The Amazon Rainforest: Worth the Fight of Brazil and the Rest of the World

22 June, 2009 – Council on Hemispheric Affairs

Brazil is home to one-third of the world’s rainforest and half of the Amazon. Between its vast rainforests and bodies of water, Brazil hit the planet’s natural resource jackpot, although both are rapidly disappearing habitats. Despite its ecological wealth, Brazil has stated that international climate change is a burden that should be shouldered by both the developed and developing worlds. It also shortsightedly contends that each nation should take environmental action based solely on an inventory of its own needs. Among the world’s top ten largest emitters of greenhouse gases, Brazil needs to step up its actions in order to counteract deforestation and climate change. Moreover, this is an international issue that the rest of the world cannot sit idly by and wait for Brazil to join in and do its share in coping with the problem.

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A Civil War: Obama’s Gift to Pakistan By Liaquat Ali Khan

17 June, 2009 – Counterpunch

A civil war is brewing in Pakistan. Thanks to President Barack Obama, who is shifting the American war from Iraq to ‘the real enemies’ operating from Afghanistan and Pakistan. Cash-strapped Pakistan could not defy Obama persuasion and decided to wage a war against its own people, the Pashtuns inhabiting the Northern Province and the tribal areas of Waziristan. Decades ago, Pakistan waged a similar war against its own people, the Bengalis in East Pakistan. In 1971, the Pakistani military charged to wipe out Mukti Bahini, a Bengali resistance force, paved the way for the nation’s dismemberment. In 2009, the military is charged to eliminate the Taliban, a Pashtun resistance force. History is repeating itself in Pakistan—as it frequently does for nations that do not learn from past mistakes.

With a willful caricature of the Pashtuns, who are successfully resisting the occupation of Afghanistan, Obama advisers are forcing Pakistan, a subservient ally, to help win the war in Afghanistan. This help is suicidal for Pakistan. The civil war will unleash intractable sectarian, ethnic, and secessionist forces. As the warfare intensifies in coming months, Pakistan will face economic meltdown. If the civil war spins out of control, Pakistan’s nuclear assets would pose a security threat to the world, in which case Pakistan might forcibly be denuclearized.

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A Sunday With Vanunu By Eileen Fleming

16 June, 2009 –

Occupied East Jerusalem, June 15, 2009 – Mordechai Vanunu and I, first crossed paths on the first day of summer in 2005, which was five days before my return to the USA from my first 16 Days in Israel Palestine [1]

On my last evening of my seventh trip to occupied east Jerusalem, Vanunu and I had a drink at the American Colony. Vanunu had a Taybeh beer, which is produced in the last remaining self-sufficient and last remaining Christian village in the entire West Bank.

I ordered a Vodka tonic and Vanunu warned me, that I should never have more than one shot a day. I replied, it was only my first and I had my last in the taxi on my way to Ben Gurion Airport. I knew it would be hours before I cleared SECURITY and the game we played had gotten tiresome for me- and I imagine it a death unto them who make a paycheck for interrogating those who are Telling the Truth at Ben Gurion… [2]

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Palestine: Work for Justice, Go to Jail? By David Shulman

[The article below, from Friday’s Haaretz, is by David Shulman, author of Dark Hope: Working for Peace in Israel and Palestine, and Ta’ayush activist. In his usual fluid and perceptive style, he recounts why Ezra Nawi—his friend, comrade, beloved activist— may well go to jail on July 1st. The reason: non-violently protecting the homes of Bedouin Palestinians in the South Hebron hills from being demolished. In the mixed up world of Israeli “democracy,” this is apparently a jail worthy offense.

The first time I was ever in the West Bank, I drove with Ezra in his truck, known to almost everyone in the South Hebron Hills. I remember so clearly the scene David Shulman describes and how it shocked me: the rickety shacks pieced together from tin and rags where the Palestinians lived, pressed up against the edges of the settlement, with its large houses with red roofs and green lawns (made possible by the water stolen from its Palestinian owners). I tried to imagine someone standing in her kitchen, looking out at these pathetic shelters, and feeling threatened or cruel enough to insist on their destruction.

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Lingering White Supremacy In South Africa Sounds Much Like United States By Robert Jensen

16 June, 2009 –

Apartheid is dead in South Africa, but a new version of white supremacy lives on.

‘During apartheid the racism of white people was up front, and we knew what we were dealing with. Now white people smile at us, but for most black people the unemployment and grinding poverty and dehumanizing conditions of everyday life haven’t changed,’ a black South African told me. ‘So, what kind of commitment to justice is under that smile?’

This community activist in Cape Town said that, ironically, the end of South’s Africa’s apartheid system of harsh racist segregation and exploitation has in some ways made it more difficult to agitate for social justice today. As he offered me his views on the complex politics of his country, Nkwame Cedile, a field worker for People’s Health Movement, expressed a frustration that I heard often in my two weeks in the country: Yes, the brutality of apartheid ended in 1994 with free elections, but the white-supremacist ideas that had animated apartheid and the racialized distribution of wealth it was designed to justify didn’t magically evaporate.

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China, Copper, the Democratic Republic of Congo—and the IMF

11 June, 2009 – China Matters

As an illustration of how the IMF and China really don’t get along—despite Beijing’s interest in the IMF in a source of gold and SDRs—I’ve written a piece for ATol entitled China’s copper deal back in the melt, on a high-profile tussle in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The IMF is openly lobbying the Congolese government to renegotiate a $9 billion copper and cobalt deal with China, for the stated reason that the project encumbers the DRC government with sovereign debt (an allegation that the Chinese dispute) at the same time the IMF is mediating with the Paris Club to forgive a chunk of the $10 billion tab run and embezzled in the name of the predecessor state of Zaire by kleptocrat-in-chief Mbuto Sese Seko.

In a classic example of the witless stenography that passes for Western reporting on Asian and African issues, the actual story – IMF threatens to withhold debt relief unless the Chinese deal is renegotiated – got a bit of a twist – as in Voice of America’s ‘Chinese Mineral Deal Blocking Congo’s IMF Debt Relief.’

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Charlie Skelton Our man at Bilderberg: ‘You are not allowed to take pictures of policemen!’

17 May, 2009 –

Charlie Skelton is scared, jumpy and hacked off at the police state built around Bilderberg. So hacked off, in fact, he has asked the police to stop following him. Bad move.

Read all of Charlie Skelton’s Bilderberg files

‘This man is following me. It’s true. I’m not imagining things.’
Photograph: Charlie Skelton

I need to go back a day and tell you exactly how I came to be in an Athens metro station at 8am, grappling with two strange men, struggling and yelling: ‘Help me somebody! Security! Please! Someone get security! Get the police!’ My voice still hurts. My brain is ready to explode.

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Bolivia: New Political Constitution of the State – Foundations of the State

3 June, 2009 – Bolivia Rising




Article 1.

Bolivia is constituted in a Social Unitary State of Plurinational Communitarian Law, free, independent, sovereign, democratic, intercultural, decentralized and with autonomies. Bolivia is founded in plurality and in political, economic, legal, cultural and linguistic pluralism, within the integrating process of the country.

Article 2.

Given the pre-colonial existence of the indigenous originary farmer nations and people and their ancestral domain over their territories, their free determination is guaranteed within the frame of the unity of the State, which consists in their right to autonomy, to self-government, to their culture, to the recognition of their institutions and to the consolidation of their territorial entities, in accordance to this Constitution and to the law.

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A world away, Palestinian seeks justice By Iain Marlow

16 June, 2009 –


Mohammed Khatib, a Palestinian resident, and lawyer Emily Schaeffer, discuss a lawsuit against Quebec companies building in the West Bank. Credit: Vince Talotta/Toronto Star

Villager in Toronto accuses Canadian firms of ‘war crimes’ over West Bank settlement

First came the fence, which splintered the olive trees from Bil’in, the Palestinian village that tended them. Then came the tear gas canister that hit a local, well-liked man named Basem Abu Rahme in the chest, killing him.

Everyone knew Basem, which is what everyone called him. Mohammed Khatib, one of the village’s 1,700 residents, was at that protest, and is still deeply disturbed by the death. Khatib, 35, was in Toronto on the weekend on a national tour to promote the village’s latest bid to seek justice – using Quebec’s courts to stop Israeli settlements.

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Muhammad al-Arabi – A realist’s view of the protests in Iran

21 June, 2009 – Palestine Think Tank

Muhammad-al-Arabi.jpgWhat is happening in Iran and what do I think about it?

There is much talk about the presidential election having been rigged in President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s favour, but where is the evidence?

Opponents of Ahmadinejad find it incredible that, according to the official election results, the other candidates did not do well in their home provinces. Others say that the results were too quick to come out, and others still claim that the results of the ballot were too similar across the country to be true.

All this may constitute reasonable grounds for some suspicion but it does not amount to evidence, neither circumstantial nor hard evidence.

So what is going on in Iran? I think a number of factors are at play there.

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Iran: Friday Address, 19 June 2009 by Ali Khamenei

19 June, 2009 – MRZine – Monthly Review

“Our young generation particularly showed that it still possesses the same political enthusiasm, awareness, and commitment that we saw in the first generation of the revolution. However, with one difference: the hot furnace of the revolution created emotions in the hearts of people, later during the war in a different manner, but today the same circumstances do not exist, and yet we still see such commitment, feelings of responsibility, and enthusiasm in our present generation. That is no small thing.”

“These elections showed our religious democracy to the entire world. All those people who are ill-wishers towards the system witnessed what religious democracy really is.”

“I do not accept all of the viewpoints of these gentlemen [the four presidential candidates]. In my view, some of their viewpoints and performances can be undoubtedly criticized. I believe that some of them can serve the country better than others. But, it is up to the people to decide, and that is exactly what happened: they chose whom they wanted. My desire and my choice were never announced nor was there any need for the people to pay heed to them. People, based on their own criteria, have decided, moved, and acted in millions here and there.”

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