Archive for June 23rd, 2012

Coup d’éblah

by lizard

US foreign policy probably won’t have much influence on the elections in November, unless something “dramatic” happens. If one only watched mainstream news, you might get the sense that America’s two ground wars are winding down, and are seamlessly being replaced with a style of warfare that leaves fewer footprints–special ops, drone strikes and cyber attacks. While that may be generally accurate, US foreign policy is as pernicious as ever.

Regarding the latter method mentioned, cyber attacks, America is already at war with Iran (NYT):

From his first months in office, President Obama secretly ordered increasingly sophisticated attacks on the computer systems that run Iran’s main nuclear enrichment facilities, significantly expanding America’s first sustained use of cyberweapons, according to participants in the program.

Mr. Obama decided to accelerate the attacks — begun in the Bush administration and code-named Olympic Games — even after an element of the program accidentally became public in the summer of 2010 because of a programming error that allowed it to escape Iran’s Natanz plant and sent it around the world on the Internet. Computer security experts who began studying the worm, which had been developed by the United States and Israel, gave it a name: Stuxnet.

Oops, they did it again, those coy American warmongers.

Make no mistake about it, according to our own government’s definition, cyber attacks are acts of war (the guardian; May 31st, 2011):

The US government is rewriting its military rule book to make cyber-attacks a possible act of war, giving commanders the option of launching retaliatory military strikes against hackers backed by hostile foreign powers.

The Pentagon has concluded that the laws of armed conflict can be widened to embrace cyberwarfare in order to allow the US to respond with the use of force against aggressive assaults on its computer and IT infrastructure.

The move, to be unveiled in a US department of defence strategy document next month, is a significant step towards the militarisation of cyberspace, with huge implications for international law.

Bah! Technicalities! Certainly not something for the bewildered American electorate to worry about as Summer heats up.

Take for example if/when people hear about the coup in Paraguay that’s been happening since Friday, what will they think? Just another leftist who had it coming? Because that’s what “Washington” thinks.

from the link:

A coup d’etat is taking place right now, Friday afternoon, in Paraguay.

That is how it has been described by a number of neighboring governments. And the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) is treating it as such, taking it very seriously. All 12 foreign ministers (including those of Brazil and Argentina, who are deeply concerned) flew to Asunción Thursday night to meet with the government, as well as the opposition in Paraguay’s Congress.

The Congress of Paraguay is trying to oust the president, Fernando Lugo, by means of an impeachment proceeding for which he was given less than 24 hours to prepare and only two hours to present a defense. It appears that a decision to convict him has already been written, and will be presented Friday evening (at 20.30 GMT). It would be impossible to call this due process under any circumstances, but it is also a clear violation of Article 17 of Paraguay’s constitution, which provides for the right to an adequate defense.

Hmmm, troubling if you’re pro-democracy, which thankfully the Obama administration is not, because when it comes to the despised left getting traction in Latin America, Obama has proven himself a willing slave to the imperial mindset.

more context from the guardian piece:

Lugo’s election was one of many across South America – Argentina, Brazil, Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador, Uruguay, Peru, Honduras, Nicaragua, El Salvador – in which left governments were elected over the past 14 years, changing the political geography of the hemisphere. With that, came increasing political unity on regional issues – especially in confronting the United States, which had previously prevented left governments from coming to power or governing.

So, it is not surprising to see the immediate and urgent response by South American countries to this coup attempt, which they see as a threat to their democracies. UNASUR Secretary General Ali Rodriguez insisted Lugo must be given “due process” and the right to defend himself. President Rafael Correa of Ecuador said that UNASUR could refuse to recognize the next government – in accordance with a democracy clause in UNASUR’s charter.

Correa was also one of the staunchest opponents of the coup three years ago in Honduras, which ousted democratic left President Mel Zelaya. Honduras continues to suffer from extreme violence, including the murder of journalists and political opponents, under the regime that was established under the coup.

Zelaya’s ouster was a turning point for relations between the US and Latin America, as governments including Brazil and Argentina, which had previously hoped that President Obama would depart from the policies of his predecessor were rudely disappointed. The Obama administration made conflicting statements about the Honduras coup, and then – in opposition to the rest of the hemisphere – did everything it could to make sure that the coup succeeded. This included blocking, within the OAS, efforts by South American nations to restore democracy in Honduras. At the latest Summit of the Americas, Obama – in contrast to the summit of early 2009 – was as isolated as his predecessor George W Bush had been.

The Obama administration has responded to the current crisis in Paraguay with a statement in support of due process. Perhaps, they have learned something from Honduras and will not actively oppose efforts by South America to support democracy this time. And certainly, South America will not allow Washington to hijack any mediation process, if there is one – as Hillary Clinton did with the OAS in Honduras. But Washington may still play its traditional role by assuring the opposition that the new government will have support, including financial and military, from Washington. We will watch what happens.

Yeah, that, or Jersey Shore. It’s a tough call.

I’m more sophisticated than that.

I watch Mad Men.




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