sábado, 28 de febrero de 2015

Mensajes desde Kiev

El blog “Mish’s Global Economic Trend Analysis” viene posteando seguido sobre la situación económica en Ucrania, claramente fuera de control en estos últimos días. Acá va una seguidilla de mensajes que le envían los lectores desde Kiev (http://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.com). El primero es del 25 de Febrero:

Título: Ukraine Hyperinflation; Currency Plunges 44% in One Week! Actual Black Market Rates; Poroshenko Gives "Ultimatum" to Central Bank to Fix Exchange Rate

Texto: I hear various reports of what the hryvnia actually trades for on the black market in Ukraine. I believe the reports, but they come in piecemeal.

Today, I have an actual black market link to share thanks to reader Oleg from Crimea. In response to “Ukrainian Currency Comparison: Budget Rate vs. Official Rate vs. Interbank Rate vs. Street Rate”, reader Oleg Writes:

-Hello Mish! There's more to the black exchange rate than meets the eye in Ukraine.

First of all if you use the "legal" currency exchange places you can only exchange up to 3000 hryvnias per day. Then there is an extra tax on the exchange.

None of that applies at the black market of course. Often black market outfits operate from the same official currency exchange kiosks, you just need how an what to ask for.

A number of "online exchanges for people" sprang up where people say how much of what they have and what they ask for it. Of course, such sites are subject to manipulation.

I am from the Crimea originally, and I am grateful it's no longer at the top of the news.


Currency Limits

The official foreign exchange limit is 3000 hryvnias per day, down from 15,000 a year ago. That's less than $100 a day. That limit is posted in Changes in Currency Control Rules (in English).

The Exchange Tax, not in English, is up from 0.5% to 2.0%.

In a second email Oleg comments: "It's a pretty widespread practice to ask around when you need to sell dollars/euros because there are tons of willing buyers at a very competitive price compared to official exchange places. Of course, going straight to the black market is risky in many respects. However, importers frequently turn to such exchanges because they need currency and cannot obtain it by official means."

Black Market

As I said previously, no one gets the "official" rate exchanging hryvnia for dollars other than corrupt banks officials taking advantage of the rigged system.

I am not sure who gets the interbank rate and in what quantities. But anyone who needs hard currency above and beyond what they can get at the interbank rate has little choice other than the black market sites that have sprung up.

Black Market Exchange Site

Please consider the appropriately named Black Market Exchange.

The site amusingly warns "Please note that the violation of the order and conditions of sale and purchase transactions of foreign currency, the perpetrators of such violations shall be liable in accordance with Art. 162 of the Code of Administrative Offenses, according to which the illegal purchase, sale, exchange, use of currency values ??as a means of payment or collateral - entail a warning or a fine of thirty to forty-four times the income of citizens with confiscation of currency values."

The way it works is by phone. You see an exchange rate you like, make a call to the posted phone number, meet and do a deal.

The word "course" translates as "exchange rate". Some of the offers are nonsensical. Scroll down to offers that have a strike-through. Those allegedly represent completed transactions at the shown rate.

I do not believe some of the executed transactions. Others look reasonable.

Currency Converter

The Currency Converter, part of the same website, seems more reasonable.

Rates Revisited

Yesterday, I noted The Dollar on the Interbank Market was Fixed at Around 33.5/USD.

Ukraine's international newspaper, The Mirror (available in English), reported on February 16, Ukrainian Government Changes Rate to UAH 21.7/USD in 2015 Budget.

The "official" rate yesterday was 28.29/USD.

I can now complete a table whose last line yesterday read like this "Street: Unknown but assuredly higher". We can now reasonably quantify "unknown".

Exchange Rates

2015 Budget: 21.1
Official: 28.29
Interbank: 33.5
Street: 38.5

All of the above for Monday, 2015-02-24.


At the beginning of 2014, the exchange rate was 8.21 per dollar. From 8.21 to 38.5 is a decline of 78.6% in just over a year.

This morning in Emails From Kiev: Free Speech Vanishes, Total Media Thought Control; US Radar System Falls Into Rebel Hands? I quoted "Ellen" who lives in Kiev.

Ellen, who lives in Kiev writes "Today $1 is worth 36 hryvnias on the black market. A Week ago it was 20 hryvnais. No one knows where the bottom is. People buy anything just to get rid of hryvnias."

That's a decline of 44.44% in one week! And if you use the 38.5 black market rate, the weekly decline is 48%.

In my book, that is hyperinflation, complete with that attitude that does with it: "People buy anything just to get rid of hryvnias."

And where will it stop?

Full Scale War

Ukraine's deputy foreign minister announced a "Full Scale War" on Saturday.

For details, please see "Prepare for Full-Scale War" says Ukraine Deputy Foreign Minister: "With What?" asks Mish; Ukraine Lie of the Day.

Ukraine is broke. It has no means to fight a war. Nonetheless, Ukraine is dedicated to fighting the impossible to win war, with foreign currency reserves dwindling.

Insistence on more fighting will produce more of the same results. Except now the US is involved in a not-so clandestine way (See Emails From Kiev: Free Speech Vanishes, Total Media Thought Control; US Radar System Falls Into Rebel Hands?)

Poroshenko Gives "Ultimatum" to Central Bank to Fix Exchange Rate

To put the finishing touches on the hyperinflation story, at a live press conference on the currency market, Poroshenko ordered the Chairman of the National Bank and the Finance Minister to Stabilize the Hryvnia at the "Budget" Rate of 21.5 hryvnia per dollar.

During an online broadcast, Poroshenko issued an ultimatum demanding the head of the National Bank of Ukraine, Valerie Gontareva, stabilize the hryvnia at a level which was guided by Cabinet in approving changes to the 2015 budget.

Poroshenko is not only a military fool, this rate change by mandate while fighting a stupid war proves he is an economic fool as well. Of course Mish readers knew that long ago.

I advise Hontaryevoyi to get out of Ukraine while she still can.

Addendum - Street Rates in Lviv

Reader John, who speaks Ukrainian, and whose father payed a key role in the Ukrainian resistance in WWII, has a sister who lives in Lviv, a beautiful town in Western Ukraine. He got "street" rates from his sister, just moments after I posted the above.

John writes: Hello Mish, My sister just returned from grocery shopping and advised that prices have further skyrocketed and are getting outrageous. The population will be subsisting on potatoes and beets and not much more.

Street Rates

SELL 1 USD = 25.00 UAH
SELL 1 EURO = 28.00 UAH
BUY  1 USD = 39.00 UAH
BUY  1 EURO = 45.00 UAH

Ukraine faces an IMF funding decision on March 11. Clearly it's not going well. I knew that was the purpose of the ultimatum. John provided the date.

Black market street rate in Lviv is now 39-to-1 if you want to buy dollars.

El post que sigue también es del 25/ 2:

Título: Emails From Kiev: Free Speech Vanishes, Total Media Thought Control; US Radar System Falls Into Rebel Hands?

Subtítulo: Free Speech Vanishes - Total Media Thought Control

Texto: I have a couple emails from Ukraine to share, one from two days ago, one from yesterday. Both are from "Ellen" who lives in Kiev (name changed).

Two Days Ago From Ellen: “As you know, the Debaltsevo pocket situation is resolved. It's not as bad as it could have been in terms of casualties. However, this was a crashing defeat of Poroshenko's generals.

I don't know how many more losses our society can take, but people are very angry. Currency keep plunging every day. Today it takes 30 hryvnias to buy one US dollar. It seems we have default without official announcement of it.

There is a new problem: total media thought control. In Ukraine we used to have free speech, but not any longer. War propaganda is everywhere and if someone doubts official policy, the journalist will be cast out or put in prison.

It is worse now than under Yanukovych. There is an atmosphere of fear everywhere. Today, a new law was passed, and now the president can switch off any TV news channel, any paper.
Total mobilization is underway. Anyone who refuses to join the army will go to jail.

Putin opened the border for Ukrainians who don't want to join the army. Millions of men from Ukraine went to Russia. Not many want to go to war. One defeat after another discourages people.

Many think Debaltsevo was breaking point. Some say separatists will take new areas with less resistance from Ukrainian army. Hard to say. Many think Mariupol, a city of 400,000 people is next. If separatists storm Mariupol it will be a bloody mess world haven't seen for long time.”

UAE Sells Arms to Ukraine, Currency Plunges More

Yesterday From Ellen: “News today is Ukraine will buy arms from UAE, perhaps arms that Americans previously sold to UAE. Poroshenko signed the contract, but we do not know what exactly Ukraine is buying.

It seems pretty much like Ukraine is in default. Today $1 is worth 36 hryvnias on the black market. A Week ago it was 20 hryvnas. No one knows where the bottom is. People buy anything just to get rid of hryvnias.

The only thing missing from a default is the announcement. I guess Poroshenko waits for bail out money from IMF and America. No one is in a hurry to bail us out because they know the money will be stolen by our corrupt officials.

We never seen prices rise so fast. Poroshenko came to power with 1 dollar around 9-10 hryvnias and now it's 36. Meanwhile his chocolate factory profit has gone up 8 times. His friends are also doing very well. People in Ukraine are very angry. Maybe this anger will be out on the streets soon.

Best regards, Ellen

No-So Clandestine US Weapons Shipments

Colonel Cassad describes UAE anti-tank offerings in Arms supplies to Ukraine.

“Given that Obama, despite pressure from the Pentagon and the Senate, has not yet taken a decision, it seems that a "buffer" scheme has been activated, whereby a country dependent on the U.S. is prepared to ship arms to Ukraine, essentially becoming a sort of middleman through which American weapons systems are sent to Ukraine. These can come in the guise of "arms from the UAE", with the U.S. seemingly uninvolved.

Specifically, the UAE has the BGM-71 TOW US antitank system, long ago discussed in relation to the pumping up junta troops' defensive lethal weapons.”

TOW Anti-Tank Missiles

BGM-71 TOW Description: Wikipedia describes the BGM-71 TOW as a "Tube-launched, Optically tracked, Wire-guided" anti-tank missile. First produced in 1970, the TOW is one of the most widely used anti-tank guided missiles."

An optical sensor on the sight continuously monitors the position of a light source on the missile relative to the line-of-sight, and then corrects the trajectory of the missile by generating electrical signals that are passed down two wires to command the control surface actuators.

Lethal Aid

On February 7, Stratfor wrote US Considering Lethal Aid to Ukraine:

“A significant portion of the anti-tank weapons Ukraine owns are old and likely inoperable. Moreover, only a few effective weapons such as the 9K115-2 Metis-M, indigenous Skif missile and RPB-29 are in its stockpiles. If the United States or its NATO allies were to transfer Javelin anti-tank guided missiles or heavier crew-served TOW missiles to Kiev, it could give Ukrainian troops a credible capability against separatist and Russian heavy armor.”

That just happened. Expect Russia to respond in kind. And expect more deaths.

Renewed Fighting Around Mariupol

Earlier today Yahoo! News reported Ukraine Rebels Fill Hospital as Clashes Flare Around Mariupol: http://news.yahoo.com/ukraine-rebels-fill-hospital-clashes-flare-around-mariupol-193156428.html

US Radar System Falls Into Rebel Hands?

One of the problems in sending top-notch equipment to Ukraine is what happens to it. For example Colonel Cassad reports:

"Among the trophies in the Debaltsevo area was a damaged American mortar counter-battery radar system.  The junta claims that during the flight of the 128th Brigade its soldiers were able to wreck it. But there is some doubt seeping through these claims. It is likely that the radar, in one condition or another, passed into the hands of the Novorossia Armed Forces, which means that it will get to Russia and be studied, as happened with American hardware captured during the Olympic (2008 Russia-Georgia) war."

I do not know the equipment, or the significance, but if Cassad thinks it happened, history suggests it probably did.

Say Something Against the Draft - Go to Jail

Ellen commented "Total mobilization is underway. Anyone who refuses to join the army will go to jail".

It's a bit worse than that. If you call for a boycott of mobilization, you will be arrested.

Please consider Prosecutor Calls for Arrest of Journalists who Protest Mobilization.

“In mid-January, journalist Ruslan Kotsaba recorded a video in which called for the abandonment of the mobilization.

His wife reported that he had been arrested on suspicion of "SBU gosizmene". The adviser to the chairman of the SBU Markiyan Lubkivsky commented on the detention of journalist as follows: "Given that the actions R.Kotsaby there are signs of a crime under Part 1 of Article 111 and Part 1 of Article 114 of the Criminal Code, he announced that suspicion."

I need a better translation of "??" vs. Google translation of "suspicion of SBU gosizmene".

I suspect that phrase and/or Part 1 of Article 111 and Part 1 of Article 114 pertain to treason or subversion.

Anti-Draft Agitation - Eight Years in Prison

Here's a literal headline translation that's easy to understand: "For Agitation in Social Networks Against Mobilization Can Collect Up to 8 Years".

Conscription of Minivan

Here's a final post that shows who we are supporting.

The prosecutor's office in Kharkov starts Criminal Proceedings on a Corporation's Refusal to Turn Over Minivan for Military Use.

“In Kharkov, prosecutors opened criminal proceedings on the failure of one of the companies within the mobilization region to transfer a minivan for the needs of the APU.

The prosecutor's office of the Frunze district of Kharkov started criminal proceedings under Part. 1, Art. 364-1 (abuse of authority by an official of the legal entity of private law) of the Criminal Code against the leadership of one of the machine-building enterprises of Kharkov.

According to the District Attorney Stanislav Pieve, officials Ltd. refused to give within the framework of the mobilization for the needs of the Armed Forces of Ukraine technique.

"At the request of the district military office to provide vehicles in the company announced its absence. However, as it turned out, the management of concealed information about the presence of a van," - said Pieve.

Hiding a Minivan

Sheesh. From the last paragraph above, it appears this company was charged because it concealed a minivan.

For now, I believe this type of thuggery is primarily happening in Eastern cities not under separatist control. I don't think they would dare do this in Kiev yet.

If they did, I would expect an uprising if not takedown of Poroshenko. Recall that Ellen said "Maybe this anger will be out on the streets soon."

The problem is, the asshats associated with Poroshenko are even worse than he is.

Read more at http://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.com/2015/02/emails-from-kiev-free-speech-vanishes.

Este último post, a su vez, es de ayer:

Título: Panic in Ukraine Over Food, Empty Stores and Protests; Strategic Food Reserve Empty

Texto: Here's a brief update from "Ellen" who lives in Lviv, a city in Western Ukraine.

“Hello Mish

We have quite a panic over the collapse of currency. People buy any food product that can be stored. Everyone wants to rid of Hryvnia. We haven't seen anything like this since 1991 when the Soviet Union collapsed. Stores are empty.

It is hard to say what exchange rate this days, somewhere between 34 and 42

There were riots in downtown today. A group of protesters was beaten up by police. They marched through downtown and gave a last warning to government officials. Next time they said they will shoot some officials.

Ukraine is on a brink, but the West is not in a hurry to give us money. Perhaps they want something.  Maybe they know the money will end up with corrupt officials who will steal it.

Either way, the few billion dollars they promised in March won't save our economy, not after this panic started.

Best wishes, Ellen”

Strategic Food Reserve Empty

A curious thing happened today. To quiet protests over food, president Petro Poroshenko ordered the minister of the food reserve to fill the shelves of stores with flour, sugar, canned meat, and buckwheat from the reserve.

Well guess what? There was no food in the reserve. It has either been looted (like the vanishing gold), or it was fed to the army.

Here is a nice translation from Russian by J. Hawk: Ukraine's Strategic Food Reserve... Runs Out Of Food.

“Ukrainian food prices are rising at a rate faster than in the ‘90s. But the Yatsenyuk government is still blaming the situation on the ignorance of the population and speculation by supermarket chains.

They used to blame currency exchangers, now they are blaming supermarket directors. However, you can’t feed the people with such tales.

The government’s “economy block” hastily summoned the director of the Ukrainian State Reserve Vladimir Zhukov. They demanded that he open the storehouses and fill the shelves with flour, sugar, canned meat, and buckwheat from its stores. In response the keeper of Motherland’s strategic stores revealed a terrible military secret to Yatsenyuk and Poroshenko: the storehouses are empty.

It would seem Ukraine’s Black Hour is here.

J.Hawk's Comment: There indeed were earlier reports that the strategic reserve was being "unsealed" to support military operations on the Donbass. The army has to eat, after all, and maintaining several tens of thousands of soldiers for nearly a year is likely to make a dent. The second factor was the junta's desperate need to earn hard currency to somehow plug up the many budget holes opened up by its adoption of "European Choice" neoliberal economic policies. Therefore anything that could be sold, was sold, including Mariupol's huge grain reserves. Finally, there's the small matter of corruption. One gets the impression Ukraine is a giant organized style "bust-out" operation, whose objective is to stash as much loot in foreign accounts and then leave the mess for someone else to clean up. To say that the Kiev junta has some kind of a strategy would be giving them entirely too much credit. It's a collection of loosely coordinated individuals pursuing their own venal agendas and living hand-to-mouth, without any thought given to Ukraine's long-term prospects.

Here is a link to the original article that J. Hawk translated: Ukraine State Reserve Doesn’t Even Have Buckwheat. Everything was Stolen.

Buckwheat is a Russian staple. I believe, "out of buckwheat" would be the equivalent of Japan being out of rice.

Mish note: One person accused me of bias over the word "junta". I did not choose the word. I quoted someone, just as I quote Colonel Cassad.

In context, it certainly appears J. Hawk went out of his way to not just translate, but to mention the possibility reserves were unsealed to feed the army.

Read more at http://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.com/2015/02/panic-in-ukraine-over-food-empty-stores.

Libia, la guerra olvidada de la NATO

A medida que se acerca el cuarto aniversario de la “intervención humanitaria” de la NATO en Libia, el estado lamentable en que quedara ese sufrido país promueve las reflexiones de todo tipo. Reproducimos un reporte de Michael Krieger para LibertyBlitzkrieg (http://libertyblitzkrieg.com) en donde se comenta en detalle un artículo previo sobre las consecuencias del desastre llevado a cabo por la NATO en Libia.

Título: The Forgotten War – Understanding the Incredible Debacle Left Behind by NATO in Libya

Epígrafe: “In retrospect, Obama’s intervention in Libya was an abject failure, judged even by its own standards. Libya has not only failed to evolve into a democracy; it has devolved into a failed state. Violent deaths and other human rights abuses have increased severalfold. Rather than helping the United States combat terrorism, as Qaddafi did during his last decade in power, Libya now serves as a safe haven for militias affiliated with both al Qaeda and the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS). The Libya intervention has harmed other U.S. interests as well: undermining nuclear nonproliferation, chilling Russian cooperation at the UN, and fueling Syria’s civil war.?

“As bad as Libya’s human rights situation was under Qaddafi, it has gotten worse since NATO ousted him. Immediately after taking power, the rebels perpetrated scores of reprisal killings, in addition to torturing, beating, and arbitrarily detaining thousands of suspected Qaddafi supporters. The rebels also expelled 30,000 mostly black residents from the town of Tawergha and burned or looted their homes and shops, on the grounds that some of them supposedly had been mercenaries. Six months after the war, Human Rights Watch declared that the abuses “appear to be so widespread and systematic that they may amount to crimes against humanity.”?

“As a consequence of such pervasive violence, the UN estimates that roughly 400,000 Libyans have fled their homes, a quarter of whom have left the country altogether.” ?

– From Alan Kuperman’s excellent Foreign Affairs article: Obama’s Libya Debacle

Texto: Regular readers will be somewhat familiar with the total chaos NATO left behind in the wake of its so-called “humanitarian” intervention in Libya, but I doubt many of you are aware of just how enormous the disaster actually has become.

Alan J. Kuperman, an Associate Professor at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin, wrote an incredible article in the latest issue of Foreign Affairs, which is an absolute must read. If the American public and politicians actually wanted to learn from their mistakes and avoid making them in the future, this piece could serve as a comprehensive warning about what not to do.

That said, after reading this article the unfortunate truth becomes apparent; that there are only two logical conclusions that can be reached about American foreign policy leadership in the 21st century.

1) American leadership is ruthlessly pursuing immoral wars all over the world with the intent of creating outside enemies to focus public anger on, as a conscious diversion away from the criminality happening domestically. As an added bonus, the intelligence-military-industrial complex makes an incredible sum of money. The end result: serfs are distracted with inane nationalistic fervor, while the “elites” earn billions.

2) American leadership is completely and totally inept; being easily manipulated into overseas conflicts by ruthless corporate interests and cunning foreign “rebels” in order to advance their own selfish interests, which are in conflict with the interests of the general public.

I can’t come up with any other logical conclusion. Either way, such people have no business running the affairs of these United States, and their actions are merely increasing instability and violence across the planet. The longer they remain in charge with no accountability, the more dangerous this world will become.

From Foreign Affairs:

“In March 17, 2011, the UN Security Council passed Resolution 1973, spearheaded by the administration of U.S. President Barack Obama, authorizing military intervention in Libya. The goal, Obama explained, was to save the lives of peaceful, pro-democracy protesters who found themselves the target of a crackdown by Libyan dictator Muammar al-Qaddafi. Not only did Qaddafi endanger the momentum of the nascent Arab Spring, which had recently swept away authoritarian regimes in Tunisia and Egypt, but he also was poised to commit a bloodbath in the Libyan city where the uprising had started, said the president. “We knew that if we waited one more day, Benghazi—a city nearly the size of Charlotte—could suffer a massacre that would have reverberated across the region and stained the conscience of the world,” Obama declared. Two days after the UN authorization, the United States and other NATO countries established a no-fly zone throughout Libya and started bombing Qaddafi’s forces. Seven months later, in October 2011, after an extended military campaign with sustained Western support, rebel forces conquered the country and shot Qaddafi dead.

“In the immediate wake of the military victory, U.S. officials were triumphant. Writing in these pages in 2012, Ivo Daalder, then the U.S. permanent representative to NATO, and James Stavridis, then supreme allied commander of Europe, declared, “NATO’s operation in Libya has rightly been hailed as a model intervention.” In the Rose Garden after Qaddafi’s death, Obama himself crowed, “Without putting a single U.S. service member on the ground, we achieved our objectives.” Indeed, the United States seemed to have scored a hat trick: nurturing the Arab Spring, averting a Rwanda-like genocide, and eliminating Libya as a potential source of terrorism. ?

“That verdict, however, turns out to have been premature. In retrospect, Obama’s intervention in Libya was an abject failure, judged even by its own standards. Libya has not only failed to evolve into a democracy; it has devolved into a failed state. Violent deaths and other human rights abuses have increased severalfold. Rather than helping the United States combat terrorism, as Qaddafi did during his last decade in power, Libya now serves as a safe haven for militias affiliated with both al Qaeda and the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS). The Libya intervention has harmed other U.S. interests as well: undermining nuclear nonproliferation, chilling Russian cooperation at the UN, and fueling Syria’s civil war.?

“Despite what defenders of the mission claim, there was a better policy available—not intervening at all, because peaceful Libyan civilians were not actually being targeted. Had the United States and its allies followed that course, they could have spared Libya from the resulting chaos and given it a chance of progress under Qaddafi’s chosen successor: his relatively liberal, Western-educated son Saif al-Islam. Instead, Libya today is riddled with vicious militias and anti-American terrorists—and thus serves as a cautionary tale of how humanitarian intervention can backfire for both the intervener and those it is intended to help.?

“Optimism about Libya reached its apogee in July 2012, when democratic elections brought to power a moderate, secular coalition government—a stark change from Qaddafi’s four decades of dictatorship. But the country quickly slid downhill. Its first elected prime minister, Mustafa Abu Shagour, lasted less than one month in office. His quick ouster foreshadowed the trouble to come: as of this writing, Libya has had seven prime ministers in less than four years. Islamists came to dominate the first postwar parliament, the General National Congress. Meanwhile, the new government failed to disarm dozens of militias that had arisen during NATO’s seven-month intervention, especially Islamist ones, leading to deadly turf battles between rival tribes and commanders, which continue to this day. In October 2013, secessionists in eastern Libya, where most of the country’s oil is located, declared their own government. That same month, Ali Zeidan, then the country’s prime minister, was kidnapped and held hostage. In light of the growing Islamist influence within Libya’s government, in the spring of 2014, the United States postponed a plan to train an armed force of 6,000–8,000 Libyan troops.?

“By May 2014, Libya had come to the brink of a new civil war—between liberals and Islamists. That month, a renegade secular general named Khalifa Hifter seized control of the air force to attack Islamist militias in Benghazi, later expanding his targets to include the Islamist-dominated legislature in Tripoli. Elections last June did nothing to resolve the chaos. Most Libyans had already given up on democracy, as voter turnout dropped from 1.7 million in the previous poll to just 630,000. Secular parties declared victory and formed a new legislature, the House of Representatives, but the Islamists refused to accept that outcome. The result was two competing parliaments, each claiming to be the legitimate one.?

“In July, an Islamist militia from the city of Misurata responded to Hifter’s actions by attacking Tripoli, prompting Western embassies to evacuate. After a six-week battle, the Islamists captured the capital in August on behalf of the so-called Libya Dawn coalition, which, together with the defunct legislature, formed what they labeled a “national salvation government.” In October, the newly elected parliament, led by the secular Operation Dignity coalition, fled to the eastern city of Tobruk, where it established a competing interim government, which Libya’s Supreme Court later declared unconstitutional. Libya thus finds itself with two warring governments, each controlling only a fraction of the country’s territory and militias.?

“As bad as Libya’s human rights situation was under Qaddafi, it has gotten worse since NATO ousted him. Immediately after taking power, the rebels perpetrated scores of reprisal killings, in addition to torturing, beating, and arbitrarily detaining thousands of suspected Qaddafi supporters. The rebels also expelled 30,000 mostly black residents from the town of Tawergha and burned or looted their homes and shops, on the grounds that some of them supposedly had been mercenaries. Six months after the war, Human Rights Watch declared that the abuses “appear to be so widespread and systematic that they may amount to crimes against humanity.”?

 “As a consequence of such pervasive violence, the UN estimates that roughly 400,000 Libyans have fled their homes, a quarter of whom have left the country altogether. ?

“Libya’s quality of life has been sharply degraded by an economic free fall. That is mainly because the country’s production of oil, its lifeblood, remains severely depressed by the protracted conflict. Prior to the revolution, Libya produced 1.65 million barrels of oil a day, a figure that dropped to zero during NATO’s intervention. Although production temporarily recovered to 85 percent of its previous rate, ever since secessionists seized eastern oil ports in August 2013, output has averaged only 30 percent of the prewar level. Ongoing fighting has closed airports and seaports in Libya’s two biggest cities, Tripoli and Benghazi. In many cities, residents are subjected to massive power outages—up to 18 hours a day in Tripoli. The recent privation represents a stark descent for a country that the UN’s Human Development Index traditionally had ranked as having the highest standard of living in all of Africa.”?

So intervention actually destroyed a country that was doing very well compared to the rest of Africa, and turned it into a violent, economic disaster zone/terrorist camp.

“Although the White House justified its mission in Libya on humanitarian grounds, the intervention in fact greatly magnified the death toll there. To begin with, Qaddafi’s crackdown turns out to have been much less lethal than media reports indicated at the time. In eastern Libya, where the uprising began as a mix of peaceful and violent protests, Human Rights Watch documented only 233 deaths in the first days of the fighting, not 10,000, as had been reported by the Saudi news channel Al Arabiya. In fact, as I documented in a 2013 International Security article, from mid-February 2011, when the rebellion started, to mid-March 2011, when NATO intervened, only about 1,000 Libyans died, including soldiers and rebels. Although an Al Jazeera article touted by Western media in early 2011 alleged that Qaddafi’s air force had strafed and bombed civilians in Benghazi and Tripoli, “the story was untrue,” revealed an exhaustive examination in the London Review of Booksby Hugh Roberts of Tufts University. Indeed, striving to minimize civilian casualties, Qaddafi’s forces had refrained from indiscriminate violence.”?

Saudis lying as usual to get a war going. No surprise there.

“Moreover, by the time NATO intervened, Libya’s violence was on the verge of ending. Qaddafi’s well-armed forces had routed the ragtag rebels, who were retreating home. By mid-March 2011, government forces were poised to recapture the last rebel stronghold of Benghazi, thereby ending the one-month conflict at a total cost of just over 1,000 lives. Just then, however, Libyan expatriates in Switzerland affiliated with the rebels issued warnings of an impending “bloodbath” in Benghazi, which Western media duly reported but which in retrospect appear to have been propaganda. In reality, on March 17, Qaddafi pledged to protect the civilians of Benghazi, as he had those of other recaptured cities, adding that his forces had “left the way open” for the rebels to retreat to Egypt. Simply put, the militants were about to lose the war, and so their overseas agents raised the specter of genocide to attract a NATO intervention—which worked like a charm. There is no evidence or reason to believe that Qaddafi had planned or intended to perpetrate a killing campaign. ?

“This grim math leads to a depressing but unavoidable conclusion. Before NATO’s intervention, Libya’s civil war was on the verge of ending, at the cost of barely 1,000 lives. Since then, however, Libya has suffered at least 10,000 additional deaths from conflict. In other words, NATO’s intervention appears to have increased the violent death toll more than tenfold.?

“Since NATO’s intervention in 2011, however, Libya and its neighbor Mali have turned into terrorist havens. Radical Islamist groups, which Qaddafi had suppressed, emerged under NATO air cover as some of the most competent fighters of the rebellion. Supplied with weapons by sympathetic countries such as Qatar, the militias refused to disarm after Qaddafi fell. Their persistent threat was highlighted in September 2012 when jihadists, including from the group Ansar al-Sharia, attacked the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, killing Christopher Stevens, the U.S. ambassador to Libya, and three of his colleagues. Last year, the UN formally declared Ansar al-Sharia a terrorist organization because of its affiliation with al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb.?

“NATO’s intervention also fostered Islamist terrorism elsewhere in the region. When Qaddafi fell, the ethnic Tuaregs of Mali within his security forces fled home with their weapons to launch their own rebellion. That uprising was quickly hijacked by local Islamist forces and al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, which declared an independent Islamic state in Mali’s northern half. By December 2012, this zone of Mali had become “the largest territory controlled by Islamic extremists in the world,” according to Senator Christopher Coons, chair of the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Africa.

“The harm from the intervention in Libya extends well beyond the immediate neighborhood. For one thing, by helping overthrow Qaddafi, the United States undercut its own nuclear nonproliferation objectives. In 2003, Qaddafi had voluntarily halted his nuclear and chemical weapons programs and surrendered his arsenals to the United States. His reward, eight years later, was a U.S.-led regime change that culminated in his violent death. That experience has greatly complicated the task of persuading other states to halt or reverse their nuclear programs. Shortly after the air campaign began, North Korea released a statement from an unnamed Foreign Ministry official saying that “the Libyan crisis is teaching the international community a grave lesson” and that North Korea would not fall for the same U.S. “tactic to disarm the country.” Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, likewise noted that Qaddafi had “wrapped up all his nuclear facilities, packed them on a ship, and delivered them to the West.” Another well-connected Iranian, Abbas Abdi, observed: “When Qaddafi was faced with an uprising, all Western leaders dropped him like a brick. Judging from that, our leaders assess that compromise is not helpful.”?

“The intervention in Libya may also have fostered violence in Syria. In March 2011, Syria’s uprising was still largely nonviolent, and the Assad government’s response, although criminally disproportionate, was relatively circumscribed, claiming the lives of fewer than 100 Syrians per week. After NATO gave Libya’s rebels the upper hand, however, Syria’s revolutionaries turned to violence in the summer of 2011, perhaps expecting to attract a similar intervention. “It’s similar to Benghazi,” a Syrian rebel told The Washington Post at the time, adding, “We need a no-fly zone.” The result was a massive escalation of the Syrian conflict, leading to at least 1,500 deaths per week by early 2013, a 15-fold increase. ?

“NATO’s mission in Libya also hindered peacemaking efforts in Syria by greatly antagonizing Russia. With Moscow’s acquiescence, the UN Security Council had approved the establishment of a no-fly zone in Libya and other measures to protect civilians. But NATO exceeded that mandate to pursue regime change. The coalition targeted Qaddafi’s forces for seven months—even as they retreated, posing no threat to civilians—and armed and trained rebels who rejected peace talks. As Russian President Vladimir Putin complained, NATO forces “frankly violated the UN Security Council resolution on Libya, when instead of imposing the so-called no-fly zone over it they started bombing it too.” His foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, explained that as a result, in Syria, Russia “would never allow the Security Council to authorize anything similar to what happened in Libya.”

“Despite the massive turmoil caused by the intervention, some of its unrepentant supporters claim that the alternative—leaving Qaddafi in power—would have been even worse. But Qaddafi was not Libya’s future in any case. Sixty-nine years old and in ill health, he was laying the groundwork for a transition to his son Saif, who for many years had been preparing a reform agenda. “I will not accept any position unless there is a new constitution, new laws, and transparent elections,” Saif declared in 2010. “Everyone should have access to public office. We should not have a monopoly on power.” Saif also convinced his father that the regime should admit culpability for a notorious 1996 prison massacre and pay compensation to the families of hundreds of victims. In addition, in 2008, Saif published testimony from former prisoners alleging torture by revolutionary committees—the regime’s zealous but unofficial watchdogs—whom he demanded be disarmed.”?

The “alternative would have been worse” is the shallow response told by status quo criminals the world over when it comes to defending their crimes. It’s the same response peddled by the architects of the “too big to fail” taxpayer bailout of financial oligarchs.

“Even after the war began, respected observers voiced confidence in Saif. In a New York Times op-ed, Curt Weldon, a former ten-term Republican U.S. congressman from Pennsylvania, wrote that Saif “could play a constructive role as a member of the committee to devise a new government structure or Constitution.” Instead, NATO-supported militants captured and imprisoned Qaddafi’s son.

Obama also acknowledges regrets about Libya, but unfortunately, he has drawn the wrong lesson. “I think we underestimated . . . the need to come in full force,” the president told the New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman in August 2014. “If you’re gonna do this,” he elaborated, “there has to be a much more aggressive effort to rebuild societies.”?

Humanitarian intervention should be reserved for the rare instances in which civilians are being targeted and military action can do more good than harm, such as Rwanda in 1994, where I have estimated that a timely operation could have saved over 100,000 lives. Of course, great powers sometimes may want to use force abroad for other reasons—to fight terrorism, avert nuclear proliferation, or overthrow a noxious dictator. But they should not pretend the resulting war is humanitarian, or be surprised when it gets a lot of innocent civilians killed.”

Think about all of this very carefully and deeply. A conflict initiated based purely on lies and propaganda destroyed the lives of millions, destabilized several nations, created a terrorist breeding ground, crushed all incentives for nuclear disarmament, escalated the conflict in Syria, and damaged the U.S.-Russian relationship. Yet, despite all of this, the lesson Obama gleaned from the debacle was:

“I think we underestimated . . . the need to come in full force. If you’re gonna do this there has to be a much more aggressive effort to rebuild societies.”?

Which is precisely why America will continue to gear up for war after war after war…

viernes, 27 de febrero de 2015

Lecciones de Libia

Postales nocturnas de Trípoli, Libia. Otros tiempos

No te quiero sacar de tu estado de éxtasis ante las buenas noticias sobre la reproducción exitosa del mono verde de Tanzania o la tortuga plumífera de la Melanesia, pero te cuento que a pesar de todas estas novedades que traen los diarios de occidente esta temporada, también pasan otras cosas en el mundo. Qué le vas a hacer. A Libia la siguen rompiendo puntualmente los chicos del Estado Islámico y unos cuantos grupos más, los que, como recordarás, fueron instalados allí por la NATO para que dejen todo ordenadito. Y sí, salió mal, qué lo tiró. Quién lo hubiera previsto, ¿no? Por suerte ya están planificando una segunda invasión, que posiblemente engrose la cuenta de más de 120.000 muertos y varios millones de desplazados (que algunos calculan en dos tercios de una población de seis millones), pero en fin. Lo importante es seguir sembrando la democracia y la libertad.

Reproducimos a continuación dos artículos de Manlio Dinucci para Red Voltaire. Los mismos son útiles para que veas cómo los muchachos de la Sección AgitProp de la NATO comienzan lentamente a reescribir la historia de los pueblos previamente destrozados por su misma maquinaria bélica. Siempre listos al servicio del Imperio, siempre listos a ir por más. Hasta que los bajen de un hondazo, se entiende.

Título: ¿Existió un Estado en Libia?

Epígrafe: Como de costumbre, los vencedores de la OTAN pretenden reescribir la Historia. Según afirman, Libia nunca fue un Estado y Muammar el-Kadhafi fue un sanguinario dictador. En realidad, la Yamahiriya Árabe Libia fue creada según el modelo de los socialistas utópicos del siglo XIX, de quienes Kadhafi siempre fue un gran admirador. Se trataba, por consiguiente, de un Estado mínimo que resultó desgraciadamente incapaz de defenderse ante la agresión de la coalición imperialista.

Texto: Según el ahora presidente emérito de la República Italiana, Giorgio Napolitano, no es cierto que la guerra de 2011 destruyó el Estado libio. «Yo considero que nunca hubo en Libia un Estado, en el sentido moderno de la expresión», declaró Napolitano al hacer uso de la palabra en el Senado.

Hace sólo unos meses, el propio Napolitano había calificado Libia de «Estado fallido», un concepto creado por el Fondo para la Paz estadounidense. Pero ahora parece que lo ha pensado mejor: «Que se pueda hablar hoy de Estado fallido es algo que me deja perplejo. El ejercicio del poder autocrático y personal del presidente Kadhafi basado en un sistema de equilibrio entre la multitud de tribus no era un Estado.»

Así que, según Giorgio Napolitano, lo que había en la costa sur del Mediterráneo no era un Estado: la República Árabe de Libia, nacida en 1969 después de más de 30 años de dominación colonial italiana y de casi 20 años de monarquía espuria, inventada por Gran Bretaña y Estados Unidos. Estado que, después de abolir la monarquía, cerró en 1970 las bases estadounidenses y británicas y nacionalizó las propiedades de British Petroleum. Estado que –según reconocía el Banco Mundial en 2010– disponía de «un alto nivel de crecimiento económico», garantizando así –a pesar de las diferencias de desarrollo– el más alto nivel de vida en África y que proporcionaba trabajo a unos 2 millones de inmigrantes africanos. Estado que registraba «fuertes indicadores de desarrollo humano», entre los que se podía citar el acceso universal a la enseñanza primaria y secundaria y, para el 46% de la población, el acceso a la enseñanza universitaria. Un Estado cuyas inversiones hicieron posible el nacimiento de organismos que hubiesen podido hacer realidad la autonomía financiera de África: el Banco Africano de Inversiones (en Libia), el Banco Central Africano (en Nigeria) y el Fondo Monetario Africano (en Camerún).

Al reescribir la historia se está tratando de borrar todo eso y la Libia que existió de 1969 a 2011 se ve representada ahora como un no Estado, como una «multitud de tribus» –definición digna de una postal colonial– que se mantenían juntas únicamente por el poder de Kadhafi. Un poder que indudablemente existía, resultado de las fases históricas que Libia había atravesado, pero que se había relajado y descentralizado abriendo así la posibilidad de una evolución ulterior de la sociedad libia. Una Libia que, a raíz del levantamiento –en 2004– del embargo decretado por Estados Unidos y la Unión Europea, había reconquistado un espacio a nivel internacional.

En abril de 2009, en Washington, la secretaria de Estado Hillary Clinton estrechaba calurosamente la mano a uno de los hijos de Kadhafi mientras decía querer «profundizar y ampliar nuestra cooperación». Menos de 2 años más tarde, aquella misma Hillary Clinton iniciaba la campaña internacional contra Kadhafi, preparando así la posterior guerra.
Pero ahora, en el marco de la competencia por la próxima elección presidencial [estadounidense], los esqueletos comienzan a salir de los armarios.

Pruebas documentales, publicadas por el Washington Timesy analizadas por la comisión del Congreso que investiga el asesinato del embajador de Estados Unidos perpetrado en Bengazi en 2012, demuestran que fue Hillary Clinton quien empujó la administración Obama a la guerra contra Libia «con pretextos falsos e ignorando los consejos de los comandantes militares».

En efecto, mientras la señora Clinton acusaba a Kadhafi de genocidio, las agencias de inteligencia estadounidenses indicaban en sus informes internos que «Kadhafi había dado la orden de no atacar a los civiles y de concentrarse en los rebeldes armados». Descubrimos así un informe, enviado por las autoridades libias a varios miembros del Congreso estadounidense en 2011, donde se documentan las entregas a los yihadistas libios de armas provenientes de Qatar con «la autorización de la OTAN».

En aquella época, el presidente Giorgio Napolitano declaraba que, «al no poder mantenernos indiferentes ante la reacción sanguinaria de Kadhafi», Italia se sumaba al «plan de intervención de la coalición bajo la conducción de la OTAN».


El plan Wright de división de Libia, publicado en el New York Times 
el 29 de septiembre de 2013

Título: Los incendiarios gritan “¡Fuego!”

Epígrafe: Iniciada bajo un pretexto humanitario enteramente fabricado, la guerra contra Libia no ha terminado todavía. Después del derrocamiento de la Yamahiriya, de la muerte bajo las bombas de la OTAN de 120 000 libios (según las cifras de la Cruz Roja Internacional) a los que supuestamente había que proteger, después del linchamiento de Muammar el-Kadhafi y del ulterior éxodo de 2 tercios de la populación libia, es evidente que “el trabajo” sólo está comenzando.

Texto: La guerra que se extiende por Libia está provocando cada vez más víctimas, y no sólo en tierra sino también en el mar. Se trata de las numerosas personas que, empujadas por la desesperación, tratan de atravesar el Mediterráneo y terminan ahogándose en sus aguas.
«Desde el fondo del mar nos preguntan dónde están nuestros sentimientos humanos», escribe Pier Luigi Bersani.

Bersani tendría que preguntarse primeramente dónde estaban sus propios sentimientos humanos y además su propio concepto de la ética y de la política el 18 de marzo de 2011, cuando, en vísperas de la guerra de Estados Unidos y la OTAN contra Libia, él mismo, desde su posición de secretario del PD (Partito democratico), gritaba «¡Enhorabuena!» afirmando que «el Artículo 11 de la Constitución (italiana) repudia la guerra, no el uso de la fuerza por razones justas».

Enrico Letta, quien –como Bersani– lanza hoy un llamado al sentimiento humanitario, debería acordarse del 25 de marzo de 2011, cuando, como vicesecretario del PD, declaraba: «guerreristas son quienes están en contra de la intervención internacional en Libia y no nosotros que somos constructores de la paz».

Esta «izquierda» disimulaba las verdaderas razones –económicas, políticas y estratégicas– de la guerra al afirmar, el 22 de marzo de 2011, por boca de Massimo d’Alema (ya todo un experto en «guerra humanitaria» en Yugoslavia) que «en Libia ya existía la guerra, emprendida por Kadhafi en contra del pueblo insurgente, una masacre que había que detener».

Siguiendo fundamentalmente esa misma línea, el 24 de febrero de 2011 –día del inicio de la guerra–, el secretario del PRC (Partito della rifondazione comunista) Paolo Ferrero acusaba a Berlusconi de haber demorado «días en condenar la violencia de Kadhafi» y afirmaba que había que «desmantelar lo más rápidamente posible el régimen libio».

Ese mismo día, jóvenes «comunistas» del PRC, junto a «demócratas» del PD, tomaban por asalto la embajada de Trípoli en Roma, quemaban la bandera de la Yamahiriya libia e izaban la del rey Idris, la misma que hoy ondea sobre la ciudad libia de Sirta ocupada por los yihadista, como pudimos ver hace 3 días en el noticiario del primer canal de Italia.

Esta «izquierda» se iba incluso por delante de la derecha en cuanto a empujar hacia la guerra al gobierno de Berlusconi, inicialmente reacio –por razones de interés– pero que inmediatamente después pisoteó cínicamente el Tratado de No Agresión y participó en el ataque permitiendo el uso de las bases y de las fuerzas aeronavales de Italia.

En 7 meses la aviación de Estados Unidos y la OTAN efectuó 10 000 misiones de ataque, utilizando más de 40 000 bombas y misiles contra los libios mientras que se infiltraban en Libia unidades de fuerzas especiales, que incluían miles de comandos qataríes. Simultáneamente se proporcionaba financiamiento y armas a grupos islamistas anteriormente definidos como terroristas. No está de más recordar que entre esos grupos se hallaban los que más tarde, después de ser enviados a Siria para derrocar el gobierno de Damasco, fundaron el actual Emirato Islámico e invadieron Irak. Así se provocó la desintegración del Estado libio y también el éxodo –y por consiguiente la hecatombe que actualmente ocurre en el Mediterráneo– de los inmigrantes africanos que habían encontrado trabajo en Libia.

También se propició así la guerra interna entre sectores tribales y religiosos que ahora luchan en Libia por el control de los campos petrolíferos y de las ciudades costeras, hoy principalmente en manos de los grupos vinculados al Emirato Islámico.

Y ahora, después de reiterar nuevamente que «abatir a Kadhafi era una causa sacrosanta», el ministro de Relaciones Exteriores del gobierno de Matteo Renzi, Paolo Gentiloni, toca la alarma porque «Italia está amenazada por la situación en Libia, a sólo 200 millas». Gentiloni anuncia por lo tanto que se dirigirá al parlamento sobre la posible participación italiana en una intervención militar internacional «enmarcada por la ONU». En otras palabras, nos anuncia una segunda guerra en Libia presentándola como una misión de «preservación de la paz», tal y como Obama le había pedido en junio de 2013 al entonces primer ministro Letta, con el respaldo de la ministra de Defensa italiana Pinotti y la aprobación de Berlusconi.
Así que otra vez estamos en la encrucijada.

La Yamahiriya Árabe Libia disponía de infraestructuras importantes. Entre ellas se cuenta el «Gran Río Artificial», clasificada como la red de irrigación más grande del mundo.

Gracias al buen trabajo de los chicos de AgitProp NATO, acá va uno de los pocos retratos de Muammar el-Kadhafi que se pueden rescatar de Google Imágenes, en los que no aparece como un loco alucinado. 

jueves, 26 de febrero de 2015

Ahora dicen que los chicos del EI rompen estatuas en Mosul

El video lo podés ver acá: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Er9-5uPr4Jk. Muestra a los chicos del Estado Islámico rompiendo estatuas milenarias de gran valor arqueológico y estético. Parece que al público occidental lo conmueve tanto o más eso que ver gente decapitada o a la que le comen el hígado. Uno se pregunta por qué la prensa occidental descubre recién ahora todo esto. Qué cosa está saliendo mal, o bien, para que a tres años y pico del inicio de la destrucción de Siria, y a más de diez de la destrucción de Irak, ahora resulta que estos ñatos no son tan buenos después de todo. Acá van dos títulos del diario El País del día de hoy:

Título: El Estado Islámico difunde un vídeo donde destruye estatuas milenarias

Subtítulos: La grabación muestra a milicianos golpeando con mazas esculturas de un museo de Mosul / Parece una advertencia ante el anuncio de EE UU de un plan para recuperar la ciudad

Texto: Armados con grandes martillos y taladros, un puñado de seguidores del Estado Islámico (EI) destruyen con saña varias estatuas en Mosul que describen como “ídolos” y que arqueólogos de todo el mundo temen que sean piezas asirias y acadias. El vídeo, cuyo contenido ha confirmado este jueves la UNESCO, es la última provocación de ese grupo extremista suní que aspira a gobernar sobre todos los musulmanes del mundo, aunque sea borrando la historia y exterminando a cuantos se oponen a su proyecto. La semana pasada también arrasó la biblioteca central de esa ciudad del norte de Irak.

“Es un ataque deliberado contra la historia y la cultura milenarias de Irak y una incitación a la violencia y al odio”, ha declarado la directora general de la Organización de Naciones Unidas para la Educación, la Ciencia y la Cultura (UNESCO), Irina Bokova, antes de pedir una reunión urgente del Consejo de Seguridad.

Su comunicado confirmó que se han destruido o desfigurado grandes estatuas del lugar arqueológico de Hatra, declarado patrimonio mundial, así como artefactos únicos procedentes de varias excavaciones de la provincia de Nínive que se encontraban en el Museo de Mosul. El texto, que califica lo sucedido de “ataques terroristas”, no menciona sin embargo al EI.

“El vídeo muestra la destrucción de la colección en el Museo de Mosul y un toro alado de las Puertas de Nínive”, había asegurado a EL PAÍS Suzanne E. Bott, directora de proyectos para Irak y Afganistán del Instituto Drachman. “Confirmo los dos lugares porque estuve en el museo en enero de 2010 y en las Puertas de la antigua capital asiria en otoño de 2009”, añadía en un email.

Es la misma impresión que ha tenido Eleanor Robson, profesora de Historia Antigua de Oriente Próximo en el University College de Londres y miembro del Instituto Británico para el Estudio de Irak. Robson, que se encuentra de visita en Bagdad, señaló, no obstante, en su Twitter que algunas de las estatuas que demuelen los barbudos “son reproducciones”, como la que se observa en el minuto 3:55 de la grabación.

“Si se confirma, sería un desastre y revelaría la voluntad de ese grupo de llevar a cabo no sólo una limpieza étnica sino también unalimpieza cultural”, declaraba cauteloso Axel Plathe, director de la oficina de la UNESCO en Irak.

Sin acceso libre a Mosul desde que los yihadistas tomaron la ciudad el pasado junio, resulta muy difícil para los expertos evaluar los daños causados. Hace algún tiempo se rumoreó que habían destruido la muralla de Nínive, pero luego un mosuleño pudo dar la vuelta a esa empalizada del 700 antes de Cristo y desmentirlo, recuerda Pedro Azara, profesor de Estética de la Politécnica de Cataluña.

“El EI maneja bien los medios y utiliza la manipulación para aumentar el terror que produce”, señala este arquitecto, que también es miembro de una misión arqueológica internacional entre Erbil y Mosul, suspendida este último año debido a la ocupación de los radicales.

Hasta ahora, el EI se había mostrado más interesado en traficar con el patrimonio que en destruirlo, con el objetivo de financiar sus actividades. De hecho, la UNESCO ha centrado sus esfuerzos en intensificar el control internacional y ha evitado enumerar sitios en riesgo para no llamar la atención sobre ellos. El reto es enorme, ya que 1.800 de los 12.000 sitios arqueológicos de Irak se encuentran en la zona controlada por ese grupo empeñado en borrar cualquier testimonio del pasado preislámico.

Los combatientes del EI siguen una interpretación extrema del islam suní conocida como salafismo que considera idolatría la veneración de estatuas y tumbas. Pero hay algo más que motivos religiosos en su forma de actuar.

Incluso si el vídeo fuera un montaje, Azara se muestra convencido de que envía un mensaje en un momento en el que se está hablando de recuperar Mosul. “Saben del valor que Occidente concede a las piezas arqueológicas y quieren asustar acerca de lo que podría ocurrir”, interpreta. Eso explicaría también las informaciones, difíciles de verificar, de que los combatientes han puesto explosivos en la muralla y las puertas y amenazan con hacerlos estallar si ven amenazado su control.

“Quieren destruir los símbolos de la cultura de Irak que no corresponden con sus creencias, pero también mostrar su poder. Están diciendo: no respetamos los valores que tenéis y vamos a destruirlos”, concurre Plathe.

El toro alado, o lamasu, es una de las figuras más representativas de la civilización asiria, que ocupó Mesopotamia entre los siglos XVIII y VI antes de Cristo. Para muchos estudiosos o simples amantes de la historia, su pérdida rememora la demolición a cañonazos de los Budas de Bamiyán por parte de los talibanes afganos en 2001. Se trata de patrimonio de la humanidad.

“Son tan ignorantes y faltos de educación que no entienden el valor de la historia humana”, lamenta por su parte Bott, quien subraya que “la destrucción del pasado no cambia la historia”. “La gente aún podrá conocerla a través de otras fuentes”, asegura convencida de que las huestes del EI “ignoran la valía de lo que están destruyendo”.

El problema es que a este paso los nuevos bárbaros no van a dejar ni los recuerdos. El miércoles de la semana pasada, arrasaron el edificio de la Biblioteca Central de Mosul, según ha confirmado Charles E. Jones, de la Universidad de Chicago, que dirige un proyecto de seguimiento de daños a la propiedad cultural en Irak. Aunque en los días previos quemaron varios cientos de libros y manuscritos, hay indicaciones de que buena parte de los fondos se han trasladado a Siria, tal vez con intención de venderlos.


Título: El genocidio está en marcha

Texto: Dos espesas cortinas de palabrería y de imágenes manipuladas ocultan o al menos difuminan el genocidio que están sufriendo las minorías étnicas y religiosas y muy específicamente los cristianos de Oriente en manos del Estado Islámico.

La primera es la cortina de los malos usos del lenguaje, cuestión en la que es grande la responsabilidad de quienes tienen voz pública, dirigentes políticos y religiosos, periodistas e intelectuales: cuando cualquier enemigo intolerante y brutal es un nazi y un fascista y cualquier actuación violenta de una dictadura o de un grupo armado es un genocidio, entonces el nazismo, el fascismo y el genocidio se convierten en términos totalmente irrelevantes.

La segunda la forman los señuelos que ocultan y desvían la atención bajo la forma de una violencia audiovisual extrema la violencia mucho más brutal y masiva del exterminio de grupos humanos enteros por el mero hecho de ser lo que colectivamente son. Esa es la función, específicamente terrorista, de los videos con las ejecuciones por decapitación o por el fuego de los prisioneros del califato terrorista o Estado Islámico, sean trabajadores cristianos coptos en Libia, rehenes occidentales y japoneses en Siria o prisioneros kurdos en Irak.

El hecho es que el mundo entero permanece hipnotizado por el horror de estas ejecuciones o se estremece ante la eventualidad de que los lobos solitarios regresen a los suburbios europeos, pero apenas nadie señala ni denuncia el genocidio que está en marcha, dirigido a 'limpiar' la tierras del califato de cualquier minoría religiosa que no se identifique con el islam sunnita en su versión salafista --la misma, por cierto, que impera en la mayor parte de la península arábiga, donde la práctica de otras religiones está estrictamente prohibida.

La grave y exacta denominación como genocidio aparece ya en el informe de Naciones Unidas publicado esta semana sobre el conflicto de Irak. El repertorio de las atrocidades nos remite a lo sucedido en Camboya entre 1975 y 1979, Ruanda en 1994, y la ex Yugoeslavia en la década de los 90, como antecedentes más cercanos de matanzas dirigidas a destruir a enteros grupos étnicos, ideológicos o religiosos.

Una antigua y gran ciudad como Mosul, capital de muchas de estas minorías, se halla desde junio pasado en manos del califato genocida, con 14 tribunales especiales que se dedican a dictar las ejecuciones públicas diarias. Era la segunda ciudad de Irak, con 1'8 millones que son ahora apenas un millón de asustados habitantes, inermes ante el dominio terrorista. La comunidad cristiana ha huido entera o ha perecido. Gran parte de su patrimonio, entre el que se encuentran numerosos edificios religiosos, ya no existe o está en peligro. La biblioteca municipal con una valiosa colección de 8.000 libros raros y manuscritos, ha sido dinamitada.

Esta vez valen las palabras más graves. Es fascismo, es genocidio, y hay que preguntarse a qué se debe tanta indiferencia.