Posted by greydogg, 99GetSmart
* IRAQ, TEN YEARS LATER: WHAT ABOUT THE CONSTITUTION?
By Seymour Hersh, NewYorker
In a few days, we will have a new anniversary to celebrate, or to mourn. The bombing of Baghdad ten years ago this week marked the beginning of another senseless American war fought for reasons that turned out not to exist, driven by wrongheaded, cockeyed, and manipulated intelligence.
We know the history. After a few weeks in which the Iraqi Army scattered without putting up much of a fight, the situation quickly got out of control. By mid-2004, with a Presidential election under way, it was clear to many that we were deep into a guerrilla war that would turn out badly and take the lives of thousands of Americans, and many times that number of Iraqis. And yet George Bush, the man who brought us there, won reëlection that November.
So the question that presents itself is: What’s up with our Constitution? How could a small group of hard-line conservatives around President Bush, including Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, and a few neoconservatives so quickly throw us over the cliff? This included not only a war fought on false pretenses but also a system of torture and indefinite detention that, in far too many cases, ran against our laws and values (and was only partially checked by the Supreme Court). It’s not enough to blame it on the fear, anger, and confusion brought on by the 9/11 attacks. What happened to our press corps with its alleged independence and its commitment to the First Amendment and the values of the rest of the Bill of Rights? What about Congressional oversight—laughable in the run-up to the war, and even more laughable today, as American enters its twelfth year of its worldwide War on Terror. Is our Constitution that fragile? […]
* HANDLING THE BUSH FAMILY’S BAGGAGE
Nowadays, it’s awfully expensive to get all your baggage onto an airliner.
Unless your name is Bush and the plane is Air Force One.
In fact, the mainstream media has a long history of bending over backwards to help handle the Bush family’s substantial pile of baggage. Like a team of personal skycaps, they’ve dutifully stored it in the deep, dark memory hole we call “the past.”
Perhaps that is why Jeb “the Smart One” Bush expressed the utmost confidence that, despite a rather disastrous eight years under Brother George, he wouldn’t be weighed down by the Bush name if or when he makes a run at the White House.
No doubt, Jeb is counting on the media to handle the baggage.
His brother slid right by the media’s security checkpoint in 2000. Drug abuse, de facto draft evasion, National Guard hi-jinx, connections to the Bin Laden family, unbelievable financial “luck” from a failed business, bogus education reform…you name it, the media glossed over it.
Nothing seemed to stick in 2004, either. The only carry-on allowed by the gatekeepers was George’s proclamation that he answered to a “higher father,” which wasn’t really considered “baggage” by his God-fearing base of support in Red State America. […]
* WHY THE PLUNDERING OF GREECE WAS STAGED
By Kosmas Loumakis, Justice for Greece
Behind the decision to plunder Greece, there are several reasons (as always, when great powers decides to attack a country). Its never just onereason, when great powers aremarching,… nor is it so in the case of Greece.
For the Globo (the global currency) to be introduced and well received, economic “suicide-bombers”, thecredit financial system that is, have triggered its explosive components. An unavoidable economic crisis, mustbe used to elicit acceptance of the currency, and then the launchpadmust be prepared from an already long time, manipulated and controlled so-called ‘free and democratic nation’. It is from this nation, that the old Europe, the old “civilization tools”, democracy, justice, human rights and the old ideals of liberty, equality and solidarity, are about to be buried.
Some of the obvious “operations” behind the plundering, are just ‘unfortunate’ collisions of interests between the great powers (for the petrodollar systems’ preservation), and other “operations” are carefully planned “cultural attacks” and economic, social and political reforms, in order to weaken the folk-spirit, the social “glue” and the unity of a people. Simply put; very well-planned they have sought to weaken peoples ability to resistance against the coming plundering. In Greece’s case it is about a plundering, that the elite had in mind, since the mid 70′s.
Regardless if I, through my articles on the Greek crisis may seem tedious, in the recurring, short, historical flashbacks, I will continue to highlight the modern Greek history and the superpowers interference in Greece’s development, until it is as well-known as the Holocaust (because it has cost Greece millions of lives and enormous suffering, every 30 years, over the past 182 years). When someone denies the Holocaust, he/she is considered as stupid, an anti-semite and as a nazi-sympathizer,… fairly justified I would say, but when someone wants to downplay and ignore the great powers “rape” of Greece, he/she is a visionary, constructive and “do not want to delve into the past”. This is obvious today, because it is clear that everyone else seems to prefer to forget about the repeated abuse of Greece by the European powers,… At least,.. they wish to put that fact aside and they prefer to see this issue as over with. How can one see it asover with, when plutocracy-tendencies, corruption in Greece and the escalating debt are all based on this particular history? How can this ever be over with, when Greece today loses 3-8 future generations, its independence and its sovereignty due to unspecified debts, created by these great powers in cooperation with unusually obedient, Greek governments and shameless businessmen, over the last 4-5 decades?
The Perpetrator of course always want to see his crimes as over with, with time, but the Victim who still suffers the consequences, want to have vindication first and he/she wants to see justice prevail,.. before he/she can put this aside and heal his/her wounds. The more the Europeans want to “put a lid on” on this story, the more myself and some other Greeks, will run the facts down the throats of the Europeans, until they MUST take this history into account and the decisive involvement of the superpowers, which clearly have “paved the way” for Greece’s current situation …
Established, Swedish, journalists from the “approved” media, will of course NOT participate in this ‘information campaign’ and especially NOT those with a Greek background. Sadly enough, I am convinced about this fact, after three years of silence or sporadic, lifestylejournalism on this topic from them. “They have their job to think about”, I suppose! So far, their articles and reports in the Swedish media, have been “pale” andstyled with a deliberate down silencing of the Greek people’s actual arguments, actions and resistance. Regardless of whether both Mikis Theodorakis ‘SPITHA and Dimiris Kazakis’ EPAM are two resistance movements, that have been judicially and politically active since the summer of 2010, and today have thousands of active members all over Greece, none of the Greek-Swedish journalists have ever mentioned a word about these movements in their reports. This is of course hardly because of ignorance or lack of information, but rather because they find themselves media-gagged but still continues to call themselves journalists. […]
* WHAT IS IT THAT YOU DO NOT UNDERSTAND, MR. PRIME MINISTER?
By Augustine Zenakos, Borderlinereports
A magazine cover showing a photoshopped image of the Greek Prime Minister with torture scars on his face, in direct reference to the Greek Police’s use of torture, sparked controversy, with MPs maintaining that it is “an invitation to terrorism”. Yet questions over the recent incident where the Greek Police presented to the public a series of photoshopped images of youths arrested on robbery charges in an attempt to hide evidence of brutality, as well as the statement by the Minister of Public Order that this was done so that they are “recognizable”, remain painfully under-addressed, while claims of torture and police brutality keep mounting.
Publishing the photographs and personal information of citizens arrested on various charges, and asking the public to provide additional information on other crimes they may have committed, is one of the most controversial practices favored by the Greek Police today. Greek law states that the publication of photos or data of arrested persons awaiting trial is prohibited, except in cases of public danger. One is hard pressed to understand what sort of “public danger” is averted through the publication of photos of arrested demonstrators or even HIV positive women charged with prostitution, nevertheless the Police keep doing it and the judicial authorities keep supporting the practice.
Recently, however, this controversial practice was taken to a new level. The Police published photos of four youths arrested on robbery and terrorism charges.
When reporters and members of the public pointed out that the photos had evidently been photoshopped, and rather crudely for that matter, the Police finally released several unaltered photos of those arrested. In the second set of photos, it was revealed they had been brutally beaten. […]
* TEAR GAS AND KIDNAPPING IN THE BATTLE FOR SKOURIES FOREST
By Yiannis Baboulias, www.vice.com
It’s been three weeks since 50 masked activists broke into the Skouries forest work site in northern Greece and torched just about every piece of machinery they could. The barrage of Molotov cocktails and environmentalist rage was directed at Canadian company El Dorado and their plans to bulldoze the ancient forest and build a mine there instead.
What started out as a protest from local residents opposing the mine (they claim it will poison the water supply and irreversibly destroy the area’s rich environment and the tourism, fishing and farming it provides) has now morphed into a full-blown counter-attack from the massed ranks of state authoritarianism and corporate shitbaggery. Nikos Dendias, the Greek Minister of Citizen Protection, set the bar the day after the attacks by visiting the site and fully living up to his promise to protect Greece’s citizens – by demanding that a load of them be arrested.
The Greek police – always happy to oblige – did just that, kidnapping university students, forcefully taking DNA samples and arresting high-school kids without notifying any of their parents. But I suppose all those tactics are fair game when you’re talking about a load of pretty arbitrary arrests for an offence that didn’t cause any human harm.
Since the attack, locals have spoken of hooded police patrolling the nearby village of Lerissos, arresting people, taking their phones away and interrogating them for hours without notifying anyone of their whereabouts or giving them the option of having a lawyer present. As you can imagine, the atmosphere in the village is now pretty tense, owing in part to the 100 or so riot and counter-terrorism police who turned to conduct a “routine search” last Thursday.
* INSANE EU: BANK DEPOSITOR IN PANIC AS THEY PAY FOR CYPRUS 10 BILLION EURO BAILOUT
Bank depositors will have to finance 60% of the 10-billion-euro bailout for Cyprus agreed between European Union and International Monetary Fund in Brussels in the early morning hours of Saturday. Eurozone ministers force depositors at Cypriot banks to pay a one time levy to raise 6 billion euros. The so-called “emergency solidarity contribution” will force savers to see their bank deposits undergo a 6.7%-9% “haircut”, while bondholders will not suffer any losses at all.
Savers with more than 100,000 euro in bank deposits will pay a 9.9% levy.
Savers with less than 100,000 euro will pay 6.75% contribution to the bailout.
There is no minimum deposit capital cap.
The decision will not affect bank deposits in Cypriot banks in the Greek bank network (Cuprus state RIK TV).
Tax on bank deposits interest is expected to be 20-25%. […]
* BARCELONA #15M NEWSLETTER NR 40
Hello from Barcelona,
This is the (almost) weekly newsletter that will inform you about the activities of 15M movement in Barcelona, Catalonia and occasionally the main events in Spain. If you do not wish to receive it anymore, please say so.
1. “Let’s get rid of them, together we can” 50 cities against the financial dictatorship
2. A week of non-stop protests in Barcelona
3. Public health care system alternative: 2 cooperatives in Barcelona
1. “LET’S GET RID OF THEM, TOGETHER WE CAN”: 50 CITIES AGAINST THE FINANCIAL DICTATORSHIP
Thousands of people took the streets on February 23rd. This is a significant date in Spain, as in 1981 an attempt of military coup d’état took place on this day, and the shocking images of 200 armed officers of the Guardia Civil taking over the Congress stayed in the Spanish collective memory forever attached to 23-F . The demonstrators, by choosing this date, wanted to point out that we are living under the dictationship of the financial markets, a constant attack to people’s rights and to democracy which are translated into budget cuts on public services, working laws reforms which destroy even more jobs, cuts on the rights for migrants, repression of protesters on the streets and censorship of any critical views. It also meant that this time it’s the people who are taking over the country.
The call came from different groups in struggle with the idea of joining forces and standing united for their rights.The result was that more than 50 cities in Spain mobilized in what was named the “marea ciudadana” (Citizen’s Tide):The name was chosen because in many Spanish cities the sectorial struggles are named as a colour tide, so “marea verde” (green tide) is for education, “marea blanca” (white tide) for Health Care, etc. In Madrid the demo ended with 42 arrests.
Barcelona didn’t take the same name, as the sectorial fights are not called “tides”. Under the slogan “Fem-los fora, juntes podem” (catalan for “Let’s get rid of them, together we can”), more than 40 thousand people demonstrated in its streets. The demonstration was organized in four main columns starting from different points in Barcelona and carrying out their own actions and manifestos on their way:
- Anti-repressive column: To condemn the repression that government is implementing and new laws supressing civil rights, the column was formed by platforms against the use of rubber bullets, those who defend the rights of inmigrants and Rereguarda, that protects and defends people’s rights during and after demonstrations [see NL#18, 1].
- Social Rights and Public services: In defence of public services and social rights such as Education, Health care and Culture in wich students, families, teachers, doctors, nurses, cultural workers and other citizens united in a colourful march.
- Working Rights: To defend the rights of workers and the unemployed, with several platforms of workers, unemployed, unions and other supporters. At the beginning of the demo 15 Telefonica workers started a hunger-strike to denounce the unjustified firing of one of them.
- Anti-Bankster column: Last-minute column decided a couple of days before the demo, against the Preferentes scam in which many Spanish banks are involved and to claim we should save people, not banks. […]