Thailand | Brexit | Ethiopia | Israel/Palestine

Giles Ji Ungpakorn (ใจ อึ๊งภากรณ์ [tɕaj ʔɯ́ŋpʰaːkɔːn]): King Pumipon (Bhumibol) of Thailand (Uglytruth Thailand)

King Pumipon (p̣hūmiphala ภูมิพลอดุลยเดช [pʰuːmípʰon]) of Thailand was a weak and characterless monarch who spent his useless and privileged life in a bubble, surrounded by fawning, grovelling, toadies who claimed that he was a “god”… His life’s work was in self-enrichment, support for military regimes and the defence of inequality. He played a significant role in preventing democratic rights, the development of social justice and the fair and unbiased use of the law. He did this by legitimising all the worst government policies and atrocities committed by Thai rulers. In recent years he remained silent while more and more dissidents were jailed, under the draconian lèse majesté law, for merely speaking out against the destruction of democracy.

Giles Ji Ungpakorn: Wachiralongkorn should not be the future king. Thailand should be a republic (Uglytruth Thailand)
Thailand’s heir apparent Maha Vajiralongkorn raises fears – and eyebrows (Guardian)

Thailand’s Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn (มหาวชิราลงกรณ [máhǎː wáʨʰíraːloŋkɔːn]), a three-times divorced playboy who made his pet poodle an air chief marshal in the Thai military, poses perhaps the biggest challenge for both the country’s monarchists and its ruling junta in coming weeks, following the death of his father, King Bhumibol Adulyadej.

AFP: Who is Thailand’s 96-year-old regent? (Asia Times)

Former general and prime minister Prem Tinsulanonda (เปรม ติณสูลานนท์ [preːm tinnásǔːlaːnon]) … stormed up the army ranks during the Cold War and was promoted above his seniors to army chief in 1978.
Two years later, he assumed power in what was widely viewed as a silent coup endorsed by the king and queen…
Prem later led the Privy Council of late King Bhumibol Adulyadej — who died last Thursday after a 70-year reign — making him the monarch’s closest adviser and gatekeeper…
Both as prime minister in the 1980s and later as head of the Privy Council, Prem cemented the military’s self-designated role as protector of the monarchy through his remarkable relationship with Bhumibol.
“He was able to make the military into a mechanism for the monarchy but keep the military as a powerful institution in Thai politics,” Paul Chambers, an expert on Thailand’s military, told AFP…
Since the end of absolute monarchy in 1932, Thailand has seen 12 successful military coups.
Prem has instigated or had a hand in five of them, said Chambers.
The most recent came in 2014, toppling the democratically elected government of Yingluck Shinawatra, sister of telecoms billionaire and former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra who was himself ousted in a 2006 coup.

Alison Smale, Thomas Fuller: Thailand Looks to Likely Future King With Apprehension (New York Times)
Reuters: Thai royal defamation cases jump since king’s death (Asia Times)

Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha has moved quickly to quash any uncertainty around the royal succession, saying Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn would ascend the throne after a period of mourning that he had requested.
Insulting the monarch, the regent or the heir, known by the French-language term “lèse-majesté”, is a crime in Thailand that carries a jail sentence of up to 15 years for each case.
Police spokesman Kitsana Pattanacharoen said there had been 12 lèse-majesté cases since last Thursday, with arrest warrants issued for eight suspects and four already in police custody.
“Their crime was posting messages or pictures which insulted the monarchy on social media,” he told Reuters.
There were 70 cases in the two-and-a-half years from a May 2014 coup up to last Thursday, said Weerawat Somnuek, a researcher at Thai legal monitoring group iLaw.

Colombia referendum: Voters reject Farc peace deal (BBC)

Voters in Colombia have rejected a landmark peace deal with Farc rebels in a shock referendum result, with 50.2% voting against it.
The deal was signed last week by President Juan Manuel Santos and Farc leader Timoleon Jimenez after nearly four years of negotiations.

Mona Mahmood and Emma Graham-Harrison: Mosul civilians brace for assault as Iraq forces bid to retake Isis stronghold (Guardian)

Hundreds of thousands of civilians are bracing themselves for the start of an Iraqi army campaign to retake Mosul from Isis, which they fear will bring “the whole world” to fight over their city.
Militants have banned civilians from leaving the city, and have set up checkpoints on roads out and blown up the homes of those who do flee as punishment and to deter others.

Patrick Cockburn: This Battle for Mosul Will Not Be the Last (CounterPunch)

The Iraqi government and its allies may eventually capture Mosul from Isis, but this could be just a new chapter in the war.
It will only win because of the devastating firepower of the US-led air forces and sheer weight of numbers. But the fight for the city is militarily and politically complex. The Iraqi army, Kurdish Peshmerga, Shia Hashd al-Shaabi and Sunni fighters from Mosul and Nineveh province, which make up the anti-Isis forces, suspect and fear each other almost as much as they hate Isis.

Tallha Abdulrazaq: Mosul will fall again, but at great cost (AlJazeera)

The battle for Mosul will be long and the city’s remaining 1.5 million civilians will bear the brunt.

Robert Fisk: After Mosul Falls, ISIS will Flee to Syria. Then What? (CounterPunch)

Syria’s army and Hezbollah and Iranian allies are preparing for a massive invasion by thousands of Isis fighters who will be driven out of Iraq when Mosul falls. The real purpose behind the much-trumpeted US-planned “liberation” of the Iraqi city, the Syrian military suspect, is to swamp Syria with the hordes of Isis fighters who will flee their Iraqi capital in favour of their “mini-capital” of Raqqa inside Syria itself.

Gary Leupp: An Urgently Necessary Briefing on Syria (CounterPunch)

Thomas Mountain: Revolutionary Islam and Regime Change in Ethiopia (CounterPunch)

With ethnic uprisings spreading across an Ethiopia now ruled by martial law there is only one nationally based organization in place to lead the eventual regime change in the country and that is the revolutionary Islamic movement.
Presently all the liberation resistance movements in Ethiopia are ethnically based with their senior leadership in exile, mainly in neighboring Eritrea. The only organization with a national presence is the revolutionary Islamic religious community, whose recently freed leaders have sworn to liberate Ethiopia from the western backed Tigrayan ethnic minority regime presently ruling the country.

Samir Amin: Brexit and the EU Implosion: National Sovereignty—For What Purpose? (Monthly Review)

The defense of national sovereignty, like its critique, leads to serious misunderstandings once one detaches it from the social class content of the strategy in which it is embedded. The leading social bloc in capitalist societies always conceives sovereignty as a necessary instrument for the promotion of its own interests based on both capitalist exploitation of labor and the consolidation of its international positions.

Chris Welzenbach: The Dreadful Chronology of Gaddafi’s Murder (CounterPunch)

Gideon Levy: Peace Is Justice, and Justice Doesn’t Need a Partner (Haaretz, behind pay wall; also via Google News) / אין פרטנר (Haaretz; also via Google News)

Israel is not in a position to demand a partner in order to end the occupation. It must end the occupation. It has no right to make demands before doing so.

Palestine | Libya | Ukraine | Thailand

Harriet Sherwoo,d Hazem Balousha: The world stands disgraced’ – Israeli shelling of school kills at least 15 (Guardian)
Yousef Al-Helou: World watches idly as Israel bombs Gaza school and market (Electronic Intifada)
Penelope Cruz, Javier Bardem, Pedro Almodovar denounce Israel’s ‘genocide’ in Gaza (Haaretz)

Dozens of stars from Spain’s cultural scene have added their names to an open letter blasting Israel’s Gaza operation, and denouncing Israel’s actions as “genocide.”
In the letter, which was published on Monday, Oscar-winners Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz, and the feted Spanish director Pedro Almodovar, were joined by a long list of names, in calling for the European Union to condemn “the bombing by land, sea and air against the Palestinian civilian population in the Gaza Strip.”

Bardem und Cruz werfen Israel “Völkermord” vor (Spiegel)
Malte Daniljuk: Internationale Künstler fordern Handeln gegen “Völkermord” in Gaza (amerika21)
Here’s the predictable reaction:
Shmuley Boeteach: Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem are anti-Semites (Jerusalem Post)

Attempts to stifle internal dissent:
Lahav Harkov: Ethics Committee bans Zoabi from Knesset for six months (Jerusalem Post)

[A] Knesset Channel poll found that 89 percent of Jewish Israelis think Zoabi’s citizenship should be revoked, while 10% oppose such a move.

Lahav Harkov: Gal-On slams Zoabi suspension from Knesset as ‘draconian’ (Jerusalem Post)

Meretz chairwoman Zehava Gal-On said the Ethics Committee was behaving outrageously.
“Should a committee that is supposed to guard the rights of the minority be allowed to suspend someone for half a year? Is that not draconian? Are you crazy? That is silencing the opposition,” she complained.

MK Liberman: Zoabi Should Be Kicked Out of Israel (Arutz Sheva)

Foreign Minister, Avigdor Liberman, responded on his Facebook page to the announcement that MK Hanin Zoabi was suspended from the Knesset for the next six months.
“It is not enough to distance Hanin Zoabi from the Knesset for half a year; she should be deported from Israel to Qatar, and join the ranks of the other traitor from her party, Azzami Bashara, who already fled to the region.”

Aeyal Gross: With Zoabi’s suspension, Knesset moves toward fascism (Haaretz)

Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein decided not to open criminal proceedings against MK Haneen Zoabi (Balad) for saying that the kidnappers of Eyal Yifrah, Gilad Shaar and Naftali Fraenkel weren’t terrorists. Weinstein noted that in that same interview she voiced her objection to the kidnapping, creating a “real doubt” about whether her statement broke the law; moreover, he said, indictments that restrict speech should be rare. But he added that his decision dealt only with the criminal aspects, and not the administrative or ethical ones…
Knesset members believe there’s only one permissible view of what constitutes the good of the state, and not only does the majority determine what it is, but it also tries to prevent anyone with a different view from expressing it…
One can disagree with Zoabi’s statement, but it was legal. Since she didn’t voice support for the abduction, she wasn’t supporting terror. Nor did another statement cited by the committee, one in favor of “popular resistance,” constitute a call for violence; as Zoabi has stressed repeatedly, it’s a call for nonviolent resistance…
The last Knesset also stripped Zoabi of some of her parliamentary privileges, including her diplomatic passport…
The committee was used to delegitimize certain views, while not imposing sanctions on other MKs who made offensive statements – like Avigdor Lieberman, who called for boycotting Arab businesses, or Miri Regev, who called asylum seekers a “cancer.” The severity of the punishment also bolsters this contention. When former MK Menachem Porush termed Justice Mishael Cheshin “a pig,” the committee made do with a reprimand, and when former MK Aryeh Eldad said that anyone who cedes territory deserves death, he was suspended for just one day.

Or Kashti: Israeli university rebukes professor who expressed sympathy for both Israeli, Gazan victims (Haaretz)

Bar Ilan University students, faculty and administrators are up in arms over a law professor’s email to his students that opened with an expression of sympathy for all victims of the Israel-Gaza war, implicitly reminding them that the overwhelming majority of those victims are Gazans.
Prof. Hanoch Sheinman’s email was sent to reassure his second-year law students that because the security situation had disrupted many students’ routines, there would be an additional date scheduled for his course’s final exam. Sheinman opened the email, however, by saying that he hoped the message “finds you in a safe place, and that you, your families and those dear to you are not among the hundreds of people that were killed, the thousands wounded, or the tens of thousands whose homes were destroyed or were forced to leave their homes during, or as a direct result of, the violent confrontation in the Gaza Strip and its environs.”

Bar-Ilan University’s McCarthyist values (Haaretz)

The McCarthyism spreading in Israel over the past few weeks is now starting to eat away at the country’s academic institutions. A brief preface to a technical announcement sent to students by a law professor at Bar-Ilan University set off a public storm, a demand for an apology and a condemnation by the university.

Aron Dónzis: Academic rebuked for expressing sympathy for Gaza victims (Times of Israel)
Pierre Heumann: Die Angst der Intellektuellen (Handelsblatt)
More articles:
Blog post advocating ‘Gaza genocide’ removed from Times of Israel website (Haaretz)

The Times of Israel and the 5 Towns Jewish Times removed a blog post from their websites calling for the consideration of genocide as an option in the Gaza conflict. The Times of Israel also dropped the blogger.
In his blog post, titled “When genocide is permissible,” Yochanan Gordon called for a consideration of the argument that Israel would never obtain quiet until it had committed genocide in the Gaza Strip.

Rania Khalek: Israel uses Palestinians as human shields but US lawmakers condemn Hamas (Electronic Intifada)
Stephanie Westbrook: Warplane delivery makes Italy complicit in Israeli crimes (Electronic Intifada)
Ali M. Latifi: Germany remains silent on massacre of its citizens in Gaza (Electronic Intifada)
Philip Weiss: If you voted for Hamas, Israel has a right to kill you, says president of NY Board of Rabbis (Mondoweiss)

Nabila Ramdani: Gaddafi has gone but Libya is more dangerous than ever, thanks to the west (Guardian)

Манифест Народного Фронта Освобождения Украины, Новороссии и Прикарпатской Руси (Радиостанция «Эхо Москвы»)
Man­i­fest der Volks­be­freiungs­front der Ukraine, Neu­rus­s­lands und der rus­sis­chen Karpaten (Linke Zeitung)

Andrew MacGregor Marshall: Thailand’s Military Government Thinks John Oliver Is a Threat to Its Monarchy (Vice News)

[T]he junta that seized power in May is paranoid about Oliver’s activities after he mocked the government and made fun of Thailand’s Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn during the June 22 episode of his HBO show…
While discussing Thailand’s draconian lèse majestè law, which punishes anyone mocking the royal family with three to 15 years in jail, Oliver showed a brief clip from leaked footage of a birthday party beside a swimming pool featuring the crown prince and his wife, who is shown topless. In the footage, the royal couple blow out candles on the birthday cake with their pet poodle Foo Foo, who holds the rank of air chief marshal in the Royal Thai Air Force. The crown prince’s wife is later seen lying on the floor at her husband’s feet, posing with a piece of cake.
“And you’re telling me they’re not supposed to make fun of that?” Oliver asked. “That’s entrapment!”

Ukraine | Gaza | Egypt | Libya–Korea

Pepe Escobar: Russia 1, Regime Changers 0 (Asia Times)

1. The Obama administration’s “strategic” gambit to subcontract the State Department’s “Khaganate of Nulands” to extricate Ukraine from the Russian sphere of influence – and ultimately annex it to NATO – by instrumentalizing a coalition of willing neo-nazis and fascists with a central bank veneer (prime minister “Yats”), is in utter shambles.
2. Moscow’s counterpunch was to prevent in Crimea – as intercepted by Russian intelligence – a planned replay of the putsch in Kiev. The referendum in Crimea – 85% of turnout, roughly 93% voting for re-joining Russia, according to exit polls – is a done deal, as much as the oh-so-democratic European Union (EU) keeps threatening to punish people in Crimea for exercising their basic democratic rights. (By the way, when the US got Kosovo to secede from Serbia, Serbians were offered no referendum).
3. The main rationale for the whole US “strategic” advance – to have their proxies, the regime changers in Kiev, cancel the agreement for the Russian naval base in Sevastopol – is up in smoke. Moscow remains present in the Black Sea and with full access to the Eastern Mediterranean.

Tens of Thousands March in Moscow Against Crimea Intervention (Common Dreams)

More than 50,000 people poured into the streets of Moscow Saturday to protest military intervention in the Crimea in the largest opposition march Russia has seen since 2012 protests against president Vladimir Putin.

Luke Harding, Shaun Walker: Crimea applies to be part of Russian Federation after vote to leave Ukraine (Guardian)
Heiko Khoo: Power and politics in Ukraine (China.org.cn)
Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Qin Gang’s Remarks on the Current Situation in Ukraine (Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China)

We respect the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine.

王义桅:乌克兰危机的四点启示(《人民日报海外版》)

乌克兰政局并没有随着苏联解体、乌克兰独立并交出世界第三大核武库而消停,恰恰相反,这些年来,乌克兰成为冷战最后的战场,甚至可能引发第二次冷战。乌克兰又倒向了西方,克里米亚地区则公投要重回俄罗斯。俄罗斯和西方地缘政治拉锯战进入最后阶段,带给我们诸多启示。

AFP: Russia isolated as China abstains in UN Security Council vote on Crimea (South China Morning Post)

Russia vetoed a Western-backed resolution condemning today’s referendum in Crimea at an emergency UN Security Council meeting yesterday but China abstained, isolating Moscow further on the Ukraine crisis.

Russia vetoes US-sponsored UN resolution declaring Crimea vote invalid (RT)
Wang Yiwei: Four lessons to be learned from the Ukraine crisis (People’s Daily)

Ukraine has become the final battlefield in the “cold war”, and it is becoming a possibility that the crisis will trigger a second “cold war”. The Crimean parliament’s declaration of independence from Ukraine ahead of the March 16 referendum indicates that Crimea may go ahead and join Russia.

Peter Lee: From Kiev to Beijing … and Taipei (Asia Times)

A certain amount of attention, and rightly so, has been paid to the discomfiture of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) with Crimea unilaterally declaring independence from Ukraine. The PRC abstained on the UN Security Council condemnation of the vote, instead of supporting Russia with a “nay”. The PRC possesses or covets several significant territories whose inhabitants, if given the opportunity, might eagerly defy the One China policy to announce, organize, and pass a referendum of independence: Tibet, Xinjiang, Hong Kong, Inner Mongolia, Macau, and Taiwan.

Eric Li: Nothing awkward about China’s position with regard to Ukraine (South China Morning Post)

Israeli occupation locking Gaza Strip (Press TV)

Life in Gaza has been difficult. Most people living in a serious situation. From 2006 the population in the Gaza strip has been living under constant blockade.
Everything has been affected… now we talk about electricity, which we can have only 6 hours per day. The only power plant in the Gaza strip has been shut down.

Israel calls for ‘full reoccupation’ of Gaza Strip (Press TV)

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman has called for the full reoccupation of the besieged Gaza Strip amid rising tensions in the region …
“Following an attack like this — a barrage of more than 50 rockets — there is no alternative to a full reoccupation of the entire Gaza Strip,” said the Israeli foreign minister.

AFP: Gaza’s Islamic Jihad says truce restored after Israel confrontation (Guardian)
AFP: Israeli troops shoot dead a Palestinian-Jordanian judge at border crossing (Guardian)

An Israeli army statement said “a Palestinian attempted to seize the weapon of a soldier at the Allenby Bridge crossing from Jordan”.
It continued: “In response the forces at the scene opened fire towards the suspect. A hit was identified.”

Israel ‘regrets’ killing Palestinian judge deemed ‘terrorist’ (RT)

Israel stated on Tuesday that it regretted the killing of a Palestinian judge working in Jordan who was gunned down by Israeli soldiers at a border crossing on Monday. Mere hours earlier, the Israeli military had branded him a ‘terrorist’.
“Israel regrets the death of Judge Raed Zeiter yesterday at the King Hussein (Allenby) bridge and expresses its sympathies to the people and government of Jordan,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said in a statement released on Tuesday.

Yahia Hamed: Egypt’s coup has plunged the country into catastrophe (Guardian)

Government employees have been in open revolt for weeks over the government’s failure to fulfil its promise for 6 million workers to have the minimum wage. Textile workers have been on strike, and in Cairo, public transport came to a complete halt recently when 38,000 bus drivers went on strike …
Undeterred, the government is now proceeding with the fire sale of Egypt’s once largest retail company, Omar Effendi, and thousands of its workers have been protesting, too. The public healthcare system has been virtually crippled by a doctors’ strike; they have now been joined by pharmacists, nurses and dentists. The regime’s response was to announce a “spectacular” discovery by one of their generals of a “cure” for HIV/Aids, hepatitis C and cancer – a bizarre attempt to gain popularity and distract attention from their own failures.

Chris Stephen: Navy Seals take over oil tanker seized by Libyan rebels (Guardian)

American Navy Seals have seized a North Korea-flagged tanker which had been loaded with crude oil at a rebel-held port in eastern Libya, the Pentagon said on Monday.
The operation to take control of the Morning Glory came a week after Libya failed to prevent the tanker from leaving the rebel-controlled eastern port of Es Sider loaded with an estimated $20m cargo, in a crisis that has brought the country to the brink of civil war…
The ship was operated by an Egypt-based company that was allowed to temporarily use the North Korean flag under a contract with Pyongyang, North Korean state news agency KCNA said on Wednesday.
Pyongyang had “cancelled and deleted” the ship’s North Korean registry, as it violated its law “on the registry of ships and the contract that prohibited it from transporting contraband cargo”.
“As such, the ship had nothing to do” with North Korea, which “has no responsibility whatsoever as regards the ship”, KCNA said.

Heiko Khoo: Theodor Bergmann: A revolutionary communist since 1927 (China.org.cn)

Palestine | Libya | Catalonia | Bangladesh | Kameroon

Michael Astor, Peter J. Spielmann: UN vote recognizes state of Palestine; US objects (AP/Google)

In an extraordinary lineup of international support, more than two-thirds of the world body’s 193 member states approved the resolution upgrading the Palestinians’ status from an observer to a nonmember observer state on Thursday. It passed 138-9, with 41 abstentions.

Ryan Craggs: Countries That Voted Against Palestine At UN Include United States, Israel And Canada (Huffington Post)

Just nine nations voted against the Palestinian Authority’s upgrade to nonvoting observer state status, which passed the General Assembly 138-9, with 41 abstentions.
Voting “no” Thursday were Israel, the United States and Canada, joined by the Czech Republic, Panama and several Pacific island nations: Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru and Palau.

Robert Fisk, Uri Avnery: One of Israel’s great leftist warriors wants peace with Hamas and Gaza – but does the Knesset? (Independent)
Reuters: Palestine envoy says Beijing backs U.N. entry (Townhall.com)
Barak Ravid: ישראל מחרימה 460 מיליון שקלים מכספי הרשות הפלסטינית Israel confiscates NIS 460 million in Palestinian Authority tax funds (Haaretz, ‘via DuckDuckGo and Google)
Amira Hass: אם אין מים, תשתו בננות P[alestinian] farmers hung out to dry while Israelis flourish in Jordan Valley (Haaretz, via DuckDuckGo and Google)
Seumas Milne: It’s Palestinians who have the right to defend themselves (Guardian)
Sergio Yahni: Cairo truce: sole path to independence is resistance (Alternative Information Centre)
Tom Segev: אלף כיבושים לא יכניעו את עזה (Haaretz) / Gaza without Gazans: History of an Israeli fantasy (Haaretz, via DuckDuckGo and Google News)
AFP Gaza office hit by Israeli strike, 3 Palestinian reporters killed in other attacks (RT)

Israel struck media offices in Gaza twice on Tuesday and killed three Palestinian journalists. The IDF claimed the buildings, which included an AFP bureau, were being used by Hamas to direct military operations, and were legitimate targets.
Two Israeli strikes have left three Palestinian journalists dead, with media buildings targeted by the IDF two days in a row. The AFP building was hit in another attack later on, with no casualties reported.

Dennis Bernstein, John Pilger: Israel’s Gaza Rampage: It’s Not Just War (CounterPunch)
Chris McGreal: ‘Israelis talk about fear, we Palestinians talk about death’ (Guardian)
Patrick O. Strickland: Blasting the Palestinians Back in Time (CounterPunch)
Gili Cohen: IDF arrests Hamas MP in West Bank (Haaretz)
Marlène Schnieper, Ilan Pappe: «Der jüdische Staat kann sich jeden Bruch mit dem Recht leisten» (Basler Zeitung)

Daniel Kovalik: Libya & Creative Destruction (CounterPunch)

Sirte suffered a catastrophe according to . . . many eyewitness descriptions of endless rows of buildings on fire, corpses of the executed lying on hospital lawns, mass graves, homes looted and burned by insurgents, apartment blocks flattened by NATO bombs. This is what ‘protecting civilians’ actually looks like, and it looks like crimes against humanity. Far from the romantic image of all of Libya having risen up against the ‘evil tyrant,’ this was one side of Libya destroying the other with the aid (to say the least) of foreign forces. …
Forte makes a strong case that the U.S. — despite some warming of relations with Gaddafi before the February, 2011 uprising — had continued to be frustrated with Gaddafi’s blocking of infrastructure projects for such U.S. companies as Bechtel and Caterpillar, instead granting these projects to Russian, Chinese and German concerns.

Samir Amin: An Arab Springtime? (Monthly Review)

Martin Roberts: Catalan separatists ‘fall short of majority’ in elections (Guardian)
Ralf Streck: Katalonien wählt radikale Unabhängigkeitsbefürworter (Telepolis)

Jason Burke, Saad Hammadi: Bangladesh textile factory fire leaves more than 100 dead (Guardian)

Augusta Conchiglia: Ghosts of Kamerun (New Left Review)

Shozab Raza, Parmbir Gill, Cornel West: “He’s had four years and proved himself to be a Wall Street President!” (CounterPunch)

Assange Ill, May Seek Safe Passage to Hospital (Novinite)

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.

Libya | Syria | Palestine/Israel

Libya: Rule of Law or Rule of Militias? (Amnesty International)
Patrick Cockburn: Can Libya’s New Leaders Curb the Violent Militias? (CounterPunch)

Radwan Mortada: Syria Alternatives (I): Man Cannot Live by Guns Alone (al-Akhbar)

Since the start of the Syrian uprising, influential groups have emerged on the ground which have been eclipsed in the media by the high-profile exile politicians who enjoy international backing.

Radwan Mortada: Syria Alternatives (II): No Homegrown Solutions (al-Akhbar)

Opposition leaders inside Syria are increasingly at odds with exile groups over the future course of the revolution and the need for a UN-mediated solution to stem the bloodshed.

Charlie Skelton: The Syrian opposition: who’s doing the talking? (Guardian)

This is a story about the storytellers: the spokespeople, the “experts on Syria”, the “democracy activists”. The statement makers. The people who “urge” and “warn” and “call for action”. It’s a tale about some of the most quoted members of the Syrian opposition and their connection to the Anglo-American opposition creation business.

Noam Sheizaf: Panel appointed by Netanyahu concludes: There is no occupation (+972)
Jonathan Cook: Is Israel preparing to annex most of West Bank? (Electronic Intifada)
Ilan Pappe: Israel coined the term “Nakba” and is still implementing it (Electronic Intifada)

The target of the new ethnic cleansing is, among others, the Bedouins of the Naqab. Next month, the Israeli authorities are going to begin to implement the Prawer plan for the dispossession of the Bedouins of the Naqab (…). Until it was finalized and authorized in September last year by the government, the Israeli strategy to dislocate the 70,000 Palestinians from the south of the country was through strangulation: denying them electricity, water, education and access to any elementary infrastructure. A policy that by itself, had it been committed anywhere else in the world would have been condemned as a crime against humanity. But it has failed so far and did not deter or break the spirit and steadfastness of the Bedouins. Hence the Prawer plan’s more active approach: it aims to destroy physically and by force the 35 villages in which these 70,000 people live. The early stages of this plan were already executed between last September and today: already 1,000 houses were demolished. The next stage would be far more comprehensive and deadly as a special police force has been established for its execution.

Amira Hass: Israel orders demolition of 8 Palestinian villages, claims need for IDF training land / ברק הורה להרוס 8 כפרים לצורך שטח אימונים לצה”ל (Haaretz)
Amira Hass: The anti-Semitism that goes unreported / זהירות, אנטישמיות (Haaretz)
Dimi Reider: Michael Sfard: Is Israel on the high road to fascism? (+972)

Syria | Bahrain | Germany | Lithuania | Palestine

Peter Lee: Is Syria Going Straight to Hell? (CounterPunch)
Marc Botenga: Double Standards Against Change in Bahrain: Interview with Maryam al-Khawaja (MRzine)
Pratyush Chanda: ‘Arab Spring is part of the General Strike of the South’: An Interview with Vijay Prashad (Radical Notes)
Victor Grossman: Some Good News, and Lots of Bad News, from Germany (MRzine)
Ofer Aderet: Lithuania reinstates event to honor Nazi collaborator (Haaretz)
Gili Cohen: Israeli settler shoots at Palestinians while IDF soldiers stand by / מתנחל ירה לעבר פלסטינים, כוח צה”ל שניצב ליד לא התערב (Haaretz)

Egypt | Britain | Goldman Sachs | Philippines | Breivik | Žižek | Palestine

Abdel-Rahman Hussein: Egyptian protesters killed in Cairo (Guardian)
Esam al-Amin: The Calculus of Egypt’s Presidential Race (CounterPunch)
Wilhelm Langthaler: Muslim Brotherhood to pay for their bloc with the army (Anti-Imperialist Camp)
Samir Amin: The movement has neither won nor lost in Egypt / The US imperial project is to destroy the Arab nations (NewsClick / YouTube); partial transcript: An Imperialist Springtime? Libya, Syria, and Beyond (MRzine)
Vijay Prashad: Washington Bets on the Gulf Royals (CounterPunch)

Maureen Clare Murphy: Mass hunger strike grows despite Israel’s best efforts to repress it (Electronic Intifada)
Harriet Sherwood: More Palestinian prisoners join hunger strike (Guardian)
Amira Hass: Ramallah is indifferent as 2,000 prisoners on hunger strike / 2,000 אסירים שובתים רעב, ברמאללה אדישים (Haaretz)
Amira Hass: For Israel, punishing Palestinians is not enough / כלא נפחא אשר בפינלנד (Haaretz)
Amira Hass: Israeli prison doctor fears for lives of four hunger-striking Palestinians / מאבק האסירים הפלסטינים || סכנה לחיי 4 משובתי הרעב (Haaretz)
Harriet Sherwood: Israel closes inquiry into Palestinian family killed during Gaza war (Guardian)
Amira Hass: IDF closes probe into Israeli air strike that killed 21 members of Gaza family / נסגר תיק החקירה נגד האחראים להרג 21 בני משפחה אחת ב”עופרת יצוקה” (Haaretz)

George Monbiot: Deny the British empire’s crimes? No, we ignore them (Guardian)

Ellen Brown: Goldman squid grabs Europe (Asia Times)

Manuel Mogato: Philippines, U.S. stage war games in face of China warning (Reuters)

Jeff Sparrow: Dealing with the Real Anders Breivik (CounterPunch)

Slavoj Žižek: The Revolt of the Salaried Bourgeoisie (London Review of Books)

Laura Flanders: Chatting With Chomsky (GRITtv); transcript: Talking With Chomsky (CounterPunch)

Syria | Bahrain | Gaza | Haiti | Greece | Libya | Fukushima

Afshin Mehrpouya: Six Ways the Media Has Misreported Syria (CounterPunch)

1. What do the majority of Syrians want?
2. Is the Syrian National Council (SNC) and the militarized insurgency representative of the Syrian opposition?
3. How many casualties and killed by whom?
4. Are the information sources unbiased and credible?
5. What are the interests of countries pushing for regime change and foreign intervention?
6. What are the “democratic credentials of the countries who want to take democracy to Syria?

John sent these links:
Andrew Hammond: Mass pro-democracy protest rocks Bahrain (Reuters)
Reem Khalifa: Bahrain protesters boost pressure with huge rally (Google)

Amy Goodman, : Ceasefire Reached After Israeli Air Strikes Killed 26 Palestinians in Gaza (Democracy Now)
Ali Abunimah: “Mowing the lawn”: On Israel’s latest massacre in Gaza and the lies behind it (Electronic Intifada)
Gideon Levy: The storm over Bamba and apathy concerning Gaza / בין סערת הבמבה לעזה (Haaretz)
Aluf Benn: Netanyahu is preparing Israeli public opinion for a war on Iran / בנימין נתניהו הוציא צו 8 לעצמו ולציבור (Haaretz)
As’ad AbuKhalil: Tolerable Savagery: Israeli Killing of Palestinians (Al-Akhbar)
Max Blumenthal: Israel’s bogus case for bombing Gaza obscures political motives (Al-Akhbar)
AFP: China urges Israel to halt Gaza assault (Al-Akhbar)

Jon Henley: Greece on the breadline: HIV and malaria make a comeback (Guardian)

Mark Weisbrot: America’s subversion of Haiti’s democracy continues (Guardian)

Vijay Prashad: NATO’S Craven Coverup of Its Libyan Bombing (CounterPunch)

Evan Osnos: The Fallout – Seven months later: Japan’s nuclear predicament (New Yorker)