Sri Lanka | France | Palestine/Israel

Deepal Jayasekera: The outcome of the Sri Lankan election and its international implications (World Socialist Web Site)

The outcome of the Sri Lankan election last Thursday, with Maithripala Sirisena ousting Mahinda Rajapakse as president, has ominous implications for the working class, not only in Sri Lanka and South Asia but throughout the world…
What has unfolded since Sirisena deserted Rajapakse’s government and was endorsed as the joint opposition candidate by the right-wing United National Party (UNP) and a range of other political tendencies is a US-sponsored regime-change operation. It was publicly orchestrated in large part by former President Chandrika Kumaratunga, who has close ties with the Obama administration and US foreign policy establishment through the Clinton Foundation.
Rajapakse’s crime from the standpoint of Washington was not the mass murder of Tamil civilians during the civil war against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), but the relations his government developed with China.

Dayan Jayatilleka: The fall of Mahinda and ‘The end of History’ (Island)

Having argued for years that (a) Sri Lanka under Mahinda Rajapaksa is no dictatorship but a unipolar democracy because of the meltdown of the centre-right UNP under its leader Ranil Wickremesinghe, and (b) that the Opposition should put forward a liberal nationalist instead, my perspective has been at least partly vindicated. Why then was Mr. Sirisena my second choice rather than my first – which remained President Rajapaksa? An obvious reason is the Ranil-Chandrika factor (or factors). The second was his program of fast-track radical political reform and its possible centrifugal consequences.

No, we are not defending Western civilization / Nein, wir verteidigen die westliche Zivilisation nicht (Anti-Imperialist Camp) / Hayır, Biz Batı Medeniyetini Savunmuyoruz! (Haksöz Haber)
David North: “Free Speech” hypocrisy in the aftermath of the attack on Charlie Hebdo / Le discours hypocrite de la «liberté d’expression» au lendemain de l’attaque contre Charlie Hebdo / Stimmungsmache im Namen der „Meinungsfreiheit“ nach Attentat auf Charlie Hebdo (World Socialist Web Site)
Robert Fisk: Charlie Hebdo: Paris attack brothers’ campaign of terror can be traced back to Algeria in 1954 (Independent)
Kabir Chibber: These are the biggest hypocrites celebrating free speech today in Paris (Quartz)
(Chibber forgets to mention Netanyahu and Liberman.)
Djamila Ould Khettab: Charlie Hebdo : Reporters sans frontières ironise sur la présence de l’Algérie à la marche républicaine (Algérie-focus)
Mark Tran: Presence at Paris rally of leaders with poor free press records is condemned (Guardian)
Slavoj Žižek: Are the worst really full of passionate intensity? (New Statesman)

Jack Khoury: Three dead in Gaza due to reezing temperatures, including two infants (Haaretz)

Delays in reconstruction leave tens of thousands of Palestinians without shelter in enclave devastated in summer war…
One of the infants, four-months-old girl Ghahef Abu Aasi, was living with her family in a building partly destroyed by Israeli bombings during the war. The child’s father said it was impossible to heat the house. “Suddenly she turned blue and stopped breathing, and we were helpless,” the father said.
The family of the other infant, one-month-old boy Aadel Lakham, has been residing in a caravan since their home was bombed during the war. The family had no way to ward off the cold, and the child stopped breathing and died…
About 100,000 buildings or structures were damaged in the 50-day-long war between Israel and the Palestinian factions of the Gaza Strip last summer. The UN says this includes over 18,000 housing units that were entirely destroyed.

Mor Efrat: Divide & Conquer: Inequality in Health (PDF; Physicians for Human Rights, Israel)

The “Divide and Conquer” report analyzes the gaps between health indicators and social determinants of health in Israel and the Occupied Territories and demands health service equality between Israelis and Palestinians in light of Israel’s control of these factors.

New Physicians for Human Rights Report – “Divide & Conquer: Inequality in Health” (Communist Party of Israel)

[T]he average life expectancy for Palestinians is about 10 years less than for Israelis; … infant mortality is five times higher in the O[ccupied] P[alestinian] T[erritories] than in Israel (…); and … maternal mortality is four times higher in the Occupied Territories than in Israel … [T]he national expenditure on health care per person in the OPT is about one eighth of that in Israel…
The report also reviews the Israeli mechanisms of control which prevent the Palestinian Ministry of Health – which has its own faults – from providing full health services to the residents of the Occupied Territories, to the detriment of the latter’s health. One such mechanism of control is the limitations Israel imposes on the freedom of movement of patients, medical staff, and medications. Another is control of the Palestinian budget, including the health budget, through Israel’s control of the customs and Value Added Tax revenue for goods entering the Occupied Territories. Israel often makes use of this control level, and denies the transfer of these funds to the Palestinian Authority as a punitive measure. By doing so, Israel interferes with the financing of the Palestinian healthcare system and condemns it to exist in a state of uncertainty.
The Palestinian health system is in a state of chronic crisis, one which does not allow it to provide an appropriate response to the needs of the population.

Ido Efrati: Huge disparities between Israeli, Palestinian health-care systems, says rights group (Haaretz)

New report finds that government expenditure per person is nearly 10 times higher in Israel than in territories.

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

Muslims killed in Sri Lanka mob attacks (AlJazeera)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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

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

Jeff Sparrow: Islamophobia, Left and Right (CounterPunch)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tunisia | Libya | Iran | Sri Lanka | Korea | Israel | Denmark

Sarah Ben Hamadi: Ennahdha-Qatar-United States: Dangerous Liaisons (MRzine)

Arundthati Roy: We are all Occupiers (Guardian)
Tom Ackerman, Slavoj Žižek: Capitalism with Asian values (Aljazeera)

In his distinct and colourful manner, [Žižek] analyses the Arab Spring, the eurozone crisis, the “Occupy Wall Street” movement and the rise of China. Concerned about the future of the existing western democratic capitalism Zizek believes that the current “system has lost its self-evidence, its automatic legitimacy, and now the field is open.”

Nathan Brown: Open Letter to Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi (UCDavis Bicycle Barricade)

Seymour M. Hersh: Iran and the IAEA (New Yorker)

Robert Kelley, a retired I.A.E.A. director and nuclear engineer who previously spent more than thirty years with the Department of Energy’s nuclear-weapons program, told me that he could find very little new information in the I.A.E.A. report. He noted that hundreds of pages of material appears to come from a single source: a laptop computer, allegedly supplied to the I.A.E.A. by a Western intelligence agency, whose provenance could not be established. Those materials, and others, “were old news,” Kelley said, and known to many journalists. “I wonder why this same stuff is now considered ‘new information’ by the same reporters.” (…)Greg Thielmann, a former State Department and Senate Intelligence Committee analyst who was one of the authors of the A.C.A. assessment, told me, “There is troubling evidence suggesting that studies are still going on, but there is nothing that indicates that Iran is really building a bomb.” He added, “Those who want to drum up support for a bombing attack on Iran sort of aggressively misrepresented the report.”

Hugh Roberts: Who said Gaddafi had to go? (London Review of Books)

Presented by the National Transitional Council (NTC) and cheered on by the Western media as an integral part of the Arab Spring, and thus supposedly of a kind with the upheavals in Tunisia and Egypt, the Libyan drama is rather an addition to the list of Western or Western-backed wars against hostile, ‘defiant’, insufficiently ‘compliant’, or ‘rogue’ regimes: Afghanistan I (v. the Communist regime, 1979-92), Iraq I (1990-91), the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (over Kosovo, 1999), Afghanistan II (v. the Taliban regime, 2001) and Iraq II (2003), to which we might, with qualifications, add the military interventions in Panama (1989-90), Sierra Leone (2000) and the Ivory Coast (2011). An older series of events we might bear in mind includes the Bay of Pigs (1961), the intervention by Western mercenaries in the Congo (1964), the British-assisted palace coup in Oman in 1970 and – last but not least – three abortive plots, farmed out to David Stirling and sundry other mercenaries under the initially benevolent eye of Western intelligence services, to overthrow the Gaddafi regime between 1971 and 1973 in an episode known as the Hilton Assignment. (…)
Libya was part of the wider ‘Arab awakening’ in two respects. The unrest began on 15 February, three days after the fall of Mubarak: so there was a contagion effect. And clearly many of the Libyans who took to the streets over the next few days were animated by some of the same sentiments as their counterparts elsewhere. But the Libyan uprising diverged from the Tunisian and Egyptian templates in two ways: the rapidity with which it took on a violent aspect – the destruction of state buildings and xenophobic attacks on Egyptians, Serbs, Koreans and, above all, black Africans; and the extent to which, brandishing the old Libyan flag of the 1951-69 era, the protesters identified their cause with the monarchy Gaddafi & Co overthrew. This divergence owed a lot to external influences. But it also owed much to the character of Gaddafi’s state and regime.

Rory Stewart: Because we weren’t there? (London Review of Books)
Martin Chulov: Free Syria Army gathers on Lebanese border (Guardian)
Michael Doliner: Why the U.S. Can’t Do Anything Right: China’s Game (CounterPunch)

Umakant Delhi: Sri Lanka: The Siege Within Continues… (HardNewsMedia)

With more than two decade long Civil War over, annihilation of LTTE, a farce called democracy in the form of Constitutional Dictatorship and amidst growing militarisation the siege within continues in Sri Lanka

Conn Hallinan: Playing With Fire in Korea (CounterPunch)

Gideon Levy: A new Israel in the making / המדינה שבקרוב תהיה כאן (Ha’aretz)
Jonathan Lis: Israeli ministers back bills to limit funding for human rights groups / השרים אישרו את הצעות החוק המיועדות להגביל מקורות מימון לארגוני זכויות אדם (Ha’aretz)

Bills set for preliminary vote in Knesset would cap foreign governments’ contributions to ‘political’ NGOs; EU, U.S. say legislation could harm Israel’s standing as a democratic country.

Jonathan Lis, Ophir Bar-Zohar: Netanyahu is working to limit free speech in Israel, Labor leader says / לבני: הקואליציה סותמת פיות; דנון: השמאל הקיצוני הוא נגע שיש להסירו (Ha’aretz)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government has set upon itself to limit free speech and declare war on Israel’s judicial system, Labor leader MK Shelly Yachimovich said on Sunday, adding that a wave of recent Likud bills was pushing Israel away from the democratic world.

Rob Evans, Paul Lewis: Undercover policeman admits spying on Danish activists (Guardian)

The controversy over the [British] undercover policeman Mark Kennedy has deepened after he admitted spying on and disrupting the work of activists in another European country.
Kennedy has admitted that he infiltrated a Danish community centre that had housed progressive causes for more than a century, obtaining intelligence that helped police to storm it and close it down in violent raids. (…)
Details of his deployment in Germany, Iceland, and Ireland have previously been revealed, leading to criticism that British police were interfering in the democratic affairs of other countries.
Kennedy said he went to 22 countries in total during his seven years under cover, pretending to be an environmental activist. The list also includes Spain, Poland, France, and Belgium.

Eurozone | USA | Iran | Libya | China | Sri Lanka | Palestine | Britain

Amy Goodman, Michael Hudson: G20 Opens as Greek PM Pushes for Referendum on Bailout and Austerity Measures (Democracy Now)

Obama is here to represent the interests of the American banks. And the Europeans are very angry that a few weeks ago Tim Geithner, the bank lobbyist, came over and insisted that Europe not forgive Greece’s bank loans, not let Greece write down the loans, and indeed that it not even claim that Greece should do what Argentina is and write down the loans as a premise, because Mr. Geithner explained to the Europeans that the largest insurers of the Greek debt are American money market funds and hedge funds. And he said American hedge funds and banks would lose money and actually would crash the U.S. economy, if Europe made a concession to Greece to bring debts down to the ability to pay. So, instead of a debt write-down or a haircut, the banks said, “OK, we will agree with what the Americans are insisting on, and we will ask for a voluntary write-down by the banks on the Greek debt they hold.” Obviously, European banks who are not part of the credit default swaps have disagreed with this. So the Americans are putting immense pressure on Europe, saying, “We will wreck your economy, if you don’t wreck Greece’s economy.” (…)
Yesterday, the headline in the Frankfurter Zeitung was “Democracy is Crap,” and—or “Democracy is Junk.” And the reason that was the headline was the financial sector was saying democracy is incompatible with collecting debts, and when they can’t pay, with foreclosing on the public domain and privatizing a country. You can’t have democracy, and you can’t have debts grow beyond the ability to pay and impose austerity, like the IMF used to do in the third world countries. So, what’s at stake is whether Europe—Greece and other countries—are going to be democratic or whether they’re going to be run by a financial oligarchy, run by the E.U. bureaucracy, basically the European Central Bank, that’s neoliberal, anti-labor, anti-government, and totally in the pockets of the most predatory banks.

Amy Goodman: Italian Financial Crisis Prompts Berlusconi’s Exit (Democracy Now)
Dean Baker: Bankers Crush Greek Democracy (CounterPunch)
Tomasz Konicz: Krise und Wahn (Telepolis)

Je weiter sich die kapitalistische Systemkrise in die Gesellschaft und das Massenbewusstsein hineinfrisst, desto irrationaler gestaltet sich die öffentliche Rezeption des Krisengeschehens (…)
Albert Einstein definierte Wahnsinn als das Bestreben, “immer wieder das Gleiche zu tun und andere Ergebnisse zu erwarten”. Die europäische Krisenpolitik erfüllt alle Voraussetzungen, um gemäß dieser Einsteinischen Definition als wahnsinnig bezeichnet zu werden.

Paul Krugman: Crats, Maybe, But Not Much Techno (New York Times)

Atrios complains, rightly, about the description of the policies being followed in Europe as technocratic. (…) But it’s more than that: these alleged technocrats have in fact systematically ignored both textbook macroeconomics and the lessons of history in favor of fantasies.

George Monbiot: The 1% are the very best destroyers of wealth the world has ever seen (Guardian)

Our common treasury in the last 30 years has been captured by industrial psychopaths. That’s why we’re nearly bankrupt

Mike Whitney: Europe’s Crash Landing (CounterPunch)

Italy and the other countries are in dire straits because they do not control their own currency and, thus, cannot control their own fate. They are entirely at the mercy of the ECB. Is it any wonder why restructuring is never seriously considered (because it would cost the banks and bondholders money) or why there’s been no attempt to create a stimulus program that will lift the struggling states in the south out of their slump and back into the black? The ECB refuses to use the tools that are available to it because its overall policy objectives are already being achieved. Internal devaluation and belt-tightening are the path to privatization, fewer social services, and cheaper labor, exactly what the bankers want.

Peter Lee: This Stupid Democracy Thing: Communist China and the Western Commentariat Finally Get on the Same Page (CounterPunch)

Mike King: Death and Police Opportunism at Occupy Oakland (CounterPunch)

Julian Borger: Iran nuclear report: IAEA claims Tehran working on advanced warhead (Guardian)

The UN’s nuclear watchdog will publish new details on Wednesday on alleged Iranian work on an advanced design for a nuclear warhead developed with the help of a former Soviet scientist, according to nuclear experts. (…)
Iranian officials have already denounced the report as “counterfeit” and there are doubts, even in Washington and London, whether the IAEA evidence will be enough to convince Russia and China to abandon their opposition to further economic sanctions, let alone countenance air strikes. (…)
Earlier this year the US supplied Israel with 55 bunker-busting bombs, and last week the Israeli air force conducted drills at a Nato base in Sardinia for long-range attacks.

Ian Williams: Déjà vu all over again (Guardian)

The US is smearing IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei for not finding evidence of Iranian nuclear weapons. Sound familiar?
When it comes to Iran’s nuclear capabilities, whose word would you rather take: that of a Nobel prize-winning head of an international agency specializing in nuclear issues who was proved triumphantly right about Iraq, or that of a bunch of belligerent neocons who make no secret of their desire to whack Iran at the earliest opportunity and who made such a pigs ear of Iraq?

Gareth Porter: FBI Trickery in Terrorism Cases: Debunking the Iran “Terror Plot” (CounterPunch)

Many other domestic terrorism cases have involved deceptive tactics and economic inducements deployed by the FBI to involve American Muslims in fictional terrorist plots. The Center for Human Rights and Global Justice at New York University’s Law School found more than 20 terrorism cases that involved some combination of “paid informants, selection of investigation based on perceived religious identity, [and] a plot that was created by the government.” This history makes it clear that the Justice Department and FBI are prepared to go to extraordinary lengths to fabricate terrorism cases against targeted individuals, and that misrepresenting these individuals’ intentions and actual behavior has long been standard practice. The trickery and deceit in past “counter-terrorism” sting operations provides further reason to question the veracity of the Obama administration’s allegations in the bizarre case of Manssor Arbabsiar.

Ismail Salami: IAEA report thrives on laptop of lies (PressTV)
Gareth Porter: Iran’s “Soviet Nuclear Scientist” Never Worked on Weapons (CounterPunch)

The report of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) published by a Washington think tank Tuesday repeated the sensational claim previously reported by news media all over the world that a former Soviet nuclear weapons scientist had helped Iran construct a detonation system that could be used for a nuclear weapon.
But it turns out that the foreign expert, who is not named in the IAEA report but was identified in news reports as Vyacheslav Danilenko, is not a nuclear weapons scientist but one of the top specialists in the world in the production of nanodiamonds by explosives. (…)
The fact that the IAEA and Albright were made aware of Danilenko’s nanodiamond work in Iran before embracing the “former Soviet nuclear weapons specialist” story makes their failure to make any independent inquiry into his background even more revealing.

Nick Meo: Libya dispatch: as lawlessness spreads, are the rebel ‘good guys’ turning bad? (Telegraph)

Stories of gunmen taking expensive cars at checkpoints, giving receipts saying they will be returned after the revolution, are nervously swapped over cups of tea.
More alarming than the looting have been the armed clashes between militias. There have been three big fights in the capital alone in the past week; shoot-outs at a hospital, Martyr’s Square, and the military airport, which have left several dead and dozens wounded.
Then there are the detentions. With the fighting over, the revolutionaries have not been idle. They have kept busy rounding up hundreds of suspected Gaddafi supporters in a wide-scale witch-hunt, often on the basis of little more than rumour and accusation.

Franklin Lamb: Terror and Revenge Engulf NATO’s Libya (CounterPunch)

Peter Baofu: China’s need for a new foreign policy (East Asia Forum)

As China fast approaches superpower status, its current policy of non-interference in world affairs will soon become obsolete.

Freedom from Torture submission to the Committee against Torture for its examination of Sri Lanka in November 2011 (PDF; Freedom from Torture)

Michael Neumann: Resolutions and “Solutions”: After Palestine’s Statehood Bid (CounterPunch)
Jonathan Cook: A Response to Michael Neumann: There’s Nothing Idealistic About the One-State Solution (CounterPunch)
Reuters: חילוקי דעות במועצת הביטחון האם להכיר במדינה פלסטינית / UN Security Council panel fails to reach consensus on Palestinian bid, says draft report (Haaretz)

Ben Lorber: Freedom Waves Campaigners Abused and Imprisoned (CounterPunch)
Amy Goodman: Israel Intercepts Gaza-Bound Flotilla (Democracy Now)

Jamie Jackson: England to wear poppies on armbands as Fifa and FA reach compromise (Guardian)

Chomsky | Australia | Hiroshima | Afghanistan | China and Africa

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

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

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

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

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

Wikileaks | Football | Haiti | Australia | Korea

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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