Apr 302013
 

Posted by greydogg, 99GetSmart

* THE MANIFESTO OF THE MEDITERRANEAN MEETING IN TUNISIA

Source: CADTM

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We, the representatives of progressive political parties from the Mediterranean region, gathered in Tunis from March 23 to 24, 2013, at the call of the Popular Front, and adopted the following resolution.

1. – For more than a quarter of a century, neoliberal capitalist globalization has extended its dominance over the entire planet. The processes launched have accelerated the commodization of the world in favour of a minority and have confiscated peoples´ citizenship and nations´ sovereignty. They are exacerbating economic insecurity and social inequality in the North and South and further widening the gap between the rich countries and the so-called poor countries.

Peoples of the South are subjected to a particularly devastating regime of structural adjustment policies and free trade policies which impedes a fair development, destroys the environment and deprives them of their sovereignty, thus weakening them even more and exacerbating their dependence on dominant economic areas of the North.

The fate of humanity is now decided by a handful of transnational corporations and by the international financial institutions over which people have no control.

Since 2008, in the midst of a crisis of the world capitalist system, structural adjustment policies have been extended to the countries of the northern Mediterranean, the so-called contemptuously PIGS.

In Tunisia, these policies have been imposed since 1986 by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. In 1995, these were reinforced by the Association Agreement imposed by the European Union and its Member States. The political dictatorship has ensured the application of such policies.

At present, the various neoliberal capitalist globalization actors intend to carry on with these policies, trying to take advantage of the revolutionary crisis, by strengthening and expanding their scope. Thus they seek to block the path that leads to the development of aspirations and the desire for radical change massively expressed by the masses, particularly youth, during the revolutionary uprising of December- January 2011.

2. – The removal of the dictator has disarmed the local neoliberal capitalist order without reversing it have led to some progress. The social system which is the historical product of imperialist domination and, more recently, of the restructuring of the neoliberal capitalist world, is still standing. But the revolutionary crisis that initiated the insurgency remains active. The victory of the democratic, social and national revolution in Tunisia, as in other countries in the region, still remains a possibility.

3. – The Tunisian revolution marked the beginning of the Arab revolution. To date, four dictators, whose average time in power exceeded 30 years, have been eliminated. These political changes are, without a doubt, the most important occurrence that has taken place in the Arab region and Maghreb in decades. This is clearly a turning point in the history of Tunisia and the Arab region.

This is, in the proper sense of the term, a “historic” moment. In fact, for the first time in their history, the peoples of the Arab region, who have not stopped fighting, are standing up today against their direct oppressors, bursting onto the political scene to take hold of their destiny in their own hands.

4. – The debt -odious, illegitimate- used under the dictatorship as a tool for political submission and as a mechanism for the transfer of income from labour to local but above all to world capital, currently serves the counter-revolution to maintain the neo-colonial economy and imperialist domination in Tunisia. Furthermore, in Egypt, Morocco, Greece, Cyprus, the Spanish State and in many other countries of the Mediterranean basin, debt continues to serve the interests of a minority against the interests of the vast majority. It is everywhere, it is the pretext for the implementation of austerity policies imposed by international financial institutions and the capitalistic states that violate human rights.

5. – Everywhere, both in the North and the South, the same logics of profit, domination and destruction of the planet operate and continue to be imposed on the peoples and on nature. The Tunisian revolution, the Arab revolution, the heroic struggles of all peoples of the world against a neoliberal capitalist order, such as in Greece, Portugal, Catalonia, Basque country or the Spanish state, are the political founding acts of a new world order; one based on solidarity, that is democratic, feminist peaceful that ensures popular sovereignty and self-determination of the peoples and environmentally friendly- for which all our respective political parties are fighting.

6. – But standing in opposition of this popular will for a radical shift are the ruling classes, the transnationals and global finance institutions. They form a united front to counter-attack and to implement even more antisocial and undemocratic policies in order to break through this liberating popular impulse and momentum, and thus continue to make the costs of the global capitalist system crisis fall on the same shoulders, those of the working people and the planet.

7. – We, the representatives of progressive political parties from the Mediterranean region in the world, are convinced that we must unite our efforts and our actions, both regionally and internationally, to support and contribute to the struggles of the people and of the exploited and oppressed classes, in the region and worldwide, who yearn for freedom, dignity and social justice. We support the revolutionary struggle of the Syrian people to achieve freedom, democracy, social justice, equality and national dignity. We condemn any foreign intervention that goes against the achievement of these objectives.
In order to work together in this direction, we the progressive political parties from the Mediterranean region, that participated in this meeting in Tunisia against debt, austerity policies and imperialist domination, advocate for a free, democratic, social, solidarity-based and environmentally friendly Mediterranean region. We therefore commit to:

  • Support the process of mobilization and struggle of social movements, trade unions and social organizations for a citizen audit
  • Promote motions for non-payment of illegitimate debt and the external debt relief in the institutions in which we participate.
  • Incorporate in our political programs the NON payment of the illegitimate debt and the promotion of citizen audit and the support of the struggle for the sovereignty of peoples and self-determination.
  • Advance on the development of a network of mutual support between the nations to assist those who decided not to pay the illegitimate debt
  • Establish a permanent communication network for the exchange of information and experiences.
  • Develop a concrete cooperation aiming at developing tools for the struggle and mobilization necessary to achieve our goals.
  • Organize the next meeting in the Spanish State.

The progressive political parties in the Mediterranean region and other parts of the world that participated in the Tunisian Mediterranean Meeting welcomed the World Social Forum that was held in Tunis from March 26 to 30, and that allowed to advance towards the realization of the objectives enshrined in the Charter of Porto Alegre.

Finally, we strongly condemn the killing of Chokri Belaid, Secretary General of the Unified Democratic Patriotic Party and leader of the Popular Front, which we refer to as a political crime. We demand the truth to be told about all those involved in this heinous crime. […]

READ @ http://cadtm.org/The-Manifesto-of-the-Mediterranean

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* SCIENTIST CONFIRM! “AUSTERITY IS TOO BAD FOR YOUR HEALTH”

Source: KeepTalkingGreece

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Scientists confirm what we already know: that recession-driven austerity measures are not just bad for your wealth, they are also harming your health. It’s not only that your pockets are robbed causing sleepless nights, depression and heart attacks. The austerity cuts that primarily target the health sector boost infectious diseases as medicine and treatment become prohibitively expensive.

British scientists examined the impact of austerity to health issues and thus on the example of Greece and Great Britain.

The after-effects of the financial crisis is driving a wave of suicide, depression and infectious diseases as medicine and treatment become prohibitively expensive across Europe and North America, according to new research by academics.

After examining a decade of studies , Oxford University political economist David Stuckler and Sanjay Basu, an assistant professor of medicine and an epidemiologist at Stanford University, have concluded austerity is seriously bad for health.

More than 10,000 suicides and up to a million cases of depression have been diagnosed during what they call the “Great Recession” and the austerity that followed it , the pair conclude in a book due to be published this week.

They cite examples in Greece, which has seen the rate of the Aids-causing HIV virus increase by 200pc as the health budget have been cut. The more than 50pc youth unemployment rate has also seen drug abuse on the increase, hastening the spread of the virus.

Greece also experienced its first malaria outbreak in decades following budget cuts to mosquito-spraying programmes.

In Britain, the academics claim 10,000 families have been pushed into homelessness by the austerity budget, and in the US 5m people no longer have access to healthcare since the recession.

“Politicians need to take into account the serious – and in some cases profound – health consequences of economic choices,” said Mr Stuckler, a senior researcher at Oxford University and co-author The Body Economic: Why Austerity Kills.

“The harms we have found include HIV and malaria outbreaks, shortages of essential medicines, lost healthcare access, and an avoidable epidemic of alcohol abuse, depression and suicide,” he said in a statement. “Austerity is having a devastating effect.”

Previous studies by Mr Stuckler published in journals such as The Lancet and the British Medical Journal have linked rising suicide rates in some parts of Europe to austerity measures, and found HIV epidemics to be spreading amid cutbacks in services to vulnerable people.

But he and Mr Basu said negative public health effects are not inevitable, even during the worst economic disasters. (full story Telegraph)

 Greeks get really sick

Also Greek scientists have collected data on the impact of the austerity cuts on the people’s health. According to Christodoulos Stefanadis, cardiology professor at the University of Athens with experience at the country’s public hospitals:

Cardiovascular incidents increased by 20% in the last two years.

Increased is also the number of patients with high blood pressure.

One in six patients with cholesterol does not follow the prescribed treatment due to financial inability to come up with the self-participation  percentage on prescribed medicine.

Unemployment, stress at work and depression are risk factors for cardiovascular diseases equal to risk factors like smoking, lack of exercise and unhealthy eating habits. […]

READ @ http://www.keeptalkinggreece.com/2013/04/29/scientists-confirm-austerity-is-too-bad-for-your-health/

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* CIA’s ‘BAGS OF CASH’ FUELED AFGHAN CORRUPTION, BOUGHT LITTLE INFLUENCE

By Jason Ditz, Anti-War

A Decade Later, CIA Still Throwing Money at Karzai

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If you’re a top Afghan official money comes awfully easy. For Afghan President Hamid Karzai, you don’t even have to ask for it or leave your office, and people will show up with plastic shopping bags full of cash for you.

The “sacks of cash” phenomenon was unveiled in 2010, when officials revealed that Iran was showing up with $1 million in cash a few times a year for Karzai. The US was and is doing it too. The CIA has notoriously been showing up all the time with “ghost money” aimed at buying influence.

“It came in secret, and it left in secret,” noted Karzai’s former chief of staff. Over a decade later, the cash is still coming and going, but what influence if any was ever actually bought is unclear at best.

Officials are critical of the policy, saying that tens of millions of US dollars with no paperwork were actually a big part of how Afghanistan became one of the most corrupt nations in human history. Though there is of course no way of tracking all this money, US officials believe that large amounts were used to bribe politicians and warlords.

This is how all political business gets done in Afghanistan to this day, and despite officials insisting that the money is incredibly counterproductive, the CIA bags are still showing up regularly. […]

READ @ http://news.antiwar.com/2013/04/28/cias-bags-of-cash-fueled-afghan-corruption-bought-little-influence/

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* THE GUANTANAMO MEMOIRS OF MOHAMEDOU OULD SLAHI

By Larry Siems, Slate

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Mohamedou Ould Slahi began to tell his story in 2005. Over the course of several months, the Guantánamo prisoner handwrote his memoir, recounting what he calls his “endless world tour” of detention and interrogation. He wrote in English, a language he mastered in prison. His handwriting is relaxed but neat, his narrative, even riddled with redactions, vivid and captivating. In telling his story he tried, as he wrote, “to be as fair as possible to the U.S. government, to my brothers, and to myself.” He finished his 466-page draft in early 2006. For the next six years, the U.S. government held the manuscript as a classified secret.

When his pro bono attorneys were allowed to hand me a disk labeled “Unclassified Version” last year, Slahi had been a Guantánamo detainee for more than a decade. I sat down to start reading his manuscript nearly 10 years to the day from the book’s opening scene:

“[Redacted] July 2002, 22:00. The American team takes over. The music was off. The conversations of the guards faded away. The truck emptied.”

We’re in the middle of the action. Slahi’s life in captivity had begun eight months earlier, on Nov. 20, 2001, when Slahi, then 30, was summoned by Mauritanian police for questioning. He had just returned home from work; he was in the shower when police arrived. He dressed, grabbed his car keys—he went voluntarily, driving himself to the police station—and told his mother not to worry, he would be home soon. […]

READ @ http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/foreigners/2013/04/mohamedou_ould_slahi_s_guant_namo_memoirs_how_the_united_states_kept_a_gitmo.html

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* UNDERCOVER AT THE TAR SANDS

By Jerry Cleveland, Rolling Stone

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Editor’s Note: In recent months, many climate activists have focused their efforts on Canada’s tar sands and the companies set on extracting fossil fuels from them. With the debate raging louder than ever, Rolling Stone is in contact with one of the workers helping to build a pipeline to bring oil from the tar sands to the U.S. Read on for that anonymous correspondent’s first dispatch from one of the world’s most controversial jobs.

There’s something in the air in Fort McMurray, Alberta – and it’s not just fumes from the massive oil sands processing plants north of town. Spend enough time here, and you’ll pick up the pungent scents of machismo and money.

This is the heart of Canada’s controversial tar sands operation. If all goes as planned, this region will soon be sending its bitumen – the sticky, black petroleum byproduct colloquially known as “tar” – down the Keystone XL Pipeline. President Obama has yet to give the contentious project the green light, but work in the oil sands shows no sign of slowing down any time soon.

The region has 80,000 permanent residents, and hosts about 40,000 temporary workers at any given time – welders, pipefitters, heavy equipment operators, technicians, engineers and other hired hands who pass through Fort McMurray as the work ebbs and flows. I joined them this winter when, after hearing stories about Fort Mac for years, I signed on to help build a massive pipeline (not the Keystone XL). I was eager to see the tar sands for myself, experience life in Fort Mac firsthand – and, let’s be honest, I wanted to make some oil money, too.  I’m writing this story anonymously to protect my friends, my colleagues and myself.

The Fossil Fuel Resistance

Much of the work here relies on ice roads and freezing temperatures, so when spring comes, the work ends. The obvious irony is that the carbon economy itself is very likely contributing to the early springs, late winters and wacky weather that keeps interrupting our work.

Few in northern Alberta seemed to notice when thousands gathered in Washington, D.C. to protest the Keystone project in February. Instead, everyone was talking about the southern extension project coming up later this year, and the 14,000 jobs it would bring.

The recent rupture of an Exxon pipeline in Arkansas, spilling tens of thousands of Canadian crude, made some noise here. But most chalked it up to “bad timing” –folks are quick to point out that the pipeline in question was installed in the 1940s, and my foreman assured us that Exxon would “make sure everyone is taken care of.” The prevailing logic seems to be that if you throw enough money at a problem, it’ll go away. […]

READ @ http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/undercover-at-the-tar-sands-20130426

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