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31 January, 2018

Choosing camps: Facebook forced to align with the Western banking cabal against Cryptocurrencies


The supposedly independent world of Internet and Social Media shows that it will be forced to choose camps in the global economic war, which has also a significant geopolitical impact.

After the Wall Street mafia declared war on Bitcoin and other Cryptocurrencies in at least three cases quite recently, it was the turn of Facebook to obey by choosing the camp of Western banking cabal against Cryptocurrencies. From Recode:

Facebook is banning all ads that promote cryptocurrencies, including bitcoin, in an effort to prevent people from advertising what the company is calling “financial products and services frequently associated with misleading or deceptive promotional practices.

That means no advertiser — even those that operate legal, legitimate businesses — will be able to promote things like bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, initial coin offerings — ICOs for short — or binary options, according to a Facebook blog post.

[...]

Ads that violate the company’s new policy will be banned on Facebook’s core app, but also in other places where Facebook sells ads, including Instagram and its ad network, Audience Network, which places ads on third-party apps.

[...]

Look for blowback from entrepreneurs and investors who argue that the move unfairly punishes legitimate cryptocurrency companies and related crypto products. Facebook’s board of directors includes two investors — Marc Andreessen and Peter Thiel — whose firms have been prominent crypto backers. Facebook Messenger boss, David Marcus, is also on the board at the popular crypto exchange Coinbase.



The decision is not coincidental. It comes right after Russia made a first move to issue its own Cryptocurrency, followed by other countries who expressed their willing to issue their own Cryptocurrencies, with latest example Belarus, in order to escape the Dollar and the Western monetary monopoly.

The fact that Facebook's board of directors includes investors whose firms have been prominent crypto backers, strongly indicates that the company was actually forced to follow the camp of the Western banking cabal in its campaign against Cryptocurrencies. It also verifies the belief that in the pyramid of the Western economic bloc the financial sector still possess the greater power, as it seems that dictates certain strategies even to the biggest companies.

The picture becomes more and more clear. At the time that entire countries consider ways to escape Western sanctions and suffocation from the Western monetary monopoly, the Western bloc seeks to find ways to prevent an uncontrolled 'universe' of alternative transactions. As these countries see a great opportunity to achieve targets through blockchain-type technology, Wall Street panic grows further.

The Western banking cabal is now in very difficult position because this new Cryptocurrency 'epidemic' has its roots to Bitcoin, which is a product that came outside of the norms of the Western economic domination system.

Yet, the biggest problem is that, since one can buy Bitcoins with classic currencies, the Bitcoin market is automatically connected to that system. Which means that, sooner or later it will be 'contaminated' by attracting, for example, all kinds of speculators coming from the 'dark side' of the dollar-dominated financial capitalism.

Which means that, although Bitcoin is a decentralized Cryptocurrency, the Western banking cabal knows how to destroy it: simply by 'contaminating' it with all the speculative factors that are necessary to create a big bubble that will burst (although not that easily in the case of Cryptocurrencies).

Therefore, the Western banking cabal will seek to destroy Bitcoin before it finds a safety net in a system flooded with decentralized Cryptocurrencies and other Cryptocurrencies issued by a major rival bloc. It is expected that the global economic war will become much wilder, very soon ...

30 January, 2018

The US empire extents coup in Brazil


In a rather grotesque prossess, the Chief Justice of the Appeals Court in Brazil, before hearing any evidence, deems Judge Moro’s decision impeccable. Evidence against the former Brazilian President Lula da Silva, is almost entirely based on plea bargain testimony of a convicted criminal who wanted his sentence reduced. Brazil's political elite is going after Lula and the Workers Party to eliminate them from running in the next Presidential election this year, according to CEPR co-director Mark Weisbrot.

It appears that this particular case with Lula da Silva is being initiated partly from the Unites States and Weisbrot reveals the connection of judge Sergio Moro with the US foreign policy establishment and other US institutions who portray him as a heroic figure who fights corruption.

Recall also that WikiLeaks described the Senate-imposed President of Brazil Michel Temer – after the constitutional coup against Dilma Rousseff in 2016 - as a “U.S. Embassy informant” in a tweet and provided two links where Temer's candid thoughts on Brazilian politics serve as the basis for a report by the U.S. embassy in Brazil. The cable from Jan. 11, 2006, states that Temer met with embassy officials on Jan. 9, 2006 to give his assessment of Brazil's political landscape ahead of the 2006 general election that saw Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva reelected to the presidency.


As Weisbrot wrote recently:

The evidence against Mr. da Silva is far below the standards that would be taken seriously in, for example, the United States’ judicial system.

He is accused of having accepted a bribe from a big construction company, called OAS, which was prosecuted in Brazil’s “Carwash” corruption scheme. That multibillion-dollar scandal involved companies paying large bribes to officials of the state-owned oil company, Petrobras, to obtain contracts at grossly inflated prices.

The bribe alleged to have been received by Mr. da Silva is an apartment owned by OAS. But there is no documentary evidence that either Mr. da Silva or his wife ever received title to, rented or even stayed in the apartment, nor that they tried to accept this gift.

The evidence against Mr. da Silva is based on the testimony of one convicted OAS executive, José Aldemário Pinheiro Filho, who had his prison sentence reduced in exchange for turning state’s evidence. According to reporting by the prominent Brazilian newspaper Folha de São Paulo, Mr. Pinheiro was blocked from plea bargaining when he originally told the same story as Mr. da Silva about the apartment. He also spent about six months in pretrial detention. (This evidence is discussed in the 238-page sentencing document.)

But this scanty evidence was enough for Judge Moro. In something that Americans might consider to be a kangaroo court proceeding, he sentenced Mr. da Silva to nine and a half years in prison.

A promotion video of the Lava Jato operation indicates how highly suspicious are the real intentions of Sergio Moro. He is considered the one who started this operation supposedly to fight corruption in Brazil. Yet, it seems like a covert operation to crush the image and the reliability of the Leftist politicians who enjoy high popularity.

The video ends with Lula da Silva, sentenced to jail for allegedly taking bribes. Not a single word about (as characterized by many) one of the most corrupted presidents, Michel Temer! The neoliberal pro-Washington Temer, not only currently stays in his position, but it is known that he was put in power after a constitutional coup against previous Leftist president and Lula's successor, Dilma Rousseff!

Furthermore, the video proceeds beyond its prosecutional 'territory' towards indirect political positions. The narrative almost implies that poverty in Brazil is linked with state corruption through government officials in power. Well, poverty in Brazil and elsewhere is a complex story, related mostly to specific policies applied by neoliberal politicians like Temer in favor of the elites. But we guess that this is not considered 'corruption' according to the video.

It is obvious that Washington's dirty hands are all over this story. The US-backed coup will be continued in Brazil, mainly for two reasons: first, it will permit the US corporatism to rebound in the country, exploiting its resources, and second, it will prevent Brazil from establishing an even stronger relation with the rest of the BRICS.

But the Brazilians should know that this new neoliberal onslaught against Brazil will postpone any hopes of millions to escape from poverty.

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To assassinate Arafat, Israel’s Mossad planned to blow up passenger plane

The US empire extents coup in BrazilFor years, many had speculated – for which they were promptly cast as tinfoil hat conspiracy theorists – that when it comes to achieving illegal goals, including but not limited to creating “false flag” terrorism and political assassinations, few are as skilled and industrious as the CIA and Mossad. Especially Mossad.

Only, as so often happens, most (if not all) such “conspiracy theories” turn out to be truth, in this case exposed thanks to the work of Israeli investigative journalist Ronen Bergman, whose just-published explosive book “‘Rise and Kill First: The secret history of Israel’s targeted killings” details such Israeli plans as the assassination of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat which included a plot to blow up passenger planes and football stadiums.

[...]

An excerpt from the book published in the NYT , details how when former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon was defense minister, he ordered the Israeli army to shoot down a passenger plane carrying hundreds of innocent people Arafat was thought to be on. Arafat was chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization at the time. Although the plan was eventually called off, it was allegedly one of a list of plans to assassinate the Palestinian leader.

Full report:

Tom Perez: the Democratic party’s grim metaphor

Sometimes a party’s leader seems to symbolize an enduring malaise. For Democrats in 2018, that institutional leader is Tom Perez.

While serving as secretary of labor during President Obama’s second term, Perez gained a reputation as an advocate for workers and civil rights. That image may have helped him win a narrow election among Democratic leaders to become chair of the Democratic National Committee, with the backing of Hillary Clinton loyalists eager to prevent the top DNC job from going to Bernie Sanders supporter Rep. Keith Ellison.

Perez’s leadership of the DNC during the last 11 months has been mediocre at best. The problems go far beyond administrative failings, lack of inspirational impacts or shortcomings in fundraising. His mode of using progressive rhetoric while purging progressives from key DNC committees reflected a pattern.

At the top of the DNC, the Clinton wing’s determination to keep the progressive base at arm’s length has not abated — while, at the same time, the DNC proclaims its commitment to the progressive base. The contradiction exists because of Democratic Party priorities revolving around corporate power.

To align the DNC with a grassroots base that is notably more progressive and has enormous energy to challenge Wall Street and the oligarchy, it would be necessary to welcome that energy instead of trying to keep it at bay.

Rhetoric aside, the DNC leadership is hardly oriented to challenging the corporate domination that imposes so much economic injustice. Some disturbing indicators of the current chair’s orientation can be found in his Obama-era record as an assistant attorney general as well as head of the Labor Department.

Before Tom Perez was Labor Secretary granting waivers to indicted banks, he was at the Justice Department not prosecuting Steve Mnuchin for illegally foreclosing on active duty troops,” financial specialist Matt Stoller pointed out in a recent tweet.

More:

Trump’s State Department spent over $1m in Iran to exploit unrest for ‘regime change’, documents reveal

At the end of 2017, a dozen cities across Iran, including the capital Tehran, were rocked by spontaneous protests which continued into the New Year. What role did the United States play?

Part 1

At the end of 2017, a dozen cities across Iran, including the capital Tehran, were rocked by spontaneous protests which continued into the New Year. The protests drew attention to the country’s deteriorating economic conditions, along with the regime’s abysmal human rights record.

They also paved the way for President Donald Trump’s announcement on January 12th that this would be a “last chance” for waiving US nuclear sanctions under the Iran nuclear deal for a further 60 days, after which the US would withdraw if its “disastrous flaws” cannot be fixed.

A range of recent official documents, from Congressional research to US foreign aid funding reports, throw new light on the Trump administration’s approach. The documents reveal the US government’s continued interest in triggering major political change in Iran to pull the country into the orbit of American interests. This includes the possibility of exploiting political unrest and other crises – including a worsening water crisis – to turn popular opinion against the regime.

Source, links:


[2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] [10]

Related:


Iran, as supporter of self-determination, a thorn in imperial Washington’s side

Iran’s unapologetic self-determination, including its ballistic missile and nuclear energy program as well its resistance to economic imperialism, make it a constant thorn in Washington’s side

by Randi Nord

Part 3 - Syria as a breaking point and the curious case of Yemen

Syria has manifested as a breaking point for relations between Tehran and Washington.

The United States launched its proxy war against Syria for a variety of reasons, one of which included replacing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad with an Israeli-friendly regime. As part of warming relations with Israel, Washington’s ideal Syrian government would cease relations with Iran and cut off cooperation with Hezbollah.

An email published by WikiLeaks reveals an exchange between Hillary Clinton and her aides which includes the subject line “an interesting proposal from Bruce Riedel re: how Israel could help get Assad out of office.”: “Ephraim Halevy, the former head of Israel’s secret intelligence service, Mossad, has rightly argued that toppling Assad and weakening Hizbullah is a far more important and strategic opportunity for Israel today than a military strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities.

Isolating Iran was always one of Washington’s primary objective in its war against Syria.

The email describes hypothetical negotiations that include Syria gaining full control of the Golan Heights on the condition Assad step down in favor of a government that recognizes Israel while ceasing support for Iran and Hezbollah.

That plan didn’t work out as hoped.

In fact, it drastically backfired: Syria has strengthened its relationship with Iran and Hezbollah, and those entities are now battle-tested.

Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), Hezbollah, and Iranian-backed militias played a crucial role in supporting the Syrian Arab Army against U.S.-backed proxies. Indeed, if it weren’t for Iran’s support, the Syrian landscape would look vastly different today.

Not only has Iran supported the Syrian Arab Army against U.S.-backed proxies, but its militias have dislodged and nearly eliminated ISIS and other terrorist groups throughout Syria and Iraq. Osman had this to say about Washington’s reaction to Iranian policy in the region: “Nowhere is Iran projecting its regional power more broadly than in Syria. … This only made Trump push for a further aggressive approach to try to contain Iran. I think what worries the Trump administration is that, with these gains, Iran and its allies will carve out what the U.S. calls a ‘Shia crescent’ extending from Iran, through Iraq and Syria, and into Lebanon, where Hezbollah is the most powerful political and military force. Such a viewpoint appears threatening not only for the Trump Administration, but also its allies in the Arab world, especially the KSA and the Israeli entity. According to the recent developments this past week, combined with Tillerson’s statement, it’s obvious that the next line of attack is going to be the northern border of Syria with Turkey.

Syria and Lebanon are obvious hotspots, but Washington’s vilification of Iran through its purported support of rebel fighters in Yemen raise far more pressing questions.

No tangible evidence exists to prove Iran supplies Ansarullah (the Houthis) with weapons, as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley recently asserted. Nonetheless, the United States recently labeled Ansarullah an “Iranian-backed militia” in nearly every media report (or simply a “Shiite militia” to imply Iranian influence).

The New York Times went so as far as to call Ansarullah an extension of Hezbollah: “The network Hezbollah helped build has changed conflicts across the region. In Syria, the militias have played a major role in propping up President Bashar al-Assad, an important Iranian ally. In Iraq, they are battling the Islamic State and promoting Iranian interests. In Yemen, they have taken over the capital city and dragged Saudi Arabia, an Iranian foe, into a costly quagmire. In Lebanon, they broadcast pro-Iranian news and build forces to fight Israel.

The Times does not, however, explain Tehran’s ability to smuggle weapons into Yemen during a U.S.-enforced land, sea, and air blockade.

The United States knows it is operating in a bipolar world: a nation or group in the Middle East that doesn’t ally itself with the United States and Saudi Arabia will likely build relations with the opposing axis, which effectively means Iran, Syria, and now Qatar. Although Ansarullah began as a Zaydi-Shia movement, it has since morphed into a broad coalition consisting of Sunnis, Shias, as well as various local tribes and political parties that oppose U.S. imperialism, Zionism, and economic exploitation.

This prospect troubles the United States and Saudi Arabia. If a small Yemeni movement can resist and become self-determined, what’s to stop citizens in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and elsewhere from getting such ideas? The mere possibility that Ansarullah could ally with Iran is enough for the United States to allege the relationship already exists, and to carry out a devastating military response.

Over 35,000 civilians have been killed or wounded by Riyadh’s U.S.-backed military aggression and siege against Yemen, based on nothing more than the idea that they could possibly make their own choices.

Source, links:


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

Black faces in high places while the nation circles the drain

Foreshadowed by his roots and bottle-rocket-like rise, Barack Obama’s legacy is one of betrayal and what might have been,… From the outset, he courted and was courted by the pillars of counter-revolution, his very blackness a cloak for his Manchurian mission.

by Jon Jeter

Part 5 - The Mel Reynolds mold

The year after Washington keeled over dead from a heart attack while working at his desk on Thanksgiving Eve of 1987, a Harvard-educated black Rhodes scholar named Mel Reynolds challenged a Washington ally, Gus Savage, for Illinois’ 2nd Congressional District, which included a swath of Chicago’s South Side lakefront. It would take Reynolds three tries to finally unseat Savage but — as Frederick Harris wrote in his 2014 book, The Price of the Ticket: Barack Obama and the Rise and Decline of Black Politics — the city’s two major daily newspapers, the Chicago Tribune and Sun-Times endorsed Reynolds, as did conservative Washington Post columnist George Will. The main business daily, Crain’s, did not endorse him, but went out of its way to praise him for his tendency to “downplay race as a factor in politics.

Feted by foundations, bankrolled by wealthy campaign contributors, and championed widely by the media and the affluent Hyde Park neighborhood that is home to the University of Chicago, Reynolds’ meteoric rise led one political rival to wonder aloud how an unknown who’d never held public office could amass such campaign cash and name-recognition: “White politicians have bought and paid for a novice who wasn’t even a block captain, or community leader, or even a member of a recognized church. There’s something wrong. His whole staff comes from City Hall, which tells you they’re being supplied to get rid of Gus Savage.

Reynold’s career would ultimately be derailed by a sex scandal involving a teenage girl, but in his three years on Capitol Hill he amassed a voting record that was solidly neoliberal, voting for the Clinton Administration’s North American Free Trade Act and the omnibus crime bill, both of which were catastrophic for Chicago’s working class and communities of color.

The same year that Reynolds won his Congressional seat, a young, 31-year-old community organizer named Barack Obama approached Lu Palmer asking for his support for a voter registration effort. As Palmer told the story, he thought the Harvard-trained lawyer both arrogant and unoriginal, and sent him on his way. But three years later, he would encounter Obama again.

An old ally in the Washington campaign, Alice Palmer (no relation) had finished third in the special election to succeed the now-disgraced Reynolds, and she wanted to return to Springfield. Palmer asked Obama to withdraw his name from the state senate race out of respect for the widely-respected Alice Palmer, but Obama refused. Palmer couldn’t recall Obama’s exact words but something about the way he spoke sounded oddly familiar. That’s when it clicked.

Man, you sound like Mel Reynolds!” Palmer told Obama.

Source, links:


[1] [2] [3] [4] [6] [7]

29 January, 2018

Όλα είναι (δημόσιος) δρόμος

Τι κάνεις όταν ο πατέρας των ιδιωτικοποιήσεων, Μίλτον Φρίντμαν, σου λέει ότι οι αυτοκινητόδρομοι πρέπει να μένουν πάντα υπό δημόσιο έλεγχο; Στις παραδοσιακές μητροπόλεις του καπιταλισμού, τις ΗΠΑ, τη Βρετανία και τη Γερμανία, τον υπάκουσαν. Σε κάποιες οικονομικές αποικίες τον αποκάλεσαν «σοσιαλιστή των δρόμων».

του Άρη Χατζηστεφάνου

Πλησιάζει μισός αιώνας από την εποχή που το γερμανικό συγκρότημα Kraftwerk παρουσίασε το θρυλικό άλμπουμ Autobahn, εμπνευσμένο σύμφωνα με αρκετούς μουσικοκριτικούς από τον περίφημο αυτοκινητόδρομο Α555.

Σήμερα αρκετοί Γερμανοί θυμούνται τον Α555, που κατασκευάστηκε το 1929 όταν ήταν δήμαρχος της Κολονίας ο Κόνραντ Αντενάουερ, γιατί καταρρίπτει έναν μεταπολεμικό μύθο: ότι το περίφημο δίκτυο γερμανικών αυτοκινητόδρομων Autobahn κατασκευάστηκε από τους ναζί («ναι, αλλά έφτιαξαν δρόμους»).

Στην πραγματικότητα, το μετέπειτα καμάρι της Γερμανίας οφείλει την ύπαρξή του στον δημόσιο τομέα της Δημοκρατίας της Βαϊμάρης. Ο Χίτλερ μάλιστα προώθησε, χωρίς επιτυχία, την πρώτη ΣΔΙΤ (σύμπραξη δημόσιου-ιδιωτικού τομέα) που άκουγε στο όνομα HaFraBa και θα έδινε σε ιδιώτες εργολάβους ένα κομμάτι της πίτας των μεγάλων έργων.


Εξίσου αποτυχημένη ήταν και η προσπάθεια του Σόιμπλε, σχεδόν οκτώ δεκαετίες αργότερα, να προσφέρει στον ιδιωτικό τομέα το 49,9% της κατασκευής και διαχείρισης των Autobahn. Το κύμα οργής, ακόμη και στο ίδιο του το κόμμα, ήταν τόσο μεγάλο ώστε ο πρώην υπουργός συνέχισε να μοιράζεται σχετικές ιδέες μόνο με τους ομολόγους του σε οικονομικές «αποικίες» της Γερμανίας και ποτέ με τους ομοεθνείς του.

Ο αγγλοσαξονικός καπιταλισμός έμεινε επίσης πιστός στον δημόσιο χαρακτήρα των αυτοκινητόδρομων. Οταν ακόμη και ο γκουρού του νεοφιλελευθερισμού, Μίλτον Φρίντμαν, κήρυσσε την ανάγκη διατήρησης των οδικών δικτύων υπό τον έλεγχο του κράτους, μόνο ελάχιστοι γραφικοί τολμούσαν να επιχειρηματολογούν για το αντίθετο.

Την τελευταία δεκαετία βέβαια ορισμένοι κυβερνήτες αμερικανικών Πολιτειών αμφισβήτησαν το κατά Φρίντμαν Ευαγγέλιο και… το πλήρωσαν ακριβά. Στην Ιντιάνα, η κατάσταση έλαβε κωμικοτραγικές διαστάσεις καθώς ένα κονσόρτσιουμ ισπανικών και αυστραλιανών εταιρειών, που ανέλαβε τον έλεγχο των διοδίων για 75 χρόνια, άλλαζε την τιμή κατά το δοκούν ανάλογα με το αν το Κογκρέσο ενέκρινε ή όχι μια επιπρόσθετη επιδότηση που θα το κρατούσε στη ζωή.

Τη μια μέρα οι οδηγοί μπορεί να πλήρωναν 4,5 δολάρια και την επόμενη η τιμή να ξεπερνούσε τα 10 δολάρια. Χρησιμοποιώντας σύνθετα χρηματοπιστωτικά εργαλεία για την αναδιάρθρωση των χρεών του (τα οποία θύμιζαν επικίνδυνα τη «φούσκα» στην αγορά κατοικίας) το κονσόρτσιουμ κατάφερε τελικά να… χρεοκοπήσει.

Παρά το γεγονός ότι ακόμη τρεις ΣΔΙΤ εθνικών οδών χρεοκόπησαν στην Αλαμπάμα, στο Τέξας και στην Καλιφόρνια, ο πρόεδρος Τραμπ αποφάσισε να στηρίξει στις συμπράξεις δημόσιου-ιδιωτικού τομέα την πολιτική του για την ενίσχυση των υποδομών στους αυτοκινητόδρομους. Το γεγονός άλλωστε ότι τοποθέτησε στη θέση του αντιπροέδρου τον πρώην κυβερνήτη της Ιντιάνα, Μάικ Πενς, που επόπτευσε μια από τις πιο αποτυχημένες ΣΔΙΤ στην αμερικανική ιστορία, λέει πολλά για το μέλλον.

Παρά τις λυσσαλέες προσπάθειες ιδιωτικοποίησης, όμως, οι συμπράξεις με τον ιδιωτικό τομέα στους αμερικανικούς αυτοκινητόδρομους δεν ξεπερνούν ακόμη το 1% του δικτύου, αποδεικνύοντας ότι το ξεπούλημα των δρόμων είναι ένα πικρό φάρμακο που η λεγόμενη συναίνεση της Ουάσινγκτον εφάρμοσε στις οικονομικές αποικίες της αλλά όχι στον εαυτό της.

Σχεδόν όλες οι χώρες της Νότιας Αμερικής έχουν να διηγηθούν μια τρομακτική ιστορία αποτυχίας από την εμπλοκή του ιδιωτικού τομέα στη διαχείριση εθνικών οδών. Το Μεξικό, ύστερα από μια δεκαετία ιδιωτικοποιήσεων που ξεκίνησαν στα τέλη της δεκαετίας του ’80, έφτασε να έχει από τα υψηλότερα διόδια στον κόσμο. Μια απόσταση 20 χιλιομέτρων από το κέντρο της Πόλης του Μεξικού κόστιζε έξι δολάρια, δηλαδή το διπλάσιο από το μέσο ημερομίσθιο.

Οι εργολάβοι άρχιζαν να χτίζουν φαραωνικούς αυτοκινητόδρομους στη μέση του μεξικανικού πουθενά κερδοσκοπώντας με τις επιδοτήσεις. Σε ορισμένες περιπτώσεις μάλιστα έχτιζαν αυτοκινητόδρομους απλώς για να αυξήσουν την αξία απομακρυσμένων οικοπέδων που ανήκαν στους πολιτικούς που τους ανέθεταν τις εργολαβίες.

Ακόμη και στις πιο εμφανείς αποτυχίες όμως οι θιασώτες των ιδιωτικοποιήσεων συνέχιζαν να επαναλαμβάνουν μονότονα τους τρεις λόγους για τους οποίους πιστεύουν ότι ένα δημόσιο δίκτυο αυτοκινητόδρομων μπορεί να περάσει στον ιδιωτικό τομέα: ανάγκη επενδύσεων, αναζήτηση τεχνογνωσίας, έσοδα για τα δημόσια ταμεία.

Αν όμως αυτοί είναι οι χρυσοί κανόνες μιας παραχώρησης, δημιουργείται το ερώτημα «γιατί η ελληνική κυβέρνηση και το ΤΑΙΠΕΔ θέλουν να πουλήσουν την Εγνατία οδό, δηλαδή μια επιχείρηση του Δημοσίου που δεν χρειάζεται επενδύσεις για να ολοκληρωθεί, εξάγει τεχνογνωσία και σε γειτονικές χώρες και αποτελεί μια από τις πιο σταθερές πηγές εσόδων του ελληνικού Δημοσίου με έσοδα που αναμένεται να ξεπεράσουν τα 5 δισεκατομμύρια ευρώ σε βάθος χρόνου;».

Αυτό ακριβώς το ερώτημα, στο οποίο ακόμη και σήμερα δεν έχουν πάρει απάντηση, θέτουν οι εργαζόμενοι στην «Εγνατία Οδός Α.Ε.», στο μίνι ντοκιμαντέρ που παρουσίασαν αυτή την εβδομάδα με τη συνεργασία της Infowar productions – δηλαδή και του γράφοντος που σας ιστορεί.

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Iran, as supporter of self-determination, a thorn in imperial Washington’s side

Iran’s unapologetic self-determination, including its ballistic missile and nuclear energy program as well its resistance to economic imperialism, make it a constant thorn in Washington’s side

by Randi Nord

Part 2 - A clash of ideologies: imperialism vs. self-determination

Even independent news outlets often fail to grasp the reasons behind Washington’s constant targeting of Iran — pointing simplistically to oil and gas. While resource theft has been a significant factor behind Washington’s foreign policy, it alone is not sufficient motivation to promote “regime change” for 40 years.

The true conflict stems from Tehran and Washington’s differences in ideology (and no, it’s not Christianity versus Islam). It’s a conflict between imperialism and self-determination.

The U.S. status as world superpower relies on its ability to exploit and manipulate competition while propping up what essentially amounts to an empire through military quests. The United States uses military, political and economic imperialism to control populations from the Middle East to Latin America.

Even the population within the empire is not immune, U.S. citizens face police brutality, labor exploitation, and tax extortion to fund empire abroad. Several oppressed groups exist inside the United States (such as African-Americans and indigenous peoples), which provide a micro-scale example of how Washington deals with foreign entities it views as inferior.

While the United States often functions as an oppressor, an opposing ideology is the backbone of Iran’s constitution: self-determination.

As Point 6c in Article 2 of Iran’s Constitution states: “The Islamic Republic is a system based on the faith in the wondrous and exalted status of human beings and their freedom, which must be endowed with responsibility, before God. These are achieved through: the negation of all kinds of oppression, authoritarianism, or the acceptance of domination, which secures justice, political and economic, social, and cultural independence and national unity.

To achieve this goal, Article 3 states that Tehran will devote resources to “unrestrained support for the impoverished people of the world” and “the complete rejection of colonialism and the prevention of foreign influence.

Iran’s foreign policy focuses on unrelenting support for the oppressed, and refusal to accept domination culturally, economically, and militarily. That’s precisely why Iran unconditionally supports Palestine against Zionism, as well as other nations under the thumb of U.S. domination.

Ph.D. candidate, university lecturer, and political commentator Marwa Osman, based in Beirut, Lebanon, asserts U.S. foreign policy goals regarding Iran have little to do with national security: “The U.S.’s attempts to put further sanctions on Iran or possibly even start a war with Iran have nothing to do with safety or US national security as consecutive administrations have emphasized since 1979 and everything to do with protecting corporate interests. Iran has the third largest oil reserves and second largest natural gas reserves in the world. U.S. foreign policy has been centered on control of the world’s energy reserves, while the four major recipients of Iran’s oil are all from Asia, which is very much unacceptable to Western policymakers with national interests in mind. The economic sanctions proposed by the U.S. would cripple the Iranian economy and surely it would not be long before political and domestic turmoil to grow out of hand. This would offer the U.S. and its allies the chance to enter the country with the goal of ‘spreading democracy.

Source, links:


[1] [3] [4] [5]

Black faces in high places while the nation circles the drain

Foreshadowed by his roots and bottle-rocket-like rise, Barack Obama’s legacy is one of betrayal and what might have been,… From the outset, he courted and was courted by the pillars of counter-revolution, his very blackness a cloak for his Manchurian mission.

by Jon Jeter

Part 4 - The Empire fights back

The assassination of Martin Luther King, coupled with the twilight of American industry’s global dominance, ratcheted up both working class militancy, and the elites’ crackdown on it. Mineworkers in Appalachia and autoworkers in Detroit were fighting to reclaim their trade unions from a reactionary leadership that was in bed with management; communists were on the march in North Carolina, Black Panthers in Oakland; militant white college students protested the war in Berkeley, and black parents and teachers fought for community control of their school curriculums in Brooklyn. Fred Hampton was organizing black street gangs and black professionals, Latinos, poor alienated white youths, and college students and blue-collar workers of all races into a Rainbow Coalition intent on socialist revolution. Black voters capitalized on white flight following the season of unrest that began with the Watts riots to elect black mayors in Detroit, Newark, Cleveland, Gary, and Atlanta, and Puerto Ricans joined with Blacks and Italians to force the City University of New York to guarantee admission and free tuition for every New York city public high school graduate.

It took all of three months.

With Blacks accounting for a third of the country’s unionized workforce and taking on leadership responsibilities to boot, organized labor’s demand for a bigger share of the pie was causing wage inflation to spike and, combined with the Arab world’s demands that the West pay more for its oil, slicing into the oligarchs’ profit margins.

Something had to be done.

The Empire began fighting back. Nixon’s southern strategy, the FBI’s counterintelligence program, and an infamous memo to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce by Lewis Powell, whom Nixon would later appoint to the Supreme Court, got the ball rolling, isolating the radical black polity from polite society. New York City’s bankers and corporate executives doubled down on polarizing racial narratives in executing a takeover of New York City’s finances in 1975 — scapegoating the pensions, wages and subsidies won by public sector unions for a financial crisis triggered by an overheated real estate market. That same year, the publisher of The Washington Post, Katherine Graham, broke the pressman’s union to fatten profits for Warren Buffett and other shareholders.

Source, links:


[1] [2] [3] [5] [6] [7]

The war on Whistleblowers and WikiLeaks

The PayPal-offshoot Becomes a Weapon in the War Against Whistleblowers and WikiLeaks. The Palantir document notes that most well-known journalistic professionals “with a liberal bent . . .if pushed will choose professional preservation over cause, such is the mentality of most business professionals.”

WikiLeaks, the transparency organization known for publishing leaked documents that threaten the powerful, finds itself under pressure like never before, as does its editor-in-chief, Julian Assange. Now the fight to silence WikiLeaks is not only being waged by powerful government figures but also by the media, including outlets and organizations that have styled themselves as working to protect whistleblowers.

Pierre Omidyar – eBay billionaire and PayPal’s long-time owner – holds considerable sway over several journalists and organizations that once championed WikiLeaks but now work for the Omidyar-owned publication, The Intercept. Thanks to his deep ties to the U.S. government and his own long-standing efforts to undermine the organization, Omidyar is using his influence to bring renewed pressure to WikiLeaks as it continues to publish sensitive government information. However, Pierre Omidyar is not the only PayPal-linked billionaire with strong government connections and a dislike for WikiLeaks.

Part 6 - In the wake of the 2016 election: exploiting the “mission” weakness

More telling than anything else, however, is why the FPF chose to move forward with this decision. Among those members of the FPF who have spoken up against WikiLeaks in recent months — each of them has pointed to the concern that WikiLeaks and Assange have “gone astray” from WikiLeaks’ original mission, rejecting its commitment to nonpartisanship and intentionally aiding the Trump campaign in the 2016 election — thus making the organization and Assange responsible for Trump’s victory over Hillary Clinton.

Those FPF members that do not share these views have remained silent, despite the fact that many of them have vocally defended WikiLeaks in the past.

This is remarkably in keeping with the Palantir document’s cited “mission” weakness. While the document — written in 2010 — said that some disgruntled WikiLeaks supporters felt that Assange’s alleged target was the United States government, the same “fracture” has arisen with accusations that Assange was unfairly singling out Hillary Clinton. In both cases, Assange and WikiLeaks’ goal was to expose the crimes of both the U.S. government and, later, Hillary Clinton — not to slander either with false information.

Now, those accusing WikiLeaks of everything from Russian collusion to secretly plotting with the Trump campaign are being exploited by a massive “media campaign” built on “disinformation.” Just as the Palantir document suggests, this media campaign is working to “feed the fuel between feuding groups [i.e. those who accuse WikiLeaks of anti-Hillary partisanship and those who do not].

As will be revealed in Part III of this series, one writer in particular — Kevin Poulsen — has been instrumental in this recent, post-election media campaign to discredit WikiLeaks. Yet, Poulsen’s history shows he is no friend to whistleblowers or WikiLeaks. Not only was Poulsen responsible for causing massive damage to the reputation and defense of Chelsea Manning prior to her trial, he also shares a direct connection to the FPF — and a shady connection to the U.S. government. More troubling still, he — after two mysterious suicides — is the only surviving member of the group that created SecureDrop, the app which — after being promoted by the FPF and The Intercept — is now widely used by top media outlets for “secret” communication between would-be whistleblowers and big-name journalists. Could Poulsen’s troubled past with WikiLeaks and its sources endanger SecureDrop’s goal of protecting whistleblowers?

***

Source, links:


[1] [2] [3] [4] [5]

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28 January, 2018

Bernie speeds up the revolution!

Indeed, the revolution has not been televised!


Without the slightest amount of exaggeration, we could easily characterize as a historical moment the event that took place on Jan 23, 2018 at the National Town Hall in Washington. Bernie Sanders bypassed the corporate media to bring on the table one of the most serious issues for millions of Americans: health care as a right for all.


As the Huffingtonpost reported:

           Sanders’ town hall, which was co-hosted by the left-leaning online video news outlets The Young Turks, NowThis and ATTN, demonstrated that a lengthy seminar on the complicated topic of single-payer health care can draw a crowd as large as many primetime cable news shows. The auditorium itself was packed to capacity with some 450 attendees. And together, the live audiences on the senator’s Facebook and YouTube pages, the the three news sites and some other outlets that picked up the stream added up to about 1.1 million people.

So, one of the most serious issues that was literally buried for decades by the corporate media because they have been completely taken over by the neoliberal regime, came to surface by the alternative media through the Internet. The numbers above show clearly that this is a big defeat for the corporate media.

Bernie's political revolution had already started since the Democratic primaries before the 2016 Presidential election. We wrote then:

Bernie has the background and the ability to change the course of the US politics. He speaks straightly about things buried by the establishment, as if they were absent. Wall Street corruption, growing inequality, corporate funding of politicians by lobbies. He says that he will break the big banks. He will provide free health and education for all the American people. Because of Sanders, Hillary is forced to speak about these issues too. And subsequently, this starts to shape again a fundamental ideological difference between Democrats and Republicans, which was nearly absent for decades.

But none of this would have come to surface if Bernie didn't have the support of the American people. Despite that he came from nowhere, especially the young people mobilized and started to spread his message using the alternative media. Despite that he speaks about Socialism, his popularity grows. The establishment starts to sense the first cracks in its solid structure. But Bernie is only the appropriate tool. It's the American people who make the difference.

So, even after Trump in power, Bernie didn't let this great momentum get wasted. He smartly capitalizes the popularity he enjoys by driving the political discussion towards serious problems that should be top priority for any US politician.

Moreover, the establishment is losing power by the onslaught of real progressives who mark significant victories in the US political field. And this brings additional heat to the corporate Democrats who are exposing themselves, more and more, by refusing to change the 'business as usual' agenda, dictated by the neoliberal regime.

The political revolution is taking place as we speak and Bernie Sanders speeds up the process. By 2020, the momentum will be strong enough to push the revolution into its second, critical phase ...