History’s vindication: Commemorating Moncada in 2016

Affirming independence and the cause of peace and justice

Moncada Day 2015 celebrations in front of the Barracks in Santiago de Cuba.

July 26, 2016 marks the 63rd anniversary of the act that is annually commemorated all over Cuba as the beginning of the movement and struggle that laid the foundation of the Cuban Revolution. On July 26, 1953, a group of courageous young men and women — led by Cuba’s former president, Fidel Castro — attacked the Moncada Barracks in the city of Santiago de Cuba, and the Carlos Manuel de Cespedes Barracks in Bayamo, in an attempt to overthrow the U.S. supported puppet dictator Fulgencio Batista. As the island’s second largest military garrison, the Moncada Barracks was critical to Batista’s military control of southern Cuba. The goal was to seize the weapons and distribute them to the people and spark a national uprising that would not only overthrow the Batista dictatorship but also establish Cuba’s independence and sovereignty. Continue reading

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The Middle East energy war heats up: Israeli-Turkish normalization, Turkey’s military base in Qatar


Energy war

This article was originally published by the Strategic Culture Foundation on December 30, 2015.

After shooting down a Russian Sukhoi Su-24M tactical bomber jet operating in Syrian airspace, in early December 2015 the Turkish government sent a heavily armed battalion to the Zilkan military base in Iraq. This move ignited tensions between Ankara and the Iraqi federal government, which renounced it as an act of Turkish aggression.

Within the contours of a resource and energy war, the Turkish military deployment was a move by the Turkish government to secure its illegal oil trade with the so-called Islamic State (ISIL/ISIS/IS/DAESH).

Turkish military base in the Persian Gulf

Weeks after the Turkish military deployment to Zilkan, the Russian military’s General Staff reported that it had tracked 11,755 oil tankers and trucks around the town of Zakho on both sides of the Iraqi-Turkish border on December 25, 2015. Despite the claims by the Kurdistan Regional Government that the oil tankers and trucks were the result of a long lineup created by the closure of the Iraqi-Turkish border due to Ankara’s military operations against the Kurds in southeast Turkey, the oil tankers and trucks were understood to be part of a re-channeled smuggling route for Syrian oil stolen by the ISIL.

The Turkish government has taken several steps to redirect its energy ties away from Russia and Iran. It is precisely in the context of securing energy reserves that Ahmet Demirok, the Turkish ambassador to Qatar, announced Ankara’s plans to open a military base in Qatar in the Persian Gulf region on December 16, 2015. In an interview with Reuters Ambassador Demirok said that the Turkish base was being set up in accordance with the security agreement signed between Ankara and Doha in 2014 and that the military base would help both Turkey and Qatar jointly “confront common threats” from certain countries, which Demirok declined to name.

The unnamed countries that Ambassador Demirok was implying could be none other than the duet of Iran and Russia. Moreover, Turkey’s announcement about the establishment of a Turkish military base in Qatar coincided with an announcement on the following day, December 17, by Salem Mubarak Al-Shafi, the Qatari ambassador to Turkey, that Doha was prepared to provide as much liquefied natural gas (LNG) to Turkey as it needed.

Israel and Turkey come together: Eastern Mediterranean natural gas

A day after Qatar’s Ambassador Salem Mubarak Al-Shafi announced that Doha would provide Turkey with as much LNG as it needed, on December 18, it was announced that Israel and Turkey had signed a framework agreement to export Israeli natural gas to Turkey. Although Turkish tensions with Russia, Iran, and Iraq could have hastened the natural gas deal between Ankara and Tel Aviv, the Israeli-Turkish framework agreement for energy trade had been quietly negotiated over for several months by the Israeli and Turkish government.

Analysts and journalists presented the natural gas agreement between Israel and Turkey as a part of a Turkish move to normalize its diplomatic and military ties with Israel as a means of counter-balancing Russia, Iran, Iraq, Syria, and their regional partners. These views and claims, however, overlook the fact there have been clear signs that Israel and Turkey have maintained their cooperation, if not close allied relationship, in the economic and military sectors. Both the Turkish and Israeli militaries have even had synchronized movements and operations on the Syrian border.

While Israel has been re-exporting the smuggled oil that Turkey has been exporting from Syria and Iraq, Tel Aviv has tried to legitimize its appropriation of the Palestinian natural gas reserves off the cost of the Gaza Strip. In parallel, Tel Aviv has exerted its full influence to gain control of the Egyptian natural gas reserves north of the Nile Delta. This is while Israel has tried to lay claim to Lebanese maritime territory holding large deposits of natural gas and courted Cyprus for control of its Mediterranean natural gas reserves.

Contours of a broader energy war emerge

The agreements with Israel and Qatar are a part of a broader energy trade nexus that falls within the contours of an energy war predating recent Russo-Turkish tensions. In fact, both Ambassador Al-Shafi and Ambassador Demirok were only repeating information about deals that were reached between Erdogan and Qatari Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani during Erdogan’s visit to Qatar at the time of the Russian military’s press conference announcing his involvement in the ISIL’s oil smuggling. Furthermore, the spatial configuration of the Israeli, Turkish, and Qatar reflected the dimensions of the energy war taking place in the Middle East.

Turkey has done almost everything possible to stop an Iran-Iraq-Syria energy corridor bypassing Turkey from being created. The Turkish military deployment to the Mosul District in Iraq and the creation of a Turkish military base in Qatar are tied to the joint goals of Turkey and Qatar for creating a rival energy corridor running through Turkey to Europe from the Persian Gulf and Iraq. The public demands that Israel give Turkey “unrestricted” access to the Gaza Strip could also be tied to the Palestinian natural gas reserves off of Gaza’s coast.

Furthermore, for years both Israel and Turkey have worked to establish a Levantine energy corridor where Eastern Mediterranean natural gas would be mainly exported northwards towards Turkey and the European Union while oil would be mainly exported southwards towards Israel. The materialization of this corridor has been obstructed mainly by Syria. This is one of the reasons that the Turkish government has pushed for regime change in Damascus.

While there are claims that Turkey is acting independently of the US government, it is highly improbable that no coordination has taken place in regards to the joint US and Turkish objective of regime change in Damascus. The re-direction of Turkish energy trade falls in line with the US objective to cripple the Russian energy sector by obstructing energy trade between the Russian Federation and other international actors.

This article was originally posted by the Strategic Culture Foundation on December 30, 2015.


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Canada Post’s vicious, immoral and irrational blackmail of postal workers

Hold Canada Post and the Trudeau government to account for any harm that comes to postal workers!

As the deadline for the lockout of postal workers by Canada Post approaches it is clear that the corporation has decided to proceed in a spirit of revenge against postal workers and their union. It is not only preparing to impose severe rollbacks but is seeking to overwhelm postal workers with irrational demands such as that management can set whatever working conditions it wants. This attempt to use their corporate power to deprive the postal workers of their right to working conditions commensurate with the work they perform is not only vindictive – it is irrational. The post office has a century of experience in the kind of working conditions required to run the postal service. There is a modern way of doing things which takes the needs of human beings into account. The corporation’s calculations that it can impose its agenda by smashing the workers’ resistance and their fight for the rights of all is self-serving and cannot be accepted. Continue reading

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Immigration detainees start hunger strike in Ontario

Defend the Rights of All

Over 50 immigration detainees began to refuse food the morning of Monday July 11 at the maximum security Central East Correctional Centre in Lindsay, Ontario and the Toronto East Detention Centre in Scarborough calling for an end to indefinite detentions in maximum security prisons and protesting prison conditions that include lock-downs and solitary confinement. The immigration detainees are asking for a meeting with Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale to discuss their concerns. Continue reading

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This day. 26th anniversary of the assault on Kahnesata’ke

March marks 25th anniversary of Oka uprising, July 11, 2015 | K. David (click to enlarge)

March marks 25th anniversary of Oka uprising, July 11, 2015 | K. David (click to enlarge)

July 11 marks the 26th anniversary of what the monopoly media calls the “Oka crisis.” It recalls the time in 1990 when the Canadian state mercilessly assaulted the Mohawk of Kanehsatà:ke, a member of the Six Nations Iroquois Confederacy, for defending their hereditary and treaty right to exercise sovereignty and self-determination over their traditional territory in an area known as The Pines, in the region now called Oka. The area, where a sacred burial ground is located, was slated for development by a local golf club, which planned to extend nine holes onto land the Mohawk have been fighting to have recognized as theirs for almost 300 years. To defend their sacred cause, the Mohawk erected a barricade on a back road leading to The Pines. Continue reading

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The travels of NATO Chief Jens Stoltenberg: An analysis

August 30, 2014 mass demonstration against NATO Summit in Newport, Wales

August 30, 2014 mass demonstration against NATO Summit in Newport, Wales

An exposé on the expansionist agenda of NATO which shows no intention of slowing down! | FILIP KOVACEVIC*

We travel to people and places important to us. If somebody looked at our travel itineraries over time, it would not be difficult to discover our priorities, our likes and dislikes, our beliefs and fears, the general pattern of how we live our lives and what we think about. Continue reading

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NATO Summit – German calls for ‘fundamental readjustment’

090404-TorontoAntiNATO-02-cropgerman-foreign-policy.com BERLIN (July 1) – Just a few days before the NATO summit opens in Poland’s capital Warsaw, German think tanks are not only pushing for stationing combat troops at Russia’s borders but even for the expansion of the West’s nuclear arsenal.

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