Global Research News Hour - Regime Change in the Ukraine: Euromaidan Uprising and the Grand Chessboard - 02/10/14

10Feb

As the world focuses its attention on the Olympic Games in Sochi and controversies around the Russian government’s apparent hostility toward gay and lesbian rights, a far-reaching drama is playing out in the former Soviet Republic of Ukraine.

The Eastern European country, independent since the dissolution of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics in 1991, has been gripped by a series of protests that may very well determine its long-term political fate.

The Euromaidan was apparently named after the Independence Square in Kiev, Maidan Nezalezhnosti, where a major protest was held on the evening of November 21 of last year. The gathering of 1,000 to 2,000 people was staged in opposition to the abandonment by the Yanukovych government of an Association Agreement with the European Union.[2]

Further protests ensued until a particularly violent crackdown by Ukrainian police on November 30. [3] From that point forward, demonstrations intensified and grew larger in number.

The protests seemed to take a much more violent turn by mid-January after the Ukrainian Parliament pushed through a sweeping 100 page anti-protest law. [4] The law essentially banned the installation of tents, stages or amplifiers in public places, all critical components of the Euromaidan up to that point.

Two and a half months later, the law has been repealed, Yanukovych’s Cabinet has been dissolved, and detained protesters granted amnesty on condition of an end to the occupations of government buildings. [5] Nevertheless, the protests continue and demands to end “government corruption” and the resignation of the Russian President remain unrelenting.

Complicating the situation is the role of militant fascist groups which appear to be influencing the protest movement, and are reminiscent of Hitler’s Brown Shirts and Mussolini’s Black Shirts from an earlier era.

Foreign governments appear to be influencing the situation as well. Russian President Vladmir Putin’s offer of substantial reductions in the cost of Russian natural gas and their willingness to purchase $15 billion in Ukrainian Government Eurobonds could be read as a bribe to keep Ukraine under Russian influence. [6]

Meanwhile, Western governments, including those of the US and Canada, are clearly expressing support for government opposition demonstrators. Following harsh crackdowns before and during the G20 protests in 2010, it is hard to imagine the Canadian government behaving much differently if faced by similar demonstrations which have included the occupation of government buildings and the use of molotov cocktails being hurled at police.

This week’s Global Research News Hour probes some of the less talked about aspects of the Euromaidan with three analysts.

University of Winnipeg Associate Professor of History Andriy Zayarnyuk is a Ukrainian national and is a specialist in the field of the Social and Cultural History of 19th and 20th Century Eastern Europe, including the Ukraine and the Soviet Union. He is also the author of the recently released bookFraming the Ukrainian Peasantry in Habsburg Galicia, 1846-1914. He helps provide an overview of the political and cultural background of the current struggle.

Eric Draitser is a New York-based geo-political analyst with StopImperialism.org. He discusses the right-wing fascist groups involved with the Euromaidan protests and threats they may pose over and above the opposition movement itself.

Finally, Rick Rozoff of Stop NATO returns to provide a thorough examination of the geo-political and geo-strategic context in which the popular uprising is taking place.


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Global Research News Hour - The People’s Fighter: Rocco Galati on Globalization, Sovereignty and Civil Liberties - 02/03/14

3Feb

Free Trade agreements being adopted by Canada are undermining the ability of governments to protect the public good.

That is the conclusion of the civil society farm, labour, indigenous, student, cultural, environmental and other organizations that have come together under the banner of the Trade Justice Network.

With January marking the twentieth anniversary of the adoption of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the TJN recently organized the “Intercontinental Day of Action Against the TPP and Corporate Globalization,” a call to resist the TPP (Trans Pacific Partnership) and similar trade deals.

These progressive organizations believe that the free trade agenda, embodied by NAFTA and its offspring, represent a “corporate power grab” that threaten “working families, small farmers, indigenous peoples, small business and the environment in all three countries and beyond.”

Traditional strategies for resisting these legislative instruments have famously included mass mobilizations, such as were seen in Seattle (1999) and the Quebec Summit of the Americas (2001), not to mention standard protests, petitions, and other efforts at lobbying politicians to change their minds.

Less seasoned activists may resort to throwing their weight behind the campaign of an opposition politician who pays lip service to resisting corporate trade deals, but offers little in the way of concrete action once in a position of power and influence.

Another less talked about approach however, is utilizing those legal instruments already available to the people, in the form of constitutional court challenges.

Enter Rocco Galati.

Galati has over the course of his legal career criticised actions by the State at the Summit of the Americas and the G20 in Toronto. He has represented terrorism-related and other cases that many other lawyers won’t touch.

He is currently engaged in a number of interesting battles challenging the government, including a challenge against the Finance Minister and the Bank of Canada, and a challenge to Health Canada’s restrictions on the sale of natural health products.

Galati argues that the afore-mentioned trade agreements, insofar as they are being implemented without the approval of the Canadian Parliament are unconstitutional. Galati had in fact attempted to challenge the Multi-lateral Agreement on Investment (MAI) on the grounds that it conferred on to trans-national corporations powers that over-ride constitutionally protected jurisdiction. Galati explains this view in the first half hour.

In the remainder of the program, Galati provides an update of the case he is championing against the Bank of Canada. Galati also resurrects some older cases he took on.

He talks about his defence of one of the Toronto 18 terrorism plotters, Ahmad Mustafa Ghany. He talks about his former client, Delmart Vreeland, the jailed Naval Intelligence officer who attempted to warn Canadian and American law enforcement authorities of the attacks of September 11, 2001. He talks about a death threat he received years ago that caused him to back off of the case ofAbdurahman Khadr.

He talks about what he calls the ’500 mile Liberal Syndrome.’

He also talks about fundamental flaws in the system that, as he sees it, prevent ordinary men and women elected to high office from acting in the interests of the public.

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