— bureaux de vizKult

Global Affairs

This statement from the Ukrainian Autonomous Workers Union was posted on Avtonomia February 19th, 2014, just 3 days before Yanukovich stepped down. Whether Yanukovich or the Opposition prevailed, they predicted that there will be nothing good for the workers in either of the two directions.

Ukraine Maidan - Autonomous Workers Union

 ”We cannot call the proletariat to sacrifice themselves for the sake of the Opposition and its interests. “


Statement about the situation in Ukraine from AWU (Autonomous Workers Union).

Civil war began in Ukraine yesterday. A less than peaceful demonstration clashed with state defense forces and divisions formed by the adherents of the current government near the Vekhovna Rada (Parliament). On February 18, police, together with the paramilitaries, arranged a bloodbath in the governmental quarters during which numerous demonstrators were killed. Butchers from the special divisions finished off arrestees. Deputies of the ruling Party of Regions and their bourgeois lackeys from the “Communist” Party of Ukraine fled from the Parliament through an underground tunnel. The vote for constitutional amendments, intended to limit presidential power, did not take place after all. After their defeat in the governmental quarters, demonstrators retreated to the Maidan. At 6 P.M., the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Internal Security Bureau (SBU) declared an ultimatum to the protesters, demanding their dispersal. At 8:00 P.M., special police forces and paramilitaries, equipped with water cannons and armored vehicles, began their raid on the barricades. Police, the special divisions of SBU, as well as pro-governmental troopers made use of their firearms. However, the protesters managed to burn down one of the armored police vehicles, and it turned out that governmental forces were not the only ones in possession of guns. According to the data released by the police (on February, 19, 4 p.m.), 24 people were killed: 14 protesters and 10 policemen. Thirty-one policemen received gunshot wounds. Even if their estimate of losses on the side of the police is accurate, the number of victims among the protesters was definitely diminished. Maidan’s medics cite at least 30 killed.

One gets an impression that President Yanukovich was certain that by morning the resistance would be crushed, and so arranged for the Opposition leaders to meet with him at 11 A.M. on February, 19. As the negotiations did not take place, we can conclude that the government’s plan had failed. During the unsuccessful operation to clear off the Maidan, the citizens of several western regions occupied administrative buildings and chased away the police. At the moment the police, as an institution, do not exist in L’viv. According to the SBU, protesters have captured 1500 firearms. In less than 24 hours, the central government lost control over a section of the country. Right now, the only solution may be the stepping down of the President, however, that would mean that he, his family, and their multiple acolytes and dependents, which form a rather large group in the ruling government, would lose their source of profit. It is likely that they will not accept this.

In the event of Yanukovich’s victory, he will become a ruler for life, and the rest will be doomed to a life in which they face poverty, corruption, and the abolition of their rights and freedoms. Rebellious regions are now experiencing massive restorations of “the constitutional order.” It is not improbable that the suppression of such “terroristic groups” in Galicia will have the character of ethnic cleansing. Mad Orthodox radicals from the Party of Regions have, for a long time, seen the conservative Greco-Catholics as the aids of “Eurosodom.” Such an “antiterrorist” operation would be carried out with the assistance of the army, as the Minister of Defense, Lebedev, has already announced.

Today, Ukraine experiences a tragedy, but the real horror will start when the government breaks down the opposition and “stabilizes” the situation. Signs of the preparation of a mass-cleansing operation became noticeable as far back as early February, when criminal cases were opened against the Maidan self-defense divisions as illegal military formations. According to Article 260 of the Criminal Codex, members of such divisions may face imprisonment for 2 to 15 years. This means that the government was planning to put more than 10 thousand citizens behind bars. In the regions, as well as in the capital, special “death divisions” are acting as a supplement to the usual police forces. For example, responsibility for burning alive a Maidan activist from Zaporozhye was claimed by such a “death division,” calling itself “Sebastopol Ghosts.” They announced that they are ready to subject Maidan participants in the East to similar treatment.

In the event of the Opposition’s victory life would be far from perfect as well. Although fascists form the minority of the protesters, they are quite active and are not the sharpest tools in the shed. A few days of truce in mid-February lead to conflicts between the rightist groups, resulting in several pointless and violent confrontations, as well as attacks on ideological ‘heretics.’ Besides the fascists, old and experienced Oppositionists will also attempt to seize power. Many of them already have some experience with working in government and they are no strangers to corruption, favoritism, and the use of budget funds for personal purposes.

The “concessions” that the Opposition is demanding in Parliament right now are pitiful. Even the Constitution of 2004, that they are trying to restore, gives too much power to the President (control over the riot police and special forces is one example), and the proportional electoral system, with closed listings, hands parliament over to the control of a group of dictator-like leaders, who can be counted on the fingers of one hand. Together with the President they will rule without obstructions.

Their second demand – the appointment of a Cabinet of Ministers composed of Opposition leaders – is altogether shameful. Are people risking their health, freedom, and life for the sake of someone becoming a prime-minister, and someone-else getting an opportunity to control the flow of corrupt-money? This is the logical outcome of preferring pathos-ridden conversations on “the nation,” and focusing on vertical structures tied to the same hated politicians, instead of developing ground-up organizations around financial and material interests. This is the main lesson that Maidan is yet to learn.
However, we will be able to apply this lesson in practice only if the current government loses the battle.

The Opposition inside and outside of the Parliament is broken into multiple hostile and competing factions. If it wins, the ensuing regime will be unstable and lacking in coherency. It will be as bourgeois and repressive as was the Party of Regions before their first show of force against the protesters in November.

The guilt for the spilled blood is partially on the EU which gladly receives money from the corrupt scumbags in Ukraine, Russia, and several African countries, while diligently neglecting to check the source of such “investments.” It is only after seeing the dead bodies of the victims of such “investors,” that it gets so very sentimental and full of humanitarian pathos.

This is not our war, but the victory of the government will mean the defeat of the workers. The victory of the Opposition also does not promise anything good. We cannot call the proletariat to sacrifice themselves for the sake of the Opposition and its interests. We think that the extent of participation in this conflict is a matter of personal choice. However, we encourage all to avoid being drafted to serve in the internal military forces controlled by Yanukovich, and to sabotage by all means available the actions of the government.

No gods, no masters, no nations, no borders!

Kiev organization AWU (Autonomous Workers Union).

Fake Apple Store in China?

A recent article on wired.com notes that fake Apple stores are popping up in China. The whole enchilada: products, colors, interior design, etc. The article also mentions that even the workers think they are working for Apple. Guess what, the CHINESE are working for Apple! Apple has factories in China! (You would expect a lower priced computer given the labor cost are kept so low. Nope.)

What is an all American product this day and age? Can Apple be considered an “American” product when it is made in China? Let’s just say that it’s a co-production: Chinese workers + Apple designers.

I think the only tech product we don’t outsource is our military weapons. The High-Tech Top-Secret stuff. But even then I suspect we bend a few rules here and there if we see a good contract -that’s what capitalism is about, isn’t it?

Norman Pealstine in chapter 4 of "News War", by Frontline

“Leaks and use of anonymous sources is very much in the fabric of American journalism today, the places where it’s most obvious are in Washington, Hollywood, Wall street and in Sports” -Norman Pearlstine, Editor-in-Chief, Time Inc., 1995-2005

Referring to the obvious leak to reporter Matt Cooper, from Bush/Cheney Advisers Karl Rove and Scooter Libby that blew the cover of an undercover CIA operative Valerie Plame, and therefor creating a smoke screen around the exaggerated nuclear threat that set the stage for the invasion of Iraq. That was July 14, 2003, four months after the US invaded Iraq.

Four years later, in the summer of 2007, the only person prosecuted for the leak was Cheney’s Adviser Scooter Libby, he received 2 yrs and some 250,000 fines. The Prison sentence was pardoned by George W. Bush, who said that the punishment was excessive. Never did the penalties go up the chain of command, let’s face it, they were all in it together, adviser’s don’t usually act on their own accord.

The Obama administration never fully held the Bush administration accountable for that leak nor did it hold accountable the Bush administration for all the misinformation leading up to the invasion of Iraq. +90,000 deaths in Iraq, based on several lies and leaks from the White House.

Three years and some 90,000 Iraqi deaths later, the White House is calling Julian Assange a terrorist? If you compare the outcome of Wikileaks’ Cablegate and The White House’s “PlameGate” (and the rest of the false information leaked or planted), just by sheer number of lives lost, who would you say are the real terrorist?

Valerie Plame White House Leak Chart

Chart showing the leak of classified CIA information as moving through the White House and into the press. Chart by SB after DB, User Leak watcher on en.wikinews.

**This Frontline documentary 2007 “News War”, gives and interesting picture on how the Bush administration worked the press, first leaking info to the press, then re-validating the leaks/info in further press statements. In this case, Dick Cheney leaked the info, Karl Rove on the other end further dissipates the information claiming it is common press knowledge, both Cheney and Rove wipe their hands clean of any leaking.

Yesterday, X-initiative launched No Soul For Sale: A Festival for Independents. It was a nice turn out, it was like an art fair except without those nasty cubical-like partitions. Event goes on until Sunday 1-9pm. Studio Film Club at No Soul For Sale recently also added nightly film screening 9-11pm every night.

No Soul For Sale, June 23, 2009 NYC

No Soul For Sale, June 23, 2009 NYC

No Soul For Sale, June 23, 2009 NYC

No Soul For Sale, June 23, 2009 NYC

No Soul For Sale, June 23, 2009 NYC

No Soul For Sale, June 23, 2009 NYC

No Soul For Sale, June 23, 2009 NYC

No Soul For Sale, June 23, 2009 NYC

No Soul For Sale, June 23, 2009 NYC

No Soul For Sale, June 23, 2009 NYC

No Soul For Sale, June 23, 2009 NYC

No Soul For Sale, June 23, 2009 NYC

No Soul For Sale (poster)

No Soul For Sale (poster)

A few clips of interest, mostly of themes I have been thinking about. I’m not gonna discuss them, I want to keep opinion and sentiment at bay.

Walks in the West Bank

Walks in the West Bank

The Palestinian author Raja Shehadeh looks back on years of walks in the hills of the West Bank. (A video article by the New York Times on Raja Shehadeh, a Lawyer who represents Palestinians in Israeli Land  courts and the founder of Al-Haq, a human rights group, his latest book Palestinian Walks: Notes on a Vanishing Landscape is about changes in theWest Bank told through the 6 walks he has been doing in that area in the last 30 years.)

Waltz with Bashir (2008)

Waltz with Bashir (2008) (youtube trailer)
A new animated documentary film by Ari Folman that tells the story of the Isreali’s siege into Lebanon in 1982. The story is told through the directors attempt to piece together the haunting events of those tense months through memory, dreams, other soldiers accounts, and ultimately with real footage.
Waltz with Bashir -Youtube trailer
Waltz with Bashir -official website

Battle of Orgreave by Jeremy Deller. Documentary by Mike Figgis.

Battle of Orgreave (2001) by Jeremy Deller . Documentary by Mike Figgis.

The Battle of Orgreave was a re-enactment of one of the most violent confrontations of the 1984/5 miners strike, when police mounted a cavalry charge through the mining village of Orgreave in south Yorkshire. This documentary of the event is by Mike Figgis.
A Mike Figgis Film of Jeremy Deller’s The Battle of Orgreave performance. (<–this link will launch Windows Media player)
Jeremy Deller’s website. /ArtAngel info sheet.

Boston Dynamic's Big Dog for Darpa

Meet Big Dog, designed by Boston Dynamics for DARPA. One blogger called it “amazing”, I call it creepy. When I was young I used to fantasize about a future flourishing with robots in all shapes and sizes, but during these wartime years here in America I feel less comfortable with our military’s effort to sanitize war by leaving the dirty work to robots (along with the already active mercenary groups and independent war contractors).

Dirty work drones have been in use now for some time, carrying out assassination missions in many part of the world. By their standards, some of the robot mission are considered “successful”, meaning they killed the person they were hunting, while other not so glorious missions tell eery stories like this one in the UK’s Guardian of innocent villagers’ homes being blasted to pieces in the middle of the night, like this case in Pakistan where 18 villagers were killed, including 4 children. Just Google Preditor Drone and countless other stories will pop up.

- – -

4 of the last post here at Bureaux have been about war, so we decided to end the week with another, this one for the robotics and ethical design debate.

“DARPA’s Robot Dog Project”, Defense Industry Daily, July 2007

More of the war-focused designs by Boston Dynamics can be found on their website.

Segway headway

In December 2001, Dean Kamen unveiled his latest invention, The Segway, a two wheeled battery powered scooter that can take people -umm- around the block and back? Not much more efficient than the other two wheeled invention called the bicycle. Many people still see them on the street or on TV and are befuddled by it’s awkwardness.

A couple of months before the Segway is released, American and British forces invade Afghanistan in retaliation for the Sept. 11th bombings, the day is October 7, 2001.

Two years later, March 20, 2003, with the war still being fought in Afghanistan, US decided to invade Iraq. The events that unfold still continue to change the course of world history.
Still the Segway slow to ship at with it’s hefty price tag, $6,000, where do you park it? At the end of 2003, Segway recalled the 6,000 units sold because of power/safety issues, a technological glitch that only made matters worse given that they company projected that they would sell 50,000-100,000 that year.

Fast forward 2008, we’ve been at war for 7 years now. The two wars are still raging, draining life from Iraq, from Afghanistan, from America, despite the lies and lack of progress. A conundrum, a pretzel. Can you fast forward war? I’m sure a great many Americans would love to tiVo the whole thing, fast forward and erase. I’m digressing -sort of, however remote these two diverging stories do eventually collide… in this CNN video report, Segway comes to the service of returning amputee veterans… On the surface technology seems to have saved the day again, but I don’t think that’s the end of it.

- – -

Stories linked in this post:

“Amputee vets see eye-to-eye on Segways” by Paul Courson
May 5, 2008 CNN Video

“Segway sales haven’t transported maker” by Dawn Kawamoto
Sept 29, 2003, C|Net News