Archive | December 6th, 2019

“It’s Now or Never”: Bolivian Elite Destroying the Country

A protester against Bolivia's President Evo Morales fires a weapon during clashes with government supporters in La Paz, Bolivia November 7, 2019.
  • A protester against Bolivia’s President Evo Morales fires a weapon during clashes with government supporters in La Paz, Bolivia November 7, 2019. | Photo: Reuters

By: Edu Montesanti

To the Bolivian upper classes, President Evo Morales has to resign even if forced by extreme violence, or through a civil war.

“It’s now or never!”, said a family in Santa Cruz de la Sierra, gathered close to Christ the Redeemer statue where thousands of demonstrators and road blockers stay seven days of the week, night and day. 


Bolivia: UN Condemns Violence and Calls for Dialogue

That statement was in response to this reporter’s observance, that circumstances in Bolivia were getting out of control leading to a civil war. Answering that, the family laughed and did not hesitate in declaring: “We want things to get out of control. This is the only way to overthrow this president, once and for all.”

Violence, Our Daily Bread

For almost 20 days, the South American country is economically stopped, as opposition groups are blocking roads and preventing trade, in the last case with exceptions some short times for markets.

However, if one walks by The Ramada, commercial center in downtown Santa Cruz de la Sierra, sees almost every trade with open doors, an act of disobedience to the rebel leaders of the national strike. This author has talked to some local merchants. 

“Nobody in this area supports the strike,” said to this author a woman merchant. “In the city, generally, not everybody opposes the President, on the contrary, I could say people are divided,” added the old woman, who owns a large store in The Ramada.

The owner’s daughter added: “Nobody did for Bolivia what President Evo Morales has done. He has granted several rights to workers, as no president did before. This is one thing that angers the elite.”

Everybody has been afraid to publicly speak, given the uncertainty and virulence in the essence of the current protests that take the nation. Recently, in this area, a woman spoke out against the strike saying people want and need to work as there is no money nor food anymore. She was beaten and obliged to kneel and ask demonstrators for forgiveness.

In regions like Cochabamba, Potosi, and La Paz, the situation is more tense, with frequent clashes between pro-government and opponent groups, and several wounded. In Cochabamba, a 20-year old man was killed last Wednesday, a victim of severe head injury, skull base fracture and brain death due to confrontations, which grow more and more. The civil war is fastly advancing in Bolivia.

Fury without Rationality

The following has been a rule in Bolivia, before the last presidential election: the opposition spills their hate against the local government, especially against President Evo Morales but when confronted with some official data, internationally recognized in favor of the first indigenous president of the nation, criticism change its direction. 

What had seen strong condemnations against the “situation of the country”, quickly changed to “a future dictator if many years in power.” So they start to explain their political theories about more than two or three mandates in the Presidency. And so, they create their conjectures. 

Angela Merkel has been the German Prime-Minister since 2005, as her country has a solid democracy not questioned in Bolivia nor nowhere around the world. What determines a strong democracy in a country, is the solidity of its institutions. 

Last Monday evening, the biggest demonstration against President Evo Morales since the elections on Oct. 20, took place in Santa Cruz de la Sierra. 

“We will siege every government institution including tax collectors ones, and national borders, so the government won’t collect one cent. Evo is going to be a president without a State!”, said in the demonstration Luis Fernando Camacho, the leader of the current national strike based out in Santa Cruz de la Sierra. 

Camacho’s biography and ancestry, outlined below in this report, is another serious indication that what is advancing in Bolivia is a Color Revolution, idealized by the American Gene Sharp to overthrow governments all over the world, not aligned to the Washington regime.

President Evo Morales has challenged the opposition to give evidence of fraud to the Organization of American States (OAE), which has been auditing the Bolivia election. So far, nobody presented any piece of evidence of fraud regarding the last presidential election; the opposition claim, since OAS arrival to audit the elections, they do not want any audit nor a runoff anymore, but Morales’ resignation and new elections.

This reporter has checked people lost in their observances, as emotions overflowed. One of the features of a Color Revolution. It has been this way in Syria, Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, Brazil, and other countries lately.

There are other features in these protests is in Bolivia, clearly pointing to a Color Revolution. 

Paying for Demonstrators 

There have been witnesses that road blockers have gotten 200 bolivianos (US$29) per day. A woman confirmed that information to this author, who says she has met a road blocker who has spoken to her about it. 

Camacho has recognized that he paid 1,200 bolivianos (US$174) to a Cruceñista Youth Union member to burn the Electoral Tribunal in Santa Cruz de la Sierra on Oct. 23.

The businessman also speaks out when telling he funds all kinds of demonstrations against the current government, “and always did [before the elections],” which included the attacks against several official party’s head offices across Santa Cruz de la Sierra, on Sept.12.

U.S.-Backed Groups

Recent revelations point to a U.S.-backed plan of shaking the nation. The Radio Education Network of Bolivia (Erbol) has released 16 audios, which uncover talks between U.S. officials, Bolivian opponents, and former military.

In a three-part plan outlined by U.S. officials, former President Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada (2002-2003) is mentioned. Lozada had Carlos Mesa (the principal opponent of Morales in the last election) as his vice-president and currently lives in the U.S.

 U.S. senators Bob Menendez, Ted Cruz, and Marco Rubio are some of the American officials mentioned in the audios, linked to the Bolivian opposition planning a coup against President Evo Morales.

Officials of the State Department accredited in the country, such as Mariane Scott and Rolf A. Olson, have been meeting with high level diplomatic officials from Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay, in order that they organize and plan destabilization actions against the Bolivian government, as well as delivering the U.S. funds to the Bolivian opposition.

(…) Parallel, in the month of July a private meeting between the opponents Jaime Antonio Alarcón Daza, Iván Arias and other members of the civic committees was carried out, in which it was agreed to acquire “machines for fast vote-counting” for the coming presidential elections, for the sake of manipulating public opinion on the electoral results.

“These machines would altogether have a cost of US$300,000. The U.S. Embassy and the representation of the European Union in the country would contribute to financing the purchase, which they would provide through the Jubileo Foundation and the Evangelical Church. With that specific aim, they have already managed to gather more of US$800,000, from which the payment to the people participating in the fast count of votes would also come out.”

An attack against the Cuban Embassy in Bolivia has also been planned.

All the audios, which include the three-part plan to achieve a regime change in Bolivia, can be read here.

Touching Emotion through the Mainstream Media of Propaganda 

Demonstrations in Santa Cruz de la Sierra, according to the Bolivian mainstream media, have been held “at the feet of Christ” strongly touching people’s emotions, especially the people’s faith. In Bolivia’s biggest city, demonstrators are used to gathering, as mentioned above, around Christ the Redeemer statue.

So the virulent and anti-democratic demonstrations which are shaking the South American country, leaving many people without food, have an aspect of sacrosanct manifestations by the media – who is against them, is against God and in favor of the Devil. Or something like that.

Religious leaders have used people like puppets for so long in Bolivia. Which of course requires using imagination. It has been so very strong, that this reporter had predicted exactly what is going on these days in Bolivia, months ago. 

Speaking out loud and clear, to the fundamental participation of religious leaders who have dedicated most of their time to spread lies, discrimination, and hate among the Bolivian people, with clear aims. They are mute now, before too much violence in the country.  

Such misuse of people’s emotions is not only a Color Revolution feature these days, but was a pillar to the ascension of Germany’s Nazism in the 1930s.

In these dark and too tense days in Bolivia, the mainstream media of propaganda is playing a fundamental role in the demonstration’s favor. It has been a bombardment by what can be denominated a war media. No investigation, no impartiality, only propaganda.

Fighting the Wrong Enemy

Oct. 31 evening, when the situation aggravated in Bolivia, this reporter checked one of the main crossroads in the highly tense Santa Cruz de la Sierra, blocked 24 hours per day by demonstrators. 

That day in the city, a policeman had been severely beaten by opponent civilians to the Morales administration. One day before, two men had been killed in Santa Cruz de la Sierra outskirts (Pravda reported).

When this investigation crossed the blocking, under the surveillance of its controllers, a so very loudly radio was saying: “We are reporting multitudinous demonstrations taking place right now in Potosi! Multitudinous demonstrations taking place right now in Cochabamba!  Multitudinous demonstrations taking place right now in Santa Cruz de la Sierra!  Multitudinous demonstrations taking place right now in La Paz!”.

Suddenly, in a much more touching way, the narrator said: “In La Paz, the multitude shout, ‘No more Cubans, get out Cubans! No more Russians, get out, Russians! No more Chineses, get out Chineses!”. A saying started to be spread in Santa Cruz, that “Vladimir Putin has already sent his men to kill everybody in Bolivia.” 

So the popular claim in Bolivia changed from recounting the votes to a runoff, no matter the results of the election; another election; Evo Morales’ resignation; combating the “big enemies” of the nation, the nightmare of the Bolivian elites, Cubans, Russians, and Chinese. 

Needless to address the absurdities of these remarks. Not to mention the absence of the U.S. in the memory of that same elite given the military coups Uncle Sam has perpetrated against democracies in the region – including Bolivia -, and the plunder of the natural resources of the Bolivian nation (before Evo Morales years in the Presidency).

Luis Fernando Camacho is based-out in Santa Cruz, and most of his public appearances against the Bolivian president, are in his native city. An entrepreneur, he is the president of Committee Pro-Santa Cruz, devoted to advocating justice and progress to Santa Cruz de la Sierra. 

The billionaire has not been voted president of the Committee by the “cruceño” (original from Santa Cruz de la Sierra) people, but by the committee summit. It is widely said in the city that the tycoon won the presidency of the organization through millionaire bribes. Which coincides with the Bolivian too corrupted reality.

Camacho’s committee has a long history of spreading racism, discrimination, hate, and violence in Bolivia. In 2008, the organization took part in the violent attempt of separate Santa Cruz de la Sierra from Bolivia. At the time, in response to a false denouncement by the Committee Pro-Santa Cruz against the Morales administration, International Federation for Human Rights seriously rebuked the organization now presided by Camacho, for attacking indigenous people, State institutions, and speech and acts for secessionism (read Open Letter). 

Camacho is 40 years old; he and his family are part of Grupo Empresarial de Inversiones Nacional Vida S.A., a synergy insurance company, His father, José Luis Camacho Miserendino, founded Sergas, a gas company which, in 1989, had contracts with the neoliberal state linked to insurance companies and pension funds. 

Sergas owes 20 million de bolivianos (US$2,890,173) to the Bolivian State for tax evasion, when the company supplied gas to Santa Cruz de la Sierra city. So what is at stake is possibly debt forgiveness if a neoliberal government takes again the power in the South American country. It is said and makes sense that if Carlos Mesa takes the power, substituting Evo Morales in a coup or a resignation, the once Lozada’s vice-president will immediately forgive Sergas debt with the State. 

Camacho’s committee acts close to Cruceñista Youth Union, widely known for fascist sayings and doings – also for having led the violent and failed project of separating Santa Cruz de la Sierra from Bolivia, in 2007. 

Last Wednesday, Jorge Fernando Quiroga Ramírez, alias Tuto Quiroga, landed in Santa Cruz de la Sierra to meet and support Camacho. Quiroga was vice-president of Hugo Banzer (1971-78, 1997-2001), a bloody dictator pro-Washington regime.

Most recently and closest to Bolivia, Brazil in the world scenario of Color Revolution overthrew President Dilma Rousseff in 2016, to give place to Michel Temer who paved the way for fascist Jair Bolsonaro. Since the coup against Dilma Rousseff, the mainstream media, the upper classes, and the political opposition has said that once the first woman president in Brazil’s history was toppled, the South American country would find its way back to democracy and economic growth. 

Needless to address the Brazilian situation since then. Just worthy to mention: those Brazilian segments do not care about corruption anymore, nor have been seen in that too loud strong state of hysteria for economic growth as in 2016. 

If the planned coup succeeds in Bolivia, this country will surely have the same fate as Brazil, economically and politically saying.

A Long Process Based on Misinformation and Hate

“I hate Evo Morales!” said in July last year in a talk to this reporter, a Santa Cruz de la Sierra-bases out hairdresser woman – without any political justification to that deep sentiment. A white professional at 40 years of age, only hates. She openly hates the first indigenous president in Bolivia’s history.

Cochabamba’s Lawmaker Norma Pierola has been prosecuted for racism for not greeting President Evo Morales in an official activity, late last year. Norma alleged that Morales does not respect women as a president, without any justification for that. On the contrary, the Morales administration is well-known including among critics for granting rights for women, the LGBT community, and indigenous people.

At that time, Santa Cruz de la Sierra Governor Ruben Costas called indigenous people “dumb and stupid,” so rekindling the fire of deep racism that used to shame Bolivia in the years previous to Evo Morales.

This video shows strong acts of racism and discrimination Evo Morales is suffering since took power in 2006, and strong violence against innocent and unarmed indigenous people and peasants, “a damn race.” Shocking images taped especially in Santa Cruz de la Sierra, before Evo Morales in the Presidency, who has, with the Congress mostly composed of its partisans, passed bills that severely punish acts of discrimination.

But the deep hate has been kept inside hearts, even growing in many people’s sentiments through the years. It has been strongly realized by talking to people, who do not tolerate a “red skin,” a peasant, or a different accent. Or even an Evo voter.

“If Camacho gets his aims, this atmosphere of discrimination, racism, hate, and deep violence will be back to Bolivia, as he is allied to Ruben Costas,” said to this journalist a Bolivian from La Paz, who has been living in Santa Cruz for several years.

Among many non-sense lies spread in Bolivia, both by the opposition and religious leaders (the latter have played a fundamental role in discrimination and diffusion of slanders campaign), could be highlighted that “Evo had an airplane arrested in the U.S. years ago, loaded with cocaine.” 

Personally talking to Catholic leaders of Knights Templar in Santa Cruz de la Sierra, this reporter asked them, well aware that was a lie: “So why did Evo was not arrested in the U.S., then?”. The ridiculous answer was, “he has immunity as president of Bolivia [in U.S. ground!].” 

Another spread lie is that Evo Morales owns the air company Boliviana de Aviación (BoA) – a state company created in 2007 a year after Evo took power.

“I have been surprised that they [religious leaders] first pray and then they hate, what is that?” Evo asked last week. “They pray [then] kick poor people,” the president of Bolivia denounced, well-aware that such a segment is behind the dirty war of hate and lies across the country.

Social Confusion

Leaving the demonstration “at the feet of Christ” last Monday, this reporter talked to some people. A couple’s reaction to some of this journalist’s observations is a hallmark of the current state of mind among the opposition voters in Bolivia. 

After explaining the reasons why the young guys were requiring Evo Morales to be overthrown, this report presented some little data about Bolivia’s economy in recent years, comparing to the years previous to the current president.

The couple then repeated a posture commonly seen by this author when talking to people by the streets of Santa Cruz de la Sierra: they firstly withered to later change the subject. The problem was not the economy, but a president being many years in power. Which is at least arguable, as pointed out above.

Another strong feature of these protests in Bolivia, a hallmark of Color Revolutions, is the spread of lies among people which is previous to the current mess: the scenario of social confusion based on an inversion of facts has been advancing long ago in the South American country.

Last Tuesday, this reporter got a WhatsApp message from a lawyer based out in La Paz, who works in Santa Cruz de la Sierra, too. “This is the beginning of strong social movements in Bolivia. (…) So starts a social movement, first the group manifests, later elaborate the ideology,” he said. Which is an absurd, and another Color Revolution strong feature, as social movements’ process is the inverse: they first have a direction, then they organize themselves, and fight for their ideals. Any movement or group without an ideal is artificial.

Fighting for something without a clear path to be pursued is ridiculous, leading nations victims of Color Revolutions, unavoidable to chaos, generally to fascist politics, a worse situation the respective nations used to live before such artificial movements. 

There is no project by the opposition. They want the justice system, controlled by the current government, it is true, to be under their control again, not to reform it. And they aim to collapse every Morales administration gains.

Uncle Sam’s Sharp, Cruel Claws

In 2014, Jacob Ostreicher, a Jewish businessman funded by local drug trafficking and the CIA disguised as a diplomatic mission to destabilize Bolivia, illegally, and protected by the CIA, left the South American country not to be arrested. Who provided Ostreicher’s escape was “diplomat” Larry Lamont Memmott, a CIA agent operating in Bolivia.

Who is behind protests in Bolivia are dark powers, the stingy, destructive Bolivian elite that in the two centuries before Evo Morales, used to sell local natural resources to get in return Empire’s crumbs – the U.S. deep State who is, once again, using the old puppet Bolivian elite as its tool for geostrategic and economic purposes. 

All this seems impossible to be argued with many people in Bolivia right now. Their minds have been confused by the daily mainstream media’s bombardment and religious leaders. 

The current chaos, with the local economy stuck for almost 20 days, has no forecast to finish. Who is destroying Bolivia is not surely Cuba, nor Russia, nor China. But in the deeply troubled Bolivia these days, Joseph Goebbels’s teachings reigns:  “A lie told once remains a lie, but a lie told a thousand times becomes the truth.” 

Lie, something the most terrorist Empire in history is an expert in spreading. And in the destruction of nations, another thing that, for so long, Latin America disgracefully knows very well. 

It’s Bolivia turn, again…

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Western Progressives and Imperialist Inquisition

Anti-imperialist graffiti in Caracas.

Anti-imperialist graffiti in Caracas. | Photo: Reuters

By: Tortilla Con Sal

They foolishly trust demonstrably false reports from undeservedly prestigious Western NGOs and incessant phony coverage in liberal and progressive news media.

Most people who think of themselves as progressive in the imperialist countries of North America and Western Europe, continue to believe the right-wing opposition version of events in Nicaragua in 2018. A great many also accept some version of the right-wing opposition account of the crisis in Venezuela.

One obvious reason they do so is that they foolishly trust demonstrably false reports from undeservedly prestigious Western NGOs and incessant phony coverage in liberal and progressive news media.


Nicaragua Vows No Return to ‘Barbarism’ of 2018 Unrest

A more disturbing reason is their deep, unacknowledged class-based affinity to racist imperialist sadism informing the way they assign roles to those they think deserve a defense and those who do not. The paradox of this perverse rationality is the way most Western progressives justify their bogus claims to moral authority with self-deceiving avowals of support for human rights, freedom and justice. It bears repeating that, in fact, they persistently make grossly unfair, often self-evidently false accusations and then deny their victims the right to any defense.

Their self-righteous injustice then validates mass human rights violations by their imperialist governments, inflicting suffering on whole peoples via often illegal sanctions. From Iraq to Venezuela via Libya and Syria, Western progressives have ratified their governments’ economic warfare against practically defenseless people. They have validated anti-humanitarian administrative, commercial and financial sanctions all backed up by the threat of illegal military aggression.

At an individual level, a similar process has been inflicted on individuals who resist imperialist crimes both in their own countries and overseas, the most scandalous recent high-profile example being Julian Assange. In the case of political prisoners like Julian Assange, Mumia Abu Jamal, Leonard Peltier and many, many others, very few prominent individuals speak out. The general liberal or social democrat consensus has been either that they got the defense they deserve or they deserve no defense worth the name.

The French writer Elsa Dorlin has written cogently about this motif of defense and self-defense, linking it to racism and colonialism in the context of horrific punitive sadism. That motif is clearly at work in relation to aggressive Western efforts to destabilize countries like Bolivia, Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela refusing to obey the dictates of the NATO powers, Canada, the US, the European Union and its leading member states. The motif also operates at an institutional level via the dishonest reports of essentially corrupt officials like Michelle Bachelet in the UN and Luis Almagro in the Organization of American States.

Bachelet and Almagro are corrupt because they blatantly repay political favors to the US authorities in return for having been US-sponsored shoo-ins for their respective posts. They have their counterparts in the managers of leading Western NGOs who generally collaborate intimately with corporate interests so as to hijack the global human rights and environmental agenda against the interests of the majority world, as expressed for example in UN forums by the Group of 77. Those corrupt institutional instances meld into a coherent structure of repressive domestic control and menacing overseas aggression via endless repetition of self-serving falsehoods in Western propaganda media and news outlets, both corporate and alternative.

In the case of Nicaragua and Venezuela, their governments and presidents are deemed indefensible and thus receive no defense. Daniel Ortega and Nicolas Maduro are falsely accused of every kind of crime while salient, basic facts in their defense are either falsified or completely omitted. Self-evident contradictions in the accusations against them are muted. The obvious example is the phony charge of violent repression of peaceful protests, despite armed protesters undeniably wounding and killing numerous police officers in Nicaragua and Venezuela with no corresponding invocation of emergency powers like curfews or a state of siege.

By contrast, little or no condemnation is made of genuine lethal military and police repression of peaceful protests in Ecuador and Chile while Bachelet and Almagro both condemned what there was of protesters’ violence, which neither of them did in the case of wholesale opposition violence in Nicaragua or Venezuela. Bachelet and Almagro’s imperialist patrons ensure a defense for right-wing governments sympathetic to the US and European Union, but exclude any defense for socialist-inspired governments who fail to do what the imperialists want. In Latin America, this applies in more than just the sense that Bolivia, Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela get denied a defense against false accusations.

Cuba and Venezuela are also denied any defense against sadistic aggression seeking to starve their peoples, deny them health care and steal their wealth. Bolivia, Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela have won tremendous moral victories at the UN and in other international forums. But, given Western control of the global economy, they are practically defenseless against sadistic economic aggression imposed on their peoples by the US and its allies. It is no accident that simultaneously right now in Latin America practically every right-wing government is in crisis as their peoples confirm longstanding rejection of the US allied elites’ regional agenda.

Military curfews or states of siege have been imposed recently in Guatemala, Ecuador, and Chile, with the army deployed to control protests. Western powers give these countries’ right-wing governments the benefit of the doubt despite them being guilty as charged. However, as in Cuba and Venezuela, the peoples of Latin America get no defense against predatory imperialist country demands and impositions. The US and its European allies intervene in Latin American countries’ internal affairs so as to defend the privileges of allied right-wing elites and deny those countries’ impoverished majorities a defense against deliberate systematic economic injustice.

Ever since World War Two the peoples of North America and Western Europe have accepted domestic prosperity as the trade-off for their countries’ continued looting of the majority world. The most notorious expression of this tacit deal was perhaps the French Communist Party’s support in 1956 for so-called “special powers” facilitating massacres and tortures by the French army in Algeria. As that imperialist domestic pact now breaks up, most Western progressives, while unable to defend their own majority populations, seem more willing than ever to attack governments defending their peoples, like those in Venezuela and Nicaragua.

The motif of defense and self-defense is especially apparent in relation to policy on climate change. Progressives in North America and Europe generally accept the corporate treatment of the developing climate crisis that camouflages the Western elites’ class war against their own peoples and the majority world. To defend their class interests, Western progressives generally collaborate with their corporate elites, advocating intervention in impoverished majority world countries, effectively denying those countries’ peoples a legitimate sovereign defense against poverty and inequality. The inherent self-justifying sadism of these behaviors is beyond dispute.

Equally disturbing is the sinister comedy of most Western progressives’ disabling pseudo-curiosity, negating the revolutionary success of countries like Bolivia, Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela in defending their peoples against Western corporate capitalism. Western progressives could learn a great deal for public policy in their own countries by paying attention to the socially inclusive economic policies of, for example, Nicaragua and Bolivia, or the health and education policies of Cuba and Venezuela. One reason they do not is that they side instinctively with the profane Inquisition consciousness of the West’s sadistic imperialist elites, rather than engaging as equals in the defense strategies of majority world peoples seeking emancipation from the dead grip of that same imperialist Inquisition.​​​​​​​

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GreeceGreece: 1,200 More Guards To ‘Shut The Door’ On Migrants

Woman holds her baby as refugees arrive on a ferry from the Lesbos island at the Piraeus port, Greece, Oct. 7, 2019.

In anticipation of what could be a new wave of migrant arrivals, Greece’s Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis on Friday announced that his administration will upgrade its patrolling operations and deploy 1,200 additional border guards to “shut the door” to migrants not entitled to stay.

94 Refugees, Migrants Rescued Off Libya’s Coast

“In Greece are welcomed only those we choose. Those who are not welcomed will be returned,” PM Mitsotakis said and added that doors will remain closed to “those who are not entitled to asylum.”

Since he took office in July, migration control has become his top policy priority, for Greece has about 80,000 refugees.

“Migration is his administration’s main obsession, for it is also the Greeks’ greatest concern,” outlet El Periodico reported and recalled that the Greek refugee camps are housing about 37,000 people, although they only have a capacity for only 5,000 people.

Oxfam International@Oxfam · Nov 22, 2019Replying to @Oxfam

A few years ago, detaining people who have suffered under war and persecution was unthinkable in Europe – now, it has become reality.
The Greek government’s decision to lock up people seeking asylum is simply unacceptable. 2/4#MigrationEU #RefugeesWelcome

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Oxfam International@Oxfam

People seeking asylum in #Greece have fled war, persecution + suffered under horrific conditions in refugee camps on the Greek islands. The majority of them are children. They came to Europe for protection – now the Greek government want to put them behind bars. 3/4 #MigrationEU

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115:55 PM – Nov 22, 2019Twitter Ads info and privacySee Oxfam International’s other Tweets

Over the last four years, Greece has been the main gateway into the European Union (EU) for more than a million people fleeing conflicts in other countries, two of which are Turkey and Lybia.

Several international charities have denounced the dramatic situation which is taking place in the Greek islands where thousands of migrants remain practically imprisoned.

In Moria, for example, “there’s a chronic shortage of toilets and showers; the quality of the food is terrible; people sleep rough outside or in cramped, flimsy tents,” The New Humanitarian reported.

“There are suicide attempts, including among children; domestic violence increases; small sparks lead to fires; people have died.”

Ezio Savasta@EzioSavasta

Bambino di 9 mesi morto per disidratazione nel campo di #Moria a #Lesbo. Accade in #Europa.#facciamorete #RestiamoUmani #Grecia #dirittiumani #rifugiati #profughihttps://www.diritti-umani.org/2019/11/bambino-di-9-mesi-morto-per.html …

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“A nine-month-old child died from dehydration at the Moria camp in Lesbos. It happens in Europe.”

The Mitsotakis administration wants to move up to 20,000 people to the mainland by the end of the year and expects that new facilities will be ready by July 2020.

Doctors Without Borders​​​​​​​ (MSF) warned that, although may provide better living conditions, the new centers could eventually turn into prisons for people.

Detention centers “may become prisons at the end of the day, and will not treat people as humans. They will treat them as problems,” MSF president Christos Christou stressed.​​​​​​

People detained there will not have the freedom to exit the facilities, he said, while non-governmental organizations will have no access inside.

Human rights defenders have also criticized a new framework to speed up the processing of asylum requests as a “rushed” attempt that would impede access to a fair asylum process for refugees.​​​​​​​

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United KingdomAfrican Union Urges Return of UK Colony to Mauritius

A demonstrator demanding her return to the Chagos Islands in the Diego Garcia archipelago shouts during a protest outside the Houses of Parliament in London October 22, 2008.

The African Union on Friday called on Britain to withdraw from the Chagos Islands and end its “continued colonial administration” there after a U.N. deadline for it to do so expired.


Indian Independence Day: A Nation Founded by Colonial Britain

The African Union urged Britain to comply with the U.N. resolution and reiterated the AU’s support “for a complete decolonisation” of the Chagos Islands.

“The UK has no doubt as to our sovereignty over the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT), which has been under continuous British sovereignty since 1814,” Britain’s Foreign Office said in a statement on Nov. 5.

The U.N. General Assembly voted in May in favor of Britain returning the islands to Mauritius and set a deadline for Nov. 22.

Around 200 protesters gathered outside the British High Commission in Port Louis, the capital of Mauritius, on Friday. They demanded Britain cede the Chagos Islands to Mauritius and said they wanted to return to the archipelago where they were born.

A group supporting the rights of people Indigenous to the Chagos Islands said they were considering options for filing a case against Britain at the International Criminal Court.

“We have to look at different avenues given that the UK is not complying with the decision of the United Nations,” Olivier Bancoult, who was born on one of the islands of the archipelago and is leader of the Chagossian Refugee Group, told Reuters.

Mauritius Prime Minister Pravind Kumar Jugnauth said that Britain’s refusal to give up control of the islands was a violation of international law.

“The United Kingdom cannot profess to be a champion of the rule of law and human rights whilst maintaining an illegal colonial administration,” he told parliament on Thursday.

The only inhabited island of the Indian Ocean archipelago is home to the Diego Garcia U.S. military base, rented out by Britain, and a bomber base for the Air Force.

Mauritius will continue to allow the United States to operate the base even if it resumed control over the islands, Jugnauth said in parliament on Thursday.

“Mauritius has stated on various occasions that it fully recognizes the importance of the military base in Diego Garcia and will take no action that will impede its continued operation,” he said.

UK Labour Party’s leader Jeremy Corbyn told reporters on Friday that he and the party favored returning the Chagos Islands to Mauritius.”

“What happened to the Chagos islanders was utterly disgraceful. [They were] forcibly removed from their own islands, unfortunately, by this country.

“The right of return to those islands is absolutely important as a symbol of the way in which we wish to behave in international law. So yes, we will carry that out.”

Posted in Africa, UKComments Off on United KingdomAfrican Union Urges Return of UK Colony to Mauritius

ColombiaColombia: Curfew in Bogota On Nationwide Strike’s Second Day

Citizen spins fire during a protest on the second day of a national strike in Bogota, Colombia, Nov. 22, 2019.

Former presidential candidate Gustavo Petro denounced an intelligence operation aimed at frightening citizens.

Making noise by banging pots to call for attention, thousands of people gathered on Friday afternoon at the Bolivar Square in Bogota to reject President Ivan Duque and his neoliberal policies.

Colombia: 3 Dead, 122 Civilians Injured At Strike Against Duque

“We are here to protest against Duque’s government,” art student Katheryn Martinez said while banging a pot with a spoon.

“It is a government that kills children and does not recognize it,” she added and recalled a bombing where eight minors died, which forced Defense Minister Guillermo Botero’s recent resignation.

Although citizens were protesting peacefully, the police entered Bolivar Square to disperse them by throwing tear gas, which obliged demonstrators to run through the streets of downtown Bogota.

Colombia’s capital city was not quiet on Friday. In various places, citizens improvised dozens of demonstrations, roadblocks, and barricades.

In a fruitless attempt to suppress social protests, however, President Duque reinforced surveillance in Bogota, a city that has more than 7 million inhabitants.

“I’ve decided to strengthen the security force’s presence and increase intelligence capabilities. I ordered the deployment of Police and the National Army patrols in critical places,” he said.

Yarey13@Yarey2013

El Gobierno de Uribe-Duque está creando #Pánico #Represión #Muerte al #Pueblo de #Colombia#DuqueTieneMIEDO #DuqueRenuncieYa https://twitter.com/laradiodelsur/status/1198238327616524288 …La Radio del Sur@laradiodelsur¡Indígnate! un miembro del Escuadrón Móvil Antidisturbios (#ESMAD) de #Colombia disparó gas lacrimógeno a quemarropa contra uno de los manifestantes que rechaza en Bogotá la gestión neoliberal de Iván Duque1:59 PM – Nov 23, 2019Twitter Ads info and privacySee Yarey13’s other Tweets

“The Government of Uribe-Duque is creating panic, repression, and death to Colombia’s people. Duque is afraid. Resign now, Duque” The meme reads, “Indign yourself! A member of Colombia’s Riot Squadron (ESMAD) fired tear gas at close range against one of the protesters who was rejecting Ivan Duque’s neoliberal administration in Bogota.”

On Nov. 21, millions of Colombians took to the streets to hold the biggest protest against President Duque since he came to power in Aug. 2018.

Besides being concerned about his government’s little commitment to the Peace Agreements, the population rejects a neoliberal policy package which seeks to raise the compulsory retirement age, increase workers’ contributions to the pension system, reduce the state’s role in social security, lower the young people’s minimum wage, among other things.

So far, however, the right-wing president has failed to consolidate a parliamentary majority willing to approve his proposals, which are often justified as if they were tools to “fight corruption.”

Tania Valentina Díaz@taniapsuv

CACEROLAZO EN BOGOTÁ
Acompañados con cacerolas los Bogotanos corean ¡¡Fuera Duque!! Los capitalinos decidieron desacatar el toque de queda y se lanzaron a las calles. Varios reportes indican que el cacerolazo es nacional.3513:13 AM – Nov 23, 2019Twitter Ads info and privacy536 people are talking about this

Great Pot-Banging Protest in Bogota: Accompanied with casseroles, citizens chanted ‘Get Out Duke!!’. They decided not to obey the curfew and threw themselves into the streets. The pot banging protest occurs throughout the country.

Former leftist presidential candidate Gustavo Petro, who convened the pot-banging protest, held that the Duque administration implemented an intelligence operation aimed at frightening citizens.

“The curfew decreed by Peñalosa in Bogota was used to mount a panic operation withing middle class and poor neighborhoods. Its goal was to sabotage the social movement with panic.”

In this regard, there is evidence in social networks. During the curfew, citizens recorded police officers who were breaking glasses and, in some cases, forcing homeless people to collect stones.

“The Police are chasing protesters and breaking the glass from houses and cars in the Patio Bonito area,” independent outlet Colombia Informa reported and posted a video in which dozens of police officers, who are unequivocally wearing their uniforms, are chasing citizens on foot.

Posted in ColombiaComments Off on ColombiaColombia: Curfew in Bogota On Nationwide Strike’s Second Day

UK’s Zionist terror networks – GnasherJew, Labour Against Anti-Semitism, Sussex Friends of Israel – and their latest terror tool – “Labour Anti-Semitism Map”

Exposing UK Zionist terror networks
Sam Bentley writes:

A couple of months ago a fellow UK Labour Party supporter asked us if we had heard about the “anti-Semitism map”. We had not, so our friend sent us the link and suggested we looked to see if we were on the map. We honestly thought that we would never find our name on that map as we are not, and never have been, racist in any way. We are sure you can imagine our shock and anger to not only to find our names but also also our locations on the map. Not only were we angry about being labelled “anti-Semitic” but also at our private information being put on the map for everybody to see. It is a total invasion of our privacy and goes against data privacy regulations which are upheld by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).

The creator of the map is Ray Baker, one of the pro-Israel, right-wing, racist trolls who use the GnasherJew account on Twitter. He resides in a place called Penclawdd in Swansea, Wales. His employment records show that he is working, or has worked, for Quintiles (now called IQVIA) and Fujitsu. His Twitter ID is @LaughingDevil1.

At the end of this piece we provide a link to the map plus a link to the ICO website’s complaints page. If you find yourself on the page, then we would advise you to make a complaint. We have made complaints and we do know that many others have also complained.

Who is behind this map? we hear you ask. The creator of the map is Ray Baker, one of the pro-Israel, right-wing, racist trolls who use the GnasherJew account on Twitter. He resides in a place called Penclawdd in Swansea, Wales. His employment records show that he is working, or has worked, for Quintiles (now called IQVIA) and Fujitsu. His Twitter ID is @LaughingDevil1. You can also find him on Facebook. The host site for the map is owned by an Israeli company which, when contacted about the map, stated it had no control over what its users published on the internet.

Ray Baker had decided who to put on the map utilising information gathered on Twitter and using the GnasherJewLabour Against Anti-Semitism (LAAS) and Sussex Friends of Israel accounts (the information used is logged on each person’s entry on the map). When asked whether he had created the map, Ray Baker had no problem in admitting that he had, and said that he had done it so there was a record of anti-Semitism around the world.

They [the fake “anti-Semitism” Zionist networks] claim to be fighting anti-Semitism but the truth is that they are all rampant Islamophobes and are using the fight against anti-Semitism to hide the truth.

The creation of this map is part of the ongoing smear campaign by pro-Israel factions and the campaign of harassment and bullying by GnasherJew, Sussex Friends of Israel, LAAS, the “Campaign Against Anti-Semitism” and others to try to scare supporters of Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn and those who support Palestine. They claim to be fighting anti-Semitism but the truth is that they are all rampant Islamophobes and are using the fight against anti-Semitism to hide the truth. The pro-Israel groups are scared of Corbyn becoming prime minister because it will mean the end of aid for Israel and the beginning of help and aid for Palestine. 

The campaign of harassment and bullying by these right wing [pro-Israel] elements has resulted in people leaving social media platforms like Twitter; losing their jobs when their employers have been contacted and told a load of lies about them; having family members being approached and told lies; suffering from anxiety and / or depression due to the stress of continual harassment and bullying.

There is a contingent within the Gnasherjew faction that is pro-Israel and it has been duped by GnasherJew. We will save this for another piece but we will share this with you now. The person behind the creation of Gnasherjew is called John Arnott – he resembles a typical English Defence League member in appearance (bald, beer belly). He lives in Oxfordshire and will be furious about the twinning of Oxford  with Ramallah in Palestine.

The campaign of harassment and bullying by these right wing [pro-Israel] elements has resulted in people leaving social media platforms like Twitter; losing their jobs when their employers have been contacted and told a load of lies about them; having family members being approached and told lies; suffering from anxiety and / or depression due to the stress of continual harassment and bullying. The behaviour of these elements is a disgrace and a blight on all social media sites. The lack of censure by Twitter and Facebook against these elements is equally disgraceful.

Here are the links mentioned earlier to the complaints page of the Information Commissioner’s Office and to the “Labour Anti-Semitism Map”:

Posted in Palestine Affairs, ZIO-NAZI, UKComments Off on UK’s Zionist terror networks – GnasherJew, Labour Against Anti-Semitism, Sussex Friends of Israel – and their latest terror tool – “Labour Anti-Semitism Map”

What’s Happening In Bolivia Is a Violent Right-Wing Coup

Progressives need to speak up: Morales made mistakes, but nothing justifies the violent right-wing putsch that followed.

by: Laura Carlsen

Supporters of ousted Bolivian leader Evo Morales rally against the coup. (Photo: Shutterstock)

Supporters of ousted Bolivian leader Evo Morales rally against the coup. (Photo: Shutterstock)

The coup d’etat in Bolivia has divided not only that country but the world. 

The mainstream press, the Trump administration, the Washington-compliant Organization of American States, and right-wing governments have hailed the ousting of Evo Morales, Bolivia’s first indigenous president. 

That’s to be expected. The U.S. has long plotted regime change for a government that not only openly espoused socialism, but set a terrible example—in the logic of the still-present Cold War—by succeeding in improving the living conditions of its population and attaining the highest growth rates in the region.

There was a coup in Bolivia, which has installed a virulently racist and fundamentalist, anti-women regime, with the full support and planning from the U.S. government and the OAS.

What’s unexpected is the defense of the coup from parts of the left that have refused to call it a coup, and instead insist that the actions of the Morales government led to its own downfall.  

The events and the aftermath tell a clear story: There was a coup in Bolivia, which has installed a virulently racist and fundamentalist, anti-women regime, with the full support and planning from the U.S. government and the OAS. 

This new regime has no intention of returning to constitutional order (despite claims to carry out elections under its terms), has eliminated separation of church and state, and has already launched multiple murderous attacks on its opponents. Security forces have murdered scores of protesters, mostly indigenous people, as the regime grows increasingly desperate and repressive. 

The international community—and progressives—must join quickly in condemning the illegal act before more people are killed and thrown in prison.

The Calling Cards of a Coup

Here are the classic traits of a coup: 

First, there’s the role of the armed forces. On November 10, military commander Williams Kaliman “suggested” that president Evo Morales, who had just been proclaimed the winner of the 2019 elections — and who had two months remaining on his previous term besides — resign immediately. Hours later, Morales presented a letter of resignation “to avoid these violent events and return to social peace.”

Now, armed forces do not “suggest” that their commander-in-chief resign — their statements were a public threat to the MAS president’s life and that of his cabinet and their families. This threat was backed up by the burning and raiding of the homes of government officials, and physical attacks and threats against MAS party members and their families.

Second, there’s the fact of prior planning. Regime change in Bolivia was long planned by the right and the U.S. government. Years ago, the conservative “civic committees” based in the white, wealthy area of Santa Cruz began a strategy of separating from the nation ruled by a very popular indigenous, leftist president. The U.S. embassy supported the civic committee of Santa Cruz and other opposition groups, betting on the balkanization of the country. 

When that strategy failed, they began to develop a plan to foment conditions for a military coup. A November 2007 Wikileaks cable from the U.S. embassy in Bolivia noted encouragingly: “There are strong indications that the military is split and could be quite reticent to follow orders.” 

As for General Kaliman, he was trained at the infamous School of the Americas. The police chief who betrayed the government the day before also received training in Washington. Luis Fernando Camacho, leader of the Santa Cruz civic committee and the emerging leader of the 2019 coup, has also received direct funding and support from the U.S. government.

Trump’s instant recognition of the coup regime was openly celebratory even as violence gripped the country. He stated triumphantly: 

“The United States applauds the Bolivian people for demanding freedom and the Bolivian military for abiding by its oath to protect not just a single person, but Bolivia’s constitution. These events send a strong signal to the illegitimate regimes in Venezuela and Nicaragua that democracy and the will of the people will always prevail. We are now one step closer to a completely democratic, prosperous, and free Western Hemisphere.”

In the Cold War that never ended, what matters is maintaining U.S. hegemony, not democracy and legality.

Third, there’s the effort to legitimize the coup using supranational institutions. In this case, the Organization of American States played a conscious, biased, and blatant role. 

Its first act was to issue a statement questioning the vote just hours after the polls closed, with the obvious intention of delegitimizing the elections. This is an unacceptable act for a responsible electoral mission. The preliminary OAS report shows a lack of professionalism in its statistical analysis, as experts from the Center for Economic and Political Research have pointed out. It does not distinguish between the non-binding rapid count system and the official binding count. 

Yet the report was key in detonating the political crisis. The OAS now has blood on its hands, and the international community must demand a full investigation into its responsibility for causing illegal acts, violence, and conflict — the opposite of its mandate in the region.

Meanwhile, the national and international press carried images of Bolivians celebrating the coup and the president’s departure. The majority who voted for Morales and who demonstrate against the coup disappeared almost completely from its pages. Police repression against them did not exist, despite the mounting dead. Only in recent days, with Amnesty International and other human rights groups issuing strong statements against the regime’s violent repression and imprisonment of opposition members, has the repress begun to report on the crackdown on protests.

Fourth, there’s everything that’s happened since the overthrow itself, which point to stark authoritarian tendencies. President Morales offered new elections when the protests broke out, eliminating all political justification for his ouster. But the opposition, already smelling blood, decided to go in for the kill. In control of the security forces and with the Trump administration at its back, it rejected any offer of dialogue. 

Democracy does not exist when an individual from a party that has never won more than 5 percent of the vote, who is fifth in the line of constitutional succession, takes power in a country where the army is in the streets. Yet this is Jeanine Añez, the figure who has proclaimed herself president. 

The Cold War Lurches On

It is ironic that the crisis in Bolivia coincided with the 30-year anniversary of the fall of the Berlin wall. The event proved that fall of the wall ended the Cold War, but not the Cold War mentality.

The patriarchal us vs. them, insider and outsider, virtue against evil dualisms that blind clear analysis still dictate politics, not to mention the communist vs. capitalist dichotomy that has entered a new phase. In social media, many celebrated the coup with the phrase “one less!”, as if the anti-communist dominoes game continued and human rights and democracy didn’t matter.

Finally, there’s the rampant justification of violence in the name of “the people.” Bolivia has shown us that the defense of democracy must be consistent, and no one has the right to invoke the name of “the people” to justify violence on any side. This has been common on both the right and anti-Evo left. Analysts speak of the people as if it were a sanctification of their point of view. 

No one can speak on behalf of the “Bolivian people”, much less “indigenous people.” Bolivia is divided. A majority can be measured by the poll results where Evo Morales won by what would be considered a landslide, with only the difference between 9 percent and 10 percent of his lead disputed. La Paz is filled with his mostly indigenous supporters protesting the coup. 

No doubt, Morales made serious mistakes—at this point it is clear that the decision to seek a third re-election after losing a reform referendum had a very high political cost. But in no way does that justify a coup, and in particular a racist and vengeful right-wing coup that will strip away all the progress Morales’s government made.

The future of Bolivia under a movement aligned with coup leader “macho Camacho,” with his ties to neo-fascist paramilitary groups, would be a tragedy.

Posted in BoliviaComments Off on What’s Happening In Bolivia Is a Violent Right-Wing Coup

U.S.Democratic Lawmakers Criticize US Stance Towards Bolivia’s Coup

People place the coffin of a person killed by security forces on top of an armored vehicle in La Paz, Bolivia Nov. 21, 2019.

by Edu Montesanti

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U.S. actions “could well contribute to a further breakdown in the rule of law in Bolivia and a full-blown humanitarian emergency,” Democratic legislators foresee.

James McGovern, Ilhan Omar, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and other Democratic lawmakers on Friday criticized President Donald Trump administration for its stance regarding what is happening in Bolivia.

Bolivia: Ilegitimate Government Attempts to Sue Evo Morales

“We are troubled by statements from administration officials, including President Trump, that welcome these developments in Bolivia that bear the hallmarks of a military coup d’état,” lawmakers pointed out through a letter sent to the U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

They also stressed that U.S. senior officials’ statements and actions “could well contribute to a further breakdown in the rule of law in Bolivia and a full-blown humanitarian emergency.”

Ocasio-Cortez and her colleagues recalled that President Evo Morales, who was democratically elected, announced his resignation to prevent the destruction of the rule of law in this Andean country.

Nevertheless, the Bolivian constitution was ​​​​​​​bluntly violated later when opposition Senator Jeanine Añez self-proclaimed as interim president on Nov. 12.​​​​​​​

CODEPINK@codepink

Police forces shot these peaceful indigenous protesters with tear gas as they mourned those killed at #Senkata in #Bolivia.

These severe human rights violations are not being shown by mainstream media.

On behalf of the Bolivian people, help us spread the truth. #BoliviaCoup https://twitter.com/Guaitafran/status/1197585003036774400 …Francisco Guaita@GuaitafranAsi está el centro de la Paz4019:09 PM – Nov 21, 2019Twitter Ads info and privacy441 people are talking about this

Democratic lawmakers also denounced that indiscriminate repression against ​​​​​​​the civilian population has resulted in numerous deaths and injuries, which has not been condemned by the U.S. government.

“Over the last week, Morales allies have faced attacks, and threats and protests have been violently repressed by security forces, resulting in numerous deaths and injuries… Senior Trump administration officials have failed to denounce violent attacks by security forces, even as demonstrations made up largely of Indigenous Bolivians have been fired at with live ammunition.”​​​​​​​

Democratic congressmen mentioned that the legitimacy of Morales’s decision to run for a fourth presidential term could be debated. However, such a debate does not make it acceptable for Washington to welcome the forced removal of an elected President before the end of his term.​​​​​​​

COHA@COHAofficial

31 US organizations denounce the brutal repression in #Bolivia. Signed by @answercoalition @codepink @PopResistance @Blacks4Peace @CISPES @WIFP@TheIntCom @CAPB_SanDiego @RENASE among many others. Read the statement here: http://www.coha.org/31-us-organizations-denounce-the-brutal-repression-in-bolivia/ … #BoliviaCoup #BoliviaMasacre

View image on Twitter

1910:36 PM – Nov 22, 2019Twitter Ads info and privacy16 people are talking about this

According to Omal and the other legislators, the next government’s legitimacy will depend on whether the current coup-born regime allows the Movement Towards Socialism (MAS) to participate in the upcoming elections, for Morales’ party is supported by millions of Bolivians.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

The U.S. Democratic lawmakers also criticized the Organization of American States (OAS) officials who participated in the audit of the Bolivian presidential elections.

“Unsubstantiated and misleading statements made by the OAS electoral mission in Bolivia on Oct. 21, which subsequently were echoed by the State Department, contributed to further polarization at a moment in which violent politically-motivated incidents were taking place throughout the country.”​​​​​​​

Posted in USA, BoliviaComments Off on U.S.Democratic Lawmakers Criticize US Stance Towards Bolivia’s Coup

Unprecedented ‘Architecture of Surveillance’ Created by Facebook and Google Poses Grave Human Rights Threat: Report

“Their insidious control of our digital lives undermines the very essence of privacy and is one of the defining human rights challenges of our era.”

by: Andrea Germanos,

Two people point to a Facebook news stream

A new report from Amnesty International says Facebook and Google have a “surveillance-based business model.”  (Photo: flickr/GostGo/cc)

A new report from Amnesty International accuses Facebook and Google of having a “surveillance-based business model” that threatens users’ right to privacy and other human rights.

The tech giants, said Kumi Naidoo, secretary general of Amnesty International, have amassed “unparalleled power over the digital world by harvesting and monetizing the personal data of billions of people. Their insidious control of our digital lives undermines the very essence of privacy and is one of the defining human rights challenges of our era.”

Facebook and Google, according to the report, deserve to be singled out of the so-called Big 5 for their outsize influence on internet users.

With Facebook controlling not only its eponymous social media platform but also WhatsApp, Messenger, and Instagram, and Google parent company Alphabet in control of YouTube and the Android mobile operating system as well as the search engine, the companies “control the primary channels that people rely on to engage with the internet.”

In fact, the report continues, the two companies control “an architecture of surveillance that has no basis for comparison in human history.”

The use of the platforms isn’t really free, the report argues. Users are faced with “a Faustian bargain, whereby they are only able to enjoy their human rights online by submitting to a system predicated on human rights abuse.”

The companies hoover up user data—as well as metadata like email recipients—and “they are using that data to infer and create new information about us,” relying in part on artificial intelligence (AI).

The report says that “as a default Google stores search history across all of an individual’s devices, information on every app and extension they use, and all of their YouTube history, while Facebook collects data about people even if they don’t have a Facebook account.”

Smart phones also offer the companies a “rich source of data,” but the reach of surveillance doesn’t stop there. From the report:

This includes the inside of people’s homes through the use of Home Assistants like Google’s Assistant and Facebook’s Portal, and smart home systems connecting multiple devices such as phones, TVs, and heating systems. Increasingly, data extraction is also stretching to public spaces through ‘smart city’ infrastructure designed to collect data throughout an urban area. Facebook is even developing technology that would enable tracking the inside of the human brain.

The trove of data and metadata—which represent a “honeypot” for potential government eyes—”potentially could be used to infer sensitive information about a person, such as their sexual identity, political views, personality traits, or sexual orientation using sophisticated algorithmic models.”

“These inferences can be derived regardless of the data provided by the user,” the report adds, “and they often control how individuals are viewed and evaluated by third parties: for example, in the past third parties have used such data to control who sees rental ads and to decide on eligibility for loans.”

Amnesty’s report says that “the very nature of targeting, using data to infer detailed characteristics about people, means that Google and Facebook are defining our identity to the outside world, often in a host of rights-impacting contexts. This intrudes into our private lives and directly contradicts our right to informational self-determination, to define our own identities within a sphere of privacy.”

The companies have a track record of privacy abuses. Among the examples noted in the report:

  • In 2018 journalists discovered that Google keeps location tracking on even when you have disabled it. Google subsequently revised the description of this function after the news story but has not disabled location tracking even after users turn off Location History. Google now faces legal action by Australia’s competition watchdog over the issue.
  • Facebook has acknowledged that it knew about the data abuses of political micro-targeting firm Cambridge Analytica months before the scandal broke.
  • Facebook has also acknowledged performing behavioural experiments on groups of people—nudging groups of voters to vote, for example, or lifting (or depressing) users’ moods by showing them different posts on their feed.

Facebook and Google, the report says, “have conditioned access to their services on ‘consenting’ to processing and sharing of their personal data for marketing and advertising, directly countering the right to decide when and how our personal data can be shared with others.”

The potential violations don’t end with privacy attacks because “a person may only give up some seemingly innocuous data such as what they ‘like’ on Facebook. But once aggregated, that data can be repurposed to deliver highly targeted advertising, political messages, and propaganda, or to grab people’s attention and keep them on the platform.”

Keeping users on the platform, the report says, means they see more ads and potentially click more ads, thereby creating more data in a cycle of corporate surveillance.

That in turn threatens people’s right to autonomy and free development of ideas because these targeted ads “can influence, shape, and modify opinions and thoughts.”

From the report:

The starkest and most visible example of how Facebook and Google’s capabilities to target people at a granular level can be misused is in the context of political campaigning—the most high-profile case being the Cambridge Analytica scandal. The same mechanisms and tools of persuasion used for the purposes of advertising can be deployed to influence and manipulate people’s political opinions. The use of microtargeting for political messaging can also limit people’s freedom of expression by “creating a curated worldview inhospitable to pluralistic political discourse.”

Such abuses and potential abuses, says the report, make clear the era of tech self-regulation must come to end, with governments and companies alike taking steps to address the rights violations.

The report calls on governments to ensure companies are prevented from making access to their services conditional on user consenting to the collection, processing, or sharing of their personal data for marketing or advertising. They must also enact legislation to ensure the right not to be tracked and to “ensure companies are held legally accountable for human rights harms linked to such systems.”

Companies must switch to a model that respects rights and provide transparency about abuses they identify and remedies they will provide. They must also not lobby for weakened data protection and privacy legislation.

“Google and Facebook chipped away at our privacy over time,” Naidoo added in his statement. “We are now trapped. Either we must submit to this pervasive surveillance machinery—where our data is easily weaponized to manipulate and influence us—or forego the benefits of the digital world. This can never be a legitimate choice.”

“We must reclaim this essential public square,” he continued, “so we can participate without having our rights abused.”

Posted in USA, Human RightsComments Off on Unprecedented ‘Architecture of Surveillance’ Created by Facebook and Google Poses Grave Human Rights Threat: Report

Cold light of dawn for Corbyn

Jeremy Corbyn - standing up

UK Labour again punished at the polls in England and in melt-down in Scotland

By Stuart Littlewood

The Labour Party’s performance once more was dismal despite the unpopularity of David Cameron’s Conservatives and the irrelevance of the Liberal Democrats.

Jeremy Corbyn will be surveying the election wreckage and wondering where he goes from here.

Some will blame the torrent of allegations of anti-Semitism. Some will say it was the gutless response to those allegations. Others know that Labour has barely laid a glove on the Conservatives and the party needs to understand that it’s there to do a job – holding the government to account – not engage in internal squabbling.

“Going nowhere fast”

Corbyn claims the party managed to “hang on” but the Mirror says Labour is “going nowhere fast”. Party activists and backbenchers consider that the continuing lack of real progress is simply not good enough.

Whatever the excuses, Corbyn’s enemies – chiefly the Blairite/Brownite leftovers who failed the nation and are jealous of Corbyn’s spectacular rise to take the leadership – can rub their hands in glee at having weakened and perhaps mortally wounded their foe. But at what cost? They seem utterly careless of their own self-respect, the party’s reputation or the public good.

Corbyn now has two choices.

He can stick it out with the Labour Party for the time being but it would mean a head-on clash with the troublemakers, which is against his nature. To stamp his authority, however, he cannot sidestep the anti-Semitism fiasco. But it must be seen for what it really is: part of an organised campaign across Europe and the US to silence the debate on Israel’s misbehaviour, strangle the struggle for Palestinian rights and increase Zionist influence over our political and democratic processes. Any fightback by Corbyn must start with refusing to accept the Israel lobby’s definition of the situation. He needs to reframe it to reflect the truth, then go on the attack.

Turning the tables

Why take allegations of anti-Semitism seriously from Zionist mafioso who themselves practise or support racism? Nevertheless, there are within Labour’s ranks too many who say idiotic things about Jews to the detriment of the campaign for justice in the Holy Land. I’ve heard remarks that are so stupid that one suspects the people responsible are Zionist plants. What is the point of bringing up Hitler and the holocaust when there are more Israeli war crimes and crimes against humanity than you can shake a stick at?

Corbyn must act swiftly on genuine complaints but reject the trumped up ones. Outside interference should not be tolerated. And the best way to deal with professional moaners like the Board of Deputies of British Jews is to give them the BDS treatment: ignore and refuse to engage. Blood and feathers will fly, but so be it. This is the British Labour Party not a flagpole of the Knesset.

The time has come for Corbyn to turn the tables and question Labour’s Friends of Israel about their shameless support for the criminal state and its racist leaders and their links to the land-grabbing Zionist project. There is no place in a socialist organisation, or in public life at all, for people who cannot bring themselves to condemn a regime that behaves so viciously towards its neighbours and shows no remorse. What does aligning with Israel really say about them? And, by the way, who gave permission to use the party as a platform to further the interests of a foreign military power?

Corbyn’s and McDonnell’s abject surrender to Israel lobby pressure has been a shaming setback for the whole Palestine justice movement of which Corbyn was a prominent member.

Making amends

At the same time Corbyn needs to make amends to those who have been hurt, especially the young MP Naz Shah, by hasty compliance with the daft demands of the anti-Semitism inquisition. Yes, it was silly to suggest moving Israelis to the US but didn’t Joseph Chamberlain offered Herzl a Jewish homeland in Uganda? Didn’t the British Zionist League want Kimberley, Australia? Didn’t publishing magnate Critchley Parker propose Tasmania? Others thought Argentina would be ideal. Israeli Jews themselves have hatched many plans to move the Palestinians and Bedouins off their homelands and dump them somewhere else in order to make room for more Jews. Do get a grip, Corbyn.

After MP John Mann’s on-camera spat with Ken Livingstone, the chair of Labour Friends of Israel, Joan Ryan MP, said:

To speak of Zionism – the right of the Jewish people to self-determination – and Hitler in the same sentence is quite breathtaking. I am appalled that Ken Livingstone has chosen to do so… He should be suspended from the Labour Party immediately.

Livingstone certainly deserved a smack round the ear. But instead of suspending him, Corbyn could have asked Ryan what was so “breathtaking” about mentioning an inconvenient historical truth, especially when there are so many. And angry members shouldn’t have to launch a petition to get a known bully like Mann suspended.

Corbyn’s and McDonnell’s abject surrender to Israel lobby pressure has been a shaming setback for the whole Palestine justice movement of which Corbyn was a prominent member. Meanwhile, in the House of Commons, David Cameron savaged Corbyn’s response to the so-called crisis saying: “Anti-Semitism is effectively racism and we should call it out and fight it wherever we see it.” Cameron, of course, is blind to Israel’s racism on account of being its loyal friend. Labour should be rubbing his nose in it.

We’ve seen how Zionist inquisitors become unbearably twitchy when anyone questions Israel’s legitimacy or right to exist. What is often challenged is Israel’s membership of the United Nations. In 1949 the UN took Israel to its bosom on condition that it accepted the right of return of the Palestinian refugees and complied with General Assembly Resolution 194. Noting the declaration by the state of Israel that it “unreservedly accepts the obligations of the United Nations Charter and undertakes to honour them from the day when it becomes a Member”, the General Assembly admitted Israel as “a peace-loving state which accepts the obligations contained in the charter and is able and willing to carry out those obligations”.

Has Israel ever honoured its membership obligations or acted as a peace-loving state?

Corbyn’s other choice is to leave Labour, take his supporters with him and let the party stew in its own juice. Let’s face it, the party as it stands is dysfunctional, a thing of the past and quite unsuited to the 21st century. Even its name is inappropriate, even off-putting. Yes, by all means honour the old icons but they were products of their time and are of little interest in the real world today.

In any case the Labour Party is now soiled beyond decent repair.

There’s still time to build a new, clean, fit-for-purpose political party and get it established before the next general election. At least Corbyn could then be true to himself.

Posted in ZIO-NAZI, UKComments Off on Cold light of dawn for Corbyn

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