Your browser does not support the HTML5 canvas tag.
Εγχειρίδιο χειρισμού κρίσεων λόγω πολιτικών ΔΝΤ από τη CIA! / Already confirmed: Civil liberties under attack! / Greece's creditors gone completely insane! / How the global financial mafia sucked Greece's blood / ECB's economic hitmen / The German Thatcher confirms bureaufascists' plans! / Η Μέρκελ επιβεβαιώνει τα σχέδια των γραφειοφασιστών! /Greece: the low-noise collapse of an entire country/ Proxy wars everywhere, the planet already in flames ... / Ενώ η Γερμανία προετοιμάζεται για τα χειρότερα, η Ελλάδα επιμένει στο ευρώ! / Ένας παγκόσμιος "proxy" πόλεμος κατά της ελευθερίας έχει ξεκινήσει! / McCarthyism 2.0 against the independent information / Ο επικεφαλής του "σκιώδους συμβουλίου" της ΕΚΤ επιβεβαιώνει ότι η ευρωζώνη είναι μια χρηματοπιστωτική δικτατορία! / It has started: A global proxy war against freedom! / Βαρουφάκης: Το ΤΧΣ δεν ελέγχεται από το δημόσιο! / Η Ευρώπη συνθλίβεται από τους φασίστες, τους ισλαμοφασίστες, τους γραφειοφασίστες και τα αφεντικά τους / Europe crushed by the fascists, islamofascists, bureaufascists and their masters / Δεν γίνεται έτσι "σύντροφοι" ... / Panama Papers: When mainstream information wears the anti-establishment mask / The Secret Bank Bailout / The head of the ECB “shadow council” confirms that eurozone is a financial dictatorship! / A documentary by Paul Mason about the financial coup in Greece / The ruthless neo-colonialists of 21st century / First cracks to the establishment by the American people / From Tsipras to Corbyn and Sanders: This is not the Left we want / Clinton emails - The race of the Western neo-colonialist vultures over the Libyan corpse / Επιχείρηση Panama Papers: Το κατεστημένο θέλει το μονοπώλιο και στις διαρροές; / Operation "looting of Greece" reaches final stage / Varoufakis describes how Merkel sacrificed Greece to save the Franco-German banks / France officialy enters the neo-Feudal era! / The US establishment just gave its greatest performance so far ... / A significant revelation by WikiLeaks that the media almost ignored / It's official: the US is funding Middle-East jihadists! / Οι αδίστακτοι νεο-αποικιοκράτες του 21ου αιώνα / How to handle political unrest caused by IMF policies!

29 March, 2017

A brief description of the mutation of the neoliberal cancer into the neofeudalism


The main substantive achievement of neoliberalism has been to redistribute, rather than to generate, wealth and income.

'Accumulation by dispossession', meaning the commodification and privatization of land and the forceful expulsion of peasant populations, conversion of various forms of property rights into exclusive private property rights; suppression of rights to the commons; colonial, neocolonial, and imperial processes of appropriation of assets including natural resources; and usury, the national debt and, most devastating of all, the use of the credit system as a radical means of accumulation by dispossession.

To this list of mechanisms we may now add a raft of techniques such as the extraction of rents from patents and intellectual property rights and the diminution of or erasure of various forms of communal property rights (such as state pensions, paid vacations, access to education and healthcare) won through a generation or more of class struggle.

The proposal to privatize all state pension rights (pioneered in Chile under the dictatorship) is, for example, one of the cherished objectives of the Republicans in the US.



The concept of Accumulation by dispossession, presented by the Marxist geographer David Harvey, defines the neoliberal capitalist policies in many western nations, from the 1970s and to the present day, as resulting in a centralization of wealth and power in the hands of a few by dispossessing the public of their wealth or land. These neoliberal policies are guided mainly by four practices: privatization, financialization, management and manipulation of crises, and state redistributions.

ECB's anti-democratic behavior

The European Central Bank (ECB) has been slammed in a new report for a "a lack of political leadership," little "democratic oversight and accountability" leading to a "marked decline in public trust" at a time when the eurozone is facing crisis.

According to Transparency International EU — in its report, Two sides of the same coin? Independence and accountability at the EC — a "lack of political leadership and decisive reform" has led the ECB to stray into the area of political decision-making, without appropriate democratic scrutiny.

"This has been accompanied by a marked decline in public trust at a time when the ECB has been granted extensive new powers to supervise major European banks," the report says.

The report comes at turbulent time for the Eurozone countries, with Greece struggling to meet the terms of its third bailout, amid calls to leave the Eurozone, and Italy, Spain and Portugal all failing to remain within strict debt and deficit targets.

"While the ECB has saved the single currency more than once, the absence of a Eurozone finance ministry as counterpart to the ECB means that the Bank has had to stretch its mandate to breaking point," said Leo Hoffmann-Axthelm, Research and Advocacy Coordinator at Transparency International EU.

"If the euro is to survive the next crisis, then EU member states need to stop hiding behind the technocrats at the ECB, overcome political inertia and get serious about reforming the eurozone," said Hoffmann-Axthelm.

Greek Secrecy

The report found that preserving the ECB's independence limits its accountability to citizens, and recommends that the bank should compensate this by increasing its transparency. The ECB should take immediate steps, such as automatically publishing its decisions and opinions and being more open about the political choices it faces, rather than insisting its decisions are purely technical.

At the height of the Greece crisis in 2015, the ECB repeatedly limited the ceiling on Emergency Liquidity Assistance for the country's banks without publicly announcing it. The ECB's discretionary powers allowed it to put pressure on Greek banks while negotiating bailout reforms with the Greek government as part of the Troika of international creditors.

Similar dynamics could play out in the upcoming negotiations with Greece, and with the current recapitalization of Italian bank Monte dei Paschi di Siena, which threatens the Eurozone's current fragile stability, according to the group.

"Clearly decisions which affect the fate of whole economies should have some kind of democratic oversight. The ECB should not be in a position to pull the plug on a country's euro membership, a decision ultimately down to democratically elected politicians", said Hoffmann-Axthelm.

Source and links:


Related:

Να λογοδοτήσει η ΕΚΤ ζητά η Διεθνής Διαφάνεια

Για κατάχρηση του ρόλου της κατηγορεί την Ευρωπαϊκή Κεντρική Τράπεζα η διεθνής οργάνωση Transparency International και ζητά να λογοδοτήσει για τις πολιτικές αποφάσεις που λαμβάνει, επισημαίνοντας ότι αυτές θέτουν σε κίνδυνο την ισορροπία στην ευρωζώνη.

Σε έκθεσή της η οργάνωση επισημαίνει ότι «οι διακριτικές εξουσίες της ΕΚΤ της επέτρεψαν να ασκήσει πίεση στις ελληνικές τράπεζες ενώ διαπραγματευόταν μεταρρυθμίσεις διάσωσης με την ελληνική κυβέρνηση ως μέρος της Τρόικας των διεθνών δανειστών».

Στην έκθεση τονίζεται επίσης ότι οι κινήσεις της ΕΚΤ «θέτουν σε κίνδυνο τη τρέχουσα εύθραυστη σταθερότητα της ευρωζώνης» και αναφέρεται και πάλι η περίπτωση της Ελλάδας αλλά και η τρέχουσα ανακεφαλαίωση του ιταλού δανειστή Monte dei Paschi di Siena.

Η Διεθνής Διαφάνεια αναφέρεται επίσης στις μυστικές επιστολές που έστελνε η ΕΚΤ σε ηγέτες κρατών εκβιάζοντας τους να δεχθούν την πολιτική λιτότητας της ΕΕ. Ως παραδείγματα αναφέρονται οι κυβερνήσεις της Ιταλίας και της Ισπανίας ενώ γίνεται λόγος και για την απειλή διακοπής της ρευστότητας στην Ελλάδα το καλοκαίρι του 2015.

Αν όμως η Διεθνής Διαφάνεια ζητά να λογοδοτήσει η κεντρική τράπεζα δεν θα πρέπει να γίνει το ίδιο και τους εθνικούς κεντρικούς τραπεζίτες, οι οποίοι εκτελούσαν τις εντολές της, αφού μετέχουν και ελέγχονται στο λεγόμενο ευρωσύστημα που αποτελείται από την ΕΚΤ και τις κατά τόπους κεντρικές τράπεζες;

Ο Στουρνάρας, δηλαδή, σύμφωνα με τα στοιχεία της έκθεσης παραβίασε την εντολή του, που ήταν η προστασία της νομισματικής σταθερότητας και ασκούσε πολιτική εναντίον εκλεγμένων κυβερνήσεων. Ο ίδιος άλλωστε το έχει αποδεχθεί δημοσίως σε συνέντευξή του στον Αλέξη Παπαχελά.

Ή όπως λέγαμε και στο ντοκιμαντέρ This is not a coup … δεν θα έπρεπε σήμερα να βρίσκεται στη φυλακή;

Πηγή:

Neo-feudal society: Tax havens for big multinationals is ‘robbery of population’

It’s alarming big European banks, unlike ordinary people are not paying their fair share of taxes, says Oxfam policy advisor Aurore Chardonnet. Tax dodging is a crime against the people, a robbery of the population, adds business consultant Gerald Celente.

Europe’s 20 largest banks are involved in tax avoidance schemes, according to the latest Oxfam report entitled Opening the Vaults. The banks registered over a quarter of their multi-billion euro profits offshore. The report says in some cases the companies didn't pay any tax profit of €383 million. They made almost €630 million in countries where they had no employees at all.

Oxfam policy advisor Aurore Chardonnet explained what is happening and why the situation is alarming.

Big European banks are reporting far more profits in tax havens than their economic activity suggests in figures,” she told RT. “That means they report 20 percent of their profits in tax havens while they only have seven percent of their employees working there. So you see there is a big mismatch.

It is alarming, because they are not paying their fair share of tax. That is strongly suggested by the figures. That means that while ordinary citizens a paying a lot of tax on their wages, on their income...big multinationals are avoiding their fair share of tax,” Chardonnet said.

In her view, the new Oxfam report “is the beginning of a new era”.

It is a beginning of tax transparency and that is a powerful tool, to then have powerful solutions against tax dodging,” she said.

If you shift your profits from where you do the proper activity, that means you’re not paying the fair share of tax according to the numbers of employees or the number of assets you have in a country. That means you’re depriving countries from tax resources to pay for public services, for schools, for hospitals, for infrastructure, which also trigger investments. It is not illegal, but it is clearly unfair,” the Oxfam policy advisor added.

Business consultant Gerald Celente adds that it’s ordinary people who also have to pay the price for offshore schemes of banks and big companies.

They are doing terrible harm. It is not a victimless crime. The people are the victims. Let’s get this straight: it is a neo-feudal society. You have different rules for the economic elite and the political nobility. So when they don’t pay taxes, or they cheat the people out of money, like too big to fail – no one goes to jail for their crimes,” he told RT.

By not paying taxes, companies “are robbing the population,” Celente says.

They are hurting the school systems. They are hurting the healthcare systems. They are hurting the transportation systems,” he said.

According to Celente, it’s the politicians who are to be blamed for making it possible as they are being paid by “the 'too bigs'” to pass “unjust laws that allow these people to use ‘tax havens’.

You’re looking at a system that is robbing the little people. Look at the austerity measures they have throughout Europe. The banks lose money. What they then do – they call them austerity measures; they raise their taxes…they rob people of their pension and retirement programs. They raise the retirement ages till after they die, so that they could pay off the bankers, so that people have to pay more taxes as the banks, and the Googles, and the Microsofts, and the Starbucks, and the Ikeas are paying very little taxes, because they are hiding them in offshore tax havens. Isn’t that a sweet word – “tax havens?

Source:

Scottish Parliament backs Nicola Sturgeon’s demand for second independence referendum

The Scottish Parliament has voted to back Nicola Sturgeon’s request to seek new powers from London in order to trigger a second independence referendum.

The motion passed thanks to the Scottish Greens' support, and despite Labour, the Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives expressing opposition to what they called another “divisive” referendum campaign.

The Scottish first minister has called for a second independence vote to take place between Autumn 2018 and Spring 2019, though she will need Westminster’s approval in order to actually implement her plans.

Holyrood has backed Sturgeon’s motion, which urged MSPs to authorize the Scottish National Party (SNP) government to seek a Section 30 order from Westminster.

The order, which the first minister said she would request "later this week," is needed for Scotland to hold a legally-binding referendum.

In response to the debate, Sturgeon released a statement saying “today’s vote must now be respected” and that it would be “utterly unsustainable” to try and oppose it.

More:

Police, anti-brutality protesters clash in Paris for 2nd night after death of Chinese man

Police in Paris have used tear gas to disperse a crowd of protesters who turned violent and clashed with authorities over the killing of an Asian man over the weekend while also denouncing overall police brutality in the country.

Police intervened to disperse the crowd shortly after 11 pm local time. Tear gas was shot during RT's live broadcast from the scene in Paris’ 19th district where police faced off with the local Asian community for the second night running.

Footage from the site shows police in riot gear trying to quell protesters.

Hundreds of people converged on the streets of Paris on Tuesday to speak out against police brutality. Activists and members of the Asian community marched in the vicinity of the police station of the 19th arrondissement for several hours before the violence erupted.

The protesters, mainly from the Asian community, are demanding justice over the death of Shaoyo Liu. The 56-year-old Chinese man was shot dead on Sunday by a BAC (anti-crime brigade) policeman during an intervention at his home over a “family dispute.”

More:

NATO’s war of resources is causing a humanitarian crisis in West Africa

As millions suffer from hunger, disease, illiteracy and grinding poverty in the Lake Chad region of West Africa, a sinister game of resource extraction and exploitation is playing out, with geopolitics at the heart of it all.

by Eric Draitser

Part 5 - The Growing U.S. Military Footprint

Compared to France, the U.S. is waging an even greater geopolitical and strategic proxy war with China over Africa’s resources. While China’s influence on the continent has grown by leaps and bounds, Western countries, especially the U.S., have been left scrambling to shore up their hegemony over the continent. The U.S. has chosen to meet Chinese economic penetration with military occupation, both overtly and covertly.

The U.S. has established a vast network of drone bases in the region, though military officials refuse to describe the facilities as anything more than “temporary staging areas.” But a simple look at the map above, combined with disparate reports in multiple media outlets, paints a much more insidious picture of what the U.S. is doing.

Under the auspices of AFRICOM, the U.S. operates in nearly every significant country on the continent. In Chad, which figures prominently in the Boko Haram narrative, the U.S. has indefinitely stationed military personnel, ostensibly to search for Nigerian schoolgirls who were kidnapped by Boko Haram.

However, the White House’s own press statement reveals a much more far-reaching objective: “These personnel will support the operation of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft for missions over Northern Nigeria and the surrounding area.” Translation: The U.S. has drones and other surveillance covering the entire Lake Chad Basin.

While the U.S. only acknowledged sending a small contingent of soldiers, the reality is that far more U.S. forces are engaging in Chad in one form or another. This is perhaps best illustrated by the not-so-coincidental fact that Chad played host to AFRICOM’s Flintlock 2015 military exercises “which [took place on] Feb. 16, 2015 in the capital N’Djamena with outstations in Niger, Nigeria, Cameroon and Tunisia, and will [run] through March 9, 2015.

To summarize, U.S. military personnel led exercises all throughout the region, with specific attention to the Lake Chad Basin countries. But it certainly doesn’t stop there.

The U.S. now operates two critical drone bases in the region, with one base in Cameroon’s city of Garoua and another in the Nigerian city of Agadez. As the Intercept reported:

“’The top MILCON [military construction] project for USAFRICOM is located in Agadez, Niger to construct a C-17 and MQ-9 capable airfield,’ reads a 2015 planning document. ‘RPA presence in NW Africa supports operations against seven [Department of State]-designated foreign terrorist organizations. Moving operations to Agadez aligns persistent ISR to current and emerging threats over Niger and Chad, supports French regionalization and extends range to cover Libya and Nigeria.’

The strategic value of such bases is perfectly clear. As the Washington Post noted:

The Predator drones in Niger…give the Pentagon a strategic foothold in West Africa… Niger also borders Libya and Nigeria, which are also struggling to contain armed extremist movements… [Nigerien] President Issoufou Mahamadou said his government invited Washington to send surveillance drones because he was worried that the country might not be able to defend its borders from Islamist fighters based in Mali, Libya or Nigeria… “We welcome the drones,” Mahamadou said… “Our countries are like the blind leading the blind,” he said. “We rely on countries like France and the United States. We need cooperation to ensure our security.

And here the connection between U.S. military engagement and Boko Haram becomes painfully clear. The U.S. cynically exploits the instability in the region – a direct outgrowth of the U.S.-NATO war against Libya – to further entrench its military.

Source and links:


[1] [2] [3] [4]

Related:

28 March, 2017

The birth and domination of the European Financial Dictatorship

Two years after the end of WWII, George Orwell said that the only political goal that is worthwhile, is a Socialist United States of Europe. But some, instead of fighting for Orwell's vision, created his nightmares: they united citizens in poverty and austerity, and divided them with neo-nationalism. Once again, Europe is at the crossroads. It has to choose between European civilization and the European Union.


The euro was constructed in Basel, which is where all the bankers are situated. The people on the committee that designed euro were all bankers. This is a monetary system designed to suit the finance system, not to suit the people of Europe.

Before the banks could add the finishing touches, the economic and political elites had to be convinced that they needed the new currency. And they would impose it on the citizens. It was a huge undertaking in need of a gigantic lobby.

The AMUE, the Association for the Monetary Union of Europe is a lobby, was created in 1987. It is basically the offspring of another lobby, the Round Table of Industrialists, which is perhaps the most important lobby in the EU history. The initiative was taken by industries such as Fiat, Philips, Total, etc.

The euro's godfathers were also the godfathers of the financial deregulation in the EU and almost all of them employed by major banks such as Goldman Sachs, BNP Paribas and big insurance companies.

Everything was ready for the euro to go into circulation. All that was needed, was the politicians' consent to the demands of bankers and businessmen. And this would take place in the Dutch city of Maastricht, the birthplace of the European Union and where the foundations of the new currency were laid.

The Maastricht treaty is based on the ideology that if the government spends it prevents the private sector from spending, and this is not true. We know that the private sector needs the government to spend. Mr. Apple, Steve Jobs, for example, needed the American government to invest in the basic elements of the iPhone in order for him to develop the iPhone as a private product.

The EU institutionally supports the sorts of policies that Margaret Thatcher, of course, is most associated with: deregulation, privatization, cutting taxes on the rich, removing various obligations on big business. So, it is an anti-government ideology and it's deeply embedded in the construction of the eurozone. It's also not just an anti-government ideology, it's an anti-democratic ideology. It's the belief that, actually you cannot trust democracies not to spend money.

As crisis in the eurozone peaked, the EU distanced itself from any kind of democratic control. Power that should be found in the parliament building was at first concentrated in the EU Commission building. From the non-elected commissioners, we went on to the independent bankers in Frankfurt.

Europe has not learned the lesson of what happens when you are trying to impose from above an economic system which causes unemployment to rise. We see the rise of Right-Wing populist parties. We see the fascist appearing from out of the woodwork and we should not be surprised. This is what happened in the 30s. The euro has become a doping for nationalist parties. No one wants that, but this is the reality.

Two years after the end of WWII, George Orwell said that the only political goal that is worthwhile, is a Socialist United States of Europe. But some, instead of fighting for Orwell's vision, created his nightmares: they united citizens in poverty and austerity, and divided them with neo-nationalism. Once again, Europe is at the crossroads. It has to choose between European civilization and the European Union.


From the documentary This Is Not A Coup by Aris Chatzistefanou

Related:











Ο Τιτανικός αποκτά επισήμως πρώτη και δεύτερη θέση

Τα πάντα μπορεί να βρει κανείς στη διακήρυξη των ηγετών της ΕΕ, αλλά ο διάολος κρύβεται στις λεπτομέρειες. Γιατί πέρα από τις συνηθισμένες αναφορές στην ανάπτυξη ή τη ανάγκη καταπολέμησης «της ανεργίας, του κοινωνικού αποκλεισμού και της φτώχειας» δύο είναι τα νέα, σημαντικά σημεία: «Θα προχωρούμε ενωμένοι, με διαφορετικούς ρυθμούς και ένταση όπου χρειάζεται», τονίζεται στην ανακοίνωση που υιοθετεί, εμμέσως πλην σαφώς,την Ευρώπη των πολλών ταχυτήτων.

Η δεύτερη «λεπτομέρεια» προδιαγράφει ήδη την αύξηση των αμυντικών δαπανών των κρατών μελών με ευθεία μάλιστα αναφορά στη «δημιουργία μιας περισσότερο ανταγωνιστικής και ολοκληρωμένης αμυντικής βιομηχανίας»: τα γαλλικά και γερμανικά εργοστάσια παραγωγής όπλων ήδη τρίβουν τα χέρια τους.

Κατά τα άλλα, αν εξαιρέσει κανείς τις αναφορές στη τρομοκρατία και μια σπόντα για το brexit («κάθε κράτος μόνο του, θα είχε περιθωριοποιηθεί από την παγκόσμια δυναμική») τα ίδια θα είχαν υπογράψει οι ηγέτες της Ευρώπης και δέκα χρόνια πριν. Ακόμη και το προσφυγικό πρόβλημα αναφέρεται απλώς ως «αυξανόμενες μεταναστευτικές πιέσεις"(sic) προτείνοντας «μια αποτελεσματική, υπεύθυνη και βιώσιμη μεταναστευτική πολιτική που θα σέβεται τα διεθνή πρότυπα».

Ο βασικός κίνδυνος που απειλεί την Ευρώπη, η άνοδος της ακροδεξιάς και του ευρωσκεπτικισμού δεν αναφέρεται καν και τίποτα δεν δείχνει ότι θα αντιμετωπιστεί η βασική αιτία που τα προκαλεί: οι πολιτικές λιτότητας που έχουν επιβληθεί υπό την ηγεμονία του Βερολίνου.

Ο Τιτανικός συνεχίζει ακάθεκτος την πορεία του προς το παγόβουνο, απλώς θα έχει τώρα επισήμως πρώτη και δεύτερη θέση. Στη business class θα είναι οι χώρες της ευρωζώνης αλλά και εδώ, με περισσότερη αβέβαιη τη θέση της Ελλάδας, σχεδιάζονται αλλαγές. Ιδίως αν επικρατήσει το σχέδιο Σόιμπλε για μια ευρωζώνη από την οποία θα αποκλειστούν οι Νότιοι που έφαγαν τα λεφτά τους «στις γυναίκες και τα ποτά», για να θυμηθούμε και τον Ντάισελμπλουμ.

Το βέβαιο είναι ότι με τους καπετάνιους να χορεύουν ξένοιαστοι στο κατάστρωμα το σκάφος Ευρώπη θα γνωρίσει το ερχόμενο διάστημα νέες μεγάλες φουρτούνες. Ακόμη και αν, όπως σήμερα δείχνουν τα πράγματα, το αποκρουστικό πρόσωπο της γαλλικής ακροδεξιάς την εμποδίσει να κερδίσει την προεδρία της Γαλλίας, εξέλιξη που θα αναβάλλει το ναυάγιο για αργότερα.

Πηγή:

Hundreds of thousands protest Chile's Pinochet-era pension system

Organizers say it was the largest-ever protest against the private pension system in Chile

Hundreds of thousands of people took the streets in cities across Chile Sunday to protest the private pension system known as AFP, in what the organizers call the largest march for the cause in the history of the movement.

The march, organized by workers' organizations and trade unions, kicked off at 11:00 a.m. local time in the capital city Santiago's in Plaza de las Armas, as well as several other cities.

"We hope today we will have a lot of people and show that the social movements are saying, 'We don't want anymore AFP,'" a protester with the Cabreados Movement told Chile's Bio Bio TV at the demonstration in Santiago. "(AFP) is already a failure, and our political actors need to know that the social movements won't stop."

Luis Messina, spokesperson for the CNT labor union, predicted that Sunday's demonstration would be a "historic" march. "Perhaps the largest in history," he said. The protest comes after several marches in the country to demand President Michelle Bachelet end the AFP private pension system which puts the average retirement pension below the minimum wage.

The contested system also forces workers to deposit a portion of their wages and an administrative fee into accounts managed by private hands. This system handles savings for about 10 million working Chileans.

Full report:

Peru referendum: 98% of Cajamarca residents reject gold mining

Between 2011 and 2014, there were 153 social conflicts based on problems with mining and access to water, most of them reported in the region of Cajamarca.

With a majority voting “No” in a popular referendum Sunday, local communities in Peru's northern province of Cajamarca scored a landslide victory against transnational mining giant Anglo Gold Ashanti, likely putting a definitive end to the La Colosa project and setting a precedent for the whole country.

According to the preliminary results — 20 percent of the vote is still to be disclosed — almost 98 percent of local residents rejected the extraction project in the area, corresponding to more than 6,000 votes.

The result is now expected to force local authorities to prohibit mining in the town, according to lawyer Diana Rodriguez consulted by daily El Espectador.

However, Anglo Gold Ashanti's representative in Colombia Carlos Enciso told the daily that the consequences will be “minimal,” quoting a recent ruling issued by the state's council that the effects of the popular consult cannot be retroactive, but only applies to future projects.

Rodriguez responded that the ruling is not binding and can be appealed, while the government is entitled to question the mining company's right to exploit its territory.

Full report:

27 March, 2017

NATO’s war of resources is causing a humanitarian crisis in West Africa

As millions suffer from hunger, disease, illiteracy and grinding poverty in the Lake Chad region of West Africa, a sinister game of resource extraction and exploitation is playing out, with geopolitics at the heart of it all.

by Eric Draitser

Part 4 - Lake Chad and France’s Neocolonial Agenda in West Africa

For the last five hundred years, colonial powers have dominated the political and economic life of Africa. But while formal colonialism may have ended decades ago, the informal dominance and control of Africa continues. This neocolonial control over the continent and its resources is at the root of all conflicts in Africa, including the current crisis in Lake Chad.

Francophone West Africa includes Cameroon, Niger and Chad. This makes France, which continues to be the main trading partner for these countries, into a dominant player in the scramble for Lake Chad. The 2012 coup in Mali and the civil war that subsequently ensued gave the French military the opening it needed to permanently station military forces throughout the region. The ongoing Operation Barkhane has at least 3,000 French troops spread across the Sahel region, including in Niger and Chad.

However, the real question is not whether or not France is right in coming to the defense of its former colonies, but what its real agenda actually is.

Despite its rhetoric of maintaining democracy, stability and the rule of law, France has very self-interested motives. With regard to Boko Haram, Nigeria and the Lake Chad basin, France is the primary beneficiary of the energy extraction taking place there, as its port of Le Havre is the final destination for the unrefined oil. Taken in terms of both actual and potential exports, the area’s vast energy reserves are worth billions. But France’s economic interest in the region does not stop with energy.

France has a keen interest in exploiting lucrative mineral deposits throughout the area, as is evidenced by the fact that the government of French President François Hollande is investing more than half a billion dollars in a new state-owned mining company.

As French industry minister Arnaud Montebourg stated while announcing the creation of the new venture, “Francophone African countries, notably, would like to work with us, rather than do business with foreign multinationals.” Naturally, one should take such a statement with a healthy dose of skepticism as to just how much choice those countries, let alone their citizens, will have in the matter. Not only will France be looking to exploit mineral deposits of lithium and germanium, but also rare earth metals that have become highly lucrative due to significant demand for the metals in the tech manufacturing industry.

Moreover, Montebourg’s use of the phrase “foreign multinationals” is quite revealing. For one thing, it seems that the French political and business elite do not consider themselves to be “foreign” when operating in Francophone countries. The neocolonialism of such a mentality is impossible to ignore.

Secondly, it seems almost self-evident that the “foreign multinationals” to which he is referring are ]Chinese companies (both private and state-owned) that have made tremendous inroads throughout the region in terms of mineral extraction and investment. France is clearly cognizant of a possible turf war between themselves and China over West Africa’s resources.

There are also vast deposits of uranium throughout the region that have piqued France’s interest. As Think Africa Press reported in 2014:

France currently sources over 75 percent of its electricity from nuclear energy and is dependent on Niger for much of its immediate and future uranium supply. This dependence could grow even further when production at the recently-discovered Imouraren uranium deposit is up and running in 2015. The mine is set to produce 5,000 tonnes of uranium per year and would help make Niger the second-largest uranium producer in the world. Areva, which is 87 percent owned by the French state and holds a majority share in three out of the four uranium mining companies operating in Niger, is funding the new mine.

Add to this the fact that Nigerian President Mahamadou Issoufou is a former employee of Areva, a company that still maintains a near monopoly over the uranium trade. It should come as no surprise that the main competition for Areva (and France) for this lucrative trade is China, which “already owns a 37-percent stake in Niger’s SOMINA mine and has carried out uranium exploration throughout the country.”

The battle between France and China for control of strategic resources and markets is becoming an increasingly critical part of France’s overall policy in the region. France’s goal is to re-establish economic hegemony in its Francophone sphere of influence, as is evidenced by the French government’s policy paper “A partnership for the future: 15 proposals for a new economic dynamic between Africa and France,” which could be seen as a blueprint for French policy in the area.

This increased emphasis is likely due to the fact that “over the past decade, France’s share of African trade plummeted from 10 to 4.7 percent, while China’s African market share soared to over 16 percent in 2011.” The contours of this proxy war are unmistakably apparent.

Source and links:


[1] [2] [3] [5]

Related:

26 March, 2017

Demystifying Alexander Nahum Sack and the doctrine of odious debt

Eric Tousaint’s study of the odious debt doctrine

by Eric Toussaint

Part 13 - Unilateral debt repudiation by Costa Rica with Washington’s support

In January 1917, the government of Costa Rica, under President Alfredo González, was overthrown by his Secretary of the Army and Navy, Federico Tinoco, who called new elections and established a new constitution in June 1917. The Tinoco putsch was supported by the oligarchy, who rejected the policies of the previous government. For good reason – it had decided to levy a tax on property and a progressive income tax. Tinoco also had the support of the director of the infamous North American transnational United Fruit Company (known since 1989 as Chiquita Brands International), known to have contributed to the overthrow of several governments in Latin America in order to maximise its profits.

The Tinoco government was then recognized by several South American States, as well as by Germany, Austria, Spain and Denmark. The United States, Britain, France and Italy refused to recognize it.

In August 1919, Tinoco left the country, taking with him a large sum of money which he had just borrowed in his country’s name from a British bank, the Royal Bank of Canada. His government fell in September 1919. A provisional government then restored the former constitution and called new elections. Law No. 41 of 22 August 1922 declared null and void all contracts entered into between the executive power and private individuals, with or without the approval of the legislature, between 27 January 1917 and 2 September 1919; it also annulled Law No. 12 of 28 June 1919, which had authorized the government to issue sixteen million colones (the Costa Rican currency) in paper money. It is worth pointing out that the new president, Julio Acosta, at first vetoed the debt repudiation law, arguing that it went against tradition, which was to honour international obligations contracted towards creditors. But the Constitutional Congress, under popular pressure, maintained its position and the President finally rescinded his veto. The law repudiating debts and all contracts entered into by the previous regime constitutes a clear break with the tradition of continuity of obligations of States despite a change of regime. The unilateral sovereign decision by Costa Rica clearly resembles the decisions made in 1861 and 1867 par by President Benito Juárez, supported by the Congress and the people of Mexico, to repudiate the debts claimed by France. It is also in line with the Bolshevik decree repudiating Tsarist debts adopted in 1918.

Great Britain threatened Costa Rica with military intervention if it did not compensate the British companies affected by the repudiation of the debts and contracts. These companies were the Royal Bank of Canada and an oil company. London sent a warship into Costa Rica’s territorial waters.

Costa Rica held to its position of refusing compensation by loudly and clearly proclaiming that: “The nullity of all the acts of the Tinoco regime was definitively settled by a decree of the Constitutional Congress of Costa Rica, which was the highest and ultimate authority having jurisdiction upon that subject, and its decision on that question, made in the exercise of the sovereign rights of the people of Costa Rica, is not open for review by any outside authority.

In order to find a solution, Costa Rica agreed to call in an international arbitrator in the person of William Howard Taft, Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court, to express his opinion on the two main disputes with Great Britain – the Royal Bank of Canada question and that of an oil concession that had been granted by the dictator Tinoco to British Controlled Oilfields Ltd.

By involving Taft, who had been president of the United States from 1909 to 1913, Costa Rica hoped to win its case by taking advantage of Washington’s interest in marginalising Britain in the region. And that is indeed what happened.

Taft’s decision was to reject London’s demands for compensation.

It is important to look closely at Taft’s arguments. Firstly, he clearly establishes the principle that the despotic nature of the Tinoco regime was of no importance.

In his opinion, William H. Taft says: “To hold that a government which establishes itself and maintains a peaceful administration, with the acquiescence of the people for a substantial period of time, does not become a de facto government unless it conforms to a previous constitution would be to hold that within the rules of international law a revolution contrary to the fundamental law of the existing government cannot establish a new government.” Which means that Taft rejects Costa Rica’s argument involving the nature of the Tinoco regime. According to Taft, Tinoco, who de facto exercised control over the State even if he did not respect the constitution, had the right to contract debts in the name of that State. He even adds that Tinoco had the assent of the population.

Taft’s argument, cited above, opens the way to the recognition of revolutionary governments who come to power without respecting the constitution. Taft declares that if we exclude the possibility of an unconstitutional government becoming a regular government, it implies that international law would prevent a people who have carried out a revolution from setting up a new legitimate government – which according to Taft is inconceivable. Of course, in practice, what has happened most often over the last two centuries is recognition (and support by the government in Washington, in particular) of dictatorial regimes who have overthrown democratic regimes, support for these dictatorial regimes in getting financing abroad, and pressure being put on democratic regimes which succeed them to shoulder the debts contracted by the dictatorship. This underscores the difference between the theory, based on the history of the birth of the United States out of rebellion against a constitutional British regime in 1776, and the actual practice and policies of the United States.

Taft’s opinion contains a passage which affirms that the rule of continuity of obligations of States must be respected despite a change in regime: “Changes in the government or the internal policy of a state do not as a rule affect its position in international law. (…) though the government changes, the nation remains, with rights and obligations unimpaired (…). The principle of the continuity of the states has important results. The state is bound by engagements entered into by governments that have ceased to exist; the restored government is generally liable for the acts of the usurper (…)” This clearly shows the conservative nature of Taft’s position.

On the other hand, Taft supports Costa Rica against Britain on the basis of other important arguments. Taft says that the transactions between the British bank and Tinoco are full of irregularities and that the bank is liable for them. He adds that “The case of the Royal Bank depends not on the mere form of the transaction but upon the good faith of the bank in the payment of money for the real use of the Costa Rican Government under the Tinoco régime. It must make out of its case of actual furnishing of money to the government for its legitimate use. It has not done so.

Let’s follow Taft’s reasoning: Tinoco could contract loans even though he took power in violation of the country’s constitution, but he needed to do so in the interest of the State. Taft says that Tinoco contracted the loans from the Royal Bank of Canada for his personal benefit. Taft adds that the bank was fully cognisant of the fact and was therefore a direct accomplice. According to Taft’s reasoning, had Tinoco borrowed money to develop the railway network, the regime that succeeded him would have been under obligation to repay the debt.

Source and references:


[1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] [10] [11] [12]

25 March, 2017

Ο Βαρουφάκης περιγράφει το πως η Μέρκελ θυσίασε την Ελλάδα για να σώσει τις Γαλλο-Γερμανικές τράπεζες

Μια σύντομη ιστορία για το πως θυσιάστηκε μια ολόκληρη χώρα για να σωθεί η τραπεζική μαφία


Μιλώντας στη Γιάννα Παπαδάκου και στο Checkpoint, ο Γιάννης Βαρουφάκης αποκάλυψε, μεταξύ άλλων, τον τρόπο που η Γερμανίδα καγκελάριος, Άνγκελα Μέρκελ, επέλεξε να θυσιάσει την Ελλάδα για να σώσει τις Γαλλο-Γερμανικές τράπεζες και να μην ζημιωθεί πολιτικά. Όπως είπε:

Ο λόγος για τον οποίο δόθηκε το τεράστιο εκείνο δάνειο στην Ελλάδα το 2010, δεν έχει καμία σχέση με τη διάσωση της Ελλάδας από τη χρεοκοπία. Μας βούλιαξε πιο βαθιά στη χρεοκοπία. Δόθηκε για να μη χρειαστούν άμεση χρηματοδότηση οι Γαλλο-Γερμανικές τράπεζες.

Το 2009 η κυρία Μέρκελ έπαθε ένα μεγάλο σοκ. Την πήραν τηλέφωνο σύμβουλοί της και της είπαν ότι οι τράπεζες της Φρανκφούρτης πτώχευσαν, ως απόρροια της τεράστιας χρηματοπιστωτικής κρίσης που ξεκίνησε από την Lehman Brothers, ιδίως η Deutsche Bank, η οποία έχει πάνω από 30 φορές το ΑΕΠ της Γερμανίας σε "ανοίγματα".

Αναγκάστηκε, λοιπόν, η κυρία Μέρκελ, να καταπιεί ένα ολόκληρο ποτήρι πολιτικού δηλητηρίου πηγαίνοντας στην Μπούντεσταγκ (Γερμανική Ομοσπονδιακή Βουλή) και να ζητήσει 500 δισ. για τις Γερμανικές τράπεζες, που μέχρι πριν από μερικούς μήνες κολυμπούσαν στα κέρδη. Δεν μπορούσε να το ανεχτεί η ίδια, είχε θυμώσει ιδιαίτερα. Ήταν μια πολιτικός που ουσιαστικά πρέσβευε την εξοικονόμηση πόρων, το να μην σπαταλώνται τα χρήματα των φορολογουμένων και ξαφνικά έπρεπε να πάρει 500 δισ. από τους φορολογούμενους για να σώσει τους τραπεζίτες της. Τουλάχιστον, σκέφτηκε, το έκανα, τελείωσε, προχωράμε.

Μερικούς μήνες μετά, την ξαναπαίρνουν οι ίδιοι άνθρωποι τηλέφωνο λέγοντας πως θέλουν άλλα 300 με 500 δισ. για τις ίδιες τράπεζες, με πρόσχημα αυτή τη φορά την πτώχευση της Ελλάδας που θα μπορούσε να προκαλέσει ντόμινο (να σκάσει το χρέος της Ιταλίας κ.λ.π.).

Οπότε τότε, αυτό που συνέβη είναι πολύ απλό: πήγε ξανά στη βουλή, αλλά δεν τόλμησε να ζητήσει χρήματα για τους Γερμανούς και τους Γάλλους τραπεζίτες, ζήτησε χρήματα για αλληλεγγύη με την Ελλάδα. Αλλά, ουσιαστικά, τα χρήματα μέσω του Ελληνικού υπουργείου οικονομικών κατέληξαν στο να δασώσουν τις Γαλλο-Γερμανικές τράπεζες. Αυτό ήταν το πρώτο μνημόνιο.

Shadow World

Προτεινόμενα ντοκιμαντέρ που παρακολούθησε το blog στο 19ο Φεστιβάλ Ντοκιμαντέρ Θεσσαλονίκης

Αντλώντας από το διεθνώς αναγνωρισμένο ομότιτλο βιβλίο του Άντρου Φάινσταϊν, η ταινία αποκαλύπτει πώς το διεθνές εμπόριο όπλων –με τη συνενοχή κυβερνήσεων, μυστικών υπηρεσιών, ανακριτικών και εισαγγελικών οργάνων, και κατασκευαστών, εμπόρων και πρακτόρων όπλων– καθορίζει οικονομικές και εξωτερικές πολιτικές, υπονομεύει τη δημοκρατία και σκορπίζει τον πόνο.

Μέσα από εξονυχιστική έρευνα και προσεγγίζοντας επικίνδυνα μέρη αλλά και λαμπρούς στοχαστές (όπως τον αείμνηστο Εδουάρδο Γκαλεάνο), ο σκηνοθέτης με το χαρακτηριστικό ύφος φανερώνει το πώς χτίζεται η πραγματικότητά μας και προτείνει εναλλακτικές για την έξοδο από αυτή τη φρίκη.


Infant deformities in Yemen linked to Saudi-led bombardment

Doctors in Yemen have reported an increase in children born with deformities as a result of the two-year war that has left the country on the brink of famine.

The al-Sabeen Maternity and Child Hospital in the capital, Sana’a, has seen an increase in babies being born prematurely and with deformities, which doctors say is a result of the war and the Saudi-led coalition’s bombs.

These cases of deformities have drastically increased over the past two years, due to the assault on Yemen, the rockets and the cluster bombs,” Doctor Abdulkarim al-Najjar said Wednesday.

Video footage taken from al-Sabeen hospital shows babies brought in from Al-Hudaydah coastal area, which has been targeted by airstrikes. The children have abnormally large skulls and painful-looking swollen heads covered in veins.

Full report:


Aid group fears hundreds of migrants drowned off Libya

A Spanish aid organization said Friday that it feared hundreds of migrants may have died off Libya’s coast, while Turkish media reported that 11 migrants died after a boat sank in the Aegean.

Concerns about the migrants near Libya rose after Spain’s Proactiva Open Arms group found five bodies near two capsized boats on Thursday.

Proactiva spokeswoman Laura Lanuza said German aid organization Jugend Rettet found a sixth body in the area Friday. Meanwhile, the search for a third vessel reported missing in the area has so far proved futile. Lanuza said the boats were found Thursday morning, north of the Libyan town of Sabratha.


Bulgarian blockade at Turkish border lifted

Bulgarian police on Friday removed nationalists who were blocking border checkpoints with Turkey in an effort to stop buses bringing Bulgarian ethnic Turks to vote in Sunday’s election.

The police operation to clear the roads at the checkpoints in Kapitan Andreevo, Lesovo and Malko Tarnovo came after the interim government’s press office said “the free movement… should be guaranteed immediately.

Sofia has accused Ankara of interference in its election on behalf of the DOST party that represents Bulgarian Turks, the country’s largest ethnic minority. Polls suggest DOST will fall short of the four-percent vote needed to enter parliament.


US sanctions 30 firms, individuals for aiding Iran, N. Korea arms programs

The US has imposed sanctions on 30 foreign companies or individuals for transferring sensitive technology to Iran for its missile program or for violating export controls on Iran, North Korea and Syria, the State Department said on Friday.

Eleven companies or individuals from China, North Korea or the United Arab Emirates were sanctioned for technology transfers that could boost Tehran’s ballistic missile program, the State Department said. Nineteen entities or individuals were sanctioned for other violations under the Iran, North Korea and Syria Nonproliferation Act.

They are believed to have transferred or acquired sensitive technology that could contribute to development of weapons of mass destruction.


NATO’s war of resources is causing a humanitarian crisis in West Africa

As millions suffer from hunger, disease, illiteracy and grinding poverty in the Lake Chad region of West Africa, a sinister game of resource extraction and exploitation is playing out, with geopolitics at the heart of it all.

by Eric Draitser

Part 3 - A Humanitarian Crisis and a Resource War

Sadly, most humanitarian crises in the world stem from politics and greed; the human tragedy unfolding in the Lake Chad region is no different. At the heart of the issue is oil.

In recent years, oil discoveries throughout the Lake Chad Basin have transformed how the states of West Africa view their economic future. At the heart of the basin is Lake Chad, surrounded by the countries of Nigeria, Chad, Cameroon and Niger. According to a 2010 assessment from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), the Chad Basin has “estimated mean volumes of 2.32 billion barrels of oil, 14.65 trillion cubic feet of natural gas and 391 million barrels of natural gas liquids.” The potential size of these resources has likely attracted the attention of political and business leaders, both in the region and internationally.

All of the countries surrounding the basin have expressed strong desire in recent years to begin exploiting the energy reserves there. However, until only very recently, Nigeria had been unable to do so due to the Boko Haram insurgency. E&P (Exploration & Production), a publication issued by Hart Energy, noted in March 2014:

Hopes of stepping up oil exploration in Nigeria’s Lake Chad Basin have been dashed by the brutal attacks of Islamic Boko Haram and the Ansaru sect terrorists in the country’s northeastern region…Between 2011 and 2013, the Nigerian government provided 240 million dollars to facilitate oil and gas exploration activities in the Lake Chad Basin.

So while Nigeria was forced to put the brakes on its oil exploration and development in the Chad Basin, its neighbors, particularly Chad, continued theirs. Nigeria has jump-started its exploration activities in Lake Chad just in the last few months, presumably thanks to progress that has been made in the fight against Boko Haram.

As Dr. Peregrino Brimah explained in 2014, “The Boko Haram insurgency has conveniently provided Chad, under the government of Idriss Déby, unfettered access to oil under Nigeria’s soils through 3D oil drilling from within its territorial borders, which the country exports.

It seems that Déby has engaged in siphoning off Nigeria’s oil wealth and exporting it for massive profits for himself and his cronies. But of course, Chad is not alone in this endeavor, as it has company from Cameroon and Niger, both of whom are doing precisely the same thing.

The regional dynamic is key here, as fighting has spilled over the borders into neighboring Cameroon and Niger on numerous occasions. This is precisely the pretext that the U.S. and its European partners are using to become further involved militarily in the region.

Source and links:


[1] [2] [4] [5]

Related: