Iqbal Tamimi – Would you trust the BBC?

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Are you seeking employment with BBC? Look in the mirror carefully and ask yourself two very important questions, am I white enough? And am I passive enough and there is no record of me on the internet being ‘media or human rights troublesome’? If the answer is NO but you still insist on trying your luck, I would advise you to get ready to waste your breath, time and effort, because the BBC has its own agenda regarding employment.

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Housman’s Books Events for October

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October 2008 Diary of Events at Housmans, London:

  1. (Book event/talk) ‘Understanding Stalin’s Soviet Union 1929-1941’ with Paul Flewers
  2. (Book event/talk) ‘Radical Barcelona’with Michael Eaude
  3. (Book event/talk) ‘Dark Streets and Shady Places: writers and the East End’ with Ken Worpole
  4. (Book event/talk) ‘The Truth About Work and the Myth of ‘Work-Life Balance’’ with Sheila Cohe
  5. (Book event/talk) An evening with Bernard Kops
  6. (Social) Pre-Anarchist Bookfair Social
  7. (Book event/talk) East End Radicals hosted by Five Leaves DVDS & BOOKS
  8. Naomi Klein – discusses the rise of disaster capitalism
  9. Streetwide Worldwide: Where People Power Begins by Tony Gibson
  10. News: Housmans Peace Diary 2009

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Adolfo Gilly: Racism, Domination and Revolution in Bolivia

Bolivia Rising

September 26, 2008

Mexico – ‘The problem in Bolivia is that the country is undergoing a process of reforms, without abandoning the democratic framework, but both the opposition and the government act as if they were facing a revolution,’ stated Marco Aurelio García, a close advisor to Lula in international affairs, according to an article by José Natanson in the newspaper Pagina 12.

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Dr. Vickramabahu Karunarathne: Postmodernism, Liberal Democracy and the War in Iraq For Meditation on Hajji Festival Day

A speech delivered April 25, 2003 by Dr. Vickramabahu Karunarathne at a seminar organized by the Centre for Islamic studies at BMICH in Colombo, Sri Lanka.

Dear friends and comrades,

We have tried to understand the motive behind this aggression (against Iraq). This aggression has violated every aspect of international law, all conventions of human rights. No UN charter could be used to defend this violent intervention. Leaders of global capital suppressed all accepted norms in this action.

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UN ‘Peacekeeping’ Forces in Haiti

Source: Counterpunch

26 September, 2008

Since their arrival, the U.N. “peacekeeping“ forces, known as MINUSTAH, have “killed, raped, ransacked“ the shantytowns, according to a grassroots Lavalas leader.

by Judith Scherr
(Counter Punch)

Antonine Bienaimé was doing what she does every day, selling single candies, cigarettes, cookies and crackers from trays she sets up in front of her home that doubles as a shop. The mother of eight was working into the evening of August 7, trying to earn enough goudes to feed her family and buy something to sell the next day, when a group of blue-helmeted Brazilian soldiers in an armored personnel carrier rumbled down the narrow unpaved street, kicking up dust and ordering her inside.

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The Methane Time Bomb By Steve Connor

24 September, 2008
The Independent

The first evidence that millions of tons of a greenhouse gas 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide is being released into the atmosphere from beneath the Arctic seabed has been discovered by scientists.

The Independent has been passed details of preliminary findings suggesting that massive deposits of sub-sea methane are bubbling to the surface as the Arctic region becomes warmer and its ice retreats.

Underground stores of methane are important because scientists believe their sudden release has in the past been responsible for rapid increases in global temperatures, dramatic changes to the climate, and even the mass extinction of species. Scientists aboard a research ship that has sailed the entire length of Russia’s northern coast have discovered intense concentrations of methane – sometimes at up to 100 times background levels – over several areas covering thousands of square miles of the Siberian continental shelf.

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Are they REALLY Oil Wars? By ISMAEL HOSSEIN-ZADEH

A most widely-cited factor behind the recent U.S. wars of choice is said to be oil. “No Blood for Oil” has been a rallying cry for most of the opponents of the war. While some of these opponents argue that the war is driven by the U.S. desire for cheap oil, others claim that it is prompted by big oil’s wish for high oil prices and profits. Interestingly, most antiwar forces use both claims interchangeably without paying attention to the fact that they are diametrically-opposed assertions.

Not only do the two arguments contradict each other, but each argument is also wanting and unconvincing on its own grounds; not because the U.S. does not wish for cheap oil, or because Big Oil does not desire higher oil prices, but because war is no longer the way to control or gain access to energy resources. Colonial-type occupation or direct control of energy resources is no longer efficient or economical and has, therefore, been abandoned for more than four decades.

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Former Venezuelan Vice President Testifies on Recent Coup Plot By James Suggett

22 September, 2008

Former Vice-President José Vicente Rangel, currently works as an investigative journalist, identified the Venezuelan opposition, the Colombian government, the domestic and international media, and the U.S. government as the four principal agents involved in the coup planning.

(Venezuela Analysis)

Mérida — In a presentation to the Venezuelan National Assembly (AN) on Wednesday, former Vice-President José Vicente Rangel detailed the results of his ongoing investigations into plots to assassinate President Hugo Chávez and overthrow the government.

The testimony was one of several that were programmed by the AN’s special commission to investigate coup plans. The most recent plot was foiled last week when recordings of retired military officers involved in the conspiracy were broadcast on the government television station, VTV.

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U.S. reaps what it sows in Bolivia

The San Diego Union-Tribune

By Larry Birns and Jessica Bryant
September 22, 2008

The near breakdown of relations between the United States and Bolivia is a perfect example of the baleful consequences of the inherent disrespect the U.S. historically has exhibited toward the region.

Despite La Paz’s and Washington’s ideological differences, Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Thomas Shannon might have made one more effort to indicate a clear U.S. commitment to the territorial integrity of Bolivia. Vigorous support of President Evo Morales in the face of the opposition’s reckless strategy on the part of Santa Cruz and the eastern region pro-autonomy leaders might have provided a compelling pressure on the secessionists, who were more interested in getting their hands on the region’s hydrocarbon windfall revenues than in avoiding the violence that tragically has claimed many lives.

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The media’s moola madness By William Bowles

22 September, 2008

What does it take for the corporate media to speak the truth about the economic meltdown? Take the BBC Website for example: It has a page titled ‘Q&A: Financial crisis and you’ where you would expect to find an explanation of this, the latest crisis of capital. Dream on folks, dream on.

Actually the best place to look (aside from this and many other progressive sites) is the press that serves the interests of capital (don’t bullshit a bullshitter as the saying goes):

“As we get to the other side of this, the dollar will get crushed,” said John Taylor, chairman of New York-based International Foreign Exchange Concepts Inc., the world’s biggest currency hedge-fund firm, which manages about $15 billion.

“The dollar fell against 14 of the world’s most-traded currencies on Sept. 19, including the euro, as Paulson unveiled the plan, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index rose 4 percent. The plan may end the rally that began in June and drove the U.S. currency up 10 percent versus the euro, 2 percent against the yen and almost 13 percent compared with Brazil’s real, strategists said.”

/…/

“The downdraft on the dollar from the hit to the balance sheet of the U.S. government will dwarf the short-term gains from solving the banking crisis,” said David Woo, London-based global head of foreign-exchange strategy at Barclays, the third- biggest currency trader, according to a 2008 survey by Euromoney Institutional Investor Plc.” — ‘Dollar May Get `Crushed’ as Traders Weigh Up Bailout (Update3)’, Bloomberg, 22 September, 2008.

But all of a sudden the ‘popular’ press is all gung ho to tell the public what ‘short selling’ is, but they balk at actually unpacking the mechanisms that make it all possible. The BBC has a page that allegedly explains what short selling is called predictably, ‘Q&A: What exactly is short-selling?’ where we read:

“It is a technique that sees investors borrow an asset, such as shares, currencies or oil contracts, from another investor and then sell that asset in the relevant market hoping the price will fall.

“The aim is to buy back the asset at a lower price and return it to its owner, pocketing the difference.

“The same effect can be achieved without even borrowing the shares at all, but simply by using derivatives contracts – glorified bets.”

It goes on to tell us that:

“This practice may have been to blame for the slump in the shares of HBOS after it announced plans to raise £4bn through a rights issue back in April, and contributed to further huge falls in its shares in the three days before its takeover was announced.” — ‘So what is short-selling?’, BBC News Website, 22 September, 2008.

And finally, excuses the entire disaster by telling us:

“Are short sellers solely to blame for the slump in HBOS shares?

“Many analysts say no.” (ibid)

Well nobody is saying that short selling is the sole cause but it is definitely part of an entire package of speculations in shares, currency values and interest rates. Short sellers have been made the culprits (with the help of the BBC) but they are only one example of what happens when you have a completely unregulated capitalism (and in any case, as with with insider trading, it’s virtually impossible to stop, see below).

And of course you’ll still have to know what a ‘derivative’ is. Not surprisingly, the BBC doesn’t have a page entitled ‘So what is a derivative?’ but elsewhere, business mavens are less circumspect in their explanation of a derivative:

“One of the conclusions of this paper is that the sheer magnitude of derivative instruments combined with the principle of credit risk or assumed credit risk makes for a potentially devastating banking crisis.” — ‘Derivatives 101 – Big Bets’ By Chris Laird, 17 May, 2004.

The same article explains:

“A derivative contract is basically a contract between two parties that is linked to interest rates, currency exchange rates or indexes. The derivative contract links the holder of the contract to the risk and rewards of holding or owning a financial instrument, but without actually holding the instrument. It has tremendous leveraging effects.” (ibid)

Laird’s kicker is:

“In fact…derivatives are basically big bets made with heretofore unattainable leverage, and in amounts that are simply astounding, even to financially savvy mindsets. They expose not only the holders of the derivatives contracts to the risk, but the dealer banks as well if the holders default, (counter-party risk).”

/…/

One of the principles of derivatives is that the risks are managed, but only to the extent that things are foreseen in the model. UNEXPECTED events are highly dangerous as a result.” (ibid)

Whoa, tell me about it! And this article was written in 2004! Note the use of the term ‘model’. These are complex algorithms that pretend to fathom the working of the betting shop, sorry, the stock exchange.

The piece ends with the following, well, warning:

“If any one party defaults, a cascade of time dependent defaults follows. Since the amounts involved are so huge, any weak link is a major risk to the system. As of today, interest rates are moving. So, since the majority of derivatives are tied to interest rates, and interest rates are in flux right now, this is a time of higher risk than we have seen in recent years.”(ibid)

But all derivatives hold one thing in common: Hedging (one’s bet), dealing and speculating, and of course, the interest rate which like shares and currencies is also subject to speculation, betting on its value at some point in the future, whether up or down.

Ultimately it’s a pyramid scheme of astounding, nay, mind-numbing size, in fact tens of trillions of dollars have not only been stolen, but worse, it uses fictional money (as is the case with all pyramid schemes, large and small). Fictional because all the trading in futures, derivatives, hedge funds, call them what you will, relies on the involvement of the central banks and government in the scam, not only in printing the money to keep the fraud going, but by making it legal to setup these pyramid schemes in the first place. It’s called ‘de-regulation’.

The people and institutions who end up with the moola are those who set them up in the first place (as is the case with all pyramid schemes) when they sold their bits of paper to people and institutions like banks and insurance companies just as greedy as they are.

The wealth is real but it’s been siphoned off as part of the gigantic paper trading schemes that goes on between hedge funds, insurance companies, banks, and investment corporations, with each one raking off a pecentage, a fee or charges resulting from insuring (and re-insuring, even re-re-insuring) the transactions, all of which are really bad debts as no real wealth has been created.

For the real values of all the pyramid selling are not what the bits of paper say they are, so sooner or later those at the bottom of the pyramid—that’s the great majority of us and who never asked to be part of the pyramid—are paying the price, that’s what the ‘bailout’ is all about. That’s what nationalizing the big financial corps is all about. When capitalism fails, the state, using our money, steps in. But it doesn’t end here as governments will have to borrow the money to shore up capitalism, thus look forward to greater cuts in social spending and rising taxes.

The panic is palpable as the recent decision to ban all short trading (until January 2009) reveals but it will do nothing to halt the slide, it’s much too late for that, and more to the point it looks good in the corporate media, apparently dissing all those greedy traders. The reality is something else as:

“While the SEC measure will prohibit small investors from profiting on the downturn, big investors have a very easy way around this.

“They will simply go short [sell] on complete indexes like the Dow Top 30, FTSE 100 or S&P 500 and will then go long, i.e. buy, all single stocks in that index that are not the ones they want to target. The net effect is a short position on the targeted financials only.

“It will take a day or two for large hedge funds to set this up effectively and reprogram their computers to automate the process. Then the financial stocks will sink again as is appropriate.

“The SEC would have to prohibit all index option trading to prevent this, but that would freeze and ruin lots of investors like pension funds that have done nothing wrong.” — ‘How To Still Short Financials’, – Moon of Alabama.

What all of this reveals is the total chaos of capitalist economics, made all the more fragile by the interconnectedness of hundreds of ‘national’ economies, that have little or no control over the international nature of capitalism.

Peace in Iraq IS an option – sign the Le Feyt Declaration!

iaon.jpgThe undersigned, friends of Iraq from France, Belgium, the United Kingdom, Italy, Spain, Portugal, the United States of America, Egypt, Sweden and Iraq, organized in the International Anti-Occupation Network (IAON) and gathered in Le Feyt, France, from 25 to 27 August 2008, have adopted the following position and declaration reflecting our commitment to a true end to the occupation and to a lasting, sustainable peace in Iraq.

The US occupation of Iraq is illegal and cannot be made legal. All that has derived from the occupation is illegal and illegitimate and cannot gain legitimacy. These facts are incontrovertible. What are their consequences?

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It takes a flight to UK to read the other version of the newspaper and examine the ethics of media By Iqbal Tamimi

20 September, 2008

Source: Palestinian Think Tank

Iqbal Tamini

Iqbal Tamini

After eight years of working on production of current affairs programmes and the news at a TV station in the Middle East, and subsequently an ample number of press and media episodes and articles, I found what I have worked on was built on only half the truth.

The nature of working on press related TV programmes depends heavily on the online versions of newspapers, since the news on the internet travels faster than the flight carrying the paper over the oceans, only to reach its destination outdated by the end of the flight.

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