Blair must be arrested! By John Pilger

4 August, 2010 — The New Statesman


Having helped destroy other nations far away, our former prime minister — ‘peace envoy’ to the Middle East — is now free to profit from the useful contacts he made while working as a ‘servant of the people’.

Tony Blair must be prosecuted, not indulged like Peter Mandelson. Both have produced self-serving memoirs for which they have been paid fortunes; Blair’s, which have earned him a £4.6m advance, will appear next month.

Now consider the Proceeds of Crime Act. Blair conspired in and executed an unprovoked war of aggression against a defenceless country, of a kind the Nuremberg judges in 1946 described as the ‘paramount war crime’. This has caused, according to scholarly studies, the deaths of more than a million people, a figure that exceeds the Fordham University estimate of deaths in the Rwandan genocide.

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MIMO – A socio-economic model for the 21st century? By William Bowles & Michael Jensen

5 August, 2010

This was written back in 2001 but on reading it again, with some changes, I still think it has possibilities. Reprinting here was triggered by the FLATTR system (see also my piece, ‘How to build a real Web Economy – a socialist one’).

MIMO (More in More Out)

A socio-economic model for the 21st century

MIMO is a ‘work in progress’, that starts from the point where use value is transformed into cultural capital and, over time (as with the evolution of money from being a portable form of barter, to being a commodity) establishes a mechanism for measuring value generation that has meaning in the real world, insofar as it can compete on ‘equal terms’ with the world of traditional, commodity-based use values determined by (in part) production costs. A list of additional resources can be found at the end of this page.

In an age where machines are performing an increasing amount of real as well as virtual production, finance capital itself is under threat (without wage labour, capital ceases to exist).

  • Globalisation is accelerating this process by distributing production globally and hence costs.
  • But ownership of intellectual capital (which is central to any modern capitalist economy) is concentrated in the developed world.
  • As wealth creation, dominated by the developed world shifts to intellectual products (communications, currency speculation, financial services, entertainment, education, sport, in short, information-based production as a whole), the developing world and those without intellectual skills in a saleable form, are increasingly marginalised.
  • MIMO addresses these issues in part, by putting a value on human life itself as the source of ideas and experience, which can be traded because MIMO enables them to be valued statistically.
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How to build a real Web Economy – a socialist one By William Bowles

5 August, 2100

The dilemma for Capital is that the Web blows away the concept of private ownership, it just gets in the way of doing business

For a number of years there have been various attempts at designing a micro payment system that works effectively for small amounts of money that paying by card or Paypal for example, most just can’t be bothered to do.

Since the 1980s, when I first started playing around with a nascent Web, I realized that content had to have some kind of universal exchange value in the form of inputs – what you contribute in the way of content, and outputs – what gets ‘consumed’ and paid for. Ideally, when you access a Web page, after reading a precis you’d be asked if you want to ‘buy’ the content. By clicking on a button, your online account would be automatically debited, perhaps only pennies, or even fraction of a penny.

Likewise, when one of my pieces pops up on numerous Websites (often unknown to me), its use value would always be tracked and counted, all automatically of course, else it won’t work. Ideally, it should work for both reading and for publishing/republishing.

The problem has always been how to make it universal, so that a real economy that’s generating real, but this is important, dynamic value can develop. The value is dynamic because the value of any piece of content would vary with use, the more ‘consumed’ it is, the greater it’s value. Taken individually, the transactions would really quite small, but multiplied by millions, even billions of users, those who actually make the wealth that resides within the Web, that’s you and me, could earn a living by simply utilising the Web either by contributing useful content (difficult but doable) or by consuming content (easy– if it’s tiny amounts of money, not a a quid a page, which is what Murdoch’s mob are charging). But I think it would certainly sort the wheat from the chaff.

Of course, not every site need participate, I reckon most would remain just as they are, free, but over time its use would spread, even if only to try and pay for the cost of being online in the first place! Why should the owners of the mean of communication be the only ones to make money simply out us just being here?

Right now, it’s only the big corporations that make money out of the Web’s content, mostly sideways, that is from advertising. And they also make money out of owning access to the Web’s infrastructure and its links to all the other media outlets it also owns.

The attempts by some of the corporations to charge for content, eg Murdoch’s News Corp, to build their own system of content ‘micro’ payment still follows the old, privatized method of wealth generation.

The Web economy cries out for socialist solution, firstly because its use and function is ubiquitous, and secondly because it is made up of everyone who uses it. And this includes all those design the software that makes it function, but like I said, to make it work, we have to have a new measure of value to reflect the way the wealth is generated.

I reckon the best way would be to build it into a new Web Server Standard via what we called an Anonymous Information Service or AIS, this would automatically track transactions but do it anonymously: all that’s being done is that numbers are being moved around following a user’s or a contributor’s transactions across the Web. The Server encrypts all the transactions so hopefully it’s secure.

The dilemma for Capital is that the Web blows away the concept of private ownership, it just gets in the way of doing business.

Check out the FLATTR system below for an example. This is their blurb, not mine.

* Flattr is a social micropayment platform that lets you show love for the things you like.
* Help support the people you like and enable them to continue with what they do.
* Add your own things to Flattr and receive appreciation from others.

I’ve just signed up by paying a small amount into a credit/debit system that is the heart of FLATTR system as you start out paying someone for all or part of any content that you grab, that is of course, part of the FLATTR system. And therein lies the rub, you gotta join the system in order to ultimately/potentially benefit from it.

Does it work? Well it’s not live yet so the jury is out, but generating income ‘for the rest of us’ out of the work we collectively perform in bringing news and information to readers/viewers is, in my opinion, a vital part of the Web.

And it’s not all clear to me whether FLATTR (flatterer, ged it? Swedish humour I suppose) is for consuming content or republishing it, or both? I’m going to have to dig into it some more.


Haiti's colonial overlord By Ashley Smith

5 August, 2010 —

Ashley Smith analyzes the role of Bill Clinton’s Interim Haiti Reconstruction Commission and other institutions that claim to look out for the interests of Haiti’s poor.


Bill Clinton speaks to the press as a little boy, badly injured in the earthquake, rests (Master Sgt. Russell E. Cooley IV)

AMID THE hoopla over Chelsea Clinton’s wedding at a posh estate north of New York City, there were plenty of toasts in the media to Bill Clinton and the good works he’s performed since leaving the White House.

In particular, Clinton’s role in working with Haiti, both before and after the catastrophic earthquake last January, was singled out.

To the U.S. media, Clinton is a compassionate statesmen, with only the best interests of the Haitian people at heart. Particularly since this year’s quake, he has been viewed as a decisive leader who can ‘get things done,’ in contrast to the country’s ineffective government. Because of his role as co-chair of the Interim Haiti Reconstruction Commission (IHRC), Esquire magazine called Clinton ‘CEO of a leaderless nation,’ the Miami Herald repeatedly refers to him as the ‘czar of the recovery effort.’

Ordinary Haitians have a different view. They remember Clinton as the man who, while president, demanded Haiti follow the ‘Plan of Death’–the neoliberal prescriptions of the IMF and World Bank that ‘structurally adjusted’ the Haitian economy in the interests of U.S. business, at the expense of the country’s peasants and poor.

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Israel needs green light from US to assault Iran – Chossudovsky

5 August, 2010 — RT Top Stories

A group of former CIA and military officials have written to President Obama to say they believe Israel is preparing to attack Iran this month.

The group explained that Israel wants to launch a war suddenly, and make it politically untenable for Obama to do anything other than offer full US military support.

Michel Chossudovsky from the Canadian Centre for Research on Globalization thinks that, in reality, Israel would need Washington’s backing first.

‘It is technically impossible, from a military standpoint, for Israel to actually launch a war on Iran without the green light from the US. This is not strictly an Israeli military project. The US from the mid-1990s in fact has indicated Iran as a possible target,’ Chossudovsky evaluated.

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Housmans Radical Books London, Newsletter of Events in August 2010

1 August, 2010 — Housmans

1. Paul Russell’s UK Street Photography Exhibition
2. What is wrong with using Amazon?

3. ‘Soho Noir’ with Cathi Unsworth and Paul Willetts
4. ‘Fighting Fascism in London’ with David Renton
5. ‘How to Live Free in London’ with Katharine Hibbert
6. ‘The Short Film Movement’
7. ‘Dan Chatterton – London‘s One Man Revolution’ with The Freethought History Research Group
8. Future Events

9. Cathi Unsworth Picks Five

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Child confronts Israeli forces over father’s detention By Zuheir Al-Shaer

5 August, 2010 — Ma’an News Agency

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Video footage of a four-year-old child begging Israeli forces to release his father from detention on Monday has circulated the globe.

“You dog, give me my dad. I want daddy. I want daddy. Give me my dad,” cried Khalid Fadel Al-Ja’bari, as Israeli border guards detained his father Fadel, 36 in the Al-Baq’a village east of Hebron, where Israel’s Civil Administration began destroying what it described as an illegal water irrigation network. At the time, a spokesman denied forces overturned land.

Badran Jaber, the child’s grandfather, told Ma’an his son-in-law was detained after objecting to Israeli bulldozers overturning fields planted with vegetables near the illegal Kiryat Arba settlement.

“The heart of the soldiers is harder than the rock. The screams of the child did not stop them from attacking his father, but they kicked the child and pulled his hands which were holding his father’s shirt,” said the grandfather. Khaled, he said, has not slept since his father was detained.

The grandfather said border guards have repeatedly prevented him and other residents from accessing the 30 dunums of land, of which 18 belong to him, by deploying riot dispersal means.

Jaber, a leader of the leftist Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, said Israel’s Civil Administration, accompanied by border guards, began destroying the irrigation network on his farmland at 9a.m. He said residents and relatives tried to stop forces, but were assaulted.

“When my 15-year-old son Wadi and my son-in-law … Fadel, tried to defend myself and my wife, Israeli soldiers beat them before detaining them,” Jaber told Ma’an at the time.

A spokesman for Israel’s Civil Administration said Monday inspectors destroyed pipes that were illegally set up and stealing water from other sources. He said no farmland was destroyed in the process.

At the time, Locals in Hebron confirmed seeing Israeli bulldozers overturn vast areas of farmland.

The Flattr Micropayment System

5 August, 2100 — FLATTR

* Flattr is a social micropayment platform that lets you show love for the things you like.
* Help support the people you like and enable them to continue with what they do.
* Add your own things to Flattr and receive appreciation from others.

For a number of years there have been various attempts at designing a micro payment system that works effectively for small amounts of money that paying by card or Paypal for example, most just can’t be bothered to do.

Does it work? Well it’s not live yet so the jury is out, but generating income ‘for the rest of us’ out of the work we collectively perform in bringing news and information to readers/viewers is, in my opinion, a vital part of the Web.


5 August, 2010 — The Real News Network

Gareth Porter: Obama backtracks on commitment to withdraw combat troops from Iraq.

Gareth Porter is a historian and investigative journalist on US foreign and military policy analyst. He writes regularly for Inter Press Service on US policy towards Iraq and Iran. Author of four books, the latest of which is Perils of Dominance: Imbalance of Power and the Road to War in Vietnam.

UN Human Rights Committee concludes that Israel violates the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights

3 August, 2010 — PCHRAl-Haq


On 29 July 2010, the Human Rights Committee (the Committee) adopted its Concluding Observations on Israel’s implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (the Covenant).

The Committee concluded that Israel violates the Covenant with respect to several of the rights enshrined therein, and in particular the obligation to apply the Covenant to the Palestinian people in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. Despite Israel’s claim, rubber-stamped by the Israeli High Court of Justice, that it is not an Occupying Power with respect to certain parts of the Occupied Palestinian Territory, the Human Rights Committee emphasized that Israel remains an Occupying Power over the West Bank, East Jerusalem, the Gaza Strip and the occupied Syrian Golan Heights. Moreover, the Committee reiterated that “the applicability of the regime of international humanitarian law does not preclude accountability of States parties under article 2, paragraph 1, of the Covenant for the actions of their authorities or agents outside their own territories, including in occupied territories”. Thereby the Committee affirmed that “All decision makers, be they military and civilian officials, should be investigated and where relevant prosecuted and sanctioned”.

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9/11 Truth Truth By Joel S. Hirschhorn

4 August, 2010 —

Months, years and then decades slip by.  Despite an avalanche of information burying me everyday I had not read or heard anything about 9/11 truth for many, many months.  Sometimes movements become so marginalized that they no longer have enough vitality to stay within the consciousness of very many people.

I am sure, of course, that there are 9/11 truthers out there that still give and attend talks, write and receive emails and have lively conversations about the insanity of the official government story about 9/11 surviving and various alternative explanations of what really happened.  Yet, in not too many weeks, another 9/11 anniversary will be here.  And maybe then I will be hit again with chatter about what really happened on that past fateful and awful day.  But today it is this writing by me that is my 9/11 truth: Hardly any Americans are concerned about 9/11 truth and there is no real interest in Congress in launching a new investigation.

So I went to a few 9/11 websites of groups that I am affiliated with; they were still there.  And then I did a Google news search for 9/11 truth.  Here is what I gleaned.

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GazaFriends: Freedom Flotilla Coalition Meets in Stockholm Next Flotilla on its Way Back to Gaza

4 August, 2010 — Gaza Friends

Stockholm, August 4, 2010 – It has been over two months since Israel’s 31 May 2010 deadly assault on the Freedom Flotilla and little to nothing has been done to hold Israel accountable for its savage attack that led to the killing of nine of our colleagues, or to end Israel’s continued violations against the Palestinian people, especially the 1.5 million residents of Gaza.  Therefore, we are continuing our global, grassroots effort to stand up to Israel’s ongoing intransigence, including planning our next direct action, plans to enlarge our coalition to include groups from around the world who want to join us, as well as intensify our efforts to mobilize for the new Freedom Flotilla 2.

The world must continue to demand that Israel cooperate with the UN Human Rights Council’s investigation committee to ensure independence, thoroughness, credibility, and justice for the victims.

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VTJP Palestine/Israel Newslinks 4 August, 2010: Israeli group spotlights sham of Israeli construction freeze

4 August, 2010 — VTJP


International Middle East Media Center

Customs Department Officers Close Nablus TV Channel and Attack Staff Members
IMEMC – 4 Aug 2010 – Wednesday August 04, 2010 – 22:44, The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) condemns the recent raid on a Nablus TV channel, which included the beating of three journalists working for the channel and the confiscation of filmed material by officers from the Palestinian Customs Department, who also closed the channel.

Israeli group spotlights sham of Israeli construction freeze
IMEMC – 4 Aug 2010 – Wednesday August 04, 2010 – 15:59, An Israeli NGO has documented widespread disregard for the construction freeze that was supposed to be enforced in the West Bank settlements.

Lebanon appears at fault in yesterday’s confrontation
IMEMC – 4 Aug 2010 – Wednesday August 04, 2010 – 15:17, A Lebanese commander admits their soldiers initiated gunfire and UNIFIL says the tree was on the Israeli side of the border.

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Narratives Under Siege (5): There’s Something in the Water: The Poisoning of Life in the Gaza Strip

5 August, 2010 — PCHR

The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) is pleased to announce the resumption of the Narratives Under Siege series, which aims to provide a human voice to the suffering caused by the illegal Israeli-imposed closure, applied continuously since 14 June 2007 and in various forms for over a decade. The Narratives series provides a glimpse into the personal stories of Palestinians in Gaza and, like the siege itself, covers a wide variety of social and economic aspects.
Narratives Under Siege (5): There’s Something in the Water: The Poisoning of Life in the Gaza Strip

Information Clearing House Newsletter 4 August, 2010: Church to Burn Copies of Koran to Mark 9/11

4 August, 2010 — Information Clearing House

Obama Warned Israel May Bomb Iran
By Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity
We write to alert you to the likelihood that Israel will attack Iran as early as this month. This would likely lead to a wider war.

Israel-Lebanon Tensions Flare After Skirmish Leaves Four Dead
By Robert Fisk:
For the Lebanese army to take on the Israelis, with their 264 nuclear missiles, was a tall order. But for the Israeli army to take on the army of one of the smallest countries in the world was surely preposterous.

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FAIR: Does the NY Times Factcheck Op-Eds?

4 August, 2010 — Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting

Bogus evidence showing Arab apathy towards Palestinians

On August 2, the New York Times published an op-ed arguing that Arabs do not care much about Palestinians–and that this is a good thing, especially for Palestinians. But the argument relied on a “poll” of the Arab world that does not exist.

The piece, by historian Efraim Karsh, intended to show that the “conventional wisdom” about the Israel-Palestine conflict–that Arabs “are so passionate about the Palestine problem”–is wrong. His main evidence is this: “What, then, are we to make of a recent survey for the Al Arabiya television network finding that a staggering 71 percent of the Arabic respondents have no interest in the Palestinian/Israeli peace talks?”

But the “survey” was actually a website readers’ poll, the kind one might find on many news websites–and the kind of thing no one would take as a serious expression of public sentiment on any issue.

Even this largely meaningless data was misrepresented by Karsh, as he conflated concern about “the Palestine problem” with interest in “Palestinian/Israeli peace talks.” As James Zogby of the Arab-American Institute (Huffington Post, 8/2/10) pointed out:

The actual question makes no mention of “Palestine” or “Palestinians.” Rather, it asks respondents about their level of interest in the “Middle East peace process”–to which 71 percent indicate “no interest.” Given the lack of results and the repeated disappointments and frustrations experienced during just the last two decades of the so-called “Middle East peace process,” this lack of interest displayed by respondents in the Al Arabiya website question is hardly surprising.

After recalling various incidents where Arab governments have abused Palestinians, Karsh closed the piece by arguing that “it is a positive sign that so many Arabs have apparently grown so apathetic about the Palestinian/Israeli conflict”–a clear misreading of the unscientific “poll” Karsh was citing. He concluded that “the sooner the Palestinians recognize that their cause is theirs alone, the sooner they are likely to make peace with the existence of the State of Israel and to understand the need for a negotiated settlement.”

Karsh’s claim that the Arab public is presently “apathetic” about the plight of Palestinians rests on an unreliable Internet poll, and on excluding other polling that would suggest precisely the opposite. According to the Zogby/University of Maryland poll of Arab public opinion (5/09), 76 percent of respondents put “the Palestinian issue” as either the “most important” issue or as one of their “top 3 priorities.”

In a piece about how the Times edits op-ed contributions (7/31/05), the section’s editor David Shipley assured readers that articles are fact-checked: “While it is the author’s responsibility to ensure that everything written for us is accurate, we still check facts–names, dates, places, quotations. We also check assertions. If news articles–from the Times and other publications–are at odds with a point or an example in an essay, we need to resolve whatever discrepancy exists.”

The Times should adhere to that standard in this case.


Ask the New York Times to publish a correction pointing out that Efraim Karsh’s August 1 op-ed about Arab ambivalence towards Palestinians erroneously treated an unscientific website poll as if it were a meaningful survey of public opinion, and misrepresented even its findings.

New York Times
Op-Ed Page Editor
David Shipley

The Anti-Empire Report 4 August, 2010 by William Blum

4 August, 2010 —

So please tell me again: What’s the war about?

When facts are inconvenient, when international law, human rights and history get in the way, when war crimes can’t easily be justified or explained away, when logic doesn’t help much, the current crop of American political leaders turns to what is now the old reliable: 9/11. We have to fight in Afghanistan because … somehow … it’s tied into what happened on September 11, 2001. Here’s Vice-President Joe Biden: “We know that it was from the space that joins Afghanistan and Pakistan that the attacks of 9/11 occurred.” 1

Here’s Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-SC): “This is the place [Afghanistan] we were attacked from 9/11.” 2

Rep. Mike Pence, the third-ranking House Republican, asserted that the revelations in the Wikileaks documents do not change his view of the Afghan conflict, nor does he expect a shift in public opinion. “Back home in Indiana, people still remember where the attacks on 9/11 came from.” 3

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