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Beware NYT’s Michael R. Gordon

Stop Him Before He Kills Again!

By John Walsh | CounterPunch | August 5, 2014

“There’s an old saying in Tennessee — I know it’s in Texas, probably in Tennessee — that says, fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can’t get fooled again.”

– George W. Bush

Those in the U.S. who are enthralled by relentless reports of the most demonic acts attributed to President Vladimir Putin and the rebel Eastern Ukrainian federalists a in the New York Times, NPR, ETC. would do well to look at the track record of the “reporters” dishing out this stuff. What they will find is a trail of deception that is piled with corpses of hundreds of thousands of innocents.

Principle among the purveyors of these bloodletting falsehoods is Michael R. Gordon, chief military correspondent for the NYT, serving over the decades as a trusty pipeline from the Pentagon to you.  Although his name should be in profound disrepute, many opposed to war are unaware of his ignoble career or may have forgotten it. Most notoriously he is the co-author with Judith Miller of the front page NYT article planted by Dick Cheney’s minions, which claimed that Saddam Hussein had Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD), relying on the idea that aluminum tubing being purchased by Iraq was to be used for purifying uranium.

Here is a quick reminder of that sorry episode so typical for the NYTThat article, entitled “Threats and Responses: The Iraqis; U.S. Says Hussein Intensifies Quest For A-Bomb Parts,” ran on page one of the NYT on Sunday, September 8, 2002.  That same day, with the newsprint barely dry, Cheney popped up on Meet the Press citing the piece and claiming that Saddam Hussein was on his way to making nukes. Appearances on the other Sunday propaganda shows were made that same day by Colin Powell, Donald Rumsfeld, Richard Meyers (Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff) and Condoleeza Rice who employed the infamous phrase used by Miller and Gordon, declaring with a straight face, “We don’t want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud.” On October 11, 2002, with an election staring it in the face, the Congress voted authorization for Bush to go to war. (That Constitutional requirement was unceremoniously dropped when Obama decided to make war on Libya. At least Bush took the time to lie to Congress.) As we know all too well now, the entire aluminum tube story was a lie, as was obvious at the time to anyone who read the article with the slightest care and as the Department of Energy and Department of State knew well at the time, as was later disclosed.

But unlike Judith Miller the well connected Gordon escaped punishment for these criminal fictions. And so he went on to peddle ever more lies on Iraq, being the first “journalist” to be embedded with U.S. forces of aggression and later championing the “surge” of his buddy, that great military strategist and legendary lover, David Petraeus. That bit of his career was documented in considerable detail in 2007 by the late Alex Cockburn. Cockburn summed it up thus:

“Gordon managed to dodge the fall-out from the WMD debacle he played a major part in contriving. For example, he co-wrote with Miller the infamous aluminum tubes-for-nukes story of September 8, 2002, that mightily assisted the administration in its push to war. In the latter part of 2006 he became the prime journalistic agitator for escalation in troop strength.

“On September 11, 2006, the Times ran a Gordon story under the headline, ‘Grim Outlook Seen in West Iraq Without More Troops and Aid’. Gordon cited a senior officer in Iraq saying more American troops were necessary to stabilize Anbar. A story on October 22 emphasized that “the sectarian violence [in Baghdad] would be far worse if not for the American efforts” There were of course plenty of Iraqis and some Americans Gordon could also have found, eager to say the exact opposite.”

The next year, 2007, Gordon went on to join the journalistic chorus in its effort to finger Iran as the source of new, more lethal roadside bombs used in Iraq which were called EFP’s (Explosively Formed Penetrators).  This was another piece of Cheney propaganda designed to help satisfy his itch to launch a war on Iran. It was quickly exposed by another Cockburn, Andrew, Scott Horton and others.  Fortunately this fiction thus exposed passed on quickly.

The point is that Gordon’s career has been not that of a reporter but a propagandist preparing us to accept the next moves of the U.S. Empire. So what is the intrepid Gordon up to these days? Unsurprisingly he is on the job covering the crisis in the Ukraine. He and the rest of the NYT are frantically peddling the wildest of lies about Ukraine, Russia and the ever evil Vlad. Here is a good example from the page one article by Gordon and others on July 18, entitled “U.S. Sees Evidence of Russian Links to Jet’s Downing.” It begins:

“The United States government has concluded that the passenger jet felled over Ukraine was shot down by a Russian-made surface-to-air missile launched from rebel-held territory and most likely provided by Russia to pro-Moscow separatists, officials said on Friday. While American officials are still investigating the chain of events leading to the destruction of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 on Thursday, they pointed to a series of indicators of Russian involvement……”  (Emphasis, jw)

Where is the evidence? The only evidence is that “officials said.” There is no indication of who the “officials” are or precisely what they said. Then there is the hedge phrase “most likely.” And finally Gordon and his co-authors tell us that the unnamed officials are “still investigating.” Finally although there is no conclusion, there are a “series of indicators.” (At the same time the Russian Ministry of Defense has released a lot of verifiable information on the incident, readily accessible on RT.com, whereas the U.S. has produced nothing other than some suspicious anecdotes on social media and a lot of speculation.) Not only should Gordon and his co-authors, Peter Baker and Mark Mazetti, the Judith Millers du jour, be summarily dismissed but also the “editors that let this trash appear as news rather than the unfounded propaganda that it is. (Mazetti and Baker should be leery of being Gordon’s accomplices. He may need a fall guy once again. Think Judith Miller, fellows.)

Let us turn to the notorious Miller and Gordon article of 2002 for comparison with Gordon’s piece on Ukraine. It begins:

“More than a decade after Saddam Hussein agreed to give up weapons of mass destruction, Iraq has stepped up its quest for nuclear weapons and has embarked on a worldwide hunt for materials to make an atomic bomb, Bush administration officials said today.  In the last 14 months, Iraq has sought to buy thousands of specially designed aluminum tubes, which American officials believe were intended as components of centrifuges to enrich uranium. American officials said….”  (Emphasis, jw)

Remarkable similarity! Cookie cutter prevarication, one might say. “American officials” are ever on the job and ever anonymous. And Michael R. Gordon is front and center on page one as their ever faithful, ever unquestioning transmission belt. No one can possibly think that Gordon is in the business of truth. We would be fools to believe a word he says. He fooled us once (in fact, many times). Shame on us if we let him fool us once again. His lies are laced with blood and death. We should avert our gaze from them.

John V. Walsh can be reached at John.Endwar@gmail.com.

 

August 5, 2014 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , | 2 Comments

Eyeless in Gaza

Israeli deceptions revealed in story of ‘kidnapped’ soldier

By Jonathan Cook | Dissident Voice | August 4, 2014

A single incident at the weekend – the reported capture by Hamas on Friday of an Israeli soldier through a tunnel – illustrated in stark fashion the layers of deception Israel has successfully cast over its attack on Gaza.

On Sunday, as the army indicated it would start limited withdrawals, Israel claimed Hadar Goldin was dead, possibly buried in a collapsed tunnel as Israel bombarded the area in which he was seized. His family said he was being left behind.

Israeli officials or media did not view Hamas’ operation dispassionately. Goldin was not “captured” but “kidnapped” – as though he was an innocent seized by opportunistic criminals.

As occurs so often, many western journalists followed Israel’s lead. The London Times’ front page blared: “Kidnapped in Gaza”, while the Boston Globe called him the “abducted Israeli soldier”.

From western reactions, it was also clear the soldier’s capture was considered more significant news than any of the massacres of Palestinian civilians over the past weeks.

Israel’s cynical calculus – that one soldier is more valuable than large numbers of dead Palestinian civilians – was echoed in the diplomatic and editorial corridors of Washington, London and Paris.

Misleading too was the general agreement that, in attacking a group of soldiers in Rafah and seizing Goldin, Hamas had violated the first moments of a 72-hour humanitarian ceasefire.

The Washington Post reported on the circumstances as a Hamas suicide bomber emerged from a tunnel to explode his vest, killing two soldiers, and Goldin was pulled into the shaft. “>On Friday morning, Israeli troops were in the southern Gaza Strip preparing to destroy a Hamas tunnel, said Israeli military officials. Suddenly, Palestinian militants emerged from a shaft.”

CBS reporter Charlie D’Agata parroted the same Israeli briefings, also inadvertently exposing the central deceit. The soldier was “suspected of being kidnapped during an operation to clear tunnels – crucially, [officials] say, this happened after the ceasefire was supposed to take place.”

So if a ceasefire was in place, what were Goldin and his comrades doing detonating tunnels, tunnels in which Israel says Hamas is hiding? Were Hamas fighters supposed to simply wait to be entombed in their bunkers during the pause in hostilities? Or was Israel the one violating the ceasefire?

And then there was the explosion of military fury as Israel realised its soldier was missing. Israeli correspondents have admitted that the notorious “Hannibal procedure” was invoked: the use of all means to stop a soldier being taken alive, including killing him. The rationale is to prevent the enemy gaining a psychological advantage in negotiations.

The unleashing of massive firepower appeared designed to ensure Goldin and his captors never made it out of their tunnel, but in the process Israel killed dozens of Palestinians.

It was another illustration of Israel’s absolute disregard for the safety of civilians. At least three-quarters of the more than 1,700 Palestinians killed so far are non-combatants, while almost all Israeli casualties have been soldiers. This has been a pattern in all Israel’s recent confrontations.

Israel’s official justifications for taking the fight into Gaza have been layered with deceit too.

Prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has argued that Israel was dragged into a war of necessity. Barack Obama echoed him: Israel had a right to defend itself from a barrage of rockets fired out of Gaza. Later the pretext became Israel’s need to destroy the “terror tunnels”.

The logic is deeply flawed. Israel is occupying and besieging Gaza, conferring on its inhabitants a right under international law to fight for their freedom. How does the oppressor, the lawbreaker have a right to self-defence? If Israel objects to being scratched and bruised, it should stop choking its victim.

The degree to which Israel’s narrative of “self-defence” has come to dominate news coverage and diplomatic statements was revealed in a CNN interview. Anchor Carol Costello asked a baffled interviewee in all seriousness: “Why doesn’t Hamas just show Israel where these tunnels are?”

Equally significantly, Israel has obscured the truth that it picked this particular round of its ongoing confrontation with Hamas – and did so entirely cynically.

A BBC reporter recently confirmed with an Israeli police spokesman a rumour that had been circulating among military correspondents for weeks. The group behind the abduction in June of three Israeli teens in the West Bank – the trigger for Israel’s campaign against Hamas – was a lone cell, acting on its own.

Claiming precisely the opposite – that he had cast-iron proof Hamas was responsible – Netanyahu gave the army free rein to arrest hundreds of Hamas members and smash the organisation’s institutions in the West Bank.

The crackdown created the necessary provocation: Hamas allowed Gaza’s factions to start firing limited numbers of rockets. Analyst Nathan Thrall noted recently that Hamas had impressed the Israeli army until that point by enforcing the ceasefire agreed with Israel 18 months earlier, even though Israel violated the terms by maintaining Gaza’s siege.

Now the rockets gave Netanyahu an excuse to strike.

So what was his real reason for going into Gaza? What were these many deceptions designed to hide?

It seems Netanyahu wanted to end a strategic threat: not Hamas rockets or tunnels, but the establishment of a unity government between Hamas and its long-time rivals Fatah. Palestinian unity risked reviving pressure on him to negotiate, or face a renewed and more credible Palestinian campaign for statehood at the United Nations.

But Hamas’ unexpectedly impressive martial display against Israel – killing dozens of soldiers, firing long-range rockets into Israel throughout, closing briefly the sole international airport, launching attacks into Israeli territory, and causing a loss to the economy estimated so far at more than $4bn  – may have changed the calculus again.

For the moment, Netanyahu seems to prefer to pull back Israeli soldiers rather than be forced under international pressure to negotiate with Hamas. He knows that its key demand will be that Israel end the siege.

But in the longer term, Netanyahu may need Palestinian unity, at least on his terms, to undermine Hamas’ gains.

As Israel began its attack on Gaza, Netanyahu turned his attention to the West Bank. He warned that there could never be “any agreement in which we relinquish security control” over it for fear that, given the West Bank’s larger size, Israel might “create another 20 Gazas”.

He was ruling out any hope of Palestinian statehood. A “demilitarised” entity, heavily circumscribed and absolutely dependent on Israel and the US, seems to be all that Israel will ever put on the table.

Allowing Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas and Fatah into Gaza could justify loosening the siege. But only as long as Abbas agrees to remove Hamas’ military infrastructure and export to the coastal enclave the model he has established in the West Bank – of endless accommodation to Israeli and US dictates.

Jonathan Cook, based in Nazareth, Israel is a winner of the Martha Gellhorn Special Prize for Journalism. His latest books are Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East (Pluto Press) and Disappearing Palestine: Israel’s Experiments in Human Despair (Zed Books).

August 5, 2014 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Spain embargoes arms sales to Israel

MEMO | August 5, 2014

Spain has frozen all arms and technological sales to Israel in protest against its ongoing brutal war against the Gaza Strip and the killing of thousands of Palestinian civilians, El Pais newspaper revealed.

The newspaper described this decision as purely “political” and was made last week by a committee consisting of the president, treasury, economy ministry, foreign ministry and defence ministry.

Spain is reported to have sold nearly €5 million in arms sales to Israel last year.

The Spanish decision comes hours after Britain announced it was reviewing licenses to export weapons and military technology to Israel.

A spokeswoman for the British government said yesterday that the UK is reviewing all arms export licenses to Israel because of the escalating conflict between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip. “We are currently reviewing all export licenses to Israel to make sure they are appropriate,” she said.

However, ministers said they would not stop licensing military equipment to Israel outright because they believed the country had a “legitimate right to self-defence”.

August 5, 2014 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, War Crimes | , | 1 Comment

In defense of Palestine

Silvio Rodriguez OJALA
Bolivia Rising | August 5, 2014

The following statement in defense of Palestine and encouraging people to join the BDS campaign has been signed by Bolivian president Evo Morales, former Honduran president Mel Zelaya, Nobel peace prize winner Adolfo Pérez Esquivel, Uruguayan author Eduardo Galeano, Cuban musician Silvio Rodríguez and many more (see list below) To add your name email endefensadepalestina@gmail.com

In defense of Palestine

Faced with the tragic events our Palestinian brothers and sisters are living through in Gaza, the Network in Defense of Humanity (REDH) assumes our responsibility and expresses the following:

We take up as our own the words of compañero Evo Morales, a founder of the Network in Defense of Humanity and President of the Plurinational State of Bolivia, who has declared Israel to be a terrorist state.

We express our absolute repulsion at the genocide being carried out against the Palestinian people by a state founded on dispossession and the colonial occupation of Palestinian territories.

We pay recognition to, and express our solidarity with the Palestinian people and its resistance organizations, especially in Gaza, in their heroic struggle against Israeli attempts to exterminate them and seize the small pieces that remain of what was once their homeland.

We condemn the imperialist role of the United States that politically, financially and militarily sponsors and backs Israel, in the face of the extraordinary inaction of the UN Security Council whose resolutions on the question of Palestine are systematically violated with complete impunity by Washington. The United States is once again demonstrating the hypocrisy and cynicism with which it has acted throughout history, threatening sanctions and interventions against the peoples of Latin America, Africa and Eurasia who defend their sovereignty at the same time as its backs the actions of Israel.

We denounce the complicity in what is occurring, by default in some cases, of the governments that make up the European Union, as well as the unconditional subordination of the media oligarchs to Washington’s dictates. Enough of calling it a war when in fact it is a genocide being perpetrated by one of the best equipped armies in the world against a people whose defensive resources are infinitely inferior in quantity and quality!

We encourage you to join the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign against the terrorist state of Israel, as it is time for active and creative solidarity that goes beyond statements of condemnation. We have failed the more than 1,600 people killed in Palestine over the last few weeks, as well as the more than 9,000 injured since the start of the terrorist operation hypocritically named “Protective Edge”.

We demand an end to apartheid and genocide, as well as to the walls and illegal settlements. We call on the governments of the world to demand that Israel complies with US Security Council resolutions that oblige it to withdraw from Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem, return to the borders that existed prior to the “Six Day War” (1967) and guarantee the right of return for Palestinian refugees, as per Security Council Resolution No. 242, November 22, 1967, a resolution that has been consistently ignored by the state of Israel.

We call for a real political solution to the conflict in Palestine on the basis of dialogue, negotiation and the existence of two states with equal rights and delineated borders that are internationally recognized. We believe this solution must begin with the immediate lifting of the blockade on Gaza and the liberation of all Palestinian political prisoners. We congratulate the governments of ALBA [Bolivarian Alliance of the Peoples of Our Americas], Mercosur [Common Market of the South] and other governments of the South for their position of solidarity against the barbaric actions of Israel in Gaza.

We adopt as our own the words of the revolutionary, Nelson Mandela: “We know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians.” We affirm that Israel has morally and politically lost this battle in the face of the brave Palestinian people and the growing condemnation by the peoples of the world of a “criminal” state that violates international law. The unbreakable Palestinian resistance will be rewarded, sooner rather than later, with the smiles of their children in a free homeland.

Against Israeli terrorism and US imperialism, in defense of the right to self-determination for Palestine and all the peoples of the world!

Initial signatories: Evo Morales, Bolivia; Adolfo Pérez Esquivel, Argentina; Pablo González Casanova, México; Eduardo Galeano, Uruguay; Roberto Fernández Retamar, Cuba; Federico Mayor Zaragoza, España; Silvio Rodríguez, Cuba; Luis Arce Catacora, Bolivia; Gianni Vattimo, Italia; Gabriela Rivadeneira, Ecuador; Istvan Meszaros, Hungría/Reino Unido; Samir Amin, Egipto; Alfonso Sastre, País Vasco; Nardi Suxo, Bolivia; Enrique Dussel, México; Marta Harnecker, Chile; Carmen Bohorquez, Venezuela; Cesar Navarro, Bolivia; Miguel Barnet , Cuba; Franz Hinkelammert, Alemania; Héctor Arce Zaconeta, Bolivia; Piedad Cordoba, Colombia; Reverendo Raúl Suarez, Cuba; Martin Almada, Paraguay; Fernando Rendón, Colombia; Graziella Pogolloti, Cuba; Sacha Llorenti, Bolivia; Ana Esther Ceceña, México; Luis Britto, Venezuela; Rafael Cancel Miranda, Puerto Rico; Atilio Boron, Argentina; Theotonio Dos Santos, Brasil ; Alfredo Rada, Bolivia; Piedad Cordoba, Colombia, Farruco Sesto, Venezuela; Ángel Guerra, Cabrera, Cuba/ Mexico, Juan Carlos Trujillo, Bolivia; Mel Zelaya; Honduras; Hildebrando Pérez Grande, Perú; Patricia Villegas, Colombia/Venezuela; Maria Nela Prada, Bolivia; Stella Calloni, Argentina; Omar González, Cuba;; Hugo Moldiz, Bolivia; Pascual Serrano, España;; Raúl Pérez Torres, Ecuador; Obispo Raúl Vera, México; Joao Pedro Stedile, Brasil; Boaventura de Sousa Santos, Portugal; Rodrigo Álvarez Cambras, Cuba; Socorro Gomes, Brasil; Katu Arkonada, País Vasco/Bolivia

Full list of signatories

Abdón Ubidia Ecuador
Adalberto Santana México
Adelaide Gonçalves Brasil
Ademar Olivera Uruguay
Adolfo Pérez Esquivel Argentina
Adriana Rossi Argentina
Adys Cupull Cuba
Aitana Alberti Cuba
Alba Carosio Venezuela.
Alba Estela Maldonado Guatemala
Alberto Abreu Arcia Cuba
Alberto Acosta Cuba
Alberto Ferrari Argentina
Alberto Mass Argentina
Alberto Rabilotta Argentina/Canadá
Aldo M. Etchegoyen
Alejandra Ciriza Argentina
Alejandra Claros Borda Bolivia
Alejandra del Palacio México
Alejandro Dausa Bolivia
Alejandro Hamed Franco Uruguay
Alejandro Moreano Ecuador
Alejandro Zárate Bladés Bolivia
Alex Pausides Cuba
Alexis Adarfio Marin Venezuela
Alfonso Herrera Franyutti Mexico
Alfonso Sastre País Vasco;
Alfredo Rada Bolivia
Alfredo Serrano Bolivia
Alfredo Vera Arrata Ecuador
Alicia Castellanos México
Amelia Barreda Argentina
Américo Díaz Núñez Venezuela
Ana Bas Cortada Argentina
Ana Carolina Strongoli Argentina
Ana Cristina Abud Argentina
Ana Esther Ceceña México
Ana Leticia Vargas México
Ana María Aragonés México
Ana María Ramb Hughes Argentina
Ana Mariaa Vera Smith México
Ana Paula de Teresa México
Ana Ruiz España
Ana Zambrano Estados Unidos
Anahit Aharonian Uruguay
Andrea Fernández México
Andrea Trejo Márquez México
Andrea Vlahusic Argentina
Ángel Guerra Cabrera Cuba/ México
Ángel I. Baños
Ángeles Maestro España
Angelo Baracca Italia
Anita Leocadia Prestes Brasil
Annamaria Testi Italia
Antonella Signorini Italia
Antonio Elías Uruguay
Antonio J. Martínez Fuentes Cuba
Antonio Preciado Ecuador
Araceli Cortes México
Ariana López Marth Cuba
Arlete Moysés Rodrigues Brasil
Armando Fernández Cuba
Arturo Corcuera Perú
Arturo Escobar Estados Unidos
Atilio Bonilla Perú
Atilio Borón Argentina
Augusto Plaza Bolivia
Aurelio Alonso Cuba
Beatriz Stolowicz México
Beilton Freire da Rocha Brasil
Bernard Duterme Bélgica
Betinho Duarte Brasil
Beto Almeida Brasil
Betty Tejada Soruco Bolivia
Boaventura de Sousa Santos Portugal
Boris Brito Bolivia
Bruno Portugués Perú
Camilo Valqui Cachi México
Carla Espósito Guevara
Carlin Shapiama Perú
Carlos Aznárez Argentina
Carlos Borroto Cuba
Carlos Cabal Mirabal Cuba
Carlos Chanove Bolivia
Carlos Fazio México
Carlos Fernández Liria España
Carlos Moya Ureta Chile
Carlos Zamora Cuba
Carmen Bohorquez Venezuela;
Carol Proner Brasil
Carolina Sánchez Cuba
Cecilia Todd Venezuela
Cesar Navarro Bolivia
Cesar Navarro Bolivia;
Cesar Pedros Fernández Cuba
Christian Mirza Uruguay
Christian Mirza Uruguay
Clara Algranati Argentina
Clara Ferri México
Clara Rivas España
Claudia Camba Argentina
Claudia Gómez Haro México
Claudia Iriarte Chile
Claudia Yarza Argentina
Clemencia Correa México
Colette Louise Wall México
Crisbeyle González Bolivia
Cruz Mejía México
Crysbeylee González Venezuela
Danny Rivera Puerto Rico
Darío Machado Rodríguez Cuba
Delfina Paredes Perú
Denis Merino Perú
Derlei Catarina De Luca Brasil
Domenico Losurdo Italia
Domenico Vasapollo. Italia
Edgar Butron Bolivia
Edgar Llanos Bolivia
Edgard Sánchez México
Edgardo Lander Venezuela
Edmundo Cepeda México
Eduardo Arroyo Perú
Eduardo Galeano, Uruguay
Eduardo González Cuba
Eduardo Heras Cuba
Eduardo Neururer Argentina-España
Eduardo Paz Rada Bolivia
Eduardo Raúl Neururer Rabottini España
Elena Jiménez Cuba
Elisa Rando Argentina
Elma Beatriz Rosado Puerto Rico
Elza Neves Moraes Brasil
Emiliano Teran Mantovani Venezuela
Emilio Comas Paret Cuba
Emira Imaña Bolivia
Enrique Dussel México;
Enrique González Ruiz México
Enrique Rajchenberg México
Enrique Ubieta Gómez Cuba
Epigmenio Ibarra México
Epitacio Paes Brasil
Eréndira Salazar México
Esteban Falcón
Esteban Silva Cuadra Chile
Estefanía Prado Bolivia
Estela Fernández Nadal Argentina
Eugenio Sánchez Aldana México
Eva Björklund Serbia
Eva Forest-Sastre País Vasco
Eva Golinger Venezuela
Evaliz Morales Alvarado Bolivia
Evo Morales Bolivia
Fabio Grobart Sunshine Cuba
Fanny Palacios Izquierdo Perú
Farruco Sesto Venezuela
Federico García Perú
Federico Mayor Zaragoza España
Feliciano Padilla Perú
Felipe de J. Pérez Cruz Cuba
Fernando Bossi Venezuela
Fernando Buen Abad Domínguez México
Fernando Martínez Heredia Cuba
Fernando Medina Venezuela
Fernando Mijangos País Vasco
Fernando Morais Brasil
Fernando Rendón Colombia
Fernando Rodríguez Bolivia
Flora Rocha Bolivia
Francesco Spinazzola Italia
Francisco García Bolivia
Francois Houtart Belgica
Frank Gaudichaud Francia
Franz Hinkelammert Alemania;
Franz Sandoval Bolivia
Fred Fuentes Australia
Freddy Salazar Sanjinés
Fredy Salazar Bolivia
Froilán González Cuba
Gabriel Coderch Díaz Cuba
Gabriel Pérez México
Gabriel Vargas Lozano México
Gabriela Rivadeneira, Ecuador
Gabriela Sosa Martínez México
Gianni Vattimo Italia
Gilberto López y Rivas México
Gilda Girardi Venezuela
Gina Rey Cuba
Gladys M Quiroga Argentina
Gloria Sellera Uruguay
Gonzalo Perera Uruguay
Gorki Tapia Perú
Graciela Masetti Argentina
Graziella Pogolloti Cuba;
Griselda Ramos Suco Cuba/México
Guillermo Azzi Argentina
Guillermo Rodríguez Rivera Cuba
Guillermo Tineo Bolivia
Gustavo Codas Paraguay
Gustavo Espinoza Perú
Gustavo Rojas Perú
Gustavo Valcárcel Perú
Héctor Arce Zaconeta Bolivia
Héctor Bernardo Argentina
Héctor de la Cueva México
Héctor Fernando Aguilar Venezuela
Hector Udaeta Bolivia
Henrique Galarza España
Henry Morales López Guatemala
Hernando Calvo Ospina Colombia
Hildebrando Pérez Grande Perú
Homero Castro Guzmán México
Horacio E. Pérez López Cuba
Hugo Chinea Cabrera Cuba
Hugo Moldiz Bolivia
Humberto Zambrana Bolivia
Ilonka Vargas Ecuador
Inés Izaguirre Argentina
Inés Lucero Belgrano México
Iraida Vargas Venezuela
Irene León Ecuador
Iroel Sánchez Cuba
Isabel Monal Cuba
Isabel Sanginés Franco México
Isel Llerena del Castillo Cuba
Ismael Hamdouch Argentina
Istvan Meszaros Hungría/Reino Unido;
Iván Padilla Bravo Venezuela
Jacques de Novion Brasil
James Cockcroft Canadá
Javier García Bolivia
Javier Lenz Bolivia
Javier Lenz
Javier Vargas Lozano México
Jessica Saravia Atristain Bolivia
Jesús Guanche Cuba
Jesús Ramírez Cuevas Mexico
Joan Tafalla España
Joaquín Arriola País Vasco
Joel Suárez Cuba
John Catalinotto Estados Unidos
John Saxe-Fernández México
Jonas Rojas Bolivia
Jorge Bustillos Bolivia
Jorge Castañeda Zavala Mexico
Jorge Wejebe Cuba
Jorge Fons Mexico
Jorge Fonseca España
Jorge Guichón Uruguay
Jorge Montemayor México
Jorge Orbe León Ecuador
Jorge Rachid Argentina
Jorge Veraza Urtuzuàstegui Mexico
Jorge Winter Argentina
Jorge Zabalza Uruguay
José Adeildo Ramos. Brasil
José Antonio Almazán González Mexico
José Antonio García Araujo Venezuela
José E. Díaz Uruguay
José E. Díaz Uruguay
José Enrique González Ruiz Mexico
José Gandarilla Mexico
José García Bolivia
José Luis Rubén Silber Argentina
José Luis Silverio Peralta México
José Luis Tagliaferro Argentina
José María Barreiro España
José Pertierra Estados Unidos
José Regato Ecuador
José Steinsleger Argentina/ México
Juan Antonio García Miranda Cuba
Juan Carlos Biani Argentina
Juan Carlos Calvimonte Bolivia
Juan Carlos Gómez Leyton Chile
Juan Carlos Medrano Bolivia
Juan Cristóbal Perú
Juan Diego García España
Juan Manuel Navarro Reina España
Juanita Conejero Cuba
Julio Benavides Perú
Julio C. Gambina Argentina
Julio Ferrer Argentina
Julio Manduley Panamá
Julio Muñoz Rubio México
Katiuska Blanco Cuba
Katiuska García Alonso Cuba
Katu Arkonada País Vasco/Bolivia
Laritza González Achón Cuba
Laura Encinas Bolivia
Lautaro Chanove Bolivia
León Moraria Venzuela
Leonel Nodal Álvarez Cuba
Lidia Fagale Argentina
Lilian Vega El Salvador
Liliam Álvarez Navarrete
Lino Morán Venezuela
Liseth Ortuño Bolivia
Lois Pérez Leira España
Lourdes Cervantes Cuba
Lourdes Garzón México
Luciano Andrés Valencia Argentina
Luciano Concheiro Bórquez Mexico
Luciano Vasapollo Italia
Lucio Triolo Italia
Lucrecia D’Agostino Argentina
Luis Arce Catacora Bolivia
Luis Arce Catacora, Bolivia
Luis Baudoin Olea Bolivia
Luis Britto García Venezuela
Luis Carlos Marrero Chasbar Cuba
Luis Edgar Páez Venezuela
Luis Ernesto Quesada Cuba
Luis Felipe Vázquez Vázquez Cuba
Luís H. Vignolo Uruguay
Luís H. Vignolo Uruguay
Luis Hernández Navarro México
Luis Morado Argentina
Luis Sexto Cuba
Luis Zorraquino Brasil
Magdalena Gómez México
Manolo Monereo España
Manuel Cabieses Donoso Chile
Marcelo Colussi Argentina/Guatemala
Marco A. Gandásegui Panamá
Marcos Roitman Rosenmann México
Mareelen Díaz Tenorio Cuba
Marga Herrera Aguirre
María Augusta Calle Ecuador
María Bolivia Rothe Bolivia
María del Pilar Muñiz López
María Esther Aguirre México
María Eugenia Pulido México
Maria Gabriella Italia
Maria Luisa Mendonça Brasil
María Martha González Bolivia
María Nela Prada Bolivia
Maria Nela Prada Tejada Bolivia
María Teresa Díaz Álvarez Cuba
Mariana Espinosa Obarrio Argentina
Mariela Flores Torres Argentina
Marilia Guimaraes Brasil
Marina Rossi Italia
Marina Taibo México
Mario Augusto Jakobskind Brasil
Mario Fiore Italia
Mario Jorge da Motta Bastos Brasil
Mario López Bolivia
Mario Sanoja. Venezuela
Mario Saucedo Pérez México
Marta Harnecker Chile;
Marta Speroni Argentina
Martin Almada Paraguay
Martin Almada Paraguay;
Martin Schwander Suiza
Maurício Vieira Martins Brasil
Mauro Cristaldi Italia
Max Murillo Mendoza Bolivia
Mayra Godoy Guatemala
Mel Zelaya Honduras
Melissa Arria Venezuela.
Mely González Aróstegui Cuba
Mercè Escayola Cabrejas España
Michael Lebowitz Canadá
Miguel Ángel Herrera C. Costa Rica
Miguel Angel Puigvert Valerio Argentina
Miguel Barnet Cuba;
Miguel Enrique Lagarde Cuba
Miguel Mejides Cuba
Miguel Urbano Rodríguez Portugal
Milagros Rivera Pérez Puerto Rico
Milton Pinheiro Brasil
Mirtha Isabel Tomas Argentina
Mónica Bruckman Brasil
Montserrat Ponsa Tarrés España
Morales Paco César Abraham Mexico
Nardi Suxo Bolivia
Nardi Suxo Bolivia;
Nayar López Castellanos México
Nelson Aguilar Bolivia
Nestor Kohan Argentina
Nila Heredia Bolivia
Nils Castro Panamá
Norbert Froufe González España
Norberto Vilar Argentina
Norma Núñez Montoto Panamá
Obispo Raúl Vera México
Octavio Rodríguez Araújo México
Olmer Torrejón Alcoba Bolivia
Omar González Cuba
Omelio Esteban Borroto Leiseca Cuba
Óscar Adolfo Suárez Morales
Oscar Guerrero Bolivia
Oscar Kuperman Argentina
Oscar Oramas Oliva Cuba
Oscar Ugarteche México
Pablo González Casanova, México
Pablo Guayasamín Ecuador
Pablo Kunich Venezuela
Pablo Navarrete Reino Unido
Paco Guardeño Sáez España
Paco Ignacio Taibo México
Paloma Saiz México
Paola Tiberi Italia
Pascual Serrano España
Patricia Rodas Honduras
Patricia Vaca Bolivia
Patricia Villegas Colombia/Venezuela
Patricio Montesinos España
Patxi Erdozain Beroiz País Vasco
Paul-Emile Dupret Bélgica
Paulino Núñez Venezuelal
Pavel Égüez Ecuador
Pedro de la Hoz Cuba
Pedro Gellert México
Pedro Hernández México
Pedro Marcel Oliva Estofan
Pedro Pablo Rodríguez Cuba
Percy Francisco Alvarado Godoy Guatemala/Cuba
Peter Rosset México
Piedad Córdoba Colombia
Piero Arria Venezuela
Pierre Mouterde Canadá
Pilar Roca Perú
Pocho Álvarez Ecuador
Porfirio Martínez México
Rafael Cancel Miranda Puerto Rico
Rafael Cancel Miranda Puerto Rico
Ramón Mier García México
Ramón Pedregal Casanova España
Rashid Sherif Túnez
Raúl Antonio Capote Cuba
Raúl García Linera Bolivia
Raúl Miranda Ocampo Mexico
Raúl Pérez Torres Ecuador
Raúl Pérez Torres Ecuador
Raúl Zibechi Uruguay
Rebeca Peralta Mariñelarena México
Rene Peres Bolivia
Reverendo Raúl Suarez Cuba;
Reynaldo Naranjo Perú
Ricardo Acuña Gómez Reino Unido
Ricardo Bajo Bolivia
Ricardo Cohen Uruguay
Ricardo Flecha Hermosa Paraguay
Ricardo Gayol Rodríguez España
Ricardo Salgado
Rigoberto Lopéz Cuba
Rina Bertaccini Argentina
Rita Martufi Italia
Robert Austin Australia
Roberto Ávila Toledo Chile
Roberto Battiglia Italia
Roberto Burgos Colombia
Roberto Fernández Retamar Cuba
Roberto Leher Brasil
Roberto Núñez Cuba
Rodrigo Álvarez Cambras Cuba
Rodrigo Loyola Chile
Rogelio Rodríguez Coronel Cuba
Roger Olmedo Bolivia
Roque Aparecido da Silva Brasil
Rosa Cristina Báez Valdés Cuba
Rosa Miriam Elizalde Cuba
Rosario Arroyo Perú
Rosina Valcárcel Perú
Roy Chaderton Matos Venezuela
Ruth Cartaya Suecia-Venezuela
Sacha Llorenti Bolivia
Salim Lamrani Francia
Samir Amin Egipto;
Santiago Alba Rico España
Sara Rosenberg Argentina/ España
Sergio Argüello Guatemala
Sergio Arria Venezuela
Sergio Guerra Vilaboy Cuba
Sergio Serrano Soriano México
Silvia Tamez México
Silvio Rodríguez Cuba
Silvya de Alarcón Bolivia
Simona Yagenova Guatemala
Socorro Gomes Brasil
Sonia Quiroga Bolivia
Stella Calloni Argentina
Susana Molina Suárez Cuba
Susana Oviedo Rosales España
Susana Rodríguez Venezuela
Tania Jamardo Faillace Brasil
Tania Temoche Perú
Techi Cusmanich Paraguay
Telma Luzzani Argentina
Teófilo Gutiérrez Perú
Teresa Toca México
Thalía Muklan Fung Riverón Cuba
Thelvia Marín Mederos Cuba
Theotonio Dos Santos Brasil
Urda Alice Klueger Brasil
Veronika Engler Uruguay
Víctor García Calvo España
Víctor Hugo Parés Lores Cuba
Víctor Regalado El Salvador
Víctor Ríos España
Víctor Vacaflores Bolivia
Victoria Fernández Bolivia
Virginia Fontes Argentina
Virginia Gutiérrez Argentina
Vivian Prado Bolivia
Viviana Ramírez Australia
Walter García Bolivia
Walter Martínez Venezuela
Win Dierckersen Costa Rica
Winston Orrillo Perú
Yamandú Acosta Uruguay
Yasser Gómez Perú
Yemil Antonio Harcha Chile
Yolanda Añasco Ecuador
Yolanda Rojas Urbina Venezuela
Zulema Hidalgo Cuba

Organizations and institutions:

Organización de Solidaridad con los pueblos de África, Asia y América Latina, Cuba
MST, Brasil
Partido Comunista Revolucionario, Uruguay
Tricontinental Internacional de la Solidaridad, Venezuela
Unión Provincial de Organizaciones Campesina de Manabí, Ecuador
Movimiento Autónomo Utopía e Luta Porto Alegre Brasil
Movimiento Mexicano de Solidaridad con Palestina México
Movimiento Tzuk Kim-pop Guatemala
Grupo de Reflexión y Solidaridad Oscar Arnulfo Romero Cuba
Coordinadora de Solidaridad con Palestina México
Casal de Amistad con Cuba de Badalona España
Centro Mandela DD.HH., el Chaco Argentina

August 5, 2014 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism, Video | , , , , , , | Comments Off on In defense of Palestine

The UN is useless in preventing genocide and protecting the Palestinians

By Ramona Wadi | MEMO | August 5, 2014

Two Special Advisors to the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, Adama Dieng and Jennifer Welsh, have added their voices to the insignificant, lamentable chorus of concern. Speaking in relation to the Prevention of Genocide and the Responsibility to Protect respectively, Dieng and Welsh meticulously stressed the necessity of upholding distinctions as stipulated in international law, while retaining a self-imposed right to distortion of facts in order to uphold Israel’s fabricated narrative.

In their statement, Dieng and Welsh relied on the usual conjectures that cast doubt over the atrocities committed by Israel, while issuing an unequivocal condemnation against Palestinian resistance. The paraphrased comments, published as a UN press release, insist that “the high number of civilian casualties, particularly among the Palestinians, could [my emphasis] demonstrate disproportionate and indiscriminate use of force by the Israeli Defence Forces. At the same time, the launching of rocket attacks by Hamas and other Palestinian armed groups into Israeli residential areas constitutes indiscriminate use of force.” This would be laughable if it wasn’t so serious.

Furthermore, Dieng and Walsh also diminished the horrendous incitement to violence against Palestinians, including the calls for extermination of the indigenous population through use of language that emphasised the indefinite in favour of Israel. Despite the escalating rhetoric advocating for the murder of Palestinian mothers and elimination of Palestinians in Gaza as a political strategy, the Special Advisors stated that such incitement “could be dehumanising”, instead of insisting that it is an undisputed fact.

It is, perhaps, convenient, that the UN and affiliated organisations’ primary competency is the issuing of reminders. These can be issued to “all parties” while evoking illusions of “impartial investigations” to arrive at the conclusion that protecting the Palestinian population in Gaza is as simple as “an end of hostilities, the creation of a humanitarian corridor and lifting of the blockade of Gaza which has created further suffering.” All of which can be achieved, according to Dieng and Welsh, by “serious negotiations that will end the cycle of violence and achieve a stable, just and durable solution to this longstanding conflict.”

The discourse of “conflict” adds to ambiguities which are necessary to protect the UN’s deceitful existence and propaganda which refuses to demand the dismantling of Israel’s settler-colonial state. This omission is also reflected in the UN’s definition of “civilian population”; it’s applied extensively to include a settler population that participated wilfully in Israel’s colonial project, creating the foundations for colonial violence to flourish. If this distinction is not adequately addressed, it stands to reason that the UN is unwilling to address the actual targeting of civilians, Palestinian civilians, whose lives have been considered repeatedly by the imperialist organisation to be of lesser value as a strategy to encourage a widespread massacre.

Expecting the UN and its advisors to acknowledge the legitimacy of Palestinian armed resistance is pie in the sky. In UN vocabulary, an “impartial investigation” is equivalent to the intended suppression of Palestinian resistance by insisting upon further monologues disguised as “negotiations” intended to consign the liberation of historic Palestine to the dustbin. Decades of increasing subjugation have imparted a decisive stance to the Palestinian population: liberation can never be achieved through compromised international channels. Hence, the issue of legitimacy with regard to Palestinian resistance derived from history and memory, away from the manipulative charters determined by imperialist diktats.

August 5, 2014 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | 1 Comment

Annihilate Gaza: Israeli official

374097_Feiglin

Press TV – August 5, 2014

Israeli Knesset’s deputy speaker Moshe Feiglin has called for the “annihilation” of the Palestinian territory of the Gaza Strip.

Feiglin, who is also a member of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s ruling Likud Party, wrote about the plans in a post on his Facebook page at the weekend, the British Daily Mail reported on Monday.

The Israeli official also called for “the conquest of the entire Gaza Strip.” He spoke of plans for the destruction of Gaza, which would include expelling residents and shipping them across the world.

Feiglin also wrote about his plans in a letter addressed to Netanyahu, in which he said he wanted the measures to be enforced as soon as possible.

In the letter, Feiglin said he wanted Israeli military forces to find areas on the Sinai border to set up “tent encampments… until relevant emigration destinations are determined.” Furthermore, he wants Gaza’s electricity and water supplies to be disconnected before shelling the besieged area “with maximum fire power.”

The Israeli forces would then “exterminate” resistance centers and Israeli law would be extended to cover the entire Gaza Strip and “the city of Gaza and its suburbs will be rebuilt as true Israeli touristic and commercial cities.”

The Israeli military launched its recent offensive against the Gaza Strip on July 8. At least 1,867 Palestinians, including around 430 children, have so far been killed and over 9,500 others injured during the onslaught. Tel Aviv says 64 Israelis have been killed in the war, while Hamas puts the number at more than 150.

August 5, 2014 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, War Crimes | , , , , | 2 Comments

Humanitarian catastrophe: Lugansk, E. Ukraine, left with no water, power

RT | August 5, 2014

The eastern Ukrainian city of Lugansk has declared a state of humanitarian catastrophe over a lack of medical supplies, electricity, lighting, mobile and internet communication. Some 250,000 civilians are unable to leave, the statement also says.

“As of August 5, Lugansk remains disconnected from electricity. The situation remains critical on the city’s territory. Lugansk has no energy, is in a state of humanitarian catastrophe. Since Sunday, part of the population in the region’s center have been without light or water, as well as mobile and internet communication,” the statement on the city council website read.

Due to high temperatures and the damage to most community services’ cars, rubbish collection “completely stopped,” which is why the city is basically “on the brink of an ecological catastrophe,” the administration said.

“Today 250,000 civilian Lugansk residents – mainly retirees and families with children who don’t have the money to leave the city and who have nowhere to go – have been the hostages to the situation: the people are forced to live in the conditions of armed clashes, with the lacking communications, the remaining nutrition disappearing from the counter of shops and supermarkets which are still working,” according to the statement.

An especially burning issue has become the lack of medical supplies.

“People can’t purchase the essential medical supplies, only a handful of drugstores are operating,” the statement added.

“Many people have left the town – I had almost no one left, only my sister. If you had gone out to your balcony in the evening, there would be a feeling that the city had died out,” a former resident of Lugansk, Olga, who recently moved to more peaceful Kharkov, told Ria Novosti.

Transport communication is no good in the embattled city these days, Olga said.

“The buses go to Kharkov, Starobelsk. <…> In the city, the buses are infrequent, they used to come every five minutes, now it’s half an hour. The drivers won’t keep to the route – it’s dangerous. Also, there is no petrol, and if there is, it’s very expensive. No trolleybuses or tramways are left.”

The shops work several hours a day, and Olga said the prices have increased, there are almost no cigarettes on sale, but it’s still possible to buy food.

In the evenings, people try not to go out. Attacks and clashes are an every-day occurrence.

The Ukrainian army has approached the outskirts of Donetsk and Lugansk, preparing to storm these cities, the speaker for the Council of National Security and Defense, Andrey Lysenko, declared, as quoted by Ria Novosti.

“The main forces of the anti-terrorist operation, including the territorial battalions have approached those areas. It doesn’t mean that the storming has already started, but preparation to free the cities is on,” he said.

The attack won’t be announced, only the seizing of the cities, Lysenko added.

August 5, 2014 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, War Crimes | , | Comments Off on Humanitarian catastrophe: Lugansk, E. Ukraine, left with no water, power

The Subprime Economy is Back—But It Never Really Left

By JP Sottile | WhoWhatWhy | August 3, 2014

Remember the sub-prime economy?

It’s back, but it’s different this time. Well, sorta different. And you may be affected by it in all kinds of ways.

The new sub-prime economy is a direct result of the catastrophic financial ruin caused by the old sub-prime mortgage crisis. Wall Street’s biggest money has figured out how to profit off of people deep in debt and unable to climb out because of the still-limping economy.

So, after pushing people to the margins with exotic financial instruments, Wall Street is now profiting off the increasingly marginal existence of many Americans. With more and more people renting their homes, the median household now 20% poorer today than it was in 1984, and almost half of all Americans now living paycheck to paycheck, the sub-prime economy has shifted away from big-ticket mortgages to profiting off the banalities of everyday life.

The numbers don’t lie: 35% of Americans—roughly 77 million people—have an outstanding debt currently being pursued by a collection agency, according to a new study by the Urban Institute. Although the individual amounts of delinquent debt range from as little as $25 to over $125,000, the national average is a staggering $5,178.

That’s a lot of bad debt in the system, and there are rich pickings in all of it.

Maybe that’s why the study was funded by Encore Capital Group—the country’s largest publicly-traded buyer of defaulted debt—and co-authored by its very own think-tank, the Consumer Credit Research Institute. The latter, founded in 2011, describes its work as a “ground-breaking effort to develop new knowledge about low- and moderate-income consumers” using techniques borrowed from economics, statistics and psychology.

The first go-round on the subprime roulette wheel was fueled primarily by the post-9/11 “go-go” housing boom. The middlemen of Manhattan systematically used predatory lending to ensnare hundreds of thousands of hopeful American Dreamers into an adjustable-rate, no-money-down, balloon-payment nightmare. So they made money handing out subprime mortgages like Halloween candy, bundled that risky, unsustainable debt into exotic financial instruments, and profited again by betting they’d fail.

But that was then, and things are supposed to be different now, right?

Now the financial system is supposed to be chastened. It is, according to its staunchest critics, wholly and restrictively regulated by Dodd-Frank. In fact, Dodd-Frank is so restrictive, they say, that it has impeded the “recovery” and needs to be loosened. That’s despite the fact that many key rules still haven’t been written and despite the omnipresence of corporate banking interests at every step of the rule-making process.

Things are different now. This new sub-prime bubble is not being inflated by predatory lenders targeting would-be homeowners. Even though the real estate market is improving in places like San Francisco, New York and Washington, D.C., homeownership is at a 19-year low, with more people opting to rent because of tighter finances.

Hedge Funds, Hedge Hogs

Well-positioned hedge funds gobbled up tens of thousands of homes left vacant by the bursting mortgage bubble. Sometimes entire neighborhoods were purchased by those firms, who—unlike Lehman Brothers—were not broken by the crash. Like JP Morgan hoarding the devalued financial assets of its failed competitors, hedge funds saw the sudden surge in low-cost real estate as a buying opportunity.

The Blackstone Group—one of the world’s largest hedge funds—went on a two-year buying spree that transformed it into “America’s largest landlord” with over 40,000 houses in its profitable inventory.

And that’s where bad debt is accumulating—in the day-to-day struggle to make ends meet.

To wit, the Urban Institute’s study focused on collections of non-mortgage bills. These include credit card bills, medical bills, and utility bills that are “more than 180 days past due and have been placed in collections.”

A good example of the financial jeopardy many face is in Detroit. That’s where the median household income is less than half the national average—and where tens of thousands couldn’t afford to pay their water bills.

The bankrupted city decided to do something about chronic delinquencies—they began shutting off people’s water. As the pace of the shut-offs sped up, the city paid $6 million to a private contractor to make sure the taps ran dry. So far, some 100,000 have been without water at times.

This is exactly the sort of compromised position many find themselves in with this new economy. And it’s where predatory lending is taking its toll, targeting the desperate with high-risk, high-interest and, therefore, high-reward loans that epitomize Wall Street’s unending “search for yield.”

Bad Credit? We Can Help You Make It Worse

And what a yield lending to subprime customers earns. The “Payday Loan” industry still gets away with interest rates as high as 700 percent, a story WhoWhatWhy reported in March. That kind of loan puts many people into a modern form of sharecropping, accruing debt faster than they can pay it off.

The $3 billion-a-year industry is finally being scrutinized by federal regulators at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Even so, the underlying business model is being profitably recycled.

Take, for example, the entry of banks and private equity firms into the used car business.

They identify distressed and marginal candidates for risky, high-interest loans on cars that all too often end up being lemons, according to the New York Times. After searching for potential customers with low credit scores, banks like Capital One and Wells Fargo work with dealers who send them “certificates” redeemable for a “no credit, no problem” loan. That traps the less financially savvy customers into long-term loans that eventually triple or quadruple the cost of the car—or worse.

New victim targeted: rank and file of the U.S. Military

A little-known company called USA Discounters has opened another front of the high-interest assault, targeting the rank and file of the U.S. military.

USA Discounters leverages the low-wage position of active-duty military families into high-yield loans for mundane household items like TVs and washers and dryers. Despite their name, the company sometimes charges double the normal retail price for items, and gives customers credit on terms that can quickly turn unfavorable.

And that’s really what the subprime economy is now—easy money at the lowerend of America’s wealth gap. And the lower end is growing.

Photo Credit: BUDGET PICTURE

August 5, 2014 Posted by | Economics | | 2 Comments

35% of Americans are in Debt to Collection Agencies

By Noel Brinkerhoff | AllGov | August 5, 2014

More than a third of all adults in the United States find themselves dealing with collections agencies as a result of falling seriously behind on their debts.

It is estimated that 35% of Americans nationwide are in collections, according to Delinquent Debt in America, a new report from the Urban Institute. Debts in collection can include medical bills and traffic fines, as well as consumer credit accounts.

In some states, nearly half of those with credit files are being hounded by debt collectors. Nevada, “which was hard hit by the housing crisis,” the report says, has a 47% rate, the highest in the country.

A dozen states, including 11 in the South, as well as the District of Columbia, are above 40%: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas, and West Virginia. At the other end are Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota, which have the lowest rate of people in collections, about 20%.

Looking at the numbers of what people owe, it isn’t a shock to learn that so many Americans are so far behind on paying their credit cards, mortgages and other debts.

Nerd Wallet reported these sobering figures for the U.S. in April:

Average per household credit card debt: $15,191

Average per household mortgage debt: $154,365

Average per household student loan debt: $33,607

At any one time, about 5% of the population has a non-mortgage bill such as a credit card account, car loan or student loan that’s more than 30 days past due.

To Learn More:

Delinquent Debt in America (Urban Institute) (pdf)

American Household Credit Card Debt Statistics: 2014 (by Tim Chen, Nerd Wallet)

Debt Collection Complaints by Military Members and Veterans Skyrocket (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)

Largest Debt Collector Gets away with Minor Fine for Harassing Citizens (by Matt Bewig, AllGov)

August 5, 2014 Posted by | Economics | | Comments Off on 35% of Americans are in Debt to Collection Agencies

Michigan community rebels against huge expansion, militarization of police

RT | August 5, 2014

After acquiring some military hardware, one local Michigan police chief’s plan to also add more than 30 non-certified officers to the force has residents in Barry Township clamoring for an investigation – and, in some cases, his job.

According to the Detroit Free Press, the township’s police chief Victor Pierce is under fire for what some in the area characterize as increased use of force by law enforcement, as well as for a proposal that would add more officers than are necessary to keep track of a population of 3,900.

Pierce is looking to add 34 individuals to the police reserve force in Barry Township – a significant increase over the four full-time officers currently employed. What’s more, these reserve officers are not certified – the department has already been warned that the officers need training and should only be deployed for special events.

“They’re not from around here,” Tony Crosariol, a biochemist who moved to the area seeking a peaceful life, said to the Free Press. “These reserve officers are not our friends, they are not our neighbors, their kids don’t play sports with my kids.”

Plans to expand the reserve force so much come on top of the fact that the police department is in possession of two armored personnel carriers and two Humvees, which arrived in the area courtesy of the US Department of Defense.

The debate over police behavior as well as the reserve force gained momentum in May after local resident Jack Nadwornik was confronted by a trio of officers who claimed he resisted arrest. Nadwornik was caught urinating outside a bar that had closed down for the evening, and suffered broken hand and was kneed in the back by police before being taken to jail and charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. Nadwornik and another witness said police claims about his behavior were not true.

The incident has galvanized critics who say police are using unnecessary force, and that their behavior stems from Pierce’s aggressive attitude towards law enforcement’s role in the community. Many have called for him to be fired or resign, but he has defended his position by citing events like the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting and threats of terrorism. He said he’s not trying to form “any kind of military machine or mind-set,” and that he’s simply looking to prevent tragedies from occurring in the future.

Despite the criticism, Pierce’s proposals have split the community, with some coming out in support of his plans and defending the police under his watch.

“I think Victor is doing a fine job,” said Delores Mohn, a retired schoolteacher who now works as a church secretary, to the Free Press. “He wants to do what’s right. Every citizen needs to know the laws, and if they are caught, they have to pay the price. I’m very grateful for them and have enormous respect for these officers.”

The situation in Barry Township isn’t the only example of local residents expressing concern over potentially aggressive police departments. As RT reported late last year, police in Salinas, California, came under intense scrutiny after acquiring a heavily armored military vehicle for its SWAT team. Designed for use in war zones like Iraq and Afghanistan, the truck is capable of surviving minefield explosions and rifle fire, leading many to wonder why it was being deployed in their city. Police Chief Kelly McMillin acknowledged concerns but insisted the vehicle would only be used to protect officers and enhance civilian safety.

August 5, 2014 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Subjugation - Torture | , | 1 Comment