Author: Vaska

Number of European working poor doubles in a decade

by Elisabeth Zimmermann , 12 July 2017, WSWS More and more people in work in Europe are being forced into poverty. This is demonstrated by a new study by the Hans Böckler Foundation which was made public last Thursday.  The study, titled “Activation policies and poverty,” notes that a growing proportion of the population of Europe live in poverty, although they are working. The researchers from the Economic and Social Sciences Institute (WSI) of the Böckler Foundation examined the effects of labor market and social policy measures in 18 EU countries from 2004 to 2014. All of the measures were aimed at forcing unemployed people into low-wage labor. According to their research, an average of about 10 percent of the workforce aged between 18 and 64 in the countries studied were “working poor.” This means they earn less than 60 percent of the average income in their country. The proportion of working poor was highest in Romania at 18.6 percent, followed by Greece, 13.4 percent, and Spain, 13.2 percent. In Germany, the number of working …

«War in the Balkans» – the Memoirs of a Portugese Peacekeeper (II)

by Stephen Karganovic, July 9, 2017, Strategic Culture In his memoir, «War in the Balkans», (1) retired Portuguese general Carlos Martins Branco, who was during the conflict in the Former Yugoslavia in the strategically important post of Deputy Head of Mission of UN Military Observers in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina (1994-1996), recounts his knowledge of events that took place around Srebrenica in July of 1995. In contrast to the fanciful tales of a bevy of dubious «experts», false witnesses, and outright propagandists, General Martins Branco reports facts as they were observed or collected by intelligence and other sources in the field.  That information made its way through official channels to his desk in Zagreb, where the headquarters of the UN Observer Mission was located.  Martins Branco’s facts and conclusions are hardly susceptible to off-hand dismissal. Excerpts cited below are on pages 201 – 206 of his memoir. We will begin with the general’s conclusion challenging the received wisdom that Srebrenica was genocide and then work our way back from there: «Had they entertained the …

«War in the Balkans» – the Memoirs of a Portugese Peacekeeper (I)

by Stephen Karganovic, July 7, 2914, via Strategic Culture General Carlos Martins Branco is one of the most fascinating (and until quite recently also inaccessible) actors in the Srebrenica controversy.  From his Zagreb vantage point as deputy head of the U.N. Protection Force (UNPROFOR) between 1994 and 1996, during the latter phase of the 1990s Yugoslav conflict as it unfolded in Croatia and Bosnian and Herzegovina, this Portuguese officer had privileged access to significant information.  Confidential reports about the goings on in the field were crossing his desk.  With first-hand information and further enlightened by discrete conversations with colleagues from various intelligence structures, Martins Branco was positioned ideally to learn facts which many officials would have preferred to cover up, and the media frequently ignored. With a typically Latin emotional flair, refusing to remain silent as the «Srebrenica genocide narrative» was taking shape in the second half of the 1990s, Martins Branco published in 1998 an article provocatively entitled «Was Srebrenica a Hoax? Eyewitness Account of a Former UN Military Observer in Bosnia».  In that early plunge …

The Myth of the Kurdish YPG’s Moral Excellence

by Stephen Gowans, July 11, 2017 A barbed criticism aimed at the International Socialist Organization, shown [in our cover illustration], under the heading “If the ISO Existed in 1865” encompasses a truth about the orientation of large parts of the Western Left to the Arab nationalist government in Damascus.  The truth revealed in the graphic is that the ISO and its cognates will leave no stone unturned in their search for an indigenous Syrian force to support that has taken up arms against Damascus, even to the point of insisting that a group worthy of support must surely exist, even if it can’t be identified. Of course, Washington lends a hand, helpfully denominating its proxies in the most laudatory terms.  Islamist insurgents in Syria, mainly Al Qaeda, were not too many years ago celebrated as a pro-democracy movement, and when that deception proved no longer tenable, as moderates.  Now that the so-called moderates have been exposed as the very opposite, many Leftists cling to the hope that amid the Islamist opponents of Syria’s secular, Arab …

Mass Arrests of Protesters: Outrageous in Russia, Barely Worth Mentioning in US

by Adam Johnson, July 13, 2017, FAIR Major media’s relative lack of interest in the mass arrests by Metro DC police on Inauguration Day is a fact noted by activists and journalists since the incident almost six months ago. One way to measure the dearth of coverage is to compare the attention paid to comparable protester arrests in Russia last month. On June 12, over 1,700 Russians throughout the country were arrested for “unauthorized protests” in opposition to President Vladimir Putin and government corruption. “Dozens”—including opposition leader Alexei Navalny—were kept in jail longer than a day, but the vast majority were let go immediately. (Navalny, as well as some others, got between 15–30 days in jail.) More than 200 Americans were arrested on January 20 after “rioting” broke out in downtown Washington, DC, in the hours leading up to and after President Donald Trump’s inauguration. Some were let go over the next few weeks, but the bulk of the 200+ still face 10–80 years in federal prison for “felony rioting.” It’s important to note at least two major differences …

Russia: a target, not a superpower

by Sara Flounders, via Workers.org The corporate media’s constant use of Cold War terminology to describe the meeting of the U.S. and Russian presidents as a meeting of the “two superpowers” masks the present relationship of forces. U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir V. Putin met at the Group of 20 summit on July 7 in Hamburg, Germany. Old preconceptions and terms must be challenged in order to have an accurate view of the present international situation. Russia today, as a capitalist country, is not even a fifth-rate economic power. The Russian economy is smaller than the economy of Brazil, south Korea or Canada. According to World Bank and International Monetary Fund measurements, Russia now ranks 12th globally in its gross domestic product. This measurement is the market value of goods and services. Today’s Russian Federation is a vastly different state — socially, politically, economically and militarily — from the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics of even 27 years ago. It is important to understand what Russia is today in order to understand …

CNN Hires Top al-Qaeda Propagandist for Documentary

by Jay Syrmopoulos, July 12, 2017, Free Thought Project Bilal Abdul Kareem, of On the Ground News, was contracted by CNN to film a documentary called Undercover in Syria.  Kareem is a self-proclaimed media activist living in rebel-held Syria and is considered “one of the top English-language propagandists for al-Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate Jabat al-Nusra,” according to an Alternet expose on Abdul Kareem and his connections to terrorism and CNN. On June 16 Abdul Kareem went public with his intimate connection to CNN, and its documentary “Undercover in Syria”.  He relayed his frustration with the network, having essentially whitewashed him out of his credit for a documentary he had a large hand in creating for CNN, which won a prestigious Peabody Award. Abdul Kareem explained how CNN contracted him and his online news outlet, On the Ground News, to film the award-winning documentary. “This was with CNN and their correspondent Clarissa Ward, which I have big-time respect for, big-time respect as a journalist, as a person,” Abdul Kareem said. “This Undercover in Syria, you can Google it — it won the prestigious Peabody Award, and …

Canada and Its Ukrainian Nazi Collaborators: Chrystia Freeland’s Family Lie Grows Bigger and Blacker

by John Helmer, Moscow, June 18, 2017, via Dances with Bears German military records have been found in a Polish government archive in Warsaw revealing that Michael Chomiak (lead image, left), maternal grandfather of Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland (right), volunteered to serve in the German invasion of Poland long before the German Army attacked the Soviet Union and invaded Ukraine. Chomiak’s records show he was trained in Vienna for German espionage and propaganda operations, then promoted to run the German press machine for the Galician region of Ukraine and Poland during the 4-year occupation. So high-ranking and active in the Nazi cause was Chomiak that the Polish intelligence services were actively hunting for Chomiak until the 1980s – without knowing he had fled for safety to an Alberta farm in Canada. The newly disclosed documents expose Freeland’s repeated lying that Chomiak had been a victim of  World War II; an unwilling journalist overpowered by German military force;  compelled to write propaganda extolling the German Army’s successes, and advocating the destruction of the Jews, Poles …

US, UAE operate network of torture chambers in Yemen

by Niles Niemuth , 27 June 2017, WSWS  The United States and United Arab Emirates (UAE), in coordination with Yemeni proxy forces, are operating a network of torture chambers in the war-torn country into which hundreds of men have been disappeared. As revealed by an Associated Press (AP) report published last week, the US and UAE have established a network of at least 18 secret prisons in Yemen used for torturing and interrogating men who are suspected of having ties to Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. The brutal torture regime began under the Obama administration and continues under President Donald Trump. According to the AP report, the US operates with a mostly hands-off approach in which it provides lists of names of men to be detained and then provides the torturers with lists of questions to be asked to detainees. After tormenting and interrogating detainees, the UAE transmits transcripts and videos of confessions to US officials. However, a Yemeni officer reported to the AP that he witnessed at least two detainees brought to ships …

Why the West Will Not and Cannot Let Syria Live in Peace

For all those who have become awake and conscious or have escaped the Western media pit of lies and brainwashing, the six-year-long resistance of the Syrian people in the face of the Anglo-Zionist empire and its terrorist proxy troops ISIS, Al Qaeda et al has been a deeply tragic but historically heroic inspiration. They survived four years almost totally alone until Russia entered to fight the US, EU, and Israeli proxy terrorist fighters that were gaining ground on government held territory in Syria.

Taboo Subject in NATO Media: Refugees, America’s Gift to Europe

by Gregory Barrett, via Greanvillepost In the latest episode in the never-ending series of indignities, calamities, and disasters to be visited upon the heads of the world’s millions of suffering and desperate refugees, they are now being stabbed in the back by the one leader of an affluent NATO country who had risked any political capital to help a substantial number of them, German Chancellor Angela Merkel. At the height of the refugee wave from NATO war zones into Turkey and Europe a couple of years ago, Merkel opened the borders and allowed nearly a million refugees into Germany. Although she is a conservative woman and an obedient servant of the neoliberal economic order and American hegemony, with whom I have always disagreed about almost everything, I was proud of her for a while for taking this courageous stand against much of Europe, including at least half of her own party, the tragically misnamed Christian Democratic Union. The political center in Germany is somewhat to the left of America’s center (which has raced to the …

US Policymakers Openly Plot Against Venezuela

by Tony Cartalucci, via Land Destroyer Report The US media has been paying increasing attention to the unfolding crisis in the South American nation of Venezuela. As the US media has done elsewhere, it is attempting to portray the unfolding crisis as a result of a corrupt dictatorship fighting against a “pro-democracy” opposition. In reality, it is simply a repeat of US-driven regime change aimed at toppling Venezuela’s independent state institutions and replacing them with institutions created by and for US special interests. The “opposition” is comprised of US-backed political parties and US-funded fronts posing as nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) many of which are listed on the US State Department’s National Endowment for Democracy (NED) website. The UK Independent in a 2016 article titled, “Venezuela accuses US of plotting coup as Washington warns of ‘imminent collapse’,” would even admit: …observers of the region point out that the US has a long history of seeking to interfere in the politics of Venezuela, as well as elsewhere in Latin America. In addition to supporting those who ousted Mr Chavez …

All Power to the Banks: The Winners-take-all Regime of Emmanuel Macron

by Diana Johnstone, via Counterpunch A ghost of the past was the real winner of the French presidential election.  Emmanuel Macron won only because a majority felt they had to vote against the ghost of “fascism” allegedly embodied by his opponent, Marine Le Pen.  Whether out of panic or out of the need to feel respectable, the French voted two to one in favor of a man whose program most of them either ignored or disliked.  Now they are stuck with him for five years. If people had voted on the issues, the majority would never have elected a man representing the trans-Atlantic elite totally committed to “globalization”, using whatever is left of the power of national governments to weaken them still further, turning over decision-making to “the markets” – that is, to international capital, managed by the major banks and financial institutions, notably those located in the United States, such as Goldman-Sachs. The significance of this election is so widely misrepresented that clarification requires a fairly thorough explanation, not only of the Macron project, …

Nicolas Sarkozy: “No Way To Let The French Colonies Of Africa Have Their Own Currencies!”

by Matthew, via How Africa In an interview with the BMTV television channel, [former president of France] said that the best way to preserve the health of the French economy is to keep the FCFA as the only currency usable in the former French colonies in Africa. France can not allow its former colonies to create their own currency to have total control over their central banks . If this happens, it would be a catastrophe for the public treasury that will lead France to the rank of 20th world economic power. There is no question, therefore, of letting the French colonies of Africa have their own currencies What is the CFA Franc? The CFA franc is the name of two currencies common to several African countries, partly comprising the Central African franc zone (CEMAC) and the franc zone of West Africa ( UEMOA). How does the CFA Franc work? Principle 4 is the most technical. First, it should be noted that the Banque de France opens an account for each central bank (one for …

What is Needed is a Progressive Vision of National Sovereignty

by Thomas Fazi, via Green European Journal The last year has seen the Right and extreme Right capitalise on the dissatisfaction and despair fostered by neoliberalism – and usher in a ‘post-neoliberal order’. Their success is based on championing and monopolising the idea of national sovereignty, but only of a certain kind. The Left has accepted their discourse that national sovereignty goes hand in hand with exclusivist and right-wing ideas, rather than attempting to reclaim it as vehicle for change. Over the past 12 months, an anti-establishment backlash has taken the West by storm. The Brexit vote in the United Kingdom, the election of Donald Trump in the United States, the rejection of Matteo Renzi’s neoliberal constitutional reform in Italy, rising support for the National Front in France and for other (mostly right-wing) ‘anti-systemic’ parties across Europe, the EU’s unprecedented crisis of legitimation. Although these interrelated phenomena differ in ideology and goals, they are all rejections of the (neo)liberal order that has dominated the world – and in particular the West – for the past …

Strategic Engineered Migration as Weapon of War

by Leonid Savin, Voltairenet, November 5, 2015 After reading the title, you may think it is describing the phenomenon that Europe has recently been facing: the hundreds of thousands of refugees, both victims of the hardships of civil wars and opportunists, who are invading the Balkans by land and by sea and then making their way further, trying to reach richer countries like Germany, France and Scandinavia by any means possible. It would seem that this stream of refugees has objective reasons: armed conflicts and wars have been going on in Libya, Syria and Iraq for many years, while the situation is also turbulent in Palestine and Afghanistan. In Tunisia and Egypt, meanwhile, both of which experienced the Arab Spring, the situation also leaves much to be desired. Hardly anybody is taking notice of Bahrain, where opposition protests have been brutally suppressed for years, while in Yemen, air strikes are even being carried out on wedding processions. The location of these two states is not very convenient, however – there is simply nowhere to flee. …

A multi-level analysis of the US cruise missile attack on Syria and its consequences

by The Saker, 11 April 2017 The latest US cruise missile attack on the Syrian airbase is an extremely important event in so many ways that it is important to examine it in some detail.  I will try to do this today with the hope to be able to shed some light on a rather bizarre attack which will nevertheless have profound consequences.  But first, let’s begin by looking at what actually happened. The pretext: I don’t think that anybody seriously believes that Assad or anybody else in the Syrian government really ordered a chemical weapons attack on anybody.  To believe that it would require you to find the following sequence logical: first, Assad pretty much wins the war against Daesh which is in full retreat.  Then, the US declares that overthrowing Assad is not a priority anymore (up to here this is all factual and true).  Then, Assad decides to use weapons he does not have.  He decides to bomb a location with no military value, but with lots of kids and cameras.  Then, …

The Impending Clash Between the U.S. and Russia

by Mike Whitney, 7 April 2017, UNZ Review President Donald Trump’s missile attack on the Shayrat Airfield in Western Syria was a poorly planned display of imperial muscle-flexing that had the exact opposite effect of what was intended. While the attack undoubtedly lifted the morale of the jihadists who have been rampaging across the country for the last six years, it had no military or strategic value at all. The damage to the airfield was very slight and there is no reason to believe it will impact the Syrian Army’s progress on the ground. The attack did however kill four Syrian servicemen which means the US troops in Syria can no longer be considered part of an international coalition fighting terrorism. The US is now a hostile force that represents an existential threat to the sovereign government. Is that the change that Trump wanted? As of Friday, Russia has frozen all military cooperation with the United States. According to the New York Times: In addition to suspending the pact to coordinate air operations over Syria, …

Five Top Papers Run 18 Opinion Pieces Praising Syria Strikes–Zero Are Critical

by Adam Johnson, FAIR Five major US newspapers—the New York Times, Washington Post, USA Today, Wall Street Journal and New York Daily News—offered no opinion space to anyone opposed to Donald Trump’s Thursday night airstrikes. By contrast, the five papers ran a total of 18 op-eds, columns or “news analysis” articles (dressed-up opinion pieces) that either praised the strikes or criticized them for not being harsh enough: New York Times After the Missiles, We Need Smart Diplomacy on Syria (4/7/17) Acting on Instinct, Trump Upends His Own Foreign Policy (4/7/17) (originally headlined “On Syria Attack, Trump’s Heart Came First”—presumably changed due to social media mockery) Trump Raises the Stakes for Russia and Iran (4/7/17) Syria’s ‘Conundrum’: Limited Strikes Risk Entrenching Assad’s Strategy (4/7/17) Washington Post Editorial: Trump’s Chance to Step Into the Global Leadership Vacuum (4/7/17) Trump Enforces the ‘Red Line’ on Chemical Weapons (4/6/17) Trump Has an Opportunity to Right Obama’s Wrongs in Syria (4/6/17) Syrian Opposition Leader: Trump Has a Chance to Save Syria (4/7/17) Was Trump’s Syria Strike a Moral Impulse or …