* THE U.S. AND THE SAUDIS
The alliance with Saudi Arabia makes the Muslim world, but not Americans, skeptical of U.S. rhetoric on freedom
By Glenn Greenwald, Salon
“I really consider President and Mrs. Mubarak to be friends of my family” – Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, March 2, 2009.
* * * * *
For all the righteous talk about human rights oppression and violent assaults on democratic protesters in the Muslim world, any honest ranking would place Saudi Arabia near or at the top of that list. This week, the long-time head of the deeply repressive Saudi Interior Ministry, Crown Prince Nayef bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, died. Prince Nayef — in addition to having been one of the hardest-line religious conservatives opposed to internal reforms, having been accused by Sen. Chuck Schumer in 2003 of having a “well-documented history of suborning terrorist financing,” and having blamed “Zionists” for plotting the 9/11 attack — was one of America’s closest and most loyal allies in the region. […]
[…] Of all the self-flattering delusions permeating American political discourse, I think the most obviously false one is that the U.S. is sternly opposed to repressive regimes and seeks to defend the human rights and democratic freedoms of citizens of that region and the world. If one wants to defend the close U.S.-Saudi alliance on grounds of material self-interest — they have lots of oil and the alternative to the current heinous regime would be sympathetic to Al Qaeda (even more so than the current one) — one can rationally do so.
But it never ceases to amaze that every time there is some new American Enemy to rail against or attack — in Iraq, in Iran, in Syria, in Libya — and defenders of American militarism claim to be motivated by opposition to human rights abuses and repression of freedom, there are hordes of people willing to believe that these noble, magnanimous considerations actually drive U.S. policy. What else would the U.S. have to do to prove this is false? The people in the region — whom the American media loves to patronizingly scorn as propagandized — have no trouble watching the close U.S-Saudi alliance or Hillary Clinton’s close family friendship with the Mubaraks and seeing the emptiness of American rhetoric about freedom and democracy. Perhaps it isn’t they who are the ones drowning in propaganda. […]
* NATO EXPANDS MILITARY NETWORK TO ALL CONTINENTS
By Rick Rozoff, StopNATO
[…] In January NATO’s Military Committee held a meeting in chiefs of defense staff session in which, as the NATO website described it, “Top level military representatives of 67 countries [discussed] in various formats the evolution of NATO and NATO led operations, the implementation of the new NATO Command Structure and its military consequences.” Unprecedented in scope, the military leaders present accounted for over a third of the 194 member states of the United Nations.
The Strategic Military Partnership Conference in Croatia was held a month after the NATO summit in Chicago and concentrated on the results of the latter and the further implementation of the Strategic Concept adopted at the preceding summit in Portugal in late 2010.
French General Stéphane Abrial, Supreme Allied Commander Transformation, opened the three-day conference and placed particular emphasis on two initiatives NATO calls the Connected Forces Initiative and Smart Defense. The second is designed to pool the resources of the bloc’s 28 members states in times of economic austerity and the first to increase training and exercises and the use of compatible military equipment; both will have the effect of furthering the integration of NATO members for interoperability in furtherance of operations abroad by making a military virtue of an economic necessity. […]
* LIBERAL BERKELEY POISED TO ACQUIRE ARMORED VEHICLE
By Judith Scherr, IPS
Using grant funding from the Dept. of Homeland Security, UC Berkeley is preparing to buy an armoured vehicle, which it will share with the city. Credit: Gary Dorrington/IPS
The city of Berkeley, California has long been regarded as a leader in the movements for peace, free speech and civil liberties. But this very city is now poised to follow the lead of hundreds of others around the United States where local police deploy armoured vehicles to fight crime and terrorism.
The University of California, Berkeley police department is using grant funds from the Department of Homeland Security to purchase a Lenco Ballistic Engineered Armoured Response Counter Attack Truck, better known as BearCat. The university will share the BearCat with police from Berkeley and the neighbouring city of Albany, where it will house the vehicle.
Purchasing the vehicle was raised at a Berkeley City Council meeting as part of a larger discussion on the city’s relationship to Homeland Security agencies that award grants and collect information on citizens. […]
* UC BERKELEY SERVED WITH 15 MILLION LAWSUIT FOR OLICE BRUTALITY ON OCCUPY PROTESTERS
UC Berkeley served with 15 million dollar federal lawsuit on behalf of 30 plaintiffs for police brutality and “UCB’s political witch hunt” as a result of November 9, 2011 Occupy protest on campus and later arrest.
By Mary Ann Uribe, East Bay
On Wednesday, June 13, 2012 attorneys Ron Cruz and Monica Smith, served a $15 million federal lawsuit on behalf of 30 plaintiffs on UC-Berkeley administrators and police for police brutality, false arrest, retaliatory prosecution and civil rights violations of Occupy Cal protesters who participated in a demonstration on the campus on November 9, 2011. The lawsuit asks for redress and damages calling the University’s actions against the plaintiffs “..UCB’s political witch hunt against protesters.” […]
[…] Lead plaintiff and BAMN national organizer, Yvette Felarca, stated “We demand justice. Education is a right, and people fighting to defend it should not be met with brutality and a political witchhunt by UC-Berkeley or any other university administration,” She was the first person struck and the target of multiple baton blows in the YouTube video that went viral of November 9 police brutality.
Felarca went on to say “We want this to set the precedent for every university administration that they will not attack our right to protest for public education. Through the course of this lawsuit, we will use every means at our disposal, including legal and direct action, to expose UC-Berkeley’s policy of political suppression and win justice”. […]
* THE SADDEST THING YOU’LL READ ABOUT GREECE TODAY
By Carrie Hojnicki, Business Insider
The Greek debt crisis has literally become a matter of life and death.
Reuters reports that the Greek health care system is cracking under crisis pressure, leaving many Greek citizens without access to basic medical services and vital drugs. Pharmaceutical companies have even begun crafting emergency plans that would get drugs into the country in the event of a complete currency fallout.
And it’s not just well-visits and painkillers. People who need the care most—cancer patients and other life-threatening cases—just aren’t getting the care and drugs they need. From Reuters:
“We’re not talking about painkillers here – we’ve learned to live with physical pain – we need drugs to keep us alive,” Mitta, a petite former marathon runner and herself a cancer survivor, said in a voice shaky with emotion. […]
* WHAT HAPPENS WHEN NATIONS DEFAULT?
According to bankers, defaulting on national debts ushers in Armageddon, yet defaults have occurred regularly throughout history and life goes on
By Jeanine Czaja, Suite101
Words such as “crisis” “emergency” and phrases such as “time is running out” are daily used in news stories relating to current debt situations in Greece. Greece is the nation currently in the spotlight, and its default could lead to the “disintegration of the Eurozone,” as a Wall Street Journal article warns, spilling over into Italy and Spain. From there, according to On Wall Street, the “contagion” will spread in a “domino effect.”
Debt as Disease
The language of national debt reporting is consistently alarmist, inferring that when a nation defaults on its debts, the results are as catastrophic as the plague, spreading death and destruction around the world, or like the former Cold War model of the Red Menace spreading from nation to nation like falling dominoes. The domino effect, some may remember, was the metaphor used to increase U.S. involvement in Vietnam.
Fear and Jargon
The language is designed to terrify and is no doubt effective. When laymen then try to figure out what can be done to prevent the end of the world as we know it, financial experts pour out reams of jargon and numbers, which serve two purposes: it confirms their status as experts since they know all these technical terms and renders the situation completely unintelligible for laymen.
* DEAR TAXPAYER – A SHORT FILM – OCCUPY WALL STREET
* 3.08 FEDERAL INCOME TAX
* HOW TO START A MOVEMENT
Source: Derek Sivers, TED