Archive | September 13th, 2015

Ladywood MP Shabana Mahmood resigns Shadow Cabinet after election of Jeremy Corbyn


Posted by; Sammi Ibrahem,Sr



Shadow Chief Secretary joins growing ranks of Labour politicians refusing to serve under left-winger.

Shabana Mahmood
Shabana Mahmood

Shabana Mahmood, MP for Birmingham Ladywood, has resigned as Shadow Chief Secretary after the election of Jeremy Corbyn to leader of a now disunited Labour Party.

Defeated leadership rivals Yvette Cooper and Liz Kendall had also earlier declared they would not take a role under the left-winger and his deputy Tom Watson.

The party split since Corbyn’s storming victory has widened in the last 24 hours, with Tristram Hunt, Rachel Reeves, Chris Leslie, Emma Reynolds and Jamie Reed also returning to the backbenches.

Ms Mahmood became the Shadow Minister (Home Affairs) in 2010 and from 2011 to 2013 she was the Shadow Minister (Business, innovation and skills). She became Labour’s Chief Secretary to the Treasury in May.

The former Oxford graduate was the first elected female Muslim to hold a Cabinet level role.

Yesterday Tom Watson urged Labour to unite around new leader.

But the MP for West Bromwich East warned that Labour was at a “critical moment” – and the public are “sick of politics”.

Mr Corbyn won a stunning victory, receiving 59 per cent of “first preference” votes in an election where voters could pick multiple candidates.

The result was a rejection of candidates associated with recent Labour governments led by Tony Blair and Gordon Brown.

Some Labour MPs, such as Dudley North MP Ian Austin, had fiercely criticised Mr Corbyn during the election contest and warned that he would be unable to lead Labour to victory din the General Election due in 2020.

Tom Watson
Tom Watson

In a speech following his election, Mr Watson urged: “I promised to back our new leader 100 per cent. I plan to do exactly that and I ask you to do the same.

“Only through unity comes the strength we need to fight the Tories. And be in no doubt, in the Tories’ second term, Labour is the last line of defence for the millions of people who suffer at their hands. Only Labour can speak for the real Britain.

“We haven’t always but thats what we have to do again.

“We can and we will, I promise.”

But he warned: “The Labour Party is at a critical moment. And great movements like ours endure by understanding and embracing moments of such change.”

The public was “sick of all politics,” he said.



  • Saira Afzal She’ll probably get shoes thrown at her from people in our community
    • Najib Alaoui She should have more than shoes in her dumb face. She is nothing but a conniving tokenistic opportunist.


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‘Israel’s’ ‘Jewish Majority’ Obsession


What can we say about the Jewish majority if it’s a majority for fascism, racism and hatred of Arabs and foreigners?

Gideon Levy Sep 13, 2015 12:52 AM
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Ultranationalist right-wing protesters hold a placard depicting PM Benjamin Netanyahu, left, and FM Avigdor Lieberman during a demonstration against the Palestinian’s UN bid, Nov. 29, 2012.Reuters
The American Jewish divide is about much more than Iran
Time to retire the ‘demographic threat’ from Israeli discourse?
Haaretz publisher Amos Schocken: Israel’s settlers have won
It’s all based on an obsession: Israel must be a Jewish state at any cost. Just or unjust, good or not good, flourishing or not flourishing — the main thing is that it be Jewish. And as with any obsession, few can explain why and no one is allowed to doubt it.
On the day Israel shakes this obsession and becomes a country like any other, a democracy like any other, it will become a safer and more just place. For the time being, we have a major stumbling block.
To celebrate the Jewish New Year this evening, there’s no need for a Jewish state. In New York, Johannesburg and Uman, Ukraine (and even in Tehran), the holiday will be marked the right way. To maintain a Jewish lifestyle there is no need for a Jewish state. Freedom of religion exists in many countries. But then things get complicated.

Almost all Israeli Jews (and most of the world) think Jews deserve a national home; Jewish Israelis also want to live in a country where most of the citizens — preferably all the citizens — are Jewish. The first aspiration is legitimate and has come true, the second is illegitimate and nationalist. It also lacks real meaning.
Peter Beinart explained in Haaretz Friday that there’s no such thing anymore as the American Jewish community: “In 2015, knowing that an American is Jewish doesn’t tell you much about how she lives or thinks either. There are today basically two American Jewish communities … each of which has more in common with a group of American gentiles than with each other.”
These words are even truer regarding the Israeli Jewish community — it’s subdivided into loosely connected communities. And yet the obsession about the “Jewish majority” is intensifying, uniting the Jewish right and left.

In most enlightened countries, no one dares ask what a person’s religion is. In Israel it’s key. When Zionist Union MK Nachman Shai says his goal is for “the percentage of Arabs in the country not to rise,” he’s expressing the height of Israeli political correctness. There are countries (and Israel should be one of them) where such a statement would be one’s last as a legislator. But when the name of the game is Jewish majority, such harmful words are no problem.
There are no Jewish values or Jewish morals — there are universal values and universal morals. A mother should hope her son becomes a good man, not a good Jew. A Jewish restaurant is an Eastern European restaurant, and Jewish sites are ultra-Orthodox or religious in general. Israel must stop busying itself with its “Jewish character” and Jewish majority all the time. It must start worrying about progress, justice, morality and values.
The Jewish state was established long ago; now is the time to establish a democratic, egalitarian and just state. It will not become this if it does not shake the obsession of its Judaism. A state that shakes its obsessive preoccupation with its Judaism will also shake its anxieties and stoke less hostility — it will be more just.
And what can we say about the Jewish majority if it’s a majority for fascism, racism and hatred of Arabs and foreigners? What is Jewish character for most of us if it means a country of religion? Why should a liberal Israeli want to live in a country with a Jewish majority based on settlers and nationalists? Wouldn’t it be better to establish a community of democratic, liberal, secular people fighting the fundamentalists, anti-democrats and nationalists?
Sixty-seven years after Israel’s founding, now is the time for the second war of liberation — a war of liberation from Israel’s Judaism.

Gideon Levy
Haaretz Correspondent

read more:

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Benign State Violence vs. Barbaric Terrorism

By Matt Peppe 

Seven months ago, UK Prime Minister David Cameron lamented the “sickening murder” of Jordanian pilot Moaz al-Kaseasbeh by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). President Barack Obama also decried the “viciousness and barbarity” of the act. In his home country, al-Kaseasbeh was remembered as a “hero” and a “martyr” by government officials. Obama even declared his murder demonstrated ISIS’sbankrupt ideology. The killing was seen by the Western coalition and allied Arab monarchies fighting ISIS as a symbol of the evilness of their enemies, and by contrast the righteousness of their own cause.

The act that precipitated such a strong outpouring was the purported execution of the 26-year-old al-Kaseasbeh. He was burned alive inside a cage after several months in captivity. As part of ISIS’s propaganda campaign, they posted the video on Youtube. The authenticity of the video has since been questioned, but there is no doubt that regardless of the method used, he was indeed killed.

Al-Kaseasbeh was not an innocent civilian. In fact, he was a pilot in the Royal Jordanian Air Force who was bombing territory controlled by ISIS in an F-16 fighter jet. That is to say, he was an active combatant in military hostilities. His combatant status would be equivalent to an ISIS pilot (if they had an Air Force) apprehended after bombing New York City or London. Though it was reported in the British newspaper The Telegraph that al-Kaseasbeh was “kidnapped,” a military combatant engaged in armed conflict on the battlefield cannot be kidnapped. He was captured.

According to the Geneva Conventions, Prisoners of War enjoy protected status that guarantees their humane treatment and eventual release at the end of hostilities. “POWs cannot be prosecuted for taking a direct part in hostilities. Their detention is not a form of punishment, but only aims to prevent further participation in the conflict. They must be released and repatriated without delay after the end of hostilities,” writes the International Committee of the Red Cross.

ISIS would have no legal grounds to kill al-Kaseasbeh, but it was cynical and sanctimonious for the Western coalition to react with such outrage when he was killed. Those same countries have embraced and celebrated summary assassinations and executions on a scale far more massive than anything ISIS could ever be capable of.

Several weeks ago, Cameron ordered the assassination of two British citizens in Syria alleged to be ISIS militants.

“The strike against British citizen Reyaad Khan, the ‘target of the strike,’ was committed without approval from Parliament. British citizen Ruhul Amin, who was killed in the strike, was deemed an ‘associate’ worthy of death,” writes Kevin Gosztola in Shadowproof.

The British government has not declared war on Syria and has not released any legal justification for its actions. Naturally, any legal documentation they did produce would be merely psuedo-legal cover that would never withstand real judicial scrutiny.

Cameron’s actions in ordering the murder of his own citizens follows the well-treaded path of Obama, whose large-scale drone program in as many as seven countries (none of which the US Congress has declared war on) have killed more than 2,500 people in six years. The President has quipped that he is “really good at killing people.”

By any measure, the drone assassination program has been wildly reckless and ineffective. One study determined that missile strikes from unmanned drones, launched by remote-control jockeys in air-controlled trailers in the American desert, kill 28 unknown people for every intended target. In Pakistan, a study revealed that only 4% of those killed have been identified as members of al Qaeda.

Among the victims have been 12 people on their way to a wedding in Yemen, and a 13-year-old boy who said that he lived in constant fear of “death machines” that had already killed his father and brother before taking his own life.

“A lot of the kids in this area wake up from sleeping because of nightmares from then and some now have mental problems. They turned our area into hell and continuous horror, day and night, we even dream of them in our sleep,” the now-deceased boy, Mohammed Tuaiman, told The Guardian.

Before Cameron did so, Obama also targeted citizens of his own country for assassination without trial. The most well known case is of Anwar al-Awlaki, killed by a drone strike in 2011. The government claimed he was operationally active in al-Qaeda, but this was never tested in court.

“It is likely the real reason Anwar al-Awlaki was killed is that he was seen as a radicalizer whose ideological activities were capable of driving Western Muslims to terrorist violence,” writes Arun Kundnani in The Muslims Are Coming!.

In other words, the Obama administration decided his speech was not protected by the 1st amendment to the US Constitution, and rather than being obligated to test this theory in court they unilaterally claimed the right to assassinate him, the way King John of England would have been able to order the execution of one of his subjects before signing the Magna Carta 800 years ago.

Three weeks later, al-Awlaki’s 16-year-old son was killed in a drone strike. An Obama adviser justified the strike by saying he should have “had a more responsible father.”

Writing on his blog, former British security services officer Craig Murray claims that in light of the decision 20 years ago by the European Court of Human Rights that targeted assassinations when an attack was no imminent were illegal, the British government cannot claim its drone strike in Syria “is anything other than murder.”

“For the government to claim the right to kill British people through sci-fi execution, based on highly unreliable secret intelligence and a secret declaration of legality, is so shocking I find it difficult to believe it is happening even as I type the words. Are we so cowed as to accept this?” Murray writes.

So what makes ISIS’s killing supposedly morally outrageous compared to the US and British drone strikes?

Was ISIS’s killing less morally justified? Al-Kaseasbeh was a combatant who had been dropping bombs on the people who eventually killed him. That much is beyond dispute. The US and UK kill people through drone strikes merely for being suspected militants who might one day seek to attack those countries.

Were ISIS’s methods less humane? Certainly burning a human being alive is sadistic and cruel. But is it any less so to incinerate a human being by a Hellfire missile? Former drone operator Brandon Bryant told NBC News that he saw his victim “running forward, he’s missing his right leg… And I watch this guy bleed out and, I mean, the blood is hot.” Is a drone strike less cruel because the operator is thousands of miles away from the bloodshed and watching on a screen rather than in person?

Were ISIS’s actions terrorism while the US/UK actions were not? As the late Mohammed Tuaiman attested, he and his neighbors were terrified by the omnipresence of the “death machines” that could at any second of the day blow him to pieces without warning or the possibility of escape. Were the people in ISIS controlled territory as terrorized as Tuaiman by the burning of the Jordanian pilot, who was specifically targeted because he had been caught after bombing the same people who now held him captive? Surely they were not more terrorized, though perhaps they might have been equally so.

It would by hypocritical to justify one form of extrajudicial killing while demonizing another. Yet that is exactly what happens when one form of violence is undertaken by a state and another is not. The New York Times is indicative of broader public opinion when it decries the fanatical vision of ISIS that has “shocked and terrified the peoples of Iraq and Syria,” while accepting Obama’s rationalizations of deaths via drone strikes as collateral damage, maintaining only that he should provide a fuller accounting” to enable an “informed debate.”

The apologies for state violence enable the shredding of the rule of law as a method of accountability for those in power, while other states take advantage of technical advances to proliferate their own sci-fi violence against their own citizens and others.

“Pakistan is the latest member of a growing technological club of nations: those who have successfully weaponized drones,” writes Spencer Ackerman in The Guardian. “In addition to the US, UK and Israel, a recent New America Foundation report highlighted credible accounts that Iran, South Africa, France, China and Somalia possess armed drones, as do the terrorist groups [sic] Hamas and Hezbollah. Russia says it is working on its own model.”

One day in the not too distant future, the skies across the world may be full of drones from every country dispensing justice from Miami to Mumbai via Hellfire Missiles, relegating the rule of law and its method of trial by jury to the ash heap of history. And it will not be because of terrorist groups like ISIS that governments and the media are so forceful to condemn, but because of governments themselves and their lapdogs in the media who refuse to apply the same standards in judging violence to states that have their own Air Forces.

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Zionist Cameron Calls Jeremy Corbyn ‘Threat to National Security’


Posted by: Sammi Ibrahem, Sr

Image result for Cameron CARTOON

The Labour party, which elected Jeremy Corbyn its new leader on Saturday, has become a threat to the United Kingdom’s national and economic security, British Prime Minister Zionist David Cameron said Sunday.

“The Labour Party is now a threat to our national security, our economic security and your family’s security,”  Zionist puppet Cameron wrote in his Twitter account.

Corbyn has been widely referred to as one of the most “rebellious” members of UK parliament, as he had opposed Britain’s participation in the Iraq war, and spoke against the renewal of the British Trident nuclear deterrent infrastructure.

Also on Saturday, UK Defense Secretary Michael Fallon also said that Corbyn’s triumph will negatively affect the lives of ordinary Britons.

The Conservative party fears that Corbyn would breach a consensus between the two major British parties on major issues, such as nuclear weapons, taxation and others.

Corbyn won the UK Labour Party’s leadership race on Saturday obtaining some 59.5 percent of votes in the first round.

Posted in UK1 Comment

US with ISIS, Russia with Syria


 Image result for Russia Syria FLAG

[Ariadna: The trenchant and concise statement expressed in the title of Chossudovsky’ interview (Washington with ISIS/Moscow with Syria) is not news to anyone who has been following the disaster inflicted upon Syria. It is, however, one that bears repeating until it is well understood by everyone.] 

Washington Is Supporting and Financing the ISIS. Moscow Is Supporting Syria against the ISIS

By Prof Michel Chossudovsky

Press TV has interviewed Michel Chossudovsky, with the Center for Research on Globalization in Montreal, to discuss Russia’s decision to provide Damascus with military supplies and humanitarian aid.
What follows is a rough transcription of the interview.

Video version here

Press TV: Russia’s call for the world to join and help the Syrian government in fighting ISIL terrorists, seems to have fallen on deaf ears at least in Washington. Instead, we have the US president saying that Moscow’s strategy in Syria is doomed to failure. Two questions here: First of all, what is Russia’s strategy that the West is so opposed to? And second: Why is the West so worried about what it calls an alleged Russian build-up in Syria?

Chossudovsky: Well, first of all we have to distinguish between acts of aggression by the US against a sovereign state under the “humanitarian mandate” of “‘going after” ISIL, when in fact we know and it is amply-documented that the ISIL is supported financed by the United States and its allies and what we might describe as bilateral military cooperation between two sovereign states namely Syria and the Russian Federation. And that is something which has been ongoing for many years between the two countries.

Russia has a naval base in the Mediterranean and it is also providing Syria with its air defense system, the S-300, as well as other areas of cooperation particularly focusing on training and weapons systems and so on. I do not think that implies in any way that they would be deploying ground forces. That will not happen.

And this is not something new; it is part of a longstanding relationship between the two governments.

Now with regard to Obama, it is somewhat of a diabolical statement. Since September of last year, and we now are commemorating one year of US humanitarian bombings directly against Iraq and Syria, there have been 53,000 air sorties during that period (those that official figures) of which 6,700 have been what they call strike sorties. Now I would suspect that a large number of the 57,000 sorties are in fact geared towards delivering weapons and supplies to the ISIS (ISIL) which are the foot soldiers of the Western military alliance fighting Syrian government forces.

Press TV: How suspicious do you see the recent increase in the number of countries suddenly eager to join the US airstrikes on Syrian soil?

Chossudovsky: Well you know the United States has always used the strategy of co-opting its so-called allies and, in some cases, its proxy states in doing its dirty work in the war theater and they have the support of Saudi Arabia, Qatar; they also have the European allies, they have Canada. I think that the leaders of these countries, the so-called Western democracies, have to beg the question: Who are we supporting?

They are supporting the terrorists, it is clear and obvious. The strike sorties directed against Syria do not target the ISIL. The ISIL is an instrument of the US administration, it’s an al-Qaeda-affiliated entity. They used to be called al-Qaeda in Iraq and there has been a longstanding intelligence tradition in the United States . US intelligence supports Jihadists al-Qaeda-affiliated organizations. Many of the ISIS [members] are in fact former Libya’s Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) mercenaries who have now joined the ISIL and as we recall those mercenaries were supported also by the United States and NATO.

Copyright © Prof Michel Chossudovsky, Press TV, 2015


Post Notes

Two Russian airplanes carrying humanitarian aid have landed in Syria’s port city of Latakia.

The aircraft landed at Bassel al-Assad International Airport on Saturday.

The planes carry 80 tonnes of humanitarian aid provided by Russia, according to Syrian media.

The cargo consists of tons of humanitarian aid, including mattresses, blankets, beds, and stoves for heating tents, kitchens for cooking, bedding and tanks for water supply. The cargo also includes cereals, canned goods, condensed milk and baby food.

The Russian Foreign Ministry has praised the government of Greece for not closing its airspace to Russian planes carrying humanitarian aid to Syria. The foreign ministry of the NATO member state said last week that it had received a request from the United States to shut its territory to Russian aircraft.

Last week Bulgaria closed its airspace to Russian cargo planes with relief aid for Syria over “reasonable doubts the cargoes are not the declared ones.”

Washington is putting pressure on countries to close air routes on Russian planes en route from Moscow to Damascus.

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Former Afghan PM Hamid Karzai says Al-Qaeda is a Myth ‘VIDEO’


Image result for Al-Qaeda FLAG


By Brandon Martinez

These politicians become much more honest after they retire. Former Afghan PM Karzai hints at the fictitious and entirely malleable concept of “Al-Qaeda” and even says he “doesn’t believe or disbelieve” the US government version of 9/11.

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Nazi Jewish settler attacks 8-year-old Palestinian boy










Nazi Jewish settler

Nazi Jewish settler attacked an 8-year-old Palestinian boy late on Friday in the Batn al-Hawa area of Silwan — a neighborhood in occupied East Jerusalem — leading to clashes in the area, a local monitoring group told Ma’an.

The Wadi Hilweh Information Center, located in Silwan, said 8-year-old Zaid Abu Qweidir was attacked by a group of Israeli settlers in the neighborhood.

Zio-Nazi police spokesperson did not immediately respond when asked for comment.

According to the center, a young Palestinian man witnessed the attack and moved to intervene, which quickly escalated into clashes between the two sides.

More than 20 Nazi Jewish settlers arrived on the scene, many of whom used pepper spray against Palestinians as young as five-years-old, the information center reported.

Witnesses said the Nazi attackers came out from a building which Nazi Jewish  settlers had recently occupied.

After the attack, security guards of the settlement outpost, as well as Nazi forces, arrived to protect the Nazi Jewish settlers, witnesses said.

The forces fired tear gas canisters and stun grenades at Palestinians in the area.

The Wadi Hilweh center said at least 15 Palestinians were moderately to severely injured by pepper spray, including 60-year-old Abdullah Abu Nab and 14-year-old Mahdi al-Rajabi. Both were taken to al-Maqasid hospital in East Jerusalem for treatment.

Zaid Abu Qweidir, 8, Adam al-Rajabi, 9, Rahaf Abu Qweidir, 5, Udayy al-Rajabi, 12, Hamza al-Rajabi, 12, Yazan al-Rajabi, 14, Walid al-Shaer, 16, were lightly injured and received treatment at the scene. A pregnant woman, Asmaa al-Rajabi, 29, and 75-year-old Abu Adnan Gheith were also lightly injured.

Furthermore, a tear gas canister was shot into a home housing five children aged 7-months to 13-years-old, the information center said.

Silwan is one of many Palestinian neighborhoods in occupied East Jerusalem that is seeing an influx of Nazi Jewish  settlers.

According to a statement released by the PLO Negotiations Affairs Department in August, illegal Nazi Jewish settlers have taken over 39 homes in Silwan, creating settlement enclaves in which approximately 400 Nazi Jewish settlers live.

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Is Vice President Garcia Cracking Down on Dissent in Bolivia?

Image result for bolivia map
By Federico Fuentes 

Recent statements by Bolivia’s Vice President Alvaro Garcia regarding nongovernmental organisations in Bolivia have triggered a heated debate on the left.

At an Aug. 11 media conference, Garcia accused NGOs of acting like political parties seeking to interfere in Bolivia’s domestic affairs. While respecting their right to criticize government policies, Garcia said foreign-funded nongovernmental organisations needed to understand their place within Bolivian society.

“Does this group of comrades have the right to form an NGO and produce and publish what they want? Of course they have the right to do this, but foreign NGOs do not have the right to come to Bolivia and say I am supporting Bolivia’s development while they do politics and defend the interests of transnationals,” he said.

He highlighted the fact that foreign companies and governments were the biggest backers of nongovernmental organisations. “What do we say to them?” he asked. “Finance in your own country, there is no need for you to come and interfere in our country, our relationship with foreign governments and companies is very clear: service in function of our policy and usefulness in function of a sovereign state; but not for the purposes of covert political action…”

Garcia said foreign governments were using NGOs to push policies that sought to stunt Bolivia’s development under the guise of protecting the environment. The four nongovernmental organisations Garcia singled out in particular during the media conference have been among the loudest critics of his government’s environmental policies.

In response, a number of academics from across the world signed an open letter stating concerns for what they viewed as “threats, which if they became a reality, would imply a grave blow in terms of restricting civil rights, among them, freedom of expression and association”. They argued the real issue Garcia had with these NGOs was that they had criticized his government’s shortcomings.

Others have defended these nongovernmental organisations on the basis of their role in promoting environmental struggles.

Contributing to the debate with an article on, Carmelo Ruiz said Garcia’s comments come at a time when falling commodity prices are exacerbating the contradictions of his government’s “progressive extractivist model”. Furthermore, he argued the Morales government was facing the threat of a rise in social and environmental protests.

Faced with this dilemma, Ruiz said critical voices had chosen to point out that “protest and repression is inevitable in extractivism”, while government spokespeople have preferred to blame discontent on “imperialist manipulations.”

Like Ruiz, many have tried to portray Garcia’s comments as something relatively new. However, his criticisms of NGOs predate his election to office or recent conflicts with certain indigenous and environmental groups.

For example, Garcia criticized the role of NGOs in Sociology of Social Movements in Bolivia, a book many of his current critics still hold up as the most authoritative studies of its kind.

In a chapter focusing on the highlands indigenous organisation CONAMAQ, Garcia notes that nongovernmental organisation financing resulted in the organisation taking on certain “bureaucratic-administrative characteristics”. It also in part explained CONAMAQ’s propensity to act less like a social movement and more like a lobby group that sought to “negotiate and reach formal agreements with government institutions and multilateral support organisms.”

The book noted how in certain communities, NGOs had artificially propped up “ayllus” (which make up CONAMAQ’s base) to compete for local influence against more radical peasant unions.

Criticism of nongovernmental organisations’ role in co-opting and dividing social movements is also present in another book he co-authored, “We Are No Ones Toys.” Notably, they appear in a chapter dedicated to the conflict between indigenous groups and coca-growers in the Isiboro-Secure Indigenous Territory and National Park (TIPNIS).

In 2011, conflict between these sectors over a proposed highway through the TIPNIS boiled over to become an issue of national, and even international significance for the Morales government.

Throughout the chapter, a number of references are made regarding the heavy influence NGOs had over indigenous communities.

Commenting in the book on the role of nongovernmental organisations in TIPNIS, local coca-grower leader Feliciano Mamani makes many of the same criticisms Garcia Linera made more than half a decade later in his book Geopolitics of the Amazon.

Mamani said: “NGOs and other interests that come for our natural resources, control indigenous people through money… where ever there are natural resources there are hundreds of NGOs confusing indigenous peoples and making false declarations….”

Since coming into office, Garcia’s criticisms of nongovernmental organisations’ relationship with social movements have not changed, however his public critique of NGOs has broadened to encompass other issues.

Garcia has argued that nongovernmental organisations had a huge influence over government ministries prior to Morales election. He recounts: “When we came into government in 2006, we found an executive carved up and handed over to embassies and [NGOs]… We could not do anything without authorization either from the embassies… or certain NGOs.”

This was in large part due to the fact that international loans and aid made up about half of the state budget for public investment.

The Morales government was able to quickly assert its control over state institutions as a result of its policy of nationalizing natural resources. Increased revenue from resource extraction put the government in the position where it could set its own policies, free of dependency or interference by foreign governments or NGOs.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, nongovernmental organisations’ hostility towards the Bolivian government has paralleled its loss of influence over state policies.

All this is also part of the context within which Garcia’s comments need to be placed.

Framing the debate however, as though it is simply about a government hiding behind the rhetoric of national sovereignty to crackdown on opponents – or alternatively, viewing all government critics as stooges for imperialism – will only lead to a dialogue of the deaf.

For starters, it should not be too hard to defend free speech at the same time as respecting Bolivia’s sovereignty.

The left has always opposed attempts by governments to crackdown on free speech, and should continue to do so when this occurs. But this is separate to the issue of allowing foreign governments and corporation to do as they please on Bolivian soil.

It is one thing to shut down nongovernmental organisations or jail opponents for what they say. Garcia has made it clear in his response to his critics that his government will not be closing down any NGO.

But it is quite another thing to deny the right of a sovereign government to control the flow of funds from hostile governments into its territory. Or is the left now going to argue that, in the name of “free speech”, foreign governments and corporations should be able to fund whoever they want in Bolivia?

We should use this opportunity to seriously discuss the various issues the debate has already thrown up. This includes, among others, the role of nongovernmental organisations in the Global South, how extractive industries have helped loosen foreign control over the Bolivian state, what alternative sources of funding might exist to enable this situation to remain, and what it would really take for Bolivia to overcome extractivism.

Posted in South AmericaComments Off on Is Vice President Garcia Cracking Down on Dissent in Bolivia?

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