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Archive for 31 أكتوبر, 2010

My Bookmarx 10/31/2010

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My Bookmarx 10/28/2010

  • “the matter went from bad to worse when the AUC reduced their salary from LE 650 to LE 450 , the excuse was that the administration dedicated a pension ,a meal and also a transportation means.”

    tags: egypt workers strike AUC university wages

    • The real culture of violence in the American West of the latter half of the 19th Century sprang from the U.S. government’s policies toward the Plains Indians. It is untrue that white European settlers were always at war with Indians, as popular folklore contends.
  • “Most of the vociferously pro-Israeli neo-conservative policymakers in the Bush administration make no effort to hide the fact that at least part of their intention in promoting war against Iraq (and later perhaps against Syria, Iran, Hezbollah, and the Palestinians) is to guarantee Israel’s security by eliminating its greatest military threats, forging a regional balance of power overwhelmingly in Israel’s favor, and in general creating a more friendly atmosphere for Israel in the Middle East.”

    tags: Israel zionist_lobby usa iraq war

  • “The documents on the U.S. War in Iraq published by Wikileaks contained data on 15,000 Iraqis killed in incidents that were previously unreported in the Western media or by the Iraqi Health Ministry, and therefore not counted in compilations of reported Iraqi war deaths by Iraqbodycount.org.”

    tags: iraq civilian_causalities usa war invasion war_crimes Wikileaks war_logs

    • These 15,000 deaths are only the tip of an iceberg of hundreds of thousands of unreported Iraqi deaths that have already been detected by more serious and scientific epidemiological studies, but the U.S. and British governments have successfully suppressed these studies by confusing the media and the public about their methods and accuracy.
    • “passive reporting” of war deaths generally only captures between 5% and 20% of the total number of actual deaths. This is partly a result of the changed nature of modern war. About 86% of the people killed in the First World War were uniformed combatants, whose identities were meticulously recorded. 90% of the people killed in recent wars have been civilians, making counting and identifying them much more difficult.

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My Bookmarx 10/27/2010

  • “The historic protests are in response to the French government’s proposed austerity measures (reductions in government services, the most unpopular of them a decision to delay the pension age by two years). An alliance of trade unions, students and young people, and leftist political parties has mobilized millions to challenge the French establishment with an intensity not seen for decades.”

    tags: France workers sarkozy austerity pensions strike riots capitalism Neoliberalism

    • Many of the protesters would define “austerity” as making the mass of people pay for fixing the global economic crisis that they did not cause. Having suffered the unemployment, foreclosures, and other deep social costs of the crisis itself, they are now told to accept more suffering as their governments offset the costs of supporting failed corporations.
    • A clear two-thirds of French people support or sympathize with the goals of the demonstrators and strikers.
    • many nations are facing the same issue: First governments borrowed to bail out an economic system that had exploded and stopped functioning, and now governments need to raise the money to pay back the borrowed funds with interest. So they propose policies such as cutting teachers in public schools, reducing help to the unemployed, and reneging on decades of promises to workers about when they will get retirement pensions. What governments do not do is tax corporations and the wealthy to raise the money needed to fix their messes.
    • Elsewhere in Europe, people follow the French events with the intense interest of those who sense that they are seeing their own futures unfold. What will be the outcome of a mass movement that says no to the subordination of people and governments to the profits, crises, and bailouts of a poorly functioning capitalist system?
    • In the United States, unemployment rose twice as much after the crash as it did in France. Meanwhile, austerity is well underway. Federal law denies states and municipalities the right to borrow money to balance their operating budgets. Hence, their response to sharp declines in tax revenues caused by the economic crisis has been to lay off workers and cut government services.
    • It is widely rumored that President Obama’s Deficit Reduction Commission will propose, after the election, that eligibility for Social Security retirement benefits be pushed back some years (just what Sarkozy tried). That would keep older workers from retiring, blocking the unemployed and younger workers from replacing them.
    • As in France, there is an opportunity to inspire those dissatisfied by the current economic system and increasingly interested in moving beyond it. Once before, after all, a revolution in France inspired one here.
  • “The publication of a mother lode of secret field reports from the Iraq War are shining a bright light on heretofore unknown or under-reported suspicions about the power of private security contractors and the abuse of Iraqi prisoners by their fellow Iraqis, often with their United States military counterparts “turning a blind eye”. “

    tags: iraq usa occupation war war_logs Wikileaks military_contractors mercenaries blackwater iran

    • The WikiLeaks disclosures fall into five categories: reliance on private
      contractors; the so-called “surge”, the addition of 30,000 additional US troops
      to work with willing Iraqis; the deaths of Iraqi civilians – killed mostly by
      other Iraqis, but also by the US military; a litany of prisoner abuse by Iraqis
      – from which US officials sometimes turned a blind eye – even more lurid than
      the infamous photographs of torture from Abu Ghraib prison in 2004; and the
      “aggressive” intervention of Iran’s military providing “weapons, training and
      sanctuary” to Shi’ite combatants.
    • But the WikiLeaks disclosures, while reporting little that was unknown, paint a
      far more detailed picture of the military sea-change that defined the United
      States’ involvement in Iraq. The New York Times says, “The early days of the
      Iraq war, with all its Wild West chaos, ushered in the era of the private
      contractor, wearing no uniform but fighting and dying in battle, gathering and
      disseminating intelligence and killing presumed insurgents.”

  • “SINCE LAST May, the situation in France has been marked by mobilizations against the pension law. Day of action after day of action, the movement against pension reform continues to develop and put down roots. It is the confirmation of a mass movement that is rejecting not only pension reform, but President Nicolas Sarkozy’s anti-social, racist and authoritarian policies as a whole, as well as the injustices accentuated by the economic crisis, both among the young and the wage earners”

    tags: France workers sarkozy strike riots pensions socialistworker struggle capitalism Neoliberalism

    • Already, at this stage of the mobilization, the government has lost the battle of public opinion. Seventy percent of the population support the protests and oppose this reform.
    • ongoing strike action has never been so much discussed in all sectors of activity as in recent weeks, to the point that 61 percent of those polled favor prolonged strikes. The problem is the leaders of the trade union confederations who, even if they are pushed by the rank and file to continue, make sure they avoid calling for a general strike.
  • “Since Hamas took control of Gaza, officials have employed mathematical formulas to monitor goods from aid groups entering the Strip to ensure amount was in line with what Israel permitted.”

    tags: Israel palestine gaza occupation siege blockade haaretz

    • The formulas used coefficients and a formulation for “breathing space,” a term used by COGAT authorities to refer to the number of days remaining until a certain supply runs out in Gaza, to determine allowed quantities.
  • “It was 1991 and Noam Chomsky had just finished a lecture in Berkeley on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and was taking questions from the audience. An Arab-American asked him to explain his position regarding the influence of America’s Israel lobby. “

    tags: Israel usa zionist_lobby Noam_Chomsky left

    • Chomsky replied that its reputation was generally exaggerated and, like other lobbies, it only appears to be powerful when its position lines up with that of the “elites” who determine policy in Washington. Earlier in the evening, he had asserted that Israel received support from the United States as a reward for the services it provides as the US’s “cop-on-the-beat” in the Middle East.
    • Chomsky’s position on the lobby had been established well before that Berkeley evening. In The Fateful Triangle, published in 1983, he assigned it little weight:

      The “special relationship” is often attributed to domestic political pressures, in particular the effectiveness of the American Jewish community in political life and in influencing opinion. While there is some truth to this it underestimates the scope of the “support for Israel,” and it overestimates the role of political pressure groups in decision making.

    • This is hardly the first time that Jews have been in the upper echelons of power, as Benjamin Ginsberg points out in The Fatal Embrace: Jews and the State; but there has never been a situation anything like the present. This was how Ginzberg began his book:

      Since the 1960s, Jews have come to wield considerable influence in American economic, cultural, intellectual and political life. Jews played a central role in American finance during the 1980s, and they were among the chief beneficiaries of that decade’s corporate mergers and reorganizations. Today, though barely 2 % of the nation’s population is Jewish, close to half its billionaires are Jews. The chief executive officers of the three major television networks and the four largest film studios are Jews, as are the owners of the nation’s largest newspaper chain and the most influential single newspaper, the New York Times.

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My Bookmarx 10/26/2010

  • “The British military has been training interrogators in techniques that include threats, sensory deprivation and enforced nakedness in an apparent breach of the Geneva conventions, the Guardian has discovered.”

    tags: uk interrogation war war_crimes

    • Training materials drawn up secretly in recent years tell interrogators they should aim to provoke humiliation, insecurity, disorientation, exhaustion, anxiety and fear in the prisoners they are questioning, and suggest ways in which this can be achieved.
    • The 1949 Geneva conventions prohibit any “physical or moral coercion”, in particular any coercion employed to obtain information.
    • All the British classified training material was produced after the death of Baha Mousa, the Iraqi hotel receptionist tortured to death by British troops in Basra in September 2003.
    • Last month the Guardian reported that British soldiers and airmen have been suspected of responsibility for the murder and manslaughter of Iraqi civilians in addition to Mousa. The victims include a man who was allegedly kicked to death on board an RAF helicopter, another who was shot by a soldier of the Black Watch after being involved in a traffic incident, and a 19-year-old who drowned after allegedly being pushed into a river by soldiers serving with the Royal Engineers.
  • “In the mid and late nineteenth century, the radical left – that is, critics of rapacious capitalism and advocates of the liberation of the industrial worker -were divided into two main factions: the Marxists and the anarchists.”

    tags: anarchism marxism marx Proudhon

  • “Many Americans view their country and its soldiers as the “good guys” spreading “democracy” and “liberty” around the world. When the United States inflicts unnecessary death and destruction, it’s viewed as a mistake or an aberration.

    In the following article Peter Dale Scott and Robert Parry examine the long history of these acts of brutality, a record that suggests they are neither a “mistake” nor an “aberration” but rather conscious counterinsurgency doctrine on the “dark side.””

    tags: usa history war_crimes atrocities

  • “Many Americans view their country and its soldiers as the “good guys” spreading “democracy” and “liberty” around the world. When the United States inflicts unnecessary death and destruction, it’s viewed as a mistake or an aberration.

    In the following article Peter Dale Scott and Robert Parry examine the long history of these acts of brutality, a record that suggests they are neither a “mistake” nor an “aberration” but rather conscious counterinsurgency doctrine on the “dark side.””

    tags: usa history war_crimes atrocities

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My Bookmarx 10/25/2010

  • Founders of the Zetas drug gang learned special forces techniques at Ft. Bragg before waging a campaign of carnage.

    tags: usa Mexico Drugs_Cartels violence terrorism

  • Uri Avnery warns that fascism will overwhelm Israel unless progressive forces “awake from the coma, understand what is happening and where it is leading to, protest and struggle by all available means … in order to arrest the fascist wave that is threatening to engulf us”

    tags: Israel fascism nazism racism palestine occupation ethnic_cleansing

    • This week, a new bill was tabled. It would prohibit non-citizens from acting as tourist guides in East Jerusalem… The bill is intended to deprive Arab Jerusalemites of the right to serve as tourist guides at their holy places in their city, since they are apt to deviate from the official propaganda line.
    • The Knesset members act like sharks in a feeding frenzy. There is a wild competition between them to see who can devise the most racist bill.
    • the genetic code of the Zionist movement is pushing towards the annexation of the whole of the historical country up to the Jordan River, and – directly or indirectly – the transfer of the Arab population.
  • The new Wikileaks claims the US undereported by 15,000, the deaths of Iraqi “civilians.”  With the numbers listed by the military as little as 10% or less of the actual deaths, bumping up the numbers must be a joke.

    tags: iraq war usa occupation war_logs Wikileaks criticism iran Israel

    • What does it prove, any of it?  For sure, we see one thing.  Everything leaked is carefully screened to have nothing of real value.  With Mossad running around Mosul, operating out of Erbil, supplying and advising the terrorist PKK, not a word is mentioned.  Instead, poor Iranians are swimming the Euphrates with explosives strapped to their chests.
    • In fact, there are more assault rifles in Iraq than people.
    • As the days pass, we can expect more and more fanciful accounts of Iranian spies, trainers, kidnappers and terrorists, each story more sensational and fictitious than the last.
    • There are dozens of subjects that seem to be carefully screened from any Wikileak.  Even the Department of Defense, not so secretly, thanks Wikileaks for holding back really embarrassing information.  “Held back” information is, of course, blackmail.
    • Only Israel has the penetration of the Department of Defense that would allow this kind of spying.  Not only can they do it, they also have so many spies in the American chain of command, they could easily prevent it.  Who has the facilities to gather and filter this much data?  Who would want to?
    • One of the biggest scams of the Iraq “experience” was the looting of oil resources.  Most easily verified is the theft of oil from the Kirkuk fields through the Kirkuk/Ceyhan pipeline, which goes to the Mediterranean through Turkey.  Ships that load oil are shown on locator sights run by insurance companies and even the US Coast Guard.  Their tonnage is available, how many ships, how long.  When doing the math, how much oil is loaded compared to how much is paid for, billions and billions of dollars of oil is missing.
    • Real leaks by former FBI translator Sibel Edmonds proved that documents exist showing that rendition flights were used to ferry terrorists around, move drugs and tons of cash.  With bales of cash leaving Afghanistan every day, why is it that not one page, not one word of any of this, things we know are in American files, hit Wikileaks?
  • Images from 17 October 2006, a typical 24 hours in one of the bloodiest years since the invasion

    tags: iraq war usa occupation war_logs Wikileaks photos

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My Bookmarx 10/24/2010

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My Bookmarx 10/23/2010

  • We would have preferred not to feel the need to write these lines. We would rather speak of love, of freedom and fresh water, leaving aside the negative, at least for a moment. However: a spectre haunts the revolutionary tension, the spectre of nihilism.

    tags: anarchism theory Nihilism criticism anarchist_news_dot_org

  • Weeks of strikes, protests and demonstrations have brought much of France to a standstill as workers, students and others voice their strong opposition to a government proposal to raise the age for a minimum pension from 60 to 62.

    tags: France workers strike demonstration riot pensions capitalism

    • A man holds a placard which reads “Listen to the public’s rage” during a demonstration in front of the French Senate in Paris October 20, 2010. French trade unions kept up their resistance on Wednesday to an unpopular pension reform due for a final vote in the Senate this week. (REUTERS/Charles Platiau)
    • A woman holds a sign as she demonstrates during a National Union-Led protest against retirement reform on October 16, 2010 in Paris, France. On the sign, an old woman says “When I was your age, I was already working”, and a girl replies “When I am your age I’ll still be working.” (Julien M. Hekimian/Getty Images) #

  • tags: Ibrahim-Essa dostor egypt journalism free-speech freedom Nawara

  • In the first article in a series on “Socialism and Black Liberation,” Lance Selfa explains the origins of slavery at the dawn of capitalism and the ideology of white supremacy.

    tags: slavery racism blacks capitalism marxism

    • Racism is a particular form of oppression. It stems from discrimination against a group of people based on the idea that some inherited characteristic, such as skin color, makes them inferior to their oppressors.
    • As the Trinidadian historian of slavery Eric Williams put it: “Slavery was not born of racism: rather, racism was the consequence of slavery.”
    • And, one should add, the consequence of modern slavery at the dawn of capitalism. While slavery existed as an economic system for thousands of years before the conquest of America, racism as we understand it today did not exist.
    • [H]istorically, it is pretty well proved now that the ancient Greeks and Romans knew nothing about race. They had another standard–civilized and barbarian–and you could have white skin and be a barbarian, and you could be black and civilized.
    • Between the 10th and 16th centuries, the chief source of slaves in Western Europe was Eastern Europe. In fact, the word “slave” comes from the word “Slav,” the people of Eastern Europe.
    • The demands of the plantation economies pushed “demand” for slaves. Supply did not create its own demand.
    • Slaves were denied any rights. Throughout the colonies in the Caribbean to North America, laws were passed establishing a variety of common practices: Slaves were forbidden to carry weapons, they could marry only with the owner’s permission, and their families could be broken up. They were forbidden to own property. Masters allowed slaves to cultivate vegetables and chickens, so the master wouldn’t have to attend to their food needs. But they were forbidden even to sell for profit the products of their own gardens.
    • When we think of slavery today, we think of it primarily from the point of view of its relationship to racism. But planters in the 17th and 18th centuries looked at it primarily as a means to produce profits. Slavery was a method of organizing labor to produce sugar, tobacco and cotton. It was not, first and foremost, a system for producing white supremacy.
    • From 1607, when Jamestown was founded in Virginia to about 1685, the primary source of agricultural labor in English North America came from white indentured servants.
    • The law in Virginia didn’t establish the condition of lifetime, perpetual slavery or even recognize African servants as a group different from white servants until 1661. Blacks could serve on juries, own property and exercise other rights. Northampton County, Virginia, recognized interracial marriages and, in one case, assigned a free Black couple to act as foster parents for an abandoned white child. There were even a few examples of Black freemen who owned white servants. Free Blacks in North Carolina had voting rights.
    • After establishing that African slaves would cultivate major cash crops of the North American colonies, the planters then moved to establish the institutions and ideas that would uphold white supremacy. Most unfree labor became Black labor. Laws and ideas intended to underscore the subhuman status of Black people–in a word, the ideology of racism and white supremacy–emerged full-blown over the next generation.
    • From the start, colonial slavery and capitalism were linked. While it is not correct to say that slavery created capitalism, it is correct to say that slavery provided one of the chief sources for the initial accumulations of wealth that helped to propel capitalism forward in Europe and North America.
    • Cotton textiles accounted for 75 percent of British industrial employment in 1840, and, at its height, three-fourths of that cotton came from the slave plantations of the Deep South. And Northern ships and ports transported the cotton.
    • Karl Marx clearly understood the connection between plantation slavery in the cotton South and the development of capitalism in England. He wrote in Capital:

      While the cotton industry introduced child-slavery into England, in the United States, it gave the impulse for the transformation of the more or less patriarchal slavery into a system of commercial exploitation. In fact, the veiled slavery of the wage-laborers in Europe needed the unqualified slavery of the New World as its pedestal. Capital comes dripping from head to toe, from every pore, with blood and dirt.

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