Shir Hever: Israelis Are Beginning to See the Power of Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions

1 March, 2009

Alternative Information Center (AIC)

In recent years, there has been a gradual growth in the BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions) movement, calling to put economic pressure on Israel until it recognizes the rights of the occupied Palestinian people and puts an end the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

The Israeli attack on the Gaza Strip, starting on 27 December 2008, which lasted for nearly a month, has given this movement a powerful reason to redouble its efforts. Dozens of BDS campaigns have gained momentum and publicity; dozens of new ones were launched during or immediately after Israel’s attack on the Gaza Strip.

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"Leftists Poised to Win Presidency in El Salvador: New Report Examines Implications"

After 17 years since the end of El Salvador’s civil war, the leftist Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (FMLN) is poised to accomplish what its guerrilla predecessors never did: take over the national government.  Reliable polls unanimously project that FMLN candidate Mauricio Funes will win the March 15 presidential elections.  What all this means for El Salvador — and Latin America — is the subject of the new, in-depth report, ‘The 2009 El Salvador Elections: Between Crisis and Change.’

A victory by Funes would break 20 years of one-party rule by the Nationalist Republican Alliance (ARENA), opening a new progressive chapter in the country’s long, violent history of war and dictatorships.  ‘The historical importance of the FMLN taking power cannot be overstated for this small Central American country,’ says Teo Ballvé, a contributor to the report and member of the North American Congress on Latin America.

If the FMLN wins, El Salvador will be joining an ever-growing group of left-leaning governments in Latin America.  The arrival of Barack Obama’s administration augurs well for the FMLN’s aspirations.  ‘In the past, El Salvador has been squarely under Washington’s thumb,’ says Ballvé.  ‘But with Obama in the White House, the country has a better chance of charting a truly independent path.’

Although a majority of Salvadorans have high hopes for meaningful social change, a Funes administration will also face tremendous challenges: economic turmoil, grinding poverty, a virulent opposition party, rampant violence, and others.  Funes has promised a ‘people-centered’ government to tackle these problems.  According to Ballvé, ‘It won’t be easy or quick, but the FMLN has an incredibly strong grassroots movement in its corner to help it fight against the entrenched interests that have blocked reforms in the past.’

Topics in the report range from the campaigns and the economy, to militarization and the diplomatic front, and much more.  These sections are, in turn, divided into more specific issues, such as free trade, water privatization, Plan Mexico, regional integration, and potential relations with the new Obama administration.  This timely report seeks to reflect on El Salvador’s current situation as well as the possibilities and challenges ahead at this pivotal moment for the nation’s future.

The Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador (CISPES), the North American Congress on Latin America (NACLA), and Upside Down World collectively edited the report.

Download the Report:

Source: MRZine – Monthly Review

For more information, contact: Burke Stansbury, CISPES, 202-521-2510, burke(AT)cispes(dot)org; and Christy Thornton, NACLA, 646-613-1440, teo(AT)nacla(dot)org.

War Comes Home to Britain By John Pilger

4 March, 2009

Freedom is being lost in Britain. The land of Magna Carta is now the land of secret gagging orders, secret trials and imprisonment. The government will soon know about every phone call, every e-mail, every text message. Police can willfully shoot to death an innocent man, lie and expect to get away with it. Whole communities now fear the state. The foreign secretary routinely covers up allegations of torture; the justice secretary routinely prevents the release of critical cabinet minutes taken when Iraq was illegally invaded. The litany is cursory; there is much more.

Indeed, there is so much more that the erosion of liberal freedoms is symptomatic of an evolved criminal state. The haven for Russian oligarchs, together with corruption of the tax and banking systems and of once-admired public services such as the Post Office, is one side of the coin; the other is the invisible carnage of failed colonial wars. Historically, the pattern is familiar. As the colonial crimes in Algeria, Vietnam and Afghanistan blew back to their perpetrators, France, the United States and the Soviet Union, so the cancerous effects of Britain’s cynicism in Iraq and Afghanistan have come home.

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New Cold War on Hold? Is Obama Ready to Drop Missile Defense? By F. William Engdahl

4 March, 2009 – Global Research

US President Obama has sent a secret letter to Russia’s president Medvedev, suggesting that he would back down from deploying the controversial US missile defense system in Eastern Europe if Moscow would help stop Iran from developing long-range weapons, according to White House spokesmen. The New York Times reports that the letter to Medvedev was hand-delivered in Moscow by Under Secretary of State William J. Burns three weeks ago. It reportedly said the United States would not need to proceed with its missile interceptor system, which has been vehemently opposed by Russia since it was proposed by the Bush administration, if Iran halted any efforts to build nuclear warheads and ballistic missiles.

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