Aletho News


Zionist Lies

By Raji Abuzalaf | Dissident Voice | August 7, 2014

“There is no such thing as Palestine”

• I am Palestinian. My ancestors have lived in Palestine and were called “Palestinians” for 100 generations. I still have my parents’ Palestine passports.

• Before history is completely rewritten by Zionists, research plainly shows that the land has been called “Palestine” and her inhabitants “Palestinians” since 500 BCE.

• The United Nations partitioned “original Palestine” into two states: Israel (55%) and Palestine (45%) – (U.N. Resolution 181 – 11/29/1947).

Conclusion: Palestine has existed (by that name) for over 2500 years. Although the Zionist state of Israel was illegitimately formed on 78% of the land (which was conveniently overlooked by the U.N.), the remaining 22% is internationally recognized as Palestine. There are millions of Palestinians living in the world:

• In Palestine (living in terror under illegal Israeli occupation)

• In Israel (living as 3rd class citizens)

• In neighboring Arab countries, Europe, Asia, and the Americas.

“Israel has the right to defend itself”

In theory, everyone has the right to self-defense. However, this right is forfeited when the party claiming that right is in the midst of an illegal or immoral act.

Example: If a criminal breaks into a home and lays siege upon it, the homeowner has the right to dispel the intruder – and in turn, any violence used by the criminal to repel the homeowner’s resistance can never be misconstrued as “self-defense” (although that ruse has been attempted many times by criminals in American courtrooms).

Fact: In 1967, Israel attacked the Palestinian Territories and began its military occupation. Both the attack and ensuing occupation were immediately condemned by the United Nations (U.N.S.C. Resolution 242 – 11/22/1967). Despite that and numerous subsequent resolutions, Israel has imposed military rule upon the Palestinians and has perpetrated a long list of crimes against humanity (also condemned by the U.N.):

• Attacks on neighboring Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq

• The prevention of medical and food supplies to Palestinians

• The control of water sources in Palestine

• The building of illegal settlements in Palestine – Gaza, West Bank, East Jerusalem

• The population of these settlements with illegal settlers – armed thugs

• The bulldozing of Palestinian homes killing people in them (or in front of them, e.g., Rachel Corrie)

• The building of the “Apartheid Wall” separating Palestinians from their families, farmlands, water sources, and medical facilities

• Collaboration with Apartheid South Africa to develop non-sanctioned nuclear weapons, along with biological and chemical weapons

• Establishment of “Administrative Detention” which subjects Palestinians – including women and children – to arrest and detention without charges, legal representation, or due process

• Attacks, arrests, and murders of international humanitarians offering assistance to Palestinians

Conclusion: Israel is in violation of a plethora of international and moral laws. Its presence in Palestine amounts to no less than illegal entry, robbery, destruction of property, assault, and murder. Since the international community has failed to enforce international law with regards to Israel’s war crimes, the Palestinians are justified in any attempt to rid themselves of their oppressor – Israel. Any devious attempt on Israel’s part to mislabel its heinous acts as “self-defense” is completely unwarranted and downright deceptive.

“Hamas is to blame! Hamas should stop bombing Israel”

Again – this is the case of the criminal pointing the finger at the victim. Israel’s brutal presence in Palestine is in violation of numerous international and moral laws. The acts of Hamas are akin to the Minutemen who did everything in their power to fight off the British forces in 18th Century America.

Conclusion: Although I am a pacifist and would opt for non-violent resistance against the criminal presence of Israel in Palestine, I must acknowledge in all good conscience that Hamas is legally and morally justified in defending the cause to free Palestine – both in Palestine and in Israel.

“Israel is friend and ally to the United States”

Israel is the United States’ daddy.

Fact: Israel perpetrates crimes against humanity with impunity and the United States not only condones these actions, it funds them.

• Our government has been infiltrated by Zionist judges, legislators, and executive administrators from both the Republican and Democratic parties. This is not to mention AIPAC and other Zionist-controlled lobbies which manipulate finances and legislation at federal, state, and local levels.

• Our financial system (banks, Wall Street, the Federal Reserve) is controlled by Zionists.

• Our entertainment industry (Hollywood, Broadway, Nashville, NBA, MLB, NFL, NHL, etc.) is predominantly owned and operated by Zionists.

• Mainstream media (all major news networks, television and radio stations, newspapers) are owned and operated by Zionists.

Conclusion: The result of all this is twofold: Zionists greatly influence and manipulate the U.S. government into enabling and funding Israel’s war crimes against Palestine and humanity.

Zionists convince the masses that Israel is the “good guy” and Muslims, Arabs, and especially Palestinians are the “bad guys”.

No true friend or ally would manipulate a friend into being complicit in a myriad of war crimes! Zionist Israel is, in fact, a devious enemy of the United States.


Anyone who clings to these and other Zionist myths must fall into one of three categories:

• Liar: Zionist supporter (Jewish, Christian, or other) who knows the facts and is yet involved in the scheme to mislead the public

• Ignorant: common citizen who has fallen prey to Zionist propaganda and has made little or no effort to validate the information

• Fool: one who has learned the truth, but ignores it in a vain display of “loyalty” to a political or religious position.

Raji (Roger) Abuzalaf is a Christian Palestinian (Haifa) refugee raised in Houston, now a long-term Honolulu resident and a U.S. citizen. He is a guitarist, singer, composer, and poet. Raji participates in local progressive/activist causes, at present co-producing pro-Palestine filmfare for Oahu’s main cable provider’s public-access TV network.

August 7, 2014 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , | 1 Comment

If a Genocide Falls in the Forest

By David Swanson | War is a Crime | August 7, 2014

There’s a wide and mysterious chasm between the stated intentions of the Israeli government as depicted by the U.S. media and what the Israeli government has been doing in Gaza, even as recounted in the U.S. media.

With the morgues full, Gazans are packing freezers with their dead children. Meanwhile, the worst images to be found in Israel depict fear, not death and suffering. Why the contrast? If the Israeli intent is defensive, why are 97% of the deaths Gazan, not Israeli? If the targets are fighters, why are whole families being slaughtered and their houses leveled? Why are schools and hospitals and children playing on the beach targeted? Why target water and electricity if the goal is not to attack an entire population?

The mystery melts away if you look at the stated intentions of the Israeli government as not depicted by the U.S. media but readily available in Israeli media and online.

On August 1st, the Deputy Speaker of Israel’s Parliament posted on his FaceBook page a plan for the complete destruction of the people of Gaza using concentration camps.  He had laid out a somewhat similar plan in a July 15th column.

Another member of the Israeli Parliament, Ayelet Shaked, called for genocide in Gaza at the start of the current war, writing: “Behind every terrorist stand dozens of men and women, without whom he could not engage in terrorism. They are all enemy combatants, and their blood shall be on all their heads. Now this also includes the mothers of the martyrs, who send them to hell with flowers and kisses. They should follow their sons, nothing would be more just. They should go, as should the physical homes in which they raised the snakes. Otherwise, more little snakes will be raised there.”

Taking a slightly different approach, Middle East scholar Dr. Mordechai Kedar of Bar-Ilan University has been widely quoted in Israeli media saying, “The only thing that can deter [Gazans] is the knowledge that their sister or their mother will be raped.”

The Times of Israel published a column on August 1st, and later unpublished it, with the headline “When Genocide Is Permissible.” The answer turned out to be: now.

On August 5th, Giora Eiland, former head of Israel’s National Security Council, published a column with the headline “In Gaza, There Is No Such Thing as ‘Innocent Civilians’.”  Eiland wrote: “We should have declared war against the state of Gaza (rather than against the Hamas organization). . . . [T]he right thing to do is to shut down the crossings, prevent the entry of any goods, including food, and definitely prevent the supply of gas and electricity.”

It’s all part of putting Gaza “on a diet,” in the grotesque wording of an advisor to a former Israeli Prime Minister.

If it were common among members of the Iranian or Russian government to speak in favor of genocide, you’d better believe the U.S. media would notice. Why does this phenomenon go unremarked in the case of Israel? Noticing it is bound to get you called an anti-Semite, but that’s hardly a concern worthy of notice while children are being killed by the hundreds.

Another explanation is U.S. complicity. The weapons Israel is using are given to it, free-of-charge, by the U.S. government, which also leads efforts to provide Israel immunity for its crimes.  Check out this revealing map of which nations recognize the nation of Palestine.

A third explanation is that looking too closely at what Israel’s doing could lead to someone looking closely at what the U.S. has done and is doing. Roughly 97% of the deaths in the 2003-2011 war on Iraq were Iraqi.  Things U.S. soldiers and military leaders said about Iraqis were shameful and genocidal.

War is the biggest U.S. investment, and contemporary war is almost always a one-sided slaughter of civilians.  If seeing the horror of it in Israeli actions allow us to begin seeing the same in U.S. actions, an important step will have been taken toward war’s elimination.

Yes, how many times can a man turn his head
Pretending he just doesn’t see?
The answer my friend is blowin’ in the wind
The answer is blowin’ in the wind.

August 7, 2014 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Militarism, War Crimes | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Jordanian Family: “Israel Tortured Our Son To Death”

By Saed Bannoura | IMEMC & Agencies | August 7, 2014

A Jordanian family is accusing Israel of arresting and torturing their son to death, after detaining him during a protest, in Tel Aviv, in solidarity with the Palestinians in Gaza.

The family in Amman, Jordan said Wa’el Salim Mustafa, 39, told AFP news agency that he was detained by the Israeli police during a protest against the Israeli war on Gaza, was subject to extreme torture by Israeli interrogators, and died around a week ago, on the third day out the Muslim feast of al-Fitr.

His brother, Qoteiba, stated that the Israeli Authorities contacted the family asking them to come over and sign documents permitting Israeli doctors “to perform a needed surgery”, but once the family arrived in Tel Aviv, they were told he was dead.

Qoteiba added that the body of his brother showed clear marks of extreme torture, and also had a swollen face, swollen eye sockets, several broken ribs, and various cuts and bruises all over his body.

He left Jordan around 18 months ago, and travelled to Tel Aviv and Haifa, where we worked construction jobs.

Israel is refusing to provide further details on the issue, while the family has filed an official complaint against Israel and the Israeli Prison Administration, and is asking for another autopsy to reveal the causes of death.

A Jordanian security source said Jordan formed a committee to oversee the autopsy that would be performed at a Jordanian Hospital, adding that initial examination shows clear bruises, and fractures, in the head, chest and several other body parts.

It also revealed that a sharp blow to the head caused brain hemorrhage, that eventually led to death. An official report will be issued at a later stage.

Israel alleges Wa’el “fell during interrogation, and died later on”.

Israel and Jordan signed a peace agreement in 1994. Despite the fact that all Israelis can travel to Jordan, most Jordanian males are not allowed to travel to Tel Aviv, and are forced to go through the Arab side of the border terminal with Jordan, thus, are “granted” access to the West Bank and not to historic Palestine, including Jerusalem.

August 7, 2014 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , | Leave a comment

Nuclear abolition now!

The Nuclear Age – risk of omnicide and our new responsibilities

Transnational Foundation for Peace & Future Research | August 6, 2014

Lund, Sweden – Nuclear weapons came into the world and were used for the first time in 1945. Their specific feature as weapons of mass destruction and “omnicide” – able to kill us all – has changed what it means to be alive on this earth and to be responsible for its existence.

Until nuclear weapons, human beings could not decide whether or not to end project humankind and project planet earth.

Today we know that the arsenals and missile projection methods are such that a few decision-makers, or a technical malfunction, could blow up enough of the world to make the living – if any – envy the dead.

We live in the Nuclear Age. It means living with the permanent daily threat of extinction.

Nuclearism undermines security and democracy

The Nuclear Age has undermined not only security but also democracy.

No nuclear weapons state has ever held a referendum on whether to maintain these weapons or not. There is not a single opinion poll ever made that shows that the citizens of those states want these weapons.

The overwhelming majority of the world’s population want nuclear weapons to be abolished.

In recognition of the fact that these weapons are immoral and useless for any human political purpose, the world’s nations have signed numerous UN resolutions to the effect that we shall seek “general and complete disarmament.”

The nuclear weapons states grossly ignore their responsibilities while pointing fingers at others

The most well-known is the NPT – the Non-Proliferation Treaty (1970). It declares that those who do not have nuclear weapons should abstain from acquiring them and as a quid pro quo the nuclear states should negotiate their arsenals down to zero “in good faith” and assist those who abstained to acquire nuclear technologies to meet their civilian energy needs.

Today the nuclear weapons states have many times more and more advanced nuclear weapons and much more sophisticated missiles, submarines and aircraft to project them to all parts of the world.

Possession – not proliferation – is the essential problem

In short, the main problem is nuclear weapons possession and growth and not – as the media and nuclear leaders want us to believe – their proliferation.

The mechanism is simple: As long as some – mostly Western countries – maintain and develop their arsenals, other will want to have them too.

This argument tends to be ignored when interventions, occupations and bombings are on the agenda, be it Iraq, Pakistan, India, North Korea or Iran.

That Israel possesses 100-300 nuclear weapons in contravention of UN resolutions that declare that the Middle East should remain a zone free of such weapons is equally forgotten.

Thus, while worldwide nuclear proliferation is seen to be the major obstacle to be surmounted, we at TFF argue that nuclear possession is the fundamental problem – as is the perverse thinking it is based upon.

Nuclearism must end – like slavery and cannibalism – and here is how

We insist that nuclearism – the political view that nuclear weapons are essential for the maintenance of national security and international stability – must come to an end and be seen as incompatible with human civilization.

TFF’s pro-peace perspective is three-fold:

a) To abolish nuclear weapons, we need to think of alternative defence, security and peace concepts, policies and strategies that will render nuclear weapons superfluous; and we must undermine the “fearology” and propaganda that makes people believe that nuclear weapons offer security, protection and peace.

b) We must build on the energy and hopes embedded in the fact that so many countries that could have been nuclear weapons states today have made political decisions to abstain from them.

This is the case for Sweden, Switzerland, former Yugoslavia, South Africa, Libya, Austria, Mongolia, Ukraine, and Kazakhstan.

Hope-inducing is also the fact that 60% of the world’s 193 states are now parts of Nuclear Weapons-Free Zones (NWFZ).

c) It remains essential to educate the general public about the risks of nuclear weapons and what the consequences would be if they were used.

The risks comprise both technical and human failure; moreover, there remain a few elites who believe that for certain political goals the use of nuclear weapons would be justified.

Politicians, schools and media must focus on the end of nuclearism before it ends us all

While public debate and education on nuclear issues were on the world’s agenda in the 1960s and 1980s, this existential issue has virtually disappeared from the radar over the last 20 years.

TFF believes that everything must be done to bring it back to the forefront, but without contributing to the afore-mentioned “fearology”.

The focus must be on the advantages for humankind’s common good if, in the name of civilization, we could abolish these weapons like we have abolished cannibalism, slavery and other inhuman practices.

August 7, 2014 Posted by | Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , | Leave a comment

Are US Banks Still ‘Too Big to Fail’?

By Michael Winship | Consortium News | August 5, 2014

Analyzing a government report is like eating and digesting a meal — better to take it slowly than gobble quickly and suffer the possible consequences. Example: last Thursday’s report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) on whether or not large financial institutions were still perceived as “too big to fail.”

The immediate takeaway by many in the media, government and investment community was that the need for a taxpayer subsidy like the bailouts of 2008  “may have declined or reversed in recent years” and, in the words of Mary J. Miller, the Treasury Department’s under secretary for domestic finance, “We believe these results reflect increased market recognition of what should now be evident – Dodd-Frank ended ‘too big to fail’ as a matter of law.”

But with just a little time to digest the GAO’s findings, much of the response has shifted to, “Not so fast.”

On the day of the report’s release, Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, who, with Sen. David Vitter, R-Louisiana, requested the GAO analysis and co-sponsors the Terminating Bailouts for Taxpayer Fairness Act, held hearings.

Stanford University economist Anat Admati, a recent guest on Moyers & Company, testified that, “The main problem with the guarantees is they reinforce and create perverse incentives and intensify the conflicts of interest between the banks and the rest of society. … Requiring that banks fund themselves so that those who benefit from the upside of risk bear more of its downside brings about more safety and corrects distortions.”

In The New York Times, columnist Gretchen Morgenson writes, “Six years after the financial crisis, it’s clear that some institutions remain too complex and interconnected to be unwound quickly and efficiently if they get into trouble.

“It is also clear that this status confers financial benefits on those institutions. Stated simply, there is an enormous value in a bank’s ability to tap the taxpayer for a bailout rather than being forced to go through bankruptcy.”

Morgenson adds, “Were we to return to panic mode, the value of the implied taxpayer backing would rocket. The threat of high-taxpayer bailouts remains very much with us.”

Financial professionals echo her concern. Camden Fine, president and CEO of the Independent Community Bankers of America, notes in American Banker (not without self-interest) that while the size of big bank subsidies may have “diminished since the crisis … the larger point is that the biggest and riskiest financial firms still have a competitive advantage in the marketplace. They can still access subsidized funding more cheaply than smaller financial firms because creditors believe the government would bail them out in the event of a crisis. No matter how you cut it, a subsidy is a subsidy. And this subsidy is one that puts the American taxpayer on the hook. …

“Meanwhile, the largest financial institutions are only getting bigger. According to our analysis of call report data from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., since the end of 2009, the assets of the six largest financial institutions have grown each year. Their total assets rose from $6.41 trillion in 2009 to $7.22 trillion in 2014 — a total increase of $800 billion. The top six banks are also responsible for more than half of the $2 trillion increase in total U.S. banking assets in the years since 2009.”

In those same pages, Mayra Rodriguez Valladares, managing principal at a capital markets and financial regulatory consulting firm, is concerned that there are “signs that banks have failed to learn from the detrimental effects of the global credit crisis and pleas from bank regulators. This year, large banks are loosening their credit underwriting standards and are extending leveraged loans to companies. …

“Additionally, large banks continue to exhibit incredibly weak operational risk management. Operational risk is the threat of a breach in the day-to-day running of a business because of people, processes, systems, and external events. Since big banks have yet to make ethics a top priority, not a day goes by that one does not see examples of operational risk. Market rate manipulations and incorrect foreclosure procedures continue to plague banks and their reputation.” 

She concludes, “As the U.S. economy continues to grow and the financial crisis is relegated to the dustbin of history, big banks are taking bigger chances. The challenge for regulators now is to remember that when the party gets going, it is difficult to stop the champagne flowing.”

Gretchen Morgenson’s colleague at the Times, Paul Krugman, has a more positive point of view, while asking the crucial question, “How do you rescue a banking system without rewarding bad behavior? …

“The answer is that the government should seize troubled institutions when it bails them out, so that they can be kept running without rewarding stockholders or bondholders who don’t need rescue. In 2008 and 2009, however, it wasn’t clear that the Treasury Department had the necessary legal authority to do that. So Dodd-Frank filled that gap, giving regulators Ordinary Liquidation Authority, also known as resolution authority, so that in the next crisis we can save ‘systemically important’ banks and other institutions without bailing out the bankers.”

The GAO report, he writes, “suggests that reform has done at least part of what it was supposed to do… Wall Street and its allies wouldn’t be screaming so loudly, and spending so much money in an effort to gut [Dodd-Frank], if it weren’t an important step in the right direction.”

Nonetheless, as Senators Brown and Vitter stated, “Today’s report confirms that in times of crisis, the largest megabanks receive an advantage over Main Street financial institutions. Wall Street lobbyists may try to spin that the advantage has lessened. But if the Army Corps of Engineers came out with a study that said a levee system works pretty well when it’s sunny — but couldn’t be trusted in a hurricane — we would take that as evidence we need to act.”

Michael Winship is the Emmy Award-winning senior writer of Moyers & Company and, and a senior writing fellow at the policy and advocacy group Demos.

August 7, 2014 Posted by | Corruption, Economics | | Leave a comment

What the NML vs Argentina case means for the world

By Oscar Ugarteche | ALAI | July 29, 2014

At the end of June, 2014, a New York Second District Judge ruled in favour of a hedge fund, NML Capital, and against the Republic of Argentina. The issue at stake was if a hedge fund that bought debt paper three years after a debt restructuring, had or not the right to collect on the same terms as the rest of creditors. The ruling was, yes it has. The problem is that in the original debt restructuring creditors received new instruments with a strong haircut that made the payback possible for Argentina, while the old instruments do not have any debt reduction. In this way, the profitability of the hedge funds in buying, in 2008, those old unwanted instruments of a debt rescheduled in 2005, and unpaid since 2001, will be of 1,600%. The way the hedge fund works is through buying, at a very heavy discount, the debt paper that was not included in the rescheduling, and then suing the Argentine Government for full payment of capital plus all the interest due. Interest comes free when debt paper is under impaired value credit category. Elliott Associates, major shareholder of NML Ltd., has made a reputation for cornering Governments in times of need and getting away with it. Panama was the first one, Congo, Peru, Argentina amongst others. Their argument is that these lawsuits discipline the debtors.

The international relevance of this sort of activity is that it brings to the fore the nature and presence of US law and rulings in international finance. Most US dollar-denominated debt is issued under US law and subject to the Southern district courts of New York City, those near Wall Street. This means that if Botswana borrows from Uganda in US dollars, it is almost certain those contracts will be written under NY law. The ramifications of this are that any legal action between those two countries will be subject to New York law, with the implication that New York law becomes world law and is applied worldwide, becoming a mechanism of coercion. The enforcement of payment in the ruling is executed through bank account or asset embargoes. For example, in 2012 the Argentine frigate Libertad was seized in a port in Ghana under orders from the New York judge. She was released after some months under a ruling from the UN International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea because she holds diplomatic immunity.

The last ruling includes non-dollar denominated instruments signed under British and other laws, with the argument that the payment due to one creditor is equally due to all. Ecuador, a debtor that defaulted and bought its debt at a 70% discount in 2008 decided in May 2014 to buy back 80% of the held out debt plus interest and got it over with.[1] The huge return on investment for unpaid bondholders was less of a problem for Ecuador than the likelihood of having its accounts frozen after the new loans were disbursed, given it is a dollar denominated economy.[2]

Vulture Funds

Vulture funds are hedge funds specialised in buying debt paper from problem debtors who have solved or are in the process of solving a default problem. They jump over their prey, the struggling country, purchase his debt instruments not included in the final debt restructuring arrangement at a small percentage of face value and sue the country for full payment including interest. If the country is undergoing duress, the fund is perfectly happy to subject her citizen’s to more hardship in exchange for a huge profit. This is possible because debt papers before 2001 did not have collective action clauses (CAC) yet, which means that if most creditors agreed to a debt workout solution, this included only those who joined voluntarily. With a CAC, if a large portion of the creditors are in favour of a workout, all instruments are included.

The lack of CAC was made evident when Elliott sued Peru[3] in the 1990s and won the case in 2000. Peru had undergone the longest sovereign default in history, from 1984 to 1994, and came out with a debt restructuring that included a sharp haircut and new Brady bonds. Only four instruments were left at Swiss Bank Corp., the Peruvian manager of the Brady deal, belonging to Banco Popular, a bankrupt bank closed in 1992. These four instruments were sold by Swiss Bank, the agent for Peru’s debt, to Elliott not to Peru, after the Brady deal had been signed in what appeared to be a breach of contract on Swiss bank’s side. Elliott then sued Peru and apparently got a helping hand from a Peruvian lawyer who happened to be an official at the Ministry of Finance in 1994. There was much information passed in 1994 from the Ministry of Finance to the creditors leading to the trial of Finance Minister Camet, responsible for this operation. He died in 2013 serving prison term at home for this and other cases.

Elliott sued Peru for 100% of capital. It had paid 5% of the face price of the papers. On top it sued it for unpaid interest since 1984. The profitability on the Peruvian operation was 1,600%. Peru’s case was made using the Champerty Doctrine that says that no debt purchased with the sole purpose of harming a debtor should be taken into account by the US judiciary. Investors who become creditors through the purchase of debt instruments at a time when the debtor is undergoing hardship should not be taken into legal consideration. Nevertheless, the New York judge ruled against Peru. Amongst the group of investors was a former US ambassador to Peru. It remains unclear if the former ambassador was there on his own right or as a representative of the US State Department. The Peruvian Government lost the case and the appeal and as a result all Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) dollar transactions were blocked. After that, Elliott sued Peru in the Belgian courts that ruled in favour of Elliott and prevented the use of Brussels based Euroclear.[4] It then proceeded to use Clearstream in Luxembourg, but knowing this would also be blocked. The argument of the Belgian Court was pari passu, all creditors should be treated equally.

The Argentine operation[5]

NML associates, a subsidiary used by Elliott to do the Argentine operation, purchased 50 million dollars of debt paper that had not entered the restructuring scheme in 2005 and has sued for 1,500 million USD. The holders of those unrestructured papers sold them to NML in 2008 after the 2005 swap was arranged and before the 2010 swap was finalised. They then started the legal proceedings that have lasted six years until finally the judiciary ruled in favour of NML. The Argentine debt is held with creditors in many jurisdictions and not all are subject to US law, theoretically. Equally there are dollar and non-dollar denominated instruments and agent banks operating outside the US. The ruling however starts from a peculiar reading of the principle of pari passu, equal payments must be made to all creditors either if they restructured or if they did not, regardless of the law applied in their contract. The Trustee in charge of making the payments is Bank of New York who must abide by this ruling and comply with the law.

This ruling essentially takes away the incentive to restructure sovereign debts normally done on the basis of debt reductions. Worse, it places legal creditors who underwent the restructuring procedure on the same basis as highly speculative investors who operate on bad faith buying the debt after the swaps are finalised, in the spirit of Champerty. The gravest consequence is that a New York ruling is converted into a global ruling for any Argentine assets held by anyone anywhere. An explanation was given that the ruling is not meant to be a precedent[6] which means the ruling was done as a specific punishment reminding the ruling of the Court of the Hague against Austria in 1931 when it decided it wanted to form a customs union with Germany. Then as now, if it is not a precedent, it is a punishment. The question is why.

Ways forward

Argentina’s position is that it is the right of a sovereign debtor to restructure its debt. It believes in the principle of non-intervention in foreign states and does not admit legal actions executed outside the natural range of the justice of the United States. In so doing it believes it is defending the property rights of the holders of Argentine bonds, especially those whose right is not governed by justice of the United States. But also of those who entered willingly and in good faith in the swap agreements of 2005 and 2010 and who this ruling has declared, for all purposes, invalid. Argentina is opening the fight by depositing the money at the Bank of New York so bondholders will collect. As the money belongs to the bondholders, they should be able to do so. This is the sense of a communique published in the international press in July, 2014, a week after the ruling was made public.

The vultures, being what they are, have a press campaign stating that Argentina does not want to pay any of its debt nor comply with US law. Argentina, on its side, has informed the clients it will pay through Euroclear which should protect them from the US international payment embargo, as book entry accounts in Euroclear enjoy unconditional immunity from attachment.


The international support given to Argentina is an expression of what is globally perceived as being an unjust ruling from a court that should not have extraterritorial functions over currencies and assets that are not US assets. The capture of a payment for Cuban cigars traded between Germany and Denmark under US law is an expression of the extraterritorial use of US law, which is unacceptable.[7] If the international system is going to evolve it must go in the direction of international law and international courts and not in the direction of local law with a local court with global ramifications. This implies a new financial architecture which, following the lines of the BRICS in terms of financial reforms, could mean the creation of a clearing house and greater use of non-dollar means of payments in international transactions. The creation of an international financial law process in the United Nations sphere, similar to that being developed for international trade law (UNCITRAL), is vital. This should come together with the development of the concept of international tribunals for debt arbitration in order to obtain reasonable debt workouts of sovereign defaults following the principles of fair and transparent arbitration that should begin with a debt audit, keeping the Champerty principle in mind.

There are major flaws in the international financial architecture that allow the supreme court of the leading debtor country in the world to rule over the lives of millions of people in another land in an unjust, unfair and non-transparent manner. The ruling affects the position of other bondholders in non-dollar denominated instruments issued under other legal domains and opens the possibility of embargoes worldwide. It also opens up the possibility of disavowing the debt to international bondholders, following the same logic in reverse.

The practice of extorting money from troubled nations in favour of a minuscule group of investors who purchase debt paper after debt negotiations with the rightful creditors are finished, with the sole purpose of extorting an unfair profit from it, is sanctioned by US law.  This is called the Champerty Doctrine.  This sort of practice was outlawed in New York by Judiciary Law §489  The rulings from the New York courts, however, seem to favour the vultures and the application of the rulings worldwide has dire consequences on the debtor.

The lesson from the NML-Argentina case is that non-OECD countries in the future should not issue debt instruments in US dollars nor be subject to New York law and courts, given the risk expressed above.  Given the world power structure change, BRICS should continue to develop a new international financial architecture.  International trade should equally not be settled in US dollars and a new non-OECD international clearing house should be started to prevent harassments from dubious US rulings.  International capital is not going to give up its power to extort wealth from distressed countries.

Newcastle and Fortaleza, 15 July, 2014.

Oscar Ugarteche, Peruvian economist, is the Coordinador del Observatorio Económico de América Latina (OBELA), Instituto de Investigaciones Económicas de la UNAM, México – Member of SNI/Conacyt and president of ALAI

[1] “Ecuador Sells $2 Billion in to Bond Market,” Bloomberg, 17 June, 2014, at

[2] “Argentina’s Woes don’t Chill Ecuador’s New York Bond Sales”, Bloomberg, June 24, 2014 at

[3] Congreso del Perú. Comisión Investigadora de la Corrupción. Caso Elliott. Junio, 2003. Fallo judicial.

[4] Rodrigo Olivares-Caminal, “The Pari Passu Interpretation in the Elliott Case. A Brilliant Strategy but an awful (mid long term) outcome”, Hoftsra Law Review, 2011, Vol. 40, pp. 39-63.

[5]Conversations with various Argentine officials over the February to June 2014 period.

[6] “Don’t worry about an Elliott vs Argentina precedent”, January 11, 2013,

[7] “US snubs out legal cigar transaction.” Copenhagen Post, February 27, 2012.

August 7, 2014 Posted by | Economics | , , , | Leave a comment

Wall Street Journal Uses Bogus Numbers to Smear Argentine President

By Jake Johnston and Mark Weisbrot | Center for Economic and Policy Research | August 6, 2014

Last week the Wall Street Journal had a front page article on the net worth of Argentina’s first family since 2003, the year Néstor Kirchner was elected president. Based on financial disclosures with Argentina’s Anti-Corruption Office, the Wall Street Journal reported that, “the couple’s net worth rose from $2.5 million to $17.7 million” between 2003 and 2010. Implying that such returns must involve some sort of corruption, the Journal writes, a “lot of people in Argentina want to know where that money came from.”

But there is a serious problem with the way the data are presented here. The Journal is reporting the Kirchners’ net worth in dollars, without adjusting for local inflation. This makes the increase look much bigger than it is, since Argentina had cumulative inflation of nearly 200 percent during these years, according to private estimates.

WSJ Kirchner wealth

If the Wall Street Journal had taken inflation into account then the Kirchner’s net worth would have looked quite different. From $2.5 million in 2003, the Kirchners’ real net worth increased to around $6.1 million in 2010.

Simply adjusting for inflation takes away more than three-quarters of the Kirchners’ gain. Should the Journal have known this and adjusted for inflation? The question answers itself. We won’t speculate about anyone’s motives.
But inflation is not the only thing to take into account. The Argentine economy also grew very fast during this period, and was coming out of a depression in which asset prices were severely depressed. So when readers see this kind of an increase in nominal dollars, they are also not thinking about how much nominal asset prices in general increased in the Argentine economy during this time. A fair comparison for the increase in the Kirchners’ wealth would be to ask, how did they do as compared to someone who just put their money in the Argentine stock market in 2003 and left it there during these years?

In nominal pesos, using the Wall Street Journal analysis, the Kirchners’ net worth increased from 7.4 million pesos to nearly 70 million pesos between 2003 and 2010, an average annual increase of 37.7 percent in nominal (not inflation-adjusted) terms. The Argentine stock market, known as the Merval, increased at an average annual rate of 31.1 percent – in nominal terms — between 2003 and 2010. So, the Kirchners beat the market, but not by all that much. Where is the news here?

The importance of this kind of misrepresentation should not be underestimated. Many people will see the numbers at the top of the page, and in the graph accompanying the article, and assume that the Kirchners must have done something illegal in order to accumulate these gains. They will not have the inclination or time to do the research necessary to discover what is wrong with these numbers. The Journal, considered a credible news source, will be used by the opposition media – which is most of the media in Argentina – to accuse the president of corruption. Many people are cynical, and they will believe the accusations.

August 7, 2014 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , | 1 Comment

US missile cruiser enters Black Sea again ‘to promote peace’

RT | August 7, 2014

US missile cruiser Vella Gulf has entered the Black Sea in what the American Navy described as a move to “to promote peace and stability in the region.” Moscow has considered any such acts as “offensive.”

The Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Vella Gulf (CG 72) entered the Black Sea on Wednesday as part of the effort to “strengthen the collective security of NATO allies and partners in the region,” according to a statement by the US 6th Fleet.

“The US Navy’s forward presence in Europe allows us to work with our allies and partners to develop and improve ready maritime forces capable of maintaining regional security,” the statement reads.

The multi-mission cruiser Vella Gulf is 173 meters long, carries up to 400 crewmembers aboard and can achieve a speed of over 30 knots. The vessel’s weapons include SM-2 surface-to-air missiles, Harpoon anti-ship missiles, Tomahawk cruise missiles, torpedoes, Phalanx Close-in Weapons Systems for self-defense against aircraft and missiles, and five-inch, rapid fire guns.

It’s not the first time this year that Vella Gulf is sent on a mission in the Black Sea. It was moored in the port of Constanta, Romania from late May till mid-June.

In July, the US missile cruiser spent a week in the Black Sea, joining six other vessels for NATO’s naval drills.

The vessel can’t stay in the area for long and has to come and go instead, as the Montreux Convention, a US-authorized treaty from 1936, bars outside countries from keeping warships in the Black Sea for more than 21 days.

Despite the limits set by the convention, NATO has managed to increase its presence in the region in the wake of the Ukrainian crisis by constantly rotating warships there. Moscow has never approved of what it sees as the military alliance’s muscle-flexing in its backyard.

Vladimir Putin has promised Russia will respond to NATO’s expansion towards its borders.

“No matter what our Western counterparts tell us, we can see what’s going on,” Putin said at an emergency Security Council meeting in late July. “As it stands, NATO is blatantly building up its forces in Eastern Europe, including the Black Sea and the Baltic Sea areas. Its operational and combat training activities are gaining in scale.”

Putin stated that NATO’s military build-up near Russia’s border is not just for defense, but is an “offensive weapon” and an “element of the US offensive system deployed outside the mainland.”

Earlier, Russia responded to NATO’s military drill in the Black sea by launching its own war games in the region on the same day.

As part of the NATO build-up at the Russian border, the alliances warships have also intensified patrols in the Baltic Sea, and jet fighters have likewise stepped up their air patrols.

Thousands of NATO troops held exercises in Latvia in June.

In July, NATO’s Europe commander General Philip Breedlove, reportedly, came up with the idea of stockpiling a base in Poland with enough weapons, ammunition and other supplies to support, if needed, a rapid deployment of thousands of troops against Russia.

August 7, 2014 Posted by | Militarism | , , | 1 Comment

OSCE: No Russian violations on Ukrainian border

RT | August 7, 2014

The OSCE monitoring mission on the Russian-Ukrainian border has registered no violations of international law by the Russian side during its week-long stay at the Gukovo and Donetsk checkpoints, mission head Paul Picard said.

During his press conference, Picard was asked to comment on Western claims that Russia is shelling Ukrainian territory and has starting deployment troops to the country.

“In these two border crossings we haven’t seen such happenings,” he replied.

The observers were assessing two checkpoints – Gukovo and Donetsk – on the border with Ukraine’s Lugansk Region, which are separated from each other by around 30km.

Gukovo checkpoint is currently closed from the Ukrainian side, but traffic at the Donetsk border crossing is “high,” Picard stressed.

“About 80 percent of traffic comes from Ukraine to Russia. We heard from people that there’s a queue of hundreds of car and a kilometer of people standing in line to the checkpoint,” he said.

According to Picard, the people – who are trying to cross the Russian border from Ukraine – have their children and huge bags with them, and don’t look remotely like tourists.

The observer also confirmed that several Ukrainian shells have landed on the Russian territory during the last week.

“There was fighting on Ukrainian side south of [Gukovo] border crossing point and… two shells fell on the territory of the border crossing and two fell in the field,” he said.

Picard thanked the Russian border guards for “providing required security measures” for the OSCE mission.

He said there are currently eight OSCE employees working at Gukovo and Donetsk, but the arrival of the rest of the group is expected on Friday.

In all, there’ll be 15 observers, a head observer and three administrative staff, which will allow the mission “to work 24/7,” Picard said.

August 7, 2014 Posted by | Aletho News | , , | Leave a comment

Brazil to increase Russia meat exports after US sanctions

The BRICS Post | August 7, 2014

Russia’s BRICS partner, Brazil has said it would step up to fill in the void of chicken imports to Russia after Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree banning certain food imports from countries that have sanctioned Russia over the Ukraine crisis.

Russian news agency Ria Novosti quoted a Brazilian official as saying the Latin American economy could increase chicken exports to Russia by 150,000 tons. Brazil, the world’s largest chicken exporter currently exports 60,000 tons of chicken to Russia. US exports of poultry to Russia are expected to be affected after Russia hit back at the US in a tit-for-tat move.

Head of the Brazilian Poultry Association Francisco Turra said the numbers of poultry plants licensed to send chicken to Russia will grow from the current figure of 20 as US and Canadian chicken and pork industries brace for a heavy blow to business after Putin’s announcement of the anti-sanction decree on Wednesday.

Brazilian firms like chicken exporter BRF SA and meatpacker JBS SA stand to majorly benefit from the move.

The Dilma Rousseff government in Brazil was quick to respond to Putin’s strong criticism of the EU’s latest round of sanctions against Russian businesses by offering to step up dairy and meat exports to Russia.

Russia’s agricultural watchdog, Rosselkhoznadzor, is expected to hold discussions on increasing exports from Latin American countries on Thursday.

Earlier on Wednesday, Putin signed a decree prohibiting “import into the territory of the Russian Federation of certain agricultural products, raw materials and foodstuffs originating in the state, has decided to impose economic sanctions against Russian legal entities and (or) physical individual or party to this decision”, said a Kremlin statement.

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said on Thursday  fruit, vegetables, meat, fish, milk and dairy imports from the US, EU, Australia and Norway would be banned for the stipulated one-year period according to the decree signed by President Putin yesterday.

Brazil and other BRICS countries had last month rallied against the economic sanctions imposed by the West on Moscow.

“We condemn unilateral military interventions and economic sanctions in violation of international law and universally recognized norms of international relations. Bearing this in mind, we emphasize the unique importance of the indivisible nature of security, and that no State should strengthen its security at the expense of the security of others,” said the joint declaration at the end of the BRICS leaders plenary meet in Fortaleza in July.

August 7, 2014 Posted by | Economics | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Another Professor Punished for Anti-Israel Views

By Corey Robin | August 6, 2014

Until two weeks ago, Steven Salaita was heading to a job at the University of Illinois as a professor of American Indian Studies. He had already resigned from his position at Virginia Tech; everything seemed sewn up. Now the chancellor of the University of Illinois has overturned Salaita’s appointment and rescinded the offer. Because of Israel.

The sources familiar with the university’s decision say that concern grew over the tone of his comments on Twitter about Israel’s policies in Gaza….

For instance, there is this tweet: “At this point, if Netanyahu appeared on TV with a necklace made from the teeth of Palestinian children, would anybody be surprised? #Gaza.” Or this one: “By eagerly conflating Jewishness and Israel, Zionists are partly responsible when people say antisemitic shit in response to Israeli terror.” Or this one: “Zionists, take responsibility: if your dream of an ethnocratic Israel is worth the murder of children, just fucking own it already.”

In recent weeks, bloggers and others have started to draw attention to Salaita’s comments on Twitter. But as recently as July 22 (before the job offer was revoked), a university spokeswoman defended Salaita’s comments on Twitter and elsewhere. A spokeswoman told The News-Gazette for an article about Salaita that “faculty have a wide range of scholarly and political views, and we recognize the freedom-of-speech rights of all of our employees.”

I’ve written about a number of these types of cases over the past few years, but few have touched me the way this one has. For three reasons.

First, Steven is a friend on Facebook, and we follow each other on Twitter. I don’t know him personally but I’ve valued his unapologetic defense of the rights of Palestinians. Often he posts articles and information from which I’ve learned quite a bit.

Second, I have no doubt that an easily rattled administrator would find some of my public writings on Israel and Palestine to have crossed a line. If you’re in favor of Salaita being punished, you should be in favor of me being punished. And not just me. On Twitter, many of us—not just on this issue but a variety of issues, and not just on the left, but also on the right—speak in a way that can jar or shock a tender sensibility. We swear, we accuse, we say no, in thunder. That’s the medium. Though I’ve never really thought twice about it, it’s fairly chilling to think that a university official might now be combing through my tweets to see if I had said anything that would warrant me being deemed ineligible for a job. Or worse, since I have tenure, that an administrator might be doing that to any and every potential job candidate.

Third, Cary Nelson, who was once the president of the American Association of University Professors, has weighed in in defense of this decision by the University of Illinois Chancellor.

“I think the chancellor made the right decision,” he said via email. “I know of no other senior faculty member tweeting such venomous statements — and certainly not in such an obsessively driven way. There are scores of over-the-top Salaita tweets. I also do not know of another search committee that had to confront a case where the subject matter of academic publications overlaps with a loathsome and foul-mouthed presence in social media. I doubt if the search committee felt equipped to deal with the implications for the campus and its students. I’m glad the chancellor did what had to be done.”

Asked if he feared that the withdrawal of the job offer could represent a scholar being punished for his unpopular political views, Nelson said he did not think that was the case. “If Salaita had limited himself to expressing his hostility to Israel in academic publications subjected to peer review, I believe the appointment would have gone through without difficulty,” he said. Nelson added that harsh criticism of Israel is widespread among faculty members. “Salaita’s extremist and uncivil views stand alone. There is nothing ‘unpopular’ on this campus about hostility to Israel.”

Once upon a time I wrote an essay for an anthology Nelson edited on unions in academia. When I was the leader of the grad union drive at Yale, he came to campus and spoke out on our behalf. I thought of him as not only a champion of academic freedom but as an especially acerbic—some might even say uncivil—commentator willing to throw a few elbows at his fellow academics. One time, he even compared a fellow English professor to a vampire bat, and proceeded to make fun of his bodily movements and facial gestures. In an academic publication subject to peer review.

But in recent years Nelson has become an outspoken defender of the State of Israel and a critic of the BDS movement. A man who once called for the boycott of a university now thinks boycotts of universities are a grave threat to academic freedom. A man who serially violates the norms of academic civility—urging fellow academics to “give key administrators no peace. Place chanting pickets outside their homes. Disrupt every meeting they attend with sardonic or inspiring public theater”—now invokes those same norms against a critic of Israel. A man who once wrote that “claims about collegiality are being used to stifle campus debate, to punish faculty, and to silence the free exchange of opinion by the imposition of corporate-style conformity,” now complains about an anti-Zionist professor’s “foul-mouthed presence in social media.” A man who once called the movement against hostile environments and in favor of sensitive speech on campus “Orwellian,” now frets over a student of Salaita’s fearing she “would be academically at risk in expressing pro-Israeli views in class.”

I bring this up not to pick on Nelson, but to ask him, and all of you, a simple question: Should Nelson be deemed ineligible for another job at a university simply because of these statements he has written? Should l be deemed ineligible for another job at a university simply because of some “foul-mouthed,” perhaps even intemperate, tweets that I’m sure I have written?

But I bring up Nelson’s case for another reason. And that is that his hypocrisy is not merely his own. It is a symptom of the effects of Zionism on academic freedom, how pro-Israel forces have consistently attempted to shut down debate on this issue, how they “distort all that is right.” Nelson’s U-Turn demonstrates that we’re heading down a very dangerous road. I strongly urge all of you to put on the brakes.

In the meantime, do something for Steven Salaita. Write a note to University of Illinois Chancellor Phyllis Wise (best to email her at both and, urging her to rescind her rescission. As always, be polite, but be firm. Don’t assume this is a done deal; in my experience, it often is not. We’ve managed through our efforts, on multiple occasions, to get nervous administrators to walk away from the ledge.

Update (3:30 pm)

Here is a third email to add to your list; it’s actually a direct email to the chancellor. It is Also, when you write your email, please cc Robert Warrior of the American Indian Studies department at the University of Illinois. His email is Also cc the department:

Update (7:30 pm)

Via my sister comes this quote from Chancellor Wise, on January 30, 2014:
Of all places, a university should be home to diverse ideas and differing perspectives, where robust – and even intense – debate and disagreement are welcomed. How do we foster such an atmosphere? Only through an unwavering and unrelenting commitment to building truly diverse communities of students and scholars.

August 7, 2014 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , | 1 Comment