Wednesday, November 30, 2011

What’s Worse, Storming An Embassy Or Assassinating Scientists?

If it involves a hate-object nation like Iran, clearly mobs storming consulates is an outrage, worthy of condemnation by the UN Security Council and lectures by the President of the U.S. about responsibility. Assassinating Iranian physicists, however, is barely worth reporting in the papers. And when it is reported, it’s with the pretense that who’s doing it is a “mystery.”

UK PM David Cameron calls the overrunning of Britain’s embassy in Tehran by a mob  “outrageous” and “indefensible” and threatens unspecified “grave consequences.” Unlike any consequences the U.S. or Israel suffer for assassinating scientists inside another country. Or any that the UK and U.S. suffered for overthrowing the last democratic regime in Iran in 1953, imposing a vicious dictator, the “Shah” (“King”), who killed 250,000 Iranians during the course of his bloody reign. With the CIA’s help, his secret police, the SAVAK, did such a great job of torturing and exterminating anyone with a smidgen of progressive, democratic consciousness that when the Iranian people couldn’t take any more, only fundamentalist mullahs were left as an organized group to fill the power vacuum. So an oppressive, theocratic oligarchy is the legacy of the U.S.-UK coup. (During his quarter century reign, Amnesty International listed Iran as the world’s worst human rights violator.)

Now “international outrage” is the order of the day for trashing the British embassy. (No harm was done to any British personnel.) Murdering scientists? Don’t mention it. Take a guess what the reaction would be if Iran was assassinating people inside the UK or U.S.
There’s a history here, which the Western media assiduously blacks out so people won’t be aware of it. But people in Iran are aware of it. I suspect that is why, of all the countries with sanctions against Iran, the UK’s facilities were attacked. (The U.S. has no diplomatic mission in Iran.)

No, this doesn’t mean I’m on Iran’s “side.” I’m not. I’m objective. Something very rare.

By the way, Israel sacked the Soviet embassy in Beirut during their 1982 invasion of Lebanon. And the CIA had a plan to attack the Chinese embassy in Havana in the early 1960s, including killing Chinese diplomatic personnel. The Western media threw those bits of history down the memory hole. “History” in the West (and everywhere, unfortunately) is a process of selective “remembering” (often distorted or flat-out false) and convenient “forgetting,” driven by concealed political and ideological agendas, while feigning “objectivity.”

[After I wrote this, later in the day the BBC kindly illustrated my point about dishonest propagandists blacking out history.  The anchor on “World (Dis)Service” interviewed the BBC’s Jonathan Marcus, who “explained” Iranian behavior in terms of Iranian perceptions about British involvement in the region. No mention of the 1953 coup, or Britain colonizing the region by force, or dispossessing Palestinians in favor of Jews from Europe. Not that the Iranian regime is reasonable, or decent.  But painting it black and white, as in We the West are the Good Guys and Iran is Evil is clearly not journalism but propaganda. Propaganda designed to prepare public opinion for another war, in fact.]

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Agents Of Financial Oligarchy Seize Direct Control Of Greek and Italian Governments

Without any vote by the people of those countries, agents of the top levels of global finance have seized direct government power in Greece and Italy. Their resumes, proudly put forth in the corporate media as superior qualifications justifying their anti-democratic imposition on the people, in fact are damning evidence of just who they are and what class they represent.

In Greece, the political bosses appointed Lucas Papademos, the former vice-president of the European Central Bank, as Prime Minister. Papademos demanded, as conditions for his deigning to take over Greece without the approval of the Greek people (this lifelong elitist never had to be elected to anything in his life to weird  power) that he have a term of six months, thus cancelling the promised February elections (that’s the second canceled chance to vote for the Greek people, counting Papandreou’s promise of a “referendum” on the onerous “bailout” deal, a promise he reneged on just 3 days after making it), so that he’d have enough time to cram the “austerity” “medicine” down the throats of the Greek people; total control over cabinet appointments, and sweeping powers. Oh, and he acts like he’s doing everyone a favor by taking over.

According to the London Guardian:

“The appointment of Papademos, who has never been elected to any public office but is considered one of Europe's foremost experts in macroeconomics, was met with relief.
“Politicians, pundits, economists, business and industry leaders all expressed the belief that, liberated from the constraints of "political cost", Papademos was the ideal person to navigate the country away from the shores of economic disaster.
"’The new government is the last hope for the Greek economy," said Dimitris Daskalopoulos, who heads the Hellenic Federation of Enterprises. "If Greeks allow the new prime minister to work, if they overcome party politics … it can become a government of national salvation.’"
Who likes him speaks volumes. Papademos was indoctrinated in the U.S. In his “acceptance speech,” he called for “unity” and “consensus;” i.e. unity of the political elite behind his draconian plan to make the Greek economy scream to pay off the bondholders.
Meanwhile, in Italy, the President, an ex-Communist Party member (!) named Giorgio Napolitano, anointed another financial plutocrat, one Mario Monti, senator for life. This to pave the way for his appointment (again sans any input from the people) as Prime Minister to replace the absurd, corrupt lothario Silvio Berlusconi. This eminence is described as a “free market economist” by the Wall Street Journal, which of course approves. Monti is an ex-European Commissioner, that is, a member of the permanent ruling class in Europe (unelected of course), the capitalist nomenklatura, if you will.
The euphemism for these guys is “technocrat.” This is totally disingenuous, a disguise of their true nature. “Technocrat” implies, and the corporate media “news” reporting often states explicitly, that these agents are non-ideological, neutral technicians, like economic engineers, and “economics” is some value-free science, like physics or chemistry.

 In fact, what they call “economics” is mostly an ideology with a specific class bias. The “technocrats” are political agents who represent the transnational financial oligarchy. Far from being non-ideological, they have an agenda to defend the class interests of the top levels of finance capital. Their ideology, falsely put forth as neutral, objective reality, makes the economic interests of the financial oligarchy paramount over everything else. This attitude is a given, and is paraded under the false premise of economic reality, like rock strata in geology. But this is not science, and these class interests are not an immutable reality. And the submission of all other interests and values to their hegemony is pure and simply a policy choice, not an unavoidable imperative of reality.

Friday, November 04, 2011

Euro Fetishism

The financial elites and their political frontmen are waxing hysterical over the prospect of Greece “leaving the Eurozone,” i.e. reverting to its own sovereign currency, the drachman. Understand, if this happened, Greece would still be part of the European Union, as the 10 members of that Union that don’t use the euro are. (There are 27 nations in the European Union, 17 of which abolished their national currencies and adopted the euro as a common currency.)

Why a tiny nation of 11 million people is crucial to the viability of the euro is a mystery. If the euro is really that fragile, it’s not a viable currency anyway.

Of course, as critics predicted, problems would result from a common currency and collective central bank, but individual national fiscal policies and separate economies with separate rates of growth, inflation, unemployment, etc.

Greece desperately needs to jettison the euro and bring back the drachma. The drachma will be worth less than euros. Greek exports will immediately become less expensive and thus more competitive, generating production in Greece. Greece will draw more tourists since it will be much cheaper to vacation there. And while this is called “inflationary,” probably Greeks will find lower prices. Every country that adopted the euro socked its people with higher retail prices. In Greece a bottle of water went from half a drachma to one and a half euros (about $2.).

High Speed Railroad Set Up To Persecute Occupy Wall Street Protesters

New York City is expanding a special court for the express purpose of “processing” the 900 protesters rounded up by the New York Police Department (NYPD) in the past few weeks. 

The special “court” dispenses with such niceties as juries or allowing defense attorneys enough time for preparation. (Bet you thought the U.S. Constitution “guaranteed” you a right to a jury trial That’s what it says, true, but words don’t always mean what they say, I guess.)

An enthusiastic NY Times article on the matter hails it as providing “swift justice.” Egyptian military “court” style, I’d say. [“Special Manhattan Court Trims Case Backlog, but Defense Lawyers See Drawbacks,” NYT, 11/3/11, p. A25. “Drawbacks” like the fact that the whole setup is skewed to favor prosecutors and produce convictions.Link to article on blogpost title.]

The Times gives an example of how the “court” works by citing the case of an African street vendor arrested for selling umbrellas without a permit. His lawyer asked for a ONE DAY delay in the “trial” so that a defense witness could appear.

The “court” said no. (Time is of the essence in such serious matters, you see.) Duly convicted by the “judge,” the African was fine $500 for the crime of trying to survive.

Next up, $500 fines for silly people who think the Bill of Rights of the U.S. Constitution “guarantees” their freedom of speech and assembly. And if you don’t pay, they imprison you.

Of course, these being misdemeanor charges, defendant-victims can still be sentenced to jail for a year, say. But in a country where stealing a slice of pizza can get you life in prison, as happens in California, what’s the big deal about having a year of your life stolen? Quit your whining!

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Euro Bosses Beat Back Threat Of Democracy Breaking Out In Greece

Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou didn't even have the decency to wait half a week before reneging on his offer of allowing the Greek people to vote in a referendum on the economic holocaust being imposed on them. "Summoned to explain himself" (as all media reports phrased it) by his political superiors to the G-20 meeting site in lovely Cannes, France, he was handed an ultimatum to decide if Greece was in or out of the Eurozone (i.e. the euro currency bloc). Oh, and no more money until after that referendum.

Back in Greece, Papandreou revealed that all he really cared about was staying Prime Minister as long as possible. That's all that matters to him. But let him tell you. Here's what he said to the Greek Parliament:

"I will be glad even if we don't go to a referendum, which was never a purpose in itself. I'm glad that all this discussion has at least brought a lot of people back to their senses," he said in the text of his speech released to media. Can you get more nakedly cynical than that? He says it right out in the open.

All he wants is a "unity" government with his bourgeois opposition party. He wants to hang on to his pathetic job as underboss of Greece for High Finance. Facing a no-confidence vote tomorrow, his "referendum" offer was just a ploy to save his own job. What he wants is to force the opposition to sit in the same sinking boat he's in. The right wing opposition party wants early elections, which they will cynically win by pretending to seek a "better deal" from the financiers and political bosses of Greater Europe.

This is the trouble with bourgeois class dictatorships. There is actually no electoral choice in places like Greece and the U.S., where no real alternative is organized as a political party that can genuinely compete for state power.

The Greek people need to overthrow their current rulers and go the Argentine route: go back to their own currency and default on "their" debts- the debts run up by the misrulers who listened to the siren song of Goldman Sachs et al and piled up reckless, feckless, irresponsible debt. The "investment bankers" made a killing "financing" Greek government spending, and now the banks stuck holding the bag want bailouts and rescues. Once again Goldman conned the other financiers, just as it did when it peddled bum bundled junk mortgages as AAA investments to its suckers- I mean, "clients."

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

German-French Ultimatum To Greece

Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou is "summoned" to Cannes by German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who demand that Greece make a snap decision whether it wants to stay in the Euro Zone or not.

He was told Greece won't receive more aid until after the January referendum on the latest economic squeeze ("austerity program") so creditors could see if the Greeks would accept the deal.

 "Europe cannot be kept waiting for weeks for the outcome of the referendum" sniffed French Prime Minister Francois Fillon to parliament. "The Greeks must say quickly and without ambiguity whether they choose to keep their place in the euro zone or not."

And Merkel made it clear that the dominant European powers were out of patience and wanted to bring matters to a head one way or the other. "We agreed a plan for Greece last week. We want to put this plan into practice, but for this we need clarity and the meeting tonight should help with precisely this," she said.

European Political Bosses Desperate To Head Off Greek Democracy

Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou’s surprise stunt of calling for a referendum so the Greek people can finally have a say in the economic assaults being waged on them for the past two years (aka “bailouts” and “rescues,” although it’s bankers and other bondholders  who are the objects of concern) has European political bosses (called “leaders,” just as corporate bosses aren’t bosses, but are “leaders”) in a tizzy. Sarkozy of France, Merkel of Germany et al are insisting that the deal is done, and the Greeks just have to swallow it, no voting by the Greek people allowed.

The Dutch Prime Minister, Mark Rutte, was particularly blunt. He told his Parliament in no uncertain terms that the planned referendum was “very unfortunate” and “we have to do everything to prevent it.”

We have to do everything to prevent it. Some CIA goon couldn’t have said it better. God forbid the Greek people have a say in their own fate. God forbid decisions made by the rulers should be subject to popular approval. That would be…democratic!!!

“Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou was summoned to Cannes to explain himself…” to the other countries’ bosses. NPR actually said this today Nov 2 at 4:31 pm. Can you get more nakedly highhanded and arrogant? But I suppose that’s accurate. Various newspapers in the U.S. and Europe also used the verb “summoned” to describe the action.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Whiff Of Democracy In Greece Sends Markets Into A Tizzy

Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou pulled a surprise today by announcing that he would put the latest "bailout-reform-austerity" deal to a vote of the Greek people- those who stand to suffer under it.

This threw the financial markets for a loop, with stocks in Europe and the U.S. down several percentage points. The financial elite and its various mouthpieces were all in a lather about this terrible idea. What right do the people who are losing their livelihoods have to weigh in on the plan the rulers have decided on for them?

Already the speculation on one voice of finance, Bloomberg Radio (owned by the same billionaire who is Mayor of New York City, the self-proclaimed "Greatest City in the World," or, as a Bloomberg Radio slogan has it, "The Financial Capital of The World," perhaps the same thing) is that Papandreou would either back down- or be ousted! Well, the masters of the world (or of "the universe," in their own megalomaniacal phrase) are good at ousting disobedient politicians. (Why not? They have professionals working for them, like the CIA and MI6, et al.) Click on the title of this post for a link to an example of finance hysteria.

Already on the same day another member of theso-called "socialist" party of Papandreou is whispering in the $ media's ears that the referendum is a nonstarter. We shall see.

If the so-called "cradle of democracy" won't allow its own people to have any say in their own fate, they need to overthrow that regime.

Oops! OMG! Now I'm guilty of "subversion"! I better not tell this to anyone else, because then I'll be guilty of "seditious conspiracy"! That's no joke, the U.S. still has such laws on its books- and it uses them. Would that apply to a foreign government? Well, Jose Padilla was convicted of "terrorism" for aiding Bosnian Muslims being slaughtered by Serbs in the Balkans. And Victor Bout is about to be convicted for "terrorism" in a U.S. court because the DEA tricked him into talking to some of its "informers" who were pretending to be from FARC- and Bout never set foot in the U.S. until the U.S. had the Thais arrest him and hand him over. And all those Colombian and Mexican and other "drug lords" who never were in the U.S. except when they were brought here in chains, their crimes were committed on foreign soil. U.S. writ extends over the entire planet. So who knows how they might interpret a "threat" against a friendly foreign government? People who send money for the social needs of Palestinians under Israeli blockade are imprisoned in the U.S. for "material aid to terrorism."

Obama just put Tim DeChristopher in prison for two years for bidding at an auction for oil drilling leases on Federal lands. Seriously, that's all he did.

The truth is, there is no limit to U.S. repressiveness. Insofar as I have received a death threat from U.S. secret policemen in the past, and they have assassinated American dissidents repeatedly over the years, you can't put anything past the evil bastards. Just hope the current crop of naive Occupy Wall Street protesters gets wised up soon about the ruthless nature of who they're up again. (The police are giving them a great education on that score with their vicious brutality.)