Brazil | Panama Papers | Nuclear Weapons | Greece | Israel/Palestine

Alfredo Saad-Filho: A Coup in Brazil? (Jacobin)

Brazil’s right is determined to remove Dilma Rousseff from power and cripple any movements to her left.

Glenn Greenwald, Andrew Fishman, David Miranda: Brazil Is Engulfed by Ruling Class Corruption — and a Dangerous Subversion of Democracy | O Brasil está sendo engolido pela corrupção – e por uma perigosa subversão da democracia (Intercept)
Amy Goodman, Nermeen Shaikh: Glenn Greenwald: Is It A Coup? What Is Happening in Brazil is Much Worse Than Donald Trump (Democracy Now)

Brazil is facing its worst political crisis in over two decades as opponents of Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff attempt to impeach her on corruption charges. But Rousseff is refusing calls to resign, saying the impeachment proceedings against her amount to undemocratic attempts by the right-wing opposition to oust her from power. On Wednesday, former Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva called the impeachment proceedings against Rousseff an attempted “coup d’état.”

Amy Goodman, Juan González, Andrew Fishman, Mark Weisbrot: Is the U.S. Backing Rousseff’s Ouster in Brazil? Opposition Holds Talks in D.C. as Obama Stays Quiet (Democracy Now)
Glenn Greenwald, Andrew Fishman, David Miranda: After Vote to Remove Brazil’s President, Key Opposition Figure Holds Meetings in Washington | Porque o Sen. Aloysio Nunes foi a Washington um dia depois da votação do impeachment? (Intercept)

Margaret Kimberley: The Panama Papers Problem (CounterPunch)

The Panama tax haven leaks reveal a lot about the lawlessness of the rich, as well as the ideological bias of the western press. “Vladimir Putin’s name appears nowhere, but the corporate media used his image repeatedly to drum up interest in what is an otherwise newsworthy story.” Americans are conspicuous by their absence from the story. That’s because rich people in the U.S. can avoid taxes “legally in Wyoming, Delaware or Nevada.” …
The documents now known as the Panama Papers were leaked to the German newspaper Suddeutsche Zeitung (SZ) who then shared them with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ). ICIJ is a non-profit but with its own problematic origins. It is funded in part by the Ford Foundation, Open Society Foundation, Kellogg Foundation and the Rockefeller Family Fund. ICIJ then worked with journalists around the world including from the Guardian and the McClatchy newspaper chain. They in turn will decide what will be kept secret and what will be shared with the public. The goal of revealing secrets instead turns into a plan to keep more secrets and to tarnish certain reputations based on bias and mysterious criteria.
The Panama Papers show that the heads of state of Ukraine, Iceland, Argentina, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates all held shell holding company accounts in different tax haven locations. Vladimir Putin’s name appears nowhere but the corporate media used his image repeatedly to drum up interest in what is an otherwise newsworthy story…
While news outlets ranging from the Guardian to the New York Times do their best to connect Putin to the Mossack Fonseca scandal without evidence, the prime minister of the United Kingdom and the president of Ukraine are directly involved.

John Pilger: A world war has begun. Break the silence. (johnpilger.com)

In 2009, President Obama stood before an adoring crowd in the centre of Prague, in the heart of Europe. He pledged himself to make “the world free from nuclear weapons”. People cheered and some cried. A torrent of platitudes flowed from the media. Obama was subsequently awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
It was all fake. He was lying.
The Obama administration has built more nuclear weapons, more nuclear warheads, more nuclear delivery systems, more nuclear factories. Nuclear warhead spending alone rose higher under Obama than under any American president. The cost over thirty years is more than $1 trillion.
A mini nuclear bomb is planned. It is known as the B61 Model 12. There has never been anything like it. General James Cartwright, a former Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has said, “Going smaller [makes using this nuclear] weapon more thinkable.”
In the last eighteen months, the greatest build-up of military forces since World War Two—led by the United States—is taking place along Russia’s western frontier. Not since Hitler invaded the Soviet Union have foreign troops presented such a demonstrable threat to Russia.
Ukraine—once part of the Soviet Union—has become a CIA theme park. Having orchestrated a coup in Kiev, Washington effectively controls a regime that is next door and hostile to Russia: a regime rotten with Nazis, literally. Prominent parliamentary figures in Ukraine are the political descendants of the notorious OUN and UPA fascists. They openly praise Hitler and call for the persecution and expulsion of the Russian speaking minority…
In Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia — next door to Russia – the US military is deploying combat troops, tanks, heavy weapons. This extreme provocation of the world’s second nuclear power is met with silence in the West.
What makes the prospect of nuclear war even more dangerous is a parallel campaign against China.

Alastair Crooke: The ‘Hybrid War’ of Economic Sanctions (Consortium News)

U.S. politicians love the “silver bullet” of economic sanctions to punish foreign adversaries, but the weapon’s overuse is driving China and Russia to develop countermeasures.

Costas Lapavitsas, Daniel Munevar: SYRIZA, The IMF And The EU: Gambling With The Future Of Greece (Social Europe)

The latest flare up regarding Greece has followed publication by Wikileaks of illegally taped discussions among IMF officials. To analyse the significance of this event it is vital to bear one point in mind: Greece cannot meet the terms of the bailout agreement struck on July 2015 by Prime Minister, Alexis Tsipras. The agreement is effectively dead and all parties involved are aware of that, even if they are not openly admitting it…
[The] Greek government … signed up to the bailout in direct contravention of everything that it had promised to do in 2015. As the reality of its deception and the harshness of the squeeze have begun to sink in, electoral support for Tsipras has vanished.
All competent polls show the opposition New Democracy – with a new leader – comfortably ahead. The outlook has become even worse for SYRIZA via the refugee wave, which has turned Greece into a kind of EU repository for refugees and migrants…

Joshua Sperber: BDS, Israel, and the World System (Journal of Palestine Studies)
This article comes with a list of recommended reading:

  • Jonathan Nitzan, Shimshon Bichler: The Global Political Economy of Israel. London/Sterling: Pluto, 2002. (cf. gen.lib.rus.ec/book/…)
  • Abu-Manneh Bashir: “Israel in the U.S. Empire,” Monthly Review 58, no. 10 (March 2007).
  • Noam Chomsky: The Fateful Triangle: The United States, Israel, and the Palestinians. Boston: South End Press, 1983.
  • Gershon Shafir: Land, Labor, and the Origins of the Israeli–Palestinian Conflict, 1882–1914. Cambridge / New York: Cambridge University Press, 1989.
  • Joel Kovel: Overcoming Zionism: Creating a Single Democratic State in Israel/Palestine. London: Pluto Press, 1987. (chapter 5)
  • Laurence J. Silberstein (ed.) Postzionism: A Reader. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 2008.
  • Ilan Pappe: A History of Modern Palestine: One Land, Two Peoples. Cambridge / New York: Cambridge University Press, 2004.

Jonathan Cook: Execution of Palestinian Exposes Israel’s Military Culture (CounterPunch)

It might have been a moment that jolted Israelis to their senses. Instead the video of an Israeli soldier shooting dead a young Palestinian man as he lay wounded and barely able to move has only intensified the tribal war dance of the Israeli public.
Last week, as the soldier was brought before a military court for investigation, hundreds of supporters protested outside. He enjoys vocal support too from half a dozen cabinet ministers, former army generals, rabbis and – according to opinion polls – a significant majority of the Israeli Jewish public…
The past six months has seen a wave of desperate attacks by Palestinians – mostly improvised, using knives and cars – to end the occupation. Some 190 Palestinians have been killed in this period.
A number of the incidents have been captured on film. In a shocking proportion, Palestinians – including children – have been shot dead even when they posed no threat to Israeli soldiers or civilians. In military parlance, this is called “confirming the kill”.
The latest video is distinctive not only because the evidence is so indisputable but because it exposes Israel’s wider military culture.
When the soldier took his shot, his comrades registered not the least surprise that their prisoner had just been executed.

Richard Silverstein: Israeli Minster Calls for “Civil Targeted Killings” of BDS Leaders (Tikkun Olam)

The Yediot Achronot conference attacking BDS has become a veritable carnival of hate. Everyone from delusional Hollywood celebrities (Roseanne Barr) to cabinet ministers, to the leader of the Opposition have pledged fealty to the cause. Two of the speakers are under criminal investigation for corrupt political or financial dealings.
But the apogee came yesterday when Intelligence Minister Israel Katz called for the “civil targeted killing” of BDS leaders like Omar Barghouti. The phrase he used (sikul ezrahi memukad) derives from the euphemistic Hebrew phrase for the targeted killing of a terrorist (the literal meaning is “targeted thwarting”). But the added word ” civil” makes it something different.

Ahmad al-Bazz: Palestinians protest surge in home demolitions by Israeli army (+972)

The Israeli army has displaced more Palestinians since the start of this year than it did in all of 2015, the UN reports. Dozens protest the fourth such demolition in Khirbet Tana in recent months.

Amy Goodman, Nermeen Shaikh, Eric Fair: Ex-Abu Ghraib Interrogator: Israelis Trained U.S. to Use “Palestinian Chair” Torture Device (Democracy Now)
Black Friday. Carnage in Rafah (Amnesty International)

There is overwhelming evidence that Israeli forces committed disproportionate, or otherwise indiscriminate, attacks which killed scores of civilians in their homes, on the streets and in vehicles and injured many more. This includes repeatedly firing artillery and other imprecise explosive weapons in densely populated civilian areas during the attacks on Rafah between 1 and 4 August [2014]. In some cases, there are indications that they directly fired at and killed civilians, including people fleeing.

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