miércoles, 3 de diciembre de 2008

viernes, 14 de noviembre de 2008

No Clear Goals for Transdniestria

// The price of the question (Kommersant, 14/11/2008)

The history of relations between Moscow and Chisinau and all of Russian policy toward a Transdniestrian settlement has been checkered. In 2001, Communist Vladimir Voronin became president of Moldova thanks in large part to his position in favor of closer ties with Russia. By the time he was reelected in 2005, he had made a complete turnabout, rejecting the famous “Kozak memorandum” and advancing a platform on the country’s future in Europe. In recent months, Russia’s influence on both banks of the Dniester seems to have grown, leading to a variety of expectations.

The simplified view is that Russia should sell them a solution to the problem that is acceptable to it – with a guarantee of Moldova’s neutrality and a confederative government, with Transdniestria having the right to secede should the rest of Moldova unite with Romania. It should promise Chisinau massive economic aid, pressure Tiraspol, interests the politicians personally in the outcome and, in short, engage in classical diplomacy as practiced by a major regional power with weaker neighbors.

But for some reason, that is not happening. Three reasons can be proposed. First, the habit remains of looking at Moldova as a post-Soviet country in its 17th year of independence. If it is seen as a historical part of the Balkans region, everything looks different. The Balkans are part of the European integrative areal. Small and poor Moldova has a different future in that context. After Romania entered the European Union in 2007, that prospect became more real for Moldova at the individual level, if not at the institutional. Evidence of that are the stubbornly, or not so stubbornly, denied rumors of Moldovan residents’ mass receipt of Romanian citizenship. No matter how skeptical one looks at the EU’s initiatives for “Eastern partnership” and “Black Sea synergy,” they have a positive resonance in small countries.

Second, Russia has no common border with Moldova. When Ukraine’s interest in the region was limited to the preservation of various corrupt systems linked to Transdniestria, that fact was not particularly meaningful. But since Orange Kiev has completely gone over to Brussels’ side, it is very important for measuring Russia’s potential.

Finally, Russia’s real strategic, and even tactical, interest is still not clear. That makes the parties involved wary and makes them look for support elsewhere. What does Russia need a settlement in Transdniestria for? Only to show that Moscow can act more wisely than the West did in Kosovo? It still will not make up for the loss of image from the recognition of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. So no one should be surprised it this phase of Moscow’s policy in the region has a checkered end as well.

Arkady Moshes, director of the Russian program at the Finnish Institute of International Affairs.

Comments: Transdniestria is a breakaway territory of Moldova. It’s a rogue state with its own flag, currency, armed forces, authorities, newspapers and so, but it has not been recognized by any other state –not even Russia-. Because of this status, Transdniestria is a legal “black-hole” for drug, weapons and ammo smugglers.

It’s easy to understand that the interest of the government of Tiraspol is to keep at all costs the actual status quo, comfortable situation which allows him to follow its commercial activities of sales of weapon and narcotic across the world with complete impunity. In effect, international law is not applied in this zone of frozen conflict.

martes, 11 de noviembre de 2008

Anew My Lai: Loe Sam, Pakistan

"President-elect Barack Obama has pledged to make the conflicts in Afghanistan and Pakistan a top priority. The Bajaur campaign serves as a cautionary tale of the formidable challenge that even a full-scale military effort faces in flushing the Taliban and Al Qaeda from rugged northern Pakistan."


"A Heap of Rubble (NYT, 11/11/2008)

To save Loe Sam, the army has destroyed it.

The shops and homes of the 7,000 people who lived here are a heap of gray rubble, blown to bits by the army. Scraps of bedding and broken electric fans lie strewn in the dirt.

As Pakistani Army helicopters and artillery fired at militants’ strongholds in the region, about 200,000 people fled to tent camps for the displaced in Pakistan, to relatives’ homes or across the border into Afghanistan.

The aerial bombardment was necessary, Pakistani military officials say, to root out a well-armed Taliban force.

The Pakistani Army and the Frontier Corps, the paramilitary force responsible for security in the tribal areas, say 83 of their soldiers have died and 300 have been wounded since early August. That compares with 61 dead among forces of the American-led coalition in Afghanistan in the first four months of 2008.


Yes, he knew the people who had lived here were now bereft. “I know many have suffered because of our actions,” Major Saeed said. “But the government is going to take care of them."

Pakistan is (and was) ruled by a couple of Washington puppets: Zia 'ul Haq, then Pervez Musharraf, and now took office Asif Ali Zardari (widower of Benazir Bhutto) aka "Mr. 10%". That guy is taking care of them. Right from a heap of rubble.

jueves, 30 de octubre de 2008

Afghanistan: Game Over?

This way ended Najibullah Ahmadzai after the Soviet withdrawal of Kabul. Will this happen with Hamid Karzai when the NATO moves back?

From The New York Times, 10/30/2008

“KABUL, Afghanistan — The Afghan government and its allies in the region have begun approaching the Taliban and other insurgent groups with new intensity to test the possibilities for eventual peace talks, Western diplomats and Afghan officials here say.”

“…Security has deteriorated to the point that a growing chorus of Western diplomats, NATO commanders and Afghans has begun to argue that the insurgency cannot be defeated solely by military means. Some officials in Kabul contend that the war against the insurgents cannot be won and are calling for negotiations…”

“…But some officials fear that without a turnaround in the security situation, the Afghan government and the international forces here will not be in a strong bargaining position.”

martes, 28 de octubre de 2008

Uzbekistan: Musical Spring in Boysun

The second year successively in the south of Uzbekistan, in fantastically beautiful places of Boysun in Surkhandarya region has been held the Open Folklore Festival "Boysun bahori". This event is connected with the fact that in 2001 UNESCO included Boysun in a list of nineteen cultural spaces, which were awarded the title "Masterpiece of oral and intangible heritage of humanity". Revival of ancient traditions, national values and their further development is one of priorities in development of culture of Uzbekistan. In this region national traditions and customs, songs and dances, crafts and rituals, historical style in dressing have been preserving almost in absolute purity, which inhabitants of Boysun hallow. This rich heritage became a basis of already traditional Festival "Boysun bahori", which again welcomed on its concert stages national ensembles from Uzbekistan and Tadjikistan, modern designers of national costume from our country and Kyrghyzstan.

Yulduz Uzmonova - Sanamgina

In comparison with literature and history that are as if fixed memory of the people, various, wise and well constructed, the folklore (both poetic and musical) is in a greater degree eternal, not getting old feeling of boundless and unexhausted forces - equally in pleasures and in troubles. Even in complicated and refined, if to view in the aspect of subject, rhythm or musical - verbal character, folklore genres we are always captured and amazed by spontaneous perception of the world, natural emotions and opinions in their expression. Typical national features of each people, its way of thinking, specificity of mental and emotional models are shown in full extent in national songs, folk tunes and epic legends. As a specific phenomenon of the national culture it concentrates the poetic, musical, theatre and ethnographic traditions. Obvious evidence for that became the Second Open Folklore Festival "Boysun Bahori" in Boysun of Surkhandarya region, which was held on the date of the second anniversary of UNESCO proclaimed the cultural space of Boysun as "Masterpiece of oral and intangible heritage of humanity". Four festival days became a bright holiday for Boysun's inhabitants, for whom national songs, instrumental folk tunes, dances, legends, dressing, pieces of the applied arts, rites and customs form a natural way of life. The Festival became also an art parade of folklore ensembles from Uzbekistan and Tadjikistan, epic storytellers and young fashion designers. It became a scientific and creative dialogue among art critics, philologists, ethnographers, historians and architects from France, Germany, Korea, Switzerland, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tadjikistan and Uzbekistan.

Shaxzoda – O’zbeqizlar

With warm heart Boysun welcomed visitors and participants of festival "Boysun Bahori". The Boysun people have seen and have heard ceremonial songs and dances of various regions of Uzbekistan and Tadjikistan, enjoyed the art of national storytellers - bakhshi and akyns, admired the modern models of national clothes created by designers from Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan. During festival days was working the festival fair of Boysun national crafts' products and the exposition of the Uzbek folk musical instruments of the Tashkent master, Mukhammadnazyr Yunusov. The Festival shows and concerts were arranged not only in Boysun, but also in kishlaks of Sairob, Derbend and Shurob; visitors and participants of the festival were warmly welcomed by inhabitants of Djarkurgan and Sherobad districts of Surkhandarya region. All festival actions, concerts, competitions and fair were held in the historical and ethno - folklore park "Boysuntog", but the inflow of spectators was such huge that concerts and performances of folklore ensembles and national storytellers simultaneously were arranged on improvised stages in Boysun itself.

The Festival concerts and shows were concerts of folklore music on a background of natural landscape. It is worthy to see how the performances of folklore ensembles and bakhshi were merging together with the unique nature and foothills of the Boysuntog. The specific "concert aura" at the festival has been filled up not only by the breath of the spectators (in most cases the youth from Boysun and neighbouring kishlaks), but by the voices of nature, an atmosphere of everyday life and noisy holidays. In a word, everything becomes not only adequate, but even required when we want to let know to the listener the true destination of folk songs. I seem a moment has come when a person wants beauty, great and deep sincerity and a natural melody, which would penetrate into heart. And this music sounding from the stage of the folklore festival satisfied hearing, but also awaked all best strings of a person heart, a person living today.

Anvar Sanaev - Dunyo Chiroylik

National songs bewitching tunes of sybuzgy, chang-kobuz or dombra - all of them becoming a treasure of the listener, brought him true pleasure, caused the pride in a person, and to a certain extent made people better, helping them in their life and activity. Plasticity, ease, tempo and depth of improvised reactions in reply to the changes of scenic conditions is a main feature of folklore art. Instant transformation of role, genre of performance, a program and a scenic manner is one of the necessary properties of any folklore ensemble, which aspires to reproduce authentic folklore on the concert stage of the festival "Boysun bahori".

Each ethnos is rich in its history of culture and life, which externalized essence of national traditions. But no culture can keep its vitality just remaining a keeper of traditions. Traditions exist in order to be developed and to add new values to ancient ones that were accumulated for centuries of cultural progress. Such approach is capable to feed a fresh tree of culture and life of the people, to form a character of our contemporary. The super task of a folklore concert is overcoming "artificial concert form", that is each folklore ensemble by means of its concert program or the subject action, reproducing a certain ritual or tradition tries to make the concert fresh and dynamic and "to stir", to make active its participants, involving them in a dialogue with the spectators. The performance of folklore ensembles and leading artists of Surkhandarya at the opening ceremony of the festival was recognized a national holiday - sayil. Performances of the national folklore ensemble "Boysun" with original and ritual songs along with original national dances typical of the southern areas of Uzbekistan presented by the dance group of Regional Association "Uzbekraks" formed a core of the holiday.

Twelve groups took part in the show of folklore ensembles, including three children's folklore ensembles, "Zilola" from Kamashinsky district of Kashkadarya region, "Kuralai" from Boysun district of Surkhandarya region and "Gulguncha" from Boysun district of Surkhandarya region, whose concert program included children's songs accompanied with original ritual games. The folklore ensemble "Baiozi kukhiston" from Tadjikabad district of the Republic of Tadjikistan demonstrated the most ancient ceremony of rainmaking, accompanied with ancient ritual songs and dances with proper attributes, such as doll dressing. Ancient labour songs formed a core of the subject concert program of the folklore ensemble "Sarbozi" from Kattakurgan district of Samarkand region. Very expressive and emotional was the concert program of the folklore ensemble "Doston" headed by National bakhshi of Uzbekistan, Abdulla Kurbonnazarov from Khoresm.

Setora – Ayrimagin

The ancient family rite and national songs accompanying the ritual "Beshkarti" was performed by the ensemble "Zomin saikali" from Zamin district of Djizak region. Rites and rituals of Surkhandarya region connected with calendar and family celebrations were shown by the folklore ensemble "Bubilguio" from Shurchin district of Surkhandarya. A theme of the native land, makhallya, the careful relation to nature sounded in the performance of the folklore ensemble "Mardona" from Vobkent district of Bukhara region; the ancient family rite "Aidar of tui" (cutting of boys' hair) accompanied with ritual songs in the program of ensemble "Amir tulkini" from Nukus of the Republic of Karakalpakstan; a public holiday ceremony accompanied with a variety of national songs and dances was demonstrated by the folklore ensemble "Khilola" from Karsha district of Kashkadarya region. During the recesses between performances of the folklore ensembles the spectators were applauding the improvised termas, fragments from dastans and poetic dialogues between Uzbek bakhshi and Kazakh akyns - winners of traditional storytellers' competition in Termez within the program of the festival "Boysun bahori" - Shodmon bakhshi Khujamberdiev (the 1st premium), Etmishbai Abdullaev (Khoresm), Abdumurod Rakhimov (Kashkadarya) and Boboraim Mamatmurodov (Surkhandarya, the 2nd premium each), Abdanazar Paionov (Surkhandarya), Abdukahhar Rakhimov (Kashkadarya) and Jumabek Subanov ( Tashkent region, the 3rd premium each) and others.

Twenty designers participated in the competition of national dressing style and design. In comparison with the last year the geography of participants extended - Tashkent, Bukhara, Zerafshan, Boysun, Shurchi and Kyrgyzstan. Grand Prix was won by Kuchina Natalia (Tashkent), Boibetova Galina, Syztkazieva Nurkabai, Bekmambetova Zuhra (Kyrgyzstan) and Tatyana Budilova (Zarafshan) were also awarded; the young designer from Boysun Dilfuza Saidova received the monetary premium from Andrea Loenberger.

Within the festival program were held the International scientific conference "Problems of National Cultural Traditions Preservation" and a meeting with UNESCO experts, where was approved the long - term program on the operation and technical equipment of the Boysun complex scientific expedition and of the Center of Boysun folk crafts, preservation and development of folk applied arts. Successful was the presentation of the first issue of "Boysun Scientific Expedition" (Tashkent: Scientific Research Institute of Fine Arts and SMI - group, 2003). The festival was finalized with a bright concert of the group "Yalla" headed by the National artist of Uzbekistan, Farrukh Zakirov, which became an exciting event left a deep trace in hearts of the Boysun people.

The Second Open Folklore Festival "Boysun bahori" became a real holiday of folk culture, and it has proved that folk songs, dances, traditional clothes, crafts and rites are not just preserved, but continue to live actually. And our rich treasury of folk songs is a component of the culture too, and its carrier, the people, has been still perfectly performing them. Perfect demonstration of that at the festival has become the best source for education of the youth.

Author: Rustambek Abdullaev
Source: San'at

martes, 21 de octubre de 2008

The Sweetest Voice of the Caucasus

I'm twice the lucky I was. Finally I've found two more .mp3 from Malika Utsaeva.

domingo, 12 de octubre de 2008

On How to Kill the Murka

Murka (Мурка), along Katyusha, Kalinka an a few others, is maybe the most acknowledged russian traditional folk song. However, Mikhail Gulko does its best to kill it in that charlestonesque version.

I prefer this tango-like version. But I'm seekin for a genuine R-U-S-S-I-A-N version.

miércoles, 10 de septiembre de 2008

The Freddie & Fannie takeover, or on how to clothe the naked king… again

On Sunday, before on Monday the Asian markets were pronouncing his judgment, american government decided to rescue the two mortgage giants, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, “investing” some plumbers’ $200 billions. And they're the 'world's plumbers', I would add, since bucks’re printed in the States but stockpiled worldwide.

For sure, that not solve the problem of rising foreclosures and falling house prices, but maybe can add some slowdown to the final landslide.

With a weaky dollar and rising prices of commodities, a huge amount of money flooded the emerging markets during the first six months of 2008. However, and due to a bunch of reasons, emerging markets’re plummeting nowadays.

Those reasons can be named as “geopolitical worries” in Russia, “fears of a bubble” in China, “overgrowt” in Hungary, “political turmoil” in Ukraine and Pakistan, “rising inflation” in Viet Nam, “muckraking” in Argentina, and so on. All those markets plummeted from 46 to 60% from then on, and emerging market sovereign bond yield spreads have risen to 330 basis points over Treasuries.

But, wait a minute… where they’re heading for? To the States. And as in an argentinian motto for a former presidential campaign, I can tell you “Follow me, I’m not going to screw you!”.

Yes. They’re “quality flying” right to the wolf’s mouth. Few months ago, to say Baring, Bear Stearns, Lehman Bros., Mac, Mae, Washington Mutual, Merryll Lynch, AIG, and etc. were “blue chip” equivalents. And what now? Either they’re selling most of its prized asset or they’re being rescued right from their ashes by the representatives of the world’s plumbers. World keynesianism. All to be charged "democratically" on them. How much the chinese golden card will support to be charged that way?

If capitalism was a religion, I would say that his followers ate up already their own bishops and now they go for the cardinals. When the Pope? Are the own capitalism's foundations who are rattling.

In 2001, an oil barrel was costing U$S 20-25. Today it costs U$S 114-140. In 2001, gold was costing U$S 150; today it costs U$S 800. And similar remarks can be drawn from the 23 remaining staple products of the S&P Index. That is to say, more than 550%. Does anybody believe seriously that the American inflation is 3-4%/yr? I repeat: SERIOUSLY? Or will it be that to say 'the king is naked' would uncover the hell's doors?

Either the world pundits lost their compass and should be fired right now, or they need to visit a psychotherapist in a hurry, or simply they´re trying to screw us through an hand oiled, blind-eyed, and/or a well spin-doctored press.

martes, 9 de septiembre de 2008

Zbigniew Brzezinski: the Empire’s Adviser

The outrageous strategy to destroy Russia
by Arthur Lepic

Zbigniew Brzezinski, President Jimmy Carter’s former adviser, embodies the continuity of U.S. foreign policy whether it is democratic or republican. A great admirer of Henry Kissinger, Brzezinski has always defended, praised and shown an absolute respect for the master’s two diplomacy concepts: the balance of the powers theorized by Metternich and George Kennan’s containment doctrine. Zbigniew Brzezinski recommends how Russia should be militarily weakened and intimidated. He is convinced that the best way to achieve it is by destabilizing its border regions, a political strategy that arouse the interest of former presidential candidate John Kerry’s team who recruited his son Mark Brzezinski as its foreign policy adviser.

Based on George W. Bush’s speech during year 2000 presidential campaign, a rigid, even aggressive attitude towards Vladimir Putin’s Russia would have been expected -according to his adviser “hawk” Wolfowitz’s doctrine. But, instead, we have seen an unprecedented approach in the political relations of these two great nations. And this has happened after September 11, 2001.

For many observers and analysts there was an agreement between Putin and Bush not to criticize Russian military operations in Chechnya whereas Putin would ignore American interventions and interferences in the Middle East.

This explanation does not really value September 11 facts. It actually considers them as an abstraction and the same with Kremlin’s position on this. We can say that Republican administrations have always attached too much importance to the Middle East whereas Democrat’s political tradition on foreign policy has been more focused in Eurasia.

To design its strategy towards the former USRR and then on the Easter states, recently emancipated from the Soviet influence, Democrats have trusted -since Jimmy Carter took power- a brilliant, unscrupulous and anti-Russian man: Zbigniew Brzezinski.

This well-known professor’s doctrine has many followers outside of the Democratic Party because it has defined the actual imperative of the empire’s survival and prosperity: the conquest of Eurasia.

This professor was born in Warsaw in 1928, the son of a Polish diplomat. At the age of ten, Brzezinski immigrated to Canada when his father was distinguished. He did his degree and his master at the University of Mc Gill, Montreal, and then his PhD at Harvard in 1953. After that, he became an American citizen and married the daughter of Czechoslovakia’s former president Eduardo Benes.

Between 1966 and 1968 he was a member of the Council of Policy Planning of the State Department where he developed the “peaceful involvement” strategy towards the Soviet Union in the framework of the Cold War. In October 1966, he convinced President Johnson to modify the strategic priorities in order to have the “thawing-out” before the German reunification.

During 1968 presidential campaign, Brzezinski was the head of the working party in charge of democratic candidate Hubert H. Humphrey’s foreign policy, who would lose to Richard Nixon.

The Inspiring Leader of the Trilateral Commission

At the beginning of the 1960s, Brzezinski distinguished himself as an analyst when prophetically announced the appearance of bigger actors in the world power. He was talking about Europe and Japan whose economies have had a rapid growth after WWII.

In an article published in Foreign Affairs magazine in 1970, he talked about his vision of this “new world order”. «A new and more daring vision is needed - the creation of a community of developed countries capable of efficiently handling the problems of mankind. Apart from the U.S. and Western Europe, Japan should be included (...) A good start would be a council formed by representatives of the U.S, Western Europe and Japan, which will hold regular meetings among the heads of governments and less relevant personalities.»

In 1970, Brzezinski also proposed new ideas in his new book Between two Ages [1] where he explained that the moment to balance world power had arrived and it had to be in the hands of a new global political order based on a trilateral economic tie between Japan, Europe and the U.S. The revolution in production techniques and the transformation of the heavy industry into electronics had to cause a disruption of political systems and a new generation of power elites. David Rockefeller, excited about these concepts, hired him to create the Trilateral Commission and appointed him director. The commission was officially established in 1973 and gathered important personalities related to world trade, the international banking system, governors and the big European, Japanese and American media.

When the first oil crisis took place, the main concern of these world finance masters was to get rid of the foreign debt of developing countries by strengthening the role of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). It was also about strengthening and extending U.S.’s hegemony - by that time vulnerable due to its military defeat in Viet Nam- in every geographical boundary of the Eurasian continent where they were very influential after WWII

This mission, if analyzed from an outsider’s point of view, depicts Brzezinski as a peace advocate, a man in favor of multilateral relations and diminishing world tension (Cold War) and -to the eyes of the extreme right- as a man inspired by Marxism.
The best to be done in order to implement the plans of the Trilateral Commission was to make one of its members the President of the United States.

President Carter and the Double-Dealing

Since the creation of the Trilateral Commission, shepherd Jimmy Carter was among the members of Rockefeller-Brzezinski’s team. He has opened the first trade offices of the state of Georgia in Brussels and Tokyo and this turned him into the ideal model or the founding concept of the Commission. [2] For his nomination as an election candidate and to the presidential election in 1976, Rockefeller used his relations in Wall Street and put Brzezinski to work, whose academic influence assisting democratic candidate Jimmy Carter was very helpful for wining the election. And, of course, when Carter won the elections, Brzezinski was appointed national security adviser. [3]

As president, Carter stated the reduction of the military nuclear arsenal of the two blocks (U.S. -USRR) as a priority. However, the Soviet SS-20 missile crisis aimed at Europe forced Carter to deploy the Pershing missiles, an action that ruined his efforts, whether they were sincere or not, and caused the reciprocal distrust of the two countries.

It can be affirmed that by that time, the Soviet block had good reasons to believe that its adversary was involved in double-dealing: the U.S. military defeat in Viet Nam forced it to keep certain reserve in the strategic and military fields whereas Brzezinski was working on his war plan to set a trap for the Soviet Union and force it to come into a peripheral conflict.

The destabilization of the Afghan communist regime and the financing and delivering of the first weapons to anticommunist Jihad followers in 1979 caused, as expected, the intervention of the Red Army in Afghanistan. Brzezinski had the support of Pakistan intelligence and espionage services, the fearful ISI.

When the French magazine Le Nouvel Observateur interviewed Brzezinski in 1998, he admitted that the equipping of Bin Laden’s anti-Soviet troops was before the Russian invasion and was aimed at provoking its reaction:

Le Nouvel Observateur: Former CIA director, Robert Gates, says in his memoirs: the American secret services assisted Afghan mujahedeen six months before the Soviet invasion. By that time, you were President Carter’s adviser and you played a key role on this. Do you confirm it?

Zbigniew Brzezinski: Yes. According to the official version of the story, the CIA began to assist mujahedeen in the year 1980, that is, after the invasion of the Soviet army against Afghanistan on December 24, 1979. But the truth that remained secret until today is quite different: it was on July 3, 1979 that President Carter signed his first order on the secret assistance to Kabul’s pro-Soviet regime opponents. That day I wrote a memorandum to the President in which I told him that that assistance would cause the Soviet intervention (...) we did not force the Russian intervention, we just, conscientiously, increase the intervention possibilities.

NO: When the Soviets justified their intervention by affirming they were fighting against a secret American interference nobody believed them, though they were telling the truth. Don’t you regret it?

Z. Brz.: Regret what? That secret operation was an excellent idea. Its objective was to lead the Russian to the Afghan trap, and you want me to regret it? The very same day the Soviets crossed the Afghan border I wrote the following to President Carter: «This is our chance to give Russia its Viet Nam» (...).

N.O.: Aren’t you sorry either for favoring Islamic fundamentalism and providing weapons and consultancies to future terrorists?

ZBrz.: What is the most important thing when you look at world history, the Taliban or the fall of the Soviet empire? Some excited Islamists or the liberation of Central Europe and the end of the Cold War? [4]

When Brzezinski talked about «some excited Islamists» in this interview, he did not underestimate Al Qaeda’s power. He just described the reality of what the neo-conservatives has turned into a myth while justifying their world crusade. It is obvious that none of the members of the Council on Foreign Relations would be so categorical.

Objective Alliance with China and Unconditional Support to the Shah of Iran

Even when Nixon and Kissinger were cautious about besieging the Soviet Union and restored relations with China, a number of Carter’s closest advisers did not support this rapprochement Brzezinski had in mind.

When Carter became President, he stated he would establish a dialogue with the USRR and keep the People’s Republic of China at a distance. But, his Secretary of State, Cyrus Vance, opposed Brzezinski anti-Russian obsession and Carter had no choice but to conciliate its administration’s antagonism.

Usually, the mediator between these two poles was Richard C. Holbrooke, U.S. future ambassador to the UN and John Kerry’s foreign policy adviser during his campaign, along with Mark Brzezinski, Zbigniew’s son. According to Cyrus Vance and some others in favor of establishing the dialogue, like democrat renegade Averell Arriman, the triangular logic of besieging would only lead, at its best, to a misunderstanding with the USRR, not to mention war.

They recommended dialogues on disarmament and cooperation with the Soviet Union to neutralize the Third World conflicts. The re-establishment of relations with China kept on; Brzezinski even completed a joint program of strategic cooperation and managed to have good personal relations with Deng Xiaoping, something that has really helped him nowadays.

Brzezinski’s distrust towards the USRR can be perceived again in his attitude towards Iran, which under the Shah’s regimen was considered as a bastion against the Soviet influence in the Middle East. Brzezinski promised Shah his support until the last moment and requested U.S. military intervention to keep him in power even when part of Carter’s administration, led by his Secretary of State, opposed it.

However, Washington’s concrete actions were implemented according to the state Department’s point of view and despite all negotiations with the generals that defeated Shah to guarantee a moderate regime in the country; it was Khomeini who took power after a popular seafloor spreading. Khomeini joined Carter at Camp David negotiations in 1977 and played a key role in the peace agreement between Israel and Egypt without even being present in the most important debates. However, when the USRR was the main topic, he was always there.

The Russian Threat and the American Supremacy

In 1989, Brzezinski quit his job at Columbia University where he taught since 1960 to work on Ukraine’s independent status plan. This marks the beginning of his compromise to prevent the resurgence of Russia as a superpower. He defended Russia’s integration to the Western system and the “geopolitical multiparty system” in the territory of the former Soviet Union.

He also developed a “plan for Europe” that included NATO’s expansion to the Baltic republics, a dream that came true when three of them joined NATO in 2002. During the 90s he was the special envoy of the American President to promote the most important oil infrastructure project of the world: the Baku-Tbilissi-Ceyhan pipeline which was his best opportunity to prevent the resurgence of Russia. He has also been, since 1999, the president of the American Committee for Peace in Chechnya, whose headquarters are located at the Freedom House facility. This position allows him to intervene in peace negotiations between the Russian government and independence fighters led by Mashkadov. However, the truth behind these good will “democratic” activities is to assist independence followers to maintain a war in the area, like the Afghan one, to weaken Russian and to keep it away from the gains of the Caspian Sea.

Brzezinski’s doctrine («The power ruling Eurasia will control two of the most economically advanced and productive areas of the world») is related to NATO’s expansion to the East, something the Clinton’s Administration actively worked on. But, how could they sell NATO to Europeans? «The European region located in the Western border of Eurasia and next to Africa is much more exposed to the risks of the increasing global disorder than a more politically united, military powerful and geographically isolated America (...).

The Europeans will be more exposed to risk if an imperialist chauvinism encourages Russia’s foreign policy», said Brzezinski to National Interest magazine in year 2000. [5] The whole thing is quite clear: the deployment of NATO’s forces around Russia was a preventive measure. If Russia’s reaction is to be defensive, it means that it is planning to restore its empire and totalitarianism.

Brzezinski has been working also as a consultant for BP-Amoco and Freedom House in Azerbaijan. His objective is to worship Heidar Alyiev’s image and in a New York Times interview he characterized the dictator as a «nice guy». [6] Brzezinski justifies Aliyev’s Anglo-Saxon support by explaining that after seven decades of communist government nobody can expect Azerbaijan and the former Soviet republics to become democratic nations in such a short period of time.

Even when Aliyev’s political repression increased during the last few years and the gains from the Caspian Sea diminished, Azerbaijan was still considered by Freedom House as a “partially free” country. In 1999, Secretary of State and Brzezinski’s disciple, Madeleine Albright, invited Heidar Aliyev to NATO’s anniversary ceremony. On their part, Georgia, Azerbaijan and Ukraine organized some joint military maneuvers, sponsored by NATO’s “Association for Peace” program, on April 16, 1996. [7]

Despite his activities as BP-Amoco and Freedom House’s consultant, Brzezinski assisted a system of funds and NGOs (non governmental organizations) in support of the former Soviet top-classes, intellectuals and elites.

As an initiative of the American Committee for Peace in Chechnya, whose chairman was Brzezinski, a meeting between the main leaders of the Chechnya movement was held from August 16 to August 18, 2002 in Lichtenstein, two months after the one held in Bassaiev and Maskhadov, where an agreement was signed on the mutual direction of the “Armed Forces of the Ichkeria Republic of Chechnya”. The participants concluded that Chechnya should not longer be a part of Russia, that a real autonomy was necessary and the time to negotiate with Maskhadov had arrived. But, was Beslán’s hostages event, as claimed by Bassaiev, part of Chechnya independence demand process or part of Russia’s destabilizing process? [8]

Several questions could be raised if we take into account that the main consequence of this action was a tightening of tensions between North Odessa and neighboring Inguchia, that is, a much more relevant balkanization of the region.

Nowadays, Brzezinski is very active in CSIS but he still the brain of the Democrats foreign policy program, something that is quite evident in candidate Kerry and his partner John Edwards’s obsession with Russia. Following Mark Brzezinski’s advises they chose as their main priority Russia’s nuclear disarmament in a moment in which it has recovered the same oil production it had before its demise and is benefiting widely of the current oil prices which has allowed it to double its defense budget. Therefore, Russia’s nuclear arsenal is not, as John Kerry says, a present-day threat.

Kerry’s real objective is related to Zbigniew Brzezinski’s strategy of Russia’s subordination but, from now on, it will be much more difficult to convince the world public opinion of Russia’s evil and totalitarianism. [9] Therefore, it is necessary to provoke its reaction as was done with the Afghan case in 1979, because Russia will have no problems with its energy supply in the next decades, a real concern the U.S. has. This is why in some recent Wall Street Journal and Novaya Gazetta interviews, Brzezinski characterized Vladimir Putin as «Russian Benito Mussolini».

Arthur Lepic, French Journalist, member of the French section of Voltaire Network and specialized in energy and military affairs.

Published originally in Voltairenet, 22 October 2004

[1] Zbigniew Brzezinski, Between two Ages: America’s Role in the Technotronic Era, Harper publishing house, 1971. French Edition, Révolution technetronique, Calman-Lévy publishing house, 1971.

[2] The Trilateral Commission will also lead French President Giscard d’Estaing to choose one of its members, Raymond Barre, professor of economics and political unexperienced, as Primer Minister.

[3] Brzezinski included in his team Madeleine K. Albright (whose father served in Czechoslovakia during Eduard Benes’s government, Brzezinksi’s father in law) and the two theorists of The Clash of Civilization, Bernard Lewis and Samuel P.Huntington.

[4] Le Nouvel Observateur, No. 1732, from January 15 to January 21, 1998, p.76.

[5] Quoted in George Szamuely : «Bribing Montenegro - It didn’t work», antiwar, June 15, 2000.

[6] «Freedom spells B-A-K-U», Counterpunch Magazine, 1999.

[7] See: «Freedom House, quand la liberté n’est qu’un slogan», Voltaire, September 7, 2004. Article written in French that will soon be published by Red Voltaire.

[8] Marivilia Carrasco : «Beslan: responsibility of slaughter points towards the Anglosaxons», Voltaire, September 19, 2004.

[9] Thierry Meyssan: «115 atlantists against Rusia», Voltaire, November 26, 2004.

jueves, 28 de agosto de 2008

Grindaboð! Something is rotten in Denmark…

By Norberto Ovando. He reports the slaughters of caldrons (or pilot whales) that are realized in the Faroe Islands located in the North Atlantic Ocean, and that are an autonomous territory of the kingdom of Denmark. The ancestral ceremonies of the grindaboð and the grindadráp, open the hunt.

Perhaps they do not be easy to find the Faroe Islands in a map, but once you know where they are and what they do: you will never forget them!

The Faroe Islands are an autonomous territory inside the kingdom of Denmark. They are constituted by 18 green islands that arose from the sea in right center of the North Atlantic Ocean. And his motto to sell them in the world is “Allow that nature takes possession of you ”.

The official language is the feroense and it has his roots in the ancient norse. The official page of Denmark promotes them this way: "Allow you to go for the sensations. Breath deeply and allows that the purity invade your mind ”. This way they amuse themselves in the Faroe Islands.

When the summer comes in the North Hemisphere and the whales continue his migratory path, they approach the islands in search for food, because the waters are less deep, more warm and rich in food.

Such an awaited day has arrived, the pilot whales or common caldrons as they are known, already are here. A watchtower has shouted the voice of alarm and the crafts go out to the sea in his search.

The whale pilot has long fins and completely black, is a dolphin that measures from 3 to 7 meters, it weighs between 4 or 5 tons and they are extremely social and that characteristic is made use for ambush them and lower them up to the shore.

From the boats they thrown stones that serve to lead them towards the wished destination, at the time they corner them and guiding towards the bay. The whales of behind push those of ahead and the gregarious spirit of those cetacean does that the herd goes grouped towards his dramatic end.

When the whales approach to the beach they crowd and remain trapped, they are hundred and hundred that can neither step back nor advance. On the coast, the people, warned for hours, impatient waiting. The whales have returned after the long and cold winter.

The schools have given a holiday.

The herd has fallen down in the trap the man has layed them.

It begins "grindaboð" and the "grindadráp".

These two words in language feroés mean "whale at sight " and “to hunt whales”.

The people see the boats and they shout grindaboð!, grindaboð! and the adolescents who will lead the slaughter, they will "demonstrate" this way his entry to the adult age, his virility, wait to the whales in the shore where they stranded and without being able to step back since the boats block to him the way behind, and begins the slaughter.

With a hook to fix them, called blásturongul and a saw they do a wound in the spine trying to cut and to break his principal arteries, while the pain that is provoking them cut them to the animals they do that these shake his bodies desperately trying to be liberating of the killers, and once achieved the deep cut it begins the big bled, being the causer that the sea is dyed of blood-red.

Meanwhile from the shore the children see in this space become infested with blood proveniente of the cruel slaughter of more or less 900 animals every year, that not always die rapidly; the adults observe calmly this barbarism.

Every year thousand caldrons or pilot whales are massacred. The caldrons, the most intelligent dolphin has the peculiarity of approaching the persons for pure curiosity.

The caldron, which scientific name is Globicephala melas or Globicephala macrorhynchus is a cetacean of the family of the dolphins and is catalogued as species threatened with special interest, appearing also in the Red List of the World Union for the Nature - IUCN - like of low risk.

The hunting in the Faroe Islands is a topic of great controversy in the recent years especially for the inhuman methods used in the hunting and the question of if this is necessary from a socio-economic or nutritional point of view.

Some studies have determined that the meat of the caldrons or whales pilots can be a risk for the health of the consumers due to the big quantity of pollutants found in her, i.e. metals as the mercury, the cadmium, policlorobiphenils (PCB) and other organoclorines.

The fishing industry generates the majority of the income of the feroenses. In fact, the fishing products constitute 97 % of the volume of the entire exports of the islands.

The blood’ dyed sea and the brutal slaughter before the sight of the whole world, is an image that in the XXIst century strikes the conscience of million citizens of different countries and of groups conservationists of the round world.

Norberto Ovando

Vice-president Friends of the National Parks Association (AAPN) World Commission of Protected Areas Expert (WCPA) of the UICN, Latin-American Network of Protected Areas (RELAP)

Original article (in spanish) here

Danish embassies worldwide: Help us to stop this atrocity. Please call or write to the Danish Embassy in your country. They can be reached here. And write too to the Royal Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Faroese Parliament and the Department of Foreign Affairs of the Faröese Prime Minister's Office.


English: Mr. Governor of the Faröe Islands: I know of the slaughter of pilot whales who is carried out in the Faröe Islands, and I realize that everywhere animals are killed for human feeding. Nevertheless, the character of popular festivity you give it in the Faröe Islands, does not allow me to infer that the above mentioned slaughter is carried out exclusively to feed. Rather it is alike the bitter spectacle of the bullfights, in which it is enjoyed the suffering of beings that do not have any real possibility of defending themselves from his attackers. Entire families are murdered every year this way, before the laugh and the pleasure of the assistants. On behalf of a great part of the humanity, to whom these atavistic behavior turn out to be shocking and incomprehensible, we ask you respectfully to stop doing what you do right now. We ask you to dictate right now the laws that prohibit this slaughter intended to satisfy the sadism and the cruelty. We will much acknowledge your quick response to this claim.

Spanish: Sr. Gobernador de las Islas Faröe: Sé de la matanza de ballenas piloto que se realiza en las Islas Faröe, y soy consciente de que en todas partes del mundo se matan animales para la alimentación humana. No obstante, el carácter de festividad popular que se les asigna en las Islas Faröe, no me permite inferir que dicha matanza se realice exclusivamente con el fin de alimentarse. Más bien se asemeja al amargo espectáculo de las corridas de toros, en la que se disfruta del sufrimiento de seres que no tienen ninguna posibilidad real de defenderse de sus atacantes. Familias enteras son asesinadas todos los años de este modo, ante la risa y la complacencia de los asistentes. En nombre de una buena parte de la humanidad, a la que estas costumbres históricas nos resultan chocantes e incomprensibles, le pedimos con todo respeto que dejen de hacer lo que hacen ya mismo. Le pedimos que dicte ahora las leyes que prohiban esta matanza destinada a satisfacer el sadismo y la crueldad. Le agradeceré mucho una pronta respuesta satisfactoria a este pedido.

Danish: Herr Guvernør på øerne Faröe: Jeg kender til aflivning af pilot hvaler, der finder sted i Øer Faröe, og jeg er bevidst om, at i alle dele af verden dræbe dyr til konsum. Men karakteren af festivity mennesker, der er tildelt i Øer Faröe, ikke tillader mig at antage, at sådanne drab er lavet kun til at brødføde sig selv. Tværtimod, det ligner den bitre syn af tyrefægtning, som nyder godt af de lidelser væsener der ikke har nogen reel chance for at forsvare sig mod deres angribere. Hele familier bliver dræbt hvert år på denne måde, at latter og selvtilfredshed af publikum. På vegne af en stor del af menneskeheden, som Disse historiske vaner er chokerende og uforståeligt for os, beder vi med al respekt at stoppe gør, hvad de gør nu. Vi beder nu diktere de love, der forbyder denne massakre på at opfylde sadisme og grusomhed. Jeg ville sætte pris på din hurtige meget tilfredsstillende svar på denne anmodning.

Swedish: Herr Guvernör på Faröarna: Jag fick veta om avlivning av så kallade pilot valar som äger rum på Faröarna, och jag är medveten om att i alla delar av världen dödar man djur för mänskliga konsumtion. Men den typ av folklig högtidlighet som slakteriet har på Faröarna tillåter mig inte att dra slutsatsen att detta endast görs för näringslivskäl. Snarare liknar det den bittra spektakel av tjurfäktning, som har lidandet för varelser som inte har någon verklig chans att försvara sig mot sina angripare. Familjer av djur dödas varje år på detta sätt, till skratt och självgodhet av tittarna. I namn av en stor del av mänskligheten, för vilket dessa historiska vanor är upprörande och obegripliga, ansöker vi med all respekt att omedelbart stoppa göra vad ni gör. Vi ber er lagstifta en förbjudning av detta massaker riktat för tillfredställa sadistiska och gryma aspekter av den mänskliga varelsen. Jag skulle uppskatta väldigt högt ditt tillfredsställande svar på denna begäran.

Or translate yourself here.

martes, 8 de julio de 2008

Stepan Bandera

Stepan Bandera was an Lviv born Ukrainian nationalist leader who defeated both nazi Germany and Soviet Union under the WWII and died poisoned by the KGB in Munich, 1959[1].

He headed the UPA (Ukrainian Insurgent Army), a carpathian guerrillas created in 1942 as the military wing of the violent, fascist[2] and Ustasha-like OUN (Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists) created in Poland, 1929 and inspired by Dmitro Dontsov.

However, having the same nazi-fascist roots than the Ante Pavelic’s Ustashas and Codreanu’s Legion of the Archangel Michael, they added the Nazis as enemies when UON partisans were imprisoned by the Gestapo for declaring the Independent Ukrainian State (1941).

His steps are nowaday followed by the Main Commander of All-Ukrainian Unit "Tryzub" (Trident), Colonel Dmitry Jarosh, colonel Vasyl Ivanyshyn, before by the OUN predecessors Eugeny Konovalets and Yaroslav Stetsko, and some other groups as the UNSO (Ukrainian National Self-Defence), International Anti-imperialistic Front (IAF), with ramifications to the Caucasus, as the Movement for Decolonization of Caucasus (under Ahmad Sardali).

On October 18, 2007, the Lviv City Council adopted a resolution establishing the "Award of Stepan Bandera”.

[1] as was acknowledged by former KGB Chief Vladimir Kryuchkov in an interview with Russian newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda in 2005.
[2] A slogan put forth by the Bandera group and recorded in the July 16, 1941 Einsatzgruppen report stated: "Long live Ukraine without Jews, Poles and Germans; Poles behind the river San, Germans to Berlin, and Jews to the gallows". Once the OUN was at war with Germany, such instances lessened.

lunes, 9 de junio de 2008


At first, the denarius had begun to be minted in the Republic in 211 BC, and contained 4.5g of silver. Some 500 years later, it was debased to a 2% in silver. A day in 275 AD, an Eastern merchant rejected a payment made in denarius. The end of the Roman Empire had begun.

Further attempts of Diocletian to regain the empire by dividing it first in two and then in four only worsen the things up, and from then on the Roman Empire only knew a permanent landslide up to formalizing his disappearance in times of Romulus Augustus in hands of Odoacer.

In 2001, oil barrel was costing U$S 20-25. Today it costs U$S 114-140. In 2001, golden was costing U$S 150; today it costs U$S 800. And similar remarks can be drawn from the 23 remaining staple products of the S&P Index. That is to say, more than 550%. Does anybody seriously believe that the American inflation is 3-4%/yr? I repeat: SERIOUSLY? Or will it be that to say 'the king is naked' would uncover the hell's doors?

Do you smell some similarities between this little story and the rising quantity of money the world ask you for a oil barrel, a ton of staple food or the commodity name-it-as-you-want? Me too.

miércoles, 21 de mayo de 2008

The Taiping Rebellion

It was deemed the worldwide second tier most bloody revolt after WWII, with a estimated death toll of 20-30 million, and took place in 17 provinces of China between 1850 and 1873.

A little time after that the Qing dynasty had lost the First Opium War (1839-1842) against England, the popular dissatisfaction grew in southern China. It was a commercial war in which China sought to spoil the opium commerce that was in British hands, and as a result of this China had lost Hong-Kong, five ports and owed a war indemnification of about 21 million dollars.

In this state of popular riot for the penuries of postwar period against the Qing dinasty, grew the figure of the charismatic leader Hong Xiuquan, who was preaching a fundamentalist Christianity, declaring himself a minor brother of Jesús and dressing as the Popes of Occident.

Hong Xiuquan created a Christian theocratic state, the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom, and his fanatical followers were joining daily between the southern majority Han against the northern minority of the Manchu, from which the dynasty Qing was coming.

The principal policies of the new kingdom were a combination of the tridentine views of Benedict XVI and the economic views of Karl Marx. They combines the radical change from the Confucianism to the Christianity, the abolition of the private property, the slavery, the abolition of the differences between sexes and the change of the lunar calendar for the solar calendar. The sex was prohibited in a special way, even inside the marriage, and were punished as serious crimes the concubinage, the poligamy and the prostitution.

The rebels captured Nanjing in 1853 and made it their capital. The western powers, who at first sympathized with the movement, soon realized that the Ch'ing dynasty might collapse and with it foreign trade. They offered military help and led the Ever-Victorious Army, which protected Shanghai from the Taipings. The Taipings, weakened by strategic blunders and internal dissension, were finally defeated by new provincial armies led by Tseng Kuo-fan and Li Hung-chang.

Britons helped the Qing dinasty to fight the taipings with “soldiers of fortune”as Frederick Townsend Ward, a USA born mercenary who fought with William Walker in Mexico and Nicaragua, with Garibaldi in Italy, and with the Frenchs in the Crimean War.

Another famous “soldier of fortune”, Charles George “Chinese” Gordon helped too the Qing dinasty (and the wealthy british opium trade). He knew Townsend Ward in the crimean War, and was appointed previously by the brits in Sudan, India, Mauritius, and in Cape Colony (nowadays in South Africa). Gordon was finally died by the Mahdists at Khartoum, Egypt.

jueves, 28 de febrero de 2008

The Chechenyan political issue: Who fight who?

Photo: Evstafiev

As usual, local self-motivated fighters at the showcase and the CIA/FSB -a.k.a. KGB- lurking at the background. That is not a simplistic or conspiratorial approach, but history on the tit-for-tat game they like to play.

Nowadays, when the Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov claimed
to the Group of 8 why they were in such a hurry to grant independence to Kosovo while for 40 years they had failed to support independence for Palestine, he put the ball in the basket. Such independence recognition isn’t backed by pristine tenets such as the right of self-determination, but just another move in the Great Game.

Will Chechenians and Tatars follow the Kosovars footsteps who NATO forces paved the way? Then South Ossetians, Abkhazians and Transnistrians might join Russia.

As in Latin America, Cuba, Bolivia, Nicaragua, Iraq, Afghanistan, or many others war-torn countries, each one trying to bite the other’s backyard with “Military Juntas”, “Gusanos”, “Rangers”, “Contras”, “Kurds”, “Mujaihdeens” or name it as you want. If they’re functional to its goals, soon they will swagger with the “freedom fighters” nick and and will be backed by its “Freedom and Peace Organisations”.

Such simple formula was proved over time and lends juicy results: To help others to fight my war at their own expenses and risk. If self-motivated “freedom fighters” can't succeed or proved to be insufficient, we can help them with our budget-motivated “contractors”. It does not matter too much if then our buddy turn into a heavy load (Taleban); then we will find the appropriate “Northern Alliance” to kick it off.

Photo: Evstafiev

From the US side, all these elements were present in the caucasian nightmare even much before and after 9/11: the self-motivated free fighters (mujahideens) and the freedom organisation support The American Committee for Peace in the Caucasus (ACPC), a.k.a. the Freedom House), a.k.a. again, the CIA. And it would not be a surprise for anybody the regional engagement of others “Freedom Organisation” as the US National Endowment for Democracy (NED) or The Soros Foundation (OSCE).

Caucasian mujahideens come in (at least) two flavors: the moderates soft negotiators (Dzhokhar Dudaev, Aslan Maskhadov) and the hard field commanders or warlords, Shamil Basayev -a.k.a. Amir Abdallah Shamil Abu-Idris-, Dokka Umarov -a.k.a. Abu Usman-, Arbi and Movsar Barayev, Vladimir Khodov and the wahabbi saudi muslim Ibn-al-Khattab.

Nowadays, all of them, be it hard or soft, either were killed by the FSB or simply dead in obscures incidents, with the lonely exception of Umarov, now founder and Amir of the ”Caucasus Emirate".

Two more “dovish” separatist, Akhmed Zakayev and Illyas Akhmadov, got asylum in UK and USA respectively. Please don’t miss that interview of Nicholas Burns in Ekho Moskvy Radio, in which he try how (not) to explain the asylum US granted to Illyas Akhmadov and the differences between Kosovo and Abkhazia.

But if the 9/11 meant the end of the public dealings with the Taleban, the hostages taking in the Moscow’s Theater Dubrovka (Oct 23, 2002, named also "Nord-Ost" after the title of the production at the theater) did notch the visible relations the CIA had with some of his hardest caucasian mujahideen organizations. However, even a week later of the siege you can see the letter’s that Zbigniew Brzezinski and Alexander Haig (h) (ACPC) sent to the Danish Ambassador asking to not to extraditate Zakayev to Russia.

Ten months later, in August 2003, they broke public ties with the Shamil Basayev’s Brigade of Reconnaissance and Sabotage “Riyad as-Salihin” Martyrs' Brigade, the “Russian’s Al-Qaida”. Basayev masterminded the Dubrovka’s siege. As they did formerly with Osama, they shifted from friend to foe, from “Freedom Fighter” to a “"terrorist threat to US security and citizens"”.

Photo: Evstafiev

From the FSB side, there is nothing secret to discover, at least as for the extermination of the principal leaders of the resistance. As much as US awarded Leslie Groves for leading the Manhattan Project who produced the atomic bomb who, in turn, atomized civil lives, not only Russia did not hide it, but the participants in the operation of murder of Dzhokhar Dudaev were nominated for awards. The list of "selective eliminations" of the whole separatist Chechen crew was published in Kommersant on March 9, 2005, on the following day of happened the facts.

On the hidden side of the FSB, OSNAZ and OMON (special purposes’ squads), Anna Politkovskaya wrote numerous critical articles on the war of Chechenya, including some especially dedicated to exhibiting the abuses under the order of Ramzan Kadyrov, the Chechen Prime Minister backed by Moscow.

Anna was also a Novaya Gazeta journalist who was killed in Moscow in october 7, 2006. Believe it or not, this is the day of the birthday of Putin. A birthday’s gift maybe?. Human Rights Watch reports also gross Russian’s abuses in Chechenya, as well as many other truly human rights organizations did.

jueves, 7 de febrero de 2008

Abelard or the earlier Anarchism

Pierre Abelard -best known for his loves with her pupil Héloïse - was maybe the first libertarian anarchist in the early Middle Age (1079-1142). Of course, no such term was cognated till the times of Bakunin or Proudhon, but he was owning the tenets and characters that nowadays we call so.

Polemicist up to the weariness, he rejected authority and dogma, especially in religious thinking, in favor of rational inquiry and speculation. You should think on in which context his life developed: In the peak of the Crusades, there was growing in France the social ambience that would lead in the creation of the Inquisition 42 years after his death to prosecute heresy. He was castrated due to his pupil Héloïse’s pregnancy. However, they never married. Open mind. Freaky guys.

As a teacher and lecturer on philosophy and theology with such a libertarian spirit, for sure that bias was not the one that more the monks and Popes appreciated. Nevertheless, the pupils' crowds of the whole France and abroad were congregating to attend his classroom.

Excelling at the art of dialectic, was the father of conceptualism. Nowadays, 900 years later, another great anarchist and linguist at MIT, Noam Chomsky, developed the theory of generative grammar from such ground.

When Abelard published Theologia 'Summi Boni', their adversaries took his rationalistic interpretation of the Trinitarian dogma to tag he as heretic, made him to burn his own book and he was exiled to a monastery. It was the bitterest possible experience that could befall him.

Some time later, and since the life with the monks was becoming unbearable, he was allowed to leave the monastery. He turned then hermit, building a tent of stubble and reeds, and was followed by its students who flocked from Paris. Some years later he founded his own school, who he called the Paraclet.

After almost ten years in which they lived apart, Héloïse, now nun, wrote three letters to Abelard, the first of whom remains an unsurpassed utterance of human passion and womanly devotion.

Prosecuted and charged again on heresy by Rome, Abelard finally collapsed at the Abbey of Cluny and some months later he died. Héloïse survived him 22 years, and both were buried together at the Paraclet. Nowadays they share the same grave at the Pére Lachaise's cemetery, in Paris.

miércoles, 30 de enero de 2008

Zbigniew Brzezinski, Defeated by his Success

When in the first half of 1979 Carter’s hawkish former National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski designed the Afghan trap to the Soviets, he never dreamed with a further URSS collapse. He only wished to engage the soviet army in a kind of Viet Nam, meanwhile USA was going ahead in the gulf. That trap was code named "Operation Cyclone".

So, six months before Soviets decided to invade Afghanistan, Pakistan, Saudi Arab and the CIA had begun to train mujahideen in neighbor Zia ul-Haq’s Pakistan. As much as the mujahideen are not so prone to have any deal with the "Big Satan", the Stingers, bucks and ammo were funneled to Gulbuddin Hekmayar through the ISI, the Pakistani Secret Services.(1),(2),(4)

The guy who provided the funds to the Robert M. Gates CIA's (from dec/18/2006 US Secretary of Defense) was drawn from the buckle of the Bible Belt, the D-TX Charlie Wilson, a beloved friend of the nicaraguan dictator "Tacho" Somoza, whilst the CIA put Gust Avrakotos(5) in the Pakistani side to distribute ammo and bucks.

Those mujahideen were mainly recruited from the Pashto tribes dwelling in the FATA (Federally Administred Tribal Areas) Pakistan's NW Frontier, but a minority of Arab mujahideen were trained so, in a group called Maktab al-Khadamat (MAK). And guess you who was between them? If you thought about Osama, yes, you’re right.

When the mujahideen that the CIA had trained began to fight in Afghanistan to spur the Soviets, then they had bitten the fishhook and invaded Afghanistan. Ten years later, they had to withdraw and two years later, the URSS plummeted.

Never Brzezinski dreamed so much. The trap’s main aim was only to distract and keep Soviets engaged in dealing with a vietnamese-like guerrillas. So, when he received such gift, he told Le Nouvelle Observateur: “To repent of what? This secret operation has been an excellent idea!”.

But you know how this tale ends: Pashto mujahideen turned into Taleban, Taleban into Osama, Osama into WTC, WTC into Northern Alliance, Northern Alliance into Karzai, and then USA and NATO forces seeking for a window on how to leave the Brzezinski’s “Russian” trap. Without scheduling a withdrawal, of course, but best if we can do it in ten minutes!

And where’s Brzezinski nowadays? Well, after writing a couple of “:” books, and chaired another couple of “Freedom Organisations”, then he retired and in 2006 he was engaged on signing a Fairfax County neighbors treaty on how a sidewalk should be done(3). I suggest he call it SALT IV.

Further readings:
1. "How Jimmy Carter and I Started the Mujahideen”, Interview of Zbigniew Brzezinski Le Nouvel Observateur (France), Jan 15-21, 1998, p. 76,
2. "Oui, la CIA est entrée en Afghanistan avant les Russes...” orginal interview (in french)
3. “Forever the Negotiator: Brzezinski in a Stalemate Over a Sidewalk”, The Washington Post, April 9, 2006,
4. "The Largest Covert Operation in CIA History", By Chalmers Johnson for LA Times
5. "CIA Agent Gust L. Avrakotos Dies at Age 67", By Patricia Sullivan for the Washington Post

martes, 29 de enero de 2008

India, Rajasthan, Gangaur Festival

Rajasthan is a NW province of India bordering with Pakistan through the Thar's desert. Its main cities are Jaipur, Jaisalmer, Jodhpur and Bikaner. The main religion here is neither Brahmanic's Hinduism nor Buddhism, but Rajputana’s Jainism, who gave us concepts and beliefs as karma, ascetism, non-violence, vegetarianism and reincarnations.

The colorful and mostly women’s made Gangaur Festival is devoted to Isar and Gauri, and celebrates both the end of monsoon, the harvest and marital fidelity. It lasts 18 days from the begin of the Indian month of Chaitra (March or April, depending upon planets' positions)

Many images of clay and wood of both idols are specially made for that celebration. Married and unmarried girls paints her hands and feet with myrtle dye, and dress the images of Gauri and Isar in new garments especially made for the occasion.

From the seventh day on, unmarried girls go around singing, carrying metallic or earthen lamps on their heads and collecting small presents as cash, sweets, brown sugar, ghee and oil. The last day, they break their lamps, throw away the debris into a tank and then do a celebration with what they collected.

Instead of lamps, the married women initiate a procession up to the house of his husbands with the images of Isar and Gauri on his heads. This ceremony is repeated three times, and in the last one, the images are thrown in a water tank, the women bid farewell to Gauri, turn their eyes and the Gangaur festival comes to an end. (Thx Mystique Creation)

Ethiopia, Lalibela Churches

Bieta Giyorgis (Saint Gerorge) Church.

Lalibela Churches : As a kind of Jordanian's Petra, they say it's the 8th world wonder. Lalibela is a small town in the middle of the Ethiopian highlands. It's surrounded by a rocky and dry area where just in the raining period farmers can grow their crops.

One's called Roha and the capital of the Zagwe Dynasty wich ruled over Ethiopia from the 10th century to the mid- 13th century. It was King Lalibela who build the 11 rock-hewn monolithic churches. These 11 churches are all cut out of solid red volcanic rock, it was constructed to represent Jerusalem.

The churches are divided into Northern and Eastern groups of churches by a rock-cut channel (river) called Yordannos (Jordan River) and all connected by a labyrinth thine of narrow and deep passages, tunnels, small canyons, and bridges…

Bieta Medhane Alem is the largest and most impressive monolithic church. Of all the churches, Bieta Giyorgis (Saint George) is particularly stunning and beautiful, situated apart from the other churches to the west, intricately carved into the shape of a cross. All the churches are still used as places of worship.

The churches are also a significant engineering feat, given that they are all associated with water (which fills the wells next to many of the churches) exploiting an artesian geological system that brings the water up to the top of the mountain. (Thx Makzid)

jueves, 24 de enero de 2008


Yezids or yazidis is a sect dwelling principally in Kurdistan, Iraq, Turkey, Syria, Armenia and Georgia, who call themselves Dasni and claims to have originated in India 6,000 years ago. Their population is now estimated to be less than one million worldwide.

As far as their memory goes back the Yezids– one of the minorities in Armenia- have been engaged in highland cattle breeding.
There are two theories about the origins of the Yezids: one says that the Kurds are their ‘forefathers’; the other says exactly the opposite; that the Kurds came forth from the Yezid. Whatever the truth, the main difference between these two peoples is that the Yezids have preserved their religion for nearly 4 millennia.

The Yezidis were Kurmanji Kurdish-speaking (a dialect they call Ezdiki or Yezideren), but many of them did not consider themselves Kurds, because they’re not Muslims, but Sharfadin. In fact, the Yezidi religion is the original faith practiced by the Kurds before most were converted to Islam. The first mentioning of the Temple of the Yezid is related to the ancient town of Babylon and today the most important temple is located in Lalish, north of Mosul, Iraq.

The Yezids worship the sun, the goats and their most important deity created the world while looking at the beauty of a peacock angel or demiurg they call Tawsy Melek, Melek Taus, Taus-e-Malak, Al-Kadir, Azazel, Aziz or Shaytan. Since the Qu’ram reserves this name for Satan, often the Yazidis have been erroneously identified as devil worshipers. Such deity is the leader of Seven Holy Beings, who reincarnates periodically in human beings in a process called koasasa (metempsychosis). Even if dismissed as devil worship, Yezidism in fact combines elements from Zoroastrianism, Islam, Christianity, and Judaism. They celebrate the New Year’s day on the first Wednesday of Nisan (March/April), as they believe God created Melek Taus on this day.

Because of the identification Muslims made with a satanic sect, and due to their pre-Islamic beliefs, they have been oppressed by their Muslim neighbors. Treatment of Yazidis was exceptionally harsh during the rule of the Ottoman Empire during the 18th and the first half of 19th century and their numbers dwindled under Ottoman rule both in Syria and Iraq. Massacres at the hand of Ottoman Turks and Muslim Kurdish princes almost wiped out their community in the 19th century. They were murdered as if they were armenians during the Armenian Genocide of 1915 in Ottoman Turkey.

For the Yezid the peacock is therefore a holy animal and its image can be found on their pillows, blankets and in their tents. The Yezids do not have a Holy Book and their religion is based on the knowledge of their priests. The right to become a priest is inherited once sufficient knowledge has been gained. The most important ritual is the annual six-day pilgrimage to the tomb of Sheikh Adi in Lalish, north of Mosul, Iraq.

Yazidi society is hierarchical. The secular leader is a hereditary emir or prince, whereas a chief sheikh heads the religious hierarchy. The Yazidi are strictly endogamous. Within Yezid society there are three major castes below Mir (the yazidi prince) and Baba Shiekh (a kind of Pope): Sheikhs, Pyrs and Murids (lowest caste). Marriages are allowed only inside the castes and sometimes the bride does not know her future husband. Society is strictly regulated with rules and taboos that are passed on from generation to generation, e.g. the bride cannot talk to the oldest man in the family or eat in his presence before the marriage. Besides the caste system, the roles of men and women in Yezid society are also strictly defined according to tradition.

Yezids have a rich tradition of celebrations: at weddings for example the groom throws an apple at the bride’s head and the more pieces it breaks into the better. The New Year (Sere Sal) celebration includes the coloring of eggs, the Parade of the Sanjaks (bronze lamps with peacocks), remembrance of the dead on the cemetery, where the tables for the ceremonies by the graves are divided into sections for men and women. Many celebrations also have their specific sacrifice. Animals mostly, sheep and cows are sacrificed by slitting their throats and praying with the Pyrs (priest of highest rank) pouring salt into the animal’s nose. Other ways of slaughter are considered as murder.

The Yezid have always had a nomadic life that is intertwined with the rhythm of the seasons. They are ever ready to move, so there is no place to anything superfluous. Everything is connected with the cattle – meat, wool, cheese for sale, yarn, blocs of dung dried by the houses just by the entrance. The furniture is minimal, very rarely one can see photos of relatives on the walls.

One of the most crucial periods in the migration cycle starts a month before the Yezids move their cattle up the slopes of Mount Ara when the shepherds and their families prepare themselves and their tents for their 5-6 month stay in the mountains. The shepherds live in military tents of Soviet times, some 3-5 kilometers away from the village. At a distance the tents, set on the background of the rocky foothills, resemble the marquees made of sheep hides. The herds live in similar tents especially allotted to them.

Moving up to the meadows of Mount Ara takes one or two days. After that the shepherds move their camp every couple of weeks, grazing and living on mountain slopes up to 3 thousand meters. In the last stage the camp will be moved to an Alpine meadows where a large variety of herbs and plants will be available.