Archive for 31 ديسمبر, 2010

My Bookmarx 12/31/2010

  • When people riff about the impact of Wikileaks, you typically hear how it’s forever changed diplomacy or intelligence-gathering. The more ambitious accounts will mention the implications for journalism, too.

    tags: Wikileaks Assange corporates government anarchism

    • The Wikileaks revolution isn’t only about airing secrets and transacting information. It’s about dismantling large organizations—from corporations to government bureaucracies. It may well lead to their extinction.
  •  George Clooney has initiated a cutting-edge human rights project that combines satellite photographs, field reports and Google technology to help prevent the resumption of a deadly civil war in Sudan.

    tags: Sudan civil_war google George_Clooney surveillance

    • The actor came up with the idea of satellite surveillance when he visited the tense border area in October. Then he pulled together the unprecedented collaboration and finance needed to make it a reality.
    • Clooney persuaded cooperation between Not On Our Watch, which is a Hollywood human rights group, and the Enough Project, a Washington-based anti-genocide group. He also orchestrated the involvement of UNOSAT (the United Nations Operational Satellite Applications Program), the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative, Google and Trellon, which is an internet strategy and development firm. Together, all the groups for a coalition that will provide an early warning system to focus world attention and generate rapid responses on human rights and human security concerns.

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My Bookmarx 12/29/2010

  • Some analysts say India’s surge in growth exposed conflicts and contradictions that have haunted the country since it won independence.

    tags: india economy scandals

    • India’s income tax department had tapped the phone of a prominent lobbyist named Niira Radia, looking for evidence of alleged tax evasion and money laundering.
    • Saikat Datta is an assistant editor at Outlook, a weekly newsmagazine that has put some of the leaked tapes on its website. He says the tapes reveal that the country that prides itself on being the world’s largest democracy is really ruled by a small coterie of powerful people.
    • Datta says that ultimately, the problem stems from the fact that, after independence in 1947, the Indian state never attempted land reform, leaving the country’s wealth in the hands of the same people who’d always held it — and still do.
    • “In the process of shifting from a government-led economy to a private sector-led economy,” Prasad says, “the opportunities for graft were enormous, because those who were politically well-connected could most benefit from the private-sector expansion.”
  • Figures indicate 16% rise in aliya compared to previous year; Jerusalem most popular place for new Olim; oldest immigrant 99 years old.

    tags: Israel palestine occupation immigrants immigration aliyah

    • The Immigrant Absorption Ministry and the Jewish Agency for Israel reported Tuesday that 2010 had seen a steady rise in new immigrants with more than 19,000 people from places as diverse as Venezuela, Malta, Japan, and Rawanda choosing to make aliya.
  • The Wikileaks revolution isn’t only about airing secrets and transacting information. It’s about dismantling large organizations—from corporations to government bureaucracies. It may well lead to their extinction.

    tags: Wikileaks government corporations anarchy

    • In a Wikileaks world, the greater the number of people who intimately understand your organization,* the more candidates there are for revealing that information to millions of voyeurs.
    • As a practical matter, that means the days of bureaucracies in the tens of thousands of employees are probably numbered. In a decade or two, we may not only see USAID spun off from the State Department. We may see dozens of mini-State Departments servicing separate regions of the world. Or hundreds of micro-State Departments—one for every country on the planet. Don’t like the stranglehold that a handful of megabanks have on the financial sector? Don’t worry! Twenty years from now there won’t be such a thing as megabanks, because the cost of employing 100,000 potential leakers will be prohibitive.
  • American military and economic strategists recognize Afghanistan is a necessary bridgehead to engage America’s competitors China, Russia, and India on their home field as well as to contain and pacify potential spoilers to the expansion of free trade in Iran, Pakistan, and the volatile Central Asian states.

    tags: usa afghanistan economy occupation imperialism Russia china

    • Not only does Afghanistan contain some of the richest mineral deposits in the world, but it also sits astride the shortest trade routes between China and Europe as well as between Russia and India. In this age of globalizing free trade and an accelerating scramble for natural resources, Afghanistan sits at the epicentre of Eurasia.
    • as Zbigniew Brzezinski noted in 1997: “What happens with the distribution of power on the Eurasian landmass will be of decisive importance to America’s global primacy and historical legacy.”
    • The first two industrial-scale development projects have proceeded beyond planning to implementation. In 2008, the Afghan government sold the concession to mine Aynak, one of the largest copper deposits in the world. On 11 December 2010, the presidents of Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India signed a deal to proceed with the 1,700 kilometre TAPI pipeline, which will transport natural gas from Turkmenistan across Afghanistan and Pakistan to energy-hungry India. Many more mega-projects currently in the planning stages will soon be implemented.
    • Resource and infrastructure development projects on multi-billion dollar scales are rapidly proceeding. It is evident that states and investors are beginning to invest heavily in large-scale industrial development. Whether these investments will return profits for investors is yet unsure.
    • It is more uncertain whether these investments will have any positive effect for most Afghans. Judging by the centuries of Western intervention in Afghanistan and the well-known effects of the “resource curse” experienced by resource rich but poor people around the world, it seems unlikely many Afghans have much to hope for.
    • In 2010, the U.S. State Department reported Afghanistan “has taken significant steps toward fostering a business-friendly environment for both foreign and domestic investment.” Afghanistan’s new investment law allows 100 per cent foreign ownership and provides generous tax allowances to foreign investors, without providing any protection for Afghan workers or the environment.
  • The demand by a group of academics and intellectuals that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu suspend the state-funded rabbis who signed the letter of incitement against Israeli Arabs, and to keep racist bills from being put to a Knesset vote, is an important and timely act of protest.

    tags: Israel palestine occupation apartheid racism zionism protests left academia

    • Israelis have recently been exposed to massive incitement from two main sources: Knesset members and rabbis. The former purport to lead, the latter purport to speak in the name of God and morality. Both have assumed exclusive control of the public arena, creating the impression that everyone is in thrall to their benighted opinions – or at least accepts them submissively.
  • Huge gas fields discovered recently under the Mediterranean seabed have raised high hopes in Israel, a small, high-consumption country seeking alternative energy resources and a greater degree of
      independence from imports.

    tags: Israel Mediterranean gas natural_resources lebanon palestine egypt Cyprus turkey economy

    • Israel had neglected to sort this out with Cyprus, which “owns” the other end of the Mediterranean. Now the two countries have divvied up the roughly 200 nautical miles between them and the maritime border was demarcated in a recent agreement signed in Nicosia by Cypriot Foreign Minister Markos Kyprianou and Landau.
    • Cyprus says this doesn’t conflict with a similar agreement signed with Lebanon, still awaiting ratification in parliament. 
    • Now Egypt is watching, to ensure the agreement doesn’t infringe on Egyptian maritime territories and its interests. It too has signed a deal with Cyprus.
    • Although Turkey has no claim to the area demarcated with Israel, the Turkish foreign ministry fiercely criticized the agreement saying it didn’t consider “Turkish Cypriot” rights and jurisdiction over the maritime areas of the island.
    • The two main sites — Tamar and Leviathan — could answer Israel’s natural gas needs for decades. With the reserves’ value estimated at about $300 billion, a bitter public debate is raging over who will benefit most and how to divide profits between state, tycoons and small investors.
  • The recent suicide of an unemployed 24-year-old man in Tunisia — who electrocuted himself by touching a high-voltage electrical pole after shouting “no for misery, no for unemployment” — and the ensuing unrest are signs of the frustration and despair felt by the country’s youth as Tunisia’s economy slows.

    tags: Tunisia Sidi_Bouzid suicide unemployment poverty economy europe protests riots

    • Even as the level of education among job seekers in Tunisia has improved, the government has failed to make policies guaranteeing enough job creation to absorb new entrants to the labor market, especially among those with university degrees.
  • Egyptian security forces uncovered a munitions stockpile, including anti-aircraft missiles, destined for Gaza, the Palestinian news agency Ma’an reported on Tuesday.

    tags: palestine gaza egypt siege blockade Israel weapons

    • This is not the first time that anti-aircraft missiles and other munitions destined to be smuggled into Gaza have been seized by Egyptian forces.
    • In September, Israeli and Palestinian news reported that Egyptian troops recovered machine guns, ammunition, over 170 anti-aircraft shells, 90 artillery shells and anti-tank landmines in a series of raids across the Sinai Peninsula.

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My Bookmarx 12/28/2010

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My Bookmarx 12/27/2010

  • Yesterday morning Salama Abu Hashish, 20 years, was herding his sheep and goats in Beit Lahya, in northern Gaza, when the Israeli Occupation Forces shot him without any warning. The bullet hit his back and went straight through one of his kidneys.

    tags: gaza palestine Israel occupation siege blockade murder

    • Yesterday’s attacks come amidst an escalating Israeli assault on workers in the border area: in the past five weeks alone, 40 people have been injured in the buffer zone, an Israeli military-declared no-go zone that runs along the Gazan side of the border in a swathe 300 to 500 meters wide. However, according to the United Nations, the “high risk” zone stretches up to 1000-1500 meters. The total area amounts to 35% of Gaza’s arable land.
  • The rolling blackouts thankfully hit Gaza in even more of a stutter than they used to. Some days, like today, the power remains on all day.

    tags: gaza palestine Israel occupation siege blockade murder

    • Today I went to the martyr’s tent in Beit Lehiya. The shepherd who had died was freshly married. His child had been born two days before. His father said, “I am open,” indicating a line running along his sternum. The young man who had died had been his oldest son, leaving three brothers and two sisters. My friends working here, and the statistics, say that these murders, even more, the injuries, have been incessant since I left at the end of July. Incessant, and nearly banal, and marked in the West by a thundering silence—the silence of a racism that roars at the death of a Jewish Israeli and does not even bother to shrug at the death of a Bedouin living with his sheep

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My Bookmarx 12/26/2010

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My Bookmarx 12/25/2010

  • Author Ilan Pappé recounts the growing support of introducing a one-state solution into the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks from his book with Noam Chomsky.

    tags: palestine Israel peace one_state book_excerpt Noam_Chomsky Ilan_Pappe

  • The clear majority of the modern works that examine the Palestine/Israel conflict do so with a strong emphasis on the ‘nakba’ of 1948, with subsequent arguments based on covering events that led up to it, and then arguments based on events that have followed from it.

    tags: palestine Israel history book_review

    • Basem L. Ra’ad’s new book “Hidden Histories – Palestine and the Eastern Mediterranean” adds a relatively new component to the discussion of Palestinian and regional history. It is impossible to not include the above elements in a discussion of Palestine, yet they receive minimal treatment, almost as an already understood if understated context. Instead, Hidden Histories explores two perspectives that are not completely ignored but not fully well developed, in part because the dominant media discourse of the U.S., Europe, and Israel do not particularly want them to be heard.
    • The first perspective is to examine the ancient histories of the region through current knowledge of archaeology and linguistics, a duality that highlights not the uniqueness of a chosen people and its exile and return, but the commonality of a stable indigenous population that underwent various permutations and adaptations as different forces controlled to the region to varying degrees. 
    • The second perspective looks at the modern implementation of the Israeli narrative – normally looked at in the manner in which the ethnic history is used to justify the appropriation and annexation of the physical landscape, of the declared intent to settle all of Eretz Israel, as a divine right of the Jewish people. Ra’ad turns this appropriation and annexation perspective and focuses on the appropriation of the cultural artefacts, the cultural heritage, the language, and the cultural beliefs of the indigenous Palestinians, to the extent, as he argues, that the Palestinians themselves are becoming unaware of their own true patrimony and unknowingly reflect Israeli mythology into their own background.
  • One of the first things that struck me while reading the cables from the US embassy to Israel in Tel Aviv was how worried the Israeli government seems to be about the Goldstone Report into war crimes committed during Israel’s 2008-2009 attack on the people of Gaza.

    tags: palestine Israel usa Wikileaks cablegate

    • Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak is reported to have said he “had consulted with Egypt and Fatah prior to Operation Cast Lead, asking if they were willing to assume control of Gaza once Israel defeated Hamas”. In other words, Fateh leader Mahmoud Abbas (whose term as PA president expired in January 2009) knew the massive Israeli onslaught was coming but said nothing. This was widely suspected, but to read confirmation of it from a confidential US government source is something new.
  • One week after  the beginning of the  riots in Sidi Bouzid , following the immolation by fire of a young man, the assessment of  the situation is more than necessary. Riots are continuing in Sidi Bouzid and they even disseminated to other parts of the area including: Meknassy, Menzel Bouzeyen, and Mezzouna.

    tags: Tunisia unemployment protests Sidi_Bouzid

  • أفاد مسؤول نقابي أن مواجهات عنيفة بين متظاهرين والشرطة أسفرت الجمعة عن مقتل شخص وإصابة عشرة آخرين بجروح في مدينة منزل بوزيان في ولاية سيدي بوزيد التي شهدت خلال أسبوع واحد حالتي انتحار بسبب تردي الأوضاع الاجتماعية وارتفاع نسبة البطالة.

    tags: Tunisia unemployment protests Sidi_Bouzid

    • وقال محمد فاضل من نقابة التعليم الثانوي التونسية ان القتيل والجرحى اصيبوا بالرصاص في منزل بوزيان التي تبعد نحو 60 كلم عن مدينة سيدي بوزيد التي تشهد اضطرابات اجتماعية منذ عدة ايام.
    • وقال المسؤول النقابي ان المتظاهر القتيل محمد عماري يبلغ من العمر 18 عاما وانه توفي اثر اصابته برصاصة في صدره.
    • المتظاهرين اضرموا النار في ثلاث سيارات للشرطة ومكاتب للحزب الديموقراطي التقدمي الحاكم وقطار للبضائع ومركز للحرس الوطني.
    • وتشهد ولاية سيدي بوزيد اضطرابات اجتماعية منذ 19 كانون الاول/ديسمبر اثر محاولة انتحار اقدم عليها جامعي تونسي يعمل بائعا متجولا احتجاجا على مصادرة الشرطة لعربته التي يستخدمها لبيع الخضر والفواكه في مدينة سيدي بوزيد.
  • لئن انطلقت أحداث العنف الدامية التي يعيشها مركز الولاية منذ أيام والتي اتسعت رقعتها لتشمل أنحاء منها، على خلفية التجمعات الشعبية العفوية المتعاطفة مع الشاب الذي أضرم النار في جسده احتجاجا على إهانته وظروفه السيئة، إلا أن جحافل الغاضبين كانت تستحضر كل المشاكل التي يهجسون بها سرا وعلانية احتجاجا على سوء خدمات إدارية كبر في نفوسهم ليتحول مع الأيام إلى إحساس بالحقرة والإقصاء. ولعل الملفت للانتباه أن من اكتفوا بالمتابعة عن بعد كانوا الأكثر غبطة لما يجري تعبيرا منهم عن حالة الاحتقان التي تقبض على نفوسهم

    tags: Tunisia unemployment protests Sidi_Bouzid

  • شهدت الولاية الواقعة على بعد ١٢٠ كيلومترا من العاصمة تونس احتجاجات واسعة طيلة الأسبوع الماضي بعد أن أشعل شاب النار في نفسه لعجزه عن العثور على فرصة عمل رغم أنه من حاملي الشهادات العليا. وقالت مصادر نقابية إن شابا آخر انتحر يوم الأربعاء الماضي للسبب نفسه.

    tags: Tunisia unemployment protests Sidi_Bouzid

    • كانت مصادر نقابية في سيدي بوزيد أعلنت أن شابا ثانيا أقدم على الانتحار مساء الأربعاء أمام مقر معتمدية سيدي بوزيد الغربية، في وقت تحدثت فيه الأنباء عن تجدد أعمال الشغب والمواجهات العنيفة بين الشرطة ومئات المتظاهرين في عدد من مدن المحافظة. ونقلت جريدة الشعب الناطقة باسم الاتحاد العام التونسي للشغل عن مصادر نقابية في المدينة أن الشاب حسين الفالحي أقدم على الانتحار احتجاجا على البطالة التي يعيشها.
    • نقلت وكالة الأنباء الألمانية عن النقابي محمد فاضل قوله إن مئات المتظاهرين الغاضبين أحرقوا مبنى معتمدية منزل بوزيان (التابعة للمحافظة) بالكامل. وأضاف أن المتظاهرين “يحاصرون مركز الحرس الوطني (فرع من قوات الأمن) بالمدينة ويحاولون اقتحامه، وهو ما اضطر قوات الأمن إلى إطلاق الرصاص الحي في الهواء لمنعهم من ذلك”.
    • يشار إلى أن منطقة الجنوب الغربي في تونس شهدت في السنوات الأخيرة احتجاجات اجتماعية، إذ شهدت مدينة الرديف من محافظة قفصة تحركات احتجاجية كبيرة عام ٢٠٠٨ استمرت أشهرا ضد البطالة وغلاء المعيشة وتعثر التنمية بالمنطقة المعروفة باسم “الحوض المنجمي” لغناها بالفوسفات، وامتدت إلى مدينة أم العرائس المجاورة وفريانة من ولاية القصرين

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My Bookmarx 12/24/2010

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