Colombia | Egypt | Syria | Korea | “Fiscal Cliff”

Daniel Kovalik: The ICC and Colombia: Massacres Under the Looking Glass (CounterPunch)

Evan Hill, Ali Abdel Mohsen, Omar Halawa: Opposition forces gear towards a ‘no’ vote (Egypt Independent)
Esam al-Amin: Egypt’s Constitution, the Opposition, and the Dialogue of the Deaf (CounterPunch)
Alain Gresh: Gulf cools towards Muslim Brothers (Monde diplomatique)
Markus Bickel: Hamdin Sabbahi: „Der Geist der Revolution wird mit Füßen getreten“ (FAZ)

Paul Jay, Sami Ramadani: The Dangerous Global Consequences of a Syria Intervention (Tlaxcala)
Basel Dayoub: Syria: Religious Police Patrol Aleppo’s Countryside (al-Akhbar)

The Syrian opposition groups that have taken control of Aleppo’s countryside are deploying a religious police force to enforce new laws, such as barring women from driving and making prayer compulsory.

Bruce Cumings is a Korea specialist and one of the authors of Inventing the Axis of Evil: The Truth About North Korea, Iran, and Syria, a book we discussed a few years ago.
Park Hyun: Bruce Cumings says sanctions have failed, time for dialogue with North Korea (Hankoryeh)
Park Hyun: Bruce Cumings: Park likely to continue Lee administration’s NK policy (Hankoryeh)
And here’s an old, but interesting article by Cumings reviewing books on Korea by Bradley Martin and Jasper Becker, followed by a short exchange between Bruce Cumings and Roderick MacFarquhar:
Bruce Cumings: We look at it and see ourselves (London Review of Books)

Newk Mindshaftgab: The Fact-Free Fiscal Cliff Debate (CounterPunch)

The History of Budget Deficits and Economic Growth in Relation to Taxes and Unemployment

Historic ruling on Europe’s role in CIA renditions (Amnesty International)

On 31 December 2003, the Macedonian authorities arrested El-Masri, who is [a German citizen] of Lebanese descent, after he entered Macedonia from Serbia.
They held him incommunicado, subjecting him to enforced disappearance, repeated interrogations and to ill-treatment, until 23 January 2004 when they handed him over to Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) agents.
As part of the covert, US-led rendition and secret detention programme, the CIA transferred El-Masri to a secret detention facility in Afghanistan.
There he was held unlawfully in secret, not charged with any crime and his detention was not subject to judicial review. He did not have access to a lawyer. His whereabouts were not acknowledged and he was held incommunicado. As a result he was subjected to enforced disappearance for over four months. While in Afghanistan, he was subjected to torture and other ill-treatment.
On 28 May 2004, El-Masri was put on a plane and flown to Albania where he was released.

Ian Cobain: MoD pays out millions to Iraqi torture victims (Guardian)

The [British] Ministry of Defence has paid out £14m in compensation and costs to hundreds of Iraqis who complained that they were illegally detained and tortured by British forces during the five-year occupation of the south-east of the country.

Joshua Brollier: The Struggle for Land Rights Near the Gaza Border (MRzine)

Israeli Occupation Forces shot and wounded an unarmed 22-year-old farmer, Mohammed Qdeih, from behind. … Under the siege, Israeli “closed military zones” have confiscated up to 35 percent of Gaza’s arable land, which was previously used for fruit and olive orchards, wheat, and various vegetables. With nearly half of Gaza’s population designated as “food insecure” by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and the farming industry having been crippled from the inability to export products under the Israeli blockade, this land is essential for the livelihoods of thousands of farmers and residents of Gaza.

Eva Bartlett: Gaza fisherman jailed for serving Hamas coffee (Electronic Intifada)

Shortly after Israel and Hamas signed a ceasefire agreement on 21 November, the Israeli navy abducted thirty Palestinian fishermen from Gaza’s waters, destroyed and sank a Palestinian fishing vessel, and confiscated nine fishing boats in the space of four days.

Ali Abunimah: Israeli embassy’s Christmas message of hate: Bethlehem Palestinians would “lynch” Jesus and Mary as “Jews” (Electronic Intifada)

The offensiveness of the message needs no further elaboration, but Palestinian Christians in Bethlehem will find it particularly galling given that it is Israel, with its wall surrounding their city, and other violent manifestations of the occupation, which has done most to strangle the home of the Nativity. … For several years, Shimon Gapso, the notoriously racist mayor of the Israeli settlement of “Upper Nazareth” in the Galilee, has banned Christmas trees, calling them a provocation. …
This is not the first time the Israeli embassy in Dublin has been responsible for messages that are even more unhinged than typical Israeli government propaganda. In June, Nurit Tinari-Modai, the deputy ambassador, made headlines when she proposed a plan to personally smear Palestine solidarity activists – especially Israelis – to “humiliate and shame them” as suffering from psychological and sexual problems.

Death surge linked with mass privatisation (Oxford University)

As many as one million working-age men died due to the economic shock of mass privatisation policies followed by post-communist countries in the 1990s, according to a new study published in The Lancet … During the 1990s, former communist countries underwent the world’s worst peacetime mortality crisis in the past 50 years – with over three million avoidable deaths and 10 million ‘missing’ men, according to the United Nations.