Friday, October 29, 2010

Britain: government cuts budget and pardons billions to Vodafone

They are laughing at us, they are spitting on our faces. 

The new conservative British government has decided to settle a tax debt of 4.8 billion pounds for just 1.2 billion. The lucky one? Vodafone: one of the largest British companies. 

Then the Chancellor of the Exchequer was seen in India promoting the telephone company.

It's cuts for the poor and cash for the rich. That's the new scam: free market? What for when we can just tax them directly! 

People is taking action anyhow.

Mumia Abu Jamal: there is will to kill him

Famous US political prisoner Mumia Abu Jamal was sentenced to death in 1982 in a farce trial with made up evidence that we know today being false. There is a lot of evidence that supports Mumia's innocence, including a confession by another person who admits he was the one to shoot the police officer. But they want Mumia dead he won't shut up, which is the real price demanded by the system for his life.

And the legal system, specially after the Clinton reform, does not allow in practice for re-trials of those sentenced to the death penalty. That is a further obstacle that makes obtaining justice in Mumia's case almost impossible. 

However there is nothing that popular action cannot achieve. Mumia's date of execution has been suspended twice already, precisely because popular pressure forced the hand of those who had to sign the execution.

You can sign a petition (already with almost 27,000 signatures) HERE, you can get more information on Mumia's legal and political situation HERE and HERE

Source of the main info: Amigos de Mumia en Mexico at La Haine[es].

Three of the Sahara injured kidnapped by the gendarmerie

I reported a few days ago on the murder of a Sahrawi teenager and the injuring of several other people at El Aaiun, capital of occupied West Sahara.

The developments are that, of the other five injured, who were kept cuffed to their beds at hospital, three have been kidnapped by the gendarmerie and brought to some unknown destiny. The other two remain at hospital in the same conditions.

Meanwhile the Moroccan occupants buried Nayed Elgarhi by night at an unknown place so the family and neighbors could not mourn him.

Source: La Haine[es]

The people does not yield to Sarkozy. The strike continues in France

As I said before, the peoples of the French Republic are giving the World a lesson on how to struggle.

Rather unexpectedly a day after the pension cuts law was finally approved by parliament, where the conservatives have a wide majority, two million people took part in more than 200 demos and protests called through the hexagon. Among them, anarcho-syndicalists took the see of Sarko's brother's corporation: Malakoff Médéric.

Video of this action:

In Saint Nazaire there were clashes between police and protesters. 8 citizens are arrested.

Video of the demo at Marseilles:

The continuity of the protests in spite of the parliamentary stubbornness clearly places Sarko between a rock and a hard place. It is clear that the resistance has just begun. Next protest journey is tomorrow Saturday.

Source: La Haine[es]

Mars water is recent

Deposits of soluble minerals under the wheels of the trapped Mars rover but not in the upper layer support that water existed in liquid form recently on the red planet, otherwise the layers should be mixed by wind erosion.

Full story at Science Daily.

Globalization, Empire and Decadence

For those readers with a decent grasp of Spanish I must recommend this article of Jorge Beinstein at Rebelión:

Declinación del capitalismo, fin del crecimiento global, ilusiones imperiales y periféricas, alternativas (Declive of capitalism, end of global growth, imperial and peripheral illusions, alternatives).

It's really long and has little waste but I'll try to make a synthesis for those who can't read Spanish:

The bravadoes of capitalist success of the 1990s are gone. Now the best that capitalist ideologues can come up with is a mythical W shape for the economy that would, eventually, in a distant future, recover its past glory. Of course this is a false prospect: there's no recovery. 

Capitalism has succeeded in creating finally the first global economy but this success is also its decadence. This is the first condition for the overcoming of the Capitalist stage of history.

Our time is defined by the cooling of global capitalism and the failure of the central economies in keeping themselves on top. As reaction the Empire attempts to use its greatest advantage: military power. The Empire has launched an array of offensives in Eurasia, Africa and specially Latin America in an attempt to keep itself together and weaken its competitors (the BRIC basically).

Today the imperial power system is based on a state reason founded on the desperation generated by a senile brain... 

But the Empire is sick, it is huge but it is plagued of weak spots, time is its foe: it brings new economic woes, new social degradation, and amplifies the areas of autonomy and rebellion.

The economic stimuli only briefly patched the problem, while creating another one: debt. Now the austerity measures again can only be patch and one at a huge cost of legitimacy.

Now the dilemma of the imperial leaders is either to keep piling up debt (a short-term patch) or to enter a long depression in the hope of regaining control (a long-term disaster). It is a false alternative however: there are no options, no horizon of hope for the system. 

The roots of the crisis are old however: they come from the 1970s (or even earlier), when the overproduction was canalized into the military and financial departments (increasing military spending and relaxing financial controls). These reforms allowed to contain the crisis but degraded the whole structure: real productive capital declined and virtual, parasitic, financial capital thrived instead.

Critically, depredation replaced reproduction. 

Actually the predatory tendency was part of the system since its foundations but until these reforms, it was subservient of the reproductive role of society as a whole. Now reproduction does not seem to matter anymore: it's just like a global Tortuga island where all wealth is obtained by robbery or scam and spent almost at the moment.

There is no tomorrow, no plan. 

Seen in the long run, the Capitalist system of the 19th century did not simply chain up falls and recoveries but actually, after each recession, the system recomposed itself by accumulating more and more parasitic (financial) capital. The financial cancer irrupted in full at the change of century and eventually obtained total control several decades later. 

The discourse of progress and modernity obscured this fact, which, when evidenced, was considered backwards, a taint on the otherwise glorious colors of the titanic march of humankind to a better future (future that never really arrived, by the way). 

Where is the future that our old men forged?, sang a punk band from around here already in the early 80s.

Meanwhile the Military-Industrial Complex, whose parasitic nature should also be obvious (main cause of deficit, does not anymore generate many jobs, lives off destruction and death) took a central role as well. It became integrated with the financial and energetic sectors in one single massive oligopoly of parasitic nature. 

In synthesis: there is a perverse dialectic relationship between the expansion of the global mass of profits, its growing speed, the multiplication of civil and military bureaucratic structures of social control, global concentration of income, rise of the parasitic tide and the depredation of the ecosystem

This causes that overcoming Capitalism is not anymore the most necessary step in order to continue progressing but firs of all because Humankind needs to survive.

Capitalism and Anglo-Saxon civilization are the same thing. Europe and Japan languish at the shadow of US decadence, Chinese growth has been based on exports towards these declining markets. There doesn't seem to be an alternative as the US Empire decays. 

Not within the Capitalist system certainly. 

Meanwhile the peripheries have forged a history of struggles and organization, often defeated but still part of the social memory. In Latin America specially the old oligarchies are losing control. The US plan of restoring the old boys is destined to fail. Through the World, the empire is a thread of unstable vassals and protectorates, whose internal dynamics, expression of the crisis of underdeveloped modernity, are not anymore under imperial control and that actually challenge directly the imperial foundations.

In the periphery is the BRIC also, regional barons rather than true challengers, whose success is based in their very integration in Global Capitalism. They can maybe realize national capitalism to some extent but this must get them, sooner than later, facing the same barriers that affect the Empire they mirror. No hope either in those models that are not truly autonomous. Nothing is today.

Meanwhile the resistances, presented in the media as lost causes, unable to effectively challenge the monstrous military, economic and propaganda machine of the empire, survive against all odds. They stubbornly refuse to surrender and/or reappear with new forms.

But they are fragmented. Somewhat ironically the globalization of these necessarily local struggles appears as the necessary evolution of Humankind, as the necessary form of our collective survival.

So far the synthesis.

Opinion: Socialism or Capitalism Cancer and Death?

I agree with all the article, a rare occurrence. 

I agree that Capitalism has degenerated into a mere parasitism, what was unavoidable; that it has brought us so far but is unable to bring us to port and unless removed from office will get the ship wrecked and all us dead or worse. 

I think that the Empire has two good historical comparisons: one is a blend of late republic and late empire of Rome, the other, maybe the best comparison is the Habsburg Empire of Charles V and Philip II, with its meteoric rise and fall, its oversizing and its facing multiple foes all around. It is also an example that has all the qualities of Western Modernity. 

But there is one difference: the difference between the print and the Internet. The speed of communication.

There are other differences: Capitalism has organized huge transforming (productive) forces indeed but I see the Internet as the culmination of globalization and more or less effective reunion of Humankind into a single intellectual network with no or few bounds and near instantaneous impact. So it embodies the rest somehow. Similarly the printing machine represents better than anything else Early Modernity (even Late Modernity). It was the print what had the Protestants organized for instance, even if the Empire also made use of it. Hundreds of years later it was also the print which brought the bourgeois system to power and even in the last century it was central... until the Internet took over. 

This is something the article does not ponder except in a very general sense. If Modernity was the Age of Print, what will be the Age of Internet? It should not be the same: it never happens that way.

Sure: I'm ignoring a bit the impact of telephone, radio and TV but you will excuse me for that I hope: they are more a transition than any stable stage and could not really take the place of the printing machine, be it Gutenberg's or the Vietnamese.

Whatever the exact details of future developments, we are at a historical crossroads like no one before. There is a lot of potential here: billions of people, mostly good people, a global quasi-instant network of collective thought, persistent insurgencies nearly everywhere, growing awareness. There is also a huge challenge like never before, beginning by our environmental survival (us in our environment: Earth), continuing by how to organize so many people at a scale of democracy never before known and ending on the thorny details of how to organize a post-capitalist economy with no real precedents. 

I honestly do not feel at the height of the challenge and probably neither do you. But that is the challenge and we are here (by chance, by destiny...) to face it the best we can. 

For what they were we are, for what we are they will be. Ya know.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Egypt: the revolutionary scenario

Protest against Mubarak dynastic succession
There is a nice article at IDOM on the ongoing troubles in Egypt around senile Mubarak's succession. It is written by Hamid Alizadeh and Frederik Ohsten and titled: Egypt: The gathering storm.

The authors argue, as far as I can see, that:

1. Gamal Mubarak does not have the backing of the Army or in general the old guard of the regime, who feel themselves displaced from the profits gathered by the new guard around the presumptive heir. 

2. The main tolerated "opposition" party, the Muslim Brotherhood, is not really an opposition but a second line of defense of the regime, what became particularly apparent when they dismissed the textile workers strikes. However they are being divided along class lines, with a reformist sector being more sensible to the demands of the working class. 

3. Oddly enough such a liberal reformist figure as Mohammed El Baradei has become the rally point of the workers' movement. This they argue is not rare in Third World countries (cf. Iran, Honduras, Thailand...). 

4. Reforms cannot alone fix the fundamental problems, such as the cost of bread, that the Egyptian society faces, so they contend that they will be only a step towards a more radical stage. 

5. There is a growing class struggle going on, whose most emblematic action was the textile workers struggle in 2006. The strike extended well into 2007, including more and more sectors of the working class.

While the prospects are still diffuse, what is clear is that Egypt is, in spite of all the US and Saudi financial support, at the verge of collapse. It is also very apparent that whatever happens in Egypt will send seismic waves across the whole region, as Egypt is by far the largest Arab country, controls the Suez Canal and has already in the past lead Arab resistance to Zionist colonialism. 

Nowadays, without the Egyptian active collaboration the blockade of Gaza and in general the blank check Israel gets for its atrocities would not be possible. But the main drive for change in Egypt comes from its own failure towards its own people: you cannot sell out the whole country and not pay for it  at some point. Egyptians are most unhappy and some sort of change is unavoidable. 

What exactly? It's not up to us but to the Egyptian people to decide in a show of participative democracy, of revolution.

Germany's ivory tower

It seems that Germany is drifting apart from the rest of EU.

Highly privileged in the euro currency system (that essentially means the adoption of the former Deutsche mark by all other members), Germany now calls for a greater neocolonialism inside EU: chancellor Merkel proposed yesterday that countries unable to meet the draconian budgetary constraints imposed by the Eurozone system are denied the right of vote. For that she demanded that the Treaty of Lisbon (already implemented against the will or the people) is reformed.

This is a no-no, it seems, as even the EC president Joao Barroso, has said it is unacceptable.

Another German proposal is to create a mechanism for the orderly bankruptcy of a member state, mechanism that would be participated not just by the states but also by the private banks.

In my opinion, it would be a lot simpler to put the European Central Bank (and the Commission) under direct supervision from the European Parliament. This would allow for careful manipulation of the common currency in accordance not just to the selfish colonialist needs of Germany but of the 25 members.

A clear conflict of interests exists between the German desire for a strong euro and the general EU need of a weaker currency, able to compete with China and the USA. This should be solved in favor of the majority needs of EU citizens and not just of German corporations. I don't see why German "needs" are more important than, say, Greek ones.

Source: Gara[es]

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Aziz sentenced to death for for enforcing secularism.

The situation in Islamist Iraq under US protectorate is totally reactionary. As they could not figure out on what grounds to hang Tarik Aziz, former Foreign Minister of Iraq, they have done it because he allegedly persecuted religious parties, which is miraculously raised to the category of "crimes against humanity". 

He was also accused in a separate trial of ordering the execution of food speculators but he rejected the charges.

I think that this illustrates better than anything else what has really happened in Iraq: a secularist illustrated regime that, whatever its defects, pushed the nation ahead into modernity and progress, has been replaced by a fundamentalist colonial one under the Holy Alliance of the USA, Israel, Saudia and Iran, which may diverge now and then but basically agree that anything secular and illustrated must be destroyed.

The attorney of the defense, Badee' Aref believes the sentence has been timed to distract from the revelations by Wikileaks, which emphasize the Iranian ties of all Shia parties and militias, as well as the terror that dominates life in Iraq since the 2003 invasion (ref. 12). 

He also claims that three judges did not agree with the sentence but were forced to sign it. 

Tarik Aziz famously denounced the US pull back as leaving Iraq to the wolves (Iran and its Shia Fundamentalist puppets). 

Source: Al Jazeera.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Morocco murders young activists in West Sahara

Nayem Elgarhi
Moroccan troops murdered  boy aged just 14, Elgarhi Nayem Foidal Mohamed Sueidi, and injured seven other teenagers when they stumbled upon a checkpoint of the occupation forces at the entrance of the camp raised by democratic Sahrawi organizations at the outskirts of El Aaiun.

Only some of the identities are known as of now: Garhi Zoubeir (brother of Nayem), Alaoui Lagdaf, Dawdi Ahmed, Salek Filali and Abderhaman Humid. They are at Hospital Hassan El Mehdi and nothing else is known yet about their situation.

According to the known version, the teenagers were about to access the Justice and Dignity Camp when they stumbled upon the Royal Gendarmerie's checkpoint. They pulled back and were persecuted by the occupant troops with the tragic result already mentioned.

A second victim may be also dead.

Camp destroyed at Smara

The occupant forces have also destroyed a camp at Smara, beating people indiscriminately and arresting known activist Daida Abdeslam.

At the El Aaiun camp, police has raised a wall enclosing it, making it a de-facto concentration camp.

Images from the Justice and Dignity Camp

The comments of the video are in Spanish with Arabic accent but he essentially says that the people are there to demand from the EU that Moroccan products from the occupied territory are not accepted as normal imports, that Sahrawis feel they are being robbed of their resources, be them mineral (phosphates) or animal (fish), while they are forced to survive in abject poverty (unemployment among Sahrawis is nearly total) and deprived of all civil rights and their sovereign rights as a distinct nation.

Sources[es]: La Haine, Sahara Libre (1, 2, 3)

British interrogation manual breaches Geneva Convention

The newly leaked manual for the military forces advocates intimidation of prisoners by means of plastic cuffs, blindfolds, earlobes, forced nakedness, restricting sleep and persistent incommunication.

The manual, which looks written by an active sado-masochist (in the sexual meaning of the word), outlines that prisoners should be conditioned prior to any interrogation and that this conditioning is made by means of sexual intimidation such as having the prisoner naked, searching his foreskin and forcing him to have the buttocks spread.

International law explicitly forbids any form of coercion against war prisoners, specifically that used to obtain information.

British forces in Iraq are responsible of several murders of prisoners, some by throwing them from helicopters, forced to drown in the river or merely gunned down at cold blood after a traffic incident.

Hundreds of witnesses certifying British inflicted tortures in Iraq are probably just the tip of the proverbial iceberg.

Some officers complained because they believed such methods being illegal and potentially harming the reputation of the British armed forces.

Source: The Guardian.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Three arrested for trying to flee to North Korea

They, as others before, have been arrested under the Anticommunist Law that forbids visiting the Northern half of the country (excepted very rare permissions), effective in South Korea since the time it was a fascist dictatorship, some 20 years ago.

The names of the three dissidents, the charges against whom are built on expressions of disgust like being "fed up of South Korean society", are not known yet excepted a physician surnamed Shin.

Source: José Luis Forneo at Cuestionatelotodo[es].

Disclaimer: this news note implies no particular support for the Stalinist dynastic regime of North Korea, just a much needed mention of how both regimes mirror each other for the worst and how the iron curtain or what remains of it works in both ways.

Tea Party and Fascism

From this part of the world at least the US Tea Party stinks to fascism, regardless of its peculiarities.

Vicenç Navarro compares it successfully with the classical European fascist triad and the more recent, and very much typical Spanish in the worst sense of the phrase, Aznarismo.

Aznarismo (from J.M. Aznar) is probably best described as a neoliberal authoritarian Christian corrupt populist movement, whose leaders are more often than not pathetic... yet manage to obtain high levels of power. While Aznarismo as such is powered by Catholic sects such as the Opus Dei, in North America the Tea Party is supported by all kind of reactionary Judeo-Christian sects. Otherwise they feel much the same.

Something that Navarro underlines is that most Tea Party leaders are in fact healthcare businessmen who feel threatened in their wallets by the healthcare reform of Obama. That is the case of Rick Scott and Rand Paul, while Carl Paladino is a major real state speculator. But other backers are, as happened with classical fascism, prominent members of the Big Capital single inner (real) party: Dick Arney (corporate lobby boss), Robert Rowning and Trevor Ree-Jones are oil barons, while Rupert Murdoch is such a well known far-right boss of the mass media that he needs no introduction.

Navarro also emphasizes the ultra-liberal ideology of the US political phenomenon, looking for a reduction of the state to its minimal role: army and police guaranteeing the property of the class they represent but leaving the people defenseless before business oligarchs. That they call libertarianism but for me that is an insult, as libertarianism (anarchism) is precisely about the suppression of the public force, and relatedly, that of any property other than consensually accepted possession.

Today the far right is mobilized and the left is demobilized in the USA, says the Catalan professor. This is caused by the right-wing orientation of Obama's presidency, which has got the left leaderless and hopeless in the short term. 

Navarro describes the Tea Party as extremely similar to the Spanish far right of today:

Actually what we see is the transformation of European fascism in a more Americanized far right (...) trying to detach itself from their Fascist or Nazi roots with the exception, as always, of the Spanish far right.
I must say here that we cannot forget the close relationship of Aznarismo with the Bush administration. Aznar was the third (or the second or maybe even the first) of the three of Azores who declared war on Iraq without any kind of legal formality, like getting the war approved by parliaments. He has since lived in the USA. Rodrigo Rato, his first vice-president, became for years head of the IMF. So what we have here is Bushism or Reaganism by another name.

There would be a lot to say about this new kind of fascism but what is clear, and the crisis of the 1930s should serve as warning for what we can expect in this one, is that fascisms do get boosted wherever the middle class is impoverished. As the working class is also impoverished (surely more) the left, a radical genuine left, may be boosted too but this is not something that anyone in power would support, so it has to be a totally different, genuinely democratic bottom-up build. The objective conditions for the forge of the new revolutionary movement are there but consciousness is still lacking.

Source and original article (in Spanish): Vicenç Navarro: El Tea Party ¿es el fascismo posible en EE.UU.? (The Tea Party: is fascism possible in the USA?)

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Dissolving esophaguses. BP, Allen, Obama murderers of their own people.

5% of lung capacity, dissolving esophaguses... that is the result of BP and US government criminal negligence in the Gulf of Mexico. With the full complicity of corporate media.

Follows interview with Dr. Riki Ott:

Found at Florida Spill Law.

Other related news from the same site just in the few last hours:

Wikileaks releases 400,000 secret documents on Iraq's occupation

As you probably know already, Wikileaks has made the second release of the US military secret documents, this time with some 400,000 items, which were pre-released to several Western newspapers, as happened with the Afghanistan ones.

Maybe the best review is not in the media but in the blog of Layla Anwar, from where I take the final half of her article:

Do you remember at any time of your life when you were a witness to something horrendous, and when you reported it, no one believed you. Even those closest to you, or whom you thought were closest to you, did not believe you. You kept repeating what you saw, and no one believed you.

Yet you still held on to that truth you witnessed. Others ridiculed you, called you names, silenced you, threatened to kill you, called you a liar, accused you of imagining things, accused you of having your own agenda...and with the ridicule, came the minimization, the twisting, the guilt provoking like in - come on it was not that bad or it was not like that, you are nothing but a little hateful liar making trouble...and sometimes the pressure would be so great, you'd start wondering that maybe after all you did conjure up things...that maybe you did not see right, that maybe it was an illusion of your short --when you came with the truth, they did everything to make you doubt yourself and doubt the truth. Sometimes you'd fall into some autistic silence and sometimes you'd overcompensate with more defiance...but still you felt terribly all alone.

But you held gripped to that thing....and still terribly alone, you realized in that process, in that process of being stubborn and obstinate in not letting go, in holding on - the extent of the cover up. The COVER-UP.

And through digging through the cover-up, you realize something even more important; the networks, the alliances, the other wars that are going on underneath this cover up. Then you understand - the thicker the cover up, the thicker the lie, the thicker the minimization, the thicker the omissions, the more grave and dangerous the Truth is. The Truth of what happened and... is happening.

And at some point comes a "parental" figure, an authority, a benevolent one, a big brother and says - I got some story to tell - and then in some cryptic form, repeats your truth, reveals it... You still have to read between the lines, but you say to yourself -- finally am not alone anymore. Finally, what I saw was not my imagination, it was/is the Truth.

So you breath a little relief and feel that maybe your nightmare is about to end and that you could sleep with a little Peace.

This is what happened yesterday to Iraqis who felt so alone with their Truth - they sighed a little relief and hoped to sleep with a little peace, hoping like I did, that maybe, just maybe they will be woken up from their solitary nightmare...

So it's mostly about confirming what we all really knew already. All of us who dared to look at the truth and who held no illusions about benevolent intentions spread by the propaganda machinery. It's just making official what we all knew:

Because we all knew that the USA and allies promoted torture.

Because we all knew that the USA and allies murdered civilians without any contempt.

Samar Hassam cries as her parents were murdered by US troops

Because we all know that US troops will kill you without any contempt, as happened to so many journalists.

Because we all knew all that, detail up or down. And if you did not know it was because you did not want to know, period.

What we do not know yet, is what is the USA doing in Iraq, what law, right or democratic principle supports their presence. We only know that three of the most diabolic politicians of all times, Bush, Blair and Aznar, gathered in Açores islands and decided to attack the Mesopotamian country, oddly enough strengthening Iran in the process.

The answer to why won't be in the Wikileaks files, unless they have something even hotter, such as Cheney-Rumsfeld-Pentagon secret conversations, what I really doubt.

For more or less extensive coverage of this leak, see for instance The Guardian.

Mexico's most merciless drug cartel trained in contrainsurgency

And guess by whom? Uncle Sam of course.

The leaders of the ultra-violent drug gang known as the Zs are former military men trained at Fort Bragg for counter-insurgency and anti-narcotics operations. They also learned the trade with the death squads of Guatemala and in the GAFE counter-insurgency unit in Chiapas.

Today the are the terror of Mexico.

Source/full story: Chris Arsenault at Al Jazeera.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Obama's military staff denounced as 'corrupt'

That is what Robert Parry and others argue at Voltaire Net

The key appointments are:
  • Robert Gates, Secretary of Defense under Bush Jr., repeats under Obama. He is a most important element not just highlighting the continuity between both governments in this aspect but also the corrupt drive that transcends bipartisan politics in the USA nowadays (more below).
  • William Lynn, Deputy Defense Secretary, a top level lobbyist for Raytheon, a large military corporation, led by William H. Swanson. Doubts were cast upon his appointment because of very questionable accounting practices against public interest, while Defense Department comptroller under Clinton ($3.4 trillion missing!)
  • Admiral Dennis Blair, appointed to coordinate National Intelligence. He aggravated the Indonesian crisis of 1999 by falsely telling Indonesian leaders that they had full US support, and falsely 'informig' Congress about what was actually happening. He is a member of the Trilateral Commission (the Imperial Senate since 1972) and has worked for two weapons industries: Earl Dodge Osborne and Tyco International.
  • General James L. Jones, who has served a host of military industries: Chevron, Boeing, Invacare Corp., Cross Match Technologies, M.I.C. Industries. Works as right hand of Blair.
  • Robert F. Hale, friend of Lynn and co-suspect of his corruption practices.

Gates and Bush Sr.: or how the secret services became the Minitrue

Robert Gates (left) is described as far more a hawk than Ronald Rumsfeld. Like other of Bush' men he began his career under Nixon but his most notable action was to be chief analyst of the CIA under Ronald Reagan and William Cassey, a time when he is reported (by colleague Melvin A. Goodman)  to have dismantled the capability of the agency to provide objective unbiased information.

Gates became CIA director under Bush Sr., who also came from The Agency. Most witness accounts of his corruption of intelligence come from his appointment procedure. His false testimony in the Iran-Contra scandal also weights in his curriculum.

He has been always very active in relation Iraq, providing chemical weapons to Saddam Hussein and promoting the "surge" later on. He served in Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC), which is a large military contractor. At that time, 2005, he earned $7.5 billion yearly.

It would seem that if the 1990s saw the rising of the power of secret services in Russia, culminating with the presidential takeover by Vladimir Putin (alias Stasi), the same happened in the USA, with the presidential disembark of George Bush Sr. and Robert Gates. We know that Bush Sr. has not been inactive since losing to Bill Clinton but, according to Michael Moore, is the only former president exerting his privilege to receive daily intelligence memorandums. We are surely before two of the most relevant shadow political and financial figures in recent US and World history.

Lynn the trillionaire embezzler and why the Pentagon was targeted in 9/11.

As mentioned above, William Lynn (left) is accused of embezzling or allowing the embezzling of $3.4 trillions from US budget (1999 and 2000, Dept. of Defense). That alone makes for four economic stimulus programs.

He failed to make public the audited financial statements and got away with it.

The 9/11 Pentagon bombing (most unlikely plane, missile or in situ explosives) conveniently destroyed the accountancy of Lynn's period. Now he is again in charge.

An improved understanding of real politics

It is I think an important article because it evidences the dominant role of oligopolistic shadow parties and corruption in US governance (and by extension in all The Empire). In this analysis the most obvious one is the Military-Industrial Complex, the driving force of imperial and militarist policies, whose benefits they reap easily, regardless of what happens to the rest. The ominous dominance of the MIC has been a central thread of US politics since at least Eisenhower and probably before.

Another maybe less visible element that appears in this analysis is the Trilateral Commission, the shadowy private council of imperial governance, made up of prominent people from North America, Europe and the Pacific region. The Trilateral acts as a think tank and a coordination body for the governance of the whole Empire, including the USA.

Yet another thread I mentioned apparent since at least Bush Sr., is the transformation of intelligence services into disinformation agencies. Several key people in the latest administrations come from this school (of vices).

Finally maybe the most impressive of all the issues is that of trans-partisan corruption, with the corrupts dancing from administration to administration and also the big corporations, without their standing being affected the least by their crimes.

Together they provide a better understanding of the mafioso and oligarchic real government we all have. It also provides a good historical example of how the formation of empires, at least in Western societies, is road of corruption and degeneration of civil government into a privatization of the resorts of power. It is very much comparable to the triumvirates of the late Roman Republic, as it fell towards aristocratic monarchy.

Another spat of arrests of Basques

Spanish police under command of judge Grande-Marlaska, from the Audiencia Nacional political tribunal (Inquisition), has arrested 14 Basque young citizens yesterday and today.

The arrested all belong to Segi (independentist youth movement) and some of them knew they were in black lists of the AN and had said they were available to declare to the court. 

These black lists were produced by police from declarations most likely under tortures, in the period that the anti-terrorist law allows for incommunication after arrest.

The biggest concern is that all these 14 people may, will probably, be tortured while incommunicado. Additionally some, all or none may be imprisoned on arbitrary political charges without any kind of proper evidence. 

The list of arrested is: Xabat Morán Ruiz, Imanol Beristain, Rubén Villa, Xabi Bidaurre, Ikoitz Arrese, Igarki de Robles, Marina Sagastizabal, Julen Zuaznabar, Ainara Ladrón, Ibon Esteban, Ander Maeztu, Egoi Irisarri, Imanol Salinas and Xabier Arina. Many homes have been searched.

Segi, after showing concern for what the arrested could be suffering in the police dungeons, declared that the arrests show that they are in the good path, which is now to peacefully accumulate forces for the right of self-determination.

Other political forces, like EA, have denounced the arrests as yet another attempt to prevent a peaceful and democratic solution to the Basque-Spanish conflict. 

Source: Gara.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Streets getting hot in France

Chronicle of yesterday's and today's street battles in strike-shaken France (from La Haine[es]):

Today Oct 21:

General: many demos of students and workers happened this morning at París, Aix-en-Provence, Burdeos, Caen, Grenoble, Lille, Nantes, Perpignan, Rennes, Rouen, Saint-Etienne and Toulouse. 14 universities are blocked, with assemblies happening in most of them. Direct action by students in support of the general strike is becoming more common (for instance blocking the railroads).

Paris: student demonstration has begun. A parallel protest is happening before the see of the right-wing party Union for the Presidential Majority (UMP).

Lyon: the demo has been suspended after at least 21 people arrested amidst police charges. 500 youths said to be 'retained' by police.

Railroad blockade at Poitiers

Poitiers: police attacked the blockade by some 1500 people of Victor Hugo High School. At least one person injured. Railroads temporarily blocked by students.

Lyon: the situation is being described as state of siege. Riot police has taken the historical quarter with armored vehicles. Several police charges have happened against demonstrators who tried to gather. Justice Minister insulted while visiting the city.

Lyon clashes

Lille, Toulon and Brest: blockade actions reported.

Marseilles: the airport was blocked this morning between 5 am and 9 am, when policemen woke up and attacked. 

Yesterday Oct 20:

General: as reported yesterday, more than 4000 gas stations (1/3 of all) are dry. 800 high schools blocked, 6 universities also blocked with a total of 11 mobilized. 

Lyon: third sequential day of riots. 35 arrested. University is 'preventively' closed till Saturday. Fast trial for those arrested the previous day: 2-5 months of prison with bail. Covert agents dressed as CGT members arrest several, CGT organizers help the police get away (video at main link). Minister of Interior yelled at as fascist and racist. Three arrested in the commercial quarter. Demos and charges all day.

Nanterre: clashes between protesters and police at Joliet-Curie High School.

Sartrouville (Paris' suburb): clashes between police and protesters at Evariste Galois High School. Three arrested. 

Paris: small demo before Senate, which is debating the pension law triggering all this unrest. 9 arrested. Orly airport announces 25% flights suspended.
Blocked high school
Tolouse: airport and high schools continue blockaded.

La Rochelle: police intervenes against the blockade of the oil depot (one of at least 12 blockaded by striking workers).

Lorient: clashes with the result of 4 injured and 2 arrested, as the demo, including whole families with children, was attacked by police forces.

Chambéry: police charged against demonstrators sitting at commercial district (videos available).

Saint Nazaire: clashes between students and police. 18 arrested.

Bordeaux: airport blockaded for hours in the morning.

Limoges: riot police attacks demo.

More photos and videos at La Haine.

Strikes continue in France: fuel difficult to obtain

Occupation of the pensions center at Baiona
The general strike continues in France. While police has forced an end to three oil depot blockades, others have taken their place, including the strategical Port du Bouc at Marseilles. One third of gas stations are stopped this way. Among the roads blockaded is the tunnel St. Charles at Marseilles and the border cross at Biritatou, and also the airport of Toulouse. The effect on public transport is c. 30%. Sarko whines but does not yet yield.
Source: Gara.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Oil cleaning worker reveals the truth

There are other videos of this sort but Ashley Elizabeth Richards, a former clean up worker, very much synthesizes all the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster scandal as the gigantic cover up it is. For that reason, I feel I must dedicate a post here to her interview:

Source: Florida Oil Spill Law, a blog with intense coverage of the reality of the disaster, where you can find many other eye-opening videos and informations.

Growing concerns on huge Zionist genocide plan

According to Sergio Yahni (writing at Gara[es]), the police forces of Israel finished last October 7th a drill, including also border guards and firefighters, that simulated their response to mass protests after a hypothetical agreement between Israel and their man in the West Bank, Mahmmoud Abbas, would allow mass transfer of natives from inside the borders of Israel to the West Bank bantustans.

This is the first time ever that Israeli forces make a drill on such kind of plan, what is very much telling of the Zionist intentions for the months to come. Not even the mass ethnic cleansing of 1948 (the Nakba) had any sort of evidence of advance planning.

These plans, like the infamous Loyalty Oath Law, are all ideas of the far-far-right of Yisrael Beitenu, a Nazi Zionist (with capital letters) party whose base is mostly among new colonist arrivals from Russia, some of which are not even clearly self-identified as Jewish anyhow. 

So far the genocidal plans seem limited to the territories that the Zionist state plans to annex in the West Bank, so it would not yet affect the Palestinian citizens of Israel (those who withstood the Nakba, specially in Galilee and Negev), however those holding the Zionist identity card have no reason to feel safe at all: their villages and homes are being demolished arbitrarily and they have almost no services compared with first tier Jewish citizens, regardless of whether these arrived yesterday or did 60 years ago.

Then the newborn Israel colonial entity performed a mass genocide, driving out multitudes of Palestinians who now make up 85% of the population of the Gaza concentration camp and more than 35% in the West Bank and Jordan, as well as lesser figures in Lebanon. In 1949 Israel was forced to accept, nominally only, resolution 149 of the UN General Assembly, which established the right of return of Palestinian refugees, right that so far has been ignored by Tel Aviv and looks like it will stay that way. 

The details of the police drill imply massive arrests of Palestinian and Jewish protesters, all them assumed to be Israeli citizens, and their internment in a prison in Golani, Upper Galilee, from which some 1500 illegal immigrants would be released in order to make room for the new political prisoners. 

The new, more bluntly genocidal Israel, led by Avigdor Lieberman, himself an immigrant from Moldova from where he arrived at the age of 20 (in 1978), has the blessings of all the Zionist political spectrum, as could be seen in those voting in favor of the Loyalty Oath Law, that demands that "new citizens", excepting Jews, swear loyalty to Israel as a Jewish state. This is seen as a maneuver conceived to force the expulsion of Palestinians from the many West Bank territories they plan to annex soon and as a model for a new such law forcing all Palestinian citizens of Israel (20% but only represented in parliament as 10%) to take the same oath, and this in turn can well become an inquisition of sorts by using this forced oath to persecute all non-Jews that dare to protest, maybe even depriving them of citizenship and expelling them to the bantustans. In any case a very menacing Damocles' sword against the Palestinians with Israeli passport.

In a related news, RandomPottins tells us of the protests held across the ethnic divide in Israel against this law and all that it implies. The protesters believe that the genocide ('population transfer') has become a reality and denounce the complicity of virtually all the Israeli political class, including the so-called Labor Party, with this ethnic cleansing. 

'The voice is that of Lieberman, the hands those of Netanyahu'
Notice however that many of these protesters are not really anti-apartheid but mostly are moderate Zionists who favor a two-state solution. And there is no two-state solution: neither the Zionists want it (except as pretext for ethnic cleansing escalation, while pretending to negotiate) nor the Palestinians can accept it either. The only possible solution is an integrated non-racist democratic state in the whole of Palestine. Every country or person who really wants peace and justice to prevail can only stand for this democratic solution that allows for a graceful accommodation of the Zionist immigrants and the restoration of Palestinian full rights in the whole of their ancestral country. 

This however cannot be achieved while Israel's genocidal, racist, fundamentalist and war-monging policies are tolerated. In fact it probably requires the establishment of a UN protectorate in the area, temporarily reverting to the 1948 status, while the restoration of civil rights, the return of refugees, the indemnizations for the stolen property, the establishment of new egalitarian and secularist legislation by a truly representative body, the disarmament and denuclearization of the territory, etc. is being implemented. 

Crusader States
You may think I'm being pro-Palestinian. Well, the truth is that I am (lots of obvious reasons for that), but still it seems to me the only sensible option for the Jewish colonists of Israel: the only one that may be able to work before, unavoidably, the balance of forces tilts against their unsustainable criminal project and they lose all. It is obvious to me that, as North America and Europe degenerate and, in spite of the Zionist connections in Russia and India and attempts to bribe the Chinese), at some point, probably soon, it will be Muslim powers who will decide what to do with that ugly mess of the six-pointed blue star. Ten years?, twenty?, fifty? how much time does Israel have before it is forced to salvage itself?

This story is the repetition of the Crusader States, to which Israel resembles a lot, excepted maybe the genocidal-colonist drive of the Zionist project and the much more rapid rhythm of changes in our time, not to mention the very concepts of human and civil rights, democracy and secularism. Like these medieval colonial outposts, Israel is bound to fail and the tempo should be faster. And Israelis are still able to choose for the lesser evil: an organized transition to a democratic state that fully recognizes Palestinians. But they seem to be actually heading in the opposite direction choosing suicidal genocide instead.

Map from Wikimedia Commons (author: MapMaker).

Monday, October 18, 2010

Today's news is... strike in France threatens oil supplies, Sarko summons 'emergency cabinet'

While I doubt we are yet near moments as critical as those of 1968 when the old general had to travel to Baden-Baden to check if the Army was still with him, the effort of workers north of the administrative border is finally putting some clear pressure on the conservative President, Nicholas Sarkozy and his EU-patterned draconian measures. 

This is great news, which reminds us all that it can be done and how it can be done. A powerful real-life lesson of the might of the Working Class when at least minimally organized and self-conscious. 

Theory? This is the theory: organized and conscious of our collective power we can win... we can dictate the terms. After all ,we are the ones who made it all possible to begin with. That is the immense power of the Working Class. 

First page of L'Humanité

We do not know yet how far this struggle will reach or how much will it achieve but we do know that it has reached so far and already has an impact: the whole French economy (with ramifications for the rest of Europe) is set to stop. Gas stations are running out of fuel as I write this... 

Ministers explain desperately: the Government is in control, France has enough reserves. They entrench into a discourse of military intervention: There will be no blockade for companies, no blockade for transport and no blockade for road users.

Meanwhile airports see up to 50% of flights canceled, same for train services, roads are being slow down... and students have gone wild, blockading schools and setting up barricades. France is a key route for trans-European goods, places like the Iberian peninsula are strongly dependent on French road access. A mere dock workers strike could now get Spain and Portugal totally paralyzed.

Ships waiting for Marseille port to re-open... some day

The key vote is on Wednesday at the Senate and it looks like the government plans to resist by means of force, hoping that the struggle will weaken once the law is approved.

Whatever happens, reaching to this stage is already a victory: a victory for organization, a victory for consciousness and a victory for the democratic collective willpower that is the force that drives our freedom. Thanks for that. 

The imbalances of representativity in the Spanish electoral system

Just so you know.

Per the 1978 constitution the electoral district is the province (a mostly artificial Jacobin division of the state, with low identitarian strength). The lower chamber, the Congress of Deputies, is elected by the ratio of two base deputies per province (total 100 + 2 per Ceuta and Melilla) plus the rest (250 I believe) apportioned by population (but never less than 1 per province). So some 152 of the 350 deputies are apportioned on a merely administrative basis. The resulting distortion is reflected in this map I borrowed from Tercera Información:

Then the actual vote per province is apportioned using the so-called "d'Hont law", which favors the largest parties a lot. All these distortions are even more dramatically set in stone for the Senate, which allocates 4 senators per province regardless of population and makes them to be three of the most voted list and one from the less voted one. I have no map for this one but must be all in the black-red extremes.

By the way, in the map above, only light grey provinces are balanced: provinces in pink and red shades are over-represented, provinces in grey and black are under-represented. It illustrates how the system concentrates representation in rural provinces with few electors and representatives, forcing the duopoly of representation. It is very similar to that of the USA, for instance but Spain uses semi-proportional representation that allows marginal persistence to third parties; on the other hand the Spanish system aggrandizes the representative distortions of the US federal system but into a non-federal centralist structure as are the provinces (since the 19th century until the 1980s they were the only administrative unit but most have no or very weak historical roots, specially those outside the Castile historical region).

Overall it is very apparent that the system disfavors urban provinces and specially the largest regions/nations: Catalonia and Andalusia. It is very particularly unfavorable for smaller parties with widespread presence. It may not be too disfavorable for some regionalisms, although quite clearly it is not favorable to any the four most consolidated ethnic identities (Galicians, Basques, Catalans and Andalusians).

Well, just so you know how a bipolar political system is established in Spain in spite of semi-proportional representation.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

A little homage to Benoît Mandelbrot

Benoît Mandelbrot was one of the great geniuses of our era, comparable to Einstein, Hawkins, Maldacena and very few others. He died on October 14 at the venerable age of 85.

Of Jewish ethnicity, born in Poland, raised in France, living in France, Switzerland and the USA, he stands as a universal genius by all standards.

He like no other helped us to discover the beauty and importance of Chaos mathematics and its physical implications. He is best known for defining the concept of fractals, a pillar of Chaos theory.

His best known quote, which is a beautiful synthesis of poetry and deep intellectual provocation is this one:

Clouds are not spheres, mountains are not cones, coastlines are not circles, and bark is not smooth, nor does lightning travel in a straight line.

A quote I just love.

In spite of his unique greatness he never received the Nobel Prize, what says nothing good about this media-hyped Scandinavian honor. He did receive many other prizes and honors in his life however, all well deserved.

To the left, photo of the deceased genius (2007, from Wikipedia) and some magnifications of the famous Mandelbrot set, arbitrarily chosen for their beauty (M=10⁻¹, M=10⁶ and M=10⁹). All from The Chaos Hypertextbook.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Who wins? The class war in Europe according to Michael Hudson.

Nuff talkin' 'bout the banana republic of the USA and its surreal mortgage crisis, embodying the total decay of the rule of law, replaced by the rule of raw power. While I can feel compassion and solidarity with the North American people, of course, what matters most directly to me is the European stage. And it is also bad: very bad.

It's not so much the economy (that also) but specially the totalitarian tendency of neoliberalism in the current shape of undemocratic EU.

Michael Hudson (famous economist from Kansas), has a review of the institutional neofeudalism being sponsored by the totalitarian instruments created by the democratically repealed European Constitution (renamed Treaty of Lisbon). With no check and balances and absolutely no role for popular representation in Brussels (other than merely cosmetic), the European Commission (EC) and the European Central Bank (ECB), none of them elected in any democratic way, in agreement with the IMF and the same loan sharks that operate at the other side of the Ocean, are forcing governments of all political colors to devalue the living conditions by imposing extremely negative austerity programs that only aim to force people into Third World living conditions.

But you better read his article: Who Wins?

This is what is causing the reaction of the Working Class. Can the bureaucrats in Brussels rule against the will of the people? For how long?

Friday, October 15, 2010

The horror of Colombia

The horror that the citizens of the second or third receiver of US military aid (after Israel and competing with Egypt for the dubious honor) is simply unimaginable.

The Spanish language blog Cuestionatelotodo, following Azalea Robles, describes the horror of the South American country as follows:
  • Missing people (desaparecidos): more than 38,000 only in the last three years, adding up to more than 250,000.
  • A whole political party, the left-wing Patriotic Union, has been exterminated, with more than 5000 victims among its ranks
  • More than 4.5 million people (10% of the total population) forcibly displaced by means of military and paramilitary terror, in order to empty the countryside and sell the lands to multinational corporations
  • 10 million hectares of arable land have been that way robbed from its owners and offered to multinational corporations
  • More than 2700 labor unionist murdered. 60% of union members assassinated worldwide are Colombians. 
  • The largest mass grave of Latin America (and surely just the tip of the iceberg) with 2000 corpses recovered so far, victims of the Omega Force of Plan Colombia (sponsored by the USA). 
  • Massive use of paramilitary forces, which have perpetrated at least 30,000 murders in the last 15 years (official figures 2010)
  • Thousands of mass graves, some of which have already been located, thanks to the paramilitary repentance program, which grants them legal immunity in exchange of "repentance". By 2007, the state attorneys had already received locations for more than 3000 mass graves, most of which have never been investigated "for lack of resources". This "lack of resources", does not of course affect the military, which is the largest of Latin America. 
  • Cremation ovens and cayman farms have also been used to make people disappear.
  • Thousands of executions out of the law, including the scandal of the 'false positives' by which peasants were dressed as guerrillas and murdered in order to get promotions and funds.
  • More than 7500 political prisoners, many of them victims of fabricated accusations. 
  • Hundreds of self-attacks: mass-murderous bomb attacks organized by the army and blamed to the guerrillas, in order to erode their support. 
  • De facto protectorate by the USA, a situation similar to that of Iraq. The USA has now seven military bases, full access to all Colombian bases and legal immunity for all its military personnel. This has caused widespread abuses such as kidnapping and raping of young girls by the US troops, which cannot be persecuted according to the extremely asymmetrical treaty.
All this would not be possible without the massive economic subsidy by the USA, all this is being paid by US taxpayers. 

Sources for each particular claim can be found at the original sources (links above, in Spanish).

Idyllic beaches in the Gulf of Mexico? Not anymore.

A lot has been said on the Gulf of Mexico oil catastrophe, mostly outside the mainstream media channels, which have remained suspiciously silent. An image is anyhow sometimes worth a thousand words and here you have it:

From National Geographic, via Florida Spill Law.

It corresponds to Orange Beach, Alabama, described in tourist pamphlets as:

Mix two parts sugar white sand with one part crystal blue water.

French airports without oil because of strikes

Some sectors in France continue with the strikes and these include the oil industry (and transport too as far as I know). This has caused fears of airports running out of fuel, though reserves are said to last at least until this weekend.

Police intervened to reopen some of the cut-off pipelines, though the efficiency of such intervention is yet to be seen.

Other sectors affected by the continued strike are transport (only some 50% of trains are circulating, the CFDT has called for "snail operation" to sabotage road traffic) and education (specially students, who are radicalizing the protests towards direct confrontation with the police). 

Sources: BBC, Gara[es].

What is clear from the irregular but persistent strike in France is that workers still have the full capability to totally block the economy and force governments to make concessions or even eventually impel a revolutionary process. Police and armed forces may break some of the key choking points but they will not replace workers in the production process. A determined and coordinated action by the working class can effectively counter, quite easily, the greedy and selfish lobbying action by the capitalists and their grip of power resorts. The power of the working class remains critically strong after all these decades of Reganist illusory bubble.

The words of the Communist Manifesto still sound as strong and valid as when they were written some 160 years ago:

Workers of the World, Unite!

75 y.o. Basque conscience prisoner, with cancer, allowed atenuated prison

Jose Luis Elkoro, 75, was given yesterday the attenuated prison status (home imprisonment), allowing him to go back to his home in Bergara and receive medical treatment for his prostate cancer.

Elkoro was jailed intermittently for being the president of the editorial board of Orain S.A., the company that owed Egin newspaper, which was closed in a clear case of judicial persecution of freedom of speech in 1998. This anti-democratic political move inaugurated a new era of generalized repression against Basque society, which under the theory of "all is ETA", persecuted nearly anything: newspapers, radios, political parties, all kind of associations, effectively removing a huge social segment from normal political and social activity.

Elkoro was arrested last time in 2009 and since then there has been a local campaign at his hometown for his release. He was finally allowed to return home, under heavy restrictions.

Besides his labor as journalist and manager, he also exerted political activity in the last many decades. Elkoro participated for instance in the negotiations that led to the general amnesty of 1978 or the legalization of the Basque ensign earlier that decade. He was mayor of Bergara in that time and eventually was a main promoter of the newspaper Egin, which, besides of being associated with certain political sectors, was a key journal making research journalism, denouncing corruption and doing the labor we all expect from the media but that they seldom deliver.

Elkoro was also an important member of Herri Batasuna (People's Union, left wing Basque nationalist party), being elected to the parliaments of Gipuzkoa, the Western Basque autonomous entity and the state of Spain. As member of the Spanish parliament in a time when his party had finally decided to occupy their seats, he was present in the meeting at Hotel Alcalá in 1989, when they were shooted by Spanish terrorists, who murdered his colleague Josu Muguruza and injured Tasio Erkizia. After this attack Herri Batasuna decided to remain out of the Spanish parliament, even if they were entitled to participate.

In the gigantic political trial 18/98, he was sentenced to 24 years of prison for being the chief responsible of Egin newspaper, sentence that was later lowered to 8 years. He was first imprisoned in 2007 but released three days later. In April 2009 he was arrested again and remained in prison until yesterday.

Source: Gara[es].