Greece | South Africa | Australia | Israel/Palestine

Karen Attiah: How Western media would cover Baltimore if it happened elsewhere (Washington Post)

International leaders expressed concern over the rising tide of racism and state violence in America, especially concerning the treatment of ethnic minorities in the country and the corruption in state security forces around the country when handling cases of police brutality. The latest crisis is taking place in Baltimore, Maryland, a once-bustling city on the country’s Eastern Seaboard, where an unarmed man named Freddie Gray died from a severed spine while in police custody.
Black Americans, a minority ethnic group, are killed by state security forces at a rate higher than the white majority population. Young, black American males are 21 times more likely to be shot by police than white American males.

Νίκη Ζορμπά: Π. Λαφαζάνης: Να πάμε σε σύγκρουση με τη γερμανική Ευρώπη (Capital.gr)

Σε μια συνέντευξη-φωτιά, ο υπουργός Παραγωγικής Ανασυγκρότησης, Περιβάλλοντος και Ενέργειας, Παναγιώτης Λαφαζάνης, καλεί την κυβέρνηση να ακολουθήσει τον δρόμο της ρήξης με τους εταίρους, μιλά για «αδίστακτους ιμπεριαλιστές», που φέρονται στη χώρα σαν να είναι μακρινή αποικία τους, ενώ αναφέρεται εμφατικά στην ανάγκη να απαγκιστρωθεί η Ελλάδα από την «κατεστημένη Ευρώπη», ακολουθώντας εναλλακτικούς δρόμους.

A. Makris: Greek Productive Reconstruction Min: SYRIZA Government Must Be One of Progressive Reversals (Greek Reporter)
Peter Spiegel, Kerin Hope: Frustrated officials want Greek premier to ditch Syriza far left (Financial Times)

Many officials — up to and including some eurozone finance ministers — have suggested privately that only a decision by Alexis Tsipras, Greek prime minister, to jettison the far left of his governing Syriza party can make a bailout agreement possible.

Aditya Chakrabortty: Europe carpets the Greeks but rolls out the red carpet for Narendra Modi. How’s that right? (Guardian)
Elisa Simantke, Nikolas Leontopoulos: Costas Lapavitsas: “The Syriza strategy has come to an end (ThePressProject) / „Beste Strategie ist geordneter Austritt aus dem Euro“ (Tagesspiegel)

Syriza MP and economist Costas Lapavitsas says that the time has come for Greece and its partners to understand that “they are flogging a dead horse”.

Garikai Chengu: Xenophobia in South Africa (CounterPunch)

Far from being a Rainbow Nation, ongoing xenophobic violence in South Africa’s townships exposes the nation’s further entrenchment into two separate and unequal societies: one, predominantly Black and poor, located in the townships; the other, largely White and affluent, located in the suburbs…
When Nelson Mandela was released from 27 years in prison in 1990, the Black townships exploded in endless celebration. Today, after twenty one years of the ANC government, which has been more concerned with appeasing White monopoly capital than redistributing land and resources to poor Blacks, townships have exploded into violence…
Filtered through the racist lens of the predominantly White-owned South African media, xenophobia is portrayed as merely further examples of “Black-on-Black” violence by an inherently unruly and violent underbelly of society. The four major media houses are still largely White and male-owned; collectively, they control over 80 percent of what South Africans watch and read. The White media focuses on the symptom rather than the disease by steering the national discourse away from broader issues of income inequality and economic democratisation, towards narrow issues of vandalism, looting and general criminality…
Despite twenty years of South African democracy, five White-owned companies still control 75 percent of South Africa’s stock market. It’s the largest concentration of wealth and power on earth…
Neo-Apartheid companies in South Africa made record profits for Western shareholders since democracy in 1994; all the while, they shed hundreds of thousands of jobs. At independence, unemployment stood at 15 percent; today, that figure has skyrocketed to 25 percent. Instead of employing South Africans, major White-owned companies have sought to increase shareholder profits by outsourcing jobs abroad and hiring exploitable, African foreigners at home.

Israel denies Nzimande visa without explanation (The New Age)
Shannon Ebrahim: Israel denies Nzimande a visa (Independent)

The South African Government is outraged that Israel has denied a visa to South African Minister of Higher Education Blade Nzimande to visit Palestine with an official delegation…
Nzimande was invited to Palestine by his Palestinian counterpart from 25-29 April 2015 in order to discuss the implementation of an agreement on academic collaboration that they signed when Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas visited South Africa in November 2014…
Nzimande and his delegation of three officials had followed normal procedures to apply for a visa through the Embassy of Israel, but the application was returned with no explanation. The Israeli Embassy has now confirmed that they declined to issue the visa, and are adamant they will not be issuing the visas.

Govan Whittles: Nzimande visa denial to Israel viewed as attack on South African Government (Eyewitness News)

The Department of Higher Education says Minister Blade Nzimande was denied a visa to Israel because of his public utterances against the illegal occupation of Palestine by Israel.
But, the department says it views this as an attack on the South African government…
Nzimande’s spokesperson Khaye Nkwanyana said, “This is a government position that is why even the President of Palestine was here, which means that a government minister will never be able to travel to Israel or Palestine because Israel has taken this particular position against South Africa.”
Nkwanyana said the decision has effectively barred all South African officials from visiting both countries.

Liberman lashes out at South Africa after Israel denies visa to Communist minister (Jerusalem Post)
Blade urges students to cut ties with Israeli institutions (Sunday World)

[The South African education ministry said:] “This is the first time a South African cabinet minister has been declined a visa.”
The University of Johannesburg is‚ the ministry said‚ “the first university in SA to terminate academic relations with an Israeli institution”.

JTA: South Africa Minister Barred by Israel From Visiting West Bank (Forward)

Reacting to the denial of the visa, Nzimande told Independent Media on Thursday: “The Israeli government is trying by all means to hide their atrocities against the Palestinian people and minimize the number of people who can actually see what is happening on the ground.”

Muhammed Ismail Bulbulia: Nzimande Latest South African to Be Denied Israeli Visa Over Pro-Palestinian Stance (allAfrica)

Minister of public works Thulas Nxesi, then part of the 13 member Non-Aligned Movement Committee on Palestine, was prevented from entering Palestine in 2012…
Archbishop emeritus Desmond Tutu was denied access to Gaza in 2006 when he led a UN Human Rights Council delegation to investigate the killing of 19 members of a Palestinian family in Beit Hanoun…
Other prominent South Africans that have been denied access into Palestine include educationist Salim Vally, academic Naeem Jeenah and boycott activist Marthie Momberg.

John Pilger: The Secret Country Again Wages War on Its Own People (CounterPunch)

Australia has again declared war on its Indigenous people, reminiscent of the brutality that brought universal condemnation on apartheid South Africa. Aboriginal people are to be driven from homelands where their communities have lived for thousands of years. In Western Australia, where mining companies make billion dollar profits exploiting Aboriginal land, the state government says it can no longer afford to “support” the homelands.
Vulnerable populations, already denied the basic services most Australians take for granted, are on notice of dispossession without consultation, and eviction at gunpoint. Yet again, Aboriginal leaders have warned of “a new generation of displaced people” and “cultural genocide”…
The current political attack was launched in the richest state, Western Australia. Last October, the state premier, Colin Barnett, announced that his government could not afford the $90 million budget for basic municipal services to 282 homelands: water, power, sanitation, schools, road maintenance, rubbish collection. It was the equivalent of informing the white suburbs of Perth that their lawn sprinklers would no longer sprinkle and their toilets no longer flush; and they had to move; and if they refused, the police would evict them…
Western Australia jails Aboriginal males at more than eight times the rate of apartheid South Africa. It has one of the highest incarceration rates of juveniles in the world, almost all of them indigenous, including children kept in solitary confinement in adult prisons, with their mothers keeping vigil outside.

Glenn Greenwald: Cowardly firing of Australian state-funded TV journalist highlights the west’s real religion (Intercept)

The excuses offered by SBS for McIntyre’s firing are so insulting as to be laughable. Minister Turnball denies that he made the decision even as he admits that, beyond his public denunciation, he “drew [McIntyre’s comments] to the attention of SBS’s managing director Michael Ebeid.” The Minister also issued a statement endorsing McIntyre’s firing, saying that “in his capacity as a reporter employed by SBS he has to comply with and face the consequences of ignoring the SBS social media protocol.” For its part, SBS laughably claims McIntyre wasn’t fired for his views, but, rather, because his “actions have breached the SBS Code of Conduct and social media policy” — as though he would have been fired if he had expressed reverence for, rather than criticism of, Anzac.
Notably, McIntyre’s firing had nothing to do with any claimed factual inaccuracies of anything he said. As The Washington Post’s Adam Taylor noted, historians and even a former prime minister have long questioned the appropriateness of this holiday given the realities of Anzac’s conduct and the war itself. As Australian history professor Philip Dwyer documented, McIntyre’s factual assertions are simply true. Whatever else one might say, the issues raised by McIntyre are the subject of entirely legitimate political debate, and they should be. Making it a firing offense for a journalist to weigh in on one side of that debate but not the other is tyrannical.

Rebecca Sullivan: SBS reporter Scott McIntyre fired over Anzac tweets (Gold Coast Bulletin)

On Saturday evening, soccer reporter Scott McIntyre tweeted five times about Australia’s involvement in numerous wars.
The cultification of an imperialist invasion of a foreign nation that Australia had no quarrel with is against all ideals of modern society.
— Scott McIntyre (@mcintinhos) April 25, 2015
Wonder if the poorly-read, largely white, nationalist drinkers and gamblers pause today to consider the horror that all mankind suffered.
— Scott McIntyre (@mcintinhos) April 25, 2015
Remembering the summary execution, widespread rape and theft committed by these ‘brave’ Anzacs in Egypt, Palestine and Japan.
— Scott McIntyre (@mcintinhos) April 25, 2015
Not forgetting that the largest single-day terrorist attacks in history were committed by this nation & their allies in Hiroshima & Nagasaki
— Scott McIntyre (@mcintinhos) April 25, 2015
Innocent children, on the way to school, murdered. Their shadows seared into the concrete of Hiroshima. pic.twitter.com/DQOGXiKxEb
— Scott McIntyre (@mcintinhos) April 25, 2015
Mr McIntyre has more than 30,000 Twitter followers.
SBS Managing Director Michael Ebeid and Director of Sport Ken Shipp said Mr McIntyre had breached the station’s Code of Conduct and social media policy.
“Respect for Australian audiences is paramount at SBS,” Mr Ebeid and Mr Shipp said in a statement.

Heiko Khoo: Günter Grass dies at age 87 (China.org.cn)
Andre Vltchek: Galeano Died (CounterPunch)

This is How We Fought in Gaza. Soldiers’ testimonies and photographs from Operation “Protective Edge” (2014) (PDF; Breaking the Silence)

While the testimonies include pointed descriptions of inappropriate behavior by soldiers in the field, the more disturbing picture that arises from these testimonies reflects systematic policies that were dictated to IDF forces of all ranks and in all zones. The guiding military principle of “minimum risk to our forces, even at the cost of harming innocent civilians,” alongside efforts to deter and intimidate the Palestinians, led to massive and unprecedented harm to the population and the civilian infrastructure in the Gaza Strip. Policymakers could have predicted these results prior to the operation and were surely aware of them throughout.

Ripe for Abuse. Palestinian Child Labor in Israeli Agricultural Settlements in the West Bank (PDF; Human Rights Watch)

Hundreds of Palestinian children work on Israeli settlement farms in the occupied West Bank, the majority located in the Jordan Valley. This report documents rights abuses against Palestinian children as young as 11 years old, who earn around US $19 for a full day working in the settlement agricultural industry. Many drop out of school and work in conditions that can be hazardous due to pesticides, dangerous equipment, and extreme heat.

Conal Urquhart: Chinese workers in Israel sign no-sex contract (Guardian)

Chinese workers at a company in Israel have been forced to agree not to have sex with or marry Israelis as a condition of getting a job…
About 260,000 foreigners work in Israel, having replaced Palestinian labourers during three years of fighting. When the government first allowed the entrance of the foreign workers in the late 1990s, ministers warned of a “social timebomb” caused by their assimilation with Israelis.
More than half the workers are in the country illegally…
Advocates of foreign workers, who also come from Thailand, the Philippines and Romania, say they are subject to almost slave conditions, and their employers often take away their passports and refuse to pay them.

Alexander Cockburn, Jeffrey St. Clair: The Making of Hillary Clinton
pt. 1: From Nixon Girl to Watergate
pt. 2: The Seeds of Corruption
pt. 3: Secrecy, Intransigence and War (CounterPunch)

Michel Collon, Saïd Bouamama: The Furor Over “Fuck France” (CounterPunch)

In France there has always been a fight between two conceptions of the nation: a fight between those who considered France in a colonial, imperial and racist way, and another France, which belongs to its people. A France in struggle, always trying to build herself in equality. And then, in this book, we are stating in clear terms that between the France of Versailles, who once put down the Commune of Paris, and the France of the Communards, who tried to set up an equalitarian society, our choice was made. That we were on the Resistance’s side and against the collaborationists, and that we would always have to choose between two Frances: the reactionary France and the progressive France…
After the attacks [on Charlie Hebdo] took place, after the massive emotion that seized French society, everyone was wondering what was hidden behind those attacks…
Yet plenty of people who were against the attacks could not recognize themselves in Charlie. Even if it doesn’t mean that the attacks were justified, Charlie Hebdo is a newspaper which was on one side Islamophobic (…), but it was also sexist (the way in which women are represented inside the paper is a scandal with regard to gender equality), and eventually the newspaper openly despized the working-class: in Charlie Hebdo, the “bof” is a workman shown as alcoholic, stupid, only watching tv… And then, in terms of classes, and in terms of racial and sexual oppression, this newspaper was a reactionary one. It may be added that it supported every single war, like NATO’s wars, whether they were in Eastern Europe, in Iraq or in Afghanistan: Charlie Hebdo always took a stand for them. In brief, the newspaper was putting forward, through humor, the clash of civilizations advocated by the United States of America, and presented Arab and Muslim countries as the main danger…
This is the context in which this so-called national unity took place. Moreover, it didn’t take long (…) to provoke reactions and open the floodgates to the development of Islamophobic actions. We registered more than 200 of them within fifteen days: we saw mosques being attacked, grenades thrown in prayer centers, veiled women whose veil was snatched from them on the street… Indeed we experience more Islamophobic acts in two weeks than during the whole year in 2014…
A first consequence was to impose a minute of silence in every school, around the slogan “Je suis Charlie”. Of course, a whole wide range of pupils (not to say too many of them) could not say “Je suis Charlie”, and then they expressed their opinion. They were told that it was a debate and that they could speak up, so they gave their opinion, but when they did then they were summoned to report to the police, some of them are now facing legal proceedings… France considered that not being Charlie implied an apology for terrorism. Eight-year old children were summoned to the police station to be audited for terrorism apology.

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