Archive | October 12th, 2019

Nazi forces arrest 9 Palestinians and Nazi Jewish settlers escalate their crimes

By: Sammi Ibrahem,Sr


Illegally Occupied West Bank:  Nazi occupation forces arrested on Sunday, nine Palestinians during the Mayormat campaign included areas in Hebron, Qalqilya and Tulkarem, Nazi forces also seized during the crackdown on Tsgelat surveillance cameras .

During the storming of the Khalil occupied, Ctal forces arrested the editor Ahmed Khadr prisoner of war from the town of Deir Samet, and Zayed Ali Atallah Khaddarat of the virtual, and Kayed from the village Amaireh tower, after raiding their homes .

Local sources also reported that the Nazi occupation forces arrested the prisoner of the editor Ahmed Salibi after assaulting him and his brother after raiding their house during the raid into the town of Beit Ummar, north of Hebron. Nazi soldiers arrested Karim Ibrahim Hamdi Abu Maria after raiding his house .

In Qalqilya, the Israeli occupation forces arrested Alaa Assem Mansour (23 years), Moaz Islam Radwan (20 years) and Samer Said Radwan (18 years) after they raided their houses in the village of Azzoun east of the city .

The occupation forces also arrested a child near Tulkarm on Sunday, where local sources reported the arrest of the child Musab Abdel Qader Abu al-Shawareb (14 years) after the occupation raided his family home in the town of Nazlet Issa north of the city .

In the meantime, Nazi illegal occupying forces destroyed 13 Palestinian vehicles and racist slogans in Qira village, north of Salfit. Dozens of Nazi Jewish settlers stormed the courtyards of Al-Aqsa Mosque this morning.

Local sources in the village said that the Nazi Jewish settlers infiltrated their village in the middle of the night, damaged the tires of 13 vehicles and wrote racist slogans on the walls of Palestinian houses and a number of vehicles .

Dozens of Nazi Jewish settlers also stormed Al-Aqsa Mosque compound this morning amid tight security from the Nazi occupation forces .

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Why Zionist is struggling to find a way out of its political deadlock

Why Israel is struggling to find a way out of its political deadlock

Israeli ideological bedfellows
By Jonathan Cook in Nazareth

It would be a grave mistake to assume that the continuing political deadlock in Israel – with neither incumbent Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu nor his main rival Benny Gantz seemingly able to cobble together a coalition government – is evidence of a deep ideological divide.

Ideological bedfellows

In political terms, there is nothing divided about Israel. In this month’s general election, 90 per cent of Israeli Jews voted for parties that identify as being either on the militaristic, anti-Arab right or on the religious, anti-Arab far-right.

The two parties claiming to represent the centre-left – the rebranded versions of Labour and Meretz – won only 11 seats in the 120-member parliament.

Stranger still, the three parties that say they want to form a “broad unity government” won about 60 per cent of the vote.

Netanyahu’s Likud, Gantz’s Blue and White Party led by former generals, and ex-Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman’s Yisrael Beiteinu secured between them 73 seats – well over the 61 seats needed for a majority.

… 90 per cent of Israeli Jews voted for parties that identify as being either on the militaristic, anti-Arab right or on the religious, anti-Arab far-right.

All three support the entrenchment of the occupation and annexation of parts of the West Bank; all three think the settlements are justified and necessary; all demand that the siege of Gaza continue; all view the Palestinian leadership as untrustworthy; and all want neighbouring Arab states cowering in fear.

Moshe Yaalon, Gantz’s fellow general in the Blue and White Party, was formerly a pivotal figure in Likud alongside Netanyahu. And Lieberman, before he created his own party, was the director of Netanyahu’s office. These are not political enemies; they are ideological bedfellows.

There is one significant but hardly insumountable difference. Gantz thinks it is important to maintain bipartisan US support for Israel’s belligerent occupation while Netanyahu has preferred to throw Israel’s hand in with Donald Trump and the Christian religious right.

Reuven Rivlin, Israel’s president, has pressed the three parties to work together. He has suggested that Netanyahu and Gantz rotate the role of prime minister between them, a mechanism used in Israel’s past.

But after Gantz refused last week, the president assigned Netanyahu the task of trying to form a government, although most observers think the effort will prove futile. After indecisive elections in April and September, Israel therefore looks to be heading for a third round of elections.

But if the deadlock is not ideological, what is causing it?

It’s all about Netanyahu

In truth, the paralysis has been caused by two fears – one in Likud, the other in Blue and White.

Gantz is happy to sit in a unity government with the Likud Party. His objection is to allying with Netanyahu, whose lawyers this week began hearings with the attorney-general on multiple counts of fraud and breach of trust. Netanyahu wants to be in power to force through a law guaranteeing himself immunity from prosecution.

Blue and White was created to oust Netanyahu on the basis that he is corrupt and actively destroying what is left of Israel’s democratic institutions, including by trying to vilify state prosecutors investigating him.

For Blue and White to now prop Netanyahu up in a unity government would be a betrayal of its voters.

The solution for Likud, then, should be obvious: remove Netanyahu and share power with Blue and White.

But the problem is that Likud’s members are in absolute thrall to their leader. The thought of losing him terrifies them. Likud now looks more like a one-man cult than a political party.

Gantz, meanwhile, is gripped by fear of a different kind.

The Joint List

Without Likud, the only solution for Gantz is to turn elsewhere for support. But that would make him reliant on the 13 seats of the Joint List, a coalition of parties representing Israel’s large minority of Palestinian citizens.

And there’s the rub. Blue and White is a deeply Arab-phobic party, just like Likud and Yisrael Beiteinu. Its only civilian leader, Yair Lapid, notoriously refused to work with Palestinian parties after the 2013 election – before Netanyahu had made racist incitement his campaign trademark.

Lapid said: “I’ll never sit with the Zoabis” – a reference to the most prominent of the Palestinian legislators at the time, Haneen Zoabi.

Similarly, Gantz has repeatedly stressed his opposition to sitting with the Joint List.

Nonetheless, the Joint List’s leader Ayman Odeh made an unprecedented gesture last week, throwing the weight of most of his faction behind Gantz.

That was no easy concession, given Gantz’s positions and his role as army chief in 2014 overseeing the destruction of Gaza. The move angered many Palestinians in the occupied territories.

But Odeh saw the Palestinian minority’s turn-out in September leap by 10 percentage points compared to April’s election, so desperate were his voters to see the back of Netanyahu.

Surveys also indicate a growing frustration among Palestinian citizens at their lack of political influence. Although peace talks are off Israel’s agenda, some in the minority hope it might be possible to win a little relief for their communities after decades of harsh, institutional discrimination.

In a New York Times op-ed last week, Odeh justified his support for Gantz. It was intended to send “a clear message that the only future for this country is a shared future, and there is no shared future without the full and equal participation of Arab Palestinian citizens”.

Gantz seems unimpressed. According to an investigation by the Israeli media, Netahyahu only got first crack at forming a government because Gantz blanched at the prospect.

He was worried Netanyahu would again smear him – and damage him in the eyes of voters – if he was seen to be negotiating with the Joint List.

Netanyahu has already painted the alternatives in stark terms: either a unity government with him at its heart, or a Blue and White government backed by those who “praise terrorists”.

The racism card

The Likud leader might yet pull a rabbit out of his battered hat. Gantz or Lieberman could cave, faced with taunts that otherwise “the Arabs” will get a foot in the door. Or Netanyahu could trigger a national emergency, even a war, to bully his rivals into backing him.

But should it come to a third election, Netanyahu will have a pressing reason to ensure he succeeds this time. And that will doubtless require stepping up incitement another dangerous gear against the Palestinian minority.

The reality is that there is strong unity in Israel – over shared, deeply ugly attitudes towards Palestinians, whether citizens or those under occupation. Paradoxically, the only obstacle to realising that unity is Netanyahu’s efforts to cling to power.

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A controversial Bill passed in Iran, it allows men to marry daughters, draws flak from other nations?

by Sagar Abhinandan

Iran Parliamentarians have moved a bill in order to protect the rights of children which includes a clause that lets a man marry his own adopted daughter considering the fact that she is 13 years old.

However, activists of the country have expressed alarm that the bill sanctioned by parliament, gives an opportunity for the caretaker of a family to marry his or her adopted child if a court orders it is in the best interests of the individual child.


Iran’s Guardian Council, a body of clerics and jurists which reviews all parliamentary bills before the constitution and the Islamic law, has yet to give its final verdict on the controversial legislation.

To the shock of rights campaigners, girls in the Islamic republic can marry as young as 13 years old if they seek permission from their father. On the other hand, boys can marry only after the age of 15.

In Iran, a girl under the age of 13 can still marry but needs a judge’s permission. As of now, however, marrying stepchildren is prohibited under any circumstances.

42,000 children aged between 10 and 14 got married in the year 2010, as per the Iranian news website Tabnak. At least 75 children under the age of 10 were married in Tehran alone.

Shadi Sadr who is a human rights lawyer with the London-based group Justice for Iran, told the Guardian website that she feared the council would feel safe and secure to put its stamp of acceptance on the bill while Iran’s moderate president, Hassan Rouhani, grabs the attention of the press during his UN visit to New York.

“This bill is legalising paedophilia,” she alerted. “It’s not part of the Iranian culture to marry your adopted child. Obviously, incest exists in Iran more or less as it happens in other countries across the world, but this bill is legalising paedophilia and is endangering our children and normalising this crime in our culture.”

She added: “You should not be able to marry your adopted children, full stop. If a father marries his adopted daughter who is a minor and has sex, that’s rape.”

As per Sadr, Iran officials tried to play down the sexual part of such marriages, adding that it is in the bill to fix the issue of hijab [head scarf] complications when a child is adopted.

An adopted daughter is likely to wear the hijab in front of her dad, and a mother should wear it only in front of her adopted son if he is old enough, Sadr said.

“With this bill, you can be a paedophile and get your bait in the pretext of adopting children,” Sadr said.

Some experts reckon that the new bill is opposed to Islamic beliefs and would not pass the Guardian Council.

However, an initial draft of the bill, which totally banned marriage with adopted children, was not sanctioned by the council and it is feared that MPs introduced the condition for marriage only to satisfy the jurists and clergymen. This is the reason why Sadr fears it can pass the council this time.

The bill drew huge backlash in Iran with the reformist newspaper, Shargh, posting an article warning about its consequences. “How can someone be looking after you and at the same time be your husband?” the article asked.

Shiva Dolatabadi who is the head of Iran’s society for protecting children’s rights gave a warning that the bill implies that the parliament is legalising incest. “You cannot open a way in which the role of a father or a mother can be mixed with that of a spouse,” she said, according to Shargh. “Children can’t be safe in such a family.”

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Annals of Impeachment: From Nixon’s “Smoking Gun” Tape to Trump Zelensky Summary

By Juan Cole

Global Research,

On August 5, 1974, Nixon was forced by the Supreme Court to release the smoking gun tape in which he and his chief of staff H. R. Haldemann had a conversation, in the course of which Nixon could be heard acknowledging his knowledge of the burglary of the Democratic National Committee office files in the Watergate building and the bugging of those offices, and discussing ordering the CIA to lean on the FBI to stop its investigation of the break-in. This tape caused his support among a majority of Republicans in Congress to collapse, making it clear that he would be impeached, and so he resigned.

Nixon did not need to steal the DNC files (which he probably did order, but certainly tried to cover up)– he likely had been well-placed to win reelection. He was just so paranoid that he was sure that the Democrats were conspiring against him and he had to know how.Nixon tried to set in train a break-in at the liberal Brookings Institution and his aide Chuck Colson suggested they firebomb it so that its files could be stolen and it could be wiretapped. (The planned bombing did not take place. But when we used to chant against the “mad bomber in the White House,” we had no idea how right we were).

Nixon was a habitual crook, but he at least retained some notion of what normal people would think of him if they knew who he really was. He at least tried to cover it up.

Trump and his cronies are so far gone that they actually thought that staffers’ summary of his July conversation with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky would exonerate him. Instead, it has so many Nixonian smoking guns that it single-handedly provoked a smog alert on Capitol Hill.

I edited down the summary a little, and it is clear that Trump began by holding out a carrot (how much we are doing for Ukraine), and then urged him to look into the (untrue conspiracy) theory that Hillary Clinton’s emails were on a server in Ukraine (“crowdstrike”).

Trump went on to withhold $250 million in military aid from Ukraine, which Congress appropriated, and many suspect the suspension of aid was a way of pressuring Zelensky to look into Hunter Biden.

And then Trump wanted to reignite the investigation of the Burisma Holdings natural gas company, on the board of which Hunter Biden served. That investigation had begun years before and went nowhere, and was shelved.

Trump and his fellow conspiracy theorists are convinced that Joe Biden pushed for the firing of prosecutor general Viktor Shokin because he was too energetically looking into Burisma and its CEO. It was the opposite. Shokin, despite his own protestations, was known to have dropped the ball on that and many other investigations, and the European Union, the IMF and the US all wanted him gone.

So Biden would have had to be trying to get Hunter’s company in trouble if he pushed out the do-nothing Shokin. Actually Burisma and Hunter were not the issue. Hunter himself was never under investigation, and the company had long since announced the end of the investigation and its willingness to repay any taxes it still was held to have owed. Biden wasn’t acting on his own behalf but rather was a messenger of the international community in pushing for Shokin’s ouster.

Rudy Giuliani was lobbying for the restart of the Burisma investigation before Zelensky was elected, last spring, and then tried to get his hooks into the new president. Giuliani thinks that Biden will be the Democratic standard-bearer, and that Trump can do to him what he did to Hillary Clinton by spinning crazy conspiracy theories that are amplified by Bob Mercer and Vladimir Putin’s St. Petersburg troll farms on social media, and which might tip the election to Trump.The Ukraine Impeachment Fiasco: Both Republicans and Democrats Being Manipulated by the Deep State

Zelensky is a comedian and actor who starred in a popular TV show, playing the president of the Ukraine. So he is a neophyte (sort of like Trump) and perhaps easily manipulated.

Here’s the edited summary, which clearly shows that Trump solicited the interference of a foreign power in a US election (which is illegal) and that he held US aid over Zelensky’s head in exchange for a kind of oppo research, which is a form of buying a thing of value for the election and is also illegal.

A smoking gun.



Declassified by order of the President
September 24, 2019


SUBJECT: Telephone Conversation with President Zelenskyy of Ukraine

PARTICIPANTS: President Zelenskyy of Ukraine

Notetakers: The White House Situation·Room

DATE, TIME July 25, 2019, 9:03 – 9:33 a.m. EDT
AND PLACE: Residence

The President: Congratulations on a great victory. We all watched from the United States and you did a terrific job. The way you came from behind, somebody who wasn’t given much of a chance, and you ended up winning easily. It’s a fantastic achievement. Congratulations . . .

President Zelenskyy: [spelling error sic] Well yes, to tell you the truth, we are trying to work hard because we wanted to drain the swamp here in our country. We brought in many many new people. Not the old politicians, not the typical politicians, because we want to have a new format and a new type of government. You are a great teacher for us and in that.

The President: Well it’s very nice of you to say that. I will say that we do a lot for Ukraine. We spend a lot of effort and a lot of time. Much more than the European countries are doing and they should be helping you more than they are. Germany does almost nothing for you . . .

President Zelenskyy: Yes you are absolutely right. Not only 100%, but actually 100% . . .

The President: I would like you to do us a favor though because our country has been through a lot and Ukraine knows a lot about it. I would like you to find out what happened with this whole situation with Ukraine, they say Crowdstrike… I guess you have one of your wealthy people… The server, they say Ukraine has it. There are a lot of things that went on, the whole situation. I think you’re surrounding yourself with some of the same people. I would like to have the Attorney General call you or your people and I would like you to get to the bottom of it. As you saw yesterday, that whole nonsense ended with a very poor performance by a man named Robert Mueller, an incompetent performance, but they say a lot of it started with Ukraine. Whatever you can do, it’s very important that you do it, if that’s possible.

President Zelenskyy: Yes it is very important for me and everything that you just mentioned earlier. For me as a President, is very important and we are open for any future cooperation. We are ready to open a new page on cooperation in relations between the United States and Ukraine . . .

The President: Good because I heard you had a prosecutor who was very good and he was shut down and that’s really unfair. A lot of people are talking about that, the way they shut your very good prosecutor down and you had some very bad people involved. Mr. Giuliani is a highly respected man. He was the mayor of New York City, a great mayor, and I would like him to call you. I will ask him to call you along with the Attorney General. Rudy very much knows what’s happening and he is a very capable guy. If you could speak to him that would be great. The former ambassador from the United States, the woman, was bad news and the people she was dealing with in the Ukraine were bad news so I just want to let you know that. The other thing, there’s a lot of talk about Biden’s son, that Biden stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that so whatever you can do with the Attorney General would be great. Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution so if you can look into it… It sounds horrible to me.

President Zelenskyy: I wanted to tell you about the prosecutor. First of all, I understand and I’m knowledgeable about the situation. Since we have won the absolute majority in our Parliament, the next prosecutor general will be 100% my person, my candidate, who will be approved by the parliament and will start as a new prosecutor in September. He or she will look into the situation, specifically to the company that you mentioned in this issue. The issue of the investigation of the case is actually the issue of making sure to restore the honesty so we will take care of that and will work on the investigation of the case. On top of that, I would kindly ask you if you have any additional information that you can provide to us, it would be very helpful for the investigation to make sure that we administer justice in our country with regard to the Ambassador to the United States from Ukraine as far as I recall her name was Ivanovich. It was great that you were the first one who told me that she was a bad ambassador because I agree with you 100%. Her attitude towards me was far from the best as she admired the previous President and she was on his side. She would not accept me as a new President well enough.

The President: Well, she’s going to go through some things. I will have Mr. Giuliani give you a call and I am also going to have Attorney General Barr call and we will get to the bottom of it. I’m sure you will figure it out. I heard the prosecutor was treated very badly and he was a very fair prosecutor so good luck with everything. Your economy is going to get better and better I predict. You have a lot of assets. It’s a great country. I have many Ukrainian friends, their incredible people.

President Zelenskyy: I would like to tell you that I also have quite a few Ukrainian friends that live in the United States . . . I would like to thank you very much for your support.

The President: Good. Well, thank you very much and I appreciate that. I will tell Rudy and Attorney General Barr to call. Thank you. Whenever you would like to come to the White House, feel free to call. Give us a date and we’ll work that out. I look forward to seeing you.

President Zelenskyy: Thank you very much. I would be very happy to come and would be happy to meet with you personally and get to know you better . . .

The President: Okay, we can work that out. I look forward to seeing you in Washington and maybe in Poland because I think we are going to be there at that time.

President Zelenskyy: Thank you very much Mr. President.

The President: Congratulations on a fantastic job you’ve done. The whole world was watching. I’m not sure it was so much of an upset but congratulations.

President Zelenskyy: Thank you Mr. President bye-bye.

— End of Conversation —

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Trump EPA’s Review Fails to Acknowledge Paraquat Weed Killer’s Links to Parkinson’s Disease

Agency Considers Reapproving Lethal Pesticide Banned in Much of World

By Center For Biological Diversity

Global Research,

The Environmental Protection Agency today released two scientific analyses of paraquat that detail the weed killer’s lethal risks to humans and wildlife but discount its strong links to Parkinson’s disease.

The agency opened a 60-day comment period on the assessments, which are part of a reapproval review for the pesticide. Paraquat is banned across much of the world but used widely and in growing amounts in the United States. By law all pesticides must be reapproved by the EPA every 15 years.

“A pesticide this toxic has no place near our food or the people who help to grow and harvest it,” said Nathan Donley, a senior scientist at the Center for Biological Diversity. “The EPA should follow the lead of nearly every other major agricultural country in the world and ban this dangerous stuff for good.”

The EPA’s analysis discounted considerable evidence that paraquat has been shown to more than double the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease in farmworkers and others suffering occupational exposure.New Study: United States Uses 85 Pesticides Outlawed in Other Countries

A separate environmental analysis estimated that approved uses of the pesticide could expose small mammals like chipmunks and bats to more than 600 times the levels known to cause reproductive harm. The analysis found that small songbirds are potentially being exposed to more than 50 times the concentration known to cause death.

Paraquat is one of only two pesticides still used in the United States that is either banned or being phased out in the European Union, China and Brazil. From 1990 to 2014 there have been 27 deaths and more than 200 incidents of harmful exposure involving paraquat in the United States. There has also been at least one death from paraquat ingestion in the United States each year since 2012.

Despite this paraquat use in the United States is higher than it’s been in the past 25 years, with use rising nearly 200 percent since 2009. The increase has been triggered by its use on superweeds that have developed resistance to glyphosate, commonly sold as Bayer’s Roundup.

U.S. farmers currently use more than 8 million pounds of paraquat each year, including on peanuts, citrus, wheat, soy, corn, almonds, artichokes, garlic, pears, strawberries, grapes and sweet potatoes.

“It only takes a teaspoon of paraquat to kill a person, so it’s clear 8 million pounds of this stuff is doing extreme harm to our health and the environment,” said Donley.

In July U.S. Rep. Nydia Velázquez (D-N.Y.) introduced legislation to ban paraquat.

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To Think or To Work? That Is the Question. Crisis of America’s Public Education System

By John Klyczek

Global Research,

On both sides of the political aisle, workforce-training reforms are being touted as the be-all, end-all of America’s public education system.

Right-wing “school choice” proponents, such as President Donald Trump and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, push corporate charter school programs with workforce-training curriculums.

Left-wing “community schooling” advocates, such as Democratic Presidential candidates Joe Biden and Julián Castro, push “lifelong-learning” programs with school-to-work curriculums. Both “conservatives” and “liberals” concur: the purpose of public education is workforce development.

It’s nice to know that, in this divisive era of Trump outrage, America’s political representatives can still reach across the aisle to agree on something. Too bad this bipartisan movement will reduce the US schooling system to a corporate-government bureaucracy that deploys Big Data to train students to fill labor quotas prescribed by workforce-planning algorithms.

Career-Aptitude Pigeonholes

In this new age of rapidly advancing technologies that are automating “low-skill” jobs, many parents are understandably concerned that their children’s schooling will fail to prepare them to survive in a hi-tech future where the economy is driven by computers. However, parents should be skeptical of hyped-up “career pathways” curriculums that train students in hi-tech skills prescribed for job placement in the fields of “Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics” (STEM). While this polytechnical training might offer quick shortcuts to hi-tech jobs, such vocational tech-training pigeonholes the student into a predetermined job with limited upward mobility.

Such “cradle-to-career” training is based on three of the “six basic functions” of schooling systematized by Harvard Professor of Education, Alexander Inglis, who believed that public schools are instruments of Statecraft and social engineering. In “Against School,” Inglis’s authoritarian “principles of education” are paraphrased by the renowned New York State Teacher of the Year (1991), John Taylor Gatto:

  1. The diagnostic and directive function. School is meant to determine each student’s proper social role. . . .
  2. The differentiating function. Once their social role has been “diagnosed,” children are to be sorted by role and trained only so far as their destination in the social machine merits—and not one step further. . . .
  3. The propaedeutic function. The social system implied by these rules will require an elite group of caretakers. To that end, a small fraction of the kids will quietly be taught how to manage this continuing project, how to watch over and control a population deliberately dumbed down and declawed in order that government might proceed unchallenged and corporations might never want for obedient labor.

By pipelining students directly from the classroom to the jobsite, career-pathways curriculums diagnose each student’s social role by consigning him or her to a job caste that is directed by Big Business partnering with publicly funded school-to-work programs. Furthermore, to efficiently determine each student’s socioeconomic role, the cradle-to-career “conveyor belt” differentiates the student body into a hierarchy of managers and wage slaves who are trained with minimal job competences so that the chain of economic command is not destabilized by social ambitions.Cognitive-Behavioral Workforce Conditioning through Online Adaptive-Learning Technetronics

Simply put, career-pathways do not teach students how to choose their own careers and social roles; rather, they teach students job-specific skills for limited employment openings which are predetermined by the market projections of the politically connected corporations that partner with government-funded schools.

Psychometric Learning Analytics for “Personalized” Job Training

Rather than applaud school-to-work curriculums that train students to keep up with the evolution of a hi-tech economy, perhaps schoolboards should be disconcerted about the encroachment of the Big Tech economy on schools and learning. With growing popularity, Big Data is becoming an integral component of career-pathways training through “adaptive-learning” computers that literally reduce students to numbers. By data-mining a student’s responses to digital lessons, adaptive-learning software (such as DreamboxAlta, and Brightspace Leap™) can tabulate student-learning algorithms which diagnose students as mentally “fit” or “unfit” for certain jobs. The result is a psychometrical “bell curve” system that pathologizes a student’s workforce “competences” based on his or her “cognitive-behavioral” algorithms.

Such data-mining of student psychometrics might be an efficient way to distribute job placement through workforce-schooling programs. Nonetheless, acclaimed education theorist Alfie Kohn documents that the psychological conditioning methods of schooling advocated by “economists and a diehard group of orthodox behaviorists (who have restyled themselves ‘behavior analysts’)” usually “backfire” and “undermine the very thing we’re trying to promote.” Indeed, workforce-schooling psychometrics are “undermined” when “personalized” student-learning profiles “backfire” by socially engineering the student body into a workforce caste hierarchy with limited job opportunities that restrict upward mobility.

A Post-Humanism?

If parents are worried that their children may get run over by the hi-speed, hi-tech automation economy on the horizons, their attempts to reform education so that students can “compete” with the new computerized economy may actually exacerbate the problem. Rather than encourage school-to-work curriculums that train students to “interface” with a techno-automated workforce, perhaps it is more important to teach the humanities of philosophy, history, and the arts so that the next generations can make humane decisions which ensure that technological evolution serves the inalienable rights of human dignity and conscience.

We are at a crossroads here: the “career pathways” to a technocratic economy, or the “classical way” to a moral economy based on the “categorical-imperative” values of human dignity and conscience. I am not saying that technological advancement cannot progress alongside the preservation of human values. But in a computer-automated economy driven by Big Data, algorithms must be programmed with certain values; and without the preservation of humane values in the minds of students, there will be nothing to ensure that human morality is programmed into the algorithms that plan the workforces of the future. If we amputate the arts and humanities from the “new education,” which worships the supposed infallibility of data, what will it profit our children to gain the world of hi-tech jobs only to lose their humanity?

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The African Swine Fever Outbreak, Devastating Impacts on Food Supply

By Dr. Binoy Kampmark

Global Research,

You cannot get away from it, at least in print or in Google land. African swine fever is doing its rounds, cutting through the swine population of Asia with remorseless dedication.  Since its deadly debut in China last year, it has done away with some 25 percent of the globe’s pig population.  The symptoms are dramatic and lethal (mortality rates range from 95 to 100 percent), with the infected animal haemorrhaging and perishing between a period of five to fifteen days.  This decline has sparked all manner of comment: a feared deprivation of pork dishes, a spark of hope in exports of pork untouched by the disease and alternative meat supplies, and the more serious issue of food security.

In China itself, the decline of pork is causing a strain of desperation, though it is always marked by reassurance and stiff-upper lip confidence.  Pork supplies, both domestically and internationally, had been seen to be something of an essential in Chinese food security.  In September, the country’s pig population, numbering some 440 million animals, had shrunk by 41.1 percent.  While figures coming out of various Chinese ministries should be viewed with a healthy dose of scepticism, the numbers from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs have caused a stir.  Such contractions are perpetuating and will continue to perpetuate a loss in the global consumption of protein.

On Monday, China’s Premier, Li Keqiang did something uncharacteristic for the politburo: he ventured to a roadside stall to test the vox populi on the subject of rising pork prices.  Not that the episode lacked its fair share of choreographic sense.  The owner was suitably stoic; it simply would not do to panic.  “Our prices have also risen a bit accordingly.  The effect on business hasn’t been too big.”  Bravely dishonest for party and country, perhaps?

The disastrous wasting of domestic herds, one that sees no ebbing, has caused a spike in imports in pork.  The PRC saw some 1.3 million tonnes coming into the country in the first three quarters this year.

Other countries are also showing a certain fear in the face of rumour and speculation.  In Europe, the fever is being held at bay, though pork consumers are seeing prices rise.  But in Asian countries, the response is graver, and slightly panicked.  South Korea, for instance, is mobilising snipers and civilians in an effort to shore up its border with North Korea.  Drones equipped with thermal vision will also be deployed.  All of this is in aid of one thing: targeting infected pigs near the line of civilian control.  The South China Morning Post is positively apocalyptic. “The intensified measures aim to exterminate feral pigs in areas including Incheon, Seoul, Goseong and Bukhan River.”A Fancy Hypocrisy: China, Australia and Coal Mania

As far as North Korea is concerned, the concern is that the fever is doing its worst, though official figures suggest the opposite.  The North Korean agriculture ministry claimed in a May 30 report to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) that animal deaths had been modest, with only 22 recorded on a cooperative farm some 260km north of Pyongyang.

For those in the Asia-Pacific region as yet untouched by ASF, nerves are catching.  Countries like Australia have demonstrated that terror characteristic of island mentalities: Be wary of what you import and what you let in.  Biosecurity is a tic of the Australian policy mindset, though it does not come without its ironies: the Australian scientific and agricultural sector has been arguably more devastating and disastrous for the country’s ecology than any malicious or accidental introduction.

Be that as it may, Australia’s $5 billion pork industry is nothing to sneeze at, keeping something in the order of 36,000 people busy.  But off Australian shores, the fear is that the fever is making its marauding march, with news that East Timor had become the tenth Asian nation to be added to the list.  Customs officials are proving edgier than usual, and the federal Agricultural Minister Bridget McKenzie is getting a tad judgmental.

“People are still disregarding our biosecurity laws.  We can send them home, we can slap significant fines on them and I’ll be encouraging our biosecurity officials to be doing exactly that with those offenders.”

On Saturday, a Vietnamese woman was sent packing after arriving at Sydney Airport with quail, squid and raw pork.  The unfortunate had her visa cancelled, the result of amendments made in April.  As the Department of Agriculture described it,

“International visitors who are believed to have contravened particular provisions of the Biosecurity Act 2015 can have their visitor visa cancelled for up to three years.”

The biosecurity and vet gate keepers have their eye on one aspect of Australia’s pig population.  The 2.5 million domestic population might well be one thing, but imagine, fears Chief Veterinary Officer Dr Mark Schipp, the prospect of 15 million feral pigs being infected.  (This figure, it should be said, varies – another estimate puts the number at 24 million.)  But where crisis presents itself, there are salivating opportunities.  Australian Pork Limited chief executive Margo Andrae is one who is drooling at the prospect that Australia can “increase production and prices to fill gaps that other markets can’t supply.”

What then, to do?  From a thriving epidemic, ASF has become an enthusiastic pandemic. It is cutting through protein consumption and posing a risk to food supply, but as yet, there are no cures nor vaccines.  The UN Food and Agriculture Organisation has also noted that the disease’s impact is complicated by “the range of pig production systems coexisting in the different countries.”  Such instances, if they do at least conjure up a world without pork, may well encourage a world less reliant on the staple.  But till then, individuals such as Dr Hirofumi Kugita of the OIE are punting for the border control and biosecurity obsessives.

Posted in AfricaComments Off on The African Swine Fever Outbreak, Devastating Impacts on Food Supply

Farage, the Brexit Party – and the Con-trick

By True Publica

Global Research,

On May 16th 2016, over a month before the 2016 EU referendum, Nigel Farage said – “In a 52-48 referendum this would be unfinished business by a long way. If the Remain campaign win two-thirds to one-third that ends it.”

On the night of the EU referendum itself, Sky News reported that they had an exclusive –

We now expect that the United Kingdom will remain part of the European Union. It’s 52 per cent Remain, 48 per cent Leave.

At 10:52 p.m., the pound rose above $1.50 and reached its highest mark in six months. What no-one knew except for a privileged few, was that the pollsters had sold hedge funds critical, advance information, including data that would have been illegal for them to give the public. Within hours of the actual result, Sterling had crashed to $1.32 making hundreds of millions in short bet profits against billions laid down for an unexpected Leave result. Farage is also allegedly in that privileged few. The crisis has since seen even greater speculator profits being made as the Brexit chaos unfolded.

The result that followed in the early hours stunned many and amazingly it turned out to be 52/48 for Leave.

Nigel Farage celebrated that morning by saying:

We have fought against the multinationals, we have fought against the big merchant banks, we have fought against big politics, we have fought against lies, corruption and deceit, and today honesty, decency and belief in nation, I think now is going to win. And we will have done it without having to fight, without a single bullet being fired. We’d have done it by damned hard work on the ground.”

Farage stood accused of falsely conceding on the night of the referendum sending the pound to soar (as confidence grew of a Remain result) and then crash (with the actual result). Like all insider dealing, proof for a conviction is, at best, hard to obtain. The ‘Brexit Big Short‘ as it has become known within the banking and hedge-fund industry is legendary. And just like the massive scandal of bailing out the banks and making the poorest pay for it under the guise of austerity, itself, nothing more than the retaliatory mask of a class-war – the Brexit Big Short demonstrates that some are inoculated from the biggest of crimes.

A lot has happened since June 2016. We have seen a significant move to hard right-wing politics within the Conservatives with Farage now leading the Brexit Party in anticipation of a snap election.

For all of Farage’s finger-pointing that the EU was corrupt and anti-democratic and against the ordinary people of Britain, it is interesting to see where he now stands aside from the sweet-talking rhetoric of ‘sunny uplands’.

The Brexit Party chairman himself, Richard Tice, is now facing calls to “urgently” address concerns about his family’s links to offshore tax havens, after an investigation by openDemocracy this week that reveals that two offshore firms own large shareholdings in his family’s business.Britain Lurches Deeper into Brexit Crisis: Its Population Remains Deeply Alienated from the Political Establishment

“The Brexit Party MEP has also been urged to stand down from the European Parliament’s Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee, which oversees EU tax policy, until the matter is fully investigated.”

Tice, a co-founder of Arron Banks’s Leave.EU, says he has no knowledge of who runs two offshore companies that have held shares for over 25 years in his family business, Sunley Family Limited, and which now own a combined 42% stake. Of course, Tice denies any financial interests of the offshore companies.

Accusations of money laundering, fraud, fake news, cash-for-access, disinformation and electoral manipulation through social media have been rife with the hub of the Leave campaign. The names synonymous with this villainous and unprincipled lot roll off the tongue with ease – the IEA, Cambridge Analytica, Facebook, Aggregate IG, ERG, Bannon, Legatum, TaxPayers Alliance and many individuals with nothing more on their minds than making their fortunes out of the mess they created.

Byline Times has published some home-truths about Nigel Farage’s party of the ‘common people’ by simply looking at its candidates a little more closely.

“Out of these 20 profiled candidates, 18 are company directors, 8 are bankers, 5 work in derivatives and hedge funds, ranking them among a metropolitan and business elite which the Brexit Party rhetoric repeatedly condemns. Many of these candidates are involved with hedge funds or derivatives, sectors of the financial industry were the ones who profited from the Brexit turmoil, by betting on Sterling’s collapse and downturns in British firms. These organisations are known to oppose EU attempts to regulate the hedge fund industry.”

And as Byline also mentions, two of the candidates are directors of Leave Means Leave, the organisation promoting a hard  (WTO) Brexit.  Another is a director of the Leave group Veterans for Britain which received donations from Arron Banks and from   Others have links to far-right groups which are already fomenting tensions, such as the American right-wing youth group, Turning Point; the website Westmonster, and UK organisations such as the TaxPayers’ Alliance (with all of its dodgy, undisclosed and ‘opaque’ funding).

Turning Point is a very nasty right-wing American outfit that spits its bile out – “With numerous right-wing and religious links to Donald Trump. The scandal-hit group has been plagued by incidents of racism and allegations of illegal campaign spending since its launch.”  Sounds familiar, doesn’t it.

We should not forget who Farage is dallying with either. It only emerged a few months ago that he discussed the idea of fronting a global alliance of populist and far-right politicians being put together by the controversial former White House strategist Steve Bannon. Farage is even on camera as saying he would be keen to take the role of forming a group based around populism and “economic nationalism” that would align themselves with some of the worst authoritarians in politics today.

These people – Farage, Tice, Banks, et al – are the very public face of what’s gone wrong in Britain. It’s a con, a lie – one huge deception that somehow they are the representatives of the 17.4 million that voted to leave the EU.

No-one voted in the EU referendum for the Britain of today. In the 1980s – 86 per cent of the adult population were proud to be British. Today, no less than 90 per cent of the adult population feels that Brexit represents little more than a national humiliation and 45 per cent of Britain’s young (18-24) are no longer proud of their home nation. Another 34 per cent say they no longer care one way or the other and 10 per cent are actively embarrassed to call themselves English. That is what Brexit has brought us.

As Jonathan Lis, Deputy Director of the think tank British Influence quite rightly puts it because this is exactly what has happened:

What was billed as a way for people to take back control of democracy has become a systematic attack on every institution which underpins it.”

And the very people doing that damage are Farage, Tice, Banks and so on.

The Brexit being offered today does not look remotely like anything sold to the public. And don’t think that people can’t operate such huge con-games. From the Parmalat boss who stole 800 million euros before Europe’s largest bankruptcy to Enron, the world’s biggest fraud, con-artists have managed to hoodwink even the most privileged and powerful – let alone ‘ordinary people.’

As Farage himself quite rightly said in 2012, reiterated in 2014 and 2016 –

I think frankly when it comes to chaos you ain’t seen nothing yet.”

He is right on that.

On some level, I feel sure that Nigel Farage really did and maybe still does believe in leaving the EU to take back national sovereignty – but I also feel that not even he expected his wet dream to become reality, and as they say – “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Farage and his fellow hedge-fund banker boy travellers also know that Brexit is a con trick.

Posted in UKComments Off on Farage, the Brexit Party – and the Con-trick

Bretton Woods Institutions’ Neoliberal Over-reach Leaves Global Governance in the Gutter

By Prof. Patrick Bond

Global Research


This week, the annual meeting of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund will again be held in Washington, DC, with back-slapping now that the Bretton Woods twins have reached age 75 (they were founded at a New Hampshire hotel in 1944). And with more passion than in recent years, there will be protests, especially climate activists on Friday at noon with a strong set of messages, to “end all funding for fossil fuels!”

One voice will be especially loud: Trevor Ngwane’s. A leading activist from Soweto, he was last at a Washington protest in April 2000, amidst 30,000 demonstrators. That week, he co-starred – along with World Bank board chairperson Trevor Manuel – in a documentary, Two Trevors Go to Washington(Regrettably, young Trevor Noah was still in a Johannesburg high school and not in that particular film; but with his attitude, would have fit in just fine on that picket line.)

The latter Trevor was South Africa’s finance minister from 1996-2009 and in the process, turned the economy into a neoliberal wasteland, as manufacturing fell from 24 to 13 percent of national output and commodity export-dependency rose. On the ground, Manuel’s policies ensured the apartheid era’s world-leading inequality worsened, along with poverty. The main unemployment rate nearly doubled from 16 to 29 percent, and foreign debt soared from $25 billion to $70 billion during his reign – and is now $180 billion. Manuel was always treated with the greatest regard inside the Bank and IMF.

An example of the kinds of dubious deals Manuel and his successor Pravin Gordhan arranged with international financiers was the Medupi coal-fired power-plant, which at 4800MW is the largest under construction on earth today. There was widespread corruption on the project by Hitachi – which in 2015 was prosecuted and fined $19 million under the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act for bribing South Africa’s ruling party – and many other contractors. This was all well known by World Bank president Robert Zoellick, who nevertheless arranged his institution’s largest-ever project loan for Medupi: $3.75 billion.

But it’s a kind of “Odious Debt,” one so awful that Medupi is the reason in late 2017, 16 months before Donald Trump named him World Bank President, David Malpass admitted South Africa was the exemplary case of fraudulent relations with the lender. Correctly, he insulted Bank loan officers while testifying to the U.S. Congress:

“They’re often corrupt in their lending practices, and they don’t get the benefit to the actual people in the countries. They get the benefit to the people who fly in on a first-class airplane ticket to give advice to the government officials in the country, that flow of money is large, but not so much the actual benefit to normal people within poor countries.”

This description perfectly fits Medupi and a sister power plant (Kusile), which are driving Eskom’s finances to the brink, due to eight-year production delays, incompetent design and massive cost over-runs, in turn threatening South Africa’s credit-worthiness, as well as security of power supply. (On October 16, power was turned off in a “Stage 2 load-shedding” disruption due to a broken conveyor belt at Medupi.) Even in their half-built state, the climate implications from CO2 emissions and the consumption of scarce water for cooling the reactors are horrendous.

But merely in financial terms, even leading bourgeois representatives from Anglo American Corporation’s main think tank now contemplate just shutting the two white-elephant plants and walking away. Progressive writers in South Africa’s main ezines – Kevin Bloom in Daily Maverick and Jonathan Cannard in the Mail&Guardian – argue the Bank should be compelled to face lender liability, and write off the debt.

Instead, refusing to learn, the Bank’s International Finance Corporation (IFC) subsidiary has just made a $2 million investment in another South African fossil-dependent project: a major new gas terminal on the coast; its partner,Transnet, is one of the most corrupt institutions in Africa. The arrogance is stunning given that the IFC lost its U.S. diplomatic immunity in a Supreme Court case just six months ago.

As local environmental justice, community-feminist and anti-poverty activists contemplate how to punish the World Bank for its proclivity to finance one absurd project after the other, all the while churning out neoliberal research,South Africa appears as a microcosm of what’s gone wrong with Bretton Woods pro-corporate neoliberal malgovernance, more generally, these last 75 years.

The multilateral cul-de-sac

Multilateralism has surfed the up-swells and down the troughs of globalisation. In the latter case, the League of Nations faded away during the 1930s as a relevant force for peace, once the waves of Great Depression ripped Western economic interests apart. Today, multilateralism also seems to have entered the final, life-support stage of its 21st-century crisis, in part because of the overwhelming power of multinational corporations, and in part because of fast-rising reactionary nationalisms.

As the 2019 G7 summit confirmed, the world cannot contend with the bully-boy ascendance of Donald Trump and other right-wing critics of ‘globalism’ (an anti-Semitic smear), who spew ever more toxic nativist-populist hatred while ignoring their countries’ historic responsibilities to solve problems that their corporations mainly created. As a result, concluded the founder of world-systems theory, the late Immanuel Wallerstein, the 2018 G7 meeting was simply farcical:

“Trump may have done us all the favour of destroying this last major remnant of the era of Western domination of the world-system.”

Even at the G20, which is the economic grouping responsible for three quarters of global greenhouse gas emissions and hence the site where addressing climate catastrophe is most urgent, the 2017-19 hosts in HamburgBuenos Aires and Osaka were cowed by Trump.

As a result, the world’s most important climate, trade and financial arrangements are increasingly ineffectual and discredited. Notwithstanding a decade-old network of five ‘middle powers’ (better termed ‘subimperialists’), the Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa (BRICS) bloc, the South is much less capable of giving the world’s oppressed a chance to make inputs and win long-overdue concessions.

Those expecting progressive change through the BRICS’ collective financial and trade statecraft are disappointed, especially as the world spins out of control economically. “BRICS should be much stronger by now,” one of its founders, former Brazilian president Lula da Silva told Asia Times recently.

“I imagined a more aggressive BRICS, more proactive and more creative.”

Instead, global-scale neoliberalism remains dominant. The ill-conceived United Nations (UN) collaboration deal with the plutocratic Davos World Economic Forum in June 2019 followed persistent ‘bluewashing’ concerns about the UN’s discredited Global Compact with some of the world’s least ethical firms, growing corporate manipulation of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, and sabotage of multilateral environmental and human rights governance.South Africa Searches for a “Financial Parachute”, A $170 Billion Foreign Debt Cliff Looms. IMF “Economic Medicine”

Another sign of ever-worsening degeneracy is personal. Thanks to unashamed cronyism, all the major multilateral economic organisations with the exception of the near-impotent World Trade Organisation (WTO) are run by Westerners: the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF), the Bank for International Settlements and the United Nations itself.

The only exception, Brazilian WTO leader Roberto Carvalho de Azevêdo, has notoriously pandered to the West, although to be fair, he is now openly expressing frustration as Trump ratchets up protectionism and as US trade representative Robert Lighthizer obstructs appointments to his crucial Appellate Body.

“The dispute resolution mechanism is in crisis,” according to neoliberal Peterson Institute scholars, a paralysis which “runs the risk of returning the world trading system to a power-based free-for-all, allowing big players to act unilaterally and use retaliation to get their way.”

That is exactly how Trump and Xi Jinping are handling their trade dispute.

Meanwhile, Bolsonaro is following Trump’s anti-multilateral lead, quickly renouncing ‘special and differential treatment’ provisions for poor and middle-income countries at the WTO – although it is sacred to other BRICS members, especially India. But Brasilia’s divorce began much earlier, complains Third World Network’s Ravi Kanth, because although the developing-country bloc inside the WTO now “exists on paper, it remains paralysed after Azevêdo became director-general in September 2013.”

Bolsonaro also cancelled Brazil’s hosting of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) summitlater this year, forcing its move to Chile. Deploying bogus anti-colonial rhetoric, he turned his nose up at the G20’s tokenistic $20 million grant to control the Amazon’s conflagration. Moreover, Bolsonaro could well wreck the BRICSwhen he hosts the other four leaders in November.

In any case, the BRICS have already failed miserably when attempting to reform global finance, for example by complaining about – but failing to contest – the IMF and Bank leaders, chosen by Europeans and the US in the 2011, 2012, 2015, 2016 and 2019 ‘elections.’ At the same time, four of the BRICS bought expensive voting-power increases in the IMF (e.g. China rising 37 per cent), but at the expense of countries like Nigeria and Venezuela (which in 2015 both lost 41 per cent of their votes, while even South Africa’s IMF ‘voice’ softened by 21 per cent).

The BRICS’ supposed alternative to the IMF, the Contingent Reserve Arrangement, was founded in 2014 with a notional $100 billion. It actually gives Washington even more power, by leveraging most of its loans on the condition that the borrower accept an IMF structural adjustment program. The BRICS New Development Bank’s first five years of lending confirm that it is as rife with corruption, non-consultation, climate damage and inappropriate currency denominations as the World Bank, and even more unfriendly to gender equity.

Likewise, there is no BRICS alternative to Western domination in trade or climate multilateralism. At the WTO, the BRICS were fatally divided, leading to the 2015 destruction of food sovereignty options during the Nairobi summit. And as for climate, the Brazil-South Africa-India-China (BASIC) leaders’ close alignment with Barack Obama at the Copenhagen UNFCCC summit in 2009 held firm through the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement.

But that won’t solve our existential crisis, for the BASIC countries are absolute CO2 emitters at levels even higher than the West (and in South Africa’s case higher per capita than any country in Western Europe). So Paris’ fatal weaknesses suit them fine.

More recently, new causes of global governance illegitimacy appear similar to the centrifugal forces tearing Europe apart. The political commitments of climate-denialist, ‘paleo-conservative’ xenophobes like Trump are different to other Washington philosophies imposed on the world, including the 1980s-90s’ Reagan-Bush-Clinton era of neoliberalism (stretching with Thatcher and Blair into Britain and Kohl and Schroeder into Europe), George W. Bush’s 2000s neoconservatism and Obama’s 2010s fusion of these two US-centric ideologies.

With just a couple of exceptions (discussed below), an earlier generation of global-scale social-democratic hopes – fostered by serious multilateralists from 1970s traditions, e.g. Willy Brandt and Gro Harlem Brundtland – were dashed by the early 1980s, thanks to the role the Bretton Woods Institutions played in fracturing the world’s progressive potentials on behalf of international financiers. The poorest countries went through a ‘lost’ decade or more of austerity. The 1995-2002 middle-income countries’ rolling crises meant local elites allowed the same inappropriate neoliberal regime to be imposed by Washington even more deeply and dangerously in Mexico, East Asia, Russia, South Africa, Brazil, Argentina and Turkey.

Then it was the turn of the West’s ‘labour aristocracy,’ a core group of working-class people dethroned, for they lost their once-solid manufacturing jobs to machines and overseas outsourcing, and were reduced to taking underpaid and under-valued service-based jobs and relying upon fast-degenerating public services. In 2008-09 they too witnessed a replay of brutal 1980s-90s Bretton Woods power plays, once their elites agreed upon a multilateral ‘solution’ to the world financial meltdown: a coordinated central bank bailout for the largest Western financial institutions.

This generosity was confirmed by the 2010s’ official prioritisation – by the IMF, European Central Bank and European Union (EU) – of the Frankfurt, New York, London, Paris and Rome bankers’ interests, which were near-fatally exposed to Greece and other peripheral European borrowers. By 2016, neo-fascist political parties were thriving there, while the most resentful within the British and U.S. working classes chose xenophobic backlash in the form of Brexit and Trump.

Self-destructive IMF and World Bank ideology and financing

The crucial break point for multilateral potential was the 1980s world debt crisis, during which neoliberal ideology stretched the Third World so far that the likes of Tanzania’s Julius Nyerere and Cuba’s Fidel Castro even proposed a ‘debtors’ cartel’ – but could not find a sufficient critical mass of other brave leaders even in a Latin America suffering sustained IMF rioting, to the relief of international elites.

At one point in 1983, World Bank president William Clausen quite bluntly explained the balance of forces: “We must ask ourselves: How much pressure can these nations be expected to bear? How far can the poorest peoples be pushed into further reducing their meagre standards of living? How resilient are the political systems and institutions in these countries in the face of steadily worsening conditions?”

Clausen’s power came from the 1979-80 ‘Volcker Shock’: soaring interest rates catalysed by US Federal Reserve chair Paul Volcker’s decision to restore the Dollar’s power, in turn causing the Third World Debt Crisis. Clausen and all his successors abused that power to impose the Washington Consensus’s ten policy commandments. The term came from John Williamson of that city’s Institute of International Finance, representing the world’s major banks:

1. Budget deficits … should be small enough to be financed without recourse to the inflation tax.
2. Public expenditure should be redirected from politically sensitive areas that receive more resources than their economic return can justify…

3. Tax reform… so as to broaden the tax base and cut marginal tax rates.
4. Financial liberalisation, involving an ultimate objective of market-determined interest rates.
5. A unified exchange rate at a level sufficiently competitive to induce a rapid growth in non-traditional exports.
6. Quantitative trade restrictions to be rapidly replaced by tariffs, which would be progressively reduced until a uniform low rate of 10 to 20 per cent was achieved.
7. Abolition of barriers impeding the entry of foreign direct investment.
8. Privatisation of state enterprises.
9. Abolition of regulations that impede the entry of new firms or restrict competition.
10. The provision of secure property rights…

Needless to say, the victims were mainly women, youth, the elderly and people of colour. The IMF’s flows of annual loans that, thanks to conditionality, locked these policies into place, were initially less than $15 billion before the Volcker Shock, then soared to $40 billion by the late 1980s, jumped as high as $100 billion by the early 2000s, and exceeded $140 billion by the early 2010s (see Fig 1). The World Bank had similar bursts.

Fig 1. IMF loans, 1970-2015

Source: Reinhart and Trebesch, 2015, p.24.

Added to the neoliberal agenda were trillions worth of ‘illicit financial flows’ manoeuvred into offshore financial centres, leaving governments with rising budget deficits and their social sectors experiencing permanent cost-cutting pressures. IMF economists Jonathan Ostry, Prakash Loungani, and Davide Furceri admitted in 2016 that as a result,

“The increase in inequality engendered by financial openness and austerity might itself undercut growth, the very thing that the neoliberal agenda is intent on boosting. There is now strong evidence that inequality can significantly lower both the level and the durability of growth.”

But notwithstanding that admission, most subsequent Article IV consultations offered advice that amplified inequality, Oxfam researchers discovered.

The IMF also made a similar confession about its role in patriarchy, namely that “some policies recommended by staff… may… exacerbate gender inequality” – but again, when it came to a correction, the IMF “missed the forest for the policy trees,” explains Emma Bürgisser of the Bretton Woods Project.

“Almost every macroeconomic policy the IMF regularly prescribes carries harmful gendered impacts, including labour flexibilisation, privatisation, regressive taxation, trade liberalisation and targeting social protection and pensions.”

Activists try to undo destruction

In turn the predatory debt, precarious work and privatisation of so many aspects of life experienced by the world’s citizenries calls forth two kinds of responses: appeals to global governance to sort out problems national states have shied away from, and popular revolt. There are both good and bad versions of these top-down and bottom-up responses, as we have seen, with cases such as the Montreal Protocol and Global Fund for AIDS, TB and Malaria as top-down successes, but the latter owes more to bottom-up pressures.

Since the urgency of the situation required a global response, the 1987 Montreal Protocol was supported by even the reactionary Ronald Reagan administration. It committed national states to ensure their corporations (e.g. Dow Chemical and General Electric) stop producing and emitting CFCs within nine years. The ban worked and the problem is receding (aside from recent Chinese corporate cheating on hydro-CFCs).

At present, a Montreal Protocol-type ban on Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions is presumed unthinkable, notwithstanding the impending eco-social catastrophe. A solution as forceful as the Montreal Protocol is needed for GHGs, but the weakness of multilateralism and the pro-corporate balance of forces makes it unlikely within the UNFCCC – unless the world’s rising youth and other climate activists ramp up the civil disobedience and divestment advocacy that is now beginning to worry fossil fuel financiers.

In that spirit, there was one other more recent multilateral solution to a world crisis, AIDS, which shows how to shift the balance of forces not through elites’ top-down meetings of minds (although within the World Health Organisation and UN AIDS, there were a few bureaucratic allies) – but instead, bottom-up, through militant activism.

Because of groups like South Africa’s Treatment Action Campaign (led by visionaries Zackie Achmat and Vuyiseka Dubula), the US AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (‘ActUp’) and the health NGO Medicins sans Frontiers, a persuasive case emerged in the 1990s – and gained confirmation in 2001 – to exempt copyrighted AIDS medicines within the WTO’s Trade Related Intellectual Property System. Generics were permitted, not made in the US and Germany, but instead in many Southern countries. This resulted in more than a decade’s rise in life expectancy, in South and North alike.

Anti-neoliberal protests help shift the balance of forces, including many millions in the Third World who objected to structural adjustment, or “IMF Riots.” In the main study of these protests, David Seddon and John Walton in 1994 remarked on how not just poor and working-class people, but larger coalitions of society rose up: “Once mass discontent is made evident by these coalitions, political parties may take up the anti-austerity cause in successful bids for national office (e.g. Peru, Dominican Republic). In several countries, austerity protests initiated political crises that sooner (e.g. Sudan, Turkey) or later (e.g. Philippines, Haiti, Poland) toppled the national government.”

Since then, there have been scores more countries – especially in Africa – whose unpatriotic leaders were tossed out of power or drew sustained dissent as they imposed the BWIs’ logic.

Solidarity activism in the North is vital, such as demonstrations at IMF and Bank official events. Major protests included the 1988 Berlin Annual Meetings (which attracted tens of thousands of protestors), the 2000 Spring Meetings in Washington (30,000) and 2000 Prague Annual Meetings (50,000), as well as even the Oslo 2002 Bank research conference on development economics (10,000). One of the main activist challenges to Bretton Woods power was the early 2000s “World Bank bonds boycott” which – at the peak of the global justice movement’s mobilisations – compelled cities as large and financially potent as San Francisco to divest from Bank securities. (Trevor Ngwane and another South African, the poet Dennis Brutus, joined then-U.S. Representative Bernie Sanders to launch the boycott in 2000.)

This led to a ‘fix it or nix it’ debate, in which reforms of the Bank and IMF were so slow that TransNational Institute scholar Susan George fumed in 2000,

“These institutions have had their chance. Anytime anyone asks, ‘And what would you put in its place?’ I am tempted to respond, ‘And what would you put in the place of cancer?’” Added Kenyan activist Njoki Njehu, the leading Washington protest organiser at the Bank/Fund Spring Meetings that year, “The IMF and the World Bank increase poverty. The consensus is that the IMF and World Bank cannot be reformed. They have to be abolished.”

It’s a debate that needs kick-starting once again. The 75th anniversary is a good time to ask whether such out-dated ideologies and their enforcers deserve to be retired, not (as the right-wing populist protectionists argue) so as to close the door on global governance, but to open it much wider in a way that serves people and planet, not multinational corporate profits. At the same time, by posing the question of abolition, we should also recall instances where impressive reforms were won at the multilateral scale. 

Posted in WorldComments Off on Bretton Woods Institutions’ Neoliberal Over-reach Leaves Global Governance in the Gutter

15 Days to Brexit?

By Global Research

Global Research, like many independent voices all over the globe, is feeling the effects of online measures set up to curtail access to our website, and by consequence, hinder our finances. We sail on despite the unpredictable currents and unfavourable forecasts. We can’t steer this ship alone however, we need your help!

We would be greatly indebted to you for any donation large or small. Can you contribute to help us meet our monthly running costs? Make no mistake, we intend to be here for years to come, but for the time being we ask for your help to stay afloat as we ride the storm out. Here’s how you can help:

*     *     *

Scotland Edges Closer to Independence Amid Brexit Chaos

By Johanna Ross, October 16, 2019

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced on Sunday that she would be setting a date for a second referendum on Scottish independence within ‘a matter of weeks’. Speaking on the BBC’s Andrew Marr show she said that she would seek a section 30 order this year, after the latest poll on Scottish independence revealed support is now as high as 50 percent – a five-point increase in the same poll carried out last year.

$35 Billion: UK Faces Huge Loss from Electric Vehicle Adoption

By Jon LeSage, October 15, 2019

The government faces other hits on tax revenue. The UK will be seeing a drop of about 20 billion pounds a year ($24.5 billion) from the government’s new policy of freezing tax duties to help people struggling with the cost of living, the IFS said. There’s also concern that another 1 billion pounds ($1.229 billion) could be lost if Prime Minister Boris Johnson follows through on his commitment to cut duties by 2 pence per liter of fuel.

Johnson’s Queen’s Speech – ‘Pre-election Propaganda’ It Can’t Deliver

By True Publica, October 15, 2019

Trashed in lightning speed this year, the only thing that most people were concerned about in the Queen’s speech was if there was any news on Brexit. As we already know – Johnson’s Brexit plan, to Leave on October 31st, leaves the UK economy £50bn worse off and every household in the country about £2,000 worse off to pay for it. It’s not as if the experts haven’t hit their calculators hard enough in the last few weeks and told them so. They even said that the best scenario possible was a hit to the economy of £16 billion.

Brexit, Environmental Law and the Level Playing Field

By Molly Scott Cato MEP, October 15, 2019

Given that the inspiration for Brexit amongst many corporate interests was precisely ripping up the ‘red tape’ that has protected our countryside, waterways, and natural habitats for decades, to have no route to independent legal redress would be a source of considerable concern.

The Dangers of a US-UK Trade Deal as TTIP in EU Re-emerges: Leaked Government Paper

By True Publica, October 09, 2019

The warnings given to government about Brexit have come thick and fast, especially in the last 12 months where time has allowed more in-depth analysis of the likely effects of Brexit – deal or no-deal. These warnings have come from the most respected organisations and institutions in Britain such as the – Confederation of British Industry, Department for International Trade, Bank of England, The Office for Budget responsibility, and Centre of Economic Performance. Then there have been industry sectors such as financial services, motor, agricultural and even the UK Warehousing Association that have issued warnings of the scale of problems that various forms of Brexit brings.

British Unions Vote to Boycott Israel

By Glen Davies, October 09, 2019

The motion affirmed the collective rights of the Palestinian people to self-determination and to return to their homes, called for a stop to the British arms trade with Israel, and reaffirmed the union movement’s call to boycott companies complicit with the Israeli settlement industry.

Brexit: Boris Johnson Moves to Scrap Environment and GMO Safeguards to Get Deal with Trump

By GMWatch, October 08, 2019

The Minister heading up the Department for International Trade, Liz Truss, is known to have had “off the record” meetings about weakening UK regulations with some of the right-wing US pressure groups that have driven Trump’s radical programme of deregulation.  And last week at a Conservative party conference fringe event, Truss said that while she is “proud” of Britain’s high environmental standards, she wants to take “a much more free-market approach”. Since then she has tweeted that scrapping EU protections is “vital for giving us the freedom and flexibility to strike new trade deals and become more competitive”.

Posted in Europe, UKComments Off on 15 Days to Brexit?

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