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Gender: Female
Hometown: Saskatchewan
Home country: Canada
Member since: Sat Jul 9, 2005, 11:46 PM
Number of posts: 11,677

Journal Archives

“The Damage is Beyond Imagination in Gaza”

By Mohammed Omer and Amy Goodman
Source: Democracy Now
August 29, 2014


Israelis and Palestinians have agreed to an indefinite ceasefire, ending Israel’s 50-day assault on the Gaza Strip. Palestinian health officials say 2,139 people, most of them civilians — including more than 490 children — were killed in the Israeli offensive. Israel’s death toll stood at 64 soldiers and six civilians. The ceasefire deal was mediated by Egyptian officials in Cairo and took effect on Tuesday evening. It calls for an immediate cessation of hostilities, an opening of Gaza’s blockaded crossings with Israel and Egypt, and a widening of the territory’s fishing zone in the Mediterranean. Live from Gaza City, we are joined by the award-winning Palestinian journalist Mohammed Omer. “There are more and more people in the different parts of the Gaza Strip who are trying to resume their life and just bring it back to normal, but I must say that the damage is beyond imagination,” Omer says. “We are talking about thousands of homes that have been completely and partially demolished, and over 130 mosques and over 140 schools.”


The BRICS: Challengers to the Global Status Quo

By Walden Bello
Source: Foreign Policy in Focus
August 30, 2014

The term “BRICS”—which refers to the bloc of emerging economies in Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa—was coined years ago by Goldman Sachs analyst Jim O’Neill, who saw the countries as promising markets for finance capital in the 21st century. But even if O’Neill had not invented the name, the BRICS would have emerged as a conscious formation of big, rapidly developing countries with an ambivalent relationship to the traditional center economies of Europe and the United States.

The BRICS served notice that they are now an economic alliance that poses a challenge to the global status quo during their last summit in Brazil in mid-July, when they inaugurated two path-breaking institutions intended to rival the U.S.- and European-dominated International Monetary Fund and World Bank: a Contingency Reserve Arrangement, with an initial capitalization of $100 billion, that can be accessed by BRICS members in need of funds; and the “New Development Bank,” with a total authorized capital of $100 billion, that is open to all members of the United Nations. Both institutions aim to break the global North’s chokehold on finance and development.

But while the BRICS countries have made plain their desire to loosen the control of the global economy by the United States and Europe, they’ll have to confront some serious problems at home

Full article: http://zcomm.org/znetarticle/the-brics-challengers-to-the-global-status-quo/

Impact of Marikana Massacre Still Felt

By Federico Fuentes
Source: telesur English
August 30, 2014

On August 16, activities were held across South Africa to mark the second anniversary of the Marikana massacre in which 34 striking mineworkers were slain by state security forces.

The killings occurred one week into a strike over pay by several thousand rock drill operators at the Lonmin-operated platinum mine in Marikana.

Despite the massacre, workers remained on strike and a month later won a settlement that went a substantial way towards meeting their initial pay claim.

An ongoing public investigation has continues to shine a public spotlight on this tragic event, while the reverberations of South Africa’s first post-apartheid massacre linger on in a number of important ways.

Cold-blooded murder:

Full article: http://zcomm.org/znetarticle/impact-of-marikana-massacre-still-felt/

Hearts of Darkness

by John Andrews / August 26th, 2014

He cried in a whisper at some image, at some vision – he cried out twice, a cry that was no more than a breath, ‘The horror! The horror!’”

— Heart of Darkness, Joseph Conrad

Last Monday (18th August) Channel Four’s “Dispatches” screened a documentary by the independent film maker Evan Williams titled Nigeria’s Hidden War. Broadcast as it was, at 11 p.m. on a weekday night, it probably only attracted about six viewers. I recorded it.

It was truly horrific. Those of us who are familiar with Africa’s long history of agony would not have been too surprised by the content of Mr Williams’ film. Although the ruthless, heartless barbarism of the rich and powerful against the poor and weak can be seen in many (perhaps most) parts of the world there can be few places that exceed the evil extremism of the rich and powerful attained in Africa – an evil extremism magnified many times over by the perpetual darkness in which their activities are routinely kept.

The thing that made this programme so important was not so much the information it provided about the all-but-unknown horrors of life in one of Africa’s richest countries; the particular importance of Mr Williams’ film was the hard evidence it provided of the deep institutional cynicism of the foreign policies of western governments – especially the US and UK governments.


The whole point of Bussman’s book is to point out that kidnapping schoolchildren in remote African towns has been almost routine for at least twenty years; and then to point out a curious relationship between kidnappers, resident armies, “aid” workers, arms dealers and government officials:

Kony built a whole city of children in the desert, where anyone could have found them but only a nun did.

Museveni said he was sending the army to catch Kony – 40,000 troops. But Kony is still alive, because 40,000 troops weren’t looking for Kony. ‘Where were the soldiers?’ They were next door in the Congo, full of gold and diamonds, in a feeding frenzy. Never mind a hotel, Otema’s colleagues in the UPDF ran their own mining operations in the Congo, mines scraping up coltan for mobile phones, laptops and computer games… we paid Museveni’s grocery bills – 43 percent of his budget comes from foreign aid – and with the money he saved he bought Mambas and attack helicopters and rocket-propelled grenades. His army fire-bombed a few of Kony’s kids to justify them, then nipped over the border for some duty-free shopping. The cash kept coming.

Full article: http://dissidentvoice.org/2014/08/hearts-of-darkness/

What if the Bees Die?

All of Them

by Robert Hunziker / August 26th, 2014

Bees are some of the busiest, most industrious creatures on planet Earth. Basically, they mind their own business whilst performing pollination chores that ultimately provide humankind with every third bite of food. Yes, they’re absolutely critical to the world’s food chain all the way up to your mouth, every third bite.

“Pollen truly is the ‘gold dust of nature’. It is the culmination of the life force of plants,” The Importance of Bees, CC Pollen Co.

But, horror of horrors, bees are dying off like never before. For example, Michigan and Indiana lost 60% of their bee populations this past winter, and it is worse than that; it is a nationwide problem, and even more disquieting, it is a worldwide problem.

Recent scientific research has zeroed-in on the culprits, which are neonicotinoids or “neonics,” which are pesticides manufactured by (readers may have already guessed this) Monsanto and Bayer. However, the two manufacturers claim the pesticides are totally benign. Yes, they honestly say this.

Somebody is wrong.

Full article: http://dissidentvoice.org/2014/08/what-if-the-bees-die/#more-55504

Baroud: Ravaging Gaza

By Ramzy Baroud

August 24, 2014


This war on Hamas, however, has little to do with the killed settlers and everything to do with the political circumstances that preceded their disappearance.

On May 15, two Palestinian youths, Nadim Siam Abu Nuwara, 17, and Mohammed Mahmoud Odeh Salameh, 16, were killed by Israeli soldiers while taking part in a protest commemorating the anniversary of the Nakba, or “Great Catastrophe.” Video footage showed that Nadim was innocently standing with a group of friends before collapsing as he was hit by an Israeli army bullet. The Nakba took place 66 years ago when the so-called Arab-Israeli conflict emerged. An estimated one million Palestinians were forced out of their homes as they fled a Zionist invasion. Israel was established on the ruins of that Palestine.

Nadim and Mohammed, like the youths of several generations since, were killed in cold blood as they walked to remember that exodus. In Israel, there was no outrage. However, Palestinian anger, which seems to be in constant accumulation—being under military occupation and enduring harsh economic conditions—was reaching a tipping point.

snip ...

But there is still more to Israel’s war on Gaza than this. Fearing an intifada that would unite Palestinians, threaten the PA, and slow down the construction of illegal settlements, Netanyahu’s war on Gaza means to distract from the slowly building collective sentiment among Palestinians throughout Palestine, and among Palestinian citizens in Israel. This unity is much more alarming for Netanyahu than a political arrangement by Fatah and Hamas necessitated by regional circumstances.

The targeting of Hamas is an Israeli attempt at challenging the emerging new narrative that is no longer about Gaza and its siege anymore, but the entirety of Palestine and its collectives, regardless of which side of the Israeli “separation wall” they live on. A true Palestinian unity culminating in a massive popular Intifada is the kind of war Netanyahu cannot possibly win.

Full article: http://zcomm.org/zmagazine/ravaging-gaza/

Israel’s extermination of whole families in Gaza reflects genocidal impulse

By Rania Khalek
Source: Electronic Intifada
August 27, 2014

Eighty-nine families that existed seven weeks ago in Gaza have been exterminated by Israel.

On Sunday 24 August an Israeli missile tore through the home of Issam Jouda in Gaza’s Tal al-Zatar neighborhood east of Jabaliya without warning, killing Issam’s wife Rawiya and their four children—Taghrid, Tasnim, Usama and 

According to the Palestinian health ministry , the Joudas were the eighty-ninth family wiped out in Gaza since the Israeli army started bombarding the besieged coastal enclave on 7 July.

A ceasefire that took effect on Tuesday evening may stop the flow of blood, but it will not heal the raw wounds of the families of more than 2,100 people killed, nor of the more than eleven thousand injured and 100,000 whose homes were destroyed.

Between 7 July and 21 August, the UN documented 140 families in Gaza partially or completely annihilated by Israeli attacks.

Many were crushed beneath the rubble of their homes. Eight members of the Wahdan family, for instance, were killed in their house in Jabaliya refugee camp after being instructed by Israeli forces to stay put.

Full article: http://zcomm.org/znetarticle/israels-extermination-of-whole-families-in-gaza-reflects-genocidal-impulse/

McDonald’s Can’t Hide Behind Franchise System

By Julia Kann
Source: Labor Notes
August 27, 2014

McDonald’s workers demanding “$15 and a union” have reason to cheer. A move by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Office of the General Counsel on July 29 throws a big wrench in the corporation’s franchise system and could open the door to more worker organizing.

The news follows several one-day strikes by fast food workers, most recently in May, when restaurant workers walked off their low-wage jobs in 150 U.S. cities in a campaign coordinated by the Service Employees (SEIU). Workers charge that on top of paying unlivably low wages, the restaurants break the law by stealing wages and retaliating against those who speak up.


While 761,000 people work for McDonald’s in the U.S., they have more than 3,000 different bosses. These bosses are franchisees—individuals or companies that pay McDonald’s for permission to use the brand and set up shop. McDonald’s also directly operates 15 percent of its stores.

Individual franchisees have little power over how to operate the restaurants. They sign an agreement to follow McDonald’s guidelines and even to purchase supplies only from the corporate office, where menu item prices are also set.

For McDonald’s, the largest burger chain in the world, it’s a dream deal—guaranteed income without having to shoulder the risk of, say, getting caught breaking labor laws. They’re free to plead ignorance, much like employers who hide behind layers of subcontractors.

Full article: http://zcomm.org/znetarticle/mcdonalds-cant-hide-behind-franchise-system/

The Fun of Empire

By Glenn Greenwald
Source: The Intercept
August 27, 2014


It was not even a year ago when we were bombarded with messaging that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is a Supreme Evil and Grave Threat, and that military action against his regime was . The standard cast of “liberal interventionists” – , Anne-Marie Slaughter, Nicholas Kristof and Samantha Power - issued stirring sermons on the duties of war against Assad. Secretary of State John Kerry actually compared Assad to (guess who?) Hitler, instructing the nation that “this is our Munich moment.” Striking Assad, he argued, “is a matter of national security. It’s a matter of the credibility of the United States of America. It’s a matter of upholding the interests of our allies and friends in the region.”

U.S. military action against the Assad regime was thwarted only by overwhelming American public opinion which opposed it and by a resounding rejection by the UK Parliament of Prime Minister David Cameron’s desire to assume the usual subservient British role in support of American wars.

Now the Obama administration and American political class is celebrating the one-year anniversary of the failed “Bomb Assad!” campaign by starting a new campaign to bomb those fighting against Assad – the very same side the U.S. has been arming over the last two years.

It’s as though the U.S. knew for certain all along that it wanted to fight in the war in Syria, and just needed a little time to figure out on which side it would fight. It switched sides virtually on a dime, and the standard Pentagon courtiers of the U.S. media and are dutifully following suit, mindlessly depicting ISIS as an unprecedented combination of military might and well-armed and well-funded savagery (where did they get those arms and funds?). Something very similar happened in Libya: the U.S. spent a decade insisting that a Global War on Terror – complete with full-scale dismantling of basic liberties and political values – was necessary to fight against the Unique Threat of Al Qaeda and “Jihadists”, only to then fight on the same side as them, and arming and empowering them.

Full article: http://zcomm.org/znetarticle/the-fun-of-empire/

The Corporate Free Trade Project Reloaded

By Walden Bello
Source: telesur English
August 27, 2014


For both the BRICS and other developing countries, say advocates for the South, an offensive strategy pushing a new trade paradigm is needed. Among the elements of such a paradigm being discussed are the following:

Promotion of more regional economic agreements like the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas or ALBA, which makes economic cooperation and development, not free trade, the centerpiece of economic relations among countries.

A push for an international trading regime that provides a lot of development space. While it had its flaws, the GATT system (General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade) left a lot of “development space” for developing countries, and many advocate a return to something like GATT instead of the neoliberal WTO, which eliminates practically all development space. Even better yet in their view is a reinvigorated United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), which has among its central principles the “special and differential treatment of developing countries.”

Abandonment of the export-oriented strategy of development that the World Bank and neoliberal technocrats pushed on developing countries which has made them very vulnerable to Northern corporate power because it has made developed country export markets rather than the domestic economy the center of gravity of the economy. Focusing on the domestic market, progressive analysts say, will necessarily push countries to undertake reforms promoting more equitable income distribution to create domestic demand that will trigger industrial development.

20 years after NAFTA, the US and EU are making a renewed push for global free trade. But compared to 1994, the capacity of the South to resist the free trade project and come up with a trade paradigm with a different vision and based on different principles is greater today.

Full (good) article: http://zcomm.org/zcommentary/the-corporate-free-trade-project-reloaded/
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