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The Privatization Proxy War on Russia's Economy

Privatization: the Atlanticist Tactic to Attack Russia
by Paul Craig Roberts/Michael Hudson - CounterPunch

February 8, 2016

Two years ago, Russian officials discussed plans to privatize a group of national enterprises headed by the oil producer Rosneft, the VTB Bank, Aeroflot, and Russian Railways. The stated objective was to streamline management of these companies, and also to induce oligarchs to begin bringing their two decades of capital flight back to invest in the Russia economy. Foreign participation was sought in cases where Western technology transfer and management techniques would be likely to help the economy.

However, the Russian economic outlook deteriorated as the United States pushed Western governments to impose economic sanctions against Russia and oil prices declined.
 
This has made the Russian economy less attractive to foreign investors. So sale of these companies will bring much lower prices today than would have been likely in 2014.

Bombing in the 21st C.: How the "Greatest Military in History" Fails Its Billing

Shoulda, Woulda, Coulda: The U.S. Military Bombs in the Twenty-First Century
by Tom Engelhardt - TomDispatch
 
Here’s my twenty-first-century rule of thumb about this country: if you have to say it over and over, it probably ain’t so. Which is why I’d think twice every time we’re told how “exceptional” or “indispensable” the United States is. For someone like me who can still remember a moment when Americans assumed that was so, but no sitting president, presidential candidate, or politician felt you had to say the obvious, such lines reverberate with defensiveness.
 
They seem to incorporate other voices you can almost hear whispering that we’re ever less exceptional, more dispensable, no longer (to quote the greatest of them all by his own estimate) “the greatest.”

In this vein, consider a commonplace line running around Washington (as it has for years): the U.S. military is “the finest fighting force in the history of the world.” Uh, folks, if that’s so, then why the hell can’t it win a damn thing 14-plus years later?
 

Tragedy and Hypocrisy Not News in News This Week from Palestine

Hypocrisy land news and Actions this coming week
by Mazin Qumsiyeh - palestinenature.org
The Israeli Knesset rejected a bill that calls for equality (after all all this must remain a state by and for Jews). And a video emerged of Israeli prime minister Netanyahu praising Israeli Fascist Group Im Tirtzu which believes in "Jewishness" of Palestine and acts and supports to effect ethnic cleansing of native Palestinians in favor of European and other Jewish colonization.

The Zionist leaders attacked Ban Ki Moon for mildly speaking about the need to end the occupation and let Palestinians live free. The heads of the EU missions in Jerusalem issued a report saying that Israel must respect human rights. They explained that 660 Palestinians are being held without charge or trial. They also mention Mohammad AlQeeq, a Palestinian Journalist on hunger strike for 70 days since his illegal detention.

BC Salmon Delegation to Norway Preceded by News of Mt. Polley Mining Disaster

Mining harms wild salmon 
by Dan Lewis - Clayoquot Action

February 7, 2016

 The Wild Salmon Delegation came to Norway to campaign against Cermaq’s open-net pen feedlots in Clayoquot Sound UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. But as the Nuu-chah-nulth First Nations saying goes, hišukiš c̓aawaak—everything is connected.

Yesterday I found myself sitting inside an indigenous Sami lavvu (a teepee-like traditional dwelling) with Ahousaht First Nations citizen John Rampanen.

Imagine our surprise to learn that the reindeer herder with us had heard about Imperial Metals’ 2014 Mount Polley mine disaster back in British Columbia! 

It was one of the biggest mining disasters in Canadian history, spilling many millions of cubic metres of toxic water and tailings into Quesnel Lake, home to one quarter of the Fraser River sockeye salmon.

 

Add a comment Add a comment Read more: BC Salmon Delegation to Norway Preceded by News of Mt. Polley Mining Disaster

Racist Enforcement and the Common Law in England

'Injustice writ large:' Report Finds Racist Law Enforcement In England...Again
by Linn Washington Jr. - This Can't Be Happening

January 29, 2016

London, UK - Police and prosecutors scheme to secure convictions of persons who did not participate in any crime. Racial minorities disproportionately bear the brunt of this improper practice.

Sounds like too many cities across the United States.

Tottenham rights activist Scott with report co-authors 
Clarke (left) and Williams (right) - LBW Photo

 However, this practice of racist law enforcement is also rampant in three of the largest cities in England, including the capital city of London, according to a report released recently by the Centre For Crime and Justice Studies of Manchester Metropolitan University.

Guardians of Oppression: Brit "Left" Joins Assange Dogpile

Lies about UN body imperil not just Assange
by Jonathan Cook - The Blog from Nazareth

6 February 2016

Something extremely dangerous is happening before our eyes as we watch British officials and the corporate media respond to today’s ruling of the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, which found that Julian Assange is being arbitrarily detained in the UK.

A major international institution upholding the rights of political dissidents around the world as they face illegal detention, abuse and torture is being turned into a laughing stock with the enthusiastic connivance of supposedly liberal media outlets like the Guardian and the BBC.

Reporters, columnists and comedians are pouring scorn on the UN group, legal experts who until yesterday were widely respected in the west and seen as a final bulwark against the most oppressive regimes on earth.
 

This Is Socialism! What Kind of Social Democrat is Sanders?

Is Bernie Sanders a socialist? 
by William Blum The Anti-Empire Report #143 
 
February 5th, 2016 
 
Self-described socialist” … How many times have we all read that term in regard to Vermont senator Bernie Sanders? But is he really a socialist? Or is he a “social democrat”, which is what he’d be called in Europe?

Or is he a “democratic socialist”, which is the American party he has been a member of (DSA – Democratic Socialists of America)? And does it really matter which one he is? They’re all socialists, are they not?

Why does a person raised in a capitalist society become a socialist? It could be because of a parent or parents who are committed socialists and raise their children that way. But it’s usually because the person has seen capitalism up close for many years, is turned off by it, and is thus receptive to an alternative.
 
 

In the Last, Freeing Julian Assange

Freeing Julian Assange: the Final Chapter
by John Pilger - CounterPunch

February 5, 2016

One of the epic miscarriages of justice of our time is unravelling. The United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention — — the international tribunal that adjudicates and decides whether governments comply with their human rights obligations — has ruled that Julian Assange has been detained unlawfully by Britain and Sweden.
 
After five years of fighting to clear his name — having been smeared relentlessly yet charged with no crime — Assange is closer to justice and vindication, and perhaps freedom, than at any time since he was arrested and held in London under a European Extradition Warrant, itself now discredited by Parliament.
 
The UN Working Group bases its judgements on the European Convention on Human Rights and three other treaties that are binding on all its signatories.
 
 

The Vulture's Egg: Rubio Moves Up

Who hatched Rubio?
by Greg Palast
February 4, 2016

The big boys are confident that Sen. Marco Rubio has locked up the Republican nomination. But who’s locked up Rubio?

I called my bookie in London. The betting professionals were not surprised at Marco Rubio’s big Iowa showing. The smart money has been on Rubio since October 31--despite the fact that Rubio was polling at just 9%.

Paul Krishnamurty, politics odds analyst at Betfair.com, told me that, among professional betters, over just two days, Rubio soared from zero to odds-on favorite to win the GOP nomination.

Why would the guys who bet the rent money place it all on Rubio—and what suddenly changed on October 31?

Because, despite the fact that 9 of 10 Republicans rejected him, on Halloween, Rubio won the only vote that counts: The Vulture’s.

Disappearing America's Undocumented Workers

All the News That’s Fit to Print: How the Media Hide Undocumented Workers
by Aviva Chomsky - TomDispatch 
 
February 4, 2016

In our post-modern (or post-post-modern?) age, we are supposedly transcending the material certainties of the past. The virtual world of the Internet is replacing the “real,” material world, as theory asks us to question the very notion of reality. Yet that virtual world turns out to rely heavily on some distinctly old systems and realities, including the physical labor of those who produce, care for, and provide the goods and services for the post-industrial information economy.
 
As it happens, this increasingly invisible, underground economy of muscles and sweat, blood and effort intersects in the most intimate ways with those who enjoy the benefits of the virtual world. Of course, our connection to that virtual world comes through physical devices, and each of them follows a commodity chain that begins with the mining of rare earth elements and ends at a toxic disposal or recycling site, usually somewhere in the Third World.
 
Closer to home, too, the incontrovertible realities of our physical lives depend on labor -- often that of undocumented immigrants -- invisible but far from virtual, that makes apparently endless mundane daily routines possible.
 
 

Starved for Justice: The Logic of Hunger Striking Palestinians

The Logic of Hunger Striking Palestinians: When Starvation Is a Weapon
by Ramzy Baroud  - PalestineChronicle.com

Mohammed al-Qeq posterBy Friday, January 29, Palestinian journalist Mohammed al-Qeq had spent 66-days on hunger strike in Israeli jails. Just before he fell into his third coma, a day earlier, he sent a public message through his lawyers, the gist of which was: freedom or death.

Al-Qeq is 33-years of age, married and a father of two. Photos circulating of him online and on Palestinian streets show the face of a bespectacled, handsome man. The reality though is quite different. “He's in a very bad situation. He fell into his third coma in recent days, and his weight has dropped to 30 kilograms (66 pounds),” Ashraf Abu Sneina, one of al-Qeq's attorneys, told Al Jazeera.
 
Al-Qeq was arrested under yet another notorious Israeli law called the ‘administrative detention’ law.

Ominous predictions of al-Qeq’s imminent death have been looming for days with no end in sight to his elongated ordeal. Unfortunately for a man who believes that the only tool of defense and protest he has against apartheid Israel is his body, the Red Cross and other international groups took many days to so much as acknowledge the case of this news reporter who had refused food and medical treatment since November 24, 2015.

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