February 28, 2011

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Greeks Won't Pay, No Matter What


Monday, February 28, 2011 – by  Staff Report 


"I won't pay" movement spreads across Greece ... They blockade highway toll booths to give drivers free passage. They cover subway ticket machines with plastic bags so commuters can't pay. Even doctors are joining in, preventing patients from paying fees at state hospitals. Some call it civil disobedience. Others a freeloading spirit. Either way, Greece's "I Won't Pay" movement has sparked heated debate in a nation reeling from a debt crisis that's forced the government to take drastic austerity measures – including higher taxes, wage and pension cuts, and price spikes in public services. – MSNBC.com

Dominant Social Theme: Everything's cool. Let the Greek's have "their moment."

Free-Market Analysis: It has long been our contention – stated many times – that the tribes of Europe would not take kindly to the austerity measures that have been imposed on Europe, especially the PIGS – Europe's Southern countries. We've made the argument that the tribes of Europe are ancient and are the descendants of the hordes that swept over Rome. These citizens of Europe actually belong to specific clans and ethnic groups and so long as the EU promised prosperity, they were glad to participate. Now, however, there is not very much that is positive about belonging to the EU, and the unrest in our view is growing.
Strangely, not much of it is being reported, or not in a regular fashion. Mainstream Western media has moved on to cover the revolutions in the Middle East and Africa and left Europe behind for the moment. It is of course a kind of dominant social theme: Europe has taken some blows but is on the mend; austerity takes some getting used to, but the citizens of Europe will deal with it for the greater good.

We're not so sure. The Anglo-American power elite has driven the Western world to ruin with its central banking scheme; it may believe that between food-scarcity and job-scarcity, Europeans will now be less apt to resist increased militarism abroad and increased global centralization. But we have always believed in the era of the Internet that such manipulations are increasingly transparent and apt to be less tolerated. In tracking the news – as meme-hunters do – we see increased evidence that pushback is occurring on several fronts.
There were of course the British student riots that received a great deal of attention before winter truly settled in. But in Greece, protests continue and are spreading without much mainstream news coverage. Irish voters just threw out their government over EU austerity deal and Iceland – not an EU member to be sure – resisted pressure to bail out its banks and is evidently doing better economically than Ireland. In this article, we'll examine these trends further.
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David Cameron: 'I don't believe an In/Out referendum is right, because I don't believe that leaving the European Union would be in Britain's interests'


By Daniel Hannan Last updated: February 27th, 2011

'We are the only major party to have consistently said that it is 
up to the British people to decide on our future in Europe.' David 
Cameron, 2009

'We are the only major party to have consistently said that it is up to the British people to decide on our future in Europe.' David Cameron, 2009

There is, of course, a non-sequitur in the PM’s statement, made in an interview with Al Jazeera (hat-tip, ConHome). He also says he opposes AV, yet he has called a referendum on whether to adopt it. And rightly so: referendums are always and everywhere a good idea, serving to remind politicians that they are our representatives, not our rulers.

To be fair, David Cameron is simply doing what ninety-nine per cent of public figures do on the question of an In/Out referendum, namely guessing at the outcome, and then working backwards. He evidently believes that a plebiscite would result in a ‘No’ vote and, unlike most supporters of the EU, he is being creditably honest in admitting that this is why he doesn’t want one.

I have no idea whether the PM is right about the result. My own sense, too, is that the country would vote for independence, but plenty of clever chaps argue that referendums tend to go the way of the status quo, and that the “Keep Britain In” campaign could therefore expect to gain support during the campaign, as happened in 1975.

Just for a moment, though, forget about forecasting the outcome. Instead, stand back and ask yourself whether it is right in principle to consult the country. As this blog never tires of arguing, it is hard to think of a clearer textbook example of where a referendum is proper. The European question divides the parties internally; it’s a matter of major constitutional importance; there is public demand for a vote; there is a disjuncture between Parliament and people; and, not least, the three parties keep promising to hold such a ballot.

There is something faintly surreal about holding a referendum which no one asked for on a voting system which neither of the two Coalition parties supported, while refusing to hold one which the country does demand, and which both Coalition parties were recently pledging. What is the point of consulting people on how to elect their MPs, but not on whether those MPs should run the country?

http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/danielhannan/100077859/david-cameron-i-dont-believe-an-inout-referendum-is-right-because-i-dont-believe-that-leaving-the-european-union-would-be-in-britains-interests/

Outside the rebels were jubilant. Inside the court I came face to face with Gaddafi's savage mercenaries: RICHARD PENDLEBURY files this dramatic dispatch from Benghazi

Last updated at 9:26 AM on 25th February 2011
They were a pretty sorry bunch, these ‘Gaddafi mercenaries’. Assembled for my inspection in a scruffy, whitewashed room on the top floor of the courthouse building in ‘free’ Benghazi, six West African men shuffled nervously under the stern gaze of Arab youths.

If they tried to speak they were told to shut up. You could smell their fear.

And no wonder. A few days ago the boot was on the other foot. These men are alleged to have been among several thousand foreign thugs and gunmen that Muammar Gaddafi sent against his own people, to kill and destroy and quell the uprising in eastern Libya.

'A sorry bunch': Mercenaries paid for by Gaddafi who had been 
rounded up and become prisoners of the people
'A sorry bunch': Mercenaries paid for by Gaddafi who had been rounded up and become prisoners of the people

Now they are the prisoners of the people, whose revolt against the  41-year-old regime is spreading rapidly westwards and likely to engulf the capital Tripoli in coming days.

I arrived in Libya’s second city yesterday in a driving rainstorm, which failed to dampen the fervour for new-found freedom that had seen half a million people assemble for a ‘victory’ rally the night before.

Benghazi is a large, sprawling and down-at-heel sea port. And it was clear from the evidence of my own eyes and the testimonies of many witnesses, that terrible events recently took place here.

In the past week anti-aircraft cannon and shoulder-launched rockets were deployed at close range against civilians armed with stones. Mobs of Gaddafi thugs in plastic construction helmets – dubbed ‘yellow hats’ by the protesters – also killed with machetes and clubs.

Reliable medical sources told me that more than 1,000 people have died so far in Benghazi as a result of Gaddafi-orchestrated violence. Some were killed when funeral processions for earlier casualties were attacked by snipers.

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This cannot continue

Posted by Richard Monday, February 28, 2011 
 
The Daily Mail tells us a story about an Englishman's home being his castle, or so the saying goes.

However, after squatters moved into John Hamilton-Brown's new £1million five bedroom home he has been forced to beg them to get out through his letterbox. Yet the group of foreigners who have taken possession, have been granted legal aid to fight an eviction order - while Hamilton-Brown has been forced to represent himself.

The father-of-two was having the property renovated for his wife and two young daughters before they moved in when a dozen people from France, Spain, Poland and England sneaked in during the night. The occupants are part of a growing army of squatters banding together and seeking out empty homes.

And now we come to the money quote. The group occupying Mr Hamilton Brown's home qualified for legal aid because they are EU citizens and unemployed.

Sometimes words are not enough. But for the moment, they are all we have got. We can only record, therefore, that this is what happens when you break down national barriers and lose control over making your own laws. If these people were not given legal aid, they could sue for compensation under EU law.

You will not get many saying this in the media, but it exemplifies why we must leave the EU. The other day, talking to the MP person as I was, I suggested that if this sort of thing continued (I gave different examples), we (generic – not necessarily EU Ref readers) would eventually start killing people.

He did not turn a hair. A few years back, I would have politely been shown the door. They know ... we know. This cannot continue.

http://eureferendum.blogspot.com/2011/02/this-cannot-continue.html

February 27, 2011

 
 
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Ivorian state TV transmitter damaged in clashes

Sun Feb 27, 2011 10:17am GMT

* Abidjan residents report no access to state TV
* Cocoa prices pushed to 32-year highs by crisis


ABIDJAN, Feb 27 (Reuters) - Many people in Abidjan, Ivory Coast's largest city, had no access to state television on Sunday after a transmitter was damaged in fighting between forces loyal to incumbent Laurent Gbagbo and rival groups.

RTI state television in the world's top cocoa grower has backed Gbagbo in a three-month struggle for power with Alassane Ouattara after a Nov. 28 presidential election which U.N.-certified results showed Ouattara won.

The overnight clashes were the latest in the pro-Ouattara neighbourhood of Abobo. A separate advance by rebel forces in the west of the country has prompted fears of a return to civil war in the once-prosperous African state.

"The clashes took place around the transmitter ... this morning you can see smoke coming out of the transmitter centre," said local resident Doulaye Ouattara (Eds: no relation), adding that some youths had pillaged the premises.

RTI television was not accessible by terrestrial aerials in a number of Abidjan neighbourhoods, residents contacted by Reuters said. An RTI journalist who did not want to be named said technicians were working to repair the transmitter.

Estimates for the size of Abidjan's population range from between three to five million out of a total population of 21 million. Some have access to RTI on satellite.

There was no official confirmation of casualties in the fighting but several witnesses reported what sounded like the use of heavy arms which blew out windows in houses nearby.


Major powers and most African neighbours have recognised Ouattara as president but Gbagbo has refused to step down, citing a decision by the country's constitutional council to declare the vote rigged and hand him victory.

The crisis has pushed cocoa futures to 32-year highs over supply concerns. The European Union has banned its ships from docking at Ivorian ports and exporters have largely followed a call by Ouattara for a temporary embargo on cocoa supplies.

Other sanctions have paralysed the country's banking sector, crippling the economy and prompting some analysts to forecast a fall in gross domestic product until the impasse is over. (Reporting by Ange Aboa and Loucoumane Coulibaly; writing by Mark John; editing by Elizabeth Piper)

http://af.reuters.com/article/commoditiesNews/idAFLDE71Q04Z20110227?sp=true
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Latest Articles

Food inflation: Back into the driver’s seat
Bhuwan Thapaliya - 2/25/2011
How do you sell poverty? Very simple – inflate the food prices. And unfortunately, this is happening. Much to the dismay of the poor – the global food inflation has raised its murky head yet again, and rising food prices is making life a misery for millions of people all around the globe.

Nigeria: Electoral Scorecard for Rational Citizens
Dr Anthony A Kila - 2/25/2011
We now know the names of all the candidates that will be contesting in the forthcoming elections, we also know who their running mates will be. A point needs to be made immediately about these candidates: unlike what we have seen for too long in Nigeria, those running for elections this time around are doing so because they explicitly want to do so.

Book Review: Allah Is Dead: Why Islam is not a Religion
A. Millar - 2/25/2011
Books on Islam is a saturated market, an editor friend of mine told a few months ago. At the time I though she might be right. I had only recently read a couple of works that, for want of a better description, read like second rate Bruce Bawers. Maudlin and self-absorbed, these books (which shall remain nameless) tell us more about the authors than they do about radical Islam. Former boyfriends, Holland in the Springtime, and hints that the Pulitzer Prize went to the wrong author, are punctuated with references to female genital mutilation, terrorist acts, and hook-handed radical preachers.

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Fault Lines in the Middle East
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Since the uprising of the Tunisian people followed by the dramatic protest of millions in Cairo against Husni Mubarak, shaking and realignments have spread across the Middle East in a display of unleashed energy reminiscent of earthquakes along a fault line. In this case the fault lines are political, religious and economic, with rulers pushing in one direction trying to hold back the will of people pushing in the opposite direction. In Tunisia and Egypt the people have won the contests.

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The Gulf states' policy towards Iran's nuclear ambitions has combined elements of appeasement with a fundamental reliance on the United States as a defending and deterring force. Most Gulf states lack strategic depth, have small populations, and small, untrained armies. Moreover, their significant oil and natural gas reserves have made them the potential target for aggression and dependent on outside forces for defense.

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 Saturday, February 26, 2011


Syria Defended for Standing Up to Israel While Egypt is Excoriated for the "Cynical" and "Humiliating" Aligning of Its Foreign Policy on the West

posted by Erik @ 13:44

So why are there uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt, but not in Syria? Is it because, unlike Ben Ali and Hosni Mubarak, the Assads are mass murdering psychopaths of the Saddam Hussein variety, or because of their… "wise", "noble", and "proud" foreign policy? It turns out that the new leftist narrative bases the popular revolts of, or the lack thereof in, the Arab world on their stance towards the Israelis.

In other words, it turns out once more — sigh — to be all the fault of the Jews: In Le Monde, Bertrand Badie puts the root cause for the uprisings in the Arab countries — or for the lack thereof — on the individual countries' relationship to "the most radical governments" in Israel.

The professor in politics defends Syria's régime for "preserving national unity" by using a "coherent" foreign policy that has given rise to "very little opposition", that is, by the Assads' wisdom in standing up to the Israelis. This he couples with deploring Cairo's Mubarak for "humiliating" his country and for "taking enormous risks in dismantling Egypt's foreign policy and in aligning it in such a cynical fashion on [that of] the United States and even on [that of] the most radical governments in Israel." Bertrand Badie goes on to add that the Tahrir Square protests in Cairo were also about "the will of young Egyptians to escape from a humiliation in which their country's diplomacy had placed them."
If one observes what is currently happening, Syria appears to be one of the countries in the Greater Middle East least affected by the upheavals we have characterized. Several factors must be taken taken into account. First of all, the Syrian regime has managed to preserve a minimum of national unity around a foreign policy that has given rise to very few challenges and which, unlike what has happened in Egypt, ensures the sustainability of a minimum of national cohesion.

One can see to what extent Mubarak and his system have taken enormous risks by dismantling [?!?!] Egypt's foreign policy and aligning it in such a cynical fashion on [that of] the United States, and even on [that of] the most radical governments of Israel. If the movement of Tahrir Square expressed no violence against Israel, the theme of solidarity with Palestine was present everywhere and was an essential marker of the desire of young Egyptians to exit a humiliation in which their country's diplomacy had placed them.

Furthermore, the régime of President Hafez al-Assad and his son Bashar present no symptoms of corruption as shocking as those that accompany the sagas of the Mubarak family or of the Ben Ali family. It seems to me that unlike most of its counterparts in the region, the Syrian regime is not in immediate danger.
French original:
Si l'on observe ce qui se produit actuellement, la Syrie apparaît comme l'un des pays les moins affectés au sein du Grand Moyen-Orient par les bouleversements que nous avons caractérisés. Plusieurs facteurs sont à prendre en compte. Tout d'abord, le régime syrien a réussi à préserver un minimum d'unité nationale autour d'une politique étrangère qui est très peu contestée et qui, au contraire de ce qui s'est produit en Egypte, assure la pérennité d'un minimum de cohésion nationale.

On voit à quel point Moubarak et son système ont pris des risques énormes en démantelant la politique étrangère égyptienne et en l'alignant de façon aussi cynique sur les Etats-Unis, et même sur les gouvernements les plus radicaux d'Israël. Si le mouvement de la place Tahrir n'exprimait aucune violence à l'encontre d'Israël, le thème de la solidarité avec la Palestine était présent partout et constituait un marqueur essentiel de la volonté des jeunes Egyptiens de sortir d'une humiliation dans laquelle les avait placés la diplomatie de leur pays.

En outre, le régime du président Hafez El-Assad et de son fils Bachar ne présente pas des symptômes de corruption aussi choquants que ceux qui accompagnent les sagas de la famille Moubarak ou de la famille Ben Ali. Il me semble donc que le régime syrien ne soit pas dans une situation de danger immédiat, comme la plupart de ses homologues de la région.
Le Monde's ideological counterpart Stateside (the New York Times) displayed a similar attitude inside Steven Erlanger's article, Upheaval Jolts Israel and Raises New Worry:
“The widespread indignity felt by Egyptians who see themselves as the jailers of Gaza on behalf of Israel and Washington will give way to a realistic policy by which Egyptians use their ties with Israel to push the latter to adopt a more law-abiding stance towards the Palestinians, Syrians and Lebanese,” Rami G. Khouri, an analyst at the American University of Beirut, wrote for YaleGlobal online. “Egypt will keep peace with Israel, but raise the temperature on issues of profound national concern to Arabs.”

Comments (4)

http://no-pasaran.blogspot.com/2011/02/syria-defended-for-standing-up-to.html
DEMOCRACY FOR EUROPE

Jihad2: Iranian warships to transit Suez on ‘anti-pirate’ mission. Is it really Mission Europe?

Posted by David on 17/02/11

For the first time in decades, two Iranian warships plan to transit the Suez Canal on route for Syria. Israel has denounced this as a provocation. At a time when Egyptians are in a delicate state of political and religious turmoil this is a brazen signal of growing Persian outreach. It is directed at the popular revolts igniting regime-changes across the southern Mediterranean.

Iran wants to show itself powerful and sympathetic to the religious masses. But not at home. Iranian mullahs have ruthlessly crushed popular demonstrations in Iran. Their aim is to stoke up problems elsewhere and train aggressive bandit regimes like Hamas in Gaza, HizbAllah (Party of God) in Lebanon (armed to the teeth with missiles and rockets) and spread war tensions in Syria and Jordan and now boost its influence in Egypt.

Non-Iranian cargo ships loaded with Iranian missiles, arms and ammunition have previously been stopped for violating UN resolutions against this traffic.

It has a clear goal to antagonize Israel. But is it part of a larger goal — Europe and whole of the European Sea, the Mediterranean?

The ships — a frigate and a supply ship — are symbolic of Iran’s entry into the area where it has been banned or barred for thirty years. It has little military significance but huge propaganda value. It reinforces a religious message that is at the same time a political one. As exposed in the last commentary,  Iran resumed plane flights to Egypt after three decades. The resumption occurred just a few months before President Mubarak was forced to resign. It indicated Iranians had already grabbed new powers to change policy inside Egypt. Mubarak was loud and outspoken about the ‘Persians’ who he called the greatest enemy of the Arabs.  Some Iranians have a dream — 1500 years ago Persians under Darius 1 once controlled the pre-Suez Canal linking the Persian Gulf and the Mediterranean. A continuous struggle for supremacy occurred under competing Islamic flags.

For Iran, which today holds the chairmanship of the oil cartel OPEC for the first time in 36 years, the latest story has had a very profitable effect. Oil prices moved to their highest in more than two years, rising 2.40 dollars in a single day. That rise was more than a whole barrel cost before oil became the plaything of the cartel. In 1973 oil was transformed into the Oil Weapon in the war against Israel and the West.

February 26, 2011

 

Genocide: on February 23, 1944, Chechens and Ingush were deported to Siberia and Central Asia

 

Publication time: 23 February 2011, 01:44
On February 23, 1994, the 50 anniversary of the Bolshevik deportation of Chechens to Siberia, the President of the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria (CRI), Dzhokhar Dudayev, said at a rally in the capital of Ichkeria that henceforth the Chechen people would no longer celebrate the funeral, as the enemies want it. The Chechen people survived in incredible conditions of Russian terror and demonstrated that it has a will and determination to stand up for themselves and for their religion.
 
"Our enemies would like to see the Chechen people in perpetual mourning, but this will not happen. From now on, this day will be Day of the Revival of the Chechen Nation, the Day of fortitude and faith that saved our nation from elimination..." Dzhokhar Dudayev said at that memorable meeting.
 
On the 23rd February, 1944, the Kremlin regime committed a monstrous crime against humanity. The Chechen people, like some other peoples of the Soviet Empire, were all, to a single man, deported to Siberia. In February's fierce frosts hundreds of thousands of people were loaded into freight trains for cattle transport and sent to death to the steppes of Kazakhstan.
 

The Week in Review
February 25, 2011 | From theTrumpet.com
North Africa’s nervous neighbor, the showdown over Suez, “Baron cut-and-paste,” Merkel’s election-year mess, China’s censorship, and New Zealand’s darkest day.

 
Middle East 

As the uprising that began February 15 in Libya continues, Muammar Qadhafi is using brutal force in the capital to try to maintain his grip on power. His opponents, including troops who have defected, took control of the eastern part of the country on Wednesday, effectively splitting the country in two. Opposition forces are now closing in on Tripoli. With Libya being the world’s 12th-biggest oil producer, and Africa’s third biggest, oil prices are rising as a result of the unrest. Prices soared 7 percent on Tuesday, putting oil at a 2½-year high. By Thursday, they had risen to over $100 a barrel. Libya’s biggest customer is Europe, which receives an estimated 10 percent of its oil from there. Thus, Libya’s uprising represents a massive escalation of the threat to European energy supplies, with an estimated 1 million barrels (down from 1.6 million) of daily production already cut. Moreover, with nobody knowing where the contagion of revolution in the Middle East will stop, fears abound of a more drastic threat to oil supplies. For more, read Joel Hilliker’s column this week, “Libya Convulses—Watch Europe!

Meanwhile, in Algeria, President Abdelaziz Bouteflika lifted a 19-year-old state of emergency on Thursday in an effort to stave off a similar uprising there. Regular protests have been held in the Algerian capital during recent weeks. An opposition leader has told Reuters, however, that the ending of the state of emergency is not enough and that the government must allow more democratic freedoms. Just like Libya, Algeria is a major energy exporter, a key supplier of both oil and gas to Europe. Based on Bible prophecy, we expect both Libya and Algeria to trend toward the Iranian-led Islamist camp.

On February 18, Egypt welcomed home Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, who had been living in exile for decades. For 30 years, Hosni Mubarak had banned the “father figure” of the Muslim Brotherhood from preaching in Egypt. But just seven days after Mubarak’s resignation, Egypt rolled out the red carpet for this wildly popular sheikh, whose extremist views call for the extermination of Jews. Qaradawi also supports suicide bombings aimed at civilians. An estimated 1 million people gathered in Tahrir Square for the Friday “day of victory” rally. In his message, Qaradawi stated, “I harbor the hope that just like Allah allowed me to witness the triumph in Egypt, he will allow me to witness the conquest of the al-Aqsa Mosque and will enable me to preach in the al-Aqsa Mosque.” At this point the crowd of 1 million burst forth with enthusiastic chants: “To Jerusalem we go, for us to be the martyrsÒ of the millions; to Jerusalem we go, for us to be the martyrsÒ of the millions.” For two decades now, Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry has taught that East Jerusalem is the primary goal of the radical Islamists. As events march on in the Middle East, that Bible-based forecast is being increasingly validated.

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Unity and Continuity in Men and Nations


By JR Nyquist02/25/201

If America became a socialist state and was entirely opposed to capitalism, would it still be America? The Polish writer, Jozef Mackiewicz, once asserted: "There is no Polish state in the guise of the Polish People's Republic. The Polish People's Republic is not a continuation of the history of Poland but a continuation of the history of the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution." [P. 136, The Triumph of Provocation]. 
If America became a socialist state and was entirely opposed to capitalism, would it still be America? The Polish writer, Jozef Mackiewicz, once asserted: "There is no Polish state in the guise of the Polish People's Republic. The Polish People's Republic is not a continuation of the history of Poland but a continuation of the history of the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution." [P. 136, The Triumph of Provocation [1]].

What happens when we radically transform a country or a person? Would a socialist America still be America? And could this process occur without violence? I recently rediscovered a fascinating discourse on unity and continuity by a philosopher who turned away from socialism.

In his book The Tragic Sense of Life in Men and Nations [2] Miguel de Unamuno began his discourse on unity and continuity by marveling that a man should want to be someone else. "I can understand one's wanting to have what someone else has, his wealth or his knowledge," wrote Unamuno. "But to be someone else: that's something I don't understand." After all, being someone else signifies the death of oneself. This violates the inborn desire of every person to continue as themselves. Notice how defensive a person becomes when someone attempts to change them. The same is also true of nations subjected to radical reform. Such nations typically resist.

February 25, 2011

Press Summary Archive

Ashton: EU to consider imminent sanctions on Libya; Italy denies calling sanctions on Gaddafi “useless”

Friday, February 25, 2011

Bloomberg reports that German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle has called sanctions against Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi’s regime “unavoidable” in light of the escalating violence in the country, while EU Foreign Minister Catherine Ashton has said that the EU is preparing to impose sanctions “within days”. Meanwhile, FT Deutschland claims that Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini labelled sanctions against Gaddafi “useless” and “symbolic measures”. However, Italian news agency AGI quotes Frattini saying, after a meeting with his German counterpart Guido Westerwelle in Berlin, “Italy would agree with the option of targeted personal and financial sanctions, if they were to be proposed at the European level.” Frattini said that his comment made to FT Deutschland had been translated incorrectly.

Ashton today dismissed talk of “military action”, however it is widely reported that the EU could draw up a contingency plan for an armed humanitarian intervention in Libya. Euractiv quotes a senior EU official saying, "We are in contact with EU member states to see whether their facilities, civilian and military, can be deployed for this [evacuation of EU citizens]".

In an opinion piece in El País, UNED Professor José Ignacio Torreblanca, argues, “This crisis could have been the opportunity for Ashton to invent herself, but the Baroness has accepted, with total submission, to be the mere spokesperson for what the 27 agree unanimously, when they can”. A leader in Frankfurter Rundschau argues, “Europe's common foreign policy remains a farce.”

Euractiv
BBC El País Independent WSJ Euractiv 2 El País: Torreblanca AFP Evening Standard: Rifkind Economist: Charlemagne Le Monde AFP 2 Irish Times IHT Irish Times EurActiv European Voice FR Leader Presseurop.eu Los Angeles Times FT Deutschland AGI AGI 2

Italy leads calls for a common EU asylum policy in wake of Libyan protests

Italy, Spain, France, Cyprus, Malta and Greece have presented a joint proposal calling for a special solidarity fund to be set up, to help them deal with a potential wave of migrants, and to speed up moves towards a common EU asylum policy. Euractiv quotes Italian Interior Minister Roberto Maroni saying, “We ask for solidarity of other member states [...] We cannot be left alone". In an op-ed in Swedish daily Dagens Nyheter, EU Home Affairs Commissioner Home Cecilia Malmström argues, “The need for a common EU policy on asylum and immigration is urgent”. Noting that member states have committed to agree on a common asylum policy in 2012, she says “I hope that the current situation also contributes to the EU taking several steps forward towards a common asylum and immigration policy.”

However, calls for a common fund and asylum policy have faced resistance from other EU member states. Germany's Interior Minister, Thomas de Maiziere, is quoted by the BBC saying there is "no refugee influx right now" and states should not "provoke one by talking about it". Austrian Interior Minister Maria Fekter said, "We are against reallocating asylum seekers from Italy to the rest of Europe".

Euractiv
BBC Irish Times IHT Irish Times FT

Welsh regions fall behind EU average despite billions in EU funding

The BBC reports that despite receiving billions in EU funding in recent years the economic performance of west Wales and the Valleys has fallen further behind the European average, according to the latest EU figures. The figures show that GDP fell by 2% in 2008. Mike Theodoulou, chairman of the Mid and West Wales Business Chamber said in an interview on Radio Wales: “Not enough direct support went to business… too much went to the public sector to administer initiatives and schemes”.

BBC Eurostat data WSJ

Commission promises "sea change" in European Neighbourhood Policy

The Commission yesterday promised a "sea change" in European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP), with proposals for attaching stricter "conditionality" to EU funds and greater "differentiation" between how much target states receive. The Commission will release an official proposal on 20 April. The Economist’s Charlemagne criticises the ENP arguing that “the EU has little to show for the billions of euros it has spent. Belarus remains Europe’s last dictatorship, Ukraine is moving backwards, the Arab-Israeli conflict is unresolved and punctuated by violence, and north Africa has languished, until this year, under the rule of autocrats”.

EUobserver Economist: Charlemagne

Fine Gael could see first-ever outright majority in Irish elections

As Irish citizens head to the polls today, the FT notes that the opposition Fine Gael party is set to win its first-ever outright majority, in what would be the first defeat for a eurozone government since the beginning of the debt crisis. The new government is expected to try to re-negotiate the terms of the €85bn EU/IMF bail-out. However, the Irish Times quotes a spokesperson for EU Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn saying, “This agreement, it’s an agreement between the EU and the Republic of Ireland. It’s not an agreement between an institution and a particular government. It’s on the basis of a negotiated programme which was approved with the government of Ireland and which in its main outline has to be applied.”

An article in the Independent notes, “Worries abound that [Fine Gael leader Enda] Kenny lacks the charisma, economic savvy and plain old guts to dig the nation out from under a mountain of debt and renegotiate the IMF and European Union bail-out.” In the Times, Julian Gough argues, “Fine Gael also mistook the bubble for prosperity, also voted for the disastrous bank guarantee and doesn’t seem to have any idea how to renegotiate the terms of the IMF/EU bailout in any meaningful way.” A leader in the Telegraph argues that a change of government would not be a sufficient solution to Ireland’s problems, noting: “The Irish have preferred to vent their anger at the polls rather than on the streets. But while they remain in the euro, a new government will make little difference to their predicament.”

FT
Guardian Times: Gough Telegraph: editorial Irish Times: editorial Irish Times Independent Independent 2 EUobserver BBC: Today

Top 200 German economists warn against extending eurozone bailout

FAZ
reports that more than 200 German economics professors have signed a petition calling for the plans to extend the current bailout fund and to establish a permanent bailout mechanism to be scrapped. The group warned that there could be "fatal long term consequences for the whole project of European integration".

A leader in FAZ argues against an EU economic government, noting that "it's better to have a debt haircut". Andreas Schmitz, President of the German Banking Federation, is quoted saying that "restructuring in Greece would not topple the German banking sector no an individual bank." He also argues that the labelling of critics of the current policy as “anti-European” shows that those advocating EU economic governance are really looking for closer European integration.

German President Christian Wulff yesterday called for the permanent bailout mechanism to “prohibit the repurchase of government debt by the ECB”. He also argued that private creditors should take more liability for unpaid debts. FT Alphaville argues that if the permanent fund did buy up bonds from private investors it would cause more strain since there would be a smaller pool of investors on which to impose write downs.

FAZ
FAZ 2 Handelsblatt WSJ WSJ Brussels Beat FT Alphaville WSJ 2 FT Deutschland FAZ: Stelzner

The Irish Times reports that the FDP, part of the German governing coalition, opposes German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s plans to introduce common rules on corporate tax for eurozone countries. “Differences in tax rates are part of the competition between states,” said Dr Volker Wissing, FDP finance market spokesman.
Irish Times

The FT reports that Michael Diekmann, the Chief Executive of Allianz – Europe’s biggest insurance company – has warned that the cost of individuals’ life insurance could “increase drastically” as a consequence of the EU’s Solvency II Directive.
FT
Standaard

Euractiv reports that, in its draft White Paper on Transport, the European Commission is considering a wider application of the “user pays” and “polluter pays” principles as one of the possible means to raise the €1.8 trillion which the EU says is needed for infrastructure investment over the next 20 years as well as the €500bn needed to complete the Trans-European Transport Network.  
Euractiv


Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin yesterday criticised the EU’s energy policy, saying new EU energy-market rules are leading to "property confiscation" and will ultimately prompt prices to rise, reports the WSJ.Irish Times WSJ EurActiv EUobserver EurActiv Deutsche Welle Handelsblatt

Wirtualna Polska reports that the Polish government is struggling to meet targets on landfill waste reduction and recycling laid down by the EU’s 2004 directive on packaging and packaging waste, and is facing the prospect of a “mega-fine”. Since July 2010 the EU has charged Poland €40,000 per day for non-compliance, this is due to be increased to €250,000 per day from 2013.Wirtualna Polska

Wikileaks' Julian Assange will be extradited to Sweden, under the European Arrest Warrant, a judge ruled yesterday.BBC Mirror El País

An article in the FT notes that the number of eastern Europeans coming to work in the UK has risen for the first time in four years, primarily due to an increase in arrivals from Latvia and Lithuania.
FT


Euractiv reports that EU Sport Commissioner Androulla Vassiliou has announced that the Commission will look into taking action over recent multi-million transfer fees paid for professional football players, including a possible capping of fees.
Euractiv


In an interview with Gazeta Wyborcza, EU Budget Commissioner Janusz Lewandowski said that it is important that member states show proof that EU funds for Central and Eastern Europe are successful for the economic development of these regions, which is of benefit to Western Europe.Wyborcza: Lewandowski

New on the Open Europe blog


Studying the cost of Greece leaving the euroOpen Europe blog

When EU transparency reforms lead to less transparency: the EU’s new ‘comitology’ procedureOpen Europe blog

The EU’s “memory hole”: A picture of Gaddafi removed from the EU Council buildingOpen Europe blog
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US military advisers in Cyrenaica. Qaddafi's loses his air force

DEBKAfile Exclusive Report February 25, 2011, 1:46 PM (GMT+02:00)
Tags:  Libya   Qaddafi   US military advisers   Cyrenaica   oil 


British HMS Cumberland puts into Benghazi port
Hundreds of US, British and French military advisers have arrived in Cyrenaica, Libya's eastern breakaway province, debkafile's military sources report exclusively. This is the first time America and Europe have intervened militarily in any of the popular upheavals rolling through the Middle East since Tunisia's Jasmine Revolution in early January.  The advisers, including intelligence officers, were dropped from warships and missile boats at the coastal towns of Benghazi and Tobruk Thursday Feb. 24, for a threefold mission:
1. To help the revolutionary committees controlling eastern Libyan establish government frameworks for supplying two million inhabitants with basic services and commodities;
2. To organize them into paramilitary units, teach them how to use the weapons they captured from Libyan army facilities, help them restore law and order on the streets and train them to fight Muammar Qaddafi's combat units coming to retake Cyrenaica.
3. The prepare infrastructure for the intake of additional foreign troops. Egyptian units are among those under consideration.
Click here for first debkafile report of Feb. 21 on the Cyrenaica insurgency.
Qaddafi was shaken up badly Friday, Feb. 25, when many of his air force commanders decided to no longer obey his orders or those of his commanders, debkafile's exclusive military sources report.  This loss deprived him at one stroke of one of the key pillars sustaining his fight for survival against the opposition since Sunday, Feb. 20. It means he is short of an essential resource for recapturing the eastern half of the country where half of Libya's oil wealth and its main oil export terminals are situated.
Friday, NATO Council and the UN Security Council meet in separate emergency sessions to consider ways to halt the bloodletting in Libya and punish its ruler Qaddafi for his violent crackdown of protesters.
debkafile reported on Feb. 22: The 22,000-strong Libyan Air Force with its 13 bases is Muammar Qaddafi's mainstay for survival against massive popular and international dissent. The 44 air transports and a like number of helicopters swiftly lifted loyal tribal militiamen fully armed from the Sahara and dropped them in the streets of Tripoli Monday Feb. 21.
Thursday Qaddafi launched an offensive to wrest the coastal towns around Tripoli from rebel hands. Our military sources report that tanks pounded opposition positions in the towns of Misrata, 25 km to the east of Tripoli and Zawiya, 30 km west of the capital, under the command of Gen. Khweldi Hamidi, a Qaddafi kinsman.
In a bloody battle, the insurgents ousted Qaddafi's forces from Misrata, but his troops broke through to Zawiya and captured the town at great loss of life. There are no reliable casualty figures but hundreds are believed to have been killed Thursday on both sides.
Later that day, the insurgents of Cyrenaica announced they were firmly in control of the region including Libya's main export oil terminal in Benghazi, the country's second largest town.  Whether or not they decide to block the fuel supplies coming from Qaddafi-ruled areas, their seizure of the facility alone was enough to send oil prices shooting up again on world markets.
Thursday night, Brent crude went for $117 the barrel in London and $103 in New York.
In a 30-minute telephone interview Thursday night, Qaddafi again charged that Al Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood had instigated the protest uprising in Libya. He warned that the fall of Cyrenaica would open Libya to the establishment of a Muslim jihadi and radical rear base for attacks on Europe and incursions into Egypt.



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Libya disaster feeds Sarkozy's dreams of EU glory

 

Gannets wikiHome Affairs ministers from the EU will be meeting in Brussels this week. The biggest thing on the agenda is going to be the question of the tens of thousands of North African illegal  immigrants who may be landing in Italy, depending on what happens next in Libya (or in 'Europe's southern neighbourhood' as the Brussels jargon has it).

If it all goes bad, Italy's island of Lampedusa is going to be covered in North Africans the way St Kilda is covered in gannets.

And what the Home Affairs ministers from 27 member states are going to do decide this week to do about the impending catastrophe is -- absolutely nothing.  What Italy needs is a wall of Ships wiki ships from the serious European countries -- that is, the ones who still bother to run serious armed forces -- lined up across the North African coast, ready to intercept whoever tries to land. What Italy is going to get this week is a discussion and (again, in the Brussels jargon) 'an opportunity for the ministers to react.'

The only thing that is going to come out of this meeting is a declaration from the French that the emergency demands 'more Europe.' You can know that for sure, because 'more Europe' is the French government's response to every fiscal, debt, banking, employment, transport, energy, fire, flood or plague -- or illegal immigration -- crisis that might hit any of the 27 member states.

France's president, Nicholas Sarkozy, in particular is going to use this threatened wave of Libyans and the rest as an excuse to push for more money and more power for Frontex.



Thursday, February 24, 2011


Africa File: Qaddafi holed up in Bab Al-Azizia barracks with mercenaries, plane loaded with gold, cash, ready for escape to Zimbabwe 

 

- Mugabe’s Defense Minister Refuses to Comment on Reports of Zimbabwean Soldiers in the Employ of Qaddafi

- London-Based Libyan Oppositionist: Qaddafi Will Probably Flee Country before United Nations Imposes “No-Fly Zone”

- Qaddafi Sees “Writing on the Wall” as Tunisians and Egyptians Oust Dictators, Begins Shipping in 4,000 Mercenaries Two Days before Riots Erupt in Benghazi


Pictured above: Members of Libya's Internal Security Forces wave the old national flag as they parade through the eastern, rebel-held city of Tobruk on February 24, 2011.
The Zimbabwe Daily reports that soldiers of that country are among Muammar al-Qaddafi’s mercenary units, which are ruthlessly gunning down civilians in Tripoli. On Wednesday, Innocent Gonese, chief whip of the Zimbabwean parliament and member of Movement for Democratic Change-T, asked Defense Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa to respond to reports, broadcast by Al-Jazeera television, that Zimbabwean troops are in Libya to help prop up Qaddafi’s tottering regime. In his reply, Mnangagwa only went so far as to acknowledge that: “There are mercenaries who are African and [who] are in Libya . . . [but] I have no mandate in my duty as Minister of Defense to investigate activities happening in another African country.”