Timothy Matthews – Catholic Insight March 2009
Western civilization at the present day is passing through a crisis which is essentially different from anything that has been previously experienced. Other societies in the past have changed their social institutions or their religious beliefs under the influence of external forces or the slow development of internal growth. But none, like our own, has ever consciously faced the prospect of a fundamental alteration of the beliefs and institutions on which the whole fabric of social life rests … Civilization is being uprooted from its foundations in nature and tradition and is being reconstituted in a new organisation which is as artificial and mechanical as a modern factory.
Christopher Dawson. Enquiries into Religion and Culture, p. 259.
Most of Satan’s work in the world he takes care to keep hidden. But two small shafts of light have been thrown onto his work for me just recently. The first, a short article in the Association of Catholic Women’s ACW Review; the second, a remark (which at first surprised me) from a priest in Russia who claimed that we now, in the West, live in a Communist society. These shafts of light help, especially, to explain the onslaught of officialdom which in many countries worldwide has so successfully been removing the rights of parents to be the primary educators and protectors of their children.
The ACW Review examined the corrosive work of the ‘Frankfurt School’ – a group of German-American scholars who developed highly provocative and original perspectives on contemporary society and culture, drawing on Hegel, Marx, Nietzsche, Freud, and Weber. Not that their idea of a ‘cultural revolution’ was particularly new. ‘Until now’, wrote Joseph, Comte de Maistre (1753-1821) who for fifteen years was a Freemason, ‘nations were killed by conquest, that is by invasion: But here an important question arises; can a nation not die on its own soil, without resettlement or invasion, by allowing the flies of decomposition to corrupt to the very core those original and constituent principles which make it what it is.’
What was the Frankfurt School? Well, in the days following the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia, it was believed that workers’ revolution would sweep into Europe and, eventually, into the United States. But it did not do so. Towards the end of 1922 the Communist International (Comintern) began to consider what were the reasons. On Lenin’s initiative a meeting was organised at the Marx-Engels Institute in Moscow.
The aim of the meeting was to clarify the concept of, and give concrete effect to, a Marxist cultural revolution. Amongst those present were Georg Lukacs (a Hungarian aristocrat, son of a banker, who had become a Communist during World War I ; a good Marxist theoretician he developed the idea of ‘Revolution and Eros’ – sexual instinct used as an instrument of destruction) and Willi Munzenberg (whose proposed solution was to ‘organise the intellectuals and use them to make Western civilisation stink. Only then, after they have corrupted all its values and made life impossible, can we impose the dictatorship of the proletariat’) ‘It was’, said Ralph de Toledano (1916-2007) the conservative author and co-founder of the ‘National Review’, a meeting ‘perhaps more harmful to Western civilization than the Bolshevik Revolution itself.’
Lenin died in 1924. By this time, however, Stalin was beginning to look on Munzenberg, Lukacs and like-thinkers as ‘revisionists’. In June 1940, Münzenberg fled to the south of France where, on Stalin’s orders, a NKVD assassination squad caught up with him and hanged him from a tree.
In the summer of 1924, after being attacked for his writings by the 5th Comintern Congress, Lukacs moved to Germany, where he chaired the first meeting of a group of Communist-oriented sociologists, a gathering that was to lead to the foundation of the Frankfurt School.
This ‘School’ (designed to put flesh on their revolutionary programme) was started at the University of Frankfurt in the Institut für Sozialforschung. To begin with school and institute were indistinguishable. In 1923 the Institute was officially established, and funded by Felix Weil (1898-1975). Weil was born in Argentina and at the age of nine was sent to attend school in Germany. He attended the universities in Tübingen and Frankfurt, where he graduated with a doctoral degree in political science. While at these universities he became increasingly interested in socialism and Marxism. According to the intellectual historian Martin Jay, the topic of his dissertation was ‘the practical problems of implementing socialism.’
Carl Grünberg, the Institute’s director from 1923-1929, was an avowed Marxist, although the Institute did not have any official party affiliations. But in 1930 Max Horkheimer assumed control and he believed that Marx’s theory should be the basis of the Institute’s research. When Hitler came to power, the Institut was closed and its members, by various routes, fled to the United States and migrated to major US universities—Columbia, Princeton, Brandeis, and California at Berkeley.
The School included among its members the 1960s guru of the New Left Herbert Marcuse (denounced by Pope Paul VI for his theory of liberation which ‘opens the way for licence cloaked as liberty’), Max Horkheimer, Theodor Adorno, the popular writer Erich Fromm, Leo Lowenthal, and Jurgen Habermas – possibly the School’s most influential representative.
Basically, the Frankfurt School believed that as long as an individual had the belief – or even the hope of belief – that his divine gift of reason could solve the problems facing society, then that society would never reach the state of hopelessness and alienation that they considered necessary to provoke socialist revolution. Their task, therefore, was as swiftly as possible to undermine the Judaeo-Christian legacy. To do this they called for the most negative destructive criticism possible of every sphere of life which would be designed to de-stabilize society and bring down what they saw as the ‘oppressive’ order. Their policies, they hoped, would spread like a virus—‘continuing the work of the Western Marxists by other means’ as one of their members noted.
To further the advance of their ‘quiet’ cultural revolution – but giving us no ideas about their plans for the future – the School recommended (among other things):
1. The creation of racism offences.
One of the main ideas of the Frankfurt School was to exploit Freud’s idea of ‘pansexualism’ – the search for pleasure, the exploitation of the differences between the sexes, the overthrowing of traditional relationships between men and women. To further their aims they would:
• attack the authority of the father, deny the specific roles of father and mother, and wrest away from families their rights as primary educators of their children.
The School believed there were two types of revolution: (a) political and (b) cultural. Cultural revolution demolishes from within. ‘Modern forms of subjection are marked by mildness’. They saw it as a long-term project and kept their sights clearly focused on the family, education, media, sex and popular culture.
The School’s ‘Critical Theory’ preached that the ‘authoritarian personality’ is a product of the patriarchal family – an idea directly linked to Engels’ Origins of the Family, Private Property and the State, which promoted matriarchy. Already Karl Marx had written, in the “Communist Manifesto”, about the radical notion of a ‘community of women’ and in The German Ideology of 1845, written disparagingly about the idea of the family as the basic unit of society. This was one of the basic tenets of the ‘Critical Theory’ : the necessity of breaking down the contemporary family. The Institute scholars preached that ‘Even a partial breakdown of parental authority in the family might tend to increase the readiness of a coming generation to accept social change.’
Following Karl Marx, the School stressed how the ‘authoritarian personality’ is a product of the patriarchal family—it was Marx who wrote so disparagingly about the idea of the family being the basic unit of society. All this prepared the way for the warfare against the masculine gender promoted by Marcuse under the guise of ‘women’s liberation’ and by the New Left movement in the 1960s.
They proposed transforming our culture into a female-dominated one. In 1933, Wilhelm Reich, one of their members, wrote in The Mass Psychology of Fascism that matriarchy was the only genuine family type of ‘natural society.’ Eric Fromm was also an active advocate of matriarchal theory. Masculinity and femininity, he claimed, were not reflections of ‘essential’ sexual differences, as the Romantics had thought but were derived instead from differences in life functions, which were in part socially determined.’ His dogma was the precedent for the radical feminist pronouncements that, today, appear in nearly every major newspaper and television programme.
The revolutionaries knew exactly what they wanted to do and how to do it. They have succeeded.
Lord Bertrand Russell joined with the Frankfurt School in their effort at mass social engineering and spilled the beans in his 1951 book, The Impact of Science on Society. He wrote: ‘Physiology and psychology afford fields for scientific technique which still await development.’ The importance of mass psychology ‘has been enormously increased by the growth of modern methods of propaganda. Of these the most influential is what is called ‘education. The social psychologists of the future will have a number of classes of school children on whom they will try different methods of producing an unshakable conviction that snow is black. Various results will soon be arrived at. First, that the influence of home is obstructive. Second, that not much can be done unless indoctrination begins before the age of ten. Third, that verses set to music and repeatedly intoned are very effective. Fourth, that the opinion that snow is white must be held to show a morbid taste for eccentricity. But I anticipate. It is for future scientists to make these maxims precise and discover exactly how much it costs per head to make children believe that snow is black, and how much less it would cost to make them believe it is dark gray . When the technique has been perfected, every government that has been in charge of education for a generation will be able to control its subjects securely without the need of armies or policemen.”
Writing in 1992 in Fidelio Magazine, [The Frankfurt School and Political Correctness] Michael Minnicino observed how the heirs of Marcuse and Adorno now completely dominate the universities, ‘teaching their own students to replace reason with ‘Politically Correct’ ritual exercises. There are very few theoretical books on arts, letters, or language published today in the United States or Europe which do not openly acknowledge their debt to the Frankfurt School. The witchhunt on today’s campuses is merely the implementation of Marcuse’s concept of ‘repressive toleration’-‘tolerance for movements from the left, but intolerance for movements from the right’-enforced by the students of the Frankfurt School’.
Dr. Timothy Leary gave us another glimpse into the mind of the Frankfurt School in his account of the work of the Harvard University Psychedelic Drug Project, ‘Flashback.’ He quoted a conversation that he had with Aldous Huxley: “These brain drugs, mass produced in the laboratories, will bring about vast changes in society. This will happen with or without you or me. All we can do is spread the word. The obstacle to this evolution, Timothy, is the Bible’. Leary then went on: “We had run up against the Judeo-Christian commitment to one God, one religion, one reality, that has cursed Europe for centuries and America since our founding days. Drugs that open the mind to multiple realities inevitably lead to a polytheistic view of the universe. We sensed that the time for a new humanist religion based on intelligence, good-natured pluralism and scientific paganism had arrived.”
One of the directors of the Authoritarian Personality project, R. Nevitt Sanford, played a pivotal role in the usage of psychedelic drugs. In 1965, he wrote in a book issued by the publishing arm of the UK’s Tavistock Institute:‘The nation, seems to be fascinated by our 40,000 or so drug addicts who are seen as alarmingly wayward people who must be curbed at all costs by expensive police activity. Only an uneasy Puritanism could support the practice of focusing on the drug addicts (rather than our 5 million alcoholics) and treating them as a police problem instead of a medical one, while suppressing harmless drugs such as marijuana and peyote along with the dangerous ones.” The leading propagandists of today’s drug lobby base their argument for legalization on the same scientific quackery spelled out all those years ago by Dr. Sanford.
Such propagandists include the multi-billionaire atheist George Soros who chose, as one of his first domestic programs, to fund efforts to challenge the efficacy of America’s $37-billion-a-year war on drugs. The Soros-backed Lindesmith Center serves as a leading voice for Americans who want to decriminalize drug use. ‘Soros is the ‘Daddy Warbucks of drug legalization,’ claimed Joseph Califano Jr. of Columbia University’s National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse’ (The Nation, Sep 2, 1999).
Music, Television and Popular Culture
Adorno was to become head of a ‘music studies’ unit, where in his Theory of Modern Music he promoted the prospect of unleashing atonal and other popular music as a weapon to destroy society, degenerate forms of music to promote mental illness. He said the US could be brought to its knees by the use of radio and television to promote a culture of pessimism and despair – by the late 1930s he (together with Horkheimer) had migrated to Hollywood.
The expansion of violent video-games also well supported the School’s aims.
In his book The Closing of the American Mind, Alan Bloom observed how Marcuse appealed to university students in the sixties with a combination of Marx and Freud. In Eros and Civilization and One Dimensional Man Marcuse promised that the overcoming of capitalism and its false consciousness will result in a society where the greatest satisfactions are sexual. Rock music touches the same chord in the young. Free sexual expression, anarchism, mining of the irrational unconscious and giving it free rein are what they have in common.’
The modern media – not least Arthur ‘Punch’ Sulzberger Jnr., who took charge of the New York Times in 1992 – drew greatly on the Frankfurt School’s study The Authoritarian Personality. (New York: Harper, 1950). In his book Arrogance, (Warner Books, 1993) former CBS News reporter Bernard Goldberg noted of Sulzberger that he ‘still believes in all those old sixties notions about ‘liberation’ and ‘changing the world man’ . . . In fact, the Punch years have been a steady march down PC Boulevard, with a newsroom fiercely dedicated to every brand of diversity except the intellectual kind.’
In 1953 the Institute moved back to the University of Frankfurt. Adorno died in 1955 and Horkheimer in 1973. The Institute of Social Research continued, but what was known as the Frankfurt School did not. The ‘cultural Marxism’ that has since taken hold of our schools and universities – that ‘political correctness’, which has been destroying our family bonds, our religious tradition and our entire culture -sprang from the Frankfurt School.
It was these intellectual Marxists who, later, during the anti-Vietnam demonstrations, coined the phrase, ‘make love, not war’; it was these intellectuals who promoted the dialectic of ‘negative’ criticism; it was these theoreticians who dreamed of a utopia where their rules governed. It was their concept that led to the current fad for the rewriting of history, and to the vogue for ‘deconstruction’. Their mantras: ‘sexual differences are a contract; if it feels good, do it; do your own thing.’
In an address at the US Naval Academy in August 1999, Dr Gerald L. Atkinson, CDR USN (Ret), gave a background briefing on the Frankfurt School, reminding his audience that it was the ‘foot soldiers’ of the Frankfurt School who introduced the ‘sensitivity training’ techniques used in public schools over the past 30 years (and now employed by the US military to educate the troops about ‘sexual harassment’). During ‘sensitivity’ training teachers were told not to teach but to ‘facilitate.’ Classrooms became centres of self-examination where children talked about their own subjective feelings. This technique was designed to convince children they were the sole authority in their own lives.
Atkinson continued: ‘The Authoritarian personality,’ studied by the Frankfurt School in the 1940s and 1950s in America, prepared the way for the subsequent warfare against the masculine gender promoted by Herbert Marcuse and his band of social revolutionaries under the guise of ‘women’s liberation’ and the New Left movement in the 1960s. The evidence that psychological techniques for changing personality is intended to mean emasculation of the American male is provided by Abraham Maslow, founder of Third Force Humanist Psychology and a promoter of the psychotherapeutic classroom, who wrote that, ‘… the next step in personal evolution is a transcendence of both masculinity and femininity to general humanness.’
On April 17th, 1962, Maslow gave a lecture to a group of nuns at Sacred Heart, a Catholic women’s college in Massachusetts. He noted in a diary entry how the talk had been very ‘successful,’ but he found that very fact troubling. ‘They shouldn’t applaud me,’ he wrote, ‘they should attack. If they were fully aware of what I was doing, they would [attack]’ (Journals, p. 157).
In her booklet Sex & Social Engineering (Family Education Trust 1994) Valerie Riches observed how in the late 1960s and early 1970s, there were intensive parliamentary campaigns taking place emanating from a number of organisations in the field of birth control (i.e., contraception, abortion, sterilisation). ‘From an analysis of their annual reports, it became apparent that a comparatively small number of people were involved to a surprising degree in an array of pressure groups. This network was not only linked by personnel, but by funds, ideology and sometimes addresses: it was also backed by vested interests and supported by grants in some cases by government departments. At the heart of the network was the Family Planning Association (FPA) with its own collection of offshoots. What we unearthed was a power structure with enormous influence.
‘Deeper investigation revealed that the network, in fact extended further afield, into eugenics, population control, birth control, sexual and family law reforms, sex and health education. Its tentacles reached out to publishing houses, medical, educational and research establishments, women’s organisations and marriage guidance—anywhere where influence could be exerted. It appeared to have great influence over the media, and over permanent officials in relevant government departments, out of all proportion to the numbers involved.
‘During our investigations, a speaker at a Sex Education Symposium in Liverpool outlined tactics of sex education saying: ‘if we do not get into sex education, children will simply follow the mores of their parents’. The fact that sex education was to be the vehicle for peddlers of secular humanism soon became apparent.
‘However, at that time the power of the network and the full implications of its activities were not fully understood. It was thought that the situation was confined to Britain. The international implications had not been grasped.
‘Soon after, a little book was published with the intriguing title The Men Behind Hitler—A German Warning to the World. Its thesis was that the eugenics movement, which had gained popularity early in the twentieth century, had gone underground following the holocaust in Nazi Germany, but was still active and functioning through organizations promoting abortion, euthanasia, sterilization, mental health, etc. The author urged the reader to look at his home country and neighbouring countries, for he would surely find that members and committees of these organizations would cross-check to a remarkable extent.
‘Other books and papers from independent sources later confirmed this situation. . . . A remarkable book was also published in America which documented the activities of the Sex Information and Education Council of the United States (SIECUS). It was entitled The SIECUS Circle A Humanist Revolution. SIECUS was set up in 1964 and lost no time in engaging in a programme of social engineering by means of sex education in the schools. Its first executive director was Mary Calderone, who was also closely linked to Planned Parenthood, the American equivalent of the British FPA. According to The SIECUS Circle, Calderone supported sentiments and theories put forward by Rudolph Dreikus, a humanist, such as:
· merging or reversing the sexes or sex roles;
In their book Mind Siege, (Thomas Nelson, 2000) Tim LaHaye and David A. Noebel confirmed Riches’s findings of an international network. ‘The leading authorities of Secular Humanism may be pictured as the starting lineup of a baseball team: pitching is John Dewey; catching is Isaac Asimov; first base is Paul Kurtz; second base is Corliss Lamont; third base is Bertrand Russell; shortstop is Julian Huxley; left fielder is Richard Dawkins; center fielder is Margaret Sanger; right fielder is Carl Rogers; manager is ‘Christianity is for losers’ Ted Turner; designated hitter is Mary Calderone; utility players include the hundreds listed in the back of Humanist Manifesto I and II, including Eugenia C. Scott, Alfred Kinsey, Abraham Maslow, Erich Fromm, Rollo May, and Betty Friedan.
‘In the grandstands sit the sponsoring or sustaining organizations, such as the . . . the Frankfurt School; the left wing of the Democratic Party; the Democratic Socialists of America; Harvard University; Yale University; University of Minnesota; University of California (Berkeley); and two thousand other colleges and universities.’
A practical example of how the tidal wave of Maslow-think is engulfing English schools was revealed in an article in the British Nat assoc. of Catholic Families’ (NACF) Catholic Family newspaper (August 2000), where James Caffrey warned about the Citizenship (PSHE) programme which was shortly to be drafted into the National Curriculum. ‘We need to look carefully at the vocabulary used in this new subject’, he wrote, ‘and, more importantly, discover the philosophical basis on which it is founded. The clues to this can be found in the word ‘choice’ which occurs frequently in the Citizenship documentation and the great emphasis placed on pupils’ discussing and ‘clarifying’ their own views, values and choices about any given issue. This is nothing other than the concept known as ‘Values Clarification’ – a concept anathema to Catholicism, or indeed, to Judaism and Islam.
‘This concept was pioneered in California in the 1960’s by psychologists William Coulson, Carl Rogers and Abraham Maslow. It was based on ‘humanistic’ psychology, in which patients were regarded as the sole judge of their actions and moral behaviour. Having pioneered the technique of Values Clarification the psychologists introduced it into schools and other institutions such as convents and seminaries – with disastrous results. Convents emptied, religious lost their vocations and there was wholesale loss of belief in God. Why? Because Catholic institutions are founded on absolute beliefs in, for example, the Creed and the Ten Commandments. Values Clarification supposes a moral relativism in which there is no absolute right or wrong and no dependence on God.
‘This same system is to be introduced to the vulnerable minds of infants, juniors and adolescents in the years 2000+. The underlying philosophy of Values Clarification holds that for teachers to promote virtues such as honesty, justice or chastity constitutes indoctrination of children and ‘violates’ their moral freedom. It is urged that children should be free to choose their own values; the teacher must merely ‘facilitate’ and must avoid all moralising or criticising. As a barrister commented recently on worrying trends in Australian education, ‘The core theme of values clarification is that there are no right or wrong values. Values education does not seek to identify and transmit ‘right’ values, teaching of the Church, especially the papal encyclical Evangelium Vitae.
‘In the absence of clear moral guidance, children naturally make choices based on feelings. Powerful peer pressure, freed from the values which stem from a divine source, ensure that ‘shared values’ sink to the lowest common denominator. References to environmental sustainability lead to a mindset where anti-life arguments for population control are present ed as being both responsible and desirable. Similarly, ‘informed choices’ about health and lifestyles are euphemisms for attitudes antithetical to Christian views on motherhood, fatherhood, the sacrament of marriage and family life. Values Clarification is covert and dangerous. It underpins the entire rationale of Citizenship (PSHE) and is to be introduced by statute into the UK soon. It will give young people secular values and imbue them with the attitude that they alone hold ultimate authority and judgement about their lives. No Catholic school can include this new subject as formulated in the Curriculum 2000 document within its current curriculum provision. Dr. William Coulson recognised the psychological damage Rogers’ technique inflicted on youngsters and rejected it, devoting his life to exposing its dangers.
Should those in authority in Catholic education not do likewise, as ‘Citizenship’ makes its deadly approach’?
If we allow their subversion of values and interests to continue, we will, in future generations, lose all that our ancestors suffered and died for. We are forewarned, says Atkinson. A reading of history (it is all in mainstream historical accounts) tells us that we are about to lose the most precious thing we have—our individual freedoms.
‘What we are at present experiencing,’ writes Philip Trower in a letter to the author, ‘is a blend of two schools of thought; the Frankfurt School and the liberal tradition going back to the 18th century Enlightenment. The Frankfurt School has of course its remote origins in the 18th century Enlightenment. But like Lenin’s Marxism it is a breakaway movement. The immediate aims of both classical liberalism and the Frankfurt School have been in the main the same (vide your eleven points above) but the final end is different. For liberals they lead to ‘improving’ and ‘perfecting’ western culture, for the Frankfurt School they bring about its destruction.
‘Unlike hard-line Marxists, the Frankfurt School do not make any plans for the future. (But) the Frankfurt School seems to be more far-sighted that our classical liberals and secularists. At least they see the moral deviations they promote will in the end make social life impossible or intolerable. But this leaves a big question mark over what a future conducted by them would be like.’
Meanwhile, the Quiet Revolution rolls forward.
The 28 NATO member nations have received a preliminary version of an updated strategic concept containing a divisive call for the elimination of nuclear weapons, the New York Times reported yesterday (see GSN, Sept. 8).
(Oct. 1) - A U.S. B-61 nuclear gravity bomb body, shown in an aircraft hangar. NATO member nations appear set in November to consider a draft strategic concept calling for nuclear disarmament (U.S. Air Force/Natural Resources Defense Council).
NATO leaders resolved at their previous summit in April 2009 to update the military alliance’s strategy to better address contemporary security needs. If they reach consensus on the strategy at the group’s next summit, scheduled for Nov. 19-20 in Portugal, the document would require approval by all NATO governments.
NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen in recent months revised the original draft mission statement put forward in May by former U.S. Secretary of State Madeline Albright and other issue experts (see GSN, May 21). Security experts said the first draft was overly verbose and vague in some areas.
“Rasmussen does not want endless debates, revisions and arguments over the positioning of paragraphs, sentences and even commas,” NATO spokesman James Appathurai said.
Rasmussen hoped discussions this month by Cabinet-level officials would shed light on “which issues will go to the wire” for the November session in Lisbon, according to diplomats.
“So far, the nuclear issue has taken center stage,” one high-level NATO diplomat said. “The nuclear weapons issue has boiled down to this: Is NATO going to retain the status quo by keeping its weapons for deterrence, or is NATO finally going to give arms control and disarmament precedence?”
Five European nations — Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Turkey — are believed to house roughly 200 U.S. B-61 nuclear gravity bombs.
Calls by Germany and other European states for the document to prominently promote the elimination of nuclear weapons have placed those nations at odds with France, a nuclear-armed state that believes NATO involvement in nuclear matters could threaten French self-determination.
“If there is a sticking point in reaching agreement, then this is it,” a German diplomat familiar with the document said.
“You can understand why France is not happy with the section on disarmament. It does not want its nuclear deterrent to be in any way dragged into NATO discussions,” said Frederic Bozo, a security specialist with the Sorbonne University in Paris (see related GSN story, today).
Poland and Baltic nations expressed concern that rolling back NATO nuclear deployments could undermine the idea of collective security on which the alliance is premised.
“U.S. nuclear weapons are regarded as a strong symbol of the credibility of the American commitment to the security of Europe,” said NATO Defense College Research Director Karl-Heinz Kamp. “Eliminating the American nuclear presence in Europe, even if the number of warheads is small, could further erode alliance cohesion at a time when reassurance and solidarity are at the heart of the alliance debate on its new strategic concept.”
“Deterrence should and will remain central to NATO,” Latvian Defense Minister Imants Liegis said, adding his country was otherwise “pleased with the draft document so far.”
“It meets our concerns, especially over NATO remaining an alliance committed to collective security,” Liegis said. “Actually, the document is surprisingly lucid and crisp.”
British officials did not address the document’s disarmament language. “We have received the draft. We are studying it carefully,” said one British government source. “There will be extensive discussions.”
“We are facing important foreign policy decisions this autumn,” said German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle, who this week discussed NATO strategy and elimination of nuclear weapons with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. “Secretary General Rasmussen has circulated a draft that we believe provides a good basis for further discussions and that takes up many of the suggestions that we have made in the process of preparing this new strategic concept,” he said.
An additional secret paper prepared by Rasmussen outlines how the alliance would respond to nuclear, conventional and other strikes. “If you think the strategic concept is classified, you cannot imagine how secretive the operational paper is and will remain,” said one diplomat from East Europe (Judy Dempsey,New York Times, Sept. 30).
Thirty-six former high-level European officials called in a statement Monday for the new NATO strategic concept to “promote both nuclear and conventional arms control and disarmament based on greater international transparency and accountability.”
“NATO should make disarmament a core element of its approach to providing security,” the statement says. “This alliance, building on the Harmel report, has always combined deterrence with détente.”
In addition, the strategy should limit the role of nuclear weapons to deterring a nuclear strike and call for curbs on the role played by nuclear weapons in other security policies.
“In addition, we call upon the alliance to now review its entire nuclear policy and posture with a view to facilitating progress in arms control, in a manner consistent with effective burden sharing and alliance cohesion, effective deterrence and a demonstrable commitment to collective defense,” the document states.
The statement’s signatories included former British Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett, former British Defense Secretary Des Browne, former European Commission President Jacques Delors, former Dutch Prime Minister Ruud Lubbers and former German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt (European Leadership Networkrelease, Sept. 27).
Russia requested additional information on NATO intentions before responding to the alliance’s invitation to participate in dialogue during the summit, Reuters reported yesterday (see GSN, Sept. 27).
Moscow wants “to better understand where this strategic concept is leading and what it will determine about relations with Russia and NATO’s approach to international law,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov toldRossiiskaya Gazeta in comments published yesterday.
“There are many voices saying NATO must set out in this concept its right to use force in any region of the world” without U.N. Security Council backing, he said. “This would contradict the U.N. Charter and the principle of the rule of law in world affairs” (Reuters, Sept. 30).
Meanwhile, Russia and the United States are soon expected to finish a collaborative assessment of threats posed by issues including WMD and missile proliferation, ITAR-Tass quoted Lavrov as saying.
“Special attention is paid to the challenges in the area of missile proliferation, since such issues are directly linked with problems of [missile defense],” he said (ITAR-Tass, Oct. 1).
Tax police carried out violent raids on two businesses, on Sept. 24 in Berdyansk (above) and on Sept. 29 in Kherson. Police injured five people in the two incidents, including three seriously enough to be hospitalized.(Alexey Kalinin/Courtesy of Berdyanskie Novosti newspaper)
Kyiv Post staff writer Peter Byrne can be reached at email@example.com.
Tax police fire on workers, wounding four.
Masked and armed Ukrainian tax police on Sept. 24 fired guns using rubber bullets at workers of an agricultural enterprise in Berdyansk, a port city in Zaporizhia Oblast, injuring four.
A similar incident took place five days later in Kherson, leaving a mayoral candidate hospitalized.
The violence in Berdyansk started at 9 a.m. as plant employees arrived at work. At least four workers were wounded, two seriously enough to be hospitalized. The region’s top tax official was quick to defend the actions of his subordinates as self-defense, accusing workers of attacking the tax police.
However, eyewitness accounts and video of the incident posted on YouTube contradict the official version of events that workers fired first on police. The six-minute, 31-second clip has since become the latest Ukrainian YouTube sensation, with more than 90,000 hits since it was posted on Sept. 24.
The video shows eight young tax police officers wearing face-covering masks and bulletproof vests blocking workers from their offices. The workers are unarmed in the clip.
“What happened is a glaring example of the socially dangerous behavior exhibited by the nation’s tax police”.
- Syatoslav Olyinyk, a parliament deputy from the opposition Bloc of Yulia Tymoshenko.
Syatoslav Olyinyk, a parliament deputy from the opposition Bloc of Yulia Tymoshenko, appealed to President Viktor Yanukovych and the Prosecutor General Oleksandr Medvedko to intervene.
“What happened is a glaring example of the socially dangerous behavior exhibited by the nation’s tax police. No one can feel safe in a country where tax agents wearing masks are shooting unarmed civilians,” Olyinyk said. “The mere fact that tax policemen opened fire out in the middle of street is outrageous. This altercation shows the need to either replace those who head the country’s tax police, or to eliminate this law enforcement agency altogether.”
Armed tax police officers in Berdyansk stand behind Andriy Shevchenko, deputy chief of the Berdyansk tax authority, during a Sept. 24 raid on a business there. Officers shot four workers, injuring two seriously enough to be hospitalized, during the confrontation. Eyewitnesses said the workers were unarmed and did not provoke the assault. (Alexey Kalinin/Courtesy of Berdyanskie Novosti newspaper)
“Tax police were forced to return fire using rubber bullets to restore order.”
- Viktor Yashchenko, head of Zaporozhia Oblast’s tax police directorate.
The official version is this: Tax agents and tax police were deployed to a Berdyansk agricultural enterprise early on Sept. 24 to seize documents related to a criminal case when they were met by armed men demanding entry to the premises.
“Some of these men carried cameras,” Viktor Yashchenko, head of Zaporozhia Oblast’s tax police directorate, told journalists on Sept. 27. “Others carried automatic weapons, and one of the men began shooting from a gas pistol. Tax police were forced to return fire using rubber bullets to restore order.”
Video footage of the incident shows only tax agents carrying pistols and automatic weapons. Eyewitnesses to the melee, which took place on a 12-hectare plot occupied by some 20 enterprises, say it was tax police who fired on workers and not the other way around.
Local journalists covering the story said a special detachment of armed tax police were deployed from Zaporizhia to Berdyansk to carry out the raid, which was supervised by a local tax inspector.
Valeriya Bukhanova, a journalist with weekly newspaper Berdyanskie Vedomosti, said most of the two dozen or so enterprises located in the compound process and store various types of motor oils.
“Nothing like this has ever happened in Berdyansk before,” Bukhanov told the Kyiv Post on Sept. 28.
Vladlen Hiryn, a candidate for Kherson mayor, was hospitalized on Sept. 29 when a squad of tax police officers raided businesses allegedly tied to him. Supporters said Sept. 30 that the raid was an attempt to prevent Hiryn from running for mayor in the Oct. 31 election. (UNIAN)
But it did happen again, on Sept. 29, this time in Kherson, where a raid by a dozen tax police officers on an enterprise resulted in the hospitalization of mayoral candidate Vladlen Hiryn.
Hiryn and several enterprise workers attempted to repel the law enforcement agents, saying the police action was illegal and aimed at preventing Hiryn from running for political office. Hiryn received wounds to the face and shoulder during the tussle and was taken to a hospital for treatment.
Collecting taxes has been a police function in Ukraine since the late 1990s, when the agency under former tax chief Mykola Azarov (1996-2001), now the nation’s prime minister, was accused of harassing entrepreneurs and companies with ties to opposition leaders.
Tax police, who are subordinate to the State Tax Administration, seek out and arrest individuals who avoid paying taxes and businesses which neglect reporting to tax authorities.
“We are going to do something terrible to you — we are going to deprive you of an enemy.” –says Georgi Arbatov, the Kremlin’s best- known America watcher.
MOSCOW (AP) — Georgy Arbatov, a foreign policy adviser to Soviet presidents who served as the country’s top America-watcher during the Cold War, died Friday. He was 87.
Russian state TV, which reported Arbatov’s death, did not give the cause of death, or say where he was when he passed away.
Arbatov, who advised leaders from Leonid Brezhnev to Mikhail Gorbachev and was especially close to Yuri Andropov, was credited in the West and later in Russia for understanding the Soviet system was fundamentally untenable.
“He belonged to a group of reformers who believed that the Soviet system could be and had to be reformed,” said Yevgeny Primakov, who served as prime minister under Boris Yeltsin, in comments to state news channel Rossiya-24.
“His name is associated with the entire epoch of the Soviet Union. … He was part of the closest and best trusted consultants of Brezhnev and Andropov,” Primakov said.
From 1967 to 1995 Arbatov ran the U.S. and Canada Institute, an advisory body to Soviet authorities that he founded and that had huge sway over policy toward the American continent at a time of heightened tensions for the Cold War adversaries.
Arbatov, who studied international law but started out as a journalist after fighting in World War II, penned speeches for leaders including Brezhnev.
Arbatov was awarded the highest Soviet scientific distinction in 1974, named Academician of the Academy of Sciences of the U.S.S.R.
Konstantin Kosachyov, head of the foreign affairs committee of the lower house of parliament, said Arbatov’s legacy remains.
“He was a scientist, a politician, a diplomat, and everything that made our politics in recent decades politics of civic-mindedness, politics of effectiveness, and politics of creativity.”
Arbatov remained honorary director of the think tank he created.
No information was immediately available about his survivors or funeral plans.
OSLO/PARIS (Reuters) – European oil majors resisted pressure from the United States to abandon all Iranian activities, saying they would continue buying Iranian crude and exit the country only upon expiry of existing contracts.
France’s Total said it was still buying Iranian crude and Royal Dutch Shell said it was not illegal to lift Iranian crude under the latest United Nations sanctions.
Norway’s Statoil said it was providing Tehran with technical assistance while Italy’s ENI said it would exit Iran only when existing deals expire.
U.S. Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg said on Thursday Total, Statoil, ENI and Royal Dutch Shell will suspend all dealings with Iran voluntarily to avoid American sanctions designed to pressure Iran over its nuclear program.
Western powers seek to bring Tehran into new talks on an atomic program they fear is aimed at producing nuclear weapons.
Iran, which has resisted pressure to open wide-ranging talks, says its nuclear program is peaceful and that while it is open to talks, it will never give up its right to peaceful nuclear energy.
The U.N. Security Council’s five permanent members, the United States, Britain, France, Russia and China, are working with Germany to draw Iran back into negotiations that collapsed last year. But progress has been slow and U.S. officials describe sanctions as a way to pressure Tehran to talk.
CRUDE IS STILL LEGAL
Steinberg said the deal with European majors set a precedent that other firms should follow but the majors said on Friday the deal was not that straightforward.
“The group (Total) is in line with the relevant legislation, on an international and European basis as well as national. The recent European sanctions will keep to a minimum our activities in the country, where already we were not very present” a Total spokeswoman said.
“Today we have no operations in Iran apart from the purchase of crude oil, which today is considered licit.”
She said Total had not cut back its dealings in Iran since saying earlier this year it would halt the sale of oil products.
Total “answered fully” the questions asked by the U.S. State Department on its Iranian operations, she said.
She would not say whether the State Department had given orders or suggestions in addition to the questions.
“We are monitoring the evolution of the legal situation.”
Shell also said it was complying with all legislation while declining to comment on its trading activities. Traders say it is still involved in Iranian crude purchases. “As you know, it is not illegal to lift oil from Iran,” a Shell spokesman said.
Statoil on its part also said on Friday it would conclude work in Iran by 2012 at the latest but was still providing technical assistance after finishing development of the South Pars project last year.
“Already in 2008 we said that we would not make further investments in Iran and we have been very open and transparent on this policy,” Statoil spokesman Baard Glad Pedersen said.
“We have completed South Pars 6, 7, 8 last year and since then our activities have been limited to providing technical assistance for the Iranian operator for a limited period.”
He said the assistance program was limited to three years “but it may conclude before that.”
ENI’s spokesman said the group will exit Iran once its commercial contracts in the country are concluded, reiterating the group’s position on Iran that it would abstain only from future deals.
Eni has a buyback agreement in Iran, which means it is paid in barrels for its investments and traders say the group is still bringing Iranian crude for its refineries in Italy.
(Additional reporting by Stephen Jewkes in Milan and Dmitry Zhdannikov in London; writing by Dmitry Zhdannikov; editing by James Jukwey)
By Alison Fitzgerald, Jason Gale and Helen Murphy
May 14 (Bloomberg) — Fidencio Alvarez abandoned his bean and corn farm in southern Honduras because of the rising cost of seeds, fuel and food. After months of one meal a day, he hiked with his wife and six children to find work in the city.
“We would wake up with empty stomachs and go to bed with empty stomachs,” said Alvarez, 37, who sought help from the Mission Lazarus aid group in Choluteca in January. “We couldn’t afford the seeds to plant food or the bus fare to buy the food.”
Honduran farmers like Alvarez can’t compete in a global marketplace where the costs of fuel and fertilizer soared and rice prices doubled in the past year. The former breadbasket of Central America now imports 83 percent of the rice it consumes — a dependency triggered almost two decades ago when it adopted free-market policies pushed by the World Bank and other lenders.
The country was $3.6 billion in debt in 1990. In return for loans from the World Bank, Honduras became one of dozens of developing nations that abandoned policies designed to protect farmers and citizens from volatile food prices. The U.S. House Financial Services Committee in Washington today explored the causes of the global food crisis and possible solutions.
The committee examined whether policies advocated by the bank and the International Monetary Fund contributed to the situation. Governments from Ghana to the Philippines were pressured to cut protective tariffs and farm supports and to grow more high-value crops for export, reports by the Washington-based World Bank show.
The IMF pressed Haiti, as a condition of a 1994 loan, to open its economy to trade, Raj Patel, a scholar at the Center for African Studies in the University of California at Berkeley told the committee. When trade barriers fell, imports of subsidized rice from the U.S. surged, devastating the local rice farmers, Patel said.
“That is very odd,” said committee chair Barney Frank, a Massachusetts Democrat. “For anyone to have looked at Haiti at that time and thought that it was a functioning economy is a sign I think of ideology going rampant.”
“Of course they got it wrong,” said Robert S. Zeigler, director-general at the International Rice Research Institute, southeast of Manila. “It will work if you’re an extremely wealthy country and you can import rice at any price. But if you’re not an extremely wealthy country, I think that’s very poor advice.”
`Command and Control’
“The focus of the liberalization was on lowering domestic food prices,” said Mark Plant, the IMF’s deputy director of policy development in Washington. Governments’ “command and control” policies increased consumer costs and cut farmer income, he said.
Williamson, now affiliated with the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington, said in a May 9 interview that the ideas are still sound, though they may have been pushed too hard by the World Bank.
“My own view is that all those things are good for countries,” he said. “But I’m not terribly sympathetic with the World Bank going in and laying down a list of things countries have to do.”
Honduran agriculture stagnated through the 1980s because of subsidies and market controls, prompting the bank to recommend economic changes, said Adrian Fozzard, the institution’s manager for Honduras.
Rice farmers in Honduras were protected by the highest import tariffs in Central America when former president Rafael Callejastook office in 1990 with the economy stalled. The trade barriers that helped the country meet more than 90 percent of domestic demand were dismantled under an agreement for a World Bank loan in September that year, allowing cheaper imports to flood the market.
The requirements for the loan included eliminating import restrictions and surcharges and reorganizing the agricultural finance system, according to Eurodad, a network of 54 European non-governmental organizations that was granted access to the World Bank’s loan database to monitor loan conditions.
Prices paid to farmers fell by 13 percent in 1991 and 30 percent more in 1992, according to the Food and Agriculture Organizationin Rome.
In August 1993, the World Bank advised Honduras to adopt a second round of economic changes as part of another loan, according to Eurodad. Those conditions included eliminating all price controls and cutting tariffs further.
“Remaining trade and price controls should be eliminated,” bank officials said in a 1994 internal report. “The program of privatization of state silos should be completed; and the use of a grain reserve for price stabilization should not be reinstated.”
The report’s author, Daniel Cotlear, now a World Bank economist for Latin American and the Caribbean, declined to comment for this story.
The bank pushed the policies because food prices fell in real terms for at least two decades, and few economists expected that to change, said Mark Cackler, manager of its Agriculture and Rural Development Department. Free trade and open markets remain the best path to competitiveness, he said.
“There are actually opportunities to reduce protectionism that have a beneficial impact,” Cackler said.
World Bank Reaction
World Bank spokesman Sergio Jellinek said it’s impossible to connect today’s food price crisis with 20-year-old free-trade policies.
“The price of food, especially grains, is determined in the international market and not in the local markets,” he said. “So if a country such as Mexico, or Colombia, or El Salvador or Honduras would have multiplied by three or four its grain production, that would not have significantly affected world supply. And food prices in local markets would be as high as they are today.”
There now are 1,300 rice farmers in Honduras, compared with more than 20,000 in 1989, according to human rights group FIAN.
“The international lending agencies have destroyed the basic grains industry in Honduras,” said Gilberto Rios, executive secretary of FIAN Honduras. “The best land now produces things like African palms, which are not for consumption.”
Last month, thousands of activists, students and farmers blocked highways and rallied in the capital, Tegucigalpa, to protest food prices and policies that made their country the most open to free trade in Latin America — and one of the poorest in the Western Hemisphere.
Not `a Boon’
Per capita income rose by 0.5 percent a year from 1990 to 2004, one of the slowest growth rates in Latin America, a January reportby the International Food Policy Research Institute found.
“Trade liberalization does not appear to have been much of a boon to the Honduran economy,” the Washington-based institute said in the report.
In the Philippines, the World Bank encouraged the country, the world’s biggest importer of rice, to stop striving for self- sufficiency and instead to diversify into crops like tropical fruits which have greater export value.
It approved a $60 million loan in 2004 to help the Philippines’ Department of Agriculture become more market- oriented, diversify crops and stimulate private investment.
A World Bank Group technical working paper in June 2007 said the government shouldn’t stockpile grain to stabilize prices. Rather, it should keep enough on hand for disasters and social welfare programs. It also advocated opening the domestic market to competition by cutting tariffs.
Philippines Reverses Course
Philippine President Gloria Arroyo now says the country has to change course toward being able to feed itself.
“We must move toward more self-sufficiency, not necessarily 100 percent, but more self-sufficiency, less import dependence on rice,” she said last month.
African nations including Ghana and Mali similarly followed World Bank advice. In 1992, the bank required Ghana to cut tariffs on rice to 20 percent from 100 percent, leading to a tripling of cheap rice imports, Patel said.
In 2004, the bank advised Ethiopia to stop providing fertilizer and credit to small farmers as part of a debt relief package, and it persuaded Indonesia to dismantle its rice marketing board, according to Elizabeth Stuart in Washington, who is the head of relations with the World Bank and IMF for Oxfam International, the U.K.-based alliance fighting poverty.
Now farmers are asking the Honduran government to reverse policy and provide cheap, long-term loans to buy the seeds and fertilizers they need to survive.
The government of Honduras yesterday asked the IMF to send a team to the country to examine how the rising food and fuel prices are affecting the economy and whether they should reconsider some aspects of a current economic program, the IMF said in a press release.
“We haven’t seen the worst of it yet; that’s to come,” said Jarrod Brown, president of the Mission Lazarus. “They need help now.”
For Alvarez and his family, help can’t come quickly enough.
“We want to go back to our land, it’s all we have,” he said.