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polly7

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Austerity — the 1%’s Global Battle Cry

By Mark Vorpahl

Friday, November 30, 2012

Whether we are left with the Fiscal Cliff or a Grand Bargain, workers in the U.S. face massive cuts to programs such as Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, unemployment insurance, Food Stamp assistance and other needed social safety nets. This is an example of "austerity" which has largely been pursued in the U.S. until now, on a statewide and local level.

The policies of austerity are not unique to the U.S. They are being enacted internationally. In Europe they have been aggressively put into play for four years. While austerity has been pursued on all continents, this article will focus on Europe and the U.S.

What are the policies of austerity? They involve the cutting of public investment and services such as education, health care, and retirement insurance. In addition they also include the privatizing of existing government assets. Public employees suffer wage freezes or cuts and mass layoffs as part of austerity measures. Labor laws are revised to empower employers at the expense of employees' job security, wages, benefits, and voice on the job. And austerity also involves increased taxes and fees on working class people.

Austerity is sold as the only available means of reducing the debt. However, there is plenty of money to take care of these financial imbalances. It is in the pockets of the wealthy and big business elites whose think tanks and politicians are, not coincidentally, the architects of austerity. They want nations' economies to be run more like the corporations and banks, prioritizing that their shareholders get paid first and foremost at the expense of everyone else.

More: http://www.zcommunications.org/austerity-the-1-s-global-battle-cry-by-mark-vorpahl


One million sign against Public Health Service privatization in Madrid
http://www.demotix.com/news/1644920/one-million-sign-against-public-health-service-privatization-madrid#media-1644878

Employees in Greek Municipalities go on Strike again
http://www.demotix.com/news/1645090/employees-greek-municipalities-go-strike-again#media-1645030

Anti-government protests in Ljubljana turn violent
Thousands protested against the budget cuts by the government of Janez Jansa in Ljubljana, and demanded the fall of the capitalist political elites. The peaceful demonstration turned violent when groups of protesters clashed with the police.
http://www.demotix.com/news/1645005/anti-government-protests-ljubljana-turn-violent#media-1646470

Guatemala’s ‘Little School of the Americas’

By Dawn Paley

Source: Upside Down World

Tuesday, November 27, 2012


COBAN, GUATEMALA—Since February, forensic anthropologists have turned up over 400 skeletons at a military base in Coban, Guatemala, in what has fast become one of the largest discoveries of a clandestine mass grave in the country. During the country’s 36 year long internal armed conflict that led to acts of genocide, the base at Coban was a center of military coordination and intelligence.

But what sets this dig apart is that it is taking place at a military base that remains active today: foreign military and police arrive regularly at the base to train troops from Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Honduras, and the Dominican Republic. In 2006, the military zone in Coban was renamed CREOMPAZ, which stands for Regional Training Command for Peacekeeping Operations.

The horrid history of the military base in Coban—and the impunity with which mass killings of men, women and children were carried out—provides a disturbing backdrop for present day “peacekeeping” operations.

Evidence of the ongoing excavation is all over Guatemala’s capital city, in the form of ads gracing billboards and bus stops. On the right hand side of the ad is a stock photo of a woman in a surgical mask, looking at a medical instrument. In Los Angeles, it might be a weight loss ad, in Houston, promotion for a private hospital. Not here. Instead, text across the top reads: “Do you have a family member disappeared between 1940 and 1996?” Then, “with DNA we are identifying them. A spit sample is enough.”

More: http://www.zcommunications.org/guatemala-s-little-school-of-the-americas-by-dawn-paley

Pilger ~ As Gaza Is Savaged Again, Understanding The BBC’s Role Requires More Than Sentiment

By John Pilger

Source: johnpilger.com

Friday, November 23, 2012

http://www.zcommunications.org/as-gaza-is-savaged-again-understanding-the-bbc-s-role-requires-more-than-sentiment-by-john-pilger

The BBC’s “Reithian values” of impartiality and independence are almost scriptural in their mythology. Soon after the corporation was founded in the 1920s by Lord John Reith, Britain was consumed by the General Strike. “Reith emerged as a kind of hero,” wrote the historian Patrick Renshaw, “who had acted responsibly and yet preserved the precious independence of the BBC. But though this myth persisted it has little basis in reality … the price of that independence was in fact doing what the government wanted done. Baldwin … saw that if they preserved the BBC’s independence, it would be much easier for them to get their way on important questions and use it to broadcast Government propaganda.”

Unknown to the public, Reith had been the prime minister’s speech writer. Ambitious to become Viceroy of India, he ensured the BBC became an evangelist of imperial power, with “impartiality” duly suspended whenever that power was threatened. This “principle” has applied to the BBC’s coverage of every colonial war of the modern era: from the covered-up genocide in Indonesia and suppression of eyewitness film of the American bombing of North Vietnam to support for the illegal Blair/Bush invasion of Iraq in 2003 and the now familiar echo of Israeli propaganda whenever that lawless state abuses its captive, Palestine. This reached a nadir in 2009 when, terrified of Israeli reaction, the BBC refused to broadcast a combined charities appeal for the people of Gaza, half of whom are children, most of them malnourished and traumatised by Israeli attacks. The United Nations Rapporteur, Richard Falk, has likened Israel’s blockade of Gaza to the Warsaw Ghetto under siege by the Nazis. Yet, to the BBC, Gaza – like the 2010 humanitarian relief flotilla murderously attacked by Israeli commandos – largely presents a public relations problem for Israel and its US sponsor.

Mark Regev, Israel’s chief propagandist, seemingly has a place reserved for him near the top of BBC news bulletins. In 2010, when I pointed this out to Fran Unsworth, now elevated to director of news, she strongly objected to the description of Regev as a propagandist, adding, “It’s not our job to go out and appoint the Palestinean spokesperson”.

With similar logic, Unsworth’s predecessor, Helen Boaden, described the BBC’s reporting of the criminal carnage in Iraq as based on the “fact that Bush has tried to export democracy and human rights to Iraq”. To prove her point, Boaden supplied six A4 pages of verifiable lies from Bush and Tony Blair. That ventriloquism is not journalism seemed not to occur to either woman.

I believe this guy ...

http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/opinion/the-war-s-seventh-day-1.51513

Michael Ben-Yair - former Attorney General of Israel

The Six-Day War was forced upon us; however, the war's seventh day, which began on June 12, 1967 and has continued to this day, is the product of our choice. We enthusiastically chose to become a colonial society, ignoring international treaties, expropriating lands, transferring settlers from Israel to the occupied territories, engaging in theft and finding justification for all these activities. Passionately desiring to keep the occupied territories, we developed two judicial systems: one - progressive, liberal - in Israel; and the other - cruel, injurious - in the occupied territories. In effect, we established an apartheid regime in the occupied territories immediately following their capture. That oppressive regime exists to this day.


This is the background of the difficult testimony we have received about actions of Israel Defense Forces personnel in the occupied territories. No need to repeat the details of the painful phenomena entailed in the occupation regime and in our battle to prolong it. Suffice it to recall the killing of little children fleeing for safety; the executions, without trial, of wanted persons who were not on their way to launch a terrorist act; and the encirclements, closures and roadblocks that have turned the lives of millions into a nightmare. Even if all these actions stem from our need to defend ourselves under an occupation's conditions, the occupation's non-existence would render them unnecessary. Thus, a black flag hovers over these actions.

This is a harsh reality that is causing us to lose the moral base of our existence as a free, just society and to jeopardize Israel's long-range survival. Israel's security cannot be based only on the sword; it must rather be based on our principles of moral justice and on peace with our neighbors - those living next door and those living a little further away. An occupation regime undermines those principles of moral justice and prevents the attainment of peace. Thus, that regime endangers Israel's existence.

I wonder if he considers himself anti-semitic.

"But when international law says very clearly that occupation is defined by.."

November 18, 2012

The Roots of Israeli Attack on Gaza
Phyllis Bennis: The current conflict did not begin with rockets fired at Israel

http://therealnews.com/t2/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=767&Itemid=74&jumival=9138

And then we can go back to this past Monday, for instance, when Israeli forces killed a young man in Gaza who was approaching the border fence. His family and others all said that he was mentally challenged, that he was mentally ill, had no idea where he was. The Israelis claim they called out to him not to approach the fence. He either didn't hear, didn't understand, didn't pay attention, and they shot him dead. In another attack, two days after that, on Thursday, the Israeli military sent tanks and a bulldozer into Gaza, on land in Gaza, and shot and killed a 13-year-old child who was near a playground, about 1,200 meters, more than a kilometer away from where the soldiers were.

So all of this is going on without anyone really paying attention. It's only when there is a massive escalation (in this case, it was on the Israeli side of the assassination of a top leader of Hamas) that we saw anybody beginning to pay attention. And there's a serious danger as a result, I'm afraid, that we're going to start hearing discussion about how this is now the new normal, somehow; this is now just how Israel is responding, because it will be about Israel responding rather recognizing that at the end of the day this is about occupation.


The form of occupation of Gaza is different. It's not with Israeli soldiers on the ground. The soldiers and settlers pulled out in 2005. But when international law says very clearly that occupation is defined by having control of a territory from outside, from a government outside, that's precisely what we have in Gaza. It takes the form of a siege in which Israeli military controls the borders, determines who can go in, who can come out, what goods can go in or out, controls the seas surrounding Gaza, built a wall completely enclosing Gaza, controls the borders, controls the airspace, bombed the airport so no planes can land, prevents Gaza fishermen from going out more than one mile out to sea—this is occupation of a different form. And until we understand that that's the root of this level of violence that we're seeing, we're not going to be in any position to end it.



Impressions of Gaza

Noam Chomsky November 4, 2012

http://chomsky.info/articles/20121104.htm

Even a single night in jail is enough to give a taste of what it means to be under the total control of some external force. And it hardly takes more than a day in Gaza to begin to appreciate what it must be like to try to survive in the world’s largest open-air prison, where a million and a half people, in the most densely populated area of the world, are constantly subject to random and often savage terror and arbitrary punishment, with no purpose other than to humiliate and degrade, and with the further goal of ensuring that Palestinian hopes for a decent future will be crushed and that the overwhelming global support for a diplomatic settlement that will grant these rights will be nullified.


“What has to be kept in mind,” observes Raji Sourani, “is that the occupation and the absolute closure is an ongoing attack on the human dignity of the people in Gaza in particular and all Palestinians generally. It is systematic degradation, humiliation, isolation and fragmentation of the Palestinian people.” The conclusion is confirmed by many other sources. In one of the world’s leading medical journals, The Lancet, a visiting Stanford physician, appalled by what he witnessed, describes Gaza as “something of a laboratory for observing an absence of dignity,” a condition that has “devastating” effects on physical, mental, and social wellbeing. “The constant surveillance from the sky, collective punishment through blockade and isolation, the intrusion into homes and communications, and restrictions on those trying to travel, or marry, or work make it difficult to live a dignified life in Gaza.” The Araboushim must be taught not to raise their heads.


The effects are painfully evident. In the Khan Yunis hospital, the director, who is also chief of surgery, describes with anger and passion how even medicines are lacking for relief of suffering patients, as well as simple surgical equipment, leaving doctors helpless and patients in agony. Personal stories add vivid texture to the general disgust one feels at the obscenity of the harsh occupation. One example is the testimony of a young woman who despaired that her father, who would have been proud that she was the first woman in the refugee camp to gain an advanced degree, had “passed away after 6 months of fighting cancer aged 60 years. Israeli occupation denied him a permit to go to Israeli hospitals for treatment. I had to suspend my study, work and life and go to set next to his bed. We all sat including my brother the physician and my sister the pharmacist, all powerless and hopeless watching his suffering. He died during the inhumane blockade of Gaza in summer 2006 with very little access to health service. I think feeling powerless and hopeless is the most killing feeling that human can ever have. It kills the spirit and breaks the heart. You can fight occupation but you cannot fight your feeling of being powerless. You can't even dissolve that feeling.”

Some suggest into the sea.

In 1948, the greater part of Palestine’s population was forcefully displaced beyond Israel’s pre-1967 sphere of control to clear the way for Israel’s anachronistic pioneering. A great number of the “transferred” ended up in the Gaza Strip. Their nearby existence quickly gave rise to an abiding Israeli wish: “If I believed in miracles,” declared David Ben-Gurion in an October 1956 Knesset speech, “I would pray that Gaza would be washed down into the sea.” After 1967, Gaza’s inhabitants not only remained above water but came under direct Israeli rule.


But how simultaneously to exclude and control these people while clearing safe space to pioneer? “It will be a difficult struggle,” explained Defense Minister Ehud Barak on Sunday. “Gaza’s residents are not about to jump into the sea”. Until the likes of Barak can be so lucky, however, they do see ways to proceed. Fabricating pretexts for aggression on the southern front is, after all, a vibrant tradition, as old as the state itself.


http://www.zcommunications.org/for-israel-imperialism-isn-t-enough-by-dan-freeman-maloy

The NEVER-ENDING theft of Palestinian land that has herded / transferred over a million and a

half people into the poverty, hopelessness and terror of Gaza.

http://fasttimesinpalestine.wordpress.com/2009/10/13/maps-of-israel-palestine/ - many interesting maps.



http://www.mintpress.net/this-land-is-their-land-the-continued-fight-over-palestine/

Impressions of Gaza

Noam Chomsky November 4, 2012

http://chomsky.info/articles/20121104.htm

Even a single night in jail is enough to give a taste of what it means to be under the total control of some external force. And it hardly takes more than a day in Gaza to begin to appreciate what it must be like to try to survive in the world’s largest open-air prison, where a million and a half people, in the most densely populated area of the world, are constantly subject to random and often savage terror and arbitrary punishment, with no purpose other than to humiliate and degrade, and with the further goal of ensuring that Palestinian hopes for a decent future will be crushed and that the overwhelming global support for a diplomatic settlement that will grant these rights will be nullified.


“What has to be kept in mind,” observes Raji Sourani, “is that the occupation and the absolute closure is an ongoing attack on the human dignity of the people in Gaza in particular and all Palestinians generally. It is systematic degradation, humiliation, isolation and fragmentation of the Palestinian people.” The conclusion is confirmed by many other sources. In one of the world’s leading medical journals, The Lancet, a visiting Stanford physician, appalled by what he witnessed, describes Gaza as “something of a laboratory for observing an absence of dignity,” a condition that has “devastating” effects on physical, mental, and social wellbeing. “The constant surveillance from the sky, collective punishment through blockade and isolation, the intrusion into homes and communications, and restrictions on those trying to travel, or marry, or work make it difficult to live a dignified life in Gaza.” The Araboushim must be taught not to raise their heads.


The effects are painfully evident. In the Khan Yunis hospital, the director, who is also chief of surgery, describes with anger and passion how even medicines are lacking for relief of suffering patients, as well as simple surgical equipment, leaving doctors helpless and patients in agony. Personal stories add vivid texture to the general disgust one feels at the obscenity of the harsh occupation. One example is the testimony of a young woman who despaired that her father, who would have been proud that she was the first woman in the refugee camp to gain an advanced degree, had “passed away after 6 months of fighting cancer aged 60 years. Israeli occupation denied him a permit to go to Israeli hospitals for treatment. I had to suspend my study, work and life and go to set next to his bed. We all sat including my brother the physician and my sister the pharmacist, all powerless and hopeless watching his suffering. He died during the inhumane blockade of Gaza in summer 2006 with very little access to health service. I think feeling powerless and hopeless is the most killing feeling that human can ever have. It kills the spirit and breaks the heart. You can fight occupation but you cannot fight your feeling of being powerless. You can't even dissolve that feeling.”



http://www.huffingtonpost.com/elisabeth-braw/jimmy-carter-israelis-pol_b_2144182.html

Jimmy Carter: "Israelis' Policy Is to Confiscate Palestinian Territory"

Posted: 11/16/2012 1:04 pm

Israel's leaders don't want a Palestinian state, Carter tells Metro in an exclusive interview with Metro. Carter, who still conducts international negotiations and is now a member The Elders, won the 2002 Nobel Peace Prize. He just returned from a visit to the Middle East.

The chances of a Palestinian state are fading. Whose job is it to fix this situation?

The peace process has been pretty well dormant for the past three years. Of course, in the past we played a key role in being the mediator and conveyer of meetings, but that's not happening either. The first priority would be for the Israelis and Palestinians to take the initiative. But the Israelis have continued with their massive settlement program in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, and the Palestinians say they won't negotiate as long as Israel is continuing to take over their territory, so there's deadlock. The United States is looked upon by the rest of the international community as the primary interlocutor, so the European Union members don't take action. As a result, there's no intermediary who can move things forward and initiate peace talks.

President Obama says he supports a Palestinian state, but even so there's a deadlock. Does it take even more than the support of a US President to get a Palestinian state?

I think the big change is that the Israeli leaders have decided to abandon the two-state solution. Their policy now is to confiscate Palestinian territory, and they've announced publicly that it the Palestinians have to recognize not just Israel but Israel as a Jewish state, even though 20% of the Israeli community are non-Jews. Netanyahu has also decided that even the Jordan valley has to be under Israeli control. So, those factors indicate quite clearly that Netanyahu has decided that the two-state solution is not what he wants. He wants what is being called Greater Israel, Eretz Israel. That's a new development, and I think everyone recognizes this.

For Israel, imperialism isn’t enough

"So what of Gaza? What does it mean when Israel threatens, bombs, and kills to ensure its compliance? Its compliance with what?

Note that the territorial and demographic reality that is the Gaza Strip is itself, to begin, an ominous reflection of Israeli colonial strategy to date: “When transfer doesn’t work, concentration is tried.”

In 1948, the greater part of Palestine’s population was forcefully displaced beyond Israel’s pre-1967 sphere of control to clear the way for Israel’s anachronistic pioneering. A great number of the “transferred” ended up in the Gaza Strip. Their nearby existence quickly gave rise to an abiding Israeli wish: “If I believed in miracles,” declared David Ben-Gurion in an October 1956 Knesset speech, “I would pray that Gaza would be washed down into the sea.” After 1967, Gaza’s inhabitants not only remained above water but came under direct Israeli rule.

Several decades later, they surely aren’t taking up very much room. “Taken in isolation,” Darryl Li wrote in 2006, “the Gaza Strip is often described as one of the most densely populated places on earth: 1.4 million Palestinians crowded into 365 square kilometers. But in the broader Zionist calculus of minima and maxima, this fact can be redescribed as follows: some 25 percent of all Palestinians living under Israeli control have been confined to 1.4 percent of the territory of the British Mandate of Palestine.”

http://www.zcommunications.org/for-israel-imperialism-isn-t-enough-by-dan-freeman-maloy
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