Britain | Russia | USA | Australia

Sergei Skripal and his daughter were poisoned by a nerve agent on March 4 on a park bench in Salisbury, England.
Skripal had been a Russian double agent, a spy who turned over 300 names of Russian spies to British intelligence from 1995 to 2004. He was (not so surprisingly) arrested in Russia in 2004 and sentenced to thirteen years in prison. He was released in a spy-swap in 2010, settled in the UK and became a British citizen…
Skripal posed no further threat to the Russian state. There is at least one report that he sought to return to Russia recently. It’s hard to comprehend why at this time Moscow would poison him and his young daughter visiting from Russia with a nerve agent (Novichok) created in the USSR from the 1970s but subsequently banned and destroyed under international supervision. Cui bono? Who profits from these poisonings?
In all the outrage, expressed in Britain and elsewhere, about this attack, there is precious little analysis.

Patrick Cockburn: It’s Wishful Thinking to Blame Trump’s Win on Cambridge Analytics (CounterPunch)

Many people who hate and fear Donald Trump feel that only political black magic or some form of trickery can explain his election as US President. They convince themselves that we are the victims of a dark conspiracy rather than that the world we live in is changing, and changing for the worse.
Cambridge Analytica has now joined Russia at the top of a list of conspirators who may have helped Trump defeat Hillary Clinton in 2016. This is satisfactory for Democrats as it shows that they ought to have won, and delegitimises Trump’s mandate…
What is lacking in these scandals is much real evidence that Russian “meddling” or Cambridge Analytica “harvesting” – supposing all these tales are true – really did much to determine the outcome of the US election. Keep in mind that many very astute and experienced American politicians, backed by billions of dollars, regularly try and fail to decide who will hold political office in the US.
It simply is not very likely that the Kremlin – having shown extraordinary foresight in seeing that Trump stood a chance when nobody else did – was able to exercise significant influence on the US polls. Likewise, for all its bombastic sales pitch, Cambridge Analytica was really a very small player in the e-campaign.

Paul de Rooij: Amnesty International: Trumpeting for War… Again (CounterPunch)

[I]t seems that AI is calling for a NATO bombing campaign similar to the one staged in Libya in 2011. There is also no ambiguity as to who AI deems to be culpable and ought to be at the receiving end of a “humanitarian bombing” campaign. Before cheering yet another US/NATO war, it is useful to analyse Amnesty International’s record in assisting propaganda campaigns on the eve of wars. It is also worthwhile reviewing AI’s reporting on Syria, and how it compares with that on other countries in the area.

David Brophy: ‘Silent Invasion: China’s Influence in Australia’ by Clive Hamilton (Australian Book Review)

Lawyers, media organisations, human rights NGOs, and unions have been lining up recently to warn us of a serious threat facing civil liberties in Australia. It comes in the form of Malcolm Turnbull’s new national security laws, which, in the name of combating foreign influence, would criminalise anyone who simply ‘receives or obtains’ information deemed harmful to the national interest. Yet there, in the midst of this chorus of opposition, stood economist and public intellectual Clive Hamilton, with his Chinese-speaking collaborator Alex Joske, to tell us that to resist the threat of Chinese authoritarianism we would have become more authoritarian ourselves.
A notable contributor to 2017’s crop of ‘Chinese influence’ reportage, much of Hamilton’s new book will be familiar to readers of that genre. Yet in Silent Invasion: China’s influence in Australia, he has not missed the opportunity to turn things up a notch.
The loss of Australia’s ‘sovereignty’ has been a common, if slippery, talking point in the debate so far. Here, Hamilton cuts through the confusion: the ‘invasion’ in the book’s title is no mere flourish. The People’s Republic of China is laying the groundwork in order, one day, to make territorial claims on our nation. Failure to heed the author’s prescient warnings ‘would see Australia become a tribute state of the resurgent Middle Kingdom’.

China Scholars Issue Open Letter to Protest Australia’s Draft Spy Bill Amendment (News Lens)

As scholars of China and the Chinese diaspora, we write to express our concern regarding the proposed revision of Australia’s national security laws. We do so on two grounds; first, the new laws would imperil scholarly contributions to public debate on matters of importance to our nation; and second, the debate surrounding ‘Chinese influence’ has created an atmosphere ill-suited to the judicious balancing of national security interests with the protection of civil liberties.

Kirsty Needham: China influence debate needs to calm down amid stigma (Sydney Morning Herald)

More than 30 China scholars in Australia, including world-renowned sinologist Geremie Barme, have urged the Turnbull government to delay its foreign influence legislation amid warnings that Chinese Australians are being stigmatised.

China’s influence in Australia: Maintaining the debate (Asia & the Pacific Policy Society)

We the undersigned are scholars of China, the Chinese diaspora, China-Australia relations and Australia’s relations with Asia. We are deeply concerned by a number of well-documented reports about the Chinese Communist Party’s interference in Australia. We strongly believe that an open debate on the activities of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in this country is essential to intellectual freedom, democratic rights and national security. This debate is valuable and necessary.
It is vital that the debate is driven by fact-based research and reporting rather than sensationalism or racism. It is also vital that this debate is not stifled by self-censorship. We firmly believe the current debate is not characterised by racism and that it is crucial for Australia to continue this debate…
[T]he Australian government and civil society must remain vigilant…

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 (

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.
— 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 (
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.

Greece | Inequality | Israel/Syria | France | Australia | Torture | Nicaragua | Ukraine

Tariq Ali: Greece’s Fight Against European Austerity (CounterPunch) / Ο ΣΥΡΙΖΑ να αντιμετωπίσει τους Έλληνες ολιγάρχες, την μαφία των εφοπλιστών και την Εκκλησία (Νόστιμον ήμαρ)

If SYRIZA wins it will mark the beginnings of a fightback against austerity and neo-liberalism in Europe. Two concurrent processes will be in motion from the beginning of the victory. There will be a strong attempt by the EU elite led by Germany to try and tame SYRIZA via a combination of threats and concessions. The aim of this operation is simple. To try and split SYRIZA at a very early stage.

Welcome, Sýriza! / Willkommen Syriza (Anti-Imperialist Camp)

Sýriza will very soon be faced with a choice: either they turn into a prized reseller of some prettified austerity and transmogrify with lightning speed into a new Pasók – that would be the choice of the European social-democrats. Or they leave the Greeks in no doubt and prepare the people for a violent clash with the EU oligarchy, a clash with an undecided outcome.

Sebastian Budgen, Stathis Kouvelakis: Greece: Phase One (Jacobin)

Syriza was set up by several different organizations in 2004, as an electoral alliance. Its biggest component was Alexis Tsipras’s party Synaspismos — initially the Coalition of the Left and Progress, and eventually renamed the Coalition of the Left and of the Movements — which had existed as a distinct party since 1991. It emerged from a series of splits in the Communist movement.
On the other hand, Syriza also comprises much smaller formations. Some of these came out of the old Greek far left. In particular, the Communist Organization of Greece (KOE), one the country’s main Maoist groups. This organization had three members of parliament (MPs) elected in May 2012. That’s also true of the Internationalist Workers’ Left (DEA), which is from a Trotskyist tradition, as well as other groups mostly of a Communist background. For example, the Renewing Communist Ecological Left (AKOA), which came out of the old Communist Party (Interior).

Paul Krugman: Ending Greece’s Nightmare (New York Times)

To understand the political earthquake in Greece, it helps to look at Greece’s May 2010 “standby arrangement” with the International Monetary Fund, under which the so-called troika — the I.M.F., the European Central Bank and the European Commission — extended loans to the country in return for a combination of austerity and reform. It’s a remarkable document, in the worst way. The troika, while pretending to be hardheaded and realistic, was peddling an economic fantasy. And the Greek people have been paying the price for those elite delusions…
If anything, the problem with Syriza’s plans may be that they’re not radical enough. Debt relief and an easing of austerity would reduce the economic pain, but it’s doubtful whether they are sufficient to produce a strong recovery. On the other hand, it’s not clear what more any Greek government can do unless it’s prepared to abandon the euro, and the Greek public isn’t ready for that.
… Mr. Tsipras is being far more realistic than officials who want the beatings to continue until morale improves. The rest of Europe should give him a chance to end his country’s nightmare.

Larry Elliott, Ed Pilkington: New Oxfam report says half of global wealth held by the 1% (Guardian)

Billionaires and politicians gathering in Switzerland this week will come under pressure to tackle rising inequality after a study found that – on current trends – by next year, 1% of the world’s population will own more wealth than the other 99%…
Oxfam said the wealth of the richest 80 doubled in cash terms between 2009 and 2014, and that there was an increasing tendency for wealth to be inherited and to be used as a lobbying tool by the rich to further their own interests. It noted that more than a third of the 1,645 billionaires listed by Forbes inherited some or all of their riches, while 20% have interests in the financial and insurance sectors, a group which saw their cash wealth increase by 11% in the 12 months to March 2014.
These sectors spent $550m lobbying policymakers in Washington and Brussels during 2013. During the 2012 US election cycle alone, the financial sector provided $571m in campaign contributions.

Hayden Cooper: Israeli airstrike kills six Hezbollah fighters in Syria’s Golan Heights, including son of former commander (ABC)

An Israeli airstrike inside Syria has killed six members of the Hezbollah military force, including the son of assassinated senior commander Imad Mughniyeh.
The deaths were announced after an Israeli helicopter conducted a strike near Quneitra, on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights.

Israel Joins Forces With ISIS? Tel Aviv Bombs Syria for Sixth Time in 18 months (21st Century Wire)

Under direct pressure from the US, UN Security Council members do not appear to be willing to suggest sanctions, or hold Israel responsible in any way for any its repeated attacks against its neighbors, for fear of what misfortunes and diplomatic difficulties might befall them. As a result, Israel has been acting with impunity in the region. Since 2006, Israel has conducted several air strikes on Syria. Below is a description of those attacks:
Al Quneitra (18 January 2015) – Missile attack near the Golan Heights, killing 6 Hezbollah and Iranian anti-ISIS soldiers, including one al Quds commander.
Damascus and Dimas attack (7 December 2014) – Alleged Israeli airstrikes in Syria against a warehouse of advanced S-300 missiles, which were en route to Hezbollah in Lebanon.
Missile Strike at Golan Heights (23 September 2014) – IDF Patriot Missile battery shot down a Syrian MIG21, allegedly because it violated Israeli airspace.
Beqaa Valley airstrike (24 February 2014) – Two airstrikes against an alleged Hezbollah missile base in Lebanon near the border with Syria.
2nd Latakia attack (26 January 2014) – Alleged Israeli airstrike against a Syrian warehouse of S-300 missiles.
Snawbar airstrike (30 October 2013) – Alleged Israeli airstrike at an air defense site in Snawbar.
Latakia explosion (5 July 2013) – Alleged Israeli airstrike on a Syrian depot containing Russian-made Yakhont anti-ship missiles.
Airstrikes on Syria (3-5 May 2013) – Airstrikes on Syria against alleged long-ranged weapons sent from Iran to Hezbollah.
Jamraya airstrike (30 January 2013) – Alleged Israeli airstrike on a Syrian convoy allegedly transporting weapons to Hezbollah. Other sources stated the targeted site was a military research center in Jamraya responsible for developing biological and chemical weapons.
Operation Orchard (6 September 2007) Israeli airstrike on a ‘suspected’ nuclear reactor in the Deir ez-Zor region of Syria. The Israeli and U.S. governments imposed virtually total news blackouts immediately after the raid that held for seven months.
Ain es Saheb airstrike (5 October 2003) – Israeli Air Force operation against an alleged Palestinian militant training camp in Ain es Saheb, Syria.

Israel’s pre-election aerial bombing (Haaretz)

The examples are many, and they cut across party lines: the escalation in retaliatory actions prior to the 1955 Knesset election; the bombing of the Iraqi nuclear reactor in 1981; Operation Grapes of Wrath in Lebanon in 1996; Operation Cast Lead in Gaza in 2008; Operation Pillar of Defense in Gaza in 2012; and on Sunday the helicopter attack in Syria “attributed to Israel” was added to the list. All of these operations require advanced preparations. There will always be the explanation that the enemy was the one to start it and that Israel was only responding to a provocation or heading off a greater danger. In any event, however, it is difficult not to get the impression that politicians tend to take risks and approve military action with greater ease when some of the polls paint a gloomy picture over their standing with the voters.

Tal Niv: The Israeli general who spoke the truth about the Syria strike’s timing (Haaretz)

Thank you very much, Yoav Galant, for one thing: that you spoke the truth. Thanks for saying that it’s possible that the timing of Sunday’s assassination of six Hezbollah militants, including Jihad Mughniyeh, son of the slain Hezbollah military leader Imad Mughniyeh, could be connected with the current Israeli election campaign (or as you put it, “not unconnected”).

Nathan Thrall: Rage in Jerusalem (London Review of Books)

What the government of Israel calls its eternal, undivided capital is among the most precarious, divided cities in the world. When it conquered the eastern part of Jerusalem and the West Bank – both administered by Jordan – in 1967, Israel expanded the city’s municipal boundaries threefold. As a result, approximately 37 per cent of Jerusalem’s current residents are Palestinian. They have separate buses, schools, health facilities, commercial centres, and speak a different language…
All Jerusalemites pay taxes, but the proportion of the municipal budget allocated to the roughly 300,000 Palestinian residents of a city with a population of 815,000 doesn’t exceed 10 per cent… More than three-quarters of the city’s Palestinians live below the poverty line…
Restrictive zoning prevents Palestinians from building legally. Israel has designated 52 per cent of land in East Jerusalem as unavailable for development and 35 per cent for Jewish settlements, leaving the Palestinian population with only 13 per cent, most of which is already built on. Those with growing families are forced to choose between building illegally and leaving the city. Roughly a third of them decide to build, meaning that 93,000 residents are under constant threat of their homes being demolished.

Ben Doherty: Manus Island detention centre at risk of another riot as 500 join hunger strike (Guardian)

Manus Island detention centre is on the verge of another riot, with more than 500 men now joining a mass hunger strike and at least two men having stitched their lips together.
Water pumps at the centre have broken, meaning there is no access to running water for showers.
The 1,000 men in detention and staff have been given bottles of water to shower with, and staff have been told they cannot shower, flush toilets, or wash their clothes. It could be weeks until water is restored.

Glenn Greenwald: France arrests a comedian for his Facebook comments, showing the sham of the west’s “free speech” celebration (Intercept)

Forty-eight hours after hosting a massive march under the banner of free expression, France opened a criminal investigation of a controversial French comedian for a Facebook post he wrote about the Charlie Hebdo attack, and then this morning, arrested him for that post on charges of “defending terrorism.” …
The arrest, so soon after the epic Paris free speech march, underscores the selectivity and fraud of this week’s “free speech” parade. It also shows why those who want to criminalize the ideas they like are at least as dangerous and tyrannical as the ideas they targeted.

Zack Whittaker: Europe’s answer to France terror ‘attack on free speech’ is greater Internet censorship (ZDnet)
Ruadhán Mac Cormaic: France arrests 54 for anti-Semitism and backing terror (Irish Times)

In a message sent to all prosecutors and judges, the justice ministry laid out the legal basis for arresting those who defend the attacks that killed 17 people in three incidents in Paris last week. The circular also covers those responsible for racist or anti-Semitic words or acts…
The ministry said it was issuing the order to protect freedom of expression from comments that could incite violence or hatred. It said no one should be allowed to use their religion to justify hate speech…
[T]he government [is planning] its response to the attacks, which is expected to include broader laws on phone tapping and other intelligence gathering…

Stéphane Kovacs: Attentats : 54 interpellations pour apologie du terrorisme (Le Figaro)

Les premières condamnations, lundi, ne les ont pas dissuadées. La garde à vue de Dieudonné, ce mercredi, non plus. Depuis l’attentat contre Charlie Hebdo il y a une semaine, pas moins de 54 personnes sont visées par une procédure pour apologie du terrorisme ou menaces verbales d’actions terroristes. Trente-sept procédures, précise le ministère de la Justice, concernent l’apologie du terrorisme et 17 des menaces.

Ann Telnaes: France’s free speech double standard (Washington Post)

The French comedian Dieudonné M’bala M’bala was arrested for posting a Facebook comment appearing to condone terrorism. He wrote “I’m feeling Charlie Coulibaly”, in a reference to gunman Amedy Coulibaly, who killed four hostages in a Kosher supermarket in Paris on January 9th.

Kim Sengupta: Locking up Muslims for extreme views turns prisons into recruitment pools (Independent)

Muslims make up 70 per cent of France’s prison inmates despite being only eight per cent of the population.

Mohamedou Ould Slahi: Guantánamo Diary (Guardian)
Oh Canada …
Murtaza Hussain: Prison Dispatches from the War on Terror: Former Child Gitmo Detainee Going Blind (Intercept)

Nearly 13 years after he was first captured as a child soldier in Afghanistan, Omar Khadr remains behind bars in a Canadian prison where he is losing his remaining eyesight, according to his lawyer.

Jonathan Watts: Land of opportunity – and fear – along route of Nicaragua’s giant new canal (Guardian)

In an era of breathtaking engineering feats, there is unease about what this mega project will mean for people and their homes, wildlife and ecosystems. Will it bring wealth and growth or confusion and destruction?

Reuters: North Korean defector changes story after seeing father in video (Guardian)
AFP: UN dismisses North Korea’s claim that damning human rights report is invalid (Guardian)

Shaun Walker: Kiev ‘punishes’ civilians in Donetsk with travel permits and drugs blockade (Guardian)

Sri Lanka | Thailand | Ukraine | Australia | Syria | Palestine/Israel

Muslims killed in Sri Lanka mob attacks (AlJazeera)

At least three people have been killed and more than 80 people injured in overnight mob attacks led by Sinhala Buddhist monks in two coastal Sri Lankan towns, according to medics.
Over 1,000 Sri Lankan army have been deployed on Monday in the popular resort towns of Aluthgama and Beruwala, and police extended a curfew after Muslim properties and mosques came under attack. Violence also spread to Lathugana town.

Alan Strathern: Why are Buddhist monks attacking Muslims? (BBC)

Cheang Sokha, Laignee Barron: Migrants flee Thai instability (Phnom Penh Post)

While forcible expulsions from Thailand are not uncommon – a UN study found more than 89,000 Cambodians were deported from Thailand in 2009 for illegal migration – en masse voluntary returns or large round-ups of employed workers is extremely unusual, according to Moeun Tola, head of the labour program at the Community Legal Education Center.
“The military government has made it clear they want to control the situation with illegal workers. I’m not sure if they are worried Cambodians will join the ‘red shirt’ uprising or what,” he said.
“Before, a worker could be arrested and fined or deported, but now they can also be shot and killed. It’s gotten even more dangerous for migrant workers, and there’s no priority to improve the situation for them.”

Warangkana Chomchuen, Nopparat Chaichalearmmongkol: Cambodian Workers Flee Thailand After Army Crackdown (Wall Street Journal)

Tens of thousands of Cambodian migrant workers are leaving Thailand after the military junta said it would crack down on undocumented laborers. …
The junta, which took power in a coup last month, has issued public statements that it will strictly implement rules governing workers, arguing the nation’s large undocumented labor force is a security risk.

Zachary Keck: 170,000 Panicked Cambodians Flee Thailand (Diplomat)

President Oligarch — the natural result of Euromaidan / Президент-олигарх – закономерный итог Евромайдана (Borotba)

The so-called elections, held by the Kiev junta on May 25, cannot be considered fair or legitimate. Elections held in the midst of civil war in the East of the country and neo-Nazi terror in the South and Center were not free.
The very course of the election campaign was unprecedented in every conceivable violation of democratic norms. Presidential candidates were beaten and not allowed to campaign. Several candidates withdrew in protest against the farce. …
There is no doubt that Poroshenko will continue the course of Turchinov and Yatsenyuk in the interests of a narrow layer of the oligarchy. Poroshenko will continue the junta’s dirty war against its own people in the Donbass. Poroshenko will continue to implement the anti-people measures imposed by the IMF and lead the country to economic disaster.
The direct transfer of power to the oligarchy and the strengthening of neo-fascist tendencies are direct consequences of Euromaidan, which Union Borotba warned of last autumn.

Viktor Shapynov: A class analysis of the Ukrainian crisis (Borotba) / Классовый анализ украинского кризиса (Ліва)

The social and class origins of the Ukrainian crisis have not been well researched. Attention has been focused mainly on the political side of events, and their socio-economic basis has been allowed to drop from sight. What were the class forces behind the overthrow of the Yanukovich regime, the installing of a new regime in Kiev, and the rise of the anti-Maidan and of the movement in the south-east?

Sergei Kirichuk: Ukrainian leftist leader speaks: ‘From the beginning, Maidan supported imperialist plunder’ (Workers World) / Interview mit Sergej Kiritschuk von Borotba (Initiativ)

AAP: Australia drops ‘occupied’ from references to Israeli settlements (Guardian)

The Abbott government has ruled out using the term “occupied” when describing Israeli settlements in East Jerusalem, prompting suggestions about a shift in Australia’s foreign policy.
The government on Thursday delivered a statement to clarify its stand on the controversial question of the legality of settlements after the issued flared up at a Senate hearing the night before.
The attorney general, George Brandis, on behalf of the minister for foreign affairs, Julie Bishop, said it was “unhelpful” to refer to historic events when describing these areas, given the ongoing Middle East peace process.
“The description of East Jerusalem as ‘occupied’ East Jerusalem is a term freighted with pejorative implications which is neither appropriate nor useful,” Brandis told a Senate estimates hearing.

Guy Gillor: Our Common Cause: Australia should recognise Palestine’s occupation (Green Left Weekly)

There is one city in the world the indigenous people, who make up a third of the population, are officially classified by the authorities as having permanent residency, a legal status normally granted to migrants.
As non-citizens, Palestinians legal status in East Jerusalem is legally inferior to that of Jewish residents.
East Jerusalem, which was occupied by the Israeli army in the 1967 war and still contains refugee camps of survivors of the 1948 ethnic cleansing of large parts of Palestine, known as Al Nakba, bears the marks of an apartheid regime.

Ben Saul: Australia won’t describe east Jerusalem as ‘occupied’ – and is wrong to do so (Guardian)

Australia’s new view is starkly at odds with the true status of east Jerusalem under international law – and to dismiss ‘historical events’ as unhelpful is astonishingly foolish.

Gabrielle Chan: Australia may be hit with sanctions over ‘occupied’ East Jerusalem policy change (Guardian)

Eighteen nations, including Indonesia, have protested against decision to stop calling East Jerusalem ‘occupied’.

Gili Cohen: Ten killed in Israeli strike on Syrian military targets (Haaretz)

Underhanded opportunism in the search for kidnapped Israeli teens / מחטף בעקבות החטיפה (Haaretz)

There could not be a harsher blow to Israel’s security than placing a dartboard on our Palestinian partner’s chest…
Swift approval of a bill to prevent pardons for prisoners – a bill whose stupidity is now becoming clear; complete severance of relations with the Palestinian Authority; expelling dozens, if not hundreds, of Hamas members from the West Bank to Gaza; demolishing homes; imposing a total curfew on West Bank and Gaza’s cities, and more. Alongside these ideas, the government is accelerating a bill for the force-feeding of hunger-striking prisoners and – to top it all – Habayit Hayehudi MKs are expressing their support for annexing territory to Israel.
These ideas have nothing to do with our ability to find the kidnap victims.

What is the true aim of Israel’s show of force? / מה מטרת המבצע? (Haaretz)
Gideon Levy: West Bank operation turns from farce into tragedy (Haaretz)

It is ridiculous to hear the goals of the operations as proclaimed with unfathomable gravity by politicians, generals and court commentators: “To pulverize the Hamas infrastructure” and “dismember the Palestinian unity government,” as if this were not a recurring nightmare that always ends with Israel losing the upper hand.
From Operation Cast Lead to Operation Pillar of Defense, from one operation to the next, Hamas only keeps getting stronger. It is ridiculous to listen to the finance minister talk of our “children” – why not “babies?” It’s ridiculous to watch as soldiers confiscate computers and office equipment from the offices of news organizations and charities and believe that they have the power to destroy this popular movement.

Amos Harel: Israeli campaign against Hamas is effort to impose new order in West Bank (Haaretz)

So far the IDF has detained some 280 Palestinians, mostly Hamas people, raided the movement’s offices, closed a radio station, confiscated computers and seized documents. The complete absence of armed resistance in the West Bank so far makes Israelis believe this is a low-cost operation.
Expanding the strike on Hamas has a clear strategic rationale – Israel wants to separate the Palestinian Authority and Hamas again, after their reconciliation agreement. The Israeli measures even coincide, to a certain extent, with the PA’s interest, since the latter is furious with Hamas for the damage it believes the abduction has caused the Palestinian efforts in the international arena. This was reflected in Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ harsh criticism Wednesday of the abduction.

Chaim Levinson: Israel set to double number of Palestinian administrative detainees (Haaretz)
Maher Mughrabi: End the occupation, then we’ll speak out against Hamas (Haaretz)
Jack Khoury: Signs of intifada emerge, but this time it’s aimed at Abbas, too (Haaretz)
Palestinian death toll at five as West Bank ‘street’ turns against PA troops (Haaretz)

Israeli soldiers killed two Palestinians on Sunday as the West Bank “street” turned angrily against the Palestinian Authority for helping the army in its search for three kidnapped teenagers and its crackdown on Hamas…
By Saturday night, 335 Palestinians had been arrested, including about 260 Hamas operatives.

Don’t force-feed Palestinian hunger strikers / לא להזין בכפייה (Haaretz)

At present there are 189 administrative detainees in the State of Israel, some of whom have been held for periods of over 10 years. United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon declared a few days ago, in reference to the strike, that the State of Israel must either bring them to trial or release them.

Jonathan Lis: Force-feeding bill meeting stiff opposition as debate approaches (Haaretz)

Numerous organizations have submitted position papers opposing the bill to MKs, among them Amnesty International, the Israel Democracy Institute, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel and the Israel Medical Association, which last week declared that force-feeding violates internationally agreed medical ethics.

Markus Bickel: Kerry belebt Antiterrorallianz neu (Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung)

Der Vormarsch der Isis im Irak lässt Kerry zu alten Mitteln greifen. Ägypten und Jordanien sollen helfen. Sicherheit und Stabilität sind dabei im Zweifel wichtiger als demokratische Werte.

USA | Korea | Cambodia | Israel | Australia

Andrew Levine: Saving the World Obama-Style (CounterPunch)

When it comes to spying and killing, Barack Obama is Mr. Malevolent.
But every now and then, he gets a notion to go high-minded. Words come first. Sometimes he backs up his words with gestures; sometimes he even puts people on the case – feckless people like John Kerry.
It never comes to anything however, and sooner or later (usually sooner), the notion passes.
He and Kerry have been at it for some time now with the Israel-Palestine “peace process,” and Obama is gearing up to take on inequality next.
The pattern reveals a lot about the Obama presidency and about the man.

Gregory Elich: Korean Conspiracy Trial (CounterPunch)

It made worldwide news when Lee Seok-ki, representative in the South Korean National Assembly, was arrested on charges of treason. South Korea’s National Intelligence Service (NIS) fed media outlets with a transcript of a meeting that Lee attended, which appeared to reveal plans by the Unified Progressive Party to take up arms against the South Korean government in the event of war with the north.
The release of the transcript came at the height of national protests against interference by the NIS in the national election of December 2012. The Unified Progressive Party (UPP) was at the forefront of the anti-NIS demonstrations, and the furor that resulted over the accusations against Lee and the UPP succeeded in stifling mass protests.

John Feffer: Kim the Third (Foreign Policy in Focus)

No one performs Shakespeare in the theaters of Pyongyang. Instead, he is enacted in the corridors of power.

John Roberts: Cambodian security forces shoot striking garment workers ‍(World Socialist Web Site)

At least four workers have been shot dead, after Cambodian military police opened fire yesterday on striking workers blocking the road near the Canadia Industrial Park in the southern suburbs of the capital Phnom Penh. The national strike for higher pay involving tens of thousands of garment workers began on December 24.

Tony Cartalucci: More Than Meets the Eye Behind Cambodia’s Growing Unrest (Global Research / AltThaiNews)

The Cambodian people undoubtedly face a tyrannical regime, but US-backed opposition will bring nation only deeper into despair and destitution.
Protests growing in both Thailand and neighboring Cambodia may at first look very similar. Both are against supposedly “elected governments,” but both nations are clearly run by illegitimate dictatorships. Both nations have streets filled with growing numbers of dissatisfied people who are increasingly putting pressure on their respective regimes, lead by one or several opposition parties. And both seek reformed elections.
However, one is heavily backed by the United States’ faux-democracy promoters and offers only further despair and destitution, while the other is heavily opposed by the US and other Western interests, but if successful will restore order to a nation hindered by political instability for years.

Harriet Sherwood: Major US academic body backs boycott of Israeli educational institutions (Guardian)

A prestigious US academic body has joined a growing movement to boycott Israel in protest at its treatment of Palestinians, in a move both welcomed and condemned in a bitterly divisive international arena.
The American Studies Association (ASA), which has more than 5,000 members, is the most significant US academic organisation to back a boycott of Israeli educational institutions following a two-thirds majority vote. Around a quarter of members took part in the ballot.

Call for Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI)
American Studies Association Resolution on Academic Boycott of Israel (ASA)
What Does the Academic Boycott Mean for the ASA? (ASA)

Why boycott Israeli academic institutions?
Israeli academic institutions function as a central part of a system that has denied Palestinians their basic rights. Palestinian students face ongoing discrimination, including the suppression of Palestinian cultural events, and there is sanctioning and ongoing surveillance of Palestinian students and faculty who protest Israeli policies. Israeli universities have been a direct party to the annexation of Palestinian land. Armed soldiers patrol Israeli university campuses, and some have been trained at Israeli universities in techniques to suppress protestors.

Omar Barghouti: On Academic Freedom and the BDS Movement (Nation)

An effective isolation of Israeli academic institutions will undoubtedly curtail some privileges that Israeli scholars take for granted, like generous travel subsidies, but that has no bearing on their academic freedom.

Judith Butler: Academic Freedom and the ASA’s Boycott of Israel (Nation)

Those who may well acknowledge the justice of such claims may still object to the boycott on the grounds that it denies, potentially or actually, the academic freedom of Israeli citizens. But the BDS movement has taken an explicit stand against any discrimination on the basis of citizenship. And a significant number of Israeli academics have themselves joined the movement…
The astonishing fact remains that no major Israeli university or cultural institution has actively opposed the occupation.
That said, American Studies scholars can continue important collaborative work with Israeli filmmakers, sociologists, philosophers, archaeologists or artists outside of Israel. Indeed, their access to independent funding and to international mobility is still substantial. Sadly, the same cannot be said about Palestinian academics whose travel papers and rights to mobility are currently severely restricted…
Let us remember that academic freedom can be exercised only if there is a freedom to speak about political views, to articulate and defend the views we have, but also if there is a freedom to travel, not just from university to university as US academics are used to doing, but also from one’s home to the university. An enormous number of Palestinian university students are put in jail under conditions of indefinite detention because of having espoused political views that are considered unacceptable or because such views were attributed to them without cause. During periods of heightened security control, the periodic shutdowns of Palestinian universities have made it nearly impossible to complete a full semester for most Palestinian students.

Rania Khalek: Does The Nation have a problem with Palestinians? (Electronic Intifada)
Ali Abunimah: Stephen Hawking’s support for the boycott of Israel is a turning point (Guardian)

Boycotting Israel as a stance for justice is going mainstream – Israelis can no longer pretend theirs is in an enlightened country.

Ali Abunimah: Under pressure, PLO tries to limit damage from Abbas attack on Israel boycott (Electronic Intifada)

Rocked by criticism from Palestinian and international activists, the Palestinian Authority (PA) has backed away from comments made by its de facto leader Mahmoud Abbas repudiating the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement…
Last year, Abbas stoked widespread outrage among Palestinians when he told Israeli television that he renounced the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes.

John Pilger: Mandela’s gone, but apartheid lives in Australia (Green Left Weekly)

In 2008, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd apologised … Older Aboriginal people were grateful; they believed that Australia’s first people – the most enduring human presence on earth – might finally receive the justice and recognition they had been denied for 220 years.
What few of them heard was the postscript to Rudd’s apology. “I want to be blunt about this,” he said. “There will be no compensation.”
That 100,000 people deeply wronged and scarred by vicious racism – the product of a form of the eugenics movement with its links to fascism – would be given no opportunity to materially restore their lives was shocking, though not surprising. …
When the Labor government in the 1980s promised “full restitution” and land rights, the powerful mining lobby went on the attack, spending millions campaigning on the theme that “the blacks” would “take over your beaches and barbies”. The government capitulated, even though the lie was farcical; Aboriginal people comprise barely 3% of the Australian population.
Today, Aboriginal children are again being stolen from their families. The bureaucratic words are “removed” for “child protection”. By July 2012, there were 13,299 Aboriginal children in institutions or handed over to white families. Today, the theft of these children is now higher than at any time during the last century…
The incarceration of black Australians here is eight times that of black South Africans during the last decade of apartheid.

Assange | Spain | Syria | Greece | Canada | Korea | Israel

Phillip Adams, John Pilger: Extradition of Julian Assange (ABC)
Phillip Adams, Paul Preston: The Spanish Holocaust (ABC)

Syed Ali Wasef: ‘NATO behind Houla massacre’ (PressTV)

Mick Brooks: ‘Payback time’: Lagarde’s Myths (

Greece is a country divided, like Britain, the USA and France, along class lines. When asked about the cuts in public services that the IMF insists on imposing, [Lagarde] blames the Greek people, declaring repeatedly, “They should also help themselves, by all paying their tax.” Is that it? Is the problem just that all Greeks are tax dodgers?
Workers employed in a public or private sector workplace in Greece pay income tax automatically, just like British, American or French workers. They have no choice. It is deducted at source. When they buy goods in a shop, they pay the Value Added Tax (VAT). How can they not pay?
Greek millionaires do not pay tax. Instead they employ expensive accountants to dodge their obligations. This is very expensive for the Greek state. Because the rich don’t pay their share it also means that the resulting restricted budget spending imposes hardships upon poor Greeks, who are at the sharp end of cuts in public services.
This tax dodging by the rich is not a Greek characteristic. It is a characteristic of the rich and of big business.

Spain must avoid an Irish turn (Financial Times)

Martin Lukacs: Quebec’s ‘truncheon law’ rebounds as student strike spreads (Guardian)

Any group of 50 or more protesters must submit plans to police eight hours ahead of time; they can be denied the right to proceed. Picket lines at universities and colleges are forbidden, and illegal protests are punishable by fines from $5,000 to $125,000 for individuals and unions – as well as by the seizure of union dues and the dissolution of their associations.

Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois, Anna Kruzynski, Amy Goodman, Aaron Maté: Maple Spring: Nearly 1,000 Arrested as Mass Quebec Student Strike Passes 100th Day (Democracy Now)

Gavan McCormack: North Korea’s 100th – Celebrations Gone Awry (Japan Focus)
Gavan McCormack: North Korea’s 100th – To Celebrate or To Surrender? (Japan Focus) / 北朝鮮衛星発射にあたり、ガバン・マコーマック論考-朝鮮半島の問題を歴史的にとらえる必要性 (Peace Philosophy Center)
Rüdiger Frank: North Korea after Kim Jong Il: The Kim Jong Un era and its challenges (Japan Focus)

David Sheen: Proto-Pogrom Against Africans in Israel (
Gideon Levy: Israel is the most naive and racist country in the West / סכנה יותר גדולה מהמהגרים (Haaretz)

Israel is both the most racist and most naive country in the West. Racist, because in no other country can politicians make remarks about migrants as they do here and still remain in office another day; naive, because only now has Israel discovered the problem that has been facing the “first world” for years.
ישראל היא המדינה הגזענית והתמימה ביותר במערב. גזענית כי בשום מדינה אחרת פוליטיקאים אינם יכולים להתבטא כך על מהגרים ולהמשיך עוד יום אחד בתפקידם; תמימה כי רק עכשיו היא מגלה את הבעיה העומדת זה שנים לפתחו של העולם הראשון.

Egypt | Syria | Mali | China | Australia | Israel

Anna-Maria Steiner, Wilhelm Langthaler: Sinful Islamists? (Anti-Imperialist Camp)

Interview with Mohamed Wakid on the current stage of the Tahrir movement, the role of the military as well as the Muslim Brotherhood and the United States’ line.

Rami Khrais: Islamism: The Phobia of Arab Elites (al-Akhbar)

Alain Gresh: Deadlock over Syria / Onde de choc syrienne / Der syrische Knoten (Monde diplomatique)

Philippe Leymarie: The Sahel falls apart / Kiel Sahelo fariĝis eksplodejo / Comment le Sahel est devenu une poudrière / Aufstand der Tuareg (Monde diplomatique)

The military coup which ousted Mali’s president Amadou Toumani Touré in late March has only added to the confusion across the Sahara-Sahel region, caught between Tuareg rebellions and acts of terrorism by North Africa’s al-Qaida franchise.

Heiko Khoo: Finance, private business and the Wenzhou model (
Tom Bramble: Australian imperialism and the rise of China (International Viewpoint)

Gideon Levy: Israelis can be angry with Günter Grass, but they must listen to him / לכעוס על גראס, ולהקשיב (Haaretz)
AP: Günter Grass: In banning me, Israel’s Interior Minister resembles German Stasi chief (Haaretz)
A short list of Israel’s past unwelcome guests / גראס לא לבד: מסורבי הכניסה הבולטים בשנים האחרונות (Haaretz)
Barak Ravid: Israeli official: 40% of names on Shin Bet fly-in blacklist were not activists / הרשימות השחורות נופחו לפני המטס, וכללו גם אזרחים תמימים ודיפלומטים (Haaretz)

Security service had no evidence that 470 of the 1,200 people whom Israel labeled as ‘pro-Palestinian activists’ intended to do anything illegal, source says; French diplomat and his wife among those whose tickets to Israel were canceled.

Israel should greet pro-Palestinian activists with flowers / קבלו אותם בפרחים (Haaretz)

יש משהו סמלי בסמיכות העתים בין המשא ומתן של שש המדינות עם איראן, שנפתח אתמול באיסטנבול, לבין מבצע גירושם של פעילי שלום שמתכננים להגיע היום לנמל התעופה בן-גוריון, בדרכם לגדה המערבית; איראן מונעת את כניסתם של פקחי הסוכנות הבינלאומית לאנרגיה אטומית (סבב”א) למתקני הגרעין שלה, כדי לדווח על הנעשה בהם. ישראל החליטה למנוע את כניסתם של פעילי זכויות אדם לשטחים הכבושים, כדי לדווח על מצב זכויות האדם באזור. ישראל נוקטת צעדים קיצוניים למניעת הטסתם של הפעילים, עד כדי איומים על חברות תעופה. כוחות הביטחון נערכים לגירוש אלה מהם שיגיעו למסוף הנוסעים.
There’s something symbolic about the fact that the six-nation talks with Iran and the operation to deport peace activists landing at Ben-Gurion International Airport are happening around the same time. Iran has prevented the International Atomic Energy Agency from entering its nuclear facilities to report on what’s going on there, and Israel is preventing human rights activists from entering the occupied territories to check up on human rights.

Climate | Russia | Syria | EU | Unemployment | Australia | USA | China-Africa

Samir Amin: Audacity, more audacity (Pambazuka News)

Samir Amin is proposing a way out of the current situation of capitalism in crisis. Nations should socialise the ownership of monopolies, de-financialise the management of the economy and de-globalise international relations.

Naomi Klein: Capitalism vs. the Climate (Nation)

Boris Kagarlitzky: Politics is Now Being Played Out in Public. A Very Peaceful Russian Revolt (CounterPunch)

Ibrahim al-Amin: A Revolution Against Resistance? (al-Akhbar)
Jay Solomon, Nour Malas: Syria Would Cut Iran Military Tie, Opposition Head Says (Wall Street Journal)

Walden Bello: An Unbalanced Relationship. The New German Colossus (CounterPunch)

Ismael Hossein-Zadeh: Keynesian vs. Marxian Explanations: Understanding Unemployment (CounterPunch)

Yang Rui, Colin Mackerras, Einar Tangen: A watchful US in Pacific (CCTV)
Derek Bolton: Australia Remilitarizes (FPIF)

Michael Kaufman: Lesser Evilism, 2012. A Vote for Obama Now is More Evil Than It Was in 2008 (CounterPunch)

Robert Pallitto: The Return of Waterboarding? (FPIF)

Barry Sautman, Yan Hairong: Gilded Outside, Shoddy Within: The Human Rights Watch report on Chinese copper mining in Zambia (Japan Focus)

Chomsky | Australia | Hiroshima | Afghanistan | China and Africa

Rob sent these links to videos of Chomsky’s talk at Peking University:
乔姆斯基教授北大百年讲堂讲演 – intro, main talk, Q&A (Youku)

张传文: 当乔姆斯基遭遇中国 (南方都市报)
Excerpts in English can be found here:
Andy Yee: Noam Chomsky in China (Global Voices)

K. wrote: Oz is a colonial backwater like Canada…I remember when the CIA got rid of Whitlam i believe…Billiton (aka Broken Hill) is the largest mining corp in the world about to take over potashcorp, world’s largest potash producer and the second and third largest producer of nitrogen and phosphate.
Rachel Pannett: Shadow of Ouster Hangs Over Australian Vote (Wall Street Journal)

K. also sent these two links:
Ameen Izzadeen: Hiroshima: the humbug and the hypocrisy (Daily Mirror)
Tim Kennelly: Afghanistan Crisis Deepens: US, Canada and NATO Threaten to Extend War (The Bullet)
K.’s comment: Bob [Rae]’s brother is the main man for the head of the biggest corporation in Canada (Power Corp) which is a front for Rockefeller’s SO. All if not 99.9% of Canadan prime ministers have bin former employees of Power Corp.

Deborah Brautigam: Is China Sending Prisoners to Work Overseas? (China in Africa: The Real Story)
Barry Sautman, Yan Hairong: Stirring up trouble: Claims that China sends convicts to labour in Africa are unfounded (China in Africa: The Real Story)

Wikileaks | Football | Haiti | Australia | Korea

Paul Street: Revealing Moments: Obama, WikiLeaks, the “Good War” Myth, and Silly Liberal Faith in the Emperor (MRzine)

War crime whistleblower in Obama’s sights, war criminals not.

Alexander Cockburn: Do Disclosures of Atrocities Change Anything? (CounterPunch)

The important constituency here is liberals, who duly rise to the challenge of unpleasant disclosures of imperial crimes. In the wake of scandals such as those revealed at Abu Ghraib, or in the Wikileaks files, they are particularly eager to proclaim that they “can take it” – i.e., endure convincing accounts of monstrous tortures, targeted assassinations by US forces, obliteration of wedding parties or entire villages, and emerge with ringing affirmations of the fundamental overall morality of the imperial enterprise. This was very common in the Vietnam war and repeated in subsequent imperial ventures such the sanctions and ensuing attack on Iraq, and now the war in Afghanistan. Of course in the case of Israel it’s an entire way of life for a handsome slice of America’s liberals.
What does end wars? One side is annihilated, the money runs out, the troops mutiny, the government falls, or fears it will. With the U.S. war in Afghanistan none of these conditions has yet been met.

May sent this article on football:
May de Silva: The Better Half of the World Game (The Island)

Kris sent these two links on Haiti and Australia:
Charlie Hinton, Kiilu Nyasha: Wyclef Jean For President Of Haiti? Look Beyond The Hype (Before It’s News)

To cut to the chase, no election in Haiti, and no candidate in those elections, will be considered legitimate by the majority of Haiti’s population, unless it includes the full and fair participation of the Fanmi Lavalas Party of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. Fanmi Lavalas is unquestionably the most popular party in the country, yet the “international community,” led by the United States, France, and Canada, has done everything possible to undermine Aristide and Lavalas, overthrowing him twice by military coups in 1991 and 2004, and banishing Aristide, who now lives in South Africa with his family, from the Americas.

John Pilger: Julia Gillard, the new warlord of Oz (New Statesman)

The rise to power of Australia’s first female prime minister led to hopes for political change. But early signs indicate that Gillard will do little more than protect vested big-business interests.

Puerto Rican nationalist Lolita Lebron dies at 89 (AP/Guardian)
Lolita Lebrón (Wikipedia)

Hilary Keenan: Shock wave and bubble: the untruth about the Cheonan (21st Century Socialism)
Gregory Elich: Doubts Persist: The Sinking of the Cheonan and Its Political Uses (CounterPunch)
Lee Yeong-in: Government protests Russia’s Conflicting Cheonan findings (Hankoryeh)

[South Korean] 1st Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Shin Kak-soo summoned Russian Ambassador to South Korea Konstantin Vnukov to the Foreign Ministry on July 4 to express “astonishment” at Russia’s investigation findings because the findings were a complete contradiction to the South Korean government’s announcement.