vrijdag 24 april 2015

John Pilger 81

Australia Again Wages War on Its Own People

Thursday, 23 April 2015 00:00 By John PilgerTruthout | News Analysis 
"Genocide" is a word Australians hate to hear. (Photo: Aboriginal Man via Shutterstock)In Australia, Aboriginal leaders warn of "a new generation of displaced people" and "cultural genocide." (Photo: Aboriginal Man via Shutterstock)
Australia has again declared war on its Indigenous people, reminiscent of the brutality that brought universal condemnation on apartheid South Africa. Aboriginal people are to be driven from homelands where their communities have lived for thousands of years. In Western Australia, where mining companies make billion-dollar profits exploiting Aboriginal land, the state government says it can no longer afford to "support" the homelands.
Vulnerable populations, already denied the basic services most Australians take for granted, are on notice of dispossession without consultation, and eviction at gunpoint. Yet again, Aboriginal leaders have warned of "a new generation of displaced people" and "cultural genocide."
Genocide is a word Australians hate to hear. Genocide happens in other countries, not the "lucky" society that per capita is the second richest on earth. When "act of genocide" was used in the 1997 landmark report "Bringing Them Home," which revealed that thousands of Indigenous children had been stolen from their communities by White institutions and systematically abused, a campaign of denial was launched by a far-right clique around the then Prime Minister John Howard. It included those who called themselves the Galatians Group, then Quadrant, then the Bennelong Society; the Murdoch press was their voice.
The "Stolen Generation" was exaggerated, they said, if it had happened at all. Colonial Australia was a benign place; there were no massacres. The First Australians were victims of their own cultural inferiority, or they were "noble savages." Suitable euphemisms were deployed.
The government of the current prime minister, Tony Abbott, a conservative zealot, has revived this assault on a people who represent Australia's singular uniqueness. Soon after coming to office, Abbott's government cut $534 million in indigenous social programs, including $160 million from the indigenous health budget and $13.4 million from indigenous legal aid.
In the 2014 report "Overcoming Indigenous Disadvantage Key Indicators," the devastation is clear. The number of Aboriginal people hospitalized for self-harm has leapt, as have suicides among those as young as 11. The indicators show a people impoverished, traumatized and abandoned. Read the classic expose of apartheid South Africa, The Discarded People by Cosmas Desmond, who told me he could write a similar account of Australia.
Having insulted Indigenous Australians by declaring (at a G20 breakfast for David Cameron) that there was "nothing but bush" before the White man, Abbott announced that his government would no longer honor the longstanding commitment to Aboriginal homelands. He sneered, "It's not the job of the taxpayers to subsidize lifestyle choices."
The weapon used by Abbott and his redneck state and territorial counterparts is dispossession by abuse and propaganda, coercion and blackmail, such as his demand for a 99-year leasehold of Indigenous land in the Northern Territory in return for basic services: a land grab in all but name. The minister for Indigenous affairs, Nigel Scullion, refutes this, claiming, "this is about communities and what communities want." In fact, there has been no real consultation, only the co-option of a few.
Both conservative and Labor governments have already withdrawn the national jobs program, CDEP, from the homelands, ending opportunities for employment, and prohibited investment in infrastructure: housing, generators and sanitation. The saving is peanuts.
The reason is an extreme doctrine that evokes the punitive campaigns of the early 20th century "chief protector of Aborigines," such as the fanatic A.O. Neville who decreed that the First Australians "assimilate" to extinction. Influenced by the same eugenics movement that inspired the Nazis, Queensland's "protection acts" were a model for South African apartheid. Today, the same dogma and racism are threaded through anthropology, politics, the bureaucracy and the media. "We are civilised, they are not," wrote the acclaimed Australian historian Russel Ward two generations ago. The spirit is unchanged.
Having reported on Aboriginal communities since the 1960s, I have watched a seasonal routine whereby the Australian elite interrupts its "normal" mistreatment and neglect of the people of the First Nations, and attacks them outright. This happens when an election approaches or a prime minister's ratings are low. Driving people into the fringe slums of "economic hub towns" satisfies the social engineering urges of racists.
The last frontal attack was in 2007 when Prime Minister John Howard sent the army into Aboriginal communities in the Northern Territory to "rescue children" who, said his minister for Aboriginal affairs, Mal Brough, were being abused by pedophile gangs in "unthinkable numbers."
Known as "the intervention," the media played a vital role. In 2006, the national TV current affairs program, ABC's "Lateline," broadcast a sensational interview with a man whose face was concealed. Described as a "youth worker" who had lived in the Aboriginal community of Mutitjulu, he made a series of lurid allegations. Subsequently exposed as a senior government official who reported directly to the minister, his claims were discredited by the Australian Crime Commission, the Northern Territory Police and a damning report by child medical specialists. The community received no apology.
The 2007 "intervention" allowed the federal government to destroy many of the vestiges of self-determination in the Northern Territory, the only part of Australia where Aboriginal people had won federally legislated land rights. Here, they had administered their homelands with the dignity of self-determination and connection to land and culture and, as Amnesty reported, a 40 percent lower mortality rate.
It is this "traditional life" that is anathema to a parasitic White industry of civil servants, contractors, lawyers and consultants that controls and often profits from Aboriginal Australia, if indirectly through the corporate structures imposed on Indigenous organizations. The homelands are seen as a threat, for they express a communalism at odds with the neoconservatism that rules Australia. It is as if the enduring existence of a people who have survived and resisted more than two colonial centuries of massacre and theft remains a specter on White Australia: a reminder of whose land this really is.
The current political attack was launched in the richest state, Western Australia. Last October, the state premier, Colin Barnett, announced that his government could not afford the $90 million budget for basic municipal services to 282 homelands: water, power, sanitation, schools, road maintenance and rubbish collection. It was the equivalent of informing the White suburbs of Perth that their lawn sprinklers would no longer sprinkle and their toilets would no longer flush; and they had to move; and if they refused, the police would evict them.
Where would the dispossessed go? Where would they live? In six years, Barnett's government has built few houses for Indigenous people in remote areas. In the Kimberley region, Indigenous homelessness - aside from natural disaster and civil strife - is among the highest anywhere, in a state renowned for its conspicuous wealth, golf courses and prisons overflowing with impoverished Black people. Western Australia jails Aboriginal males at more than eight times the rate of apartheid South Africa. It has one of the highest incarceration rates of juveniles in the world, almost all of them Indigenous, including children kept in solitary confinement in adult prisons, with their mothers keeping vigil outside.
In 2013, the former prisons minister, Margaret Quirk, told me that the state was "racking and stacking" Aboriginal prisoners. When I asked what she meant, she said, "It's warehousing."
In March, Barnett changed his story. There was "emerging evidence," he said, "of appalling mistreatment of little kids" in the homelands. What evidence? Barnett claimed that gonorrhea had been found in children younger than 14, then conceded he did not know if these were in the homelands. His police commissioner, Karl O'Callaghan, chimed in that child sexual abuse was "rife." He quoted a 15-year-old study by the Australian Institute of Family Studies. What he failed to say was that the report highlighted poverty as the overwhelming cause of "neglect" and that sexual abuse accounted for less than 10 percent.
The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, a federal agency, recently released a report on what it calls the "Fatal Burden" of developing world disease and trauma borne by Indigenous people "resulting in almost 100,000 years of life lost due to premature death." This "fatal burden" is the product of extreme poverty imposed in Western Australia, as in the rest of Australia, by the denial of human rights.
In Barnett's vast, rich Western Australia, barely a fraction of mining, oil and gas revenue has benefited communities for which his government has a duty of care. In the town of Roeburne, in the midst of the booming minerals-rich Pilbara, 80 percent of the Indigenous children suffer from an ear infection called otitis media that causes deafness.
In 2011, the Barnett government displayed a brutality in the community of Oombulgurri the other homelands can expect. "First, the government closed the services," wrote Tammy Solonec of Amnesty International. "It closed the shop, so people could not buy food and essentials. It closed the clinic, so the sick and the elderly had to move, and the school, so families with children had to leave, or face having their children taken away from them. The police station was the last service to close, then eventually the electricity and water were turned off. Finally, the ten residents who resolutely stayed to the end were forcibly evicted [leaving behind] personal possessions. [Then] the bulldozers rolled into Oombulgurri. The WA government has literally dug a hole and in it buried the rubble of people's homes and personal belongings."
In South Australia, the state and federal governments launched a similar attack on the 60 remote Indigenous communities. South Australia has a long-established Aboriginal Lands Trust, so people were able to defend their rights - up to a point. On April 12, the federal government offered $15 million over five years. That such a miserly sum is considered enough to fund proper services in the great expanse of the state's homelands is a measure of the value placed on Indigenous lives by White politicians who unhesitatingly spend $28 billion annually on armaments and the military. Haydn Bromley, chair of the Aboriginal Lands Trust, told me, "The $15 million doesn't include most of the homelands, and it will only cover bare essentials - power, water. Community development? Infrastructure? Forget it."
The current distraction from these national dirty secrets is the approaching "celebrations" of the centenary of an Edwardian military disaster at Gallipoli in 1915 when 8,709 Australian and 2,779 New Zealand troops - the Anzacs - were sent to their death in a futile assault on a beach in Turkey. In recent years, governments in Canberra have promoted this imperial waste of life as an historical deity to mask the militarism that underpins Australia's role as the United States' "deputy sheriff" in the Pacific.
In bookshops, "Australian non-fiction" shelves are full of opportunistic tomes about wartime derring-do, heroes and jingoism. Suddenly, Aboriginal people who fought for the White man are fashionable, whereas those who fought against the White man in defense of their own country, Australia, are unfashionable. Indeed, they are officially non-people. The Australian War Memorial refuses to recognize their remarkable resistance to the British invasion. In a country littered with Anzac memorials, not one official memorial stands for the thousands of native Australians who fought and fell defending their homeland.
This is part of the "great Australian silence," as W.E.H. Stanner in 1968 called his lecture in which he described a "cult of forgetfulness on a national scale." He was referring to the Indigenous people. Today, the silence is ubiquitous. In Sydney, the Art Gallery of New South Wales currently has an exhibition, "The Photograph and Australia," in which the timeline of this ancient country begins, incredibly, with Captain Cook.
The same silence covers another enduring, epic resistance. Extraordinary demonstrations of Indigenous women protesting the removal of their children and grandchildren by the state, some of them at gunpoint, are ignored by journalists and patronized by politicians. More Indigenous children are being wrenched from their homes and communities today than during the worst years of the Stolen Generation. A record 15,000 are presently detained "in care"; many are given to White families and will never return to their communities.
In 2014, the West Australian police minister, Liza Harvey, attended a screening in Perth of my film, Utopia, which documented the racism and thuggery of police toward Black Australians, and the multiple deaths of young Aboriginal men in custody. The minister cried.
On her watch, 50 City of Perth armed police raided an Indigenous homeless camp at Matagarup, and drove off mostly elderly women and young mothers with children. The people in the camp described themselves as "refugees ... seeking safety in our own country." They called for the help of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
Australian politicians are nervous of the United Nations. Abbott's response has been abuse. When Professor James Anaya, the UN special rapporteur on Indigenous people, described the racism of the "intervention," Abbott told him to, "get a life" and "not listen to the old victim brigade."
The planned closure of Indigenous homelands breaches Article 5 of the International Convention for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (ICERD) and the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People (UNDRIP). Australia is committed to "provide effective mechanisms for prevention of, and redress for ... any action which has the aim of dispossessing [Indigenous people] of their lands, territories or resources." The Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights is blunt. "Forced evictions" are against the law.
An international momentum is building. In 2013, Pope Francis urged the world to act against racism and on behalf of "Indigenous people who are increasingly isolated and abandoned." It was South Africa's defiance of such a basic principle of human rights that ignited the international opprobrium and campaign that brought down apartheid. Australia beware.
Copyright, Truthout. May not be reprinted without permission

JOHN PILGER

John Pilger is an Australian-born, London-based journalist, filmmaker and author. For his foreign and war reporting, ranging from Vietnam and Cambodia to the Middle East, he has twice won Britain's highest award for journalism. For his documentary films, he won a British Academy Award and an American Emmy. In 2009, he was awarded Australia's human rights prize, the Sydney Peace Prize. John Pilger's films can be viewed on his website.

Eduardo Galeano R.I.P. 2

Revolution Goes On!

Galeano Died

by ANDRE VLTCHEK
“It’s worthwhile to die for things without which it’s not worthwhile to live.”
— Eduardo Galeano
Eduardo Galeano passed away. For several days I did not know. I was in India, in divided Punjab, working. Then, someone wrote me an email, informing me that my friend, one of the greatest people I’ve ever met in this world, is no more.
My first reaction was of absolute panic. “Does it mean that the revolution is over?” I thought. I was exhausted, overworked, I could not think straight. I was leaving India, my plane to Doha was boarding. I was traveling all the way to Beirut.
After resting for several minutes in my seat, I realized how severe my pain was but how irrational my fear.
Eduardo Galeano was no more. To me, as to so many others, he was one of the most powerful symbols of Latin American humanism and its Revolutions. The first wave of the revolutions, represented by Fidel, Che, and Salvador Allende, formed him, made him what he was. Then, his great voice of justice, poetry, fairytales and dreams shaped the second wave, which during the last two decades swept through Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, and several other Latin American countries.
All great Latin American revolutionaries from the 1990s until now are dreamers, and they grew up on the books of Eduardo Galeano, on his Las venas abiertas de América Latina (Open Veins of Latin America), and on the monumental trilogy often described as “the most powerful literary indictment of colonialism in the Americas” – Memoria del fuego (Memory of Fire).
I grew up on his books as a child. His work had a tremendous influence on me, convincing me to become an internationalist, and later an anti-imperialist fighter.
I am certain that Hugo Chavez would not have decided to lead his men against the degenerate pro-Western regime in Caracas, if he had not been inspired by Open Veins of Latin America, if he had not been outraged by the powerful examples this book provided of the ravishment and plundering of his beloved continent by Spanish colonialists and, later, by North American supremacists.
Evo Morales and Rafael Vicente Correa would have never felt such a strong moral mandate to act and to defend both the indigenous and the poor people in their countries, if they would not have sensed the horrible weight of the more than 500 year rape of their continent, so meticulously, vigorously, and beautifully described in Memory of Fire.
Galeano’s work has been, for decades, a powerful symbol of defiance against North American imperialism. Chavez gave Open Veins of Latin America to Obama, in Trinidad and Tobago, at the 17 April 2009 opening session of the 5th Summit of the Americas. A year earlier, Galeano himself commented on Obama’s election: “The White House will be Barack Obama’s house for a while, but this White House was built by black slaves. And I’d like, I hope, that he never, never forgets this”.
In Latin America, Eduardo Galeano was revered as a giant of letters, as a symbol of rebellion, of revolution, and of the fight for justice.
That is why, subconsciously, I was overwhelmed by fear after learning of Eduardo Galeano’s death: fear that something great and important had just ended, and would not be able to go on.
But soon I calmed down a little: my friend, a man, a wonderful human being, Eduardo Galeano, is no more. But the revolution, which he helped to ignite, will go on, until the final victory!
***
“Utopia is on the horizon,” Galeano once wrote. “I move two steps closer; it moves two steps further away. I walk another ten steps and the horizon runs ten steps further away. As much as I may walk, I’ll never reach it. So what’s the point of utopia? The point is this: to keep walking.”
Galeano told me that he was in love with two ladies, both splendid, both fragile, both tremendously desirable. One was called Utopia, the other, Reality.
Both are dangerous to the masters of the world, to Empire, because one gathers dreams, including dreams for a better world, while the other one bravely tells the truth.
We were sitting in old Cafe Brasilero in Montevideo, when he suddenly declared:
“I am a hunter of stories; I listen to the stories, then I give this back to the people after putting the stories through a creative process. My position is always that in order to not be mute, one should not be deaf. One has to be able to listen in order to speak. I am a passionate listener. I listen to reality. Reality is a magic lady, sometimes very mysterious. To me she is very passionate. She is real, not only when she is awake, walking down the streets, but also at night when she is dreaming or when she is having nightmares. When I am writing, I am always paying tribute to her – to that lady called Reality. I am trying not to fail her.”
Utopia, Quixotism, poetry – these are essential materials from which every great revolution is made.
Reality is absolutely essential, too.
Galeano flew deep into the past of his continent, and he visualized a great future for his people. He imagined and dreamed, insulting injustice, demanding the impossible.
There were days when he chose to totally divorce himself from reality, at least for a time: “I am working every night, on a book, together with my great friend, a Mexican painter … who lived 150 years ago. We are having very meaningful conversations…”
There were days when he would answer every question I asked with a story, a fairytale:
“Are the veins of Latin America still open, Eduardo?”
He smiled at me, paused for a few seconds, then answered:
Yes … obviously yes. I think they are. Not long ago I met count Dracula in Buenos Aires. He was looking for an Argentinean psychoanalyst. Argentina produces many psychoanalysts. Someone told Dracula that an Argentinean psychoanalyst could still cure him. I found count Dracula in a terrible state, really depressed, thin, terrible…”
I played the game: “There is plenty of competition around, isn’t there?”
“Exactly. Dracula was suffering from a tremendous inferiority complex, seeing how the great corporations of the modern world behave. So he was walking through the streets, searching for someone to cure him.”
I wondered: “But a vampire like him, in this world he probably has many friends, not only competitors…”
Galeano insisted: “He saw them all as competition. And he told me that nothing made much sense anymore. Seeing how the world behaved, nothing made sense to him.”
While Galeano was talking about his encounter with Dracula, we drank coffee and water and I forget what else. Cafe Brasileiro is the oldest cafe in Montevideo, founded in 1877, and of course, it was “his cafe”. Galeano claimed that it was haunted, a bit like Cafe Tortoni in Buenos Aires. I read somewhere that they closed it down several years ago, but now as I search for it online, it is still there. Maybe another fairytale from Montevideo?
Every time we met there, I felt guilty. There were dozens of men and women, most of them very young, trying to steal at least a few seconds of Eduardo’s time: to get an autograph, or to ask that “one significant, essential question”. Boys would beg for an inscription so that they could present a signed book to their beloved: “Please put down ‘for Laurita’, Magda, Daniela…”
I had several engagements in Montevideo: showing my documentary about the 1965 coup in Indonesia at the legendary Cinemateca Uruguaya, and delivering speeches, or were they lectures, at the Film School.
But we kept meeting, mostly discussing what was most important for both of us – the future of Latin America and its revolution.
By then, Eduardo had inspired hundreds of millions, but he was not aspiring to lead.
With great admiration I realized that now his goal was much more humble but equally important: to make sure that the new Latin American leaders would fulfill their promises and not betray the people.
Yes, changes were on the horizon, they were happening as we spoke. Almost all of Latin America was getting up from its knees. But the historic, economic, and social context was still terrible. So much work had to be done:
“I would say that now the tendency is to vote in progressive governments that are trying to change things. This means a tremendous challenge but also a tremendous responsibility, because these new progressive governments that can be found in several countries of Latin America are carriers of collective hope which was not dead but seriously wounded, in terrible shape. Latin America is part of the world, which was for many years condemned to the system of power where intimidation had more strength than the vote. It began in 1954 – more than half a century ago – when the democratically elected government of Guatemala attempted to make agrarian reforms, to return dignity to indigenous people. All that was later destroyed by foreign invasion. And then it continued: invasions and coups against any positive changes – progressive or nationalistic – concerning natural resources, independence, national dignity… Governments that intended to implement changes were destroyed. It happened in Brazil, Dominican Republic, Bolivia, in Chile, which became the most famous case because Salvador Allende was converted to an international symbol. Then the Sandinistas in Nicaragua, again the same thing – they were destroyed after ten years of war because they intended to create a country – fatherland – where there was only a colony before. So all this is a very long story, a story of frustrations, failures, of hope washed in blood. All this created the situation in which we are now. How can I explain it? Change is possible, but to implement the change, one has to fight against not only the painful and fucked up experiences of the last half century but also against the long betrayal and something that I call “the culture of impotence”. It is a culture that has roots in the colonial period, in the period when the continent was controlled by Spain and Portugal and that was later broken up and consolidated by the military dictatorships and the fatalistic brothers of the church. All this helped to create a culture of impotence that manages to paralyze people with fear. It tells you that reality is untouchable, reality can’t be touched, can’t be changed. These days this culture of fear has a spokesman who is a universal god – the god of the market, a gangrenous figure. He is checking on us from above and tells us what we can do and what we can’t.”
One evening he spoke about Hope:
“People here want very basic things. They still can’t find the answers or solutions to their very simple demands like dignity, peace, and work. People are searching but they are not finding solutions. They are walking and searching on different roads. They are being betrayed – we have a long tradition of betrayal here. And they are now, generally and to a certain point, thinking that these new governments, which have lately appeared in several parts of South America, will act more or less in accordance with the hope that they managed to evoke. That’s why I always say: careful, one doesn’t play with people’s hope. Hope is very fragile. If the people deposited this hope in your hands, comrades – be very careful! Don’t betray this hope. Because hope can’t be recovered easily! When it is lost, it takes a long time to bring it back. New progressive governments in South America are facing tremendous historic responsibility. One writer and journalist who had a profound influence on me kept repeating: one sin, which can’t be forgiven, is a sin against hope. Everything can be forgiven, but not this. That’s why progressive governments have to be extremely careful not to destroy hope.”
It was a difficult, very difficult time. And Eduardo Galeano, the great Marxist, an enormous left-wing thinker and Revolutionary, stood by the people during that period, and not by the politicians and leaders. Because people are what really matter – Revolution is conducted for them, to serve them, not the other way around!
I understood it then, but I think that I understand it now, several years later, much better.
And the Latin American leaders and revolutionaries listened and understood, too. It was extremely challenging for some of them. Especially in Brazil, Chile and Argentina, where right-wing media and oligarchs and neoliberals were fighting for every inch of territory. But with some very few exceptions, nobody betrayed! Hope was not killed. Hope is still there, bigger and bigger, tremendous. And Eduardo Galeano and a few others are to be thanked for that.
***
And there is one more tremendous thing related to Eduardo that I will remember for as long as I live:
I shared with him my fear that without armed struggle against imperialism, no victory can, most likely, be achieved.
He did not say yes or no. He thought for a while, then drilled me with his eyes:
“You and I are educated and we know the world. We are in many ways what they call the leaders. And leaders must serve their people. No matter how tough our lives are, we are not victims. Those who are suffering are the robbed, poor, uneducated people. They have to decide whether and when to take up arms and go: they, not we. If and when they decide to fight, we have to obey and lead them. Whether they will fight or not is not up to us to decide.”
Galeano died. My eyes are full of tears. Personally, I feel devastated. But Revolution is spreading all over the world and that is what matters. Thanks to him, and to others like him, fewer and fewer people will betray the cause. And more and more will dream and fight for the survival of our Planet, more and more will “keep walking”!
Eduardo Galeano at Cafe Brasillero, Montevideo
Eduardo Galeano at Cafe Brasillero, Montevideo
Andre Vltchek is a philosopher, novelist, filmmaker and investigative journalist. He covered wars and conflicts in dozens of countries. His latest books are: “Exposing Lies Of The Empire” and Fighting Against Western ImperialismDiscussion with Noam Chomsky: On Western TerrorismPoint of No Return is his critically acclaimed political novel. Oceania – a book on Western imperialism in the South Pacific. His provocative book about Indonesia: “Indonesia – The Archipelago of Fear”. Andre is making films for teleSUR and Press TV. After living for many years in Latin America and Oceania, Vltchek presently resides and works in East Asia and the Middle East. He can be reached through his website or his Twitter.


Peter van der Meersch Propaganda

 Ook te weinig: de 1 procent van ons bbp die wij besteden aan Defensie. Dat betoogden toch Dick Berlijn, Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, Jan Pronk en vele anderen in hun oproep in onze krant. ‘De wankele wereldorde vergt gewoon een leger met grotere slagkracht’, aldus de ondertekenaars.


Ik kijk uit naar uw reactie. Mail mij op petervandermeersch@nrc.nl



MH 17 Mystery 51

Nederlanders, laat van je horen!

mark-rutte2Na veel speculatie is door de Australische overheid eindelijk bevestigd dat de Nederlandse Staat een geheime deal heeft gesloten met Oekraïne, één van de verdachten van de ramp met de MH17.
Door deze geheime afspraak wordt het voor steeds meer Nederlanders duidelijk dat een eerlijke en openbare verklaring van de toedracht met de MH17steeds verder uit het zicht verdwijnt door een rookgordijn van geheimhoudingsclausules.
Door aan deze zéér belangrijke verdachte een vetorecht toe te staan, waardoor het mogelijk is geworden om bepaalde zaken uit de openbaarheid te houden, geeft onze regering te kennen dat zij de kant heeft gekozen van de nieuwe, door een staatsgreep geïnstalleerde neonazistische Oekraïense  regering.
Dat dit de uitkomst naar het onderzoek enorm belemmert boeit Minister president Mark Rutte en toenmalig minister van Buitenlandse Zaken, Frans Timmermans, kennelijk niet. Het zegt veel over het decor van de overheid die met hun schijnheilige optreden tijdens de ceremoniële terugkomst van de slachtoffers, doen alsof zij de oorzaak hoe dan ook zullen achterhalen en de dader ervan te zullen straffen.
Door het afschermen van de ware toedracht van de ramp met de MH17 maken ze zich schuldig aan landverraad door het verduisteren van een waarheid, die schijnbaar niet aan het volk wordt toevertrouwd.
We hoeven immers niemand uit te leggen dat een proces waarbij één van de verdachten in de zaak, mag meebepalen wat er wel of niet openbaar gemaakt wordt, nooit in het belang van waarheidsvinding kan zijn.Erger nog, de waarheid zal hierdoor waarschijnlijk nooit boven tafel komen. Het is zéér wrang en onacceptabel dat de Nederlandse regering, onder leiding van premier Mark Rutte, hieraan haar medewerking heeft verleend. Het is een klap in het gezicht van de slachtoffers en hun nabestaanden,
Ivo-OpsteltenHet doet denken aan de zaak Demmink, waarbij minister Ivo Opstelten van Justitie al voor het onderzoek deponeert: Er was niks , er is niks en er zal ook niks gevonden worden” Opstelten maakt zich hier als verantwoordelijk minister van Justitie schuldig aan een complete en afkeurenswaardige belemmering van de rechtsgang.
Na dagen die veranderen in weken en langzaam overgaan in maanden tot uiteindelijk misschien wel jaren, komen er steeds meer aanwijzingen bovendrijven waaruit blijkt dat onze regering meer belang heeft bij het verborgen houden van de waarheid, dan haar te openbaren.
De houding van het Westen richting Rusland en de separatisten is al vanaf dag één al in de beschuldigende sfeer en daar lijkt, ondanks aanwijzingen dat de schuldige waarschijnlijk in het met Nazi-milities aangevulde Oekraïense leger gezocht moet worden, geen einde aan te komen,.
Het lijkt anno 2014 regeringsbeleid te zijn geworden om burgers via geheimhoudingsverklaringen onwetend te te laten over zaken waarvan de overheid niet wil dat ze door de bevolking geweten worden.
Een wet die het tegenwerken van overheidsfunctionarissen aan openbaarmaking van zulke ernstige feiten strafbaar stelt, zou in ons rechtssysteem niet misstaan.

Democracy For Sale 2

It's Not the 1 Percent Controlling Politics. It's the 0.01 Percent.

| Thu Apr. 23, 2015 6:15 AM EDT
Even before presidential candidates started lining up billionaires to kick-start their campaigns, it was clear that the 2016 election could be the biggest big-money election yet. This chart from the political data shop Crowdpac illustrates where we may be headed: Between 1980 and 2012, the share of federal campaign contributions coming from the very, very biggest political spenders—the top 0.01 percent of donors—nearly tripled:
In other words, a small handful of Americans* control more than 40 percent of election contributions. Notably, between 2010 and 2012, the total share of giving by these donors jumped more than 10 percentage points. That shift is likely the direct result of the Supreme Court's 2010 Citizens United ruling, which struck down decades of fundraising limits and kicked off the super-PAC era. And this data only includes publicly disclosed donations, not dark money, which almost certainly means that the megadonors' actual share of total political spending is even higher.
It's pretty fair to assume that most of these top donors are also sitting at the top of the income pyramid. Out of curiosity, I compared the share of campaign cash given by elite donors alongside the increasing share of income controlled by the people who make up the top 0.01 percent—the 1 percent of the 1 percent. The trend lines aren't an exact match, but they're close enough to show how top donors' political clout has increased along with top earners' growing slice of the national income. Again, note the bump around 2010 and 2011, when the Citizens United era opened just as the superwealthy were starting to recover from the recession—a rebound that has left out most Americans.

Simon Black 5

The next time some financial pundit tells you to buy stocks, just show them this—
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Cancun, Mexico
April 23, 2015
The next time some financial pundit tells you to buy stocks, show them this chart.
It’s an incredibly interesting take on not only how expensive stocks are right now, but also how the monetary system has left the average guy behind.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average, when priced in the average blue-collar hourly wage (based on the US Labor Department’s historical data) is now, you guessed it, at an all-time high.
This means that it takes the typical worker more hours of sweat and labor to buy the Dow than ever before in at least the last five decades.
Investing… saving money and trying to build wealth… is simply out of reach for the average guy.
The line of bull that politicians and central bankers try to sell us all the time is that our prosperity is increasing.
This is a bizarre assertion since all they’re really doing is racking up record amounts of debt and printing unprecedented quantities of money.
Their own statistics, in fact, show that when adjusted for inflation, “real wages” are far lower than they were more than 15 years ago.
This is not progress. This is not prosperity.
This is a classic example of the high priests of the monetary system using the middle-class as a sacrificial lamb for the benefit of a small banking elite.
Take a look for yourself:

 
Until tomorrow, 
Signature 
Simon Black 
Founder, SovereignMan.com

Yemen 24

Houthi arms bonanza came from Saleh, not Iran

Gareth Porter's picture
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Claims Iran is supplying the Houthis with weapons ignore the fact the group was already flush with American arms from ex-president Saleh
As the Saudi bombing campaign against Houthi targets in Yemen continues, notwithstanding a temporary pause, the corporate media narrative about the conflict in Yemen is organised decisively around the idea that it is a proxy war between Iran on one side and the Saudis and United States on the other.
USA Today responded like Pavlov’s dog this week to a leak by Pentagon officials that it was sending the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt to the waters off Yemen, supposedly to intercept Iranian vessels carrying weapons to the Houthis.  It turned out that the warship was being sent primarily to symbolise US support for the Saudis, and the Pentagon made no mention of Iranian arms when it announced the move.  But the story of the US navy intercepting Iranian arms was irresistible, because it fit so neatly into the larger theme of Iran arming and training the Houthis as its proxy military force in Yemen.
News stories on Yemen in recent months have increasingly incorporated a sentence or even a paragraph invoking the accusation that Iran has been arming the Houthis and using them to gain power in the Gulf. The State Department’s principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Gerald Feierstein nourished that narrative in Congressional testimony last week depicting Iran as having provided “financial support, weapons, training and intelligence” to the Houthis. Feierstein acknowledged that the Houthi movement is “not controlled directly by Iran”, but claimed a “significant growth in Iranian engagement” with the Houthis in the past year.
Like most popular myths the dominant narrative of the Houthi movement as Iranian proxy in Yemen is based on a kernel of truth: the Houthis share the Iranians’ dim views of American intentions in the Middle East and have sought to take advantage of the Hezbollah model to enhance their political-military effectiveness. 

Houthis rise - myth and reality

But the assumption that the Houthis have been looking to Iran to train their troops or supply their need for weapons ignores the most basic facts of their ascendance. The Houthis built up their military forces from virtually nothing to as many 100,000 troops today through a series of six wars with Yemeni government troops. In the process they have not only become much better trained, but have acquired a vast pool of arms from Yemen’s black market. A United Nations Experts’ report earlier this year cites estimates that Yemen is awash with 40 to 60 million weapons. The Houthis were also getting a continuing stream of modern arms directly from corrupt Yemeni military commanders from 2004 through 2010. 
And in their eagerness to conform to the general theme of an Iran vs US-Saudi proxy war in Yemen, the media’s treatment of alleged Iranian arms to the Houthis has ignored the fact that the Houthis had forged an alliance by early 2014 with a far larger source of arms: former President Ali Abdullah Saleh. It was that alliance that propelled the Houthis into power last September, not their ties with Iran.
After Saleh was forced to step down as president in 2012, the government supposedly reorganised the military and Saleh’s son Ahmed Ali Saleh was ousted as commander of the Republican Guard. But in fact Saleh continued to control the military through his allies in most of the command positions. When the Houthi advanced on Sanaa last September, it was all carefully choreographed by Saleh. The Houthis were able to take one Yemeni military facility after another without a fight and enter the capital easily.

Houthi weapon bonanza - a gift from America

In the process, the Houthis acquired a new bonanza of weapons that had been provided by the United States over the previous eight years.   According to Pentagon documents acquired under the Freedom of Information Act by Joseph Trevithick, the Defence Department had delivered about $500 million in military hardware to the Yemeni military from 2006 on.  The gusher of new US arms included Russian-made helicopters, more than 100 Humvees with the latest armor packages, 100s of pickup trucks, rocket propelled grenades, advanced radios, night vision goggles and millions of rounds of ammunition.   
A significant part of that weaponry and equipment was scooped up by Houthi fighters on their way into Sanaa and has been visible in the months since then. When the Houthis advanced into Aden 1 April, residents reported seeing four tanks and three armored vehicles as well as Rocket propelled grenades.  On 29 March, after the Saudi bombing campaign had begun, the Houthis were reported to have had control of the Yemeni Air Force’s 16 fighter planes, of which eleven had been destroyed by the bombing.
In light of the reality that the Houthis are already flush with American arms that may be worth as much as hundreds of millions of dollars, the flurry of media excitement over the US Navy sending another warship to intercept an Iranian flotilla of arms is an odd bit of burlesque that ought to be in an embarrassment.
The one concrete allegation that has been invoked by media stories in recent months is the case of a ship called Jihan 1, said to have been laden with Iranian arms, that was intercepted in early 2013.  A Reuters story last December cited a list a list of all the items on board provided by a “senior Yemeni security official,” which included Katyusha rifles, RPGs-7s, tons of RDX explosives and surface-to-air missiles. 

Jihan 1 - murky claims

But the Hadi government never provided any evidence that the ship was sent by Iran or was intended for the Houthis.  And most of the items mentioned were not even Iranian-manufactured weapons. The one odd exception was a reference to “Iranian-made night vision goggles”. That fact suggests that the ship was intended to provide arms to al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, which carries out large numbers of terrorist bombings and would have needed the large supplies of RDX. The Houthis, on the other hand, are not known to have used that explosive. The UN expert panel formed to support the UN Security Council sanctions against Houthi commanders and Saleh reported that it had been “unable to independently confirm the allegation” about the Jihan 1.
The Reuters story, published months after the Houthis had acquired a large portion of the Yemeni army’s American arms, quoted a second Yemeni security official as still claiming that Iranian weapons “are still coming in by sea and there's money coming in through transfers".
Reuters further claimed that a “senior Iranian official,” contradicting official Iranian denials, had told the news agency that “the pace of money and arms getting to the Houthis had increased since their seizure of Sanaa.” The official allegedly said there were hundreds of IRGC personnel training the Houthis and six Iranian military advisers in Yemen. That part of the story appears suspicious to say the least.
The politically convenient story line that the Houthis are proxies of Iran is hardly new. As a US diplomatic cable from Sanaa in 2009 reveals, the Yemeni government had waged a continuing campaign for years during its wars with the Houthis to persuade the United States that Iran and Hezbollah were arming and training the Houthis, but had never produced any real evidence to support the claim.
Ties between the Houthis and Iran undoubtedly exist, driven by a common distrust of American and Saudi roles in Yemen and the Houthis’ need for an ideology that would enhance their power.  But the slack-jawed media approach to the story - starting with its refusal to put the allegations of continuing Iran arms smuggling to the Houthis in the context of the Houthis bonanza of US arms - has produced the usual fog of misinformation and confusion.
Gareth Porter is an independent investigative journalist and winner of the 2012 Gellhorn Prize for journalism. He is the author of the newly published Manufactured Crisis: The Untold Story of the Iran Nuclear Scare.
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Eye.
Photo: Yemeni deminers collect mines and explosives at the scene of an airstrike allegedly carried out by the Saudi-led coalition on a nearby Houthi controlled missile depot at Fajj Attan Hill in Sana’a, Yemen, on April 22, 2015 (AA)