Greece | Myanmar | Torture | Israel/Palestine | Russia

The 70th anniversary of the Trinity Test is coming up. There is a fascinating account in the biography of Joan Hinton and Sid Engst by Dao-yuan Chou: Silage Choppers and Snake Spirits: The Lives and Struggles of Two Americans in Modern China, Chapter 8.
Joseph Mangano, Janette Sherman: Trinity: 70 Years Later (CounterPunch)

It was 70 years ago, on July 16, 1945, that the first atomic bomb, named Trinity, was exploded at the White Sands Proving Ground, the nuclear test site near Alamagordo, NM. It was an event that changed world history forever, and created new health and security threats that still plague all life on this planet.

Stathis Kouvelakis: Greece: The Noose Tightens (Jacobin)

At this stage, the options remaining for the Syriza government seem to be restricted to the three following ones.

  1. The “good scenario,” the one which is still favored by the Greek government, is that the Europeans will make concessions, and a compromise will be reached very soon. However, as the IMF president made clear, in order to get the €7.2 billion at stake in this four-month bridge agreement, Greece needs to get a positive “review” and to conform fully to the “reforms” agreed by to its predecessors. In any case, this possibility has already been explicitly ruled out by European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, German Finance minister Wolfgang Schäuble and others, who made repeated statements these last days saying that the only deadline to be considered is now June 30, and that no money will be transferred to Greece before a “big deal” — in other words, another “rescue package” coming with the usual conditions.
  2. The Greek government gives up. This is of course the avowed aim of the Europeans. But in a recent interview with Reuters, Tsipras made it clear that there are “political, not technical disagreements” on four key issues: labor legislation, pension reform, a hike in value-added taxes, and privatizations, which he referred to as “development of state property” rather than asset sales. Making concessions on that bottom line would amount to surrender and to political suicide for Syriza.
  3. The Greek government defaults on the debt. In a recent interview with the Huffington Post, Varoufakis said that if the government had to choose between paying its creditors and paying salaries and pensions, it would prioritize the second option. But of course such a choice means a decisive rupture and exiting the eurozone (the scenario of a double currency within the euro cannot last for more than a few weeks at the very best).

Sara Perria: Rohingya Muslims brave death at sea to escape ‘open-air prison’ in Burma (Guardian)

Members of the Rohingya ethnic minority have taken to the sea to flee persecution in Burma, but their options are narrowing as Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia refuse new migrants. Residents of the cramped Aung Ming Lar ghetto reveal a bitterly hard life with many willing to risk everything to get away…
The Rohingya, who were estimated to number around one million, or about one third of the state’s population, have been described by the UN as one of the “most persecuted” ethnic minorities in the world, from a conflict that dates back decades.
In 1982 the military junta under Ne Win stripped them of their citizenship. A succession of post-colonial regimes has refused to recognise their claim to be identified as Rohingya – a term of relatively recent political coinage adopted by an astute leadership, mostly in exile.
Instead the government insists most are illegal immigrants from Bangladesh and classifies them as Bengalis, even though some claim roots before the colonial era – when thousands did arrive – to as far back as the 15th century when the Arakan kingdom was famed for its cosmopolitan openness.

Amy Goodman, Steven Reisner, Nathaniel Raymond: Emails Show American Psychological Association Secretly Worked with Bush Admin to Enable Torture (Democracy Now)

New details have emerged on how the American Psychological Association, the world’s largest group of psychologists, aided government-sanctioned torture under President George W. Bush. A group of dissident psychologists have just published a 60-page report alleging the APA secretly coordinated with officials from the CIA, White House and the Pentagon to change the APA ethics policy to align it with the operational needs of the CIA’s torture program. Much of the report, “All the President’s Psychologists: The American Psychological Association’s Secret Complicity with the White House and US Intelligence Community in Support of the CIA’s ‘Enhanced’ Interrogation Program,” is based on hundreds of newly released internal APA emails from 2003 to 2006 that show top officials were in direct communication with the CIA. The report also reveals Susan Brandon, a behavioral science researcher working for President Bush, secretly drafted language that the APA inserted into its ethics policy on interrogations.

Geoff Gray: The Ethical Demise of the American Psychological Association (CounterPunch)

The conscience of the American Psychological Association (APA) is slowly dying as it facilitates torture, cheats its own members, and hussles junk science boondoggles to the defense industry…
In 2005 the leadership of the APA violated its governance rules to allow psychologists to support the Bush era torture program. This was critical because the Justice Department had ruled that a health professional needed to be present during “enhanced interrogations” and because other professional organizations such as the America Medical Association and the America Psychiatric Association had unequivocally declared these programs unethical and out of bounds for their members…

Israel’s new and dangerous government (Haaretz)

Devoid of any platform, Israel’s new government will lead racist legislation while working to gut the courts – but razor thin majority gives opposition a fighting chance.
The government Benjamin Netanyahu will present next week appears to be, even before it has been sworn in at the Knesset, one of the worst, most harmful governments ever to have been formed in Israel. Its members’ top priorities are deepening the occupation, expanding the settlements, weakening democracy and increasing the subsidies for the Haredi society of scholars.

Carolina Landsmann: The Bennett-Bibi era of ‘no solution’ (Haaretz, also via Google News)

Since 1967, it had been an accepted assumption that Israel was holding onto the occupied territories as a bargaining chip for a future peace agreement. That was not only Israel’s official position, but also the conclusion that could have been drawn from the country’s decision not to annex most of the territories that it had conquered.
Control over the Palestinian people always appeared to be a temporary situation that Israel was seeking ways to end. When the left claimed that the right wing didn’t want peace, the right explained that it in fact did want peace and was interested in ending Israeli control over the Palestinians, but only when security arrangements were worked out that would allay its fears. In other words, the right was simply seeking to be the one to represent the country’s interests in negotiations with the Palestinians.
The political system organized around this narrative, which from a critical, retrospective view looks like a methodical lie. But all of this was shattered when Bennett revealed his view that Israel and the Palestinians are not in a process leading anywhere. Israel will not return territories, and the Palestinians – other than about 50,000 whom Bennett proposes giving Israeli citizenship to – are to simply remain under Israeli control. In other words, millions of stateless people will live under Israeli military rule.

This is what the new Israeli minister of justice had to say last year:
Ali Abunimah: Israeli lawmaker’s call for genocide of Palestinians gets thousands of Facebook likes (Electronic Intifada)

Israeli lawmaker Ayelet Shaked published on Facebook a call for genocide of the Palestinians.
It is a call for genocide because it declares that “the entire Palestinian people is the enemy” and justifies its destruction, “including its elderly and its women, its cities and its villages, its property and its infrastructure.”
It is a call for genocide because it calls for the slaughter of Palestinian mothers who give birth to “little snakes.”

Aeyal Gross: Politicized judiciary looms under new justice minister (Haaretz, also via Google News)

[T]hree bills Shaked has pushed would undermine the legal system’s independence and its ability to defend human rights: a bill defining Israel as a Jewish nation state, a bill to change the composition of the Judicial Appointments Committee and a bill enabling the Knesset to override Supreme Court rulings declaring laws unconstitutional.
The first could undermine the rights of Israeli Arabs. The second would give politicians more seats on the appointments panel, which would encourage the appointment of judges who are less “activist” and thus more “comfortable” for the politicians. The third would enable the Knesset to override not only court rulings, but also the human rights those rulings are meant to protect.

Ethnic cleansing is continuing in Palestine:
Oudeh Basharat: It’s 1948 again for Bedouin tribe (Haaretz, also via Google News)

The Abu Alkian were expelled in 1948 from their Negev lands, which went to Kibbutz Shoval. A few years later they built Umm al-Hiran, which is now slated to become a new Jewish town named Hiran.

Shirly Seidler: Supreme Court allows state to replace Bedouin village with Jewish one (Haaretz)

Israel’s Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected a petition by residents of the unrecognized Bedouin village of Umm al-Hiran against their removal and the demolition of the community – in order to construct a new town for Jewish residents in its place. The court ruled the land belongs to the state and the Bedouins have no legal rights to it…
The petitioners claimed they did not squat on the land, but were transferred to the area in the Yattir Forest in 1956 by direct order of the military administration of the time. … The government has never denied that the residents were moved to Umm al-Hiran by state authorities. Umm al-Hiran is now home to about 700 people, say residents, but like other Bedouin villages that lack official recognition as local municipal communities, it lacks infrastructure and electricity.

Aeyal Gross: Israel’s discrimination of Bedouin gets high court stamp of approval (Haaretz, also via Google News)

[O]n both sides of the Green Line, the High Court has given the stamp of approval to dispossession, eviction and the demolition of Arab communities for the sake of Jewish ones. Just as long as it doesn’t give rise to chaos. Order must be preserved.

John Brown: Next head of ‘Civil Administration’ said Palestinians are sub-human (+972 magazine)

After the Oslo Accords, the Israeli army renamed the Military Government of the West Bank the Civil Administration. MK Eli Ben-Dahan was just appointed to oversee the Administration, which oversees the theft of Palestinian land, settlement expansion and controls the movement of millions of Palestinians.

  • “[Palestinians] are beasts, they are not human.” — MK Rabbi Eli Ben-Dahan, Aug 1, 2013.
  • “A Jew always has a much higher soul than a gentile, even if he is a homosexual.” — MK Rabbi Eli Ben-Dahan, Dec 27, 2013.

Rabbi Ben-Dahan will be Israel’s next deputy defense minister, responsible for the army’s “Civil Administration.”
The Civil Administration is responsible for all aspects the occupation that don’t involve boots-on-the-ground security operations — it administers planning, building, and infrastructure for both Jews and Palestinians in Area C of the West Bank. It also administers the Palestinian population database and is responsible for granting and revoking entry and travel permits for Palestinians, controlling every aspect of their movement.

Chaim Levinson: 2,026 settlement homes built on private Palestinian land, right-wing study finds (Haaretz)

Some 2,026 structures in the West Bank were built on privately owned Palestinian land, according to a study conducted by the right-wing organization Regavim and submitted to Knesset members ahead of deliberations on legislation aimed at expropriating land from Palestinian owners.

Paul de Rooij: Amnesty International: Whitewashing Another Massacre (CounterPunch)

July 2014 marked the onset of the Israeli massacre in Gaza (I will dispense with the Israeli sugar-coated operation names). The Israeli army trained for this attack for several months before finding a pretext to attack Gaza, shattering an existing ceasefire; this was the third such post-“disengagement” (2004) attack, and possibly the worst so far. At least 2,215 were killed and 10,000+ wounded, most of them civilians. The scale of destruction was staggering: tens of thousands of houses rendered uninhabitable; several high-rise buildings struck by huge American-supplied bombs; schools and hospitals targeted; 61 mosques totally destroyed; water purification and sewage treatment plants damaged; Gaza’s main flour mill bombed; all chicken farms ravaged; an incalculable devastation…

Whose violence is indiscriminate?
Fatalities during the Massacre in Gaza 2014
Fatality type Israeli caused deaths Palestinian caused deaths
Civilian 1,639 74% 7 10%
Military 576 26% 66 90%
Total 2,215 100% 73 100%

M.K. Bhadrakumar: The Sino-Russian entente in Eurasia (Asia Times)

The presence of the Chinese President Xi Jinping at the Victory Day parade in Moscow on May 9 signifies a significant step forward in the strategic partnership between the two big powers.

Dmitri Trenin: From Greater Europe to Greater Asia? The Sino-Russian Entente (Carnegie Moscow Center)

The rupture between Russia and the West stemming from the 2014 crisis over Ukraine has wide-ranging geopolitical implications. Russia has reverted to its traditional position as a Eurasian power sitting between the East and the West, and it is tilting toward China in the face of political and economic pressure from the United States and Europe. This does not presage a new Sino-Russian bloc, but the epoch of post-communist Russia’s integration with the West is over. In the new epoch, Russia will seek to expand and deepen its relations with non-Western nations, focusing on Asia.

Seymour M. Hersh: The Killing of Osama bin Laden (London Review of Books)

It’s been four years since a group of US Navy Seals assassinated Osama bin Laden in a night raid on a high-walled compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. The killing was the high point of Obama’s first term, and a major factor in his re-election. The White House still maintains that the mission was an all-American affair, and that the senior generals of Pakistan’s army and Inter-Services Intelligence agency (ISI) were not told of the raid in advance. This is false, as are many other elements of the Obama administration’s account. The White House’s story might have been written by Lewis Carroll: would bin Laden, target of a massive international manhunt, really decide that a resort town forty miles from Islamabad would be the safest place to live and command al-Qaida’s operations? He was hiding in the open. So America said.
The most blatant lie was that Pakistan’s two most senior military leaders – General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, chief of the army staff, and General Ahmed Shuja Pasha, director general of the ISI – were never informed of the US mission.

Phillip Carter: Sigh, Sy (Slate)
Carlotta Gall: The Detail in Seymour Hersh’s Bin Laden Story That Rings True (New York Times Magazine)

Eric Aeschimann: « Les idéaux républicains sont devenus des armes de discrimination et de mépris » (Billets du Temps Perdu)

Le philosophe Jacques Rancière analyse le rôle des intellectuels et de la gauche dans l’essor du FN. Entretien.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *