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CBC exposes Racist JNF Canada Tax Fraud

CBC Fifth Estate’s 1991 documentary titled “Canada Park; Park with No Peace”

May 17, 2014 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Timeless or most popular, Video, War Crimes | , , , , | Leave a comment

Ukraine National Guard soldiers accused of ‘treachery’

The Voice of Russia | May 17, 2014

Ukraine’s National Guard said on Saturday that a group of its soldiers had gone over to the side of the Donetsk People’s Republic on Friday, and that this was one of the reasons for a decision to redeploy the local unit of the Guard.

“As a result of the treachery of a group of contract soldiers who had taken an oath of loyalty to the Donetsk People’s Republic, and in order to prevent bloodshed among conscript soldiers, the command of the Eastern Territorial Operational Unit of the Ukrainian National Guard decided to redeploy the personnel with their armaments to Military Compound No. 2 of military unit 3037,” the National Guard command said.

“Currently competent authorities are investigating the incident,” it said. Prosecutors were investigating “the soldiers’ treachery,” Interfax reports.

Kiev legalizes Maidan far-right fighters creating National Guard

The so-called council of Kiev Maidan activists has approved an order whereby volunteers will be operating within National Guard battalions, territorial army battalions and other units designed to provide law and order and territorial integrity in Ukraine, according to a document posted on Facebook on Tuesday by the Secretary of the Ukrainian National Security and Defense Council and former Maidan commandant Andriy Parubiy.

Maidan fighters will join the Interior Ministry’s national guard, special public order units, army territorial battalions and other armed groups operating and created by the authorities in order to “defend Ukraine”.

The core duties of the self-defense forces will be “to form various government security units within the shortest period of time and fill them with patriots who will mount an armed defense of Ukraine’s territorial integrity and independence,” and “maintain public order in non-combat areas, form the reserve and provide material and technical aid to regular battalions,” according to the document, Interfax reports.

May 17, 2014 Posted by | Militarism | , , | Leave a comment

Condi Rice, Christine Lagarde: Cowardice at Commencement

By William Boardman | Reader Supported News | May 14, 2014

What would you expect from powerful people, personal courage?

The American Condoleeza Rice, 60, Iraq War architect, and the French Christine Lagarde, 58, International Monetary Fund managing director, have little in common beyond being women of power who have contributed to the misery of millions of people they never cared to meet. And now they have another quality in common, cowardice under fire, albeit only verbal fire after they were invited to speak at college commencements.

Rutgers University invited Rice to speak (for $35,000 and an honorary degree) and Smith College invited Lagarde (compensation undisclosed).

Student and faculty objections to Rice started in February and continued to grow for months. The Rutgers administration held firm, Rice kept quiet. On April 28, some 50 students staged a sit-in at the Rutgers president’s office. The president refused to talk with them and they dispersed when Rutgers threatened to arrest them.

In a letter ironically foreshadowing his bald hypocrisy on free speech and academic freedom, Rutgers president Robert Barchi had written in March:

We cannot protect free speech or academic freedom by denying others the right to an opposing view, or by excluding those with whom we may disagree. Free speech and academic freedom cannot be determined by any group. They cannot insist on consensus or popularity.

Students and faculty objected to Rice for her participation in lying her country into war in Iraq, and even more so for her defense of widespread American use of torture in the “global war on terror.” An online petition by a 1991 Rutgers grad collected 694 signatures opposed to Rice, and campus petitions gathered hundreds more. In a lucid indictment of Rice’s apparent criminality, published in The Chronicle of Higher Education the day before Rice withdrew, Rutgers history professor Jackson Lears wrote:

Rice sanctioned the use of torture and has continued to defend it even after a top aide warned that she and her colleagues were violating the law. To invite her to address the Rutgers graduating class, and then to award her a doctor-of-laws degree, is a travesty of all the ideals the university embodies. Our students deserve better. Most of all, they deserve the truth.

Officially, Rutgers showed no interest in truth, history, morality, etc.

Rice did not engage issues like war or torture in her withdrawal statement, arguing instead that the crucial issue was the party-time nature of commencements. She said she was “honored to have served my country,” without mentioning any specifics. She did not explain why her controversial performance in office wasn’t as obvious to her in February as it became in May. Bowing out of the May 18 graduation as of May 3, Rice’s statement on her Facebook page read in part:

Commencement should be a time of joyous celebration for the graduates and their families. Rutgers’ invitation to me to speak has become a distraction for the university community at this very special time…. I understand and embrace the purpose of the commencement ceremony and I am simply unwilling to detract from it in any way.

Despite Rice’s belated withdrawal, Rutgers faculty and students went ahead with a planned, six-hour teach-in on May 6 because, as three participating professors wrote, “we concluded that the need remained for a scholarly exposition of Dr. Rice’s responsibility in the lies leading to the Iraq war and the implementation of the unprecedented torture policies under the Bush administration.”

In an exercise of actual academic freedom, Rice was invited to the teach-in when it was first planned, but she did not attend. President Barchi expressed the corporate position that Rutgers stood “fully behind” inviting Rice to the commencement (where only the speaker has freedom of speech). The teach-in (on YouTube) began shortly after that official statement, and the professors wrote:

It was an event that will be remembered because there has not been one like it for a very long time. The lecture room of the Student Activities Center was packed by a crowd of more than two hundred students and faculty members, many sitting on the floor, others standing anywhere they could, all listening with the utmost attention to the poignant speech of human rights attorney Jumana Musa, then to the illuminating exposés of our panelists, to whom Rutgers University – the real Rutgers – is forever indebted.

And we all stood up to applaud the six students who represented the ‘No to Rice’ movement that organized the demonstrations of the last ten days: the enthusiastic commitment they expressed to humanistic values was a reminder that there is real hunger among our students for more knowledge of history, of foreign cultures, of the very notion of ‘culture,’ of political science, of economics, as well as a deep interest in questions related to ethics, public policy and the place of media in our culture. Students like these give a special meaning – and responsibility – to our teaching and research.

Rutgers was against students learning about unapproved reality

No free speech was harmed in the unfolding of these events, except at the Rutgers president’s office (where student speech was met with threats of arrest). By cutting and running, Condoleezza may have lost a paid venue (her net worth is about $4 million), but she has hardly been muzzled; on the contrary, her exercise of her own free speech got us into a deceitful, destructive failure of a war for which millions of Iraqis continue to pay with their own freedom and lives. The Rutgers administration lost students’ respect for promoting an apparent war criminal, but there’s no sign the administration is sensitive to any of that.

Academic freedom is a big winner at Rutgers, where faculty let some air and light into the discussion of 15 years of American crimes against humanity that are usually left to fester down the memory hole. And perhaps the biggest winners are Rutgers students, whose determined integrity allowed their voices to be heard on an issue of principle that the Rutgers administration got wrong on both substance and morality.

Like Rutgers, Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts, announced its choice of commencement speaker in February and protest began soon after, but the two protests are very different responses to two very important elephants in our collective cultural-political living room. Where Rice is emblematic of the elephant of illegal war, torture, war crimes, and crimes against humanity about which we are not supposed to speak, Lagarde represents the much tidier elephant of financial plunder and economic “austerity” that probably leaves millions more innocent people to suffer and die without hope.

It’s not that Christine Lagarde sold people an illegal war as Rice did, but as head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) since 2011, she carries out a prior ordained policy that is as inhumane as it is merciless. In Ukraine now, some people are hoping that $17.1 billion from the IMF will somehow help to save a country that can hardly pay for gas these days. But that $17.1 billion is not a gift, it is a loan to a country that can’t support its current debt load, and so, thanks to the IMF, Ukraine can look forward to another decade or more of even worse debt servitude than it has suffered in the past. The IMF’s $17.1 billion is typically reported as a good deed, but there are 46 million Ukrainians (except for a small number of oligarchs and bankers) who will have no reason to be grateful for this “beneficence.” The IMF has just bought the right to be the unelected ruler of Ukraine, and the purchase is so sweet, the Ukrainians will have to pay for it – with interest.

Objections to Lagarde are institutional and philosophical

Christine Lagarde is a well-regarded attorney whose specialties were antitrust and labor issues. She has held several French government posts, including Minister of Finance. She was the first female chairman of the international law firm Baker & McKenzie. She is an undeniably accomplished woman about whom the worst, easily available personal criticism is her apparent callousness toward the Greeks in 2012. Any real skeletons she may have remain tucked away in her closet.

Opposition to Lagarde at Smith was not personal, as an online petition made clear:

By selecting Ms. Lagarde as the commencement speaker we are supporting the International Monetary Fund and thus going directly against Smith’s values to stand in unity with equality for all women, regardless of race, ethnicity or class. Although we do not wish to disregard all of Ms. Lagarde’s accomplishments as a strong female leader in the world, we also do not want to be represented by someone whose work directly contributes to many of the systems that we are taught to fight against. By having her speak at our commencement, we would be publicly supporting and acknowledging her, and thus the IMF.

Even if we give Ms. Lagarde the benefit of the doubt, and recognize that she is just a good person working in a corrupt system, we should not by any means promote or encourage the values and ideals that the IMF fosters. The IMF has been a primary culprit in the failed developmental policies implanted in some of the world’s poorest countries. This has led directly to the strengthening of imperialist and patriarchal systems that oppress and abuse women worldwide.

Smith’s trustees haven’t said why they wanted to honor the IMF

Not surprisingly, Smith’s administration stood by its invitation to Lagarde, and there is little evidence of campus ferment even at the low level on the Rutgers campus. There was one report of a quiet campus sit-in by 40 students earlier in May. But apparently Lagarde is thin-skinned as well as guarded in her public persona. According to Smith president Kathleen McCarthy in a May 12 letter to the college community, Lagarde withdrew “in the wake of anti-IMF protests from faculty and students, including a few who wrote directly to her,” which might seem pretty thin-skinned for someone with a net worth of $4 million (and annual, untaxed income of about $630,000) whom Forbes ranked as the 7th most powerful woman (35th most powerful person) in the world.

According to McCarthy, Lagarde retreated with the same lame excuse Rice used, not wanting to be a party-pooper. As quoted by McCarthy, Lagarde wrote: In the last few days, it has become evident that a number of students and faculty members would not welcome me as a commencement speaker. I respect their views, and I understand the vital importance of academic freedom. However, to preserve the celebratory spirit of commencement day, I believe it is best to withdraw my participation.

Back in February, Lagarde observed that income inequality was increasing globally, citing the United States and India in particular. Delivering a lecture in London, she said, “In India, the net worth of the billionaire community increased twelve-fold in 15 years, enough to eliminate absolute poverty in this country twice over…. [Inequality] leads to an economy of exclusion, and a wasteland of discarded potential.” She did not suggest doing anything particular about this kind of global impoverishment for the vast majority of people on the planet.

Reaction to Lagarde’s reneging on a commitment is reportedly mixed on the Smith campus. Unlike at Rutgers, there is no teach-in or other communal effort to explore the issues raised by IMF activities. The argument, as in President McCarthy’s letter, is limited to supporting or opposing the choice of a speaker, and is not about the vast damage the IMF does in the name of economic stability. And it’s also not about the startling cowardice of a powerful woman who can’t find the wee bit of courage it might take to face a bunch of 20-something, well-mannered Smith College women who might disagree with her or even, God forbid, say something rude to a global administrator of cruel and unusual policies. What is it with these people who lack the fortitude to speak to an audience not in total awe of their magnificent selves?

As Katherine Sumner, Smith ’14, wrote: “It was in a Smith classroom that I first learned about the problems that the IMF has wrought on the Global South, and how those problems have affected women’s lives for the worse. As a graduating senior, I would be disappointed, to say the least, if a representative of that institution were honored and endorsed by a community that I am a part of.”

Needless to say, that is not the perspective with which this story is covered in mainstream media, where actual issues of substance and the events are presented with a tone of supercilious trivialization, as in the Washington Post story that began: “The commencement speaker purity bug has hit Smith College.” [Emphasis added.]

Rice and Lagarde were not subjected to “commencement speaker purity” or any other form of censorship. They were faced with coherent intellectual challenges to the core value of some of their most significant activities, and they did not rise to that challenge. And they bailed. They exercised self-censorship, deploying a spurious excuse rather than even attempting to engage in a serious debate. They did not act boldly and address the legitimate concerns of students and faculty with honesty and respect. That would have been too close to actual academic freedom. Instead these women of power fled the field rather than face an audience that might show disappointment. They retreated when the game wasn’t rigged in their favor; they folded when the institution failed to guarantee them commencement audience purity.

May 17, 2014 Posted by | Economics, Militarism, Solidarity and Activism, Subjugation - Torture, War Crimes | , , , , | Leave a comment

Portugal leaves bailout program with 214bn euro debt, 4% lower GDP

RT | May 17, 2014

Portugal exited its international bailout program on Saturday, regaining its economic sovereignty, which it lost after the European debt crisis. However, the country’s GDP is four percent lower than in 2010, a year before it asked for financial help.

The country will become the second eurozone country to leave the bailout after Ireland. Portugal underwent three years of painful austerity, in order to receive a 78-billion euro loan (106 billion US dollars), to help a nation that was on the verge of bankruptcy.

However, not everything has gone smoothly for Portugal, with the end of the bailout coming at a time when data has shown the country’s economy contracted by 0.7 percent in the first quarter of 2014. Overall, the country’s GDP is four percent lower than in 2010, a year before they asked the International Monetary Fund for financial help.

The Iberian country is 214 billion euros in debt (293 billion US dollars), which is the third highest in the eurozone. The Portuguese government has focused on trying to increase exports, but this has been hampered by volatile markets abroad. There have been some positive signs, such as the Portuguese government’s success in reducing unemployment from its peak of 17.5 percent in 2013, to 15.1 percent at present, while borrowing costs are at an eight-year low.

The drop in unemployment has been aided by new rules, which make it much easier for firms to hire and fire workers. Labor costs in Portugal fell by 8 percent to 11.60 euros between 2011 and 2013, according to the EU statistics agency, Eurostat.

Nicholas Spiro, managing director at Spiro Sovereign Strategy in London, said: “It is still a job half done. The danger is that the reforms grind to a screeching halt. There is a very high risk that that happens.”

With the bailout, Portugal has also sold assets, raised taxes on everything from wages to diesel cars and reduced budget spending by 12 billion euros since 2010. According to Bloomberg, the government said on January 9 it raised 8.1 billion euros from asset sales, more than the proceeds of about 5 billion euros projected in the bailout program.

Last year, it sold shares in its postal service, CTT-Correios de Portugal SA, in the country’s first initial public offering since 2008, and also sold airport operator ANA-Aeroportos de Portugal SA. Earlier it sold stakes in utility EDP-Energias de Portugal SA and in REN-Redes Energeticas Nacionais SA, Portugal’s power and natural gas grid operator.

Although Berlin and Brussels have hailed Portugal’s clean exit from its EU bailout, it has not been popular at home.

“There is a great need in Brussels and Berlin and other capitals to present Portugal and Ireland as success stories. They will claim that their reforms in Portugal have been a success- well, they haven’t, they have destroyed the society and economy,” Rui Tavares, an independent Portuguese MEP told RT in April.

Portugal’s high unemployment has forced the workforce to look abroad for work opportunities, increasing emigration.

During the past 3 years, the work force has defected for more robust neighboring economies in record numbers. In 2012, this reached a new high of 120,000 émigrés, which was coupled with Portugal’s lowest birth rate.

Another harrowing reality is that while many people are struggling with tough austerity measures, a disproportionate amount of people are getting richer and richer. In Portugal, the top 20 percent make six times more than the bottom 20 percent.

May 17, 2014 Posted by | Economics | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Fighting for the history of Tel Rumeida

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International Women’s Peace Service | May 17, 2014

Hebron, Occupied Palestine – The Israeli occupation uses many methods to take over land – from settlements and military camps to the nature reserve and political treaties. However, the Abu Haikal family of Tel Rumeida in Al-Khalil (Hebron), faces a much more unexpected enemy: archaeologists. Currently, the family home is completely surrounded by an Israeli archaeological excavation – there is only one gate into the property, which can be shut at any time, leaving the family isolated from the surrounding city.

At first glance, the presence of an archaeological site seems quite positive, or at the very least harmless, however a quick look at the politics surrounding the Tel Rumeida excavation shows that this is far more sinister than a simple historical inquisition.

Under the Oslo Accords, the Israeli Antiquities Authority (IAA) must coordinate all of their work in the West Bank with the Palestinian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities. In Tel Rumeida, Palestinian officials have been denied entry.

IAA archaeologists – many of whom live in the surrounding illegal settlements – began digging in Tel Rumeida on January 5th, 2014. They claimed they were looking for the graves of Jesse and Ruth, figures from the Hebrew Bible. The IAA has also stated their intent to turn the area into a ‘Biblical Archaeological Park’, depending on what the dig turns up.

While no uniquely Jewish artifacts have been found, Palestinian officials confirmed that the settler-archaeologists have destroyed several Muslim graves that were found on the site. Residents of Tel Rumeida have reported that IAA employees are also in the process of bulldozing an ancient Canaanite retaining wall. For them, the deliberate annihilation of non-Jewish history in Hebron is anything but innocuous.

The Israeli Antiquities Authority has been a tool for settlement expansion and land grabs in the West Bank for a long time, including the East Jerusalem neighbourhood of Silwan, the town of Khirbet Susiya, and other settlements within Hebron. The strategy is simple: Archaeologists enter an area and search for signs of uniquely Jewish history. When a site or artifact is discovered – or possibly fabricated – the area is declared to be an integral part of the ‘Jewish State’. To ‘protect’ the land, a settlement is built on top of the site, driving away the Palestinian owners. – Video interview

May 17, 2014 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | , , , | Leave a comment

Can the United States Come to Terms with an Independent, Technologically Sophisticated, and Truly Sovereign Iran?

By Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett | Going to Tehran | May 16, 2014

As negotiations on a final nuclear deal between Iran and the P5+1 proceed, CCTV’s news talk program, The Heat, invited Hillary earlier this week to offer her perspective on the requirements for successful negotiations, click on the video above or see here.  The program also included interview segments with Seyed Mohammad Marandi from the University of Tehran and with former Iranian diplomat and nuclear negotiator Seyed Hossein Mousavian.  All three segments are worth watching.  We want to highlight here some of Hillary’s more important points.

Hillary notes that, while the chances for diplomatic breakthrough between Washington and Tehran are “the best they have been for at least a decade,” gaps between the United States and Iran remain “wide” on key issues.  Most importantly, “at this point, the United States doesn’t want Iran to have an industrial-scale nuclear program.

In Hillary’s view, the “big picture” strategic challenge for the United States in pursuing a diplomatic opening with Iran is recognizing that the Islamic Republic “has sovereign rights, treaty rights, and can be treated like a normal state.”  In the context of the nuclear talks, more specifically, the question is whether the United States “can countenance a country that will be strong, independent, and a real nuclear power—not a weapons power, but a real nuclear power.”

On this point, Seyed Mohammad Marandi says that, from an Iranian perspective, “the crux of the problem is the very notion that Western powers are in a position or they have the authority to determine what Iran is allowed to have and is not allowed to have.  Iran is not going to accept anything less than its full rights within the framework of international law.”

Hillary describes how, to a considerable degree, Washington has been compelled to drop thirty-five years of rejecting the Islamic Republic’s very legitimacy and to consider cutting some sort of deal with it because of the erosion of U.S. military options vis-à-vis Iran and the strategic failure of American sanctions policy.

–With regard to military options, Hillary observes that “one of the things that has made these negotiations possible in a constructive manner is that, from August 2013, when President Obama declared that the United States would attack Syria after chemical weapons were used there, and then had to walk it back and say, “No, actually I can’t do that, Congress isn’t going to support me, no one around the world is going to support me’—with that, the United States’ ability to credibly threaten the effective use of force greatly diminished.  So now you don’t hear President Obama say nearly as much, ‘all options are on the table’—not because the United States doesn’t want to have that [option], but because we don’t have it.  We lost it over Syria, and over some of the other failed military interventions over the last decade.”

–While “the idea that sanctions have so crippled the Iranians, and especially the Iranian leadership, that they have come crawling to the table” is popular in American political discourse, this is a false assessment, “put out there to justify a policy that we have put in place for thirty-five years that has not brought down the Islamic Republic, has not overthrown its government, and has not weakened it.  We’ve seen Iranian power rise and rise.  And I think in some ways the Iranians are letting us have a bit of that narrative, to justify how sanctions have, in a way, let the United States come to the table…It’s a bit the reverse of what the American rhetoric is here, from Washington—it’s not so much that sanctions brought the Iranians to the table; they really brought the Americans to the table.”

Hillary explains that, because of these difficulties, the Obama administration has, over the last two years, determined that the United States might be able to “accept” the Islamic Republic—but “only if it can become part of a pro-American, U.S.-led security and political order in the Middle East.”  To join such an order,  “states in the region have to give up some elements of sovereign rights—to have a big, functioning military; to have full industrialization—and to have policies that support the United States.  So I think what the U.S. team is really trying to test is whether the Islamic Republic of Iran can join this pro-American political and security order”—and, to show that the Islamic Republic could do this, whether Iran “would limit [its] ability to have a civilian nuclear program, according to American wishes.”

Hillary elaborates that, in broader perspective,

“The nuclear deal is almost like, when Nixon and Kissinger first went to China and the relationship opened, we had the Shanghai Communique.  At the end of the day, it was just a piece of paper; it means nothing in the broader scheme of what has become a huge relationship between the United States and China.  The nuclear deal between the U.S. and Iran would essentially serve that function; it would be the equivalent of the Shanghai Communique, to allow for this opening of a relationship between Iran and the United States.

Now the big difference is that the United States wants this relationship on terms that would shore up a pro-American political and security order throughout the region, throughout the Middle East.  What Iran wants in that relationship is to maintain its independence, maintain its sovereignty, and to continue to have this ability to rise as an important power.  Now it may be possible for those two goals to be met, but it’s going to be extremely difficult.”

This difference in fundamental goals is also manifested in U.S.-Iranian disagreements over sanctions, with the Iranians seeking to end sanctions while the Americans talk about suspending them, with specific triggers for re-imposing them.  Hillary explains that the U.S. position grows out of Washington’s greater goal,

“which is to bring Iran into this pro-American political and security order in the region that allows the United States to punish states that don’t go along with U.S. policy preferences—including by the re-imposition or increasing of sanctions on them.  So that is a big strategic goal for the United States.

For Iran, though, Iran has not had trade relations with the United States for thirty-five years.  Their strategy is, if they can get all U.S. sanctions lifted, great.  But the real goal is not this idea that the United States is somehow going to change overnight.  But if the United States can at least get out of the way, stand to the side, not enforce those sanctions, waive those sanctions at least every six months, that would allow room for other states that Iran is very focused on—in Europe, in Asia, especially with China, and other countries—to allow them to trade and invest more freely (and without the constant threat of punishment from the United States), to allow them to invest in the Iranian economy.  That’s the real economic prize; it’s not to open up U.S. trade or U.S. investment per se.”

Looking ahead to a prospective final agreement, Hillary cautions that negotiators “are going to try to have it as specific as possible, to really hold each side to account—not to build trust, but essentially to build in triggers to punish the other side if something goes wrong.  That is not going to be a durable agreement.”  Instead of this approach, Hillary argues that

“the most effective agreement that could come to fruition, whether its July 20 (the self-imposed deadline) or after that, will be something more vague.  It will be something more along the lines of the Shanghai Communique between the United States and China, which essentially will say that Iran will be recognized as a sovereign state.  There may be some interim period for confidence building, but that will be temporary, and after that interim period Iran will be recognized—especially by the United States, but by all of the P5+1—as a normal sovereign state exercising normal sovereign rights, including those for a civilian nuclear program…If they get bogged down in the details of exactly how many centrifuges Iran can run for exactly how much time, that’s a recipe for failure.

The rest of Hillary’s interview is worth watching, as are the segments with Seyed Mohammad Marandi and Seyed Hossein Mousavian.

May 17, 2014 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Militarism, Video, Wars for Israel | , , , , , | 1 Comment