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Home

Pondering from Yonder: A View of the US Election from the Middle East

US Presidential Elections: A View from the Middle East
by Sharmine Narwani - RT

April 30, 2016

Although the era of US global hegemony is coming to a close, the Middle East – more than most regions – is still reeling from the nasty last jabs of that Empire in decline.
 
It is little wonder, then, that the US presidential election season is scrutinized carefully in all corners of the Mideast.
Over here, the debate over the likely victor is less about economic, political and social projects than it is about which candidate is least likely to launch wars against us.
 
Anecdotally, there seems to be a consensus that Hillary Clinton would be the worst for the region, though of course – like in the United States – that perception changes dramatically when the conversation is with regional elites and ‘liberals.’
 

Scrambles for Libya's Oil Spoils

Splitting the Libyan Spoils
by Inside Intelligence with Southern Pulse - Oilprice.com

29th April 2016

Politics, Geopolitics & Conflict


Let’s get Libya out of the way first. It should not be necessary to mention this, and in general we find it inadvisable to comment on foreign policy issues brought up by the campaigning of Donald Trump; however, because the U.S. intelligence community has seen fit to respond, we will note only that the Islamic State (ISIS) is not known to be selling Libyan oil. It has not made it that far.

There is also the question of what ISIS would actually do with a major oilfield. It can manage small ones, but does not have the capacity to run a big one.

Right now, their tactic is to threaten the big fields in order to use that as leverage to throw a wrench in unity government negotiations.

The Great Shaking Off and the End of Time

End of Time?
by Mazin Qumsiyeh - Palestine Museum of Natural History
 
Palestine Museum of History pmnhBasil Al-Araj is in a Palestinian jail. He is a young Palestinian pharmacist who had worked at a pharmacy in Shufat Refugee Camp in Jerusalem. I knew him because he is from Al-Walaja, a village that was struggling as “Israel” builds a wall around the remaining houses of the village (already 90% of the residents are refugees elsewhere).

Village wells and lands were stolen by the Israeli colonizers starting in 1948 and continuing till today.

Basil had a love of Palestine and a hatred of injustice. Like most young people they searched for ways to act on their convictions. He participated in nonviolent demonstrations at his village but was not satisfied with their outcome.
 
He read my book on “Popular Resistance in Palestine” in Arabic and gave me his feedback. He said he learned much about history of the Palestinian struggle. He said the book’s Arabic could use some editing. He worked briefly as a researcher for the Palestinian museum after he lost his job in Shufat.

He tried other methods of action. He and a few others tried to block the main road near the colony of Maale Adumim. He and I and four others were the six Palestinian Freedom riders arrested in 2011 while demonstrating Israeli apartheid policies [1].

Returning Service: Something for the Server

Something for the Server: Keeping the Burlesque Kicking
by Chris Floyd - Empire Burlesque

26 April 2016
 
As long-time readers know, the Empire Burlesque website is a bespoke creation of our remarkable webmaster, Richard Kastelein. He approached me years ago and offered to build a website from scratch and host it on a private server, which would keep it free from government or corporate interference. That’s just what he did, and he has kept it running in high gear for 11 years now. However, as we all know, freedom ain’t never free. The private server costs money to maintain (and defend from attacks), and for all these years this cost has been borne entirely by Rich, who also hosts a number of other important sites on it [including Pacific Free Press].
 
It’s a sacrifice he’s been glad to make — such is the measure of the man — but it is a sacrifice, a financial burden that continually mounts up. So the writers who benefit from all of his hard work and creativity are pitching in to try to ease that burden in a straitened time. In addition to our own contributions, we are inviting readers to show their appreciation for Rich’s work with a small contribution as well.
 
It’s very simple. Just press the button, and any donation will go straight to the server costs.
 

Media Disinformation and America's Wars: A Rabid Right and Co-opted Left

Media Disinformation and America's Wars - Liars vs. Truthers: The “Progressive Left” Has Been Co-opted
by Mark Taliano - Global Research

April 28, 2016
 
Well-documented facts pertaining to the 9/11 wars, all supported by sustainable evidence, have barely made inroads into the collective consciousness of Western media consumers.
 
The War on Syria is no exception. Despite the presence of five years of sustainable evidence that contradicts the Western narratives, people still believe the “official” lies. The consensus of ignorance is sustained by what Michel Chossudovsky describes as an “American Inquisition”.
 
Beneath the protection of this psychological operation, the engineered enemy is Islam, and the Global War On Terrorism (GWOT) has become a brand to disguise imperial wars of aggression as “humanitarian”. Thus, huge sums of public monies are diverted from worthwhile, domestic projects such as healthcare schools and roads, to support a criminal Project for a New American Century (PNAC) that is globalizing death, poverty, and destruction as the U.S led empire tries to impose a unilateral model of control over the world.
 

Gorilla Radio with Chris Cook, Art Farquharson, Jack Etkin, Janine Bandcroft Apr. 27, 2016

This Week on GR
by C. L. Cook - Gorilla-Radio.com

April 26, 2016

With the rolling back of labour rights, deterioration of working conditions, government maintenance of an artificially high unemployment rate, proliferation of guest worker programs, and prolonged wage stagnation we've witnessed over the last few decades, the workers around here, if not the World, have good reason to cry "May Day"
 
But who would answer the call now? As with much of labour history, even that term has been misappropriated, its original meaning and intent being all but erased from public consciousness.
 
Art Farquharson is a fully paid, life-long member of the Working Class. He's laboured in the fields and factories of this nation, and on its highways and high seas too. A proud unionist, Art's held CAW, Unifor, Machinists, Public Service Alliance, IATSE, and Ferry Workers Union union cards.
 
Listen. Hear.

He's also a card-carrying member of the Industrial Workers of the World, or Wobblies, who never misses a chance to sing, march, or provide guitar accompaniment for pickets, protests, demonstrations, or celebrations of the working people like the Corporate Golden Piggy Awards, and New Year's Day Poor People's Levee Tour.
 
In short, Art says he "comforts the afflicted and afflicts the comfortable," adding, "There is no retirement from being a citizen, [and] can be no rest until all workers the world over have peace and justice."
 
Art Farquharson in the first segment.
 
And; earlier this month, Citizen's Forum, a public access public affairs program produced by volunteers at Victoria's Shaw Cable affiliate, in accordance with the CRTC's mandate to cable operators in return for the market monopolies they enjoy, was axed. Jack Etkin is the long-time, Victoria-based democracy and media activist who hosted and produced the show. He's also behind a number of other media and democracy projects around here, and has been for more than a decade.
 
Jack Etkin on the demise of Citizen's Forum, corporate media, and Canada's frail democracy.
 
And; Victoria Street Newz publisher emeritus and CFUV Radio broadcaster, Janine Bandcroft will join us at the bottom of the hour to bring us up to speed with some of what's good going on on the streets of our city, and beyond there too, in the coming week. But first, Art Farquharson and bringing the meaning back to May Day.

Chris Cook hosts Gorilla Radio, airing live every Wednesday, 1-2pm Pacific Time. In Victoria at 101.9FM, and on the internet at: http://cfuv.uvic.ca.  He also serves as a contributing editor to the web news site, http://www.pacificfreepress.com. Check out the GR blog at: http://gorillaradioblog.blogspot.ca/
Add a comment Add a comment Read more: Gorilla Radio with Chris Cook, Art Farquharson, Jack Etkin, Janine Bandcroft Apr. 27, 2016

A Twisted Potlatch: Pentagon's Vision of Givin'

The Pentagon’s Twisted Potlatch
by John Feffer - CounterPunch

April 25, 2016

Among the Kwakiutl and several other indigenous cultures of the Pacific Northwest, the potlatch was a ritual of hospitality. The host would invite guests to a big feast and then distribute gifts. The distribution was a way of demonstrating the host’s status: the more significant the gifts, the more important the host. Think: swag bags for the pre-celebrity era.
 
Although this sophisticated social ritual reflected the host’s generosity and connectedness to the community, the potlatch could sometimes lead to a destructive one-upmanship.
 
“At times these contests would escalate to the point where the distribution of property became inadequate for the expression of a chief’s disregard for wealth and property,” writes anthropologist Neal Keating.
“The next step would be to actually destroy property, often by burning it up. He might burn up his canoes, or his house, or the entire village.”
 
Add a comment Add a comment Read more: A Twisted Potlatch: Pentagon's Vision of Givin'

Brazil's Sharks Circle As South America's 'Pink Tide' Recedes

The impeachment crisis shaking Brazil: An Interview with Ana Saggioro Garcia
by Todd Chretien and Bruno Ruviaro - Socialist Worker.org

April 20, 2016

Rousseff smileOn April 17, Brazil's lower house of Congress voted by a two-thirds majority to impeach President Dilma Rousseff of the Workers' Party (PT, by its initials in Portuguese), forcing her to relinquish office pending further procedures. The presidency now passes to Dilma's (as she is widely known in Brazil) former vice president Michel Temer of the conservative Brazilian Democratic Movement Party (PMDB), who only resigned from her cabinet last month.
 
Her government will now appeal the decision to the country's Supreme Court, before the final vote proceeds to the Senate in the coming months.
 
The carnival of reaction on display by conservative Congressional deputies during the vote [1] only demonstrates the contempt in which Brazil's elite hold the vast majority of the population. With a GDP in excess of $3 trillion, Brazil is the seventh-largest economy in the world, approximately five times larger than neighboring Argentina. What happens in Brazil matters for all of Latin America.
 
Faced with a newly ascendant right in Argentina and Venezuela and a worsening continent-wide economic crisis, a decade and a half of center-left and reform-oriented governments known as the "Pink Tide" is rapidly receding.
 

No Good Arabs: Israel's Establishment Palestinians Marginalized

In Israel, an Ugly Tide sweeps over Palestinians
by Jonathan Cook - Dissident Voice

April 25th, 2016

Zuheir BahloulIn Israel’s evermore tribal politics, there is no such thing as a “good” Arab – and the worst failing in a Jew is to be unmasked as an “Arab lover”. Or so was the message last week from Isaac Herzog, head of Israel’s so-called peace camp.The shock waves of popular anger at the recent indictment of an Israeli army medic, Elor Azaria, on a charge of “negligent homicide” are being felt across Israel’s political landscape.

Most Israeli Jews bitterly resent the soldier being put on trial, even though Azaria was caught on camera firing a bullet into the head of a badly injured Palestinian, Abdel Fattah Al Sharif.

In the current climate, Herzog and his opposition party Zionist Union have found themselves highly uncomfortable at having in their midst a single non-Jewish legislator.
 

The Al-Qaeda Who Wasn’t: Tortured Truth in the War on Terror

The Al-Qaeda Leader Who Wasn’t: The Shameful Ordeal of Abu Zubaydah
by Rebecca Gordon - TomDispatch  
 
April 24, 2016
 
The allegations against the man were serious indeed.
* Donald Rumsfeld said he was “if not the number two, very close to the number two person” in al-Qaeda.
* The Central Intelligence Agency informed Assistant Attorney General Jay Bybee that he “served as Usama Bin Laden’s senior lieutenant. In that capacity, he has managed a network of training camps... He also acted as al-Qaeda’s coordinator of external contacts and foreign communications.”
* CIA Director Michael Hayden would tell the press in 2008 that 25% of all the information his agency had gathered about al-Qaeda from human sources “originated” with one other detainee and him.
* George W. Bush would use his case to justify the CIA’s “enhanced interrogation program,” claiming that “he had run a terrorist camp in Afghanistan where some of the 9/11 hijackers trained” and that “he helped smuggle al-Qaeda leaders out of Afghanistan” so they would not be captured by U.S. military forces.

None of it was true.
 
And even if it had been true, what the CIA did to Abu Zubaydah -- with the knowledge and approval of the highest government officials -- is a prime example of the kind of still-unpunished crimes that officials like Dick Cheney, George Bush, and Donald Rumsfeld committed in the so-called Global War on Terror. 
 

For All Democracy, Rousseff Must Stand

Brazil Cannot Be Allowed to Fall
by Andre Vltchek  - Dissident Voice

April 23rd, 2016

Send tanks to the streets; park them in front of the Congress, Dilma! Restore order and restore democracy.

 
Enough weeping! Latin America has wept incessantly, continuously, for years, decades and centuries. Its people robbed of everything since the days of Columbus, since Potosi.

Tens of millions, perhaps hundreds of millions have been slaughtered here, in the last five centuries; first by the conquerors, then by their descendants and serfs, and finally by the Empire of Lies as well as the treasonous local ‘elites’.
 
Enough weeping, comrades! It is time to use force.
 
Whenever people stood up, whenever true Latin American heroes liberated their lands, by reason or by force, the bloodbath was administered almost immediately, from across the seas, or from the North.
 
Tanks rolled through the avenues and squares, and combat airplanes and helicopters sprayed bombs and bullets all over Presidential palaces, as well as the countryside. People were hunted down like animals, dragged to stadiums and factories, to underground cellars, and there they were violated, tortured and slaughtered.
 
That’s their democracy! Thank you, but no more of that.
 

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