Trump and Not Clinton

democrats-republicans

Today, the world woke up to learn that American citizens elected Donald Trump, and not Hillary Clinton, for president .
Given that democrats preferred the war and bomb-like Clinton against Bernie Sanders and republicans (more cleverly) Trump instead of long time, ultra conservative politicians, US citizens had no choice but the lesser evil.
I have to clarify that from my part (in social media and through TWTP) I have supported Sanders, while I stopped any effort after Clinton’s election for democrats’ candidate.
Not all people are that strict though.

While journalists, experts and analysts are trying to decode as much as to predict, world leaders stay numb and disappointed because their “preferred” candidate has not been elected.
They are also probably preparing their plans under the (unexpected?) facts and, at some time, their congratulation messages.
At the same time, people outside not less that inside the US would better be aware that they will suffer the consequences of Trump presidency, instead of Clinton presidency.
As simple as that.

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Documentary: Lets Make Money by Erwin Wagenhofer (Watch, Think, Act)

Lets-Make-Money-Movie

This time the documentary of Erwin Wagenhofer Lets Make Money caught my attention.
It presents the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth about money “creation”, stock and effect upon ordinary people’s lives over time and worldwide.

At the same time, it is shocking and chilling although all of us have already realized the consequences upon our lives.
 Nevertheless, it offers (or it would hopefully do) some kind of awareness -even to the most keen supporters of liberalism, and of its evolved and harsher version, neoliberalism- on the financial, social and political events that take place because of banks, World Bank in particular, the whole financial/ economic system together with  the elite  (1%), all of them against the people (99%).

Image is a powerful tool but equally is speech and words (logos in Greek).
 The deeper meaning is that, if someone is an “average citizen” in one of the dominant (or of THE dominant) countries, is convicted to be a “little man” and to bear the corresponding consequences, according to Hermann Scheer. (at about 1:46:00)

One important reason for this posting is also relative to the article about Panama Papers.
The documentary is, among others, a proof that all tax heavens, capitalism, poverty and exploitation are existing and are globally known.
It also proves that corruption is a lot bigger, deeper and higher than presented by the Media.
Capitalism is the corruption and is lethal because it constitutes the core and the essence of international institutions which affect the fates of countries and people.
It is the whole system which is corrupted and not just some individuals, even if these are prime ministers and presidents.
The long hand of propaganda and of “consensus manufacturing”, aims to smear some (or many, it doesn’t make any difference) in order to disorient social resentment and opinion.
 Yet, there are people -humans- all over the world who think that their “fate” is to be poor and exploitable.
Curiously enough, they live in “prosperous” and “civilized” western countries.

 Can’t wish “enjoy”.
It is more appropriate to write:  THINK and ACT.

http://www.veoh.com/watch/v22189967GR4CQTPZ?h1=Let%27s+Make+Money+-+english+subs

 

PS: As my research for the whole version with English subtitles proved a bit tricky, I quote here one extra link  … just in case! http://www.veoh.com/watch/v22189967GR4CQTPZ
These are the only whole versions with English subtitles I found and they both work in my computer systems.
Maybe they are the same, maybe not.

 In case you can’t open one or both of them (cause of compatibility or software problems) here is the first part in YouTube.
If problems occur, do not hesitate to contact in order to search together for a solution.

The War “Agents” – From Vietnam to This Day

agent orange
Nick Ut’s famous photo known as “Napalm Girl” is credited for raising the awarness of the Vietnam War. Nick Ut rushed Kim Phuc to a nearby hospital after the photo was taken. Nick Ut, Associated Press

In the middle of a global turmoil, whether it would be murders in the form of “wars” (against….what exactly?), global inequalities (e.g. gender, income, living conditions, human and civil rights), climate change effects and pharisaic politics (see EU vs Refugees, US vs Democracy etc), the combination of two pieces of information gave way to this article.
They both involve wars, American wars, unreasonable wars (as if there were reasonable) i.e. aggressive (as opposed to defensive) wars, which both destabilised or destroyed countries, caused casualties and distress and proved to be vain, even more than any war could prove.

The two said factors are:

I) Agent Orange

Agent Orange is a herbicide.
We read that: 
During the late 1940s and 1950s, the US and Britain collaborated on development of herbicides with potential applications in warfare.
Indeed, Americans used that herbicide during Vietnam war with the pretext of destroying Vietnam’s flora which was making their lives “difficult” (or terminated) inside country’s jungle.

We learn that:
Agent Orange was manufactured for the U.S. Department of Defense primarily by Monsanto Corporation and Dow Chemical,
an information which nowadays makes sense, to say the least, as it explains the GMOs “regime”.

In a more…trivial level we are informed that:
It was given its name from the color of the orange-striped barrels in which it was shipped, and was by far the most widely used of the so-called “Rainbow Herbicides“.

We understand that in contemporary terms it was a chemical weapon, like these used in Syria and attributed only to country’s regime, [and which are German made and in fact have targeted Syrian people in order to force them to abandon their country and thus weaken Assad and pass to Turkey and…..  –read more about Turkey’s role, Germany, ISIS and EU].
Back to chemical weapons of the past with some more “unpleasant” information:
The 2,4,5-T used to produce Agent Orange was contaminated with 2,3,7,8-Tetrachlorodibenzodioxin (TCDD), an extremely toxic dioxin compound. In some areas, TCDD concentrations in soil and water were hundreds of times greater than the levels considered safe by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

We are also informed that:
Although in the Geneva Disarmament Convention of 1978, Article 2(4) Protocol III to the weaponry convention has “The Jungle Exception”, which prohibits states from attacking forests or jungles “except if such natural elements are used to cover, conceal or camouflage combatants or military objectives or are military objectives themselves” this voids any protection of any military or civilians from a napalm attack or something like agent Orange and is clear that it was designed to cater to situations like U.S. tactics in Vietnam. This clause has yet to be revised
– 
which in a free translation means that international laws have always been tailored to mainstream – USA – interests.

To make a tragic story short, it was not only expected but also desirable that Agent Orange would harm people and not only vegetation, and it has, indeed.
Many handicapped children have been born since, unable (invalides, according to Napoleon’s conception) to function within society without help, victims of perverse minds and of the renowned imperialist war machine.  
The sad but also promising factor of the story/ history is that in Vietnam, the American veteran George Mizo founded in 1992 The Vietnam Friendship Village (See Village’s site) where children are taken care and are tought crafts with which they can support their lives -hopefully.

It’s not possible to explore George Mizo’s soul and mind.
Nevertheless, what formed half of this article’s “substance” is an episode of the Greek show/ travel documentary series World Party in which we watched kids between 7 and 17 years old who are affected by Agent Orange and who are now educated and supported by Vietnam Friendship Village.

Person presented, Mr Tsack, confessed/ admitted during the documentary something that we all know with certainty:
War is the worst failure of mankind.
It’s the failure of what is good and decent about human beings and represents/ reflects the worst aspects of all of us.”


II) Gulf War Syndrome

This sad outcome/aftermath of another chapter of absurd American wars, 
… refers to the complex of symptoms that affects veterans of the 1990-1991 Gulf War at significantly excess rates. It is characterized by multiple diverse symptoms not explained by established medical diagnoses or standard laboratory tests, symptoms that typically include a combination of memory and concentration problems, persistent headache, unexplained fatigue, and widespread pain, and can also include chronic digestive difficulties, respiratory symptoms, and skin rashes,
according to an article of Global Research.

gulf-war-syndrome2

Also, in Wikipedia we can find that:
According to a report by the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan may also suffer from the syndrome.
Suggested causes have included depleted uranium, sarin gas, smoke from burning oil wells, vaccinations, combat stress and psychological factors.

while many other sources (e.g. Medical Dictionary, veterans’ site Military.com but also US Dept Of Veterans Affairs) outline a number of symptoms caused by psychological or physical factors.
Saying that “they are lucky to be alive” would only be an insensitive and tragic irony in fact.

Consequences to other nations are not yet allowed to reveal and history is still being written.
So, maybe several decades later, someone, somewhere, in Iraq, in Afghanistan, in Libya, in Syria, in Central Africa, in Eastern Europe, will acknowledge the harm caused to local people and the pointlessness, the irrationality, the absurdity and the cruelty of any and each war and maybe will create a friendship village or, better yet, a friendship Earth.

Or, people will keep in mind Mr Tsack’s comment:
“Most of us
took the easy way which was to submit and to do what we were told.
It’s much more difficult and much more courageous to say “no”, and I would try to convince my grandchildren to have the strength and the courage and the personal conviction to say “no”.
We
didn’t learn anything from Vietnam. That’s the real tragedy of Vietnam.
We could have learned lessons that would have made the world a very different place.”  

From my part, I won’t stop wondering how many kilometers of wall (other than China one), would be necessary if ALL millions of real victims had to be carved, mentioned and honored.

Relative reads:

Documentary The Look of Silence and Indonesian history

23 May 1965, Jakarta, Indonesia --- Members and sympathizers of the Indonesian Communist Party, the third largest in the world, gather in the Russian built sports stadium in Jakarta to celebrate the party's 45th anniversary. The party symbol of a soldier, a laborer and a farmer stands below a portrait of President Sukarno. --- Image by © Bettmann/CORBIS
23 May 1965, Jakarta, Indonesia — Members and sympathizers of the Indonesian Communist Party, the third largest in the world, gather in the Russian built sports stadium in Jakarta to celebrate the party’s 45th anniversary. The party symbol of a soldier, a laborer and a farmer stands below a portrait of President Sukarno. — Image by © Bettmann/CORBIS

It was by chance that I watched an interesting (chilling would be fairer) documentary on TV, in which camera follows Adi Rukun a man who is “interviewing” some of his co-villagers, his parents and members of his family about the true story of the murder of his brother Ramli, one of the about one million victims (according to the bragging killers as well, 500000 according to other sources) in Indonesia’s 1965-66 massacre-extermination of members, supporters and sympathisers of Indonesian Communist Party (PKI).

I wondered how many people, if any, knew about that dark story and the large number of persons slaughtered with the most brutal methods under US and CIA directions and support, which took place during Cold War and the peak of American anti-communism, during the inland and outside US fear-inducing propaganda.

It is also worth wondering if and to what extent have things changed since then, when the US-led local army and police carried the prisoners and delivered them to their killers who stabbed, beheaded or buried them alive – in a few words using bestial practices upon Indonesian as well as  Chinese population.
At the time, the atrocities were presented as “impulsive” and were attributed to people’s fear of communists, who were said to be atheists, to exchange their wives and to commit crimes. Well known accusations which would be funny if they weren’t tragic.
The way interviewed murderers (butchers) present their brutal murders and the calmness of the “hero” before them is stunning.
One of the killers says that he collected their blood and drunk it while his young daughter who claims that she didn’t know anything about it asks Adi to forgive her and her father.

As Rukun points out to several of these beasts (many of whom remain in charge until today), they show no remorse and not one of them says that he acted wrongly or that what he did was his own fault.
Not surprisingly, this regime is US supported. Until now the school teachers continue to propagandise against communists, to distort facts and to induce fear by telling to 6-7 years creepy stories attributed to communists. We watch Adi trying to “repair the damage” by telling the true story to his son.

The country remains in turmoil as poverty and injustice induce uprisings – like in many places of the world.
The question is which and to what extent certain revolts and acts of “radicalism” (as reported by the Reuters in “Indonesia hopes village spending will counter radicalism“) are impulsive or directed provocations.
Careful interpretation in necessary. Especially under the lights of history like this.

With a little research we found that the documentary is The Look of Silence of Joshua Oppenheimer.
According to  The Conversation which presented the film in November 2014:

«The companion piece to his Oscar-nominated 2012 film The Act of Killing deals with a survivor’s quest for justice.[…]
It is this rupture – and not the cohesiveness of the “Indonesia as a whole” that explains why so many are invested in Oppenheimer’s project, why “Anonymous” crews support the production, and why it was possible to screen The Act of Killing more than 1,000 times throughout the country.
Despite the persisting cultural movement since Suharto’s downfall, the infrastructures that prevent Indonesians from contesting the official narrative of 1965-66 remain unchanged. We need structural changes within Indonesia to do this.»

In the article of January 2014 about the previous film, The Act of Killing, an equally if not more nerve challenging presentation of the criminals, The Conversation writes:
«Academy Award nominations rarely enter into the domain of politics, and certainly have not delved into Indonesian politics in the past. This year, however, is different.
US-British director Joshua Oppenheimer’s film The Act of Killing has already won numerous international awards and has now been nominated for an Oscar for Best Documentary Feature.
The film has received rave reviews from film critics, as well as one off-beat (and frankly misleading and illogical) paean from Slovenian Marxist philosopher, Slavoj Zizek.
Confronting, controversial, The Act of Killing aims to explain the politics of the past in Indonesia. The documentary presents two connected aspects of Indonesia: the anti-communist killings of 1965-1969; and the role of gangsters in present-day politics.»

It is one of the stories which remain buried deeper than the victims (many of whom in this case were thrown in Snake River) and it is surely a story worth spreading.
One of the killers describes with great indifference that no one was eating river fishes after the slaughter because fishes were eating people.
A safe conclusion would also be that any dictatorship, any inhuman, violent, sadistic regime and any human rights violating or illegal government is good as long as US “approves” it!

The trailer of The Look of Silence:


In 2014, an article of the New York Times was titled: ‘The Act of Killing’ Film Fails to Stir Indonesia.
No wonder at all, as it is doubtful if anyone would dare to watch it under the fear of retaliation and danger for his life (the same danger which his mother and his wife point out to Adi Rukun ).
An interesting and encouraging outcome from this presentation of NYT is the following letter and mostly its senders.

«Mass Slaughter in Indonesia
MARCH 6, 2014
To the Editor:
(of NYT)

“ ‘Act of Killing’ Film Fails to Stir Indonesia” (news article, March 2) describes how Indonesia’s media has largely ignored Joshua Oppenheimer’s powerful, Oscar-nominated documentary about General Suharto’s murder of between a half million and a million alleged Communists in 1965 and 1966. It doesn’t even mention the United States’ contribution to what The Times described as “one of the most savage mass slaughters of modern political history.”

As we report in our “Untold History of the United States” documentary film series and book, the Central Intelligence Agency had targeted Sukarno, Suharto’s predecessor, for years, and in 1965 provided a “kill list” containing thousands of names. The State Department’s Indonesia expert stated, “No one cared, as long as they were Communists, that they were butchered.” Suharto’s dictatorship lasted 32 years.

Conditions have improved since his ouster, but the horrors of his rule and American complicity in his crimes must never be forgotten.

OLIVER STONE
PETER KUZNICK
Los Angeles, March 3, 2014

Mr. Stone is the film director, and Mr. Kuznick is a professor of history at American University.»

More about the story (history) and the massacre:

The history and evidence “on how the October 1 coup was triggered” are presented in the article
US orchestrated Suharto’s 1965-66 slaughter in Indonesia of World Socialist Web Site.

A US Department of State recent presentation of “US Relations With Indonesia” (for anyone interested, only part of the URL, state.gov, to avoid tracking).

Macrohistory and World Timeline also gives and analytical version of the facts in Indonesia and the Great Slaughter and Sukarno Loses Power

The relative book China, class collaboration, and the killing fields of Indonesia in 1965, of James Robb is presented here.

All in all, it is worth taking a look and learning the facts about a rarely said history.

 

The Multifaceted Russian-Turkish Conflict

russian pilots
© Sputnik/ Alexander Vilf Relatives of Russian Su-24 Pilot ‘Refuse to Believe He is Dead’

The following article was written on 27th November, therefore some of the details might have changed.
Wherever possible, I have made adjustments.

Just a few days after Turkish F-16s shot down the Russian Su-24 aircraft on 24th November, tens of scenarios and analysis have been published and broadcasted and they all have a common factor:

They accept that the players after the incident are much more than two and that a new chapter in foreign policies has opened.
The time perspective of the event itself will reveal the whole spectrum of participants, those concerned and the stakeholders, the number of who appears to be growing.
In the foreground, there are Russia, its president Vladimir Putin and their recent involvement in the war against ISIS in Syria on one hand, and the NATO member Turkey of Recep Tayyip Erdogan, on the other.
Inevitably, the European Union and its two most powerful countries, Germany and France, become parts of this equation to a more or less obvious extent. They are both NATO members and that’s a role they have to support.
France’s wound of 13th November is fresh as much as are its president’s Francois Hollande declared intentions (and actions) to intensify war against terrorism of ISIS by cooperating with allies and not-so-allies, as is Russia.
To this end, all predictions and signs favored a joint effort with Russia and Mr Hollande’s meet with US president Barack Obama included smoothing of edges and bridging the gap between US and Russia in the name of the common cause.
An aspect of these policies is that Russia’s decision to operate against ISIS in Syria has been vindicated and it can be seen as a win of Vladimir Putin, whose country is blacklisted by NATO, USA and EU, i.e. from the West.
Even if NATO members defended the “right of Turkey to protect its land”, they didn’t provide any further support through public statements.
Therefore Erdogan, who at first seemed to have deterred the approach between West and Russia and the reinforcement of powers against ISIS willingly or not, failed to promote his country as a decisive regional factor.
Irrespective of Turkish president’s instability, as German Vice-Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel said on 25th November, and “exuberance”, by the defensive-aggressive movement of shooting a NATO non-friendly country’s war craft, Turkey repeated its practice of establishing de facto conditions (Cyprus occupation is one of them) and attempted to demonstrate and “tout” its role and status of NATO member.
Also, the overt and straight support to Turkmens could be interpreted as a “declaration” implying the “Kurdish factor”, i.e. Turkish friendly Vs Turkish hostile populations.
Only a short time before, Erdogan had highlighted Turkey’s ambitions to become member of EU and used the refugee crisis and the “need” of EU to ensure Turkish cooperation, in order to extract a promising result.
The obvious benefits though have been a few and so far limited to a financing from EU.
[During the conference of 29Nov., EU promised 3 billion euros which could, and they possibly will, increase and visa regime “rearrangements” and everyone turned a blind eye to the flagrant human rights violations. But then again, that’s the EU …]
So, Turkey decided to use the “NATO card”.

We have to remember that both Angela Merkel and Jean-Claude Junker “suggested” common Greek and Turkish rescue operations in Greek territorial waters.
When Greece rejected such type of Turkish involvement, Ms Merkel underlined that “both countries are NATO members”, as if it should be understood that the membership would allow common territorial grounds or that insured territorial security -for Greece.

It also goes without saying that inside his country Erdogan emphasizes in every possible way the factors of security and stability and projects the image of a strong, powerful, competent and determined leader.
This image covers and entertains impressions and reactions against his controversial “relationship” with civil rights and has even supported his party AKP in recent parliamentary elections.
Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has a more moderate approach and made efforts to express more peaceful intentions after the downing of the Russian jet.
Turkish and Russian presidents have several similarities as leading personalities and some observers would find similarities even in governing.
It’s their differences, though, which make the “difference” together with the roles of their countries with regard to international relations.

Within the recent picture, Syria remains the hot spot and the threat of ISIS is the global factor.
President Hollande had to suffer a second hit of French capital and citizens, in order to consider a plan of joint action, not restricted inside NATO frame and interests, but comprising several regional powers.
In this frame, while Vladimir Putin has taken a positive initiative (if war can ever be considered positive), Recep Tayyip Erdogan appears as the negative factor.
[The disclosures (within the country and after Putin had spoken about it publicly) of Turkish role and involvement in oil smuggling, triggered Erdogan’s beloved practice of overt censorship.]

The downing of jet incident brought to the forefront the many and “artfully” non-promoted by western media, dark spots of Turkish involvement and role in Syria crisis.
The day-after has brought Russian resolutions about sanctions to Turkey -and Russians know a lot about sanctions as imposed on them by USA allies.

Although some analysts have spoken about a WWIII, on one hand this seems to be happening now with all these open fronts all over the world, and on the other it is highly undesirable even by US, the “usual suspect” of initiating wars and invasions and at least during Obama’s administration.

The nightmare of a generalized regional war could involve:
Lebanon, a tormented country which recently has (silently) suffered major inland hits by terrorism,
Egypt, a country which is revising, rebuilding and expanding its foreign relations,
Jordan, because of proximity and as the hosting country of thousand of refugees,
and probably Iran as a Russian and Syria ally but also against ISIS.
It could also involve Israel, its phobic and pro war policies and, worst case scenario, its nuclear weapons.

The news “run”, tension intensifies or discharges sequentially, anything written could be soon outdated and the so called “diplomatic thriller” between Russia and Turkey continues. with Erdogan’s invitation to Putin to a meeting during World Climate Conference (COP21) in Paris.

[It is imperative to remember, although Davutoglu’s statements and attitude leaved no chance to forget, that Turkish diplomacy is among the (two in my opinion) most insolent of the world.
Another feature of their policies is (again among the two) to create «guilt complexes» to their interlocutors.
The combination of antidemocratic practices, together with the assassination of Tahir Elci, pro-Kurdish activist, made EU-Turkish approach more bitter.
]

At this point of time we can conclude that although hopes and fears are significant yet invisible and neglected factors of foreign policies, prudence, sangfroid and sobriety combined with care about people, are better consultants and should prevail for all participants, at last.

 

The Many Faces of Racism Worldwide

Charleston

Two distinctive facts took place the last days. One peaceful and democratic, such as elections in Denmark, on Thursday and a violent, such as the killing of nine people in a church of Charleston, South Carolina, USA. Regardless of the distance and their difference in nature, the two events have common characteristics and each of them underlines the existing problems of racism, xenophobia and anti-immigration in both sides of the Atlantic Ocean.

European Face

In Denmark, the Danish People’s Party (DF or DPP), a traditionally populist, far-right party that focuses on immigration and social issues is now the second largest in the country and is going to back the coalition of the center-right bloc.
“Danish voters ousted Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt in an election on Thursday and handed power to an opposition centre-right alliance including huge gains for a eurosceptic, anti-immigrant party”, according to Reuters while teleSUR reports: “Anti-immigration and Euroscepticism triumphed in the Thursday elections, as far right and liberal parties were voted in to replace country’s first female prime minister. Denmark’s center-right bloc secured 90 seats in Parliament, out of a total 179, with liberal opposition leader Lars Lokke Rasmussen to take-on the position of prime minister. The backing from the far right party Danish Peoples’ Party (DF), which secured second place in elections Thursday, gives the coalition a majority”.
“The far-right Danish People’s party (DPP) triumphed in the European elections, winning Denmark’s biggest share of the vote as EU-sceptic parties from across the Nordic countries gained further ground in the European parliament”, notes The Guardian.

According to Reuters again: “The party has already managed to set the agenda on some issues without being in government – mainstream parties across the political aisle talked about curbing immigration, following its lead, and DF won an important concession from centre-right parties on its stance on the European Union. Just before the election, the centre-right parties agreed to support British Prime Minister David Cameron’s bid to reform the EU. DF also wants to go further and call an in-or-out referendum on EU membership for Denmark.”

In Europe and inside EU, anti-immigrant parties have gained ground.
“Finland’s anti-immigration Finns party – previously known as the True Finns – increased its number of MEPs to two, but its share of the vote (13%) didn’t match its success in the last national election when it won 19%.” (The Guardian)
In UK elections of early May, the anti-European Union UK Independence Party took 12.6 %, although David Cameron is conservative and eurosceptic enough to announce plans for banning free speech as a form of new counter-extremism laws to tackle terrorism. New laws were due to be introduced in parliament when it would re-open at the end of May, according to The Conversation.

Denmark and UK are the two countries “legally exempt from joining the euro zone unless their governments decide otherwise, either by parliamentary vote or referendum, while the Swedish people turned down euro adoption in a 2003 referendum and since then the country has intentionally avoided fulfilling the adoption requirements by not joining European Exchange Rate Mechanism (ERM II), which is voluntary”. (Wikipedia)
Greece is not an exemption to this recent “rule” of raising racism. The ultra nationalist, fascist, neo-nazi and (therefore) anti-immigrant and xenophobic party “golden dawn” has 17 of 300 seats of the Parliament and 3 in the EP. (Wikipedia)
Neither is France, with their far-right National Front of Le Pen family, which has boosted its power at the municipal elections. I
n addition, “NF will spearhead a new far-right political bloc in the European Parliament, a long-delayed move that will boost the funding and influence of anti-immigrant and anti-European Union voices in the legislature. The new group, called “Europe of Nations and of Freedoms,” brings together 36 lawmakers from seven different countries. It will give a higher profile to parties that have been marginalized in Brussels, amid close cooperation among the three main party groups since European-wide elections in May 2014”, reports The Wall Street Journal.

American Face

On the other hand, in USA, the long history of racism seems to revive – if it ever ended.
Killings of African-American citizens by the police are proved to be more a social than an “inside” problem.
Last Wednesday, Dylann Roof, a young white man has shot nine people inside a church of the black community in Charleston. Roof confessed, he has been arrested and is charged with hate crimes and possession of guns.
“Roof’s crime cannot be divorced from the ideology of white supremacy which long animated his state nor from its potent symbol—the Confederate flag”, notes Ta-Nehisi Coates in the The Atlantic.
Although the Confederate flag is presented as a “heritage” symbol by its defenders, the not-so-hidden symbolism remains white supremacy. A symbol asks for action and action needs means.
Widespread possession of arms inside USA is fiercely defended by the powerful National Rifle Association (NRA) which is tightly connected with conservatives.
Therefore, no gun control has been applied not even after several mass shootings in the past (Aurora, Newtown etc).
Instead, NRA addresses a message to Barack Obama and to Hilary Clinton (!) claiming that: “…the heroes, the ones who are willing to fight and die for his freedoms demands a commander-in-chief worthy of such sacrifice.” [… ]
Obviously, NRA “feels” that Obama and Hilary have or could do what is logic and necessary: Restrict guns or apply serious measures for gun control.
President Barack Obama however, has used “hard rhetoric” (american mutatis mutandis) on free gun market stating, according to The Atlantic: “We don’t have all the facts, but we do know that, once again, innocent people were killed in part because someone who wanted to inflict harm had no trouble getting their hands on a gun.” Not even close but again that’s USA.

A crucial aspect of this new massacre is, again, racism.
Americans seem to have never learned that all the people, inside and outside their country have human rights. Centuries after the invasion in American continent, they (well, many and not all of them, hopefully) don’t accept that people of all races and religions who are american citizens are equal to “whites”. Decades of fights for equal opportunities and rights have not “touched” a portion of american population. Even worse, they have not changed their mindset which is reflected more often than never into their policies inside and outside their country.

World Face

The way the two above mentioned facts in Denmark and in USA are connected becomes obvious. When “official” violence which aims to suppress movements and fights is not enough or when policies (global, regional or national) have to be imposed without facing reactions and opposition, the “card” of discord, division, internal fights and hate is used.

While USA faces a raise of their “traditional” racism, Europe itself has a long history of exploitation of humans, whether they are residents of their colonies or newcomers into more powerful countries.

Xenophobia, intolerance and racism are used against people who refuge in European countries to save their lives (article TWTP) and are dictated by the intention of governing elites to deviate people’s minds from the real responsible for their problems.
Nations, races or groups of people are demonized and then victimized when an effort is made to cause fear against difference.
Palestinians are such a victim the last 60 years. Of course, their tyrant and exterminator uses fear to obscure the facts and to persuade ordinary people against them presenting them as “threat” and enemy. It is exactly the same as hate of extremists islamists of ISIS who are obsessed in killing anyone they think as enemy.
Western methods of tackling with them do not differ much and they perpetuate the circle of mistrust, fear, intolerance and finally hate.

As far as it concerns EU, a very obscure side of that (not so sudden) raise of anti-immigrant parties is that they are also “eurosceptics”. This combination hides the notion that EU is somehow “the opposite of racism” and serves equality and human rights. Under this aspect, EU is beatified before the eyes of discontented citizens who have lost quality of life, social security, jobs, homes and rights. They are kept “quiet” and happy because the “good Union” protects them from the bad eurosceptics who happen to be racists and officials do not mention the fact that both uprooted people and fascists are their creation.

No surprise that racism (together with all its instigators as well as manifestations) is spreading after a short period of impairment just in time to manipulate low paid and with no social security people (Greece is a representative example). Xenophobia, intolerance and racism serve the perpetually smoldering purpose of a world dominance of elites.

Also published in: Reader Supported News

Relative article from Consortiumnews.com: Facing America’s Great Evils

 

 

Human Rights and Dying Migrants

This morning Greek media reported the arrival of 1,800 migrants, mainly from Middle East, in central Athens square. They were added to 100,000 people (refugees and migrants) who have crossed Mediterranean since start of 2015 according to UNHCR, “with record numbers now arriving every day in the Greek islands. Official figures show that as of 8 June a total of 103,000 refugees and migrants had arrived in Europe: 54,000 in Italy, 48,000 in Greece, 91 on Malta and 920 in Spain.”

EU obviously faces a humanitarian problem and evidently turns a blind eye to it, as its latest political (non) decisions show. (TWTP article Sea of War and Death)

The problem contains several contradictions:
– Human beings lose their lives while trying to escape their countries just to save their own and their children lives. 
– Civil and offensive wars, hunger, turmoil or evictions force people to abandon their residencies, fortunes, homes, jobs, families and homeland in order to survive. The oxymoron here is that a series of events beyond their power, force educated and working, respected and “normal”, until yesterday, people to be uprooted, then to become victims of traffickers and in the end to be treated as “interlopers” in European countries.
– The majority of the problems that their countries face are western-made and EU plays a major role in these. Libya’s (not so) civil war Lethal attempt of USA for a regime change in Syria.
– “Breeding and nurturing” by the West of islamic extremists in order to destabilize so-called enemies during the last decades.
– The consequent empowerment of armed sectarians who turned into a threat even for their funders.
– The newfound (?) “exploitation” of ISIS as a threat requiring restrictions and intercepts and which attempts to generate fear and to boost xenophobia, racism and far right parties in Europe,
and last but not least:

 – The perpetual and never stopped crimes of evictions, settlements, imprisonments and inhuman treatment, to the limits of genocide, in Palestine.

A western person could and should imagine itself and its family threatened by all these dangers. And then, to put itself in the same conditions that all these younger or elder people, women, men and children face when they arrive into european countries.
Dignity is a human right and it is not limited into one’s home or country’s borders and of course not in religion, race or ethnicity.
The self-proclaimed advocates and the self-appointed “defenders” of human rights use double standards, depending on their political and dominating purposes. They invade lands to defend freedoms and they violate major rights inside these lands.

In the present situation, in which Europe does not heed labor force anymore, the victims of western wars address to the instigators of their problems for relief. And the West condemns them for a second time in misery, threats, loss of dignity, inhuman conditions or in the ever existing and present, marginalization – if they survive.

The next thing to wait is an augmenting demonization of migrants – beloved practice of western propaganda. They will all be considered as islamist terrorists and they will be placed in new Guantanamos.

In the name of “safety” of course.

What lies behind Greek debt and negotiations

tsipras-liou

A few days earlier, on May 27, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras called Jack Lew, US Treasury Secretary and asked him to mediate in favor of an agreement between Greece and the so-called institutions (EU, IMF, ECB) during G7 talks in Germany.
Mr Lew, according to Embassy of US in Athens: “Emphasized that the Treasury remains engaged with all parties involved – including Greece, its European partners, and the IMF – and continues to urge all parties to find common ground and reach an agreement quickly.  Secretary Lew reiterated that failure to agree on a path forward would create immediate hardship for Greece and broad uncertainties for Europe and the global economy.  Secretary Lew offered to remain in contact with the Prime Minister and other parties in Europe and the international financial institutions”.
According to Reuters, although Greece was not in the agenda its crisis has overshadowed G7 talks.

Here, it is necessary to quote: The Group of 7 (G7) is a group consisting of the finance ministers and central bank governors of seven major advanced economies as reported by the International Monetary Fund: Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States meeting to discuss primarily economic issues. The European Union is also represented within the G7. The G7 are the seven wealthiest major developed nations by national net wealth, representing more than 64% of the net global wealth ($263 trillion) according to the Credit Suisse Global Wealth Report October 2014. The IMF’s Managing Director usually participates. (Wikipedia)
G7 used to be G8 but Russia, the 8th member, has been excluded since 2014 and the whole gathering has become a gathering under the wing of US. G7 is in fact a group of capitalist countries with similar economic and political systems.
Furthermore, the epitome of capitalism, IMF, also participates.

In 2001, 200,000 demonstrators from several countries, protested during G8 summit in Genoa, Italy and “accused the police of brutality and denying them their right to non-violent protest. They believe that G8 summits are non-legitimate attempts by eight of the world’s most powerful governments to set the rules for the planet at large”.

Leading or following?

It is therefore worth wondering:
Why a politician of leftish ideology and probably politics, as soon as he will be allowed to govern his country, Mr Alexis Tsipras, thinks that a gathering of eminently neo-liberal officials would act in favour of Greece and not to the benefit of a bunch of conservative “institutions”?
Even more when their ultimate objective is austerity, wage reductions and dominance of the markets? 

Even if Prime Minister represents Greek public opinion according to polls, there is an inconsistency between on one side his election program, the communist ideas of his party and probably his own views and on the other side the negotiating moves he makes.
EU itself is a nest of neo-liberalism and all regulations, guidelines, directives and legislation do not leave space for any progressive government and administration.
Apart from the pressure of repayment of an unsustainable debt, the left Greek government will have to overcome the imposed by USA et al. conservative and restrictive guidelines (inside and outside the country) in order to apply progressive and left politics. Under present circumstances, it is understood that “conspiracy theories” about a deliberate destruction of Greece, seem to be confirmed.

Greece is not free anymore to import from, to export to, to connect and collaborate with, and to develop trade or other cooperation with any country without, at least EU’s, prior permission -with or without debt.
If a first visit in Moscow caused such a wave of reactions (TWTP article) it can be easily understood what would a broader collaboration with Russia or with Venezuela (for example) would ignite.
It is yet to see the impact of the Iranian foreign minister’s Javad Zarif visit in Athens on May 29th.
However, debt protects the “system” from “bold” exercise of sovereignty, something which is thought more possible by a left government.

Anything “left” causes abhorrence and fear to conservatives all around the world.
Europe has been the cradle of both dark ages but also of enlightenment.
EU, by following the imperialism dogma of USA and NATO has declined to a “follower” to say the least. If war is induced under the pretext of “union” (namely in Ukraine) it becomes obvious that it has deviated seriously.

It is ironic that Greek media present as “positive” any comment or statement of officials against Grexit or whatever similar.
It is common knowledge that no-one would like Greece to exit the euro zone – let alone EU and any capitalist group like G7.
Unless EU changes radically and be released from the chariot of USA, it will reproduce a modern yet conservative model which is incompatible with once progressive European traditions, ideas and cultures. Consequently, EU will become even more “toxic” for its member-states. 
Failing to distance itself, will also lead to its full inferiority which, among others, dictates agreements like TTIP or “demonization” of any sovereign country which is not subordinated to USA.

Then and now

Greece is presented as the weakest link but in fact it has escaped the “adjustment and compliance stage” of uniformity inside neo-liberalism.
Corruption is common among many countries more or less but in Greece it was formed by the “triangle” of Government officials-Big businesses plus media-Banks.
On the other hand, this same triangle led Greek people skillfully and systematically to a consuming delirium -top feature of capitalism- only to find themselves trapped a few years after the country entered the euro zone, in fact without the prerequisites.
An answer to why corruption as well as uncontrolled debt has been allowed within the bosom of EU, is the present situation.
Debt and loans is only a means to further restrain a country and terms about privatizations of crucial assets and state property is not investing but just a sample of extended dependency of the country. “They want to buy Greece cheap”, as is mentioned in the article of Steve Weissman What Europe and the IMF Are Doing to Greece: A First-Hand Look.

Greece possesses the undoubted advantage of its geopolitical position and historically, so far, this card has not been played to its own benefit by the majority of Greek politicians.
Even the…urge to join euro zone (and European Community earlier) brought benefit only to certain circles and not to the people.
After all, the whole idea of united European countries is based upon the profit of the few and not of the many who are sentenced to lack of reaction due to either exhaustion or to consent which is, as well known, manufactured by media and by propaganda.

Mr. Tsipras’ government has the chance not only to restore some breakdowns of the past but also to start a new age of politics and of an authentic union.
If he fails, many of European people’s dreams, aspirations, fights and movements will undergo a severe setback.
This is the ultimate purpose of conservatism and capitalism but it is not in favour of people’s interests -nowhere in the world.

FYROM: The next potential victim of western imperialism

FYROM_parliament_interior

The destabilization in one more country is being attempted in Former Yugoslavian Republic Of Macedonia (FYROM) by the West, namely USA. This time, the sine qua non local “liaison” is the leader of the opposition party Social Democratic Union of Macedonia (SDSM), Zoran Zaev.

According to international Media, this attempt is one more recognizable sign of the American and NATO imperialism and another brick in the wall of Cold War between USA and Russia (after Ukraine and Syria).

According to CIA’s World Factbook about FYROM: “A couple of major transshipment point for Southwest Asian heroin and hashish; minor transit point for South American cocaine destined for Europe; although not a financial center and most criminal activity is thought to be domestic, money laundering is a problem due to a mostly cash-based economy and weak enforcement. Since its independence in 1991, Macedonia has made progress in liberalizing its economy and improving its business environment, but has lagged the Balkan region in attracting foreign investment and corruption remains a significant problem”.

“Consolidation”, “need of reforms”, “democratization”, “freedoms”, “liberalization of economy” are the pretexts and eventually a change of government or of regime is attempted, and there are certain steps which follow and usually lead to destruction. These used methods seem so distinctive that they could barely miss the eye of even the most “innocent” observer although, according to an exhaustive analysis by Strategic Culture Foundation, this specific issue has a couple of hidden sides.

Apart from these, the pattern for toppling Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski (of christian democratic VMRO-Democratic Party for Macedonian National Unity) and a government change attempt strictly follows some main features, factors and principles which remain unchanged.

Let’s examine some of the facts:

I. FYROM has been declared as “potential candidate” member of EU back in 2003 – 12 years after country’s declaration of independence in 1991 and two years after the insurgency of the ethnic Albanian National Liberation Army (NLA) militant group in 2001.
Furthermore, in 21 – 22 June 2002 “at the Seville Conference, the European Council expressed the willingness of the EU to take over from NATO in fYR Macedonia”.

It is worth noticing here the existing objection of Greece against the use of the name of the Greek region Macedonia. In EU the country’s official name is FYROM, which is though not used in numerous other occasions such as media, social media or by the USA et al.
Greece has vetoed FYROM’s NATO accession in 2008, and has been hindering the start of its EU accession talks.

The report of EU Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament “Enlargement Strategy and Main Challenges 2010-2011” about FYROM, notes:
However, relations with Greece continued to be adversely affected by the unresolved name issue. The country is engaged in talks under the auspices of the UN on resolving it. Actions and statements which could negatively impact on good neighbourly relations should be avoided. The direct meetings at the highest political levels are positive steps, although this momentum has not yet led to concrete results. Maintaining good neighbourly relations, including a negotiated and mutually acceptable solution to the name issue, under the auspices of the UN, remains essential“.

The point here is (very) relevant to the economic crisis in Greece.
The meet of Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras with Russian president Vladimir Putin alarmed USA and the announcement of a possible cooperation for a gas pipeline, alarmed both USA and EU.
Greece has longed suffered under the fear of “threat from the East” (i.e. Turkey).
Although the relationships of the two have not and will not normalize as long and the Cyprus issue remains unsolved, it is possible that a destabilized FYROM could be used as an additional “threat from the North” and therefore, as a means of pressure on Greece for “compliance, conformity and obedience”.

II. Government is set under pressure by the “revelations” of scandals (Accusations for wiretapping by the government, Purchase of an expensive car by the Prime Minister). After the above said accusations two ministers and the head of the intelligence have resigned while government denies the allegations about tapping, reports BBC.
Alleged use of vicious methods and wealth owned by leaders have been used in almost every case of regimes or governments overthrows. They are a common instrument of propaganda in order to “touch” sensitivity of public opinion.

III. In case that politics and accusations do not succeed in toppling the government and in order to impose faction and destabilization, people are “motivated” through social media to protests which resemble to these which led to destabilization in Ukraine, in “Arab Spring” in North Africa but failed and turned into war in Syria.
Additional pressure is applied by internal discord between ethnic, political or other groups which is incited by the opposition (SDSM and Zaev). Specifically, SDSM appears to have orchestrated protests in Kumanovo in May 5 and 6.
The protests turned violent and resulted to the death of six policemen (eight according to other Media) after clashes with albanian ethic groups.
The groups are said to be “terrorists who crossed the border and entered the territory of the Republic of Macedonia on May 5th and 6th”. SDSM has planned a rally for May 17th.

For this purpose, SDSM already mobilized the membership with focus on collecting abusers and people with multiple file of offenders and former prisoners with series of crimes”, comments local Kurir. Earlier, opposition leader “in an interview with the show ‘360 stepeni’ which is aired on Alsat television again revealed state secret and said that he knew of the terrorist group, but did not report to law enforcement authorities. Zaev admitted that the SDSM had evidence of movement of criminal structures, shared with the former leader Branko Crvenkovski, SDSM recognizing that there is parallel security service”, reports Kurir.

The strategy here is to apply dual mechanisms of pressure that can engage in ‘friendly competition’ with one another in seeing which can overthrow the government first. The only reason that this concept is even considered and that the Color Revolution hasn’t totally fizzled out by this time is because it’s gained some support from dissatisfied youth groups who have been manipulated into joining the anti-government protests. With the Color Revolution kept alive by a collection of youth and their heavily publicized tweets and protests, and the Unconventional War dependent on terrorism, the regime change operations’ social foundations are extremely weak, yet they have the potential for massive expansion if the 17 May destabilization events can gather more adults and Albanians (either through enticement or provocation)”, notes Strategic Culture Foundation.

IV. Foreign diplomats, potiticians and governments, all of them US alliances, criticise the government. After the clashes, EU said it was “deeply concerned, which is worrying for country’s candidacy to become EU member.

The opposition leader “refused to participate at the reconciliation meeting between the four largest parties, which was reportedly scheduled to take place on May 14th”, reports Novinite and continues: “According to media reports, Zaev would accept a meeting with Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski only in the presence of international mediators and representatives of the international community. The opposition leader dismissed the possibility of Gruevski heading a broad coalition government. Zaev called for the establishment of an interim government, which should prepare Macedonia for the holding of free, fair and democratic elections. The SDSM leader ruled out the participation of the incumbent prime minister and other people involved in crimes in an interim cabinet”.

The intentions of Zaev become more and more obvious. He displays his contempt to Prime Minister and challenges his authority. At the same time he demands the presence of “mediators and representatives of international community” as if Gruevski weren’t the elected leader.
Thus, after constructing the background, he calls into question the sovereignty of the government and uses external sources to essentially support the toppling.

The country is thereby driven to extensive conflicts and doomed to destabilization or:

V. If needed, in the next stage the methods of propaganda, public discontent and protests are degenerated to violence with the use of militant groups supported and armed by the US as is the case of Ukraine and as has already happened in FYROM.

Meanwhile, after clashes with police, “Russia accused Western organisers on Saturday (May 16) of trying to foment a colour revolution in the troubled former Yugoslav republic of Macedonia, where political tensions are building ahead of an opposition rally on Sunday” and “the EU and NATO have called for a transparent investigation into last week’s killings”, reports Reuters.

The reaction of Russia could be taken for granted and as mentioned above, one more front opens in order to further demonize the country of Putin and to further implicate EU in case that Angela Merkel’s visit to Moscow on May 10th, a day after Moscow’s vast military parade in honor of the 70th anniversary of the defeat of Nazi Germany, would be translated as sign of reconciliation.

Conservative government of Skopje will have to resist pressure and fraudulent practices and any change has to be peacefully conducted by people and not from Western interests. 
The most important challenge though is to avoid internally and externally “submitted” violence and conflicts.

 

ISDS: The Big Bad Wolf of the Trade and Investment Agreements

Hayden Morris ISDS Cartoon
Hayden Morris ISDS Cartoon

 

Also published in: Reader Supported News/Writing for Godot

Protests

Several separate and seemingly different forms of public protests and debates are “running” these days. One of them is an international call from Avaaz to sign a petition for a just rule of arbitration on the known in Spanish as Caso Philip Morris Contra Uruguay, which started about five years ago. In this case, the big tobacco company sues Uruguay for having legislated anti-smoking laws.
As it is the practice and after the July 2013 decision of the tribunal that it has jurisdiction to examine the case, the “complaint” of Philip Morris will be dealt and settled by the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) a member of World Bank Group.
The company claims a compensation of $25 million for the anti-smoking campaign of Uruguay with photos on the cigarette packages. More that one million people have signed the petition until today.
In this case, the country has to defend its attempt to safeguard public health by passing anti-smoking laws and applying practices used all over the world.

Another wave of protests is taking place this week, 20-24 April with marches and events in Europe, Canada, USA and elsewhere. More than 20,000 participated in the recent marches and about 1.8 million have signed the internet declaration “STOP TTIP and CETA”.
Protests are against the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) between EU and USA, the Canada-EU Trade Agreement (CETA), and the Trade in Services Agreement (TISA) a trade agreement currently being negotiated by 24 members of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), including the EU, three infamous pending agreements.
All of the agreements aim to “liberalise trade” either of goods or of services. The talks for TTIP have started (formally) in 2013 and remained secret even for the members of the European Parliament. Only after leaks of information which demonstrated the dangers for several sectors, MEPs and the public demanded transparency.
The same secrecy applies to EU-Canada negotiations. All of their terms are promoted as beneficial but Ulrike Hermann in “Free Trade Project of the Powerful” notes in the conclusion about TTIP: “The Canadian lawyer Howard Mann, who has dealt with investor protection agreements for more than 15 years”, assessed that, “this agreement [CETA] was the most ‘investor-friendly’ contract the Canadian government had ever negotiated”.
TTIP is a high target for USA and both the government and the lobbies have demonstrated their deep interest in many.
The dominance of the multinational companies, the privatization of public and social services and their fall to corporate giants are inevitable components of the agreement while the demonstrated benefits (for the people of both parts) are strongly challenged.

Anything but transparent negotiations and terms

Since 2013, a number of EU laws have changed, fragmentary though methodically, in an attempt to ensure “conformity” to the terms and conditions of TTIP which according to studies and publications threaten (in both sides): Democracy itself, Food Safety, Jobs, Environment, Public Services and Personal Privacy. TTIP also includes provision for Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS), which is the tribunal mechanism involved in the Uruguay Case.
USA has insisted on including the clause in the agreement but according to information of January, the EU won’t decide whether to include it in the TTIP until the “final phase of the negotiations” with the US.

A major contribution to the public alert both in EU and USA about the agreements have offered the releases by the Wikileaks of a series of classified documents revealing terms and chapters of the other (also disputed) agreement, the TPP.
This “regional regulatory and investment treaty” which is top priority for Barack Obama, involves USA and 11 more countries, all of which control the 40% of the world’s economy -i.e. Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam.
The talks started in 2005 and have long passed their initial time-limit of 2012, as a wave of movements, activists and professional groups have questioned the clauses -especially after the documents publications by Wilileaks-, but also because of the discrepancies of interests between the countries.

The involving parts (the US overarching) claim that the results would be in favour of their countries and for the middle classes in particular, as President Obama stressed facing the criticism even from democrats, about the fast-track procedures on TPP.
Elizabeth Warren, the democratic senator -who is encouraged and supported by Media to run for the nomination for president- has initiated the internet campaign “No vote (by the Congress) on fast-tracking trade until the TPP agreement is public”. She also denounces the secrecy which has kept people out of “locked doors” about the information for TPP.

It is obvious that secrecy is a common factor of all negotiations on the so-called “free trade” agreements and the debate procedures that European Commission opened, function more than a propaganda channel rather than a voice of people.
After keeping the public in ignorance and mediocrity, the long time negotiations from their part, serve the gradual strategy, both strategies of manipulating the population according to Noam Chomsky.

It is also a common knowledge that corporate rules in USA; USA seeks the final signs of TTIP and TPP;  the corporate seeks the agreements which means that their profits from them are evident.
Furthermore, corporate profits and interests are by definition and proven, against people’s benefits.

ISDS: Corporate Vs Countries

So, apart from terms concerning foods, environment or public services, which is the extra danger deriving from the ISDS term?

When a company invests and operates inside a country, it must comply with state laws. In case of changes of laws, citizens as well as companies have to conform. That is the norm but not under signed agreements which include ISDS term.
Under ISDS, if the investors, usually trans-national corporations, find that the new legislation affects their interests they have the right to demand compensations. “They are able to bring claims for damages against the host country even if they have no contract with its government”, as described by John Hilary, in “TTIP: Charter for Deregulation, an Attack on Jobs, an End to Democracy”.
Any dispute is resolved by the arbitration tribunals.

No matter what the beneficial act for the country and its people is, the supportive system of arbitration, almost by default decides in favour of the investor a practice that lead them to lose any credibility, according to an older (no longer available) Public Statement On The International Investment Regime, supported by academics with expertise on investment law, arbitration, and regulation.

A few examples out of 500 known cases against 95 countries follow:

  • The Swedish energy company Vattenfall is suing the German government for € 3.7 billion over the country’s decision to phase out nuclear power […] Vattenfall has already been successful in a previous challenge to the city of Hamburg’s environment regulations […]
  • …Under NAFTA rules, Canada was forced to revoke its ban on the fuel additive MMT under a challenge from US Company Ethyl. In a later case over water and timber rights, Canada had to pay out $122 million to the Canadian paper company AbitibiBowater. It is worth noticing here that some domestic companies “reinvent themselves as ‘foreign’ investors in order to take advantage of ISDS privileges and sue their government” according to Gus Van Harten’s, Investment Treaty Arbitration and Public Law, as cited by Hilary.
  • US tobacco giant Philip Morris, apart from Uruguay, is also suing the Australian government for billions of dollars over its public health policy that all cigarettes must now be sold in plain packaging.
  • Until 2011, 27 claims were pending against Argentina at the ICSID, accounting for more than 1/5th of that institution’s pending case-load. All but 1 of these 27 cases involve claims relating, at least in part, to Argentina’s response to its earlier financial crisis. In short, Argentina was sued to pay hundreds of millions of dollars for the measures it took against its financial crisis.
  • Another South American country, Ecuador, has been ordered to pay to Occidental Petroleum $ 1.77 billion in damages for terminating the contract when the company broke the law (ICSID’s the largest award in history). On the other hand, a separate tribunal dismissed the claim for $19 billion in damages by Ecuador against Chevron for the contamination of the Amazonian rainforest, although there is evidence of the pollution which cost lives.

It becomes clear that arbitration tribunals are a kind of defenders and guardians of the interests of investors.

Together with enforced legislation about GMOs and other food processes applied by big companies in USA, fossil fuels and energy, privatizations -especially of health services- or personal privacy attacks by the copyright, patents and trademarks clauses, all under the agreements, the arbitration provision has more than one level of risks.

The TPP targets to completely uniform legislations of trade and services in countries around the Pacific, many of which are near China while TTIP, CETA and TISA involve European countries, all of which are near Russia.

Within the EU, where the countries of the south suffer the consequences of economic destabilization caused largely by the very core of the Euro zone, it could be a matter of (short) time to become colonies of big corporations and multinationals.

Or, as Noam Chomsky put it: “Every Word in the Phrase ‘Free Trade Agreement’ Is False”.

Relative articles:
The Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Death of the Republic – The Web of Debt Blog

Updated April 27 2015