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Index July 2008

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Auto-related jobs in US

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3 videos about the subject:

Thousands of auto-related jobs to be lost: 5.39 min, July 27, 2008: Jim Stanford, Unions trying to protect laid off workers but this is a question for the whole society;

Are auto jobs lost forever: 8.05 min, July 27, 2008: Why can’t North American cars compete; and why should workers bear the brunt from lack of planning;

US unemployment highest in 20 years: 4.08 min, July 27, 2008: Consumer prices rose 1.1 percent in June, highest one month rise in 26 years.

Bolivian President Evo Morales on the WTO’s Round

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Published on UsideDownWorld.org, by Evo Morales Ayma, Presidente of Bolivia, 22 July 2008.

International trade can play a major role in the promotion of economic development and the alleviation of poverty. We recognize the need for all our peoples to benefit from the increased opportunities and welfare gains that the multilateral trading system generates. The majority of WTO members are developing countries. We seek to place their needs and interests at the heart of the Work Programme adopted in this Declaration. Doha World Trade Organization Ministerial Declaration, November 14, 2001

With these words began the WTO round of negotiations seven years ago.  In reality, are economic development, the alleviation of poverty, the needs of all our peoples, the increased opportunities for developing countries at the center of the current negotiations at the WTO?

First I must say that if it were so, all 153 member countries and in particular, the wide majority of developing countries should be the main actors in the WTO negotiations.  But what we are seeing is that a handful of 35 countries are invited by the Director-General to informal meetings so that they advance significantly in the negotiations and prepare the agreements of this WTO “Development Round” …

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Brazil, Market Access as Key to Autonomy

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… for Rural Black Community

Published on IPSnews, by Mario Osava, July 29, 2008.

From the 16th century onward, the densely forested, mountainous terrain of the Ribeira River Valley made it an ideal area for runaway slaves to establish settlements of their own, known in Brazil as “quilombos”. But the geographical isolation that once offered refuge has now become an obstacle to the development of these Afro-Brazilian communities.

Ivaporunduva, one of dozens of quilombos spread across this valley in southeastern Brazil, was founded over 300 years ago. Local resident Vandir Rodrigues da Silva told IPS that the younger generations no longer leave the community en masse in search of employment “like they did 20 years ago” because the construction of a paved road a short raft ride away has made it easier to get to nearby towns and cities.

“In the past, we had no way of getting our bananas to the markets,” explained da Silva, 57. But now that this obstacle has been overcome, production has grown, there is work for everyone, and “the community is growing,” he said.

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Leading leaders to a grand vision

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Published on online journal, by James Keye, July 28, 2008.

Over the last seven years much of the world has been traumatized into worrying about what was happening in the moment: war in Afghanistan, war in Iraq, genocidal violence in North Africa; the list is long and depressing.

The USA, often a hedge against the worst of human behavior, at least in political mythology, had become a major malefactor and the ‘middle way’ people of the world were looking (stunned and dazed daily by random, mindless, often deadly, world events) to a confusing Europe, weak nations such as Brazil and even the inscrutable China for guidance. The US had been like a teenage Soccer star, self-centered and cocky, though with a good heart and many times willing to help out, but suddenly having become a monster …

… If it is agreed that humans wish to survive as a species and that the killing off of a few billion people is not an option, then there are things that must be done. All people need the knowledge and wisdom to live in ecological balance with the world immediately around them; this requires education, education requires resources. If it is agreed that world population must stabilize and reduce, then education in “family planning” and the empowerment of women are required, again with resource requirements. Also, if population is to be reduced and if consumption is to be reduced, our economic system will have to be rethought and reformed: capitalism, as presently functioning, will fight against the details of consumption and population reduction. It is impossible to follow the wisdom of an essential vision using the elements of detail that conspire to defeat the vision.

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US housing slump without precedent

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… foreclosures up 121 percent over 2007

Published on WSWS, by David Walsh, 26 July 2008.

… In the three-month period April through June, some 740,000 foreclosure filings were recorded in the US, an increase of 14 percent over the first quarter and 121 percent over the same period in 2007. According to RealtyTrac, one in every 171 US households received a filing, which includes notices of default, auction sale notices and bank repossessions.

The banks took back some 220,000 homes in the second quarter (and 370,000 in the first six months of the year) and there are presently 18.6 million homes in the country standing empty, the highest number in history. The number of vacant houses has jumped nearly 7 percent in the last year …

… WHSM television reported, “Neighbors said it is a sign of the times.”

Bruce Marks, chief executive of the Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America, told the Boston Globe that it was not uncommon for homeowners to contemplate suicide when they were not able to keep up their mortgage payments.

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Visualize the Dow at 6,000

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Published on online journal, by Mike Whitney, July 25, 2008.

At an improvised press conference last week, George Bush gave what might have been the most comical performance of his eight-year presidency. Looking like the skipper on the flight-deck of the Hindenburg, Bush tried his best to reassure the public that “all’s well” with the economy and that everyone’s deposits were perfectly safe in the rapidly disintegrating US banking system.

Leaning lazily on the presidential podium, Bush shrugged his shoulders and said, “My hope is that people take a deep breath and realize that their deposits are protected by our government. We’re not seeing the growth we’d like to see, but the financial system is basically sound” …

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Congress, banks and home owners

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or: elites versus normal people

Linked with Danny Schechter – USA.

Published on The RealNewsNetwork, July 25, 2008.

Congress helps banks, but what about homeowners (Danny Schechter says: “This is a 50 state Katrina” … and: “this is a criminal enterprise” …), 5.52 min, July 25, 2008.

Homeowners get help in DC, but not from government (Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America helps tens of thousands restructure their home mortgage), 5.40 min, July 24, 2008.

Heating up the Cold War

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Linked with Jerry Mazza – USA.

Published on Online Journal, by Jerry Mazza, July 25, 2008.

You think I’m crazy? It was over years ago? But after all, who is competing for the oil to heat our houses, run our cars, turn the wheels of industry and trucks to deliver food? Why it’s Russia and China, both reconstituted post Cold War One to meet us on the present drawing board for Cold War Two, which will be very cold if they keep getting Iran and other OPEC countries to supply them, outbidding us in the oil marketplace, to power the largest combined population in the world.

Oh, and I did mention our deflating dollar, whose billions in debt China and Russia hold?

Russia has sewn up the Caspian region’s oil and gas, being the big neighbor to the north. China to the East is waiting to suck it up as Iran/Pakistan/China pipelines pour the black gold and gas east not west, null and voiding the purpose of the purported War on Terror, paid for so dearly by 3,000 American citizens, 9/11 being our Pearl Harbor-like inciting incident, to take by force of arms the Midle East’s oil. Ah, but we have Israel to sit shiva with us for the dead in Iraq, Afghanistan, and America, and even to bomb Iran for us. What a boon. Not.

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On the WTO’s Round of Negotiations

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The DOHA round explained on wikipedia, on WTO.org, on ICTSD.net for July 2008, and on Google news-search.

Published on ZNet.org, by Evo Morales, July 23, 2008.

International trade can play a major role in the promotion of economic development and the alleviation of poverty. We recognize the need for all our peoples to benefit from the increased opportunities and welfare gains that the multilateral trading system generates. The majority of WTO members are developing countries. We seek to place their needs and interests at the heart of the Work Programme adopted in this Declaration … (Doha World Trade Org. Ministerial Declaration, 10 pages, November 14, 2001).

With these words began the WTO round of negotiations seven years ago. In reality, are economic development, the alleviation of poverty, the needs of all our peoples, the increased opportunities for developing countries at the center of the current negotiations at the WTO?

First I must say that if it were so, all 153 member countries and in particular, the wide majority of developing countries should be the main actors in the WTO negotiations. But what we are seeing is that a handful of 35 countries are invited by the Director-General to informal meetings so that they advance significantly in the negotiations and prepare the agreements of this WTO “Development Round” …

… The respect and the peaceful and harmonic complementarity of the various cultures and economies is essential to save the planet, humanity and life.

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Commonwealth

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Published on IPSnews.net: Sanjay Suri presents a video analysis, July 23, 2008, 7.16 min (scroll down): Kamalesh Sharma took over as new Secretary-General of the Commonwealth on April 1, 2008. But as the last Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in Kampala showed, deep fault lines run through the organisation, going right down to fundamental questions about its very existence.

Links:

The Commonwealth of Nations also on the website of its Secretariat; on wikipedia; on BBC online; on Young Commonwealth; on Commonwealth Institute; on British Foreign and Commonwealth Office FCO; on Commonwealth Foundation.

More also with Google searches: on news-search; on video-search; on book-search; on scholar-search; on blog-search.

With their video, IPS shows today this three links to former publications:

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An Era Of Disparity

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Published on Countercurrents.org, by Mir Adnan Aziz, 22 July, 2008.

So far humanity has had absolutely no luck creating a society without the ultra privileged. The earliest human societies, though having very little in the way of an elite class still had clan leaders. These were the high at the time. Although this often changed if someone seized power from the current leader, the clan leaders still had the most access to wealth, food and the best of everything.

In the former Soviet Union, one of the first communist nations, we had the Communist Party. The Party advocated equality and improved lifestyle for the proletariat. In reality it was always amassing wealth and luxury, fit for an industrial middle class capitalist, for its highest members …

… Trade, another means by which developing countries earn foreign capital, also benefits the more developed and illustrates the ambivalence of wealthy states toward the world’s poor. Although poverty wins a measure of sympathy, the cheap work force of poor nations makes them an economic threat. By one estimate, if developed countries lifted all trade barriers to Third World goods, the latter would gain in exports twice what they now receive in aid. Foreign debt, another constraint on the development of the Third World, keeps growing. In 1970 the total debt was $100 billion; today it is almost $3.5 trillion, including service charges.

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videos concerning the US

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Linked with Aijaz Ahmad – India.

The RealNewsNetwork published the following videos with Aijaz Ahmad, India:

Fed raises specter of renewed class struggle

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US: Amid surging prices, Fed raises specter of renewed class struggle

Published on WSWS, by Andre Damon, 17 July 2008.

… The US ruling elite is determined to do everything in its power to transfer its own enormous losses onto the backs of the American working class. The unlimited bailout power being called for by the Treasury and the Fed constitutes one part of this attempt. The systematic drive to slash real wages in order to finance the return to profitability constitutes another.

Bernanke’s testimony came amid a near-meltdown of nearly all measures of US economic stability. He warned of “numerous difficulties” facing the US economy. In his testimony before the House Financial Service Committee, he cited “significant downside risks to the outlook for growth,” while also acknowledging that “upside risks to the inflation outlook have intensified.”

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One million names on US government “terrorist” watch list

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Published on WSWS, by Jerry White, 17 July 2008.

One million people – including large numbers of American citizens – are on the US government’s so-called terrorist watch list, according to the American Civil Liberties Union, which held a Washington, D.C. press conference earlier this week to mark the ominous milestone.

Since February of this year the ACLU has maintained an online “watch list counter” to track the size of the government’s watch list. A September 2007 report by the inspector general of the Justice Department reported that the list contained 700,000 names and was growing by 20,000 per month. As of this writing, the counter has passed the 1,001,500 mark.

The Terrorist Screening Center (TSC) was set up in December 2003 through a Homeland Security directive signed by President George W. Bush, who ordered the agency to consolidate more than a dozen separate terrorist watch lists maintained by different federal agencies.

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Status Report on the Collapse of the U.S. Economy

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Linked with Richard C. Cook – USA.

Published on DissentMag (first on Global Research), by Richard C. Cook, July 17, 2008.

… What is taking place is not just the collapse of the U.S. , but more than likely the final crash of Western civilization, since we are the last of the world empires to go down the drain. World War I saw the end of the German, Austro-Hungarian, Russian, and Ottoman empires. World War II saw the disappearance of the French, British, Japanese, and Italian empires, along with Nazi Germany. The Soviet empire collapsed in 1991. The American is next. The danger is that we may lash out and start a nuclear World War III out of frustration and to appease the elitists of the world who see war and famine as their pathway to world control. Such a war would also mean a military takeover domestically to manage the pathetically weak nation that we are becoming.

The bankers and financiers do not care if nations and empires destroy themselves and each other, because they are internationalists. In fact, the more war and mass starvation there is the better off they feel. All they need is a base from which to operate. London has been their main base of operations since the Bank of England was founded in 1694, though they have a strong presence in other nations. They have been especially influential in northwest Europe , where elitism in the form of Freemasonry endeavored since the time of the French Revolution to destroy the authority of the Catholic Church.

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Impeachment Begins

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Be on Capitol Hill on Friday July 25th

Published on AfterDowningStreet.Org, by David Swanson, July 17, 2008.

At 10 a.m. on Friday July 25th, the House Judiciary Committee will hold a preliminary hearing on the topic of impeachment, with a presentation by Congressman Dennis Kucinich …

… NOTE: The hearing has not been announced, but two members of Congress closely involved in this have told us it is at 10 a.m. on the 25th, and Chairman Conyers himself has so informed Veterans for Peace.

Between now and Friday the 25th, please take these steps:

Cruelty as a weapon of war

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Linked with Alberto J. Mora – USA, with Nieman Watchdog, and with Ten lessons from recent torture hearings.

Published on Nieman Watchdog.org, as a COMMENTARY, June 17, 2008.

Former Navy general counsel Alberto Mora tells Congress that the adoption of interrogation techniques that violate human dignity is not just contrary to our core American values – it weakens our defenses …

… All of these factors contributed to the difficulties our nation has experienced in forging the strongest possible coalition in the War on Terror. But the damage to our national security also occurred down at the tactical or operational level. I’ll cite four examples:

  • First, there are serving U.S. flag-rank officers who maintain that the first and second identifiable causes of U.S. combat deaths in Iraq – as judged by their effectiveness in recruiting insurgent fighters into combat – are, respectively the symbols of Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo. And there are other senior officers who are convinced that the proximate cause of Abu Ghraib was the legal advice authorizing abusive treatment of detainees that issued from the Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel in 2002.
  • Second, allied nations reportedly hesitated on occasion to participate in combat operations if there was the possibility that, as a result, individuals captured during the operation could be abused by U.S. or other forces.
  • Third, allied nations have refused on occasion to train with us in joint detainee capture and handling operations because of concerns about U.S. detainee policies.
  • And fourth, senior NATO officers in Afghanistan have been reported to have left the room when issues of detainee treatment have been raised by U.S. officials out of fear that they may become complicit in detainee abuse.

Mr. Chairman, Albert Camus cautioned nations fighting for their values against selecting those weapons whose very use would destroy those values. In this War on Terror, the United States is fighting for our values, and cruelty is such a weapon. (full long text).

The Med Union, dividing the Middle East and North Africa

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Linked with Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya – Canada, with Union for Mediterranean: a way to bypass human rights? and with The Mediteranean Union MU / Union for the Mediterranean.

(Countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea: Albania, Algeria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Cyprus, Egypt, France, Gibraltar, Greece, Israel, Italy, Lebanon, Libya, Malta, Monaco, Montenegro, Morocco, Spain, Slovenia, Syria, Tunisia, Turkey).

Published on Global Research.ca, by Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya, February 10, 2008.

The Middle East and North Africa are in the process of being divided into spheres of influence between the European Union and the United States. Essentially the division of the Middle East and North Africa are between Franco-German and Anglo-American interests. There is a unified stance within NATO in regards to this re-division.

While on the surface Iraq falls within the Anglo-American orbit, the Eastern Mediterranean and its gas resources have been set to fall into the Franco-German orbit. In fact the Mediterranean region as a whole, from Morocco and gas-rich Algeria to the Levant is coveted by Franco-German interests, but there is more to this complex picture than meets the eye.

Unknown to the global public, several milestone decisions have been made to end Franco-German and Anglo-American squabbling that will ultimately call for joint management of the spoils of war. Franco-German and Anglo-American interests are converging into one. The reality of the situation is that the area ranging from Mauritania to the Persian Gulf and Afghanistan will be shared by America, Britain rance, Germany, and their allies …

… It should also be noted that German representatives were also in West Africa in connection to the French initiatives in the Mediterranean region. [20] The Germans are also preparing for the road ahead when the Mediterranean Union would economically link Africa to Europe and set the stage for further expansionism.

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Imagine A World Without Money

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Published on Countercurrents.org, by John Steinsvold, 11 July, 2008.

Economists concede that economics is an inexact science. What does that mean? Perhaps it means their economic forecast is better than yours or mine. Recently, economic indicators have been rising and people have their fingers crossed. Economists have given us reason to hope that the job market will improve and that the stock market will continue on a steady climb. Yet, the newspapers continue to report more layoffs and more jobs going overseas.

Meanwhile, our economy is getting more and more complex. We associate complexity with progress for some ungodly reason. The following problems, however, have become inherent in our economy. What does that mean? It means they will be around for a while:

Needless poverty, unemployment, inflation, the threat of depression, taxes, crimes related to profit (sale of illicit drugs, stolen IDs, muggings, bribery, con artists, etc.), conflict of interest, endless red tape, a staggering national debt plus a widening budget deficit, 48 out of 50 states in debt, cities in debt, counties in debt, skyrocketing personal debts, 50% of Americans unhappy at their work, saving for retirement and our children’s education, health being a matter of wealth, competing in the “rat race”, the need for insurance, being a nation of litigation, being subject to the tremors on Wall Street, fear of downsizing and automation, fear of more Enrons, outsourcing, bankruptcies, crippling strikes, materialism, corruption, welfare, social security, sacrificing quality and safety in our products for the sake of profit, the social problem of the “haves” vs. the “havenots” and the inevitable family quarrels over money.

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Foiling A ‘Lottery Of Death’

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Published on Countercurrents.org, by Andrew Kishner, 11 July, 2008.

While the mainstream media is running news articles with headlines such as ‘How might Israel attack Iran’ and ‘Can Israel do it alone, or do they need the U.S.?’, 99% of the world’s citizens reading these news pieces remain oblivious to the radiation effects of a military strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities.

Such an attack would employ either nuclear weapons, resulting in global radiation fallout, or conventional bunker buster weaponry that would unleash harmful, radioactive uranium dust from Iran’s facilities that would likewise circle the globe and endanger the lives of millions.

In either case, innocent citizens in near and far-away lands would be players in a ‘lottery of death’. This is how the lottery of death will work: If a rainstorm occurs where you live, in your hometown, and the fallout clouds are, at that moment, above you in the upper atmosphere, you will get irradiated. You can be thousands of miles from Iran and it doesn’t matter. The Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR), who have been a leading voice in educating folks on the dangers of a nuclear attack on Iran, won’t tell you that radiation from an attack on Iran’s facilities can end up in your village or city regardless of where you live. Most people don’t know that dust particles regularly fly off the surface of deserts in China or North Africa and land in California or Florida. Or from the Nevada Test Site to towns in Utah or Missouri or New York or Quebec or London. Uranium dust will act no differently. The fallout, containing uranium dust or radioisotopes from a nuclear bomb yield, could manifest in the form of rain or snow and contaminate milk or leafy vegetables or other food products anywhere on the globe … (full text).

More of his articles on OpEdNews.com.

(Andrew Kishner is a downwinder activist and founder of Idealist.ws).

What are Iran’s nuclear rights?

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2 videos on Real News:

  • What are Iran’s nuclear rights? Professor Muhammad Sahimi challenges assumptions about Iran’s nuclear program, 6.26 min, July 11, 2008;
  • What did A. Q. Khan sell to Iran? Muhammad Sahimi: Has Iran answered the IAEA’s questions about Pakistan’s ‘merchant of menace”? (2 of 6), 5.45 min, July 12, 2008.

(On Resolution 362 and Iran’s right to nuclear energy: July 12, 2008: The US Congress is considering a resolution calling for the President to enact stricter economic sanctions against Iran, including an embargo against any imports of refined Petroleum. The most strongly worded section of the legislation is article three, which states: “Resolved by the House of Representatives (the Senate concurring), That Congress – (3) demands that the President initiate an international effort to immediately and dramatically increase the economic, political, and diplomatic pressure on Iran to verifiably suspend its nuclear enrichment activities by, inter alia [among other things], prohibiting the export to Iran of all refined petroleum products; imposing stringent inspection requirements on all persons, vehicles, ships, planes, trains, and cargo entering or departing Iran; and prohibiting the international movement of all Iranian officials not involved in negotiating the suspension of Iran’s nuclear program”).

Added July 13, 2008:

Iran’s Missiles Are Just For Show, by Pepe Escobar, July 11, 2008;

State Department’s Iran Democracy Fund, Shrouded In Secrecy, by Jason Leopold, July 11, 2008;

and linked with Foiling A ‘Lottery Of Death’.

OPINION: It’s the Oil, stupid!

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Published on Khaleej Times Online, by NOAM CHOMSKY, 8 July 2008.

The deal just taking shape between Iraq’s Oil Ministry and four Western oil companies raises critical questions about the nature of the US invasion and occupation of Iraq — questions that should certainly be addressed by presidential candidates and seriously discussed in the United States, and of course in occupied Iraq, where it appears that the population has little if any role in determining the future of their country.

Negotiations are under way for Exxon Mobil, Shell, Total and BP — the original partners decades ago in the Iraq Petroleum Company, now joined by Chevron and other smaller oil companies — to renew the oil concession they lost to nationalisation during the years when the oil producers took over their own resources. The no-bid contracts, apparently written by the oil corporations with the help of U.S. officials, prevailed over offers from more than 40 other companies, including companies in China, India and Russia.

“There was suspicion among many in the Arab world and among parts of the American public that the United States had gone to war in Iraq precisely to secure the oil wealth these contracts seek to extract,” Andrew E. Kramer wrote in The New York Times.

Kramer’s reference to “suspicion” is an understatement. Furthermore, it is highly likely that the military occupation has taken the initiative in restoring the hated Iraq Petroleum Company, which, as Seamus Milne writes in the London Guardian, was imposed under British rule to “dine off Iraq’s wealth in a famously exploitative deal.”

Later reports speak of delays in the bidding. Much is happening in secrecy, and it would be no surprise if new scandals emerge …

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Philippines: Arbitrary arrests …

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Philippines: Arbitrary arrest that become de facto legal is endemic

Received by mail:

From: HREA – Human Rights Education Associates and its Newsletter
Date: 09/07/2008

A Statement by the Asian Human Rights Commission, AHRC-STM-187-2008, July 9, 2008.

The rules of arrest under section 5, Rule 113 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure in the Philippines stipulate that an arrest without warrant can only be lawful on instances whereby a person arrested has (a) committed, actually committing or about to commit a crime; (b) arresting person has personal knowledge of the facts that a person to be arrested have committed the crime; and (c) those prisoners who had escaped or detainees facing a pending case.

Any arrest made not falling under what has been mentioned above requires a valid arrest warrant issued by the court. The rule did not make any exemptions to what would only be considered a lawful arrest; however, the routine practice by security forces, particularly the police, and private individuals in arresting persons had been done regardless of whether they fall under this rule or they had court orders with them to arrest a person depriving him of his liberty.

A fundamental element of arrest, according to what the rules provide, is that the arresting officer should have a “personal knowledge” of the crime or that there is a “probable cause” to believe a crime or offense is committed. And when a person is arrested, the rules, also stipulates a prescribed period he could be held in detention depending on the nature of the offense a person has committed. Though there are safeguards to protect persons from being arbitrarily arrested and detained, there are abuses by security forces and private individuals empowered to arrest.

“Invitation for questioning”: Some of those presently in jail have been detained and charged without arrest orders but were merely “invited for questioning”, for instance, by the police. On the pretext of questioning, they were subsequently charged at inquest procedures following an encounter with their complainants at the police station. Their detention has been justified as a form of a “preventive detention” which enables and allows policemen to file a case in court. From the time a person is arrested, charges are filed while none in the rules on arrest in the criminal procedures have been observed.

In this case, a person is already denied of his legal right to be informed about the reasons why he has been arrested or the nature of the complaints against him, from the time is he taken into custody or invited for questioning. In the Philippines, a person invited for questioning or investigation are often forced to cooperate in order to come off clean–his refusal is usually interpreted as expression of guilt, or he is seen as an accomplice to a crime. But this idea of “cooperation” is really synonymous to waiving one’s liberty.

“Arrests on hot pursuit”: There is also arrest on the pretext of a “hot pursuit operation” whereby those carrying out the arrest do not have any “personal knowledge” or no “probable cause.” The police and military routinely abuse this practice by using it on robbery cases or armed encounters. For instance, police routinely carry out arrests of robbery suspects without court orders even though the crime that supposedly took place happened many days earlier; and with those arresting having no knowledge of the crime committed.

The military, also, routinely effects arrests of persons even several days after the encounter between them and the illegal armed group. In October 2007, two activists were taken into the custody of the military, one of them had gone missing for days, in Pagadian City. When soldiers at a checkpoint noticed that one of whom had injuries in a leg, they took them in their custody merely on suspicion that they could be involved in an armed encounter that took place days earlier. In this incident, the soldiers neither had personal knowledge of the victims’ supposed involvement in a crime nor was there “probable cause” that they committed a crime at all.

“Arrest on mere conjectures”: Not only soldiers make arrests without grounds, they too usurp police powers by arresting and detaining persons. For instance, when a group of soldiers arrested a development activist in August 2006 in Cotabato City, they only acted on an unverified report from their intelligence assets that he is supposedly involved in making bombs. Instead of turning him over to the police station they took him to their camp for questioning. He, however, was released after finding the allegations on him could not be proven. The arrest and subsequent detention do not fall under any rule; but the soldiers responsible for the arrest and detention have not been held to account.

When policemen or prosecutors file charges in court, they too had been abusing their policing and prosecutorial authority by deliberately amending names. They do this by using the John Do information, in prosecuting the respondents who are already charged with criminal offenses. This practice leads to inclusion of a person in the charge and subsequent issuance of an arrest order by the court; thereby legitimizing his arrest. Thus, not all those arrested on court orders have been arrested legally but it has become legal because an arrest order is issued though process is questionable.

“John Doe as blanket arrest order”: When police and prosecutors classify respondents in the crime as John Does it has itself becomes a blanket arrest order. The purpose of using “John Doe” information is to reserve the identification of an unknown respondent whose participation in the commission of a crime has already been proven but they have not been identified yet when the charge is filed. Before a John Doe is replaced with the name of an actual person, the crime and identity of those responsible should have been established first. But there have been arrest of persons who are not the ones described as John Does at all.

Though an arrested person could challenge the legality of his arrest and the charges filed agaisnt him, but given the endemic problem of delays in courts and the ineffective implementation of legal aid, prisoners and detainees are forced to endure trial of cases that are often been fabricated or false. The mentality that has developed among the accused who are in prison or detained is to plead guilty to a crime they have not committed and accept the punishment of jail terms to avoid prolonged detention.

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) urges the concerned authorities, particularly the court and the legislative body, to thoroughly study this matter which has already placed innocent persons in jail; and continuously threatens the liberty and security of others unless adequate action are made to prevent this. They must begin discussing this matter and to develop mechanisms to prevent this from taking place and ensure safeguards to the citizens; and that the victims of this nature of arrest would be able to obtain effective remedies.

The Orion Project – fourth video

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Linked with The Orion Project (to be continued), and with Steven M. Greer – USA.

You may find a fourth video (scroll down): The Transition, 4.39 min, (about infrastructure and power), July 4th, 2008.

The G8 in a global mess: 1920s and 1980s lessons

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Linked with Ann Pettifor – England, and with the New Economics Foundation NEF.

Published on openDemocracy, by Ann Pettifor, July 07, 2008.

Japan hosts the G8 summit in the northern island of Hokkaido on 7-9 July 2008 at a time when its prolonged period of deflation and economic failure have rendered its politicians impotent …

… It was central bankers – those “guardians of the nation’s finances” – that had been responsible for the turmoil in the first place. Again, central bankers – like the governors of the Federal Reserve in the 1920s and the Bank of Japan in the 1980s – had been persuaded by the ideologues of neo-liberal economics that if they repressed wages and prices, and simultaneously deregulated the finance sector, perpetual economic growth would be guaranteed, hedge funds would prosper, and the rich would be a whole lot happier. And so it proved – until, that is, 9 August 2007.

Today, decision-makers in the United States, Britain and Euroland are confronted by the same threats which faced their predecessors in America in 1929 and Japan in 1990. Although unemployment is starting to rise sharply in some countries – notably Spain – the European Central Bank (ECB) worries that wages might rise. So, on 3 July, the ECB applied a dose of interest-rate “viagra” to the weakening Euroland economy by raising interest-rates to 4.25%.

As Angela Merkel, Nicolas Sarkozy, and Gordon Brown stand alongside Yasuo Fukuda and other colleagues in Hokkaido, they might usefully ponder the impotence of Japanese politicians – and begin to look for better ways to repair the systemic dysfunction of an unsustainable global economy. (full text).

U.S. debt woes

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Published on the Washington Times, by Mark W. Hendrickson, July 6, 2008.

Thrift once was considered a virtue in America. In Asia, thrift remains a way of life – for example, it is estimated the average Chinese family´s thrift rate is 30 to 40 percent – which helps explain the rapid growth rates there.

A century ago, the sociologist Max Weber credited the so-called “Protestant work ethic,” combining thrift with hard work as the engine of America´s economic pre-eminence. How times have changed! While many Americans are thrifty, many are not. The political divide of blue-state and red-state Americans is replicated in an economic division between red-ink and black-ink personal finances.

The gross totals of debt in the United States are, well, gross. Private debt owed by Americans is nearly $14 trillion – about the size of our gross domestic product. Corporate debt exceeds $6 trillion. Uncle Sam´s official debt is $9.4 trillion. If one includes unfunded liabilities for Social Security, Medicare, and who-knows-what, then you can add several more multiples of GDP to our total national indebtedness …

… Of these three, I see no possibility of Uncle Sam ever having the political will to repay debts the honorable way; nor do I anticipate outright repudiation, which would plunge the world into depression, maybe even war. That leaves the entrenched decades-long trend of dollar depreciation as likeliest course. The government will continue to overspend, the Fed will continue to inflate, and dollar-holders will continue to repay debts in depreciating dollars until creditors no longer accept those shrinking dollars.

Debt and its Siamese twin – dollar depreciation – likely will continue in the United States until the whole financial system and monetary regime arrive at some cataclysmic denouement.

Mark W. Hendrickson is a faculty member, economist, and contributing scholar with the Center for Vision & Values at Grove City College in Pennsylvania. (full text).

SCORCHED EARTH ECONOMY – The Casey Files

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Published on Financial Sense online, by David Galland, July 3, 2008.

Here at Casey Research we have been on the record as bearish on the outlook for the economy for some years now. Lest you think that is loose boasting, I can offer proof in Doug Casey’s August 2005 article, the dramatically titled “Profiting from the End of Western Civilization”.

In that article, he looked ahead and saw the inflation that the government’s loose money policies made inevitable. A quote.

“Of particular importance is that the U.S. dollar has been used as a gold substitute for decades by other countries. This has been very convenient for the U.S.-we can create almost infinite numbers of greenbacks and give them to people in other countries in exchange for real wealth. Idiotically, central banks abroad have been holding those dollars as backing for their own currencies …

… So, we are calibrating our investments toward a serious economic slowdown, but with high inflation. Some people would call that Stagflation. But given the severity of both sides of that formula, the situation may be better described in terms of Scorched Earth. Or, because people seem to find concepts ending in “flation” handy, Stag-flagration.

Businesses and personal net worth will be devastated at the same time that costs run out of control.

How to Play It?

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A socialist answer to the global rise in gas prices

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Published on WSWS.org, by the Editorial Board, 5 July 2008.

3 short excerpts of a long text: The sharp rise in gasoline prices in recent months has imposed enormous burdens on working people in the United States and internationally. With prices at the pumps averaging over $4 a gallon in the US and well on their way to $5 or even higher this summer, working families – already burdened by rising food, housing, medical and other costs – are experiencing a drastic cut in their living standards.

Due to the sprawling character of American metropolitan areas, the long distances from home to work and a general lack of investment in public transit alternatives, working people in the US are more dependent on their cars than many of their counterparts in developed countries. This has made the population even more vulnerable to the rise in gas prices, which have shot up 38 percent since last July …

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Symour Hersch about the secret war in Iran

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listen this videos on The Real News.com:

Iraq task, Iran risk

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Published on openDemocracy, by Paul Rogers, July 3, 2008.

The architects of the “war on terror” in the George W Bush administration will soon be leaving office. But the four months until the United States presidential election on 4 November 2008 could be momentous. In Iraq and Iran, what happens in the next four months – or does not happen – will shape events in the next four years and even beyond (see Washington’s choice: subdue Iran, secure Iraq, 12 June 2008).

The current level of conflict in Iraq is lower than for most of the period since the start of the war in March-April 2003, but it continues at a substantial level. The United States military’s losses have also been on a declining trend, but it still lost twenty-nine people in June 2008, an increase from nineteen in May. But this is far from the only index of the fragility of the current security environment, as two recent incidents and one longer-term factor show …

… It is troubling, then – a matter of concern to those in Israel and Washington who seek to resolve the Iran issue by force – that Obama is ahead of John McCain in the opinion polls. Perhaps, in such uncertain and unpredictable circumstances, now is the time to pre-empt Iranian nuclear developments – whatever the costs – rather than wait for an Obama victory and the nightmare prospect of talking to the enemy?

These, then, are the four months that will determine the future of the region and much of the world – not least the long-term security of the state of Israel – for years ahead. Iran and Iraq at the heart of present concern, though the security deterioration in other areas deserves to be noted: Afghanistan and Pakistan (see Julian E Barnes & Peter Spiegel, Afghanistan Attacks Rise, U.S. Says, Los Angeles Times, 25 June 2008), and parts of north Africa (see Michael Moss, Algerian militants win new lease on life as Al Qaeda affiliate,
International Herald Tribune, 1 July 2008). Whether the incoming White House tenant faces the ashes of a new landscape of war or merely the fallout of the old one, the world is in for a long and bumpy ride.
(full long text).

Links:

web news results for ‘Iran and Oil’;

jake, on his blog for news and links, thinks in this video about Iran and Oil, 4.47 min, and shows other links about this item;

And remember this old article, but still valuable: The Real Reasons Why Iran is the Next Target: The Emerging Euro-denominated International Oil Marker, by William Clark, 27 October 2004.

Are Pakistani Nukes In Safe Hands?

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Published on Countercurrents.org, by Rahil Yasin, 02 July, 2008.

LAHORE: Political uncertainty, deals with militants, judges movement, army’s falling morale, and AQ Khan’s so-called network about the alleged selling of nukes technology to Iran, Libya and North Korea raises new concerns among the world leaders about the possible theft of Pakistan’s nuclear assets by religious extremists which might be resulted in real threat to the United States and the West. However, Pakistani officials have assured time and again over the safety of its nuclear weapons. Sharing his views with the US Senate, Stephen P Cohen, Senior Fellow at Foreign Policy, told that Pakistan’s nuclear capabilities present at least four challenges to American policy:

  • 1) There is a small but real possibility of the next India-Pakistan crisis escalating to nuclear levels.
  • 2) Pakistan may decide, as a matter of state policy, to extend a nuclear umbrella (or engage in nuclear sharing) with one or more Middle East states, especially if Iran acquires a nuclear device.
  • 3) There is a hard-to-quantify risk of nuclear theft. Pakistan has a home-grown personnel reliability programme, but even this could be circumvented in a determined conspiracy.
  • 4). There is some small chance that should Pakistan unravel, that its nuclear assets will be seized by remnant elements of the army for political, strategic, or personal purposes.

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ASEAN’s Co-operation … CALL FOR PAPERS

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ASEAN’s Co-operation and Agricultural and Rural Development in the Globalisation Era.
Hanoi, November 27-28, 2008.

Received by mail:

From: Scholarship and Job
Date: 01/07/2008

CALL FOR PAPERS: At the meeting in December 2007, the FAEA Council has agreed with suggestion of the Vietnam Economic Association that theme of the 33rd FAEA annual conference is “”ASEAN’s Co-operation and Agricultural and Rural Development in the Globalisation Era”.

The background of the topic selection is the following:

  • First, globalisation becomes a common feature of the world economy since 1990s. It’s a multifaceted phenomenon, which includes the acceleration of international trade, of the flows of labour, capital and technology, as well as of the transfer of ideas and patterns of living. ASEAN economies are forcing regional economic intergration with implementation of AFTA, AIA, E-ASEAN, as well as co-opeation with regional partners like China, East Asian, South Asian, APEC countries, etc. Globalisation and international economic co-operation is a strong factor influencing development of ASEAN countries. In particular, in the last time the food shortage becomes one of the critical issues not only in the Southeast Asian region, but also in the global scale;
  • Second, the ASEAN as a whole community and most of it’s separate country-members are producers and exporters of agricultural products. Agricultural and rural development is one of the key pilars in political, economical and social policies of most of the ASEAN countries;
  • Third, due to changing prices and trade conditions of agricultural products in international markets, ASEAN’s farmers face new opportunities and challenges for development. ASEAN as a whole community and separate ASEAN countries have to participate more actively in international discussions and agreement, including in encouraging progress of Doha round;
  • Fourth, implementation of MDGs, especially the goal of poverty reduction requires also special attention on farmers’ life and rural development, since most of the poor concentrates in the rural areas.

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The Orion Project (to be continued)

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Linked with Announcing the Orion Project on our Economy blog, with The Orion Project and with The Disclosure Project on our NGO blog, and with Steven M. Greer – USA, on our World People’s blog.

(My comment: I put some interest in this project, as a possible hope for a real economic change for this humanity. Personally I believe that free energy is inherent part of this universe – we also call it creation – and that our humanity may use it for any activity we choose. For me, THIS answer is sure.   Continue Reading…