Friday, June 15, 2012

THE COUP OF 2012: Encroachment upon Basic Freedoms, Militarized Police State in America


By: Frank Morales

Source: Global Research
http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=31428

Back in 1992 the Pentagon’s Joint Chiefs of Staff held a "Strategy Essay Competition."

The winner was a National War College student paper entitled, "The Origins of the American Military Coup of 2012." Authored by Colonel Charles J. Dunlap, Jr. the paper is a well documented, "darkly imagined excursion into the future." The ostensibly fictional work is written from the perspective of an imprisoned senior military officer about to be executed for opposing the military takeover of America, a coup accomplished through "legal" means. The essay makes the point that the coup was "the outgrowth of trends visible as far back as 1992," including "the massive diversion of military forces to civilian uses," particularly law enforcement.

http://www.carlisle.army.mil/USAWC/Parameters/Articles/1992/1992%20dunlap.pdf

Dunlap cites what he considered a dangerous precedent, the 1981 Military Cooperation with Civilian Law Enforcement Agencies Act, an act that sanctioned US military engagement with law enforcement in domestic “support operations,” including “civil disturbance” operations. The act codified the lawful status and use of military “assets” in domestic police work.

http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/10/subtitle-A/part-I/chapter-18

Encroachment upon Basic Freedoms

Since that time the American people have been subject to a series of deeper and deeper encroachments upon our basic freedoms, increasingly extensive deployment of military operations on the home front, perpetrated by a corporate driven military mission creep that now claims the right and duty to arrest and detain us on the word of a Pentagon or White House operative. President Obama’s signing of the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) whose Section 1021 sanctions the military detention of American citizens without charge, essentially aims to put the last nail in the coffin of our Constitution, our teetering Republic and our most basic democratic traditions.

The statute contains a sweeping worldwide indefinite detention provision. While President Obama issued a signing statement saying he had “serious reservations” about the provisions, the statement only applies to how his administration (“you can trust me”) would use the authorities granted by the NDAA, and would not affect how the law is interpreted by subsequent administrations. The White House had threatened to veto an earlier version of the NDAA, but reversed course (of course) shortly before Congress voted on the final bill, which the President signed on the 31st of December 2011, a day that will go down in infamy.

“President Obama's action today is a blight on his legacy because he will forever be known as the president who signed indefinite detention without charge or trial into law,” said Anthony D. Romero, ACLU executive director. “The statute is particularly dangerous because it has no temporal or geographic limitations, and can be used by this and future presidents to militarily detain people captured far from any battlefield.” According to Senator Dianne Feinstein. "Congress is essentially authorizing the indefinite imprisonment of American citizens, without charge," she said. "We are not a nation that locks up its citizens without charge." Think again. (Guardian, 12/14/11)

Under the legislation, suspects can be held without trial "until the end of hostilities." They will have the right to appear once a year before a committee that will decide if the detention will continue. A spokesperson for Human Rights Watch implied that the signing of such a bill by a President would have once been unthinkable, noting that “the paradigm of the war on terror has advanced so far in people's minds that this has to appear more normal than it actually is." Further, "it wasn't asked for by any of the agencies on the frontlines in the fight against terrorism in the United States. It breaks with over 200 years of tradition in America against using the military in domestic affairs."

In fact, the heads of several “security agencies,” including the FBI, CIA, the director of national intelligence and the attorney general objected to the legislation. Even some within the Pentagon itself said they were against the bill. No matter, and no matter the intention inherent in lip service opposition, the corporate elite who drive the disastrous and inhumane polices of this country see it otherwise, and they, not the generals or anyone else, call the shots!

And they’ve been at this for some time. A persistent and on-gong counter-insurgency directed against the American people, the detention provisions embedded in the NDAA are about more than “social control.” It amounts to a direct attack on the person, an “unreasonable search and seizure” in the cause of maintaining the shaky capitalist ship of state; suppressing popular resistance, dissent and protest, movements of peace and justice, recast as “civil disorder,” “civil disturbance” and “domestic terror.”

Current U.S. military preparations for suppressing “civil disturbance” and “domestic terrorism” including the training of National Guard troops, local police and the authorization of massive surveillance, are part of a long history of American "internal security" measures dating back to the first American Revolution. Generally, these measures have sought to thwart the aims of social justice movements, embodying the concept, promulgated by elite sectors intent on maintaining their grip on the levers of state; that within the civilian body politic lurks an enemy that one day the military might have to fight; or at least be ordered to fight. (See: Army Surveillance in America, 1775-1980, Joan M. Jensen, Yale University Press, 1991)

Thus, in reaction to a period of social upsurge flush with movements of liberation, justice and peace, and the mounting of powerful campaigns which threatened the status quo and elite control, the US military’s stand alone apparatus for conducting “civil disturbance suppression” operations, including detention, was born, immediately on the heels of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in April 1968.

The Garden Plot Operation

US Military Civil Disturbance Plan 55-2, code-named Operation Garden Plot, follows, as was mentioned, in the footsteps of a long tradition of US military involvement in the suppression of dissent. Intriguingly, the Garden Plot operation is cited in documents related to the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King. (See: Orders to Kill: The Truth Behind the Murder of Martin Luther King, William Pepper, Carroll and Graf, 1995)

http://www.dod.gov/pubs/foi/operation_and_plans/Other/GARDEN_PLOT_DoD_Civil_DisturbancePlan.pdf

http://www.911truth.org/osamas/morales.html

Currently, the Garden Plot operation is centered at the Pentagon’s Northern Command (USNORTHCOM). “Stood up” in 2002, (though In the works prior to 9/11), NORTHCOM, America’s “domestic military command,” is tasked with various “counter-terror,” “homeland defense” and “homeland security” activities, including “civil disturbance suppression” operations, and “assisting law enforcement” within Canada, the United States and Mexico. http://www.northcom.mil/

Under NORTHCOM, Operation Garden Plot functions, with the US Army as “executive agent,” as “ConPlan 2502.” In two parts, the “con plan” is officially listed as: United States Northern Command, Concept Plan (CONPLAN) 3501 (formerly 2501), Defense Support of Civil Authorities (DSCA), dated 11 April 2006; and the United States Northern Command, Concept Plan 3502 (formerly 2502), Defense Support of Civil Authorities for Civil Disturbance Operations (CDO), 23 January 2007.

As noted above, the latest development in the Pentagon’s evolving mission of suppressing, at the behest of it’s corporate “civilian” overseers, a detention provision, is buried within the massive National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) of 2012 signed by President Obama in the fog (grog) of this past New Years Eve.

http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/BILLS-112hr1540enr/pdf/BILLS-112hr1540enr.pdf

NDAA 2012

Section 1021 of the NDAA 2012 seemingly allows (the language is evasive) for the detention (without trial or charges) of American citizens redefined by the “executive” elite as “enemy combatants” in the so-called “war on terror, ” a “war” which has become in the eyes of many, a war against the Constitution and civil liberties, a war against the disenchanted, fed-up and dissenting American public, spearheaded by a militarized police state allied to imperial military courts and “tribunals,” buttressed and rationalized with mind-bending mil-speak of “enemy combatants,” “unlawful combatants,” “enemy belligerents,” “homeland battlefield” “domestic extremists” “domestic terrorists” and the like.

And yet, behind all the sophistry, lies and manipulation, the brutal truth is obvious: The corporate elite that directs things has seen fit to unleash it’s military on it’s own people in a desperate attempt to suppress the democratic (read: protest) rights of it’s citizenry, us! Why? Simple: the paranoia of the thief, the well founded fear that knows that forced deprivation and scarcities, violence at home and abroad, rooted in greed, has run it’s course in America. And they are right! And so, it makes ominous sense that we are confronted with the horrific machinations of forced detention for those who resist a “new world order” come home in a “homeland” which opportunistically collapses all distinction between dissent and terrorism, police and military, right and wrong, obfuscating the truth of who the real terrorists are!

When Congress passed the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), it included provisions that authorized U.S. armed forces to detain persons who are captured in the conflict with al-Qaeda, the Taliban, or “associated forces.” Section 1021 entitled “AFFIRMATION OF AUTHORITY OF THE ARMED FORCES OF THE UNITED STATES TO DETAIN COVERED PERSONS PURSUANT TO THE AUTHORIZATION FOR USE OF MILITARY FORCE” allows for the President (whoever that may be) “to use all necessary and appropriate force pursuant to the Authorization for Use of Military Force … to detain covered persons …pending disposition under the law of war.”

“A covered person,” according to the edict’s malleable lingo, is “any person … who planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored those responsible for those attacks …” or, who “was a part of or substantially supported al-Qaeda, the Taliban,” or “associated forces that are engaged in hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners, including any person who has committed a belligerent act or has directly supported such hostilities in aid of such enemy forces.”

Accordingly, “the disposition of a person under the law of war” will include “detention under the law of war without trial until the end of the hostilities …” Now, by stating that “nothing in this section is intended to limit or expand the authority of the President or the scope of the Authorization for Use of Military Force,” and that “nothing in this section shall be construed to affect existing law or authorities relating to the detention of United States citizens, lawful resident aliens of the United States, or any other persons who are captured or arrested in the United States,” it would appear that the law exempts American citizens from the threat of detention. Correct?

Detention is a booming industry

Don’t be too confident. Detention is a booming industry. In 2006 the Journal of Counter terrorism & Homeland Security International reported that Halliburton off-spring, "global engineering and technical services powerhouse KBR [Kellogg, Brown & Root] announced in January 2006 that its Government and Infrastructure division was awarded an Indefinite Delivery/Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) contract to support U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) facilities in the event of an emergency." The $385 million dollars over 5 year contract “is to be executed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers" building “temporary detention and processing capabilities to augment existing ICE Detention and Removal Operations (DRO) in the event of an emergency influx of immigrants into the U.S., or to support the rapid development of new programs." Could the 2012 NDAA / Section 1021 be such a “new program?”

There has been some confusion over what Section 1021 actually means, and that in and of itself is cause for concern. Congressional spokespeople have stated that the provisions of NDAA 2012 / Sec 1021 do not provide any “new authority” to detain U.S. citizens or others who may be captured in the United States. Obama waffled likewise in the lead up to his signing the provision. Sen. Carl Levin, chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee, ho-hummed and said that, "we are simply codifying existing law." But that was an evasion, since existing law, like it or not, regarding the detention of U.S. persons in the “war on terror” is indeterminate in important respects. And “indeterminate” is not good enough!

A recent report from the Congressional Research Service fleshes out the law of detention as set forth in Section 1021, identifying what is known to be true as well as what is unsettled and unresolved. It is perfectly clear, for example, that a U.S. citizen who fights alongside “enemy forces” against the United States on a foreign battlefield could be lawfully detained. This was affirmed by the U.S. Supreme Court in the case Hamdi v. Rumsfeld.

http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/natsec/R42337.pdf

On the other hand, the CRS report explains, "the President's legal authority to militarily detain terrorist suspects apprehended in the United States has not been definitively settled." Nor has Congress helped to settle it. "This bill does not endorse either side's interpretation," said Sen. Dianne Feinstein, "but leaves it to the courts to decide."

So, if a detention of a U.S. person does occur, the CRS said, "it will be up to a court to determine Congress's intent when it enacted the AUMF [the 2001 Authorization to Use Military Force], or alternatively, to decide whether the law as it was subsequently developed by the courts and executive branch sufficiently established that authority for such detention already exists."

Up to now, "lower courts that have addressed questions the Supreme Court left unanswered have not achieved a consensus on the extent to which Congress has authorized the detention without trial of U.S. persons as 'enemy combatants,' and Congress has not so far clarified its intent."

Well, it is certainly reassuring that a New York court has sought to clarify it’s intent on the matter. On May 16, 2012 a newly appointed federal district judge, Katherine Forrest of the Southern District of New York, issued a ruling, hailed by many, which preliminarily enjoins (prohibits) enforcement of the indefinite detention provisions (Sec 1021) of the NDAA 2012.

http://sdnyblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/12-Civ.-00331-2012.05.16-Opinion-Granting-PI.pdf

The “temporary restraining order” came as a result of a lawsuit brought by seven dissident plaintiffs — including Chris Hedges, Dan Ellsberg, Noam Chomsky, and Birgitta Jonsdottir — alleging that the NDAA violated both their free speech and associational rights guaranteed by the First Amendment as well as due process rights guaranteed by the Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution. “The government was unwilling or unable to state that these plaintiffs would not be subject to indefinite detention under [Section] 1021,” Judge Forrest said in her ruling. “Plaintiffs are therefore at risk of detention, of losing their liberty, potentially for many years.”

Where it will go from here is anybodies guess. Judge Forrest’s ruling was not permanent. A day after the ruling, the Wall Street Journal, for it’s part, offered it’s sour grapes, pontificating that the ruling “will be overturned on appeal,” while “its reasoning needs to be deconstructed so it doesn't do more harm in the meantime.” A week later, on the 25th, federal prosecutors from Obama's Department of Justice, calling Judge Forrest’s ruling “extraordinary,” suggested that she lift the injunction, claiming further that her ruling only effects those plaintiffs named and not other potential or future targets of the draconian legislation.

http://sdnyblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/12-Civ.-00331-2012.05.25-Govt-Motion-for-Reconsideration.pdf

Well, a few days ago on June 6th the upright Judge Forrest responded with an 8 page, “memorandum and opinion” in which she sought to “eliminate any doubt as to the May 16 order’s scope.” (New York Times, “Detention Provision is Blocked” 6/7/12). And as to whom and for whom her original order was intended: “The May 16th order enjoined enforcement of Section 1021(b)(2) against anyone until further action by this, or a higher, court – or by Congress.” That’s clear enough!

So, as it stands now now, although Judge Forrest’s decision may temporarily protect Americans from provision 1021, it remains to be seen what the higher courts do should Obama’s people appeal. And unfortunately, Judge Forrest’s ruling, as praiseworthy as it is, does nothing to spare both foreign reporters and civilians from a life of imprisonment, let alone the more than 6 billion citizens of foreign nations who can still be handcuffed and hauled away to a US military prison without ever being brought to trial.

So, bottom line, given the indeterminate nature of a law that would snatch us up off the streets, throw away the key, and grant us little or no access to a trial let alone legal counsel of choice not vetted by the Pentagon, we should have no illusions that we are well along the slippery indeterminate slope to a full blown militarized police state; the complete identification, coordination and consolidation of the police and military function in America in the interests of an elite who regard us as the enemy, maybe even their property! Maybe even as targets for assassination!

Naked violation of the 4th and 5th Amendments to the US Constitution

We should recall, that the current attempt by the executive to designate American citizens for detention without trial; a naked violation of the 4th and 5th Amendments to the US Constitution against unreasonable search and seizure and the guarantee of a trial, was preceded by the administration’s “resolve” to assassinate at will Americans abroad, place them on a “kill list,” and eliminate them. According to the New York Times “Secret ‘Kill List’ Proves a Test of Obama’s Principles and Will,” (5/29/12) the President and his advisors have made it clear that they have the authority “to order the targeted killing of an American citizen, in a country with which the United States was not at war, in secret and without the benefit of a trial.”

The Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel rationalized such a move in “a lengthy memo justifying that extraordinary step, asserting that while the Fifth Amendment’s guarantee of due process applied, it could be satisfied by internal deliberations in the executive branch.” (New York Times, “Secret U.S. Memo Made Legal Case to Kill a Citizen,” 10/8/11) Accordingly, after a dubious period of “internal deliberations,” Mr. Obama gave his approval, and the cleric Anwar al-Awlak was assassinated in September 2011, along with an associate Samir Khan, an American citizen who was not on the target list but happened to be traveling with Mr. al-Awlak. Apparently, campaign rhetoric and public demeanor to the contrary, when asked what surprised him most about Mr. Obama, Mr. Donilon, the national security adviser, answered immediately: “He’s a president who is quite comfortable with the use of force on behalf of the United States.”

The Posse Comitatus Act

How did we get here? We need to recognize that the “massive diversion of military resources” into domestic law enforcement for the purposes of suppressing dissent and worse has a long history, a history that has witnessed the steady evisceration of the 1878 Posse Comitatus Act, the sole federal statute that criminalizes military incursions into the domain of domestic law enforcement. The Act is the backbone of our democratic republican tradition of separating the military and police function in this country and represents the ultimate bulwark against military dictatorship in the interests of the rich. That is the reason it is and continues to be attacked, ridiculed and ignored by elements in both the corporate and military spheres. For example, “Current Obstacles to Fully Preparing Title 10 Forces for Homeland Defense and Civil Support” by Commander James S. Campbell, United States Navy, May 2008 and, “The Role of Federal Military Forces in Domestic Law Enforcement Title” by COL (Ret) John R. Brinkerhoff, December 2004, both seek to delegitimize and undercut the status and importance of the Act, a law so critical to the maintenance of our freedoms, and yet, a law about which most Americans remain unaware.

http://www.dtic.mil/cgi-bin/GetTRDoc?AD=ADA487235

http://usacac.army.mil/cac2/call/docs/10-16/ch_11.asp

The 1878 Act, 18 USC § 1385 - USE OF ARMY AND AIR FORCE AS POSSE COMITATUS, more popularly known as The Posse Comitatus Act, reads as follows:

“Whoever, except in cases and under circumstances expressly authorized by the Constitution or Act of Congress, wilfully uses any part of the Army or the Air Force as a Posse Comitatus or otherwise to execute the laws shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than two years, or both.”

As noted, the 1981 Military Cooperation with Law Enforcement law would seemingly violate the spirit if not the letter of this Act. Nonetheless, like a slowly boiling pot relentlessly eating away at our freedom of movement, assembly, association and expression, the utilization of military assets, under cover of law enforcement to suppress our democratic rights has proceeded steadily by design, virtually un-noticed.

Historical milestones: eating away at our freedom of movement, assembly, association and expression

A very limited listing of some historical milestones:

* In 1968, as mentioned above, concurrent with the creation of the Federal Commission on Civil Disorder, better known as the Kerner Commission, the Pentagon hatched it’s very own “civil disorder” operation. “US Military Civil Disturbance Plan 55-2,” code named “Garden Plot,” coordinates, until this day, all aspects of “civil disturbance suppression” in America, including the use of so-called “non-lethal weapons” during conveniently designated domestic “operations other than war” (OOTW), and “military operations in urban terrain” (MOUT), a “war” which pits “non-combatant” citizens and protesters (overwhelmingly non-violent) against militarized police on the streets of America.

* Only a few months after the round up and detention of 7,000 anti-war protesters in Washington DC, imprisoned in RFK stadium, an early Garden Plot operation, the 1971 Non-Detention Act was passed, specifically to repeal portions of the 1950 “anti-communist” "Emergency Detention Act" which had allowed for detention of suspected subversives without the normal Constitutional checks required for imprisonment. The Non-Detention Act required specific Congressional authorization for such detention. It reads that, “no citizen shall be imprisoned or otherwise detained by the United States except pursuant to an Act of Congress.” In recent years, the statute has been used to challenge military detainment of U.S. citizens accused of terrorist activity, as in the case of Jose Padilla.

http://www.jenner.com/system/assets/assets/5417/original/18.pdf?1321652398

A Congressional Research Service report on the history of the Non-Detention Act noted that, “legislative debate, committee reports, and the political context of 1971 indicate that when Congress enacted Section 4001(a) it intended the statutory language to restrict all detentions by the executive branch, not merely those by the Attorney General.” Further, “lawmakers, both supporters and opponents of Section 4001(a), recognized that it would restrict the President and military authorities.”

As for the Padilla case, the Supreme Court of the United States originally took the 2004 case of Rumsfeld v. Padilla to decide the question of whether Congress's Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) authorized the President to detain a U.S. citizen, which would run afoul of the Non Detention Act. But it did not give an answer, instead ruling that the case had been “improperly filed.” And so the issue, as to whether and under what circumstances the military can pick you up, detain and imprison you, without charging you, from the point of view the Supreme Court, remains “unsettled.”

* Also in 1971, the California Specialized Training Institute (CSTI) was created. Headed up by Louis Giuffrida, formerly of Army Combat Command, the first director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), CSTI introduced the Special Weapons And Tactics (SWAT) concept, offering courses on “civil disorder management” for select “militarized” police and National Guard units armed and trained for domestic operations in the urban centers of America. During this period the Law Enforcement Assistance Administration (LEAA) facilitated federal funding and other military largess to the burgeoning militarized sectors of the domestic police forces along with training of selected National Guard units. Still in operation, CSTI is currently headed up by William J. Hatch Colonel, USA (RET), while funding for militarizing local police departments these days is facilitated by the Department of Homeland Security and FEMA, funding which has increased drastically since 9/11.

http://americaswarwithin.org/articles/2011/12/21/local-police-stockpile-high-tech-combat-ready-gear

* In 1975 the Trilateral Commission, a Western European, Japanese, US corporate think-tank convened by David Rockefeller, issued a report entitled, “The Crisis of Democracy.” (NYU Press, 1975) Authored by none other than Samuel Huntington. (“Clash of Civilizations”). Huntington's book is a blueprint for the on-going counter-revolution in America, emphasizing the elite requirement of suppressing democratic “insurgency,” the “distemper” of the 60s, a “distemper” that according to Huntington, stemmed from an “excess of democracy." The only and final solution therefore is to “moderate” and “shrink democracy,” concluding that, “there are potentially desirable limits to the indefinite extension of political democracy.”

http://www.wrijneveld.nl/Boekenplank/BoekenVanAanhangersVanDeNieuweWereldOrde/1975-TC-The-Crisis-of-Democracy.pdf

* In 1983, the US Army published Field Manual 3-19-15, Civil Disturbance Operations (since updated in 2005). The manual addresses civil disturbance operations in both continental United States (CONUS) and outside continental United States (OCONUS). It states that, “today, United States (US) forces are deployed on peacekeeping, peace enforcement, and humanitarian assistance operations worldwide. During these operations, US forces are often faced with unruly and violent crowds intent on disrupting peace and the ability of US forces to maintain peace. Worldwide instability coupled with increasing US military participation in peacekeeping and related operations requires that US forces have access to the most current doctrine and tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTP) necessary to quell riots and restore public order.”

“In addition to covering civil unrest doctrine for CONUS operations, FM 3-19.15 addresses domestic unrest and the military role in providing assistance to civil authorities requesting it for civil disturbance operations …The principles of civil disturbance operations, planning and training for such operations, and the TTP [“tactics, techniques and procedures”] employed to control civil disturbances and neutralize special threats are discussed in this manual. It also addresses special planning and preparation that are needed to quell riots in confinement facilities are also discussed. In the past, commanders were limited to the type of force they could apply to quell a riot. Riot batons, riot control agents, or lethal force were often used. Today, there is a wide array of nonlethal weapons (NLW) available to the commander that extends his use of force along the force continuum. This manual addresses the use of nonlethal (NL) and lethal forces when quelling a riot.” And as noted, the training is meant to be operative in both foreign and domestic contexts, the war abroad, the war at home.

http://www.fas.org/irp/doddir/army/fm3-19-15.pdf

* In 1986, the Pentagon issues Department of Defense Directive 5525.5, or DoD Cooperation with Civilian Law Enforcement Officials. US military involvement in domestic law enforcement is subsumed and rationalized under “doctrines” entitled Operations Other Than War (OOTW) and Military Operations in Urban Terrain (MOUT), along with divisions known as Military Support to Law Enforcement Agencies (MSLEA) and Military Support to Civil Authorities (MSCA)

http://www.dtic.mil/whs/directives/corres/pdf/552505p.pdf

* In 1992 President Clinton’s Justice Department consolidated a partnership with the Pentagon in the area of “technology transfer.” The so-called “technology transfer agreements” allowed for the military to weaponize domestic police forces, further enhancing the growth of para-military “special forces” like “special units” in local police departments across the country, including “civil disturbance” units and training. The Clinton administration extended the police/military connection by mandating that the Department of Defense and its associated private industries form a partnership with the Department of Justice to "engage the crime war with the same resolve they fought the Cold War." The program, entitled, "Technology Transfer From Defense: Concealed Weapons Detection," (“Technology Transfer from Defense: Concealed Weapons Detection," National Institute of Justice Journal, No 229, August, 1995), calls for the transfer of military technology to domestic police organizations to better fight "crime." Previously, direct "transfers" of this sort were made only to friendly foreign governments. The Clinton directive enhanced and formalized direct militarization of domestic police forces.

http://www.scribd.com/doc/39680373/The-Militarization-of-the-Police-by-Frank-Morales

Currently, Title XIV of an earlier NDAA in 2007 entitled, "Homeland Defense Technology Transfer Legislative Provisions,” authorizes "the Secretary of Defense to create a Homeland Defense Technology Transfer Consortium to improve the effectiveness of the Department of Defense (DOD) processes for identifying and deploying relevant DOD technology to federal, State, and local first responders." In other words, the law facilitates the "transfer" of the newest in so-called "crowd control" and surveillance technology to local militarized (politicized) police units.

* In 1993, the US Army and Marine Corps publish Domestic Support Operations Field Manual 100-19.

http://www.dtic.mil/doctrine/jel/service_pubs/fm100_19.pdf

* In 1994, the Department of Defense issued Directive 3025.12, Military Assistance for Civil Disturbances (MACDIS) that details the rationale and means (“tactics, techniques and procedures”) for suppressing dissent. It states that, "the President is authorized by the Constitution and laws of the United States to suppress insurrections, rebellions, and domestic violence under various conditions and circumstances. Planning and preparedness by the Federal Government and the Department of Defense for civil disturbances are important, do to the potential severity of the consequences of such events for the Nation and the population."

http://www.dtic.mil/whs/directives/corres/pdf/302512p.pdf

* In 1995, the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), an key elite "policymaker" headquartered in New York City, set up an “Independent Task Force on Nonlethal Weapons (NLW)” in order "to assess the current status of non-lethal weapons development and availability within the Department of Defense, in light of their potential to support U.S. military operations and foreign policy," not to mention the suppression of dissent at home. The 16 member Task Force, which published its' findings in 1999, was chaired by IBM executive Richard L. Garwin, CFR "Senior Fellow for Science and Technology." Other members of the Task Force included CFR “military fellow” David Jones, United States Navy, Commander, Edward N. Luttwak, member, "National Security Study Group administered by the Department of Defense," Edward C. Meyer, USA (Ret.), Chair of Mitretek Systems, formerly Chief of Staff, US Army, and a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Janet and Christopher Morris, President/Vice President, M2 Technologies, Inc, members US Global Strategy Council.

The Director of the CFR task force on non-lethal “technologies” was W. Montaque Winfield, former Executive Officer to the Commander of the "Stabilization Force" stationed in Sarajevo, Yugoslavia. Also a 1998-9 CFR "military fellow," Brigadier General Winfield, some of you might recall, was the deputy director for operations (DDO) in the National Military Command Center (NMCC) at the Pentagon on the morning of 9/11, who according to the 9/11 Commission, left his post that very morning to attend a “pre-scheduled meeting” and allowed a colleague who had only recently qualified to take over his position, to stand in for him. He didn’t return to his post until after the terrorist attacks had ended. http://www.historycommons.org/entity.jsp?entity=montague_winfield

The CFR had issued an earlier report on the subject of “non-lethal” weapons in 1995, and stated in the 1999 report that they had regrettably "found that the DoD has made only limited progress developing and deploying nonlethal weapons since 1995." The CFR, offering a bit of a tongue lashing to it’s hired generals, considered the "shortfall" the result of a "continued lack of appreciation for NLW among civilian and military policymakers." Taking a firm line, the CFR report recommends that, "senior civilian and military leaders should make NLW development a priority." After all, "nonlethal weapons could give policymakers a more potent weapon than economic sanctions." In fact, "used alone", the report notes, "NLW could penalize civilian economies without high civilian casualties." Looking for something between “diplomatic table thumping and outright annihilation,” the armchair corporate warriors at the CRR continued to pound away at the need for accelerated “non-lethal” R and D.

http://revoltrevolt.org/demilitarizethepolice/nonlethal.html

* Subsequently, on July 9, 1996, the Department of Defense complied, issuing Directive 3000.3, Policy for Non-Lethal Weapons. The Directive established Department of Defense policies and responsibilities for the development and employment of so-called “non-lethal weapons,” designating the Commandant of the Marine Corps as Executive Agent for the Department of Defense Non-Lethal Weapons Program. On July 1, 1997, the Joint Non-Lethal Weapons Directorate was established to support the Executive Agent for Non-Lethal Weapons in the day-to-day management of the Department of Defense Non-Lethal Weapons Program putting the “best and the brightest” at work in designing soft-kill means (including neuro-weapons) of “crowd dispersal” and “social control” set within a strategy of so-called “low-intensity warfare” and “counter-insurgency.”

http://jnlwp.defense.gov/pdf/2011%20Public%20%20Release%20%20NLW%20Reference%20Book%20V1.pdf

http://www.zcommunications.org/electromagnetic-weapons-by-frank-morales

http://www.thebulletin.org/web-edition/columnists/hugh-gusterson/the-militarization-neuroscience

Recently, this past May 17, 2012 the DoD issued Instruction 3200.19. Entitled “Non-Lethal Weapons (NLW) Human Effects Characterization,” the “instruction” “establishes policy, assigns responsibilities, and provides procedures for a human effects characterization process in support of the development of NLW, non lethal technology and NLW systems.” It also establishes a “Human Effects Review Board,” which “scientifically” evaluates and quantifies levels of pain, calculating the most desirable “effects” in regard to the use of non-lethal force against non-combatants and protesters. In this regard, they receive a lot of assistance from their friends and associates in academia.

http://cryptome.org/dodi/dodi-3200-19.pdf

In 1997 Penn State University established the Institute for Non-Lethal Defense Technologies. The Institute is “dedicated to providing a base of multidisciplinary knowledge and technology that supports development and responsible application of non-lethal options for both military and civilian law enforcement. “ The Institute is administered by Penn State's Applied Research Laboratory (ARL), under the direction and support of the University's Office of the Vice President for Research. http://nldt2.arl.psu.edu/

Its Human Effects Advisory Panel sponsored a conference in September 2000, whose purpose was “to assess crowd behavior and the potential for crowd control … a leading core capability sought by the Joint Non-lethal Weapons Program.” Their 2001 report was entitled, “Crowd Behavior, Crowd Control, and the Use of Non-Lethal Weapons.”

http://nldt2.arl.psu.edu/documents/crowd_control_report.pdf

Meanwhile, the University of New Hampshire’s Non-Lethal Technology Innovation Center (NTIC) was created by a grant from the DoD’s Joint Non-lethal Weapons Directorate about the same time “to effect the next generation of NL capabilities by identifying and promoting the development of innovative concepts, materials and technologies within the academic community.” Its “Society of Force Effectiveness, Analysis and Techniques” (FEAT) was “established to engage primary source scientists to share results and analyses from studies of applied force, whether physical, psychological, or emotional. The Society’s scope of interests includes the impact of non-lethal or less lethal force intervention on sustained attention; performance degradation due to fatigue or intentional distraction; compliance; vigilance; and stress resilience.” The Society, given its specific intent on affecting “motivational behavior,” is keen on identifying “disciplines that support the development of tools of behavioral modification through force (e.g., kinetic and electromagnetic energies, psychological operations).”

http://www.unh.edu/ntic/

* In August of 2001, the Pentagon issued Field Manual 3-19.40, Internment and Resettlement Operations. Explicating the role of military police engaged in law enforcement, including at the point of domestic detention activities set within the context of “emergency” support, the extensive manual covers detention policies and methodologies and the use of non-lethal weapons. Chapter 10, Sections 49-66 detail the nature of “emergency services” within the “continental United States,” explaining that “MP (military police) units assisting ES (emergency service) operations in CONUS involve DoD-sponsored military programs that support the people and the government at all levels within the US and its territories.” Classified as “domestic support,” the manual states that, “federal armed forces can be employed when …” in the face of a declared “emergency,” “state and local authorities do not take appropriate action.”

In that instance, FEMA would serve as “the single POC within the government.” With a nod to the Posse Comitatus Act the document goes on to state that, “the MP support to ES in CONUS varies significantly from other I/R (internment/resettlement) operations. The basic difference is that local and state governments and the federal government and its agencies have a greater impact and role in supporting and meeting the needs in an affected community.” “If tasked to set up and operate an I/R facility, the MP commander retains control of military forces under his command,” and can operate “in conjunction with local, state and federal law enforcement officials.”

http://www.aclu.org/torturefoia/released/a22.pdf

* September 11 provided the elite Project for a New American Century and their associates with the “new Pearl Harbor” they sought, as set forth in Rebuilding America’s Defenses (pg.51), a major consequence of which was the September 18, 2001 passage of the Authorization for Use of Military Force or AUMF.

http://www.newamericancentury.org/RebuildingAmericasDefenses.pdf

http://news.findlaw.com/hdocs/docs/terrorism/sjres23.es.html

The Pentagon can invade, occupy and destroy at will, pre-emptively (with little or no reason), anyone, anywhere in the world

This singular, presumably legal rationale for much of what we now endure, the AUMF substantiates the notion that the Pentagon can invade, occupy and destroy at will, pre-emptively (with little or no reason), anyone, anywhere in the world, any time it chooses. In addition, apparently as we now see, the AUMF gives the Pentagon and it’s covetous corporate directors justification for the military takeover of America itself and the detention of its people. Thus, the AUMF is cited by the peddlers of Section 1021 of the NDAA 2012.

The modern “military tribunal” structure, which is a major piece of the detention/repression apparatus, came into formal existence as a consequence of the 2002 Department of Defense Military Commission Order No.1, issued on March 21, 2002 by former president (war criminal) George W. Bush.

http://www.defense.gov/news/Mar2002/d20020321ord.pdf

The entire military commission/tribunal structure is a work in progress, or more precisely, a dynamic and strategic power play on the part of the rulers set in motion following 9/11; a “might makes right” gambit undertaken by the militarist directors in the smoke of 9/11. Like the so-called Patriot Act, it was forced down the throats of a submissive, clueless public, sufficiently softened by means of prime time terror, fear and panic. Taking two steps forward and one step back, the militarists act first and then rationalize (or more precisely have their employees in the Congress) baptize the move after the fact. Where do presidents like Dubya, and now Obama get the authority to issue such blanket, unilateral decrees, totalitarian “executive orders,” such as Obama's "National Defense Preparedness Order" of this year, which would force us to work for the Pentagon? The answer: No where! They have no authority! Particularly to set up parallel systems of jurisprudence as a means of by-passing Constitutional protections. In historical fact, this approach has a parallel in earlier maneuvers of another former “executive,” Adolph Hitler. (see Hitler’s Justice: The Courts of the Third Reich, Ingo Muller, Harvard, 1991)

http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2012/03/16/executive-order-national-defense-resources-preparedness

Concurrent with the round-up of over a thousand people following the September 11 attack, many of whom are still being held, many in solitary confinement, with no charges being filed, President Bush signed in November 2001 an order, establishing military "tribunals" for those non-citizens, accused, anywhere, of "terrorist related crimes.” And now, with the NDAA, citizens might soon face the same fate. Just imagine some smug and starchy government lawyer arguing that “the right to equal protection,” a fundamental principle of both U.S. and international law, demands that Americans be detained too!

At the time (2001), the National Legal Aid & Defender Association stated that the Bush promulgated “military order” violated the constitutional separation of powers:

"It has not been authorized by the Congress and is outside the President's constitutional powers ... the order strips away a variety of checks and balances on governmental power and the reliability and integrity of criminal judgments... undermines the rule of law worldwide, and invites reciprocal treatment of US nationals by hostile nations utilizing secret trials, a single entity as prosecutor, judge and jury, no judicial review and summary executions."

More recently, in October 2009, the U.S. Congress passed and Obama dutifully signed the Military Commissions Act of 2009 (2009 MCA), which remains in effect today, legalizing further, if you will, the naked power grab by the executive in behalf of the elite. Since then the “Office of Military Commissions” has been set up as a public relations/propaganda front for the dictatorship. It promises to “provide fair and transparent trials of those persons subject to trial by Military Commissions while protecting national security interests.” Kind of like Fox’s “fair and balanced” news reporting. http://www.mc.mil/

Finally, we should recall that the NDAA of past years, aside from providing the funding of vast sums for illegal and immoral wars, torture and assassination, has been the site of various embedded measures designed to further limit our democratic rights of free expression and assembly, which is the foundation of effective and meaningful dissent. One such measure dates back to 2007, to the then so-called John Warner NDAA, named after militarism’s best friend and sponsor of the iconic AUMF.

Public Law 109-364, or the "John Warner Defense Authorization Act of 2007" (H.R.5122), was signed by George Bush on October 17th, 2006, in a private Oval Office ceremony. It allowed the President to declare a "public emergency" and subsequently station troops anywhere in America, seizing control of state-based National Guard units without the consent of the governor or local authorities, in order to "suppress public disorder." Well, fortunately, a massive protest ensued and the sections of the law that allowed for such were eventually repealed in the midst of which Senator Pat Leahy commented that, "we certainly do not need to make it easier for Presidents to declare martial law.” Preparing to order the military onto the streets of America, the presumption is that some form of martial law would be in evidence. Note that the term for putting an area under military law enforcement control is precise; the term is "martial law."

http://towardfreedom.com/home/content/view/911/

The concept of martial rule, as distinct from martial law, is not written, and therefore is an eminently more workable arrangement for "law enforcement forces." That’s because, as US Army Field Manual 19-15 points out, "martial rule is based on public necessity. Public necessity in this sense means public safety." According to the manual (cited above), updated in 2005, U.S. state authorities "may take such action within their own jurisdictions." And yet, "whether or not martial rule has been proclaimed, commanders must weigh each proposed action against the threat to public order and safety. If the need for martial rule arises, the military commander at the scene must so inform the Army Chief of Staff and await instructions. If martial rule is imposed, the civilian population must be informed of the restrictions and rules of conduct that the military can enforce."

Now, respecting the power of free speech, the manual suggests that, "during a civil disturbance, it may be advisable to prevent people from assembling. Civil law can make it unlawful for people to meet to plan an act of violence, rioting, or civil disturbance. Prohibitions on assembly may forbid gatherings at any place and time." And don’t forget, "making hostile or inflammatory speeches advocating the overthrow of the lawful government and threats against public officials, if it endangered public safety, could violate such law."

Further, during civil disturbance operations, "authorities must be prepared to detain large numbers of people," forcing them into existing, though expanded "detention facilities." Cautioning that, "if there are more detainees than civil detention facilities can handle, civil authorities may ask the control forces to set up and operate temporary facilities." Pending the approval of the Army Chief of Staff, the military can detain and jail citizens en masse. "The temporary facilities are set up on the nearest military installation or on suitable property under federal control." These "temporary facilities" are "supervised and controlled by MP officers and NCOs trained and experienced in Army correctional operations. Guards and support personnel under direct supervision and control of MP officers and NCOs need not be trained or experienced in Army correctional operations. But they must be specifically instructed and closely supervised in the proper use of force."

According to the Army, the detention facilities are situated near to the "disturbance area," but far enough away "not to be endangered by riotous acts." Given the large numbers of potential detainees, the logistics (holding, searching, processing areas) of such an undertaking, new construction of such facilities "may be needed to provide the segregation for ensuring effective control and administration." It must be designed and "organized for a smooth flow of traffic," while a medical "treatment area" would be utilized as a "separate holding area for injured detainees." After a "detainee is logged in and searched," "a file is initiated," and a "case number" identifies the prisoner. In addition, "facility personnel also may use hospital ID tags. Using indelible ink, they write the case number and attach the tag to the detainees wrist. Different colors may be used to identify different offender classifications "

Finally, if and when it should occur, "release procedures must be coordinated with civil authorities and appropriate legal counsel." If the "detainee" should produce a writ of habeas corpus issued by a state court, thereby demanding ones day in court, the Army will "respectfully reply that the prisoner is being held by authority of the United States."

In conclusion:

There is no question that the militarized police state, in all its myriad permutations has arrived. In fact, the militarizing of American cities and society as a whole proceeds apace in lock step (Cities Under Seige: The New Military Urbanism, Stephen Graham, 2010) with the racist, anti-immigrant “defense” of the borders, a veritable cash cow for military contractors, booming. The cities, the borders, so how bout the skies? Well, as this is being written, the latest 2013 NDAA discussions include a Senate Armed Services Committee call to allow drones to operate “freely and routinely” in America!

http://www.fas.org/irp/congress/2012_cr/sasc-uas.html

http://nacla.org/blog/2012/6/7/bringing-battlefield-border-wild-world-border-security-and-boundary-building-arizona

Meanwhile, the GAO has just issued a report to Congress entitled “DOD Should Reevaluate Requirements for the Selective Service System” which calls for an evaluation of Pentagon “manpower needs for the Selective Service System in light of current national security plans.” Such an evaluation would, the report notes, “better position Congress to make an informed decision about the necessity of the Selective Service System or any other alternatives that might substitute for it.”

http://cryptome.org/2012/06/gao-12-623.pdf

Yes indeed, the water is boiling. Not to mix metaphors, but it’s time to jump out of the frying pan and hopefully not into the fire, which I take to mean that we must confront and deconstruct, in a non-violent way, the increasing potential for far more violence and suppression of our basic freedoms. The handing over of our resources, lives, fortune and reputation to a clique of thieves and murderers dressed up as presidents, congress people and corporate military executives and underlings is to foster our continued enslavement to the perpetrators of injustice and genocide, here and broad, inequality and greed, here and abroad, and signals the political suicide for our republic. We have got to act to stop the police state and reassert the values of community, justice and equality in the councils of governance. And to do so we must dis-empower the militarists.

One thing we can do right now is to initiate organizing campaigns in neighborhoods and communities across the country aimed at the passing of Posse Comitatus-like legislation on the local and state level, encouraging dialogue on the de-militarization of our communities, and raising the human right to be free of the violation inherent in all forms of militarism. By removing all aspects of militarism from domestic policing, lock, stock and barrel, we can expand the terrain of dissent and begin to reclaim our country back from the economic vultures and parasites and their violent mercenaries who are killing this country and the world. But first we must criminalize, like the Posse Comitatus Act does, all military involvement in law enforcement.

Communities must organize to de-militarize their police

Communities must organize to de-militarize their police. By analyzing police budgets, cutting the “special ops” training and funding and weapons transfers that fuel the militarization of law enforcement, we will most certainly decrease the level of police violence directed against the citizenry, and bridge issues and communities concerned with the epidemic of racist “police brutality” and the burgeoning of militarized police forces, veritable occupation armies in communities of color across America.

Along with criminalizing the militarization of local police we must work to criminalize racial profiling on the part of the police, a practice (indoctrinated in soldiers) that provides naked justification for “stop and frisk” harassment and the murdering of young black men. Make killer cops liable for these murders, stripped of the “sovereign immunity” that is their 007 license to kill. Ditto for “stand your ground” or more-arms-for-the-white-right laws, which along with the high rates of gun ownership in certain demographic regions of the country, create the ominous potential for “deputized” armed posses, who along with state sponsored “defense forces” on a mission to presumably protect the “homeland” promise only more violence and repression. Disarm and expose them, expose the fraud of a hyped-up “law enforcement” establishment willing to break any laws to please the master, the financiers, the power brokers who manipulate them for gain, who are really only pawns in their game.

It is irrational and a violation of the civil and human rights of the citizenry to perpetuate the arming of militarized police trained to suppress constitutionally insured rights to free speech and assembly. They are supposed to defend the Constitution, not “detain” those who do! They are supposed to defend the civil rights of the people, not “partner” with the CIA and FBI and spy on activists and Muslim communities, entrapping their youth, victims of the racist charade called “the war on terror.” (Associated Press, “Post-9/11, NYPD targets ethnic communities, partners with CIA,” 8/24/11)

http://www.justice.gov/oig/special/s1009r.pdf

They are supposed to defend the right to protest, not brutalize those who do, peacefully, as in the most recent police crack-down on the Occupy movement. (New York Times, “When the Police Go Military” 12/3/11). They are supposed to be sensitive to the civil and human rights of all the people, respect the cultural diversity of their environment, “serve and protect,” not to be trained in “quick shoot reflex” by outfits such as the Firearms Training Systems which trains both the NYPD and the US marines!

Police departments are public institutions subject to the will of local governments, to the will of the public, the people. But only if we act! Where and under what circumstances the police receive their training, are granted “immunity” and what armaments they possess, (paid for by public funds) and what sort of institutional relationships with US military and intelligence agencies (which public documents would make evident) are they engaged in …

These are the kinds of questions and avenues of approach common throughout history in the struggle of citizens against police/military dictatorships. And despite the recent May 17, 2012 issuance of the “DoD Civil Liberties Program,” which defines civil liberties as “fundamental rights and freedoms protected by the Constitution of the United States,” except when “operational requirements” of “an authorized law enforcement, intelligence collection, or counterintelligence activity” dictate otherwise; despite the tightening noose, in the end we must rely on the law, on “the rule of law,” specifically, on the ability (necessity) of reasonable people of good will acquiring sufficient power to draft new and enforceable laws, laws which promote justice, healing, growth, life and peace. And to make them stick!

We claim and hope to be a society of laws, by the people, for all the people. But we are not. Never have been. Nonetheless, we are capable of evolving, of igniting a revolution of values in this country and becoming the land we all aspire to “with justice and freedom for all.” But in order to get there, we will have to overcome the coup of 2012.

Frank Morales / Memorial Day / 2012


Israel may use military force ‘to secure’ Syria’s alleged chemical arsenal


Israeli Jets prepare in Iraq to Strike Syria and Iran
Source: Russia Today
http://www.rt.com/news/israel-syria-chemical-weapons-803/

The Israeli army is considering using military force to prevent Syria’s alleged chemical warfare stockpiles from getting into the hands of Hezbollah or Al-Qaeda. Tel-Aviv believes that Damascus is no longer capable of securing its arsenal.

Syria has never declared it possesses chemical weapons stocks, but the Israeli military does not put its existence under question. Tel Aviv believes Syria has been busy producing mustard and nerve gas for the last 40 years.

On Monday Israeli Maj. Gen. Yair Naveh, the country’s deputy military chief, warned that Syria could pose a threat to Israel with its chemical weapons. He declared Syria has “the largest chemical warfare stockpiles in the world,” and warned that Assad’s regime could "treat us the same way they treat their own people."

Some Israeli politicians claim the Syrian government is already using chemical weapons against its population. A senior member of the ruling Likud party, Ayoob Kara, told Israel Radio on June 9 that the Syrian government is using “chemical weapons against men, women, and children.”

They have become the latest in the chorus of Israeli high ranking officials who have rushed to voice their concerns over Syria’s alleged chemical arsenal.

The head of Israel's Northern Command responsible for the front that borders Lebanon and Syria, Maj. Gen. Yair Golan, warned that Assad’s regime could pass its chemical weapons to Lebanon-based Hezbollah if the regime of President Bashar al-Assad crumbles under the militant attacks that have lasted for over a year now.

According to the general, this could happen if Assad’s regime loses control over its military bases. Simultaneously, Maj. Gen. Golan openly called Syria a “failed state.”

Israel would not mind if international forces invade Syria to oust President Assad.

Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Shaul Mofaz believes the world should unite to crush Assad’s regime, the same as it did in Libya, where coalition forces overthrew Colonel Muammar Gaddafi.

"A crime against humanity, genocide, is being conducted in Syria today. And the silence of the world powers is contrary to all human logic," Mofaz announced.

"Since in the not-distant past the powers chose military intervention in Libya, here the required conclusion would be immediate military intervention to bring down the Assad regime,” he said.

But he made it clear that Israel would not take part in the intervention.

"We cannot get involved, for understandable reasons. But I think that the West, led by the United States, has an interest in guarding the threshold (so) genocide does not take place,” Mofaz told Reuters.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been more cautious in his remarks, telling Bild newspaper that the military intervention is “a decision for the leading powers who are now talking about it.” He added that the less he says about it as prime minister of Israel, the better.

However, he used the opportunity to link alleged crimes of the Syrian regime with Israel’s arch-enemies.

“This is a slaughter carried out not only by the Syrian government. It is being helped by Iran and Hezbollah,” he said in broadcast remarks to his cabinet on Sunday.

The international pressure on President Bashar al-Assad’s regime has been mounting for the last 15 months, but Israel has only recently openly added its voice to anti-Assad rhetoric.

Meanwhile, recently information surfaced about armed Syrian opposition planning a provocation with the use of chemical weapons. Reportedly, they have obtained chemical weapons from Libya and plan to use it against Syrian civilians, shifting the blame for the atrocity on the government forces.

In the light of the recent Israeli rhetoric over Syria’s alleged chemical stockpile threat, fears arise that the chemical weapons ghost story might become an excuse for a foreign intervention into the country.

There has already been a precedent when the alleged weapons of mass destruction were used as an excuse for a foreign military intervention in Iraq.

The international military operation against regime of Saddam Hussein in 2003 was officially aimed at stripping the dictator of weapons of mass destruction – which were never found – while Saddam was hanged by hasty executioners after a short trial


Thursday, June 14, 2012

The Pentagon's Last Frontier: Battle-Hardened Troops Headed To Africa


By: Rick Rozoff

Source: Global Research
http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=31402

After the U.S. begins to wind down more than ten consecutive years of combat, mainly counterinsurgency, operations in what has variously been labeled the Broader, Greater and New Middle East, war-tested troops are being prepared for redeployment to Africa and Latin (largely South) America.*

Last September President Barack Obama hailed the five million U.S. soldiers that have served in the so-called global war on terror, what he called the 9/11 generation, in the preceding decade.

American commanders issue regular statements that war-time experience in Afghanistan and Iraq has trained the armed forces for new operations in other parts of the world: Africa, Latin America, those parts of the Middle East so far not undermined and attacked, the Balkans-Black Sea-Caucasus arc and the Asia-Pacific region.

On June 8 the Gannett newspaper chain's Army Times cited the commander of U.S. Army Africa, Major General David Hogg, disclosing that a brigade-size force of U.S. troops - 3,000 "and likely more" - will begin regular deployments to the African continent beginning next year.

As a component of U.S. Army Africa's “regionally aligned force concept,” the American military personnel will concentrate on training the armed forces of U.S. Africa Command's new military allies - which have grown to include all 54 African nations except for Eritrea, Sudan and Zimbabwe after the overthrow of the governments of Ivory Coast and Libya last year - and, in Pentagonese, to advise, assist, partner, enable and mentor in counterinsurgency campaigns like those currently underway in Mali, Somalia and Central Africa.

As Africa is (along with South America) alone in not yet being the site of extensive and sustained U.S. military deployments, according to Hogg “As far as our mission goes, it’s uncharted territory”; in the words of Army Times, Africa is "the Army’s last frontier."

The latter source stated the initial 3,000-troop- plus initiative is "a pilot program that assigns brigades on a rotational basis to regions around the globe."

U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) is a unified combatant command whose respective components are U.S. Army Africa (based in Vicenza, Italy), U.S. Naval Forces Africa (Naples, Italy), U.S. Air Forces Africa (Ramstein Air Base, Germany), U.S. Marine Corps Forces Africa and U.S. Special Operations Command Africa (the last two at the Kelley Barracks in Stuttgart, Germany where AFRICOM headquarters is located).

It has taken over regular U.S. military training and other exercises in Africa like Operation Flintlock, Africa Endeavor, Natural Fire and African Lion. This year's Flintlock, one of fourteen major AFRICOM exercises scheduled for 2012, was canceled because of the coup in Mali.

In addition, over the past decade the Pentagon has maintained a multi-service (Army, Marine, Air Force and Navy) detachment of as many 3,000 service members, along with armored vehicles, aircraft and drones, at Camp Lemonnier in the Horn of Africa nation of Djibouti where AFRICOM's Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa is based.

The U.S. military also has training centers and forward, logistics, drone and other bases and camps in Congo, Ethiopia, Mali, Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda and elsewhere.

Five years ago U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa launched the Africa Partnership Station program which in the interim has brought U.S. warships to every African coastal country except for those in North Africa (the province of the Naples, Italy-based U.S. Sixth Fleet), Ivory Coast (which since the "regime change" of last year is now a candidate for inclusion), Somalia (because of the ongoing armed conflict there), Eritrea (considered to be governed by a "rogue regime") and Madagascar (due to the last three years' political instability) . Naval forces from Washington's North Atlantic Treaty Organization allies are integrated into the initiative.

This March the U.S. Air Forces Africa's complementary African Partnership Flight was inaugurated during an exercise in Ghana.

Last year the Obama administration announced an initial deployment of 100 special forces troops to Uganda, Congo, the Central African Republic and South Sudan for counterinsurgency operations against the Lord's Resistance Army. The number of troops and the range and nature of missions will undoubtedly widen in the future.

As the Pentagon's main expeditionary branch, the U.S. Marine Corps has been especially active in Africa in recent months.

Last month Associated Press reported that "drawing on lessons learned from Iraq and Afghanistan, " U.S. Marines joined American military contractors at a remote base in Uganda to train local soldiers in combat skills, including house-to-house fighting, under the auspices of the State Department's Africa Contingency Operations Training and Assistance program (which "includes marksmanship, urban warfare and explosives handling") with a budget of $3.8 million this year.

U.S.-based Military Professional Resources Inc. is under contract to run the program at the Ugandan base, which also includes the participation of British and French military personnel. According to the report, the private contractors "all are ex-military and most have had experience in either Iraq or Afghanistan. "

The training is to prepare Ugandan troops for fighting in Somalia, where thousands of Ugandan and Burundian troops have been airlifted by NATO since 2010.

The Marines are assigned to the Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force, which was established in October of last year, is based at the Naval Air Station Sigonella in Sicily and has been deployed to Uganda and Burundi for the Somali mission.

The commander of AFRICOM, General Carter Ham, was quoted in a Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force press release as stating:

“One of our primary foci is support of African nations who are willing and able to provide forces to the African Union Mission in Somalia [AMISOM], and other peacekeeping operations. In support of the State Department’s Global Peace Operations Initiatives and the African Contingency Operations Training and Assistance programs, we provide military mentors to support pre-deployment training. We work extensively with the nations of Uganda and Burundi as they provide the majority of forces to AMISOM to date.”

The U.S. Marine Corps website reported that the unit's African deployment -- which "could become more commonplace as troop levels in Afghanistan drop in line with an approaching 2014 combat mission end date" - is part of a broader redeployment of Marines abroad:

"Already, a separate Marine Air Ground Task Force is planned for the Asia-Pacific region with troops basing in Darwin, Australia. The Black Sea Rotational Force first stood up in 2010 and is tasked with similar regional security partnership missions with southern and central European countries."

Seventy-seven U.S. Marines are currently in Mozambique training troops from the host country as part of an Africa Partnership Station mission.

In April 1,200 U.S. Marines led the annual bilateral African Lion exercise in Morocco.

When AFRICOM achieved full operational capability on October 1, 2008 it became the first U.S. overseas regional military command established after the Cold War (since U.S. Central Command was created in 1983).

Washington, in its plan to achieve military presence throughout and superiority over the rest of the world, reserved Africa for last. Now its hour, too, has arrived.

Stop NATO
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/stopnato/messages
Stop NATO website and articles:
http://rickrozoff.wordpress.com/


US spy operations on the up in Africa - report


Undated file photo courtesy of the U.S. Navy shows a RQ-4 Global Hawk unmanned aerial vehicle conducting tests over Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland (Reuters/U.S. Navy/Erik Hildebrandt/Northrop Grumman/Handout)

Source: Russia Today
http://www.rt.com/news/africa-intelligence-us-spread-780/

The US is planning to expand secret intelligence bases throughout Africa with a view to combating terrorism in the region, says a new report by the Washington Post. It is the latest in a US push to militarize its presence on the continent.

The plans include the deployment of spy planes equipped with high-tech surveillance technology.

The US is set to extend its influence, opening a number of intelligence air bases “from the fringes of the Sahara to jungle terrain along the equator,” said the Washington Post.

The initiative dates back to 2007 and is indicative of the rapid expansion of US Special Forces operations in the region as part of the decade-long war against Al-Qaeda.

The US will use the strategically-placed bases to launch spy planes disguised as private aircraft kitted-out with a range of sensors able to record video, track infrared heat trails and tap into radio and mobile phone signals.

The reasoning behind the ratcheting-up of surveillance on the African continent by the US is the increasing presence of terrorist cells that could potentially destabilize the region.

The Washington Post said that the US government currently has a number of intelligence facilities across Africa, including Uganda, Ethiopia, Kenya, the Seychelles, Burkina Faso and Mauritania.

The bases in Burkina Faso and Mauritania are used to spy on Al-Qaeda.

The US military has expressed concerns over the growing influence of the Nigerian terrorist sect Boko Haram, blamed for a wave of bombings in the country in December and Al-Qaeda affiliate Al-Shabab in Somalia.

In addition, 100 special troops are currently in action in Uganda to hunt for Joseph Kony, the leader of a brutal guerrilla group known as the Lord’s Resistance Army.

Some state department officials have questioned the necessity to step-up a US presence in Africa given that many of the terrorist groups active on the continent represent no direct threat to the US.

In spite of doubts the US continues to rack up its presence in Africa. Last month the Army Times confirmed US military plans to deploy over 3,000 troops across the continent as part of a “regionally aligned force concept.”

US to maintain 'Light Footprint' in Africa?

Officially the US is painting an altogether different picture of its operations in Africa. Army General Carter F. Ham top US Africa command officer said that the US is not seeking permanent military bases in the region.

“In Africa, I would say a light footprint is consistent with what we need and consistent with the defense guidance," said General Carter.

The general said he recognized that some African nations were concerned over increased US military presence across Africa, but stressed that this did not necessarily mean the US would be establishing more bases there.

However, in a testimony to US Congress in March he said that he wanted to increase US surveillance and reconnaissance in Africa.

“Without operating locations on the continent, ISR [intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance] capabilities would be curtailed, potentially endangering US security,” he said.


Wednesday, June 13, 2012

RUSSIA CHALLENGES US-NATO: Russia prepares army for Syrian deployment


By: Clara Weiss

Source: Global Research
http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=31381

Given the worsening crisis in Syria, the Nezavisimaya Gazeta newspaper reported that the Russian army is apparently being prepared for a mission in Syria. Citing anonymous sources in the military leadership, the newspaper said that Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the general staff to work out a plan for military operations outside Russia, including in Syria.

The units being prepared for an intervention are the 76th Division of airborne forces (an especially experienced unit of the Russian army), the 15th Army Division, as well as special forces from a brigade of the Black Sea fleet, which has a base in the Syrian port of Tartus.

The details of the operational plan are being prepared by the working parties of the Collective Security Treaty Organization, to which most of the post-Soviet states belong, as well as the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, to which China and Russia belong.

According to the newspaper report, deployment depends on the decision of the Russian government and the UN. However, the plans also foresee that the troops might intervene without UN approval. The Russian government has so far not confirmed the report.

On Monday last week, three Russian warships were sighted off the Syrian coast. An anonymous source from the Russian government told the Iranian newspaper Tehran Times that Moscow wants to show NATO that it will not allow any military operation against Damascus under the guise of a humanitarian mission.

Earlier, the secretary-general of the Collective Security Treaty Organization, Nikolai Bordjusha, had held out the possibility of using “peacekeepers” in Syria. “The task in Syria is likely to be to impose peace—primarily against the insurgents, who use weapons to solve political problems.”

Russia and China strongly oppose a military intervention by NATO in Syria, and have already blocked two UN resolutions on the issue. The US and its allies, especially Turkey, Saudi Arabia and France, have stoked up a civil war in Syria and are systematically arming the so-called rebels, who consist mainly of Islamists, ex-members of the government, or Al Qaeda terrorists. Turkey is increasingly leadership of the US proxy war in Syria.

In recent weeks calls for a military intervention in Syria have increased. After the massacre in Houla, French President Francois Hollande spoke out in favor of military intervention. The West blamed the government of Bashar al-Assad for this massacre without any clear evidence. The German elite is also openly discussing a possible military intervention; Berlin has tried unsuccessfully to push Russia to make concessions on the issue.

Russia has not excluded a “political solution”, i.e., the slow transition from the Assad regime to another government. At all costs, however, the Kremlin wants to avoid the violent overthrow of Assad by the West for several reasons, whether it is through direct military intervention by NATO or is brought about by the rebels armed by the West. Two weeks ago, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev warned that a military intervention in Syria could quickly escalate and lead to the use of nuclear weapons.

Since Soviet times, Moscow and Syria have maintained close ties, especially in military and economic matters. More importantly, however, a war against Syria means a ramping up of US aggression in the Middle East. The US has already significantly extended its influence in the region through the wars against Afghanistan and Iraq. They also have military bases in almost every country in the area: Pakistan, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Turkey, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Saudi Arabia, Oman and Turkmenistan, as well as some in other smaller states. Meanwhile, Syria and Iran, which are virtually surrounded by US military bases, have become the last bastions of Russia and China in the Middle East against the encroachment of the United States.

A regime change in Damascus would probably bring a Sunni government to power, which would work closely with Saudi Arabia and the United States against Russia and China. Moreover, an escalation of the civil war in Syria—which is already well underway—and a military intervention would set the entire Middle East ablaze. A NATO-led war against Syria would be an immediate prelude to a war against Iran. An attack on Iran would mean another step toward a military escalation of tensions between Washington and Beijing.

While China obtains a significant portion of its raw material imports from Iran, Tehran is Russia’s most important ally in the Caucasus and the Caspian Sea to counter the influence of the US and Israel. Both Moscow and Tehran oppose the construction of a trans-Caspian pipeline by the West. They also reject the massive military rearmament of Azerbaijan, which is promoted by the United States, Israel and Turkey. The Caspian region is of key geopolitical importance because it links resource-rich Central Asia with Europe, and because it also has extensive oil and gas reserves.

The growing threat of war in the Middle East—and the fact that the European countries, including Germany and France, are siding with the United States—is increasingly driving Russia into a military alliance with China.

It is significant that Vladimir Putin’s first foreign visit since taking office was to Belarus, and that he then only spent a few hours in Berlin and Paris before going on to Central Asia. The highlight of his visit abroad was in China, where he met with the Chinese president, and then took part at the summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) on June 6 and 7. In addition to Russia and China, the Central Asian states of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan also belong to this organization; Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India have “observer” status.

As was the case at the previous meeting of the Collective Security Treaty Organization, discussion at the SCO summit centered on military and economic cooperation. The summit adopted a declaration on the “establishment of a region of lasting peace and common prosperity”. Military intervention against Syria or Iran was explicitly rejected.

The declaration also condemns the establishment of the NATO missile defense system in Europe, which is directed primarily against Russia and has led to severe tensions between Washington and both Europe and Moscow. In future, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization is planning to cooperate militarily more closely on issues of “regional security”.

During his two-day visit to Beijing, Putin had previously agreed with Chinese President Hu Jintao to jointly strengthen “security in the Asia-Pacific region”. Both countries intend to hold frequent joint military exercises in the Pacific, after holding joint naval exercises in the Yellow Sea in the spring. The United States is increasingly focusing its military build-up in the Asian Pacific region in preparation for a military confrontation with China.


THE CRISIS IN GREECE: The Economic Program of SYRIZA-EKM


Photo By: Tsakalidis Konstantinos
http://konstantinostsakalidis.viewbook.com/

By: G. Dragasakis

Source: Global Research
http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=31378

I. Presentation of the Economic Program of SYRIZA-EKM

Alexis Tsipras, the president of the SYRIZA Parliamentary Group already presented a large part of our economic program and primarily the rationale of the program. That allows me to focus on a few specific points. Listening to Mr. Samaras yesterday, and also on other occasions, reading out long lists of measures, I feel the need to explain what we mean when we talk about a program.

The Program and Our Values

1. The program, for us, goes beyond mere slogans and measures, although we know that these are necessary as well. For us program means a set of values, principles, straight-out orientations and diligent positions. Our program is based on the values of solidarity, justice, freedom, equality and environmental responsibility. Based on these values we will manage, if necessary, even the most mundane tasks

2. Program, for us, also means a way of thinking, a way of analyzing, understanding the problem, and ranking priorities and needs. And for us, it is the needs of the people that are over and above profits and all selfish or partial interests.

3. For us program means a continuous dialogue. A scientific dialogue, a social dialogue, and a political dialogue. A dialogue with the social movements, a dialogue with the citizens. We want to shape our program together, through such a continuous dialogue.

4. Program for us also means a process for the formation of social alliances. The building of consensus from below. Unifying the people is also an issue of the program. Our program then is the foundation, the blueprint of a broad social alliance among the working people, the people of knowledge, the people of culture and the youth. It is a social alliance to ward off any further impoverishment of society. To avert any further decomposition of the productive fabric of our society. To find the way toward recovery and hope.

5. It is in this sense, that the program for us is a continuous process. It is not a static and timeless text. It is a ceaseless endeavor, open to new ideas and innovative actions.

6. Finally, when we say program, we mean a political process. A process of not simply managing the current conjuncture, but of opening up new paths and this is exactly what our program does. It attempts to cut new paths. It attempts to preclude new dangers. It attempts to face up and to make use of the possibilities.

Our Goals

The second point I would like to refer to, is the political goals of our economic program. As it has been mentioned already, it is not our choice to exit the Euro, but neither can we consent to the continuation of policies that offer no guarantee for the survival of our society and our country. SYRIZA proposes to the Greek people, and also to the people of Europe, the only pragmatic option that consists of a new, honest, and binding agreement with the institutions and the people of Europe, one that will allow us to achieve three goals.

The first is to relieve the people who are suffering, the victims of this crisis. The second is stabilization and recovery. And the third is the implementation of a program of radical reforms and transformations, through which an effective reintegration of our country to the European future and to the international division of labour.

How will we achieve these three goals?

The first goal we will achieve with specific measures that are directly applicable and effective. With these measures we will attempt to ease the pain – to put it this way – of those who have suffered so much from the crisis and the policies of the Memoranda. Such measures are laid out in our program.

Our second goal concerns recovery and stabilization. It is of vital importance and a requirement for the implementation of the other measures. We cannot proceed with serious reforms in an environment of social and economic breakdown. We aim at achieving recovery and stability by freezing the measures that involve further reductions in wages and social expenditures, by halting the violent re-distribution of income against the weakest. This we will achieve by implementing a set of measures aimed at the recovery of investments, public investments in principle but also of all other forms of investment, and at boosting employment, with a new fiscal framework for a just and sustainable reduction of deficits.

As far as our third goal is concerned, that is the restraint of insecurity and the resurgence of hope and perspective for our society as a whole: we shall pursue this target by restoring the sovereign right of the Greek people to choose their own destiny. From the Memoranda we take note of the problems. Yes, we have an issue of fiscal deficit, yes, we have a problem with our balance of payments; yes, we have a problem with corruption – but we need not the Memoranda to know this. Yes, we have problems in the management and running of the state. The solutions, the goals, the pace, and the measures must and will be chosen by the Greek people. By replacing the Memorandum with a plan for the recovery of society, the reconstruction of the economy and an equitable adjustment. With the adjustment of the debt and the terms of the future financing for the development of the economy.

Why a New Type of Reforms and Transformations

The third point I would like to refer to is, ‘why reforms.’ To be sure, we refer to reforms in a completely different context. I listened to Mr. Samaras talking about measures and more measures. Of course measures are necessary. But in this country, the first presidential decree for the establishment of a land registry was issued in 1831 by I. Kapodistrias, the first governor of the country. Even today we lack a complete land registry.

The first announcement for setting up a wealth registry was made by PM Charilaos Trikoupis in 1893. Still, in 2012, we do not have a complete and comprehensive wealth registry.

The first serious attempt to reform public administration was made by Eleftherios Venizelos. Even today we are still living with the halfhearted measures that were finally adopted then.

The first serious discussions about fundamentally reforming the tax regime were launched in 1955 by Varvaressos, a bourgeois economist. The reforms he proposed have yet to be implemented.

So when are we actually going to do all this? If not now, when? And who will implement all this, if not a government of the Left?

The second reason is that the crisis in which we are living is not merely an administrative crisis, but a crisis of the system itself. Consequently, safeguarding the interests of the working people and guaranteeing the rights of the working people, cannot be done by simply conserving or restoring the collapsing old system. This will be done on the basis of a new model of development, a new social model, a new labour model and this is the goal of the reforms we are proposing.

The third is that the crisis has taken the form of a crisis of de-legitimization of politics, as a result of the vicious two-party system and of the harsh and inequitable policies. The crisis has also taken the form of a crisis of trust toward institutions, the parliament, political parties and trade unions. Therefore, it is only through new institutions, democratic institutions of social control, institutions of direct democracy that we can regain the trust of the people in a new plan that will restore hope.

The Momentum of Our Program

I would like to close with one last question: On what does the momentum and the outcome of our program depend? First, it surely depends on ourselves. On the pace and ability that we will manifest through an abrupt maturing to become the political subject of collective and solidarist responsibility that will bring together the wider forces which can implement this plan.

Second, it depends on our society. The ability of society to overcome fear, the ability of each and everyone to turn to a positive perspective, to shape a new relation with politics beyond the logic of ‘contracting’ and of clientelist relations.

The third factor will be developments in Europe. From the outset we have stated that our program and our struggle is at the same time both national and European. From the outset we said that we want to change the blueprint. Both for Greece and for Europe. And that is why our victory on the 17th of June will be a boost for positive changes for the people across Europe. And the path Europe will follow, will in turn influence our endeavor.

Fourth, the momentum of our program will depend on the positions that the other powers outside the Europe Union, Russia, China, the Arab world, Latin America, and countries and people with whom we will strive to create coequal relations. Consequently the momentum of our program will depend on their stance as well.

However, the primary and lead role in this contract of hope that our program represents, lies with us, the Left, and society itself. The responsibility to fulfill it until the end lies with us. It is up to us to turn this realistic utopia that history has presented us with, into reality.

It is up to us to fabricate a spring in this heavy winter of crisis. To put an end to the middle ages, toward which neoliberalism is driving us. To proclaim the end of destruction for a renaissance to begin both here and in Europe. The stakes are high, but it is worth fighting this battle and winning it as a people and as a society.

There is a Way Out!

II. Synopsis of the Economic Program of SYRIZA-EKM

A. The policies of the Memoranda and of ‘internal devaluation’ have proved devastating.

· Two years after the adoption of the policies of the Memorandum and of the policy of ‘internal devaluation,’ not only has recession not given way to growth as the “Memorandum 1” prefigured, but it is out of control and the economy has shrunken 20 per cent in total.

· Not only did the Public Debt become unsustainable, in contrast to what the “Memorandum 1” prefigured, but even after ‘the haircut’ it remains out of control.

· Unemployment is at unprecedented levels for a period of peace, at a rate of 23 per cent of the overall population and 50 per cent of the youth. The standard of living of a large part of society has collapsed, with poverty increasing to a threatening dimension.

· Not only are the long-term structural problems of the Greek economy unsolved, but they are becoming entangled in a vicious cycle and a perpetual deadlock.

B. Repositioning: Basic directions of our plan.

The Memorandum as a ‘remedy’ has proved more devastating than the crisis itself. The policies of the Memoranda built around the ‘internal devaluation,’ have been proved a weapon of social mass destruction. A lethal experiment conducted on the Greek people, which must be halted now, before the devastation becomes irreversible.

We need to put an end to these destructive policies. The vital question, however is, in what way and in which direction will we move?

We maintain that the reasons for the failure, lie at the very core of the initial drafting, in the erroneous diagnosis and ranking of the causes of the crisis. That is why prolonging the same policies will not be adequate. What is necessary is a new diagnosis, a restating of the problem, an entirely new orientation, at the very opposite of the neoliberal paradigm that domestic and international interests attempted to impose on us.

We clearly put forth the new directions that comprise our alternative plan, directions that lie at the very opposite of the devastating Memoranda:

i. We reject the theory of the ‘collective guilt’ of the Greek people for the policies implemented by Greek and European governments. We reject perceptions that deliberately conceal the responsibilities of the policies applied and the interests that benefited from these. It is not the ‘genetic makeup’ of the Greek people that is responsible for the fact that we do not have a decent taxation system or an effective social state. Specific policies and interests are responsible for that. It is precisely those policies which must be overturned.

ii. The crisis in Greece does not constitute a ‘national peculiarity,’ but is part of a broader European crisis, with both endogenous and external causes. It is only within a framework of a common European solution that the particular and existing problems of Greece can be dealt with.

iii. Fiscal consolidation and sustainable public debt cannot be achieved in an environment of austerity. It is only under conditions of economic recovery that the necessary reforms can be attempted and sustainable solutions found.

iv. Development presupposes environmental reform, developmental re-distribution, and the fighting-off of poverty, unemployment and social inequalities as components of its content.

v. The ‘structural adjustments’ of neoliberal persuasion do not solve social problems, they simply re-distribute assets and rights to the detriment of the weak. Exit from the crisis requires overthrows, a new type of structural changes, radical reforms and restructuring of the state, the economy and the political system, such that will tackle the roots of the problems, reduce inequalities and release idle resources within society, opening new paths and prospects.

Yet no real reforms can be implemented in an environment of economic disintegration, constant blackmail, the curtailment of democracy and the imposition of collective guilt on society.

So here is what is in fact at stake in the next elections: Will the same destructive policy be followed under the pressure of blackmail and the terrorizing of society, or will we follow a path of pragmatic hope, making a leap forward, as SYRIZA proposes with its alternative plan?

C. Goals of our alternative plan.

SYRIZA does not consider an exit from the Euro as one of its options, but neither can it consent to the continuation of the same destructive policies, even with minor adjustments and prolongations, as PASOK and ND have of late been proposing, since these options are not able to support any prospect of survival.

Consequently SYRIZA proposes to the Greek people and to the people of Europe the only viable way out of the crisis, which is a new, honest and binding agreement with the people and the institutions of the EU, one that will permit Greece to implement a plan of radical reforms and transformations in the following directions:

· Avert even more massive impoverishment of large sections of the working-class and the middle classes.

· Avert even greater destruction of the productive fabric.

· Put an immediate end to the forceful reallocation of resources against salaries and social provisions.

· The direct implementation of an alternative set of policies for the relief of the working people and the recovery of society.

· The implementation of a new policy framework for a just and sustainable fiscal stabilization.

· The development of a new paradigm of social, environmental and economic development.

· The substantial ‘reintegration’ of Greece in European developments, in a reliable fashion and based upon terms of mutual respect, equality and dignity.

The collapsing two-party system is handing down empty coffers, a collapsing economy and a fragmented society. Two thirds of the population are living in great insecurity, whilst only a small section of society is prospering. The lower end of society, which is constantly growing and already exceeds 40 per cent of the population, comprises of the victims of this crisis and the policies of the Memoranda. It is the unemployed, those receiving minimal incomes and pensions, bankrupt households, insolvent professionals and small business holders. The social stratum directly above this is still surviving financially, but lives in depressing insecurity. It is comprised of the middle strata of people receiving relatively high wages, professionals and small business holders. They can still make ends meet, but will not be able to do so for much longer if the same policies are continued. The entire society is trapped in a dead-end, with no prospects in sight.

In view of this dire and dangerous social reality, the three immediate political goals of our program are: first, the immediate material relief of the victims of the crisis and the policies of the Memoranda; second, the aversion of an even more massive and deep economic catastrophe, by directly stabilizing the economy; and third, to restrain the generalized insecurity, to revive hope and create new visible prospects

As far as the immediate material relief of those living close to or below the poverty level, priority will be given to making use of all available means and resources to meet this goal, with interventions concerning their incomes, taxation, credit policy, access to public resources and support to forms of economic solidarity (see specific measures in the Annex below).

Concerning the goal of recovery, this will be pursued in the following ways:

· The freezing of all measures that concern reductions in wages and social expenditure, the forceful re-distribution of income to the detriment of the weak, and all other measures deepening the recession.

· Through an array of measures aimed at the recovery of the economy, public investment, employment and incomes, from the bottom up.

Concerning our third target, namely the reduction of insecurity and the rebirth of hope and prospects, we will pursue this on the basis of a plan, which includes:

· Re-instating the fundamental right of the Greek people to determine their own future.

· The replacement of the Memoranda with a new plan for social recovery, economic reconstruction and just fiscal stabilization.

· Adjust the accumulated debt and the conditions for future funding of development, by writing off a large portion of the accumulated debt, with provisions for servicing of the remaining debt to be linked to the rate of development, and suspensions of payments on the interest until the economy rebounds. This adjustment will be pursued within the framework of a common European solution for the public debt of all EU countries, and in the event that this does not prove feasible, on the basis of bilateral negotiations.

· The implementation of a program of radical reforms and transformations of the state, public administration and the economy, aiming to create a new, sustainable, just and ecologically sound paradigm of development.

As far as the vital issue of fiscal policy is concerned, we commit to follow a program of pragmatic and socially just fiscal stabilization. The structure of this program consists on the one hand of stabilizing public expenditure at a level of approximately 44 per cent of GDP and a reorientation of this expenditure on the basis of social and economic effectiveness, and on the other hand of increasing public revenues, which are currently substantially below the Eurozone average (41% of GDP vs 45% of GDP), by taxing wealth and high incomes. The target is to increase revenues from direct taxation to the average European levels (+4% of GDP) over a four-year period (+1% of GDP per annum), through a drastic reform of the tax regime, so as to identify the wealth and income of all citizens, and to equitably distribute the burden of taxation. Our broader target is to restore the essential role of the state budget, from being a mechanism for transactions between the ruling political and economic groups, to being a tool for income re-distribution, re-distribution of productive assets and a tool of macroeconomic policy (see Annex below).

D. The method: a program of radical reforms and transformations of the state and the political system, with society at the forefront.

The reversal of the descent toward degradation and marginalization cannot be achieved without the implementation of a radical program of reforms and transformations of the state, the political system and the entire ‘body’ of the Greek social formation.

First, because the crisis we are living through is a crisis of the system itself, rather than simply a management crisis of the system. Everything must change: the political system, the state, the relation of the citizen with the state and with politics. Consequently, the way out cannot be found in a return to some version of the past. The way out lies in opening up new paths to new productive and consumption paradigms, to new forms of real democracy, to new social arrangements based on equality and solidarity, the respect of human dignity and the environment.

Second, because important reforms, such as in the tax regime, public administration and the redrawing of the relations of the state with the church, all constitute pending issues from the past, even the distant past. These pending issues of our collective historical life, have become pressing necessities and conditions for survival, and urgent preconditions to avert a catastrophe.

Third, because the administration of the country by a corrupt two-party system over so many years, the chronic inequalities and injustices, and finally the destructive austerity of the last years, have delegitimized and destroyed any sense of trust in the institutions, the parliament, the political parties, the trade union organizations of this country and even in the constitution itself. So it is necessary to form new democratic institutions and reform existing ones, so that they can inspire trust.

The reforms and adjustments we are proposing here, constitute a permanent component of the entire program, they constitute long term changes. But they must, and can, commence immediately. And very soon they can bare their first fruits.

The reforms we are proposing can be separated into three main categories. The first (taxation, wealth registry) has as its target the increase in public revenues. The second refers to reforms (public administration etc.) which relate to the productivity of assets. The third category concerns reforms and transformations which in tangent with the previous ones, aim at increasing the wealth produced, at reinforcing society and the economy.

(i) The wealth registry

The constitution stipulates that Greek citizens have equal rights and obligations (article 4, paragraph 2), and that ‘...they contribute without discrimination to the public burdens, according to their ability’ (article 1, paragraph 5). This constitutional provision has been shredded by the corrupt two-party regime, with institutionalized de facto tax reliefs for the powerful and widespread tax evasion.

The wealth registry will record the wealth of all Greek citizens, both in Greece and abroad, in all its forms as fixed or movable assets. That will allow for the establishment of a single basic tax, upon which provisions for tax reductions or surcharges can be applied, with special diligence observed in all occasions, to avoid double taxing.

The wealth registry will mark the starting point of an entirely new tax regime, one that is just, simple and effective. Once fully developed, it will allow for the substantial tax relief of those receiving minimal wages, low pensions, small property owners and small holders of shares and bonds, while simultaneously allowing for an increase in the total revenues of the state.

(ii) Tackling the ‘black economy’ as a ‘structural problem’

The so called ‘black economy’ is not the result of ‘low tax conscience.’ It is primarily the result of a perverse reaction to the problem of competition from large companies and monopolistic formations faced by small businesses and the professions, and of the absence of a state policy to tackle such issues.

Evading taxes and national insurance contributions substitutes comparative advantages, and ensures the survival and in certain cases the unwarranted accumulation of wealth.

Consequently the ‘black economy’ can be tackled with revenue and taxation measures, as well as sectoral policies and programmatic agreements, in a rubric of targeted productive reconstruction and policies to face cartels and unfair competition. Within the framework of such agreements, mutual commitments will be made, both by the state and by the bodies representing specific sectors.

(iii) Re-examination of all the special tax regimes and creation of a modern tax revenue system

The complete re-examination of all the special tax regimes established after WWII, constitutes the second element of the tax system reform. These special tax regimes have rendered the tax system replete with loopholes and ineffectiveness, and for this reason they must be repealed within the framework of creating a single universal tax regime.

The complete restructuring of the tax revenue system, with extensive application and rational utilization of information technology, the adoption of groundbreaking measures to tackle tax evasion and the creation of Research Centres for issues pertaining to tax policy and fighting tax evasion and especially internationalized tax evasion,

(iv) Public administration reform

This is the second ‘historically pending issue,’ after the reform of the tax regime.

Public administration reform can only be implemented as an endogenous process based on the values of solidarity, social justice and respect of public assets, and in direct correspondence with the needs of the Greek society. This process involves the political system, the administration and society. Simultaneous and combined changes will be needed in all three areas, with the aim of separating political administration from public administration and management. It is only through such a combined change that political party meddling, inside dealing, waste and corruption can be tackled.

In the new ‘division of labour,’ politics will give the vision, the direction, make decisions and open new paths. The administration, together with the necessary scientific, research and educational institutions, becomes capable not only of implementing, but also of proposing policies and alternative scenarios, depending on the capacities, the political choices and the needs of society.

Based on such a fundamental reform, innovations and practices can be productively incorporated in the public administration system, such as democratic development programming, double entry accounting systems, program budgeting, systems for the monitoring and evaluation of the effectiveness of social expenditure, new technologies and information systems.

(v) Eliminating the clientist system, is a precondition for reform in the political system

The entrenched two-party political system, is based on insider dealing and supports widespread corruption. This system and its structures have infiltrated all aspects of public administration and the state, and many sectors of society. The May 6th elections sent a strong message, that Greek society does not tolerate this system any longer.

The dismantling of the clientist system will be the result of combined actions from the ‘bottom up’ and from the ‘top down.’ It requires the transition from the citizen – client, who passively handed over his or her fate to the government of the day, the party or to authority in the generic sense, to the active democratic citizen, who thinks and acts not as an isolated individual, but as a member of the ‘Demos,’ of society. That presupposes regaining trust in politics and in institutions. Our proposals and our plan, seek not only the vote of the citizens, but primarily this very trust. And this, in order to change the state from a domineering force to a servant of society. So as to implement everywhere objective criteria, transparent processes and public accountability, so that citizens have the knowledge and the ability to support and to control.

This process of dismantling, taking apart and finally eliminating the clientist system, requires the contribution of society, of the parliament and of the legal system.

· The legal system has to respond to the universal popular demand that those responsible be punished, no matter how high positions they may hold, always within the framework of the constitution and the rule of law.

· Parliament must repeal those laws which institutionalize and protect the two-party system, introduce proportional representation and put an end to the regime of overlapping laws, which allows for self-serving interests to be pursued with impunity.

· Society must press for the establishment of a democratic political life and a political discourse based on values, ideas and programs that offer solutions to problems.

In this way not only will the clientist system be dismantled, but the political system and the terms of political life will be democratically transformed.

(vi) New institutions of social and workers’ control

SYRIZA will create the conditions for the emergence and establishment of new forms of social control. Transparency in all decisions of the administration and public accountability are required for this.

All public administration, but especially bodies and structures which manage public funds are accountable to society and the taxpayers.

In parallel, new forms of authentic expression of the will of working people and citizens must emerge, on the basis of direct democracy, removed from clientist, party affiliated, employer or statist rationales of the past, which were nourished by the established two-party system.

(vii) Establishing the principle of democratic programming and of long term planning at all levels of the state

An ‘invasion’ of democracy, meritocracy and democratic programming must be arranged in the day to day functioning of the state and public administration. Knowledge and experience must be acquired so that new or alternative plans and options for progress can be developed. This requires a broader mid-term plan. For critical problems, the configuration of programs, and the formation of groups of experts to study them on a long-term basis, are required. Such problems, among others, are:

· Environmental issues and tackling the effects of global warming.

· Demographic trends and the consequences of the ageing of the population.

· The management of water, natural resources and seismic protection.

· Energy planning etc.

This plan must involve the parliament, the scientific community and society at large, and must be linked to specific policies.

(viii) Reconstruction of the economy: transforming and upgrading the productive system together with the labour force and society

For a viable recovery of investment and employment to occur, a combination of measures and public policies is required, in parallel with corresponding measures from the banking sector. These must encompass the support, and wherever necessary the rescue of the collapsing old productive base and the corresponding work force, with measures and policies that encourage new productive activities. These activities aim at reducing the dependence on imports and external borrowing, at supporting employment and respecting the environment.

A productive reconstruction of this sort is tied to the reconstruction of the state, the readjustment of labour relations, the upgrading of labour and the role of the work force in decision-taking and the immediate abolishment of labour laws that weaken the force of labour contracts. Furthermore, the bargaining power of the labour force must be reinstated, including the emergence of new forms of collective representation, beyond the traditional clientist, party-dominated and employer-controlled networks.

The transition to a new productive paradigm will not occur spontaneously through the markets, but requires a robust long-term plan. Policies and the corresponding programs that will have a direct impact can be applied imminently to reduce youth unemployment, unemployed engineers and other scientists, as well as other labour cohorts that have been especially hard-hit by the crisis, such as construction workers.

One of the priorities of a government by the Left and other progressive forces, will be to launch a broad political, social and scientific dialogue for the productive, social, labour and environmental paradigm that we must develop as a society for the decades ahead, aiming toward a society of justice, full employment and solidarity, with an enhanced and equal position in the European and international division of labour.

In a world that is changing radically in terms of scientific, technological and geostrategic conditions, the formulation of such long term planning is a condition and a prerequisite to deal with the immediate and often dramatic social problems.

It is of vital importance to redefine the role and contribution of all economic forms, public enterprises, small [and] large private enterprises, cooperatives and solidarity based economic initiatives, within the framework of a mixed economy, for a planned and targeted transition to a new, socially just and environmentally sustainable productive system.

This is the orientation that encompasses all the reforms and transformations included in this program. Beyond these, the active contribution of the working people, local communities and especially people working within state institutions and scientists will be needed.

Also, among others, it is of vital importance to redefine the role and contribution of all economic forms, public enterprises, small private enterprises, large private enterprises, cooperatives and solidarity based economic initiatives, within the framework of a mixed economy, for a planned and targeted transition to a new, socially just and environmentally sustainable productive system.

SYRIZA has developed and will present more detailed and specific proposals along these orientations.

(ix) The public sector as a lever for the qualitative and quantitative upgrading and reconstruction of the productive system

· We are committed to intensify the processes of modernization and reconstruction of public enterprises and organizations. To develop new organizational and management models, which will ensure the effective and transparent operation, the protection of public interest and will concretely tackle the issue of corruption, insider dealing or subjugation of public enterprises to private interests.

· We support the formation of new institutions for the genuine collective expression of the working people, away from the clientist rationale of party or employer interests.

· We will directly investigate the options for the formation of programmatic collaborations between the public sector and private enterprises, local and foreign, aiming at developing enterprises and expanding them into new operational directions both in Greece and abroad.

(x) Banks at the service of society, a lever for development

The immediate targets of SYRIZA with regards to the banking sector, in line with the rest of our program, are:

· To guarantee bank deposits by all available means, and to enhance liquidity of banks and of the economy.

· Bank recapitalization through the issuing of ordinary voting shares, so as to ensure the interests of the Greek state and taxpayers. Public administration and social control of banks that are recapitalized with public funds.

· To launch the dialogue with stakeholders for the shaping of an effective system of public control.

· A restructuring/haircut of the private debt of households toward banks, with a ban on the seizure of primary homes for the lower income brackets and readjustment of monthly installments, so that they do not exceed 30 per cent of the monthly income of debtors.

· To reform ‘Tiresias’ in order to relieve individuals and companies from burdening data, and to introduce special regulations that take into account the special conditions that have been created by the crisis and the restriction of credit.

· To adjust the criteria and the operating conditions of the banking sector, in order to function as a lever of development in support of the real economy and of a targeted productive reconstruction.

· To develop a full range of services for small companies, the self-employed, farmers, new productive enterprises, cooperative and solidarity-based initiatives.

(xi) Regional planning requirements and land registry

The ‘regional planning everywhere’ initiative concerns the zoning of housing, tourism, small industries, waste recycling, renewable energy infrastructures, animal breeding, mining, fish farming etc, as well as the restructuring through strict regulation of holiday and tourist housing.

Town planning in combination with an emphasis on small rather than large-scale public works, will give environmental and economic content to a vast range of professional and economic activities, offering an outlet toward sustainable development. The zoning of waste recycling and the planned transition to renewable energy sources will become a vital field for the social economy and municipal entrepreneurship. The privatization of the land registry company, ‘Ktimatologio Ltd,’ must be averted. The completion of the land registry must be accelerated.

(xii) A complete strategy for the financing of development and the needs of society

The de facto bankruptcy of the country, the destruction, depreciation, exhaustion, the flight abroad of a large proportion of domestic savings and movable assets, as well as the prolonged and deep slump, have created an acute problem in the funding of development and the future requirements of social security for the years ahead.

Our priorities are:

· To create those conditions that will stall the flight of deposits abroad and restitute deposits to the banking system.

· To increase public revenues through tax reforms, combating tax evasion, restricting insurance contribution evasion and the ‘black economy.’

· To establish agreements to secure the taxation of bank deposits abroad, until the wealth registry is operational.

· To stall interest payments within the framework of a new agreement on national debt.

· To restructure and accelerate the rate of absorption of the NSRF and other European funds.

· To fully investigate and make use of the opportunities for the development of cooperation with third countries, under the rubric of a multi-dimensional foreign policy and the implementation of economic diplomacy.

E. Existing obstacles and why SYRIZA is the only power that can overcome them.

The leap forward that we describe above is feasible, but it will meet specific obstacles:

· The decay of the established two-party system and the internal dealings of the regime's political and economic forces, which aim to control social developments and avert changes that will upset their privileges.

· The substantial curtailment of democracy and national sovereignty, and the loss of the choice to define political targets and means.

· The spiraling depression, depreciating speculation, the fear and widespread insecurity about prospects and the future.

Only a new coalition of political and social forces such as the one that SYRIZA proposes can tackle and overcome these obstacles.

· Because only the long standing values of solidarity, justice, equality and freedom that the Left represents can inspire a spring of hope and open up new prospects.

· Because SYRIZA is the Left of the working people, the unprivileged, the young parents and the social forces who need these changes and transformations.

· Because the Left is a power for the transformation of society, not the temporal management of circumstances. We do not want the state as a trophy, as the parties of the two-party system do, but as a lever for the transformation of society. That is why we must transform the state.

· Only the Left can support a new culture of active participation, a fighting stance against the logic of the citizen as ‘customer,’ and the rationale of ‘contracting’ that requires the citizen to be a passive observer of developments.

· Because only SYRIZA has an alternative plan to the Memoranda, a plan that opens up the prospect of a just and sustainable fiscal consolidation, economic reconstruction, transformation of the state and of politics itself.

We call upon the Greek people to give even greater power and international resonance to our alternative plan with their vote on the 17th of June.

Because we believe firmly that there is a way out, there is hope.

With SYRIZA's alternative plan.

With a powerful SYRIZA.

With society at the forefront.

With a new social and political coalition of power.

ANNEXES

Annex I

1. Orientations for the direct material relief of the weakest

The following measures are indicative. They are complemented by social policy measures, which are expanded upon in a separate chapter.

These measures, together with other related measures, beyond offering a direct material support to the poor and the new poor strata, will also contribute to the stabilization of economic recovery.

(1) We will pursue through renegotiation, for the period of the effort toward fiscal adjustment that a portion of the NSRF funds is made available for a special program to combat extreme poverty, establishing a minimum guaranteed quality of life, securing shelter and food for the homeless and a special subsidy for households with no members employed or receiving no other adequate income.

(2) Restitution of the minimum wage to previous levels and extension of the [right to] unemployment benefit.

(3) Direct measures for tax relief (provisional property taxes etc.) for the first home, the unemployed and everyone who lives bellow or around the poverty line.

(4) Measures concerning credit policies, adjustment of loans included, as it is outlined in our proposal.

(5) Securing access to health services, education, means of public transport and other public goods.

(6) Measures and policies against high prices.

(7) Redesigning of existing programs for the support of young farmers, as well as employment programs, to maximize their social effectiveness.

(8) Encouragement of forms of solidarity-based economic activities.

(9) Allow for enterprises that are insolvent or have closed down, to continue to function or to be re-started by their work force, through cooperatives or other collective legal formations.

(10) Encourage forms of direct trade between producers and consumers.

(11) Formation of a permanent all party parliamentary committee, which will develop a comprehensive policy for combating poverty on a mid-term basis.

Annex 2

The new framework for a just and sustainable fiscal stabilization

One of the fundamental causes of the fiscal crisis in Greece is the absence of a state mechanism that retains its relative independence from private economic interests. This political weakness has transformed the state budget into a mechanism of transaction, which ensures the systematic financing of specific private interests that at the same time enjoy a beneficial regime of tax immunity. So long as this system of economic and political transaction is maintained, it is impossible to solve the fiscal problem. The government of the Left intends to overturn this system of insider dealing and achieve fiscal consolidation with a radically different class orientation.

Expenditure

Our starting point is that public expenditure must offer a level of operational effectiveness of the state mechanism, provision of public goods and social welfare that guarantees the descent living standard of citizens, as well as the funding of public investment to ensure the long-term sustainability of the country. We estimate that to be in a position to meet these aims, the level of primary expenditures cannot be further reduced, but must be stabilized within a range of 43 per cent to 46 per cent of GDP (i.e. with a minimum of current levels in Greece and a maximum of the Eurozone average).

However, the issue of public expenditure does not only concern the level of expenditure, but also the quality of expenditure. The services which are finally offered to citizens, are disproportionately low compared to the outlays. This is caused by the interlinkages between business interests and public expenditures, which have rendered fundamental sectors such as health, public works, investment incentives, projects, subcontracting of services and numerous other activities, hostage to an extremely costly and ineffective use of public funds. Consequently there is the issue of re-distribution and of the reorientation of public funds to more financially and socially effective uses.

Indicative measures

· Immediate freezing of reductions in social expenditures, salaries and pensions, in order to halt the marginalization of lower income cohorts and the downgrading of middle incomes.

· Fundamental re-examination and re-distribution of public expenditures. Rationalize and promote savings in cases of overlapping services, resource waste and socially ineffective expenditures. Funds that are saved will improve the quality of public services and goods provided, and will be channeled to sectors which are underfunded, such as health and scientific research.

· Operate and reinforce the central authority for state provisions, which will monitor the pricing of goods and services, which are purchased by the state from the private sector.

· Application and extension of regulations that serve the direct monitoring of expenditures, such as diavgeia, online medical prescriptions and monitoring of all public expenditures via online information systems.

Revenues

The consolidation of expenditures will have to be covered by the increase in public revenues, which are well below the Eurozone average (41% of GDP vs 45%). The adjustment we are proposing will derive from the taxation of wealth and high incomes. The target is to increase revenues from direct taxation to the average European levels (+4% of GDP) over a four year period (+1% of GDP per annum), through a drastic reform of the tax regime, so as to identify the wealth and income of all citizens, and to equitably distribute the burden of taxation.

The need for fundamental reform of the tax system derives from the realization that the low tax revenues are due to the design and constant alteration of the existing tax regime, which, the more complex it becomes, the more ineffective it is rendered. Its most fundamental failure is the inability to tax wealth and high incomes (revenues from direct taxes are just 8.3 per cent of GDP in Greece, as opposed to 11 per cent in the Eurozone). This is due to extensive tax evasion, as well as a mesh of tax exemptions and favorable regimes that leave the strata with the greatest taxpaying ability untouched. Consequently, what is required is a simple and functional tax system, which will offer the correct motives, will be easy to monitor in its application and will ensure the equitable distribution of the tax burden among all citizens.

Indicative measures

· Change the tax rates and income brackets of individuals and legal entities (to the average European levels), so as to achieve an increase in revenues with a lightening of the burden for the worst-off and an increase of the burden for the better-off.

· Gradual reduction in VAT rates and near elimination of these rates for priced food products (bread, milk etc.). (This and the previous measure will have a positive multiplier effect on domestic demand, due to the greater propensity to consume in the lower income brackets).

· Modernize and staff tax revenue offices with expert personnel and reinforce information systems for auditing, cross-checking and long term monitoring of the tax base.

· Implement a comprehensive and universal wealth registry, where the wealth of all Greek citizens, mobile or immobile, in Greece and abroad will be recorded. Re-examine all special tax regimes and tackle the ‘black economy.’

The size of the public sector which results from the above is of the order of magnitude of 45 per cent of GDP, a proportion which is close to the Eurozone average and we believe correspond to the provision of the necessary public goods and the tax paying ability of the private economy.

So long as the crisis continues and until this stabilization is achieved, we will follow a special purpose fiscal rule, which will aim to consolidate the primary regular budget (in other words exempting interest payments and public investment; in 2011 this deficit was just 1.3 billion Euro). This rule derives from the conclusion that a new renegotiation of the debt and its interest payments is a condition for sustainability, as well as an urgent need for financing support of public investment that can lead to the remobilization of the economy, increasing in parallel productivity and the physical capital stock.

Annex 3

Resources for funding the Greek economy

The Greek economy has entered an impasse in terms of development funding, which, under the current policies, has resulted in the deepening of the recession, the contraction of incomes and unemployment approaching devastating levels. Identifying liquidity resources for the funding of development and social needs is a priority for a government of the Left. Both domestic and external sources of funding can be identified.

Domestic sources

Irrespective of difficulties at the current juncture, the basic orientation of SYRIZA is toward finding domestic funding resources.

More specifically:

1. Create the conditions for the restitution of deposits and the stabilization of the financial system.

SYRIZA's program aims to create the necessary conditions for the stabilization of the financial system and the security of deposits. The necessary steps to achieve this are:

· Reversal of the policies of economic destruction and social dismantling, so as to create a positive economic climate, which will contribute to the restitution of deposits.

· Recapitalize banks with public control, so as to ensure the capital sufficiency of banks under terms that benefit the interests of society.

· The government of the Left will take the initiative to create a pan-European mechanism for the protection of bank deposits, which will constitute a powerful lever to restore the trust of depositors.

2. Increase resources through reform of the tax system, for a developmental re-distribution of income.

Through a radical reform of the tax regime, in a socially just and economically efficient manner, an increase in revenues will be achieved, which in turn will constitute the source of funding for the economy.

This is the aim of our proposals, which constitute a major tax reform.

3. Curbing contribution evasion and the ‘black economy.’

One of the most important losses of revenue in the Greek economy derives from tax evasion and contribution evasion, which is due to the wide ‘black economy’ and ‘uninsured black labour.’ These deficits are swelling due to the recession and the explosive levels of unemployment, which contribute to the loss of revenues. Tackling these issues constitutes a priority, as set out in the relevant chapters.

4. Exploitation of mineral resources and hydrocarbons, and the creation of a special fund to manage resulting revenues.

The exploitation of mineral resources and hydrocarbons, with respect to the natural environment and local communities, through developmental joint ventures or other relevant formations, can constitute a source of revenue and a basis for the funding of the economy. In this direction, it is of strategic importance to develop a national strategy for the exploitation of natural and mineral wealth, under conditions that will serve the public interest, boosting the role of the public sector in ELPE [Greek Petroleum] and DEPA [Gas], and upgrade IGME [Institute of Geology and Mineral Exploitation], in contrast to their current downgrading.

5. National wealth and social security fund

All rights upon the natural and mineral wealth of the country, including possible deposits of hydrocarbons (if extraction proves financially viable), as well as all the mobile and immobile tradable wealth of the state, will be transferred to a special exclusively public fund which will be created for this purpose. Resources from this fund will be used by priority to cover future needs for social security.

6. Signing of a bilateral agreement with Switzerland and other countries for the taxation of deposits of Greek citizens.

It is a known fact that Greek deposits worth many billions are resting in the banks of Switzerland and other countries, without ever having been taxed. It is a long time since Mr Venizelos promised to contract a bilateral agreement with Switzerland [on this issue], but apparently he lacked the political will.

For the government of the Left such an agreement will constitute a priority, so as to reveal the names of Greek depositors and to examine the origins of this wealth, to retrospectively tax this accumulated wealth and to impose the relevant taxes on the interest of these deposits.

7. Suspension of interest payments

This constitutes a fixed position of SYRIZA-EKM that will lead to the freeing of tens of billions of Euros, which, instead of being deposited with the creditors, will be used to cover the funding needs of the economy. The period of this suspension – which will derive from negotiations – will depend on the condition of the Greek economy. Furthermore, within the framework of the negotiation of the public debt, considerable relief will derive from a clause linking interest payments with the growth of the Greek economy and employment, following the end of the suspension payments.

External funding

8. Redesigning the NSRF and increasing the rate of absorption

9. European program for the funding of investment in EU-member states as a response to recession

Greece, like other countries in the Eurozone which are facing liquidity constraints, must be supported with interest free funding from the European Investment Bank or with alternative means of funding within the framework of the European Union, taking into account the sectoral structure of the Greek economy, but also the social needs which must be covered by the funded investment, so as for them to be efficient.

Additionally, Eurobonds can constitute a co-funding tool for the Greek economy.

10. Developmental cooperation with third countries

The government of the Left will pursue the development of equitable relations with other countries outside the European Union which are willing to contribute to the development of the Greek economy. Strong possibilities for developmental cooperation exist with Russia, China, nations of the Arab world and other countries. A first step in this direction will be the exploration of such possibilities.

G. Dragasakis is a member of the Greek Parliament for the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA).

Translated by Alexandros Seferiades and Ageliki Tsaglioti

Back Up Links:

Wikipedia - Alexis Tsipras
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexis_Tsipras
Wikipedia – Antonis Samaras
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antonis_Samaras
PDF Document: IMF – Greece Bailout agreement
http://www.imf.org/external/np/loi/2012/grc/030912.pdf
Ekathimerini – Tsipras sets out SYRIZA’s plan for governing
http://www.ekathimerini.com/4dcgi/_w_articles_wsite1_31372_01/06/2012_445042
Wikipedia – Greek Legislative Election May 2012
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greek_legislative_election,_May_2012


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