‘Greek Syndrome’ is catching as youth take to streets

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‘Greek Syndrome’ is catching as youth take to

streets

First it was Athens. Now the Continent’s disillusioned youth is taking to the streets across Europe. John Lichfield reports

Europe exists, it appears. If Greek students sneeze, or catch a whiff of tear-gas, young people take to the streets in France and now Sweden. Yesterday, masked youths threw two firebombs at the French Institute in Athens. Windows were smashed but the building was not seriously damaged. Then youths spray-painted two slogans on the building. One said, “Spark in Athens. Fire in Paris. Insurrection is coming”. The other read, “France, Greece, uprising everywhere”.

It was a calculated and violent attempt to link disparate youth protest movements. Links between protests in Greece and France – and, to a lesser degree, unrest in Sweden – may seem tenuous, even non-existent. But social and political ailments and their symptoms transmit as rapidly as influenza in the television, internet and text-message age.

With Europe, and the world, pitching headlong into a deep recession, the “Greek Syndrome”, as one French official calls it, was already being monitored with great care across the European Union. The attempt to politicise and link the disputes across EU frontiers may prove to be a random act of self-dramatisation by an isolated group on the Greek far left. But it does draw attention to the similarities – and many differences – between the simultaneous outbreaks of unrest in three EU countries.

Thousands of young Greeks have been rioting on and off for almost two weeks. They are protesting against the chaotic, and often corrupt, social and political system of a country still torn between European “modernity” and a muddled Balkan past. They can be said, in that sense, to be truly revolting.

The riots began with a mostly “anarchist” protest against the killing of a 15-year-old boy by police but spread to other left-wing groups, immigrants and at times, it seemed, almost every urban Greek aged between 18 and 30. The protesters claim that they belong to a sacrificed “€600” generation, doomed to work forever for low monthly salaries. French lycée (sixth-form) students took to the street in their tens of thousands this week and last to protest against modest, proposed changes in the school system and the “natural wastage” of a handful of teaching posts. In other words, they were engaged in a typical French revolution of modern times: a conservative-left-wing revolt, not for change but against it. The lycée students are, broadly, in favour of the status quo in schools, although they admit the cumbersome French education system does not serve them well.

But behind the unrest lie three other factors: a deep disaffection from the French political system; a hostility to capitalism and “globalism” and the ever-simmering unrest in the poor, multiracial suburbs of French cities.

In Malmo on Thursday night, young people threw stones at police and set fire to cars and rubbish bins. This appears to have been mostly a local revolt by disaffected immigrant and second-generation immigrant youths, joined by leftist white youths, against the closure of an Islamic cultural centre. As in Greece and France, the Swedish authorities believe the troubles have been encouraged, and magnified, by political forces of the far left.

There may be little direct connection between the events in the three countries but they were already connected in the minds of EU governments before yesterday’s attack on the French cultural institute. The French President, Nicolas Sarkozy, forced his education minister, Xavier Darcos, to delay, then abandon his planned reform of the lycée system this week. Why the change? Largely because of the events in Greece, French officials say. There was a heated debate in the Elysée Palace last weekend. One faction of advisers and ministers wanted to push ahead with the school reforms (already much watered down). Another faction was disturbed at signs that the lycée protests, although relatively limited, were spinning out of control.

The student leaders were no longer in charge of their troops, they said. Violent elements were joining the marches from the poor, multi-racial suburbs. Far left and anarchist agitators were said to be getting involved. With the Greek riots on the TV every night, and the French economy heading into freefall, the officials feared the lycée protests could spark something much wider and more violent.

President Sarkozy agreed to give way. The lycée protests went ahead anyway. There were more students on the streets of French cities on Thursday, after the government backed down, than there were last week when the education minister insisted that he would press ahead. A few cars were burnt and overturned in Lyons and Lille and a score of protesters were arrested but the marches were mostly peaceful.

Students interviewed on the streets of Paris refused to accept that the reforms had been withdrawn. President Sarkozy was not in control, they said. He was “under orders from Brussels and Washington”. The real motive was to take money out of the French education budget to “refloat the banks”.

The Greek, French and Swedish protests do have common characteristics: a contempt for governments and business institutions, deepened by the greed-fired meltdown of the banks; a loose, uneasy alliance between mostly, white left-wing students and young second-generation immigrants; the sense of being part of a “sacrificed generation”.

US, Ukraine risk irking Russia with strategic accord

[SEE: Gazprom Threatens to Cut Off Ukraine]

US, Ukraine risk irking Russia with strategic accord

The United States and Ukraine risked irking Moscow by signing a strategic accord Friday that calls for a US diplomatic post in Crimea, a Russian-speaking area where Russia’s Black Sea Fleet is based.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and her Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Ogryzko signed the “charter on strategic partnership” that the State Department calls a statement of US intent to “intensify our engagement with Ukraine.”

The State Department said it outlines “enhanced cooperation” in the areas of defense, security, economics and trade, energy security, democracy, and cultural exchanges.

According to a copy of the document, “Ukraine welcomes the United States’ intention to establish an American diplomatic presence (American Presence Post) in Simferopol,” the capital of Crimea.

Such diplomatic posts are made up of one or two diplomats who do not perform consular duties.

In announcing the plans earlier, Rice’s spokesman Sean McCormack said the administration of President George W. Bush, which hands over to that of president-elect Barack Obama on January 20, did not seek to provoke Russia.

“This is about US-Ukraine bilateral relations,” McCormack told reporters.

“If the Russian government chooses to be upset by… my stating that we’re considering opening up… a one-person or two-person American presence post, well, there’s not much I can do about that then,” he added.

He did not say when a US diplomat could be sent to Simferopol but a senior State Department official said on the condition of anonymity that it will not happen before January 20.

“It will probably take more time,” the official told AFP.

Questioned by the media after leaving the State Department, Ogryzko, the Ukrainian foreign minister, said a US diplomat could take up his post next year.

He also sought to play down the political significance of sending a US representative to a region which was considered Russian territory until Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev ceded it in 1954 to Ukraine, then a Soviet republic.

“So it is nothing special in this approach. We have foreign diplomatic presence in many cities of Ukraine: Odessa, Simferopol, Lviv,” the Ukrainian chief diplomat told reporters.

Ukrainian authorities do not want to renew the lease agreement for the base of the Black Sea Fleet in the port of Sebastopol beyond 2017, the term of a 20-year agreement between the two countries concluded in 1997.

Last month French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner told a Russian daily that Russia was distributing Russian passports in Crimea, as it has done since 2002 in the breakaway Georgian territories of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

Russia invoked the need to defend its citizens in South Ossetia to justify the August 8 offensive in retaliation for Georgia’s attempt to retake South Ossetia by force.

The charter on strategic cooperation signed Friday calls also for heightened military cooperation between the United States and Ukraine, especially through equipment and training programs for Ukraine’s armed forces.

“The United States supports Ukraine’s integration into the Euro-Atlantic structures,” Rice said before signing the document.

She declined to comment on when a diplomat would be sent to Crimea.

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization announced Tuesday it would deepen its cooperation with Ukraine and Georgia without actually granting them the status of official candidates to join NATO.

Rethinking American Power and its Limits

Rethinking American Power and its Limits

19.12.2008

Brian Self
Last week’s column title: ‘Will Goliath ever learn?’ was suggested by a book whose author was one of five foreign policy experts referred to – who were asked for their views by ‘Newsweek’ on how Barack Obama should face critical foreign policy challenges in 2009. Strongly, and clearly argued, Michael Mandelbaum’s ‘The case for Goliath: How America Acts as the World’s Government in the 21st Century’ is nevertheless symptomatic of a disease-like inability deeply infecting the American political establishment. The book’s central argument, that the US is, and should continue to be the world’s government is a view held by politicians of both parties, senior military figures and a number of Washington bureaucrats. In Mandelbaum’s own words: “As portrayed in the pages that follow, America’s world role has something in common with the sun’s relationship to the rest of the solar system. Both confer benefits on the entities with which they are in regular contact. The sun keeps the planets in their orbits by the force of gravity and radiates the heat and light possible on one of them. Similarly the United States furnishes services to other countries, the same services, as it happens; that governments provide within sovereign states to the people they govern. The United States therefore functions as the world’s government.” Having used nuclear deterrence to defend the free world against communism during the Cold War, and by preventing the further spread of nuclear weapons, the US according to Mandelbaum provides reassurance to the democratic world.  As a necessary superpower, preserving peace, it protects not only its own interests, but those of humanity in general; a role which, Mandelbaum suggests, continues to justify the US invasion and occupation of Iraq.

Americans also have a voice

There is a large irony in this book – published at the beginning of 2006 – that on the aspects of American hegemony where the author displays realism – concerning America’s economic power – there is no hint, other than a reference to an increasing trade deficit, that anything could ever go wrong. There was no impending US recession on the horizon, and no notion that a sudden downward turn in the American economy could drag the rest of the world into global economic mayhem. A distinguished professor of international relations at John Hopkins University, Mandelbaum is known as a ‘realist’ and his portrayal of an Uncle Sam dispensing largesse to the free world had more truth than much of the world was prepared to admit. US military deployments have ensured the safety of trade generally, while preserving the world’s access to Middle East oil. No country encouraged high levels of consumption as much as the US; it fuelled the world’s economy by maintaining a demand for foreign products among its own population, stimulated China’s economic boom and thereby maintained the economic stability of other states. To write that “The dollar serves as the world’s money” was as correct as pointing out that American economic power is expressed through international institutions like the International Monetary Fund. Together with trade pacts like the General Agreement on Trade and Tariffs (GATT) and organisations such as the World Bank and the group of 8, here was an American-led global economic management system. But the irony lay in assuring the reader that this network was essential to the functioning of the international market system and the avoidance of major financial crises. Mandelbaum’s conclusion that there is no credible alternative to Goliath’s role as lynchpin and guarantor of the global system – that neither the United Nations, the European Union, nor any other single country possesses the political will, military and economic potency – assures the reader that if US global power diminishes it will not be the result of any external pressure or defeat. It may happen he says, acknowledging that Americans also have a voice – if they decide they do not want to pay for international dominance at the expense of social welfare at home; an outcome that would, says Mandelbaum, be a disaster for the world.
The article on Russia written by the author of ‘The case for Goliath’ for Newsweek’s superficially varied palette of advice for the American President-elect is not a recommendation for continuing global dominance; but reflects the ambitious claim made by the book and the arrogance or naïveté which in varying degrees infects four out of five of the expert contributions. Known as a realist, a strong opponent of the war in Iraq and no neoconservative, John Mearsheimer is one of the best known political scientists in the US. Together with Stephen Walt, another prominent academic, Mearsheimer unleashed a furious debate which two years ago outraged defenders of US policy towards Israel, meaning all neoconservatives, by criticising the ‘Israel Lobby’. It would have been useful advice for Barack Obama if Mearsheimer had addressed the question of international perceptions of the US-Israel alliance and how it has reduced international confidence in American leadership, particularly concerning the area of nuclear non- proliferation. Instead Mearsheimer, possibly chastened after inadvertently bringing at least two distinguished Universities into the public spotlight, suggests the US plays the role of universal policeman, with some variations.

Countries fear US aims to attack them

It is possible to imagine that John Mearsheimer’s call for a radically different strategy for the Middle East might catch the President elect’s attention; not only does it sound reasonable, but the name he gives to his approach is the sort of jargon foreign policy makers love to play around with. ‘Offshore balancing’ does not refer to the activities of a money launderer’s accountant, is a more elegant concept than the clumsy sounding ‘surge’, and, according to Mearsheimer, has not only proved effective in the past, but “A final, compelling reason to adopt this approach is that nothing else has worked.” The core of his idea is that the US would station its military forces outside the region, and ‘balancing’ would mean relying “on regional powers like Iran, Iraq and Saudi Arabia to check each other.” Military intervention would only happen if “the local balance of power seriously broke down and one country threatened to dominate the others.” Thus “America doesn’t need to control the Middle East with its own forces; it merely needs to ensure that no other country does.” Offshore balancing, claims Mearsheimer, has three particular virtues. It would reduce the chances of becoming involved in another bloody and costly war like Iraq; it “would ameliorate America’s terrorism problem. Foreign occupiers generate fierce resentment. Keeping America’s military forces out of sight would minimize the anger created by having them stationed on Arab soil.” And thirdly the strategy “would reduce fears in Iran and Syria that the United States aims to attack them and remove their regimes.” These fears, according to Mearsheimer, are the key reason for these countries seeking weapons of mass destruction.
It’s hard to believe that Mearsheimer did little more than half-heartedly agree to Newsweek’s request to play pundit, for neither his heart nor mind appear to be in it. Admitting that the deployment of large numbers of US troops in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia roused Osama bin Laden to declare war on America, where would US forces be stationed in this strategy? Spain, Greece, Italy? Surely not in Turkey? Referring to the anger which US forces would create by being stationed on ‘Arab soil’ is a product of the Ugly American syndrome – Arabs are Arabs and there is little difference between Iraq, Yemen or Egypt. But then Mearsheimer undermines his thesis in his third paragraph. “This approach might strike some as cynical. It would do little to foster democracy or promote human rights. But Bush couldn’t deliver on those promises anyway, and it is ultimately up to individual countries to determine their own political systems.” His final, “compelling” reason to adopt “offshore balancing” because “nothing else has worked” is simply a way of saying that American policy of using hard power in the Middle East, of covert interference and propping up authoritarian regimes has been a total failure.

Stick and carrot diplomacy

By contrast ‘Iran: Talk Tough with Tehran’ is a piece of straightforward and transparent neoconservative simplification. Dennis Ross, a former Middle East envoy under Clinton, and Obama’s most influential adviser on the Middle East, was recently identified as helping to write a report which backed an intensive diplomatic effort, while simultaneously urging the preparation of forces for a military strike on Iran – both without UN backing. For ‘Newsweek’ Ross writes that “sharp sticks will show Iran what it stands to lose by going nuclear; carrots will show its leaders what they would gain by moderating their behaviour. Smart statecraft is needed now to avoid two terrible outcomes: living with a nuclear Iran, or acting militarily to try to prevent it.”
Out of five leading foreign-policy experts offering recommendations for Obama, only Andrew Bacevich’s are free of arrogance, naïveté and the grand hubris that American power must be used to reshape the rest of the world. By suggesting the war in Afghanistan – like Iraq – cannot be won militarily, Bacevich advocates neither withdrawal nor appeasement, but argues that a settlement, an imperfect one, is possible only through politics. “America’s real political objective in Afghanistan is actually quite modest: to ensure that terrorist groups like Al Qaeda can’t use the country as a safe haven for launching attacks against the West. Accomplishing that won’t require creating a modern, cohesive nation-state.” Efforts to salvage Afghanistan are leading to the destabilisation of Pakistan, with potentially devastating implications, warns Bacevich. US military power is limited. Concentrating on what is realistic – and affordable is only the beginning; not only Afghans resent being told how to manage their affairs. Goliath will have to learn to become less ambitious, better understand the world it lives in, and above all show less high-mindedness if America’s beacon is to burn brightly again.

Another face of the ISI mouth piece and Musharraf’s sympathiser – Mr Zaid Hamid

Another face of the ISI mouth piece and Musharraf’s sympathiser –  Mr Zaid Hamid

by N. Shahrukh

Ghalib’s verse which later became a proverb “Hain kawakib kuchh, nazar aatay hain kuchh” is true for Mr Zaid Hamid, the fiery young expert of strategic issues and Jihad who has shot to fame in a few months through a programme Brasstacks on TVone.

Yes, Zaid Hamid is really IMPRESSIVE and he is taking the simple idealistic people of Pakistan, especially youth and women by storm. Had I not known him for the last 20 years, I would, too, have been all praise for this ‘new’ bright face on the TV talking about Zionism, Muslim conquests, Afghan Jihad, good and bad Talibans, and what not through his self-sponsored TV programme.

Just a REMINDER and WARNING to all my friends who trust my words:

If you guys remember the Pakistan false prophet, YUSUF ALI, who was arrested and sentenced to death by the Lahore High Court and then murdered in Kot Lakhpat jail by a fellow prisoner – this guy Zaid Hamid was known as Zaid Zaman at that time and was the Khalifah of that Kazzab. Zaid is still leading that cult which belongs to the firqah batinyah of sufism and they have a different aqeedah altogother which they only profess within their inner core. Many of my personal friends fell prey to his charisma in the 1990s, some of them reverted back to Hidayah and were instrumental in filing a case against Yusuf Ali which ultimately lead to his death sentence and the cult members dispersed for a few years.

All of the followers of Yusuf Kazzab are now gathering once again in Islamabad and after 11 years Zaid Zaman has reappeared as Zaid Hamid.

I first came to know about Zaid Hamid when he acted as a translator to Hekmatyar in 1989 during his visit to Karachi. I was really impressed by the bright faced young engineer from NED University who spoke excellent Persian, Pashto, Urdu and English. Later, I came to know that the training centre for Pakistani mujahideen in Posta Fez, Jalalabad was run by this man.

I soon got introduced to new friends who were part of his team in Afghanistan. I even tried to run away from home in 1991 at the age of 14 to go to Afghanistan but was some how caught and persuaded by my family to refrain. In the same year I distributed several cassettes of a documentary – Qasasul Jihad – produced by Zaid Zaman, which showed live scenes of combat between Afghan mujahideen and Russian forces and was the first of its kind. For me Zaid Zaman and his team were like the re-incarnation of the heroes of Muslim medieval history.

However, soon Zaid Zaman was the centre of a scandal of misappropriation of funds of a large UK-based NGO, Muslim Aid, of which he was a representative in Pakistan and Afghanistan. He also then parted ways with Hekmatyar and Haqqani and joined the ranks of Ahmed Shah Masood. Later he abandoned Jihad altogether and became a Sufi.

In 1994, when I was in aitikaf in Ramazan, one of Zaman’s close associates, who was also a very close friend of mine, came to meet me and started talking strangely about the “real” meanings of Islam denouncing each and every known Islamic scholar. He said that all translations and commentaries of Quran till date were blasphemous. He also said that every century has an ‘Imam-e-zamana’ who we should take bayah (oath of allegiance) of and he would soon arrange my meeting with that Imam.

Alhamdulillah, because of my strong beliefs I never ever met that so-called Imam-e-zamana but many of my friends fell into the trap. Soon, Yusuf Ali was being invited to dinner parties in many of my friends’ homes who were seen holding beads (tasbeeh) in their hands and preaching zikr and sufism here and there.

I lost many of my closest friends as I felt very uneasy with their beliefs and discussions. The basis of their belief was a ‘maudhu’ hadith that Allah (SWT) created the noor of Muhammad (SAW) before the creation of the Universe. That ‘noor’ will remain till eternity and even if the Prophet (SAW) is physically not with us today, his noor is present in the ‘Imam-e-zamana’ and hence he should be followed as the Prophet (SAW) was by his companions. Na’aauzubillah!

Meanwhile, Muhammad Tahir of Weekly Takbeer broke the news of Yusuf Ali and his cult quoting statements of some of the defectors who realized what was wrong and were ready to go to court against this fitnah. Yusuf Ali was accused of claiming to be a false prophet, immoral practices including sexual abuse of his women followers and homosexuality. Soon, a case was filed against him and the Tahaffuz Khatme Nabuwwat people also became a party.

Yusuf Ali was sentence and sentenced to death based on irrefutable evidence of his misguided beliefs including the claim of false prophethood.

Click to the link below to read a BBC report by Zafar Abbas on the death sentence of the Pakistani false prophet Yusuf Ali:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/<wbr>world/south_asia/867449.stm

The Tahaffuz-e-Khatm-e-Nabuwwat office at Numaish, MA Jinnah Road and journalist Muhammad Tahir still has the record of that case and clippings of related news reports containing statements of witnesses who were once part of the cult themselves.

The name of Zaid Zaman Hamid also appeared in several of the news reports appearing in those days in Takbeer, Ummat, Khabrain, Jasarat, etc as he was the key promoter and khalifa of Yusuf Kazzab and the witnesses during the court proceedings and the press statements mentioned his name.

According to my knowledge, Zaid Hamid is still leading that cult in Islamabad and sources close to him confirm that he still proclaims the same beliefs of Yusuf Kazzab. It is not confirmed, tough, whether the new “Imam-e-zamana” is Zaid Zaman himself or some other person.

If you want to warn your friends and family from this fitnah, please spread this message to everyone you know.

May Allah (SWT) guide us all to the right path. Ameen.

Here is the Evidence about Zaid Zaman Hamid’s past, who has been promoted to the level of a security analyst by ISPR in less than two years

The Pakistan report card (Hate Speech I)

The Pakistan report card (Hate Speech I)

This August 14 I was bored out of my mind late at night, and started scanning TV channels for fodder to feed my idleness. I came across a programme where a man was seated in an open air forum delivering a talk with many eager devotees listening. It seemed tame enough, until it started digressing dangerously into hate speech. The man doing the talking started talking about the Hindu nation, their inferiority and how they were unfit to govern. Amongst his pearls of wisdom was the nugget that many Sikhs in Punjab are secretly Muslims whose allegiance is across the border. He teared up when he said that, and it sounded sincere.

The man in question is Zaid Hamid who does Brass Tacks for TV One. As I saw some of his subsequent programmes, obvious errors in facts came to light. For example, in his series on economic terrorism he mentioned the abandonment of the gold standard as a Zionist plot to destroy, who else, Muslims. Fact of the matter is that while the gold standard definitely has its merits in maintaining balanced budgets and containing inflation, it also causes recessions and prevents governments from pumping in programmes for poverty alleviation. If the world was to switch to the gold standard, the price of this metal itself would become untenable. The abandonment of the standard may have created its own mess (like widely fluctuating currencies), but the gold standard was not without demerits like the programme that Zaid Hamid did suggest. A strict submission to the gold standard can cause deflationary tendencies, and if we had it today we may have curbed inflation but we would not have enough to spend on our already depleted developmental expenditures.

But that Zaid Hamid chooses to support one economic mechanism is his right, and it’s not to say that no one else has ever asked for a return to the gold standard. The issue is how un-nuanced and absolute his argument is, and also his insistence that it is at the behest of the Jews, Christians and Zionists, all evil. Zionism is a deplorable creed, the last real vestige of disguised racism and imperialism in the world that has imprisoned an entire nation, but a look at the facts will show there are many left-leaning Jews in Israel who oppose their government’s actions in the occupied areas. Blanket condemnation is for demagogues, not TV anchors.

In his arguments on the imposition of economic terrorism Zaid Hamid goes on to explain just how thorough the hold of the Jews is on America by claiming the US Federal Reserve is actually a private institution. This is simply not true, the chairman of the Fed is appointed by the president of the US. Yes, the Fed does have some banks subscribing to it with something called ’shares’, but unlike real shares it does not accord them voting rights, authorization to sell at value above the par on which it was bought. If we are to believe Zaid Hamid, then Lehman Brothers (started out as a Jewish-owned company) would never have been allowed to fail by the Fed as it was just recently.

The whole body of work that Zaid Hamid has on television is derived from opportunistic amalgamation of facts to create conspiracy theories. One look at him on screen, and one can easily believe he is sincere, which I am sure he is. A handsome man in the vein of Che, he professes to bring out the truth that the mainstream media ignores, and says himself that he brings it out at some personal risk by battling the powers that be. Whenever a question is posed at him he goes into an erudite, but factually questionable, explanation of the answer without pausing, giving an air authenticity by not harbouring doubts. But the gist of most of it is a belief that what has happened to us collectively in our underdevelopment is at the hands of evil non-Muslims, traitors in Pakistan and the trio of the CIA, RAW and Mossad. But despite how powerful he claims the outside world is at keeping Muslims at bay by charting out conspiracies that determine the future of history now, he never explains why he is allowed to get away with ‘exposing’ them if their hands are as long as he claims.

The main issue regarding Zaid Hamid is not that he is insincere or even duplicitous, but that the focus of his conclusions always come to the altar of defeating conspiracies. Very little is made of process and why certain things happen. We know if capitalism is unfettered, for example, there is a tendency for anti-competitiveness accrued by economies of scale to create monopoly situations. This will occur if the owner of a business unit is Muslim, Jewish, Hindu or Klingon. But in Zaid’s hands, this process will become a situation where the greedy Jew wants to suck the lifeblood out of everyone who doesn’t share his faith. Second, and this is key, most of the anti-globalization, anti-capitalism and anti-imperialist critiques that Muslim naysayers own are actually based on secular, leftwing scholarship. They appropriate it without realizing if ever there was the downfall of the west’s greedy economic engine then the same discourse would be applied to the new dominant culture and economic powerhouse, even if it was Muslims. But these principles of egalitarianism are not owned by the Muslim commentators, they are just used as talking points against the west. But crucially, what people like Zaid Hamid do is hurt the process of self-reflection which is needed. Why look inwards for self-improvement if it is someone else’s fault?

Zaid Hamid has a natural charisma and believability, the only thing he needs is the channel to begin snipping his output responsibly. TV needs self-regulation, and they better do it before there is a move to justify it being done by the government. While programmes may bring in the ratings, they may do damage that is unforeseen and deep. Just think Aamir Liaquat and Aalim Online, another repository of the hate speech phenomena.

Source : The News.com

Hate speech — II

Hate speech — II

The Pakistan report card

Thursday, September 25, 2008
by Fasi Zaka

My previous article focused on the free reign of hate speech in some Pakistani media outlets that made liberal use of a mix of unsubstantiated conspiracy theory, faulty facts, racial hatred and religious intolerance, and my perspective was formed particularly by watching Zaid Hamid who does the show “Brass Tacks.”

In the week since, I have found the rhetorical violence present in the ‘lectures’ of Zaid Hamid followed up by a close dose of how it informs the reality of Brass Tacks and Zaid Hamid. Since the article he has circulated to the members of his mail group that I have attacked him at the behest of the Zionist Banking System, the Kufr Dajjal and that their ‘war’ has entered a new stage. He encouraged members to write to me, and they have in force. From veiled threats, to how my picture in this column looked like the dajjal (I am content with how God made me), or my membership to the ‘Illuminati’ amongst a number of others have all come my way, including links to documentaries on YouTube from where they have done their ‘scholarly research…’ Brass Tacks has a huge Islamic component, I wonder if Zaid Hamid has forgotten the lessons of ‘tohmat’, or allegations, and how Islam views it.

While at first I thought Zaid Hamid to be well-intended but misguided, what I have now seen firsthand demonstrates delusion. In this postmodern world where people have surrendered a good deal of their intimate freedoms to impersonal institutions, where the interlinked nexus of governments and corporations creates ripples that people find difficult to understand, the conspiracy theorist takes the easy way out by assuming that all events are at the hands of a secret few. Despite the invalidity of these theses, they have staying power because they offer no proof, and hence they cannot be disproved, especially if they are the product of a paranoid imagination. Common to most of these conspiracy theories is ‘de-individualization’, which is lumping people into impersonal groups and taking their humanity away from them. That’s what Zaid Hamid does when he rants about the inferiority of Hindus, the inherent evil nature of Jews or Pakistani leaders he disagrees with. He neglects to realize that his method is what also drove the neoconservatives in creating a world in their own ethnocentric image and in the killing fields of Iraq. This method also drove the perpetrator of the Marriott attack, who was so convinced of his mission that he didn’t mind killing scores of the poorest for a few choice targets.

As far as me being a Zionist Banker goes, I have never worked for a bank, or own shares in any. I did work briefly once for the World Bank, a development organization (one that I also believe has done some harm to the people it is mandated to help), but that was a short-term consultancy to research the value chain of apples for export and it had nothing to do with lending money. I do have two bank accounts, and the public is welcome to verify that in neither is there an exemption from paying the government Zakat, nor are there any withdrawals before it is imposed.

Let’s hold Zaid Hamid to his own standards by looking at his record. On the website of his security consulting firm, also called Brass Tacks, he proudly mentions testimonials from employees of both Deutsche Bank and Bank of America (amongst ten other banks), and from Shell. Wait a second! Isn’t this the same Zaid Hamid who does a TV programme that claims banks are in the hands of the Zionist Jews hungry to kill all Muslims? What is he doing profiting from protecting them after creating public animosity towards them? Is this the same Zaid Hamid who believes the world is being overrun by multinationals that are out to secure resources that will eventually harm Muslims? What is he doing profiting from protecting Shell, which has just signed an agreement to sell natural gas in the Governorate of Basra in Iraq under the US occupation? He is not living what he is preaching. He devours banks and multinationals on television but profits from them when the cameras stop rolling.

One of the major world conspiracies happens to be that the invasions of the US were conducted at the behest of Halliburton, an energy company with known ties to individuals of the US administration. Well, the Bank of America (BOA) has just recommended the stock of Halliburton after the CFO of the energy company met with BOA officials. So by one degree of separation, isn’t Brass Tacks, the company of Zaid Hamid, linked to Halliburton because of the BOA connection?

Now I want to clarify that all the above facts are true, but I do not believe in the yarn I wind around them to make them connect. I do not believe for a second that Zaid Hamid intends to create fear and profit from it. He just happened to be a security expert who landed on TV with a pre-existing business and started preaching his prejudices derived from random conspiracy theories. I wrote the scenario above to illustrate how the coincidental can be woven together to make a compelling narrative that has no real truth, nor is it causal or correlated. It is thinking like this that I wish Zaid Hamid would question himself on, because as demonstrated above even he could fall prey to the world where nothing is substantiated and the dicey is used as truth to fan hatred.

As far as profiting from concerns he preaches against, well that’s for him to resolve. But the absolutism that Zaid Hamid holds others to, he does not hold himself to apparently.

This absolutism is not just moral in his case, it is intellectual as well. In his recent programme, he described how income taxes were one of the greatest conspiracies of the US. Had he just bothered to look into the system of income taxes and public finance, he would have realized that a progressive taxation system is one of the greatest tools to redistribute wealth and to help the poor. Accidents of birth, talent and intelligence can be mitigated into a more just society when there is a documented tax base, and societies can pay for services to the economically disadvantaged. A progressive taxation system can make sure that there are good hospitals, schools, pensions and other benefits that can help them overturn an unequal society by redistributing from the rich to the poor. The welfare state that all populist Islamic leaders promise will be based on the progressive income tax system, not government sales tax (GST). If we had no income taxes, and only GST then we would be taxing consumption, and for the poor food is a large part of that, which means relative to income no income taxes and only GST; it would penalize the poor more than the rich and they would eat less. A little knowledge is a dangerous thing.

For example, Zaid Hamid has been insinuating for the longest time that most of Pakistan’s leaders are in the pockets of the CIA. I am sure some are. However, Zaid Hamid makes one exclusion to his thesis, General Musharraf, someone who overtly cooperated more with the US than anyone else in Pakistan’s history. Now exactly how Zaid Hamid has the knowledge to make this distinction, no one knows. By continuously insisting on television the he is the only one who knows these things, he is creating the cult of personality, not that of objectivity. After all, this is a man who decries the state of representative politics, of democracy, but that does not mean he has the right to do away with it, because the only alternative in his eyes would be someone he approves of (himself?), not who the people choose.

In the end, I would like to add a few cautionary notes. Brass Tacks is not a programme entirely without merit, and neither is Zaid Hamid. For example, he is right when he discusses the rancid imperialism of the US and its misadventures abroad, he is right when he believes that unfettered capitalism is bad, or that Muslims need to awaken from their slumber. He is right when he mentions there are flaws in an economic system that allows for hot money, that sells credit irresponsibly for mindless consumption. These are legitimate themes, and the fact that Zaid Hamid is non-sectarian is applause worthy.

But where Zaid Hamid should draw the line is upholding the facts that withstand query, abstaining from hate speech even if he opposes large swathes of humanity and verifying tracts that may not fit into his presuppositions. There is a place for both the right and left on television, after all that is what creates consensus through dialectic. What should be common is remembering Islam is a religion of peace.

The writer is a Rhodes scholar and former academic. Email: fasizaka@yahoo.com

World – Somali Piracy Backed by International Network

1_61_110507_pirates

World – Somali Piracy Backed by International Network

Date Posted: Friday 12-Dec-2008

“The dramatic spike in piracy in African waters this year is backed by an international network mostly of Somali expatriates from the Horn of Africa to as far as North America” Another reason why the West or ‘North’ as its called today, should NOT allow African Immigration into their states. Not only will they destroy your state from within, but aid in destroying you from outside. Where is the good ol’ days where the American Navy would have none of it and simple annihialate pirates ( I refer to the Barbary war). Janolifant

MOGADISHU, Somalia – Ahmed Dahir Suleyman is cagey as he talks about the global network that funds and supports piracy off the coast of Somalia.

“We have negotiators, translators and agents in many areas … let me say across the world,” said Suleyman, a pirate in the harbor town of Eyl, where scores of hijacked ships are docked.

“These people help us during exchanges of ransom and finding out the exact person to negotiate with,” he told The Associated Press. Before cutting off the cell phone call, Suleyman snapped: “It is not possible to ask anymore about our secrets.”

The dramatic spike in piracy in African waters this year is backed by an international network mostly of Somali expatriates from the Horn of Africa to as far as North America, who offer funds, equipment and information in exchange for a cut of the ransoms, according to researchers, officials and members of the racket. With help from the network, Somali pirates have brought in at least $30 million in ransom so far this year.

“The Somali diaspora all around the world now have taken to this business enterprise,” said Michael Weinstein, a Somalia expert at Purdue University in Indiana. He likened the racket to “syndicates where you buy shares, so to speak, and you get a cut of the ransom.”

Weinstein said his interviews with ransom negotiators and Somalis indicate the piracy phenomenon has reached Canada, which is home to 200,000 Somalis.

John S. Burnett, a London-based author working on a book about hijackings off the Somali coast, said there is no doubt Somali pirates are part of “transnational crime syndicates.” He said information from sources, including people involved in ransom negotiations and payouts, indicates the money goes as far as Canada and capitals in Europe.

“Places like Eyl are getting only a portion of the millions in ransom being siphoned off,” he said. “The Somali diaspora is huge.”

Sheik Qasim Ibrahim Nur, director of security at Somalia’s Interior and National Security Ministry, said evidence points to Somali expatriates in Kenya and the United Arab Emirates, but declined to give further details. He said there is “no doubt” the pirates have links outside Somalia.

Kenya’s government spokesman, Alfred Mutua, said the issue was under investigation. In Dubai, a police officer at the Interior Ministry denied claims that anyone was funding piracy. He asked not to be named because he is not authorized to speak to the media.

The deals with “investors” appear to be fairly informal, with family or clan networks stretching overseas. The lack of a proper banking system in Somalia, which has not had an effective government in almost 20 years, makes it difficult to trace how much funding the pirates get from overseas or how it is channeled.

Somalia is a failed state with no banks, only a cash-based, informal transfer network called hawala. A hawala operator takes in money on one end, then instructs a relative, friend or another agent in another country to hand a like amount to someone else. The paperless system, based on trust and oral agreements, is commonly used in the Middle East, parts of Asia and Africa.

There is some concern that the system is used for overseas payments to and from the pirates — especially now that they are getting their ransoms in cash, sometimes dropped in burlap sacks from a buzzing helicopter.

The pirates acknowledge using foreign help.

“All I can tell you is we have people in Nairobi, Djibouti, we have people in Dubai and many other countries,” said Gamase Hassan Said, a pirate in Eyl speaking by telephone.

Aden Yusuf, another pirate in Eyl, told The AP that foreigners in Dubai, Nairobi, Djibouti and elsewhere help pirates get sophisticated equipment, such as money-counting machines seen at foreign exchange bureaus, in exchange for a cut of the ransom.

Roger Middleton, an expert on East Africa at Chatham House think tank in London, said ransoms in the past have been “channeled to expatriate Somalis around the world.” But pirates appear to be opting for direct cash payouts more often now — bypassing even the hawala tranfer system — because of concerns about scrutiny by governments, he said. In one instance at the beginning of this year, he said, the pirates wanted the money delivered through the Gulf but nobody was prepared to take it.

“That may be an indication that the (UAE) government was stepping up pressure,” said Middleton, whose information comes from private security firms and people party to hostage negotiations.

In the Emirates, hawala operators have been ordered to register with the Central Bank and to report transfers larger than $550, but it is unclear how many actually do so.

The Somali pirates also rely on a local network of corrupt officials and villagers eager for money in a region with no real economy. Somali pirates generally dock hijacked vessels near the coast in the northern Somali region of Puntland as they negotiate ransoms. Rogue security and government officials there allow the pirates to use ports and move freely around towns while they restock ships, said Abdullahi Said Aw-Yusuf, a district commissioner in Eyl.

“This is the main reason why pirates are stationed in Puntland,” Aw-Yusuf said.

Piracy has turned many tiny fishing villages off Somalia’s coast into boomtowns, where pirates build sprawling homes, cruise in luxury cars and marry multiple wives. Often dressed in military fatigues, the pirates are typically armed with automatic weapons, anti-tank rocket launchers and grenades. The weaponry is readily available throughout Somalia, where 20 years of anarchy means nearly everyone owns a gun and a bustling arms market operates in the capital.

The pirates have attacked more than 90 vessels this year and successfully seized more than 36.

By MOHAMED OLAD HASSAN and ELIZABETH KENNEDY
Associated Press

Gazprom Threatens to Cut Off Ukraine

Konstantin Chernichkin / Reuters

A worker walking near gas containers at a compressor station outside Kiev. Yushchenko on Thursday balked at paying more than $1 billion of Kiev’s gas debt.

Gazprom Threatens to Cut

Off Ukraine

19 December 2008By Anatoly Medetsky / Staff WriterA statement by Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko on Thursday drew a new warning from Gazprom that deliveries to Ukraine would be halted in January if it didn’t cover all of its gas debts.

Yushchenko said Ukraine was drawing the line after paying just a fraction of what it owes, setting the scene for what has become an annual tug-of-war between the two sides over gas deliveries.

He said that Ukraine, whose economy and currency are in a tailspin, paid $800 million on Wednesday for past supplies and would come up with another payment of $200 million in the “near future.”

“And we can draw the line there as of today,” Yushchenko said, Interfax reported.

Gazprom spokesman Sergei Kupriyanov said the $800 million payment would only cover gas supplied to Ukraine through the end of October, and that the country still owed $2 billion for November and December deliveries, including penalties.

State-owned Gazprom would not sign a contract to supply Ukraine with gas next year or agree to remove intermediaries in the bilateral gas trade, as Ukraine has demanded, unless Kiev pays up or offers other solutions, Kupriyanov said.

“We will be unable to sign a new contract, and this will mean that we will have no legal grounds to supply gas to Ukrainian consumers as of Jan. 1,” he said at a news conference.

Ukrainian Fuel and Energy Minister Yury Prodan said Thursday that he was unaware the country was going to halt debt payments, Interfax reported. He said Ukraine intended to continue talks over the debt.

The European Union, which receives 80 percent of its Russian gas via Ukraine, said Thursday that it found the course of the current talks unsettling. Supplies to the EU dipped briefly when Russia cut deliveries to Ukraine in 2006 in a pricing dispute.

“The current gas disagreements between Russia and Ukraine concerning gas prices deeply concern [EU Energy] Commissioner [Andris] Piebalgs,” the commissioner’s spokesman, Ferran Tarradellas, said in an e-mailed statement. The situation is “certainly affecting the reputation of Russia as a reliable gas supplier and Ukraine as a reliable transit country.”

Piebalgs was to meet Oleh Dubyna, chief of Ukraine’s national gas company, Naftogaz Ukrainy, and Russian representatives for a discussion in London of the situation.

“Piebalgs has recently intensified contacts with Russian and Ukrainian authorities to get detailed information on the development of the negotiations,” Tarradellas said. “The delegations of the commission in Moscow and Kiev are also in intense talks with the authorities in both capitals.”

A cut in deliveries by Gazprom would not cause immediate problems in Ukraine or the EU, because both have accumulated reserves in underground storage facilities, Tarradellas said separately, Interfax reported.

In Britain, gas prices for the first quarter jumped on Thursday after Gazprom issued the warning.

Gazprom deputy chief executive Alexander Medvedev, speaking at the same news conference, said the company’s transit contract with Ukraine was separate from the supply contract, unlike in 2006, when Gazprom first cut deliveries to the country.

Gazprom executives toured European capitals recently to present their position in the talks with Ukraine, Kupriyanov said. Gazprom chief Alexei Miller was going to send letters to European partner companies Thursday to explain the possibility of cuts to Ukraine, Kupriyanov said.

Ukraine’s debts are owed to RosUkrEnergo, the joint venture between Gazprom and two Ukrainian businessmen that acts as the intermediary in the trade.

Gazprom has refused to specify what portion of the money owed to RosUkrEnergo it is expecting to receive.

The signing of a supply contract for this year also turned into a tug-of-war, with Gazprom reducing supplies to Ukraine for three days in March before a formal agreement was reached. EU supplies were not affected.

Medvedev also said Thursday that the average price Gazprom will charge Europe next year will be from $260 to $300 per 1,000 cubic meters of gas. That figure topped $500 in October and will stay above the mark through the end of the year.

Ukraine has been paying $179.5 this year.

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin agreed in October to spread Ukraine’s transition to market prices over three years, but the proposal is conditional on Ukraine’s paying its current bills.

Ukraine imports gas that Gazprom buys from Central Asia, whose gas suppliers have also been demanding a shift to “market prices” starting next year.

Medvedev declined Thursday to explain how Gazprom would cover losses if it were to provide the gas to Ukraine at a discount over the next three years.

How Jewish is Hollywood?

A poll finds more Americans disagree with the statement that ‘Jews control Hollywood.’ But here’s one Jew who doesn’t.
Joel Stein
I have never been so upset by a poll in my life. Only 22% of Americans now believe “the movie and television industries are pretty much run by Jews,” down from nearly 50% in 1964. The Anti-Defamation League, which released the poll results last month, sees in these numbers a victory against stereotyping. Actually, it just shows how dumb America has gotten. Jews totally run Hollywood.

How deeply Jewish is Hollywood? When the studio chiefs took out a full-page ad in the Los Angeles Times a few weeks ago to demand that the Screen Actors Guild settle its contract, the open letter was signed by: News Corp. President Peter Chernin (Jewish), Paramount Pictures Chairman Brad Grey (Jewish), Walt Disney Co. Chief Executive Robert Iger (Jewish), Sony Pictures Chairman Michael Lynton (surprise, Dutch Jew), Warner Bros. Chairman Barry Meyer (Jewish), CBS Corp. Chief Executive Leslie Moonves (so Jewish his great uncle was the first prime minister of Israel), MGM Chairman Harry Sloan (Jewish) and NBC Universal Chief Executive Jeff Zucker (mega-Jewish). If either of the Weinstein brothers had signed, this group would have not only the power to shut down all film production but to form a minyan with enough Fiji water on hand to fill a mikvah.

The person they were yelling at in that ad was SAG President Alan Rosenberg (take a guess). The scathing rebuttal to the ad was written by entertainment super-agent Ari Emanuel (Jew with Israeli parents) on the Huffington Post, which is owned by Arianna Huffington (not Jewish and has never worked in Hollywood.)

The Jews are so dominant, I had to scour the trades to come up with six Gentiles in high positions at entertainment companies. When I called them to talk about their incredible advancement, five of them refused to talk to me, apparently out of fear of insulting Jews. The sixth, AMC President Charlie Collier, turned out to be Jewish.

As a proud Jew, I want America to know about our accomplishment. Yes, we control Hollywood. Without us, you’d be flipping between “The 700 Club” and “Davey and Goliath” on TV all day.

So I’ve taken it upon myself to re-convince America that Jews run Hollywood by launching a public relations campaign, because that’s what we do best. I’m weighing several slogans, including: “Hollywood: More Jewish than ever!”; “Hollywood: From the people who brought you the Bible”; and “Hollywood: If you enjoy TV and movies, then you probably like Jews after all.”

I called ADL Chairman Abe Foxman, who was in Santiago, Chile, where, he told me to my dismay, he was not hunting Nazis. He dismissed my whole proposition, saying that the number of people who think Jews run Hollywood is still too high. The ADL poll, he pointed out, showed that 59% of Americans think Hollywood execs “do not share the religious and moral values of most Americans,” and 43% think the entertainment industry is waging an organized campaign to “weaken the influence of religious values in this country.”

That’s a sinister canard, Foxman said. “It means they think Jews

meet at Canter’s Deli on Friday mornings to decide what’s best for the Jews.” Foxman’s argument made me rethink: I have to eat at Canter’s more often.

“That’s a very dangerous phrase, ‘Jews control Hollywood.’ What is true is that there are a lot of Jews in Hollywood,” he said. Instead of “control,” Foxman would prefer people say that many executives in the industry “happen to be Jewish,” as in “all eight major film studios are run by men who happen to be Jewish.”

But Foxman said he is proud of the accomplishments of American Jews. “I think Jews are disproportionately represented in the creative industry. They’re disproportionate as lawyers and probably medicine here as well,” he said. He argues that this does not mean that Jews make pro-Jewish movies any more than they do pro-Jewish surgery. Though other countries, I’ve noticed, aren’t so big on circumcision.

I appreciate Foxman’s concerns. And maybe my life spent in a New Jersey-New York/Bay Area-L.A. pro-Semitic cocoon has left me naive. But I don’t care if Americans think we’re running the news media, Hollywood, Wall Street or the government. I just care that we get to keep running them.

jstein@latimescolumnists.com

‘When the world becomes aware that this crisis is worse than the 1930s crisis’

Global systemic crisis – New tipping-point in March 2009: ‘When the world becomes aware that this crisis is worse than the 1930s crisis’

– Public announcement GEAB N°30 (December 16, 2008) –



'When the world becomes aware that this crisis is worse than the 1930s crisis'

LEAP/E2020 anticipates than the unfolding global systemic crisis will experience in March 2009 a new tipping point of similar magnitude to the September 2008 one. According to our team, at that period of the year, the general public will become aware of three major destabilizing processes at work in the global economy, i.e.:

• the length of the crisis
• the explosion of unemployment worldwide
• the risk of sudden collapse of all capital-based pension systems

A whole range of psychological factors will contribute to this tipping point: general awareness in Europe, America and Asia that the crisis has escaped from the control of every public authority, whether national or international; that it is severely affecting all regions of the world, even if some are more affected than others (see GEAB N°28); that it is directly hitting hundreds of millions of people in the “developed” world; and that it is only worsening as its consequences reveal throughout the real economy. National governments and international institutions only have three months left to prepare themselves to the next blow, one that could go along severe risks of social chaos. The countries which are not properly equipped to cope with a surge in unemployment and major risks on pensions will be seriously destabilized by this new public awareness.

In this 30th issue of the GEAB, the LEAP/E2020 team describes these three destabilizing processes (two of them are described in this public announcement) and gives recommendations to cope with the surge in risks. In addition, this issue also provides the opportunity to make an objective assessment of the reliability of LEAP/E2020’s anticipations and specifies a number of methodological aspects of the analytical process used. In 2008, LEAP/E2020’s success rate reaches 80%, and even 86% when it comes to strictly socio-econimic anticipations. In a year of major upheavals, our teal ise altogether quite proud of this result.


The crisis will last at least until the end of 2010

Federal Reserve Bank of Saint Louis / Mish’s Global Economic Analysis

Evolution of the US money base and indications of related major US crisis periods (1910 – 2008) – Source: Federal Reserve Bank of Saint Louis / Mish’s Global Economic Analysis
As we already explained in GEAB N°28, the crisis will affect in different ways the different regions of the world. However, and LEAP/E2020 wishes to be very clear on that aspect, contrary to the dominant stance today (coming from those experts who denied the fact that a crisis was coming up three years ago, who denied that it was global two years ago, and who denied the fact that it was systemic six months ago), we anticipate that the minimum duration of the decanting phase of the crisis is 3 years (1). It shall be finished neither in spring 2009, nor in summer 2009, nor at the beginning of 2010. It is only towards the end of 2010 that the situation will start stabilizing again and improving a little in some regions of the world, i.e. Asia and the Eurozone, as well as in countries producing energy, mineral and food commodities (2). Elsewhere, it will continue; in particular in the US and UK, and in all the countries depending on their economy, were the duration could approximate a decade. In fact these countries should not expect any real return to growth before 2018.

Moreover no one should imagine that the improvement at the end of 2010 will correspond to a return of high growth. The recovery will take long. For instance, stock markets will take a decade to return to levels comparable to 2007, if they ever return to that. Remember that it took twenty years before Wall Street resumed its 1920 levels. Well, according to LEAP/E2020, the present crisis is deeper and longer than in the 1930s. The general public will gradually become aware of the long-term aspect of this crisis in the coming three months and this situation will immediately trigger two tendencies carrying with them socio-economic instability: fear of the future and enhanced criticism towards leaders.


The risk of sudden collapse of all capital-based pension systems

Finally, among the various consequences of the crisis for dozens of millions of people in the US, Canada, UK, Japan, Netherlands and Denmark in particular (3), there is the fact that, from the end of the year 2008 onward, news about major losses on the part of the organizations in charge of managing the financial assets supposed to finance pensions will multiply. The OECD anticipates that pension funds will lose 4,000 billion USD in 2008 only (4). In the Netherlands (5) as well as in the United Kingdom (6), monitoring organizations recently blew the whistle asking for an emergency contribution reappraisal and a State intervention. In the United States, growing numbers of announcements call for contribution increases and benefit reductions (7), knowing that it is only in a few weeks time that most of these funds will start calculating their total losses (8). Most of them are still deluding themselves about their capacity to build up again their capital after the markets turn around. In March 2009, when pension fund managers, pensioners and governments will become simultaneously aware of the fact that the crisis is there to last, that it coincides with the « baby-boomer » generation’s age of retirement and that the markets will not resume their 2007 levels until many long years (9), chaos will flood this sector and governments will reach the moment when they will be compelled to nationalize all these funds. And Argentina, who took this decision a few months ago already, will appear a pioneer.

All the trends described above are already at work. Their combination and the public becoming aware of the consequences they could entail, will result in the great collective psychological trauma of Spring 2009, when everyone will realize that we are all trapped into a crisis worse than in the 1930s and that there is no possible way out in the short-term. The impact on the world’s collective mentalities of people and policy-makers will be decisive and modify significantly the course of the crisis in its next stage. Based on greater disillusion and fewer beliefs, social and political instability will settle down worldwide.

Finally, this GEAB N°30 presents a series of 13 questions & answers designed to enhance savers’/investors’/decision-makers’ capacity to understand and anticipate the next stages of the global systemic crisis:
1. Is this crisis different from the previous crises which affected capitalism?
2. Is this crisis different from the 1930s crisis?
3. Is the crisis as serious in Europe or Asia as in the USA?
4. Are the current actions undertaken by public authorities worldwide sufficient to curb the crisis?
5. What are the major risks still weighting on the world financial system? And are all savings equal in front of the crisis?
6. Is the Eurozone a true protection shield against the worst aspects of the crisis and what should the Eurozone do to improve its protection status?
7. Is the Bretton Woods system (in its 1970s last version) currently collapsing? Should the Euro take the place of the Dollar?
8. What can be expected from the next G20 meeting in London?
9. Do you think that deflation is right now the biggest threat to economies worldwide?
10. Do you think that the Obama administration will be able to prevent the USA from sinking into what you called the ‘Very Great US Depression’?
11. In terms of currencies, beyond your anticipation of the Dollar resuming its collapse in the very next months, do you think that the UK Pound and the Swiss Franc are still currencies with an international status?
12. Do you think that the CDS market is about to implode in the coming months? And what could be the consequences of such a phenomenon?
13. Is there a ‘US Treasury Bonds Bubble” about to burst?


———
Notes:

(1) It can be useful to read on this crisis a very interesting contribution by Robert Guttmann published in the 2nd half of 2008 on the website Revues.org, supported by the Maison des Sciences de l’Homme Paris-Nord.

(2) As a matter of fact, commodities have already started contributing to boost the market of international sea transport. Source: Financial Times, 12/14/2008

(3) It is in those countries that capital-based pension systems were most developed (see GEAB N°23) but is also the case of Ireland. Source: Independent, 11/30/2008

(4) Source: OECD, 11/12/2008

(5) Source: NU.NL, 12/15/2008

(6) Source: BBC, 12/09/2008

(7) Sources: WallStreetJournal, 11/17/2008; Phillyburbs, 11/25/2008; RockyMountainNews, 11/19/2008

(8) Source: CNBC, 12/05/2008

(9) Not to mention the effect of an explosion of the US T-Bond bubble on pension funds. See Q&A, GEAB N°30.

Post Katrina Racial Slaughter

A Correction and an Apology

Written by Chris Floyd
In a brief post yesterday, I wrote that African-Americans were treated as second-class citizens in the United States. I would now like to apologize for making such a controversial — and flagrantly incorrect — statement. Obviously, I was letting my knee-jerk liberal PC prejudices run wild. For as a new article in The Nation forcefully demonstrates, African-Americans are not treated as second-class citizens in the United States; they are treated as wild animals to be hunted down and shot in cold blood.

The article is a very detailed investigation of the white vigilante groups that formed, with police approval, in the white enclave of Algiers Point in New Orleans in the days after Hurrican Katrina. Although authorities had designated the area — which had largely escaped damage in the storm and flood — as a vital evacuation point for those trapped in the city, a group of white residents seized the opportunity to declare open season on anyone with black skin. Many African-Americans were shot and several were killed; but no one knows the exact number, because New Orleans police have refused to investigate any of the incidents, and coroner’s records of the gun-blasted bodies that showed up in the area have unaccountably gone missing.

Many of the shooters have been quite open — even boastful — of their activities, and of their certainty that they will never be prosecuted. As the Nation’s A.C. Thompson reports:

[Militia member Wayne Janak is] equally blunt in Welcome to New Orleans, an hourlong documentary produced by the Danish video team, who captured Janak, beer in hand, gloating about hunting humans. Surrounded by a crowd of sunburned white Algiers Point locals at a barbeque held not long after the hurricane, he smiles and tells the camera, “It was great! It was like pheasant season in South Dakota. If it moved, you shot it.” A native of Chicago, Janak also boasts of becoming a true Southerner, saying, “I am no longer a Yankee. I earned my wings.” A white woman standing next to him adds, “He understands the N-word now.” In this neighborhood, she continues, “we take care of our own.”

…Some of the gunmen prowling Algiers Point were out to wage a race war, says one woman whose uncle and two cousins joined the cause. A former New Orleanian, this source spoke to me anonymously because she fears her relatives could be prosecuted for their crimes. “My uncle was very excited that it was a free-for-all–white against black–that he could participate in,” says the woman. “For him, the opportunity to hunt black people was a joy.”

“They didn’t want any of the ‘ghetto niggers’ coming over” from the east side of the river, she says, adding that her relatives viewed African-Americans who wandered into Algiers Point as “fair game.” One of her cousins, a young man in his 20s, sent an e-mail to her and several other family members describing his adventures with the militia. He had attached a photo in which he posed next to an African-American man who’d been fatally shot. The tone of the e-mail, she says, was “gleeful — her cousin was happy that “they were shooting niggers.”


“Jurassicpork” at “Welcome Back to Pottersville” sums it up well:

But this goes beyond mere race-based paranoia and becomes a massive, urgent commercial for the necessity of a functioning, efficient and community-engaged police department. Hurricane Katrina was certainly one of the greatest natural calamities to strike the United States but people like the Algiers Point militia, these little Count Zaroffs in waiting, far from acting out of any understandable concern for their property, used the total lack of law enforcement as an opportunity to murder black people simply for being black and getting caught on their turf. Far from being a siege mentality, the center of Algiers Point descended into barbarism at the first available opportunity, the minute the blue uniforms disappeared. The mere absence of law enforcement, in their minds, gave them a license to kill.

In other words, we’ve actually regressed several steps from the early 60’s when three civil rights workers were murdered in Mississippi by white racists. J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI had flooded the area with agents, did a thorough investigation and brought several men to justice (albeit for civil rights violations).

Fast forward to 2005-2008: No FBI, no local law enforcement, no autopsies, no records, no pending litigation, no nothing.

zek gulag said:

0
Robert Williams and the Deacons for Defense…
… show’d how those gun toting crackers backed off as soon as there blacks willing to shoot back. Self-defense among the oppressed does far more to discourage murderous white supremacy than ANY cops, federal, state or local, who are, after all, in business the keep capitalist white supremacy in control.

woman of the woods said:

1833
New Orleans…
Thank the dispicable “pretend to be prolife” Bushites for the atrocities in NOLA.

arthurdecco said:

1669

The glossy veneer of civilization lies thin on their skin, doesn’t it?

Beasts, posed as people…

with the Authorities ignoring self-admitted murderers…

…my Gawd! America really is the Great Satan!

Grandma Jefferson said:

1286

The shameless, overt, aggressive ugliness of domestic racism now proves the repthugs have effectively turned back the clock on this also. The overt bigotry of the neocons, shamelessly proclaimed in their public statements and malignant policies, combined with their agenda of divide and rule, has unleashed demons that we’ve been fighting to banish for decades. But THIS atrocity, covered up by a complicit, groveling media, and buried from the scrutiny of the world, is the reality of what we saw howling and screaming at Palin’s rallies. It is a direct result of the deliberate inflaming of that 25% jeezus-loving, gun worshiping neanderthal base.

Isn’t that what their “social conservatism” was about? Giving a group of people permission to hate? It’s purging whatever minute shreds of guilt they may carry for hating. They’re really telling people, “It’s OK to hate gays, it’s OK to hate women, it’s OK to hate Muslims, and it’s always OK to hate minorities, especially black Americans, who are in fact fair game. It’s ALWAYS open season on them!” And after a few hearty cheers, they grab for their rifles to “defend their property”.

And so we have the criminal gangs of Algiers diverting themselves with a little sport during the boring post-hurricane season. These monsters were HUNTING PEOPLE, and still walk among us, openly boasting about it.

From this neocon culture of moral depravity that actually has to ask if water-boarding is torture, and concludes it’s pretty much OK, I expect nothing. But those of us who never had to wonder about waterboarding know that this massacre needs to be investigated and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, and we all must try to see that happen.

There are no words for what happened here. Please share this story with everyone, including any journalists, prosecutors, & FBI agents you know, get this into the public glare.

“What else is our humanity worth if we don’t do that?”
Chris Floyd, “Fire Alarm: Feeding the Flames at Traitors Gate

The Poison Pens of Zionism

The Poison Pens of Zionism

By D.C. SCHUMANN

Recently, a group of ex-politicians and friends of Israel presented a petition to the UN, demanding that Iranian leaders be prosecuted for “incitement of hatred” against Israel and for “threatening to wipe it off the map”.

The very fact that Israel and its servants have made such a preposterously baseless demand demonstrates not only the self-righteous nature of Zionists, but also testifies to the poor state of the UN to have allowed such a petition to get through its letterbox.

Some of the points that need to be remembered are:

1) Iran does not encourage the violent destruction of Israel and the mass killing of the settlers, however illegitimate their presence in the Palestinian lands may be. The Iranian stance is clear; Tehran calls for an internationally-monitored referendum of all those who are resident of the land and those who have been driven out, irrespective of their ethnic or religious origins.

2) Unlike Israel, Iran is not contemplating military strikes (preemptive or otherwise) against other countries. Aggressive wars — and threats thereof — do not seem to be crimes, either legally or morally, when waged by Israel. And yet remarks by Iranian officials become grossly and deliberately mistranslated (as happened in the case of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad) to suggest Tehran to have an aggressive nature.

3) Signatories to the petition call for the strengthening of economic sanctions against Iran, which at some point (such as a blockade) will be tantamount to acts of war and which are in any case inherently collective in their effects. Israel is master of collective punishment and mass starvation and although Tel Aviv has been inflicting torments on the Palestinians with impunity, it does not have the means to do so to Iran and therefore needs others to do the dirty-work for it. Hence, this can only be considered an attempt at subverting the UN to justify the collective punishment of Iranians.

4) None of the signatories seem to have any qualms against the dehumanization, starvation, incessant rain of fire and constant collective punishment of the Palestinians and the Israeli denial that they have a right to exist as a nation. Nor do they consider such phrases as the “Axis of Evil” and “Rogue States” as hate-mongering and preludes to aggressive wars by those who coin and use them. For them, it is only one’s insufficient love for Israel that seems to constitute a crime.

5) These petitioners suggest that any restoration of land to a forcibly displaced people is an “existential threat” to the colonists, who, in this case, are Zionist settlers, and therefore disingenuously misrepresent Iran’s defense of the legitimate birthright of the Palestinians as a supposed “threat to wipe it off the map”. Should the rights of the Palestinians, or indeed any other dispossessed and displaced nation, be forgotten the moment they are thrown out at gun-point, lest the aggressors feel threatened? Would this not be a green light to anyone – from near or far – who covets others’ land?

Iran’s suggested one-state solution and referendum would allow for all the residents of that land to live side-by-side, the way they were before the mass arrival of the Zionists from Europe. By definition, such a state would not be called a “Jewish state” or “Israel”, as it would not be founded on ethnic or religious domination of one group over others. Just as the collapse of the Apartheid South Africa did not lead to the extermination of the whites in that country (despite the blood-curdling predictions of many racists a the time), a democratic state in the whole of Palestine will not seek the forcible ejection of the Jews from that land; only the liberation of that land from the racist Zionism, just as all South Africans were freed from the evil of Apartheid.”

6) Questioning the extent of the holocaust seems to have become a “crime against humanity”! Not only that, to be given a seat at any Western table, all (and especially the Palestinians) must swear allegiance to the official version of World War II and the other great chapters of world history, incessantly repeating the “Liturgy of the Six Million”.

7) Israel has launched aggressive wars against all its neighbors and has — at various times in history — occupied territories from all of its neighbors. It is now openly threatening Iran with a war of aggression, by all means at its disposal, including nuclear weapons.

At the end of WWII, the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg, which set the foundation for the present War Crimes Tribunals that these petitioners are appealing to, declared that it is “essentially an evil thing… to initiate a war of aggression”.

According to the Nuremberg tribunal, initiating a war of aggression “is not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime, differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.”

By waging aggressive wars against ALL its neighbors, Israel has distinguished itself as the most prolific war criminal.

Have (at least the supposed lawyers among) these signatories ignored these legal precedents in their rush to autograph this “complaint” to the UN?

This is an excellent example of the double standards that rule much of the Western political establishment and its efforts to usurp the international legal instruments to punish the oppressed and to protect and reward the aggressor — which was perhaps not the original intention of those who created them.

What else can be expected when President Nicolas Sarkozy of France — which holds one of the permanent seats at the Security Council and the current presidency of the European Union — boasts that he would not share a table with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad because of his criticism of Israel. Yet the same man who would not shake the hands of an Iranian, kisses the feet of Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert — the destroyer of Lebanon and the chief guard of the concentration camp that is Gaza.

Western leaders need to take a fresh look at their priorities. Did they go into politics to end up like this?

To have any credibility at all, the UN should not only reject this petition, it should use all its resources to end the Israeli genocide against the Palestinians. It should also hold Israeli leaders accountable for committing — and continuing to commit — blatant crimes against humanity.

Revoking Israel’s UN Membership

Revoking Israel’s UN Membership

Israel membership at the UN is conditional on its respect for international law.
By Snorre Lindquist and Lasse Wilhelmson – Stockholm

The Gaza Strip is now the largest concentration camp in the world. The situation grows steadily more insufferable for the 1.5 million Palestinians who live there. Deliveries of food, medicine and fuel are made difficult or stopped altogether. Child malnutrition is increasing. Water supplies and drainage have ceased to function. Children die for lack of healthcare. Tunnels to Egypt, dug by hand, are the only breathing space. Journalists and diplomats are denied entry. Israel is planning more military efforts. The Palestinians in Gaza are now to be starved into surrender and become an Egyptian problem.

The UN should use the word apartheid in connection with Israel and consider sanctions with the former South Africa serving as a model. Miguel dÉscoto Brockman, president of the UN General Assembly, conveyed this message at a meeting on November 24th 2008 with the UN General Secretary Ban Ki-moon present.

The 1976 Nobel peace prize laureate, Mairead McGuire from Ireland, recently suggested a popular movement demanding that the UN revoke Israel’s membership. The international community now needs to put tangible pressure on Israel in order to stop its war crimes.

Not once, during the past 60 years, has Israel shown any intention of living up to the requirements stipulated by the UN, in connection with the country’s membership in 1948, namely that the Palestinians who had been evicted from their homes should be allowed to return at the earliest possible opportunity. Moreover, Israel holds the hardly flattering world record of ignoring UN resolutions.

It can be questioned from the aspect of human rights legislation whether Israel is a legitimate state. Established practice between states usually requires borders that are legally maintained and a constitution, neither of which Israel has. These requirements are also named in the UN resolution (181) Partition Plan for Palestine, approved by the General Assembly in November 1947. The plan was accepted by the Zionists Jews in Palestine but rejected for excellent reasons as unjust by the Arab states. Only decisions made by the UN Security Council are mandatory. Later on, Israel unilaterally laid claim to a considerably larger portion of land than that suggested by the UN.

The eviction of eighty per cent of the Palestinians who lived west of the 1947 armistice line, and Israel’s refusal to allow them to return is the human rights argument for expelling Israel from the UN. Not only has Israel played the Partition Plan false but has, by its actions, thwarted the grounds – fragile from the start – for its UN membership.

Israel makes use of various strategies to achieve its goals, the same goals as for over a hundred years ago: As few and as well controlled and weakened Palestinians as possible in areas as small as possible between the Mediterranean and the River Jordan. And to try and get acceptance worldwide for the theft of land that is vital to the “state” that calls itself “Jewish and democratic”. This obviously bears no similarity to a peace process.

Why does nobody ever comment on the fact that Israel’s prime minister never misses an opportunity to harp on about how important it is that the rest of the world and the Palestinians recognise Israel, not as a democratic country for all its citizens, but as a “Jewish state”?

What would we have said if South Africa’s Prime Minister, in a similar way, had demanded recognition of South Africa as a “white and democratic state”, thus de facto accepting the racist apartheid system that allowed non-whites to be classified as lesser human beings?

In the article The end of Zionism, published in the Guardian on September the 15th 2003 the Jewish dissident and former speaker of Knesset, Avraham Burg wrote:

“Diaspora Jews for whom Israel is a central pillar of their identity must pay heed and speak out … We cannot keep a Palestinian majority under an Israeli boot and at the same time think ourselves the only democracy in the Middle East. There cannot be democracy without equal rights for all who live here, Arab as well as Jew … The prime minister should present the choices forthrightly: Jewish racism or democracy.”

No support can be found in The UN recommendation concerning a Jewish and a Palestinian state for unequal rights for the citizens of each country. Neither is there any indication as to how a “Jewish” state could become Jewish. There is support, however, for the intention that demographic conditions should be held intact at partition. Interpreting into the text an intention concerning characteristics of a “Jewish state” tailored to the ideology of Zionism is wholly in contradiction with the text of the resolution.

Even the Balfour Declaration, which entirely lacks human rights status, notes that the Jewish national home in Palestine should in no way encroach upon the rights of the Palestinians. Neither did US President Truman recognise Israel as a Jewish state. On the contrary, he ruled out precisely that formulation before making his decision to recognise Israel.

Thus, the legitimacy of a “Jewish state” so urgently sought by Israel lacks support in international documents that concern the building of the state. Israel’s government is, of course, fully aware of this. Why else would it keep on searching for this recognition?

The UN should now embark on a boycott of the apartheid state of Israel and, with the threat of expulsion from the UN, demand that Israel allows the evicted Palestinian refugees to return in accordance with the UN resolutions 194 and 3236.

With this done, meaningful peace talks can proceed and various solutions be reached for co-habitation with equal rights for all people between the Mediterranean and the River Jordan. No such solution can be compatible with the preservation of a Jewish apartheid state.

– Snorre Lindquist is a Swedish Architect of, among other things, the House of Culture in front of the Nativity Church in Bethlehem on the West Bank. Contact him at snorre_lindquist@hotmail.com.

– Lasse Wilhelmson is a commentator on the situation in the Middle East, and is a member of a local government in Sweden for 23 years, four of which in an executive position.  Contact him at: lasse.wilhelmson@bostream.nu. The writers contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com.

The Nightmare in Somalia and Policies that Perpetuate the Misery

The Nightmare in Somalia and Policies that Perpetuate the Misery

Posted to the Web 17 Dec 08, 11:45

Fairfax, Virginia, USA, 13 December 2008: The Somali Diaspora Network (SDN) commends Human Rights Watch (HRW) for an objective and comprehensive report that documents the atrocities suffered by the people of Somalia, the internal and external factors that contribute to the suffering, and offers essential recommendations.


The report, “So Much to Fear, War Crimes and the Devastation of Somalia”, released on December 8, 2008, offers a compelling account of human rights abuses and war crimes committed by all violently engaged actors. The worst of these violations are attributed to the Ethiopian occupation and the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) security forces.


With 3.25 million people on the verge of starvation and more than a million having been internally displaced, by far Somalia is the worst humanitarian crisis in the world today. However, in a painful irony, that fact is being overshadowed by the sensationalized news of piracy off the coast of Somalia.


“This report puts a mirror in front of the U.S. and the international community. Washington, for its role in exacerbating the situation by supporting the Ethiopian occupation and warlord-infested TFG, and the international community for turning a blind eye to the plight of the Somali people,” said Sadia Ali Aden, president of SDN.


Cognizant of the multi-faceted nature of the conflict, the HRW report provides a set of viable recommendations to each of the actors involved in order to formulate the changes necessary to stop the bleeding, ensure a safe passage for the delivery of food, water, and medicine, and to restore the dignity of the innocent Somali civilians.


The report urges all actors to reconsider their current approach, more specifically, the West. “…the United States and European states should fundamentally rethink their flawed policy approaches to the Horn of Africa as a whole,” warned the report. Their actions, and specifically those of the U.S. are fueling the violence and extremism in Somalia which is the exact opposite of what they were purportedly intended.


The report also urges the most influential actor, the U.S., to “…investigate reports of abuses by Ethiopian forces, identify the specific units involved, and ensure that they receive no assistance or training from the United States until the Ethiopian government takes effective measures to bring those responsible to justice, as required under the „Leahy law,‟ which prohibits US military assistance to foreign military units that violate human rights with impunity.” Both the Ethiopian 2


occupation forces and the TFG security forces are accused of “extrajudicial killings, rapes, mistreatment of civilians, and pillaging and looting of civilian property.”


In order to end the prevalent culture of impunity and promote accountability, the report urges the UN Security Council to “establish an independent and impartial commission of inquiry to investigate and map serious crimes and recommend further measures to improve accountability.” Moreover, the report urges the soon-to-take-office President-elect Barack Obama to reconsider the current failed policy of the United States toward Somalia and The Horn in general, and to appoint a credible high profile envoy who can restore hope. This envoy, contrary to the present one, would have direct access to the new president.


ABOUT SOMALI DIASPORA NETWORK (SDN) – SDN is a grass-roots organization committed to advocate on critical policy matters pertaining to Somali-American interest and issues of concern through communication and information sharing, raising public awareness, and educating the public and government officials.


THE UNDERSEA CABLE CUTTERS ARE AT IT AGAIN

Three Undersea Cables Cuts Cause Significant Disruption in Europe and Asia

Three Undersea Cables Cuts Cause Significant Disruption in Europe and Asia

Developing Story: See related sources below for continued updates. France Telecom has reported today that 3 major underwater cables were cut: “Sea Me We 4” at 7:28am, “Sea Me We3” at 7:33am and FLAG at 8:06am. The causes of the cut, which is located in the Mediterranean between Sicily and Tunisia, on sections linking Sicily to Egypt, remain unclear.

Most of the B to B traffic between Europe and Asia is rerouted through the USA. Traffic from Europe to Algeria and Tunisia is not affected, but traffic from Europe to the Near East and Asia is interrupted to a greater or lesser extent (see country list below).

Three undersea cables – Sea Me We3 partly, Sea Me We4 and FLAG – cut in the morning hours of December 19, 2008, causing significant Internet access disruptions between Europe and Asia/Near East zone. Map by TeleGeography

Part of the internet traffic towards Réunion is affected as well as 50% towards Jordan. A first appraisal at 7:44 am UTC gave an estimate of the following impact on the voice traffic (in percentage of out of service capacity):

  • Saudi Arabia: 55% out of service
  • Djibouti: 71% out of service
  • Egypt: 52% out of service
  • United Arab Emirates: 68% out of service
  • India: 82% out of service
  • Lebanon: 16% out of service
  • Malaysia: 42% out of service
  • Maldives: 100% out of service
  • Pakistan: 51% out of service
  • Qatar: 73% out of service
  • Syria: 36% out of service
  • Taiwan: 39% out of service
  • Yemen: 38% out of service
  • Zambia: 62% out of service

France Telecom says that it immediately alerted one of the two maintenance boats based in the Mediterranean area, the “Raymond Croze”. This France Telecom Marine cable ship based at Seyne-sur-Mer has received its mobilization order early this afternoon and will cast off tonight at 3:00 am with 20 kilometers spare cable on board. It should be on location on Monday morning for a relief mission.

Priority will be given to the recovery of the Sea Me We4 cable, then on the Sea Me We3. By December 25th, Sea Me We4 could be operating. By December 31st, the situation should be back to normal.

The “traffic index” is a score from 0 to 100 where 0 is “slow” and 100 is “fast”. It is determined by comparing the current response of a ping echo to all previous responses from the same router over the past 7 days. A score of 0 to 100 is then assigned to the current response depending on if this response is better or worse than all previous responses from that router. Source: Internet Traffic Report – December 19, 2008

Twilight Zone / Non-Jews need not apply

Twilight Zone / Non-Jews need not apply

By Gideon Levy
The Israeli national flag flies high, defiant and arrogant over the Palestinian home in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of East Jerusalem. This flag has never looked as repulsive as it does in the heart of this Palestinian neighborhood, above the home of a Palestinian family that suddenly lost everything. The head of the house, Mohammed al-Kurd, died 11 days after the eviction. Now his widow lives in a tent. The house is reached via a narrow alley: Here Moshe and Avital Shoham and Emanuel and Yiska Dagan live happily. They are the settlers  who managed to expel the Palestinian tenants and take over another outpost, in the heart of East Jerusalem. House after house, the transfer here is especially quiet: The media barely report on these houses of contention.

Israeli greed knows no bounds: It sends its tentacles into the homes of refugees who already experienced, in 1948, the taste of expulsion and evacuation and being left with nothing. Now they are refugees for a second time. Another 27 families here can expect a similar fate, and all under the aegis of the Israeli court system, the lighthouse of justice and the beacon of law, which approves, whitewashes and purifies deceptive and distorted ways of evicting these children of refugees from their homes for the second time. The family keeps, as an eternal souvenir, the keys to the house in Talbieh that was stolen from them and the banana warehouse in Musrara that was taken from them. Now they have another key that opens nothing: the key to the home in Sheikh Jarrah, which they received decades ago from the Jordanian government and the United Nations as compensation for their lost home.

The right of return: The original owners of those houses, the Sephardic Community Committee, has this right forever. There is no judge in Jerusalem who can explain this double standard, this racist right of return for Jews only. Why is the Sephardic Community Committee allowed, and the committee of Palestinians not? What are the tycoons and the politicians who stand behind this hostile takeover thinking to themselves? What is going through the minds of the judges who permitted it? And what about the policemen who violently evicted a sickly man in a wheelchair in the middle of the night, without even letting him remove the contents of his house? And what are the Jews now living in these stolen houses feeling?

White smoke rises from several corners of the empty lot a few steps from the American Colony Hotel. The lot was cleaned this week before Christmas. These are the twig bonfires on which they are baking pita with za’atar, heating coffee and preparing tea for the many guests who have come to visit the new refugee encampment. On Sunday several delegations of Israeli Arabs from the Galilee came to express identification with Fawziya

and the 27 families who will probably soon join her in this tent. Israel does not like this encampment, the municipality has already tried to evacuate it. Photographs of refugee tents in the heart of the unified capital are not good for Israeli public relations. Such pictures, which have already been splashed across several international newspapers in recent weeks – of course not in the Israeli press, which turns a blind eye – remind their readers of similar tent camps, those of 1948.

The Arabic poster at the edge of the lot leaves no room for compromise: “Al-Quds [Jerusalem] is Arab, Muslim and Christian.” The refreshment tables are full of the best Palestinian cuisine from the Galilee: labaneh, majadera of rice, lentils and onions, baked goods and more, including olive oil from the recent harvest. Guests mill around. Prof. Jamal Amro, former head of the architecture department at Birzeit University, attracts a crowd. The last time we met was in 1999, inside the American Colony. Amro told me then about his torture by Shin Bet security service interrogators, when “Captain Dvir” came to his home in the middle of the night and told him: “Say goodbye to your wife and children.”

Amro underwent a terrifying, 25-day interrogation, including 15 consecutive days without sleep and a sack reeking of urine over his head. The Shin Bet tried to recruit him as a collaborator, and as usual all means were fair: “Suck, dog, suck,” one of the interrogators told him, “many men are now doing the same thing to your wife.” Captain “Martin” placed his foot on Amro’s neck and told this professor and architect: “You’re like a dog on the floor.”

Amro, an impressive, refined man whose son died of cancer just a few days ago, compares Shin Bet scars on his arms with another visitor, a refugee from Lifta who was also tortured.

Print worker Nasser Ghawi, a native of Sheikh Jarrah, relates the story in literary Hebrew: He is 46 and was born in the house now scheduled for eviction. I was born in the house, he emphasizes, not in the hospital.

“The claim of the other side is that they came here 120 years ago, although our houses were built 52 years ago.” Ghawi’s family fled to Jerusalem from Sarafand (Tzrifin). In 1956 the Jordanian government and the UN Relief and Works Agency built these 28 homes of refuge in Sheikh Jarrah for the families of the new refugees, in exchange for waiving their refugee cards. Nobody can compare with Ghawi when it comes to telling their story in English, especially the events since 1972, five years after the capture of East Jerusalem, when the Israeli court declared them “protected tenants” in the houses that according to the court belong to the Sephardic Community Committee.

Because these families refused to pay rent to the Sephardic Community Committee and to the Committee of the Knesset of Israel – both religious bodies – which transferred the property to the Nahalat Shimon settler association, they were doomed to eviction. Just as with the more famous “House of Contention” in Hebron, there are suspicions of forged documents and biased judgments, Jewish tycoons and MKs who encourage disagreement, a nearby religious site (the grave of the Jewish saint Shimon Hatzadik, which Palestinians say is in fact the grave of a member of the Hijazi family) and nationalist motives – to “create a barrier” between Sheikh Jarrah and the northern Palestinian neighborhoods. But above all, the inequality in the discussion of the right of return conducted in the Israeli justice system cries out from afar.

Whatever the case, Ghawi’s family was forced to leave its home in 2002 by court order. In 2006 they won the right to return to it, after drawn-out and expensive legal deliberations. Now they are once again facing eviction. Ghawi’s father, Abd al-Fatah, 87, could be sent to prison, like the father of the neighboring Hanun family, who has already spent three months in jail for contempt of court.

The weather is deceptive, one moment sunny, the next moment the skies darken above the row of tents and a cold wind whips against your face. On November 9, the Kurds were evacuated from their home of 52 years, since it was built. Fawziya will never forget that night. “I wish nobody had seen it and nobody had ever experienced it, what I went through that night.”

She is 56, a mother of five and grandmother of 16. She was born in the Old City, to which her family fled in 1948 from Talbieh, in West Jerusalem. In 1970 she married Mohammed, a refugee from Jaffa, and moved to his home in Sheikh Jarrah.

Their troubles also began in 1972. Since then she has seen everything. She says MK Benny Elon came to her house a few years ago, offering an enormous sum for the house. A pistol was placed in the yard in an effort to frame her. Dirty diapers were thrown at her doorway. The sewage pipe was blocked by her uninvited neighbors. She was forced to pay their electricity bills when they tapped into her meter. The settlers frequently held noisy parties in what had been her childrens’ home. Fawziya says that since their eviction in 2001 there were new settlers every few months – Jewish immigrants from Ethiopia, Yemen, America, in her backyard.

The eviction: “Everything I had experienced until then was nothing compared to that night,” Fawziya related. “They knew I had a sick and paralyzed husband.” At 3:30 A.M. they heard knocking. She was holding a bedpan for her husband. Several dozen local police and Border Police officers burst in. “What are you doing?” she shouted, and then two police officers grabbed her arms from behind and dragged her outside. She says her husband slipped and fell off the bed. They took her by force into the street, far from the house, and dragged her husband to the neighbor’s house.

Everything was left behind, all their belongings. Her husband in pajamas, she in a nightgown, that’s all they had. “I asked a policewoman for water and she shouted: ‘Shut up!’ They were so violent, that’s why I’ll never forgive them. My husband was crying and they were laughing.”

The next night they were already in the white tent. “Had you been in my husband’s place, all his life in this house and suddenly in the street, what would you have said? What would you have felt? If you lost a cell phone – how angry you would be, and he lost his home. All his money and his entire life and suddenly he is thrown out into the street.”

Mohammed stayed in the tent, but on the 11th day his strength ran out. He was rushed to the French Hospital in East Jerusalem, after refusing to be taken to an Israeli hospital.

“If they don’t show any mercy to me in my home, they won’t show any mercy in the hospital,” he told his wife. A few hours before he died, Mohammed asked Fawziya: “If I’m discharged from the hospital, where will I go?” Fawziya says God took mercy on her husband and took him away. She says she would like to meet Tzipi Livni and Ehud Olmert, to look them in the eye and ask: “Why did you do this to us? Only because we’re Palestinians.”

“Close your eyes,” she tells me quietly. “What do you see? Darkness. That’s what I see.” Since the eviction she has not dared to approach her house.

They Live Remake | /Film

Strike Entertainment is in talks to acquire rights to remake John Carpenter’s 1988 cult film They Live.

Based on Ray Nelson’s 1963 short story “Eight O’Clock in the Morning”, They Live was part sci-fi thriller and part black comedy. Pro wrestler Rowdy Roddy Piper played a down-on-his-luck construction worker who discovered a pair of special sunglasses which allowed him to see the world as it really is. He finds that all printed matter contains subliminal advertising and that many humans are actually aliens who in charge of the massive campaign to keep humans subdued. One of the film’s highlights is a five-and-half minute alley fight scene. The movie is also notable for coining Piper’s famous tagline “I have come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass… and I’m all out of bubblegum.”

I’m sure the change in economic times could be incorporated in the social satire of the story, and while a They Live remake is inevitable, I’m not sure that it wouldn’t be better served in five or ten years. I’m not one of those delusional people that say you shouldn’t remake a classic, because its going to happen one way or another — that’s a fact. But I do believe that Hollywood should only consider a remake when the original film becomes largely unrelatable to the general public. And you can call me an old, but I think They Live still plays. Then again, I haven’t seen the film in a few years.

That said, Strike’s credits include Children of Men and Zack Snyder’s remake of Dawn of the Dead – so they’re a good company to develop such a project. No screenwriter has been announced.

Here is the full movie:

 

THERE ARE NO SUNGLASSES – This Is Not a Movie

11 07 2008

THERE ARE NO

SUNGLASSES

_______________________________________________________________________

LIFE IS NOT A MOVIE

BUT THE SCRIPT IS FOR REAL

_________________________________************************************************ ________________________________________________________________________

*********************************

[1]

“They Live” Watch Online here

Contact:

“Our impulses are being redirected.

We live in an artificially-induced state of consciousness.

The movement began…by a group of scientists…accidentally

discovered these signals being sent.

The under-class is growing.

Human rights are non-existent.

In their repressive society, we are their unwitting accomplices.

Their intention to rule rests with the annihilation of consciousness.

We have been lulled into a trance.

They have made us indifferent.

We are focused only on our own gain.

They are safe as long as they are not discovered.

That is their method of survival.

Keep us asleep.

Keep us selfish.

Keep us sedated.

We are their cattle.

We are being bred for slavery.

We cannot break their signal.

The signal must be shut off at the source.

They want benign indifference.

All we really are is livestock.”

From “They Live” script:

http://www.script-o-rama.com/movie_scripts/t/they-live-script-transcript-carpenter.html

This new website, therearenosunglasses.wordpress.com is dedicated to building the American resistance movement. It will be limited in scope at first, so that it can remain focused on the search for finding more effective ways to resist the empire, as it moves against the American people, freedom’s last defense.

It is pretty amazing, the similarities between the story line of “They Live” (a parasitic elitist class covertly dominates the world for alien commercial interests) and our own situation. Our world has been drained economically by a parasitic capitalist blood-letting that is only intensifying, as the elitist plan escalates the militarily stalemate to complete their domination of all resources before the sleeping majority awakens to their schemes.

The purpose of this blog is to find ways to give the sleeping sheeple a wake-up call. They will not be able to successfully maneuver the heavily sedated herd into the waiting stockyards if enough of the sheep are awakened, to create the resistance necessary to stop the forward surge of the human lemmings into the pens and over the cliff.

American freedom and democracy stand on the edge of oblivion, prepared for flushing down the memory hole. It is no secret that the insane men and women who lead us are working overtime, driving the American sheeple toward the big round-up. But there is a secret history of our country that has been suppressed by the elitists and their “mainstream media” which explains why our country stands on the edge of that precipice today.

The secret history reveals the patterns created from testimony and circumstantial evidence, which proves that the “war on terror,” the creation of the international Muslim brigades (a.k.a. “al Qaida”), the crashing of the American (and global) economy, the conversion of American democracy into a dictatorship, as well as many other elements are all parts of the plan to destroy this Nation, carried-out by our own government and its collaborators. This blog exists to provide the evidence that our own government has purposely worked in collusion with financial and corporate interests to subordinate American national security to foreign interests.

The small minority of us who really understand what has been happening to our country and what is about to happen have little to show for all our efforts to organize antiwar resistance to the rapidly approaching disaster. If this blog fulfills its purpose, then we will have helped to raise an aroused, enraged American resistance movement. Such a movement would then move forward to erase all the awful things that will be described in this blog. Americans must wake-up to our own interests as a free Nation, in order to free us from those deadly “foreign entanglements” that George Washington tried to warn us about.

As for right now, it seems like there is little, or no hope.

That’s what “THEY” want you to believe. The tiny elite minority that controls most everything in our world is counting on you to give-up hope. Don’t do it! RESIST!!!

Do not give your consent to your own slavery! Find ways to contribute to the resistance. Do not conform to their directives.