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Corbyn rips into BBC over biased coverage

Press TV – June 1, 2016

UK Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has blasted the BBC for being “obsessed” with efforts to damage his leadership and accused some party members of playing into its hands.

Britain’s opposition leader made the comments in an interview with Vice News as part of a documentary about the workings of his office.

The film, which was aired on Wednesday, follows Corbyn over almost two months during the run-up to the May elections and features a series of interviews with Ben Ferguson, a Vice journalist and Labour member who voted for Corbyn.

In response to Ferguson expressing concern about Labour’s performance in May, Corbyn revealed the depth of his feelings about his portrayal in the media, launching a fierce attack against the BBC in particular.

“There is not one story on any election anywhere in the UK that the BBC will not spin into a problem for me. It is obsessive beyond belief. They are obsessed with trying to damage the leadership of the Labour party and unfortunately there are people in the Labour party that play into that,” he said.

Corbyn said one of the main lessons of being the leader is “how shallow, facile and ill-informed many of the supposed well-informed major commentators are in our media,” accusing them of shaping a debate that was “baseless and narrow.”

The Labour leader is filmed calling “utterly disgusting” a Guardian column that had accused him and his party of having an anti-Semitism problem.

The anti-Semitism row within the Labour Party became the center of media attention last month after the party suspended a number of its key figures for condemning Israeli crimes.

The latest uproar against Labour flared up when the former mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, was suspended by Corbyn over denouncing Israel’s crimes against the Palestinian people and arguing that Adolf Hitler, the former leader of Nazi Germany, was a supporter of Zionism.

As the controversy deepened, David Abrahams, a major party donor, called for Corbyn to resign, saying “Labour needs strong leadership.”

However, Corbyn said in a statement that he would propose a new code of conduct banning any forms of racism in his party.

“There is no place for anti-Semitism or any form of racism in the Labour Party, or anywhere in society,” he said.

June 1, 2016 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , | 2 Comments

Cluster Bombs or Not, Washington Still Helps Saudis to ‘Wreck Yemen’

Sputnik – June 1, 2016

Washington has apparently decided to stop selling cluster munitions to Saudi Arabia as Riyadh’s is waging its devastating military campaign in Yemen with US-made weapons, however the long overdue measure will come too late, if it is implemented at all, Daniel Larison wrote for the American Conservative.

“There have been credible reports of the Saudi use of cluster bombs in civilian areas for more than a year, so the administration’s action is inexcusably tardy,” he observed.

The latest attack involving cluster munitions in Yemen took place less than five months ago. The Saudi military unleashed CBU-105 sensor fused weapons on a cement factory in the Amran governorate on February 15, Human Rights Watch reported. The Saudis have used cluster bombs in six assaults in total since launching an offensive on the poorest Arab country in the world in March 2015.

Saudi Arabia purchased as many as 1,300 CBU-105s from the US in August 2013. The weapons were supposed to be delivered by December 2015, but the shipments could take longer. It remains unclear whether Washington’s decision covers the existing agreement or is only meant to prevent future deals from taking place.

“The fact that it has taken the administration more than a year of indiscriminate coalition attacks on civilian areas to take even this first step shows how thoroughly the US has been enabling the Saudi-led war on Yemen,” Larison observed. “For the most part, the US is still enabling that war.”

Cluster bombs are air-dropped ground-launched explosive weapons that disperse over a large area and leave smaller bombs behind. If their remnants do not explode on impact, they turn into landmines. Cluster munitions have been banned by a treaty that more than 110 countries signed in 2008, but Saudi Arabia and the US are not among them.

If Washington’s decision to stop selling cluster munitions to the oil kingdom is an isolated step, it will change nothing.

“We shouldn’t let this small bit of good news make us forget that the US still provides weapons, fuel, and intelligence to assist the Saudis and their allies in wrecking Yemen, and Washington backs the coalition blockade that is starving Yemen to death,” the analyst noted.

Amnesty International warned earlier this month that the Saudi-led coalition has essentially turned civilian areas in Yemen into minefields.

Locals “cannot live in safety until contaminated areas in and around their homes and fields are identified and cleared of deadly cluster bomb submunitions and other unexploded ordnance,” Senior Crisis Advisor at Amnesty International Lama Fakih asserted.

June 1, 2016 Posted by | Militarism, Progressive Hypocrite, War Crimes | , , , , | 2 Comments

Leader of France’s Jewish Defence League on run in Israel after conviction in Paris

MEMO | June 1, 2016

The leader of France’s Jewish Defence League was on the run in Israel on Wednesday after receiving a prison sentence for violent gang attacks in Paris, according to a MEMO source in Paris.

Joseph Ayache, 30, was convicted on Tuesday night alongside three accomplices by the 14th Chamber of the Paris Correctional Court.

All four defendants were self-confessed members of the far-right JDL, which is banned in both Israel and the USA for its links to terrorism.

Despite this, it is extremely active in France, where its yellow-and-black clenched fist flags are frequently seen at rallies in cities such as Paris and Marseille.

Ayache, who has previous convictions for racist violence, mainly against French Muslims, was found guilty of leading “extremely violent and coordinated attacks” against pro-Palestine activists in Paris.

These ranged from punishment beatings to issuing anonymous terror threats by phone or email, and were aggravated by the use of potentially lethal weapons.

Steve Bismuth, 27, Daniel Benassaya, 30, and Laurent Cashauda, 20, all turned up in court, but Ayache stayed away, insisting he feared for his life outside Israel, where he is known to have served with the military.

Video shows a Jewish Defence League vigilante pouring red paint over the head of Muslim politician Houria Bouteldja, 43

The court heard how the defendants, who insisted they were “fighting back against rising anti-Semitism”, carried out a series of “degrading and vicious” assaults against mainly women in 2012.

These included setting up a bogus interview with the Muslim politician and anti-racism campaigner Houria Bouteldja, 43, and then pouring a tin of red paint over her head.

Victims also included anti-Zionist Jews, such as 68-year-old Olivia Zemor, co-founder of the Euro-Palestine group. Mrs Zemor told the Paris court that the JDL used a “highly toxic substance” to “defile” her and that she also received calls threatening her granddaughter.

The JDL vigilantes wore hoodies to hide their identities during the attacks, but filmed them, and then placed propaganda videos on YouTube, said prosecutors.

Barrister Dominique Cochain said: “They [the attacks] were meticulously organised by Ayache and left victims injured, scared and utterly humiliated.”

There is no extradition treaty between Israel and France, meaning Ayache, described in court as “one time chief of the JDL” will escape his year in prison if he stays in the Middle East.

Benassaya and Kashauda each received a six month suspended sentence for aggravated violent acts, while Bismuth received a fine equivalent to around £700 for posting videos on social media.

Video shows Jewish Defence League rioting in Paris, while chanting “F*** Palestine

Olivia Zemor and Houria Bouteldja were awarded damages equivalent to around £15000 combined, and court costs.

In March this year, six other JDL members were jailed in Paris over an attack targeting a fundraising event for Gaza. The defendants used iron bars, baseball bats and bike chains during the attack, deliberately targeting anybody who looked like a Muslim.

June 1, 2016 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, Video | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Tim Canova’s Statements Are Even More Pro-Israel than Wasserman Schultz

By Sam Husseini | May 31, 2016

Congressional candidate Tim Canova, a professor of law and public finance, is widely depicted as being a progressive challenger to Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz. Wasserman Schultz of course chairs the Democratic National Committee and has rightly come in for lots of criticism on a host of issues.

Canova was recently endorsed by Bernie Sanders. Sanders, at the New York debate with Hillary Clinton in April had showed some minimal concern for rights of Palestinians, rare in U.S. politics, saying that Israel’s attack on Gaza was “disproportionate.”

Recently however, on MSNBC, Canova criticized Wasserman Schultz for being unreliable on a host of issues, then added: “even support for Israel, people don’t know where she stands.”

The subject of Israel doesn’t come up in many pieces on Canova, including his lengthy interview with Glenn Greenwald early this year.

As the Jewish Daily Forward recently noted: “when it comes to Israel and the Middle East, Canova is trying to take on Wasserman Schultz from the right.”

Canova’s website states he “visited Israel many times … returning to his former kibbutz as a volunteer time and again, and participating in workshops on citizenship, war, and counter-terrorism at Tel Aviv University.”

He’s also adopted an extremely anti-Iran position. Writes AP : “Despite the big fundraising haul, Canova faces a daunting task to defeat a strong Jewish Democratic incumbent in a district dominated by Jewish and Hispanic voters, where U.S. relations with Israel and Cuba are debated as often as jobs and the economy. … Canova supports ending the U.S. embargo on Cuba but believes it must be done ‘in stages.’ He said ‘trade liberalization needs political liberalization.’ He thinks the landmark Iran nuclear agreement was filled with ‘holes’ and that it was wrong to give Iran access to $100 billion in frozen assets.”

Canova has said: “I would like to see a Palestinian state, [but] to me, I don’t see how you have one as long as all of these neighbors of Israel still don’t recognize its right to exist … as long as Iran is still funding Hamas, [as long as] Saudi Arabia has telethons for families of suicide bombers!

In contrast, apparently Saudi Arabia’s misogyny, authoritarianism, blood soaked interventions and invasions and fine with Canova. Well, the same would seem to be true regarding Israel’s bigotry and carnage.

I should note I use the term “pro-Israel” with implied scare quotes. An increasingly aggressive Israel could be “successful” in perpetuating oppression. And it could be disastrous for many, including many of the Jewish citizens of Israel.

The funny part is that I’ve promoted Canova on Institute for Public Accuracy news releases. But then again, unlike lots of folks, I try not to have a litmus test for people. I try to put people on news releases for what they’re best at. And Canova seems sharp and good on financial issues, so I use him on that without prejudice for how he is when it comes to Israel.

It often doesn’t work the other way. I’ve had odd looks for working with “rightwingers” on some issues. I find that there’s often a whole series of double standards associated with that. If you only want to work with people who agree with you across the board, fine. Do that. If you’re flexible about who you work with, fine, do that. But there’s something really wrong when people have a litmus test sometimes, but not others.

June 1, 2016 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Militarism, Wars for Israel | , , , , | Leave a comment

Unpopular and scandal plagued, what legitimacy does Brazil’s interim government have to impose painful cuts?

The BRICS Post | June 1, 2016

Brazil’s interim government, led by former vice president Michel Temer, is facing a serious credibility crisis. Two ministers were dismissed in the first few weeks after leaked audio appeared to show them conspiring to stifle the ongoing Petrobras corruption investigation.

Meanwhile, Temer’s administration is trying to pass a budget through congress calling for limits on health, education and social spending, defended as bitter but necessary measures to get Brazil’s flailing economy back on track.

But what legitimacy does Temer’s unelected government have to impose cuts that will seriously affect tens of millions of mainly poor and lower income Brazilians?

Temer’s rise to presidency illustrates Brazil’s acute political dysfunction. More than two dozen parties form often flimsy favour swapping coalitions to gain and maintain power.

Temer’s Brazilian Democratic Movement Party (PMDB) – of no fixed ideology that historically latches onto whoever is in power – was allied to President Dilma Rousseff’s left leaning Worker’s Party (PT). Hence how Temer became vice president.

Weeks before Rousseff’s first impeachment vote, after a 13 year coalition in which the PMDB gained coveted ministerial positions, the party split from Rousseff’s government, essentially allying with the opposition. Temer, by all accounts, played an active role in Rousseff’s downfall.

Rousseff and her supporters call the impeachment process a “coup.” Accused of manipulating government finances to hide a growing deficit ahead of her 2014 re-election, she is currently suspended and awaits impeachment trial at the senate that will most likely lead to her permanent ouster.

Whether Rouseff’s impeachment constitutes a coup or not is widely debated. However dubious, it happened through a legal process.

But now, unpopular and otherwise unelectable Temer is pushing through reforms to roll back Brazil’s social safety net, measures that clearly wouldn’t receive popular support through vote.

Data polls suggest 60 per cent of voters wanted Rousseff impeached, a weak president and poor manager, who presided over Brazil’s worst recession in decades. Yet only 2 per cent would actually vote for Temer and 58 per cent wanted him impeached too.

In fact, 60 per cent want new elections, only plausible if Temer resigns or is forced to stand down. Temer could be impeached on the basis that as Rousseff’s vice, he also broke budget laws. He could also be removed by the electoral court if it’s proven that his and Rousseff’s election campaign received funds from construction firms embroiled in the Petrobras scandal.

So far he has been mentioned in plea bargains relating to the scandal but nothing has stuck. However, Marcelo Odebrecht – chief of one of the main firms involved – has reportedly signed a long awaited plea bargain, which could see many more heads roll in Brasilia.

Temer called for a “government of national salvation.” He famously installed a conservative leaning, all white male cabinet; burying Brazil’s ideal – however illusionary – of being a “rainbow nation” or “racial democracy.” What’s more, at least a third of the chosen ministers are accused of corruption.

Within a week, ministers were talking about shrinking the health system and saying no constitutional right is absolute. Temer even had to warn them to think before speaking.

The scandalous audio leaks began with planning Minister Romero Juca apparently discussing Rousseff’s impeachment as a way to stop the Petrobras investigation. He was suspended.

Next, Temer’s anticorruption Minister Fabiano Silveira stood down after audio revealed him giving advice on dealing with prosecutors to senate president Renan Calheiros, a powerful honcho of Temer’s PMDB party, target of multiple investigations.

In the middle of the leaks, the budget that involves cuts to health, education and social spending to tame the country’s ballooning deficit, was outlined.

Brazil’s economic crisis is already corroding the significant gains made by Rousseff’s Worker’s Party. Under her predecessor’s watch – the popular Luiz Inacio “Lula” Da Silva – millions rose from extreme poverty. In 2014, Brazil was removed from the world hunger map.

A fall in commodities prices, the paralysing corruption scandal at state oil giant Petrobras and Rousseff’s unsuccessful macroeconomic policies saw Brazil’s economy shrank by 3.8 per cent last year, with similar predictions for 2016.

All three of the main ratings agencies have reduced Brazil to junk status. Millions have fallen back into poverty, with unemployment at 11 per cent and over a 1.5 million jobs lost in 2015.

Temer’s so called government of “national salvation” want to implement an austerity programme outlined in his party’s “Bridge to the Future” report, that advocates increased privatizations and public spending limits.

As well as cuts to health and education, Temer’s government hopes to scale back Brazil’s landmark social welfare programme “Bolsa Familia” by at least 10 per cent.

The programme awards poor families a small cash stipend for keeping kids vaccinated and in school. Far from perfect, the programme costs just 0.5 per cent of GDP and reaches 47million poor Brazilians. More cuts are expected to be announced in the coming months.

While such public spending cuts will hurt poor and lower income families, critics say they won’t make much impact on Brazil’s deficit, targeted at US$48 billion for 2016.

Brazil is not Venezuela. It remains the world’s 7th biggest economy with around US$360billion in foreign exchange reserves. Prices of commodities like iron ore and oil, which feed the economy, are on the rise again.

IMF Brazil director Otaviano Canuto pointed out in an interview with BBC Brasil that there is plenty of opportunity to increase taxes on the wealthy, something that no government, including the Worker’s Party, has ever approached. Brazil’s taxes on the rich are the lowest in the G20.

Tax avoidance in Brazil was recorded at more than US$117 billion in 2015, more than twice this year’s fiscal budget deficit target. Meanwhile, Brazilian company JBS, the world’s biggest meat company has moved its base to Ireland meaning it now doesn’t have to pay tax in Brazil. Temer’s finance minister Henrique Meirelles was a former chairman.

Resistance to the Temer government on the streets so far has been visible but lukewarm. Temer’s justice minister Alexandrae Moraes – whose Sao Paulo military police fired 48 stun grenades in 6 minutes at a bus fare hike protest earlier this year – promised to crack down on dissent upon taking office.

Social movement leaders say that they don’t recognise Temer’s government and promise to resist. In a small but symbolic victory, the ministry of culture was reinstalled following occupation, having been cancelled by Temer.

Many view Temer’s government as illegitimate. This sentiment may grow with further damaging audio leaks and sleaze allegations and if the economy doesn’t improve.

June 1, 2016 Posted by | Corruption, Economics | , | 1 Comment