spreading fear through virulent propaganda and looting government buildings with their faces masked by balaclavas.

Still, Putin used his address in Red Square during a grand military parade to commemorate the Soviet Victory in 1945 this month to warn that “Nazi swastikas and fascist ideas are still floating around the world.” Other senior officials were even more explicit in naming Ukraine.

Russia and China may be united by distrust of the United States, but they still remain wary of each other. The two leaders failed to sign a long anticipated multi-billion dollar deal on Tuesday to sell Russian natural gas to China, as Beijing haggles for a better price. China might be also slightly uncomfortable with Russia’s annexation of Crimea, although it will not take the side of the United States in that particular argument.

But Xi was reported as having told Putin the two men had similar personalities last year, and the pair seem to have found common ground on at least one other pressing issue. In Russia, Putin has been ramping up censorship of the Internet to muzzle his critics, something that Xi already knows an awful lot about. In their joint statement, the two leaders expressed concern that information and communication technology was being used in ways that “go against the goal of maintaining international stability and security, and violate national sovereignty and individual privacy.”

Perhaps the Great Firewall of China, as the grand apparatus of censorship is known here, could soon have a Russian rival.

Chinese, Russian leaders agree to thwart efforts to rewrite WWII history


The presidents of China and Russia agreed Tuesday their countries will together celebrate the 70th anniversary next year of World War II's end and thwart any attempt to "falsify history."

Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin held talks in Shanghai as the countries, faced with Western criticism over their aggressive handling of sovereignty issues, seek to expand cooperation.

"Russia and China will hold joint events to celebrate the 70th anniversary of victory over German fascism and Japanese militarism...and continue to resolutely deter the attempts to falsify history and to disrupt the post-war world order," Russian news agency Interfax quoted the two as saying in a joint statement.

Xi and Putin also agreed to confront any interference in "domestic affairs" and "unilateral sanctions," Russian news agency Itar-Tass said.

Xi and Putin held talks on the sidelines of a summit of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia.

Putin's two-day visit to China from Tuesday comes at a time when the United States and the European Union, as well as Japan, are imposing sanctions such as travel bans and asset freezes on Russia for its annexation of Crimea in March.

China, for its part, has been criticized by the United States, Japan and some other Asian countries for its growing maritime assertiveness.



​Russia and China seal historic $400bn gas deal


China and Russia signed a $400-billion (237.1 billion pounds) gas supply deal on Wednesday, securing the world's top energy user a major source of cleaner fuel and opening up a new market for Moscow as it risks losing European customers over the Ukraine crisis.

The long-awaited agreement is a political triumph for Russian President Vladimir Putin, who is courting partners in Asia as those in Europe and the United States seek to isolate him over Moscow's annexation of Ukraine's Crimea peninsula.

Commercially, much depends on the price and other terms of the contract, which has been more than a decade in the making.

China had the upper hand as talks entered the home stretch, aware of Putin's face-off with the West.

But both sides could take positives from a deal that will directly link Russia's huge gas fields to Asia's booming market for the first time - via thousands of miles of new pipeline across Siberia that form part of the package.

"This is the biggest contract in the history of the gas sector of the former USSR," said Putin, after the agreement was signed in Shanghai between state-controlled entities Gazprom and China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC).

"Our Chinese friends are difficult, hard negotiators," he said, noting that talks went on until 4 a.m.

"Through mutual compromise we managed to reach not only acceptable, but rather satisfactory, terms on this contract for both sides. Both sides were in the end pleased by the compromise reached on price and other terms," the president said.

Putin and Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping applauded as they witnessed the deal being signed before the Russian leader was to leave Shanghai at the end of a two-day visit.

The agreement came in time for a major economic summit in St. Petersburg starting Thursday. About a dozen chief executives and chairmen of major U.S. and European firms have withdrawn from the forum over the Ukraine crisis.

Putin loyalist and senior parliamentarian Alexei Pushkov, who was included on a U.S. list of sanctions imposed in the wake of the crisis in Ukraine, said the gas deal showed Russia could not be isolated.

"B. Obama should abandon the policy of isolating Russia: it will not work," he tweeted, referring to U.S. President Barack Obama, who has pushed for greater Western punishment of Russia.


Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller declined to say at what price the deal was struck, but sources at the companies involved said Gazprom refused to go below $350 per thousand cubic metres.

That compares to a price range of $350-$380 most European utilities pay under discounted long-term contracts signed in the last two years. Putin said the formula was similar to the European price tied to the market value of oil and oil products.

For China, the implied price is crucially below the Asian cost of importing liquefied natural gas (LNG), an alternative energy source it is developing.

Increased gas imports will also help Beijing in its declared "war on pollution" aimed at reducing its reliance on coal which contributes to the harmful smog shrouding major cities.

Another potential sticking point in talks was whether China would pay a lump sum up front to fund considerable infrastructure costs.

According to Putin, China will provide $20 billion for gas development and infrastructure, but Miller said the two sides were still in talks over any advance.

The gas will be transported along a new pipeline linking Siberian gas fields to China's main consumption centres near its coast. Russia will begin delivering from 2018, building up gradually to 38 billion cubic metres (bcm) a year.

Russia plans to invest $55 billion in exploration and pipeline construction up to China, and CNPC said it would build the Chinese section of the pipeline.


The contract with CNPC does not mean Russia is giving up on Europe. Last year, Gazprom supplied western Europe and Turkey with over 160 bcm of gas, dwarfing intended deliveries to China.

And for their part, European consumers cannot easily switch from Russian gas even if they want to.

Beyond supplying China with gas via a pipeline, the 30-year deal opens up an opportunity for Gazprom to become a bigger player in the booming Asian LNG market, a sector it has so far not been involved in on a major scale.

Gazprom is planning to build a new LNG plant on Russia's Pacific coast near Vladivostok, but so far lacks the infrastructure to supply the facility with the amounts of gas necessary to meet demand in the region.

The pipeline to China would change this, ideally positioning Gazprom's Vladivostok terminal close to the leading LNG buyers of Japan and South Korea as well as the rising market on China's eastern coast.


China, Russia start joint naval exercise


China and Russia started a week-long naval exercise in the politically sensitive East China Sea yesterday.
Chinese and Russian units taking part in the Joint Sea-2014 drill will be combined rather than operating separately during the exercise, the first time the Chinese navy has worked so closely with a foreign maritime force, according to Beijing-based naval expert Li Jie. "The mixed confrontation and drill means the exercises will operate more like a real battle," said Li. "It shows the two countries' strategic partnership has entered a high level of cooperation and coordination, even though both Beijing and Moscow insist they are not military allies."

Macau-based military observer Antony Wong Dong said China and Russia had learned from the example of Western countries' joint naval drills, including Nato, where forces were mixed together. It indicated that trust between Beijing and Moscow was increasing.

The drill, in the northern part of the East China Sea, ends on Monday. Forces including 14 ships, two submarines, nine fixed-wing aircraft and six shipboard helicopters will take part, according to a report on the PLA Navy's website.

China and Russia have sent ships including the Chinese navy's latest-generation Zhengzhou and Ningbo missile destroyers as well as Moscow's Varyag missile cruiser. The Type-052C destroyer Zhengzhou is the first PLA warship to be equipped with long-range missiles and detection equipment to combat enemy aircraft and military vessels.

The warships would be divided into three flotillas, with submarines and ships confronting each other, Tian Zhong , the officer directing the drill for China's navy told Xinhua.

The PLA Navy conducted a similar mixed-forces drill last month with seven countries in waters off the coast of Qingdao in Shandong province, but Li said the exercises were more a symbolic gesture of cooperation rather than full-blown naval manoeuvres. Nineteen ships and seven helicopters were divided into three forces during the exercises.

China and Russia's naval units would practise defensive and attacking manoeuvres, carrying out escorts, search and rescue operations, and storming hijacked ships, Xinhua reported.

They will also hold a joint operation to identify aircraft flying over the East China Sea, where Beijing announced an air identification zone in November.

Li said the training showed Russia supported China's move to set up the zone, which requires overseas aircraft to alert the Chinese authorities of their flight plans.

Wong said this was overstated as it was routine to practise aircraft identification during naval drills to ensure civilian planes were not targeted.

"What is a fact, is that both China and Russia have upgraded the annual Joint Sea drill since it was first started three years ago," said Wong.

Beijing and Tokyo are embroiled in an increasingly bitter dispute over the ownership of a group of eight uninhabited islands in the East China Sea, called the Diaoyus in China and the Senkakus in Japan.

Russian President Vladimir Putin held talks yesterday with his retired Chinese counterpart Jiang Zemin. The meeting in Shanghai happened after Putin met current leader Xi Jinping in the morning.

The reappearance of Jiang on the diplomatic scene comes at a sensitive time, as Xi has been pushing a widespread anti-corruption campaign that is perceived to be targeting some former Communist Party elites and their protégés. In recent weeks, many retired senior political figures have made public appearances - a gesture often meant to show support for current leaders or to reassure their own protégés.

By early last night, there was no media report or official statement about what Jiang had said to Putin. But in July, Jiang, 87, gave Xi his full backing during a meeting with former US secretary of state Henry Kissinger.
Putin thanked Jiang for his contribution to Sino-Russian relations during the meeting and said his policy would be inherited by the current Chinese leadership, according to RIA Novosti's Chinese website.

"I would like to thank you once again for having given such an influential stimulus to bilateral ties," Putin was quoted as saying. "Hu Jintao and Xi Jinping have done a great deal for the development of bilateral relations."
The Voice of Russia also said Putin told Jiang that Russia and China saw eye-to-eye on most issues. "We have no disagreements. On the contrary, we have vast plans that we are fully determined to translate into reality," Putin was reported to have said.

Hu is not scheduled to meet Putin.

Zhang Ming , a political commentator affiliated with Renmin University, said Jiang's experience studying in Russia and ability to speak Russian made him closer to Putin. He said Jiang had deviated from the norm for retired leaders by meeting Putin. "But he did, as a gesture to show he remains in political power," Zhang said.

Another Beijing-based commentator, Zhang Lifan , said Jiang may need to make such appearances to signify that his faction, the "Shanghai clan", was not losing power. "Jiang's appearance may also be a signal that Xi is still not completely in control of everything,"


Tuesday, 20 May 2014


White House Escalates Interventionist Plans for Nigeria ...Abduction of students sparks outrage while imperialists pour in

By Abayomi Azikiwe (Pan-African News Wire)

A video purportedly released by the armed Boko Haram sect based in northeastern Nigeria showed what was said to be school girls who have been held by the group for a month. The Boko Haram leader said that the young women could be released in exchange for the prisoners belonging to their organization being held by the Nigerian government.

With the convening of the World Economic Forum for Africa in Abuja, the political capital of Nigeria, during the week of May 5, international media attention was focused on the country. The issue of internal security in Nigeria was also paramount since the detonation of two deadly bombs in Abuja during a three week period which resulted in the deaths of over 80 people.

Simultaneously the story involving the missing high school students from the village of Chibok in Borno state in the northeast which has been under a government-imposed state of emergency for months, was utilized to mobilize the intervention of military and intelligence personnel from Washington, London, Paris and Tel Aviv. The problems of the Boko Haram insurgency has existed since 2009 when the government deployed police and soldiers to attack the headquarters and residences of the group which had functioned for several years with the public support of some prominent northern-based politicians.

The plight of the missing students is part and parcel of the overall security crisis inside the northeast region of the country and which is spreading to Abuja and other areas. Thousands have been killed in the fighting over the past five years and many more have been displaced.

Despite Nigeria’s designation by the western-based financial publications as having the largest economy in Africa, there is still tremendous poverty and unemployment inside the West Africa state, the continent’s most populous. This wealth generated in the recent period has obviously not trickled down to the working class, youth and poor since the country over the last two years has been the scene of strikes in the oil, medical, educational and public service sectors of the national economy.

The deliberations surrounding the WEF represented the same type of investment-driven approach to economic development in Africa. At the opening reception during the gathering, President Goodluck Jonathan welcomed the intervention of the imperialist states in resolving the return of the students and stated that “terrorism” would not interfere with the current political trajectory of the government.

The Role of Imperialism and the Legacy of Colonialism

The Boko Haram group is a manifestation of the regional conflicts in Nigeria that were inherited from the British colonial system and the continuing political dominance by the United States in the foreign and internal affairs of the oil-rich state. This year represented the centennial of the consolidation of colonial rule by Britain.

A system of indirect rule for decades left the country divided at the time of national independence in 1960. Two military coups in 1966 lead to a civil war during 1967-70, when a section of the national bourgeoisie in the southeast attempted to form its separate nation of Biafra.

Since the 1970s, a succession of both military and civilian governments have been largely dominated by military interests most of whom originate in the north of the country. The oil wealth is largely found in the southeast and increasingly offshore in the Gulf of Guinea.

Adding to this regional problem that has not been resolved since 1960, the Muslim population of Nigeria is heavily based in the northern region. Due to the policy of the British colonialists, many people from the northern region were recruited into the military and were utilized to suppress resistance to imperialism throughout the country.

Based upon these regional differences which permeate the political parties and governing structures of the country, a cohesive administrative strategy remains elusive. The country is the largest importer of crude oil from Africa into the U.S. Since 1956, the petroleum industry has been dominated by Britain, Europe and the U.S.

A recent editorial published by the Guardian, a leading national newspaper in Nigeria, stated in response to a memo written by Adamawa State Governor Murtala H.Y. Nyako, that “ The indubitable truth is that insecurity in the land is transforming into a hydra-headed monster. That the President does not appear to grasp gravity of the problem his administration, and the country face is daily advertised by his sometimes frivolous words and deeds.” (May 7)

The editorial goes on saying “Many Nigerians now find no reason to believe that this government has their ‘security and welfare’ as its ‘primary job. Nyako may have used a wrong medium and foul language, [nonetheless,] his frustrations resonate with most Nigerians. President Jonathan should do all within his enormous presidential powers to prevent a groundswell of popular anger against his government.”

Jonathan, who comes from the Ijaw ethnic group based in the south, is facing re-election in 2015 amid the worsening security crisis inside the country since the 1960s. During the 1990s, an insurgent group called the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) came into existence demanding adequate compensation for the southern region where oil is exploited.

MEND, which has condemned the abductions of the high school students, engaged in sabotage operations against the oil industry and presented an effective public relations campaign that accompanied its actions. Their efforts were coupled with mass demonstrations by women and youth also demanding that the large western-based oil firms such as Shell-BP, Chevron and ExxonMobil clean up the environmental damage in the southern region and invest profits into the structural development of the Niger Delta.

MEND was later offered an amnesty which included monetary compensation, scholarships and other amenities. The armed actions in the southern region have declined significantly but security still remains a serious concern.

However, the Boko Haram campaigns have targeted civilians and Christian churches. They also claimed responsibility for the bombing of the United Nations offices in Abuja during 2011.

“Terrorism” and Imperialism in Africa

There have been many questions raised about the origins and support for Boko Haram. Some informed Nigerians claim that the group still maintains support among sections of the northern political and economic elites.

The tactics of the group has shifted since 2009 as well. They have suggested an alliance with Al-Qaeda and the character of the violence carried out inside the country in the northeast and other areas are strikingly similar to the bombing operations in other countries such as Iraq.

Interestingly enough the U.S. administration under President Barack Obama had refused to label Boko Haram a terrorist group even after the UN bombing. Hillary Clinton, who was secretary of state at the time under Obama, has been seen making statements of concern about the missing children, however, during her tenure with the administration she would not categorize Boko Haram as a terrorist organization.

These actions by Boko Haram and the failure of the Jonathan administration in Abuja to effectively respond has provided the imperialist states, led by the U.S., an opportunity to deepen their involvement inside the country. Just recently joint naval operations in the Gulf of Guinea between the Pentagon and several West African states, including Nigeria, were conducted as part of the U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) and European Union Forces (EUFOR) interventionist project.

In another article published in the Nigerian Guardian by Laolu Akande, it states that “Senator Susan Collins, a Republican from Maine, is leading 20 female U.S. Senators to demand for U.S. military assistance. In an interview with CNN last week, she specifically asked for Special Forces Operations. At a global press conference also in Washington D.C. about the same time, the Christian Association of Nigerian-Americans, (CANAN) leaders also made the request that Special Forces be deployed to Nigeria to rescue the Chibok girls.” (May 11)

This same article goes on to report that “According to Collins, ‘I would like to see Special Forces deployed to rescue these young girls’. And later at an international press conference in Washington DC, the President of CANAN, Dr. James Fadele, on behalf of the association asked the U.S. president to consider ‘sending Special Forces units as already suggested by a sitting U.S. Senator Susan Collins. CANAN added that the ‘U.S. should use every available tool within its arsenal to trace, track and terminate’ Boko Haram operations.”

These statements by leading members of the U.S. Senate and spokespersons who claim to represent the sentiment of the Nigerian expatriate community must be viewed in conjunction with the role of the corporate and government-controlled media based in the West. An upsurge in demonstrations of outrage and shock is portrayed as a means of justifying imperialist military intervention in Nigeria.

Yet with the recent history of these interventions led by the U.S., France and other NATO states along with Israel, they have not brought about peace and security in Mali, Sudan, Somalia, Kenya, Libya and other affected regions. The problems of internal security within Nigeria must be viewed within the context of the inherited capitalist relations of production, the burgeoning class divisions within the society which imperialism fosters and the need for a genuine national democratic revolution and socialist economic construction.

It is the quest for dominance by the imperialist states which motivates their actions towards Nigeria and other African states. Anti-war, social justice, women’s and human rights organizations must take into consideration the potential impact of a deeper and longer-term military and intelligence intervention in Nigeria.