Category Archives: Blackmailing governments to obey imperial orders

Who really bombed the Paris metro in 1995?

Who really bombed the Paris metro in 1995?

Naima Bouteldja, The Guardian, Thursday 8 September 2005 00.02 BST

The evidence is that the 1995 Islamist attacks on the French metro were in fact carried out by the Algerian secret service

Ever since the 1995 bombing of the Paris metro by the Algerian Armed Islamic Group (GIA) made France the first western European country to suffer so-called radical Islamist terrorism, its politicians and “terror experts” have consistently warned Britain to the dangers of welcoming Islamist political dissidents and radical preachers to her shores.

In the aftermath of the July London attacks, commentators were quick to argue that France’s “zero tolerance” policy and campaign of “integration” in the name of republican values – embodied in the 2004 ban on the display of all religious symbols in schools – has spared the country from terror attacks, while Britain’s failure to follow Spain and Germany in adopting the French model has proved a spectacular own-goal. However, as Tony Blair made clear in unveiling his government’s proposed legislation on August 5, “the rules of the game have changed”. Suddenly, the French recipe for dealing with Islamist terror has become feted by British politicians and media alike.

But how would we regard the virtue of the French model if, a decade after bombs ripped through the metro, enough evidence had been gathered to demonstrate that the attacks allegedly carried out by Islamist militants were not fuelled by fundamentalism, but instead were dreamt up and overseen by the Algerian secret service as part of a domestic political struggle that spilled over into Algeria’s former colonial master? The most comprehensive studies – including Lounis Aggoun and Jean-Baptiste Rivoire’s Françalgérie: Crimes and Lies of the State – argue that this is exactly what happened.

In 1991 Algeria’s main Islamic party, the Islamic Salvation Front (FIS), won a first-round victory in the country’s inaugural multiparty general elections, which threatened to strip away the power of the generals who had controlled the state from the shadows.

Exploiting Europe’s fear of an Islamic government, the Algerian army intervened to halt the second round of voting, forcing the president to step down and a temporary commission to rule the country. But the legitimacy of this new arrangement could only be assured if the Islamic opposition could be discredited and crushed.

The DRS – the Algerian secret service – systematically infiltrated insurrectionary Islamist groups such as the GIA and from 1992 onwards launched its own fake guerrilla groups, including death squads disguised as Islamists. In 1994, the DRS managed to place Jamel Zitouni, one of the Islamists it controlled, at the head of the GIA.

“It became impossible to distinguish the genuine Islamists from those controlled by the regime,” says Salima Mellah, of the NGO Algeria Watch. “Each time the generals came under pressure from the international community, the terror intensified”. By January 1995, however, Algeria’s dirty war began to falter. The Italian government hosted a meeting in Rome of Algerian political parties, including the FIS. The participants agreed a common platform, calling for an inquiry into the violence in Algeria, the end of the army’s involvement in political affairs and the return of constitutional rule.

This left the generals in an untenable position. In their desperation, and with the help of the DRS, they hatched a plot to prevent French politicians from ever again withdrawing support for the military junta. As Aggoun and Rivoire recount, French-based Algerian spies initially given the task of infiltrating Islamist networks were transformed into agent provocateurs. In spring 1995, Ali Touchent, an Algerian agent, began to gather and incite a network of disaffected young men from north African backgrounds to commit terrorist attacks in France. The DRS’s infiltrators, led by Zitouni, also pushed the GIA to eliminate some of the FIS’s leaders living in Europe.

On July 11 1995 Abdelbaki Sahraoui, a FIS leader in France, was assassinated. The GIA claimed responsibility. Two weeks later the metro was hit by bombs, killing eight. After a further attack, Zitouni called on President Jacques Chirac to “convert to Islam to be saved”. The resulting public hysteria against Islam and Islamism saw the French government abandon its support for the Rome accord.

So what happened to the perpetrators? The masterminds of the main attack were never caught. Despite being publicly identified by the Algerian authorities as the European ringleader of the GIA and by French investigators as the key organiser, Touchent evaded capture, returned to Algeria and settled in a secure police quarter of Algiers.

France’s inability to bring to justice those genuinely responsible for the 1995 attacks was evidently more than an accident. According to Mohamed Samraoui, a former colonel in the Algerian secret service: “French intelligence knew that Ali Touchent was a DRS operative charged with infiltrating pro-Islamist cells in foreign countries.” It has never been officially denied that in return for supplying the French authorities with valuable information, Touchent was granted protection.

This is not the only explanation for French collaboration with the Algerian government. Algeria is one of the main suppliers of gas and oil to France, and an important client. François Gèze of La Decouverte, a French publisher which exposed the involvement of the Algerian secret services in the dirty war, argues that at the heart of this economic relationship is a web of political corruption. “French exporters generally pay a 10 to 15% commission on their goods. Part of this revenue is then ‘repaid’ by the Algerians as finance for the electoral campaigns of French political parties.”

What the true story of France’s 1995 brush with “Islamic terror” reveals is that the attacks, while probably executed by a small number of Muslim extremists, were conceived and manipulated by vested interests. British policymakers would do well to understand the specific context and complex colonial legacy of French-Algerian relations before they go looking for direct comparisons. The 1995 case is also a warning against blaming “Islamists” for terror, while turning a blind eye to repressive actions of governments in the Arab world when they suit western governments’ agenda.

· Naima Bouteldja is a French journalist and researcher for the Transnational Institute

The Rise of German Imperialism and the Phony “Russian Threat”

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article40412.htm

The Rise of German Imperialism and the Phony “Russian Threat”

By James Petras

December 08, 2014 “ICH” – The principle Nazi ideological prop that secured massive financial and political support from Germany’s leading industrialists was the Communist and Soviet threat.  The main Nazi military drive, absorbing two-thirds of its best troops, was directed eastward at conquering and destroying Russia.  The ‘Russian Threat’ justified Nazi Germany’s conquest and occupation of the Ukraine, the Balkans, Eastern Europe and the Baltic states, with the aid of a substantial proportion of local Nazi collaborators.

After Germany’s defeat , division  and  disarmament, and with the extension of Soviet power,  the US reinstated the Nazi industrial and banking giants, officials and intelligence operatives. At first they were engaged in rebuilding their domestic economy and consolidating political power, in collaboration with the US military occupation forces.

By the late 1960’s Germany regained economic primacy in Europe and was at the forefront of European ‘integration’, in association with France and England. It soon came to dominate the principle decision – making institutions of the European Union(EU). The EU served as Germany’s instrument for conquest by stealth. Year by year, through ‘aid’ and low interest loans,the EU  facilitated German capitalist’s  market penetration and financial expansion,through out south and central Europe. Germany set the agenda for Western Europe, gaining economic dominance while benefiting from US subversion and encirclement of Eastern Europe, Russia and the Baltic and Balkan states.

Germany’s Great Leap Forward:  The Annexation of East Germany and the Demise of the USSR

Germany’s projection of power on a world scale would never have occurred if it had not annexed East Germany. Despite the West German claims of beneficence and ‘aid’ to the East, the Bonn regime secured several million skilled engineers, workers and technicians, the takeover of factories, productive farms and, most important, the Eastern European and Russian markets for industrial goods, worth  billions of dollars. Germany was transformed from an emerging influential EU partner, into the most dynamic expansionist power in Europe, especially in the former Warsaw Pact economies.

The annexation of East Germany and the overthrow of the Communist governments in the East allowed German capitalists to dominate markets in the former  Eastern bloc. As the major trading partner, it seized control of major industrial enterprises via corrupt privatizations decreed  by the newly installed pro-capitalist client regimes.  As the Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Bulgarian, the Baltic States “privatized” and “de-nationalized” strategic economic, trade, media and social service sectors, ‘unified’ Germany was able to resume a privileged place.  As Russia fell into the hands of gangsters, emerging oligarchs and political proxies of western capitalists, its entire industrial infrastructure was decimated and Russia was converted into a giant raw-material export region.

Germany converted its trade relations with Russia from one between equals into a ‘colonial’ pattern:  Germany exported high value industrial products and imported gas, oil and raw materials from Russia.

German power expanded exponentially, with the annexation of the “other Germany”, the restoration of capitalism in Eastern Europe and the ascendancy of client regimes eager and willing to submit to a German dominated European Union and a US directed NATO military command.

German political-economic expansion via ‘popular uprisings’, controlled by local political clients, was soon accompanied by a US led military offensive – sparked by separatist movements. Germany intervened in Yugoslavia, aiding and abetting separatists in Slovenia and Croatia .It backed the US-NATO bombing of Serbia and supported the far-right, self-styled Kosovo Liberation Army ( KLA),engaged in a terrorist war in  Kosovo .  Belgrade was defeated and regime change led to a neo-liberal client state.  The US built the largest military base in Europe in Kosovo. Montenegro and Macedonia became EU satellites.

While NATO expanded and enhanced the US military presence up to Russia’s borders, Germany became the continent’s pre-eminent economic power.

Germany and the New World Order

While President Bush and Clinton were heralding a “new world order”, based on  unipolar military supremacy, Germany advanced its new imperial order by exercising its  political and economic levers.  Each of the two power centers, Germany and the US, shared the common quest of rapidly incorporating the new capitalist regimes into their regional organizations –the European Union (EU) and NATO– and extending their reach globally. Given the reactionary origins and trajectory into vassalage of the Eastern, Baltic and Balkan regimes, and given their political fears of a popular reaction to the loss of employment, welfare and independence resulting from their implementation of savage neoliberal “shock policies”, the client rulers immediately “applied” for membership as subordinate members of the EU and NATO, trading sovereignty, markets and national ownership of the means of production for economic handouts and the ‘free’ movement of labor, an escape valve for the millions of newly unemployed workers.  German and English capital got millions of skilled immigrant workers at below labor market wages, and unimpeded access to markets and resources. The US secured NATO military bases, and recruited military forces for its Middle East and South Asian imperial wars.

US-German military and economic dominance in Europe was premised on retaining Russia as a weak quasi vassal state, and on the continued economic growth of their economies beyond the initial pillage of the ex-communist economies.

For the US, uncontested military supremacy throughout Europe was the springboard for near-time imperial expansion in the Middle East, South Asia, Africa and Latin America.  NATO was ‘internationalized’ into an offensive global military alliance: first in Somalia, Afghanistan then Iraq, Libya, Syria and the Ukraine.

The Rise of Russia, The Islamic Resistance and the New Cold War

During the ‘decade of infamy’ (1991-2000) extreme privatization measures by the client rulers in Russia on behalf of EU and US investors and gangster oligarchs, added up to vast pillage of the entire economy, public treasury and national patrimony.  The image and reality of a giant prostrate vassal state unable to pursue an independent foreign policy, and incapable of providing the minimum semblance of a modern functioning economy and maintaining the rule of law, became the defining view of Russia by the EU and the USA. Post-communist Russia, a failed state by any measure, was dubbed a “liberal democracy” by every western capitalist politician and so it was repeated by all their mass media acolytes.

The fortuitous rise of Vladimir Putin and the gradual replacement of some of the most egregious ‘sell-out’ neo-liberal officials, and most important, the reconstruction of the Russian state with a proper budget and functioning national institutions, was immediately perceived as a threat to US military supremacy and German economic expansion.  Russia’s transition from Western vassalage to regaining its status as a sovereign independent state set in motion, an aggressive counter-offensive by the US-EU. They financed a neo-liberal-oligarchy backed political opposition in an attempt to restore Russia to vassalage via street demonstrations and elections. Their efforts  to oust Putin and re-establish Western vassal state failed. What worked in 1991 with Yeltsin’s power grab against Gorbachev was ineffective against Putin. The vast majority of Russians did not want a return to the decade of infamy.

In the beginning of the new century, Putin and his team set new ground-rules, in which oligarchs could retain their illicit wealth and conglomerates, providing they didn’t use their economic levers to seize state power.  Secondly, Putin revived and restored the scientific technical, military, industrial and cultural institutions and centralized trade and investment decisions within a wide circle of public and private decision makers not beholden to Western policymakers.  Thirdly, he began to assess and rectify the breakdown of Russian security agencies particularly with regard to the threats emanating from Western sponsored ‘separatist’ movements in the Caucuses, especially, in Chechnya, and the onset of US backed ‘color revolutions’ in the Ukraine and Georgia.

At first, Putin optimistically assumed that, Russia being a capitalist state, and without any competing ideology, the normalization and stabilization of the Russian state would be welcomed by the US and the EU.  He even envisioned that they would accept Russia  as an economic, political, and even NATO partner.   Putin even made overtures to join and co-operate with NATO and the EU.  The West did not try to dissuade Putin of his illusions .In fact they encouraged him, even as they escalated their backing for Putin’s internal opposition and prepared a series of imperial wars and sanctions in the Middle East, targeting traditional Russian allies in Iraq, Syria and Libya.

As the ‘internal’ subversive strategy failed to dislodge President Putin, and the Russian state prevailed over the neo-vassals, the demonization of Putin became constant and shrill. The West moved decisively to an ‘outsider strategy’, to isolate, encircle and undermine the Russian state by undermining allies, and trading partners

US and Germany Confront Russia:  Manufacturing the “Russian Threat”

Russia was enticed to support US and NATO wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya in exchange for the promise of deeper integration into Western markets.  The US and EU accepted Russian co-operation, including military supply routes and bases, for their invasion and occupation of Afghanistan. The NATO powers secured Russian support of sanctions against Iran. They exploited Russia’s naïve support of a “no fly zone” over Libya to launch a full scale aerial war. The US financed  so-called “color revolutions” in Georgia and the Ukraine  overt, a dress rehearsal for the putsch in 2014  Each violent seizure of power allowed NATO to impose anti-Russian rulers eager and willing to serve as vassal states to Germany and the US.

Germany spearheaded the European imperial advance in the Balkans and  Moldavia, countries with strong economic ties to Russia.  High German officials “visited” the Balkans to bolster their ties with vassal regimes in Slovenia, Bulgaria, Slovakia and Croatia.  Under German direction, the European Union ordered  the vassal Bulgarian regime of Boyko “the booby” Borisov to block the passage of  Russian owned South Stream pipeline to Serbia, Hungary, Slovenia and beyond.  The Bulgarian state lost $400 million in annual revenue . . .  Germany and the US bankrolled pro-NATO and EU client politicians in Moldavia – securing the election of Iurie Leanca as Prime Minister.  As a result of Leanca’s slavish pursuit of EU vassalage, Moldavia lost $150 million in exports to Russia.  Leanca’s pro-EU policies go counter to the views of most Moldavians – 57% see Russia as the country’s most important economic partner.  Nearly 40% of the Moldavian working age population works in Russia and 25% of the Moldavians’ $8 billion GDP is accounted for by overseas remittances.

German and the US empire-builders steamroll over dissenting voices in Hungary, Serbia and Slovenia, as well as Moldova and Bulgaria, who’s economy and population suffer from the impositions of the blockade of  the Russian gas and oil pipeline.  But Germany’s, all out economic warfare against Russia takes precedent over the interests of its vassal states: its theirs to sacrifice for the ‘Greater Good’ of the emerging German economic empire and the US – NATO military encirclement of Russia. The extremely crude dictates of German imperial interests articulated through the EU, and the willingness of Balkan and Baltic regimes to sacrifice fundamental economic interests, are the best indicators of the emerging German empire in Europe.

Parallel to Germany’s rabid anti-Russian economic campaign, the US via NATO is engaged in a vast military build-up along the length and breadth of Russia’s frontier.  The US stooge, NATO Chief Jens Stoltenberg, boasts that over the current year, NATO has increased 5-fold the warplanes and bombers patrolling Russian maritime and land frontiers, carried out military exercises every two days and vastly increased the number of war ships in the Baltic and Black Sea.

Conclusion

What is absolutely clear is that the US and Germany want to return Russia to the vassalage status of the 1990’s.  They do not want ‘normal relations’. From the moment Putin moved to restore the Russian state and economy, the Western powers have engaged in a series of political and military interventions, eliminating Russian allies, trading partners and independent states.

The emergent of extremist, visceral anti-Russian regimes in Poland, Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania served as the forward shield for NATO advancement and German economic encroachment.  Hitler’s ‘dream’ of realizing the conquest of the East via unilateral military conquest has now under Prime Minister Merkel taken the form of conquest by stealth in Northern and Central Europe, by economic blackmail in the Balkans, and by violent putsches in the Ukraine and  Georgia.

The German economic ruling class is divided between the dominant pro-US sector that is willing to sacrifice lucrative trade with Russia today in hopes of dominating and pillaging the entire economy in a post-Putin Russia (dominated by ‘reborn Yeltsin clones’); and a minority industrial sector, which wants to end sanctions and return to normal economic relations with Russia.

Germany is fearful that its client rulers in the East, especially in the Balkans are vulnerable to a popular upheaval due to the economic sacrifices they impose on the population. Hence, Germany is wholly in favor of the new NATO rapid deployment force, ostensibly designed to counter a non-existent “Russian threat” but in reality to prop up faltering vassal regimes.

The ‘Russian Threat’, the ideology driving the US and German offensive throughout Europe and the Caucuses, is a replay of the same doctrine which Hitler used to secure support from domestic industrial bankers, conservatives and right wing overseas collaborators among extremists in Ukraine, Hungary, Rumania and Bulgaria.

The US-EU seizure of power via vassal political clients backed by corrupt oligarchs and Nazi street fighters in Ukraine detonated the current crisis. Ukraine power grab posed a top security threat to the very existence of Russia as an independent state.  After the Kiev take-over, NATO moved its stooge regime in Kiev forward to militarily eliminate the independent regions in the Southeast and seize the Crimea .thus totally eliminating Russia’s strategic position in the Black Sea. Russia the victim of the NATO power grab was labelled the “aggressor”. The entire officialdom and mass media echoed the Big Lie. Two decades of US NATO military advances on Russia’s borders and German-EU economic expansion into Russian markets were obfuscated.  Ukraine is the most important strategic military platform from which the US-NATO can launch an attack on the Russian heartland and the single largest market for Germany since the annexation of East Germany

The US and Germany see the Ukraine conquest as of extreme value in itself but also as the key to launching an all-out offensive to strangle Russia’s economy via sanctions and dumping oil and to militarily threaten Russia. The strategic goal is to reduce the Russian population to poverty and to re-activate the quasi-moribund opposition  to overthrow the Putin government and return Russia to permanent vassalage. The US and German imperial elite, looking beyond Russia, believe that if they control Russia, they can encircle ,isolate and attack China from the West as well as the East.

Wild-eyed fanatics they are not.  But as rabid proponents of a permanent war to end Russia’s presence in Europe and to undermine China’s emergence as a world power, they are willing to go to the brink of a nuclear war.

The ideological centerpiece of US-German imperial expansion and conquest in Europe and the Caucuses is the “Russian Threat”.  It is the touchstone defining adversaries and allies.  Countries that do not uphold sanctions are targeted.  The mass media repeat the lie.  The “Russian Threat” has become the war cry for cringing vassals – the phony justification for imposing frightful sacrifices to serve their imperial ‘padrones’ in Berlin and Washington –  fearing the rebellion of the ‘sacrificed’ population.  No doubt, under siege, Russia will be forced to make sacrifices.  The oligarchs will flee westward; the liberals will crawl under their beds.  But just as the Soviets turned the tide of war in Stalingrad, the Russian people, past the first two years of a bootstrap operation will survive, thrive and become once again a beacon of hope to all  people looking to get from under the tyranny of US-NATO militarism and German-EU economic dictates.

James Petras is a Bartle Professor (Emeritus) of Sociology at Binghamton University, New York.

Kenyan False Flag Bomb Plot Aimed At Tightening Sanctions Noose On Iran

Kenyan False Flag Bomb Plot Aimed At Tightening Sanctions Noose On Iran

Islamic Republic Falls Foul in African Cradle of America’s ‘War on Terror’

By Finian Cunningham, Global Research, July 6, 2012

An alleged spectacular Iranian bomb plot uncovered in Kenya this week has all the hallmarks of a Western intelligence “false flag” operation – with the aim of tightening international oil sanctions even further on Iran.

Two men alleged to be Iranian nationals and members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps appeared in court in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, earlier this week on terrorism charges. Media reports on 2 July said the men are accused of planning to blow up American, British, Saudi and Israeli targets in Kenya, including the British High Commission office, a chain of hotels and a synagogue.

Then, two days later, on 4 July, the Kenyan government made a surprise announcement that it was cancelling a fresh oil deal that it had signed with Iran. The purchase agreement had been struck with the Islamic Republic only a few weeks ago. The deal would have involved the supply of 80,000 barrels per day (b/d) of Iranian crude to the East African country.

Kenya is East Africa’s largest economy and the new partnership was seen as a welcome opportunity by Iran to open up other African oil export markets in the wake of tough American and European sanctions that came into effect on 28 June and 1 July, respectively. The 27-member EU bloc was a mainstay of Iranian oil exports, representing about 500,000 b/d, or 20 per cent of Iran’s global total.

While the Kenyan deal in itself would have only gone a small way towards compensating for the loss of the EU market, nevertheless it held the promise of a wider regional destination for further Iranian exports. There were reports of similar transactions in the pipeline with Tanzania and Zimbabwe among others.

Only a day before the Kenyan cancellation, the director of the National Iranian Oil Company, Mohsen Ghamsari, spoke to Iranian media in an upbeat tone about the Kenyan contract and how this signified new export markets in Africa circumventing the loss of European markets.

“Under the current conditions, despite the oil exports’ halt to Europe, new contracts with other customer countries have been signed,” said Ghamsari. “One of the new markets for exports of Iran’s oil is that of the African countries,” he added, confirming that Kenya was one of them. “Soon, more details about new Iran oil export contracts to new countries will be announced.”

That promising African development for Iran now seems to have foundered, adding to an already bleak outlook for Iran’s economy following the closure of European oil markets and, even worse, cancellations by major Asian buyers. Some 60 per cent of Iran’s crude exports had until recently been destined for Asia, including China, India, Japan and South Korea. But, despite earlier defiant talk, these buyers have recently balked at Iranian orders so as to avoid American and European financial penalties against banks and shipping insurance companies dealing with Iran.

The upshot is that Iranian oil exports have crashed from 2.5 million b/d last year to about 1.5 million b/d currently – a drop of 40 per cent, representing a loss of $3 billion every month to the Iranian economy. Over the year, that translates into a 10 per cent contraction in Iran’s oil-based national economy, according to World Bank data. This, in turn, is having a drastic impact on social conditions in Iran, with the purchasing power of the currency, the rial, plummeting, and inflation and unemployment spiralling.

Kenya’s oil ministry claims that revoking the Iranian contract was not related to the alleged bomb plot. The ministry says it was merely complying with American warnings of sanctions’ penalties being enforced if it went ahead with the oil deal.

But it seems likely that the suspected terror attacks – reported widely in lurid detail – may have been aimed at making the abrupt scuppering of the Iranian oil purchase more politically acceptable, not just in Kenya, but elsewhere in Africa. Local and international media reports immediately connected the Kenyan bomb scare with other alleged Iranian terror plots over the past year, including the plan to assassinate the Saudi ambassador in Washington DC, and a string of explosions in Thailand, India, Georgia and Azerbaijan.

Iran has strenuously denied any sinister involvement in Kenya or the other countries mentioned. No evidence has been produced to substantiate the high-flown accusations made against Iran, yet Western mainstream media continue to run with such claims months after the alleged incidents have faded into oblivion.

As if on cue, as soon as the news broke about the latest bomb plot in Kenya, Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s prime minister, accused the Iranian government of “a terrorist attack in Africa”.

Netanyahu asserted: “After Iran sent its agents to murder the Saudi ambassador on US soil, the country has engaged in attacks in Azerbaijan, Bangkok, in Tbilisi, in New Delhi, and now we have just discovered a plot for a terrorist attack in Africa. Iranian terrorism knows no borders. The international community must fight against this major player in the world of terrorism.”

Apart from Netanyahu’s scripted, ready response to a breaking news story, there are other aspects about the alleged Kenyan bomb plot that indicate there is far more to it than meets the eye.

The two suspects, named as Ahmad Abolfathi Mohammad and Sayed Mansour Mousavi, are widely reported to belong to the crack Al Quds division of Iran’s revolutionary guards. But their appearance in the Nairobi court showed men who were well over middle age, with slightly disheveled figures, lacking the killer, athletic physiques that one would expect of elite commandos.

Secondly, it was reported that as soon as the men were arrested on 19 June, they voluntarily led police to a warehouse in the coastal city of Mombasa to recover 15 kilos of RDX plastic explosive. That readiness to cooperate with police in locating explosives does not sound like the behaviour of highly trained, elite commandos.

Thirdly, when the men appeared in court this week they denied the charges of a terror conspiracy. That contradicts the above claim that the suspects led police to their bomb store.

Fourthly, Kenyan police were reported in local and international media saying that they believed the alleged terror duo were planning to use 15 kilos of explosive to attack up to 30 high-profile targets.

Now, while RDX (a component of Semtex) is a powerful explosive, a blitz on 30 targets with a total cache of 15 kilos would appear to spread the demolition material a bit thin (0.5 kilo per hit), which seems an unlikely bomb ration if one was indeed planning to carry out terror attacks on embassies, government buildings, hotels, a city centre shopping mall, and a synagogue.

A fifth anomaly in the official story is the allegation that all this synchronized destruction and mayhem was to be carried out by only two men. Given the necessary logistics, surveillance, transport, not to mention the time required to execute such a complex plot, the huge task would be physically impossible for two individuals to pull off – even if they were top-notch Iranian commandos, which the two hapless suspects are clearly not.

One further question mark over the latest supposed Iranian terror plot in Kenya is the shadowy involvement of Western and Israeli intelligence in the former British colony. For several months now the US embassy has been issuing unspecified terror warnings to the public. On 23 April, a Kenya news agency reported: “An advisory from the [US] embassy said the timing of the attacks was unclear, but intelligence information showed the planning was in the final stages.” In a statement, the US embassy said then: “The embassy informs US citizens residing in or visiting Kenya that the US embassy in Nairobi has received credible information regarding a possible attack on Nairobi hotels and prominent Kenyan government buildings.”

Since Kenyan troops invaded neighbouring Somalia at the end of 2011, there have been a series of grenade attacks in Nairobi that have claimed over 10 lives. It is not clear who is behind the attacks. The Somali insurgent group, Al Shehab, which is said to have links to Al Qaeda, has been blamed by Kenyan police, but the group has denied involvement. While the grenade incidents have proven deadly, there is a distinct sense that the US embassy terror warnings were hinting at a more high-profile event.

Moreover, when the alleged Iranian bombers appeared in court, they claimed that they were interrogated and tortured by Israeli agents upon their arrest. The Israeli embassy declined to comment to media on these claims. But if they are true, that suggests a highly irregular policing matter. Why should Israeli agents be involved immediately in a criminal matter of a sovereign jurisdiction?

A deeper look into the historic role of Kenya in the American-led “war on terror” raises even more disquieting questions that cast doubt on the latest Iranian bomb plot claim.

For a start, Kenya is a key ally of Western intelligence in East Africa. It is believed to serve as a clandestine base for American aerial drone attacks in Somalia, which intensified over the past year, with reports of dozens of deaths, many of them civilians, in the southern Somali region around the rebel-held port city of Kismayu.

Kenya is also a node in the international rendition network run by the US, Britain and Israel. Young men from Somalia and other countries in the region who are suspected of Islamic Jihadi activities or sympathies are rendered to black sites in Kenya, where they are interrogated and tortured before being transferred to other such sites in Afghanistan. Human rights investigator Clara Gutteridge told the US-based Nation magazine in excruciating detail how one young Somali man was captured in Mogadishu in 2003 by a Somali warlord and handed over to American officials, who had him rendered via Kenya and Djibouti to Afghanistan for five years of detention and torture before he was released from Bagram Air Force Base without charge.

The Kenyan authorities have therefore a history of close collaboration with Western intelligence agencies, and this collaboration dates back to before 9/11 and the “war on terror”. Indeed, a case can be made that Kenya served as a crucial incubator for the American conception of fighting a global war against Islamic terrorists.

In 1998, three years before 9/11, one of the most deadly assaults against US personnel and sovereignty was carried out ostensibly by the newly formed Al Qaeda terror network led by Osama bin Laden. On 7 August 1998, a truck bomb carrying 1,000 kilos of explosive was driven into the US embassy in Nairobi. The lethal force demolished the building and killed 219 people, 12 of them American citizens, and injured more than 4,000. Minutes later, in Dar-es-Salaam, the capital of neighbouring Tanzania, a second truck bomb exploded at the US embassy there, killing 11 and injuring 85.

The twin attacks put Al Qaeda and its leader on the global map as America’s enemy number one. This was the genesis of the “war on terror” in which, supposedly, the former American mujahideen proxy army that had defeated the Soviet Union in Afghanistan was transformed from dutiful ally to mortal enemy. The rationale for the switch was said to be the arrival of US troops in Saudi Arabia – the home of the holy Muslim cities of Mecca and Medina – which began in August 1990 in the build-up to the Gulf War against Iraq’s Saddam Hussein over his invasion of Kuwait.

During the 1990s, Bin Laden’s newly formed Al Qaeda (“the base”) was reported to be expanding out of Afghanistan and setting up in Sudan, Kenya and Somalia. Recall that this was at the time of the Soviet Union’s collapse and with its demise the entire rationale of the America’s global military doctrine and spending was in danger of vanishing. During this period, Al Qaeda came to fill the void left by the collapsing Soviet Union as the new enemy for which the Pentagon’s trillion-dollar budget would have to be maintained, rather than it being furnished as a “peace dividend” for the good of American civic society.

The problem for US planners was making the nebulous Al Qaeda a credible threat to the American and world public. The devastating attacks on the US embassy in Kenya and Tanzania would provide such a crystallizing demonstration. But, as with the later, more spectacular 9/11 terror in New York, the bombings of the embassies were not masterminded by Al Qaeda Jihadis, but rather by American military intelligence. The horrific terrorist carnage would serve to mobilize the American public behind a new war agenda, no longer the one against the “evil Soviet empire”, but now against “Islamic extremists” hellbent on destroying American values and the American way of life.

American author and commentator Ralph Schoenman has been researching the 1998 US embassy bombings from that date. Schoenman is convinced that the atrocities were “false flags” to create a new official enemy of the US in the form of Al Qaeda and Muslim extremists generally. In that way, he says, the US planners were able to bestow American imperialism with a badly needed new pretext to justify foreign interventions and wars for the control of natural resources, principally oil.

The American-led wars over the past decade in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Pakistan, Somalia as well as the warmongering policies towards Syria and Iran bear that out.

A key indicator of a false flag operation in the 1998 US embassy attacks, says Schoenman, was the involvement of Ali A Mohamed, also known as Ali “the American”. He is labeled as the “point man”, who masterminded and coordinated the assaults. Two years after the blasts, Mohamed was arrested by the American authorities and pleaded guilty to conspiracy to murder.

It then transpired that the alleged Al Qaeda bomber had an impeccable US military service record, having trained at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and later working as an instructor in explosives at the John F Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School until 1989.

The American government narrative then claimed that Mohamed, who was married to an American citizen and who had lived in California, was all the while working as a double agent for Al Qaeda and that “he turned” by the time of the embassy attacks in 1998. This narrative was dutifully circulated by the American media. One headline in the San Francisco Chronicle in 2001 conveyed the sense of treachery: Bin Laden’s man in Silicon Valley – ‘Mohamed the American’ orchestrated terrorist acts while living a quiet suburban life in Santa Clara.

Schoenman dismisses the official claim as “straining credulity” in face of the facts. He says that during the 1990s Mohamed was working for the American secret services in East Africa, including Kenya. The operative was also known to be travelling and liaising with Bin Laden’s network in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

“There is no way that US intelligence handlers did not know of every move made by Mohamed. This guy was recruited by the CIA in Cairo, where he was a major in the Egyptian army. He was then a handpicked graduate of Fort Bragg for American Special Forces and he went on to instruct green berets in psy-ops and explosives at the JFK School of Warfare. We are talking about the strictest security clearance in the US military. And yet the official account expects the public to believe that somehow Mohamed’s connections with Bin Laden’s Al Qaeda slipped their attention and that he carried out the US embassy bombings in a rogue fashion for the supposed enemy.”

Schoenman’s contention is that the Kenyan and Tanzanian US embassy attacks were a deliberate ploy by American military intelligence that was instrumented by Ali A Mohamed. The blasts involved suicide bombers and Schoenman does not rule out that there may have been willing Jihadi dupes recruited for the mission. But the bottom line is that the carnage was deliberately inflicted by US planners as a prelude to the “war on terror” and the subsequent spectacular of 9/11.

Supporting this contention is the fact that, despite pleading guilty in a New York court in 2000 to conspiracy to murder American citizens, Mohamed has never been sentenced. There are no records of subsequent court proceedings and his whereabouts are unknown. His Californian wife, Linda Sanchez, was quoted in 2006 as saying of her husband: “He can’t talk to anybody. Nobody can get to him. They have Ali pretty secretive… it’s like he just kinda vanished into thin air.”

That sounds like Mohamed made a guilty plea bargain with his handlers, so that he would not have to go to trial thus suppressing all details of the embassy bombings, and in return he would be given a new identity and not have to spend a single day in jail.

To recap, Kenya holds a special place in the evolution of America’s fraudulent war on terror – a war that it is conducting with trillion-dollar budgets in the pursuit of illusory or grossly exaggerated enemies. In the name of this spurious war, the US along with its NATO, Arab and Israeli allies are justified to invade sovereign countries, absolved from committing crimes against humanity, and free to commandeer the natural resources of subjugated nations. Warmongering, criminal imperialism is thus given a badge of respect.

Meanwhile, independent, peaceful countries such as Iran are traduced as “an axis of evil”, “a rogue state”, “sponsor of global terror”, thereby justifying aggression by the self-styled “upholders of international law”.

Paradoxically, the real sponsors of terror, who possess thousands of nuclear warheads in contravention of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, are beating the drums of war against nuclear unarmed Iran and imposing crippling economic sanctions.

And when Iran peaceably seeks new oil markets in Africa to circumvent illegal sanctions, it is not only denied the right to conduct international trade, it is doubly wronged by being blamed for plotting terrorism – by the very states that are the architects of global terrorism.

Finian Cunningham is Global Research’s Middle East and East Africa Correspondent

cunninghamfinian@gmail.com

Corrupting the United Nations by financial blackmail

Our United Nations is under an active threat of slow extinction, and the world community is in turn under active threat of escalating convulsion…The Northern industrial powers have not allowed the UN to tackle the root causes of conflict and upheaval that were postponed, concealed, and in many respects exacerbated by the Cold War…The Host-Country to the UN is engaged in political blackmail on all the rest of us; let us call it what it is.

 

Financing the United Nations
by Erskine Childers

Conference on Finance for Development and Peace

Economen voor Vrede (EVV)
in collaboration with
The Tinbergen Institute and The Dutch Committee 50 Years United Nations

The Tinbergen Institute, Rotterdam
September 29, 1995

The issues we face in this conference are by no means only technical. The financing of the United Nations System involves cultural, legal, political, and economic factors, and running through of all these are complex influences of information, disinformation, and resultant perception. As I hope I can illustrate in the course of these remarks we are, then, involved in a "sociology" of financing the UN, at two dimensions — financing the core activities of the United Nations System, and mobilising the vastly larger finances needed to enable the UN to lead in building a peaceable and just world community.

I will speak to the main problems of core financing, and I will speak frankly, as a private citizen of the United Nations who believes that Europe's soft-spoken deference to so-called major powers, one in particular, is a whole part of our financing problems. The time is long past for polite talk; and the calculations we need to make are not merely intriguing academic problems or flights of imagination. Our United Nations is under an active threat of slow extinction, and the world community is in turn under active threat of escalating convulsion. I hope this conference will proceed in an atmosphere of impatience, even anger, and a determination to demand that our governments properly assume their responsibilities.

By the core financing of the System I mean the financing of the United Nations itself, and of the main Specialized Agencies (like UNESCO, FAO, ILO, WHO, UNIDO) by the mechanism of assessed dues levied on each member-state. The first and underlying need here is full and accurate perception of two outrageous absurdities.

The first absurdity is the prevailing perception of size; the charge flung about the Northern world that the UN System's budgets are huge, extravagant drains on our countries' treasuries. The impact of this propaganda can be illustrated through a true anecdote. When the eminent international financiers convened by the Secretary-General to review UN financing problems first met in late 1992 under the co- chairing of Shijuro Ogata and Paul Volcker, they expressed bewilderment about the data prepared for them on UN budgets. Were there not misprints in the tables? When they were assured that the figures were accurate they expressed astonishment: had they really been asked to look at the problems of mobilising such very small annual sums? Even such eminent financiers, with access to the best information, had believed the propaganda.

A major feature of this problem is deliberate disinformation facilitated by lazy journalism. The UN's budget figures are open matters of public record. The UN's presentation of the figures can be improved, but any serious and honest enquirer can work with them. However, right-wing politicians and foundations, and other groups intent on crippling the UN have for decades grossly misrepresented the real size of the finances of the UN. And Northern media editors who have an ingrained dislike of all bureaucracies and a worship of the major powers have readily accepted every epithet offered them about this. And as a result, not only have some of the world's most eminent financiers been successfully disinformed, but ordinary citizens are made confused and apathetic by the propaganda, and many parliamentarians are hesitant to get involved. Meanwhile, the UN sinks closer and closer to outright bankruptcy. There was serious official discussion even two weeks ago in New York about the possibility of having to cancel the 50th Anniversary celebrations.

Let me re-state this first gross absurdity. Our only universal public-service organization is confronted with a huge range of needs across the world, which the vast majority of its member-citizens want addressed and depend on the UN System to address. The Northern industrial powers have not allowed the UN to tackle the root causes of conflict and upheaval that were postponed, concealed, and in many respects exacerbated by the Cold War. As a direct result our world organization is now facing large new bills for peacekeeping and relief — to try to cope with the violent consequences of neglect of the causes, and the resultant mass human misery which has seen the number of displaced persons in the world increase 45 times in 45 years. Even so, the total expenditure of the whole assessed and voluntarily funded UN System — for everything done by the UN and the Agencies and Funds in every field of human need, and including grant development, peacekeeping, and humanitarian relief — aggregates to only some 11 billion dollars, or some 17.6 billion guilders, per year.

That is less than 2 dollars, or 3 guilders 20 cents per human being alive on Earth per year. Dutch colleagues can undoubtedly find some astonishing Dutch consumer comparisons, but I can mention that this total expenditure of the UN System for a year would only keep British citizens in alcoholic beverages for 15 weeks. It would only provide Western teenagers half the accessories they buy for their clothing (half the belts and trinkets, not the clothing) in a year. Yet even the UN's own proportion of this total — 1 billion dollars for its regular budget and an average 1.4 billion for peacekeeping — was not fully paid by its members. The arrears have steadily increased.

As of the end of August this year, the total arrears owed to the UN alone stood at $2.5 billion. Of this, $851 million was owed for the regular budget, and $1.67 billions for peace- keeping. An additional assessment for peacekeeping has just been issued totalling another $1.3 billion; we have to wait at least for the statutory 30-day payment period before we can begin to know how much higher the UN deficit may grow in coming months, but it will undoubtedly go beyond $3 billion.

This brings me to Absurdity Number Two, which is an outrage upon every other member-government and upon all the citizens of the UN, including the citizens of the United States who continue to show in repeated polling not less than 65 per cent support for it, despite the conduct of their elected representatives. It is the outrage that the very country to which the rest of us have for forty-nine years entrusted the unique and highly privileged responsibility of being Host to our United Nations is keeping it in a state of political siege and imminent financial bankruptcy. For of the $851 million arrears now outstanding against the regular budget, the United States of America — I repeat, the Host Country to the United Nations — owes $315 million or 37 per cent; and of the peacekeeping arrears of $1.6 billion it owes $648 million, another 40 per cent. And it is delinquent to this massive extent, in violation of international treaty law, not for reasons of economic difficulty but because it is with-holding its due contributions until every other member country accepts its unilateral demands about UN policies, decision-making, and management.

The Host-Country to the UN is engaged in political blackmail on all the rest of us; let us call it what it is.

But there is a further absurdity in this outrageous situation: the United States is not the only source of blame for it. Can any of us think of a single other public-service institution whose other members or constituents have allowed its host to behave this way, year after year? I will return to this issue.

From these two gross absurdities I want to suggest a number of principles and premisses for the core financing of the UN System. The first and paramount principle is implicit in Article 17 of the Charter — that "the expenses of the Organization shall be borne by its members" — and was made explicit in the first scheme of assessment adopted by the General Assembly in 1946. Here again we are confronted by induced counter-perception.

The General Assembly formula for each member's assessed share of the UN regular and peacekeeping budgets is based on the principle of relative capacity-to-pay, calculated from a 10-year average of each country's gross domestic product, with downward adjustments for low per capita income and high foreign debt. The same principle underlies the assessment mechanisms of major Specialized Agencies of the UN System like UNESCO and FAO. It is the root principle of democratic revenue-raising and governance — and in the very countries that demand special influence in the UN on grounds of their contributing the largest money amounts.

It is the principle that it is as great a burden for the poorer citizen to find his or her smaller money amount of taxes as it is for the richer to find their larger money amount. Accordingly, since there is equity of burden, no one should have special influence in governance; no rich person and no corporat-ion is entitled to special posts in or influence on the policies — or reforms — of public-service institutions. The citizens of Europe had to struggle over centuries to overcome precisely this undemocratic premise in their own countries; if they now accepted it at home they would abandon democratic national governance to plutocrats and corporations.

And it is most certainly as great a burden for Jamaica, or Nepal or Tanzania to find their smaller money amounts of contribution to the UN budgets as it is for the United States or the other so-called "major contributors" to find theirs. Thus, and as within every democratic country, in the United Nations everyone "pays most".

The justification persistently used in the United States for with-holding part of its dues is that it "pays most" to the UN's revenues because its assessment is the largest amount, and it is therefore entitled to over-riding influence in every facet of the organization. But here again the blame is wider. For the same totally undemocratic talk is constantly heard in and from the European countries that, in effect are subsidising the US delinquency. The so-called "donor countries" as a group are guilty of such argument in every organization and agency and fund of the UN System, constantly demanding special influence, undemocratic representation in governing bodies, and automatic assignment of senior posts to their nationals. The very name they have long given themselves — "donors" — reflects this. It is a living lie, directly asserting that some 164 other member-countries are not "donors" to UN budgets.

The use of this term is an act of disinformation to their own citizens about the very nature of the United Nations community and its most fundamental ethical and legal principles. Using it in development assistance is just as outrageous, conveying to taxpayers in the North that the developing countries do not make the contributions of land, buildings, staff and their salaries, and often cash as well, that they do make to their programmes and projects assisted by Northern countries; that they are only inert "recipients". These terms have palpable undertones of cultural and racial prejudice — and help to reinforce it.

A quick illustration of these ugly underlying facets was unconsciously provided in a television interview some years ago of the then President of the General Assembly. The American commentator asked as his last question, "Finally, Mr. President, don't you agree that there is something wrong in so many small, weak countries that also contribute so little to the UN's costs having the same one vote as the major powers and contributors?"

The President of the General Assembly looked at him for a moment and then replied, slowly, "I am not sure I understand your question: I am the Prime Minister of Luxembourg".

Here I make first recommendations. These terms and phrases have seriously poisoned relations within the UN family. They have confused decent citizens and taxpayers and enabled Northern authoritarians and neo-imperialists to attempt to compromise the democratic foundations of the UN while bringing it close to financial extinction. It would be a signal contribution towards a stronger United Nations if everyone here could pledge never again to stay silent when someone invokes the utterly undemocratic "pays most" argument, in spoken word or in print. And it would be another signal contribution to lessening the dangerously strained relationship across the North-South divide if everyone here resolved not again to use, and not to allow to go unchallenged anyone else using, the term "donor country" or "donor government".

I must next, however, urge what amounts to a deliberate qualification of the principle of relative capacity to pay. I recommend that we accept as a premise of reform in UN financing that, even if capacity-to-pay calculation assigns a large percentage of the total dues to one or a few countries, it is not politically safe, it has been proven too dangerous. It has made the UN far more dependent upon the respect for law and democratic behaviour of such members than the founders envisaged.

When the founders adopted the principle of capacity-to- pay, they were influenced by three forward perceptions, or forecasts.

The first was that this principle would result in the United States — emerging more wealthy from World War II — paying a very large share of the budget, until war-devastated Europe got back on its feet.

The second forecast was that the United States would behave decently and in a restrained way, as indeed President Truman was expressing, and not use its special budgetary role to dictate to other countries.

The third forward perception of the founders was that decolonization was many decades away, possibly not even in this century; therefore the number of very poor member- countries would be quite limited. Everyone here knows, I am sure, that the founders had so limited a forecast of increase in the membership that they instructed the architects of the new UN buildings in New York to allow for an expansion to only "some 70 members", and most of the additional 20 or so were to come from Europe.

Thus, the United States was assessed 49 per cent of the UN budget at the beginning. And the minimum, the "floor" assessment against the relatively few low-income member- countries was set at 0.04 per cent. As Europe recovered, its assessments increased and the US assessment could be decreased: from 49 to 33 per cent by 1952; down to 30 per cent in 1957; and to the present 25 per cent in 1972. 25 per cent is generally calculated to be about 5 per cent less than a strict application of the assessment formula to the US economy would yield.

When national liberation swept so unexpectedly early across the South, and the UN's membership exploded far beyond the envisaged 70, the early presumption was not unlike that for post-war Europe: that initially there would be small assessments for the Third World (the minimum "floor" was lowered to 0.01 per cent), but that these assessments would gradually be raised as the developing countries would climb out of their colonial impoverishment. It was assumed that this in turn would enable the US share to be further lowered, and thus a healthy "spread" of assessments would be achieved across the whole universal membership.

This has not happened. The industrial North has refused to adjust the basic terms of the world economy, offering instead only the marginal palliative of so-called "aid" (two- thirds of which is in fact disguised export subsidy). Far from climbing out of the impoverishment imposed upon them by the Northern empires, the developing countries as a whole have slipped backwards.

In 1960, as decolonization swelled towards its historic transformation of the UN, the poorest one-fifth of humankind could at least earn one-thirtieth what the richest one-fifth was earning. Today the poorest one-fifth cannot even earn one- sixtieth what the richest one-fifth is earning.

In 1972 when the universalization of the UN was virtually complete and the US assessment percentile was lowered to 25 per cent, the 80 per cent majority of humankind in the South did at least have a 28 per cent share of world trade. Twenty three years later, the 80 per cent have only 19 per cent of world trade, and according to UNDP they are deprived by North- South structural inequities of over $500 billion a year that they could be earning.

In direct correlation, 88 UN member-countries still remain assessable at only the floor of 0.01 per cent, and another 71 members are assessable at only between 0.02 and 0.5 per cent, of the total UN regular budget.

The overall resultant spread of assessments is not at all what was hoped:

25 members assessed at 0.5% and above contribute 89 per cent of the UN budget (including the American 25%, if it were ever paid);

71 members assessed from 0.02 to 0.5% contribute 9.5 per cent; and

88 states at the floor rate of 0.01% contribute the remaining 1.5 per cent of the budget.

And the United States, frequently supported by other so- called "donor countries" either overtly or by their meek acquiescence, is able to exert grossly undemocratic and profoundly unhealthy pressure throughout the UN System. Not only are weak countries subjected to extortion of their UN votes by economic menaces — a criminal felony in democratic countries — but the United States practices direct blackmail against the entire edifice and all its other members by its with-holding of dues.

I hope I have made clear the problematique we thus face. On one hand, the deepening impoverishment of most of humankind by an inequitable economic non-system is now compounded in more and more countries by internal unrest that is usually triggered by IMF structural adjustments. We must vigorously struggle to relieve the policy-elites in a handful of industrial countries, who dictate all this, of their short- sighted arrogance and their trance to the "magic of the market", and make them realise where they are plunging all of us. But in the foreseeable future the great majority of members of the UN will not be able to contribute more than the lowest, or gradually the lower assess-ment percentages to UN budgets.

And on the other hand, we now have far more proof than we could ever have wished, that the United States cannot be trusted to honour its legal financial obligations and pay its 25 per cent share assessed by the capacity-to-pay formula; and that it was also never safe to trust it to honour the Charter and refrain from exploiting the leverage its large share offers it for political ransom and blackmail.

In these circumstances and projections, I urge that we must qualify the capacity-to-pay principle by an imperative- to- protect principle. The late Prime Minister of Sweden, Olof Palme, formally proposed ten years ago that the ceiling should be lowered, so that no member-country is assessed more than 10 to 12 per cent of the total budget, and the difference should be re-apportioned across the assessment scale. We must now drive for this. The United States should be informed by the rest of the membership that its lower assessment will begin when it has made good all its arrears.

How would this be received? Ten years ago Olof Palme's proposal prompted a thundering silence from Washington. The US was annoyed by his proposal. Although American citizens were being lied to that the UN was impossibly expensive, the Administration did not want to have its assessment lowered and thus lose its political leverage. Europe also remained silent, determined not to approve anything that might allow the United States to default on its arrears altogether. This time things might be different: President Clinton has already told the General Assembly that he wants the US peacekeeping assessment rate lowered from its present 32 per cent, and indeed the US Congress has unilaterally — without any permission from the rest of the membership — lowered its peacekeeping assessment to 25 per cent (another violation of international law). But we should not count on anything; the majority of members should not try to negotiate the Palme proposal; they should simply adopt it as a fait accompli.

Suppose, then, that the US refuses to accept this and simply continues to with-hold the maximum proportion of its dues that it dares? As everyone knows, under Article 19 of the Charter a member must be in arrears for the equivalent of two full years of its assessment before it can lose its General Assembly vote. What if the US Congress under its present neanderthal Republican leadership simply keeps with-holding under that threshold? Or does not even bother to do that, counting on Europe remaining as meek as if it were one giant American colony?

Here, I believe, we must adopt some further clear and firm principles by some testing at law. The Charter makes no stipulation about refusal to pay dues for unilateral political reasons. There is partial precedent at the World Court. In the 1960s the General Assembly requested an advisory opinion on the refusal of the Soviet bloc and France to pay peacekeeping assessments because they opposed the relevant peacekeeping operations. The Court ruled that all peacekeeping operations duly authorised are "expenses of the Organization" under Article 17. We must get a further General Assembly request for an advisory opinion from the Court whether it is a violation of international law for a member to refuse to pay its dues for the regular budget on political grounds.

Will Europe at last, and late, have the courage to support such a move? France's statement in the Assembly yesterday suggests that irritation against the US may at last overcome all the trans-Atlantic politesse. If enough of the rest of Europe gets equivalent courage, the request to The Hague can be obtained.

But, some will already be thinking, the United States ignores World Court judgements whenever it wishes; so how can the rest of the membership impose any real pressure on this member? Here I would propose a new principle that the United States could not block.

It is a principle of international law that states parties to a treaty are entitled to enjoy the fruitful products of the collective commitment they make in it. It should follow that they are entitled to penalise any party to a treaty who wilfully denies them such products. My colleague drs. Marjolijn Snippe and I have launched a project to assess and review neglected elements of the international law of the Charter, including the law of financing the UN. We hope to find sponsors for a substantive review of these and other aspects, but let me summarise what we believe would be found fully consonant.

The General Assembly can adopt as a basic principle under Article 17 a decision that any member-state that with-holds its apportioned dues for any reason other than accepted economic difficulty is denying other members their share of the fruits of their UN membership, and will accordingly cease to be eligible for benefits from its membership. Specifically, the General Assembly could decide that these should include UN procurement awards. The United States currently gains about 400 million dollars a year from UN purchases.

A more drastic measure — and one which some European delegates have already privately warned their American counterparts might yet happen if they continue their present behaviour — would be to propose the withdrawal of the Seat of the UN from New York and the United States if the arrears are not paid fully in one year. The grounds for this would be plain and simple: the Host Country to the United Nations cannot behave this way. The American economy currently gains something like a billion dollars a year from its presence in New York, which would go into uproar and panic.

Some will be alarmed at such a prospect, lest the US Congress retaliate by withdrawing from the UN itself. This is possible. It does not alarm me. The UN would retain its member-ship among 95 per cent of humankind, and indeed faith in the organization among the many who now regard it as the captive of the United States might increase. The UN would not lose much financially because it hasn't had the full US contribution to lose. It would not lose US peacekeeping contributions because the Congress is determined not to make any in any case. The rest of us would lose our present subservience to the myth of American power. We would indeed lose the wonderful dedication of individual Americans in UN service. But we might gain after a while an awakening of decent American citizens to the shameful behaviour of their government, behaviour that they have never demanded and have never been asked to approve.

Let me now quickly recall what is left among our core financing problems. After the United States' 37 per cent of arrears against the regular budget and 40 per cent against peacekeeping assessments, all others in arrears are for reasons of economic difficulty. One distinct group is Russia, and eastern Europe and Central Asia. The Russian Federation and Ukraine alone are in arrears to a total of $73 million against the regular budget, or 8 per cent of total arrears; but they account for no less than 45 per cent of peacekeeping arrears. Most east European members, and every new Central Asian member, are in arrears. The high priests of the most dangerous fundamentalist religion in the world, that which worships the magic of the market, have ensured that the devastations of Cold War expenditures have been compounded by their magic.

This ironically counters another nastily racist piece of propaganda, that the developing countries of the South account for a huge proportion of the UN's deficits. They don't. If we exclude the accumulated South African arrears of $57 million under apartheid, the South's share of the problem is only 12 per cent, with a very close correlation with the 90-plus countries that have been devastated by the IMF's imposed prescriptions. All the rest of the arrears are from the North, West and East.

What can be done about the arrears of those of North and South who genuinely plead extreme economic difficulty in finding their assessed share of the costs? The problem would at least be eased by departing from the 49-year rule that all assessment contributions must be paid in US Dollars. Victims of the IMF and its market-magic partners find it very difficult to come up with such hard currency. There has been a proposal for many years for a United Nations Currency based on the Special Drawing Rights concept of value derived from a representative basket of currencies. This should be energetically re-examined, however the powers-that-be huff and puff against it. But until the Pied Pipers of market magic are sent whistling off on their own to their mythical wonderland, and we are thus enabled to regain some sane management of the world economy, the only way to liquidate these arrears is by a straight one-time assessment weighted towards the more affluent Northern countries — or by the issuance of United Nations Bonds with long-term dividends.

Late payments-in is another part of the problem, especially as long as governments adamantly refuse to allow the Secretary-General authority to borrow even for a week to cope with short-term liquidity difficulties. That this is a blatantly political denial is proven by the fact that the same governments allow the Director-General of UNESCO to borrow. However, the Ogata-Volcker group have also recommended against such borrowing authority, but suggested that arrears caused by late payments-in could be reduced by three measures: dividing the UN payments calendar into four quarters; applying interest to late payments per quarter; and getting members whose parliaments have a later appropriation calendar to adjust their UN appropriations timing to fit the UN's calendar.

The concept of interest penalties seems entirely valid, provided that it is carefully administered against those member-governments whose late payments are for reasons other than real economic difficulty. And there certainly are some unacceptable anomalies: to cite but one example concerning my own country, Ireland has the same per capita Gross Domestic Product as Brunei Darussalam, but is assessed six times the amount of that immensely wealthy member-state.

The peacekeeping arrears are, of course, now overwhelmingly larger than those for the regular budget, and the tragedy of the UN having to undertake so many responses to neglected causes has circular effects. Troop-contributing countries are not reimbursed for anything up to five years. For developing countries, which contribute over half the troops, this causes reluctance to contribute more to new operations, and equally naturally makes more difficult finding the hard currency for their regular budget assessments. One proposal from some delegations is for peace-keeping redeemable certificates which member-states could purchase for a stated amount. They could be sold at a discount and be redeemable against future peace-keeping assessments. The only ultimate answer is for a substantial UN Peacekeeping Endowment, capitalised by new and alternative sources of financing such as will be so valuably and thoroughly discussed here in these two days.

In conclusion, then, I hope that I have managed to make clear that the danger of the lights going out at UN offices across the world is very real; that this is scandalously unnecessary; and that it is largely because of the sheer lack of courage of Europe to stand up to the United States. Europe does not have to fear the economic menaces and retaliation visited upon developing countries that dare to stand tall against this feckless bully who has trampled on the Charter that so many noble Americans of a more convivial generation helped to draft. And the part of the problem that is not caused by the United States alone is overwhelmingly caused by the refusal of the industrial powers as a whole to face up to a different world, and to allow the UN to lead in the formulation of macro-economic policies for — and I quote the Charter obligation — "the economic and social advancement of all peoples".

I would therefore urge three further principles for alternative and additional financing.

First, they must not in any way become substitutes for the fulfilment of the obligations upon all member-governments to make their apportioned contributions to the core costs of the UN System.

Secondly, the funds that may be mobilised from the various schemes we will be discussing must deepen the solemn commitments of our governments to the purposes and principles of the United Nations. If alternative funds were not very carefully and democratically governed, they could easily become assets for the fundamentalists of market magic, whose record vis-a-vis the poor of our human family is one of driving ever more of them into absolute poverty. Such funds must be democratically governed on behalf of the whole membership of the UN, otherwise they will merely further the blind and stupid efforts of elites within a minority of the membership to continue to control the UN, ensuring its early demise and leaving the world ever more violently sundered by economic apartheid.

Finally, let us be very careful not to be overwhelmed by the natural urge to provide new funds for the consequences of the long neglect of the causes of conflict and upheaval. For if the most perfectly designed early-warning, pre-emptive diplomacy, peacekeeping and humanitarian protection machinery were now both created and adequately funded, it will be totally overwhelmed within twenty years by the tidal waves of mass convulsion across the world which are now gathering as a result of neglecting their causes.

The only ultimately productive financing of the United Nations System will be that which at last enables it to get on with its primary mission as so clearly stated in the Charter – – to establish "the conditions of wellbeing and stability which are necessary for peaceful and friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples".

It is time, it is overtime, for the peoples of the United Nations to demand that our governments so resource and so govern the UN as to enable it at last to get on with this job. A part of any programme emerging from this conference should be the establishment at the UN of a Parliamentary Assembly, alongside the General Assembly of executive government. This new United Nations Parliamentary Assembly must be given clearly stated roles of oversight of the distribution and spending of additional and alternative funds.

Let me close with a moment of tribute to two people who should be here with us today. How richly we would be nourished in our deliberations by the giant mind and soaring, fearless vision of Jan Tinbergen. And how appropriate it would be if that brave and tireless American who chaired the negotiation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Eleanor Roosevelt, could also be among us.

Let us do the best we can in their spirit. We have little time left before we may otherwise face the ultimate disgrace; the disgrace of looking at our children and knowing that, by our own neglect, we are allowing tired little elites to ensure that we bequeath to our children a world we ourselves would not wish to live in.

CSID: Democracy and Development-Challenges for the Islamic World

CSID Letter from the President – March 14, 2005

Dear Colleagues and Friends of CSID:

I am writing to invite you to attend the CSID 6th Annual Conference:

Democracy and Development: 
Challenges for the Islamic World

Marriott Wardman Park Hotel, Washington, DC 20008
Friday and Saturday, April 22-23, 2005

This year’s program promises to be extremely rich and informative.  The CSID program committee has put together an excellent program, which includes six panels on:
    ?     Internal Resources and their Relevance
    ?      Paradigms for Economic Development
    ?      Open Forum: Voices of Muslim Democrats
    ?      The Impact of Globalization on Democratization & Development
    ?      Women and Political-Economic Development
    ?      US Policy toward Democratic Reforms in the Muslim World
    ?      Barriers to Development
    ?      Identifying Conceptual & Functional Pre-Requisites for Democratization in the Muslim World
 

Among the speakers and panelists at this year’s conference are:

 ?  U.S. Sec. of State Condoleeza Rice (invited)
 ?  USAID Administrator Andrew Natsios (invited)
 ?  Carl Gershman, National Endowment for Democracy, DC
 ?  Lorne Craner, International Republican Institute, DC
 ?  Saad Eddine Ibrahim, Ibn-Khaldoun Center, Egypt
 ?  Vartan Gregorian, Carnegie Corporation of New York – Invited
 ?  Anisa Mehdi, Whetsone Productions, NJ
 ?  Fawaz Gerges, Sarah Lawrence University, NY
 ?  Imam Hassan Qazwini, Islamic Center of America, MI
 ?  Zainah Anwar, Sisters in Islam, Malaysia
 ?  Asma Afsaruddin, Univ. of Notre Dame
 ?  Antony T. Sullivan, Fund for American Studies
 ?  Farid Senzai , Inst. for Social Policies and Understanding
 ?  Muqtedar Khan, Adrian College
 ?  Najib Ghadbian, Univ. of Arkansas
 ?  Ali Paya, Center for the Study of Democracy, UK
 ?  Reza Eslami Somea, Univ. of Tehran, Iran
 ?  Mahmoud Rashdan, Jordan
 ?  Aminah Rasul, Philippines
 ?  Anara Tabyshalieva, Kyrgyzstan
 ?  Abu Elela Mady, Hizb al-Wasat, Egypt
 ?  Wael Nawara, Hizb al-Ghad, Egypt
 ?  Merve Kavakci, Turkey
 ?  Muhammad Al-Habash, Syria
 ?  Sherif Ahmed Mansour, Ibn Khaldun Center, Egypt
 ?  Imad-ad-Dean Ahmad, Minaret of Freedom Institute
 ?  Shadi A. Hamid, Georgetown University, DC
 ?  Robin Bush, The Asia Foundation, Indonesia
 ?  Paul Sullivan, National Defense University, DC
 ?  Louay M. Safi, ISNA Leadership Dev. Center
 ?  Asma Barlas, etc?
 and many other excellent speakers, panelists, and over 250 participants.

 To view the Tentative Program or to register for the conference, please go to:   http://www.islam-democracy.org/
 To renew your membership, and benefit from the lower registration fee, please go to:   http://www.islam-democracy.org/get_involved.asp

CSID has also secured about 50 rooms at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel, Washington, DC for anyone participating or attending the CSID conference (the Special Group Rate of $119.00 a night will expire on March 31, 2005), please call the hotel directly:

Marriott Wardman Park Hotel
 2660 Woodley Road, NW, Washington, DC 20008
 (202) 328-8822 or (800) 228-9290

 If you or your organization/institution are interested in buying a table ($1,000) or in being listed as a  co-sponsor of the conference ($3,000), please contact our conference coordinator, Ms. Layla Sein at: 202-942-2185 by e-mail to: sein@islam-democracy.org.  Your support is vital for the success of the conference, and will allow CSID to defray some of the travel expenses for the speakers (those coming from overseas), as well as hopefully offer some scholarships for graduate students to attend the conference.

We greatly appreciate your support, and we look forward to your participation on April 22-23, 2005.

 With warm greetings and salaam;

 Dr. Radwan A. Masmoudi
 President
 Center for the Study of Islam & Democracy (CSID)
 2121 K Street, NW, Suite 700
 Washington, D.C. 20037-1801
 (202) 942-2181 Phone
 (202) 251-3036 Cell
 masmoudi@islam-democracy.org
 www.islam-democracy.org

________________________________
 PS.  If you are in Washington this week, please make sure to attend our CSID Monthly Lecture Series on Wednesday, March 16, 2005, between 12:30 and 2 PM.

 Our speaker this month will be professor Francis Fukuyama, and he will speak on "Muslim Immigration and Integration in Europe and in the United States"

For questions or comments about the information in this bulletin,
 please contact Zahir Janmohamed at zahir@islam-democracy.org.

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 Copyright 2005 Center for the Study of Islam & Democracy (CSID).
All Rights Reserved.
 

CSID
 2121 K Street NW
 Suite 700
 Washington, DC 20037
 (202) 942-2183
 (202) 628-8189 (fax)
 www.islam-democracy.org