Archive for the ‘Sanctions’ Category

Making peace arrive in Ukraine – bring in the UN

By Jonathan Power

September 15th 2015.

On the last day of last month right wing demonstrators, mostly from neo-fascist movements, hurled themselves against the police in Kiev’s Maidan square, the same place where in February 2014 a more heterogeneous group of demonstrators effectively ousted President Viktor Yanokovych. A grenade was thrown and three people died and 120 were hospitalized, mostly policemen.

In an address to the nation President Poroshenko blamed the clashes on nationalistic forces, calling their actions “a stab in the back”. Finally the Western powers raised a voice of condemnation, although over the last year they have made little criticism of the rightist militias and parties.

That is perhaps because it would interfere with their narrative – that the demonstrators that overthrew Yanukovych were of a liberal, democratic hue. The overwhelming majority were. But the ignored fact is that the people who led the crowd and fired the bullets when the demonstrations turned ugly were these very same rightists.

Some of the leaders of the neo-Nazi organisations, especially Svoboda, went on to be appointed to senior positions in government and parliament.

The BBC’s Ukraine correspondent, David Stern, reported on September 1st: “The explosion in Maidan comes weeks after another armed incident involving volunteer militia with ties to the extreme right – a shoot out between members of the so-called Right Sector and the local police in south-western Ukraine. Although the militias have been nominally integrated into government structures, many wonder how much control Kiev actually exercises.”

The main gripe of the protestors is that Read the rest of this entry »

TFF 30th Anniversary Benefit Event

Lund, Sweden, September 5, 2015
Updated September 5 and our apologies if you’ve received this before.
We want to catch all and miss no one over all these years.

Dear friend!

We are happy to invite you to the TFF 30th Anniversary Benefit Event !
September 11-12, 2015

Live Lectures by videostream
Exciting lectures on world affairs and peace over two days – See program below.

This is not an invitation to visit the foundation in person.
It is an online, live video streamed event that you will be able to follow from anywhere in the world
Here is the link and it’ll also be shown via Facebook, Twitter and on our website.
And all the lectures will be available later as videos on our own video channels.

Open House at the foundation
Saturday September 12 at 14:00-17:00
It’s at Vegagatan 25 in Lund, Sweden – deadline for your registration September 7.

1. Lectures on-site with live streaming

We’ll shortly tell you the links where you may see it all and where videos will later be available.

Lecture program

Friday September 11

Live, video streamed:

September 11: Alternatives to the devastating War On Terror – Jan Oberg

TFF 30 Perspectives – TFF Associates and Board on the better world we dream of – And cheers!

Saturday September 12

Live, video-streamed 10:00-18:00

Iran And the Nuclear Issues – Gunnar Westberg

Integration – Why and how? Example: Afghan Youth In Sweden – Christina Spännar, Sweden

Nuclear abolition is necessary and possible – Gunnar Westberg, Sweden

West and East: Ukraine and New Cold War? – Jan Oberg

Human Rights And War Crimes – Jonathan Power, UK/Sweden

Women, Self-Esteem and Violence – Annette Schiffmann, Germany

Yugoslavia – What Should Have Been Done? – Jan Oberg (in Memoriam Håkan Wiberg), DK/Sweden

Media and Peace – Sören Sommelius, Sweden

Burundi’s Crisis And Possible Ways Out – Burundi expert

2. Open House hours 14-17
Buffet, drinks, coffee and tea, cakes and other sweets.
You must register your visit by September 7 at the latest at or call 0046 738 525200.

3. Peace with peaceful means
The day is devoted to the – ongoing – struggle for ”peace by peaceful means“ as the UN Charter puts it. Gandhi said that the “means are goals in-the-making”. To realize that noble goal remains the mission of TFF. Today we show you how and promote all related activites with the help of social media and new video technologies.

4. This is a Benefit Event – Your support to TFF please!

TFF is unique in being totally independent of government and corporate funds. It’s people-financed. No one related to TFF has a salary; we’re all-volunteer.
This provides for truly free research and permit us to be critical and constructive and practise our freedom of expression. Not everyone can boast that today!
Wars, nuclear and conventional arms, bombing raids and occupations etc. are financed by your tax money. Sadly and unfairly, no tax funds go to realise the UN norm above.

We think that people who believe that peace is better than violence should also pay something to the research, education and activism in favour of that UN norm.
If you can come to Lund on our big day or sit somewhere following our rich lecture program, we urge you strongly to make a donation. Every day over 30 years, TFF has given the world something useful.

You can do it right in the middle of our homepage – click the “Give” button or under the headline “Support” in the right-hand column where many options exist, including PayPal. It easy, fast and secure!
Cash – but no cheques – can also be donated at the event.* *

Thank you so much!

5. Videos
We’re proud to present the first two short videos – 3 more to come – in which the founders talk about various aspects of 30 years in the service of peace on the basis of questions asked by board member Annette Schiffmann. Watch, comment and subscribe!

The First

The Second

6. Brand new Online Magazine
The announced online magazine launched to mark our Anniversary is now here!

“Transnational Affairs – TFF Magazine for conflict-resolution, non-violence and peace-building”

Excited as we are, we’ll be back to you soon with more details!

Yours truly

Christina & Jan

* If you are able to come in person, you must register to or call 0046 738 525200 by Tuesday September 8 at the latest.

* * This does not apply to you if you have already made a donation in 2015.

TFF PressInfo # 335 Greek debt and West-Russia-China-Japan

By Johan Galtung

The game is dirty and has lasted 70 years. It came with the idea of development as imitating, but not catching up, with the West, for all states, including the deluge of states due to decolonization.

The formula for big profit is simple: give credit to a country poor enough not to be able to pay it off quickly, yet not so poor that it cannot go on servicing the loan for years. To be worthwhile the project must be capital-intensive, like (air)ports and highways to the (air)ports for import-export, assembling cars–something for the rich. Investment to lift up people in misery, or ravished nature, makes no sense: the poor need very little capital and can only pay back in labor, whereas nature pays back but is not capitalized.

Ideally, the country asks for more credit to service the first, and a second, third loan is then offered at higher interest. Till the debt is non-sustainable; the debtor country is then squeezed dry.

Then comes the time for debt relief, provided the profit made on investment in debt exceeds the debt forgiven.

From Agence France Presse comes a study: Germany made € 100 billion on the Greek crisis since 2010 – amounting to 3% of the GDP – on the difference between interests paid to German banks and the interest they paid; from German banks to ECB 1%, to German banks from debtors, say, 6%.

Germany’s share of the total bailout package to Greece – with the latest for payment due August 20 – is € 90 billion, meaning a € 10 billion profit if Greece cannot be squeezed further. The money flowing into Greece is to keep banks, not people, afloat. And to benefit USA, France and the Netherlands, but to a lesser extent than Germany.

This is the way the Third World has been treated by the USA-based IMF and the World Bank; what is new is EU treating a fellow EU member like a Third World country (or worse).

Next in line is Ukraine, Read the rest of this entry »

Norway Revisited: Two Crises – An Oil Slick – And ?

By Johan Galtung

Norway, on top of the UN indicator of good life for years, is now hit by two different crises; one for the less developed aspect and one for the more developed. Yet the citizens are protected by a massive oil slick, the biggest sovereign fund in the world, the Government Pension Fund for an aging population when oil dries out. For only 5 million inhabitants, $178,000/capita, and growing.

First crisis: Third World monoculture—oil/gas–hit by the world markets; from over $ 100 per barrel to under 50 recently. A crisis of over-supply and also of under-demand, less than expected: toxic fossil fuels do the same to the lungs of Planet Earth as smoking to the lungs of humans. Green alternatives strong in Germany, China, coming in USA.

A generation was needed for the smoking truth to penetrate, but smoking survived in the Third World – for some time. We will get the same for addiction to fossil fuels, from denial to abstention, with collective decisions. So far, most action is coal focused – including the Norwegian oil fund no longer investing – time is coming for oil.

With falling prices, demand insecure, and 1/3 of employment being oil-dependent, unemployment is rising. In February 4.1% of the about 2,730,000 total were unemployed, rising to 8% (Klassekampen, KK 12 May 15). The powerful oil branch claims it is all temporary, soon the prices will go up. Official optimism, hoping it will be self-fulfilling.

Second crisis: Read the rest of this entry »

TFF PressInfo # 334 – Getting Russia right

By Jonathan Power

Even today in many different ways the US and Russia remain close. There is cooperation in space, not least the International Space Station. The US regularly hires Russian rockets to launch its crews to the Station and to launch satellites. Russia sells advanced rocket engines to the US. Russia allows war material en route to Afghanistan to pass through its territory on Russian trains.

Russia worked hand in glove with the US to successfully remove the large stocks of chemical weapons possessed by Syria. It shares intelligence on Muslim extremists including ISIS. Conceivably it could enter the battle against ISIS.

It has encouraged Western investment including joint oil exploration of the Artic. Recently it stood side by side with the US and the EU as they forged an agreement with Iran on its nuclear industry. At the UN Security Council Russia and the US voted together for a resolution approving the agreement. President Barack Obama phoned President Vladimir Putin to thank him.

US diplomats are now conceding that Russia’s claim that the neo-fascist so-called “Right Sector” in Ukraine is wrecking havoc is true. The Right Sector in the eyes of many was a key – and violent – element in the success of last year’s Maidan demonstrations that toppled President Viktor Yanukovich.

When the Russian, French and German foreign ministers hammered out an agreement with the support of Ukraine’s parliamentary opposition for Yanukovich to step down at the next election the West totally “forgot” about it in the next few days as the Maidan demonstators drove Yanukovich into exile. Washington and other Western capitals supported the “democratic revolution” rather than demanding the fulfillment of the agreement. No wonder Putin was livid.

What is now needed in Western capitals is an acknowledgement that they have not always got Russia and Putin right. Read the rest of this entry »

From Security to Peace: A paradigm shift

By Johan Galtung

Look at the trauma ; the issues of the past. Iran, one of the world’s oldest civilizations was greatly humiliated by the CIA-MI6 coup in 1953, and now by a “deal” singling out Iran as the problem. And USA, the most powerful, was humiliated by the Khomeini revolution. And so on, all the way down. Something must, and can be, done.

One useful approach is an international truth commission about what really happened; better an exchange of their narratives with dialogue; best a violent party wishing what happened undone.

The peace formula says, Go beyond!, eg., by building togetherness across the have-have not faultline; a Middle East nuclear-free zone. In addition, security through peace for Israel, not the unfeasible opposite. The formula says: clear past traumas, open for future projects. Not in the same document, different experts negotiate, but parallel.

Continue reading here…

Obama’s line on the Iran nuclear deal: A second false narrative

By Gareth Porter*

I’m glad that the United States and Iran reached an agreement in Vienna after nearly two years of negotiations and 35 years of enmity. A failure to do so under present political conditions would certainly have left a festering conflict with unpredictably bad consequences.

And the successful negotiation of such a far-reaching agreement in which both sides made significant concessions should help to moderate the extreme hostility that has been building up in the United States over the years.

But my enthusiasm for the agreement is tempered by the fact that the US political process surrounding the Congressional consideration of the agreement is going to have the opposite effect. And a big part of the problem is that the Obama administration is not going to do anything to refute the extremist view of Iran as determined to get nuclear weapons. Instead the administration is integrating the idea of Iran as rogue nuclear state into its messaging on the agreement.

Secretary of State John Kerry’s testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Thursday makes the administration’s political strategy very clear. In two sentences, Kerry managed to combine the images of Iranian-supported terrorism and sectarian violence across the entire region and Iranian determination to get nuclear weapons.

He told the committee about the administration’s plans to “push back against Iran’s other activities – against terrorism support, its contribution to sectarian violence in the Middle East,” which he called “unacceptable”. Then he added: “But pushing back against an Iran with nuclear weapons is very different from pushing back against Iran without one.”

The administration’s determination to be just as alarmist about Iran’s alleged nuclear ambitions as its opponents creates Read the rest of this entry »

Frontline Ukraine: Appallingly, we in the West have been more misled than the Russians

By Jonathan Power

“The Ukrainian Armed Forces logbook recorded 77 violations on 9 July, while the Russian Federation Armed Forces logbook recorded 115. Both sides attributed a smaller proportion of ceasefire violations to the Ukrainian Armed Forces”, reports the Organisation For Security And Cooperation In Europe (OSCE) which has been charged with monitoring the cease-fire, and includes Russia as a member.

“Not once but now twice – once last week – one of the Ukraine Maidan regime’s allied parties, the neo-fascist Right Sector (RS), has claimed responsibility for the 2nd May, 2014, terrorist pogrom in which 48 activists opposed to the Western-backed Maidan regime in Kiev were killed; most of them burned alive as Ukrainian ‘nationalists’ shot at them, tossed three Molotov cocktails into their building and sang the Ukrainian national anthem.”, writes Gordon Hahn today, a highly respected expert on Ukrainian and Russian affairs.

So who is right and who is wrong?

Of course the first quote above simplifies a horrifically complicated situation and is only true for one area. Nevertheless, this snapshot shows that the Russian observers can be fair. As I write both sides – the Ukrainian government’s army and the Russian-supported rebels – are fighting flat out to take control of Donetsk airport in eastern Ukraine – again reported on by the OSCE.

Although many areas of the East are quiet the cease-fire negotiated by President Vladimir Putin, Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Francois Hollande is in danger.

Politically, the situation appears to be almost stalemated. Read the rest of this entry »

TFF PressInfo # 331- How a weaker Iran got the hegemon to lift sanctions

By Gareth Porter

Iranian counter-pressure on the US, through its nuclear programme, finally compelled the Obama administration to begin negotiations.

Now that Iran nuclear deal is completed, the attention of western news media and political commentators is predictably focused overwhelmingly on the opposition to the agreement within the US Congress and from Israel and the Saudi-led Sunni Arab coalition.

That media lens misses the real significance of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, which is that Iran succeeded in negotiating an agreement with the United States that upheld its national right to a nuclear programme despite the obvious vast disparity in power between the two states.

That power disparity between the global hegemon and a militarily weak but politically influential regional “middle power” has shaped not just the negotiating strategies of the two sides during the negotiations but, more importantly, how they came about in the first place.

The news media have adopted the Obama administration’s view that negotiations were the result of Iran responding to international sanctions. The problem with that conventional view is not that Iran wasn’t eager to get the sanctions removed, but that it was motivated to do so long before the United States was willing to negotiate.

In fact, Iran had long viewed its nuclear programme not only in terms of energy and scientific advancement but also as a way of inducing the United States to negotiate an end to the extraordinary legal status in which Iran has been placed for so long. Read the rest of this entry »

The Iran nuclear deal

By Jan Oberg

Comment as the first to Russia Today a few minutes before the deal is to be announced in Vienna.


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