Myanmar | China–Bhutan–India

Jacob Judah: Thousands of Rohingya flee Myanmar amid tales of ethnic cleansing (Observer/Guardian)

The refugees say their villages are being raided and burned. They tell stories of the indiscriminate killing of civilians at the hands of security forces and Buddhist nationalists. Since 25 August, more than 18,500 Rohingya, a largely Muslim ethnic group, have fled into Bangladesh from Rakhine state. However, UN sources say they believe the true figure is closer to 28,000. And Bangladeshi aid workers claimed on Saturday that 70,000 – almost 10% of the Rohingya population – had crossed in less than 24 hours.

Michael Safi: Aung San Suu Kyi says ‘terrorists’ are misinforming world about Myanmar violence (Guardian)

The de-facto leader of Myanmar is under growing pressure to halt “clearance operations” by security forces in Rakhine state that the United Nations secretary-general has warned could verge on ethnic cleansing…
Satellite images show evidence of arson and Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh have claimed their villages are being burned en masse. UN agencies have been barred from providing humanitarian aid in the state and journalists are prevented from entering.

George Monbiot: Take away Aung San Suu Kyi’s Nobel peace prize. She no longer deserves it (Guardian)

By any standards, the treatment of the Rohingya people, a Muslim minority in Myanmar, is repugnant. By the standards Aung San Suu Kyi came to symbolise, it is grotesque. They have been described by the UN as “the world’s most persecuted minority”, a status that has not changed since she took office.
The Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide describes five acts, any one of which, when “committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group”, amounts to genocide. With the obvious and often explicit purpose of destroying this group, four of them have been practised more or less continuously by Myanmar’s armed forces since Aung San Suu Kyi became de facto political leader…
In response Aung San Suu Kyi has blamed these atrocities, in a chillingly remote interview, on insurgents, and expressed astonishment that anyone would wish to fight the army when the government has done so much for them…
It is true that some Rohingya people have taken up arms, and that the latest massacres were triggered by the killing of 12 members of the security forces last month, attributed to a group that calls itself the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army. But the military response has been to attack entire populations, regardless of any possible involvement in the insurgency, and to spread such terror that 120,000 people have been forced to flee in the past fortnight…
She has not only denied the atrocities, attempting to shield the armed forces from criticism; she has also denied the very identity of the people being attacked, asking the US ambassador not to use the term Rohingya. This is in line with the government’s policy of disavowing their existence as an ethnic group, and classifying them – though they have lived in Myanmar for centuries – as interlopers. She has upheld the 1982 Citizenship Law, which denies these people their rights.
When a Rohingya woman provided detailed allegations about her gang rape and associated injuries by Myanmar soldiers, Aung San Suu Kyi’s office posted a banner on its Facebook page reading “Fake Rape”…
Not only has she snubbed and obstructed UN officials who have sought to investigate the treatment of the Rohingya, but her government has prevented aid agencies from distributing food, water and medicines to people displaced or isolated by the violence. Her office has accused aid workers of helping “terrorists”, putting them at risk of attack, further impeding their attempts to help people who face starvation.

Gerry Brown: Lessons From the China-India Border Standoff (CounterPunch)

The face-off between China and India at the Donglang/Doklam tri-junction ended after more than two months. Both sides claimed victory.
India pointed to the double or simultaneous withdrawal (euphemistically termed “disengagement”) by both parties from the area controlled by China (also claimed by Bhutan) and intruded into by the Indian troops. As for China, it confirmed that the remaining 50 or so Indian soldiers had left the area, without uttering a word about Chinese troops having pulled back as well…
In truth, the Chinese road works provided a cover, a fig leaf, to India’s incursion into the area to which it has no claim. The Chinese ambassador in New Delhi had told India of the road building in advance. India feigned ignorance and seized on the purported change of the status quo to encroach on Chinese territory, claiming that it came to Bhutan’s defence under a treaty between them. Thimphu sources laid bare New Delhi’s lie. Bhutan didn’t request India’s help. Their friendship treaty isn’t a defence treaty, and there’s no provision for mutual defence.
It has become abundantly clear to many Bhutanese that India’s military adventurism in Donglang/Doklam sought to spite Sino-Bhutan relations to prevent the pro-Beijing party from winning the election in Bhutan next year.

Greece | India

Ian Traynor, Graeme Wearden: Greek MPs back new austerity plan as nation faces day of judgment (Guardian)
Stathis Kouvelakis: Από τον παραλογισμό στην τραγωδία; () / From the Absurd to the Tragic [?] (Jacobin)

Those who lead Greece and its Left to surrender should be opposed.

Helena Smith: Alexis Tsipras reshuffles cabinet to get rid of bailout dissidents (Guardian)

In a move aimed squarely at displaying his determination to forge ahead with spending cuts and reforms, Alexis Tsipras replaced leading government ministers. The shakeup marked a decisive split from militants in his radical left Syriza party who had voted against tough measures demanded in return for rescue funds from the EU and IMF.
“It marks the beginning of the end of his relationship with the extremist far-left faction,” said Aristides Hatzis, associate professor of law and economics at Athens University. “But it is also clear that this is a short-term government. Tsipras’s hands are tied because these people still have a strong presence in his parliamentary group.”

The Left Platform of Syriza: The Alternative to Austerity (Jacobin)

There is an alternative to capitulation in Greece.

Panagiotis Sotiris: The Future Is Now (Jacobin)

It’s time for a united front on the Greek left against austerity and for a rupture with the eurozone.

Harry Lambert: Yanis Varoufakis opens up about his five month battle to save Greece (New Statesman)

In his first interview since resigning, Greece’s former Finance Minister says the Eurogroup is “completely and utterly” controlled by Germany, Greece was “set up” and last week’s referendum was wasted.

Sebastian Budgen, Panagiotis Sotiris: The Other Greek Left (Jacobin)

On a Greek left dominated by Syriza and the Communist Party, Antarsya is often overlooked. Where did the organization come from and where is it going?

Prabhat Patnaik: Modern India sans the Impact of Capitalism (PDF; Economic & Political Weekly)
Saroj Giri: The Idea of India (Monthly Review)

The idea of India performs a remarkable feat with utmost dexterity: pushing a right-wing agenda (like the defence of private property) through progressive, left-wing values and proposals.

Thailand | Russia | India | Israel/Palestine | Austria

Pravit Rojanaphruk (pràwít rôːtnóprɤ̂ːk ประวิตร โรจนพฤกษ์): Beware of those who see the need for Article 44 (Nation)

The irony of the current political situation is that while the junta-appointed chairman of the Constitution Drafting Committee, Borwornsak Uwanno (bɔːwɔːnsàk ʔùwannoː บวรศักดิ์ อุวรรณโณ), is busy promoting the new charter and its numerous built-in checks and balances, junta leader and Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha (pràjút tɕan ʔoːtɕʰaː ประยุทธ์ จันทร์โอชา) is seriously considering anointing himself with unchecked absolute power under Article 44 of the provisional charter…
Article 44 of the junta’s provisional charter basically gives absolute power to the head of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), which is Prayut. He can override the three branches of power – the executive, which Prayut already heads, the legislative, the members of which Prayut appointed, and the judiciary…
He can even order you or me to be summarily executed as Field Marshal Sarit Thanarat (sàrít tʰánárát สฤษดิ์ ธนะรัชต์) did with a similar law back in the 1960s.

AP: Thai PM’s plan to lift martial law with ‘dictator’ ruling sparks concerns (Guardian)

Thailand’s military-installed prime minister has said he plans to lift martial law 10 months after staging a coup, but will invoke a special security measure that critics say is more draconian…
Thai media have referred to Article 44 as “the dictator law”. Under a similar law in the 1960s, a Thai dictator carried out summary executions.
The measure gives Prayuth power over all aspects of government, law and order, and absolves him of any legal responsibility for his actions…
Prayuth sought to downplay the concerns, telling reporters he would use Article 44 “constructively” to solve security issues.
“Don’t worry,” he told reporters after a cabinet meeting. “If you’re not doing anything wrong, there’s no need to be afraid.”

Reuters: We’ll probably kill journalists who don’t report the truth, says Thai leader (Guardian)
Abigail Haworth: Bangkok’s Big Brother is watching you (Guardian)

Artem Kirpichenok: Russia: Nemtsov – A Symbol of the Right / Немцов: Символ правых сил (Ліва)

Mainstream media have presented Boris Nemtsov as an anti-Putin “liberal” oppositionist. In reality he was part of the oligarchy that began to emerge after the collapse of the Soviet Union, but had fallen out of grace with the main clique that took over.

Abdul Jadid: Mahatma Gandhi was first corporate sponsored NGO of the country: Arundhati Roy (Hindustan Times)

Booker prize winning writer Arundhati Roy (Arundhatī Rāẏ অরুন্ধতী রায়) stirred a controversy on Saturday when she called Mahatma Gandhi as the ‘first corporate sponsored NGO of this country.’ She even went a step further and added ‘it was one of the greatest falsehood in this country to worship him (Gandhi) who wrote horrible things about Dalit, women and poor.’ …
The writer lashed at the ‘corporate controlled system of the country,’ saying that the nation was not run by prime minister Narendra Modi but rather by big corporate honchos like Ambanis, Tatas among others. Terming the corporates as ‘baniyas,’ she said they controlled everything right from big media houses to small companies manufacturing commodities like salt, cosmetics among other things…
Quoting Baba Bheemrao Ambedkar that caste and capitalism were the biggest enemy of the society, the writer said that these two were the biggest concern for the country having a divisive society. Raising question over the motive of Ford and Rockefeller Foundation, which has been set up to strengthen democratic values and to fight for human values, the writer said the main objective of the two were to turn the world into a ‘safe place for the propagation of capitalism.’

Ilan Pappe: The messages from Israel’s election (Electronic Intifada)

Those of us who know the nature of the beast could not have been surprised by the results of the Israeli election.
Like many of my friends, I was also relieved that a liberal Zionist government was not elected. It would have allowed the charade of the “peace process” and the illusion of the two-state solution to linger on while the suffering of the Palestinians continues.
As always Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu himself provided the inevitable conclusion when he declared the end of the two-state solution — inviting us all to the long overdue funeral of an ill-conceived idea that provided Israel with international immunity for its colonialist project in Palestine.
The power of the charade was on show when the world and local pundits unrealistically predicted a victory for liberal Zionism, an Israeli ideological trend that is near extinction — embodied by the Zionist Union list headed by Isaac Herzog and Tzipi Livni…
The conclusion for the international community should be clear now. Only decolonization of the settler state can lead to reconciliation. And the only way to kick off this decolonization is by employing the same means exercised against the other long-standing settler state of the twentieth century: apartheid South Africa.
The option of BDS — boycott, divestment and sanctions — has never looked more valid than it does today. Hopefully this, together with popular resistance on the ground, will entice at least some of the second and third generation of the Jewish settler-colonial society to help stop the Zionist colonization project.

Mairav Zonszein: Israel killed more Palestinians in 2014 than in any other year since 1967 (Guardian)

Israel killed more Palestinian civilians in 2014 than in any other year since the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip began in 1967, a UN report has said.
Israel’s activities in the Gaza Strip, West Bank and East Jerusalem resulted in the deaths of 2,314 Palestinians and 17,125 injuries, compared with 39 deaths and 3,964 injuries in 2013, according to the annual report (…) by the UN Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

Israel, US boycott UN human rights inquiry on Gaza, West Bank (Deutsche Welle)
Separation policy in Hebron (B’Tselem)

In January 2015, B’Tselem learned that the Israeli military had renewed segregation on the main street of the neighborhood of a-Salaimeh, Hebron, which leads to the Tomb of the Patriarchs. The military does not allow Palestinians to use the main, paved, part of the street and directs them to use a narrow, unpaved and rough pedestrian passageway.
This segregation had been previously implemented from September 2012 to March 2013. It was discontinued as a result of a short video published by B’Tselem, which showed Border Police officers explaining that the main part of the street was for Jews only. After the video circulated widely and received much media coverage, the military withdrew the policy and allowed free passage to residents, until recently.

Reuters: 14-year-old boy charged with terror offences in Austria (Guardian)

Austria has charged a 14-year-old boy with terror offences after he researched how to build a bomb online and made contact with militants supporting Islamic State fighters in Syria, prosecutors have said.

BRICS

This is a long article that provides material for a whole series of important debates.
Patrick Bond: In Fortaleza, BRICS Became Co-Dependent Upon Eco-Financial Imperialism (teleSUR, 29 July 2014; also on ZNet)

[C]ritics are opening up two crucial debates: first, is BRICS anti-imperialist as advertised, or potentially inter-imperialist as the Ukraine battleground portends, or merely sub-imperialist where it counts most: in the ongoing global financial and climate meltdowns?
Second, how can BRICS-from-below struggles intensify and link? The detox of our corrupted politics, a sober reassessment of our economies and fortification our ecologies – all catalysed by re-energized civil societies – rely upon clear, confident answers to both.

The article above contains many links to other articles and background material on the BRICS.

On the BRICS bank and other general issues:
BRICS bank helps stabilize global order (Xinhua, 16 July 2014)
Ousmène Jacques Mandeng: Does the world really need a Brics bank? (Financial Times, 14 July 2014)
Ana Garcia, Patrick Bond: Critical perspectives on the Brics (Center for Civil Society / South Africa Social Protests Observatory, June 2014)
John Weeks: The BRICS bank (Open Democracy)
Stephany Griffith-Jones: A BRICS Development Bank: A Dream Coming True? (UNCTAD, March 2014)
Victoria Ruan: World Bank chief backs launch of BRICS bank (; 9 July 2015)
Oliver Stuenkel: Towards institutionalization: The BRICS Contingency Reserve Arrangement (Post-Western World, 12 May 2013)
Sixth BRICS Summit: Fortaleza Declaration and Action Plan (Itamaraty)
Treaty for the Establishment of a BRICS Contingent Reserve Arrangement (Itamaraty, 15 July 2014)
Climate Change and Financial Instability Seen as Top Global Threats (Pew Research Centre)
Infrastructure: for people or for profit? (Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung, October 2014)

On South Africa:
Ronnie Kasrils: How the ANC’s Faustian pact sold out South Africa’s poorest (Guardian, 24 June 2013)
Richard Kamidza, Patrick Bond: The Development Bank of Southern Africa and financial oppression (Pambazuka, 10 April 2014)
Patrick Bond: South Africa’s Resource Curses and Growing Social Resistance (Monthly Review, April 2014)
Peter Alexander, Carin Runciman, Trevor Ngwane: Growing civil unrest shows yearning for accountability (Business Day, 7 March 2014)

On India:
Dipanjan Roy Chaudhury: Good relations of BJP leaders with Israel; India treads a cautious line on ongoing conflict in Gaza (Economic Times, 23 July 2014)

On China (an old article):
Jamil Anderlini: China insists on ‘tied aid’ in Africa (Financial Times, 25 June 2007)

India | Inequality | Syria

Arundhati Roy, Amy Goodman, Nermeen Shaikh: Is India on a Totalitarian Path? (Democracy Now)

Voting has begun in India in the largest election the world has ever seen. About 815 million Indians are eligible to vote over the next five weeks. The number of voters in India is more than two-and-a-half times the entire population of the United States. The election will take place in nine phases at over 900,000 polling stations across India. Results will be known on May 16th.
Pre-election polls indicate Narendra Modi will likely become India’s next prime minister. Modi is the leader of the BJP, a Hindu nationalist party. He … served as the chief minister of Gujarat, where one of India’s worst anti-Muslim riots occurred in 2002 that left at least a thousand people dead.

Valentin Mândrăşescu: Russia prepares to attack the petrodollar (Voice of Russia)

The US dollar’s position as the base currency for global energy trading gives the US a number of unfair advantages. It seems that Moscow is ready to take those advantages away.

Peter Koenig: Russia’s Petro-Ruble Challenges US Dollar Hegemony. China Seeks Development of Eurasian Trade (Global Research)

Russia has just dropped another bombshell, announcing not only the de-coupling of its trade from the dollar, but also that its hydrocarbon trade will in the future be carried out in rubles and local currencies of its trading partners – no longer in dollars.

Seymour M. Hersh: The Red Line and the Rat Line: Obama, Erdoğan and the Syrian rebels (London Review of Books)

In 2011 Barack Obama led an allied military intervention in Libya without consulting the US Congress. Last August, after the sarin attack on the Damascus suburb of Ghouta, he was ready to launch an allied air strike, this time to punish the Syrian government for allegedly crossing the ‘red line’ he had set in 2012 on the use of chemical weapons.​ Then with less than two days to go before the planned strike, he announced that he would seek congressional approval for the intervention. The strike was postponed as Congress prepared for hearings, and subsequently cancelled when Obama accepted Assad’s offer to relinquish his chemical arsenal in a deal brokered by Russia. Why did Obama delay and then relent on Syria when he was not shy about rushing into Libya?
Obama’s change of mind had its origins at Porton Down, the defence laboratory in Wiltshire. British intelligence had obtained a sample of the sarin used in the 21 August attack and analysis demonstrated that the gas used didn’t match the batches known to exist in the Syrian army’s chemical weapons arsenal.

(cf. this article by Hersh from December 2013: Whose sarin? [London Review of Books])
Seymour Hersh, Amy Goodman: Sy Hersh Reveals Potential Turkish Role in Syria Chemical Strike That Almost Sparked U.S. Bombing (Democracy Now)

Charles Andrews: Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century: Its Uses and Limits (Monthly Review)

Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty has caused a stir, which it deserves. Capital 21, as we will abbreviate the title, grapples with a prominent current issue: outrageously unequal incomes and wealth.

Paul Krugman: Why We’re in a New Gilded Age (New Yorker)
John Cassidy: Forces of divergence: Is surging inequality endemic to capitalism? (New Yorker)

[I]n the United States in 2010 …, the richest ten per cent of households owned seventy per cent of all the country’s wealth (a good surrogate for “capital”), and the top one per cent of households owned thirty-five per cent of the wealth. By contrast, the bottom half of households owned just five per cent. When income generated by capital grows rapidly, the richest families benefit disproportionately…
Piketty takes some well-aimed shots at economists who seek to obfuscate this reality. “In studying the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries it is possible to think that the evolution of prices and wages, or incomes and wealth, obeys an autonomous economic logic having little or nothing to do with the logic of politics or culture,” he writes. “When one studies the twentieth century, however, such an illusion falls apart immediately. A quick glance at the curves describing income and wealth inequality or the capital/income ratio is enough to show that politics is ubiquitous and that economic and political changes are inextricably intertwined and must be studied together.”

Andrew Hussey: Occupy was right: capitalism has failed the world (Guardian)

One of the slogans of the 2011 Occupy protests was ‘capitalism isn’t working’. Now, in an epic, groundbreaking new book, French economist Thomas Piketty explains why they’re right.

Will Hutton: Capitalism simply isn’t working and here are the reasons why (Guardian)

Jason Leopold: Revealed: Senate report contains new details on CIA black sites (AlJazeera)

A Senate Intelligence Committee report provides the first official confirmation that the CIA secretly operated a black site prison out of Guantánamo Bay, two U.S. officials who have read portions of the report have told Al Jazeera.
The officials — who spoke on condition of anonymity because the 6,600-page report on the CIA’s detention and interrogation program remains classified — said top-secret agency documents reveal that at least 10 high-value targets were secretly held and interrogated at Guantánamo’s Camp Echo at various times from late 2003 to 2004. They were then flown to Rabat, Morocco, before being officially sent to the U.S. military’s detention facility at Guantánamo in September 2006.

Libya | South Korea | NSA

Pamela sent this link:
Robert Newman: There is no population explosion on this planet (Guardian)

Yoav sent this link:
Patrick R. Keefe: Buried Secrets (New Yorker)

How an Israeli billionaire wrested control of one of Africa’s biggest prizes

General Võ Nguyên Giáp has passed away:
Chris Ray: Giap: the General Who Defeated the US in Vietnam (CounterPunch)

Chris Stephen, Abdalle Ahmed, David Smith: Libya demands explanation for US ‘kidnapping’ of al-Qaida leader al-Liby (Guardian)

Libya has demanded an explanation for the “kidnapping” of one of its citizens by American special forces, hours after a separate US military raid on a terrorist target in Somalia ended in apparent failure and retreat.

Spencer Ackerman: White House defends al-Qaida capture in Libya as US ponders legal options (Guardian)

AP: South Korean lawmaker charged with plot to overthrow government (Guardian)

South Korean prosecutors have charged a leftwing lawmaker with plotting a pro-North Korea rebellion to overthrow the government. …
(MP) Lee (Seok-ki) argues that the charges were fabricated to divert criticism from allegations that the national spy agency smeared the main opposition candidate in the last election.

Reuters: South Korean troops kill man trying to swim to North (Guardian)

South Korean troops have shot dead a man who attempted to enter North Korea by floating across a river that runs near the heavily militarised border, according to an official in Seoul.

Shobhan Saxena: NSA planted bugs at Indian missions in D.C., U.N. (Hindu)

Two of the most important nerve-centres of Indian diplomacy outside the country — the Permanent Mission of India at the United Nations and the embassy in Washington, DC — were targets of such sophisticated bugs implanted by the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) that entire computer hard disks might have been copied by the American agency. The U.N. Mission building in New York and the embassy premises, including its annex, in Washington were on a top-secret list of countries and missions — many of them European allies of the U.S. — chosen for intensive spying.

Lizzy Davies: Pope condemns idolatry of cash in capitalism (Guardian)

Pope Francis has called for a global economic system that puts people and not “an idol called money” at its heart, drawing on the hardship of his immigrant family as he sympathised with unemployed workers in a part of Italy that has suffered greatly from the recession.

Lisa O’Carroll: Seymour Hersh on Obama, NSA and the ‘pathetic’ American media (Guardian)

Seymour Hersh has got some extreme ideas on how to fix journalism – close down the news bureaus of NBC and ABC, sack 90% of editors in publishing and get back to the fundamental job of journalists which, he says, is to be an outsider.
It doesn’t take much to fire up Hersh, the investigative journalist who has been the nemesis of US presidents since the 1960s and who was once described by the Republican party as “the closest thing American journalism has to a terrorist”.
He is angry about the timidity of journalists in America, their failure to challenge the White House and be an unpopular messenger of truth.

Satoko Oka Norimatsu, Narusawa Muneo: An Interview With Oliver Stone and Peter Kuznick (CounterPunch)

Gaza | USA | human rights | India | anti-fascism

Ali Abunimah: How Israel shattered Gaza truce leading to escalating death and tragedy: a timeline (Electronic Intifada)
Juan Gonzales, Amy Goodman, Mohammed Omer, Gershon Baskin: “Nowhere to Run”: Israel Fires Over 500 Strikes in Gaza, Civilian Toll Grows in Humanitarian Crisis (Democracy Now)

“One thing that we ought to talk about here is the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip. This is a situation of targeting a population of civilians, exactly like Israel is shooting in a fishbowl. And there is no shelter, and there is nowhere to run for the general population. Gaza is living in a very dire situation.”

Juan Gonzales, Amy Goodman, Mohammed Omer, Gershon Baskin: Israeli Negotiator: Hamas Commander Was Assassinated Hours After Receiving Truce Deal from Israel (Democracy Now)
Patrick Higgins: Bloodbath in Gaza (CounterPunch)
Ali Abunimah: Inciting war crimes: Israel minister says force Gaza population into Egypt, cut off water, electricity (Electronic Intifada)
Neve Gordon: The Ideology of Hatred (CounterPunch)
Ali Abunimah: “May your children die, you dogs”: As Gaza burns, Israelis bay for blood in streets of Tel Aviv (Electronic Intifada)

Tavis Smiley, Cornel West on the 2012 Election & Why Calling Obama “Progressive” Ignores His Record (Democracy Now)
Tavis Smiley and Dr. Cornel West Call on Obama to Host a White House Conf. on Ending Poverty (Democracy Now)
Randall Amster: The Wrong Petraeus Scandal (CounterPunch)
Michel Roberts: Does it matter who wins? (blog)

Let’s put it this way. Would things have been any different in the US economy if Al Gore had beaten George Bush Jnr in 2000 after the great chad dispute? Would a Democratic president or administration have avoided the recession of 2001, the credit boom and housing bubble of 2002-7, the huge sub-prime and ‘financial weapons of mass destruction’ scandal, the banking crash and the ensuing Great Recession? When you ask the question, you know the answer. No.

Tariq Ali: The Triumph of Conservatism (CounterPunch)
Chris Floyd: Is This Child Dead Enough for You? (CounterPunch)
Katherine Gallagher: What’s the Point of Having Laws Against Torture if They Don’t Apply to the Powerful? (CounterPunch)

Daniel Kovalick: Amnesty International and the Human Rights Industry (CounterPunch)

Praful Bidwai, Perry Anderson: Sentimentalizing Gandhi (CounterPunch)

… five main arguments that run counter to conventional wisdom in India today. Firstly, that the idea of a subcontinental unity stretching back six thousand years is a myth. Secondly, that Gandhi’s injection of religion into the national movement was ultimately a disaster for it. Thirdly, that primary responsibility for Partition lay not with the Raj, but Congress. Fourthly, that Nehru’s legacy to Republic was far more ambiguous than his admirers will admit. Lastly, that Indian democracy is not contradicted by caste inequality, but rather enabled by it.

Perry Anderson: Gandhi Centre Stage / Why Partition? / After Nehru (London Review of Books)

Michael Sommer, Susann Witt-Stahl: Hayek oder Holzhacken (junge Welt)

Position. Die Einsicht, daß Antifaschismus und Antikapitalismus zusammengehören, droht verlorenzugehen. Teil I: Die Umdeutung des Faschismus zur Massenbewegung der Subalternen

Michael Sommer, Susann Witt-Stahl: Verschwinden in der Nebelregion (junge Welt)

Teil II (und Schluß): Die Antifa 2.0 und der Haß auf die Unterschichten

Sri Lanka / Ilankai | Islamophobia | Libya | Venezuela | BRICS | USA | Palestine/Israel

Dayapala Thiranagama: Solitude in Jaffna and the silence of a city (The Island)

Jeff Sparrow: Islamophobia, Left and Right (CounterPunch)

In 1857, Bengali soldiers (known as ‘sepoys’) shot their British officers and marched upon Delhi. The Great Indian Rebellion became very violent, very quickly. … Now, that rebellion began when the troops learned that their cartridges, designed to be torn open with their teeth, would be greased with beef and pork fat, an offence to the religious sensibilities of Hindus and Muslims alike. Had Twitter been an invention of the Victorian era, London sophisticates would, no doubt, have LOLed to each other (#sepoyrage!) about the credulity of dusky savages so worked up about a little beef tallow. Certainly, that was how the mouthpieces of the East India Company spun events … But no serious historian today takes such apologetics seriously. Only the most determined ignoramus would discuss 1857 in isolation from the broader context of British occupation. In form, the struggle might have been religious; in content, it embodied a long-simmering opposition to colonial rule.
That’s why those who pretend the protests against The Innocence of Muslims came from nowhere merely reveal their own foolishness.
‘Today, many Americans are asking — indeed, I asked myself — how could this happen?’ said Hillary Clinton after the riots in Libya. ‘How could this happen in a country we helped liberate, in a city we helped save from destruction? This question reflects just how complicated and, at times, how confounding the world can be.’
The echoes of George Bush’s infamous query ‘Why do they hate us when we’re so good?’ suggests nothing whatsoever has been learnt from the last decade and the hundreds of thousands of deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan and elsewhere.

Mel Frykberg: Human rights now worse in Libya than it was under Gaddafi (Stop the War Coalition)

Francisco Dominguez: Venezuelan Opposition Prepares for Non-Recognition of Chavez Victory (VenezuelAnalysis)
Steve Ellner: The Chavez Election (Monde diplomatique / VenezuelAnalysis) / Lehrstück Chávez (Monde diplomatique)

Heiko Khoo: The $10 million inequality question ‍(China.org.cn)

Christopher Alessi, Martin Wolf: Does the BRICS Group Matter? (Council on Foreign Relations)

Full Transcript of the Mitt Romney Secret Video (Mother Jones)
Vadim Nikitin: The Wrong Reasons to Back Pussy Riot (New York Times)

Akiva Eldar: Israel’s five ‘nos’ / חמשת הלאווים של ישראל (Haaretz)

How long can Israel be the only country in the Middle East that enjoys a full exemption from nuclear inspections because of a conflict it doesn’t show any interest in trying to resolve?
At the height of its preparations for the holidays, Israel opened the new year with a new “no.”
Until now, there were only four: no to withdrawal from the territories that we occupied in 1967; no to dividing Jerusalem; no to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty; and no to the Arab Peace Initiative. Last Wednesday, Israel delivered another no – to the Helsinki conference on making the Middle East a nuclear-weapons-free zone, which was meant to take place late this year or in early 2013.

Chemi Shalev: Abbas adopts ‘Dershowitz Formula’ for resuming talks with Israel [full text via Peace Now list] [via Google] (Haaretz)

According to some participants, Abbas appeared despondent during parts of the meeting. He raised the issue of the Palestinian Authority’s financial difficulties, saying that perhaps the time has come to revoke the Oslo Accords, and for him to retire with his family in Ramallah. …
Abbas also said that by adopting the Arab Peace Initiative’s formulation for a “just and agreed” solution to the refugee problem, he and most West Bank Palestinians had implicitly accepted the fact that only a fraction of the Palestinian refugees would be allowed to return to Israel proper, and only if the Israeli government agreed to it. …
Wexler said that Abbas had reiterated his agreement to a non-militarized Palestinian state, a security regime based on the 2008 blueprint offered by U.S. General James Jones and the presence of a “third party force” that would implement security procedures.

Chaim Levinson: The settlers’ army [via Google] / הצבא של המתנחלים (Haaretz)

A settlement security officer is theoretically subject to the army’s commands, but since he gets his salary from the settlement and is usually a veteran resident of the settlement, in reality, he takes orders from the settlement’s leadership. And since these settlement officers are veterans who know the area well, they de facto turn into the bosses of the soldiers who rotate through the area.

Palestine | Islamophobia | West Bengal | Occupy Wall Street | Media | Steve Jobs | Egypt | Syria | Britain | US elections | EU | China

This is what we’ve been discussing over the past several weeks:

Palestine

Ilan Pappe: At the UN, the funeral of the two-state solution (Electronic Intifada)
James Ball: Palestinians: we are already recognised as a state by two-thirds of the globe (Guardian)

The Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, is pressing forward with plans to formally request UN membership this Friday, despite attempts at a diplomatic compromise by many western states and a US pledge to veto the membership bid. Raising Palestine to full statehood would need to pass the UN security council – where it is subject to veto – and then a vote at the general assembly, comprising all 193 UN member states.

However, the general assembly can raise Palestine’s status from “permanent observer” to “non-member observer state”, a largely symbolic vote, without security council approval. …

The countries that recognise Palestine comprise around 5.5bn of the world’s population of 7bn – more than 75% – but based on World Bank GDP figures make up less than 10% of the world’s economy, highlighting the global rift on what remains a highly contentious topic.

Editorial: A Palestinian state is a moral right (Observer)
Noam Chayut: Israeli occupation is neither moral nor legitimate (Independent)
Zvi Bar’el: U.S. should recognize Palestinian state / ככה בונים מדינה (Ha’aretz)
Chris McGreal: Palestinian statehood: plan emerges to avoid UN showdown (Guardian)
Raoul Rigault, Mustafa Barghouti: »Bedeutung der nationalen Einheit nicht unterschätzen« (junge Welt)
Mikaela Levin: Expert UN Panel Declares Israeli Blockade of Gaza Illegal (Alternative Information Center)

Two weeks after a team of politicians especially chosen by the UN General Secretary declared legal the Israeli blockade on the Gaza Strip and legitimate the deadly attack on the first Freedom Flotilla, another team, this time of independent experts that work for the United Nations, came to the exact opposite conclusion.

Linah Alsaafin: Mahmoud Abbas: the Second Coming (Electronic Intifada)
Jonathan Cook: Israel’s Jewishness: Precondition for Palestinian Statehood (al-Akhbar)
Jonathan Cook: Mosque Torching: When Extremist Attacks Against Arabs Cross the Green Line (al-Akhbar)

Islamophobia

Angelique Chrisafis: France’s burqa ban: women are ‘effectively under house arrest’ (Guardian)

Since France introduced its burqa ban in April there have been violent attacks on women wearing the niqab and, this week, the first fines could be handed down. But a legal challenge to this hard line may yet expose the French state as a laughing stock.

Thomas Hammarberg, the Council of Europe’s commissioner for human rights, blogged this summer: “The way the dress of a small number of women has been portrayed as a key problem requiring urgent discussion and legislation is a sad capitulation to the prejudices of the xenophobes.”

West Bengal

Kheya Bag: Red Bengal’s Rise and Fall (New Left Review)

Occupy Wall Street

支持美国人民伟大的”华尔街革命” (乌有之乡/Utopia)
Translation: Message from Chinese activists and academics in support of Occupy Wall Street (China Study Group)
Joanna Walters: Occupy America: protests against Wall Street and inequality hit 70 cities (Guardian)
Jesse Jackson: Don’t Sleep Through the Revolution – Winning the Class War (CounterPunch)
Steve Fake: An American Fall (ideas&action)

occupywallst.org
adbusters.org/campaigns/occupywallstreet
occupytogether.org
International Action Center
Workers World Party
Party for Socialism and Liberation

Occupy Wallstreet @ Salon, @ Guardian, @ Huffington Post

Media

Maximilian C. Forte: Al Jazeera and U.S. Foreign Policy (MRzine)
As’ad AbuKhalil: Change at Al Jazeera (al-Akhbar)
Jonathan Cook: A Thought Police for the Internet Age – The Dangerous Cult of the Guardian (Counterpunch)

Steve Jobs

As’ad AbuKhalil: Beyond the Personality Cult (al-Akhbar)

Egypt

Jack Shenker, Barry Neild: Cairo riots leave at least 24 dead (Guardian)
Sharif Abdel Kouddous: Bloodbath in Cairo: An Eyewitness Account (Nation)

Syria

Basheer al-Baker: Michel Kilo: Syria’s Prudent Dissident (al-Akhbar)
Martin Chulov: China urges Syria regime to deliver on promised reforms (Guardian)

Britain

Shiv Malik: Unicef criticises Britain for jailing children over riots (Guardian)

US elections

Richard Adams: GOP presidential debate: Herman Cain steps into the spotlight (Guardian)

EU

Marshall Auerback: Why Greece Should Not Default – Is Merkel Right on Greece? (CounterPunch)
Vijay Prashad: A New Bretton Woods? Battling Capital (CounterPunch)

China

Heiko Khoo: Xinhai Revolution: the view of a Western Marxist (China.org.cn)