Should talk of regime change in South Africa be taken seriously? Well there are good reasons why the idea should not be pooh-poohed. South Africa is involved in a Russian-led plot to dislodge the dollar as the global reserve currency. Uncle Sam’s psychopaths bust nations who threaten America’s largest export. The ‘revolution industry’ is also thriving. There’s a long list of Western sponsored ‘colour revolutions’ which have bewitched ‘civil society’, hijacked and inflamed dissent and opened the door to ‘humanitarian’ intervention and regime change.
The coup in the Ukraine is a textbook example of the operation. The US spent $5 billion seeding dissent and parading protest. Then came the snipers picking off targets on both sides; and the false flag operation in which some 300 passengers on Malaysian Airlines MH17 were murdered with ice cold precision. Through an orgy of fascism the mainstream press chorused a singular narrative. The Russians had provoked an insurrection against the new ‘government’ in Kiev to annex Crimea. The facts were disappeared. Nazi thugs are now in control; multinationals have their paws on the breadbasket of Europe and people starve and freeze. There’s a slippery slope from jolly social media campaigns and flash mobs to smart bombs and collateral damage.
Regime change gained traction in the Rainbow Nation in December when theologian, law professor and former Black Consciousness cadre, Barney Pityana, used the dreaded term in a ‘State of Democracy’ debate. He said, “Regime change is not a bad thing and the South African Communist Party and ANC need to be reminded that we are in a democracy. It is the nature of a democracy.” His remarks were parroted in the mainstream media with hardly a murmur of dissent.
Executive Intelligence Review carried a response in its January 2015 issue. “No, Reverend Pityana, you are lying. Regime change is all about trashing constitutions, laws, and elections.” The article argues there is a colour revolution network in South Africa organized around the ‘Society, Work and Development Institute’ (SWOP) at Wits University in Johannesburg. It names sociologist, activist and former director, Eddie Webster as a central figure in the network and links SWOP to the controversial Albert Einstein Institute. It claims SWOP’s successful strategy against apartheid – organising workers around broader issues – is now being used to undermine the ANC government.
EIR is the mouthpiece of the La Rouche Organisation, a big fan of the BRICS consortium of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. La Rouche sees BRICS as a potential shield against Western financial and military aggression. Others maintain BRICS is an alliance of neoliberal elites determined to help each other stay in power and loot their respective nations. Critiquing BRICS is clearly not the same as organising a colour revolution.
Professor Patrick Bond, director of the Centre for Civil Society at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, is among those fingered by EIR. “He does not appear directly connected to AEI or SWOP, but his intentions, methods, and funding sources are much the same.”
For Professor Bond, BRICS is essentially part of the imperial firmament even if only a junior partner. BRICS poses no challenge to global financialisation and casino economics. Its pursuit of infinite growth for elite enrichment follows the neoliberal template in the West; the South African version is just dirtier, ecologically and environmentally. Pretoria’s neoliberals and New Delhi’s reactionaries are the worst of the bunch. They eschew desperately needed infrastructure development – which does not require hard currency – for mega-projects that profit corporations and banks. On current performance much of this is true for South Africa and India, just as it is for Britain.
But Professor Bond also thinks the Pentagon bombs Middle Eastern targets randomly, Syria used chemical warfare against civilians and Moscow conducted a blunt takeover of Crimea. “In Russia, activist challenges come as a result not only of Putin’s expansion into Ukraine, but attacks on protesters. Civil society has been courageous in that authoritarian context: a democracy movement in late 2011, a freedom of expression battle involving a risque rock band in 2012, gay rights in 2013 and at the Winter Olympics, and anti-war protests in March and May 2014.” He says such social action from below is required to bring sanity to the BRICS elites. It is easy to see why suspicions of a colour revolution in the making arise.
Last month the Russian parliament signed off on a $100 billion BRICS bank to provide funds for infrastructure projects in the subscribing countries and other developing nations. That’s not a huge amount of capital but the New Development Bank is becoming the symbol of a wider struggle to free the world from the stranglehold of the almighty dollar. Till now this has been an almost unimaginable possibility.
The US effectively became the world’s banker when the dollar – pegged to gold – became the currency for international payments under the 1944 Bretton Woods system. America went on a spending spree, recklessly printing dollars – and issuing IOUs – to fund welfare at home, carpet bombing in Vietnam and the Cold War. The Federal budget deficit covered in treasury bonds rose from $3 billion in the early sixties to $1.3 trillion in 1970. European leaders who expressed alarm – Konrad Adenauer in Germany, Charles De Gaulle in France – were forced from office.
In 1971 $14 billion in gold reserves (at the official price of $35 dollars an ounce) supported an astonishing $300 billion in circulation.The flood of dollars spooked creditors and Fort Knox haemorrhaged gold. Richard Nixon suspended convertibility in August that year, an unprecedented act of extortion as the price of gold rose ten-fold.
The US was broke. The good old days of printing money to bankroll consumption and cruelty were over. Or should have been. Abdulhay Yahya Zalloum (Oil Crusades: America through Arab Eyes) and William Engdahl (A Century of War: Anglo American Oil Politics and the New World Order) provide excellent accounts of the scam of all time that was devised to rescue the dollar and America. For those who want to cut to the chase Follow the Money provides an essential overview.
Here’s how the fix worked. The artificial demand for dollars – which evaporated with the abandonment of the gold standard – was craftily restored. In 1973 US Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger began talks with the Saudis. A deal to trade oil exclusively for dollars was reached a year later. By 1975 the rest of OPEC followed. Meanwhile the staged 1973 Arab-Israeli war triggered an oil embargo and prices rose 400 percent. The Third World was mired in debt while other economies struggled. But everybody needed dollars again and soon most trade was conducted in the currency. Although the US accounts for less than 22 percent of world GDP more than 80 percent of international payments today are made in dollars.
Even better the oil producers ‘agreed’ to recycle their dollars by investing their surpluses in US Treasury securities giving the US money to spend. The sheikhs get military hardware to suppress restive natives and protection from Israel (ostensibly). America gets free oil, goods on tick and trillions in cheap credit to screw the world.
This lucrative petrodollar racket – underpinning American dominance – must be enforced. That makes control of oil fields, distribution networks and markets necessary. The US has not hesitated to knee-cap trouble makers. Saddam Hussein declared in September 2000 that Iraq would stop trading oil in dollars. By 2002 Iraq had switched completely to a ‘petroeuro’. On March 19, 2003, George W. Bush announced a full scale invasion of Iraq.
Afghanistan got the same treatment (a month after 9/11) in an effort to secure a pipeline from the oil-rich Caspian basin – through Afghanistan and Pakistan – and out to the Arabian Sea. Muammar Gaddafi was overthrown and brutally murdered because he tried to free an entire continent from petrodollar bondage.
Despite this horrific intimidation – and a strategy of spreading chaos and insecurity to prop the dollar – resistance is peaking. Iran is one of the world’s largest oil producers and has insisted since 2007 on payments in currencies other than the dollar. Sanctions – under the pretext that Iran poses a nuclear threat – have not put Teheran out of business. Trade in the Chinese yuan, Russian rouble and Indian rupee is rising, augmented by swap arrangements and direct barter. Sanctions against Russia – a major oil and gas producer – have also rebounded. In August last year President Vladimir Putin defiantly said “the petrodollar system should become history”.
Analyst Valentin Katasonov believes the dollar war – waged under the guise of a war against terror, radical Islam, Russian aggression, violations of human rights and other ‘worthy’ causes– has already begun. “If the US were to become the sole beneficiary of a third world war, the problem of her old debts would simply vanish. Washington would then be able to unilaterally erase the debts owed to other countries from its balance sheet, by arbitrarily determining which of those countries were ‘guilty’ for the war.”
That of course depends on whether there are any survivors. Not on the outcome of a possible colour revolution in the Rainbow Nation.