Canada and Honduras By Yves Engler

7 July, 2009 — The Bullet A Socialist Project e-bulletin No. 234

Hostility to the military coup in Honduras is increasing. So is the Harper government’s isolation on the issue.

At Saturday’s special meeting of the Organization of American States (OAS) Canada’s minister for the Americas, Peter Kent, recommended that ousted President Manuel Zelaya delay his planned return to the country. Kent said the “time is not right” prompting Zelaya to respond dryly: “I could delay until January 27 [2010]” when his term ends. Kent added that it was important to take into account the context in which the military overthrew Zelaya, particularly whether he had violated the Constitution.

Along with three Latin American heads of states, Zelaya tried to return to Honduras on Sunday. But the military blocked his plane from landing and kept a 100,000 plus crowd of supporters at bay. In doing so the military killed two protesters and wounded at least 30. On CTV Kent blamed Zelaya for the violence.

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The Raids on the Resistances Bookstore Zionist Fanatics Practice Serial Vandalism in Paris By DIANA JOHNSTONE

6 July, 2009 — Counterpunch

Paris — Thousands of books drenched in cooking oil – that is the latest exploit of the Zionist fanatics who regularly attack property and people in Paris and get away with it.

In the early afternoon of Friday, July 3, five men, mostly masked, stormed into the “Resistances” bookstore located in a quiet residential neighborhood of the 17th arrondissement in northwest Paris. To the startled women working in the shop, as well as two customers, they announcing that they were from the Jewish Defense League and began ripping books off shelves and tables, dousing them heavily with cooking oil, and then smashing four computers before leaving rapidly in a waiting vehicle.

The bookstore is owned and operated by Olivia Zemor and Nicolas Shashahani, who are also the leaders of the very active militant group CAPJPO-EuroPalestine (CAPJPO stands for Coordination des Appels pour une Paix Juste au Proche Orient). In addition to a wide collection of books on the Middle East and other subjects, including fiction, the bookstore has a reading room and a lending library, gives courses in English and Arabic, and possesses a modest but well-attended auditorium where authors are invited to speak.

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Mondragón Coops: Worker-Operatives Decide How to Ride Out a Downturn By Georgia Kelly and Shaula Massena

6 July, 2009 –

Surviving Crises: Cooperative Enterprises Weather the Market Economy

Photo: Spain’s Eroski grocery stores are Mondragón’s largest cooperative.

The Mondragón Cooperative Corporation (MCC), the largest consortium of worker-owned companies, has developed a different way of doing business—a way that puts workers, not shareholders, first.

Here’s how it played out when one of the Mondragón cooperatives fell on hard times. The worker/owners and the managers met to review their options. After three days of meetings, the worker/owners agreed that 20 percent of the workforce would leave their jobs for a year, during which they would continue to receive 80 percent of their pay and, if they wished, free training for other work. Continue reading

Media Lens: Hired Hands – Part 1: Iran, Obama, Gaza, And MPs’ Expenses

7 July, 2009 – <strong class=’StrictlyAutoTagBold’>MEDIA LENS: Correcting for the distorted vision of the corporate media

In a recent alert, we described how the modern corporation is an inherently predatory, even psychopathic, entity. We noted that business managers are legally obliged to subordinate human and environmental welfare to profit.
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Inevitably, then, corporations do not restrict themselves merely to the arena of economics. Rather, as John Dewey observed, “politics is the shadow cast on society by big business”. Over decades, corporations have worked together to ensure that the choices offered by ‘representative democracy’ all represent their greed for maximised profits.

This is a sensitive task. We do not live in a totalitarian society – the public potentially has enormous power to interfere. The goal, then, is to persuade the public that corporate-sponsored political choice is meaningful, that it makes a difference. The task of politicians at all points of the supposed ’spectrum’ is to appear passionately principled while participating in what is essentially a charade. Thus, in a moving piece, Daily Telegraph journalist Con Coughlin lamented of <strong class=’StrictlyAutoTagBold’>Iran’s recent elections:

“… the democratic hopes of all those brave Iranians who have taken to the streets will ultimately be in vain. Even if Mr Khatami were to sacrifice Mr Ahmadinejad in the interests of preserving the regime, the president would simply be replaced by another Iranian leader whose first priority would be to protect the ideological foundations of Khomeini’s Islamic revolution.” (Con Coughlin, ‘<strong class=’StrictlyAutoTagBold’>Iran’s brave revolutionaries can change nothing but the faces,’ Daily Telegraph, June 17, 2009)

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Palestine: Letter from an Israeli Jail By Cynthia McKinney

[This letter was originally broadcast on WBAIX on July 3rd]

This is Cynthia McKinney and I’m speaking from an Israeli prison cellblock in Ramle. [I am one of] the Free Gaza 21, human rights activists currently imprisoned for trying to take medical supplies to Gaza, building supplies – and even crayons for children, I had a suitcase full of crayons for children. While we were on our way to Gaza the Israelis threatened to fire on our boat, but we did not turn around. The Israelis high-jacked and arrested us because we wanted to give crayons to the children in Gaza. We have been detained, and we want the people of the world to see how we have been treated just because we wanted to deliver humanitarian assistance to the people of Gaza.

At the outbreak of Israel’s Operation ‘Cast Lead’ [in December 2008], I boarded a Free Gaza boat with one day’s notice and tried, as the US representative in a multi-national delegation, to deliver 3 tons of medical supplies to an already besieged and ravaged Gaza.

During Operation Cast Lead, U.S.-supplied F-16’s rained hellfire on a trapped people. Ethnic cleansing became full scale outright genocide. U.S.-supplied white phosphorus, depleted uranium, robotic technology, DIME weapons, and cluster bombs – new weapons creating injuries never treated before by Jordanian and Norwegian doctors. I was later told by doctors who were there in Gaza during Israel’s onslaught that Gaza had become Israel’s veritable weapons testing laboratory, people used to test and improve the kill ratio of their weapons.

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Israel Calls on Jewish Fanatics to ‘Save’ Galilee Nefesh B’Nefesh announced a programme to offer financial incentives to new immigrants By Jonathan Cook – Nazareth

6 July, 2009 — The Palestine Chronicle


Nefesh B'Nefesh announced a programme to offer financial incentives to new immigrants.

Israel’s housing minister called for strict segregation between the country’s Jewish and Arab populations last week as he unveiled plans to move large numbers of fundamentalist religious Jews to Israel’s north to prevent what he described as an ‘Arab takeover’ of the region.

Ariel Atias said he considered it a ‘national mission’ to bring ultra-Orthodox Jews — or Haredim, distinctive for their formal black and white clothing — into Arab areas, and announced that he would also create the north’s first exclusively Haredi town.

The new settlement drive, according to Mr Atias, is intended to revive previous failed efforts by the state to ‘Judaise’, or create a Jewish majority in, the country’s heavily Arab north.

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U.S. Occupation of Iraq Continues Unabated By Dahr Jamail

6 July, 2009 | T r u t h o u t

“Political language is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.” – George Orwell

On July 4 in Baghdad, Vice President Joe Biden, who campaigned with Barack Obama on a platform of ending the occupation of Iraq, found himself in one of former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein’s lavish buildings, the Al-Faw Palace. While one of Saddam Hussein’s thrones sat on the side of the room, Biden presided over a swearing-in ceremony for 237 soldiers, who were becoming US citizens. Speaking of the ceremony, Biden said, “We did it in Saddam’s palace, and I can think of nothing better. That S.O.B. is rolling over in his grave right now.” Perhaps the irony of both the scene and his statement were lost to Biden. For if Saddam Hussein was rolling in his grave, the reason would have less to do with one of his palaces being used as a naturalization center for US soldiers, and more to do with the fact that the US government has no intention of withdrawing from Iraq anytime soon.

We have passed the June 30 deadline that, according to a Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) signed between US Ambassador Ryan Crocker and Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari on November 17, 2008, was the date all US forces were to have been withdrawn from all of Iraq’s cities. Today, however, there are at least 134,000 US soldiers in Iraq – a number barely lower than the number that were there in 2003. In addition, US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates testified on June 9 that the United States would maintain an average of at least 100,000 troops in Iraq through fiscal year 2010.

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6 July, 2009 For immediate release — Middle East Report 251 Summer 2009

“Not a real country or nation but an acronym.” “An incubator of Islamist violence.” “The central front in the war on terror.” Thus do ex-leftist commentator Christopher Hitchens, Der Spiegel columnist Erich Follath and President Barack Obama, respectively, describe the much feared and little understood country of Pakistan. To outside observers, Pakistan has been “a problem” since its inception in 1947 — because its generals are enemies of Western-friendly India, because its frontiers are uncontrolled by the capital, because its nuclear arsenal is controlled by a coup-prone state. The summer 2009 issue of Middle East Report, “Pakistan Under Pressure,” peels back the clichés to examine the complex place underneath.

In Washington, Pakistan is mainly a security concern, the less tractable half of the dyad clumsily referred to as “Af-Pak.” In Islamabad, as veteran reporter Graham Usher writes, the question of Afghanistan is inseparable from the issue of Kashmir and, more importantly, the decades-long impasse with India. Any lasting solution for “Af-Pak” will require some resolution of the larger regional conflict.

For Pakistanis, the big strategic picture is no mere abstraction, because the state’s efforts to please its foreign patrons and contain its domestic foes deeply affect daily life. Humeira Iqtidar of Cambridge University details the social activism that has entrenched Islamist groups, including those with militant armed wings, in the country. Stephen Dedalus reports on how state sectarianism has generated Sunni-Shi’i animosity in the troubled province of Balochistan.

Despite intermittent military rule, Pakistan boasts a vigorous civil society. Princeton University’s Daud Munir narrates the dramatic struggle of Pakistani attorneys to bolster the rule of law and curtail the arbitrariness of power. Middle East Report interviews “typewriter guerrilla” Imran Aslam of Pakistan’s Geo TV on journalists’ battle to enlarge the space for discussion, debate and dissent.

Also featured: Lisa Hajjar reviews the grim “lessons learned” from the US experimentation with torture; Christopher Davidson explains why the economic bubble burst in Dubai; Rebecca Bryant outlines the new dimensions of the Cyprus dispute; and more.

Subscribe to Middle East Report or order individual copies online at

For further information, contact Chris Toensing at

Middle East Report is published by the Middle East Research and Information Project (MERIP), a progressive, independent organization based in Washington, DC. Since 1971 MERIP has provided critical analysis of the Middle East, focusing on political economy, popular struggles and the implications of US and international policy for the region.

Middle East Report Online is a free service of the Middle East Research and Information Project (MERIP).

Michael Deibert interviews Haitian Prime Minister MICHÈLE PIERRE-LOUIS

6 July, 2009 — “The Elites Are Like a Huge Elephant Sitting on Haiti

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Jul 3 (IPS) – Haitian Prime Minister Michèle Pierre-Louis assumed office in September 2008. Born in the southern city of Jérémie in 1947, she left Haiti with her family in 1964 following a pogrom by dictator François Duvalier against his perceived enemies in her town.

Studying in the United States and France before returning to Haiti in 1977, she has been a close confidante of Haitian President René Préval for over 40 years. After having worked in a variety of private and public sector jobs in Haiti, she and Préval opened a bakery which catered to the poor in Haiti’s capital in 1982.

Active in the first government of Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, Pierre-Louis was among the first to denounce the 1991 military coup against Aristide during an interview with Radio France Internationale.

After Aristide’s return by a U.S.-led multinational force in 1994, Pierre-Louis opened the Fondasyon Konesans Ak Libète (Knowledge and Freedom Foundation or FOKAL) in 1995 with support from businessman and philanthropist George Soros’ Open Society Institute.

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