Dissent Memo on Syria in The State Department

Bernard Owen

We have just learned from a New York Times’ article (Dozens of U.S. Diplomats, in Memo, Urge Strikes Against Syria’s Assad,
by MARK LANDLERJUNE 16, 2016) that the State Department set up a « dissent channel » during the Vietnam war as a way for employees who had disagreements with policies to register their protest with the officials without fear of reprisal.
A number of State Department employees have signed a document critical of U.S. policy on Syria. 51 of these retired diplomats or midlevel officials have been put aside. By wishing the U.S. to have a tougher policy as regards to Assen Ben Assad they seem to be out of touch with reality.

John Kerry and other top officials act on the advice of his military commanders, who have a global vision of the Middle East, and who know that the moderate oppposition that they have trained will never refuse to negotiate because they have no fighting or negotiating power.

The memo does not take into consideration the arrival of the Russians whose well thought-out air strikes have completely changed the outlook on the ground. ISIS is now on the defensive which is also the case in Irak and could lead to its overall defeat.

There have been negotiations with the presence of the moderate anti-government people but do they really exist? Throughout history, negotiations that have had any success have come about when one of the parties had won the war.
The memo concludes by a link with intervention and “moral obligations”. Other countries have used the same words, for example in Libya and left the country in a state of anarchy.

The Institutions of the European Union

Bernard Owen
The amount of European Union (EU) laws that are adopted later by the national parliaments is considerable. In France, the far right pretends that 80 % of French laws are a result of European Directives. If we go back to the origin of the European community, Jacques Delors announced in February 1987 that 30 % of Belgian laws came from European directives and that in 10 years time the figure would be 60 %. But using percentages is not a fair way of portraying the reality of EU competence.

The Union has enlarged its competences. The European Union has 28 members. As far as France is concerned, the Web Site of that country’s Ministry of Justice shows us that 50 % of the new laws come from the Union.

We have to keep in mind that laws cover quite a number of different areas. The text that forbids the death penalty holds in one line, whereas the law dealing with the construction of elevators has 10 pages. Our information comes from Jean Quatremer, who is a journalist at “Libération”. In one year, of the about 100 laws adopted in France, 25 % have European basis.

In the beginning of 2007, 711 directives and 5 293 rules were applied. These figures deal with the fixing of technical norms. For example, the size of the cages in which chickens are transported…

Another author, Jean Louis Bourlanges, estimates that 90 to 98 % of the financing of projects are national. He also points out to the fact that European laws cover matters that are far from being aon issues of “national sovereignty”. (This author spent 20 years in the European Parliament).

There are summaries of the European Treaty but they do not show the complexity of the document which has 200 pages.

Title I
Art. 1 “The Union coordinates the political issues of the member States so as to attain the aims and to act on the community within the competences which they have been given”.

Art. 3 “The Union aims to promote peace, its values and the happiness of the people”.

Art. 1 – 7 “The Union has legal authority (which the OSCE does not have).

Title I – 20
“The European Parliament has through the council, legal, financial powers. It elects the chairman of the commission.

Art. 1 – 21 The council of Europe. It has no legal competence
– Advises the European Union, decides and organizes the way it evolves

– It defines its general attitudes and the general political priorities.

Art. 2 – The council is made up of
– The heads of State or the prime ministers of the member States.

– Its own chairperson.
– The President of the commission.
– The Minister of Foreign Affairs participates in the work
Art. 3 – The council meets every three months
– The chairperson decides upon the date. Whenever useful the meeting can invite the necessary persons.

– The chairman can make a call for a very special meeting
– The council makes consensual decisions except for cases found in the Constitution.

Art. 1 – 22 – The President of European council
– The council elects its President
– The President deals, at his level, with questions having to do with foreign policy and security without prejudice to the Minister’s competences.

The council of Ministers
– It deals with the European parliament on legal questions and the budget

– It It defines political attitudes and coordinates.

– It is made up of a representative of each member State

– – these members have the authority to engage their own government. He or she has the right to vote.

Art. 1 – 24 – The council of Ministers
– The minister has a seat in different formations

– He or she is a advisor who assures the coherence of the whole union

– Prepares the meetings of the European council

– Does the follow-up of the meetings with the President of the European Council and the Commission.

– The Council of Foreign Affairs defines the foreign policy of the Union decided by the European Council
– The European Council adopts (by a qualified majority) European decisions from different parts of the council

– The qualified majority of the council of Europe is represented by the following :
At least 50 % of the members of the council
The 50 % must include at least 15 members representing 65 % of the population of the Union.

To conclude we must say that if we take into account the United States and the new Russian Federation, Europe is not organized to play an important role in international politics. Europe cannot project its economic power because Europe has in Brussels or elsewhere too many institutions that have to work together, but which get bogged down on details and no clear decision center.

Europe is composed of States that have its own institutions that do not provide for political stability and unity. For example, some States like Belgium, the Netherlands, and Finland have had since 1945 a total of four years without governments that do not have the backing of majority in parliament.

For details …. Please take a look at the book “Proportional Western Europe : the failure of governance” published in English by Palgrave – Mac Millan – November 2013.

Democracy: What About International NGO’s?

Bernard Owen

Throughout history political power has been obtained in different ways depending on the century and the part of the world you are looking at. Nowadays democracy is « in ». It appears to be a universal concept which is attained through elections. Democracy is not just a question of holding elections. In order to build the political institutions that result from elections there are rules that have to be obeyed. Now, those institutions can fit in some countries and be rejected by others as democracy is not a « one size fits all ». The West has a powerful ideology in its hands and is willing to impose it. We now have new ways to have an impact on people around the world without utilizing the ultimate tool: war.

With this new ideology we possess a new vocabulary. For example : Civil Society – NGOs which are called, for example, “Human Rights Watch”, “Freedom House”, “Open society”. One can see them at work around the world. They bring with them huge sums of money, either private or public. Most of the money of the private NGOs comes from people who obtain tax exemptions in the United States. The money can also come from hedge funds (for example, that of SOROS) which makes it difficult to follow the money trail. One person may own many companies which together make difficult a research into their origin. This clearly illustrates the fact that the fund owners want to hide their money under what is called“flagship philanthropy”.

Now that we understand how these NGOs are funded, the next question is: will these actions « in favor » of democracy play a role in undermining it particularly in the newer ones?

Gene Sharp wrote in 1972 a book on “non violent conflicts”. This book, which is considered the bible among the activists and believers of this type of conflict. It contains a set of 198 articles that teaches crowds how to parade in the streets without obeying police orders, and using a sense of humor. These crowds have chosen a slogan and a color; for example , in Ukraine, the color was orange. One year before NGO’s from other countries were in place preparing the crowds that would parade in groups and impress because of their good organization.

Let us go to other parts of the world. The events in the middle East are they not a different kind of colonialism ? Is it not useful to have some rules. The New York Times February / 2011 gives details of the young Egyptians who were trained in Serbia then paraded in Egypt on February 6 – 2008. “WikiLeaks” publishes a document (10 CAIRO) from the American Embassy in Cairo dated January 2010 which gives details concerning the training of the future paraders. The leader of these activists Israa Abdel Fattah, who was one of the founders of the April 6 movement, was part of the group trained at “Freedom House” in Washington D.C. This program was called “New Generation” and was funded by USAID, which is public money. The idea was to train “reformers of political and social issues”. These youngsters met Condoleeza Rice in May 2008 and Hilary Clinton in May 2009.

Who are these activists who are not spontaneous but well trained by foreign nations? The Libyan revolutionaries in Bengazi killed their general and two colonels who were members of the OBEIDI tribe. This violence can, if it hasn’t already, cause violence among the different tribes that compose Libya. It is certain that different nations in different parts of the world have been damaged and, in some cases irreparably, by the financing of these revolutions.

The press, the television and the Internet write and show pictures of what are called « spontaneous » revolts. We have to keep in mind that this is not the case.