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Index January 2008

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  • 2008-01-01: Lakota Sioux withdraw from treaty with US;
  • 2008-01-02: 9/11’s history of tragic events;
  • 2008-01-03: Fish trade: women join hands against middlemen menace;
  • 2008-01-04: TCHAPE.org – rapport d’activités 2006;
  • 2008-01-04: Now we are human commodities;
  • 2008-01-05: So … what’s this here single-payer health care thing all about anyway;
  • 2008-01-05: KWANZAA: HOLIDAY FROM THE FBI;
  • 2008-01-05: Government stats on employment rates;
  • 2008-01-06: Kissinger to al-Hakim: Stay the course;
  • 2008-01-06: Benazir Bhutto & America’s ambitions;
  • 2008-01-07: THE SELF-INFLICTED COST OF ECONOMIC MYOPIA;
  • 2008-01-08: The Myth of Sectarianism;
  • 2008-01-08: Jared Diamond and the Consumption Factor;
  • 2008-01-09: KRUGMAN ON TRADE;
  • 2008-01-09: THE TRANSFORMATION OF RISK;
  • 2008-01-10: Developments on the Road to ‘Division Day’;
  • 2008-01-11: SATAN’S CALLING CARD;
  • 2008-01-12: The Destabilization of Pakistan;
  • 2008-01-13: … more American Elections;
  • 2008-01-13: Videos – Interviews by Charlie Rose;
  • 2008-01-14: Confessions of an Economic Hit Man;
  • 2008-01-15: latin american people’s struggle;
  • 2008-01-15: Strategy for economic rebound;
  • 2008-01-16: After one year in power in Congress, Dems don’t get much done;
  • 2008-01-17: Economy, Secrets and Empire;
  • 2008-01-18: John Edwards, Man and Message;
  • 2008-01-18: Imperialism and Private Armies;
  • 2008-01-19: Africa says no – and means it;
  • 2008-01-20: Le Crédit Social;
  • 2008-01-20: Religious Ideology and Social Control: Abortion and the Catholic Church;
  • 2008-01-21: The deflation time bomb;
  • 2008-01-22: … about Cuba, its doctors, the world;
  • 2008-01-22: World Social Forum 2008;
  • 2008-01-23: Rebuilding a Bridge;
  • 2008-01-24: A Civilization Nervous Breakdown;
  • 2008-01-24: Iraq dossier must be published;
  • 2008-01-25: EU anti-pollution plans meet with cool reception;
  • 2008-01-26: Bush Era’s Last Legs … ;
  • 2008-01-26: an economy that works for all;
  • 2008-01-27: Another Neocon Attempt to Frame Iran Falls Apart;
  • 2008-01-27: Why is the situation in Pakistan irremediable?
  • 2008-01-28: Das Grundeinkommen in der Diskussion;
  • 2008-01-28: Cape Town Open Education Declaration;
  • 2008-01-29: CBS Falsifies Iraq War History;
  • 2008-01-29: Self-help in pink saris;
  • 2008-01-30: German state elections reveal pronounced shift to the left by electorate;
  • 2008-01-31: Kadhafi menace d’abandonner l’Afrique si le continent ne s’unit pas vite;
  • 2008-01-31: The Rapture Can’t Happen Soon Enough To Suit Me;
  • 2008-01-31: The great credit unwind of ‘08.
  • The great credit unwind of ‘08

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    Published on Online Journal, by Mike Whitney, Jan 31, 2008.

    … Global market turmoil continued into a second week as stock markets in Asia and Europe took another tumble on Monday on growing fears of a recession in the United States.

    China’s benchmark index plummeted 7.2 percent to its lowest point in six months, while Japan’s Nikkei index slipped another 4.3 percent. Equities markets across Asia recorded similar results and, by midmorning in Europe, all three major indexes – the UK FTSE Footsie, France’s CAC 40, and the German DAX – were all recording heavy losses. It’s now clear that Fed Chairman Bernanke’s ’surprise’ announcement of a 75 basis points cut to the Fed Funds rate last week has neither stabilized the markets nor restored confidence among jittery investors.

    In Monday’s Financial Times, Harvard economics professor, Lawrence Summers, made an impassioned plea for further government action in addition to the Fed’s rate cuts and Bush’s $150 billion stimulus plan. Summers believes that steps must be taken immediately to mitigate the damage from the sharp downturn in housing and persistent troubles in the credit markets. He suggests a global coordination of policy, which is another way of admitting that the Fed has lost control of the system and cannot solve the problem by itself …

    … So, how did things get so bad, so fast? How could the world’s most resilient and profitable markets be transformed into a carnival sideshow peddling poisonous mortgage-backed snake-oil to every gullible investor?

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    The Rapture Can’t Happen Soon Enough To Suit Me

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    Published on Countercurrents.org, by Robert Weitzel, 22 January, 2008.

    As an atheist and a skeptic, I try to limit my magical thinking to occasional moments of vanity and revenge. But lately I’ve found myself wishing that if the Rapture is on the level, it would happen soon … I mean real soon.

    The Rapture is the name given to a future event in which Jesus descends from heaven and gathers up all Christian fundamentalists [a.k.a. Christian Right] and swooshes them up bodily to heaven, but not before they’ve jettisoned their clothes and jewelry and all forms of prostheses, including pompadour hairpieces and inflatable bouffant support bladders.

    Before I get too far into this, I want it understood that I’m not wishing these folks ill. On the contrary, I’m wishing them what they’ve always wantedan eternity of enjoying the unchallenged moral certitude they were never quite able to fully enjoy here on Earth, but which nonetheless caused the rest of us no end of misery.

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    Kadhafi menace d’abandonner l’Afrique si le continent ne s’unit pas vite

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    Publié par Jeune Afrique, 29 janvier 2008.

    AFP – Le dirigeant libyen Mouammar Kadhafi a menacé mardi de “tourner le dos” à l’Afrique et de se tourner vers d’”autres alternatives”, si le continent ne s’unit pas rapidement, lors d’une conférence de presse à Tripoli.

    “Si l’unité ne se réalise pas, la Libye va tourner le dos à l’Afrique et se tournera vers une autre alternative, arabo-méditerranéenne ou euro-méditerranéenne”, a-t-il dit à la veille de son départ pour Addis Abeba où il doit participer de jeudi à samedi au 10e sommet de l’Union africaine (UA).

    Le colonel Kadhafi a menacé également de réorienter les investissements libyens en Afrique – estimés selon lui à plus de 5 milliards de dollars par an – vers des pays arabes ou méditerranéens.

    Pour le numéro libyen, “le sommet d’Addis Abeba doit être décisif pour la création de l’unité africaine.

    “Celui qui mettra son veto à cette unité participera à une conspiration visant la vente de l’Afrique aux enchères”, a-t-il estimé … (full text).

    German state elections reveal pronounced shift to the left by electorate

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    Publised on WSWS, by Ulrich Rippert, 30 January 2008.

    Elections held in the two German states of Hesse and Lower Saxony last Sunday revealed a pronounced shift to the left by the electorate…

    … The election results in Hesse and Lower Saxony express a shift to the left by the population as a whole, a process that has been under way for some time.

    Before Christmas, the German media had been dominated by reports on the rapid increase in social inequality in Germany. In December, the magazine Der Spiegel reported that the incomes of the poorest layers had dropped by 13 percent since 1992, while top earners had increased their incomes over the same period by nearly a third. It is a frightening development, the magazine concluded.

    Sections of the German ruling elite are fearful that the increasing economic and social crisis could lead to sharpened social conflicts. Their anxieties have only been reinforced by the slump in share prices and the intensified financial crisis of the past few weeks …

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    Self-help in pink saris

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    Published on IntLawGrrls, by Berkeley Law student Mallika Kaur Sarkaria, December 8, 2007, (see also the homepage).

    … The BBC reports that for the last 2 years the gulabi gang, a self-named pink gang of several hundred vigilante women, plus some men, has been striking fear in the hearts of wrongdoers and earning the grudging respect of officials in the poverty-stricken state of Banda, located in blighted region that is Bundelkhand (indicated by dark orange shading in map below) in Uttar Pradesh in the north of India.

    While garbed in pink saris, they have, among other things:

    • thrashed men who have abandoned or beaten their wives;
    • unearthed corruption in the distribution of grain to the poor;
    • stormed a police station and attacked a policeman after they took in an untouchable man and refused to register a case.

    The founding leader of the group is Sampat Pal Devi, whom BBC reporter Soutik Biswas describes as a wiry woman, wife of an ice cream vendor, mother of five children, and a former government health worker. She says she and her group are uninterested in politics; they shun political parties and NGOs because, she maintains, they are always looking for kickbacks when they offer to fund us. (full text).

    CBS Falsifies Iraq War History

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    Published on ‘after downing street.org‘, by Robert Parry, January 28, 2008.

    2 excerpts: … In line with Bush’s version of history, 60 Minutes correspondent Pelley asked FBI interrogator George Piro why Hussein kept pretending that he had WMD even as U.S. troops massed on Iraq’s borders, when a simple announcement that the WMD was gone would have prevented the war.

    For a man who drew America into two wars and countless military engagements, we never knew what Saddam Hussein was thinking, Pelley said in introducing the segment on the interrogation of Hussein about his WMD stockpiles. Why did he choose war with the United States?

    The segment never mentions the fact that Hussein’s government did disclose that it had eliminated its WMD. Instead Pelley presses Piro on the question of why Hussein was hiding that fact.

    Piro said Hussein explained to him that most of the WMD had been destroyed by the U.N. inspectors in the 90s, and those that hadn’t been destroyed by the inspectors were unilaterally destroyed by Iraq.

    So, Pelley asked, why keep the secret? Why put your nation at risk, why put your own life at risk to maintain this charade?

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    Cape Town Open Education Declaration

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    Unlocking the promise of open educational resources

    Linked with Francis F. Muguet – France.

    Published on Capetown (not dated), but received by mail from Francis F. MUGUET KNIS/ENSTA on January 22, 2008.

    We are on the cusp of a global revolution in teaching and learning. Educators worldwide are developing a vast pool of educational resources on the Internet, open and free for all to use. These educators are creating a world where each and every person on earth can access and contribute to the sum of all human knowledge. They are also planting the seeds of a new pedagogy where educators and learners create, shape and evolve knowledge together, deepening their skills and understanding as they go.

    This emerging open education movement combines the established tradition of sharing good ideas with fellow educators and the collaborative, interactive culture of the Internet. It is built on the belief that everyone should have the freedom to use, customize, improve and redistribute educational resources without constraint. Educators, learners and others who share this belief are gathering together as part of a worldwide effort to make education both more accessible and more effective …

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    Das Grundeinkommen in der Diskussion

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    Ein Bericht über den Basler Kongress von Anfang Oktober 2007

    Publiziert online bei ATTAC Schweiz, am 21. Januar, 2008.

    Am 5. bis 7. Oktober hat in Basel der zweite deutschsprachige Grundeinkommenskongress stattgefunden.

    Die Veranstaltung war in zweifacher Hinsicht erfolgreich. Zum einen ist es geglückt, ein breites und vielfältiges Publikum anzusprechen. über 250 Personen haben am Kongress teilgenommen – jung und alt, aus der Schweiz, Oesterreich und Deutschland, von der Sozialhilfebezügerin über den Gewerkschafter bis zum Hochschulprofessor. Zum anderen ist es gelungen, die wichtigen umstrittenen Fragen anzuschneiden und durchaus kontrovers zu diskutieren.

    Zwar wurde bereits im Vorfeld des Kongresses festgehalten, zur Diskussion stehe ein bedingungsloses und existenzsicherndes Grundeinkommen, das nicht den bestehenden Sozialstaat ersetzen soll. Damit sollte den neoliberalen Sozialabbaukonzepten, wie sie etwa in Deutschland durch den ökonomen Thomas Straubhaar (Weltwirtschaftsinstitut Hamburg) verbreitet werden, auf dessen Modell sich der thüringische Ministerpräsident Dieter Althaus (CDU) stützt, eine Absage erteilt werden. Dennoch ist am Kongress deutlich geworden, dass es unter den Teilnehmenden unterschiedliche Vorstellungen zum Grundeinkommen gibt …

    … Grundeinkommen für welches Gesellschaftsprojekt ?

    4. Schliesslich existieren Meinungsverschiedenheiten in Bezug auf die gesellschaftlichen Ordnungsprinzipien, mit denen die Forderung nach dem Grundeinkommen verbunden wird.

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    Why is the situation in Pakistan irremediable?

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    Published on Voltairenet.org, by (Indian) General Vinod Saighal, January 21, 2008.

    3 excerpts: … The assassination of Benazir Bhutto and the resulting turmoil in Pakistan has again brought into focus the strange symbiosis between the George W. Bush administration and the General who has plunged Pakistan into the sorry state in which it finds itself. Before commenting on this on-the-face-of-it unshakable bond attention is first invited to excerpts from a talk entitled “Geopolitical Clairvoyance” delivered to an international audience nearly 30 months ago. Quote:

    “Turning to Pakistan it will be seen that Gen. Musharraf’s credentials for running Pakistan may appear increasingly attractive to the Western World and China, more recently, perhaps to India as well. The General was forced to do a U turn after 9/11 with a gun to his head. He capitulated.

    Publicly he has been making all the right noises. These have been music to US ears. Even his liberal leanings may flow from genuine conviction. What is the reality on the ground, however?

    The Jihadi elements, no matter how vociferously denounced by him in public proclamations from time to time, are flourishing as heretofore.

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    Another Neocon Attempt to Frame Iran Falls Apart

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    Published on AlterNet, by Gareth Porter, The Nation, January 26, 2008.

    (Last time it was scary speed-boats, this time it’s a bogus link to a bombing in Argentina – one by one, Iran hawks’ lies keep unraveling).

    Research for this article was supported by the Investigative Fund of The Nation Institute.

    2 excerpts of a long 4 pages text: Although nukes and Iraq have been the main focus of the Bush Administration’s pressure campaign against Iran, US officials also seek to tar Iran as the world’s leading sponsor of terrorism. And Team Bush’s latest tactic is to play up a thirteen-year-old accusation that Iran was responsible for the notorious Buenos Aires bombing that destroyed the city’s Jewish Community Center, known as AMIA, killing eighty-six and injuring 300, in 1994. Unnamed senior Administration officials told the Wall Street Journal January 15 that the bombing in Argentina “serves as a model for how Tehran has used its overseas embassies and relationship with foreign militant groups, in particular Hezbollah, to strike at its enemies.”

    This propaganda campaign depends heavily on a decision last November by the General Assembly of Interpol, which voted to put five former Iranian officials and a Hezbollah leader on the international police organization’s “red list” for allegedly having planned the July 1994 bombing. But the Wall Street Journal reports that it was pressure from the Bush Administration, along with Israeli and Argentine diplomats, that secured the Interpol vote. In fact, the Bush Administration’s manipulation of the Argentine bombing case is perfectly in line with its long practice of using distorting and manufactured evidence to build a case against its geopolitical enemies …

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    an economy that works for all

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    Published on AFL-CIO, America’s Union Movement, to see deeper click on different links there.

    Here different charts:

    Income for the Wealthiest Is off the Charts;

    We Make It, Big Business Takes It;

    Wealthiest Families Prosper as Never Before;

    CEO Pay Skyrockets Compared with Workers’ Wages;

    We all know it: The economy is not working for working families. We are the change our economy needs.

    Get the facts and find out how you can DISMANTLE the corporate agenda and BUILD a working family agenda. Here’s our working family agenda:

    • Anyone who wants to work should have a job with a living wage;
    • Workers are proud of their work and should have the chance to do it right;
    • All workers and our families should be able to live in dignity with health care and retirement security;
    • Every worker should enjoy the freedom to form a union and bargain collectively;
    • Workers want to contribute to, and share in, building a world-class economy.

    Bush Era’s Last Legs

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    … Will Anything Change When He Goes?

    Published on AlterNet, by Robert Parry, January 24, 2008.

    (It seems naive to hope Bush’s successor will reject his most destructive policies).

    The political calendar indicates that in one more year – on Jan. 20, 2009 – the presidency of George W. Bush will come to an end. However, the worst consequences of his disastrous reign, including the Iraq War, may be nowhere near ending …

    … So, it seems a sure bet that a McCain presidency would continue Bush’s Iraq policies indefinitely. And it looks like a gamble whether Clinton would press ahead with her hope of bringing nearly all the troops out by the end of 2009 – or revert to the neocon-lite position that she embraced from 2002 until the start of the Democratic campaign in 2007.

    Might Hillary Clinton be to George W. Bush on Iraq what Richard Nixon was to Lyndon Johnson on Vietnam, a President who continued a war for years while gradually moving to wind it down? …

    … As the Clinton team told me back in 1993, we don’t want to refight the old battles of the 1980s. Many of the same players show no indication that they would take a different position regarding the battles of the Bush II presidency.

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    EU anti-pollution plans meet with cool reception

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    Linked with Walden Bello – Philippines.

    Published on The Guardian, by Jeremy Lovell, Jan. 23, 2008.

    … “The EU has compromised to corporate lobbyists again,” said Tamra Gilbertson of Carbon Trade Watch, a project of the academic watchdog Transnational Institute. “Instead of imposing strict regulations on emissions, it is offering them a lifeline and continuing to offer free pollution permits for at least the next decade,” she added.

    Industry lobbyists had threatened that if they faced strong extra carbon costs they would simply relocate outside Europe.

    Scientists warn that global average temperatures will rise by between 1.8 and 4.0 degrees Celsius this century due to burning fossil fuels for power and transport, causing floods and famines and putting millions of lives at risk.

    Despite the criticisms, the EU hopes its package of emissions control measures, the most far reaching of any to date, will act as a spur to action by other major polluters including the United States and China. (full text).

    Iraq dossier must be published

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    Published on View London, by Adfero Ltd, 23 January 2008.

    The Foreign Office has been ordered to publish an early draft of the controversial dossier on Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction (WMD).

    An information tribunal has ruled that the unpublished document, which was a precursor to the final dossier on Iraq’s alleged possession of WMDs, must be made public.

    The final document, which was issued by then prime minister Tony Blair in September 2002, was at the centre of a government scandal after accusations that the dossier had been ’sexed up’ in order to encourage support for an invasion of Iraq …

    … In handing down its decision on the publication of what is known as ‘the Williams draft’, the information tribunal said there is “a strong public interest in disclosure”.

    “We do not accept that we should, in effect, treat the Hutton Report as the final word on the subject,” the tribunal decision continues.

    “Information has been placed before us, which was not before Lord Hutton, which may lead to questions as to whether the Williams’ draft in fact played a greater part in influencing the drafting of the dossier than has previously been supposed.”

    The tribunal also suggested that the handwriting of two different individuals was found on the document, “suggesting that at least one person other than the author had reviewed and commented on it”. (full text).

    A Civilization’s Nervous Breakdown?

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    What Would It Look Like If Civilization Had A Nervous Breakdown?

    Published on Countercurrents, by Dave Eriqat, 18 January, 2008.

    First edition on DaveEriqAt.com, 84 pages, January 2008.

    I recently read a fascinating article that referred to a discipline known as ponerology. [1] It captivated me because I had never before considered the hypothesis it raised: that our systems of government and commercial enterprise across the globe have been irreparably corrupted by a critical mass of evil people, who some have eloquently termed pathocrats. That would explain so much about our world today and why everything seems reversed: what was once wrong is now right; truth, once considered noble, has given way to endemic dissembling; where we once championed helping people in need, today we push them away (as in the case of the homeless) or simply kill them (as in Palestine); knowledge is scorned, while unsubstantiated belief is embraced.

    The world today reminds me of that excellent Star Trek episode, titled Mirror, Mirror, [2] in which in the midst of the transporter beam, several crew members swap places with their counterparts from an almost identical parallel universe, but in which everything is backwards: evil is endemic, violent ascension is admired, the administration of pain thinly conceals a latent pornographic lust, just like in the case of our own Abu Ghraib prison scandal …

    This long pdf-text makes 84 pages! Therefore you may download it here.

    Rebuilding a Bridge

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    Linked with Francis S.L. Wang – USA & China.

    Published on Association of American Law Schools AALS.org, by Professor Francis SL Wang, 8 pages, May 2004.

    An excerpt: … With the forced opening of China, beginning in the mid 19th century, and through a succession of unequal treaties which granted ever expanding rights to the Western powers, China’s traditional administrative structure slowly collapsed. The Western powers demanded and were granted extraterritorial rights in China.

    This meant that their nationals and commercial enterprises had the right to be tried in their own consular courts applying their own laws. The Chinese system of adjudication was scorned. This coupled with various territorial concessions (foreign powers granted sovereignty over large areas of land at the treaty ports opened to Western trade), created in China two systems of law and adjudication – one for the Chinese, and another for nationals of the foreign powers.

    While China has had a long tradition of law, its organization and emphasis, as well as the institutions for adjudication, were not similar to those of the West. Its highly centralized governmental structure dating back more than two thousand years, which reinforced a policy of stability, did not resonate with Western legal structures. There are many parallels, but the approach and goals were different.

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    World Social Forum 2008

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    another world is possible, in english (updated 22 Jan 2008)

    Homepage in english.

    Call for Day of Action and Mobilisation, January 26th 2008:

    We are millions of women and men, organisations, networks, movements, trade unions from all parts of the world, we come from villages, regions, rural zones, urban centres, we are of all ages, peoples, cultures, beliefs, but we are united by the strong conviction that ANOTHER WORLD IS POSSIBLE.

    With all the richness of our plurality and diversity and our alternatives and proposals, we struggle against neo-liberalism, war, colonialism, racism and patriarchy which produce violence, exploitation, exclusion, poverty, hunger and ecological disaster and deprive people of human rights.

    For many years we have been resisting and constructing innovative processes, new cultures of organization and action from the local to the global, in particular within the processes and Charter of Principle of the World Social Forum from which this call emerges.

    Aware of the need to set our own agenda and to increase the impact of these thousands of expressions and manifestations, we are committed to strengthening the solidarity and convergence amongst our struggles, campaigns, and constructions of alternatives and alliances.

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    … about Cuba, its doctors, the world

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    Published on Granma Internacional, by LILLIAM RIERA, January 18, 2008.
    (Translated by Granma International)

    Cuba exports medical equipment all over the world

    … MEDICAL equipment for cardiology and clinical neurophysiology services, some in the final phase of testing before production is begun, are among the products developed by a Cuban industry born 25 years ago.

    This industry is composed basically of the Cuban Neuroscience Center (CNC) and the Central Institute for Digital Research (ICID), both part of the West Havana Scientific Complex.

    The devices and equipment produced have been installed within the network of Cuba’s national health system hospitals, where they contribute to improving the population’s quality of life, and are sold in a number of countries where they are sought for their excellence and competitive pricing.

    ALMOST 2,000 PIECES OF EQUIPMENT IN THE HANDS OF CUBAN INTERNATIONALISTS: …

    … MEDICID 03: FIRST OF ITS KIND IN THE WORLD: The MEDICID 03 was the first Cuban medical device to be exported and the first of its kind in the world.

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    The deflation time bomb

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    Published on Online Journal, by Mike Whitney, Jan 14, 2008.

    … Last week, the Federal Reserve announced that it will increase the size of two scheduled auctions of emergency loans by 50 percent to $30 billion as part of a global attempt by central bankers to restore faith in the money markets. [AP] In other words, the Fed will provide an even bigger begging bowl to prop up the banks to maintain the appearance of solvency. It is an utter sham.

    Inflation vs. deflation:

    The size and scale of the approaching recession is impossible to forecast. The real estate and stock markets will undoubtedly see trillions of dollars in losses, but what about the estimated $300 trillion dollars of derivatives, credit default swaps and other abstruse counterparty options? Will the global economy freeze up when that ocean of cyber-capital suddenly evaporates? Will that virtual wealth simply vanish into the ether when the underlying assets (CDOs, MBSes, ABCP) are downgraded to pennies on the dollar, or when the number of home foreclosures catapults into the millions, or when the dollar slips to a fraction of its current value? No one really knows.

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    Religious Ideology and Social Control: Abortion and the Catholic Church

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    Linked with Maria Jos Rosado Nune /Sister Zecas – Brazil, and with PLANetWIRE.org.

    Published on geocities.com, by Maria Jos Rosado, not dated (may be old).

    The Roman Catholic Church has been identified as one of the most powerful adversaries of the campaign to legalize and/or decriminalize abortion waged by feminist groups in Brazil.

    The Catholic Church does indeed wield considerable social power in Brazil, acting as a major pressure group, lobbying the government and Congress, influencing the mass media, and transmitting the official Catholic doctrine on abortion to the men and particularly the women in its congregation, via specialized cadres of both genders.

    However, despite the appearance of absolute consensus in the Church’s condemnation of abortion, careful observation of its practice shows that there are in fact contradictions rather than complete homogeneity. Leila Linhares (1992), analyzing the history of the pro-abortion movement in Brazil, clearly shows how the women’s movement has built alliances with segments of the Catholic Church, not for abortion but for other social issues.

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    Le Crédit Social

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    Proposition de transition de l’économie de marché à l’économie distributive

    par Stéphane A. Barathieu

    < < Le communisme est mauvais car il accorde trop d’importance à l’égalité et pas assez à la liberté. Le capitalisme est mauvais car il accorde trop d’importance à la liberté et pas assez à la fraternité. >>

    La question prioritaire, à la base de la proposition du Crédit Social, est “Comment gérer la transition entre l’économie de marché actuelle et l’économie distributive de demain ?

    Et plus précisément comment effectuer cette transition dans un seul pays, sans que cela soit un handicap mais représente au contraire un avantage pour ce pays.

    La solution que je propose, c’est de conserver la compatibilité avec l’économie de marché, tout en mettant en oeuvre le Crédit Social, qui a une dimension systémique globale, à la fois monétaire, fiscale et sociale, entre autre.

    En voici le schéma général :

    • 1) Introduction d’une nouvelle monnaie interne, dénommée le Crédit Social, en complément à la monnaie officielle, qui est valable aussi à l’étranger. Le Crédit Social est une monnaie 100% électronique, frappée d’un faible intérêt négatif.
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    Africa says no – and means it

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    Published on Monde diplomatique, by Ignacio Ramonet, January 2008.

    The unimaginable has happened, to the displeasure of arrogant Europe. Africa, thought to be so poor that it would agree to anything, has said no in rebellious pride. No to the straitjacket of the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs), no to the complete liberalisation of trade, no to the latest manifestations of the colonial pact.

    It happened in December at the second EU-Africa summit in Lisbon, where the main objective was to force the African countries to sign new trade agreements by 31 December 2007 in accordance with the Cotonou Convention of 2000 winding up the 1975 Lom’ accords. Under these, goods from former colonies in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific are imported into the European Union more or less duty-free, except for products such as sugar, meat and bananas that are a problem for European producers. The World Trade Organisation has insisted that these preferential arrangements be dismantled or replaced by trade agreements based on reciprocity, claiming that this is the only way African countries can continue to enjoy different treatment. The EU opted for completely free trade in the guise of EPAs. So the 27 were asking African, Caribbean and Pacific countries to allow EU goods and services to enter their markets duty-free …

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    videos – divings plongees tauchen

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    on Planet Thalassa, a french TV channel: short beautiful diving videos around the world.

    Other diving videos you’ll find by Google Video-search (more than 60′000), or by YouTube-search (more than 36′000). Some exemples:

    schwerelos im Roten Meer (Red Sea); 5 min;

    scuba divings in Thailand and Burma, 6.34 min;

    with dolphins, in Honduras;

    scuba diving Okinawa, 7.58 min.

    Imperialism and Private Armies

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    The Mercenary-Industrial Complex: Imperialism and Private Armies

    Published on Political Affairs, by Rémy Herrera, January 17, 2008.

    What are the implications of recent increased use of mercenaries and private armies for the analysis of imperialism, forms of resistances and the alternatives for a transition to socialism under the extremely difficult conditions of the 21st century? The main question is to understand why, if it is a public good even from the point of view of the dominant theory, defense is privatized to the extent that imperialist war turns out to be partly carried out by privatization of defense goods and services.

    In dominant neoclassical economic theory, the technical characteristics of defense make it a public good. Therefore, neoclassical theory admits that defense can only be undertaken by the state, and not for political reasons but for economic ones. Then, in such a framework, only the state is able to ensure the optimality of the so-called market equilibrium.

    Such are the terms of the mainstream academic consensus existing today on this question. This means obviously that there is some problems in the neoclassical literature dealing with defense, especially concerning the theoretical and empirical effects of military spending on the economy. One of the difficulties of applying neoclassical theory is the monopoly on information and control the state has over military questions. In neoclassical theory, even as imperfect as it is, the market is always preferable to state interventions. Thus a publicly controlled military is at odds with free-market economic theory.

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    John Edwards, Man and Message

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    John Edwards: A Look at the Man and the Message

    Published on Political Affairs, by Norman Markowitz, January 17, 2008.

    In his bid for the Democratic nomination, John Edwards is campaigning to the left of front-runners Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama on general domestic issues. By this, I mean that his most important theme is more than just the necessity for a popular movement for change. Edwards talks about the need to confront large corporations and their influence in society on key issues like health care, the environment and labor’s rights, before the US can become the society that it can and should be. So is Edwards a real anti-monopoly candidate? …

    … In an interesting sidelight, Edwards, who has championed restrictions against the loan sharks who have run wild in pushing credit(particularly for the homes) on the poor in recent decades, joined a Wall Street firm, Fortress Investments, as an advisor and consultant in 2005. Actions like this are common among establishment politicians and have been for generations, in effect making them part of interlocking directorates that connect banks and corporations with political leaders and the administrators of universities, charitable institutions, etc. When it was discovered recently that Fortress Investments owned a substantial interest in one of the predatory sub prime loan companies, Edwards ended his involvement with the firm, withdrew his own investment, and has worked with ACORN to establish a Louisiana Home Rescue Fund, for families who have had their mortgages foreclosed by the Fortress affiliate. Edwards, according to press reports, contributed $100,000 to the ACORN directed rescue fund and no one has suggested that he was aware of Fortress ownership of the predatory lender.

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    Economy, Secrets and Empire

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    The Secret History of the American Empire: Economic Hit Men, Jackals, and the Truth about Global Corruption

    Linked with John Perkins – USA. Added January 20, 2008: linked with Global Empire without Emperor?

    Published on Democracy Now, by John Perkins, June 5, 2007.

    Excerpt of a long interview: … AMY GOODMAN: John Perkins, what do you see as the solutions right now?

    JOHN PERKINS: Well, you know, Amy, this empire that we’ve created really has an emperor, and it’s not the president of this country. The President serves, you know, for a short period of time. But it doesn’t really matter whether we have a Democrat or a Republican in the White House or running Congress; the empire goes on, because it’s really run by what I call the corporatocracy, which is a group of men who run our biggest corporations. This isn’t a conspiracy theory. They don’t need to conspire. They all know what serves their best interest. But they really are the equivalent of the emperor, because they do not serve at the wish of the people, they’re not democratically elected, they don’t serve any limited term. They essentially answer to no one, except their own boards, and most corporate CEOs actually run their boards, rather than the other way around. And they are the power behind this.

    And so, if we want to turn this around, we have to impact them very strongly, which means that we have to change the corporations, which is their power base. And what I feel very strongly is that today corporations exists for the primary purpose of making large profits, making a few very rich people a lot richer on a quarterly basis, on a daily basis, on a very short-term basis. That shouldn’t be. There is no reason for that to be.

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    After one year in power in Congress, Dems don’t get much done

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    Published on McClatchy Newspapers, by Margaret Talev and Renee Schoof, December 19, 2007.

    WASHINGTON �-Democrats won control of both houses of Congress in a stunning 2006 election victory by vowing to wind down the Iraq war, marginalize President Bush, enact their agenda and revive bipartisanship.

    But after a year in power, their “mission accomplished” list is thin. They’re constrained by three factors:

    • A majority that’s too slim to break party-line filibusters in the Senate or override presidential vetoes;
    • Republican lawmakers’ willingness to stick by the White House most of the time;
    • And divisions among themselves over how far to go in opposing the war or changing how deals get done on Capitol Hill.

    “Once the Democrats do something about the war that’s effective and not what Bush wants, then they become responsible for the consequences,” said Gary Jacobson, a political science professor at the University of California in San Diego. “And since it’s still hard to see good consequences coming out of the war, it’s very risky for them” …

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    Strategy for economic rebound

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    Smart stimulus to counteract the economic slowdown

    Published on Economic Policy Institute, by Lawrence Mishel, Ross Eisenbrey and John Irons, January 11, 2008.

    Because the United States is either already in a recession or is headed for one, policy makers need to act now to craft an effective economic stimulus package to spur growth and job creation. Without a stimulus of sufficient magnitude, the U.S. economy is likely to see a decline in growth or even a formal recession, leading to higher unemployment, declining or stagnant wages, and a host of other economic problems. A package that provides $140 billion of stimulus – 1% of GDP – would begin to reverse our economic course by creating an additional 1.4 to 1.7 million jobs …

    … Criteria for an effective stimulus plan:

    There is always debate over what an effective stimulus package should look like. Many different policies are purported to stimulate the economy, but it is important to distinguish between those that will have their effect in the very near-term to offset rising unemployment this year and those policies that have longer-term effects. Any useful stimulus package should strengthen the recovery immediately and create more jobs in 2008. Some obvious examples of policies that fail this criterion are the ones just suggested by the Bush administration, including eliminating the estate tax and extending the high-end income, capital gains, and dividend tax cuts beyond 2010. These policies have nothing to do with the job creation we will need in 2008.

    An effective, appropriate stimulus package should meet the following five criteria: …

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    latin american people’s struggle

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    The following documentary was made by the Calle y Media audiovisual cooperative and it shows in the most objective and sincere way the causes and reasons of what is really happening in Latin America, and particularly the social encouraging machine that Venezuela has become itself. Our societies are moving in the 21st century … (full text).

    … See the following spanish video (subtitles in english): Venezuela Bolivariana, people and the struggle of the 4th world war, 1 h. 16 min, 30.04.2006.

    Google videos about 4th world war.

    Confessions of an Economic Hit Man

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    The following videos exist, all with John Perkins, USA:

    Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, 10 min – 5 Oct 2007;

    same, 30 min – 27 Jul 2007;

    same, 7 min – 26 Apr 2007;

    same, 22 min – 19 Apr 2007;

    same, – Part I, 53.34 min – June 21, 2007;

    same, – Part II, 49 min – 21 Sep 2007;

    same, – Part 2/3, 31 min – 21 Apr 2007;

    same, – Part 3/3, 16 min – 21 Apr 2007.

    For more videos, put ‘John Perkins’ in the search tools of YouTube or Google Video. In the same video search tools put also the key words ‘CIA corrupt’.

    Video – Interviews by Charlie Rose

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    Noam Chomsky & Shirin Neshat & the Death Penalty panel, 57 min, 9 Jun 2006;

    Dalai Lama, 57 min, 16 Nov 2005;

    George Soros & Arianna Huffington, 57 min, 12 Oct 2006;

    Muhammad Yunus, 58 min, 5 Jun 2004;

    Barack Obama, 57 min, 19 Oct 2006;

    BETTE MIDLER, 59 min, 25 Aug 2007;

    Paul Krugman and Randall Robinson with Charlie Rose, 55.47 min., 23. Dec. 2007.

    Michael Crichton, 57 min., 19 Feb 2007;

    Alan Greenspan, 56 min., 21 Sep 2007;

    More interviews you may find with Google Video-search and the keyword Charlie Rose (the result shows just now 8.926 videos).

    … more American Elections

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    Pardon my laughter and cynicism: observations on the US presidential primaries from Canada

    Published on Online Journal, by John Chuckman, Jan 11, 2008.

    I think relatively few observers appreciate the severe limits of America’s 18th century Constitution, the document shaping offices which so many now scramble to fill. Change does not come easily, no matter how eloquent the speeches, how worthy the promises, or how great the need. It would be easier to raise the Titanic intact than to make one authentic change of consequence in America.

    The only exception is war, a form of destructive change which occurs with about the same frequency as elections in America. Most members of both parties unfailingly vote for it, support it with additional votes, make no apologies, and utter drivel about fighting for freedom. To do otherwise is regarded as unpatriotic and, in many parts of America, as downright dangerous.

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    The Destabilization of Pakistan

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    Published on Global Research.ca, by Prof. Michel Chossudovsky, December 30, 2007.

    (See also part II of a two part article: “Pakistan and the “Global War on Terrorism“, Jan. 8, 2008).

    The assassination of Benazir Bhutto has created conditions which contribute to the ongoing destabilization and fragmentation of Pakistan as a Nation.

    The process of US sponsored “regime change”, which normally consists in the re-formation of a fresh proxy government under new leaders has been broken. Discredited in the eyes of Pakistani public opinion, General Pervez Musharaf cannot remain in the seat of political power. But at the same time, the fake elections supported by the “international community” scheduled for January 2008, even if they were to be carried out, would not be accepted as legitimate, thereby creating a political impasse.

    There are indications that the assassination of Benazir Bhutto was anticipated by US officials:

    • “It has been known for months that the Bush-Cheney administration and its allies have been maneuvering to strengthen their political control of Pakistan, paving the way for the expansion and deepening of the war on terrorism across the region;
    • Various American destabilization plans, known for months by officials and analysts, proposed the toppling of Pakistan’s military … ;
    • The assassination of Bhutto appears to have been anticipated. There were even reports of chatter among US officials about the possible assassinations of either Pervez Musharraf or Benazir Bhutto, well before the actual attempts took place. (See: Anglo-American Ambitions behind the Assassination of Benazir Bhutto and the Destabilization of Pakistan, by Larry Chin, Global Research, 29 December 2007)

    … “Strong Economic Medicine”: Weakening Pakistan’s Central Government
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    SATAN’S CALLING CARD

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    SEPTEMBER 11: A DATE TO REMEMBER

    Linked with Robert Bauval – Egypt & Belgium.

    Published on Graham Hancock.com, by Robert G. Bauval, 07-Feb-02.

    Time and Place

    Historical events are fixed by the time and place they occurred. And this, as we all know, is expressed in a calendar date and the name of location. On face value, this appears obvious enough. After all, I was born on the 5th March 1948 in the city of Alexandria, as officially recorded on my birth certificate. No discussion, period. Ah, but what about much earlier historical events such as, say, the famous battle of Kadesh between the army of Ramses II and the Hittites, as depicted on the pylon walls of the Rameseum near the city of Luxor in Upper Egypt? In this case there are as many dates ranging from c.1280 BC to c. 1298 BC depending which textbook you pick up …

    … Firstly the 11th September of the year 2001 AD (Anno Domini) is based on the Gregorian calendar. For the Islamic calendar this date fell on the 23rd Jumaada Al Thani of the year 1422 A.H. (Anno Hegira); for the Ethiopian calendar it was the 1st Meskerem of the year 7501; in the Coptic (Christian Egyptian) calendar it was the 1st Thout of the year 1725, and according to the Jewish calendar it was the 23rd Elul of the year 5761. Confused? There’s more. The Ethiopian 1st Meskerem and the Coptic 1st Thout are the New Year’s Day for both these calendars. The Ethiopian and Coptic New Year, in fact, always fall on the 11th September of the Gregorian calendar (except on leap years, where an extra day is added). But check this:

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    Developments on the Road to ‘Division Day’

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    Linked with Ana Maria Romero de Campero – Bolivia.

    Published on the Democracy Center, December 14, 2007.

    … Here is a synopsis view of Bolivia on the road to ‘Division Day’ (some of them):

    Santa Cruz Set to Declare its “Autonomy” Saturday:

    Yesterday the “Provisional Autonomous Assembly” of Santa Cruz, a body assembled by civic leaders there, issued the statutes upon which it intends to unilaterally declare its autonomy from the national government on Saturday. Among its 155 articles are declarations that, effective Saturday: residents of the department will now be issued separate Santa Cruz identity cards; the department will form its own police force and no longer recognize the authority of the national police; and Santa Cruz department authorities will now control all issues concerning land reform. The statutes will be presented symbolically before a public gathering in Santa Cruz Saturday …

    … Indigenous Groups in Santa Cruz Plan Counter Protest:

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    THE TRANSFORMATION OF RISK

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    Linked with An Overview for Inventors, and with AERO Advanced Energy Research Organization.

    Published on AERO, December 6, 2007.

    Introduction: Advanced Energy Research Organization, LLC (AERO) has identified several clean energy technologies which will transform the current world environmental and energy situation. This overview explains how the current risks of environmental global warming, air pollution and public health challenges, energy resource scarcity and competition, global terrorism and current electric grid obsolescence and vulnerability are transformed by these out-of-the-box technologies.

    Technological Overview: Since 1900, significant advances in electromagnetic theory and innovative ways of generating electric power have occurred. These developments have been largely unheralded, ignored or actively suppressed. AERO has identified a very extensive portfolio of information, designs and scientists who are experts in this area.

    These technologies are numerous and summarized elsewhere, but in summary fall into three broad categories: … (full long text).

    KRUGMAN ON TRADE

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    See also his video: Paul Krugman and Randall Robinson with Charlie Rose, 55.47 min., 23. Dec. 2007.

    Published on Thomas Riggins Blog, by Thomas Riggins, December 29, 2007.

    Paul Krugman’s article in the NYT on 12/28/07 raises some interesting points. Briefly:

    It seems that globalization’s international trade policies benefit billions of peoples around the world and helps third world workers improve their incomes. At the same time it “reduces the real wages of many and perhaps most workers in this country [the US].”

    Free trade can make a country as a whole richer but not necessarily all the different groups within a country. In other words, it benefits one class at the expense of another, or even parts of one class as opposed to another. The capitalists and highly skilled educated workers in the US benefit but low skilled and less educated workers do not.

    How can American wage workers compete with workers in Mexico who are paid 11% of the average American wage, or China at 3.5%? Capitalism is obviously going to favor relocation to low wage areas whatever pro labor American politicians have to say.

    Is protectionism the answer? Marxists are internationalists and US Marxists would not want to be put in the position of denying opportunity to foreign workers on a nationalist basis. Krugman says “keeping world markets relatively open is crucial to the hopes of billions of people” … (full text).

    Link: THE LIFE OF MAO ZEDONG [Book Review]: ‘MAO: A LIFE’, by Philip Short, New York, Henry Holt and Company, 2000. 782pp.
    Reviewed by Thomas Riggins, December 25, 2007.

    Jared Diamond and the Consumption Factor

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    Linked with Jared Diamond, USA.

    Published on Dissident Voice, by Thomas Riggins, January 7th, 2008.

    People making a New Year’s resolution to consume less should bolster their resolve by reading Jared Diamond’s What’s Your Consumption Factor? in Wednesday’s New York Times. (1/2/08) However, your or my individual consumption may not make a big difference. Diamond, the author of Guns, Germs and Steel and Collapse, is addressing a civilizational problem regarding the difference in consumption levels between First World countries and the developing world.

    To make a long story short, the US and other First World countries account for about one billion people who out consume, on a per capita basis, the 5.5 billion people in the developing world by a factor of 32 to 1.

    That is we use oil and gas and metals and produce wastes like plastics and greenhouse gases at a rate 32 times that of the non developed world. On this scale of 1 to 32, China is about a 3 and India even lower. So the problem with pollution and depletion is clearly in our back yard.

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    The Myth of Sectarianism

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    The Policy is Divide to Rule

    Published on Dissident Voice, by Dahr Jamail, January 7th, 2008.

    If the US leaves Iraq, the violent sectarianism between the Sunni and Shia will worsen. This is what Republicans and Democrats alike will have us believe. This key piece of rhetoric is used to justify the continuance of the occupation of Iraq.

    This propaganda, like others of its ilk, gains ground, substance, and reality due largely to the ignorance of those ingesting it. The snow job by the corporate media on the issue of sectarianism in Iraq has ensured that the public buys into the line that the Sunni and Shia will dice one another up into little pieces if the occupation ends.

    It may be worthwhile to consider that prior to the Anglo-American invasion and occupation of Iraq there had never been open warfare between the two groups and certainly not a civil war. In terms of organization and convention, Iraqis are a tribal society and some of the largest tribes in the country comprise Sunni and Shia. Intermarriages between the two sects are not uncommon either.

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