The United States and its European allies – the old imperialists and the new – tell their countries’ populations that Iran is isolated in the world, and will have to get rid of its nuclear energy infrastructure in order to be allowed back into what they call “the community of nations.” Among the power groupies that call themselves journalists in the West, Iran is routinely referred to as a “pariah” nation, lurking at the very edge of civilization and sanity. The United States, by this reasoning, is showing great wisdom and forbearance, for not having already unleashed its carrier task forces, Marine divisions, Special Forces commandos, and swarms of drones on the crazed Iranians. Instead, the U.S., in it infinite goodness, enforces a strangling economic and oil embargo, to make the Iranian nation scream.
The Iranians are lucky, Americans and Europeans are told, that the U.S. holds back its friends in Israel, who are eager to give the ayatollah’s in Tehran a lesson in how to behave. But, whatever happens at the end of this game to force Iran to give up its lawful right to own and operate the full industrial cycle of nuclear power, western audiences are assured that the “international community” will approve. After all, Iran is a global outcast. CNN and the New York Times tell us so every day.
Last week, the 120 nations of the Nonaligned Movement voted unanimously and without qualification in support of Iran’s right to produce nuclear energy, and to enrich their own uranium in the process. The Nonaligned Movement makes up about two-thirds of all the nations of the world. As a solid block of humanity, they rejected the dictates of Washington and London and Paris – the imperial powers that for centuries enslaved most of the planet – endorsing the fundamental principle that Iran has the same sovereign rights as any other nation.
Who, then, is isolated in the world – Iran, whose position is backed by two-thirds of the world’s countries, or the U.S. and Europe?
Clearly, the Americans and Europeans still believe that the only world opinion that counts, is the white world. The arrogance of the colonizer and imperialist is infinite, but their power is not – not any longer. The Nonaligned Movement vote is a global referendum, not on Iran’s lawful pursuit of its internal development policies, but on U.S. imperial bullying and criminality. Because, if Iran is within its rights, then the U.S. and the European Union are in the wrong in waging economic war, and threatening military assault, against Iran. Someone is committing a crime, and its not Iran. Two-thirds of the world says so.
The vote is all the more remarkable because the Americans and Europeans, and even the Israelis, exercise great influence over the affairs of much of what used to be called the Third World. Yet still, the former colonies and subjugated nations of the Nonaligned Movement voted unanimously, and on principle, rather than kowtow to power.
There is a lesson here. The Empire remains militarily strong and capable of great crimes. But it has lost much of its powers of coercion – without which, Empire must ultimately cease to exist.
Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com.
Most people don’t want to be a perceived as party-poopers – which is why the principled folks that have protested the evil antics of the corporate, imperial parties, in Tampa and Charlotte, are so much to be admired. Frankly, who wants to be the one to point out, in the middle of the festivities, that Michelle Obama was just a Chicago Daley machine hack lawyer who was rewarded with a quarter million dollar a year job of neutralizing community complaints against the omnivorous University of Chicago Hospitals? She resigned from her $50,000 seat on the board of directors of Tree-House Foods, a major Wal-Mart supplier, early in her husband’s presidential campaign. But, once in the White House, the First Lady quickly returned to flaking for Wal-Mart, praising the anti-union “death star” behemoth’s inner city groceries offensive as part of her White House healthy foods booster duties.
She also serves on the board of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, the corporate foreign policy outfit to which her husband dutifully reported, each year, in his pucker-up to the presidency. The Obama’s are a global capital-loving couple, two cynical lawyers on hire to the wealthiest and the ghastliest. They are no nicer or nastier than the Romneys and the Ryans, although the man of the house bombs babies and keeps a kill list. Yet, former “green jobs” czar Van Jones, a convention night chatterer on CNN who was fired by Obama for no good reason, chokes up when he speaks of the Black family that fronts for America – a huge act of national camouflage.
It is as useless to anchor a serious political discussion to this year’s Democratic and Republican convention speeches, as to plan the liberation of humanity during Mardi Gras. Truth is no more welcome at the former than sobriety is at the latter. So, forget the conventions and their multi-layered lies. Here are a few highlights of what Barack Obama has inflicted on the nation and the world:
George Bush could not have pulled off such an evisceration of the Bill of Rights, if only because the Democrats and an aroused street would not have allowed it. Bush knew better than to mount a full-court legislative assault on habeas corpus, and instead simply asserted that preventive detention is inherent in the powers of the presidency during times of war. It was left to Obama to pass actual legislation nullifying domestic rule of law – with no serious Democratic opposition.
Obama “led from behind” a 7-month Euro-American air and proxy ground war against the sovereign nation of Libya, culminating in the murder, after many attempts, of the nation’s leader. The president informed Congress that the military operation was not subject to the War Powers Act, because it had not been a “war” at all, since no Americans were known to have been killed. The doctrine was thus established – again, with little Democratic opposition – that wars are defined by the extent of U.S. casualties, no matter how many thousands of foreigners are slaughtered.
War Without Borders
Obama’s drone war policies, greatly expanded from that inherited from Bush, have vastly undermined accepted standards of international law. This president reserves the right to strike against non-state targets anywhere in the world, with whatever technical means at his disposal, without regard to the imminence of threat to the United States. The doctrine constitutes an ongoing war against peace – the highest of all crimes, now an everyday practice of the U.S.
The Merger of Banks and State
The Obama administration, with the Federal Reserve functioning as a component of the executive branch, has funneled at least $16 trillion to domestic and international banking institutions, much of it through a virtually “free money” policy that could well become permanent. This ongoing “rescue” of finance capital is unprecedented in sheer scope and in the blurring of lines between Wall Street and the State. The routine transfer of multi-billions in securities and debts and assets of all kinds between the U.S. Treasury, the Federal Reserve and corporate accounts, has created de facto structures of governance that may be described as institutional forms of fascism.
These are world-shaking works of Obama-ism. Even Obama’s “lesser” crimes are astounding: his early calls for austerity and entitlement-axing (two weeks before his inauguration) and determined pursuit of a Grand Accommodation with the GOP (a $4 trillion deal that the Republicans rejected, in the summer of 2011) reveal a politician intent on ushering in a smoother, more rational corporate hegemony over a thoroughly pacified civil society. Part and parcel of that pacification is the de-professionalization of teaching – an ambition far beyond de-unionization.
Of course, Obama begins with the delegitimization of Black struggle, as in his 2004 Democratic Convention speech (”…there is no Black America…only the United States of America.”) To the extent that the nation’s most progressive, anti-war constituency can be neutralized, all of Obama’s corporate and military goals become more doable. The key to understanding America has always been race. With Obama, the corporate rulers have found the key that fits their needs at a time of (terminal) crisis. He is the more effective evil.
Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com.
The British High Court has chosen to support the government rather than justice seekers by blocking calls for an official inquiry into British troops’ carnage of 24 Malaysian plantation workers in December 1948.
Relatives of the victims who wanted to challenge the government’s decision not to conduct an investigation into the massacre at Batang Kali said the killings are a “blot on British colonization and decolonization” and blasted the court for failing to order an inquiry despite presence of adequate evidence to justify one.
Judge Sir John Thomas said he sees “no grounds” for “disturbing” the decision by Foreign Secretary William Hague and Defense Secretary Philip Hammond to oppose the relatives’ demand for an inquiry.
The killings happened during the Anti-British National Liberation War led by Malayan fighters against British colonizers that killed 2,478 civilians.
“We are appealing. As long as the injustice remains, the families will be pursuing legal action,” said solicitor John Halford, who represents the victims’ relatives.
- Malaysians lose High Court battle over 1948 ‘massacre’ (morningstaronline.co.uk)
The impoverishment of politics in the Age of Obama has been nothing short of amazing. This president has so suppressed every vestigial remnant of progressivism in the political discourse, that the most fundamental bread and butter issues have become taboo. I’m talking about raising the federal minimum wage, which has been stuck at $7.25 an hour since 2007, the year before the bottom fell out of the economy.
A new study shows that the Great Recession was most destructive of decent-paying jobs, the middle tier where working people earned between about $14 and $21 an hour. That’s where sixty percent of job losses occurred between 2008 and 2010, and most of those jobs have not come back. Instead, the greatest increase in jobs has come in the low-wage sector, with a median pay from $7.69 – just above the federal minimum – to $13.83 an hour. The lowest wage sector now accounts for almost 60 percent of job growth, with traditionally bad-paying jobs in food preparation and retail sales leading the way.
High unemployment, on top of the disappearance of living wage jobs. You would think that in an election year, the party that is most identified with working people and folks that need to find work would be screaming at the top of their lungs: Raise the minimum wage! But, you will hear little or nothing of that from the Democratic convention festivities in Charlotte.
It’s not that the delegates are unaware of the crying need for a higher minimum wage. The Democratic platform – for what its worth – declares that “we will raise the minimum wage, and index it to inflation.” However, it doesn’t say how much, or when. And that’s in deference to the party’s standard bearer, who has not said anything meaningful about the minimum wage since he was campaigning for president in 2008. Back then, Obama promised to work to raise the minimum to $9.50 by 2011. Then he got elected, and we heard nothing more about it.
When the president is mum on an issue, then the party faithful put themselves on mute. There are bills in the House and the Senate to raise the minimum wage – the best one is sponsored by Chicago Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr., calling for an immediate $10 an hour minimum, tied to inflation. But, there’s no chance of these bills going anywhere without the cooperation of Democratic leadership. Ralph Nader and others have beseeched party leaders to break the silence, but they don’t dare raise the issue for fear of embarrassing their President.
Apologists for Obama will claim that pushing for a $10 minimum wage indexed to inflation – or any significant raise – would hurt his chances for re-election. But the poll numbers show differently, with huge public support for an increase, including among lots of Republicans. Even Mitt Romney says he supports linking the minimum wage to inflation – just not right now. Obama has effectively been saying “no, not now” to underpaid workers for almost four years. So, why in the hell is labor getting ready to spend tens of millions of dollars to re-elect him, instead of building a movement that will force politicians to do the right thing?
BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com.
- A Bold New Labor Call for a ‘Maximum Wage’ (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- STUDY: Raising The Minimum Wage Especially Benefits Women (thinkprogress.org)
Rad Khamis checkpoint
Silwan, Jerusalem – The Israeli Ministry of Defence has announced its plans to seal off one of two checkpoints through which the 65,000 Palestinian residents of Shuafat refugee camp can pass to enter Jerusalem. The extension of the Separation Wall and closing of the Ras Khamis checkpoint will occur in contravention to a 2008 High Court of Justice ruling that stated Shuafat Camp requires a total of eight pedestrian and four vehicle crossings before the checkpoint could be closed. The decision will affect not only Shuafat itself but three other villages crowded into the camp: Ras Shehada, Dahiyat al-Salaam and Ras Khamis.
Twenty surveillance cameras were removed from the Ras Khamis border on Sunday, 26 August in preparation for its closing, which is expected to take place next Tuesday. The Separation Wall will then be extended to encircle the new border of Shuafat. The construction of the Wall is expected to further carve up the area, forcing locals to drive and walk through narrow streets, causing traffic congestion and impacting on trade.
- Israel to close Jerusalem crossing (windowintopalestine.blogspot.com)
- Israeli settlers move into Silwan home (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Israel wall used for segregation, not just security (altahrir.wordpress.com)
- Army To Demolish Homes In Silwan (imemc.org)
- 100 Year Old Silwan Building Destroyed by Israel (occupiedpalestine.wordpress.com)
‘In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man. Support Israel Defeat Jihad.’ — (Pamela Geller, San Francisco ad campaign)
The California Assembly’s resolution passed on August 23, 2012, HR 35, purports to condemn “anti-Semitism” in public post-secondary institutions of higher learning by denying expression of opinions or statements that might be construed as expressing hatred of the Jewish people or critical of the state of Israel. Pamela Geller’s ad campaign quoted above, and placed in public vehicles in the city of San Francisco, expresses an opinion that demeans a group of people who are unquestionably Semitic by blood and language, yet would not be protected by the Assembly resolution since the term as defined is based upon the European Union’s definition that is exclusive, protecting Jews only.
The ad has created considerable reaction; a parallel poster expresses the same statement with a change of wording: “in any war between the colonizer and the colonized, support the oppressed, support the Palestinian right of return.” In short, Geller’s ad campaign began a dialogue that has illumined quite opposing perspectives: what is the meaning of civilized man on the one hand and what is the meaning of colonized on the other. Perhaps out of this dialogue understanding will arise. Freedom of expression triumphs.
Unfortunately, the Assembly sought a different end, an end that would stifle discussion and oppose open expression that allowed for understanding and research that would be critical of one side. Two actions were sought by the passage: the Assembly “unequivocally condemns all forms of intolerance, including anti-Semitism, on public postsecondary educational institution campuses in California, and, “calls upon …(officials) of those institutions to increase their efforts to swiftly and unequivocally condemn acts of anti-Semitism on their campuses and to utilize existing resources, such as the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights’ working definition of anti-Semitism, to help guide program discussion about, and promote, as appropriate, educational programs for combating anti-Semitism on their campuses.”
Condemning all forms of intolerance on the campuses of public postsecondary educational institutions in California would appear to be a desirable goal, and with the additional reference—“including anti-Semitism”—a furtherance of explicitness to guide deliberations, but only helpful if that term can be defined specifically and concretely to achieve meaningful discussion.
However, the context for this “working definition” comes from the EU where freedom of speech is not free if it can be alleged to be “hate speech.” This is the working definition:
“Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.” (Summary overview of Antisemitism in the European Union (Dec 2006), Anti-Semitism Reference Center, Zionism on the Web).
Geller’s ad could not be considered “hatred toward Jews” and hence safe from condemnation by the EU definition the university officials would use to “guide program discussion…”; however, it certainly could be considered “hatred of Palestinians” expressed through her use of “savage” people. The irony here of course is obvious since it is the Palestinian people who are Semites and who suffer the consequences of occupation. The victim becomes the offender.
I bring attention to this control of thought not because I condemn Geller’s uncivilized advertisement; on the contrary, I support her right to express her views. By openly advertising her hatred of the Palestinians, Geller reveals for all how civilized she is, supporting as she does the actions of a state that has been condemned year upon year for 63 years by the overwhelming majority of nation states in the community of nations, the United Nations, as denying the rights of the true owners of the land of Palestine as proposed in UNGA Resolution 181. In short she supports, and wants the people of San Francisco to support, a state that defies international opinion and International Law. Impunity for crimes comes with control of minds, and hence control of the U.S. Congress, of communications and of rights of freedom of speech by voting denial of the very free expression she so brazenly demands. But that in her mind is civilized behavior.
The action by the Assembly is of interest to me because I have edited a volume, The Plight of the Palestinians: a Long History of Destruction, published by Palgrave Macmillan world-wide publishers of academic texts; the volume carried the title when first presented to Macmillan, As the World Watches: Genocide in Palestine. Macmillan did not favor that direct statement.
On the other hand, the promotional blurb on the back of the book states: The Plight of the Palestinians: A Long History of Destruction is a collection of voices from around the world that establishes in both theoretical and graphic terms the slow, methodical genocide taking place in Palestine beginning in the 1940s, as revealed in the Introduction. From Dr. Francis A. Boyle’s detailed legal case against the state of Israel to Uri Avnery’s “Slow Motion Ethnic Cleansing,” Richard Falk’s “Slouching toward a Palestinian Holocaust,” and Ilan Pappe’s “Genocide in Gaza,” these voices decry in startling, vivid and forceful language the calculated atrocities taking place, the inhumane conditions inflicted on the people, and the silence that exists despite the crimes—nothing short of state sponsored genocide against the Palestinians.”
The entire content of this book, the very concept imbedded in it, that genocide is taking place in Palestine in the first decade of this new century, is condemnable under the Assembly resolution. Over twenty writers from Israel, Palestine, Australia, the Netherlands, London, Canada, America, and the UN would be condemned for contributing to such a text. The Resolution in effect denies freedom of expression to those who critique the state of Israel for actions that defy International Law. The only law that pertains to Israel is Israeli Law and control of International Law by U.S. veto power of UN resolutions that would bring Israel before the UNCHR and/or the International court of Justice.
Years ago, I prepared a paper for an international conference held at Oxford University titled “Blinded by Belief,” the application and abuse of religious and political mythologies in current political policy in the West, most damningly in Britain, Canada, Israel and the United States. The paper forced me as a researcher to search out conditions that prevailed in Mandate Palestine when Britain had international authority to govern the strip of land we call Palestine. That authority was relinquished on May 15th, 1948. Of particular interest was the period from November 1947 when the UNGA proposed the partition of Palestine to May 15 when Britain left Palestine. During that period, the terrorism undertaken by the Zionists against the British authorities from 1939 to November became even more brutal than it had before, since the Jewish Agency and its affiliate organizations, the Irgun, Stern and Hagana armed groups (armies) saw the mandate Police and Soldiers as lame ducks incapable of stopping the Zionists from aggressively taking by force the whole of Palestine regardless of the UNGA Partition Plan. The details and evidence to establish these points is presented in the Introduction to The Plight of the Palestinians.
A review of this period, the silence about the British Mandate Period even in Britain, and almost until this day, has been deafening. Why? No reasoned individual who knows the extent of the savagery committed by the Zionists against the Brits and the Arabs in Palestine could call their behavior “civilized” and seek support from the American people for their civilized behavior. What civilized people could secretly break a peace agreement with the people of Deir Yassin, a small village between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, surround the village, attack them in their homes, rape the women and massacre virtually the whole population with the exception of about a 100, shackle them in trucks and parade them through Jerusalem to demonstrate how fierce the Jewish fighters could be to put fear in the hearts of the Palestinians, and then drive them back and kill them. Is civilized behavior the determination to plan the destruction and theft of the towns and villages of the Palestinians, that had been portioned for them by the UN, before the stated date for that partition plan would take effect? Does civilized behavior include the many massacres committed by these Zionist armies, including torture and rape, as reported by the Israeli historian Benny Morris? Does kidnapping British soldiers, hanging their bodies from trees and booby trapping those bodies to mock their comrades who came to rescue them for burial while they laughed to see even more Mandate soldiers assassinated. Is civilized behavior the deception of false flag operations like that which blew apart the King David Hotel as Zionists dressed as Arabs entered the basement with milk containers filled with explosives? Richard C. Catling dove beneath the admission’s desk when the bombs went off and lived to testify about the rapes that took place in Deir Yassin.
Richard C. Catling, Deputy Head of the Criminal Investigation Division of the Jerusalem Mandate Police, kept a “Top Secret” file in the archives of the Oxford Rhodes House Library, filled with close to 500 pages of evidence that conclusively demonstrated the savagery of the Zionist powers that clandestinely controlled the Israeli immigrants entering Palestine. Two reports illustrate the terrorism inflicted by these people against their hosts, the British government that made possible the eventual “home” of the Jewish people. I have presented that evidence in numerous articles and the Introduction to The Plight of the Palestinians. Is it important that the truth hidden away these many years be brought into the discussions that should and must be presented before the students of California’s public institutions if they and the politicians that govern this state and this nation are to govern with justice for all?
There is something sacred about freedom of speech; it is the secular equivalent of “Let there be Light.” Chris Hedges opened a book review years ago, a review of two books about the Vietnam War, with the words “The vanquished know war. They see through the empty jingoism of those senseless killing, war profiteering, and chest-pounding grief. They know the lies the victors often do not acknowledge, the lies covered up in stately war memorials and mythic war narratives, filled with stories of courage and comradeship. They know the lies that permeate the thick, self-important memoirs by amoral statesmen who make wars but do not know war. The vanquished know the essence of war—death. They grasp that war is necrophilia. They see that war is a state of almost pure sin with its goals of hatred and destruction.”
The Zionists knew during the Mandate Period how to abuse the glory of words: to make massacres actions of their enemy, to hide every atrocity they committed under the rubric of self-defense, to turn patriotism into a word responsive only to their cause, to hide the deafening cries of women and children in utter silence, to erase memories from the living by burying towns and villages beneath mounds of earth, to confiscate deeds and birth certificates, to bulldoze mosques and schools, to literally wipe people from existence even as they walked the earth. They wrote the history; they controlled, yea they created, the mythologies of Exodus that have become the truth of Palestine, and they became the victims surrounded by millions who wanted to destroy them to steal the land they were given by their G-d regardless of the passage of centuries and millennia and the existence now of International Law governed by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Conventions that determine Justice and War.
In time a researcher realizes that the subject of his quest contains a narrative of its own. In my years studying Nathaniel Hawthorne’s work, Hawthorne himself emerges as the narrator, a mind seeking understanding of his time and place even when he writes of Padua or Rome. As an American, he lives in constant sensitivity that the equality so eloquently expressed in the nation’s Declaration of Independence and its Bill of Rights is a fantasy since one fifth of its people are enslaved, women have virtually no rights despite their nature that demands expression as Hester conveys in The Scarlet Letter, and another people who wander the American landscape, an incalculable number, ethnically isolated on reservations that shrink as more land theft is confiscated by his government, a government that he has served as Custom House Officer and Consul. Always in quest, he seeks more and more the substance of this existence.
In March of 1862, Hawthorne, along with the Atlantic Monthly publisher, William Ticknor, headed to Washington to see the nation at war firsthand. Perhaps it was this last attempt to comprehend the contradictions present in this new nation that brought him to express through the voice of old Doctor Grim, a man roughly the age of Hawthorne as he penned Doctor Grimshawe’s Secret, these caustic and cynical words that capture the essence of human darkness, aloneness and ultimate meaninglessness:
“Whence did you come?” the good doctor says to his young ward, Ned, “Whence did any of us come? Out of the darkness and mystery; out of nothingness; out of a kingdom of shadows; out of dust, clay, mud, I think, and to return to it again. Out of a former state of being, whence we have brought a good many shadowy revelations, purporting that it was no very pleasant one. Out of a former life, of which the present one is the hell!–And why are you come? Faith, Ned, he must be a wiser man than Doctor Grim who can tell why you or any other mortal came hither; only one thing I am well aware of,–it was not to be happy. To toil and moil and hope and fear; and to love in a shadowy, doubtful sort of way, and to hate in bitter earnest,–that is what you came for!”
I think of this perspective when I search through the “Top Secret” files of Sir Richard C. Catling, a man of simple background, son of a small town butcher in England, who became Deputy Head of the CID for Britain as the Zionists went to war, their words, against the British Government that had promised them a home within the limitations of their authority to both the natives of Palestine and the immigrants arriving at its shores. He lived to witness the Zionists become terrorists as early as 1941 when, as Harold MacMichael, High Commissioner in Mandate Palestine, wrote “A second matter which deeply impressed me is the almost Nazi control exercised by the official Jewish organization over the Jewish community…” The evidence in Catling’s file attests to the reality of that observation.
These men and their soldiers and police were forced to survive as the Zionist controlled armies destroyed eventually 418 towns and villages belonging to the indigenous people, killed thousands and drove out of their land close to 800,000, the sons and daughters of whom live in refugee camps in sundry mid-east countries. These were the soldiers who became the lost soldiers of Britain, forgotten men whose diligence and endurance and patriotism have yet to be recognized by the British government. Why should research of this nature, which tells a different story than our controlled media has presented, not receive the exposure it should so the citizens of the United States and the students at California’s public institutions can determine for themselves what is true and what is not.
Without freedom of speech, truth will never be told. Let people open their minds and their souls to the light of human judgment, and as Jesus noted, few will step forward to throw the first stone because they are pure in spirit. The Gellers of this world will step forward to expose themselves as vulgar, as barbaric, as heedless of their fellows because they care for none but themselves– heartless, soulless, lacking “human sympathy” which alone can bring peace into this world.
- William A. Cook is a Professor of English at the University of La Verne in southern California. His most recent book is Decade of Deceit, 2002-2012: Reflections on Palestine, published in June by Lambert Academic Publishing of Germany. Contact him at: email@example.com.
Relief for Piñera
Chile’s Congress approved on Tuesday major changes in tax laws aimed to provide funds for an overhaul of the nation’s protest-hit schools, handing unpopular President Sebastian Piñera a welcome victory a month from municipal elections.
The approval comes ahead of municipal elections in October The approval comes ahead of municipal elections in October
The tax overhaul driven by Piñera’s conservative coalition will increase state revenue by some 1 billion dollars per year – about 0.4% of GDP in the world’s biggest copper producer.
Businesses in Chile will face a higher tax rate of 20% and fewer loopholes to evade them, though the tax rate remains well below Latin America’s average rate of 25.06% in 2011, according to accountancy firm KPMG.
Hefty tax cuts planned for the wealthiest were removed from the bill after months of jostling in Congress. Tax rates for lower income earners drop on a sliding scale.
Billionaire Piñera, rated the most unpopular leader since the return of democracy in 1990, unveiled the proposed reform in April in response to massive student-led protests demanding free education and greater equality.
While Chile has long been held up as an economic model in Latin America, it was rated the most unequal country of the 34-member-state Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, or OECD.
The reform is not expected to calm student protests for free and improved education.
The approval of the tax lands right before local elections on Oct. 28, which will give an indication of how the right and the left – both struggling with low approval ratings – could fare in the 2013 presidential race.
The reform could give his conservative bloc a small boost in next year’s presidential election, when leftist former President Michelle Bachelet is widely expected to try to stage a comeback.
“This is undoubtedly going to help the right more than Michelle Bachelet,” said Ricardo Israel, professor of law and political science at the Universidad Autonoma de Chile. “The right is taking away a flagship part of Michelle Bachelet’s campaign … she’s going to have to move even more to the left.”
- Chilean police attack free education protesters (morningstaronline.co.uk)
- Chile student protesters occupy high schools (guardian.co.uk)
- Chile, the country Pinochet terrorised, is no longer afraid | Richard Seymour (oddonion.com)
On 28 August 2012 the New Zealand-based Scoop Independent News published the following Apology For Fake Press Release Published In Error:
“Earlier today Scoop received a fake press release purporting to be from a number of groups and people regarding a boycott of certain goods from the Middle East. The hoax press release was completely untrue, the events did not take place, and the statements attributed to the people named were never made by them. It was published in error in the politics wire and removed immediately the fake was spotted. Those named in the deleted press release had no knowledge or involvement in the fake press release and we apologise for any offence or embarrassment The mistake is regretted and Scoop apologises for the error.”
The fake press release was entitled New Zealanders for Boycotting Arab and Iranian Goods and identified itself further as News Release No. NR – 5,671 For Immediate distribution. The article libelled Scoop Independent News, Scoop’s journalist/activist, Julie Webb-Pullman as well as Leslie Bravery, compiler of the daily newsletter, In Occupied Palestine. Also defamed were Global Peace and Justice Auckland and the Palestine Human Rights Campaign.
The badly written, semi-literate so-called press release mentioned other organisations which do not exist. The Zionist fantasy claimed that there is an organisation called New Zealanders for Boycotting Arab and Iranian Goods (NEZBAIG), which was also a lie.
We, the defamed people and organisations named above appeal to all who value truth and justice to publicise the truth and expose the lies.
At least five people have been killed in a fresh US assassination drone attack in the eastern Yemeni province of Hadramawt, a security official says.
Three others were also wounded after a US drone fired two missiles at a house in the village of al-Ain on Wednesday.
The house was completely flattened in the air strike. It was the third US drone attack in Hadramawt Province in the past two weeks.
The latest attack comes a day after Yemeni President Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi ordered a probe into a recent US assassination drone strike in the central city of Radaa that killed more than a dozen civilians.
On September 2 at least 13 civilians, including two women and a child, were killed and three others injured in the US drone attack in Radaa, just days after similar attacks claimed the lives of dozens of Yemenis in the south and east of the country.
Shortly after the attack Radaa residents blocked main roads in the city to protest the deadly strike attack and demanded an end to US drone attacks.
Washington has been using its assassination drones in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen and Somalia and claims that it is targeting terrorists, but the attacks have mostly led to massive civilian deaths.
The UN has slammed the US terror drone attacks as targeted killings and says they pose a challenge to international law.
Reports, however, say that the CIA is seeking to expand its covert drone attacks in Yemen, despite the fact that the airstrikes mostly result in civilian casualties.
- US drone attacks leave 21 dead in NW Pakistan in 48 hours (sott.net)
- Yemen probes civilian deaths in apparent US drone strike (altahrir.wordpress.com)
The separatist Parti Quebecois has won Quebec’s regional elections and will form a new government there, once again raising the possibility of a referendum on independence being held in Canada’s French-speaking province.
Canadian Broadcasting Corp and the Canadian Press reported that Parti Quebecois (PQ) won or were leading in nearly 60 districts, just short of the 63 needed for a majority government.
The party’s leader, Pauline Marois, will replace head of the Liberal party, Jean Charest, as the province’s leader, becoming Quebec’s first female premier.
Crowds of jubilant PQ followers, cheered and waved flags as election results indicated their party was heading back to power after nine years of Liberal Party rule.
Should PQ win a majority it will make it easier for them to call a referendum on independence. Quebec has held two referendums in the past – one in 1980 and another in 1995- with the last narrowly rejecting independence from Canada.
However PQ claim their short-term priority would be picking the economy up off its knees, instead of pushing for a separation vote straight away.
“It’s very important for me to manage our finances responsibly. That is without doubt why our engagements are the least costly of all parties,” Pauline Marois earlier told Canadian media, while outlining a program that sets out new spending at $1 billion over a five year period.
At the same time she stated that she would hold an independence vote “tomorrow morning” if the conditions were right.
The long-ruling Liberal Party’s loss comes after months of student and union protests raging this spring and summer against tuition hikes in the province and the controversial new Bill 78, which restricts mass gatherings in the province.
Tens of thousands of students have made their outrage public by demonstrating and clashing with police, making headlines across the world. Protests began in February, resulting in about 2,500 arrests. Tuesday’s vote is seen by many as an echo of this public discontent.