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Military Resistance 12C22
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Lowlife In Command:
Civilian Advocates Who Work With Wounded Soldiers When They Are Being Discharged Targeted By General:
General Tells Soldier “It Was Too Late. Maybe If He Had Not Gone Running To The Advocates, He Would Not Be In This Situation”
“What They Are Admitting Is They Punished Soldiers For Asking Us For Help”
“Tackett And Soldiers Like Him Were Retaliated Against Because Of An Increasingly Rancorous Relationship Between Commanders At Fort Carson And The Civilian Advocates”
Sgt. Dennis Tackett, who suffers from PTSD and was kicked out of the Army for punching a man while drunk, says he was punished for having worked with civilian advocates. Dave Philipps [Thanks to Alan Stolzer, Military Resistance Organization, who sent this in.] March 24, 2014 by Dave Philipps, Al Jazeera America After three combat tours, Sgt. Dennis Tackett was kicked out of the Army for punching a man in the face while drunk. It didn’t matter that he had been diagnosed with PTSD (by the Army) and had tried to get help (from the Army) for the drinking it led to. It didn’t matter that he was in the late stages of a medical discharge that would get him out soon anyway — with benefits.
What mattered to the commanding general at Fort Carson, Colo., who spoke to him that day in November 2012 was that he had tried to fight the discharge with the help of a pair of civilian watchdogs, Georg-Andreas Pogany and Robert Alvarez. “If you had not gotten involved with those advocates, it would have gone differently,” Tackett remembers the commander, Lt. Gen. Joseph Anderson, telling him. Anderson is now commander of Fort Bragg, N.C. A recording obtained by Al Jazeera America suggests Tackett and soldiers like him were retaliated against because of an increasingly rancorous relationship between commanders at Fort Carson and the civilian advocates. Anderson, who, according to Tackett and as confirmed in the recording, kicked out soldiers for going to the advocates, says the charge is “simply not true.” “No Soldiers were ever punished due to their association with anyone,” said Anderson, who was commander of Fort Carson until March 2013. “Cases were only dealt with based on the evidence associated with what the Soldiers did on their own,” he told Al Jazeera in an email from Afghanistan, where he is deployed. The recording, which is just over two minutes long, suggests that at Fort Carson, Anderson made decisions based on factors other than law. Anderson, who, according to Tackett and as confirmed in the recording, kicked out soldiers for going to the advocates, says the charge is “simply not true.” [Typical stupid lie by typical stupid Commanding Officer. T] “No Soldiers were ever punished due to their association with anyone,” said Anderson, who was commander of Fort Carson until March 2013. “Cases were only dealt with based on the evidence associated with what the Soldiers did on their own,” he told Al Jazeera in an email from Afghanistan, where he is deployed. The recording, which is just over two minutes long, suggests that at Fort Carson, Anderson made decisions based on factors other than law. The recording begins with Sgt. Maj. Mark Cook, the top enlisted soldier in Fort Carson’s Staff Judge Advocate Office, which oversees misconduct discharges. Cook had clashed repeatedly with the advocates in the previous year as they tried to appeal his office’s efforts to kick soldiers out. A few months before the recording was made, Cook was instrumental in getting the two advocates banned from Fort Carson for being “disruptive to the good order and discipline” of the post.
In response, the advocates appealed the decision to top levels of the Army and Congress, saying the accusations were baseless and the ban was designed to keep them from intervening in wrongful discharges. Now Cook was searching for evidence to justify the ban. “Who in your office is providing records to Pogany and Alvarez? ‘Cause that’s illegal,” Cook says at the start of the recording, speaking to an unidentified woman at Fort Carson’s hospital who seems to be crying. The full context of the conversation, and who provided it to Al Jazeera, is not known, but based on details of the conversation and the date the file was created, it likely took place in March 2013. Cook tells the woman he can make sure no one sees her sworn statement against the advocates other than a few commanders, and might be able to arrange that the woman’s name doesn’t appear on the statement at all, but he needs her to give a statement. The sergeant major, who is currently deployed in Afghanistan, told Al Jazeera in an email statement that the recording was part of a “20+ minute” phone conversation, but declined to elaborate.
“Essentially What They Are Admitting Is They Punished Soldiers For Asking Us For Help”
In the recording, Cook tells the woman her statement will “help a lot” because he has to answer questions from Congress, the Army’s inspector general and top generals, and “we never actually caught them. Well, one time, I got one other statement from somebody that they told them to drool. Somebody witnessed them telling a patient to drool so that they have to keep you in the mental hospital. That’s the other statement I have other than yours. But this statement is, it will be almost like the nail in the coffin for these guys.” Pogany and Alvarez denied that they had told anyone to drool, calling the idea “ridiculous,” and said they have no need to illegally obtain Army medical records because soldiers they help have access to their own records and provide them willingly. “And these guys are bad, right, they are not good guys?” the woman asks in the recording. “Yeah,” Cook replies. “I can give you an example of one case when the (commanding general) met with the soldier after he discharged the soldier, and the general, General Anderson, told the soldier, ‘If you would have brought this stuff to the attention of the command beforehand instead of approaching it the way you did with these advocates, you probably would have been able to stay in the Army.’” “Really?” the woman asks.
“Yes, and that is straight — I witnessed that from General Anderson,” Cook says. At that point the recording ends.
Shithead Scumbag Lt. Gen. Joseph Anderson, formerly commander at Fort Carson, Colo., is now commander at Fort Bragg, N.C. US Army
In his statement, Cook said he was not implying soldiers were kicked out for associating with the advocates. “The gist of what I said in that conversation is that if Soldiers with legitimate issues explained their misconduct to their chain of command to seek resolution, this matter would likely have helped their situation. Instead, they chose to use two individuals who were outside their chain of command as their ombudsmen, which may have negatively affected the outcome of their case,” he said in his statement. The advocates disagree. “It’s absolutely outrageous,” Pogany said when he heard the recording. “Essentially what they are admitting is they punished soldiers for asking us for help.” What happened to Tackett seems to show in practice what is expressed in the recording: how the advocates tried to intercede for a veteran being mistreated by the system and how commanders responded. Tackett joined the Army at 19 and was soon deployed to Afghanistan, where he was assigned as a prison guard.
He came home a year later having seen things that stole his ability to sleep, made him edgy and withdrawn, and left him trying to fill a hole in his life that seemed to have no bottom. Medical records show the Army diagnosed him with PTSD and gave him medication, but no other treatment. He was deployed again, to Iraq, in 2007 as a drug dog handler and a third time in 2009 as a handler for a bomb-sniffing dog at a checkpoint. “I was never blown up, I was never in a firefight. I got lucky,” said Tackett, 29. “But the fear was always there. Especially at the checkpoints. You were always on super alert.” Tackett got married and had two kids between deployments, but he also struggled. Army medical records show he complained of being angry and numb, and could not sleep. Records show he reported drinking too much on a number of Army health evaluations, but he was never referred to alcohol abuse classes. Depending on the doctor, the Army said he had depression, PTSD or a disorder similar to PTSD but with a shorter duration, called adjustment disorder. They put him on antidepressant, antipsychotic and sleep drugs. He started seeing a civilian psychologist. Still, he said, his symptoms and drinking persisted. In February 2011, while drunk, he punched a civilian he barely knew for no reason, breaking the man’s nose. He had never been in trouble before. Not even a traffic ticket. He was arrested for assault, pleaded guilty to a felony, but served no jail time, and was told he would be kicked out of the Army with no benefits. A few months later he opened all his Army-issued medicine bottles and downed as many pills as he could in the hope that he would never wake up. He didn’t die. He crawled into bed with his wife, and when she couldn’t wake up her limp, sallow husband in the morning, she called 911.
“Doctors Diagnosed Him Again With PTSD. The Army Ignored It”
After his suicide attempt Tackett was put in a civilian psychiatric hospital, where doctors diagnosed him again with PTSD. The Army ignored it. For the Army, a diagnosis of PTSD would likely mean Tackett would not be kicked out for the assault because he would instead qualify for a medical discharge — a long and costly process.
Records show Fort Carson downgraded Tackett’s diagnosis to adjustment disorder, which is considered the fault of the soldier (failure to adjust), not the fault of the Army (a wound of war), so it would allow him to be kicked out. That is where Pogany and Alvarez got involved. An Army Trial Defense Service lawyer referred Tackett to the two advocates, and he called them. The pair reviewed Tackett’s records, which showed years of symptoms and diagnoses of PTSD before his diagnosis was downgraded to adjustment disorder. They took the case to the head of the behavioral health department at Fort Carson, saying that if it wasn’t corrected, they would alert the Army surgeon general’s office. “He raised his hands and basically said, ‘OK, you caught us, but let’s not take anything to the surgeon general’s office,’” Pogany said. The doctor agreed to have Tackett reassessed. The Army psychiatrist who reassessed the soldier determined he had PTSD, but said it was not bad enough to require a medical discharge. The advocates appealed again and had the soldier evaluated by another military psychiatrist, who reviewed all his records and gave a final ruling. In a strongly worded letter, the doctor said Tackett had been showing symptoms of PTSD since 2007 and repeated attempts to downgrade the diagnosis to adjustment disorder were “misleading.” He concluded that the soldier had chronic PTSD severe enough to qualify for medical discharge with benefits.
“The General Said It Was Too Late. Maybe If He Had Not Gone Running To The Advocates, He Would Not Be In This Situation”
Commanding generals who oversee discharges have the authority to choose between discharging a wounded soldier who is in trouble through a medical discharge or a misconduct discharge. A medical discharge comes with a pension and lifetime health care. A misconduct discharge usually comes with nothing. Army regulations stress that generals should give preference to medical discharges. But it doesn’t always happen. In September 2012, the advocates sent an email to Fort Carson’s commanding general, saying they were concerned that the post’s legal staff, including Cook, were illegally interfering in the discharge process for soldiers by not taking into account soldiers’ medical records. They asked that he look into the matter.
When the legal office at Fort Carson, overseen by Cook, sent Tackett’s case to Anderson later that month, the office did not include any of the information on his PTSD evaluation, Pogany said, adding, “They were deliberately trying to derail the process.”
“They Want To Get Us, And So They Punish The Soldier.”
The general, seeing the assault in the paperwork, but not the PTSD and suicide attempt, chose to discharge the soldier for misconduct. Tackett met with the general in the fall of 2012. It is not common for soldiers getting kicked out of the Army to meet with the commanding general, but he hoped he could explain his PTSD and persuade Anderson to reconsider. In a brief conversation, Tackett said, the general told him he needed to own up to his decisions, and his PTSD didn’t force him to drink or hit someone. Tackett said he replied that he had owned up. He was getting counseling and had not had a drink since, but the general said it was too late. Maybe if he had not gone running to the advocates, he would not be in this situation. Anderson gave Tackett a general discharge, which denied him any Army pension and meant he would spend a year trying to get VA benefits. A few months later he was working at a car wash, afraid of losing his house. “All I did, all I went through, how the Army never helped me when I was asking for help, I just don’t understand,” Tackett said. “I gave a lot for this country. And to have it all come down to something like this. It makes me furious.” Pogany and Alvarez still try to help soldiers but now do it secretly. “We realized we were having a negative effect on outcomes even before we heard the recording,” said Pogany. “They want to get us, and so they punish the soldier.” The two estimated that they worked openly with about 40 soldiers while Anderson was Fort Carson’s commander. “I hope someone reviews all the discharges under Anderson,” Pogany said. “We need to know if they were just.”
AFGHANISTAN WAR REPORTS
“The Taliban Launched An Assault In The Afghan Capital On Tuesday”
Mar 24 2014 Khaama Press & Mar 25 2014 By Ghanizada, Khaama Press & March 25, CBS KABUL, Afghanistan -- The Taliban launched an assault in the Afghan capital on Tuesday, with two bombers detonating their explosives outside an election office on the city’s outskirts and other attackers storming inside the premises. Interior Ministry spokesman Sediq Sediqi said all attackers were killed and 37 election workers rescued from the compound, but only after the militants left two police officers dead, reported CBS News’ Mukhtar Ahmad. Fierce gunfire reverberated across the neighborhood in the early afternoon, as heavily armed troops from the Afghan rapid response force surrounded the office building, located near the home of presidential candidate Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai. He was not home at the time of the attack, officials said. One attacker detonated his car and the other set off his explosives’ vest, paving way for at least four other attackers to storm inside the building, said Hashimi. ************************************************************** At least five people including four policemen were killed and 16 other were injured following militants attack on a private bank in eastern Kunar province of Afghanistan on Tuesday. According to local government officials, the incident took place around 11:15 pm local time after a group of 4 militants attacked the New Kabul Bank branch in this province
This comes as provincial police chief Gen. Abdul Habib Syed Khel earlier said the militants opened fire after entering the bank compound, leaving least 2 policemen dead and three others injured during the clashes with the assailant militants He said all four militants who had stormed the bank were also killed during the clashes which lasted for several minutes. ************************************************************** According to reports, an attack has take place in western Farah province of Afghanistan on Monday afternoon. The attack has reportedly taken place in Posht-e-Rod district of Farah province. Unconfirmed reports suggest an Afghan Local Police (ALP) commander was the target of the attack and at least two ALP officers have been injured. The source further added that a bomber detonated his explosives close to a security check post belonging to ALP forces in Posht-e-Rod district around 1:30 pm local time. ************************************************************** According to local authorities in southern Helmand province of Afghanistan, unknown gunmen shot dead a female police officer on Tuesday morning in this province. The incident took place in Greshk district of Helmand province early Tuesday morning, provincial police spokesman Abdul Ahad Chopan said. He said the 40-year-old female police officer – Qandi was leaving her house for duty when the incident took place.
“At a time like this, scorching irony, not convincing argument, is needed. Oh had I the ability, and could reach the nation’s ear, I would, pour out a fiery stream of biting ridicule, blasting reproach, withering sarcasm, and stern rebuke. “For it is not light that is needed, but fire; it is not the gentle shower, but thunder. “We need the storm, the whirlwind, and the earthquake.” “The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppose.” Frederick Douglass, 1852 Rise like Lions after slumber In unvanquishable number, Shake your chains to earth like dew Which in sleep had fallen on youYe are many — they are few -- Percy Bysshe Shelley, 1819, on the occasion of a mass murder of British workers by the Imperial government at Peterloo.
“It’s Silly For People In The Western European Left To Go Round Vaguely Shouting That ‘Fascists Are In Government’ In Kyiv’”
“Every Ultra-Right-Wing Nationalist And Pure Fascist In Russia Is Peeing His Pants With Excitement About The Military Operation In Crimea”
Mar 24, 2014 by Louis Proyect, Marxism List [Excerpts] On some points of fact about western and central Ukraine. 1. The Communist Party of Ukraine supported Yanukovich; his last government, headed by Mykola Azarov, was kept in office by the CPU’s votes in parliament. Most CPU parliamentarians supported all the violent assaults on protesters between November and February.
The CPU voted in favour of the 16 January laws designed to clamp down and silence protest, earning the deep hatred of anyone on Maidan who didn’t hate them already. Since the fall of Yanukovich, the CPU has not been banned (not according to the latest I’ve seen, i.e. a statement made on 15 March by their gen sec on the Russian CP web site – in English and easy to find). The fascists have taken advantage of the general loathing for the CPU to attack their offices (inherited from the CPSU) and some of their officials. 2. The ultra nationalists (Svoboda) are in the government – which I think is properly described as neo-liberal. (It’s headed by a neo liberal economist who wants to work with the IMF to impose an austerity programme.) Svoboda are a horrible bunch of anti-semites but they are no more or less fascist than other extreme right-wing populist electoral parties in other European countries. 3. The real fascists of the Right Sector are not in government. Their leader Dmytro Yarosh was offered a position in the government but refused to take it up. What worries the left in Kyiv is that these fascists outside of government will, building on some collaboration with police in the aftermath of the collapse of Yanukovich’s government, intensify their campaign of violence against left wing activists and meetings that began long before Maidan and was stepped up during it. It’s silly for people in the western European left to go round vaguely shouting that “fascists are in government” in Kyiv. It’s not only not a very accurate use of the term "fascist", but it’s also identical to Putin’s justification for his aggressive militarist action. And here’s a point of fact about Putin. He may not have neo-fascist allies, but every ultra-right-wing nationalist and pure fascist in Russia is peeing his pants with excitement about the military operation in Crimea. Just Google what Ramzan Kadyrov, the murderous thug who rules Chechnya on Putin’s behalf, has to say about Crimea. He loves it.
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CLASS WAR REPORTS
Hundreds Of Thousands Of Spaniards March In Madrid Against The Government:
“‘Bread, Jobs And Housing For Everyone’, Read One Banner”
“‘Corruption And Robbery, Spain’s Trademark,’ Said Another”
“Dozens Of Cases Of Corruption In The Ruling Class Are Investigated By Judges” “Provoking Widespread Anger”
Anti-austerity demonstrators take part in a demonstration which organisers have labeled the “Marches of Dignity” in Madrid, March 22, 2014. REUTERS/Paul Hanna March 23rd, 2014 By Inmaculada Sanz, Reuters Hundreds of thousands of Spaniards rallied in Madrid on Saturday against poverty and EU-imposed austerity in a largely peaceful protest later marred by violent clashes in which police fired rubber bullets. Some protesters started to throw stones and bottles at the large numbers of riot police present and attacked cashpoints and hoardings. The police fired rubber bullets to disperse them, according to video footage seen by Reuters. Central government representative Cristina Cifuentes said 19 protesters had been arrested and 50 police officers had been injured, one of them very badly, in the clashes. The “Dignity Marches” brought hundreds of thousands to the capital, according to estimates of Reuters witnesses. Travelling from all over Spain, they were protesting in support of more than 160 different causes, including jobs, housing, health, education and an end to poverty. Banners urged the conservative government not to pay its international debts and to tackle Spain’s chronically high unemployment of 26 percent. “Bread, jobs and housing for everyone”, read one banner, “Corruption and robbery, Spain’s trademark,” said another. The OECD says the economic crisis has hit Spain’s poor harder than in any other country in the group.
“I’m here to fight for my children’s future,” said Michael Nadeau, a 44-year-old entrepreneur.
Anti-austerity demonstrators take part in a demonstration which organisers have labeled the “Marches of Dignity” in Madrid, March 22, 2014. REUTERS/Paul Hanna “For those who are in power we’re just numbers. They value money more than they value people,” he said, shouting to be heard above the din of chanting, whistling and drumming. A housing bubble burst more than five years ago, forcing a 41-billion euro ($56 billion) bailout of Spain’s banks, squeezing homeowners and throwing millions out of work. The government introduced public sector austerity to whittle down the deficit, provoking widespread anger amongst middle- and low-income families as dozens of cases of corruption in the ruling class are investigated by judges. “(I’m here because) I’m sick of this system they call democracy,” said Jose Luis Arteaga
The Spanish Workers Manifesto:
“We Demand From Politics The Transformation Of Our Economy To Make It An Economy At The Service Of Humanity”
“Bread, A Roof, Rights And Dignity For All Workers”
“To Defend All That Is And Should Be Ours, Struggle Is The Only Way!”
MANIFESTO: SPAIN MARCHES FOR DIGNITY 22-M No To Pay The Debt! No More Cuts! Out Governments Troika! Bread, Work And Shelter For All!
[March 23rd, 2014 Inmaculada Sanz, Reuters] We’re starting 2014 with no improvement for the workers, sunk in an unprecedented capitalist crisis and without any measures on the part of this illegitimate government other than misery, precariousness and repression, rulers who act as real representatives of big banks, employers and big business, of capitalism, under the order of the Troika (the European Commission, the Central European Bank and the International Monetary Fund).. We’re living in a situation in which every minute we’re being pushed to brink, a situation against which we must all start to give a real, collective, mass answer, by fighting from the grassroots, from our different territories but with one voice. Because with every day that goes by the situation is getting more agonizing, more difficult. In the Spanish State there are hundreds of thousands of us who have lost our homes or who don’t receive benefits for dependents. There are more than 6 million of us without paid work and unemployed.
We’ve got tens of thousands of working people without any unemployment benefits at all. There are more than a million of us who are living below the poverty line – and all that’s going down while the “Popular Party” continues with its cuts, destroying and robbing the health system, education, culture, pensions, closing down local television stations that are essential to the survival of minority languages and other public services. And they go on privatizing anything that’s profitable and giving tax benefits to the rich (bankers, big business, the Church, etc.) There are more than 500,000 of us, young and not so young people, that have been forced to emigrate in order to try to eke out our living in one way or another. And despite this, they go on shutting down small and medium businesses with impunity, destroying most the real productive fabric, both industrial and agricultural, which could give work to the majority of the population. In this context women have long had fewer rights: the right to live without male violence or to decide over our own bodies the right to family planning. In our country if you were born somewhere else in the world, if your skin’s a different color or you have another religion, they take away your fundamental rights (healthcare, education et.) and can even shut you up in an Internment Center, even though you’ve committed no crime. Simply for speaking our own minority language, simply for wanting to live in accordance with the culture of our land, we can be fined or even thrown into prison like during Franco’s fascist dictatorship, but now they call it democracy. Fines and criminal penalties, imposed just for exercising the right of freedom of speech or the right to disobey unjust laws, are heavy, but the corrupt élite never go to prison and never have to pay for the damage they cause. While the Government continues to hand out cash to big building firms, to the energy companies, to bankers and to corrupt businessmen etc., they’re leaving us with no work, no house, no health care, no pensions, no university grants, no schools, no education, no future: in a word no life. They’re raising taxes, the price of energy and basic products for the poorest of use, while they’re reducing to a bare minimum employers’ social security contributions, to “create” work, they cynically say, and they turn a blind eye to massive fraud, corruption and capital flight. And without money we’re left with no house, no job and no wherewithal to survive. Both the so-called Popular Party (PP) and the so-called Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party (PSOE) are the culprits.
To reduce us to this situation they made the constitutional reform in 2011, a Treaty with the European Union and an Organic Law to guarantee payment of the debt and, if need be, to suppress any public institution (like the Statute of Autonomy of the Valencian Country), if it doesn’t reduce its debt (and so its provision of public services) whenever and however they want. We fought with great sacrifice to gain our social rights and we’re just not prepared to lose them. We demand from politics the transformation of our economy to make it an economy at the service of humanity and to guarantee that these rights can be universally exercised. That’s why we demand: The abrogation of all the counter-reforms that have been forced down our throats (labor laws, laws affecting pensions, education the right to safe legal abortion, the 15/97 act which commoditizes health care, the law of civil repression etc). A realistic plan against unemployment and a law establishing a basic income. Stoppage of all evictions, the guarantee of the fundamental right to housing and to the basic utilities of water and energy. Universal, free and high-quality public services´. Realistic and effective policies to ensure equal opportunities, regardless of a person’s origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, diversities or age. A guarantee of the reimbursement of the loans made to banks and their nationalization along with the nationalization of all strategic companies and sectors. A fiscal policy whereby those that have more, pay more and public social expenditure is guaranteed above everything else. A guarantee of the right to decide, in all spheres, as persons, workers, peoples. Because we demand real democracy. In order to advance in the construction of unity and people’s power … we must advance in the Marches for Dignity so we can arrive in Madrid on March 22 from all cardinal points of the Spanish State! We want to live and work with dignity in our land with our people! To defend all that is and should be ours, struggle is the only way! Bread, a roof, rights and dignity for all workers.
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“Information Concerning The Rebellion In Bosnia And Herzegovina For Our Foreign Comrades”
“The Rebellion Is An AntiNationalist And Social Rebellion”
“Plenums Have Been Organized In Dozens Of Cities And Towns, Big And Small, All Over Bosnia And Herzegovina”
“The EU Has Condemned The Protesters And Not The Government”
The protests have spread not just to ethnically mixed cities like Tuzla or Mostar but also to predominantly Croat towns like Livno and Orasje, and predominantly Serb towns like Prijedor and Bijeljina. February 12, 2014 by irina ceric, Red Action, Croatia via Bhprotestfiles.wordpress.com/ Information concerning the current rebellion in Bosnia and Herzegovina for our foreign comrades The protest started on 4th of February in the industrial city of Tuzla. Workers of several privatized companies based in Tuzla organized a protest (without the help or support of trade-unions) demanding the cancellation of privatizations and against closing-down of the factories. They were joined by large number of people from the city and the region, especially students and unemployed youth. In the next few days, solidarity protests were organized in several other cities in Bosnia and Herzegovina. This was not the first mobilization in Bosnia of this kind, but a continuation of earlier protests against poverty and corruption that are frequent in the last few years not just in Bosnia, but in many countries in the region (Bulgaria, Romania, Croatia, Slovenia etc.). Bosnia has the lowest average wage of all these countries and has significantly larger rates of youth unemployment than Greece, Spain or Croatia. The protests that started last week were much more numerous than previous protests. Also, the protesters very successfully defended themselves against police repression. On 7th and 8th of February, the protesters managed to occupy and partly burn several local and state government buildings in Tuzla, Zenica, Bihac, Mostar and Sarajevo, including the building of Presidency in Sarajevo.
They have also forced several regional governments to officially resign. (Due to the complicated ethnicity-based political system, regional governments have bigger powers than the state government). On Sunday, 11th of February, coordinated by the EU, governments of Croatia and Serbia interfered. On the same day, government of Serbia met with ethnically Serb politicians from Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatian prime-minister visited ethnically Croat politicians in the city of Mostar in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Since then, Croatian media and politicians have started an aggressive campaign claiming that the protest are not social protest at all but are oriented against the Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Serbian media and politicians have started a similar campaign claiming that the protests are the “beginning of a Muslim war against Serbs”. However, the protests have spread not just to ethnically mixed cities like Tuzla or Mostar but also to predominantly Croat towns like Livno and Orasje, and predominantly Serb towns like Prijedor and Bijeljina. Also, Turkish foreign minister Mehmet Davatoglu has visited Sarajevo, met with politicians and the Islamic Community and promised that Turkey will prevent a war “like one in the nineties”. Unlike in Ukraine, the EU has condemned the protesters and not the Government. The highest level of power in Bosnia and Herzegovina in not the state of regional government, but the “Office of High Representative”, a kind of colonial governor appointed by the EU with support from the United States. Current “High Representative”, an Austrian called Valentin Inzko, has promised that the EU will intervene militarily if the protests continue. Several other EU and US official have called for a faster “NATO integration” in Bosnia to “ensure stability”. During the past weekend, the protesters in several cities such as Tuzla, Sarajevo and Mostar have organized “plenums”, peoples’ assemblies that aim to substitute the falling political structures on regional level. The plenums have since been organized in dozens of cities and towns, big and small, all over Bosnia and Herzegovina. The demands of plenums are similar: resignation of governments, cancellation of privatizations, release of the arrested protesters etc. Contrary to propaganda in the western media, no plenum has demanded any involvement by the “international community”.
Hundreds of people in Bosnia and Herzegovina have been beaten and arrested by police in Bosnia and Herzegovina, many of them “preventively” and many for “supporting protests” on the internet. Solidarity protests are being organized in Croatia and Serbia this week. The peoples’ rebellion in Bosnia and Herzegovina which is an anti-nationalist and social rebellion is being attacked by the reactionary alliance of the imperialist forces (EU, US), regional expansionists (Turkey, Croatia, Serbia) and local chauvinist political elites. The joint attempt of these forces to try to separate workers and peoples of Bosnia and Herzegovina along ethnic and sectarian lines to secure their own influence, proves once again that imperialism can not solve the national question in the Balkans. It in fact produces these divisions and tries to use them as a last line of defense of the system against the peoples’ rebellions. For this reason, it is of great importance to support the current struggle in Bosnia and Herzegovina, to combat misinformation and reactionary propaganda and to fight against foreign involvement of powers trying to suffocate the rebellion. Spread the word, build new barricades, strengthen the struggle!
“Interview: Duško Vukotić, President Of The Association Of Republika Srpska Veterans”
“Power Can No Longer Be Maintained On Lies!”
“The Division Between The Rich And The Poor Is Obvious, And We Can Only Now Speak Here About The Dictatorship Of The Minority Over The Majority!”
“We Now Have This Terrible Cleavage Between An Enormous Number Of Poor People On The One Hand And A Very Small Number Of Rich People On The Other”
February 14, 2014 by kolekili, Bhprotestfiles.wordpress.com/ Interview: Duško Vukotić, president of the Association of Republika Srpska Veterans. [Republika Srpska is one of the parts of Bosnia. T] This is a transcript of an interview that appeared on BHRT.ba (originally aired on 11 February 2014). ANNOUNCER: Mr. Vukotić, what do you object to when it comes to the position of the Republika Srpska leadership? VUKOTIĆ: The statements by the Premier and the President of the Republika Srpska sound cynical. Power can no longer be maintained on lies! Things must be looked at with eyes wide-open, the truth must be spoken, the truth and only the truth. It’s a fact that we’ve come into a period of unbelievable divisions, not only in the RS, but in all of Bosnia and Herzegovina. We now have this terrible cleavage between an enormous number of poor people on the one hand and a very small number of rich people on the other. ANNOUNCER: How do you comment on the position that the disorder, the burning of cantonal government buildings and those of entity institutions, have as their ultimate aim to spread the crisis to the RS and hence to reshape Bosnia and Herzegovina contrary to the stipulations of Dayton? VUKOTIĆ: It’s funny to suggest that someone would burn their own house down so that they hurt their neighbours! That’s illogical. What’s horrible about those statements is that an obvious social uprising is being ignored, and instead, the RS is exporting totally different theories that, according to me, have little to do with a healthy mind. For this reason we’re fiercely resentful of the President of the Veterans Organization of the RS (VORS)…
ANNOUNCER: You’re asking for the resignation of (the President of the VORS) if I’m not mistaken… VUKOTIĆ: …that’s right! Because of what he did – and what the representatives of different veterans organizations have done – is irresponsible towards their own people, and if you want towards ones own entity. They are the ones forwarding the thesis that the RS is threatened by events in the Federation. But in principle, they are the ones – with their stance – who are creating an incredible crisis that is bringing the RS in danger. What could be more dangerous than the division of the people? The division between the rich and the poor is obvious, and we can only now speak here about the dictatorship of the minority over the majority!
THIS IS WHAT WORKING CLASS REVOLUTION LOOKS LIKE:
FROM THE FIRST MOMENT IN TUZLA, BOSNIA THROUGH THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE PLENUMS
A BRILLIANTLY PRODUCED NEW DOCUMENTARY FROM BOSNIA, IN ENGLISH RELEASED TODAY
NOTHING LIKE THIS VIDEO HAS EVER BEEN CREATED BEFORE, ANYWHERE BY ANYBODY
“We have it in our power to begin the world over again.” -- Thomas Paine
[14.5 MINUTES; AFTER OPENING, EXPAND TO FULL SCREEN LOWER RIGHT]
DANGER: CAPITALISTS AT WORK
[Thanks to David McReynolds for posting.]
Wall St. Pleased As Venezuelan Government Announces New
Foreign Currency Exchange Policy:
Will Sell Dollars At Eight Times Official Price;
“Wall Street Economists And Bondholders Have Welcomed The New System”
“This Is A Massive Devaluation, There’s No Doubt About It"
Though overseen by the central bank, the new system works on a supply-anddemand system, with individuals and companies allowed to participate in daily trading. "Without doubt, it’s the biggest monetary adjustment in Venezuela’s history," said Henkel Garcia, of private think tank Econometrica, referring to the unexpectedly high price for dollars fetched on the first day of Sicad 2 trading. Mar 24, 2014 By Andrew Cawthorne and Deisy Buitrago, Reuters Venezuela launched a new free-floating foreign exchange system on Monday that offered dollars for eight times the official price in a move the government says will tame the black market but which critics see as a massive devaluation. The central bank said the price for dollars on the inaugural day of the Sicad 2 system was 51.8 bolivars. Private bank operators who took part said demand was high but offers thin. The new platform added a third state-sanctioned exchange rate to the South American OPEC member’s 11-year-old currency controls, with dollars selling at 6.3 bolivars for preferential goods and around 11 bolivars for other items. On the black market, greenbacks currently fetch around 57-58 bolivars. That price has fallen from 85 bolivars a couple of weeks ago on expectations of greater dollar flows via Sicad 2. Though overseen by the central bank, the new system works on a supply-anddemand system, with individuals and companies allowed to participate in daily trading.
"Without doubt, it’s the biggest monetary adjustment in Venezuela’s history," said Henkel Garcia, of private think tank Econometrica, referring to the unexpectedly high price for dollars fetched on the first day of Sicad 2 trading. President Nicolas Maduro denies that, saying the new market will account for only about 7-8 percent of dollar sales in Venezuela, with the 6.3 rate still applying for 80 percent of goods considered priority imports. "To see the impact of this devaluation, we will have to see its weight in imports and the payment of things such as private debt and repatriation of profits," Garcia added. Foreign companies have long complained of difficulties in getting profits out of Venezuela in hard currency. Sicad 2 gives them a clear legal alternative, reducing the temptation to turn to the illegal market. Wall Street economists and bondholders have welcomed the new system as a much-needed easing of controls, though they want Maduro to go further across the economy. Most Venezuelan bond prices were up on Monday, with the benchmark sovereign global 2027 gaining 2.22 percent to a bid price of 76.750. Sicad 2 trading takes place daily until 1 p.m. local time (1730 GMT), with the bank announcing the average price afterward. The new system revives a previous one, known locally as the "permuta" or "swap" market, which Chavez shuttered in 2010 after accusing speculators of manipulating it. Opposition politicians have long criticized the government’s currency controls. Still, they are lambasting Maduro for what they call a "stealth devaluation" via the new system. "Today will be ‘black Monday’ ... This mega-devaluation is a harsh blow to all Venezuelans," opposition leader Henrique Capriles said on Twitter. Venezuela’s annual inflation rate, currently at more than 56 percent, is the highest in the Americas. Analysts expect the price of Sicad 2 dollars to remain around the opening level in the short term, with the high rate likely to encourage initially reluctant private businesses to offer dollars alongside Venezuelan state institutions. State oil company PDVSA is likely to be a big player. "I think it’s positive they are allowing the market to sell, to clear that price rather than trying to massage it as much as they can in order to avoid the price signal that the economy is demanding," said Goldman Sachs analyst Alberto Ramos. "I think it is a reasonable range, between 50 and 60...
“It is indeed a stealth devaluation as many of the transactions in the economy are going to close at this rate, not the official rate. “This is a massive devaluation, there’s no doubt about it."
And Now For Something Completely Different:
SOUND UP; FULL SCREEN [Thanks to Dennis Serdel]
DANGER: POLITICIANS AT WORK
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