28 April, 2015

Cartel1 World War Slaughter and Europe's longest Peace

What was the origin of World War One? A gunshot at Sarajevo? Don't you believe it! What started the Second World War then? Hardly another assassination attempt on a grand duke!
Why then is Western Europe now living in the longest period of peace in all its more than 2000 year history? What are the real causes of war? The New Testament Letter of James, the brother of Jesus Christ, to the 12 diaspora tribes of Israel asks 'Where do your wars come from?' and targets selfish, godless, materialistic greed. If that is the cause how did Europe find a solution that brought it unprecedented peace, safety and prosperity?
Has James anything to do with the Schuman Proposal to create a novel and more authentic form of European democracy? The truth of the extent of human greed and lust for power is so shocking and distasteful for the public palate that few politicians or historians are willing to broach the subject.
But our lives depend on being honest with ourselves.
True  democracy is not only about voting choice but about empowering the public good.   A Cartel has the opposite effect to a just Democracy. A small unrepresentative group  of manufacturers, for example, can fix the price of goods and cheat the consumer. A political cartel controls levers of power. Voting brings no results.
Cartels can do far worse. They can dictate war or peace. They can control all aspects of what in the west is considered democratic society. They act for profit against the common good of the people.
This month, April 2015, marks the hundredth anniversary of the slaughter of British, French, Australian and New Zealand (ANZAC) soldiers on the Turkish beaches of Gallipoli during the First World War. Many of these brave troops were shot down in a futile attempt to seize the gateway to the Black Sea and outflank Germany's war of the trenches. Worse, they were killed and wounded by British bullets fired from British guns by Turks and Germans. A British warship there was sunk by British mines. Arms were sold to the enemy by British manufacturers in pre-war armaments cartels that surpassed all Europe's borders. In the postwar years British ministers again justified selling more arms to Turkey!
Arms firms sold their wares not even mainly to their 'home' armies and navies but indiscriminately to customers abroad. Quite often the 'home' market paid higher prices than export customers.
'One of the most anti-social, not to say detestable but also the most effective methods of soliciting orders,' said Nobel Peace Prize winner Philip Noel-Baker, {was} 'playing off one country against another'
Using a combination of flattery, patriotism and prestige the Swedish manufacturer of the first submarines fired up its own naval race. The first export submarine was sold in the 1880s to desperately poor Greece. Then two were sold to Turkey. Then after their warning to Russia of the dangers of Turkish submarines in the Black Sea, they sold a newer model to Russia.
Submarines later became a lethal instrument in two world wars, killing thousand of civilians in liners and cargo ships. On 7 May 1915 a German submarine sank the world's largest passenger liner, Cunard's Lusitania with the loss of more than a thousand passengers including 128 Americans. The USA entered the war in 1917.
The second technique was an arms or materials cartel.  Arms firms based in different countries worldwide cooperated in a blood-stenched 'Arms Ring' fleecing the global public.
The arms cartel enveloped all the major 'patriotic' manufacturers, many of which still survive to this day in contrast to the millions of WW1 dead. They include the great national champions of the 'defence industries': Britain's Vickers, Armstrong, Brown, Cammell Laird, France's Schneider-Creusot, Chatillon, Germany's Krupp, Dillingen, Deutsche Waffen, Thyssen, Austria's Skoda, Italy's Terni, USA's Bethlehem Steel, Carnegie Steel. Together with banks like Deutsche Bank, they formed joint companies, like the United Harvey Steel Company in 1901, to expand arms sales, share profits and exchange patents and licenses. Harvey Armour and Krupp armour plate used nickel and chrome in patent processes that firms all shared to boost arms race sales.
The advance of more powerful guns required that warships should be protected with ever thicker steel. By successively creating new techniques for armour-plated ships and then armour-piercing shells and so on, the arms ring was able to sell more and more 'Dreadnaught' or later 'Invincible' battle ships. It also rendered earlier models obsolete. Thus was ignited both a naval arms race and stoking an ever-increasing patriotic desperation for weapons supremacy. The same applied to other land armies with the advent of the machine gun and other inventions.
The power of these cartels extended to banks, the media and parliament and the organs of government. Six months before the start of WW1, Krupp stocked up on strategic materials. This included Nickel from the French monopoly producer, Le Nickel. Its board of directors included a French banker, a British arms trader and two Germans acting for Krupp. The shipments were to be made through neutral Norway. In the weeks after war had broken out, the Norwegian ship, Benesloet, with 2500 tons of nickel, half paid for by Krupp, was stopped by the French cruiser, Dupetit-Thouars.  A court in Brest declared it contraband of war but an urgent message from Paris ordered its release. The Court it Brest refused to comply ... until on 10 October 1914 an order from the Ministry at the insistence of Le Nickel, confirmed its release. Its cargo duly reached Krupp's plant at Essen via Norway.
Thus it became difficult to distinguish who was working for anti-democratic cartels and who wasn't.
As revealed in the new book, Jalonneur, on Robert Schuman and world peace, cartels (ideological, financial and industrial) were the major cause of two World Wars. Schuman's native Lorraine with its high-grade iron ore was the constant German 'war aim' throughout the war because of the German steel and arms cartel.
What happened then? This year in May we commemorate also the longest period of peace in all the recorded history of western Europe. Previously every generation knew war. It had prepared for war, gone to war or was trying to recover from the ruins of war.
No one foresaw such a peace. In 1950 diplomats and think tanks predicted that Europe would continue to be an even more disastrous zone of war and destruction. Schuman was often a lone voice. His own political party opposed him. Yet he was convinced as Prime Minister and Foreign Minister that Europe must use this last chance for peace, even if others said it was impossible. In that way he was not only the architect and designer of the peace, but the constructor and technician supervising its foundation. He was a visionary of a future undreamed of.
He told the US Secretary of State before his Declaration that it would produce the greatest period of prosperity since the Middle Ages. Europe embarked on the highway to peace and prosperity  that it had never known in all its past.
Robert Schuman proposed and created the world's first international system to control cartels. Based on the industrial constituents, steel for armaments and coal for energy and the chemical for explosives, Schuman founded the European Community for Coal and Steel. It is the embryo body from which has grown the European Union.
It is not coal and steel that is so important but the democratic means to control cartels.
Today the European Union is faced with hostile and jealous powers that supply the energy it lacks to provide for itself. They also wish to destroy its democratic anti-cartel system.
On the east lies Russia with its huge gas and oil reserves. Together with its former Soviet States of Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan, Russia today supplies 40 percent of the EU's petroleum. Gas is even more critical. Some EU Member States rely 100 percent on Russian gas from its huge gas monopoly, Gazprom. With the collapse of the Soviet Union, I published a book in 1995, Russia and the Danger for the European Union. It proposed that the EU and Russia could work together to enhance democracy and the use of energy resources. The book was expanded and republished in 2000. Copies were given to the European Commission and other EU leaders without noticeable effect.
War has broken out in Ukraine, the umbilical link for gas to Europe. It is the chokepoint both for gas price blackmail and political leverage on the EU.  The European Commission has now announced that it is beginning to take action against Gazprom for abuse of its dominant position. In other words Gazprom is refusing to recognize the European law. The Kremlin would like to render European law and especially anti-cartel law void so that it can exploit its monopolistic and dictatorial position in some vulnerable States like the Baltics and others that were formerly part of the Soviet Union. In the 1990s the EU refused to take heed of the warning of this danger and create a democratic Energy Community based on supranational principles.
But Russia is not Europe's biggest cartel problem today.
(to be continued)