Home country: Canada
Member since: Sat Jul 9, 2005, 11:46 PM
Number of posts: 9,130
Home country: Canada
Member since: Sat Jul 9, 2005, 11:46 PM
Number of posts: 9,130
- 2013 (290)
- 2012 (101)
- 2011 (8)
- December (8)
- Older Archives
Seven Stories / By Danny Schechter
The issue of who and what is a terrorist remains a hotly contested one. Nelson Mandela’s success and emergence as a global icon has not changed that.
What’s the difference between a liberation movement and a band of terrorists? The simple answer . . . is point of view. Consider the African National Congress (ANC). During the long struggle against apartheid, what the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) saw as a liberation movement the racist minority government of South Africa labeled as terrorists. Ask one person in Washington and another in Riyadh today about Al Qaeda and you’re bound to get the same diversity of opinion. —South African Institute of International Relations, 2004
Nelson Mandela was not always loved; for years, many right-wingers and defenders of apartheid defamed and detested him as a terrorist, and several politicians went on record expressing such views:
Full article: http://www.alternet.org/activism/how-right-wingers-attempted-defame-nelson-mandela-terrorist?paging=off¤t_page=1#bookmark
Posted by polly7 | Mon Dec 9, 2013, 09:54 AM (1 replies)
By Sasha Polakow-Suransky
Monday, December 09, 2013
Editor’s note: An excerpt from Sasha Polakow-Suransky’s book “The Unspoken Alliance: Israel’s Secret Relationship with Apartheid South Africa” (2010).
On April 9, 1976, South African prime minister Balthazar Johannes Vorster arrived at the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem with full diplomatic entourage in tow. After passing solemnly through the corridors commemorating those gassed in Auschwitz and Dachau, he entered the dimly lit Hall of Remembrance, where a memorial flame burned alongside a crypt filled with the ashes of Holocaust victims. Vorster bowed his head as a South African minister read a psalm in Afrikaans, the haunting melody of the Jewish prayer for the dead filling the room. He then kneeled and laid a wreath, containing the colors of the South African flag, in memory of Hitler’s victims. Cameras snapped, dignitaries applauded, and Israeli officials quickly ferried the prime minister away to his next destination. Back in Johannesburg, the opposition journalist Benjamin Pogrund was sickened as he watched the spectacle on television. Thousands of South African Jews shared Pogrund’s disgust; they knew all too well that Vorster had another, darker past.
Prior to 1967, Israel was a celebrated cause of the left. The nascent Jewish state, since its creation amid the ashes of Auschwitz, was widely recognized as a triumph for justice and human rights. Leftists across the world, with the notable exception of those in Muslim nations, identified with the socialist pioneering spirit of the new nation. Africans welcomed Israeli development aid and voted in Israel’s favor at the United Nations. Europeans for the most part supported the Jewish state, often out of socialist idealism or sheer guilt. Even Britain, which fought Jewish guerrilla organizations until the eve of Israel’s independence in 1948, recognized the state of Israel in January 1949. Although the South African Jewish community became the largest per capita financial contributor to Israel after 1948, relations between the two countries’ governments were cordial but chilly for much of the 1950s.
Things began to change with Israel’s stunning victory over its Arab neighbors in the Six-Day War of 1967, which tripled the size of the Jewish state in less than a week. The post-1967 military occupation of Egyptian, Jordanian, and Syrian territory and the settlement project that soon followed planted hundreds of thousands of Jews on hilltops and in urban centers throughout the newly conquered West Bank and Gaza Strip, saddling Israel with the stigma of occupation and forever tarring it with the colonialist brush.
Indeed, much of Israel’s top brass and Likud Party leadership felt an affinity with South Africa’s white government, and unlike Peres and Rabin they did not feel a need to publicly denounce apartheid while secretly supporting Pretoria. Powerful military figures, such as Ariel Sharon and Rafael (Raful) Eitan, drew inspiration from the political tradition of Revisionist Zionism—a school of thought that favored the use of military force to defend Jewish sovereignty and encouraged settlement of the biblical lands of Greater Israel, including the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Sharon, Eitan, and many of their contemporaries were convinced that both nations faced a fundamentally similar predicament as embattled minorities under siege, fighting for their survival against what they saw as a common terrorist enemy epitomized by Nelson Mandela’s African National Congress (ANC) and Yasser Arafat’s Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). The ANC may have never employed indiscriminate violence to the extent that the PLO did, but in the eyes of the generals in Tel Aviv and Pretoria, Mandela and Arafat were one and the same: terrorist leaders who wished to push them into the sea. And for the top brass in both countries, the only possible solution was tight control and overwhelming force.
Full article: http://www.zcommunications.org/the-unspoken-alliance-israel-s-secret-relationship-with-apartheid-south-africa-by-sasha-polakow-suransky.html
Posted by polly7 | Mon Dec 9, 2013, 09:49 AM (2 replies)
By Amira Hass
Sunday, December 08, 2013
"Only days before the Netherlands-Israel Cooperation Forum kicks off in Herzliya, the Dutch government is being pushed to publically clarify its policies against cooperation with Israeli businesses in the settlements - or those who are connected to Israeli rule in the West Bank - and to declare that such businesses will not be invited to participate in the Forum seminars.
The forum is intended to deepen the economic relations between Holland and Israel, with a focus on the fields of agricultural technology, water and energy. Senior government officials from both countries – including the prime ministers, the Dutch foreign minister and other Israeli ministers – are due to attend, evidencing the importance each nation attributes to the forum.
But the Dutch government now finds itself facing a severe conflict of interests. Their Israeli peers - Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman and Economy Minister Naftali Bennett - are pushing the economic interests of the settlements, while Holland has promised its public that it will avoid any economic cooperation with West Bank settlement entities.
Last week, Dutch journalists, members of parliament and law professors commented in various ways on the contradiction between the Dutch government's stated policy and its activities with the Cooperation Forum: The website of the Dutch Embassy in Tel Aviv recently included names of factories located in the settlements or who operate in the West Bank in a list of parties interested in meeting with Dutch businessmen who are coming to the forum as part of the official delegation.
In addition, the Dutch did not plan on including a “Territorial Clause,” which would stipulate that the forum only covers sovereign Israel, in a joint statement that is being formulated for the event."
Full Article: http://www.zcommunications.org/west-bank-settlement-firms-not-invited-to-dutch-israeli-cooperation-forum-by-amira-hass.html
Posted by polly7 | Mon Dec 9, 2013, 09:45 AM (0 replies)
By Gina Spigarelli
Source: Upside Down World
Monday, December 09, 2013
The International Day of No Violence Against Women, kicked off 16 days of Public Actions in Medellin, Colombia on November 25 to raise awareness and mobilize support for combating violence against women. Organized locally by a caolition of human rights organizations including student groups, women’s groups, human rights NGOs, anti-war groups, and other local grass roots organizations, the campaign named, ‘For the right to exist, think and make decisions: 16 days of public action for women, dignity and peace’ is part of an international initiative started by the United Nations which runs until International Human Rights Day on December 10.
Violence against women is on the rise in Colombia and was one of the concerns raised at the United Nations Universal Periodic Review of Colombia in April of this year. The Colombian state agreed to, “prioritize policy to protect women’s rights, prevent sexual violence and continue to promote the women’s rights.” Even so, the Ombudsman’s office affirms there have been 15,640 cases of domestic violence against women, 5,545 cases of sexual abuse, and 514 homicides with female victims in the first semester of 2013. For organizations that work in women’s rights, the impunity for crimes against women is alarming. Catalina Vásquez of Medellin-based Vamos Mujer explained in a recent interview that there are many cases, like those of domestic violence, where the aggressors are known, but the state and the laws fail to investigate or seek justice for the women.
In addition to the machista and patriarchal society, Colombia is a country at war. Armed parties in the Colombian conflict continue to use sexual violence as a strategy of war and terror. According to Anti-imperialist Brigades, every six hours a women is abused within the context of the armed conflict. In non-direct conflict zones, the National Institute of Legal Medicine and Forensic Sciences, using statistics from reported violence from the complete year of 2012, reports that every 11 minutes a women in Colombia is abused by her partner and every three days a woman in Colombia is killed by her partner. The Feminist and Anti-Militarist Network Red uses this grim reality in their awareness campaign, ‘love kills women.’ In the march, one rhyming outcry was, ‘Who killed them, who raped them? These are state crimes and nobody saw anything.’
Full article: http://www.zcommunications.org/building-a-movement-to-fight-femicide-and-impunity-in-medellin-by-gina-spigarelli.html
Posted by polly7 | Mon Dec 9, 2013, 09:43 AM (2 replies)
By Noam Chomsky
Monday, December 09, 2013
This is a shorter and slightly revised version of an interview with Noam Chomsky which appeared on Sunday, Dec. 8 in the Syriza-aligned paper Avgi in Greece.
One of the biggest problems facing many parts of the advanced capitalist world today is the debt burden, public and private. In the peripheral nations of the eurozone, in particular, debt is having catastrophic social effects as the "people always pay," as you have pointedly argued in the past. For the benefit of today's activists, would you explain in what sense debt is "a social and ideological construct?"
There are many reasons. One was captured well by a phrase of the US executive director of the IMF, Karen Lissakers, who described the institution as "the credit community's enforcer." In a capitalist economy, if you lend me money and I can't pay you back, it's your problem: You cannot demand that my neighbors pay the debt. But since the rich and powerful protect themselves from market discipline, matters work differently when a big bank lends money to risky borrowers, hence at high interest and profit, and at some point they cannot pay. Then the "the credit community's enforcer" rides to the rescue, ensuring that the debt is paid, with liability transferred to the general public by structural adjustment programs, austerity and the like. When the rich don't like to pay such debts, they can declare them to be "odious," hence invalid: imposed on the weak by unfair means. A huge amount of debt is "odious" in this sense, but few can appeal to powerful institutions to rescue them from the rigors of capitalism.
There are plenty of other devices. J.P. Morgan Chase has just been fined $13 billion (half of it tax-deductible) for what should be regarded as criminal behavior in fraudulent mortgage schemes, from which the usual victims suffer under hopeless burdens of debt.
The inspector-general of the US government bailout program, Neil Barofsky, pointed out that it was officially a legislative bargain: the banks that were the culprits were to be bailed out, and their victims, people losing their homes, were to be given some limited protection and support. As he explains, only the first part of the bargain was seriously honored, and the plan became a "giveaway to Wall Street executives" - to the surprise of no one who understands "really existing capitalism."
Full article: http://www.zcommunications.org/chomsky-it-is-all-working-quite-well-for-the-rich-powerful-by-noam-chomsky.html
Posted by polly7 | Mon Dec 9, 2013, 09:35 AM (1 replies)
December is a time of many holiday feasts - which makes it a good time to remember family farmers and the tremendous contributions they make to our country, culture, taste buds and tummies. But not all farmers contribute equally, which is why I'm sending out this special holiday sentiment to one group of unique agriculturalists: Thbbllllttttt!
That raspberry goes out to 50 billionaires who've been farming the U.S. farm subsidy program for years, harvesting a cornucopia of taxpayer cash for themselves or their corporate empires. They include top executives or owners of such diverse entities as Chase Manhattan Bank, Chick-fil-A, DISH Network, Fiji Water, Hyatt Hotels, Microsoft and Victoria's Secret. The diligent watchdogs of the Environmental Working Group matched the "Forbes 400" list of richest Americans with a farm subsidy database to unmask these Gucci-wearing Old MacDonalds. E-I-E-I-O, what a rip-off!
Among the richest of these faux-farmers are three Walmart heirs, whose personal wealth totals $100 billion. Then there's investment huckster Charles Schwab, sitting on a $5 billion wad of wealth, yet pumping half-a-million dollars worth of rice subsidies into his California duck hunting resort. Also, corporate take-over artist Henry Kravis, who has amassed some $5 billion in wealth, took more than a million dollars from us to subsidize safflower, sunflower and other crops raised on two of his ranches.
Especially jarring is the presence of such multibillionaire right-wingers such as oil and entertainment tycoon Philip Anschutz and nuclear waste mogul Harold Simmons. They've expressed disdain for government spending on poor people and other "takers," yet they've gladly taken more than $500,000 each in farm payments.
Full Article: http://www.truth-out.org/buzzflash/commentary/item/18348-jim-hightower-billionaires-reap-a-cornucopia-of-farm-subsidy-cash
Posted by polly7 | Sat Dec 7, 2013, 10:19 AM (5 replies)
How Nelson Mandela and ordinary citizens from all over the world strong-armed corporations, changed US foreign policy and ended apartheid in South Africa.
A nation that is boycotted is a nation that is in sight of surrender. Apply this economic, peaceful, silent, deadly remedy and there will be no need for force.
—Woodrow Wilson, 1919
Are economic sanctions an effective alternative to the use of force in international relations? Scholars are divided on the issue. Many have questioned Wilson’s judgment.
Yet the passing of Nelson Mandela brings to mind one grassroots campaign for economic sanctions that brought down a ruthless racial minority government: The campaign for sanctions against South Africa.
The anti-apartheid movement was one of the first grassroots campaigns to use economic sanctions to depose a government. It is a remarkable example of how a small group of activists helped change the course of history.
Citizens all over the world—from employees of transnational corporations and account-holders in major banks to consumers, cities, states, colleges, and universities—divested funds from companies that did business with South Africa. The goal was to cut apartheid South Africa off from the rest of the world.
Full article: http://truth-out.org/opinion/item/20493-the-peoples-sanctions
Posted by polly7 | Sat Dec 7, 2013, 10:17 AM (0 replies)
ExxonMobil, Walmart, and McDonald's are just a few of the companies that the mega-charity supports.
—By Alex Park and Jaeah Lee | Fri Dec. 6, 2013 3:00 AM GMT
"With an endowment larger than all but four of the world's largest hedge funds, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is easily one of the most powerful charities in the world. According to its website, the organization "works to help all people lead healthy, productive lives." So how do the investments of the foundation's $36 billion investing arm, the Gates Foundation Trust, match up to its mission? We dug into the group's recently released 2012 tax returns to find out."
"The Gates Foundation did not respond to requests for comment; however, its investment policy says the the trust's managers "consider other issues beyond corporate profits, including the values that drive the foundation's work."
"In its most recent annual report to investors, private prison company GEO group listed some risks to its bottom line, including "reductions in crime rates" that "could lead to reductions in arrests, convictions and sentences," along with immigration reform and the decriminalization of drugs. Military contractor DynCorp, meanwhile, has faced allegations of fraud, mismanagement, and even slavery from the Middle East to Eastern Europe."
Posted by polly7 | Sat Dec 7, 2013, 10:15 AM (4 replies)
By Mark Weisbrot
Source: The Guardian
Saturday, December 07, 2013
Election results are often contested, and that is one reason why governments sometimes invite official observer missions from inter-governmental bodies such as the Organization of American States (OAS) or European Union (EU). But there are times and places when these outside organizations don't provide much in the way of independent observation.
On Sunday, 24 November, Hondurans went to the polls to choose a new president, congress, and mayors. There were a lot of concerns about whether a free and fair election was possible in the climate of intimidation and violence(pdf) that prevailed in the country. As I noted before the vote, members of both the US House of Representatives and the US Senate had, in the prior six months, written to US Secretary of State John Kerry, expressing their concerns.
Their worst fears proved justified. During the weekend of the election, three Libre party activists were murdered. This has received little attention from the media, but imagine if 120 Democratic party organizers (scaling up for the population of the US) were assassinated in the course of a US presidential election – a fourth Libre party activist was murdered on 30 November. Libre is the party formed by Hondurans who opposed the 2009 military coup that ousted the democratically-elected, left-of-center President Mel Zelaya. Their presidential candidate was Xiomara Castro, who is married to Zelaya.
Both letters also expressed concern about the electoral process, and here, too, the result was beyond their worst scenarios. According to the official results, Xiomara Castro received 28.8% of the vote, behind the ruling National Party's 36.8%. Another newly formed opposition party, the Anti-Corruption party headed by Salvador Nasralla, received 13.5% in the official tally.
Full article: http://www.zcommunications.org/why-the-world-should-care-about-honduras-recent-election-by-mark-weisbrot.html
Posted by polly7 | Sat Dec 7, 2013, 10:07 AM (1 replies)
It was a time when Canada truly stood tall, spearheading a key international committee leading the fight against apartheid and giving moral and financial support to apartheid’s opponents on the ground.
By: Bill Schiller Foreign Affairs Reporter, Published on Fri Dec 06 2013
It was a time when Canada truly stood tall.
It spearheaded a key international committee leading the fight against apartheid.
It gave moral and financial support to apartheid’s opponents on the ground.
It gave its diplomats inside the country the freedom to take the fight wherever it saw fit — taking on tear gas, blasts from water cannon and threats of expulsion by South Africa’s racist regime.
Canada’s distinguished fight against apartheid should make every Canadian proud.
But that was then, former foreign minister Joe Clark reminded me recently. He doubts Canada would take such a stand now — not under Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government.
“I think the bottom line is that these were the kinds of issues that interested (then prime minister) Brian Mulroney and myself and Flora MacDonald and Ray Hnatyshyn,” says Clark.
“It’s not the kind of issue that engages the attention of the present government.”
Full story: http://www.thestar.com/news/world/2013/12/06/nelson_mandela_canada_helped_lead_international_fight_against_apartheid.html
No kidding, Joe. Harper has got us down on our knees. Even our much loved peacekeeping forces renowned for doing good work all around the world are now just a part of the NATO strategy to protect corporate interests. Times have sure changed ...... can't wait until we get an actual intelligent, empathetic human being back as PM, not this corporate, ass-kissing shill.
Canada’s political fight against apartheid
The Globe and Mail
Published Friday, Dec. 06 2013, 6:08 PM EST
Last updated Friday, Dec. 06 2013, 6:20 PM EST
Not long after Nelson Mandela was finally released from prison in February, 1990, he made an international victory tour, visiting countries that had supported the liberation struggle. Canada, a strong foe of apartheid, was one of the first places he visited.
In a very unusual move, then-prime minister Brian Mulroney invited Mr. Mandela to address a joint session of Parliament even though he was yet to become an elected head of state.
Mr. Mandela seized upon the occasion to declare that he was “deeply moved,” on behalf of those who had been “deemed sub-human” and “outcasts,” to speak in a place “whose existence is based on the recognition of the right of all the people to determine their destiny.”
Talking directly to Canadians, he said: “We are made better human beings by the fact that you have reached out from across the seas to say that we, too – the rebels, the fugitives, the prisoners – deserve to be heard.”
Full story: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/nelson-mandela/canadas-political-fight-against-apartheid/article15812626/
Posted by polly7 | Sat Dec 7, 2013, 09:24 AM (7 replies)