World peace hanging by a thread

| by Fidel Castro Ruz

( January 17, Havana, Sri Lanka Guardian) Yesterday ( Jan. 11) I had the pleasure of conversing leisurely with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. I hadn’t seem him since September of 2006, more than five years ago, when he visited our country to participate in the 14th Non-Aligned Movement Summit which took place in Havana, when Cuba was elected for a second time to the Presidency of this organization for a three year term.

I am sure that no rash action on the part of Iran, which could contribute to the outbreak of war, can be expected. If such a war should break out, it will only be as a result of the yankee empire’s congenital adventurism and irresponsibility.
I had become seriously ill July 26, 2006, a month and a half prior to this event and could barely sit up in bed. A few of the most distinguished leaders attending the meeting were kind enough to visit me. Chávez and Evo did so more than once. One midday, four, who I always remember, came: Kofi Annan, UN Secretary General; an old friend, Abdelaziz Buteflika, President of Algeria; Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, President of Iran; and a Deputy Foreign Minister from China who is now the country’s Foreign Minister, Yang Jiechi, representing the leader of the People’s Republic of China’s Communist Party, Hu Jintao. It was really an important moment for me as I was making a great effort to rehabilitate my right hand, which I had seriously injured in a fall in Santa Clara.

With these four I discussed aspects of the problems facing the world at that time. These have surely become even more complex.

In our encounter yesterday, I found the Iranian President absolutely calm and composed, completely indifferent to the yankee threats, confident in the capacity of his people to confront any aggression and in the ability of their weapons, a large portion of which they themselves have produced, to make the aggressors pay a heavy price.

In reality, he barely addressed the issue of war, he was concentrated on the ideas he expressed during the master lecture he gave within the University of Havana’s Aula Magna, focused on humanity’s struggle to "move toward achieving and maintaining peace, security, respect and human dignity as all human beings have desired, far and wide, throughout history."

I am sure that no rash action on the part of Iran, which could contribute to the outbreak of war, can be expected. If such a war should break out, it will only be as a result of the yankee empire’s congenital adventurism and irresponsibility.

I, for one, think that the political situation created around Iran and the resultant danger of nuclear war involving everyone – those possessing such weapons and those who don’t – is extremely delicate because it threatens the very existence of our species. The Middle East has become the most conflictive region in the world and is the area where energy resources vital to the world economy are produced.

The destructive power and massive suffering caused by some of the equipment used in World War II led to a strong effort to ban some weapons such as poison gases and others used in that war. Nevertheless, conflicting interests and the enormous profits gained by arms merchants led to the fabrication of even more cruel and destructive weapons, until modern technology provided the means and materials which, if employed, could lead to extinction.

I hold the opinion, undoubtedly shared by all people with an elementary sense of responsibility, that no country, large or small, has the right to possess nuclear weapons.

These should never have been used to attack defenseless cities like Hiroshima and Nagasaki, murdering and irradiating hundreds of thousands of men, women and children and causing long-lasting ill effects in a country which had already been militarily defeated.

If fascism had obliged the forces allied against Nazism to compete with this enemy of humanity in the manufacture of such weapons, once the war was over and the United Nations created, the first responsibility of that organization was to prohibit them, with no exceptions whatsoever.

But the United States, the strongest and richest power, imposed the line to be followed on the rest of the world. Today it possesses hundreds of spy satellites and polices all inhabitants of the planet from space. Its naval, air and land forces are equipped with thousands of nuclear weapons and it governs, as it pleases, the world’s finances and investments through the International Monetary Fund.

If the history of every one of Latin America’s countries is studied, from Mexico to Patagonia, through the Dominican Republic and Haiti, it can be seen that, without a single exception, all have suffered for 200 years. Since the beginning of the 19th century to date, in one way or another they have been increasingly suffering the worst crimes that power and force can commit against the rights of peoples. Brilliant writers emerged in growing numbers, one of them, Eduardo Galeano, author of the Open Veins of Latin America, which describes the aforementioned, has just been invited to inaugurate the prestigious Casa de Las Américas Prize, as a recognition of his important work.

Events unfold with such incredible speed, but the technology which disseminates them to the public does so even more rapidly. On any day, like today, important news items emerge at an extraordinary pace. One cable dispatch dated yesterday the 11th included the following information: the Danish President of the European Union affirmed on Wednesday that a new series of more severe European sanctions against Iran will be decided January 23, as a result of its nuclear program, focusing not only on the oil industry but the Central Bank as well.

"We’ll go further both on oil sanctions and on sanctions against the financial structures" in Iran, Danish Foreign Minister Villy Soevndal said during a press conference. It can be clearly seen that, in the interest of preventing nuclear proliferation, Israel can accumulate hundreds of nuclear missiles while Iran cannot produce uranium enriched to 20% [concentration of 235U].

Another news item about the issue from a well-known and expert British agency reported that China showed no sign Wednesday of ceding to United States demands to reduce its purchases of Iranian oil and described the sanctions U.S. against Iran as excessive.

Anyone would be shocked at the tranquility with which the United States and civilized Europe are promoting this campaign with incredible, systematic terrorist practices. These lines circulated by another important European news agency, "The killing, Wednesday, of a nuclear scientist at the Natanz nuclear plant in central Iran, is the fourth of its kind since January of 2010."

January 12, 2010: "A nuclear scientist of international repute, Massoud Ali- Mohamadi, a professor at the University of Tehran who worked for the Guardians of the Revolution, died when a motor-cycle bomb exploded outside his home…"

"November 29, 2010: Majid Shahriari, a founder member of the Nuclear Society of Iran and who headed one of the major Iranian Atomic Energy Organization projects […] was killed in Tehran when a magnetic bomb attached to his car exploded.

"The same day, another nuclear physicist, Fereydoun Abasi Davani, was the target of an attack in an identical situation when he was parking his car outside Shahid Beheshti University in Tehran, where the two men were professors." –He was only injured.

"July 23, 2011: Scientist Dariush Rezainejad, who worked on Defense Ministry projects, was shot and killed by unknown assailants on a motor cycle in Tehran."

"January 11, 2012: – in other words, the same day that Ahmadinejad was traveling from Nicaragua to Cuba to give his lecture at the University of Havana – scientist Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan, who worked at the Natanz plant, where he was deputy director for commercial affairs, died when a magnetic bomb attached to his car exploded close to Allameh Tabatabai University, east of Tehran." As in previous years, "Iran once again accused the United States and Israel."

This is about the selective butchery of brilliant Iranian scientists being systematically assassinated. I have read articles by known Israel sympathizers talking of crimes perpetrated by its intelligence services, in cooperation with the United States and NATO, as something normal.

At the same time, news agencies in Moscow informed, "Russia warned today that a similar scenario to that of Libya is developing in Syria, while noting that, this time, the attack will come from neighboring Turkey.

"Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev stated that the West wishes ‘to punish Damascus, not so much for repression of the opposition but because of its refusal to break off its alliance with Tehran.’"

"…in his opinion, a similar scenario to that of Libya is developing in Syria, but this time, the attacking forces will not come from France, Britain and Italy, but from Turkey."

"He additionally ventured to state, ‘it is possible that Washington and Ankara are already defining various options of flight zone exclusions where Syrian armed rebel units could be trained and concentrated.’"

News is not just coming in from Iran and the Middle East, but from other points in Central Asia in the vicinity of the Middle East. This allows us to appreciate the complexity of the problems which could emerge from this dangerous area.

Its contradictory and absurd imperial policies have led the United States into serious problems in countries such as Pakistan, whose borders with another important state, Afghanistan, were drawn up by colonialists without taking culture or ethnicities into account.

In the latter country, which defended its independence in the face of British colonialism throughout the centuries, drug production has greatly increased since the yankee invasion, and European soldiers, supported by drone aircraft and sophisticated armaments from the United States, are committing disgraceful acts of slaughter which are increasing the population’s hatred and distancing possibilities of peace. This and other atrocities are also reflected in the Western news agency cables.

"WASHINGTON, January 12, 2012 – U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta this Thursday described as utterly deplorable the behaviour of four men presented as U.S. marines urinating on corpses in Afghanistan, as shown on a video circulating on Internet.

"I have seen the images and find the behavior (of the men) utterly deplorable…"

"This conduct is entirely inappropriate for members of the United States military and does not reflect the standards or values our armed forces are sworn to uphold…"

In real terms, he is neither affirming nor denying it. Anyone could be left in doubt, possibly the Secretary of Defense himself.

But it is also extremely inhuman that men, women and children, or an Afghani combatant fighting against foreign occupation should be killed by bombs dropped from drone aircraft. Something else which is extremely grave: dozens of Pakistani soldiers and officers guarding the country’s borders have been destroyed by these bombs.

President Karzai of Afghanistan said in a statement that the desecration of the corpses was simply inhuman, and asked the U.S. government to implement the most severe punishment on all those responsible for the crime.

Taliban spokespersons stated that in the last 10 years there have been hundreds of similar acts which were not revealed.

One even feels pity for those soldiers, separated from their families and friends, thousands of kilometers from their own homeland, sent to fight in countries which they maybe never even heard mentioned as students, where they are assigned the task of killing or dying in order to enrich transnational enterprises, weapons manufacturers and unscrupulous politicians who, every year, are squandering funds needed for the alimentation and education of the countless millions of hungry and illiterate people in the world.

More than a few of these soldiers, victims of trauma, end up taking their own lives.

Am I exaggerating when I affirm that world peace is hanging by a thread?