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Εγχειρίδιο χειρισμού κρίσεων λόγω πολιτικών ΔΝΤ από τη CIA! / Already confirmed: Civil liberties under attack! / Greece's creditors gone completely insane! / How the global financial mafia sucked Greece's blood / ECB's economic hitmen / Η Μέρκελ επιβεβαιώνει τα σχέδια των γραφειοφασιστών! /Greece: the low-noise collapse of an entire country/ How the neoliberal establishment tricked the masses again, this time in France / Ενώ η Γερμανία προετοιμάζεται για τα χειρότερα, η Ελλάδα επιμένει στο ευρώ! / Ένας παγκόσμιος "proxy" πόλεμος κατά της ελευθερίας έχει ξεκινήσει! / McCarthyism 2.0 against the independent information / Ο επικεφαλής του "σκιώδους συμβουλίου" της ΕΚΤ επιβεβαιώνει ότι η ευρωζώνη είναι μια χρηματοπιστωτική δικτατορία! / Venezuela case as an emphatic example of why the mainstream media propaganda in the West was so successful in previous decades / Δημοψήφισμα για Grexit: η τελευταία ευκαιρία να σωθεί η Ελλάδα και η τιμή της Αριστεράς / Populism as the new cliche of the elites to stigmatize anyone not aligned with the establishment / Δεν γίνεται έτσι "σύντροφοι" ... / Panama Papers: When mainstream information wears the anti-establishment mask / The Secret Bank Bailout / The head of the ECB “shadow council” confirms that eurozone is a financial dictatorship! / A documentary by Paul Mason about the financial coup in Greece / The ruthless neo-colonialists of 21st century / First cracks to the establishment by the American people / Clinton emails - The race of the Western neo-colonialist vultures over the Libyan corpse / Επιχείρηση Panama Papers: Το κατεστημένο θέλει το μονοπώλιο και στις διαρροές; / Operation "looting of Greece" reaches final stage / Varoufakis describes how Merkel sacrificed Greece to save the Franco-German banks / France officialy enters the neo-Feudal era! / The US establishment just gave its greatest performance so far ... / A significant revelation by WikiLeaks that the media almost ignored / It's official: the US is funding Middle-East jihadists! / Οι αδίστακτοι νεο-αποικιοκράτες του 21ου αιώνα / How to handle political unrest caused by IMF policies! / Πώς το νεοφιλελεύθερο κατεστημένο ξεγέλασε τις μάζες, αυτή τη φορά στη Γαλλία / Οι Γάλλοι νεοαποικιοκράτες επιστρέφουν στην Ελλάδα υπό 'ιδανικές' συνθήκες

21 September, 2017

Saudi Arabia, US and Britain "celebrate" 900 days of slaughter in Yemen


900 days have passed since the start of the violent war launched by Saudi Arabia against Yemen in March 2015, with the support of the United States and Great Britain.

It would not be an exaggeration at all, if one would say that the war has destroyed Yemen. From the daily bombardments, a total of 12,907 Yemeni citizens have been killed while 21,165 injured.

Also, 34,072 demolitions of buildings, factories and all kinds of facilities have been recorded.

The Legal Center for Rights and Development organization recorded with details every loss caused by the bombardments in Yemen.

The results of 900 days in one chart:


It is worth noting that the lists above include only the losses directly related to bombardments and military operations. Yet, besides these, it is estimated that 247,000 people have died from cholera, lack of health care, malnutrition and all the conditions resulting from the embargo imposed by Saudi Arabia.

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Τι είπε ο άνθρωπος!

Νίκος Μπογιόπουλος

«Δεν τρέφω αυταπάτες για μια κοινωνία χωρίς ανισότητες, κάτι τέτοιο είναι αντίθετο στην ανθρώπινη φύση, όσοι το επιχείρησαν καταστρατήγησαν τελικά την ίδια τη δημοκρατία και τα ατομικά δικαιώματα».

Ποτέ ίσως άλλοτε στην ιστορία αυτού του τόπου σε μια φράση δεν έχουν ειπωθεί τόσα πολλά.

Για την ακρίβεια δεν είχε προσφερθεί στο φιλοθεάμον κοινό τέτοιο ξεβράκωμα από τον γυμνό βασιλιά του νεοφιλελευθερισμού.

Τι μας είπε ο «μετριοπαθής», ο «ήπιος», ο «κεντροδεξιός» κύριος Μητσοτάκης;

Ότι η κοινωνική ισότητα καταστρατηγεί τη δημοκρατία και ότι κινείται στον αντίποδα της ανθρώπινης φύσης!

Ότι η «ανισότητα» (προσέξτε: η ανισότητα» και όχι η «διαφορετικότητα») αποτελεί στοιχείο του ανθρώπινου DNA και άρα είναι ο αρμός πάνω στον οποίο πρέπει να οικοδομούνται οι ανθρώπινες κοινωνίες!

Ο κ.Μητσοτάκης,ακολουθώντας τον «ευθύ» δρόμο του νεοσυντηρητισμού και όχι την σοσιαλδημοκρατική τεθλασμένη του κ.Τσίπρα (ιδού η… διαφορά τους) ήταν αποκαλυπτικός:

Δια των χειλέων του η κοινωνική ανισότητα έφτασε να συνιστά ξετσίπωτα πολιτικό πρόταγμα και να ξεστομίζεται επίσημα ως προεκλογικού τύπου διακηρυκτικός λόγος!

Τύφλα να έχει ο κοινωνικός δαρβινισμός! Τύφλα να έχει ο Μάλθους!

Ο κύριος Μητσοτάκης, ο οποίος αγορεύει περί το μέλλον, ο οποίος ομιλεί εν έτει 2017 για να μας πουλήσει τα οράματα του για το πώς θα είναι η Ελλάδα το 2030, μας το ξεκαθάρισε (εν τη πολιτική αφελεία του;): Θέλει μια χώρα, μια κοινωνία κι έναν λαό που θα ζούνε… 250 χρόνια πίσω.

Πίσω κι από εκείνο το «Ελευθερία – ΙΣΟΤΗΤΑ – αδελφοσύνη» της Γαλλικής Επανάστασης!

Τόσο «μαύρο» είναι το μέλλον που μας τάζουν. Φτιαγμένο με τα ίδια πάντα καπιταλιστικά υλικά, με τις ίδιες θεωρίες περί «άξιου και ικανού», με την ίδια κατασταλτική ιδεοληψία που αντανακλά και θέλει να αναπαραγάγει σε επίπεδο συνείδησης την επιβολή του «δίκιου του ισχυρού».

Και που όταν ανοίγουν οι υπόνομοι του συστήματος, εμφανίζονται κάποιοι και τα χρησιμοποιούν όλα αυτάγια να οδηγήσουν την ανθρωπότητα στους νόμους της Νυρεμβέργης.

Γρηγορείτε!

Πηγή:

Αν αφήναμε τους φιλελεύθερους να επιβάλλουν τη «φυσική τάξη» τους

Άρης Χατζηστεφάνου

Οι περισσότεροι φιλελεύθεροι υποστηρίζουν ότι για τα προβλήματα της οικονομίας ευθύνονται αποκλειστικά οι κρατικές παρεμβάσεις, που παραβιάζουν την «φυσική τάξη» της αγοράς. Οι δηλώσεις του προέδρου της ΝΔ ότι δεν υπάρχει κοινωνική ισότητα εντάσσονται, υπό μια έννοια, σε αυτή τη συλλογιστική. Αφήστε, λένε, την αγορά να αυτορυθμιστεί αναγνωρίζοντας το «δίκιο» του ισχυρού και όλα μας τα προβλήματα θα λυθούν.

Τι ακριβώς είναι όμως αυτή η «φυσική τάξη» την οποία επικαλούνται; Και έχει υπάρξει ποτέ «ελεύθερη αγορά» η οποία δεν ρυθμίζεται από κάποια κυβέρνηση ή οποιαδήποτε άλλη αρχή;

Είχα θέσει αυτά τα ερωτήματα στο διάσημο Κορεάτη οικονομολόγο Χα Τζουν Τσανκ, όταν επισκέφθηκε την Ελλάδα με αφορμή την κυκλοφορία του βιβλίου του Αλήθειες που δεν μας λένε για τον Καπιταλισμό (Εκδόσεις Καστανιώτη).

Για τους υποστηρικτές της ελεύθερης αγοράς, μου είπε, η φυσική τάξη πριν από μόλις 100 χρόνια ήταν να αφήνουμε ανήλικα παιδάκια να δουλεύουν σε εργοστάσια.

Πηγή, σύνδεσμοι, βίντεο:

20 September, 2017

Gary Cohn is giving Goldman Sachs everything it ever wanted from the Trump Administration

Gary Rivlin, Michael Hudson

Part 2 - GOLDMAN ALWAYS WINS

Goldman Sachs had been a favorite cudgel for candidate Trump — the symbol of a government that favors Wall Street over its citizenry. Trump proclaimed that Hillary Clinton was in the firm’s pockets, as was Ted Cruz. It was Goldman Sachs that Trump singled out when he railed against a system rigged in favor of the global elite — one that “robbed our working class, stripped our country of wealth, and put money into the pockets of a handful of large corporations and political entities.

Cohn, as president and chief operating officer of Goldman Sachs, had been at the heart of it all. Aggressive and relentless, a former aluminum siding salesman and commodities broker with a nose for making money, Cohn had turned Goldman’s sleepy home loan unit into what a Senate staffer called “one of the largest mortgage trading desks in the world.” There, he aggressively pushed his sales team to sell mortgage-backed securities to unaware investors even as he watched over “the big short,” Goldman’s decision to bet billions of dollars that the market would collapse.

Now Cohn would be coordinating economic policy for the populist president.

The conflicts between the two men were striking. Cohn ran a giant investment bank with offices in financial capitals around the globe, one deeply committed to a world with few economic borders. Trump’s nationalist campaign contradicted everything Goldman Sachs and its top executives represented on the global stage.

Trump raged against “offshoring” by American companies during the 2016 campaign. He even threatened “retribution,” - a 35 percent tariff on any goods imported into the United States by a company that had moved jobs overseas. But Cohn laid out Goldman’s very different view of offshoring at an investor conference in Naples, Florida, in November. There, Cohn explained unapologetically that Goldman had offshored its back-office staff, including payroll and IT, to Bangalore, India, now home to the firm’s largest office outside New York City: “We hire people there because they work for cents on the dollar versus what people work for in the United States.

Candidate Trump promised to create millions of new jobs, vowing to be “the greatest jobs president that God ever created.” Cohn, as Goldman Sachs’s president and COO, oversaw the firm’s mergers and acquisitions business that had, over the previous three years, led to the loss of at least 22,000 U.S. jobs, according to a study by two advocacy groups. Early in his candidacy, Trump described as “disgusting” Pfizer’s decision to buy a smaller Irish competitor in order to execute a “corporate inversion,” a maneuver in which a U.S. company moves its headquarters overseas to reduce its tax burden. The Pfizer deal ultimately fell through. But in 2016, in the heat of the campaign, Goldman advised on a megadeal that saw Johnson Controls, a Fortune 500 company based in Milwaukee, buy the Ireland-based Tyco International with the same goal. A few months later, with Goldman’s help, Johnson Controls had executed its inversion.

With Cohn’s appointment, Trump now had three Goldman Sachs alums in top positions inside his administration: Steve Bannon, who was a vice president at Goldman when he left the firm in 1990, as chief strategist, and Steve Mnuchin, who had spent 17 years at Goldman, as Treasury secretary. And there were more to come. A few weeks later, another Goldman partner, Dina Powell, joined the White House as a senior counselor for economic initiatives. Goldman was a longtime client of Jay Clayton, Trump’s choice to chair the Securities and Exchange Commission; Clayton had represented Goldman after the 2008 financial crisis, and his wife Gretchen worked there as a wealth management adviser. And there was the brief, colorful tenure of Anthony Scaramucci as White House communications director: Scaramucci had been a vice president at Goldman Sachs before leaving to co-found his own investment company.

Even before Scaramucci, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., had joked that enough Goldman alum were working for the Trump administration to open a branch office in the White House.

There was a devastating financial crisis just over eight years ago,” Warren said. “Goldman Sachs was at the heart of that crisis. The idea that the president is now going to turn over the country’s economic policy to a senior Goldman executive turns my stomach.” Prior administrations often had one or two people from Goldman serving in top positions. George W. Bush at one point had three. At its peak, the Trump administration effectively had six.

Earlier this summer, Trump boasted about his team of economic advisers at a rally in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. “This is the president of Goldman Sachs. Smart,” Trump said. “Having him represent us! He went from massive paydays to peanuts.

Trump waved off anyone who might question his decision to rely on the very people he had demonized. “Somebody said, ‘Why did you appoint a rich person to be in charge of the economy?’ … I said: ‘Because that’s the kind of thinking we want.’” He needed “great, brilliant business minds … so the world doesn’t take advantage of us.” How else could he get the job done? “I love all people, rich or poor, but in those particular positions, I just don’t want a poor person.

Does that make sense?” Trump asked. The crowd cheered.

Years of financial disclosure forms confirm that Cohn is indeed very rich. At the end of 2016, he owned some 900,000 shares of Goldman Sachs stock, a stake worth around $220 million on the day Trump announced his appointment. Plus, he’d sold a million more Goldman shares over the previous half-dozen years. In 2007 alone, the year of the big short, Goldman Sachs paid him nearly $73 million — more than the firm paid CEO Lloyd Blankfein. The disclosure forms Cohn filled out to join the administration indicate he owned assets valued at $252 million to $611 million. That may or may not include the $65 million parting gift Goldman’s board of directors gave him for “outstanding leadership” just days before Trump was sworn in.

Like anyone taking a top job in the Trump administration, Cohn was required to sign a pledge vowing not to participate for the next two years in any matter “that is directly and substantially related to my former employer or former clients, including regulations and contracts.” But presidents have sometimes issued waivers to these requirements, and it is unclear whether the Trump administration is making such waivers public.

Sens. Warren and Tammy Baldwin, a Democrat from Wisconsin, sent Cohn a letter a few days later. They brought up the $65 million bonus and asked him to publicly recuse himself from any issue that could have a direct or “significant indirect” impact on his old firm. Cohn never responded to the letter, and if he has ever received a waiver, it has not been made available to the public or the Office of Government Ethics.

Consistent with the Trump administration’s stringent ethics rules, Mr. Cohn will recuse himself from participating in any matter directly involving his former employer, Goldman Sachs,” White House spokesperson Natalie Strom said. “The White House will not comment further.

The White House declined requests to make Cohn available for an interview and declined to answer a detailed set of questions.

Cohn shared the podium with fellow Goldman alum Mnuchin (the two made partner there the same year) when the administration unveiled its new tax plan, one that, if the past is prelude, had the potential to save Goldman more than $1 billion a year in corporate taxes. The president had promised to “do a number” on financial reforms implemented after the 2008 subprime crisis, including one that threatened to cost Goldman several billion dollars a year in revenues. Under Cohn, the administration has introduced new rules easing initial public offerings — a Goldman Sachs specialty dating back to the start of the last century, when the firm handled the IPOs of Sears, Roebuck; F. W. Woolworth; and Studebaker. As Trump’s top economic policy adviser, Cohn can exert influence over regulatory agencies that have shaken billions in penalties and settlements out of Goldman Sachs in recent years. And his former colleagues inside Goldman’s Public Sector and Infrastructure group likely appreciate the Trump administration’s infrastructure plan, which is more or less exactly as Cohn first pitched it inside Trump Tower in November.

It’s hard to see how Gary Cohn recusing himself would solve a lot of these conflicts because nearly every major decision of his job would have a significant impact, likely billions of dollars, on Goldman Sachs and its executives,” said Tyler Gellasch, an attorney and former Senate staffer who helped draft Dodd-Frank, the landmark financial reform law passed in the wake of the financial meltdown. “Goldman touches nearly every aspect of the economy, from selling U.S. treasuries to helping companies go public, and the National Economic Council advises on all of that.

In the wake of last month’s white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, Cohn confessed to the Financial Times that he has “come under enormous pressure both to resign and to remain.” But the man who the Washington Post has dubbed Trump’s “moderate voice” declared that neo-Nazis would not force “this Jew” to leave his job. “As a patriotic American, I am reluctant to leave my post as director of the National Economic Council,” Cohn told FT. “I feel a duty to fulfill my commitment to work on behalf of the American people.

Or at least a few of them. The Trump economic agenda, it turns out, is largely the Goldman agenda, one with the potential to deliver any number of gifts to the firm that made Cohn colossally rich. If Cohn stays, it will be to pursue an agenda of aggressive financial deregulation and massive corporate tax cuts — he seeks to slash rates by 57 percent — that would dramatically increase profits for large financial players like Goldman. It is an agenda as radical in its scope and impact as Bannon’s was.

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[1]

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Η Αριστερά και η Βενεζουέλα

του Κλάουντιο Κατς

Μέρος 2ο - Αποτίμηση της βίας

Τα στοιχεία που παρουσίασε η αντιπολίτευση είναι διαμετρικά αντίθετα, αλλά αποκρούστηκαν από λεπτομερείς αναφορές σχετικά με τα θύματα. Εφόσον ουδείς αναγνωρίζει την ύπαρξη «ανεξάρτητων» αποτιμήσεων, μπορεί κανείς να κρίνει τα τεκταινόμενα ανατρέχοντας σε προηγούμενα γεγονότα. Στις ταραχές του Φεβρουαρίου του 2014, σκοτώθηκαν 43 άνθρωποι. Ο θάνατος των συντριπτικά περισσότερων δεν είχε καμιά σχέση με τις συγκρούσεις ή την αστυνομική καταστολή.

Κατά παρόμοιο τρόπο, θα πρέπει να ανατρέξουμε στο πώς αντέδρασε η αντιπολίτευση όταν αντιμετώπισε μια αντίστοιχη πρόκληση. Οι κυβερνήσεις της κατέστειλαν το “Caracazo” του 1989 [τον ξεσηκωμό των κατοίκων του Καράκας για τις τεράστιες αυξήσεις στη βενζίνη και στα μέσα μαζικής μεταφοράς] με εκατοντάδες νεκρούς και χιλιάδες τραυματίες.

Η κατάσταση στη Βενεζουέλα είναι δραματική, αλλά αυτό δεν εξηγεί την περίοπτη θέση που κατέχει η χώρα σε όλα τα δελτία ειδήσεων. Πολύ πιο σοβαρές καταστάσεις σε άλλες χώρες αγνοούνται παντελώς από τα ίδια ΜΜΕ.

Στην Κολομβία, από την αρχή του τρέχοντος έτους, έχουν δολοφονηθεί 46 ηγέτες του κοινωνικού κινήματος και τους τελευταίους 14 μήνες έχουν αφανιστεί 120. Ανάμεσα στο 2002 και στο 2016, παραστρατιωτικές ομάδες κατέσφαξαν 558 ηγέτες του μαζικού κινήματος και στις τελευταίες δύο δεκαετίες δολοφονήθηκαν περισσότεροι από 2.500 συνδικαλιστές. Γιατί, άραγε, κανείς έγκυρος παρουσιαστής των ΜΜΕ [συμπεριλαμβανομένων των Ελλήνων τηλεοπτικών παρουσιαστών σ.τ.μ.] δεν αναφέρει αυτή τη συνεχή αιματοχυσία στην πιο κοντινή γειτονική χώρα της Βενεζουέλας;

Ακόμη πιο τρομακτική είναι η κατάσταση στο Μεξικό. Καθημερινά προστίθεται και κάποιος δημοσιογράφος στον μακρύ κατάλογο των φοιτητών, των καθηγητών και των κοινωνικών αγωνιστών που δολοφονούνται. Στο κλίμα του κοινωνικού πολέμου που επιβλήθηκε από τις «δράσεις κατά του λαθρεμπορίου ναρκωτικών», έχουν εξαφανιστεί 29.917 άνθρωποι. Δεν θα έπρεπε αυτοί οι αριθμοί δολοφονιών να προσελκύσουν περισσότερο τη δημοσιογραφική προσοχή από ό,τι η Βενεζουέλα;

Η Ονδούρα είναι άλλη μια ανατριχιαστική περίπτωση. Συνυπολογίζοντας την Μπέρτα Κάσερες, έχουν δολοφονηθεί άλλοι 15 αγωνιστές. Ανάμεσα στο 2002 και το 2014, ο αριθμός των δολοφονημένων περιβαλλοντιστών έχει ανέλθει σε 111. Ο κατάλογος των θυμάτων του τρόμου που αγνοούνται από τον ηγεμονικό Τύπο θα μπορούσε να επεκταθεί στους πολιτικούς κρατούμενους του Περού. Επίσης, ελάχιστοι γνωρίζουν τα δεινά που αντιμετώπισε ο ηγέτης του κινήματος ανεξαρτησίας του Πουέρτο Ρίκο Όσκαρ Λόπες Ριβέρα στα 35 χρόνια της φυλάκισής του.

Η πλειονότητα του λατινοαμερικανικού [και του παγκόσμιου] πληθυσμού απλώς δεν γνωρίζει τις τραγωδίες που συμβαίνουν στις χώρες όπου κυβερνά η Δεξιά. Τα δύο μέτρα και δύο σταθμά των ΜΜΕ επιβεβαιώνουν ότι η κυριαρχία του θέματος της Βενεζουέλας στις τηλεοπτικές οθόνες δεν οφείλεται σε ανθρωπιστικές ανησυχίες.

Πηγή, παραπομπές:


[1]

19 September, 2017

A disease associated with poverty reappears in the US after decades


Richard Wolff reveals another shocking fact showing that poverty and inequality have been growing continuously inside the obsolete capitalist system.

A recent study reveals that a disease related to poverty has returned to the United States:

A study carried out by the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, in conjunction with the Alabama Center for Rural Enterprise (ACRE), found that a disease - associated throughout the history of medicine with poverty - has resurfaced in the United States, decades after it was officially announced to have been eradicated.

The disease is called Hookworm, an intestinal parasite that thrives on extreme poverty.

The study found that in the state of Alabama, which is where this study was conducted, there are all kinds of incidences of Hookworm that we thought we had eradicated. In a survey of people, living in Lowndes County, which is a county in Alabama, an area with a long history of racial discrimination and inequality, 34% of the people tested positive for traces of Hookworm. A third of the people.

If you want signs that the so-called economic recovery from the crash of 2008 has been a very variegated business, some people, the rich and large have recovered and the rest of us haven't, here is another statistic that drives that point home. Poverty has returned of a kind we thought we had eradicated, and with it, come diseases like Hookworm.


This is just another index that destroys the fairy tale of the alleged prosperity created by 'free market' capitalism.

Gary Cohn is giving Goldman Sachs everything it ever wanted from the Trump Administration

Gary Rivlin, Michael Hudson

Part 1

Steve Bannon was in the room the day Donald Trump first fell for Gary Cohn. So were Reince Priebus, Jared Kushner, and Trump’s pick for secretary of Treasury, Steve Mnuchin. It was the end of November, three weeks after Trump’s improbable victory, and Cohn, then still the president of Goldman Sachs, was at Trump Tower presumably at the invitation of Kushner, with whom he was friendly. Cohn was there to offer his views about jobs and the economy. But, like the man he was there to meet, he was at heart a salesman.

On the campaign trail, Trump had spoken often about the importance of investing in infrastructure. Yet the president-elect had apparently failed to appreciate that the government would need to come up with hundreds of billions of dollars to fund his plans.

Cohn, brash and bold, wired to attack any moneymaking opportunity, pitched a fix that would put Wall Street firms at the center: Private-industry partners could help infrastructure get fixed, saving the federal government from going deeper into debt.

The way the moment was captured by the New York Times, among other publications, Trump was dumbfounded. “Is this true?” he asked. Was a trillion-dollar infrastructure plan likely to increase the deficit by a trillion dollars? Confronted by nodding heads, an unhappy president-elect said, “Why did I have to wait to have this guy tell me?

Within two weeks, the transition team announced that Cohn would take over as director of the president’s National Economic Council.

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Banning Saudi Arabia from Labour conference hints at Corbyn’s likely tough stance as PM

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s decision to bar Saudi Arabia from his party’s annual conference next week suggests he would not be afraid to cut military and diplomatic ties with the Gulf kingdom over its war on Yemen if he becomes prime minister.

A Labour spokesperson told the Huffington Post on Monday: “Following evidence of war crimes committed by Saudi Arabia in its bombing campaign in Yemen and other large scale human rights abuses, the NEC [National Executive Committee] agreed that the embassy’s application to attend the Labour Party conference would not be accepted.

Labour also barred Sudan from the conference, which begins next Sunday in Brighton.

In response, the London office of the League of Arab States wrote to Labour MPs and peers to tell them a reception and dinner hosted by Arab ambassadors would be canceled. “Unfortunately, the council of Arab Ambassadors has taken the decision to cancel its annual reception and buffet dinner,” the letter read.

Our council has decided to refrain from attending the Labour Party conference this year due to rejection of both the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Republic of Sudan’s application to attend the conference.

Corbyn’s stand comes in sharp contrast with that of Theresa May’s government. The Tories have failed to criticize the Saudi government for potential war crimes, and has sold its military £3.6 billion (S4.87 billion) in weaponry that may have been used in its campaign in Yemen.

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Over 3,000 new US troops headed to Afghanistan - Pentagon

US Defense Secretary James Mattis confirmed that over 3,000 new US troops will be headed to Afghanistan as part of President Donald Trump’s new strategy to win the war that has dragged on for almost 16 years.

"It is exactly over 3,000 somewhat and frankly I haven't signed the last of the orders right now as we look at specific, small elements that are going," Mattis told reporters on Monday afternoon.

Earlier in the day, Senator David Perdue (R-Georgia) referred to “3,500 more troops” in an article published by Defense One. “For too long, America’s strategy in Afghanistan was driven by politics, leading to arbitrary troop caps and unreasonable timetables for troop withdrawal,” Perdue wrote, noting that enemies interpreted that as a lack of resolve. “Finally, the gloves are off.

Perdue, who visited Afghanistan in July, praised Trump as a “commander-in-chief who listens to his military leaders and understands we need a better, wiser approach in Afghanistan.

Trump announced his new strategy in late August, vowing “fast and powerful” retribution against terrorist organizations seeking a safe haven in Afghanistan. Instead of timetables, he said that victory would be predicated on “conditions on the ground.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov described the new strategy as a “dead end,” while Pakistan and China were critical of Washington’s approach, noting there was “no military solution” to the situation in Afghanistan.

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Related:

After failing to prosecute bankers, Obama cashes in with Wall Street speeches

The former president is reportedly raking in $400,000 per speech to massive financial firms.

by Jake Johnson

Less than a year has passed since he departed from the White House, and former President Barack Obama has already joined the “well-trod and well paid” Wall Street speaking circuit, a decision many argued will negatively impact the Democratic Party’s credibility as it attempts to fashion a message around taking on corporate monopolies, tackling income inequality, and loosening the insurance industry’s control over the American healthcare system.

According to a Bloomberg report published Monday, Obama has in the last month delivered two speeches to massive financial firms—Northern Trust Corp and the Carlyle Group—for around $400,000 a pop, and he is slated to attend a three-day conference hosted by Cantor Fitzgerald next week, for which he will make another $400,000.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton faced a wave of intense criticism following her paid speeches to Wall Street during the 2016 presidential campaign and later conceded that they weren’t politically wise.

Obama, however, doesn’t appear to harbor any concerns about the political impact his speeches may have—a fact that could be problematic for the Democratic Party, Bloomberg‘s Max Abelson notes.

           “While he can’t run for president, he continues to be an influential voice in a party torn between celebrating and vilifying corporate power,” Abelson writes. “His new work with banks might suggest which side of the debate he’ll be on.

News of Obama’s decision to “cash in” following his eight-year presidency drew significant ire, particularly given his administration’s failure to enact sufficient structural changes to the financial system following the worst economic collapse since the Great Depression.

As Abelson observes, Obama’s “Justice Department prosecuted no major bankers for their roles in the financial crisis, and he resisted calls to break up the biggest banks, signing a regulatory overhaul that annoyed them with new rules but didn’t stop them from pulling in record profits.

Responding to Bloomberg‘s report, a Twitter user asked Ryan Cooper, national correspondent for The Week, what a person could do in order to receive $400,000 for a single speech.

Cooper responded with a two-step plan:


Others reacted similarly to the former president’s lucrative speeches, noting that given Obama’s continued power over the direction of the Democratic Party—which was demonstrated in his successful push for former Labor Secretary Tom Perez to become chair of the Democratic National Committee over Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.)—is reason enough for him to abandon the Wall Street circuit.

This is a really crappy thing to do to the people who poured their hearts into his campaigns and administration,” concluded Matt Stoller, a fellow at the Open Markets Institute. “Hillary Clinton publicly talking about why she lost [the 2016 election] is far healthier than private speeches to the Carlyle Group.

For investigative journalist Nomi Prins, Obama’s Wall Street speeches are indicative of the deep, inescapable influence the nation’s largest financial institutions exert over political discussion and policy in the United States.

Wall Street knows no party,” Prins concluded.

Source, links:

Η Αριστερά και η Βενεζουέλα

του Κλάουντιο Κατς

Μέρος 1ο

Τους δύο τελευταίους μήνες, η Βενεζουέλα αντιμετώπισε ένα τρομερό κύμα βίας. Μέχρι στιγμής, το αποτέλεσμα είναι 60 νεκροί, λεηλατημένα σχολεία, πυρπολημένα δημόσια κτίρια, κατεστραμμένα μέσα δημόσιας μεταφοράς και εκκενωμένα νοσοκομεία. Παρ’ όλα αυτά, τα μεγάλης εμβέλειας ΜΜΕ μεταδίδουν απλώς συνεχείς καταγγελίες αποτροπιασμού για την κυβέρνηση. Δημιουργούν την εικόνα ενός «δικτάτορα που συγκρούεται» με τους «δημοκράτες της αντιπολίτευσης».

Όμως, οι στατιστικές δεν επιβεβαιώνουν αυτή την αφήγηση, ιδίως όσον αφορά τα θύματα. Όταν ο αριθμός των νεκρών είχε φτάσει τους 39, μια πρώτη αποτίμηση σημείωνε ότι μόνο 4 ήταν θύματα της δράσης των δυνάμεων ασφαλείας. Οι υπόλοιποι έχασαν τη ζωή τους κατά τη διάρκεια των λεηλασιών ή των κινητοποιήσεων της αντιπολίτευσης. Μια άλλη αποτίμηση σημείωνε ότι το 60% όσων σκοτώθηκαν δεν είχε καμιά απολύτως σχέση με τις συγκρούσεις.

Αυτά τα στοιχεία συνάδουν με τις εκτιμήσεις που αποδίδουν τους περισσότερους φόνους σε ελεύθερους σκοπευτές που συνδέονται με την αντιπολίτευση. Πιο πρόσφατες έρευνες αναφέρουν ότι τα περισσότερα θύματα έχασαν τη ζωή τους λόγω βανδαλισμών ή ξεκαθαρισμάτων λογαριασμών.

Υπάρχουν πολυάριθμες καταγγελίες επίσης για επιδρομές παραστρατιωτικών ομάδων που συνδέονται με τη Δεξιά. Όπως και ενδείξεις ότι όσοι διαπράττουν βιαιότητες, στο μέγιστο μέρος τους, προστατεύονται τοπικά από τους δήμους που διοικεί η αντιπολίτευση.

Αυτός ο φόρος αίματος σχετίζεται με τη φασιστική κτηνωδία που οδήγησε στο να κάψουν ζωντανούς ανθρώπους άνθρωποι που ανήκουν στο τσαβίστικο κίνημα. Η πρακτική αυτή, το να καίνε ζωντανό έναν οπαδό της κυβέρνησης, χρησιμοποιείται κυρίως από κολομβιανές παραστρατιωτικές δυνάμεις ή από τον υπόκοσμο των ποινικών εγκληματιών, και όχι από παραδοσιακές πολιτικές οργανώσεις. Ορισμένοι αναλυτές εκτιμούν ότι από τα 60 θύματα τα 27 ήταν τσαβίστες.

Άλλοι λένε ότι στις πορείες της αντιπολίτευσης συμμετέχουν περίπου 15.000 άτομα εκπαιδευμένα ειδικά για την πρόκληση επιθετικών ενεργειών. Χρησιμοποιούν μάσκες, ασπίδες και χειροποίητα όπλα για να προκαλέσουν χάος και να δημιουργήσουν «απελευθερωμένες περιοχές».

Πηγή, παραπομπές:

18 September, 2017

Nightmares of the close future: kids as the most suitable military drone operators


Andrew Feinstein, anti arms trade campaigner and author of the book "Shadow World: Inside the Global Arms Trade", spoke to The Real News about the war crimes by US military drones and the way that the military targets kids as the most suitable drone operators:

A film is being made called Drone about the way in which, particularly the American military, but also British and European militaries, have been targeting kids, effectively, at gaming fairs because the skills that are used in gaming are very similar to the skills needed by drone operators.

The consequence of this is that you are taking something that is supposed to be harmless and you are using it as a training ground for the killing of other human beings. In other words, what we are doing is we are taking everyday activities, we are turning them into murder, and we are normalizing them. I think perhaps more than anything else, this shows the terrifying and deadly effect of drone and robotic warfare, which unfortunately looks as though it's going to be a part of our future.


P.W. Singer, author of 'Wired for War' says:

There is always been a connection between the world of war and the world of entertainment. I call this phenomenon Militainment, where the military world is actually now pulling tools from the world of entertainment to do its job better. The military has invested in creating video games that they are using as recruiting tools.


With computer technology progressing with such speeds, Virtuality will reach unprecedented levels to the point that it will be difficult for the human mind to separate the real world from the virtual world.

Then, we may see an even more horrific scenario coming out from our most Dystopian nightmares: kids playing video games, connected with real killings through drone strikes. The corporate-militant sick minds will save themselves from unnecessary, costly recruitment, or even from people who will testify about their guilt and their nightmares. All they will have to do, is to feed new generations with the ultimate drug of the future: more and more advanced video games.

Hamas disolves Gaza government in move for Palestinian unity

Some opinion polls have shown that if parliamentary elections were held today, Hamas would win both in Gaza and the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

In a bid for national unity among Palestinians, Hamas has decided to dissolve its administrative committee in Gaza and expressed its awillingness to hold general elections.

Faced with repeated Israeli military attacks and systemic occupation of their land, Hamas aims to foster dialogue with Fatah and consolidate Palestinian unity.

Hamas released a statement saying that the group “invites the consensus government to come to Gaza to practice its mission and carry out its duties in the Gaza Strip immediately, and it accepts the holding of general elections." It also noted that the group agreed to key conditions outlined by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, leader of Fatah, who considered the Hamas government a parallel government.

The Islamist group, which has ruled Gaza since a brief Palestinian civil war in 2007, said it had taken “a courageous, serious and patriotic decision to dissolve the administrative committee” that runs the territory of two million people, and hand power to some form of unity government.

The development would “enable the formation of a national reconciliation government to work in the Gaza Strip and hold ... elections,” Abbas said in a statement on official news agency WAFA.

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Brazil: shots fired at Homeless Workers occupation, injuring one

Organizers of the occupation, now comprised of 7,000 people, indicate that shots came from a condominium complex located beside the mega-encampment.

Shots were fired at the Fearless People of Sao Bernardo Occupation, initiated by Brazil's Movement of Homeless Workers Saturday, where a man was shot in the arm and later hospitalized, according to Carta Capital.

Organizers of the occupation indicated that the shots came from a condominium complex located beside the mega-encampment. Witnesses have filed a report at the military police station.

The occupation, which began on Sept. 2 has grown to include 7,000 people living in rudimentary conditions on a terrain in Sao Bernardo do Campo city.

Comprised principally of unemployed and homeless people demanding decent housing, the land occupation is located on an open plot measuring 60,000 square meters owned by the MZM construction company.

Though the terrain has been used for absolutely nothing over the past 30 years, the company secured an eviction order from local authorities.

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Επάγγελμα: καθαριστής δολοφόνων

Μεγάλες εταιρείες διαφήμισης και δημοσίων σχέσεων αναλαμβάνουν συχνά να «ξεπλύνουν» τα εγκλήματα αιμοσταγών καθεστώτων. Σύντομα, κάποιες θα βρεθούν αντιμέτωπες με το πιο δύσκολο έργο του αιώνα: να καλλωπίσουν την εικόνα της Σαουδικής Αραβίας.

του Άρη Χατζηστεφάνου

Το να αποκεφαλίζεις ανθρώπους και να τοποθετείς τα ακέφαλα σώματά τους σε μεγάλους σταυρούς συνήθως δεν ευνοεί την εικόνα σου σε διεθνές επίπεδο.

Εάν βομβαρδίζεις καθημερινά γυναικόπαιδα σε γειτονικές χώρες και ευθύνεσαι για τη μεγαλύτερη επιδημία χολέρας στη σύγχρονη ιστορία, επίσης ενδέχεται να αντιμετωπίσεις προβλήματα με το «ίματζ».

Οταν, τέλος, ο Αμερικανός πρέσβης στη χώρα σου στέλνει απόρρητα τηλεγραφήματα στο Στέιτ Ντιπάρτμεντ στα οποία υποστηρίζει ότι χρηματοδοτείς τρομοκρατικές οργανώσεις σε διάφορα σημεία του πλανήτη, ίσως δυσκολευτείς να πάρεις το Νόμπελ Ειρήνης (αν και κάποιοι έχουν αποδείξει ότι είναι εφικτό).

Ολες αυτές οι κατηγορίες, που βαραίνουν εδώ και δεκαετίες τη Σαουδική Αραβία, άφηναν αδιάφορο τον οίκο του Σαούντ, που ηγείται σε ένα από τα πιο αντιδραστικά, θεοκρατικά καθεστώτα που έχει γνωρίσει η ανθρωπότητα μετά το τέλος του Β’ Παγκοσμίου Πολέμου.

Καθώς όμως οι Αμερικανοί και Ευρωπαίοι ηγέτες, από τον Τραμπ μέχρι τη Μέρκελ και την Τερέζα Μέι, σχηματίζουν ουρά για να πουλήσουν στους Σαουδάραβες τα οπλικά τους συστήματα, ο νέος ηγέτης του βασιλείου αισθάνθηκε την ανάγκη να εξωραΐσει λίγο την εικόνα της χώρας – κάτι ανάμεσα στο πρόχειρο συγύρισμα που κάνουμε όταν έρχονται απροειδοποίητα επισκέπτες και στον ρόλο του Χάρβεϊ Καϊτέλ στην ταινία Pulp Fiction, που έπρεπε να καθαρίσει τα μυαλά που είχαν γεμίσει το πίσω μέρος του αυτοκινήτου των πρωταγωνιστών.

Σύμφωνα με αποκλειστικές πληροφορίες των Financial Times, η Σαουδική Αραβία αναμένεται να στήσει «σταθμούς» δημοσίων σχέσεων στο Λονδίνο, το Βερολίνο, το Παρίσι και τη Μόσχα όπου διαφημιστές και «δημοσιοσχεσίτες» θα παρεμβαίνουν στα μέσα ενημέρωσης αλλά και στα μέσα κοινωνικής δικτύωσης για να βελτιώσουν την εικόνα της χώρας στο εξωτερικό.

Στο παρελθόν μια θυγατρική της γαλλικής εταιρείας Publicis Groupe, η οποία ελέγχει και τον βρετανικό κολοσσό της διαφήμισης Saatchi & Saatchi, είχε κατηγορηθεί ότι ανέλαβε να διασκεδάσει τις εντυπώσεις για το γεγονός πως η Σαουδική Αραβία θα αποκεφάλιζε 47 αντιφρονούντες.

Σε άλλες περιπτώσεις οι επικοινωνιολόγοι του βασιλείου παρενέβαιναν με άρθρα και διαδικτυακές καμπάνιες για να καταγγείλουν ευρωβουλευτές που ζητούσαν την επιβολή εμπάργκο στην πώληση όπλων προς τη Σαουδική Αραβία.

Ο οίκος των Σαούντ, βέβαια, δεν είναι το μοναδικό καθεστώς που αναθέτει στους «Χάρβεϊ Καϊτέλ» της διαφήμισης να ξεπλύνουν τα εγκλήματά τους.

Το Ισραήλ φέρεται να απευθύνθηκε τα τελευταία χρόνια σε τουλάχιστον δέκα εταιρείες διαφημίσεων στην Ευρώπη, μεταξύ των οποίων περιλαμβάνονται η Havas PR, η Kreab Gavin Anderson, η Burson Marsteller ή CNC.

Αρκετές φορές βέβαια το δύσκολο αυτό έργο αναλαμβάνουν απευθείας πολιτικοί και δημοσιολόγοι εντός και εκτός του Ισραήλ, οι οποίοι πλαισιώνονται από διαφημιστές και επικοινωνιολόγους.

Χαρακτηριστικό παράδειγμα η ομάδα ευρωβουλευτών European Friends of Israel (EFI), η οποία δραστηριοποιείται κυρίως κατά τη διάρκεια ισραηλινών βομβαρδισμών στα κατεχόμενα παλαιστινιακά εδάφη, και το «ομόσταβλο» αμερικανικό Ιδρυμα Συμμάχων του Ισραήλ (IAF), το οποίο στρέφεται ανοιχτά ακόμη και εναντίον του ΟΗΕ για την κριτική που ασκεί στα ισραηλινά εγκλήματα πολέμου.

Σε παλαιότερη έκθεσή της η οργάνωση Παρατηρητήριο της Ευρώπης των Πολυεθνικών (CEO) είχε παρουσιάσει 18 περιπτώσεις καθεστώτων που χρησιμοποιούσαν γνωστές εταιρείες διαφήμισης για να ξεπλύνουν τα εγκλήματά τους σε διάφορες περιοχές του πλανήτη. Σύμφωνα με την έκθεση, η αμερικανική εταιρεία Levick και η βρετανική Bell Pottinger εργάζονταν για λογαριασμό της Νιγηρίας χρεώνοντας τις υπηρεσίες τους τουλάχιστον ένα εκατομμύριο δολάρια εκάστη.

Η Bell Pottinger, μάλιστα, είχε αναλάβει και το Μπαχρέιν, μετά την αιματηρή καταστολή της λαϊκής εξέγερσης το 2011. O οίστρος της συγκεκριμένης εταιρείας ήταν τόσο μεγάλος ώστε προκάλεσε την οργισμένη αντίδραση του συνιδρυτή της Wikipedia, Τζίμι Γουέιλς, που κατήγγειλε ότι η Bell Pottinger δημιουργεί δεκάδες ψεύτικους λογαριασμούς και «διορθώνει» λήμματα της εγκυκλοπαίδειας που θίγουν τους πελάτες της.

Σημαντικό μερίδιο της παγκόσμιας πίτας του ξεπλύματος πληρώνουν καθεστώτα της Ανατολικής Ευρώπης και της Κεντρικής Ασίας που κατά διαστήματα πρέπει να ρετουσάρουν την εικόνα τους στο εξωτερικό.

Κυβερνήσεις της Γεωργίας είχαν κατηγορηθεί ότι έδιναν σε ξένους διαφημιστές έως και τέσσερα εκατομμύρια δολάρια τον μήνα – περισσότερα δηλαδή από όσα ξοδεύουν συνολικά οι βιομηχανίες φαρμάκων και τσιγάρων στις ΗΠΑ.

Οπως εξηγούσε η συντάκτρια της έκθεσης του CEO, Κάθαριν Ανιγκερ, «οι εξαφανίσεις ανθρώπων, o βασανισμός αντιφρονούντων, η δολοφονία χαρακτήρων, οι εκτελέσεις διαδηλωτών και η χρήση σκλάβων μπορεί να αποτελούν καθημερινότητα για τους δικτάτορες και τους εγκληματίες πολέμου. Το γεγονός όμως ότι πληρώνουν διαφημιστές και εταιρείες δημοσίων σχέσεων στην Ευρώπη για να ξεπλένουν τα εγκλήματά τους και κανένας δεν παρεμβαίνει για να το σταματήσει, δείχνει το επίπεδο της δημοκρατίας στην Ε.Ε.».

Πηγή:

Assad: certain Western states still back terror groups in Syria

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad says “certain Western countries” still support, directly or indirectly, terrorist organizations and groups in Syria despite the fact that this wrong policy has already backfired on their governments and people.

The Syrian president made the comments in a meeting with an Italian parliamentary delegation headed by Mario Romani, a member of the Senate of the Republic, in the capital Damascus on Sunday, Syria's official news agency, SANA, reported.

President Assad said such visits by the European delegations to Syria, with the aim of getting acquainted with the facts on the ground, could play a significant role in raising the awareness of the Western public opinion about the realities of the crisis in Syria and expose the lies told by the Western mass media in this regard.

The Italian delegation had visited a number of areas in Syria in an attempt to obtain firsthand experience of what the situation was like in the war-torn country before meeting with the Syrian president.

More:

EU Uber Alles? Neoliberal echoes of a darker, mid-century plan for continental unity

The unflinching support for the EU and its institutions is not about preventing European countries from becoming “Afghanistan.” Not about preventing collapse. Not about the inconvenience of long lines at passport control. It is about promoting an ideology, a specific worldview, a vision for the way the world should work.

by Michael Nevradakis

Part 7 - International cooperation and repairing what’s broken

A lack of willingness to question the aforementioned political and economic order may help explain why even those individuals who expressed “solidarity” with Greece—at least up until Greece and its crisis were largely forgotten following the July 2015 referendum—nevertheless refused to question the very core issues of the EU, its policies in Greece and other crisis-stricken countries, and continued membership in the EU and the Eurozone. Even during the “#ThisIsACoup” phase of “solidarity” towards Greece, the “bad” Europeans who were said to be blackmailing the Greek government were apparently never considered quite bad enough to necessitate “Grexit”—or to later support Brexit. At worst, the Greek situation could be said to be viewed by these elements as merely a momentary hiccup on the path towards a borderless European—or global—utopia.

It seems to be the case that questioning the project in purported European “unity” that is the EU is enough for ordinary individuals to be branded “racists” and “xenophobes,” “isolationists” and “reactionaries.” I suppose then that Tariq Ali, who also questioned SYRIZA when it was not yet fashionable to do so, is a racist and a regressive force—as are Glenn Greenwald, Julian Assange, and George Galloway, who also adopted positions in favor of Brexit.

So why not simply fix the EU if it is broken? That’s what the likes of Yanis Varoufakis have repeatedly argued. But if Grexit is unreasonable and unrealistic, is it more reasonable and more realistic to presume that entrenched institutional structures — such as a non-elected European Commission, an unaccountable European justice system, and thousands upon thousands of regulations and directives dictating many aspects of life and economic activity in Europe, right down to the shape of bananas sold for human consumption (regulations which do in fact exist despite insistence to the contrary by the EU’s supporters) — can simply be changed or eliminated? Or that the issue of surplus labor and downward pressures on wages can be solved within such an institutional and regulatory context? I have not heard a satisfactory answer to these questions, not even from Varoufakis himself. Can an institution that is rotten and undemocratic to the core be salvaged?

Having mentioned Varoufakis, it bears noting that he has, on several occasions, openly praised Mrs. TINA herself, Margaret Thatcher (see also here, here, here, and here). This should come as no surprise, as it is Varoufakis who told us that There Is No Alternative to the euro for Greece, refused to even bring the Grexit option to the negotiating table as Greece’s finance minister, and accepted all of the EU’s austerity demands in the name of keeping Greece in the Eurozone at all costs.

It’s quite ironic that “anti-establishment” leftists and anarchists find themselves precisely on the same side as much of the establishment itself when it comes to the existence of institutions such as the EU, in the name of “open borders”—or no borders whatsoever. The very same establishment that praises one of the harshest prescribers of austerity, Angela Merkel, as a bastion of liberal democracy and as the newly anointed leader of the “free” world.

Those who do not conform to this orthodoxy often do not go unpunished. In various ways, three other purportedly “leftist” or “progressive” publications made it clear that this author’s contributions were no longer welcome. Ditto a radio station and Voice of America affiliate in Thessaloniki, Greece’s second-largest city, which once carried my radio program. So much for tolerance.

Yet, in the name of journalistic integrity — and in the face of injustice, hypocrisy and intolerance — there are things that must be said, if we are to engage in the type of healthy, robust and open democratic dialogue that we’d like to believe we stand for. For this, and as I prepare to begin a professional career in my chosen field, shall I expect to be confronted with a dressing-down akin to that seen in the classic 1976 film Network, where journalist Howard Beale was kindly informed that he had meddled with the primal forces of nature and that he will atone? Perhaps!

The lecture to which Beale was subjected in Network, whether intentionally or not, was accurate: by and large there is no left or right. There are no Democrats or Republicans. There is a prevailing globalist, neoliberal worldview, and there is a smattering of various elements from a wide range of sharply different and often incongruent belief systems that, each for its own reasons, oppose this prevailing trend. And because of the actions of fringe groups that truly are racist and violent, anyone who even so much as simply questions the orthodox worldview is lumped together with such genuinely reactionary elements.

There is true beauty in diversity and cultural difference. But what is diversity and what is cultural difference? I don’t wish to see the same Starbucks in Los Angeles, Lisbon, Lima, and Lesotho. I don’t desire to see one global “lingua franca” prevail while “unimportant” languages (like Greek) die out. I would not like to see the same corporations and the same lifestyle imposed worldwide via the process of globalization. When I am privileged enough to travel, I’d like to enjoy the local food and music and culture, to hear the local language and learn a few words (or more), to appreciate a way of life and a worldview different from my own. That’s diversity, and it is endangered by the homogenizing process of globalization, which is itself brought further along by the elimination of national sovereignty.

If I am a Greek voter, I want my elected prime minister, whether it is Alexis Tsipras or anyone else, to talk about the country that they were elected to govern and to represent me, my children and my family, not to discuss some abstract entity known as “Europe” which he or she was not elected to represent. Democracy works at a local level, while imperialism and empire are what prevail at the global, supranational level. And if the price of that democracy is waiting in a queue to exchange currency (which preferably would be in physical form) then so be it.

The idea of unity is often treated as a zero-sum game with the idea of the nation, that only one or the other is possible. But is this truly the case? International cooperation and understanding can and does exist across nations and peoples in an astounding myriad of ways. These could include trade agreements that are not parasitic or based on exploitation, visa-free travel regimes across countries, and academic exchange programs that help foster cultural mixing and collaboration. Those academics who are also EU backers and are worried about losing, say, the Erasmus+ exchange program, may wish to consider that it is open to non-EU citizens, just as the United States’ Fulbright exchange program is open to participants from all around the world. Those are concrete examples of international cooperation and cultural bridging in action which can exist, should exist, and oftentimes do exist without the necessity of a bloated supranational behemoth micromanaging every aspect of life and serving the interests of a select few.

Nation-states and borders do not necessarily mean isolationism. They don’t necessarily mean hatred, nor do they mean a lack of cooperation. Indeed these elements can and do exist even absent of borders, such as within societies or within supranational entities. We are told that the EU has served as a force for peace and that the nation-state as an institution promotes war. But the EU and EU member-states allied with NATO have participated in countless conflicts, both on the European continent and elsewhere, and have no problem allying themselves with oppressive, violent, authoritarian and genocidal regimes for reasons of economic or geopolitical expediency. War itself has existed since prehistoric times, long before the advent of the nation-state. It has also indeed contributed to the breakup of larger supranational entities. And as demonstrated earlier, whether due to conspiracy or coincidence, the idea of European economic and political unity is not necessarily incompatible with fascist and extremist ideology.

So what of the EU and Eurozone? A commonly heard retort is that no one has suggested any practical alternatives or a course of action that would allow a country such as, say, Greece, to depart from these institutions without a catastrophic meltdown taking place. This therefore raises the question: should a country like Greece depart and, if so, how can it accomplish this? What are the alternatives, and are they viable? Will Greece be transformed into Afghanistan, as Tsipras suggests? The next installment of this series will address these questions—and more—in detail. Stay tuned.

***

Source, links:


[1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6]

17 September, 2017

US anxiety about Chavez's moves towards a multipolar world

The WIKILEAKS Public Library of US Diplomacy (PlusD) holds the world's largest searchable collection of United States confidential, or formerly confidential, diplomatic communications. As of April 8, 2013 it holds 2 million records comprising approximately 1 billion words. The collection covers US involvements in, and diplomatic or intelligence reporting on, every country on earth. It is the single most significant body of geopolitical material ever published. The PlusD collection, built and curated by WikiLeaks, is updated from a variety of sources, including leaks, documents released under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and documents released by the US State Department systematic declassification review.


A cable back in November 2004 that appears to be originated from the US Embassy in Caracas, express the deep concerns of the US officials about the victory of Hugo Chavez in the referendum held in August of the same year.

There is a strong flavour of US anxiety about Chavez's moves inside and outside Venezuela. It seems that the US officials were deeply concerned about the possibility of Venezuela's transformation into a Socialist Republic. They were also monitoring Chavez's strategy abroad, seeking to build anti-US coalitions to minimize US influence, towards a multipolar geopolitical scenery.


Some characteristic parts:

  • While most of Chavez's strategies are his usual statist policies (refs a and b), his proposal for a "new political structure" and a "multi-polar" foreign policy are particularly relevant, especially given Chavez's increased control of state and local governments and the lack of an organized political opposition.

  • Internationally, Chavez has returned to his "multi-polar world" theme as a rhetorical defense against the perceived dominance of the United States. Chavez claimed that, after the recall vote, Venezuela had been "re-legitimized," not only his government but his political system, which he said had been stigmatized by the media. Since the regional elections, Chavez has visited Brazil, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, and Cuba. He also recently received a state visit from Paraguayan President Nicanor Duarte. He is currently on a trip to Spain, Libya, Russia, Iran, and Qatar. Chavez plans to visit China in December. In addition, newly-appointed Foreign Minister Ali Rodriguez told reporters in Spain November 21 the GOV [Government Of Venezuela] will push for the "democratization" of international organizations such as the UN and OAS.

  • Chavez's ten strategies are the beginnings of his campaign for the 2006 presidential election. His "new political structure" attempts to maintain the network of diverse social action groups, largely state-subsidized, that supported his successful recall referendum campaign. Integrating "mission" personnel and Cuban-trained social workers into this political structure blurs the lines between the state and pro-Chavez political organizations even more. Chavez also shows his preference for mass organizations over political parties, which are highly suspect in his leader-people model of governance.

  • Feeling drenched in legitimacy from the referendum win, Chavez will continue to reach out personally to countries that might be sympathetic to his anti-U.S. rhetoric (China, Spain, Libya, etc.). He will push regional integration efforts such as Mercosur that might challenge U.S. interests. He also seems disposed to use his oil muscle to influence smaller countries, geo-politically unimportant but with votes in the OAS and other international organizations. International outreach is important to Chavez domestically as it allows him to portray the Bolivarian Revolution as gaining acceptance in the world, no matter what the reality might be.

Full cable: