sábado, 30 de marzo de 2013


En la foto, el líder norcoreano Kim Jong-un en el momento de firmar la orden para que las fuerzas misilísticas estratégicas de ese país apunten, en estado de alerta ("stand-by"), a blancos estadounidenses. En el mapa del fondo se leen directivas para el ataque a blancos en territorio estadounidense, no solo en la costa Pacífica sino incluso en Austin, Texas. Esta y otras fotografías, claramente de propaganda, aparecieron el viernes en el diario Rodong, órgano oficial del régimen norcoreano.

Bajo el título "De donde vienen las provocaciones?", el sitio web Moon of Alabama (http://www.moonofalabama.org/) publica una cronología de eventos que condujeron a la actual fase de máxima tensión en el Pacífico noroccidental.  

March 6 2013 - S. Korea says it will strike against North’s top leadership if provoked
[T]he rhetoric sets up an especially tense period on the Korean Peninsula, with the U.S. and South Korean militaries planning joint training drills that the North considers a “dangerous nuclear war” maneuver, and with the U.N. Security Council deliberating new sanctions to limit Pyongyang’s weapons program.

March 8 2013 - “Frozen Chosen” Marines
Marines from I Company, 3rd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, slog through wind and snow during a joint training exercise with Japanese troops at the Hokkaido-Dai Maneuver Area in northern Japan last week... The Hokkaido training area is located across the Sea of Japan from the Korean Peninsula, where Marines fought an epic winter battle at the Chosin Reservoir in opening year of the Korean War.

March 8 2013 - Air Assault Course increase 2ID capabilities
For the first time in 15 years, 2nd Infantry Division and Eighth U.S. Army soldiers tackled the rigorous Air Assault Course at Camp Hovey, South Korea. The course, held Feb. 25 to March 3, 2013, at Camp Hovey, began with 312 soldiers ready to compete for the course’s 250 slots. The course qualifies soldiers to conduct air assault and helicopter sling-load operations and proper rappelling and fast-rope techniques.

March 12 2013 - First day of SK-US military exercises passes without provocation

Around 10,000 ROK troops and 3,000 US soldiers, including 2,500 reinforcements from US Pacific command in Hawaii, are taking part in the military exercise, which will continue through Mar. 21. Another 10,000 US soldiers will be deployed by the end of this month for the Foal Eagle exercises. Also flown in to participate in the exercises were B-52 bombers and F-22 stealth fighters, which boast the world’s highest levels of performance. These two kinds of aircraft can maneuver throughout Korean airspace without landing. In addition, the 9750t Aegis destroyers USS Lassen and USS Fitzgerald arrived in South Korea.

March 17 2013 - Troops remember sacrifices of Cheonan sailors
Halfway through the around-the-clock Key Resolve drills Friday, 8th U.S. Army Commander Lt. Gen. John D. Johnson remained full of energy as he underscored that the allied forces were ready to cope with North Korean threats... Despite their hectic schedule, the troops gathered early in the day to pay respects to the 46 deceased crewmembers of South Korean corvette Cheonan, which was sunk by North Korea’s torpedo attack on March 26, 2010.

March 19 2013 - S. Korea, U.S. carry out naval drills with nuclear attack submarine
South Korean and U.S. forces have been carrying out naval drills in seas around the peninsula with a nuclear attack submarine as part of their annual exercise, military sources said Wednesday, in a show of power against North Korea's threat of nuclear attack. The two-month field training, called Foal Eagle, has been in full swing to test the combat readiness of the allies, amid high tension on the Korean Peninsula in light of a torrent of bellicose rhetoric by North Korea. It kicked off on March 1 and runs through April 30.

March 20 2013 - U.S. flies B-52s over South Korea
The U.S. Air Force is breaking out some of its heaviest hardware to send a message to North Korea. A Pentagon spokesman said Monday that B-52 bombers are making flights over South Korea as part of military exercises this month.

March 26 2013 - U.S. Army learns hard lessons in N. Korea-like war game
The Unified Quest war game conducted this year by Army planners posited the collapse of a nuclear-armed, xenophobic, criminal family regime that had lorded over a closed society and inconveniently lost control over its nukes as it fell. Army leaders stayed mum about the model for the game, but all indications — and maps seen during the game at the Army War College — point to North Korea.

March 28 2013 - US sends nuclear-capable B-2 bombers to SKorea
The U.S military says two nuclear-capable B-2 bombers have completed a training mission in South Korea ... The U.S. says the B-2 stealth bombers flew from a U.S. air base and dropped munitions on a South Korean island range before returning home.

March 29 2013 - Hagel says U.S. has to take North Korean threats seriously
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said on Thursday that North Korea's provocative actions and belligerent tone had "ratcheted up the danger" on the Korean peninsula ...

jueves, 28 de marzo de 2013


Venimos posteando seguido porque están pasando cosas. Cosas raras. El Telegraph de Londres titula hoy: "Vladimir Putin orders Black Sea military exercises". Subtítulo: "President Vladimir Putin ordered the launch of large-scale military exercises in the Black Sea on Thursday, projecting Russian power towards Europe and the Middle East in a move that may vex its neighbours." 

Texto: "Officials suggested the surprise drills were designed to test the reaction speed and combat readiness of Russian forces, but Putin's order also seemed aimed at sending a signal to the West that Russia is an important presence in the region.

Presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters that Putin triggered the manoeuvres as he flew back overnight from South Africa after a summit of the BRICS emerging economies. Peskov said 36 warships and an unspecified number of warplanes would take part, but did not say how long the exercises would last.

Putin has stressed the importance of a strong and agile military since returning to the presidency last May. In 13 years in power, he has often cited external threats when talking of the need for reliable armed forces and Russian political unity.

Late last month, Putin ordered military leaders to make urgent improvements to the armed forces in the next few years, saying Russia must thwart Western attempts to tip the balance of power. He said manoeuvres must be held with less advance warning, to keep soldiers on their toes.

Putin, 60, has also used his role as commander-in-chief and calls for military might to cast himself as a strong leader for whom the country's security is foremost. State media emphasised that he had given the order for the exercises from an plane in the dead of night.

Russia's Black Sea Fleet, whose main base is in the Ukrainian port of Sevastopol, was instrumental in a war with ex-Soviet neighbour Georgia in 2008 over the Russian-backed breakaway regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

In addition to Georgia and Ukraine, Russia shares the Black Sea with Turkey, Bulgaria and Romania.

But Russian foreign affairs analyst Fyodor Lukyanov said the exercises were "more likely part of a wider attempt to reconfirm that Russia's navy and military forces in the south are still able to play a political and geopolitical role."

"It is flexing muscles and may have more to do with what is happening in the Mediterranean, around Syria, than in the Black Sea," said Lukyanov, editor of the journal Russia in Global affairs.

Russia's modest naval maintenance and supply facility in Syria is its only military base outside the former Soviet Union, and the Defence Ministry recently announced plans to deploy a naval unit in the Mediterranean on a permanent basis.

Russia has clashed diplomatically with the West throughout a two-year conflict that has killed more than 70,000 people in Syria, using its UN Security Council veto to block Western efforts to push President Bashar al-Assad from power.

Moscow-based military analyst Alexander Golts said unannounced exercises are a good thing for Russia's military, but that the location could raise questions among Russia's neighbours about its intentions.

"We will be watching these exercises very closely as Georgia has its own experience with Russia," Tedo Japaridze, head of the Georgian parliament's foreign relations committee, told Reuters, referring to the 2008 war. However, he said all countries on the Black Sea have the right to hold exercises.

The Kremlin portrays Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili as a bellicose leader, and Russia said last week that annual U.S.-Georgian training exercises that began this month in Georgia put peace at risk. Those exercises are being held far from Georgia's Black Sea coast.

Meanwhile, disputes with Ukraine over Moscow's continued lease of the Black Sea navy base have been a thorn in relations with its former Soviet neighbour.

Ukraine's foreign minister was in Moscow on Thursday. He could not immediately be reached for comment, and Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich's office declined to comment on the Russian exercises, as did the Defence Ministry."

Actualización (5.55PM): Leemos en el sitio web Syrian Perspective: "Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said something today that the Western Press has been told not to publish.  He has effectively declared the Geneva Agreement dead after the Scarab League allowed a gang of thugs and criminals to take Syria's seat.  It is interesting how the order to begin the Black Sea maneuvers coincided with Lavrov's call to Vladimir Putin communicating the news about the Arab League while the Russian president was flying back from Durbin to Moscow".

Obviamente, "Scarab League" es un juego de palabras entre "scarab" (escarabajo) y "Arab League" (Liga Arabe). Con los términos "a gang of thugs and criminals" se refiere a la "oposición" al gobierno sirio. No, el tipo no es imparcial, claro.

El precio

Un luminoso artículo aparecido hoy en el sitio web Land Destroyer Report (http://landdestroyer.blogspot.com.ar/2013/03/syrian-conflict-price-of-defying-west.html#more) merecería ser leído y comentado al menos un poquito en Occidente.

Título: “Syrian Conflict: The Price of Defying the West”

Subtítulo: “Haaretz piece reveals Syrian conflict is direct punitive result of Assad defying West, obstructing US-Israeli attack on Iran”

"March 28, 2013 (LD) - Haaretz has recently published an exceptionally revealing article, confirming that the Brooking Institution's "Which Path to Persia?" report - a plan for the undermining and destruction of Iran - had indeed been set in motion, and that the current Syrian conflict is a direct result of Syria and Iran defying the West and disrupting what was to be a coup de grâce delivered to Tehran. 

The article is titled, "Assad’s Israeli friend," appears at first to be a ham-handed attempt to portray Syrian President Bashar Al Assad as somehow allied with Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Instead, it actually reveals that Israel had attempted to execute verbatim, the strategies prescribed in the Brookings Institution's "Which Path to Persia?" report, where Israel was to lure Syria away from Iran ahead of a US-Israeli strike and subsequent war with Tehran.

Syria obviously did not fall into the trap, and as a result, has been plunged into a destructive, spiteful war of proxy aggression by the US, Israel, Saudi Arabia and their regional allies.

The Haaretz piece states specifically: 'In moving closer to Assad, Netanyahu had a number of motives. First, he wanted to put some space between Syria and Iran, in the hope that Damascus would stand aside in the event of an Israeli strike against Iranian nuclear facilities in Natanz and Fordow.

Second, Israel’s loss of its alliances with Turkey and later with Egypt, compounded by apprehension about a deteriorating security situation in the south, pushed Jerusalem into buying quiet on its northern borders.

The third motive was to weaken Hezbollah, while the fourth was to address concerns that the Syrian rebels were in fact Al-Qaida operatives and that the fall of Assad’s regime would turn Syria into a hostile Islamic state.

Of course, while Haaretz admits that the so-called "Syrian rebels" are in fact vicious Al Qaeda terrorists with no intention of instituting anything resembling "freedom" or "democracy" in Syria, contrary to the West's own long-peddled narrative, Israel is in fact one of three primary co-conspirators in raising the terrorist army in the first place.

In Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh's 2007 New Yorker article,  "The Redirection: Is the Administration’s new policy benefiting our enemies in the war on terrorism?" Israel was implicated directly in an insidious conspiracy to funnel aid and arms to sectarian extremists in a bid to topple Iran and its regional allies:  'In the past year, the Saudis, the Israelis, and the Bush Administration have developed a series of informal understandings about their new strategic direction. At least four main elements were involved, the U.S. government consultant told me. First, Israel would be assured that its security was paramount and that Washington and Saudi Arabia and other Sunni states shared its concern about Iran. 

Second, the Saudis would urge Hamas, the Islamist Palestinian party that has received support from Iran, to curtail its anti-Israeli aggression and to begin serious talks about sharing leadership with Fatah, the more secular Palestinian group.' (In February, the Saudis brokered a deal at Mecca between the two factions. However, Israel and the U.S. have expressed dissatisfaction with the terms.)

The third component was that the Bush Administration would work directly with Sunni nations to counteract Shiite ascendance in the region.

Fourth, the Saudi government, with Washington’s approval, would provide funds and logistical aid to weaken the government of President Bashir Assad, of Syria. The Israelis believe that putting such pressure on the Assad government will make it more conciliatory and open to negotiations. Syria is a major conduit of arms to Hezbollah. The Saudi government is also at odds with the Syrians over the assassination of Rafik Hariri, the former Lebanese Prime Minister, in Beirut in 2005, for which it believes the Assad government was responsible. Hariri, a billionaire Sunni, was closely associated with the Saudi regime and with Prince Bandar. (A U.N. inquiry strongly suggested that the Syrians were involved, but offered no direct evidence; there are plans for another investigation, by an international tribunal.)

The Israeli belief that pressuring Syria would make it more "conciliatory and open to negotiations," as well as the "motivations" cited by the recent Haaretz piece, are torn straight from Brooking Institution's 2009 "Which Path to Persia?" report. The report stated specifically: "...the Israelis may want to hold off [on striking Iran] until they have a peace deal with Syria in hand (assuming that Jerusalem believes that one is within reach), which would help them mitigate blowback from Hizballah and potentially Hamas. Consequently, they might want Washington to push hard in mediating between Jerusalem and Damascus." -page 109.

Clearly Syria refused the disingenuous "peace deal" with Israel, unlike its regional neighbors Turkey, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar who are now all working in lock step with US-Israeli interests. While these neighbors were spared the sedition and carnage visited upon other Arab nations during the US State Department orchestrated "Arab Spring," Syria has been hit hardest and longest. The resilience of Syria may have delayed or even shelved Western designs aimed at reasserting hegemony across the Middle East, including delaying indefinitely war with Iran.

Israel's disingenuous attempts to reproach Syria are only one of several prescribed strategies Brookings called for in their 2009 report that have already come to pass. Another was Brookings' suggestion to deslist and arm the bizarre terrorist cult, Mujahedeen e-Khalq (MEK). MEK had been listed as a foreign terrorist organization by the US State Department for decades, yet it was still heavily armed, funded, and its operatives even trained on US soil - this despite the group being listed for kidnapping and slaughtering US officers and civilian contractors.

In 2012, the US State Department would finally officially delist MEK, and announce that they would begin funding and arming them in earnest against Iran. The LA Times would report in their September 2012 article, "U.S. to remove Iranian group Mujahedin Khalq from terrorist list," that: 'The small but influential Iranian exile group Mujahedin Khalq will be removed from the U.S. list of foreign terrorist organizations, a U.S. official said Friday, following a high-priced lobbying campaign claiming the controversial group had renounced violence.'

The New Yorker and the Uk's Daily Mail would each in turn report that MEK was being armed, trained, and directed by the West in terrorist activities against Iran, including the assassination of Iranian scientists.

The US' delisting and arming of MEK proves that the West possesses the political duplicity to hypocritically arm their own "declared" enemies. This double game of condemning terrorist organizations while simultaneously arming and directing them against the West's enemies goes far in explaining how thousands of tons of weapons NATO and its regional allies have sent to so-called "moderates" in Syria have ended up almost exclusively in the hands of Al Qaeda's Syrian franchise, al-Nusra , which has emerged as the most heavily armed, well funded, most organized militant front in the conflict. 

The Brookings report is not just a piece of paper - it is a documented conspiracy, executed in plain sight bycorporate-financier interests that have transcended at least two US presidencies in their latest campaign against Iran, Syria, and the wider Middle East. Haaretz may hope that people quickly read the article and conclude that Israel is somehow backing the Syrian state, never realizing what is being reported is instead a disingenuous "peace deal" meant to lure in, then fatally betray Syria just as was done to Libya. 

Haaretz also hope readers do not realize the obvious - that Syria refused these insidious advances by the West which lead chronologically to the 2011 "uprising," that Haaretz itself now admits is the work of terrorists, not "freedom fighters," and that the New Yorker in 2007 revealed as being engineered by the US, Saudi Arabia, and Israel itself.

It is clear that Syria is being punished, divided, and destroyed for obstructing Western designs against Iran. It is also clear that those forces fighting inside Syria against the Syrian people and their government, are aiding and abetting foreign aggression and what is essentially an attempt by Western interests to recolonize the Arab World. As mortars fired by NATO's proxy forces, aimed at Damascus University, claim another 10-15 innocent lives, the public must be aware of the premeditated, punitive nature of the unhinged atrocities now being committed by these 'rebels'."

miércoles, 27 de marzo de 2013

Corea del Norte

Bombardero estratégico estadounidense B-52

El servicio Korea News Service, de la República Democrática Popular de Corea (del Norte; DPRK en su acrónimo inglés) acaba de lanzar el siguiente comunicado (27 de Marzo de 2013):

"The U.S. anti-DPRK hostile acts being intensified over its satellite launch for peaceful purposes have reached the eve of nuclear war.

On Monday U.S. B-52 strategic bombers flied to the sky above south Korea by stealth again to stage a nuclear bomb dropping drill aimed at a surprise nuclear preemptive attack on the DPRK.

Their flight defying our repeated warnings clearly proves that the U.S. plan for a nuclear war has entered an uncontrollable phase of practice.

The U.S. is making desperate efforts to seek a way out from igniting a nuclear war against the DPRK, afraid that if the DPRK with nuclear weapons achieves economic prosperity through the building of a thriving nation, its hostile policy toward the DPRK will end in failure.

The U.S. has already cooked up two "resolutions on sanctions" through the UN Security Council in less than two months, creating a vicious cycle of escalated tension to provide an international pretext for unleashing a nuclear war under the signboard of "nuclear non-proliferation".

Now the U.S. is mobilizing all their "three nuclear attack means" in the preparation for a nuclear war against the DPRK.

Strategic nuclear missiles in the U.S. mainland are aiming at the DPRK and submarines with nuclear warheads are swarming to the waters off south Korea and its vicinity in the Pacific region.

Meanwhile, the U.S. deputy secretary of Defense, who visited south Korea to finally examine the preparations of a nuclear war against the DPRK, openly said that the U.S. military attaches top priority to the second Korean war, giving green light to a nuclear war.

Accordingly, the commander of the U.S. forces in south Korea and the south Korean military chief drafted a "joint plan to cope with local provocation". The main point of it is to start a total nuclear war involving the U.S. forces in the U.S. mainland and the Pacific region after the south Korean puppet army touches off a conflict.

The south Korean warmongers, elated with the backing of the U.S. master, are threatening punishment to "provocation" of the DPRK and even seeking a nefarious purpose of hurting status of great Generalissimos Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il, symbol of our supreme dignity.

The prevailing grave situation goes to prove that the U.S. is seeking a nuclear war against the DPRK, its first target of attack, after moving the strategic centre for world domination to the Asian-Pacific region.

A nuclear war in the Korean Peninsula is no longer a presentative meaning but realistic one.

Now the U.S. is brave with the numerical advantage in nuclear weapons but it is doomed to perish in the flames kindled by itself.

The DPRK has its own powerful precision means for nuclear attack and nuclear war methods.

The south Korean puppets who are behaving recklessly under their master's nuclear umbrella will experience a sound by-blow of a nuclear attack when a war breaks out between the DPRK and the U.S.

To cope with the prevailing grave situation the KPA Supreme Command made a final decision to demonstrate with a practical military action the strong will of the DPRK army and people to take a resolute counteraction and gave an order to the strike forces of justice to keep themselves on the highest alert.

Upon authorization the Foreign Ministry of the DPRK openly informs the UN Security Council that the Korean Peninsula is now in a touch-and-go situation due to the nuclear war provocation moves of the U.S. and south Korean puppets.

The DPRK army and people that have become one with the Supreme Command are entering the final stage of the all-out showdown with the U.S. to defend the country's sovereignty and the nation's dignity by dint of the power of Songun they have long bolstered up."

lunes, 25 de marzo de 2013


Ponele que sos un periodista con dos dedos de frente. Ponele que allá en Roma eligen a un papa sudamericano. Ponele que tenés ganas de leer algunos papeles antes de escribir pavadas. Ponele que en lugar de escribir los 20 renglones mediocres a los que estás acostumbrado tenés ganas de hacer algo en serio. Ponele que partís de la base de que tus lectores no son una banda de subnormales. Ponele que no te importa si lo que vas a escribir encaja en el relato "pro" o "anti". Ponele que se te ocurren ideas. Ponele que te llamás Webster Griffin Tarpley y escribís un artículo titulado “New pope’s economic stance”. Ponele que te lo publica la agencia iraní PressTV en su sitio web  (http://www.presstv.ir/detail/2013/03/19/294355/new-popes-economic-stance). Ponele que pasan todas estas cosas. Bueno, saldría algo como esto:

“The election of Jorge Mario Bergoglio as head of the Roman Catholic Church marks a watershed, since this is the first time that a prelate from a third world or developing country has become Pope.

Bergoglio is also strongly identified with Catholic social doctrine, which has traditionally stressed a preferential option in favor of the needs of the poor, rather than a concern with the privileges of the rich, combined with a rejection of laissez-faire, neoliberal, or monetarist economics in favor of social solidarity. Francis has set his first official day in office on the March 19 festival of St. Joseph the carpenter, the patron saint of workers.

This papal election was also remarkable for what did not occur. Elements of the US Catholic hierarchy, evidently backed by forces within the State Department and the Obama White House, had made no secret of their desire to take control of the Vatican and employ it henceforth as an abject tool of US imperial policy. The New York Times and Washington Post contributed articles seeking to highlight the many advantages which they claimed would derive from electing the first American pope. The delegation of US cardinals, second in numbers only to the Italians, attempted to act as a political machine in Rome on the eve of the conclave, giving daily press conferences in an attempt to stampede the 115 members of the College of Cardinals into electing an American.

According to insider reports, the manager of this effort to elect an American pope was New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan, who focused on the effort to install Boston Cardinal Sean O’Malley as the new pontiff. Italian newspaper accounts revealed that O’Malley’s main advisor was the clergyman Terrence Donilon, the brother of Tom Donilon, the political operative who currently serves as the director of the National Security Council in the Obama White House. The danger was thus clear enough that, if O’Malley had prevailed, the next pope would get his inspiration from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

To pose this danger in slightly different terms: Governor Martin O’Malley of Maryland is currently a quite serious candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016. If Sean O’Malley were to become pope, the potential might then exist to have within a few years President O’Malley in Washington and Pope O’Malley in Rome. As the great Italian poet Dante argued 700 years ago in his Divine Comedy, it is essential for the spiritual and religious power of the papacy to be kept separate from the political and military power of the empire. The virtual absorption of the Vatican by Washington could well have spelled the final collapse of the Catholic Church.

Since the 1943 Anglo-American invasion of Italy during the time of Pius XII, the Vatican has continuously found itself under pressure to toe the London-Washington imperial line. Some popes were able to assert a significant degree of independence, notably Paul VI Montini, whose reign marked the high point of influence within the church by veterans of the wartime European resistance against fascism. More recently, the Polish Pope John Paul II sought to condemn the aggression committed by the Bush administration, but was always pulled in the other direction by the Polish tendency to look to Washington as a counterweight against Russia. Benedict XVI turned out to be far weaker, reflecting the postwar subordination of Germany to the United States. He was always on the defensive because he had taken part in German air defense during World War II.

The anti-imperialist tradition is strong in Argentina

But now we have a pope whose national origin will tend to impel him towards independence from Washington. Among all the nations in Latin America, Argentina is surely second to none in its tradition of national sovereignty and resistance to imperialism, a tradition which has persisted through many changes of political regime. According to some reports, 10 Downing Street in London has already witnessed apoplectic scenes by Prime Minister David Cameron due to the fact that Pope Francis I Bergoglio, as the Argentinean that he is, regards the Malvinas (or Falkland) Islands as an integral part of Argentina, regardless of any referendum staged there by the British among their colonizers.

On the day after his election, Francis went personally to the guesthouse where he had been staying in Via della Scrofa in downtown Rome to pay his bill and pick up his baggage. As part of this gesture of humility, he had no elaborate security and no disruptive motorcade, but rode in a single automobile of the papal gendarmes. Under Benedict XVI, the Vatican had appeared under siege, doubtless as a result of the pope’s gullible acceptance of the Anglo-American phantom of a global war on terror. The Vatican remains haunted by the mysterious death of John Paul I in 1978, and by the 1981 attack carried out by Ali Agca, a co-worker of Frank Terpil of the CIA. But Francis is signaling that he is not afraid, and is not willing to hunker down behind the Vatican walls.

Another danger which has been avoided is the election of an oligarch camouflaged as a modernizer or reformer. This was the role sought by the late Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini of Milan, who did not live to see this year’s conclave. This year’s plausible oligarch-reformer might have been Cardinal Schonborn of Vienna, a representative of the feudal aristocracy of the Holy Roman Empire. And there were others seeking to play this role. Instead, Bergoglio brings with him the concerns of the global South, starting with the imperative of economic development and the eradication of poverty.

Bergoglio’s track record in this regard is instructive. The Argentine military junta of 1976-1983 and the neoliberal economic policies it started wrecked the nation’s economy during the 1990s. By the end of the military government, unemployment was at 18% officially, and there were bouts of hyperinflation at the end of the 1980s. Under the pro-IMF economics Minister Domingo Cavallo, Argentina established a fixed rate of exchange to the US dollar. The propertied classes indulged in massive tax evasion and sent flight capital to foreign banks. Taking power in the midst of this crisis, President de la Rua imposed seven rounds of brutal austerity, driving unemployment up to 20% in December 2001. When the IMF cut off further loans to Argentina, there was a panic run on the banks. Strikes and riots forced de la Rua to resign and flee on December 21, 2001.

During the latter months of 2001, Bergoglio did not hesitate to lecture President de la Rua to his face Sunday after Sunday about the bankruptcy of neoliberal economics and the terrible social consequences, as Rua sat in his pew of the cathedral in Buenos Aires. During this time, Bergoglio commented that extreme poverty and the “unjust economic structures that give rise to great inequalities” constituted violations of human rights and that social debt was “immoral, unjust and illegitimate.” During a strike by public employees in Buenos Aires, Bergoglio noted the differences between, “poor people who are persecuted for demanding work, and rich people who are applauded for fleeing from justice.” (“Argentines protest against pay cuts,” BBC, August 8, 2001)

A subsequent president, the Peronist Adolfo Rodriguez Saà, declared a debt moratorium, causing Argentina to default on $132 billion in foreign debt, one of the biggest burdens of any developing country in the world. The link between the peso and the dollar was severed, and the resulting devaluation lowered the standard of living - just as in Iceland over the last few years. After an 11% fall in GDP during 2002, Argentina stabilized and recovered under Presidents Duhalde and Kirchner. Although the debt moratorium policy substantially reduced foreign debt, the International Monetary Fund demanded full payment of every penny, with no discounts and no haircuts.

Bergoglio opposed “anonymous and perverse mechanisms of speculative economy”

These were the conditions in which Bergoglio operated around the time that he was named Cardinal in February 2001. Bergoglio organized soup kitchens and food banks in the favelas (slums) of Buenos Aires and other cities for the relief of the poor. He condemned the policies that were leaving the Argentine people “strangled by the anonymous and perverse mechanisms of a speculative economy.”
In an interview with the magazine Trenta Dias of the Communion and Liberation movement, Bergoglio declared: “the current imperialism of money also shows an idolatrous face. Where there is idolatry, God is canceled, and human dignity is canceled.” For this he blamed “left-wing ideologies just as much as the imperialism of money.” Bergoglio can thus be considered a principled opponent of both neoliberal economic doctrine, and of the ultra-left liberation theology. (Geninazzi and Rizzi, Avvenire, March 13, 2013)

An article by Dylan Matthews posted on March 13 on the Washington Post blog points out that the Argentine bishops, with Bergoglio chief among them, were sharp critics of the laissez-faire or neoliberal economic policies of Argentine President Carlos Menem, who was in office from 1989 to 1999. Citing the essay “Argentina, the Church, and Debt” by Thomas Trebat, Mathews argues that, at the height of the debt crisis in 2002, Bergoglio was a leading voice in calling for a debt restructuring in which social programs would be considered more important than repaying and servicing existing financial debt. Statements by the Argentine bishops at that time diagnosed the main problems of the Argentine economy as “social exclusion, a growing gap between rich and poor, insecurity, corruption, social and family violence, serious deficiencies in the educational system and in public health, the negative consequences of globalization, and the tyranny of markets.” These were technically joint statements of all the Argentine bishops, but there is every reason to believe that these were above all Bergoglio’s own views.

In 2001-2004 Argentine crisis, Bergoglio supported debt reduction, rejected austerity

In one of his own later speeches, Cardinal Bergoglio commented: “We live, apparently, in the most unequal part of the world, which has grown the most yet reduced misery the least,” where “the unjust distribution of goods persists, creating a situation of social sin that cries out to Heaven and limits the possibilities of a fuller life for so many of our brothers.” (National Catholic Reporter, March 3, 2013) Plutocratic ideologues intent on shredding the social safety net will get no comfort from Francis.

According to Carlos Burgueno of the Argentine business newspaper Ambito Financiero, Bergoglio is “Anti-liberal. A tough critic of the IMF and the policies of adjustment. A defender of the process of debt restructuring.” “Anti-liberal” can be understood as a rejection of economic policies designed to benefit a narrow financier oligarchy. In IMF jargon, “adjustment” and “structural adjustment” are euphemisms for genocidal austerity and killer cuts targeting the poor, the sick, the old, the very young, and the underprivileged. “Debt restructuring” means debt moratoriums, debt freezes, defaults, haircuts, write-downs and other means of reducing the illegitimate debt burden which is now crushing so many of the world’s people.

A major statement on the economic crisis was issued by the conference of Argentine bishops under Bergoglio’s leadership in August 2001. This landmark statement pointed out that “some of the most serious social ills we suffer in economic and political affairs are a direct reflection of the crudest liberalism.” The state was defined as “an instrument created to serve the common good, and to be the guarantor of equity and solidarity of the social fabric." The Argentine bishops with Bergoglio at their head condemned the lack of a “social safety net” to care for those cast out by the existing economic model. They targeted in particular “two diseases, tax evasion and squandering of state funds, which are funds sweated by the people.” Organized labor was advised to exercise moderation in using the right to strike.

But the bishops saw the foreign financial debt of Argentina as the biggest negative factor, taking care to condemn the “external debt that increases every day and makes it difficult for us to grow.” (Ambito Financiero, March 14, 2013; Buenos Aires Herald, March 14, 2013)

In 2005, the Argentine government offered foreign creditors a reimbursement of thirty cents on the dollar. Many of the most rapacious hedge fund hyenas rejected this offer, instead launching lawsuits and unsuccessful attempts to seize Argentine assets held abroad, including Argentine airliners, ships, and the Argentine central bank deposits at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Bergoglio intervened in these conflicts several times, supporting the ability of the Argentine government to reduce and restructure the foreign debt. (Ambito Financiero, March 14, 2013; Buenos Aires Herald, March 14, 2013)

In October 2009, Cardinal Bergoglio again sought to call attention to the unsolved problems of poverty in Argentina under the presidency of Nestor Kirchner. According to the Spanish newspaper El Pais, “Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio harshly criticized the government and society for failing to prevent the rise of poverty in the country, a situation he called ‘immoral, unjust and illegitimate’ because it occurs in a nation that has the capacity to avoid or correct the damage. ‘Instead, it seems that it has chosen to exacerbate the inequalities,’ said the head of the Catholic Church in Argentina, for whom ‘human rights are violated not only by terrorism, repression and murder, but also by unjust economic structures that cause great inequalities.’” He added that the position of the Catholic Church was “very clear” as it had “warned for some time about the social deficit of Argentines.”

Bergoglio supported justice and peace October 2011 call for Wall Street sales tax

As the world economic depression was felt more and more in Argentina, Bergoglio sharpened his confrontation the plutocrats, telling them in May 2010: “You avoid taking the poor into account.” In the following year, Bergoglio spoke out against the terrible wages and working conditions prevailing in the Argentine capital, which he compared to a form of modern slavery: “In this city, slavery is the order of the day in various forms. In this city, workers are exploited in sweatshops and, if they are immigrants, are deprived of the opportunity to get out. In this city, there are kids who have been on the streets for years. The city has failed and continues to fail in the attempt to free them from this structural slavery that is homelessness.” (La Nacion, September 24, 2011)

The main Vatican response to the European financial crisis which broke out in early 2010 was the document entitled Towards Reforming the International Financial and Monetary Systems in the Context of Global Public Authority, issued by the Pontifical Commission for Justice and Peace in late October 2011. Although Bergoglio was apparently not formally a member of Justice and Peace, press accounts from Buenos Aires indicate that in the eyes of Argentine public opinion he was closely associated with this initiative and the reforms it recommended. The Argentine journalist Carlos Burgue?o writes: “As worldwide recognized church representative and leader of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, [Bergoglio] signed along with his Ghanian fellow cardinal Peter Turkson in October 2011 the Vatican’s harsh document against adjustment policies that were beginning to be applied in the European countries in crisis.” (“Ya como referente mundial de la Iglesia y conductor, junto con el tamién papable ghanés Peter Turkson, del Pontificio Consejo para Justicia y Paz, firmo en octubre de 2011 una dura cr?tica del Vaticano contra las politicas de ajuste que se comenzaban a aplicar en los paises europeos en crisis.” Ambito Financiero, March 14, 2013; Buenos Aires Herald, March 14, 2013.)

The Council for Justice and Peace blamed the 2008 world panic triggered by the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy on “a liberalist approach, unsympathetic towards public intervention in the markets” which “chose to allow an important international financial institution to fall into bankruptcy, on the assumption that this would contain the crisis and its effects.” According to this document, a central threat to the world economy and to world peace comes from “an economic liberalism that spurns rules and controls.”

The Council for Justice and Peace criticized in particular the International Monetary Fund for being an institution now totally inadequate for the needs of world economic development, citing “…the gradual decline in efficacy of the Bretton Woods institutions beginning in the early 1970s. In particular, the International Monetary Fund has lost an essential element for stabilizing world finance, that of regulating the overall money supply and vigilance over the amount of credit risk taken on by the system. To sum it up, stabilizing the world monetary system is no longer a ‘universal public good’ within its reach.”

A key aspect of the Vatican’s October 2011 recommendation for dealing with the new world economic depression was the enactment of a financial transaction tax, also known as a Tobin tax, and in the United States increasingly referred to as a Wall Street Sales Tax. The document states: “… it seems advisable to reflect, for example, on taxation measures on financial transactions through fair but modulated rates with changes proportionate to the complexity of the operations, especially those made on the ‘secondary’ market. Such taxation would be very useful in promoting global development and sustainability according to the principles of social justice and solidarity.” Bergoglio has thus endorsed the approach of Pope Paul VI as seen in the famous encyclical letter Populorum Progressio of 1967, which “clearly and prophetically denounced the dangers of an economic development conceived in liberalist terms because of its harmful consequences for world equilibrium and peace.” (Towards Reforming the International Financial and Monetary Systems in the Context of Global Public Authority, Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, October 24, 2011)

Were the new pope’s first words a veiled opening to China?

Another significant novelty is doubtless the fact that Bergoglio is the first member of the Jesuit order to become pope. The Jesuits have a well-earned reputation for using intrigue to seek political power. As some commentators have pointed out, Jesuits are traditionally associated with elite education, which grew out of their desire to serve as tutors of the children of kings and princes with a view to shaping the opinions of future rulers. Even today, the Jesuits are considered one of the most cohesive and powerful of the Catholic orders. Should this situation be seen in negative terms? Maybe not, as a glance at history might suggest.

The Jesuits were founded under Venetian auspices in 1534, but, gravitating towards a greater power, soon entered into a close alliance with the Spanish Empire. The Spanish-Jesuit alliance lasted until about 1767, the year when the Jesuit order was banned by the Portuguese Empire, France, the Spanish Empire, and some Italian states. This was followed by the suppression of the Jesuit order by Pope Clement XIV in 1773. The Jesuits survived only by fleeing to the non-Catholic states of Prussia and Russia.

The response of the Jesuits to their suppression took the form of a de facto alliance with the British Empire. This meant specifically that the Jesuits threw their considerable influence on the side of the movements for independence that arose during the Napoleonic wars throughout the Spanish and Portuguese possessions in Latin America. When Lisbon and Madrid lost most of their possessions in Latin America, the revenge of the Jesuits was complete, and many of these states passed under predominantly British influence. After the British had eliminated Napoleon as a competitor for world domination, the Jesuit order was restored in 1814 by Pope Pius VII.

We can thus say, simplifying somewhat, that the Jesuit order has been in uneasy alliance with the British and later Anglo-American world system since about 1770. The election of Pope Francis I may mark a real departure from this arrangement. And the reason for the change may well have to do with the Vatican’s policy towards China.

Francis I and a possible Vatican opening to China

At a time when church membership is declining in Europe, and when American Catholics are becoming increasingly secular, the Vatican is looking to Africa as any area of future growth. But China may offer even greater possibilities for expansion, and the Vatican may consider an opening to the Middle Kingdom as more valuable than an alliance with the declining US empire. There are today an estimated 12 million Roman Catholics in China, but the actual number may be far higher. The Chinese government sponsors a national Catholic Church, styled the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association, which does not recognize the Roman papacy and which claims some 5.3 million members. Rome claims the sole ability to appoint bishops, and this is rejected by the Beijing government. Because of this conflict, the Vatican has failed in its attempts to establish full diplomatic relations with Beijing. The Vatican very much wants a concordat or treaty which would resolve these outstanding issues.

One of the most sensational elements in the so-called Vatileaks document dump engineered by Anglo-American intelligence in 2012 was a report of a conversation allegedly held between Cardinal Paolo Romeo, a Jesuit-trained Vatican diplomat serving as the Archbishop of Palermo, Sicily and (apparently) Chinese officials in Beijing in the autumn of 2011. According to this account as reported in the pro-US Italian newspaper Il Fatto, Romeo told the Chinese that Benedict XVI Ratzinger would no longer be Pope a year later, or in other words by about November 2012. As it turned out, this prediction was off by just a few months. But, perhaps as part of the doctoring of Vatileaks documents by the CIA or by MI-6, this prediction morphed into the exposure of a supposed plot to assassinate Ratzinger. However, Romeo may have only intended to inform the Chinese government that the diplomatically inept Benedict XIV, considered incapable of defying Washington and London by re-orienting the Vatican towards China, was about to be eased out in favor of a new pope more open to an accommodation with Beijing. (Marco Lillo, “Complotto contro Benedetto XVI entro 12 mesi morirà,” Il Fatto Quotidiano, February 10, 2012) The first events of Francis’ papacy would seem to lend credence to this view.

When Bergoglio appeared for the first time as Pope on the balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica, the second sentence of his speech noted that the conclave had chosen a new bishop of Rome “from almost the end of the world.” According to Professor Filippo Mignini, an expert in the history of philosophy from the University of Macerata quoted by Il Giornale of Milan, these words are a quotation from the Jesuit Father Matteo Ricci, a missionary sent to Imperial Chinese court of the Ming dynasty in 1601. Ricci and his fellow Jesuits were able to interest the Chinese emperor and many of the leading nobles in exhibits of European technology, including steam engines but also chronometers, telescopes, and other precision instruments. The successes of Ricci and other Jesuits were envied by the competing Dominicans and Franciscans, and this issue was still alive at the time the Jesuits were dissolved in 1773. But by 1958 the Vatican had endorsed Ricci. Does the Vatican now believe that the developing sector and China are more important for its future growth than Europe and America? The coming months will tell.

Anglo-American propaganda has already turned hostile against Pope Francis, attempting to dredge up discredited old charges that he was somehow in collusion with the 1976-1983 Argentine military junta. The murderous excesses of that regime were in fact encouraged by US Vice President Nelson Rockefeller and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, as revealed by secret State Department documents released in September 2002. As for Bergoglio, one Jesuit he is accused of betraying has come forward to deny the charges. The Argentine human rights activist and leading opponent of the military junta, Adolfo Pérez Esquivel, has formally stated that Bergoglio was not one of the churchmen who collaborated with the dictatorship.

Finally, there remains the question of where this project might go wrong. Bergoglio has taken the name of Francis, after a saint who is celebrated for his humility and simple lifestyle. But there is also the more recent attempt to recast St. Francis as the patron saint of environmental fanaticism, radical ecology, and even green fascism. The rich elitists who fund the main environmental groups will try to influence the new pope in the direction of Agenda 21 and its anti-human doctrines. One example is the Italian demagogue Beppe Grillo, who greeted the new pope with the claim that his Five Star Movement -- largely devoted to implementing Agenda 21 -- represents the true followers of St. Francis today. The new pope would do well to avoid such false friends.”



Los acontecimientos en Africa siguen su marcha. Bajo el título: Una española en Bangui: “Es un caos, hay pillajes por todas partes”, el diario español El País (http://internacional.elpais.com/internacional/2013/03/25/actualidad/1364196610_664360.html) publica la siguiente noticia:

“La situación es caótica. Hay pillajes por todas partes. De nuestra casa se han llevado todo, el dinero, el frigorífico, los colchones, los medicamentos, los muebles, los teléfonos. Ha sido un ir y venir toda la mañana, primero los vecinos, luego grupos de adolescentes y finalmente gente vestida con uniforme militar”. Quien habla es Amparo Fernández, una cooperante extremeña que vive en Bangui, la capital de la República Centroafricana, y que ha vivido en directo la entrada de los rebeldes de la coalición Seleka en la ciudad el pasado sábado y la huida del presidente del país, François Bozizé, este domingo.

El sábado, algunos occidentales intentaron ir al aeropuerto en coche, pero la Guardia Presidencial cerraba aún los accesos. “Desde esa tarde se cortó la luz y todavía no ha vuelto a la ciudad. La noche fue de un silencio increíble, estremecedor”, asegura Fernández. Sin embargo, con la llegada de la luz del día el sábado empezaron los pillajes. “Ha sido un caos, casi todas las ONG han sido saqueadas. Nosotros somos cinco en casa, cinco adultos y un bebé, esperábamos que alguien de la Embajada francesa viniera a buscarnos, pero nada”, asegura Fernández, que trabaja para una organización gala.

Durante toda la mañana del domingo, Amparo Fernández y su pareja, de nacionalidad francoespañola, tuvieron que ver cómo su propia casa era saqueada por los vecinos. “En ningún momento ejercieron la violencia contra nosotros, pero se llevaron todo y sí que se mostraban muy agresivos entre ellos mientras se repartían nuestro dinero. Al final, por la tarde, vino un coche blindado de la ONU con varios cascos azules a buscarnos y nos han traído hasta el campo de la Oficina Integral de Naciones Unidas para la República Centroafricana (Binuca). Cuando íbamos circulando por la calle vimos a gente borracha, muchachos con machetes, hombres disparando al aire sus fusiles, fue angustioso”.

Tras la huida del presidente François Bozizé, que se encuentra en la vecina República Democrática del Congo, uno de los líderes de Seleka se ha autoproclamado presidente este domingo. Se trata de Michel Djotodia, quien había sido incluido como ministro de Defensa en el gobierno surgido de los acuerdos de paz de Libreville del pasado 11 de enero. “No tengo intención de llevar a cabo una caza de brujas”, ha declarado el líder rebelde.

En los combates que se han producido durante el avance de los rebeldes hacia Bangui han fallecido al menos seis soldados sudafricanos, según ha confirmado una fuente militar de este país, que ha solicitado ayuda a Francia para evacuar a sus tropas de la República Centroafricana. Unos 350 soldados galos han llegado a Bangui para garantizar la seguridad de los aproximadamente 1.200 ciudadanos franceses que residen en el país.

François Bozizé, general del Ejército centroafricano, llegó al poder en 2003 tras liderar un golpe de estado contra el anterior presidente Ange-Félix Patassé y ha ganado las dos elecciones presidenciales a las que se ha presentado posteriormente, en 2005 y 2011, entre denuncias de fraude por parte de la oposición. El pasado mes de diciembre la coalición rebelde Seleka lanzó una ofensiva que puso contra las cuerdas a Bozizé. Sin embargo, los acuerdos de paz de Libreville frenaron el avance rebelde hasta que el jueves las tropas de Seleka decidieron volver a encaminarse hacia la capital debido a lo que consideran graves incumplimientos de los citados acuerdos de paz.

El Telegraph de Londres ni siquiera menciona el acontecimiento en su portada de noticias internacionales, lo que constituye una pista para saber quién está atrás de todo esto. El presidente de Francia, Sr. Francois Hollande, que el fin de semana mandó 350 soldados para proteger a sus conciudadanos en esta ex-colonia francesa, habó de mantener la calma y otras idioteces por el estilo.


sábado, 23 de marzo de 2013


Impecable artículo de Luis Bruschtein en el diario Página/12 de hoy (“Ensalada con papas”; http://www.pagina12.com.ar/diario/elpais/1-216450-2013-03-23.html). Parece que vuelve el periodismo a la Argentina. Celebremos.

"El polaco Karol Wojtyla inició en 1978 un papado muy conservador, con el obispo alemán Josef Ratzinger, su mano derecha, al frente de la Congregación de la Doctrina de la Fe, la ex Inquisición. Durante 35 años la Iglesia representó la imagen militante del statu quo y el antiprogreso. Durante esos 35 años la Iglesia no cambió nada. Pero los dos obispos que controlaron el Vaticano en ese tiempo ya no están. La llegada de Jorge Bergoglio implica un cambio. Todas las señales que se encargó de transmitir el flamante papa Francisco son para demostrar que no habrá continuidad, que habrá un cambio. Se habla de un cambio en la posición del Gobierno, pero lo que ha cambiado ha sido el Vaticano. Resulta tan evidente que no se entiende esa evaluación crítica de la posición oficial ante la Iglesia. Es más, el Gobierno cambia su posición porque percibe el cambio que se quiere plantear desde el Vaticano.

Hasta aquí se puede llegar sin hacer futurismo, porque nadie puede predecir hasta dónde llegarán esos cambios tanto en la Iglesia como en el Gobierno en relación con ella. El cambio de papa tiene una proyección que trasciende a la Argentina, que es apenas un hilo en el enmarañado entretejido del Vaticano.

El papado de Wojtyla fue el de la hegemonía del neoliberalismo en el mundo, de la caída de los socialismos reales, del surgimiento de un mundo unipolar y de la globalización, de los reinados de Ronald Reagan y Margaret Thatcher. Por eso Wojtyla fue Wojtyla. Como hombre de esa estructura vertical, el arzobispo Bergoglio fue expresión de esa Iglesia. El mundo actual es más complejo, las hegemonías están en discusión, los capitalismos centrales están en crisis y se produce el resurgimiento de procesos populares en América latina. El esquema cortesano y conservador de Wojtyla estaba en decadencia desde hacía varios años, no podía dar respuestas ni interpelar a ese nuevo mundo. Con esa idea de que todo es negocio y oropel, asoció a la Iglesia con grupos empresarios que terminaron por embarrar al Vaticano en un mundo de corrupción. Ese esquema se agotó y por eso se plantea este aparente sinsentido donde el arzobispo Bergoglio, en alguna medida no es exactamente lo mismo que el papa Francisco, aunque sean la misma persona. El primero expresaba el ciclo que se termina, y el segundo, al que empieza.

Estos cambios pueden ser sutiles o evidentes, superficiales o profundos. En tan poco tiempo es difícil saberlo. Si realmente beatifica al curita Carlos de Dios Murias, asesinado por la dictadura en La Rioja, implicaría un hecho trascendente. Los responsables de su asesinato están en prisión, entre ellos el ex general Luciano Benjamín Menéndez, el señor de la Muerte en la zona del Tercer Cuerpo de Ejército y amigo personal del entonces arzobispo Raúl Primatesta. La beatificación del curita entrañaría una mirada diferente hacia el pasado. Llevaría implícita una autocrítica por la complicidad de la jerarquía eclesiástica con la dictadura, algo que difícilmente haría la Iglesia argentina en forma explícita. Pero si esa beatificación se cajonea, quedaría como un gesto pour la gallerie, una escenificación del cambio sin que nada cambie.

Se pueden hacer muchas disquisiciones sin llegar al hueso. Todas son posibles. La Presidenta pudo percibir esa apertura, la llegada de un escenario diferente. La reacción de la oposición, en cambio, fue de desconcierto, sobre todo en los grandes medios. Los protagonistas no se ajustaron a sus libretos. Todos esperaron una sensación de derrota en el oficialismo y una cantidad de gestos hacia la oposición. Cada quien tuvo lo suyo, pero las dos horas y media que estuvo la Presidenta con el Papa generaron inquietud en la oposición. Son señales, un arzobispo no es lo mismo que el Papa, pero por muy fuertes que sean, sólo son señales. Falta un recorrido.

Es cierto que el arzobispo Bergoglio siempre manifestó vocación por estar cerca de los humildes y que efectivamente realizaba misas en las villas. Pero el estado de pobreza no es un estado de gracia ni una situación deseada. Por el contrario, se trata de que los pobres dejen de serlo. Las misas son bienvenidas, pero lo que derrota a la pobreza son las políticas económicas que crean trabajo y los medios para dignificarlo, así como las políticas sociales que contienen a los más vulnerables, como los niños y los ancianos.

La Iglesia tiene una Doctrina Social y un sector del peronismo afirma que de allí sale el pensamiento central de sus tesis, algo en lo que Perón nunca hizo demasiado hincapié. Porque a pesar de sostener esa supuesta Doctrina, la Iglesia se opuso a los gobiernos peronistas. Los golpes antiperonistas usaron a las Iglesias para conspirar, y sus símbolos, como el del Cristo Vence, para identificar a sus fuerzas. Perón fue excomulgado por el Vaticano y perdonado después de muchos años. Según se dice, Bergoglio es peronista, pero lo que muestra su relación con el kirchnerismo es que se trata del primer gobierno en cuarenta años que tiene una política económica que abrió millones de puestos de trabajo, que tiene políticas sociales de alto impacto hacia la niñez, como la Asignación Universal por Hijo, y hacia los ancianos, incorporando a millones de personas a una jubilación de la que habían quedado afuera con las AFJP. Es el gobierno que logró por primera vez en 40 años que cambiaran en forma positiva los índices de desocupación, pobreza y mortandad infantil y, sin embargo, ha sido el gobierno al que más se opuso la Iglesia en estos cuarenta años, incluyendo a la dictadura militar y al menemismo, que fueron tratados con beneplácito.

Al revés que otros gobiernos populares del siglo pasado, que rápidamente expresaron su antagonismo con la Iglesia, el peronismo –incluyendo al kirchnerismo– siempre trató de llevarse bien con ella, y sin embargo siempre le cerraron las puertas. Por eso mismo y a su pesar, el peronismo ha puesto en evidencia el trasfondo regresivo de la jerarquía eclesiástica.

Las tensiones entre los gobiernos kirchneristas y Bergoglio se encuadraron en ese desencuentro histórico en dos ciclos muy conservadores de la Iglesia católica. Uno termina en los años ’60 con el Concilio Vaticano II y el reflujo anticoncilio lo encabeza después el dúo Wojtyla-Ratzinger que le toca al kirchnerismo.

El papa Francisco abre un período diferente. Todas las señales, expresamente meditadas, lo presentan así. Pero en tan poco tiempo nadie puede predecir sentidos y densidades. Cada quien lo tomó a su manera.

La derecha peronista, a través del ex embajador menemista en el Vaticano Esteban Caselli, apostó primero al cardenal italiano Angelo Scola, que representaba la continuidad de los cortesanos del Vaticano entronizados en los dos papados anteriores. Cuando fue elegido Bergoglio, montaron una operación mediática para sacar al embajador Juan Pablo Cafiero. El cálculo era que se desataría una guerra fulminante entre el papa Francisco y Cristina Kirchner que debilitaría a la Presidenta. Hicieron circular versiones de que Cafiero había hecho campaña contra Bergoglio. “Habría”, “podría”, “haría” y así construyeron una historia indemostrable que fue repetida y enriquecida por sus operadores y periodistas militantes y que se fue pinchando a medida que el nuevo papa no reaccionaba como esperaba la oposición.

Para la ultraderecha católica argentina, desde el Opus Dei hasta el obispo de La Plata Héctor Aguer, significó un retroceso aunque celebren tímidamente. Los que esperaban una señal o apenas un gesto a la oposición para las elecciones de medio término de 2013 también se frustraron porque ya se anunció que no viajará a la Argentina cuando visite Brasil, en julio. El gesto es claro, pero en sentido contrario: no quiere visitar a su país en el marco de un proceso electoral.

Si resultan incógnitos otros caminos, podría decirse con bastante seguridad que en el plano de los derechos de las minorías sexuales y los derechos de género, como la interrupción del embarazo o las políticas de salud reproductiva, la Iglesia mantendrá el mismo tono. Tras su reunión con el Papa, Dilma Rousseff ya anunció en Brasil que se opondrá a la despenalización del aborto. Esas luchas se darán ahora en un contexto más difícil. Cristina Kirchner no se derramaría en elogios hacia un ex duro adversario y Dilma Rouseff no resignaría un objetivo por el que siempre luchó si no tuvieran una razón para hacerlo. Fue con las jefas de Estado con las que se reunió primero. Y sería muy revelador, seguramente, acceder a los textuales completos de esas dos conversaciones."

viernes, 22 de marzo de 2013


Bajo el título "Cypriot Bailout Linked to Gas Potential", por Jen Alic de Oil Price (oilprice.com) se puede leer un interesante artículo acerca de las razones que se esconden tras los disparates que la Unión Europea está haciendo en Chipre en estos días.
"Cyprus is preparing for total financial collapse as the European Central Bank turns its back on the island after its parliament rejected a scheme to make Cypriot citizens pay a levy on savings deposits in return for a share in potential gas futures to fund a bailout. 

On Wednesday, the Greek-Cypriot government voted against asking its citizens to bank on the future of gas exports by paying a 3-15% levy on bank deposits in return for a stake in potential gas sales. The scheme would have partly funded a $13 billion EU bailout. 

It would have been a major gamble that had Cypriots asking how much gas the island actually has and whether it will prove commercially viable any time soon.

In the end, not even the parliament was willing to take the gamble, forcing Cypriots to look elsewhere for cash, hitting up Russia in desperate talks this week, but to no avail. 

The bank deposit levy would not have gone down well in Russia, whose citizens use Cypriot banks to store their “offshore” cash. Some of the largest accounts belong to Russians and other foreigners, and the levy scheme would have targeted accounts with over 20,000 euros. So it made sense that Cyprus would then turn to Russia for help, but so far Moscow hasn’t put any concrete offers on the table. 

Plan A (the levy scheme) has been rejected. Plan B (Russia) has been ineffective. Plan C has yet to reveal itself. And without a Plan C, the banks can’t reopen. The minute they open their doors there will be a withdrawal rush that will force their collapse. 

In the meantime, cashing in on the island’s major gas potential is more urgent than ever—but these are still very early days. 

In the end, it’s all about gas and the race to the finish line to develop massive Mediterranean discoveries. Cyprus has found itself right in the middle of this geopolitical game in which its gas potential is a tool in a showdown between Russia and the European Union.     

The EU favored the Cypriot bank deposit levy but it would have hit at the massive accounts of Russian oligarchs. Without the promise of Levant Basin gas, the EU wouldn’t have had the bravado for such a move because Russia holds too much power over Europe’s gas supply. 

Cypriot Gas Potential
The Greek Cypriot government believes it is sitting on an amazing 60 trillion cubic feet of gas, but these are early days—these aren’t proven reserves and commercial viability could be years away. In the best-case scenario, production could feasibly begin in five years. Exports are even further afield, with some analysts suggesting 2020 as a start date.  

In 2011, the first (and only) gas was discovered offshore Cyprus, in Block 12, which is licensed to Houston-based Noble Energy Inc. (NBL). The block holds an estimated 8 trillion cubic feet of gas. 

To date, the Greek Cypriots have awarded licenses for six offshore exploration blocks that could contain up to 40 trillion cubic feet of gas. Aside from Noble, these licenses have gone to Total SA of France and a joint venture between Eni SpA (ENI) of Italy and Korea Gas Corp. 
But the process of exploring, developing, extracting, processing and getting gas to market is a long one. Getting the gas extracted offshore and then pumped onshore could take at least five years and some very expensive infrastructure that does not presently exist. The gas would have to be liquefied so it could be transported by seaborne tankers. 

The potential is there: Cyprus’ gas discoveries adjoin Israeli territorial waters where the discovery of the massive Leviathan gasfield (425 billion cubic meters or 16 trillion cubic feet) and smaller Tamar gasfield (250 billion cubic meters or 9 trillion cubic feet) have foreign companies in a rush to cash in on this. 

There are myriad problems to extracting Cypriot gas—not the least of which is the fact that some of this offshore exploration territory is disputed by Turkey, which has controlled part of the island since 1974. 

Gas exploration has taken this dispute to a new level, with Turkey sending in warships to halt drilling in 2011, and threatening to bar foreign companies exploring in Cyprus from any license opportunities in Turkey. The situation is likely to intensify as Noble prepares to begin exploratory drilling later this year in Block 12.

In the meantime, there is no shortage of competition on this arena. Cyprus will have to vie with Israel, Lebanon and Syria—all of which have made offshore gas discoveries of late in the Mediterranean’s Levant Basin, which has an estimated total of 122 trillion cubic feet of gas and 1.7 billion barrels of oil.   

Blackmailing Cyprus?
While Greek Cypriot citizens are not willing to gamble away their savings on gas futures, Russia and the European Union are certainly less hesitant. 

This is both a negotiating point for Cyprus and a convenient tool of blackmail for Russia and the EU. Essentially, the bailout is the prop on a stage that will determine who gets control of these assets. 

Theoretically, Cyprus could guarantee Russia exploration rights in return for assistance. As much as this is possible, the EU could ease its bailout negotiations if it becomes clear that a Russian bailout of sorts is imminent. 

Gas finds in the Mediterranean and particularly across the Levant Basin—home to Israel’s Leviathan and Tamar fields—could be the answer to Russian gas hegemony in Europe. The question is: How much does Cyprus count in this equation? A lot. 

Though only half of the estimated resources in the Levant Basin, Cyprus’ potential 60 trillion cubic feet of gas could equal 40% of the EU’s gas supplies and be worth a whopping $400 billion if commercial viability is proven. 

Russia is keen to keep Cyprus and Israel from cooperating too much toward the goal of loosening Russia’s grip on Europe before Moscow manages to gain a greater share of the Asian market. 

Russia is also not keen on Israel’s plan to lay an undersea natural gas pipeline to Turkey’s south coast to sell its gas from the Leviathan field to Europe. Turkey hasn’t agreed to this deal yet, but it is certainly considering it. This is fraught with all kinds of political problems at home, so for now Ankara is keeping it as low profile as possible.

With all of this in mind, Russia is doing its best to get in on the Levant largesse itself. While it’s also courting Lebanon and Syria, dating Israel is already in full force. Gazprom has signed a deal with Israel that would give it control of Tamar’s gas and access to the Asian market for its liquefied natural gas (LNG). Tamar will probably begin producing already in April at a 1 billion cubic feet/day capacity. 

In accordance with this deal, which Israel has yet to approve, Gazprom will provide financial support for the development of the Tamar Floating LNG Project. In return, Gazprom will get exclusive rights to purchase and export Tamar LNG. It is also significant because Tamar is a US-Israeli joint venture—so essentially the plan is to help Russia diversify from the European market.    

What does this mean for Cyprus? The chess pieces are still being put on the board, and both fortunately and unfortunately, Cyprus’ gas potential will be intricately linked to its bailout potential. 

robertsgt40 on March 22 2013 said: This is the blueprint of international predetory capitalism. Runs nation into unrepayable debt, then foreclose and repossess national assets. This techniquewill be used on all of us until the people say "enough". Welcome to corporate fascism on a global scale. 

bernhard on March 22 2013 said: Israel has no rights on the Leviathan gas field at all because its not in fromt of Israel its in front of Gaza. And that is an important differences since Gaza is not Israel. But this fact might explain why Israel tries to push the population of Gaza out of the country with brute force (sometimes escalating even to war crimes) by making their life as miserably as possible. This explains also the incident a year or two ago when the Turks were sending a ship to Gaza with humanitarian help and journalist. The ship was stopped by forces from the Israely navy and several people were killed on board. Its all about the gas and oil in the Mediterrain Sea in front of the Gaza strip. 

Bon Chance on March 22 2013 said: @bernhard: Leviathan is not in Gaza's EEZ (Exclusive Economic Zone); it is most definitely in Israel's. Based on the standard international conventions pertaining to such things, Gaza has an EEZ that points out in a triangle eastwards from the strip. The apex of that triangle points in the direction of Leviathan but reaches nowhere near it. Trust me, if Israel truly "stole" Leviathan, the entire Arab world would be up in arms. This said, Gaza does have a gas deposit in its EEZ called "Gaza Marine", which was discovered years ago. Because it's in Gaza's internationally recognized EEZ, Israel hasn't touched it, even though it has desperately needed gas in recent years due to the stoppage of gas from Egypt. Gaza Marine is located much closer to the coastline and would be cheap and quick to develop (unlike Leviathan and Tamar which are waay off the coast and are very expensive to develop). Israel has no objections whatsoever to the Palestinians developing this field but that has been stymied, mainly due to disagreements between the Hamas and Fatah regimes. Right now there's a new behind the scenes push for its development to power planned power plants in the Palestinian Authority, but the question again is will Hamas and the PLO agree on a deal between them and BG and the Lebanease and Gulf businessmen who own the license.

As for the article itself, the potential future gas pipeline to Turkey took a gigantic step forward today with Israel and Turkey agreeing to amend their broken political relationship.

Also, the article's GMR reserve estimates for Tamar and Leviathan are a bit outdated. They now stand at 18TCF for Leviathan and 10BCF for Tamar (Netherland & Assoc. estimates).

Tamar commercial production is expected to begin on Monday after several years of extensive development works.


jueves, 21 de marzo de 2013


Reproducimos la carta que enviara recientemente un veterano estadounidense de la guerra de Irak a los señores George W. Bush y Richard Cheney. Fue enviada por Thomas Young (en la foto de arriba), herido de un balazo en una emboscada en Irak en 2004, confinado a una silla de ruedas de por vida y actualmente en estado agonizante. Aparecida originalmente en Veterans Today, la carta fue posteada esta mañana por el sitio iraní PressTV. Una lágrima amarga en la locura oceánica del Imperio.

"I write this letter on the 10th anniversary of the Iraq War on behalf of my fellow Iraq War veterans. I write this letter on behalf of the 4,488 soldiers and Marines who died in Iraq.

I write this letter on behalf of the hundreds of thousands of veterans who have been wounded and on behalf of those whose wounds, physical and psychological, have destroyed their lives. 

I am one of those gravely wounded. I was paralyzed in an insurgent ambush in 2004 in Sadr City. My life is coming to an end. I am living under hospice care. 

I write this letter on behalf of husbands and wives who have lost spouses, on behalf of children who have lost a parent, on behalf of the fathers and mothers who have lost sons and daughters and on behalf of those who care for the many thousands of my fellow veterans who have brain injuries. 

I write this letter on behalf of those veterans whose trauma and self-revulsion for what they have witnessed, endured and done in Iraq have led to suicide and on behalf of the active-duty soldiers and Marines who commit, on average, a suicide a day. 

I write this letter on behalf of the some 1 million Iraqi dead and on behalf of the countless Iraqi wounded. I write this letter on behalf of us all-the human detritus your war has left behind, those who will spend their lives in unending pain and grief. 

You may evade justice but in our eyes you are each guilty of egregious war crimes, of plunder and, finally, of murder, including the murder of thousands of young Americans-my fellow veterans-whose future you stole.

I write this letter, my last letter, to you, Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney. I write not because I think you grasp the terrible human and moral consequences of your lies, manipulation and thirst for wealth and power. 

I write this letter because, before my own death, I want to make it clear that I, and hundreds of thousands of my fellow veterans, along with millions of my fellow citizens, along with hundreds of millions more in Iraq and the Middle East, know fully who you are and what you have done. 

Your positions of authority, your millions of dollars of personal wealth, your public relations consultants, your privilege and your power cannot mask the hollowness of your character. 

You sent us to fight and die in Iraq after you, Mr. Cheney, dodged the draft in Vietnam, and you, Mr. Bush, went AWOL from your National Guard unit. 

Your cowardice and selfishness were established decades ago. You were not willing to risk yourselves for our nation but you sent hundreds of thousands of young men and women to be sacrificed in a senseless war with no more thought than it takes to put out the garbage. 

I joined the Army two days after the 9/11 attacks. I joined the Army because our country had been attacked. I wanted to strike back at those who had killed some 3,000 of my fellow citizens. 

I did not join the Army to go to Iraq, a country that had no part in the September 2001 attacks and did not pose a threat to its neighbors, much less to the United States. 

I did not join the Army to “liberate” Iraqis or to shut down mythical weapons-of-mass-destruction facilities or to implant what you cynically called “democracy” in Baghdad and the Middle East. 

I did not join the Army to rebuild Iraq, which at the time you told us could be paid for by Iraq’s oil revenues. Instead, this war has cost the United States over $3 trillion. 

I especially did not join the Army to carry out pre-emptive war. Pre-emptive war is illegal under international law. And as a soldier in Iraq I was, I now know, abetting your idiocy and your crimes. 

The Iraq War is the largest strategic blunder in U.S. history. It obliterated the balance of power in the Middle East.

On every level-moral, strategic, military and economic-Iraq was a failure. And it was you, Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney, who started this war. It is you who should pay the consequences. 

I would not be writing this letter if I had been wounded fighting in Afghanistan against those forces that carried out the attacks of 9/11. Had I been wounded there I would still be miserable because of my physical deterioration and imminent death, but I would at least have the comfort of knowing that my injuries were a consequence of my own decision to defend the country I love. 

I would not have to lie in my bed, my body filled with painkillers, my life ebbing away, and deal with the fact that hundreds of thousands of human beings, including children, including myself, were sacrificed by you for little more than the greed of oil companies, for your alliance with the oil sheiks in Saudi Arabia, and your insane visions of empire. 

I have, like many other disabled veterans, suffered from the inadequate and often inept care provided by the Veterans Administration. 

I have, like many other disabled veterans, come to realize that our mental and physical wounds are of no interest to you, perhaps of no interest to any politician. We were used. We were betrayed. And we have been abandoned. 

You, Mr. Bush, make much pretense of being a Christian. But isn’t lying a sin? Isn’t murder a sin? Aren’t theft and selfish ambition sins? 

I am not a Christian. But I believe in the Christian ideal. I believe that what you do to the least of your brothers you finally do to yourself, to your own soul. 

My day of reckoning is upon me. Yours will come. I hope you will be put on trial. But mostly I hope, for your sakes, that you find the moral courage to face what you have done to me and to many, many others who deserved to live. 

I hope that before your time on earth ends, as mine is now ending, you will find the strength of character to stand before the American public and the world, and in particular the Iraqi people, and beg for forgiveness."