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Home country: Canada
Member since: Sat Jul 9, 2005, 11:46 PM
Number of posts: 13,371
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By William Blum – Published February 23rd, 2015
American historian D.F. Fleming, writing of the post-World War II period in his eminent history of the Cold War, stated that “Greece was the first of the liberated states to be openly and forcibly compelled to accept the political system of the occupying Great Power. It was Churchill who acted first and Stalin who followed his example, in Bulgaria and then in Rumania, though with less bloodshed.”
Full article: http://williamblum.org/aer/read/137
Posted by polly7 | Tue Feb 24, 2015, 10:12 AM (0 replies)
Global Voices - Citizen media stories from around the world
Translation posted 21 February 2015 18:53 GMT
This post was originally published in Spanish on the author's blog Globalizado.
..........It should also be noted that the indigenous communities have little confidence in Pluspetrol, which systematically seeks to disregard agreements and decisions of both the communities and the state. An example is its policy of challenging the fines imposed for environmental pollution and the implementation of precautionary measures to avoid complying with the abandonment plans and others required by law.
Posted by polly7 | Mon Feb 23, 2015, 11:56 AM (1 replies)
No, smoking pot likely will not make you psychotic.
By Paul Armentano / AlterNet February 22, 2015
Photo Credit: Stanimir G.Stoev/Shutterstock.com
The mainstream media was abuzz this week promoting an age-old claim: Smoking marijuana makes you crazy.
.......The Bottom Line? Mental Health Concerns Don’t Justify Criminalization
Full article: http://www.alternet.org/drugs/debunking-latest-pathetic-fear-smear-campaign-against-marijuana
Posted by polly7 | Mon Feb 23, 2015, 08:40 AM (2 replies)
The MSNBC host brings some refreshing sanity to the debate.
By Allegra Kirkland / AlterNet February 22, 2015
Last week, State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf made what would seem on its surface to be a very uncontroversial statement. Speaking of our campaign against ISIS on MSNBC’s Hardball, Harf said, “We cannot kill our way out of this war.” She suggested we address the root causes of terrorist movements, like unstable governments, crippling poverty and lack of education—comments almost identical to those made by George W. Bush at the height of the Iraq War.
Yet to the pundits at Fox News, Harf’s comments were inflammatory. Chris Hayes gathered some of the most absurd responses in a segment on All In, including Sean Hannity’s sarcastic line: “Maybe we should give terrorists housing and get them Ferraris and Obamacare.”
But, as Hayes deftly demonstrates, military force has done nothing to stabilize the countries where we’ve waged war or to lessen the threat of terrorism in the Middle East. We’ve spent hundreds of billions on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and have killed hundreds of thousands of people, many of them civilians.
As Hayes put it, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and over again and expecting a different result. So at what point do we say that what the U.S. has been doing for 14 years without cessation is not worth it?”
Posted by polly7 | Mon Feb 23, 2015, 08:33 AM (11 replies)
South Sudan Wrestles with War and Corruption
Hopes ran high for independence, but reality has proven tough. —Photos by Cédric Gerbehaye/Agence VU/Magnum Foundation; Text by Erika Eichelberger
South Sudan came into being a year ago but remains fragile today: It is rife with violent conflict and corruption, and sorely lacks infrastructure.
In 2005, a peace treaty between Sudan's mostly Muslim North and mostly Christian South put an end to Africa's longest civil war and set in motion a process for the South to become independent. After almost 99 percent of the population voted for separation in January 2011, the leaders of the main Southern rebel group, the Sudan People's Liberation Army, became the de facto leaders of the new nation. Today, the country is among the worst in health and education rankings globally. And President Salva Kiir recently admitted that the country's leadership stole $4 billion in funds intended for clinics, roads, and schools.
Ongoing violence makes development tough. Clashes persist between rival tribes in South Sudan—often due to competition for scarce resources—and conflicts rage with the North over oil resources and border disputes. In May, the United Nations Security Council approved a resolution threatening both sides with sanctions if the fighting doesn't cease, and the two states are now discussing a "security road map." But many worry tensions will escalate again and destabilize the region.
Cédric Gerbehaye, a Belgian documentary photographer, traveled to Sudan on a Magnum Foundation grant in July and August 2010, and returned during the referendum to document a country in transition. "The people were waiting for that historical moment, for that 'final walk to freedom,'" he said. After subsequent trips, he observed, "It was weird to see such hope within the population and then see that things haven't really changed."
Posted by polly7 | Sun Feb 22, 2015, 11:12 AM (1 replies)
The people of Palestine and Ferguson are reaching out to each other because they are fighting a common system of injustice, control and racism.
By Bassem Masri / AlterNet February 18, 2015
In one of the most amazing shows of solidarity, the people of Palestine and Ferguson are reaching out to each other because they are fighting a common system of injustice, control and racism.
I speak about this connection from personal experience. I am a Palestinian-American who has lived in both Jerusalem and in Ferguson. I have lived under the racist regimes of both cities and know first hand the sense of occupation that both populations experience on a daily basis.
The Ferguson protests have highlighted a racist system by kindling a worldwide conversation about police brutality, a conversation sparked by the execution of Mike Brown at the hands of an officer in the Ferguson Police Department. The police’s hard-handed reaction to protests made it inevitable that people around the globe would draw similarities between the people of Ferguson and the ongoing struggles of the people of Palestine. Both movements would have collided at some point.
But “Palestine 2 Ferguson” manifested itself from day one.
Linked Oppression, Linked Struggle
In August 2014, Palestinians reached out via Twitter with advice to protesters on how to protect themselves properly from chemical agents. These Palestinians were veterans of the weekly protests in occupied towns in the West Bank like Nabi Saleh and Bil’in. They had faced the teargas, rubber coated steel bullets and even live fire that the Israeli army used to crush unarmed demonstrations. They had served as lab rats as the Israelis tested weapons and methods of repression they would later export to American police departments. While Palestinians were tweeting out that advice and support, instructing Ferguson protesters on how to wash teargas residue from their eyes and how to make a gas mask from Hawaiian punch bottles, bombs were raining down on the Gaza Strip and demonstrators were cut down with live bullets at the Qalandiya checkpoint that separated Ramallah from Jerusalem. In one picture shared widely on social media, a resident of Bil’lin, Hamde Abu Rahme, held a sign reading, "The Palestinian people know what it means to be shot while unarmed because of your ethnicity." He concluded the sign with the hashtags #Ferguson and #Justice.
That was a very powerful statement of solidarity, and it showed that oppressed people could make alliances across oceans and heavily fortified borders in a joint struggle to achieve justice. Before August 9, the day Brown was killed, many Palestinians didn't know the struggles African Americans and other minorities faced in America, and many African Americans didn’t know much about Palestine. But in the assault against peaceful protesters following the murder of Mike Brown, the system made a huge mistake. It wound up uniting people from all across the world who were sick of violent police repression and the impunity that their oppressors enjoyed. More importantly, it exposed how America and Israel share values of ethnic cleansing and discrimination.
Full article: http://www.alternet.org/activism/frontline-ferguson-protester-and-palestinian-american-bassem-masri-how-ferguson2palestine?akid=12816.44541.MF7FZo&rd=1&src=newsletter1032245&t=23
Posted by polly7 | Sun Feb 22, 2015, 09:55 AM (17 replies)
20 February 2015 Last updated at 08:48
By David Stern
BBC News, Kiev
Damage in Vihlehirsk, near Debaltseve, testifies to the intensity of the fighting
Tensions in the ranks
Already there are rumblings of public discontent.
"I have seen this with my own eyes, on the battlefield and in the army headquarters, how military action is planned and executed," Semyon Semenchenko, commander of the volunteer Donbass battalion, told the BBC.
"I can assure you that we lost Debaltseve not because of the Russian military advantage, but because our generals refuse to take responsibility," he said.
Mr Semenchenko has proposed a "parallel" co-ordinating structure for the volunteer battalions fighting in the east. So far 13 battalion leaders have signed up, including Dmytro Yarosh of the nationalist Right Sector.
Mr Semenchenko insists this is not to replace, but to help, the army's general command in "information exchange, planning, logistical assistance and facilitating mobilisation."
Still, his announcement raised concerns. Eight battalion commanders have refused to join the body, calling on Mr Semenchenko to "end his daily populist and PR statements".
Posted by polly7 | Sun Feb 22, 2015, 09:43 AM (4 replies)
By Vijay Prashad
February 20, 2015
LARGE, CORRUGATED IRON FENCES BLOCK the road to Tahrir Square in Cairo. The fences are painted with the Egyptian flag. There are, of course, ways to get into the square, but these are few. On the eve of the fourth anniversary of the January 25 Revolution, the mood in Egypt was mixed. Many wanted to take to the streets, if not to protest against the current government then at least to celebrate their feat of four years ago. It required an act of supreme bravery to scale the fences. Nearby, black-clad security forces stood ready, their guns quick to fire.
El-Sisi claims that protests are not banned, only those that harm the economy. He has tried to cover himself with the flag—a patriotic military leader who is the bulwark against terrorism and stands for economic stability. This hearkens back to the days of Gamal Abdel Nasser, but with less credibility. There are no great ambitions for Arab nationalism, no great plans for the region, no ability to lift the hopes of the Egyptian people. Money from Saudi Arabia and the United States curtails the horizon. International pressure for real change in Egypt is not likely. What change will come must come from within.
Amongst the Workers
An International Monetary Fund (IMF) mission travelled to Cairo in November 2014 to report on the progress of the El-Sisi government. It gave the new regime full marks for its economic reforms: “The authorities have already begun to take the action needed to achieve their objectives. They have begun bold subsidy and tax reforms.”
The government cut back on subsidies across the board, including in the cotton sector. Low global prices for commodities such as cotton and the removal of the subsidy will ring the death knell for this sector. Twenty years ago, Egyptian cotton growers produced 400,000 tonnes of cotton lint. When they allowed cotton prices to be dictated by the world market, the farmers gave up growing cotton. Last year, the farmers produced only 127,000 tonnes. With the end to the, that number is likely to decline. Cotton, the fourth pyramid of Egypt, is likely to go to ruin as a result of IMF advice.
Full article: https://zcomm.org/znetarticle/the-night-is-long/
Posted by polly7 | Sun Feb 22, 2015, 08:58 AM (3 replies)
By Michael Roberts
Source: Michael Roberts Blog
February 22, 2015
One of the cruel ironies of the last minute deal between the Eurogroup and the Greek government for a four month extension to the existing ‘aid’ programme monitored by the Troika is that in any sane meaning it is not aid at all.
In return for staying in the Troika programme for another four months to end-June and keeping to the still to be agreed conditions on fiscal targets, government spending and privatisations, the Eurogroup, the ECB and the IMF will disburse the outstanding tranches of loans under the existing programme. The FT might call this “aid” but it is nothing of the kind. It is not even bailout money for Greek banks. The €11bn funding for that has been returned by the Greeks to the Troika who are keeping it for ‘security’.
.....But most of that will be immediately recycled back to the Troika as repayments of debt and interest for previous loans and government bonds that are maturing. In the upcoming four months, the IMF must be paid back €5.3bn while the Greeks must also roll over short-term T-bills bought by the Greek banks worth about €11bn. So the Troika ‘aid’ will just disappear and the Greek people will see none of it to help with government spending.
This is just like ‘Third World’ aid that used to be distributed by the World Bank and other international agencies back in the 1980s and 1990s. Most of this ‘aid’ ended up in corrupt dictators’ pockets or in repaying previous debt. The people never saw it. And the debt levels stayed where they were, as they do for Greece now.
Back then, eventually the international agencies agreed what was called a Brady debt swap that wrote off a portion of the debt that could never be repaid. No such plan is available to Greece, although Syriza asked for it in their negotiations with the Eurogroup.
Germany owes Greece money for the war – but morality needn’t come into it
Instead of focusing on the emotionally charged issue of reparations for the second world war, Berlin and Athens should set up a future fund for the joint rehabilitation of a ‘shared’ history
Nazi Germany’s 3.5-year occupation of Greece was bloody and destructive. The Paris reparations conference in 1945 accepted calculations that estimated damage to Greece to amount to 7bn pre-war US dollars. It should be made clear that this wasn’t automatically the suggested reparation payment, as often has been maintained by Greek politicians and journalists: the purpose of the conference was not to come up with absolute sums but to work out percentages of a then still unspecified reparations pool.
Yet it’s important in this case to make a distinction between reparation payments for war crimes and repayments of so-called Besatzungsanleihe: monthly loans demanded from the Greek government in 1942-44 to pay for the maintenance costs of the German army in Greece and further military activity in the Mediterranean, even delivering food from starving Greece to Rommel’s “Afrika-Korps”. In early 1945, in the final days of the Third Reich, a group of high-ranking German economists calculated this “German debt (Reichsschuld) to the Greek state” to amount to 476m Reichsmarks, which would be roughly €10bn today.
This would however require a major change of attitude on Germany’s behalf. Only Berlin has the power to open talks about a historic consolidation with Greece. Until then, we continue to exist with an absurd situation where democratically elected German postwar governments of all colours continue to be in denial about the existence of this debt, which was officially recognised even by the Nazi regime.
Get the rest of your money, Greece.
Posted by polly7 | Sun Feb 22, 2015, 08:50 AM (1 replies)
Published on Feb 14, 2015
A harrowing eye witness account of the firebombing of Dresden by former POW Victor Gregg.
Those words by Victor Gregg describing the Allied terror bombing of Dresden in 1945
Posted by polly7 | Sat Feb 21, 2015, 12:24 PM (15 replies)