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Yemen's Heritage, a Victim of War

Yemen, one of the oldest centers of civilization in the Arab World and also the poorest Arab country, has been pounded by airstrikes led by its rich neighbour Saudi Arabia for almost three months. The operation began after rebel group Houthis took over the capital Sana'a, causing President Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi to flee to the port city of Aden and shortly after seek refuge in the Saudi capital, Riyadh.

Over 2,500 people have been killed and 11,000 injured since the war started on March 25. One million people have been internally displaced in Yemen and 21.1 million — 80 per cent of the population — are in need of humanitarian assistance, according to the latest report by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA). Yet the country's residents have not been the only victim of this war. Yemen's heritage has also suffered.

On May 9, Saudi jets targeted the Mosque of Imam al-Hadi in the city of Saada, a Houthi stronghold. The mosque is the third oldest in Yemen and was built 1,200 years ago.


On May 24, two Saudi airstrikes targeted the ancient Al-Shareef Citadel in the city of Bajel in Hodeida province.


On June 4, Dar-al-Hajar (Rock Palace), perched atop a rock in Wadi Dhar, north of Sana'a built by Imam Mansur in 1786 AD, was reportedly targeted by Saudi airstrikes.


On May 25, Dhamar's Regional Museum, hosting thousands of artifacts from the Himyarite civilisation, was completely destroyed by Saudi airstrikes.


On June 1, the ancient Great Mareb Dam, described as “one of the grandest engineering marvels of the ancient world” and one of the most important ancient sites in Yemen dating back to the ancient Queen of Sheba, was damaged by Saudi airstrikes which hit the better-preserved northern sluice. The original dam was first built in the 8th century BC, in the city of Marib which was once the capital of the kingdom of Sheba (Saba).


AlQahera Castle DESTROYED:



And on and on and on ..... Yemen is being destroyed.

Palestinian Hunger-Striker Khader Adnan Struggles for Freedom

Posted 13 June 2015 12:37 GMT

Khader Adnan plays with his daughters on his first day out of Israeli jail in the West Bank village of Araba, near Jenin, April 18, 2012. (Photo: Activestills/ Oren Ziv)

Khader Adnan has entered his 40th day of hunger strike after nearly a year in an Israeli jail in the occupied West Bank. Adnan — who is among an estimated 5,591 Palestinian “security detainees and prisoners” who were being held in Israeli prisons, according to Israeli human rights group B'Tselem — became the symbol of Palestinian ‘administrative detainees’ held by Israel after going on hunger strike for 66 days in 2011.

According to Israeli daily Haartez, Adnan “is in Assaf Harofeh Hospital in Tzrifin with one hand and one leg cuffed to the bed 24-hours a day and three policemen in his room around the clock.” This is the ninth time he is put “under administrative detention.”

Budour Youssef Hassan summarized Adnan's journey for the Electronic Intifada (EI):

Khader Adnan’s experience of persecution and arrests stretches back to 1999, when the then undergraduate mathematics student at Birzeit University was arrested by Israeli occupation forces on charges of affiliation with the Islamic Jihad political party.

It was the first in a series of detentions — amounting to a total of more than six years in Israeli jails — during which Adnan has never been handed any formal charges or been given a trial even by the Israeli military courts which are notorious for failing to meet minimum international standards.

Full article: http://globalvoicesonline.org/2015/06/13/palestinian-hunger-striker-khader-adnan-struggles-for-freedom/?utm_source=Global+Voices&utm_campaign=179477c5eb-June15_2015_Daily_Digest_2015&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_633e82444a-179477c5eb-287939489

Israel uses administrative detention routinely as a form of collective punishment and mass detention of Palestinians, and frequently uses administrative detention when it fails to obtain confessions in interrogations of Palestinian detainees.

There are around 500 detainees serving administrative detention in several Israeli jails.

The destruction of Jamaica’s economy through austerity

June 3 by Systemic Disorder

A small country immiserates itself under orders of international lenders; unemployment and poverty rise, the debt burden increases and investment is starved in favor of paying interest on loans. If this sounds familiar, it is, but the country here is Jamaica.

So disastrous has austerity been for Jamaica that its per capita gross domestic product is lower than it was 20 years ago, the worst performance of any country in the Western Hemisphere. In just three years, from the end of 2011 to the end of 2014, real wages have fallen 17 percent and are expected to fall further in 2015, according to the country’s central bank, the Bank of Jamaica.

Such is the magic of austerity, or “structural adjustment programs,” to use the official euphemism of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank.

A new paper from the Center for Economic and Policy Research, “Partners in Austerity: Jamaica, the United States and the International Monetary Fund,” reports that the amount of money Jamaica will use to pay interest (not even the principal) on its debt will be more than four times what it will spend on capital expenditures in 2015 and 2016. And despite a new loan, the country actually paid more to the IMF than it received in disbursements from the IMF during 2014!

Replacing human development with austerity:

Poverty and unemployment continue to rise:

Less for public needs:

Why do disastrous “structural adjustment” programs continue to be foisted on countries around the world despite the results? Undoubtedly many who prescribe “structural adjustment” continue to believe in neoliberalism in the face of all evidence. But this ideology doesn’t fall out of the sky; it is an ideology in service of the biggest industrialists and financiers, presenting the inequality and excess of capitalism as natural as the tides. But anything made by humans can be unmade by humans.


Keynesianism Will Not Save The World

By Pete Dolack
Source: Systemic Disorder
June 15, 2015

This is part of the “grow or die” dynamic of capitalism. It’s not only grabbing market share, it’s a mad scramble to “innovate” to increase profitability. That can be new production techniques but it is especially cutting costs — in the first place, wage costs. Thus robotics and automation to reduce the number of workers needed, which also “deskill” work to make workers more expendable, putting downward pressure on wages. Work speedups are part of the extraction of more profits, or an attempt to stave off declines in profit rates. And when these are finally insufficient, the work begins to be moved to new locations with lower wage levels and weaker regulation. “Free trade” agreements negotiated in secret that bring corporate wish lists to life both accelerate this tendency and are a product of it.

The capitalist that cuts costs first gains an advantage, but competitors follow, eroding the advantage. So the next step, and the next step, is carried out, intensifying these processes. The personality of the capitalist does not matter; he or she is acting under the rigors of competition. There is no way to put a human face on this or to permanently reverse the logic of capitalist competition. The present era of austerity and neoliberalism is the product of capitalist development. Even if a massive movement becomes sufficiently strong to effect significant reforms, eventually they would be taken back just as the reforms of the mid-20th century have been taken back.

Not only does the scope for expansion that existed during the Keynesian era no longer exist, the environmental limits and global warming that the world did not then face can no longer be avoided. Humanity is consuming far beyond the world’s replenishment capacity and changing the climate at a faster rate than ever before known. We can’t turn back the clock (and the “golden age” of capitalism wasn’t so golden if you were a woman, a Person of Color or a working person in a developing country) nor is it environmentally sound to ramp up production and consumption on the scale that a global Keynesian initiative would require.

Alas, this is a variation on the theme of “green capitalism” — the idea that the same system that has brought the world to its present state of crisis, a system that requires infinite expansion on a finite planet, that has turned to financialization because speculation is more profitable than production, that treats pollution and waste as external costs to be ignored will somehow now save us. Tinkering with the machinery of capitalism — which is what Keynesian nostalgia amounts to — would ameliorate conditions somewhat for a while, but offer no solution.

The days when it was still possible to believe capitalism can be a progressive force are behind us; the neoliberal assault is the “new normal.” When capitalism has penetrated into every corner of the world, there is nowhere else to expand: The only route for capitalists is to reduce wages and benefits. The only route for the 99 percent is an entirely different world.

Full article: https://systemicdisorder.wordpress.com/2015/06/10/keynesianism-will-not-save-the-world-2/

China Syndrome

By George Monbiot
Source: The Guardian
June 15, 2015

China is the world’s excuse for cruelty and barbarism. If we don’t behave atrociously, politicians and columnists assure us, China will, so we had better do it first, before we are outcompeted.

You want holidays, collective bargaining rights and fair conditions in the workplace? Forget it. When Chinese workers have none, such fripperies would “hamper British/US/Australian/Canadian industry”, making it uncompetitive. Columnists like Thomas Friedman at the New York Times, gleefully regaling us with tales of Chinese workers being turfed out of their dormitories at midnight, marched to a workstation and obliged to perform a 12-hour shift to meet a last-minute order from Apple, insist that we either compete on these terms or perish. France, he once claimed, is doomed if it seeks to preserve a 35-hour week, while people in Asia “are ready to work a 35-hour day.”

In fact French workers are doing fine: it turns out that European countries with shorter working hours (France, the Netherlands and Denmark for example) have higher productivity per hour than those whose workers have to spend longer at their desks (such as Germany and Britain). And a country whose people have both decent wages and time to relax can support millions of jobs – in leisure and pleasure – that don’t exist where workers are treated as little more than slaves.

You want your rivers, air and wildlife protected? What planet are you on? China, we are told, doesn’t give a damn for such luxuries, with the result that if we don’t abandon our own regulations, it will take over the world.

There is no scope for moral superiority in the climate talks, least of all a moral superiority based on unfounded national stereotypes. Collectively, we are wrecking the delicate atmospheric balance that has allowed human civilisation to flourish. Collectively, we have to sort this out. And it will happen only by taking responsibility for our impacts, rather than by blaming other nations for what we don’t want to do.

Full article: https://zcomm.org/znetarticle/china-syndrome/

Rudy Giuliani: “The ayatollah must go”

Spewing Hatred, Pandering to Ignorance and Tribalism

FRANCE, Paris: Former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani, who was a Republican candidate in the 2008 US presidential elections, spoke at a major Iran Freedom rally in Villepinte on Saturday, June 13, 2015. The event was held at Parc des Expositions exhibition center.

Giuliani said: "The ayatollah must go. He and Rouhani and Ahmadinejad and all of the rest of them should be put on trial for crimes against humanity for the thousands and hundreds of thousands of people they have killed, and it is about time we stop ignoring it. Where is our decency and morality? We have allowed this for years, hundreds of thousands of Iranians slaughtered, more being slaughtered today than before. American soldiers killed by the Quds Force. For how much longer are we going to allow this? What happened to the America that supports democracy and freedom?”

“In Syria, we draw red lines, and like cowards, we sit back.”

“We unequivocally support a non-nuclear Iran. What does a non-nuclear Iran mean? It does not mean two months or one year away from being able to have a nuclear missile. It doesn’t mean an Iran that will become a nuclear power in 10 years. What it means is Iran should have no, none, zero nuclear capacity because the regime in Iran can’t be trusted with it.”

Full article: http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article42134.htm

This creep is nuts!

What happened when Portugal decriminalised drugs

Instead of arresting drug users Portugal did the opposite.

June 14, 2015 by True Activist

In the video, The Economist tells the story of how Portugal sparked a global movement for change.

In 2001 Portugal implemented a policy putting it’s people first. The new law enabled citizens to possess small quantities of any drugs so it was not a criminal offence for casual users to enjoy their drug of choice.

The state’s resources are focused on addicts, so instead of being punished they are offered help. A staggering 90 % of the anti drug resources are spent on treatment and only 10% on punishment. State funded outreach workers are handing out clean needles, smoking pipes and offers free advice to drug users. Decriminalisation removed much of the stigma addicts felt as they were not seen as outcastes anymore.

Since the new law was implemented drug related deaths dropped from 80 in 2001 to only 16 in 2012.


For the Sins of Occupation, Boycotts Are a Light Punishment

By Gideon Levy
Source: Haaretz
June 14, 2015

What are you defending? What are you fighting for? Over what are Israelis entrenching themselves now, with the assaults of the nationalist politicians and the populist media fulminating against the world. Why are they patriotically covering up the orange flags of Orange with the blue-and-white national flag? Has anybody asked why? Why is the boycott starting to gnaw at Israel now, and is this all worth it?

As usual, there are questions that are not even asked. Soul-searching, after all, is a clear sign of weakness. And so an explanation has been invented that absolves us of responsibility: The boycott fell out of the sky, an unavoidable force majeure of Israel hatred, and the only way to fight it is to fight right back at them. Israel always has an abundance of fitting (and sometimes violent) Zionist responses, but it’s always about the outcome, never about the reasons. That’s how was with terror, that’s how it was with the position of the world that Zionist Union chairman MK Isaac Herzog, of all Israeli ultranationalists, rushed to label with the ridiculous name “terror of a new kind” (referring to the statements by Orange SA CEO Stephane Richard). Never give in. That’s fine, but why? We are fighting the boycott, but why did it break out?

Israel is now defending the preservation of the status quo. It is fighting against the whole world to preserve its advanced school of brutality and cruelty, in which it is educating generations of young people to act brutishly toward human beings, old people and children, to tyrannize them, to bark at them, to crush and humiliate them, only because they are Palestinians.

Israel is defending the continuation of apartheid in the occupied territories, in which two peoples live, one of them without any rights. It is defending its entire system of justification for this — a combination of Bible stories, messianism and victimhood, accompanied by lies. It is defending “united Jerusalem,” which is nothing but a territorial monster where separation also exists. It is fighting for its right to destroy the Gaza Strip for as long as it cares to do so, to maintain it as a ghetto and to be the warden of the biggest prison in the world.

Full article: https://zcomm.org/znetarticle/for-the-sins-of-occupation-boycotts-are-a-light-punishment/

G7: out for number one, and damn the consequences

By Vijay Prashad
Source: al-Araby
June 14, 2015

The members of the G7 just ended their 41st summit. The leaders of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK and US gathered in a great Bavarian palace, the Schloss Elmau. It was a fitting location for the masters of the universe.They claim that the maintenance of world order is their passtime. In fact, what they are most interested in is the preservation of their power at any cost.

Western confidence rose in the aftermath of the 2011 Nato intervention in Libya. It was now thought that not only was the financial system saved, but that humanitarian interventionism provided the West sufficient legitimacy to use its superior military force to order the planet.

Western pressure against Iran from the mid-2000s intensified as tensions with Russia flashed into the open around Syria and Ukraine. The G8 suspended Russia as member in 2014. In the most recent G7 summit, Russia was the target of overheated rhetoric. The US president, Barack Obama, asked of his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin: “Does he continue to wreck his country’s economy and continue Russia’s isolation in pursuit of a wrong-headed desire to recreate the glories of the Soviet empire?”

If the Soviet empire is long gone, the West’s ambition to drive world policy remain intact. Contradictions in G7 policy affect Europe far more than the US – Two big energy suppliers to western Europe, Iran and Russia, are hurt by sanctions promoted by the US through the G7, and Libya, another big supplier, saw its institutions destroyed by the NATO war and its aftermath.

The masters of the universe were busy with each other. They have currencies to protect and countries to bomb.

Full article: https://zcomm.org/znetarticle/g7-out-for-number-one-and-damn-the-consequences/

Takes some gall for us, in the west, who've unleashed so much horror in so many places around the world, to exclude the dreaded Russia - but when you've got the goals, the might, you need new enemies and already have the propoganda machines all oiled up from the last one, it figures.

Can the UN Talks Bring Peace to Shattered Yemen?

By Medea Benjamin
Source: teleSUR English
June 14, 2015

On June 14, UN-brokered talks will be held in Geneva, but many Yemenis know that with the increasingly hostile armed factions, a destroyed economy and the Saudi/Iran rivalry playing itself out in their country, peace will be hard to come by.

With the Houthi rebels in the north and Al Qaeda in the Arabia Peninsula–AQAP–in the south (targeted by US drone strikes), Yemen has long been a hotbed of strife. But when the Houthi rebels made a daring military move in February 2015 and managed to take over the capital Sanaa, forcing President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi to flee, the Saudi government decided to intervene to restore Hadi to power.

On March 26, 2015, the Saudis, under the umbrella of the Gulf Cooperation Council, launched a vicious airstrike campaign against the Houthis. Instead of unseating the Houthis, Saudi interference only escalated the conflict, killing over 2,000 Yemenis and creating a humanitarian crisis that have left 80% of the population in dire need of aid. The heavy military intervention has destroyed homes, businesses, schools, hospitals, and entire villages. Civilians lack basic supplies such as food, water, medicine, and adequate shelter. Doctors Without Borders reports that many people living in frontline areas are unable to travel to clinics or hospitals for medical care both because of the fighting and the lack of fuel. Even those who are able to make it to health facilities often find that they are not functioning.

Most devastating has been the relentless Saudi bombing. When a temporary ceasefire agreement was reached in early May, the Saudis deliberately inflicted as much violence as possible before the ceasefire began and once the ceasefire ended, they promptly reengaged in their strikes.

According to two recent Human Rights Watch investigations, among the weapons being used by the Saudis are cluster bombs, which were banned by the 2008 Convention on Cluster Munitions because they kill civilians long after the fighting has stopped. Of the three types of cluster munitions identified recently in Yemen, two were manufactured in the United States and supplied by the US government. “The Saudi-led coalition and other warring parties in Yemen need to recognize that using banned cluster munitions is harming civilians,” said Human Rights Watch researcher Ole Solvang. “These weapons can’t distinguish military targets from civilians, and their unexploded submunitions threaten civilians, especially children, even long after the fighting.”

Full article: https://zcomm.org/znetarticle/can-the-un-talks-bring-peace-to-shattered-yemen/
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