France | Syria | Myanmar

Mehdi Hasan: Marine Le Pen is what happens when you try to meet racism in the middle (Intercept)

The rise of Marine Le Pen in France is due to the failure of mainstream political parties to confront the racism of the National Front. Instead, they tried to co-opt it…
The conventional wisdom says that mainstream French politicians allowed the far right to win votes by letting them monopolize the issue of immigration. The reverse is, in fact, the case: Over the past four decades, both the center-right Republicans and center-left Socialists went out of their way to try and co-opt the xenophobic rhetoric and policies of the Le Pens, which only emboldened — and normalized — both father and daughter.

Patrick Wintour: Russian and western dispute over Syria chemical attack further muddies truth (Guardian)

An increasingly bitter dispute between Russia and the west over an inquiry into the recent chemical weapons attack that killed about 80 people in Syria has revealed the extent to which the two sides are unable to agree on basic facts – or even agree a process to ascertain the truth.
The row has also brought into questions of future international support for the Organisation for Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, the internationally respected multilateral body responsible for overseeing control of chemical weapons…
At the meeting in the Hague the OPCW executive rejected a Russian-led plan for an OPCW investigation to be restarted, prompting Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov to claim that the west was not interested in the truth of the incident – only in finding excuses to oust President Bashar al-Assad from power…
Lavrov again called for the OPCW to send its experts to Khan Sheikhoun and the Shayrat airfield to look into the alleged chemical incident.
The Russian move was rejected by 21 to 6 with 13 abstentions, …

Rick Sterling: How Media Bias Fuels Syrian Escalation (Consortium News)

The mainstream U.S. media now reports as “flat-fact” the Syrian government’s guilt in the April 4 chemical weapons incident, but the real facts are less clear and some point in the opposite direction.

Robert Parry: Did Al Qaeda Fool the White House Again? (Consortium News)

Despite evidence that Al Qaeda and its allies have staged fake chemical attacks in Syria before, Official Washington asserts with “high confidence” that it’s not being fooled again…
In Official Washington, words rarely mean what they say. For instance, if a U.S. government official voices “high confidence” in a supposed “intelligence assessment,” that usually means “we don’t have any real evidence, but we figure that if we say ‘high confidence’ enough then no one will dare challenge us.”

Philip Giraldi says IC-Military Doubt Assad Gas Narrative (Scott Horton)

Philip Giraldi, former CIA officer and Director of the Council for the National Interest, says that “military and intelligence personnel,” “intimately familiar” with the intelligence, say that the narrative that Assad or Russia did it is a “sham,” instead endorsing the Russian narrative that Assad’s forces had bombed a storage facility. Giraldi’s intelligence sources are “astonished” about the government and media narrative and are considering going public out of concern over the danger of worse war there. Giraldi also observes that the Assad regime had no motive to do such a thing at this time.

Theodore A. Postol: Assessment of White House Intelligence Report About Nerve Agent Attack in Khan Shaykhun, Syria (Global Research)

The only undisputable facts stated in the White House report is the claim that a chemical attack using nerve agent occurred in Khan Shaykhun, Syria on that morning. Although the White House statement repeats this point in many places within its report, the report contains absolutely no evidence that this attack was the result of a munition being dropped from an aircraft. In fact, the report contains absolutely no evidence that would indicate who was the perpetrator of this atrocity…
The data cited by the White House is more consistent with the possibility that the munition was placed on the ground rather than dropped from a plane.

Theodore A. Postol: With Error Fixed, Evidence Against ‘Sarin Attack’ Remains Convincing (Truthdig)
James Carden: The Chemical-Weapons Attack In Syria: Is There a Place for Skepticism? (Nation)

The American media has excluded dissenting expert opinions in its rush to embrace Trump’s war on Syria…
Former British ambassador to Syria Peter Ford told the BBC last week that he seriously doubted that Assad was the culprit. “Assad,” said Ford, “may be cruel, brutal but he’s not mad. It defies belief that he would bring this all on his head for no military advantage.” Ford said he believes the accusations against Syria are “simply not plausible.”
On April 11, the White House released a declassified four-page report meant to prove its case against Assad and serve as a belated justification for the Tomahawk attack on Syria’s Shayrat air base.
The report, which was authored not by US intelligence agencies but by the White House under the supervision of national-security adviser H.R. McMaster, says that “The United States is confident that the Syrian regime conducted a chemical weapons attack, using the nerve agent sarin, against its own people in the town of Khan Shaykhun in southern Idlib Province on April 4, 2017.”…
Yet the administration’s report has come under withering scrutiny from Dr. Theodore Postol, a professor emeritus of science, technology, and national-security policy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who once served as a scientific adviser to the chief of naval operations at the Pentagon…
The Nation spoke to Postol over the weekend.
“What I think is now crystal clear,” he said, “is that the White House report was fabricated and it certainly did not follow the procedures it claimed to employ.”

False Flag Attack: Ex-CIA Officer Unravels Idlib Chemical Incident (Sputnik)

While US Defense Secretary James Mattis is pushing ahead with the claim that the Assad government still has chemical weapons, former CIA officer Robert David Steele told Radio Sputnik that the claim bears no relation to reality and added that evidence mounts that the Idlib incident was a false flag operation.

Patrick Martin: US claims of Syria nerve gas attack: The anatomy of a lie (World Socialist Web Site)

The claims by the US government that the Syrian government carried out a chemical weapons attack on the town of Khan Sheikhun, in southern Idlib province on April 4, have been backed by a week of nonstop media propaganda, as well as uncritical support, across the official political spectrum, for the missile strike ordered by President Trump against a Syrian base.
The charges against the Syrian government are absurd and unbelievable. The campaign mounted by the Trump administration, the intelligence agencies, the Pentagon and the Democratic Party demonstrates complete contempt for the intelligence of the people, and a belief that they can lie with impunity, because nothing they say will be challenged by the servile American media.

Mehdi Hasan: Burmese Nobel Prize Winner Aung San Suu Kyi Has Turned Into an Apologist for Genocide Against Muslims (Intercept)

For the past year, Aung San Suu Kyi has been State Counselor, or de facto head of government, in Myanmar, where members of the Rohingya Muslim minority in the northern Rakhine state have been shot, stabbed, starved, robbed, raped and driven from their homes in the hundreds of thousands. In December, while the world focused on the fall of Aleppo, more than a dozen Nobel Laureates published an open letter warning of a tragedy in Rakhine “amounting to ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity.”…
And the response of Aung San Suu Kyi? This once-proud campaigner against wartime rape and human rights abuses by the Burmese military has opted to borrow from the Donald Trump playbook of denial and deflection. Her office accused Rohingya women of fabricating stories of sexual violence and put the words “fake rape” — in the form of a banner headline, no less — on its official website. A spokesperson for the Foreign Ministry — also controlled directly by Aung San Suu Kyi — dismissed “made-up stories, blown out of proportion.” In February, the State Counselor herself reportedly told the Archbishop of Yangon, Charles Bo, that the international community is exaggerating the Rohingya issue.

Myanmar | USA | Israel/Palestine

Saturn devours his young: President Trump (Salvage)

How could it possibly be?
Donald Trump, who exchanged the racist dog-whistle for a howling at the moon. Donald Trump, who waxed ‘braggadocious’ about sexual assault. Donald Trump, who exhorted his supporters to violence, wished it on his rivals, and openly threatened war crimes.
The maven of alt-right trolls, the doyen of racist mediocrities, the gold-plated capitalist mountebank, the artist of the deal whose relationship to the truth is summed up in his catchphrase, ‘give them the old Trump bullshit,’ will be the 45th President of the United States…
In her own strategising, in short, if Hillary Clinton mastered anything in this election, it was the old Third Way technique of demoralising her voters. Beginning in the primary contest, she managed expectations down to close to zero, scolding Sanders supporters that universal healthcare was ‘never going to happen’. She barely even had the grace to be red-faced about her convivial relationship with Goldman Sachs and Wall Street. Far from embarrassed, she was proud of her plaudits from Henry Kissinger, Laura Bush and Dick Cheney. Meanwhile, her team noised it abroad that she would be looking to privatise social security, and to re-arm liberal imperialism after Obama’s ‘Realist’ detour…
For the collapsing of the order of the centre – the very order that birthed Trump, the system of which he is not pathology but symptom, essence and excrescence combined – we shed no tears. But it is our worst enemies who are building in its rubble, faster and more effectively than are we. In 2017, we can expect major fascist advances. We can expect a Le Pen presidency of France. This is an epochal shift, and threat.

Paul Street: Beyond Anti-Trump (CounterPunch)

[D]reary corporate-Democratic presidents like Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, and Obama are no small part of the explanation for the ever more right-wing Republican presidencies of the long neoliberal era. Their serial populism-manipulating betrayals of the working-class majority in service to the wealthy Few open the door for Republicans to sweep in and take over for a term or two (2001-2009) or three (1981-1993)…
We must not let Trump become a great red cape in the hands of the ruling class matadors. We charge screaming “Down with Trump” while the owners plunge their weapons into our passing hides…
One of the drawbacks of having Democrats Obama in the White House is the way they put so many folks to sleep on terrible policies and actions people would resist if only they were being carried out by Republican presidents. It’s amazing how many liberals and progressives find things like drone war and Wall Street bailouts and mass deportations strangely acceptable when conducted by supposedly liberal and sophisticated Democrats like Barack Obama.

Vijay Prashad: The Trump Team (Frontline)

Money and the military define the Cabinet of Donald Trump’s presidency. For a man who ran to help the “forgotten Americans”, there are few “forgotten” people in his team. Most of the Cabinet appointees have experiences far from the crises that wrack (sic) rural and industrial America…
in his farewell speech, Eisenhower bemoaned the increased power of the military and of military industry over the U.S. government. He called this the “military-industrial complex”, which was the “conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry”. “The total influence—economic, political, even spiritual—is felt in every city, every State house, every office of the federal government,” the old military hero said plaintively. “The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.” Matters are graver now. The military-industrial complex is larger and more firmly rooted in the economy, politics and the culture of the country…
In this context, Trump has chosen three generals to be in his Cabinet, giving all the major departments in charge of security to men of the armed forces… It appears as if Trump is not assembling a Cabinet so much as a junta…
Trump’s campaign rhetoric was plainly oppositional. It sparked a sense that this billionaire had heard the pain of the “forgotten American”. Trump suggested that he would use his business savvy to bring back work for Americans and to turn around a sagging U.S. economy. To help him, Trump has turned to the business class. Amongst his major picks are some of the richest people in the U.S. The total net worth of the first half of Trump’s Cabinet is over $14.5 billion—30 times more than the net worth of the men and women in George W. Bush’s Cabinet. In other words, half of Trump’s Cabinet is worth 30 times the entirety of Bush’s Cabinet. Plutocracy, not democracy, is the order of the day.

Norman Solomon: The Democratic Party Line That Could Torch Civil Liberties… and Maybe Help Blow Up the World (CounterPunch)

Many top Democrats are stoking a political firestorm. We keep hearing that Russia attacked democracy by hacking into Democratic officials’ emails and undermining Hillary Clinton’s campaign. Instead of candidly assessing key factors such as longtime fealty to Wall Street that made it impossible for her to ride a populist wave, the party line has increasingly circled around blaming Vladimir Putin for her defeat.

Gareth Porter: Behind the real US strategic blunder in Syria (Middle East Eye)

President Barack Obama has long been under fire from the US national security elite and the media for failing to intervene aggressively against the Assad regime.
But the real strategic blunder was not that Barack Obama didn’t launch yet another war in Syria, but that he decided to go along with the ambitions of America’s Sunni allies to create and arm a Syrian opposition army to overthrow the regime in the first place.

Alan Nasser: The New (Cold?) War With China (CounterPunch)

Washington has recently initiated major war games in the neighborhoods and on the borders of Russia and China, the most intense martial exercises since the end of the Second World War. The old Cold War ante has been upped, and the danger of military confrontation between Washington and Russia and/or China looms large.

Poppy McPherson: ‘It will blow up’: fears Myanmar’s deadly crackdown on Muslims will spiral out of control (Guardian)

The authorities consider Rohingya to be illegal immigrants from Bangladesh, although many trace their heritage in Myanmar for generations. State media says they fabricated the rape allegations and burned down their own homes…
A recent report by Physicians for Human Rights documented how restrictions on movement, land confiscation, pervasive surveillance and extortion in northern Rakhine since the 2012 clashes had left some 120,000 displaced.

Oliver Holmes: Nobel laureates warn Aung San Suu Kyi over ‘ethnic cleansing’ of Rohingya (Guardian)

More than a dozen fellow Nobel laureates have criticised Aung San Suu Kyi, Myanmar’s de facto leader, for a bloody military crackdown on minority Rohingya people, warning of a tragedy “amounting to ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity”.

Ramzy Baroud: Palestine 2017: Time to Bid Farewell to Washington and Embrace the Globe (CounterPunch)

There is no doubt that the UN Security Council condemnation of Israel on Friday, December 23, was an important and noteworthy event.
True, the United Nations’ main chambers (the Security Council and the General Assembly) and its various institutions, ranging from the International Court of Justice to the UN cultural agency, UNESCO, have repeatedly condemned the Israeli occupation, illegal Jewish settlements and mistreatment of Palestinians.
In fact, unlike the December 23 resolution 2334, the past UN condemnations were far stronger – for some resolutions did not just demand an immediate halt of illegal Jewish settlement construction, but the removal of existing settlements as well…
[W]hat makes this particular resolution important?
First, the US neither vetoed the resolution nor threatened to use its veto power; nor did it even seriously lobby, as it often does to soften the wording in advance.
Second, it is the first decisive and clear condemnation of Israel by the UN Security Council in nearly eight years – almost the entirety of President Barack Obama’s terms in office.
Third, the vote took place despite extraordinary Israeli pressure on the current US administration, on the forthcoming administration of Donald Trump and successful pressure on Egyptian President, Abdul Fatah al-Sisi. Indeed, Egypt delayed the vote, which was scheduled a day earlier, before New Zealand, Senegal, Malaysia and Venezuela stepped up and put the resolution to a vote, a day later…
The outcome of the vote was quite telling: 14 Security Council members voted ‘yes’, while the US abstained. The vote was followed by a rare sight at such meetings, a sustained applause, where countries that hardly agree on much, agreed full-heartedly on the justness of Palestinian aspirations and the rejection of Israeli practices…

EU imports 15 times more from illegal Israeli settlements than from Palestinians (Defend Democracy Press)

The European Union imports fifteen times more from Israel’s illegal settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory than from Palestinians themselves, a new report from a coalition of 22 non-governmental organisations including Caabu, Christian Aid UK and Ireland, the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and Diakonia revealed today.

Brexit | Colombia | NATO | Myanmar

EU referendum: full results and analysis (Guardian)

Britain has voted by a substantial margin to leave the European Union. The picture that is emerging is of a heavily polarised country, with remain areas coming in more strongly for remain than expected, and leave areas more strongly for leave. Geographically, Scotland and London have voted overwhelmingly for remain, but outside the capital, every English region had a majority for leave.

Here’s an article by a Chinese friend who is studying in Britain right now:
风雨飘摇中的英国工党和左派(澎湃)
More on Brexit:
Joseph Richardson: The Left and the EU: Why Cling to This Reactionary Institution? (CounterPunch)

Why is it that many people who consider themselves left-wing have such difficulty grasping that the EU is a deeply reactionary institution? The mere fact that those running the EU present it as an internationalist venture dedicated to the creation of a world free of nationalist enmities does not make it so. If we want to examine the EU in its proper light, then we should ignore the high-flown rhetoric in which its supporters indulge, and consider its actual record. And what is the record of the EU, once we penetrate the obfuscatory rhetoric about ‘internationalism’ that surrounds EU policy? Without a doubt, that record is one that should cause those on the left now defending it acute embarrassment, as it starkly contradicts the ideals that the left has always claimed to uphold.

John King: The left wing case for leaving the EU (New Statesman)
John Mann: Now it’s time for Labour to listen to its voters (Guardian)

Traditional Labour supporters voted to leave the EU and create a fairer workplace. My party must not only listen, but take action to protect their rights.
The EU referendum has exposed the major schism between Labour and its core voters. The Labour party in Westminster struggled to reflect the language and aspirations of our traditional working-class communities. These Labour voters, aware of the long-term neglect of their voice and their aspirations, decided the result of the referendum. It should be no surprise to anyone that they chose to comfortably ignore the Labour call to vote remain.

Diane Abbott: The dispossessed voted for Brexit. Jeremy Corbyn offers real change (Guardian)
Martin Kettle: Jeremy Corbyn will struggle to hold his line over Europe (Guardian)
Giles Fraser: Brexit brought democracy back – now we need to start listening to each other (Guardian)

The wonderful thing about democracy is that it doesn’t give some an extra voting power if they are rich or well-educated. It’s the great leveller. Invented in this country by the Levellers. And things have now been levelled.
The biggest failure in all this has been the Labour party, often little more than a bystander in so vital a debate. If only Jeremy Corbyn had stuck with his natural instincts and led the leave campaign. He could now be the prime minister in waiting. And he could have shaped the debate away from immigrant blaming. Indeed, many of those who voted out were natural Labour supporters, but their anger has been dismissed as bigoted by those for whom some pop-up chai latte liberal individualism has replaced socialism as the dominant creed.
Tragically, Ukip has been the beneficiaries of this neglect, hijacking legitimate frustration and redirecting it towards the easy target of the outsider. With this referendum the gap between the present Labour party and its base has been exposed.

Brexit Vote Spells Political Crisis in Scotland and UK (Scottish Socialist Party)

Commenting on the Brexit vote SSP National Spokesperson Colin Fox said: “This result first and foremost represents an unprecedented rejection of the anti-democratic, neo-liberal EU by one of its most significant and powerful constituent nations.

An anti-racist, anti-austerity and socialist case to vote Leave (Socialist Worker)
Charlie Hore: Seeing the whole picture after the referendum (Socialist Worker)
Joseph Choonara: After the leave vote: we can beat back racism and austerity (Socialist Review)
Neil Davidson: The Socialist Case for Leave (Jacobin)

The European Union provides internationalism for the bosses, not for workers. We should join the vote to leave it tomorrow.

Ed Rooksby: The Left After Leave (Jacobin)
Jonathan Cook: Your EU vote is crucial because it won’t count

Here is a prediction about the outcome of today’s UK referendum on leaving the European Union. Even in the unlikely event that the remain camp loses, the UK will still not Brexit. Europe’s neoliberal elite will not agree to release its grip on a major western nation. A solution will be found to keep the UK in the union, whatever British voters decide. Which is one very good reason to vote Brexit, as I’ll explain in a minute.

Supporters of the EU sneer “Little Englander” at those with a different opinion, but most of the arguments against membership are left-leaning and liberal.

One solution, of course, is to vote again and again, until the desired result is obtained:
James Tapper: Petition to hold second EU referendum reaches 2m signatures (Guardian)
Peter Rásonyi: Zeit für Reflexion und Demut (Neue Zürcher Zeitung)

Was jahrzehntelang undenkbar schien, ist Tatsache geworden. Grossbritannien, die einstige Weltmacht, das drittgrösste Mitgliedsland, die zweitgrösste Volkswirtschaft, verlässt die Europäische Union.

Julie Hyland: In right-wing putsch, UK Labour MPs deliver overwhelming anti-Corbyn vote (World Socialist Website)

Fully 81 percent of the parliamentary Labour Party (PLP) supported Tuesday’s motion of no-confidence in leader Jeremy Corbyn. Just 40 Labour MPs voted against the motion, with 172 in favour. Thirteen did not vote at all and there were four spoilt ballots.
The extraordinary scale of the right-wing coup, which had already seen Corbyn lose most of his shadow cabinet in a series of timed resignations, was intended to force the Labour leader to resign. But in a statement put out moments after the result, Corbyn said that he had been elected “by 60 percent of Labour members and supporters” only last September, and “I will not betray them by resigning.”
The no-confidence motion, he said, has “no constitutional legitimacy.”

Andrew Griffin: Jeremy Corbyn supporters to march on parliament to demand that Labour leader keeps job (Independent)
Labour resignations a ‘disgusting, organised coup’, says Alex Salmond (Herold)

Sibylla Brodzinsky, Jonathan Watts: Colombia and Farc rebels sign historic ceasefire deal to end 50-year conflict (Guardian)

The Colombian government and Farc guerrillas have declared the final day of one of the world’s oldest wars with the signing of a ceasefire agreement to end more than 50 years of bloodshed.

German minister warns Nato against ‘warmongering’ (BBC)

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier has warned Nato against “warmongering”, after it conducted military exercises in Eastern Europe.
Mr Steinmeier said that extensive Nato manoeuvres launched this month were counterproductive to regional security and could inflame tensions with Russia.
He urged the Nato military alliance to replace the exercises with more dialogue and co-operation with Russia.
Nato has carried out a 10-day exercise simulating a Russian attack on Poland.
The drill, which ended on Friday, involved about 31,000 troops, as well as fighter jets, ships and 3,000 vehicles.

Jennifer Rankin: Eastern Europe needs permanent Nato troops, say ex-US policymakers (Guardian)

Nato troops should be stationed permanently in eastern Europe to guard against potential aggressive moves by Russia, two former US policymakers have said in a report that could raise tensions with Moscow.
Just weeks ahead of a Nato summit in Warsaw, Nicholas Burns, a former US ambassador to the organisation, and Gen James Jones, a former supreme allied commander for Europe, have called for permanent air, sea and ground troops to be based in the Baltic States, Poland, Romania and Bulgaria…
Any such move would be bound to be seen by the Kremlin as a hostile act. Moscow argues that the plan to set up rotating battalions in Poland and the Baltic States would violate a 1997 agreement that Nato would not mass “substantial combat forces” in Europe.

Reuters: Aung San Suu Kyi tells UN that the term ‘Rohingya’ will be avoided (Guardian)

Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi has told the UN special rapporteur on human rights that the government will avoid using the term “Rohingya” to describe a persecuted Muslim minority in the country’s north-west.
The statement came as the top UN human rights official issued a report saying the Rohingya had been deprived of nationality and undergone systematic discrimination and severe restrictions on movements. They had also suffered executions and torture that together may amount to crimes against humanity, the report said…
Feted in the west for her role as champion of Myanmar’s democratic opposition during long years of military rule and house arrest, Suu Kyi has been criticised overseas, and by some in Myanmar, for saying little about the abuses faced by the Rohingya…
Some 120,000 Rohingya remain displaced in squalid camps since fighting erupted in Rakhine State between Buddhists and Muslims in 2012. Thousands have fled persecution and poverty.

Julian Vigo: Disenfranchisement Laws, Race and the U.S. Presidential Election (CounterPunch)

5.8 million Americans cannot vote because of felony conviction. One out of every thirteen African Americans has lost their voting rights due to felony disenfranchisement laws. Compare this with one in every forty-five non-black voters and it is clear that something is amiss with the US electoral process. The 2000 presidential elections gave Republican nominee, George W. Bush, a narrow win over the Democratic, nominee, Al Gore, where the margin of Bush’s victory in this state were fewer than 1,000 votes. It is widely viewed that had disenfranchisement laws not been in vigour in Florida which prohibited as many as 620,000 citizens from voting, history would have decided a different US president.

David Palumbo-Liu: The UN’s damning report on Israel and torture: The desperate case of Palestinian youth in the occupied territory (Salon)

Just recently, Israel was elected to chair one of the United Nations’ permanent committees — the Sixth Committee, called the “Legal Committee.” It oversees issues related to international law, including human rights issues and issues of decolonization. Israel’s ambassador to the UN, Danny Danon remarked, “I am proud to be the first Israeli elected to this position… Israel is a world leader in international law and in fighting terrorism…We are pleased to have the opportunity to share our knowledge with the countries of the world.” This presents a case of overwhelming contradiction, as Israel itself has been sharply and persistently criticized for violations of human rights and its continued colonial project in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.
In May 2011, Danon wrote an op-ed published in The New York Times where he advocated that Israel annex all West Bank settlements and “uninhabited areas.”

Amira Hass: Palestinian City Parched After Israel Cuts Water Supply (Haaretz, also via Google News)

Chickens and gardens in Salfit die of dehydration, and factories are shut down in an effort to conserve water; ‘We woke up one morning to an empty reservoir,’ the mayor says. ‘Had we known ahead of time that the water would be cut off, we would have stocked up.’

Amira Hass: Israel Admits Cutting West Bank Water Supply, but Blames Palestinian Authority (Haaretz)

Since the start of this month, tens of thousands of Palestinians have been suffering the harsh effects of a drastic cut in the water supplied them by Israel’s Mekorot water company.
In the Salfit region of the West Bank and in three villages east of Nablus, homes have had no running water for more than two weeks. Factories there have been shut down, gardens and plant nurseries have been ruined and animals have died of thirst or been sold to farmers outside the affected areas.

Amira Hass: Israel Incapable of Telling Truth About Water It Steals From Palestinians (Haaretz, also via Google News)
Nir Hasson: Four Out of Five East Jerusalemites Live in Poverty, a Sharp Rise Over Past Years (Haaretz, also via Google News)

Eighty-two percent of East Jerusalem residents lived under the poverty line in 2014, a sharp increase from previous years, according to the Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies.
In comparison, the poverty rate for Israel as a whole is 22 percent, the rate for Jerusalem as a whole is 48 percent. In 2013, the poverty rate recorded in East Jerusalem was 76 percent, JIIS said.

Yuval Eylon: An Israeli-Palestinian confederation? Not so fast (+972 Mag)

A new initiative seeks to find a new, creative way to solve the conflict. The only problem? It forgets about equality…
Two States One Homeland proposes a confederation based on 1967 borders, freedom of movement, and joint institutions. The settlements will remain under Palestinian sovereignty, the settlers will be able to keep Israeli citizenship, and a similar number of citizens of Palestine will be able to live as residents in Israel…
On paper it seems like a fair exchange. However with hundreds of thousands of Israeli citizens in sovereign Palestinian territory, the Palestinian state will inevitably lack all sovereignty. The disparities in power ensure that Palestinian sovereignty will remain a formality, while actual sovereignty will remain in the hands of Israeli settlers. On the other hand the State of Israel will gain hundreds of thousands of laborers who lack both citizenship or even the very ability to become citizens of Israel.

James North, Philip Weiss: Front-page article in ‘NYT’ exposes the lie that wall is a security barrier (MondoWeiss)

The New York Times today has a top-of-the-front-page article about tens of thousands of Palestinians managing to get over or through “what Israelis call the security barrier” to work without papers inside Israel…
On the one hand, the article by James Glanz and Rami Nazzal, marks real progress: the Times is showing that the wall is not really a security barrier — 55,000 Palestinians legally pass through it and 30-60,000 illegally. If Palestinians really want to kill Israelis, the wall is no obstacle at all.
The industry offers economic benefits for everyone involved: Palestinian workers earn double or quadruple the wages they can in the West Bank; Israeli contractors and restaurant owners pay less for illegal labor than for Palestinians with permits…
The article makes clear that only the tiniest fraction of those who come in to Israel come in to attack; 99.9999 percent come to work. Thus the article exposes the lie that the wall has stopped attacks on Israelis. There are no attacks because Palestinians are choosing by and large not to resort to violence to counter the occupation. And the two societies are interdependent.
So why the wall?
That’s the big flaw in the article. It doesn’t address the political purposes of the wall: to grab as much Palestinian land with maximum Jews on it.

James Glanz, Rami Nazzal: Smugglers in West Bank Open Doors to Jobs in Israel, and Violence (New York Times)

Brazil | Austria | Greece | Myanmar | Poland | Israel

Glenn Greenwald: Brazil’s Democracy to Suffer Grievous Blow as Unelectable, Corrupt Neoliberal Is Installed. (Intercept)

In 2002, Brazil’s left-of-center Workers’ Party (PT) ascended to the presidency when Lula da Silva won in a landslide over the candidate of the center-right PSDB party (throughout 2002, “markets” were indignant at the mere prospect of PT’s victory). The PT remained in power when Lula, in 2006, was re-elected in another landslide against a different PSDB candidate. PT’s enemies thought they had their chance to get rid of PT in 2010, when Lula was barred by term limits from running again, but their hopes were crushed when Lula’s handpicked successor, the previously unknown Dilma Rousseff, won by 12 points over the same PSDB candidate who lost to Lula in 2002. In 2014, PT’s enemies poured huge amounts of money and resources into defeating her, believing that she was vulnerable and they had finally found a star PSDB candidate, but they lost again, this time narrowly, as Dilma was re-elected with 54 million votes.
In sum, PT has won four straight national elections — the last one occurring just 18 months ago. Its opponents have vigorously tried — and failed — to defeat it at the ballot box, largely due to PT’s support among Brazil’s poor and working classes.

Glenn Greenwald, Andrew Fishman, David Miranda: New Political Earthquake in Brazil: Is It Now Time for Media Outlets to Call This a “Coup”? (Intercept)

Brazil today awoke to stunning news of secret, genuinely shocking conversations involving a key minister in Brazil’s newly installed government, which shine a bright light on the actual motives and participants driving the impeachment of the country’s democratically elected president, Dilma Rousseff. The transcripts were published by the country’s largest newspaper, Folha de São Paulo, and reveal secret conversations that took place in March, just weeks before the impeachment vote in the lower house was held. They show explicit plotting between the new planning minister (then-senator), Romero Jucá, and former oil executive Sergio Machado — both of whom are formal targets of the “Car Wash” corruption investigation — as they agree that removing Dilma is the only means for ending the corruption investigation. The conversations also include discussions of the important role played in Dilma’s removal by the most powerful national institutions, including — most importantly — Brazil’s military leaders.

Jonathan Watts: Brazil minister ousted after secret tape reveals plot to topple President Rousseff (Guardian)

Planning minister Romero Jucá was recorded saying ‘We have to change the government’ as the only means to stop a sweeping corruption investigation

Rubens Valente: Em diálogos gravados, Jucá fala em pacto para deter avanço da Lava Jato (Folha de S. Paolo)
Temer é recebido no Senado com vaias e gritos de “golpista” (Vermelho)

Kate Connolly, Jon Henley: Far-right candidate narrowly defeated in Austrian presidential election (Guardian)

A leftwing independent candidate has narrowly prevented Austria from becoming the first EU country to elect a far-right head of state, squeaking home by a tiny margin as the country’s new president after a knife-edge contest ended with his opponent conceding defeat.
Alexander Van der Bellen, a 72-year-old retired economics professor backed by the Austrian Green party, defeated his far-right opponent Norbert Hofer only after 700,000 postal ballots – about 10% of the available votes – were taken into account.

Simon Tisdall: Far right surge in Austria signals end of centrist politics-as-usual (Guardian)

If ostracism is not on the cards then outright opposition or direct engagement seem to be the remaining alternatives

Sharmini Peries, Michael Hudson: The Financial Invasion of Greece (Real News Network)

IMF’s concern about Greek debt is bogus, this is full scale financial war, forcing Greece give up ports, pensions, properties and much more

Stavros Mavroudeas: Blatant Hypocrisy: the Latest Late-Night Bailout of Greece (CounterpUnch)

The new late night deal in the Eurogroup on the new bailout for Greece is another blatant hypocrisy by the dominant European Union powers, their partner-cum-competitor IMF (aka the US) and the Greek establishment (now represented by the SYRIZA government).
The new deal is an uneasy compromise subject to a continuing tug-of-war between the US (through its proxy, the IMF) and the EU.
Together, the EU and the US obliged the now crumbling (because of people’s anger) SYRIZA government to capitulate to the troika austerity policies as encapsulated in the now three Economic Adjustment Programs for Greece. These programs aggravated the depression of the Greek economy, caused a rampant immiserisation of the Greek people and expanded the control of Western capitals on the Greek economy.

Poppy McPherson: ‘No Muslims allowed’: how nationalism is rising in Aung San Suu Kyi’s Myanmar (Guardian)

Concerns grow that Buddhist extremism may flourish unless country’s new democratic leaders counter discrimination against minorities…
The few public comments Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy has given on the issue have not been encouraging.
Suu Kyi reportedly instructed the new US ambassador not to use the term Rohingya…
The fact that nationalist rhetoric has gone unchallenged, and has in some cases been echoed, by the new government has left some wondering what place the country’s minorities have in its future.

Jon Emont: Does Nobel Prize Winner Aung San Suu Kyi Want To Push Her Country’s Muslims Into the Sea? (Tablet)

In the run-up to the vote, Suu Kyi’s NLD purged its candidate roster of all Muslim candidates, including non-Rohingya Muslim Burmese who were legally allowed to participate, in what was widely interpreted as an attempt to neutralize hardline Buddhist and nationalist critics of her party…
U Kyaw Hla Aung, a Rohingya lawyer and prominent dissident who has spent years in and out of prison for defending Rohingya rights and currently lives in a humble house in Thet Key Pyin camp, said the situation facing the Rohingya “is a kind of ethnic cleansing.”…
There are about 1.1 million Rohingya living in Myanmar, which makes them roughly 2 percent of the country’s population. Myanmar is ethnically heterogeneous but overwhelmingly Buddhist, and the Muslim Rohingya, descendants of traders who have lived in Rakhine state, on the border with Bangladesh, for centuries, are labeled as Bengalis by the state, regardless of how many generations their families have resided in Myanmar. State discrimination against the Rohingya was enshrined in the Burmese citizenship law of 1982, which did not recognize Rohingya as an indigenous race to Myanmar, rendering the majority of Rohingya stateless…
The U.N. Refugee Agency estimates that around 50,000 Rohingya have fled Myanmar since January 2014…
In a 2013 interview with the BBC, Suu Kyi categorically denied that ethnic cleansing was taking place in Rohingya and attempted to explain the fear that many Burmese Buddhists brought against Muslims. “There is a perception that Muslim power, that global Muslim power, is very great. And certainly that is the perception in many parts of the world and in our country too.”

So Aung San Suu Kyi’s position is nothing new:
Sara Perria: Why is Aung San Suu Kyi silent on the plight of the Rohingya people? (Guardian)

Burma’s opposition leader appears to be cowed by her need to dampen ethnic tensions and win votes from an electorate in the thrall of Islamophobia

NATO arrests Mateusz Piskorski, the Polish Leader of the Opposition | NATO zatrzymało lidera polskiej opozycji Mateusza Piskorskiego (Voltaire)
Witch Hunt On? Poland Gets Its 1st Political Prisoner (Sputnik)

Mateusz Piskorski, the leader of the Zmiana (Change) party was arrested by officers from Poland’s Interior Defense Agency (ABW) after they raided his Warsaw home, seizing computers and documents. The homes of several other party members were also searched.
Piskorski, known for his pro-Russian views, was charged with spying for “third countries” as pro-government media accused him of working for Russian and Chinese intelligence services…
Piskorski’s arrest followed his warning that the Polish government was “cleaning” the political space of the country of unwanted elements in the run-up to a NATO summit to be held in Warsaw on July 8 and 9.

Mateusz Piskorski: The war against historical memory is NATO’s long-term campaign (Voltaire)

Ariel Noyola Rodríguez: The petroyuan is the big bet of Russia and China | Россия и Китай ставят на нефтеюань по-крупному (Voltaire)

After the economic sanctions that the United States and the European Union imposed against Russia, Moscow and Beijing put together an imposing energetic team that has radically transformed the world oil market. In addition to increasing their interchange of hydrocarbons exponentially, both oriental powers have decided to put an end to the domination of the dollar in fixing the prices of the black gold. The petroyuan is the instrument of payment of strategic character that promises to facilitate the transition to a multipolar monetary system, a system that takes various currencies into account and reflects the correlation of forces in the current world order.

Israelis Will Pay Dearly for Their Prime Minister’s Reckless Appointment (Haaretz)

It’s hard to imagine Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu making a more reckless and irresponsible decision than appointing Avigdor Lieberman defense minister.
For the second time since the last election Netanyahu had to choose between the Zionist Union and the extreme right, and once again he chose to veer right and establish an ideological, racist coalition that aims to entrench the occupation, expand the settlements in the territories, oppress the Arab minority and undermine Israeli democracy.

Gideon Levy: With Lieberman as Defense Minister, Israelis Should Head for the Bomb Shelters (Haaretz; also via Google News)

The State of Israel in the hands of someone who could destroy it: a man who threatened to bomb the Aswan Dam and sees Israel’s Arab citizens as the enemy…
For the first time in Israeli history, fascism is a clear and possibly present danger. True, Menachem Begin’s election as prime minister evoked similar fears, as did the appointment of Ariel Sharon as defense minister. But those were other times, when Israeli society still had immune mechanisms, a system of checks and balances. They were eliminated long ago. Now the state is in the hands of someone who could destroy it.

Jonathan Lis: Outgoing Defense Minister Ya’alon: Extremists Have Taken Over Israel (Haaretz)
Israel Has Been Infected by the Seeds of Fascism, Says ex-Prime Minister Ehud Barak (Haaretz)
A Death Penalty Only for Palestinians (Haaretz)

There are so many reasons to oppose capital punishment. But Avigdor Lieberman’s attempt to adopt it is particularly odious.

Glenn Greenwald: Interview With BDS Co-Founder Omar Barghouti: Banned by Israel From Traveling, Threatened With Worse (Intercept)

Anyone who purports to believe in free speech rights should be appalled by Israeli behavior.

Burundi | Korea | Israel/Palestine | Myanmar | Britain

Odomaro Mubangizi: Burundi: From ethnicized militarism to militant civilians (Pambazuka)

Burundi would not be much known had it not been for its recurrent ethnicized political conflicts since independence. It is a small country of about 27,834 square kilometres, with a high population density of about 300 people per square kilometre. Political violence seems to have set the tone for Burundi’s political landscape right from the early struggles for independence. In 1961, a year before independence, UPRONA party won legislative elections with Prince Louis Rwagasore, son of King Mwambutsya, appointed as Prime Minister. Unfortunately, Louis Rwagasora was assassinated a month later. Ethnic tensions flared. Burundi’s independence in 1962 was followed by political unrest leading to a coup attempt from 1965-1966. As a result of this failed coup the military took over the ruling party and the government effectively militarizing Burundi politics.

AP: South Korea test-fires missiles capable of striking all of North Korea (Guardian)

South Korea has successfully test-fired two domestically built ballistic missiles that can hit all of North Korea, officials said, amid continuing animosity between the countries over the North’s push to bolster its nuclear and missile capabilities.
The missiles, which have a reported range of more than 300 miles, were fired from a southern launch pad, said an official at Seoul’s defence ministry. President Park Geun-hye watched the launches, according to her office.
There was no immediate response from North Korea, which is heavily sanctioned for its past long-range rocket and nuclear tests and considers US and South Korean military drills and tests preparation for an attack.

Foday Darboe: Stopping the Violence in Burundi (Common Dreams)

With the recent mass political unrest and failed military coup against Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza–after he announced his run for an extraconstitutional third term–the African Union along with the United Nations appealed for ethnic harmony there. This addressed fears that weeks of political unrest could prompt another round of fight between Hutus and Tutsis in the center of Africa’s Great Lakes region.

Gideon Levy: Israeli propaganda isn’t fooling anyone – except Israelis (Haaretz; also via Google News)

‘Hasbara’ [“explaining”] is the Israeli euphemism for propaganda, and there are some things, said the late ambassador Yohanan Meroz, that are not ‘hasbarable.’ One of them is Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians.
And propaganda shall cover for everything. We’ll say terrorism, we’ll shout anti-Semitism, we’ll scream delegitimation, we’ll cite the Holocaust; we’ll say Jewish state, gay-friendly, drip irrigation, cherry tomatoes, aid to Nepal, Nobel Prizes for Jews, look what’s happening in Syria, the only democracy, the greatest army. We’ll say the Palestinians are making unilateral moves, we’ll propose negotiations on the “settlement bloc borders,” we’ll demand recognition of a Jewish state and we’ll complain that “there’s no one to talk to.”…
The policy of denial and disconnection from reality is rising to a dangerous level, and the illness is getting worse. When the world starts to show encouraging signs of stirring to action, Israel further entrenches itself in its imaginary reality and erects more and more separation barriers for itself.

Gideon Levy: The false arrest of Khalida Jarrar: Israeli ‘justice’ put to shame (Haaretz)

The charge sheet against the Palestinian legislator – in jail now for two months – ought to be studied in every law school: This is how you slap together false accusations and fabricate an indictment.
Here’s a case after which nobody will seriously be able to make any of the following five claims anymore: one, that Israel is a state of law; two, that the regime in its occupied territories isn’t a military dictatorship; three, that Israel has no political prisoners; four, that the military court system in the territories has any kind of connection, however weak, to law and justice; and five, in light of all of the above – that Israel is a democracy.
Does that sound overblown? Sometimes, one case suffices to prove a point.

A Kafkaesque perversion of military law: Khalida Jarar must be released now (Haaretz)

What’s the point of a military justice system if a court decision to release an accused is met with a threat by the prosecution to hold her without trial?
The continued incarceration of Palestinian parliament member Khalida Jarrar becomes increasingly outrageous. Here is a synopsis of this Kafkaesque occupation farce: The Israel Defense Forces tried to exile Jarrar to Jericho for six months because of her political activities in the Palestinian Legislative Council and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine…
After essentially canceling the order, the IDF decided to take revenge on Jarrar and ordered her held in administrative detention for six months without charges or trial. When the arbitrary arrest of the Palestinian elected official attracted protest from overseas, the Military Advocate General’s office decided to press charges against her.
The 12 counts in the indictment, as published by Gideon Levy in Haaretz, are nearly all hollow and ridiculous…
Jarrar, who has been behind bars for two months, is a legitimate parliamentarian chosen in a democratic election. She has a clean security record and her trial looks like an attempt to punish her for her political activity. What’s the point of a military justice system if a court decision to release an accused is met with a threat by the prosecution to hold her without trial? The whole indictment against Jarrar should be thrown out, but in any case she should be released from custody immediately.

Chaim Levinson: Torture of Palestinian detainees by Shin Bet investigators rises sharply (Haaretz; also via dlvr.it)

In the second half of last year, there were 51 instances of torture reported, compared to eight in the first half of 2014…
The Shin Bet is required to report to the court that torture were [sic] used, so that the judges will know what weight to give evidence gathered under such means. Defense attorneys are not allowed to make copies of the reports, but only to read them. The documents themselves are kept in a safe.
Until 1999, thousands of Palestinian prisoners were tortured every year. The Public Committee against Torture in Israel estimates that most Palestinians questioned experienced at least one kind of torture.
In September 1999, following a petition to the High Court of Justice, the court prohibited the systematic use of torture, but left a small opening to interrogators: An interrogator who used violence could claim after the fact that there was an “urgent need” to violate the law. Then-High Court President Aharon Barak left it to the discretion of the attorney general whether to press charges.
“Urgent need” is something that is decided in retrospect, if a complaint is filed, but in extreme cases permits to torture are still issued. The attorney general has set rules as to when “urgent need” is present, but these rules are not made public.

Peter Beaumont: Israel brands Palestinian-led boycott movement a ‘strategic threat’ (Guardian)

Israel and key international supporters have sharply ratcheted up their campaign against the Palestinian-led Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, with senior Israeli officials declaring it a strategic threat.
Using language the Israeli government usually reserves for the likes of Hamas or Iran’s nuclear programme, senior figures – including the prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, and a key backer in the US, casino magnate Sheldon Adelson – have turned on the movement, which is prominent on university campuses and among international trade unions…
The non-violent grassroots movement, founded with the support of dozens of Palestinian organisations, is modelled on South African anti-apartheid campaigns and calls for an end to the occupation, equality for Palestinian citizens of Israel, and a resolution for Palestinian refugees of 1948.

Chemi Shalev: Netanyahu’s declaration of war on BDS is its first major victory (Haaretz)

The international Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Movement has just scored a tremendous victory.
When Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issues a manifest in Jerusalem against the delegitimization of Israel and calls for a “wide front” to combat boycott, and then, within 24 hours, Sheldon Adelson convenes an emergency summit in Las Vegas to fight BDS on university campuses – as Nathan Guttman revealed in the Forward on Monday – BDSers can smugly tell themselves that they’ve finally made it. From a nuisance, perhaps even a danger, they have been elevated the status of existential threat, on a par, almost, with Iran and Hezbollah…
Regardless of background and cause, it’s hard to claim with a straight face that the cessation of the peace process, the death and destruction in Gaza, the campaign against African migrant workers, the Tel Aviv riots of Ethiopians, Netanyahu’s speech in Congress, and, perhaps, most injurious of all, his miserable appeal against Israeli Arabs on Election Day – that all these haven’t provided highly combustible gasoline to BDS propaganda in the past year alone.
And this, before we have mentioned the occupation, which will soon mark its 50th anniversary.

Ravid Hecht: Israel’s problem isn’t BDS – it’s the occupation (Haaretz; also via Google News)

One can object to boycotts. But sanctimonious wailing and the automatic posing as victims coated with the memory of the Holocaust won’t hide the fact that Israel is ruling over an entire other nation…
[M]ost Israelis — even if they fear territorial concessions for security reasons and don’t believe that a peace deal with the Arabs is sustainable — know that Israel is committing an injustice against civilians and denying them their freedom. They know that in the frequent rounds of violence, Israel kills thousands of innocent people as well as terrorists. They know that in a certain place under Israeli rule there is one legal regime for one nation (Israeli law for settlers) and a different one for another nation (military law for Palestinians)…
The hope that the Palestinians will quietly resign themselves to the settlements, happily content with the conditions imposed by the occupation, is unrealistic. What can we do if they impudently insist on resisting and striving for freedom, their natural right?

Amira Hass: Palestinian FIFA move hit an Israeli nerve (Haretz; also via Google News)

The bid pushed Israel into a state of constant tension and hinted at how much BDS efforts could hurt the Israeli public; but it also displays the Palestinian Authority’s logic of stagnation.

Gideon Levy: For the sins of occupation, boycotts are a light punishment (Haaretz; also via Google News)
Aeyal Gross: Apartheid in Israel is about more than just segregated buses (Haaretz, also via Google News)

What in a different situation would be considered apartheid is tolerated by many because it is ostensibly temporary. But the occupation has long stopped being temporary.

Sara Perria: Burma’s birth control law exposes Buddhist fear of Muslim minority (Guardian)

Nationalist monks are behind new powers enabling authorities to ‘organise’ family planning among groups with high birth rates such as Rohingyas.

Tariq Ali: Farewell to the United Kingdom (CounterPunch)

The British General election was dramatic. On the superficial level because three party leaders— Miliband (Labour), Nick Clegg (Liberal-Democrat) and Nigel Farage (UKIP—a racist, right-wing populist outfit)…resigned on the day following the Conservative victory. On a more fundamental level because the Scottish National Party took virtually all the Scottish seats (56 of 59) wiping out Labour as a political force in the region where it had dominated politics for over a century. Scotland was where the Labour Party was founded. Scotland it was that gave Labour its first leaders and Prime Minster (as well as the last one). Scottish working class culture was in most cases much more radical than its English equivalent.

Bill Quigley: Ten Shocking Facts About Baltimore (CounterPunch)

Were you shocked at the disruption in Baltimore? What is more shocking is daily life in Baltimore, a city of 622,000 which is 63 percent African American.

Greece | Myanmar | Torture | Israel/Palestine | Russia

The 70th anniversary of the Trinity Test is coming up. There is a fascinating account in the biography of Joan Hinton and Sid Engst by Dao-yuan Chou: Silage Choppers and Snake Spirits: The Lives and Struggles of Two Americans in Modern China, Chapter 8.
Joseph Mangano, Janette Sherman: Trinity: 70 Years Later (CounterPunch)

It was 70 years ago, on July 16, 1945, that the first atomic bomb, named Trinity, was exploded at the White Sands Proving Ground, the nuclear test site near Alamagordo, NM. It was an event that changed world history forever, and created new health and security threats that still plague all life on this planet.

Stathis Kouvelakis: Greece: The Noose Tightens (Jacobin)

At this stage, the options remaining for the Syriza government seem to be restricted to the three following ones.

  1. The “good scenario,” the one which is still favored by the Greek government, is that the Europeans will make concessions, and a compromise will be reached very soon. However, as the IMF president made clear, in order to get the €7.2 billion at stake in this four-month bridge agreement, Greece needs to get a positive “review” and to conform fully to the “reforms” agreed by to its predecessors. In any case, this possibility has already been explicitly ruled out by European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, German Finance minister Wolfgang Schäuble and others, who made repeated statements these last days saying that the only deadline to be considered is now June 30, and that no money will be transferred to Greece before a “big deal” — in other words, another “rescue package” coming with the usual conditions.
  2. The Greek government gives up. This is of course the avowed aim of the Europeans. But in a recent interview with Reuters, Tsipras made it clear that there are “political, not technical disagreements” on four key issues: labor legislation, pension reform, a hike in value-added taxes, and privatizations, which he referred to as “development of state property” rather than asset sales. Making concessions on that bottom line would amount to surrender and to political suicide for Syriza.
  3. The Greek government defaults on the debt. In a recent interview with the Huffington Post, Varoufakis said that if the government had to choose between paying its creditors and paying salaries and pensions, it would prioritize the second option. But of course such a choice means a decisive rupture and exiting the eurozone (the scenario of a double currency within the euro cannot last for more than a few weeks at the very best).

Sara Perria: Rohingya Muslims brave death at sea to escape ‘open-air prison’ in Burma (Guardian)

Members of the Rohingya ethnic minority have taken to the sea to flee persecution in Burma, but their options are narrowing as Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia refuse new migrants. Residents of the cramped Aung Ming Lar ghetto reveal a bitterly hard life with many willing to risk everything to get away…
The Rohingya, who were estimated to number around one million, or about one third of the state’s population, have been described by the UN as one of the “most persecuted” ethnic minorities in the world, from a conflict that dates back decades.
In 1982 the military junta under Ne Win stripped them of their citizenship. A succession of post-colonial regimes has refused to recognise their claim to be identified as Rohingya – a term of relatively recent political coinage adopted by an astute leadership, mostly in exile.
Instead the government insists most are illegal immigrants from Bangladesh and classifies them as Bengalis, even though some claim roots before the colonial era – when thousands did arrive – to as far back as the 15th century when the Arakan kingdom was famed for its cosmopolitan openness.

Amy Goodman, Steven Reisner, Nathaniel Raymond: Emails Show American Psychological Association Secretly Worked with Bush Admin to Enable Torture (Democracy Now)

New details have emerged on how the American Psychological Association, the world’s largest group of psychologists, aided government-sanctioned torture under President George W. Bush. A group of dissident psychologists have just published a 60-page report alleging the APA secretly coordinated with officials from the CIA, White House and the Pentagon to change the APA ethics policy to align it with the operational needs of the CIA’s torture program. Much of the report, “All the President’s Psychologists: The American Psychological Association’s Secret Complicity with the White House and US Intelligence Community in Support of the CIA’s ‘Enhanced’ Interrogation Program,” is based on hundreds of newly released internal APA emails from 2003 to 2006 that show top officials were in direct communication with the CIA. The report also reveals Susan Brandon, a behavioral science researcher working for President Bush, secretly drafted language that the APA inserted into its ethics policy on interrogations.

Geoff Gray: The Ethical Demise of the American Psychological Association (CounterPunch)

The conscience of the American Psychological Association (APA) is slowly dying as it facilitates torture, cheats its own members, and hussles junk science boondoggles to the defense industry…
In 2005 the leadership of the APA violated its governance rules to allow psychologists to support the Bush era torture program. This was critical because the Justice Department had ruled that a health professional needed to be present during “enhanced interrogations” and because other professional organizations such as the America Medical Association and the America Psychiatric Association had unequivocally declared these programs unethical and out of bounds for their members…

Israel’s new and dangerous government (Haaretz)

Devoid of any platform, Israel’s new government will lead racist legislation while working to gut the courts – but razor thin majority gives opposition a fighting chance.
The government Benjamin Netanyahu will present next week appears to be, even before it has been sworn in at the Knesset, one of the worst, most harmful governments ever to have been formed in Israel. Its members’ top priorities are deepening the occupation, expanding the settlements, weakening democracy and increasing the subsidies for the Haredi society of scholars.

Carolina Landsmann: The Bennett-Bibi era of ‘no solution’ (Haaretz, also via Google News)

Since 1967, it had been an accepted assumption that Israel was holding onto the occupied territories as a bargaining chip for a future peace agreement. That was not only Israel’s official position, but also the conclusion that could have been drawn from the country’s decision not to annex most of the territories that it had conquered.
Control over the Palestinian people always appeared to be a temporary situation that Israel was seeking ways to end. When the left claimed that the right wing didn’t want peace, the right explained that it in fact did want peace and was interested in ending Israeli control over the Palestinians, but only when security arrangements were worked out that would allay its fears. In other words, the right was simply seeking to be the one to represent the country’s interests in negotiations with the Palestinians.
The political system organized around this narrative, which from a critical, retrospective view looks like a methodical lie. But all of this was shattered when Bennett revealed his view that Israel and the Palestinians are not in a process leading anywhere. Israel will not return territories, and the Palestinians – other than about 50,000 whom Bennett proposes giving Israeli citizenship to – are to simply remain under Israeli control. In other words, millions of stateless people will live under Israeli military rule.

This is what the new Israeli minister of justice had to say last year:
Ali Abunimah: Israeli lawmaker’s call for genocide of Palestinians gets thousands of Facebook likes (Electronic Intifada)

Israeli lawmaker Ayelet Shaked published on Facebook a call for genocide of the Palestinians.
It is a call for genocide because it declares that “the entire Palestinian people is the enemy” and justifies its destruction, “including its elderly and its women, its cities and its villages, its property and its infrastructure.”
It is a call for genocide because it calls for the slaughter of Palestinian mothers who give birth to “little snakes.”

Aeyal Gross: Politicized judiciary looms under new justice minister (Haaretz, also via Google News)

[T]hree bills Shaked has pushed would undermine the legal system’s independence and its ability to defend human rights: a bill defining Israel as a Jewish nation state, a bill to change the composition of the Judicial Appointments Committee and a bill enabling the Knesset to override Supreme Court rulings declaring laws unconstitutional.
The first could undermine the rights of Israeli Arabs. The second would give politicians more seats on the appointments panel, which would encourage the appointment of judges who are less “activist” and thus more “comfortable” for the politicians. The third would enable the Knesset to override not only court rulings, but also the human rights those rulings are meant to protect.

Ethnic cleansing is continuing in Palestine:
Oudeh Basharat: It’s 1948 again for Bedouin tribe (Haaretz, also via Google News)

The Abu Alkian were expelled in 1948 from their Negev lands, which went to Kibbutz Shoval. A few years later they built Umm al-Hiran, which is now slated to become a new Jewish town named Hiran.

Shirly Seidler: Supreme Court allows state to replace Bedouin village with Jewish one (Haaretz)

Israel’s Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected a petition by residents of the unrecognized Bedouin village of Umm al-Hiran against their removal and the demolition of the community – in order to construct a new town for Jewish residents in its place. The court ruled the land belongs to the state and the Bedouins have no legal rights to it…
The petitioners claimed they did not squat on the land, but were transferred to the area in the Yattir Forest in 1956 by direct order of the military administration of the time. … The government has never denied that the residents were moved to Umm al-Hiran by state authorities. Umm al-Hiran is now home to about 700 people, say residents, but like other Bedouin villages that lack official recognition as local municipal communities, it lacks infrastructure and electricity.

Aeyal Gross: Israel’s discrimination of Bedouin gets high court stamp of approval (Haaretz, also via Google News)

[O]n both sides of the Green Line, the High Court has given the stamp of approval to dispossession, eviction and the demolition of Arab communities for the sake of Jewish ones. Just as long as it doesn’t give rise to chaos. Order must be preserved.

John Brown: Next head of ‘Civil Administration’ said Palestinians are sub-human (+972 magazine)

After the Oslo Accords, the Israeli army renamed the Military Government of the West Bank the Civil Administration. MK Eli Ben-Dahan was just appointed to oversee the Administration, which oversees the theft of Palestinian land, settlement expansion and controls the movement of millions of Palestinians.

  • “[Palestinians] are beasts, they are not human.” — MK Rabbi Eli Ben-Dahan, Aug 1, 2013.
  • “A Jew always has a much higher soul than a gentile, even if he is a homosexual.” — MK Rabbi Eli Ben-Dahan, Dec 27, 2013.

Rabbi Ben-Dahan will be Israel’s next deputy defense minister, responsible for the army’s “Civil Administration.”
The Civil Administration is responsible for all aspects the occupation that don’t involve boots-on-the-ground security operations — it administers planning, building, and infrastructure for both Jews and Palestinians in Area C of the West Bank. It also administers the Palestinian population database and is responsible for granting and revoking entry and travel permits for Palestinians, controlling every aspect of their movement.

Chaim Levinson: 2,026 settlement homes built on private Palestinian land, right-wing study finds (Haaretz)

Some 2,026 structures in the West Bank were built on privately owned Palestinian land, according to a study conducted by the right-wing organization Regavim and submitted to Knesset members ahead of deliberations on legislation aimed at expropriating land from Palestinian owners.

Paul de Rooij: Amnesty International: Whitewashing Another Massacre (CounterPunch)

July 2014 marked the onset of the Israeli massacre in Gaza (I will dispense with the Israeli sugar-coated operation names). The Israeli army trained for this attack for several months before finding a pretext to attack Gaza, shattering an existing ceasefire; this was the third such post-“disengagement” (2004) attack, and possibly the worst so far. At least 2,215 were killed and 10,000+ wounded, most of them civilians. The scale of destruction was staggering: tens of thousands of houses rendered uninhabitable; several high-rise buildings struck by huge American-supplied bombs; schools and hospitals targeted; 61 mosques totally destroyed; water purification and sewage treatment plants damaged; Gaza’s main flour mill bombed; all chicken farms ravaged; an incalculable devastation…

Whose violence is indiscriminate?
Fatalities during the Massacre in Gaza 2014
Fatality type Israeli caused deaths Palestinian caused deaths
Civilian 1,639 74% 7 10%
Military 576 26% 66 90%
Total 2,215 100% 73 100%

M.K. Bhadrakumar: The Sino-Russian entente in Eurasia (Asia Times)

The presence of the Chinese President Xi Jinping at the Victory Day parade in Moscow on May 9 signifies a significant step forward in the strategic partnership between the two big powers.

Dmitri Trenin: From Greater Europe to Greater Asia? The Sino-Russian Entente (Carnegie Moscow Center)

The rupture between Russia and the West stemming from the 2014 crisis over Ukraine has wide-ranging geopolitical implications. Russia has reverted to its traditional position as a Eurasian power sitting between the East and the West, and it is tilting toward China in the face of political and economic pressure from the United States and Europe. This does not presage a new Sino-Russian bloc, but the epoch of post-communist Russia’s integration with the West is over. In the new epoch, Russia will seek to expand and deepen its relations with non-Western nations, focusing on Asia.

Seymour M. Hersh: The Killing of Osama bin Laden (London Review of Books)

It’s been four years since a group of US Navy Seals assassinated Osama bin Laden in a night raid on a high-walled compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. The killing was the high point of Obama’s first term, and a major factor in his re-election. The White House still maintains that the mission was an all-American affair, and that the senior generals of Pakistan’s army and Inter-Services Intelligence agency (ISI) were not told of the raid in advance. This is false, as are many other elements of the Obama administration’s account. The White House’s story might have been written by Lewis Carroll: would bin Laden, target of a massive international manhunt, really decide that a resort town forty miles from Islamabad would be the safest place to live and command al-Qaida’s operations? He was hiding in the open. So America said.
The most blatant lie was that Pakistan’s two most senior military leaders – General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, chief of the army staff, and General Ahmed Shuja Pasha, director general of the ISI – were never informed of the US mission.

Phillip Carter: Sigh, Sy (Slate)
Carlotta Gall: The Detail in Seymour Hersh’s Bin Laden Story That Rings True (New York Times Magazine)

Eric Aeschimann: « Les idéaux républicains sont devenus des armes de discrimination et de mépris » (Billets du Temps Perdu)

Le philosophe Jacques Rancière analyse le rôle des intellectuels et de la gauche dans l’essor du FN. Entretien.

Ukraine | Egypt | Colombia | Iraq | Israel/Palestine | USA

Avedis Hadjian: Back in the USSR (Monde diplomatique)

It has looked like civil war in Ukraine, yet most Ukrainians don’t want any such thing, as shown by the 25 May election results. And pro-Russian separatists in the east mostly want to return to their old Soviet life.

Tariq Ali: Diary (London Review of Books)

Conversations in Cairo are punctuated by dates: 11 February (Mubarak’s fall), 24 June (Morsi’s election), 30 June (Sisi’s coup), which takes a bit of getting used to…
During and after the uprising Mubarak’s name stood for amorality, cynicism, duplicity, corruption, greed and opportunism. A few months after Morsi’s triumph at the polls, the same adjectives were being used to describe his rule, and soon it was being said that he was worse than Mubarak – a grotesque overstatement. The reality is that the Muslim Brotherhood, its supreme guide and its elected president were visionless sectarians, incapable of fulfilling the central demand of the uprising: ‘an end to the regime’. Morsi had no desire to unite the country by full-blooded democratisation: his ambition was to be an Islamist Mubarak.

Wilhelm Langthaler: Legitimizing the Pharaoh (Anti-Imperialist Camp)

Martin Chulov: Iran sends troops into Iraq to aid fight against Isis militants (Guardian)

Tehran hints at cooperation with US to aid Nouri al-Maliki as jihadist group threatens to take Baghdad … Iran has sent 2,000 advance troops to Iraq in the past 48 hours to help tackle a jihadist insurgency, a senior Iraqi official has told the Guardian.

Martin Chulov: How an arrest in Iraq revealed Isis’s $2bn jihadist network (Guardian)
Florian Rötzer: ISIL bringt die Geopolitik durcheinander (Telepolis)
Rainer Hermann: Die Rache des Kreuz-Königs (Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung)
Rainer Hermann: Die Sunniten vereinen sich zum Aufstand gegen Bagdad (Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung)
Wilhelm Langthaler: Die Rache des „irakischen Widerstands“ (Anti-Imperialist Camp)
And the poodle yaps:
Patrick Wintour, Tracy McVeigh, Mark Townsend: Tony Blair: west must intervene in Iraq (Guardian)

Larry Jagan: Suu Kyi shifts pre-election tack in Myanmar (Asia Times)

After two years of delicate accommodation, Myanmars military backed government and the main pro-democracy opposition National League for Democracy (NLD) are on a collusion course ahead of general elections scheduled for next year. An NLD-led campaign launched last month to amend the 2008 constitution is openly challenging the militarys political power and testing political stability ahead of the pivotal polls.

Nauman Asghar: Rohingya abuses expose Myanmar insecurities (Asia Times)

Hundreds of Muslims have been killed and more than 100,000 forced to flee their homes. Eighty percent of the population of the country consists of Buddhists, and Ashin Wirathu, the monk leader of the violent “969” movement, has attempted to justify lynching of Muslims in the name of defending Buddhism against the encroaching influence of Islam.
Ashin Wirathu’s claim appears absurd if we consider that Muslims constitute only 5% of Myanmar’s population…
Rohingyas, largely to be found in the western Rakhine State, were full citizens of Myanmar until 1982 when the military rulers deprived them of their status of citizenship by enacting legislation and hence compounded their miseries. As a stateless community, the Rohingyas don’t have access to state services and they are also denied political representation.
The Rohingyas face discriminatory treatment at all levels of interaction with the state. The minority have been subjected to discriminatory population control measures and travel restrictions. The Rohingyas are also required by law to seek from authorities a permission certificate for marriage…
The recent transition to democracy in Myanmar has not eased the situation for Rohingyas and no political leader in Myanmar has condemned the Buddhist violence in unequivocal terms. Aung Sun Auu Kyi, the Nobel Peace Prize winner, also keeps mum, as she does not want to spoil her chances of securing the presidency next year by alienating the majority group.

William Barnes: Activist, racial angst in Myanmar (Asia Times)

None of the interviewees claimed intimate knowledge of the private thoughts of opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi or indeed of the still-powerful generals. They were confident, however, that in the minds of the elite, Islam was an unwanted and unbidden complication.
This might help to explain why the Nobel peace prize winning democracy heroine Suu Kyi has notably failed to embrace the notion of Muslim “victimhood” in her homeland. It also shines light on prominent pro-democracy activist and former political prisoner Ko Ko Gyi’s proclamation that the Rohingya should not be considered an ethnic nationality of Myanmar.

Tom Farrell: The axis of Buddhist extremism (Asia Times)

Separated by race, language and the vastness of the Bay of Bengal, there is a striking convergence in the rhetoric of Myanmar’s and Sri Lanka’s Buddhist fundamentalist groups. Both fizz with triumphalism, belligerence and a fierce persecution complex. …
Sri Lanka is emerging from decades of ruinous civil war; Myanmar from decades of sclerotic military rule. Already resented by the majority Buddhist population during each country’s colonial period, Muslims in both nations bore the brunt of government or insurgent-led excesses after independence.
In Myanmar, alone out of the nation’s 135 officially recognized ethnicities, the Rohingya Muslim minority were stripped of their citizenship by General Ne Win’s ruling junta. Military operations in 1978 and 1991 sent hundreds of thousands of Rohingya fleeing into neighboring Bangladesh.
In Sri Lanka, Tamil insurgents expelled 60,000 Muslims from the rebel mini-state they established in the country’s north after 1990.

Peter Beaumont: Palestinian parliamentary speaker arrested in search for kidnapped teens (Guardian)

Israeli troops have arrested the speaker of the Palestinian parliament and Hamas member Aziz Dweik during a wave of detentions linked to a massive manhunt for three kidnapped teenagers.
An Israeli army statement on Monday said more than 40 suspects in the West Bank, “including Hamas leadership and operatives”, had been arrested, bringing the total number of arrests in the search to at least 150.

Alain Gresh: What’s mine is mine; what’s yours is negotiable (Monde diplomatique)

The US, chief guarantor for the Israeli-Palestinian talks for decades, is so habitually and instinctually pro-Israel that it can’t understand that the Palestinians even have a viewpoint, let alone what it is.

Ayelet Waldman: The Shame of Shuhada Street (Atlantic)

Chris Hedges: American Socrates (TruthDig)

We live in a bleak moment in human history. And Chomsky begins from this reality. He quoted the late Ernst Mayr, a leading evolutionary biologist of the 20th century who argued that we probably will never encounter intelligent extraterrestrials because higher life forms render themselves extinct in a relatively short time.

Scott Horton: The Guantánamo “Suicides” (Harper’s Magazine, March 2010)
Scott Horton: Amy Goodman, Nermeen Shaykh: The Guantánamo “Suicides” Revisited: Did CIA Hide Deaths of Tortured Prisoners at Secret Site? (Democracy Now)
Mark Denbeaux, Charles Church, Ryan K Gallagher, Adam Kirchner, Joshua Wirtshafter: Uncovering the Cover Ups: Death Camp in Delta (Seton Hall Public Law Research Papers, 15 May 2014)
Christopher Brauchli: Compassionate Torture (CounterPunch)

On May 23, 2014 a federal court entered an order permitting the folks at Guantanamo to continue force-feeding Abu Wa’el Dhiab so that he won’t die. Mr. Dhiab, a Syrian national, was captured in Pakistan 12 years ago and has been at Guantanamo ever since. He has not been charged with any crime and was cleared for transfer five years ago. At first he was not released because the government worried about how he’d be treated in Syria and later because of the civil war taking place there. Mr. Dhiab does not want to be at Guantanamo. He would rather be dead. Accordingly he has engaged in a hunger strike.

Carl Gibson: Pepper Spray Cop’s Settlement Sets Dangerous Precedent (Reader Supported News)

Lt. John Pike of the UC Davis police pepper-sprayed a group of sitting protesters in 2011. Amidst an autumn of federally-coordinated, violent police suppression of the Occupy movement, the incident in Davis was clearly one of the most heinous cases. A group of students had linked arms, sat down, and refused to move when the police came to evict their encampment. Lt. John Pike then casually exhibited a red can of military-grade pepper spray, nonchalantly strolled past the protesters, and doused them in orange gas, which led to the hospitalization several of the students. International outrage ensued. “Pepper Spraying Cop” became a widely-shared meme, and Pike was originally put on paid leave and eventually fired. The students sued, and a $1 million settlement was split between all 21 of them. Pike was just awarded $38,058 in disability payments, after claiming he suffered “emotional and psychological damage” from his attack on UC Davis students.

Syria | Venezuela | Sudan | Colombia | Myanmar | Pete Seeger

Syria army, rebels agree new Damascus truce (Daily Star)

Syria’s army and rebels have agreed local truces in key flashpoints around Damascus, despite regime and opposition representatives failing to make any progress in Geneva peace talks.

Maria Paez Victor: Venezuela Under Attack Again (CounterPunch)

Again, a highly organized attack is being carried out against the democratic and popular government of Venezuela. It has involved monetary manipulations, economic sabotage, international media campaign against the economy despite excellent economic indicators, defaming the state run oil company, and this last week riots on the streets that have left 3 dead and 66 injured.

Chris Gilbert: What’s Really Happening in Venezuela? (CounterPunch)

If the term fascism is abstracted from the accidental features of its historical manifestations and used more broadly to identify a movement that captures sectors of the middle and working class for a pro-imperialist project – a movement that is often racist and always willing to disregard democratic results – then President Maduro is correct in calling the key actors on Wednesday fascists.

Hubert Sauper, Amy Goodman: South Sudan Reaches Ceasefire, But Will Nascent State Survive Oil-Fueled Neocolonialism? (Democracy Now)

After more than a month of violence that left thousands dead, rivals in South Sudan have reached a ceasefire agreement. The clashes began as a political dispute between President Salva Kiir and his former vice president, but quickly escalated into ethnic clashes that raised fears of a civil war. We turn to a new documentary that shows how South Sudan has become ground zero for contemporary colonialism in Africa. Director Hubert Sauper’s “We Come as Friends” provides an aerial view of the conflict in Sudan from a shaky, handmade two-seater plane. The film depicts American investors, Chinese oilmen, U.N. officials and Christian missionaries struggling to shape Sudan according to their own visions, while simultaneously applauding the alleged “independence” of the world’s newest state. What emerges is a devastating critique of the consequences of cultural and economic imperialism.

Dana Priest: Covert action in Colombia (Washington Post)
Amy Goodman, Dana Priest: Covert CIA Program Reveals Critical U.S. Role in Killings of Rebel Leaders (Democracy Now)

[A] shocking new report has exposed how a secret CIA program in Colombia helped kill at least two dozen rebel leaders. The Washington Post reports the program relies on key help from the National Security Agency and is funded through a multibillion-dollar black budget. The program began under President George W. Bush and continued under Obama. It has crippled the FARC rebel group by targeting its leaders using bombs equipped with GPS guidance. Up until 2010, the CIA controlled the encryption keys that allowed the bombs to read GPS data. In one case in 2008, the U.S. and Colombia discovered a FARC leader Raúl Reyes hiding in Ecuador. According to the report, quote, “To conduct an airstrike meant a Colombian pilot flying a Colombian plane would hit the camp using a US-made bomb with a CIA-controlled brain.” The attack killed the rebel leader and sparked a major flareup of tensions with Ecuador and Venezuela.

Amy Goodman, Mario Murillo: Did Covert U.S. Program Targeting Rebel Leaders Help Undermine Colombia’s Peace Process? (Democracy Now)
Jack L. Laun: What Dana Priest Left Out (CounterPunch)
John I Laun: Who is Really in Charge of Colombia? (CounterPunch)

Nancy Hudson-Rodd: Silence as Myanmar ‘genocide’ unfolds (Asia Times)

Glenn Greenwald and Ryan Gallagher: Snowden Documents Reveal Covert Surveillance and Pressure Tactics Aimed at WikiLeaks and Its Supporters (Intercept)

Pete Seeger on Democracy Now (Democracy Now)

The legendary folk singer, banjo player, storyteller and activist Pete Seeger has died at the age of 94.

Dave Marsh: What It Means to Lose Pete Seeger (CounterPunch)
David Yearsley: For Pete’s Sake! The Shameless Descent of Bob Dylan (CounterPunch)

USA–Syria–Egypt | NSA | Myanmar

Kevin Connor, Amy Goodman, Juan González: The Military-Industrial Pundits: Conflicts of Interest Exposed for TV Guests Who Urged Syrian War (Democracy Now)

New research shows many so-called experts who appeared on television making the case for U.S. strikes on Syria had undisclosed ties to military contractors. A new report by the Public Accountability Initiative identifies 22 commentators with industry ties. While they appeared on television or were quoted as experts 111 times, their links to military firms were disclosed only 13 of those times. The report focuses largely on Stephen Hadley, who served as national security adviser to President George W. Bush. During the debate on Syria, he appeared on CNN, MSNBC, Fox News and Bloomberg TV. None of these stations informed viewers that Hadley currently serves as a director of the weapons manufacturer Raytheon that makes Tomahawk cruise missiles widely touted as the weapon of choice for bombing Syria. He also owns over 11,000 shares of Raytheon stock, which traded at all-time highs during the Syria debate. We speak to Kevin Connor of the Public Accountability Initiative, a co-author of the report.

Anjali Kamat, Amy Goodman, Juan González: U.S. Weapons and Arms Parts Continued to Flow to Egypt (Democracy Now)

The United States recently announced plans to scale back aid to Egypt’s military government three months after the ouster of President Mohamed Morsi. Last week, the State Department said the United States will withhold hundreds of millions of dollars in military assistance until “credible progress” is made toward “an inclusive, democratically elected civilian government.” But a new investigation from Al Jazeera’s “Fault Lines” program shows that the recent aid cuts might be more symbolic than anything else.

Merkel is not amused. And a British paper discovers another German word than blitzkrieg.
Andrew Rosenthal: Clapper and Carney Get Slippery on Surveillance (New York Times)

The White House press secretary, Jay Carney said, “The president assured [Merkel] that the United States is not monitoring and will not monitor the communications” of the chancellor.” Please note: IS not monitoring and WILL NOT monitor. The allegation, unaddressed, was that the United States HAD been monitoring her calls (until it was caught in the act).

Philip Oltermann: Angela Merkel bugging claims met with schadenfreude in Germany (Guardian)

Reports of Angela Merkel’s phone being monitored by the US National Security Agency were met in Germany not just with outrage, but a more familiar German emotion: schadenfreude.
Many Germans thought the chancellor, below, had been too restrained in her criticism when the extent of NSA surveillance on ordinary citizens emerged. Now they believe Merkel is getting a taste of her own medicine.

James Ball: NSA monitored calls of 35 world leaders after US official handed over contacts (Guardian)

The National Security Agency monitored the phone conversations of 35 world leaders after being given the numbers by an official in another US government department, according to a classified document provided by whistleblower Edward Snowden.

Jacques Follorou, Glenn Greenwald: Comment la NSA espionne la France (Le Monde)

L’avenir dira peut-être, un jour, pourquoi Paris est resté si discret, par rapport à Berlin ou Rio après les révélations sur les programmes d’espionnage électronique américain dans le monde. Car la France a été tout autant ciblée et dispose aujourd’hui de preuves tangibles que ses intérêts sont quotidiennement visés.

Sam Jones: Snowden leaks: France summons US envoy over NSA surveillance claims (Guardian)
Mari Luz Peinado: Snowden afirma que la NSA tuvo acceso al correo electrónico de Felipe Calderón (El país)

Las nuevas informaciones reveladas por Eduard Snowden vuelven a apuntar a que el Gobierno estadounidense espió a su vecino mexicano. Según revela este domingo el semanario alemán Der Spiegel una división de la Agencia de Seguridad Nacional (NSA) consiguió acceder al correo de la Presidencia mexicana y a la cuenta del expresidente Felipe Calderón. La NSA calificó la información que obtenía como una “fuente lucrativa”.

Jens Glüsing, Laura Poitras, Marcel Rosenbach, Holger Stark: Fresh Leak on US Spying: NSA Accessed Mexican President’s Email (Der Spiegel)

The NSA has been systematically eavesdropping on the Mexican government for years. It hacked into the president’s public email account and gained deep insight into policymaking and the political system. The news is likely to hurt ties between the US and Mexico.

David Baulk: Economic reform as flawed ideology (Asia Times)
David Baulk: Myanmar’s not so special economic zones (Asia Times)

Angelique Chrisafis, Helena Smith, Philip Oltermann, Lizzy Davies: Roma fear witch hunt after Greek case (Guardian)

The 10 to 12 million Roma people in Europe already make up one of the largest, most disadvantaged minorities on the continent. They frequently live in makeshift camps with no water or electricity, face routine evictions, become victims of violence, are discriminated against over jobs, and find their children segregated at school.
Rights groups are now, however, concerned about a knock-on effect across Europe of an anti-Roma witch hunt gathering pace following the frenzy over the case of Maria, the fair-haired child found in the Roma camp near Farsala, Greece.

Egypt | Syria | Palestine/Israel | USA

Wael Eskandar: The Muslim Brotherhood’s Militias in Action: A Firsthand Account (Jadaliyya)
Wilhelm Langthaler: Mursi: pharao or revolutionary? (Anti-Imperialist Camp)

Ernesto Cardenal, Samir Amin, etc.: Yes to Democracy, No to Foreign Intervention! ‍‍(MRzine)
Leo Gabriel, Evangelos Pissias, Wilhelm Langthaler, Fernando Romero-Forsthuber: The war in Syria or The threads of a blood drained carpet (LabourNet Austria)

Yinon Cohen, Neve Gordon: Why Abbas’s Bid to the United Nations General Assembly Was Too Little, Too Late (CounterPunch)
Dennis Bernstein: An Interview With Professor Francis Boyle (CounterPunch)

Why the US Threatened to Cut Off Aid to the Palestinians if They Pursued and Were Granted Observer Status at the UN

Chaim Levinson: אז איפה זה בכלל E-1? / What is area E-1, anyway? (Haaretz, via DuckDuckGo and Google)
Leila Farsakh: Palestine refuses to disappear (Monde diplomatique)
Yara Sa’di: Israel’s repression of Palestinian students reached new level during Gaza attack (Electronic Intifada)
Ali Abunimah: Apartheid Lines: Video shows Israeli public bus driver refusing to let Palestinians ride (Electronic Intifada)

Palestinian laborers from the West Bank are members of an occupied population with virtually no rights or protection. They are exploited to do low-paid work in Israel’s apartheid economy, and then subjected to Jim Crow-like discrimination. Unlike Rosa Parks, they are not even given the back of the bus. They can’t ride the bus at all.

Editorial: ייבוש לצורכי נישול / Drying out the Palestinians (Haaretz)

Since the beginning of the year, Israel has destroyed 35 rainwater cisterns used by Palestinian communities, 20 of them in the area of Hebron and the southern Hebron Hills. … Leaving Palestinian communities disconnected from infrastructure, declaring large areas as firing zones and destroying cisterns are part of an intentional policy since the early 1970s. Its goal is to leave as few Palestinians as possible in the majority of the West Bank (today’s Area C, under Israeli civil and military control), to expedite Jewish settlement and thus make it easier to annex these areas to Israel.

Or Kashti: בחירות הם רוצים / In Israel, democracy is delayed for Bedouin (Haaretz, via DuckDuckGo and Google)
Harriet Sherwood: Israeli separation wall threatens world heritage site of Battir’s ancient terraces (Guardian)

Israeli environmentalists and even the state parks authority are backing Palestinian villagers’ attempts to preserve landscape

Amira Hass: ‘You have to demolish them while they’re small’ (Haaretz, via DuckDuckGo and Google)

So Supreme Court President Asher Grunis said shortly before a partially built mosque in the West Bank was pulled down.

William Saletan: Get Real, Israel (Slate)

Renaud Egreteau: Burma’s civil wars (Mondi diplomatique)

Eric Bailey: An Interview With Noam Chomsky on Obama’s Human Rights Record (CounterPunch)
Mark Graham: USAID in Afghanistan (CounterPunch)

Whatever beneficence USAID has doled out over the years has come with a heavy price for Afghans and a heavy price tag for Americans. In fact, USAID is not an aid organization by any common understanding of the term, if by aid we mean helping people who are suffering out of the kindness of our hearts. Instead, USAID functions primarily as an instrument of counterinsurgency and as a pipeline by which public money moves into private hands.