Archive | June 3rd, 2015

Gripped by his ankles, a man is held above 100ft

NOVANEWS

Gripped by his ankles, a man is held above 100ft drop as bloodthirsty Zio-Wahhabi ISIS waits to watch him dropped to his death 

Zio-Wahhabi SAVAGES have brutally murdered three men by throwing them from the top of a high building in front of a huge crowd.

isis-executes-three-homosexuals-by-throwing-them-off-roof-graphic-pictures-14109

Disturbing photographs of the atrocity – believed to have been taken place in ISIS’ stronghold Mosul.

In one chilling shot, a man wearing a blue tracksuit is seen being dangled over the edge of the building by his ankles by a leather-jacketed ISIS jihadi just moments away from letting him fall.

isis-executes-three-homosexuals-by-throwing-them-off-roof-graphic-pictures-14111

In the event the horrifically injured men are not killed upon impact with the ground, the baying crowd are encouraged to surge forward and stone them to death with a mass of rocks helpfully provided by the Zio_Wahhabi ISIS savages who organise the terror group’s sickening public executions.

In a sequence of images, some of which are far too brutal to publish, the jihadis are seen with the men on the roof of the building before dropping them to their deaths.

isis-executes-three-homosexuals-by-throwing-them-off-roof-graphic-pictures-14112

The building is approximately 100 feet tall, giving the condemned men several seconds of harrowing free-fall before impacting with the ground.

One particularly gruesome image a blindfolded man with a beard is seen tumbling backwards through the air as the bloodied and mangled corpses of his fellow victims lie below.

isis-executes-three-homosexuals-by-throwing-them-off-roof-graphic-pictures-14113

In a horrific reminder of the local support Zio-Wahhabi ISIS has mustered in Mosul, the audience gathered to watch the brutal murders is so large that several militants are deployed as crowd control.

isis-executes-three-homosexuals-by-throwing-them-off-roof-graphic-pictures-13915-1

It is far from the first time Zio-Wahhabi ISIS savages have murdered men they accused of being gay in this way.  In fact the terror group regularly uses images of men being thrown from buildings in front of baying crowds in its sickening propaganda releases.

One particularity brutal twist is that many of the victims are not immediately killed by the fall. But as one might expect, Zio-Wahhabi ISIS has its own particularly barbaric contingency plan for such a circumstance.

1421633899569_700

The jihadis who organise the public executions always ensure there is a large pile of rocks on hand at the site, which the baying crowd are encouraged to use to stone any survivors to death.

gay-death

This sickening twist on audience participation is believed to be why attendance at public murders is so high, with men and boys using motorbikes to travel from nearby villages for such events.

The crowds also usually contain groups of niqab-wearing women, who are granted special permission to leave their homes in order to witness the atrocities.

maxresdefault

Posted in IraqComments Off on Gripped by his ankles, a man is held above 100ft

Zio-Nazi state-approved abuse of children – for profit

NOVANEWS
Israeli state-approved child abuse

Marianne Azizi writes:

It’s been a harrowing week. I visited one mother who has divorced a man with “connections”. Despite her fear for her son, she has a court order which declares she will face three days in prison each time she refuses visits between her son and her former husband.

Last week her son visited his father and was sexually abused. The boy, aged nine, refused outright to ever see his father again. She reported the matter to the police but they told her only social workers could prevent the abuse. She went to the social workers, who told her only the police reports would help. She is trapped in a nightmare with no one in authority prepared to help protect her child.

She is not alone. I have witnessed repeatedly the power of social workers in Israel. They literally inform and instruct police on how to act, as highlighted by Moti Leybel’s arrest and prison spell last week.

“There is no gender discrimination in forcing children to be abused”

I witnessed a phone call in which a single dad of two children was told by a social worker that he must force his children against their will to visit their mother, who abandoned them years ago. On forced visits, they were locked in a room without food and water by the mother, and refused to go back. Yet social workers threatened the father he would lose his children unless he forced them to visit. There is no gender discrimination in forcing children to be abused.

Daniel is the father of a four-and-a-half-year-old child. His son lives with his mother and her boyfriend. Despite attempts for over a year for a protection order, this has been refused. The boy suffers from multiple injuries, and still the social workers refuse to investigate the abuse. Last week his mother travelled abroad, but the boy was not placed in the hands of his own father. On the day of her return he saw his father, and hours after he had gone back to his mother he ended up in hospital. The usual excuse of clumsiness was given.

As I have already written, it is plain that the child is suffering from fear and abuse. Yet, the social workers refuse to intervene, and police files have been closed, over and over again. The father is in despair.

Last night, I spent the night in the hospital. A middle class mother has been trying for over a year to prevent visits of her son to his father. He is a small child, underweight and small for his age. He is five-and-a-half years old but looks much younger. A year ago. The father was allowed to visit his son only in a contact centre, due to suspicion of his treatment of the boy. Over time, after showering his child with presents, he was finally allowed to see the boy after school, returning him to the contact centre for collection. Last night the boy complained of pains, and described events in which his genitals had been pulled by his father. The mother immediately took him to hospital where it was confirmed that the boy had been abused. After several hours there, and then going to the police, a complaint was filed and a request to arrest the father was made. Twenty four hours later, no one knows what is happening. No one is informed during an investigation.

Children are being stolen from parents and put into private institutions, and others are left to face abuse.

These children and many more are the reason why Moti Leybel is campaigning against the social workers in Israel. Should a child actually be murdered before something is done? After spending 24 hours in prison, Moti is called back for yet more police investigations – anything to interfere with his work and gag him.

Demonstrations against so-called “welfare services” in various countries are starting to grow. There is something terrible happening to our children worldwide. But the right of the people of Norway to actually demonstrate, as shown in this report, is not afforded to people in Israel. What is shocking in Israel is that there is no pathway back for children to be reunited with their parents, and no right to protest.

The country is increasingly becoming a police state. Children are being stolen from parents and put into private institutions, and others are left to face abuse. It is a broken system, but there is a lot of profit to be made.

The money being sent from overseas to Israel doesn’t reach the 36 per cent of people in poverty, nor the 800,000 hungry children.

No wonder this sector of the population has no interest in politics and is just calling out to the world for help.

Posted in ZIO-NAZI, Human RightsComments Off on Zio-Nazi state-approved abuse of children – for profit

New Study Confirms BP Linked To Dolphin Deaths in Gulf of Mexico

NOVANEWS
Global Research
Gulf Oil Spill-Dead Dolphins

A new study published in the peer-reviewed online journal PLOS ONE hypothesizes that dolphins are dying in mass directly because of BP’s 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Though BP denies the validity of the scientific data, it indicates that impairment caused by the toxic oil is causing widespread death in the bottlenose dolphin population.

The study was conducted from June 2010 to December 2012 on 46 dead dolphins that stranded near Louisiana, Mississippi or Alabama. 22 were from Barataria Bay, the hardest hit area in the spill. All were labeled UME dolphins (unusual mortality event). They were studied in reference to deceased dolphins from a separate region that was not exposed to oil.

Lead researcher, veterinary pathologist Kathleen Colegrove, said,

“We found that dolphins that stranded and died after the oil spill were more likely to have distinct adrenal gland and lung abnormalities compared to other dolphins that were not exposed to oil. These abnormalities, importantly, are very consistent with abnormalities that have been seen in other animals following petroleum oil exposure.”

Though the study examined various systems and organs, the most significant differences between subject and control dolphins were in the lungs, adrenal glands, and lymphoid system.

Whereas 7% of reference dolphins presented a thin cortical lining of the adrenal gland (adrenal cortical atrophy), 33% of UME dolphins did. 50% of Barataria Bay dolphins displayed this disorder. The researchers noted that to their knowledge, adrenal cortical atrophy had not previously been found in free-range cetaceans.

The study explained that death was likely caused directly by:

“1) affected adrenal gland cortices, causing chronic adrenal insufficiency, 2) increased susceptibility to life-threatening adrenal crises, especially when challenged with pregnancy, cold temperatures, and infections, and 3) increased susceptibility to primary bacterial pneumonia, possibly due to inhalation injury, aspiration of oil, or perturbations in immune function.”

As Stephanie Venn-Watson, veterinary epidemiologist at the National Marine Mammal Foundation and lead author of the study clarified,

“Animals with adrenal insufficiency are less able to cope with additional stressors in their everyday lives…and when those stressors occur, they are more likely to die.”

Further, Colegrove remarked that

“These dolphins had some of the most severe lung lesions I have seen in the over 13 years that I have been examining dead dolphin tissues from throughout the United States.”

The lesions are caused by severe pneumonia, which according to the study, was often caught because of adrenal cortical atrophy.

Additionally, the analysis found that “UME dolphins had a higher prevalence of lymphoid depletion in either or both the spleen or lymph node than reference dolphins.”

The researchers acknowledged that there could have been other causes of death among the UME dolphins, including “combined oil exposure, an unusually cold winter during 2011, and fresh water infusions.”

Nevertheless, the study concluded that “… contaminants from the DWH oil spill contributed to the high numbers of dolphin deaths within this oil spill’s footprint during the northern GoM UME following the DWH oil spill.”

Though BP was ordered to pay a $13.5 billion fine (less than expected) as punishment, the sum amounts to the cost of doing business with a government that creates hegemonic systems of oppression by colluding with corporations. The fine parallels the futility of recent DOJ fines on big banks that perpetrated the financial collapse. In spite of billions of dollars in slaps on the wrist, the corporations forced to pay maintain full power.

Naturally, BP refused to accept responsibility for the spill’s effects on dolphins—in spite of the fact that the Deepwater Horizon oil spill was the largest in history. The 200 million gallon spill endangered countless animalsand still pollutes the region. Even so, BP said last week that

“The data we have seen thus far, including the new study from NOAA, do not show that oil from the Deepwater Horizon accident caused an increase in dolphin mortality.”

The study was funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and “other federal and state trustees,” but it was also funded by BP itself. In response to BP’s statement, Colegrove stressed a rigorous peer-review process.

Whether or not BP admits it, dolphins in the Gulf of Mexico continue to suffer the harmful effects of the company’s disaster. As other marine animals also struggle to survive, it is time to hold the perpetrators accountable not only financially, but by lessening the power the corporation wields over the system..

Posted in USAComments Off on New Study Confirms BP Linked To Dolphin Deaths in Gulf of Mexico

New Torture Account Demonstrates Senate Report Just Tip of Iceberg

NOVANEWS
Torture-an-executive-summary-6

Commenting on the release of a new account by a Guantanamo detainee of his torture at the hands of the CIA, Cori Crider, an attorney at international human rights NGO Reprieve – which represents victims of rendition and torture operations – said:

“It has long been clear that the Senate torture report was only the tip of the iceberg. Some of the worst CIA abuses we know of were absent from the public version of the study.

“One example is the rendition of a pregnant woman and four young children to Colonel Gaddafi’s prisons in 2004 – solely because they were related to the dictator’s political opponents.  Reprieve is supporting them in their attempts to get justice, but so far neither the US – nor the UK’s MI6, which played a key role in the operation – have apologized.

“There is still a long road to travel before we see real justice and accountability for the victims of the CIA’s torture program.”

Posted in USA, Human RightsComments Off on New Torture Account Demonstrates Senate Report Just Tip of Iceberg

The US Arming of ISIS

NOVANEWS
Global Research
Obama_ISIS_death-cult

Ministers from 20 countries assembled in Paris June 2 in what was billed as a meeting of the coalition to combat the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). This alliance, cobbled together by Washington, consists largely of NATO allies together with Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf oil monarchies.

Notably absent from the proceedings were three countries that have been heavily involved in the fight against ISIS: Syria, Iran and Russia. This was by US design.

At the outset of the Paris meeting, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi accused the world of having “failed” Iraq, calling attention to the recent advances of ISIS in both Iraq and Syria as well as the uninterrupted flow of Islamist foreign fighters into both countries.

For his part, US Deputy Under Secretary of State Anthony Blinken insisted that Washington and its allies are pursuing a “winning strategy,” and that it would succeed “if we remain united, determined and focused.”

Over the past several weeks, this “winning strategy” has seen ISIS capture Ramadi, the capital of Iraq’s Anbar province, as well as the historic city of Palmyra in Syria. In the past few days, ISIS forces have advanced into Aleppo province in Syria, overrunning rival Islamist militias and Syrian government troops as well. This offensive has proceeded without any interference from US and allied warplanes supposedly waging an air war against ISIS.

“Focused” is scarcely a word that any objective observer would use to describe US policy in the region. While claiming to be committed to a war against ISIS, Washington and its regional allies have time and again proven themselves to be its principal sources of strength.

This movement did not exist until the US launched its criminal war of aggression against Iraq in 2003, killing hundreds of thousands of Iraqis and stoking sectarian tensions as part of a strategy of divide-and-conquer that deliberately pitted Shiites and Sunnis against each other.

It grew stronger based on the US-NATO war for regime change in Libya, which utilized Al Qaeda-linked militias—now affiliated with ISIS—as ground troops in overthrowing and murdering Muammar Gaddafi and plunging the country into a state of chaos that continues to this day. It was further strengthened by the US-backed war for regime change in Syria, in which ISIS emerged as the most powerful faction in the bloody sectarian war to overthrow the government of Bashar al-Assad.

The latest ISIS offensive has been made possible by a massive infusion of US weapons. Prime Minister Abadi admitted Monday that the Islamists captured some 2,300 armored Humvees—worth over one billion dollars—when it routed Iraqi security forces in Mosul nearly a year ago.

In a Reuters column Tuesday, Peter Van Buren, a former US State Department official in Iraq, reported that, in addition, at least 40 M1A2 main battle tanks as well as vast quantities of “small arms and ammunition, including 74,000 machine guns, and as many as 52 M198 howitzer moil gun systems” fell into the hands of the Islamist militia.

There is an inherent logic in the flow of US arms to ISIS, which, while officially branded as America’s most dangerous terrorist threat, is at the same time the most powerful military opponent of the Assad government in Syria.

It would not be the first time that American weapons were funneled to an ostensible enemy in order to further the counterrevolutionary aims of US imperialism. Thirty years ago, a similar scenario played out in what became known as the Iran-Contra affair, with a secret network in the White House organizing the sale of arms to Iran—then labeled by Washington as a terrorist nation—to fight against Iraq and, most crucially, to obtain money to secretly and illegally finance and arm the so-called contras in a CIA-orchestrated terrorist war against Nicaragua.

Whether or not similar behind-the-scenes machinations underlie the massive rearmament of ISIS, it would appear that different factions within the US government and its gargantuan military and intelligence apparatus are waging different wars in Iraq and Syria.

For a sizable faction within the US ruling establishment, the overthrow of Assad and with it the isolation, weakening and ultimate destruction of the governments of both Iran and Russia remain the overriding strategic aims. In the absence of the so-called moderate rebels that US imperialism and its pseudo-left apologists have tirelessly attempted to conjure up, they are prepared to utilize ISIS, the Al Nusra Front and similar Al Qaeda-linked elements to further these ends.

These strategic aims far outweigh any concern over terrorism, which they believe has its own uses as a means of terrorizing the American people into accepting war and police state measures.

This orientation likewise has a long history, going back to the US backing of Islamist elements in Afghanistan with the aim of giving the Soviet Union what was then described as its “own Vietnam.” That venture produced the Al Qaeda movement, which is officially blamed for the attacks of 9/11.

On the superficial level of media analysis, it becomes increasingly difficult to make any sense of American foreign policy. The apparent pursuit of inherently contradictory policies is bound up with the unavoidable difficulties that arise from attempting to exert control over the entire planet. Inevitably, this quest produces one catastrophe after another, from Afghanistan, to Iraq, to Libya, Syria and beyond.

Behind the apparent incoherence of American policy lie objectives that, at their deepest level, are wholly irrational. That is, the attempt to prop up by military means a position of global political hegemony that is already in advanced and irretrievable decline.

The bid by Washington to overcome by means of armed violence powerful objective tendencies rooted in the historic crisis of US and world capitalism yields a succession of utterly reckless and destructive interventions that together drive inexorably toward a Third World War.

Posted in Middle East, USAComments Off on The US Arming of ISIS

Human Rights and Soft Power in Russia

NOVANEWS
Global Research
Screen Shot 2015-06-01 at 6.47.45 PM

The news that Lyudmila Alekseyeva, head of the Russian Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) the Moscow-Helsinki Group, will be returning to the Presidential Council for Human Rights, has been heralded by many in the liberal establishment in Russia as a victory for their cause. Indeed, as an adversary of President Putin on numerous occasions, Alekseyeva has been held as a symbol of the pro-Western, pro-US orientation of Russian liberals who see in Russia not a power seeking independence and sovereignty from the global hegemon in Washington, but rather a repressive and reactionary country bent on aggression and imperial revanchism.

While this view is not one shared by the vast majority of Russians Putins approval rating continues to hover somewhere in the mid 80s it is most certainly in line with the political and foreign policy establishment of the US, and the West generally. And this is precisely the reason that Alekseyeva and her fellow liberal colleagues are so close to key figures in Washington whose overriding goal is the return of Western hegemony in Russia, and throughout the Eurasian space broadly. For them, the return of Alekseyeva is the return of a champion of Western interests into the halls of power in Moscow.

Washington and Moscow: Competing Agendas, Divergent Interests

Perhaps one should not overstate the significance of Alekseyeva as an individual. This Russian babushka approaching 90 years old is certainly still relevant, though clearly not as active as she once was. Nevertheless, one cannot help but admire her spirit and desire to engage in political issues at the highest levels. However, taking the pragmatic perspective, Alekseyeva is likely more a figurehead, a symbol for the pro-Western liberal class, rather than truly a militant leader of it. Instead, she represents the matriarchal public face of a cohesive, well-constructed, though relatively marginal, liberal intelligentsia in Russia that is both anti-Putin, and pro-Western.

There could be no better illustration of this point than Alekseyevas recent meeting with US Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland while Ms. Nuland was in Moscow for talks with her Russian counterparts. Alekseyeva noted that much of the meeting was focused on anti-US perception and public relations in Russia, as well as the reining in of foreign-sponsored NGOs, explaining that, [US officials] are also very concerned about the anti-American propaganda. I said we are very concerned about the law on foreign agents, which sharply reduced the effectiveness of the human rights community.

There are two distinctly different, yet intimately linked issues being addressed here. On the one hand is the fact that Russia has taken a decidedly more aggressive stance to US-NATO machinations throughout its traditional sphere of influence, which has led to demonization of Russia in the West, and the entirely predictable backlash against that in Russia. According to the Levada Center, nearly 60 percent of Russians believe that Russia has reasons to fear the US, with nearly 50 percent saying that the US represents an obstacle to Russias development. While US officials and corporate media mouthpieces like to chalk this up to Russian propaganda, the reality is that these public opinion numbers reflect Washington and NATOs actions, not their image, especially since the US-backed coup in Ukraine; Victoria Nuland herself having played the pivotal role in instigating the coup and setting the stage for the current conflict.

So while Nuland meets with Alekseyeva and talks of the anti-US perception, most Russians correctly see Nuland and her clique as anti-Russian. In this way, Alekseyeva, fairly or unfairly, represents a decidedly anti-Russian position in the eyes of her countrymen, cozying up to Russias enemies while acting as a bulwark against Putin and the government.

And then of course there is the question of the foreign agents law. The law, enacted in 2012, is designed to make transparent the financial backing of NGOs and other organizations operating in Russia with the financial assistance of foreign states. While critics accuse Moscow of using the law for political persecution, the undeniable fact is that Washington has for years used such organizations as part of its soft power apparatus to be able to project power and exert influence without ever having to be directly involved in the internal affairs of the targeted country.

From the perspective of Alekseyeva, the law is unjust and unfairly targets her organization, the Moscow-Helsinki Group, and many others. Alekseyeva noted that, We are very concerned about the law on foreign agents, which sharply reduced the effectiveness of the human rights community… [and] the fact the authorities in some localities are trying more than enough on some human rights organizations and declare as foreign agents those who have not received any foreign money or engaged in politics.

While any abuse of the law should rightly be investigated, there is a critical point that Alekseyeva conveniently leaves out of the narrative: the Moscow-Helsinki Group (MHG) and myriad other so-called human rights organizations are directly supported by the US State Department through its National Endowment for Democracy, among other sources. As the NEDs own website noted, the NED provided significant financial grants To support [MHGs] networking and public outreach programs. Endowment funds will be used primarily to pay for MHG staff salaries and rental of a building in downtown Moscow. Part of the office space rented will be made available at a reduced rate to NGOs that are closely affiliated with MHG, including other Endowment grantees. The salient point here is that the salary of MHG staff, the rent for their office space, and other critical operating expenses are directly funded by the US Government. For this reason, one cannot doubt that the term foreign agent directly and unequivocally applies to Alekseyevas organization.

But of course, the Moscow-Helsinki Group is not alone as more than fifty organizations have now registered as foreign agents, each of which having received significant amounts from the US or other foreign sources. So, an objective analysis would indicate that while there may be abuses of the law, as there are of all laws everywhere, by and large it has been applied across the board to all organizations in receipt of foreign financial backing.

It is clear that the US agenda, under the cover of democracy promotion and NGO strengthening is to weaken the political establishment in Russia through various soft power means, with Alekseyeva as the symbolic matriarch of the human rights complex in Russia. But what of Putins government? Why should they acquiesce to the demands of Russian liberals and allow Alekseyeva onto the Presidential Council for Human Rights?

The Russian Strategy

Moscow is clearly playing politics and the public perception game. The government is very conscious of the fact that part of the Western propaganda campaign is to demonize Putin and his government as authoritarian and violators of human rights. So by allowing the figurehead of the movement onto the most influential human rights-oriented body, Moscow intends to alleviate some of that pressure, and take away one of the principal pieces of ammunition for the anti-Russia propagandists.

But there is yet another, and far more significant and politically savvy reason for doing this: accountability. Putin is confident in his position and popularity with Russians so he is not at all concerned about what Alekseyeva or her colleagues might say or do on the Council. On the other hand, Putin can now hold Russian liberals accountable for turning a blind eye to the systematic violations of human rights by the Kiev regime, particularly in Donbass.

One of the primary issues taken up by the Presidential Council for Civil Society and Human Rights in 2014 was the situation in Ukraine. In October 2014, President Putin, addressing the Council stated:

[The developments in Ukraine] have revealed a large-scale crisis in terms of international law, the basic norms of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Convention on Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. We see numerous violations of Articles 3, 4, 5, 7 and 11 of the 1948 UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights and of Article 3 of the Convention on Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide of December 9, 1948. We are witnessing the application of double standards in the assessment of crimes against the civilian population of southeastern Ukraine, violations of the fundamental human rights to life and personal integrity. People are subjected to torture, to cruel and humiliating punishment, discrimination and illegal rulings. Unfortunately, many international human rights organisations close their eyes to what is going on there, hypocritically turning away.

With these and other statements, Putin placed the issue of Ukraine and human rights abuses squarely in the lap of the council and any NGOs and ostensible human rights representatives on it. With broader NGO representation, it only makes it all the more apparent. It will now be up to Alekseyeva and Co. to either pursue the issues, or discredit themselves as hypocrites only interested in subjects deemed politically damaging to Moscow, and thus advantageous to Washginton. This is a critical point because for years Russians have argued that these Western-funded NGOs only exist to demonize Russia and to serve the Western agenda; the issue of Ukraine could hammer that point home beyond dispute.

And so, the return of Alekseyeva, far from being a victory for the NGO/human rights complex in Russia, might finally force them to take the issue of human rights and justice seriously, rather than using it as a convenient political club to bash Russians over the head with. Perhaps Russian speakers in Donetsk and Lugansk might actually get some of the humanitarian attention they so rightfully deserve from the liberals who, despite their rhetoric, have shown nothing but contempt for the bleeding of Donbass, seeing it as not a humanitarian catastrophe, but a political opportunity. Needless to say, with Putin and the Russian government in control, the millions invested in these organizations by Washington have turned out to be a bad investment.

Posted in RussiaComments Off on Human Rights and Soft Power in Russia

Obama: ‘Israel’ losing credibility over Netanyahu’s opposition to Palestinian statehood

NOVANEWS
Obama says Israel is losing “credibility” over Netanyahu’s stance on the creation of a Palestinian state.

Obama says Israel is losing “credibility” over Netanyahu’s stance on the creation of a Palestinian state.

US President Barack Obama says Israel is losing “credibility” among the international community over Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s stance on the creation of a Palestinian state.

Obama also warned that his administration is reevaluating the long-standing US diplomatic support of Israel at the United Nations over the Palestine issue.

In an interview at the White House with Israel’s Channel Two television broadcast on Tuesday, the US president acknowledged that a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians in unlikely in the near future due to Netanyahu’s policies.

“I don’t see the likelihood of a framework agreement,” Obama said, adding that Netanyahu’s position “has so many caveats, so many conditions that it is not realistic to think that those conditions would be met at any time in the near future.

“So the danger is that Israel as a whole loses credibility. Already, the international community does not believe that Israel is serious about a two-state solution.”

On the eve of his March 17 election to a fourth term, Netanyahu said there would be no Palestinian state if he was reelected as prime minister.

Netanyahu has attempted to back-pedal from those remarks but his peace overtures have met with skepticism from Obama and Western diplomats, as well as the Palestinians.

President Obama speaks during an interview at the White House with Israel’s Channel Two television.

The last round of the so-called peace talks sponsored by the US stalled over a year ago, with Palestinians blaming Israel’s illegal settlement-building in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem al-Quds, among the territories where they seek an independent state.

Obama said now was the time for a reevaluation of “how we approach defending Israel on the international stage around the Palestinian issue.”

Asked whether US vetoes in favor of Israel would continue at the UN, Obama sounded cautious.

“Well, here’s the challenge. If in fact there is no prospect of an actual peace process, if nobody believes there is a peace process, then it becomes more difficult to argue with those who are concerned about settlement construction, those who are concerned about the current situation,” he said.

Relations between the United States and Israel have been strained since Obama took office in 2009.

The Obama administration has repeatedly criticized the Zionist regime for expanding the settlement projects in the occupied Palestinian territories.

Posted in USA, ZIO-NAZIComments Off on Obama: ‘Israel’ losing credibility over Netanyahu’s opposition to Palestinian statehood

Africa’s “Second Liberation” against Today’s Neo-Colonialism

NOVANEWS
Global Research
US+military+presence+in+west+and+central+Africa

On Monday March 25, many African Government offices, businesses and banks grind to a halt in order to commemorate Africa Day. In schools up and down the continent, little children are taught that heroic Africans liberated the continent from racist white colonial regimes and various events and parades are held to celebrate the occasion.

Colonialism in Africa is remembered as one of the worst crimes against humanity of the modern era. The exploitative economic system that underpinned colonialism remains alive and well today.

Africa’s liberation was from racist, colonial government. If this was to be the first stage of liberation, than the second stage must involve freeing Africa from the current white minority, who controls the majority of African land and resources.

True African liberation involves three stages: first, the redistribution of land and natural resources from the white minority to the black majority; second, the rejection of the IMF and World Bank’s counter-developmental neoliberal policies; and third, development of mineral refinement capacity.

Under Gaddafi, Libya was a shining example of how Africans can liberate themselves from Western exploitation and enrich its own people.

In 1967 Colonel Gaddafi inherited one of the poorest nations in Africa; however, by the time he was assassinated, Gaddafi had used the three stages of true African liberation to turn Libya into Africa’s wealthiest nation. Libya had the highest GDP per capita and life expectancy on the continent. Less people lived below the poverty line than in the Netherlands.

Gaddafi practiced the redistribution stage of liberation by nationalizing oil wealth to sustain progressive social welfare programs for all Libyans. Prior to Colonel Gaddafi, King Idris let Standard Oil essentially write Libya ‘s petroleum laws. Mr. Gaddafi put an end to all of that. Money from oil proceeds was deposited directly into every Libyan citizen’s bank account. Under Gaddafi’s rule, Libyans enjoyed not only free healthcare and free education, but also free electricity and interest-free loans.

Gaddafi’s greatest crime, in the eyes of NATO, was his desire to put the interests of local labour above foreign capital by adhering to the second stage of liberation and rejecting IMF and World Bank neoliberal policies. In fact, in August 2011, President Obama confiscated $30 billion from Libya’s Central Bank, which Gaddafi had earmarked for the establishment of the African IMF and African Central Bank.

Gaddafi was assassinated by the West at a time when he was embarking on a continental mineral refinement program that would have dramatically shifted the economic balance between Africa and the West.

Gaddafi was willing to financially support any African governments that desired to undergo the redistribution stage of liberation.

The World Bank estimates that a staggering 65 percent of Sub-Saharan Africa’s best arable land is still controlled by white settlers or multinational corporations. The World Bank also estimates that as much as 70 percent of the net wealth in Sub-Saharan Africa is owned by non-indigenous Africans or foreigners.

Nowhere is this racial disparity more acute than in Africa’s richest nation. South Africa is the continent’s most powerful nation, however, it is also the continent’s most economically colonized nation.

The American investment bank, Citigroup, recently ranked South Africa as the world’s richest country, in terms of its mineral reserves, worth an estimated $2.5 trillion. South African Whites and Western foreigners own a staggering 80 percent of this wealth.

Zimbabwe is a prime example of how redistributing African wealth and land is not only desirable in theory but also possible in practice.

At Independence, a staggering 42 percent of Zimbabwe’s land area was owned by just 4,000 white farmers. Today, that land has been divided and redistributed amongst 413,000 Black households. This economic and political shift benefits over 1,000,000 people.

Land redistribution is now possible in all African countries after Zimbabwe’s successful example.

African ownership of African resources is important but exposing and dismantling the financial imperialism, which prevents African economies from thriving is the crucial second stage of African liberation.

Financial imperialism involves Western capitals using the IMF and World Bank to overburden African economies with debt and force their governments to enact neoliberal, counter-developmental policies, such as privatization, austerity and structural adjustment that put the interests of foreign capital over local labour.

Through debt and neoliberalism, the IMF and World Bank exert de-facto control over the economies of many African States. The World Bank and IMF control most African currencies, determine macro-economic policy, and national budgets. The indebted African State is thus left with just its judicial functions and above all, the maintenance of internal public order. This is one crucial State function the Western creditors want nothing to do with.

As Ghana’s founding father Kwame Nkrumah, pointed out, the essence of financial imperialism is that, “the State which is subject to it is, in theory, independent and has all the outward trappings of international sovereignty. In reality its economic system and thus its political policy is directed from outside.”

According to a recent UN Africa Progress Report, Africa loses 63 billion dollars, each year, through foreign multinational corporations’ illegal tax evasion and exploitative practices. This figure surpasses all the money coming into the continent through Western aid and investment.

In Africa, poverty and underdevelopment are the symptoms; debt and neoliberalism are the cancer. The cure is a long-sustained dose of industrialization through mineral refinement.

Mineral refinement is the final stage of true liberation and the much-needed bridge between poverty and industrialization, and therefore, it has the capacity to transform Africa into a developed continent.

Africa is being systematically underdeveloped and overexploited by the West. From oil to gold and diamonds to tobacco, the Western scramble for Africa’s resources has always caused problems rather than created prosperity. Minerals taken from African soil by Western-owned corporations are shipped to Europe or America, where they are turned into manufactured goods, which are then resold to African consumers at value-added prices.

Nigeria imports almost all of its fuel needs; however, it sells its crude oil to “developed” nations, only earning $9 per barrel on their mere royalty fees. Then, Nigeria imports refined gasoline, diesel and kerosene made from its own oil resources for hundreds of dollars per barrel.

Nigeria is the African continent’s largest oil producer. At least $400 billion of oil revenue has been stolen or misspent by Western multinationals, since Independence in 1960, according to estimates by the former World Bank vice president for Africa, Oby Ezekwesili. That is 12 times the country’s national budget for 2014. Nigeria should be wealthy, and its people the envy of Africa; if not the envy of the entire developing world. Instead, 90 percent of Nigerian people live on less than $2 per day.

Zimbabwe is known for producing the best quality tobacco in the world and last year it earned $650 million from the sale of raw tobacco. Industry experts illustrate how Zimbabwe could have earned $6,5 billion instead of $650 million if they had processed the crop into cigarettes, rather than exporting tobacco as a raw good.

The nation earned on average $3,50 per kilogram of raw tobacco but could have achieved $7,30 per kilogram had the tobacco leaf been threshed or processed into cut rag.

If Zimbabwe had further processed the tobacco into cigarettes, it would have earned between $30-60 per kilogram.

Another example of neocolonial resource exploitation of Africa is that of the diamond industry.

Africa produces the bulk of the world market for rough diamonds, which is currently valued at $19 billion annually; while the retail diamond jewelery industry, based in Europe, is estimated to be worth $90 billion.

A rough diamond mined in Africa costs about $40 per carat, and a diamond cut and polished in Europe increases to $400 per carat. The same stone fetches around $900 per carat when it reaches the consumer.

The global value chain of the diamond industry includes exploration, mining, sorting, polishing, dealing, jewelery manufacturing, and ultimately retail. Africa is able to conduct the first three stages but Western multinationals do their upmost to systematically prohibit African nations from mastering the other four value addition stages.

Clearly, Africa is not under-developed; she is over-exploited. From slavery to colonialism to present day neo-colonialism, Western policies have always been that of aggression and exploitation towards Africa. The African continent needs a second liberation to economically empower its indigenous majority who have been marginalized by Western capitals and corporations for centuries.

Posted in AfricaComments Off on Africa’s “Second Liberation” against Today’s Neo-Colonialism

Record Profits, Record Stock Buybacks: Another Looming Economic Crisis?

NOVANEWS
Global Research
Economy-Stocks-Buybacks

Has the economy recovered or is it about to sink into another crisis? Do the shenanigans in finance that we regularly read about play a role in developing a stronger capitalism or do they cover up failures that will soon blow up in their faces? These can be mind-numbing questions, but they’re questions that activists, in particular, can’t ignore.

Profits are a particularly critical indicator of the state of a capitalist economy because they are generally understood to drive investment. Investment in turn has a determining effect on jobs, wages (to the extent that an increase in jobs increases workers’ bargaining power) and a growing tax base that can support social programs. Today, however, this link between profits and investment seems broken: while profits are booming, investment is stubbornly lagging. How are we to understand this?

For some, there is a simple answer. They square the circle by arguing that profits are actually not doing all that well. But the statistical contortions involved in making high profits disappear is a hard sell, with all the news of corporations sitting on rapidly growing hoards of cash. The head of the Bank of England (and former head of the Bank of Canada), Mark Carney, called this “dead money,” lamenting the refusal of corporations to put their profits back to work in the economy.

Madcap Buyback Binge

Another explanation receiving a great deal of attention was recently summarized by Mike Whitney in Counterpunch. He points to the reorientation of corporations to a “madcap buyback binge” of their stock which “has gotten so crazy that buying back their own stock actually exceeded profits in two quarters of 2014.” The corporate stampede to purchase their own stocks, in conjunction with the rapid rise in corporate dividends, has two significant implications. First, it seems to leave less funds for investment and innovation. Second, the increased demand for stocks artificially raises their prices and as circumstances change this leaves the stock market vulnerable to another devastating crash.

For Whitney, the increase in stock prices is obviously not a reflection of the actual strength of the American economy because he takes it as self-evident that the U.S. economy is “dead in the water.” The underlying culprit in making the stock market boom possible is the U.S. Federal Reserve as the Fed’s easy money policy (the so-called quantitative easing) encourages further borrowing – in addition to the funds available through corporate profits – to finance the stock buybacks. This has “led the country to the cliff-edge once again where the slightest uptick in interest rates is going to send the economy into free fall.”

But why is the Fed “steering the country from one financial catastrophe to the next”? Because, Whitney argues, it is part of the Fed’s commitment to ensure that – as he titles his article – “The Rich get Richer.” Since wealth in the U.S., and especially stocks, are notoriously unequally distributed (the top 10 per cent owns 90 per cent of stocks), higher stock prices sustain and increase that inequality.

The appeal of these kinds of narratives is not just the strange attraction of the Left to predictions of an economic Armageddon just around the corner. Whitney’s argument also provides simple yet powerful talking points. If the story oversimplifies the role of the Fed, it is spot on in attacking a key justification for the inequalities brought on by high corporate profits and the outrageous salaries of their executives and managers. Those inequalities are allegedly a condition for delivering jobs and general social welfare. However with corporations not actually reinvesting those profits to any degree commensurate with their profits, we end up without the jobs or social programs, and with even worse social inequality and greater economic insecurity.

Consequently, the radical issue posed is that if corporations are failing to adequately invest the surplus, why not – at a minimum – tax their socially unproductive profits and have the state use this revenue to undertake investment?[1] It is remarkable, and a sign of the Left’s weakness, that popular sentiment has not been mobilized in this direction to any significant degree. This is what makes Whitney’s analysis especially welcome. Yet his argument also slips in certain presumptions that need questioning and unpacking.

Is the U.S. Economy Dead in the Water?

Whitney implicitly assumes that an imminent stock market collapse would be economically catastrophic. Is this true? Are stock buybacks and funds for investment in fact a zero sum game where an increase in one undermines the other? Is investment really as flat as he suggests? Is it accurate to describe the U.S. economy as “dead in the water” or is the situation more ambiguous? Can we reduce the role of the Fed to being the handmaiden of the banks and the rich? And can we assume that if there is another deep economic crisis the left would be strengthened?

To begin with, the bursting of stock market bubbles is, in the first instance, a financial event. It may lead either to wider economic consequences or just occasion a temporary financial panic that is waited out. Unlike a collapse in the housing market – which directly impacts jobs across a variety of sectors and involves the primary source of wealth within the working-class – a stock market crash would not necessarily mean a precipitous collapse of the economy. That would depend on its depth, duration, what is going on in the rest of the economy and the response of the state.

As for buybacks, the fact that corporations are using their funds to purchase their own stock and increase dividends doesn’t negate the possibility of them also investing in capital equipment and structures. These are not zero-sum choices. Apple, for example, is the current corporate leader in returning funds to stockholders; it alone accounts for about 10 per cent of existing corporate cash hoards.[2] And yet Apple is also in the top rank of spenders on research and development, equipment, and structures.[3] More generally, if profits are high enough and if corporations can borrow at low interest rates, it is quite possible to both return funds to stockholders and reinvest in structures and equipment. This should be self evident from the fact that even after all their buybacks and dividend outlays, U.S. non-financial corporations are still sitting with some $1.7-trillion in cash.[4]

Moreover, it isn’t necessarily the case that returning funds to stockholders is dysfunctional to capitalist accumulation. Corporations don’t engage in stock buybacks just to increase the compensation of executives linked to stock values. Stock buybacks are also a financial tool that corporations use to maintain steady increases in their stock prices because this supports their access to cheap credit. And to the extent that corporations disburse their profits to stockholders and these stockholders in turn reinvest the funds in other companies where they expect a higher return (including new ventures), the reallocation of capital can end up strengthening capital as a whole and thus the wider economy.

The central question is, of course, whether such reinvestment is happening. Are stockholders not investing their increased wealth and, as such, no longer acting as capitalists but as rentiers (that is, consuming capital rather than regenerating it)? If stockholders are themselves not reinvesting their new funds in other companies, but only buying other financial products, a question remains as to where the funds involved end up. Do they indirectly support capital investment through the services provided (as with derivatives offsetting exchange rate risk, or funds deployed for mergers and restructuring)? And to what extent do these funds eventually find their way back to investments in productive assets?

Real Investments

These are, in good part, empirical questions. To get at them we need to first reassess whether the presumed stagnation in U.S. investment is actually true. It is undeniable that investment is low relative to the scale of profits in the economy. But with profits so high, investment can lag profits and still be significant – even if such investment hasn’t recovered to levels sufficient to consolidate a robust recovery.

Consider the data on real (after inflation) investment. If we compare gross private domestic investment in the first quarter of 2015 to where it was in 2007, the last year before the crisis, it has only increased by 5.5%, significantly lower than even the modest increase in real GDP of 9.6%. These investment figures however include the dramatic decrease in residential investment (23%). If we consider only non-residential investment, the data looks significantly better. At 10.4%, it is above, rather than below, the growth in GDP. Further, if we move beyond the most turbulent years of the financial crisis and consider only the last five years, real non-residential investment has been growing at a respectable average annual rate of over 6% (although this growth begins from a low base at the low point of the crisis).[5]

This growth in private investment is hardly spectacular, but compares favourably with public investment. Real government expenditures on investment stands 12% below where it was in 2007 and even remains below where it was back in 2003. Non-residential investment, in contrast, is today almost 40% higher in real terms than it was then. In spite of the federal stimulus from 2009-11 at the height of the economic crisis to keep the U.S. economy from falling into another Great Depression, the severe cutbacks at the regional State level has meant that overall government spending today, including both investment and consumption, remains below where it was in 2007.

So, is the U.S. economy “dead in the water”? Whitney’s unambiguous declaration is that it is, reinforced by how flat GDP has been over the last two quarters. But while raising cautions, the period is much too brief for any such definitive conclusion. Short term problems can’t be disregarded – they might circumscribe longer term possibilities – but other U.S. trends raise the odds for a continuing recovery.

Levels of employment are, for example, key drivers of household borrowing and spending on big ticket items like housing and cars and the unemployment rate has been falling toward 5 per cent. Exports are up 27% since 2007 and 75% since 2003 while imports have increased at about half that rate, 11% and 35% respectively. Bank balance sheets have been sufficiently repaired to support new rounds of investment (although the role of finance in contemporary forms of accumulation necessarily comes with high volatility and new vulnerabilities). U.S. investment has indeed been expanding abroad but foreign multinationals have also been investing heavily in the United States. Crucially, the American state has, in contrast to the 1930s, kept capitalism on the track of a liberalized global trading and investment order and confirmed its policy capacities to contain – if not prevent – crises. And, cash hoards also serve as the potential funds available to feed a boom if confidence in sustainable growth re-emerges.

That “if” is, of course, the big question. The point emphasized here is only that the possibility of a relatively sustained economic revival can’t be discounted as conclusively as Whitney and others have done. This is especially so when the labour and social movements in the U.S. (or elsewhere for that matter) represent only a minimal barrier to any necessary capital restructuring. In this regard, if the pessimists are right that renewed growth is unlikely in at least the near and medium terms, the experience of the recent crisis – with the great costs imposed on the working-class and the shift in the balance of power further to the right – suggests that there is little basis for optimism about a positive political jolt for the Left from further economic stagnation or even of a new open crisis.

Special Responsibility of the American State

Prominent liberals like Joseph Stiglitz and Paul Krugman, and former Secretary of the Treasury Larry Summers in particular, have added weight to the argument that the U.S. is “dead in the water” by raising the specter of secular stagnation. It’s important to note, however, that they present the thesis of structural stagnation not as inevitability, but as a warning that countermeasures are necessary and can be taken. Their policy recommendations also flow from concerns with cash hoards alongside low levels of private and public investments. Individual corporations, they argue, are resorting to “waiting” for a coherent economic revival before they shift into higher investment mode. Investors are caught in a web of uncertainty about the responses of households, other corporations as well as developments in the global economy. For these liberals, a special responsibility falls on the American state to productively intervene. The enormous gap in American infrastructural needs (physical, educational and in relation to the environment), the availability to the U.S. of cheap capital, and the unrelenting and appalling growth in inequality, all clinch the case for massive government infrastructural developments alongside progressive tax reform and steps to raise wages at the bottom of the labour market.

Such a liberal revival of Keynesian spending and mild redistribution is hardly radical. Why, then, is there no generalized enthusiasm for this apparent common-sense way forward? The easy response that focuses on the hold of neoliberal ideology won’t do. Ideologies matter and frame and reinforce the practices of economic policy-makers. But they also can come into direct conflict with concrete interests and contradictions that dull their importance in the face of a necessary policy pragmatism. There were, for example, ideological predilections in Congress to reject financial aid to Mexico during its early 1990s crisis, to refuse passage of budgets containing deficits, and to oppose TARP (Troubled Asset Relief Program) and the bailing out of banks during the financial crisis. But under the pressure of circumstances, Congress eventually came around.

A different explanation for the resistance to stimulus is based on seeing the American state (or the Federal Reserve in Whitney’s argument) as simply a captive of finance. It is true that the increased prominence of finance in the economy pressures the Fed and the American state to be sensitive to financial structures and the confidence of bankers. These bankers do tend to be fiscally conservative and worried that excess spending may cause a bout of inflation that erodes their assets, or in extreme cases risks a default on their bond holdings. Although the risk of non-payment may be remote at the federal level, this is not the case at the state and local levels (witness Detroit). There is, as well, the example the U.S. state is determined to set for ‘less disciplined’ jurisdictions abroad.

Yet here, too, more seems at stake. After all, a growing economy is good – and safer – for banks, as well. An additional factor worth considering is that the state, supported by capital more generally and not just the financial sector, has worked hard to erode the relative significance of fiscal policy in managing the economy and is reluctant to give that victory up. The point is that fiscal intervention carries the dangers of it being inherently politicized since it brings into public discussion issues of taxes and tax distribution, of social priorities and of spending outside the direct purview of the private economy. Monetary management in contrast has the preferred advantages to elites of being carried out behind closed doors, with strict market-oriented mandates, and of operating through financial markets that discipline each of firms, workers and states to the ‘apolitical’ priorities of accumulation.

In this regard, the weakness of labour as a countervailing force reinforces the toleration of fiscal conservatism. Moreover, the persistence of austerity and restrained growth provides the state with an opportunity to further weaken labour. As long as the slower growth doesn’t threaten the survival of the banks – something that has been carefully taken care of – austerity can be used to address the longer-term goal pushed by sections of the elite: consolidating the institutional defeat of private sector unions and moving on to match that achievement in the public sector. From this perspective, the conservative fervor of the German state for austerity, even with pressures from the American state to go softer, is not just a matter of an historical legacy that is paranoid about inflation, but is also a dimension of the German state playing a leading role in consolidating European neoliberalism and ‘ratcheting down’ to the weaker welfare state and greater labour flexibility the U.S. already has.

Organizing Ourselves

American capitalism is currently characterized by both a greater role for financial markets and the weakness of the working-class. The stock buybacks that Whitney points to add to existing financial volatility, and the potential of an asset bubble leading to a significant collapse in the stock market. And the political emphasis on the link between driving up stock prices and inequality, and the failure of corporations (and the rich) to invest at levels that justify their radically disproportionate share of society’s wealth, is surely right.

But we should not underestimate the resiliency of capitalism, and the staying power of the American economy. The working-class and social movements remain in retreat, and such recent mobilizations as Fight for $15 and Black Lives Matter are limited without larger perspectives. What we need to build and prepare for is not a capitalism on its last legs but one able to stumble on and to generate profits in spite of all the volatility and uncertainty. The tasks this sets for the Left is the longer term one of winning people over to rejecting capitalism even when it is, on its own terms, functioning ‘well.’

It is our inability to organize ourselves to address this challenge rather than of focusing on how to fix capitalism that defines the failures of the Left. It is this crisis that we especially need to be talking about. •

Sam Gindin was Research Director of the Canadian Auto Workers from 1974-2000 and is now an adjunct professor at York University in Toronto. Gindin is the co-author, along with Leo Panitch, of The Making of Global Capitalism. This article published jointly by The Bullet and JacobinMag.com.

Notes:

1. See the efforts of the International Union of Food Workers to raise buybacks as a mobilizing issue.

2. Hoards are highly concentrated in the largest firms and also in certain sectors like mining and oil. The latter seems an important part of explaining why Canada stands out in the extent of its cash hoardings.

3. Apple Directors recently authorizing a return of some $200-billion to its stockholders. See: Apple, “Press Release,” April 27, 2015.

4. Eric Platt, “Top 50 U.S. Boardroom Hoarders sitting on $1-Trillion Cash,” Financial Times, May 10, 2015.

5. This and other data on the U.S. economy is from U.S. Bureau of Economic Affairs, NIPA Tables 1.1.3 and 3.9.3.

Posted in USA1 Comment


Shoah’s pages

www.shoah.org.uk

KEEP SHOAH UP AND RUNNING