Archive | April 21st, 2014

Shameless George Galloway on West’s intervention in Libya

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The brave women fighting bigotry in Libya

NOVANEWS

Once in a while, amid the destruction, kidnappings, murder and mayhem that is engulfing Libya, a brave voice emerges to give us hope that maybe there could be light at the end of the long, dark tunnel.

One such voice is Magdulien Abaida, who played an important part in promoting the image of the Libyan revolution among Europeans when it first started in February 2011, only to be rewarded by being kidnapped and beaten up by Islamist thugs.

Now another has come to our attention. She is Nafissa Assed, a Libyan blogger and student on a Fulbright scholarship. Brave, articulate and passionate about Libya, she has a full grasp of the disease that is gripping the country, a disease at the root of which lie the deranged serpents who are haunting the Arab world: the Islamists.

Below are extensive excerpts from her latest blog post – if you agree with her, please tell her by posting a comment at the end of her article.

I once disagreed with the Nobel physicist Steven Weinberg when he said: “With or without religion, good people can behave well and bad people can do evil; but for good people to do evil – that takes religion”.

Today, Weinberg’s quote rings some sad truth into my ears. Well, at least part of it. It’s true that not all people who believe in a certain religion are affected by this tendency.  However, there are enough to make Weinberg’s quote resonate with me when it comes to Libya.

There is something inherently dangerous about many unhinged extremists in Libya who believe they know God’s mind, applying [a] coercive system that uses religion to create an “us versus them” mindset, so that “us” (the extremists/the murderers) are right and “them” (whoever disagree with their specific goals and agenda) is wrong, leaving no room for temperance or tolerance with anyone holding any opinion that opposes theirs.

Unfortunately, women are mainly the first victim [of] this enslaving politico-religious system.

Libyan women, who participated heavily to topple Gaddafi and put an end to his long years of oppression, cruelty and injustice, today are facing another type of cruelty, a political-Islamic movement (Islamism) to [deprive] them [of] the very basic rights that they… already enjoyed… throughout the previous oppressive years of Gaddafi.

Libya has brilliant women with unbeatable determination to succeed and [to] help in building Libya. However, all the greater opportunities that every Libyan woman might have are increasingly accompanied by hostility and backlash against their rights.

Today, the Libyan woman not only experience the fear of the rising crime and violence, the unlimited availability and misuse of weapons, or the conflict in power between the weak government and the illegitimate armed groups wandering the streets of Libya and killing whoever [doesn’t] please them, but they also have to deal with the endless harassment, threats, sexual assaults and now execution as well. And what’s worse is that they also have to deal with a series of ludicrous “fatwas” that impede their ability to lead an independent, private and personal life…

Change in Libya will not happen by itself. Libya needs women who dare with loud voices supported by well-planned actions. It needs progressively instructive awareness of duties and rights, responsibilities and rewards. It needs well-thought-out educational campaigns to initiate vigorous change.

The Libyan revolution that happened to end oppression in all its forms and achieve human dignity, social justice and economic development, today is taking a whole different and dangerous path, a path based on ideological manipulations… using religion to politicize people’s lives…

I do not want the Libya that many free Libyan women, including myself, fought so hard to achieve full rights to end up having a “politico-religious” system with the objective to eliminate anyone who doesn’t “hate” democracy, or prevent women from leading an independent, liberated and free-thinking way of life, or execute people with different faiths/beliefs (or none), or basically suppress anyone with different personal views when it comes to faith/religion…

“Islamism” (linking religion and politics together) is nothing more than a fascist ideology that represents detestation based on a hypocrite scheme to protect Islam, when the real purpose is to give the green light to mentally unbalanced extremists to behave outside the law and adopt violence to achieve their private and corrupt goals…

The grand mufti of Libya, Sadiq al-Ghiryani, had no right to publicly announce a fatwa stating that women teachers should cover their faces  when there are male students in the classroom. Or that women should not be allowed to travel abroad all alone, without a male relative. He has no right to [issue] anyfatwa publicly about individuals’ relationship with God or use religion to guide a woman’s personal life… Sadiq al-Ghiryani does not have a direct connection with God to lead my life or force any of his religious thoughts one me based on his own way of understanding religion…

I don’t understand why women are Sheikh Al-Ghiryani’s main focus when it comes to fatwas. Are these Libya’s main’s issues now? Well, since he feels free giving fatwas about whatever he wants and use religion to intervene [in] people’s personal life, why doesn’t he come up with some useful fatwas about Libya’s really serious issues?

Where were Al-Ghiryani’s fatwas when every time “unknown” gunmen killed many innocent Libyans, bombed shrines and destroyed many of Libya’s historical mosques? Where were his fatwas when many Libyan women were raped and tortured? Why I’ve never heard any fatwa regarding the unbearable sexual harassment [and] rape of women in the streets of Libya? … And why I’ve never heard any fatwa regarding the predicament of [the] Tawergha [people] and all those displaced children, women and elders living in crumbling camps, facing the heavy rainfalls and floods that happened across Libya?

If we keep denying these facts and these major differences between politics and religion, every unhinged extremist in Libya will always find a way to distort the genuine and peaceful meaning of a religion by politicizing people’s way of life through vicious and illegitimate violence. They will keep causing havoc by bombing more shrines, more shops and cafes in Benghazi, Derna or elsewhere; attacking more women-friendly spots to frighten, bully and put pressure on women not to go out. What kind of faith or religion that promotes this size of violence? A faith that impacts extreme negativity as kidnapping, torturing, raping, killing or any other kind of oppression is simply not a faith…

Every oppressor creates his worst enemy and fear. And just like every filthy tyrant that exists in this falling world, their worst enemy and fear are the people they oppress.

For this reason, as a free Libyan, I will always rise against my oppressor and strike back until I get my full rights or die trying.

The Libyan people have a choice: to succumb to the mentally unbalanced fascists, misogynists, bigots and perverts of the Islamist trend – Salafis, Wahhabis, Muslim Brotherhood and others of their type – and live in ignorance, backwardness, terror and oppression, or to summon up the courage and fight for freedom, democracy, development, and a just and law-governed state.

It is only by following the examples of brave women such as Nafissa Assed and Magdulien Abaida that Libya will have any chance of a progressive and enlightened future.

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Hollande claims to have ‘information’ Syrian regime still using chemical weapons

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liar : boy liar

 

jpost

French President Francois Hollande said Sunday that his country had “information” that the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad had continued using chemical weapons, although Paris lacked proof, AFP reported.

“We have a few elements of information but I do not have the proof,” AFP quoted Hollande as telling the Europe 1 radio station.

Asked about recent reports that the Damascus regime was still using chemical weapons in the embattled country, Hollande said “What I do know is what we have seen from this regime is the horrific methods it is capable of using and the rejection of any political transition”.

Meanwhile, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius told the Europe 1 that so far unverified “indications” were present “that there have been recent chemical attacks”.

According to the report, Fabius said the current signs pointed toward chemical attacks in northwestern Syria near the border with Lebanon that were “very deadly,” but “much less significant than those in Damascus a few months ago”.

On April 12, the Syrian regime and opposition forces accused each other of carrying out a chemical attack on the village of Kafr Zeita, located in the embattled country’s western-central province of Hama.

Opposition activists reported that dozens of residents suffered from symptoms of suffocation after air units loyal to Assad targeted the town with explosive barrels allegedly containing toxic material.

Meanwhile, Syrian state television reported that the al-Qaida-linked al-Nusra Front rebel group was responsible for an attack using chlorine gas, killing two people and wounding more than 100 others.

On March 31, an Israeli security source confirmed that the Assad regime had used a non-lethal chemical weapon on March 27 on the outskirts of Damascus. The source said he could confirm claims made by Syrian rebels and doctors last month that a substance had been used on rebel fighters in Harasta, an outlying region of the Syrian capital, adding that the chemical “neutralizes [threats] but does not kill.”

A second alleged use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime occurred in the same area within days of the first attack, according to Syrian opposition sources, though the Israeli security source said he could not confirm the report.

In one instance, according to the New York-based website Syria Deeply, which interviewed doctors on the ground, 25 fighters were wounded.

Despite the assertion by the Israeli source that the chemical was nonlethal, some reports suggested that four people had died in the March 27 attack.

Syria Deeply cited the Syrian American Medical Society, a group of Syrian-American doctors and surgeons who travel to Syria, as condemning what it described as a “poisonous gas attack” in Harasta.

Syria has destroyed the majority of its chemical weapon production centers and is in the midst of transporting existing arms from storage sites to ships in Latakia to remove the substances and destroy them, according to Israeli security assessments.

The disarmament efforts, which have been stepped up in recent weeks, are being managed by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.

Prior to the disarmament program, Syria had amassed the world’s largest stockpile of VX nerve agents, Sarin and mustard gas.

In August 2013, a chemical attack on a rebel-held area north of Damascus left 1,400 civilians dead. The massacre led to a Russian- brokered disarmament agreement that saw Assad agree to give up the unconventional arms in exchange for avoiding a US military strike.

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Christian protestor promotes hatred in front of Dearborn Mosque

NOVANEWS
By Ray Hanania

Dearborn Area Community Members Facebook Page, "Christian" woman protests muslims on Good Friday.

Dearborn Area Community Members Facebook Page, “Christian” woman protests muslims on Good Friday.

An unidentified woman who claimed to be Christian held up a large sign along an expressway in Dearborn, Michigan across from the Islamic Center of America Mosque in what was clear an act of provocation to insult and slander Muslims.

A member of the Mosque named “Norman S.” approached the woman and urged her to come to the mosque and meet Muslims, but the woman refused.

The woman, who did not identify herself, kept repeating that she believed that Jesus had died on the cross and was risen again, and added, “And you, the Muslims are deceived.”

Later she added, “I am not interested in a religion that fails” when the filmmaker repeatedly asked her to join him in visiting his mosque, noting that Muslims revere Jesus and praised Christianity as a “beautiful religion, too.”

The woman held up a large white sign that appeared to be about four feet tall and three feet wide on the side of a highway near the Mosque, which is located at 19500 Ford Road. The sign he held up as cars drove pas read, “I serve a RRISEN savior Jesus Christ. Muhammad is dead.”

Islamic Center of America Dearborn, Michigan

Islamic Center of America Dearborn, Michigan

The Muslims ended the video interview, noting “We love Jesus and we love you. You have a wonderful Easter and you are more than welcome to come to our mosque. Have a blessed day.”

Dearborn has been the target of anti-Muslim fanatics who have slandered and libeled Islam and claim to be doing so in the name of “Jesus” and “Christianity.”

The many consistent provocations have disrupted Arab events and even resulted in the cancellation of the annual Arab Festival that was held in Dearborn.

One protestor in the past displayed the butchered head of a pig, in a clear attempt to intimidate Muslims since pork is considered a “sin” not only by Muslims but by many Christians, too, especially Orthodox Christians.

Many Christian denounced the protests and the protestor saying that denouncing Islam is “unChristian-like” and contradictory of the principles of Christianity which respects all peoples of all religious beliefs.

In many other cities, a Muslim who would hold up a sign denouncing Christianity as being “Dead” or as a false religion might be charged with violating hate crime laws. But Christians who express hatred against Muslims are coddled and protected by America’s anti-Arab society.

Click here to view the video on Youtube.

You can view the entire video below, which was posted on the popular Facebook Page “Dearborn Area Community Members.” Click here to view the Facebook Page which was created by Dearborn activist Majed Moughni:

 

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Assad makes Easter visit to recaptured Christian town Read more: Assad makes Easter visit to recaptured Christian town

NOVANEWS
HAND’S OFF SYRIA DEATH TO ZIO-WAHHABI RAT’S

A picture uploaded on the official Facebook page of the Syrian Presidency on April 20, 2014, shows Syria's President Bashar al-Assad looking at icons as he visits a monastery in the ancient Christian town of Maalula which his troops recently recaptured from rebels. (photo credit: AFP PHOTO / HO / SYRIAN PRESIDENCY FACEBOOK PAGE)

Times of Israel

Syrian President Bashar Assad on Easter Sunday visited the ancient Christian town of Maalula, which his troops recently recaptured from rebels, state television said.

“On the day of the resurrection of Christ, and from the heart of Maalula, President Assad hopes all Syrians have a happy Easter, and for the reestablishment of peace and security throughout Syria,” the channel announced in a caption at the bottom of the screen, without showing images of the visit.

It added that Assad had inspected the Mar Sarkis (Saint Sergius and Bacchus) monastery, damaged in recent fighting. It said the damage had been caused by “terrorists,” using the regime’s term for rebels.

Founded in the fifth century, the monastery is one of the Middle East’s oldest. It is dedicated to two Roman Christian soldiers who were killed by emperor Galerius because of their faith.

The Facebook page of the Syrian presidency posted a picture of Assad standing next to a Christian priest. He held what appeared to be damaged friezes showing the Virgin Mary and Jesus.

Backed by Lebanese Shiite Hezbollah, Syria’s army took control of Maalula last Monday.

Located north of Damascus, Maalula is one of the world’s oldest Christian settlements, and its inhabitants still speak Aramaic, the language of Jesus.

Rebels and their jihadist ally Al-Nusra Front had taken control of Maalula in early December. They kidnapped 13 nuns and traded them for women prisoners held in regime jails in March.

Assad has rarely made public appearances since the outbreak of a revolt against his regime in March 2011.

Syria’s large Christian minority has sought neutrality throughout the three-year war, and has viewed the Sunni-led rebels with growing concern as jihadists have flocked to their ranks.

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STEPHEN WALT: THE “SPECIAL RELATIONSHIP” AND WHAT HAS CHANGED SINCE “THE ISRAEL LOBBY” BOOK

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GILAD ATZMON

Presentation at the National Summit to Reassess the U.S.-Israel “Special Relationship” on March 7, 2014 at the National Press Club.

Stephen M. Walt is professor of International Affairs at Harvard University; previously taught at Princeton University, University of Chicago; consultant for the Institute of Defense Analyses, the Center for Naval Analyses, and the National Defense University. He presently serves on the editorial boards of Foreign Policy, Security Studies, International Relations, and Journal of Cold War Studies.

Walt also serves as Co-Editor of the Cornell Studies in Security Affairs. Author of The Origins of Alliances, which received the 1988 Edgar S. Furniss National Security Book Award and, with co-author John J. Mearsheimer of The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy.

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JESUS IN AUSCHWITZ FOR EASTER (MUST WATCH)

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By Gilad Atzmon

Now that Jews have started to tire  of their own Holocaust industry, some Jews have decided to send Jesus to the gas chambers just ahead of Easter.

The following peculiar video appeared on the net a few days ago.

‘That Jew Died For You’ is a three-minute video showing Jesus Christ being schlepped to Auschwitz amongst a group of fellow Jews. And guess what, the horrid Nazis do not show mercy toward  the holy man, they send him to the gas chamber together with his Jewish brethren.

The film was produced by Jews For Jesus and the explanation is as follows – ‘Jesus has often been wrongly associated with the perpetrators of the Holocaust.’ The short video is meant to clear that up. Jesus was ‘just another Jew,’ and he would have been ended up in the gas chamber like any other Jew.

The Jewish ‘progressive’ outlet, Forward Magazine, is not happy with the clip  and its message. Apparently the Forward doesn’t approve of Jews For Jesus because it is a ‘front’  dedicated to the conversion of Jews. Jay Michaelson writes “let’s start with the reminder that Jews for Jesus is a front. …It exists to convert Jews.” Michaelson doesn’t like the clip either. “Any Jew with personal, familial, or even historical memories of the Holocaust will immediately find it to be an outrage. Not to state the obvious, but it desecrates the memory of six million Jews to use their suffering as a way to convert Jews to Christianity.”

Michaelson is  so obviously immersed  in Judeo centrism, he grossly misses the point. The video is not aimed  at the Jewish market or the Yiddish crowd.  The clip was released ahead of Easter for a reason. It  is intended for a  Christian audience. It is there to convert Christians into the new Jewish faith namely The Holocaust Religion.

The video  bonds the naïve Christian believer to  Jewish suffering by providing a bridge between the Passion of Christ and Jewish suffering. The intent is  to plant the holocaust Zionist orthodoxy into the heart of the Christian naïve soul.  And it  also serves to defuse, once and for all, the supposed common Christian  belief that it was Jews who killed Christ. At least on YouTube this week it is actually the Nazis who gassed Christ. At last the Jews are free from responsibility.

Once again the message for the rest of us is simple -Jewish politics is highly sophisticated, manipulative and dangerous -whether it is Zionist or ‘anti’ and even when it is wrapped in a  Christian Zionist propaganda for Easter.  Beware!

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Privatization of Water as an Owned Commodity Rather Than a Universal Human Right

NOVANEWS
Global Research

There is no greater natural resource on this earth than water. As the sustenance of all life, water keeps every living and breathing organism, every plant, every animal and every human being on this planet alive. In the same way that without air to breathe, without water we humans cannot sustain life for more than a few days.

Due to global warming, widespread drought and increasingly polluted water systems, the projected availability of clean freshwater in years to come to meet the rising demands of a growing global population is among the most daunting human challenges of this century. By 2015 a 17% increase in global water demand is projected just for increasing agriculturally produced food. By the same year 2025, the growing global population will increase water consumption needs by a whopping 40%. While oil played the keenly critical role during the twentieth century, water is being deemed the most valued precious natural resource of the twenty-first century.

As such, several years ago the United Nations declared access to clean drinking water a universal human right. Conversely, willfully denying it is considered a serious human rights violation that denies life itself. And any calculated decision denying people their universal right to life is nothing short of a murderous, shameful crime against humanity.

Despite the human air pollution that has long been dirtying our lungs, while also causing global warming, climate change and increasing catastrophic natural disasters, not to mention the growing global health hazard for us humans, the very thought of making clean air a precious commodity that can opportunistically be packaged and sold by the same corporations that have been ruining our air, that very notion would instantly be criticized, scorned and ridiculed.

Yet that is exactly what has been happening for the last thirty years now all over this planet with the earth’s preciously dwindling freshwater drinking supply. The World Bank has been financing global privatization of the earth’s water supply making clean water that is so necessary for survival an unaffordable private commodity for the poorest people on earth to even access. They are literally dying of thirst and disease because of greedy psychopathic corporate profiteers once again placing theft and greed over human welfare and life itself.

But then that is the globalist agenda – thinning the human herd down from near seven billion currently to as low as just half a billion. That means 13 out of 14 of us alive today according to their diabolical oligarch plan simply must die within the next few years. And what better way to rapidly kill off the human population than taking full ownership and control over the earth’s limited diminishing water supply.

More people on this planet are dying presently from waterborne disease from dirty water than are dying from all wars and violence worldwide combined. Every hour 240 babies die from unsafe water. 1.5 million children under five years of age die every year from cholera and typhoid fever due to unsanitary water conditions. These incredibly sad, alarming facts illustrate just how significant and critical a clean freshwater supply is to staying alive on this planet. Taking control over the earth’s clean water supply is achieved by turning water into a privately owned commodity that only the largest corporations and banks control. Simply making water unaffordable and thereby inaccessible to the poorest people on the planet is one extremely effective, albeit most sinister way to reduce the so called overpopulation problem.

Three primary ways that the human population decreases significantly every year is death caused by starvation and malnutrition (including lack of drinkable water) at between seven to eight millionpeople, diseases that kill between two to three million (with mounting threats of infectious diseases becoming pandemics) and upwards of near a half million dying each year from war.

Behind closed doors oligarchic globalists periodically meet and discuss what is best for humanity and the planet according to them and their megalomaniacal self-interests. For many years now this all important topic of water privatization and control as a convenient and most effective means of addressing the overpopulation problem has been regularly tabled for discussion… along with related topics like geo-engineering, GMO’s, vaccines, overuse of antibiotics, planned wars over oil and water, devising global policies designed to increase political destabilization, poverty and undermine economies, nuclear radiation and a host of other means for culling the human population.

Time Magazine reported how the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has been financing research at the University of North Carolina among 78 others to develop ultrasound infertility contraception techniques to sterilize male sperm. At a 2010 TED conference Bill Gates spoke openly of depopulating the total of 6.8 billion people living on earth by up to “10 to 15%” using both of his heavily funded vaccine and contraception programs that will render much of the global population infertile. Meanwhile, billionaire Ted Turner went even further, offering his public opinion to decrease the world population by 70% down to “two billion.” It too is on tape.

Calls to begin sterilizing the human population began surfacing back in the mid-1970’s with Henry Kissinger as former Secretary of State and high ranking Bilderberg member in his declassified National Security Council document (1974) entitled “The Implications of World-wide Population Growth on the Security and External Interests of the United States.” This document emphasized highest priority given to implementing birth control programs targeting thirteen Third World nations mostly in South America. Extraordinary resources were allocated through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) pushing the carrot stick of additional financial aid to countries willing to enact sterilization and depopulation programs.

More overt evidence of the callous contempt that globalist oligarchs have toward us 99%-ers is captured in a statement written by Prince Phillip, Queen Elizabeth II’s husband in the forward of his book, “I must confess that I am tempted to ask for reincarnation as a particularly deadly virus” to reduce the human population. It seems readily discernable that an explicit globalist agenda for a New World Order openly propagated with repeated references by President Goerge Bush senior includes depopulation through various means, water control through privatization just one of many in the power elite’s arsenal.

Humans have been dying from lack of clean water for a long time now and will only continue dying at an even greater frequency if the plan to privatize water continues to unfold unchecked and without opposition. Fortunately forces have been mobilizing to combat water privatization. Just last week on the heels of the World Bank annual convening in Washington DC for several days of conferencing, an international coalition of anti-privatization water rights groups from India and America sent a formal message calling on the World Bank to end its destructive practice of privatizing water around the world under the guise of developmental progress. The Bank’s DC meetings had been touting lies and disinformation in an attempt to paint a glowing report showcasing the so called efficacy and successes that turning water rights over to the private sector have accomplished in recent years. The World Bank’s International Finance Corporation (IFC) as the planet’s largest funding source for water privatization provides loans and financing to Third World nations for private water management companies to take charge of municipal, regional and national water rights.

The director of a global advocacy group called Corporate Accountability International, Shayda Naficy, pointed out that 75% of expenses for running a water utility company should go to infrastructure. In nation after nation private companies have placed the priority of making a profit over the need to invest in necessary infrastructure to connect and adequately service water customers. In efforts to maximize cost efficiency as well as profits, water prices invariably go up and fast become out of reach for poorest customers. Cutting off the water supply to thousands of low income families unable to pay for their rising costs has become the all too frequent inevitable result. The World Bank’s 34 percent failure rate for all private water and sewerage contracts between 2000 and 2010 far surpasses its single digit failure rates in the telecommunications, energy and transportation industries.

Critics maintain that the public sector is far more accountable to its public constituents than private sector businesses that only answer to its board of directors to show sufficient profits. Corruption becomes commonplace. Additionally, a conflict of interest exists when the IFC acts as both a money lender and consultant to foreign municipalities in assigning no bid contracts to favored private water utility companies.

To best illustrate typical scenarios where water privatization is either not working or already proved a failure deserve close examination. The good news is that in recent years people in various parts of the world have been mobilizing successful efforts and campaigns to stop water privatization in their own backyards. Presently in a number of regions in India, citizens are banding together to confront and fight the myriad of problems with water privatization in their country.

Recently in Nagpur, central India’s largest city where the country’s first municipal partnership with a private utility company is being played out, major tensions have erupted. Three years ago the city signed a 25-year contract with Veolia Water to supply the city of 2.7 million residents with 24 hour-7-days a week water service. Instead unforeseen delays driving up prices manyfold along with unfair water distribution and frequent service breakdowns have led to widespread angry protests in the streets and charges of corruption. City officials point to a series of serious contract violations. Again cutting corners by refusing to invest in the needed infrastructure appears to be the primary cause for this failed project. The Corporate Accountability International’s 2012 report called Shutting the Spigot on Private Water: The Case for the World Bank to Divest” cites a number of similar cases where privatization has proven ineffective.

Bold and empowered citizens in Bolivia in the year 2000 made headlines around the globe when they were victorious in kicking out privatized water there in the form of the Bechtel, the fifth largest private corporation on the planet. Impassioned protestors in Bolivia’s third-largest city managed to oppose Bechtel’s increasing prices and demanded that the company abandon its hold on their city’s municipal water supply, eventually driving the powerful scandalous giant out of the country. Though big business efforts to buy and control water rights in many Latin American nations have each had their turn in nations like Equator and Brazil, only Chile water services are privatized. Ultimately local residents virtually everywhere privatization has attempted to take hold has been met with such strong resistance from consumers who realize their private utility company has failed miserably in delivering quality service at affordable prices.

The story is always the same. That is why advocacy groups like Corporate Accountability International is proactively working toward educating governments and citizens worldwide to ensure water remains under the public domain. The exhaustive and expensive legal process of ending long term contracts and successfully removing privatized foreign corporations once established in a city, state or country is formidable. It is obviously in the best interests of people around the world to ensure privatization of their water supply never gets a local foothold in the first place.

Nestlé corporation’s marketing campaign targeted wealthy Pakistanis in Lahore, and its brand of bottled water ‘Pure Life’ became a status symbol for the rich. To bottle its product, Nestlé busily dried up local underground springs that subsequently caused the village poor unable to buy the bottled water stolen from their springs to end up consuming contaminated water. Nestlé went on to extracting water from two deep wells in Bhati Dilwan village, forcing them to turn to bottled water. A similar story emerged from Nigeria where a single bottled water exceeds the average daily income of a Nigerian citizen. Nestlé is notorious for draining local water supplies used to bottle its water brands, then charge unaffordable prices to the local population whose clean water supply was stolen from them.

Corporate Watch released a report exposing some of the unethical and illegal practices that Nestlé has long been committing around the globe, completely disregarding public health concerns while destroying natural environments to ensure huge annual profits of $35 billion just from water bottle sales alone. In Brazil’s Serra da Mantiqueira region where the groundwater is rich in mineral content containing medicinal properties, over-pumping has depleted its valuable water resources and caused permanent damage to the natural environment. and long-term damage.

Nestlé has also allegedly been involved in human trafficking of child slave labor. A BBC investigative report claimed that “hundreds of thousands of children in Mali, Burkina Faso and Togo were being purchased from their destitute parents and shipped to the Ivory Coast to be sold as slaves to cocoa farms.” Yet Nestlé likely bought the cocoa from the Ivory Coast and Ghana knowing it was produced using child slaves.

Finally, Nestlé owns or leases fifty spring sites throughout America. Nestlé controls a third of the domestic market for bottled water in the US. The company is notorious for unlawful extraction of spring water while engaging in price-gouging and reeking havoc in numerous communities. An example of the trouble Nestlé typically causes is Colorado where 80% of the citizens of Aurora were opposed to Nestlé’s presence, fully aware of the company’s terrible reputation for damaging communities and natural environments. Yet the city council voted in favor 7 to 4 to let the devastation begin and over the next decade Nestlé extracted 650 million gallons of precious Arkansas River valley water that went into its Arrowhead Springs brand of bottled water. For years the embattled townspeople of Aurora fought to rid the company predator from destroying their precious aquifers. Additionally, the plastic non-biodegradable bottles are major pollutants that stay toxically intact for a full millennium.

The cumulative grave effects of privatizing water as a global commodity are appalling. The underprivileged residents of Jakarta, Manila and Nairobi pay 5 to 10 times more for water than those living in high-income areas of those same cities. People living in the Third World slums even pay more for water than upscale New Yorkers and Londoners. This kind of unfairness and inequity is obscene. Women in places in Africa where privatized water is beyond their limit walk miles to obtain dirty water from rivers and then too often die along with their children from contamination and disease. Asian farmers are losing their livelihoods if they are unable to receive state funded irrigation. The human suffering caused globally by wealthy private corporations from North America and Europe exploiting people from Third World nations for pure profit is nothing less than pure psychopathic evil.

Taking on global privatization of water for the well being and greater good of the people is but an example of the monumental work that needs to be done. Only if informed, caring and committed human beings collectively come together worldwide to take a global stand against this gravest of life and death issues facing humanity can this oligarch agenda be stopped dead in its tracks. As global human rights activists it is up to us to end the global corporate malevolence and malfeasance from further damaging and afflicting our planet like never before. With the recent formal finding that Americans no longer live in a democracy but an oligarchy, as if we did not already painfully know, it becomes even more “formally” imperative now that we as ordinary citizens of the world take the vested interest in preserving life on our only planet before it becomes too late. It is high time we take back our planet once and for all from the oligarchic corporatocracy bent on insidiously making our earthly home increasingly uninhabitable for all life forms.

Mass extinction of plant and animal species that have thrived on this planet for millions of years is silently, invisibly taking place every single day right before our eyes. At ever-perilous stake now is our own human species as well as all living species inhabiting this earth, suffering at the hands of national governments that have corruptly co-opted with the banking cabal-owned transnational corporations and for too many decades been systematically destroying the richly diverse natural ecosystems of all earthly life forms on an unprecedented scale.

Since governmental co-opting with global fortune 500 corporations has been polluting and poisoning the earth’s skies, its waters, food sources and seeds for so long, global theft and destruction has us humans and all life forms teetering now on the brink of complete self-annihilation and extinction, human-induced for the first time on a massive never before seen scale. It is time to hold the oligarchy in the form of corporations responsible for all the damage they have reeked on this earth. No more grotesque “Abama-nations” of bank and Wall Street bailouts at taxpayer expense. Since the 99% in debt to the hilt have been squeezed dry, while the 1% have made this planet nearly unlivable as the only ones filthily richly profiting from their plundering this earth, the transnationals are the sole entities with the financial capital and means to clean up the very mess they created. It is only fair then that after an entire century of mucking the planet up at our expense, that they now need to finally be held accountable for repairing the destruction they directly caused and obscenely profited from.

Posted in Politics, World1 Comment

Sharing – the alternative to inequality and collapse

NOVANEWS
Sharing and inequality

By Graham Peebles

Depending on who you listen to and how it is defined, worldwide income and wealth inequality is either more acute than it has ever been, or the gap between the rich and the rest is narrowing.

The numbers may be distorted by conflicting statistics but what is indisputable is the shadow of extreme poverty that billions are living under, the economic induced anxiety millions more face every day, and the fact that the rich continue to get richer.

Of the 7.2 billion people in the world, around half are living on less than USD 2.00 a day – that’s the official barrier to the land of poverty set by the World Bank. Most of these people are to be found in the slums or villages of India, China, and the shantytowns and rural settlements of sub-Saharan Africa, where 48 per cent of the population live on less than USD 1.25 a day, according to the World Bank.

In the “land of the free”, where anyone can supposedly become a zillionaire, income and wealth inequality is the most acute of any industrialized nation and the highest it’s been since 1928.

Inequality, Noam Chomsky says, “has reached historic heights”, heights revealed by Oxfam in a recent report (using data from the Credit Suisse’s 2013 Global Wealth Report).

Almost half of the world’s wealth is now owned by just 1 per cent of the population. The wealth of the 1 per cent richest people in the world amounts to USD 110 trillion. That’s 65 times the total wealth of the bottom half of the world’s population. The bottom half of the world’s population [3.6 billion] owns the same as the richest 85 people in the world.

The Washington Post reports Credit Suisse’s findings that “the lower half of the global population possesses barely 1 per cent of global wealth while the richest 10 per cent of adults own 86 per cent of all wealth, and the top 1 per cent account for 46 per cent of the total.”

In the “land of the free”, where anyone can supposedly become a zillionaire, income and wealth inequality is the most acute of any industrialized nation and the highest it’s been since 1928. The median wage for a working man in the US today, according to Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Steiglitz “is below its level in 1989”. But not to worry, the top 1 per cent in America are doing just fine: Oxfam found that “the wealthiest 1 per cent captured 95 per cent of post-financial crisis [2009 onwards] growth, while the bottom 90 per cent became poorer”. To be born poor in the US is to remain poor: upward mobility remains virtually non-existent and “the American dream” little more than a frothy Hollywood fantasy.

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) makes clear its view in a comprehensive report pointing to the stark differences existing in income within OECD countries. “It reaches 10 to 1 in Italy, Japan, Korea and the United Kingdom,” leaps to “around 14 to 1 in Israel, Turkey and the United States, and “27 to 1 in Mexico and Chile.” It also lists the US as having the highest poverty rate of all OECD countries (aside from Turkey), and slumbering near the bottom in terms of social justice.

Income imbalance is only part of the divisive and socially unjust problem of inequality.

To be born poor in the US is to remain poor: upward mobility remains virtually non-existent and “the American dream” little more than a frothy Hollywood fantasy.

Wealth inequality is the other half of the puzzle, and it’s constantly growing, as French economist Thomas Piketty makes clear in his new book, Capital and the 21st Century. “In societies where the rate of return on capital outstrips economic growth, wealth inequality ineluctably rises. Once constituted, capital reproduces itself faster than economic output increases.”  Accelerating the social chasm that is wealth inequality, making it more difficult month on month, year on year to close the wealth gap and reduce the inequity. “In Europe the wealthiest 10 per cent own 60 per cent of wealth, in the US its 70 per cent.” Piketty warns that if wealth inequality is allowed to grow, the consequences are “potentially terrifying”.

Discolouring democracy

Inequality has far-reaching social effects and erodes democracy. Grossly unequal societies have greater levels of alcohol and drug addiction, more crime, lower mortality rates, higher child pregnancies and lower literacy levels than less unequal countries. 

Political influence and control are added bonuses for the rich; as for the rest, well, they get to vote but have little or no influence over government policy and overwhelmingly distrust politicians. With dire poverty, as experienced by the 3.5 billion living somehow, goes lack of education, vulnerability and exploitation, all of which discolour democracy.

Inequality is the plague of our times, a divisive epidemic caused by the unjust economic system based on neo-liberalism, or market fundamentalism, which saturates the world. It is a system which, Noam Chomsky says, is “so dysfunctional that it cannot put eager hands to needed work”, as would happen “if the economy were designed to serve human need rather than create wealth beyond avarice for the privileged few”. This dysfunctional and socially unjust system has facilitated “very high concentrations of wealth, and with it political power, which yields [favourably skewed] legislation, which drives the cycle forward”.

Based as it is on competition, this dysfunctional model breeds insecurity and stress, encourages separation and division, leading to social tension and a lack of trust. A recent survey found that in America – where inequality is “off the scale” – only 15 per cent admitted trusting their neighbours, whereas in more equitable societies the number is closer to 60 per cent. It encourages short-termism and promotes the idea that everyone and everything is a commodity to be bought and sold at a profit. It has condemned billions to lives of stifling poverty, concentrated extreme wealth and power, and poisoned the planet – perhaps irredeemably.

The driving doctrine of neo-liberalism is selfishness, well-expressed, Chomsky relates, “by Adam Smith (1723-90) in what he called “the vile maxim of the masters of the mankind – all for ourselves and nothing for other people”. It is a maxim religiously adhered to by the corporate proponents of the system and their political allies.

According to a small army of leading economists (many of whom forecast the 2008 crash), it is a system on the brink of collapse – again. And this time, they say, it will be worse than  in 2008.

The neo-liberal model is an unjust system that belongs in the past; it serves not the majority of people, the 99.9 per cent who have had enough of social injustice, government duplicity and inequity…

Peter Schiff, the best-selling author and chief executive of Euro Pacific Capital, says “the crisis is imminent… we’re [the US] broke… we owe trillions [US public debt is around 17.5 trillion to date]. Look at our budget deficit; look at the debt to GDP ratio, the unfunded liabilities. If we were in the Eurozone, they would kick us out.” Schiff predicted the 2007 meltdown and believes that the 2008 stock market collapse “wasn’t the real crash. The real crash is coming… And it will be worse than the Great Recession.”

It is a view shared by others, including Robert Wiedemer, best-selling author of The Aftershock Investor, who points out that the so-called recovery is “100 per-cent fake”. He explains that the GDP of America in 2013 “grew 2 per cent or USD 350 billion, but we borrowed over USD 700 billion. That tells you right there that we are borrowing more than we are even growing.” He goes on to predict “the big one [collapse] is coming… we’re just pumping up the bubbles, and all that’s going to do is make them a lot worse when they pop.”

Marc Faber, financial adviser and fund manager, expresses the same view, saying, “we are in a gigantic financial asset bubble”, which “could burst any day,” as does renowned pundit Warren Buffet, who is “pointing to an imminent and devastating crash”. Given unprecedented levels of debt and youth unemployment, together with growing inequality and a flock of financial bubbles from bonds to housing – from Britain, where it is burgeoning and ready to burst, to Australia and the US, via China and various points in between. This includes some developing countries that have been persuaded to adopt the same model because, according to the high priests of corporate capitalism, there is no alternative. Well, for the millions and billions living without, we had better find one and soon.

The collapse of this violent and unjust monster seems inevitable, whether it arrives in 2014, 2015 or a few years later.

There is, of course, a body of less pessimistic views. These come mainly from those in charge of Western economies – treasury men and national bankers wedded to the comforting model of the familiar. Their political careers uppermost in their ambitious and dishonest minds, they cling to a dying paradigm and cannot see a more socially just, unifying alternative. Notwithstanding their remonstrations, the urgent need for a new economic system, based on equality and fairness, is clear. The neo-liberal model is an unjust system that belongs in the past; it serves not the majority of people, the 99.9 per cent who have had enough of social injustice, government duplicity and inequity, and have taken to the streets in huge numbers in cities across the world to make known their collective view.

Sharing: the common-sense alternative

We are living in times of great change as we move from one model of civilization, built in a time when conflicting “isms” dominated man’s thinking, and religious, political and social ideologies fought for dominance. New ideas, based on perennial principles of freedom, social justice and unity are increasingly influencing our thinking. Qualities like cooperation, tolerance and synthesis are at the heart of the new way. Such ideas run contrary to the existing socio-economic ideologies (with their focus on the individual, competition and nationalism), and are anathema to the reactionary, mainly conservative (large and small “c”) neo-liberal disciples, who resist change as they seek to maintain the status quo that rewards them so very well.

Our civilisation is so dominated by market fundamentalist madness that, in a world of plenty, we allow 20,000 children to die every day of starvation- and poverty-related illnesses, and millions more to live unfulfilled, stunted lives…

The forecast economic crash is not an isolated collapse; it is a symptom of a broader movement of change and the dissolution of inadequate structures. The old must give way in order to accommodate new truly democratic ways of organizing society.

As Thomas Piketty says, “If democracy is some day to regain control of capitalism, it must start by recognizing that the concrete institutions in which democracy and capitalism are embodied need to be reinvented again and again.”

Our civilisation is so dominated by market fundamentalist madness that, in a world of plenty, we allow 20,000 children to die every day of starvation- and poverty-related illnesses, and millions more to live unfulfilled, stunted lives without access to education, health care and basic sanitation and shelter. This, and a plethora of other poverty-related issues, must all come to an end: forced labour, debt bondage, trafficking of persons (primarily women and girls for prostitution and associated poisons), the displacement of indigenous people, the destruction of the environment, and the denial of people’s basic human rights.

Piketty asserts that “we need to rebuild the democratic institutions that can redistribute income and wealth”. Redistribution, or sharing, of resources, skills and knowledge is the common sense option to the destructive neo-liberal model. Putting the principle of sharing at the heart of the economic system is a sane alternative that is increasingly gaining ground.

A plethora of sharing initiatives have been set up, many of them local, from sharing unwanted items through various recycling websites, to car and bicycle sharing schemes. Systems of information sharing are growing, whether smallholder farmers in India spreading their wisdom and sharing their experiences through a mobile phone app, or the mighty United Nations. Above all sharing unites people, building relationships and creating the possibility for trust to flower, something inequality has destroyed.

Not only would sharing be a huge step towards alleviating worldwide poverty and reducing inequality, it would also help in the creation of social justice – an essential pre-requisite in establishing peace.

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When Yitzhar settlers attack

NOVANEWS

Fuad Shehadeh and his son Mohammed at Ichilov Hospital

The violence of the settlers in Yitzhar hardly began with the slashing of the tires. Ask Fuad Shehadeh, 54, who has been hospitalized for six weeks.

Haaretz

He is suffering from no fewer than 10 fractures – eight along his right leg and two in his left arm – and painful bruises on his head and his right arm. It is a month and a half since Fuad Shehadeh was beaten savagely by masked individuals wielding iron rods who came from the direction of the Yitzhar settlement, near Nablus. He is still in Ichilov Hospital in Tel Aviv, groaning with pain. For a month and a half, he hasn’t been able to stand; for a month and a half, his son has been living in an armchair next to his bed, the two of them alone in a hospital in the big city.

For years, those who were appalled at the violent attacks on Israeli soldiers by Yitzhar settlers have turned a blind eye to the violence of those same settlers against their Palestinian neighbors. The vicious assault on Shehadeh wasn’t even reported in the Israeli media, and the Israel Police have not yet bothered to take his testimony. A gang of 15 or so people, their faces covered, attack a helpless farmer in his olive grove, bludgeon him mercilessly with iron rods, breaking his bones in 10 different places, an Israeli soldier looks on without lifting a finger – and no one is even questioned.

Shehadeh, a decorator aged 54, married and the father of three, runs a small curtain-making business in his home town of Hawara on the outskirts of Nablus. For the past month he’s been in the orthopedic department of Ichilov Hospital, after having spent some two weeks in Rafadiya Hospital in Nablus. After undergoing surgery at Ichilov and spending weeks on his back in bed, his leg and arm are still in a cast and he has a long way to go before he can stand on his feet again. His neighbor in the hospital room is a religiously observant Jew; Shehadeh told him only that he fell and was injured. “He thinks I am a good Arab. If I tell him that settlers did this to me, he might be afraid of me,” Shehadeh says. Our conversation is conducted in a whisper, lest the religious Jew on the other side of the divider overhears and discovers the truth about his Arab neighbor.

The incident occurred on Friday, February 28. That morning, Shehadeh’s friend Ahmed Oudeh suggested they go together to the olive grove that belongs to their families on the slope of the hill above Hawara, some 500 meters from the town. It was the tree-pruning season, so they took some tools and drove to the site in Oudeh’s car.

They worked until midday, together with Shehadeh’s uncle and his children, who had joined them. At about 1:30, they were almost ready to head back home, and they made a small fire to burn the branches they’d pruned. The uncle and his children walked down the hill. Shehadeh and Oudeh collected the tools, loaded them into the latter’s Renault Express and got into the van for the short trip home.

As they drove in reverse on their way out of the grove, the van was suddenly pelted by a volley of stones – the overture to the pogrom. A dozen or so masked individuals, who came, Shehadeh says, from the direction of Yitzhar, loomed before them, armed with iron rods and stones. They did not have firearms. Oudeh tried to turn the vehicle around to get away, but he was in a panic and it stalled. “Let’s get out and run for it,” Shehadeh urged, deathly afraid. Stones continued to smash against the van.

The two started to run down the hill toward Hawara, leaving the Renault behind. After taking a few steps, Shehadeh saw an iron rod land on his leg. “The leg was broken on the spot,” he says. Staggered by the intensity of the blow and the pain, he fell to the ground on his back. Then he saw six more masked vandals coming toward him up the hill, in addition to the dozen charging from above. They rained down blows with the metal rods as he lay helpless on the ground. Shehadeh tried to protect his head with his hands, “so they wouldn’t smash it open.”

“On the head, give it to him on the head,” Shehadeh, who speaks fluent Hebrew, heard one of the assailants say. “I saw my grave with my mind’s eye,” he recalls.

One of the blows struck his hand, with which he was protecting his head, fracturing it in two places. The others hammered down on his legs, fracturing one of them in eight places, along its entire length. He was also struck on the side of the head, causing the area to swell up, and on his other arm. “All six of them were on me and all of them were beating me.”

An Israel Defense Forces soldier who was standing not far away observed the scene. He made no effort to stop the assailants, who stood above Shehadeh, who lay wounded on the ground. Oudeh came to Shehadeh’s aid by throwing stones at the attackers. It was only then, according to Shehadeh, that the soldier who was watching the incident ordered the attackers to desist. “Yallah, enough,” he heard the soldier say.

At which point the assailants left. Friends from Harawa who were summoned urgently to the scene rushed Shehadeh to the hospital in Nablus. On March 16, he was moved to the orthopedic department at Ichilov. There he underwent surgery and has been hospitalized since. He was informed by the Palestinian Coordination and Liaison Directorate that the Israel Police had detained (and released) the assailants, who claimed that “he was going to burn Yitzhar” and that “he is not allowed to be there.” Yitzhar is three to four kilometers from the olive grove where Shehadeh was pruning trees. The only fire he lit was to burn the deadwood.

Now and then his son Mohammed, 20, wheels him down to the hospital courtyard in the bed. Shehadeh’s brother, who has a permit to work in Israel, visits him occasionally. The rest of the family is denied entry into Israel. To this day, Shehadeh has not heard anything from the Israel Police. No one has asked him to make a statement, not even now, when he is hospitalized in Israel. He was told they might phone him, but they did not. Palestinian liaison staff told him to go to the police and give testimony after he is discharged. There’s no rush – in any case, no one will do anything with the testimony.

He says he would not be able to identify the assailants, because they were masked. “If the police want to, they could find them,” he says. But he can identify the soldier who stood by and did nothing. “Happy holiday,” he tells us as we part on Passover eve.

The Israeli organization Yesh Din – Volunteers for Human Rights, which is handling Shehadeh’s case with the Israeli law enforcement authorities, last week published the data from their inquiries of the past two years. No fewer than 97.3 percent of the investigations of violent events in the Yitzhar area, where attacks by settlers are rampant, ended with no results. To put it another way: The probes failed. Of 45 cases that were investigated, only one produced an indictment.

Shehadeh’s case is likely to be added to these disgraceful statistics, which tell the whole story. Yesh Din has approached the Justice Ministry’s department for the investigation of police officers and the headquarters of the Samaria and Judea District police. Shehadeh’s friend, Ahmed Oudeh, filed a complaint the day after the attack. Shehadeh is still waiting for police to come to the hospital and take his testimony.

The spokesperson for the Judea and Samaria district of the police, in response to a query this week, told Haaretz that, after checking, it had no knowledge of the incident at Hawara. After receiving the police file number from us, the spokesperson hastily promised to send an investigator to Shehadeh – a month and a half after the attack and the filing of a complaint. It then sent the following statement: “After receiving an inquiry from Yesh Din regarding the investigation of the mutual attack between Palestinians and masked settlers, adjacent to Hawara, an investigator was sent to take testimony from the injured party, and to continue the investigation to determine the identity of the attackers. At the direction of the district command, an officer was appointed to check the handling of the investigation.”

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