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Home country: Canada
Member since: Sat Jul 9, 2005, 11:46 PM
Number of posts: 14,266
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By Tom Vouloumanos
June 30, 2015
On the night of June 26th, following several days of dead end negotiations with EU creditors, the Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras convened an emergency cabinet meeting of the SYRIZA lead governing coalition and announced in the early hours of June 27th, that the Greek government would not cave in to blackmail and ultimatums. In fact, what prompted the emergency meeting was that the Greek government was offered a final take it or leave it proposal authored mostly by the IMF. The deal that was offered completely reneged the little progress that had been made up to that point with major concessions from the Greek side and instead called for even worse austerity measures than what was asked of the previous pro-austerity government that was tossed out of office on January 25, 2015. The Greek government said that it could not sign such an absurd proposal that would destroy an economy already in shambles and a society facing a humanitarian disaster. Yet, given that its mandate was to reach a deal with the creditors and not a rupture, it said that it would give the final say to the people that have not been heard in the last 5 years of economic neoliberal barbarity: the Greek population. To the shock of the EU and Greek establishments, Alexis Tsipras announced that he would put the final proposal to a referendum on July 5, 2015.
Complete article: https://zcomm.org/znetarticle/syriza-the-eu-institutions-struggle-for-democracy/
An older article:
Syriza Against the Machine
By Tom Vouloumanos
Source: teleSUR English
April 13, 2015
The German state is simply the most powerful guarantor of the privileges of this European establishment, after the US of course. As such, the German establishment convinced large sectors of the German working class that they have common interests and that they are bailing out their southern European neighbors who are too lazy, too corrupt or too disorganized to run a modern successful economy. The European Media made sure that simple facts were not known to the public of the northern European states. They were not told that the loans to Greece were not for bailing out Greeks but for bailing out European banks, as these loans simply financed debt repayments. With each loan, the debt increased further, forcing more loans on condition that the country privatizes its resources, destroys its social state, throws people into unemployment and poverty. All of which shrink the economy decreasing the country’s ability to service its debt and pay its creditors, forcing it to borrow even more conditional bailout money, further increasing its debt and accelerating austerity and so on and so forth; a vicious cycle that is leading to the third worldization of the European periphery countries.
Complete article: https://zcomm.org/znetarticle/syriza-against-the-machine/
Posted by polly7 | Tue Jun 30, 2015, 03:58 PM (0 replies)
Source: The Independent
Tuesday 30 June 2015
The gunman who massacred 38 tourists at a Tunisian hotel had been part of an Isis “sleeper” cell for several years despite not being known to authorities, it has been claimed.
Police admitted they had no idea that Seifeddine Rezgui, a 23-year-old network management student was a terrorist threat.
But a man who knew him at l’Institut Superior des Sciences Appliquees et de Technologie (Issat), in Kairouan, claimed Rezgui was part of a five-man cell and had been a jihadist for at least four years.
He added that the student trained in Libya with a terrorist group called Ansar al-Sharia, which has partly pledged allegiance to Isis and also has links to al-Qaeda, and believes Rezgui was taught to “disguise” his radicalisation.
Around 17 British and Irish victims of the attack have so far been named and the death toll for the UK could rise to 30, making it the deadliest terror attack on the country’s citizens since the 7 July bombings a decade ago.
Read more: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/africa/tunisia-attack-gunman-was-in-isis-sleeper-cell-and-had-terror-training-in-libya-student-says-10354930.html
Posted by polly7 | Tue Jun 30, 2015, 08:39 AM (0 replies)
After five years, three elections, two bailouts worth $240bn and one ever deepening crisis, Greece is heading for a crunch point on Sunday with a referendum on accepting the austerity measures proposed by its creditors. We asked Greeks for their view on the troika, the tumult - and whether they want to stay in the eurozone.
Posted by polly7 | Tue Jun 30, 2015, 08:31 AM (1 replies)
June 24, 2015
The United Nations Charter was signed on June 26, 1945 — 70 years ago this Friday — in San Francisco. accuracy.org/calendar.>
Full article: http://www.accuracy.org/release/un-at-70-foxes-in-charge-of-global-chicken-coup/
Posted by polly7 | Tue Jun 30, 2015, 08:19 AM (2 replies)
by Kathy Kelly / June 29th, 2015
"I didn’t nap – I was fitful and couldn’t, my mind filled with images from a memoir, Guantanamo Diary, which I’ve been reading since arriving here. Mohamedou Ould Slahi’s story of being imprisoned in Guantanamo since 2002 rightly disturbs me. In all his years of captivity, he has never been charged with a crime. He has suffered grotesque torture, humiliation and mistreatment, and yet his memoir includes many humane, tender accounts, including remembrances of past Ramadan fasts spent with his family."
Mohamedou Slahi (Photo Credit: International Committee of the Red Cross)
"I’ve never heard Muslims complain about being hungry and thirsty as they await the fast-breaking meal. Nor have I heard people brag about contributions they’ve made to alleviate the sufferings of others, although I know Islam urges such sharing during Ramadan and aims to build empathy for those afflicted by ongoing hunger and thirst. Mohamedou relied on empathy to help him through some of his most intense anguish and fear."
I was thinking about all my innocent brothers who were and still are being rendered to strange places and countries,” he wrote, describing a rendition flight from Senegal to Mauritania, “and I felt solaced and not alone anymore. I felt the spirits of unjustly mistreated people with me. I had heard so many stories about brothers being passed back and forth like a soccer ball just because they have once been in Afghanistan, or Bosnia, or Chechnya. That’s screwed up! Thousands of miles away, I felt the warm breath of these other unjustly treated individuals comforting me.
"From 1988 to 1991, Mohamedou had studied electrical engineering in Germany. In early 1991, he spent seven weeks in Afghanistan, learning how to use mortars and light weapons, training which would allow him to join the U.S.-backed insurgency against the Soviet-backed government in Kabul. He was one of Ronald Reagan’s celebrated “freedom fighters.” In early 1992, when the communist supported Afghan government was near collapse, he again went to Afghanistan and, for three weeks, fought with insurgents to overtake the city of Gardez. Kabul fell shortly thereafter. Mohamedou soon saw that the Mujahedeen insurgents were fighting amongst themselves over power grabs. He didn’t want to be part of this fight and so he went back to Germany, then Canada and, eventually, home to Mauritania, where he was arrested and “rendered” to Jordan for questioning, at last arriving in Afghanistan’s Bagram Air Force Base on his way to Guantanamo."
Full article: http://dissidentvoice.org/2015/06/before-the-dawn/
Posted by polly7 | Tue Jun 30, 2015, 07:46 AM (0 replies)
Monday, June 29, 2015
by Project Syndicate
NEW YORK – The rising crescendo of bickering and acrimony within Europe might seem to outsiders to be the inevitable result of the bitter endgame playing out between Greece and its creditors. In fact, European leaders are finally beginning to reveal the true nature of the ongoing debt dispute, and the answer is not pleasant: it is about power and democracy much more than money and economics.
Of course, the economics behind the program that the “troika” (the European Commission, the European Central Bank, and the International Monetary Fund) foisted on Greece five years ago has been abysmal, resulting in a 25% decline in the country’s GDP. I can think of no depression, ever, that has been so deliberate and had such catastrophic consequences: Greece’s rate of youth unemployment, for example, now exceeds 60%.
It is startling that the troika has refused to accept responsibility for any of this or admit how bad its forecasts and models have been. But what is even more surprising is that Europe’s leaders have not even learned. The troika is still demanding that Greece achieve a primary budget surplus (excluding interest payments) of 3.5% of GDP by 2018.
Economists around the world have condemned that target as punitive, because aiming for it will inevitably result in a deeper downturn. Indeed, even if Greece’s debt is restructured beyond anything imaginable, the country will remain in depression if voters there commit to the troika’s target in the snap referendum to be held this weekend.
By contrast, a no vote would at least open the possibility that Greece, with its strong democratic tradition, might grasp its destiny in its own hands. Greeks might gain the opportunity to shape a future that, though perhaps not as prosperous as the past, is far more hopeful than the unconscionable torture of the present.
Full article: http://www.commondreams.org/views/2015/06/29/europes-attack-greek-democracy
Greece grasping its destiny in its own hands, Greeks being able to shape their own future is the IMF's worst nightmare.
Posted by polly7 | Mon Jun 29, 2015, 08:10 PM (0 replies)
Monday, June 29, 2015
"Who knows what is still out there?" defense attorneys ask. "What else is there? That’s what is appalling."
by Lauren McCauley, staff writer
Images reportedly depict black sites in Afghanistan, Thailand, Poland, Lithuania, and Romania, as well as torture devices. (Photo: Prachatai/cc/flickr)
A recently unearthed cache of photographs of CIA black sites is threatening to further complicate the proceedings of the 9/11 military commission as attorneys for the men detained at the Guantanamo Bay detention facility are demanding the release of the documents as evidence of the U.S. torture program.
U.S. officials told the Washington Post that the roughly 14,000 photographs were discovered earlier this year by military prosecutors reviewing documents on the intelligence agency's interrogation program ahead of the Senate Intelligence Committee report.
The classified materials reportedly depict "external and internal shots of facilities where the CIA held al-Qaeda suspects after 9/11" —including the infamous "Salt Pit" in Afghanistan—as well as sites in Thailand, Poland, Lithuania, and Romania. While the images don't explicitly show the interrogations, there are pictures of naked detainees stripped naked for transport, as well as of torture devices, such as a waterboard and confinement boxes.
Full article: http://www.commondreams.org/news/2015/06/29/defense-attorneys-demand-release-thousands-cia-black-site-photos
Posted by polly7 | Mon Jun 29, 2015, 08:05 PM (5 replies)
Monday, June 29, 2015
'We believe that this ultimatum to the Greek people and democracy should be rejected,' write international academics
byDeirdre Fulton, staff writer
Protesters participate in a demonstration calling for a "No" vote in the referendum on bailout conditions set by the country's creditors, in front of the Greek parliament in Athens on June 29, 2015. (Photo: AFP)
Tens of thousands gathered in Athens on Monday night, adding their voices to the ranks of the Syriza government officials and international observers who are urging Greek citizens to act boldly and reject the terms of an aid deal offered by Greece's austerity-loving international creditors.
While numerous governments and financial institutions warned Monday that the referendum vote could determine whether or not Greece stays in the Eurozone, other critical implications loom.
A 'No' vote would be a clear rejection of austerity measures as well as other regressive and punitive policies being foisted on Greece by the so-called Troika.
On the other hand, notes Reuters, "a 'Yes' vote would pile pressure on Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras to resign—given his adamant resistance to opening the door to new elections and possibly a return to the negotiating table with creditors."
In fact, getting Tsipras out of the way appears to be a major goal of the European leaders and lenders, economist Joseph Stiglitz wrote on Monday:
Full article: http://www.commondreams.org/news/2015/06/29/no-austerity-tens-thousands-back-syriza-rally-athens
That is it exactly. We've seen it time after time after time - democratically elected leaders who are passionate about improving the lives of their people so damaged by the IMF, EU and World Bank's devastating austerity programs, are gotten rid of, one way or the other. The powers that be - the 1% of the world who run these brutal programs, cannot have a nation so indebted to them (or as in the case with Libya - not yet indebted to) by their predatory loans - breakaway nations, able to run their own economies and social programs and being successful at it. They want to own completely these indebted nations. My heart is with Greece. They need to do whatever it takes to end the brutal austerity and function free from the demands of their financial overlords as a genuine democratic nation.
Posted by polly7 | Mon Jun 29, 2015, 08:00 PM (4 replies)
June 29, 2015 "Information Clearing House" - "TeleSur" - Whistleblower Julian Assange implicated the United States – along with the Saudi Arabian government – in a plot to overthrow the Syrian government.
Saudi Arabia, the United States, France, and Britain were involved in a secret 2012 deal to overthrow Syrian President Bashar Assad, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange said Sunday.
"Saudi has been one of the dogs of the United States in the Middle East on a leash, and you think the man is walking a dog, but sometimes, if it is a big dog, the dog starts pulling a man," Assange told Russia 1 TV.
Last week, Assange’s whistleblowing website WikiLeaks released a batch of more than 60,000 of what it said were classified Saudi diplomatic cables.
The leak aimed to prove that Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey had a secret deal to topple Syria’s President Bashar Assad as far back as 2012.
Full article: http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article42279.htm
The Noose Around Syria's Assad Tightens
Submitted by Tyler Durden on 06/09/2015 11:51 -0400
Posted by polly7 | Mon Jun 29, 2015, 07:15 PM (4 replies)
By Alexis Tsipras
June 29, 2015
Yesterday’s Eurogroup decision to not approve the Greek government’s request for a few days’ extension of the program — to give the Greek people a chance to decide by referendum on the institutions’ ultimatum — constitutes an unprecedented challenge to European affairs, an action that seeks to bar the right of a sovereign people to exercise their democratic prerogative.A high and sacred right: the expression of opinion.
The Eurogroup’s decision prompted the European Central Bank (ECB) to not increase liquidity to Greek banks, and forced the Bank of Greece to recommend that banks remain closed, as well as restrictive measures on withdrawals.
It is clear that the objective of the Eurogroup’s and ECB’s decisions is to attempt to blackmail the will of the Greek people and to hinder democratic processes, namely holding the referendum.
They will not succeed.
Full article: https://zcomm.org/znetarticle/tsipras-slams-eus-blackmail-and-its-attempt-to-hinder-democratic-processes/
An End to the Blackmail
For six months now the Greek government has been waging a battle in conditions of unprecedented economic suffocation to implement the mandate you gave us on January 25.
The mandate we were negotiating with our partners was to end the austerity and to allow prosperity and social justice to return to our country.
It was a mandate for a sustainable agreement that would respect both democracy and common European rules and lead to the final exit from the crisis.
Throughout this period of negotiations, we were asked to implement the agreements concluded by the previous governments with the Memoranda, although they were categorically condemned by the Greek people in the recent elections.
However, not for a moment did we think of surrendering, that is to betray your trust.
Full article: https://zcomm.org/znetarticle/an-end-to-the-blackmail/
Europe’s Attack on Greek Democracy
By Joseph E. Stiglitz
We should be clear: almost none of the huge amount of money loaned to Greece has actually gone there. It has gone to pay out private-sector creditors – including German and French banks. Greece has gotten but a pittance, but it has paid a high price to preserve these countries’ banking systems. The IMF and the other “official” creditors do not need the money that is being demanded. Under a business-as-usual scenario, the money received would most likely just be lent out again to Greece.
But, again, it’s not about the money. It’s about using “deadlines” to force Greece to knuckle under, and to accept the unacceptable – not only austerity measures, but other regressive and punitive policies.
But why would Europe do this? Why are European Union leaders resisting the referendum and refusing even to extend by a few days the June 30 deadline for Greece’s next payment to the IMF? Isn’t Europe all about democracy?
In January, Greece’s citizens voted for a government committed to ending austerity. If the government were simply fulfilling its campaign promises, it would already have rejected the proposal. But it wanted to give Greeks a chance to weigh in on this issue, so critical for their country’s future wellbeing.
That concern for popular legitimacy is incompatible with the politics of the eurozone, which was never a very democratic project. Most of its members’ governments did not seek their people’s approval to turn over their monetary sovereignty to the ECB. When Sweden’s did, Swedes said no. They understood that unemployment would rise if the country’s monetary policy were set by a central bank that focused single-mindedly on inflation (and also that there would be insufficient attention to financial stability). The economy would suffer, because the economic model underlying the eurozone was predicated on power relationships that disadvantaged workers.
And, sure enough, what we are seeing now, 16 years after the eurozone institutionalized those relationships, is the antithesis of democracy: Many European leaders want to see the end of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’s leftist government. After all, it is extremely inconvenient to have in Greece a government that is so opposed to the types of policies that have done so much to increase inequality in so many advanced countries, and that is so committed to curbing the unbridled power of wealth. They seem to believe that they can eventually bring down the Greek government by bullying it into accepting an agreement that contravenes its mandate.
Full article: http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article42276.htm
Financial Coup in Greece
By Stelios Kouloglou
May 31, 2015 "Information Clearing House" - "Le Monde Diplomatique " - Like the traditional Greek song, in Athens “everything changes and everything stays the same”. Four months after Syriza’s victory, the parties that had governed since the overthrow of the military dictatorship — the Panhellenic Socialist Movement (Pasok) and New Democracy (rightwing) — have been completely discredited. The first radical leftist government since the “mountain government” at the time of the German occupation is very popular (1).
Full article: http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article42014.htm
The Greek Tragedy: Some things not to forget, which the new Greek leaders have not.
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
A New Mode of Warfare
The Greek Debt Crisis and Crashing Markets
By Michael Hudson
June 29, 2015
Eurozone financial strategists made it clear that they wanted to make an example of Syriza as a warning to Spain’s Potemos party, and anti-euro parties in Italy and France. The message was supposed to have been, “Avoid our austerity and we will cause chaos. Look at Greece.”
But the rest of Europe is interpreting the message in just the opposite way: “Remain in the eurozone and we will only create money to strengthen the financial oligarchy, the 1%. We will insist on budget surpluses (or at least, no deficits) so as to starve the economy of money and credit, forcing it to rely on commercial banks at interest.”
Greece has indeed become an example. But it is an example of the horror that the eurozone’s monetarists seek to impose on one economy after another, using debt as a lever to force privatization selloffs at distress prices.
In short, finance has shown itself to be the new mode of warfare. Resisting debt leverage and financial conquest is as legal as is resisting military invasion.
Greece: ‘third world’ aid and debt
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.
Go after your war reparations, for a start.
Posted by polly7 | Mon Jun 29, 2015, 02:21 PM (0 replies)