Tag Archives: social justice

NED Ignores Saudi Barbarism

By Tony Cartalucci
July 15, 2015
New Eastern Outlook

 

435345111The Arabian Peninsula has been trapped in a time warp for nearly a century, thanks to the House of Saud and indomitable Western support.  Some may find it curious, browsing the US State Department’s National Endowment for Democracy (NED) website, reviewing the unending lists of faux-NGOs special interests in the West have propped up across the planet to project influence and political meddling into every corner of the planet under the pretense of supporting “freedom and democracy,” to discover this meddling extends to nearly all nations except a select few.

One of these blind spots includes Saudi Arabia. In fact, under the category “Middle East and North Africa” (MENA), Saudi Arabia isn’t even listed. NED-funded NGOs attempt to leverage every noble cause conceived by human empathy, from representative governance, to the rights of women and children, from behind which to hide their true agenda of political meddling, undermining local institutions, and the overwriting of a nation’s sociocultural landscape. Yet, it would seem, even this farce has its limits, which begin at the borders of favored client-states including Saudi Arabia.

It would seem, were NED a genuine sponsor of such causes, Saudi Arabia would have attracted special attention. It is literally a nation where women do not exist as human beings legally or socially, unable to even drive, and were Saudi Arabia to have anything resembling actual elections, unable to vote as well. The lack of any semblance of representative governance is another aspect one might expect the National Endowment for Democracy to find issue with. Yet it doesn’t.

This transparent, obvious hypocrisy exposes the entirety of NED’s work for what it is – meddling behind an elaborate facade of defending freedom, democracy, and human rights.

But beyond this intentional blind spot the self-proclaimed arbiters of global freedom and democracy have created for the autocratic, brutal regime of Saudi Arabia to hide within, we find more than just silent approval, we find also active, even eager complicity.

The entirety of Saudi Arabia’s security apparatus, both internal and military, has been created and propped up by the West through billions upon billions of dollars in aid, weapon sales, and direct military cooperation and support. This includes the immense 60 billion USD arms deal signed between Riyadh and Washington, the largest arms deal in US history.

This says nothing of covert operations the West, including the United States and United Kingdom, have been carrying out throughout the MENA region with Saudi Arabia as the chief proxy and local facilitator.

Saudi Barbaria 

Saudi Arabia is ruled by an unelected, hereditary dictatorship. In fact, so autocratic is Saudi Arabia, the nation is literally named after the single family that has ruled it since it was created – the House of Saud – or “Saud’s Arabia.”

While Western NGOs fund to the tune of millions per year activists around the world agitating political instability in nations like Thailand, claiming that the constitutional monarchy there is some sort of impediment to “democracy,” the fact that a single family has ruled Saudi Arabia uninterrupted for decades, even naming the country after the family who rules it unopposed without even the semblance of elections or representative governance, seems to be more than acceptable.

To remain in power for decades, the House of Saud has instituted an extensive and barbaric punitive system which includes public beheadings for everyone from “witches and heretics” to enemies of the state. What is considered as intolerable barbarity in Syria or Iraq when Al Qaeda beheads prisoners of war or local civilians to impose their rule on seized territory, is just another day at “Chop-Chop Square” in Riyadh.

The International Business Tribune would report in its article, “Execution Central: Saudi Arabia’s Bloody Chop-Chop Square,” that:

In the capital Riyadh, public executions take place in the central Deera square, usually at 9am. The wide ochre square has been grimly dubbed “chop chop square” has seen dozens of condemned men and women put to death in recent years.

“When they [death row prisoners] get to the execution square, their strength drains away. Then I read the execution order, and at a signal I cut the prisoner’s head off,” al-Beshi said.

According to Human Rights Watch, from January to September 2012, at least 69 people were executed in Saudi Arabia. Another 10 beheadings have been reported in just the first six weeks of 2013.

Beheadings are imposed mainly for murder or drug offences, but cases of apostasy (renunciation of one’s faith), sorcery and witchcraft can also end up in Chop Chop square. Indeed a man named Muri’ al-‘Asiri was executed last year in the southern town of Najran, as punishment for being a sorcerer.

The parallels between Al Qaeda and Saudi Arabia are no coincidence. Al Qaeda and the subsequent “Islamic State” (ISIS) it has created, straddling Syria and Iraq and spreading across the rest of the MENA region in fact finds its genesis and chief patrons in Riyadh. The West props up Riyadh, and Riyadh props up a regional army of mercenaries waging relentless war on Washington and Wall Street’s enemies throughout MENA. A torrent of supplies brought in by literal convoys of trucks even streams into the war zone via NATO territory.

ISIS can in fact be considered a “colony” of Riyadh, and a reflection of the depravity actively encouraged by the West on the Arabian Peninsula for decades.

Saudi Barbarism Actively, Intentionally Enabled by West

A barbaric autocracy lopping the heads off its own citizens while creating colonies of terrorism across the globe through direct support of marching terrorist armies and a global network of madrases promoting the state-cult of Saudi Arabia, Wahhabism, under the guise of Sunni Islam would seem like one of the West’s greatest threats.

Yet in most cases, particularly when these Saudi-sponsored madrases are established in Europe or North America, national intelligence and law enforcement agencies, including the FBI, the CIA, MI5, and MI6 actively participate in the cultivating, exploitation, and entrapment of radicals created within. Never is it attempted to expose and dismantle these networks, and instead, an intentional strategy of tension is created around these rat nests of extremism to promote hysteria, division, and further fan the flames of fear at home, while justifying perpetual war abroad.

Considering this, it is clear why Saudi Arabia is not only pardoned for its inhumanity and criminality, but encouraged and enabled by special interests in the West. These interests are able to manipulate and terrorize their population at home, justify the creation and enlargement of domestic surveillance networks, and justify the use of military force abroad in campaigns of hegemonic conquest predicated on “national defense” against “terrorism” they and their allies have themselves created to begin with.

When Saudi Arabia began airstrikes on neighboring Yemen, we saw once again not only the United States, United Kingdom, and the European Union fail to protest the extraterritorial aggression, but the United Nations itself also failed to condemn or act in response. Furthermore, Western support for Saudi military aggression has continued unabated regardless of the atrocities and deaths unfolding in Yemen.

And while it can safely be said that Al Qaeda is a reflection of Saudi Arabia, it can also be safely stated that Saudi Arabia, its barbarism and regional crimes against humanity, its state-sponsorship of global terrorism, and even the ideology it actively promotes worldwide that serves as the foundation global terrorism is inspired from, is a reflection in turn of the depravity of the special interests ruling Wall Street, Washington and their Transatlantic counterparts in London and Brussels.

Understanding the special accommodations made by the West for perhaps the most barbaric nation on Earth, amid disingenuous bleating about “Iran,” “North Korea,” “Russia,” “China,” and other enemies of Western hegemony, exposes the emptiness of Western principles – or more accurately – the emptiness of those hiding behind them.

Tony Cartalucci, Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazineNew Eastern Outlook”.  

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My Congressman Is Wrong on Iran, Yours Might Be Too

By David Swanson
Global Research, July 15, 2015
Let’s Try Democracy, July 14, 2015

 

Trigger an "Accidental Confrontation" as a Pretext to Wage War on IranFor the United States to sit and talk and come to an agreement with a nation it has been antagonizing and demonizing since the dictator it installed in 1953 was overthrown in 1979 is historic and, I hope, precedent setting. Let’s seal this deal!

Four months ago the Washington Post published an op-ed headlined ‘War With Iran Is Probably Our Best Option.’ It wasn’t. Defenders of war present war as a last resort, but when other options are tried the result is never war. We should carry this lesson over to several other parts of the world.

The time has come to remove the “missile defense” weaponry from Europe that was put there under the false pretense of protecting Europe from Iran. With that justification gone, U.S. aggression toward Russia will become damagingly apparent if this step is not taken. And the time has come for the nations that actually have nuclear weapons to join and/or comply with the nonproliferation treaty, which Iran was never actually in violation of.

In addition to the prevention of a massive bombing campaign in Syria that was prevented in 2013, a major recent success in war-lie-preparedness is the holding off, thus far, of a U.S. war on Iran — about which we’ve been told lies for decades now. The longer this debate goes on, the more it should become clear that there is no urgent emergency that might help justify mass killing. But the longer it goes on, the more some people may accept the idea that whether or not to gratuitously bomb a foreign nation is a perfectly legitimate policy question.

And the argument may also advance in the direction of favoring war for another reason: both sides of the debate promote most of the war lies. Yes, some peace groups are talking perfect sense on this issue as on most, but the debate between Democratic and Republican party loyalists and those in power is as follows. One side argues, quite illegally and barbarically, that because Iran is trying to build a nuclear weapon, Iran should be bombed. The other side argues, counterproductively if in a seemingly civilized manner, that because Iran is trying to build a nuclear weapon, a diplomatic agreement should be reached to put a stop to it. The trouble with both arguments is that they reinforce the false idea that Iran is trying to build a nuclear weapon. As Gareth Porter makes clear in his book Manufactured Crisis, there is no evidence for that.

Both arguments also reinforce the idea that there is something about Iranians that makes them unqualified to have the sort of weapon that it’s alright to voluntarily spread to other nations. Of course, I don’t actually think it’s alright for anyone to have nuclear weapons or nuclear energy, but my point is the bias implicit in these arguments. It feeds the idea that Iranians are not civilized enough to speak with, even as one-half of the debate pushes for just that: speaking with the Iranians.

On the plus side, much of the push for a war on Iran was devoted for years to demonizing Iran’s president until Iran, for its own reasons, elected a different president, which threw a real monkey wrench into the gears of that old standby. Perhaps nations will learn the lesson that changing rulers can help fend off an attack as well as building weapons can. Also on the plus side, the ludicrous idea that Iran is a threat to the United States is very similar to the idea that Iraq was such a threat in 2002-2003. But on the negative side, memory of the Iraq war lies is already fading. Keeping past war lies well-remembered can be our best protection against new wars. Also on the negative side, even if people oppose a war on Iran, several billionaire funders of election campaigns favor one.

Will Congressman Robert Hurt who claims to represent me, and who got Syria right in 2013, commit to taking no funding from those warmongers? Here’s what Hurt had to say on Tuesday:

The Threat of a Nuclear Iran Persists

Dear Friend,

“The long-running nuclear negotiations with Iran and the United States, China, France, Germany, Russia, and the United Kingdom finally reached a head early this morning. Even with the deal reached, I am skeptical that Iran will keep their word, act in good faith, and abide by the terms of the deal.

The deal is an INSPECTION arrangement, not based in any way on anybody trusting anyone.

I remain committed to the goal of eliminating Iran’s nuclear capabilities because the prospect of Iran attaining the ability to produce a nuclear weapon is a grave threat to the world, and it is a very real possibility that this deal may only fuel Iran’s ability to expand its nuclear ambitions and facilitate its efforts to spread terror in the Middle East.

What nuclear ambitions? What terror? This from a Congressman who voted for pulling out U.S. forces on June 17th but has taken no further action and has funded the U.S. operation that is currently killing people in the Middle East?

Iranian leaders clearly remain focused on expanding their nuclear capabilities. They only want to do the bare minimum necessary to lift damaging international economic sanctions that have crippled their economy.

What mindreading feat is this based on? Where’s evidence? Haven’t we learned to demand it yet?

Iran is the world’s largest state sponsor of terror.

Not according to any world source, but rather the U.S. government which defines terrorism to suit its ends. The world disagrees.

The regime makes no secret of its longstanding commitment to see the demise of the United States and Israel, our greatest ally in the Middle East.

Then why don’t you point to a single scrap of evidence?

On Saturday, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei spoke about the need to continue to fight against the “arrogant” U.S. regardless of the outcome of these talks. Allowing Iran to achieve the nuclear capabilities it seeks would pose an existential threat to Israel and the world.

There’s nothing there about the demise of the United States or Israel or the slightest evidence of Iran pursuing or threatening to use any weapon. Expecting people to believe otherwise seems a bit — if you’ll excuse me — arrogant.

Given Iran’s nuclear ambitions and history, I remain unconvinced that Iran will act in good faith and adhere to any of the terms of a deal. Iran has been unwilling to make necessary compromises to meaningfully limit their nuclear program, and there is little reason to believe this will change. Reaching a deal just for the sake of doing so is not worth putting the safety and security of our allies and our country at risk; no deal is better than a dangerous deal.

Again, what ambitions? What history? Why the steady avoidance of documenting any claims? Iran is complying with restrictions not imposed on any other nation. How is that a refusal to compromise?

If this deal is in fact a bad one, the American people have a role to play in this process. In May, the President signed into law the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act, which would require congressional review of any final nuclear agreement with Iran before the President can waive or suspend sanctions previously imposed by Congress. Now that an agreement has been reached, Congress has 60 days to review the agreement and pass a joint resolution to approve or disapprove of the deal. Should Congress disapprove the deal, the President would likely veto that measure, but Congress can override the veto with a two-thirds vote.

The American people, in case you hadn’t noticed, favor the deal, including a majority of Democrats and a plurality of Republicans.

It is my hope that Congress will carefully consider the consequences of a deal with Iran and maintain its focus on the ultimate goal of eliminating the threat of a nuclear Iran. I remain committed to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to enhance the necessary sanctions against the Iranian regime. We must do everything within our power to prevent Iran from gaining nuclear capabilities.

Is that a proposal for war?

If you need any additional information or if we may be of assistance to you, please visit my website at hurt.house.gov or call my Washington office: (202) 225-4711, Charlottesville office: (434) 973-9631, Danville office: (434) 791-2596, or Farmville office: (434) 395-0120.

Anyone can tell their rep and senators to support the deal here.

David Swanson is an author, activist, journalist, and radio host. He is director of WorldBeyondWar.org and campaign coordinator for RootsAction.org. Swanson’s books include War Is A Lie. He blogs at DavidSwanson.org andWarIsACrime.org. He hosts Talk Nation Radio. He is a 2015 Nobel Peace Prize Nominee.

Follow him on Twitter: @davidcnswanson and FaceBook.

Sign up for occasional important activist alerts herehttp://davidswanson.org/signup

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Senator Pan recieved bribes equal to twice the average American income to push mandatory vaccination law

By J. D. Heyes
July 14, 2015
Natural News

 

newsOne of the primary sponsors of recently passed legislation in California mandating that nearly all children enrolled in public and private schools in the state be vaccinated received some of the millions in campaign donations showered on the bill’s supporters by Big Pharma.

Democratic Sen. Richard Pan, a physician, according to the table published below, was the top recipient of a share of more than $2 million in campaign contributions by large pharmaceutical companies as the measure, SB 277, was being “debated” in the California legislature.

As reported by the Sacramento Bee newspaper, Pan received $95,150 from pharmaceutical firms; the only other elected official receiving more than $90,000 was Assembly Speaker Toni Adkins ($90,205); the speaker decides what legislation will be taken up by the chamber.

In all, the SacBee reported, Big Pharma and its industry surrogates gave legislators in the 2013-2014 session more than $2 million:

Nine of the top 20 recipients are either legislative leaders or serve on either the Assembly or Senate health committees. Receiving more than $95,000, the top recipient of industry campaign cash is Sen. Richard Pan, a Sacramento Democrat and doctor who is carrying the vaccine bill.

Critics of the process noted that the campaign donations more than likely influenced how lawmakers voted – a charge proponents of the bill dismiss.

“We aren’t pushing this bill behind the scenes,” Priscilla VanderVeer, the senior director for communications for the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, known as PhRMA, the industry’s main trade group, told the paper.

Pan historically has been supported by the Big Pharma vaccine industry

While PhRMA had never taken a public position on SB 277, the organization was widely known to have supported vaccinations as part of what it termed sound public health policy.

Still, the industry donated more than a half-million dollars to outside campaign spending groups that nevertheless assisted in getting some members elected last year, the SacBee reported.

“Leading pharmaceutical companies also spent nearly $3 million more during the 2013-2014 legislative session lobbying the Legislature, the governor, the state pharmacists’ board and other agencies, according to state filings,” the paper reported.

Tables (below) showing who gave, who received, and how much, were compiled by The Daily Sheeple news website.

NaturalNews has documented Pan’s financial connection to Big Pharma in the past. In this May report, we noted, citing TruthStream Media:

California’s bill to force vaccinations despite religious and philosophical beliefs — ostensibly guaranteed by the 1st Amendment – has been introduced by a pediatrician and state senator with ties to the vaccine industry.

Dr. Pan was among more than two-dozen California lawmakers who received campaign donations on record from Merck in the 2010 election cycle, ahead of supporting a 2011 law allowing girls as young as 12 years old to receive Gardasil vaccinations for HPV (manufactured by Merck) without parental consent.

Pan was a member of the state Assembly during the 2010 cycle; as documented by Health Impact News, he reportedly received $1,000 in campaign contributions from Merck.

Dr. Oz and the case of NO endorsement kickback

As NaturalNews editor Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, reported about a year ago elected officials on the national level have also been “paid” by Big Pharma to go after alternative healers and health advocates.

One such attack involved U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-MO., who launched broadsides at Dr. Oz for several health products he has endorsed. Come to find out, Adams reported, McCaskill had received some $146,000 in campaign donations from – you guessed it – Big Pharma.

“According to campaign contribution data published at OpenSecrets.org, prescription drug mega-retailer Express Scripts gave McCaskill over $109,000 in campaign contributions, most of which was routed through lobbyist groups or PACs,” Adams reported.

“Sen. McCaskill also accepted over $37,000 from Monsanto, widely regarded to be the most evil corporation in the world and an enemy of sustainable food production, heirloom seeds and traditional American farming methods,” he said.

Dr. Oz, by contrast, never got a cent from any company whose product he was pushing.

It seems when it comes to health public policy, it has become the best that money can buy.

Sources:

http://www.sacbee.com

http://www.thedailysheeple.com

http://healthimpactnews.com

http://www.naturalnews.com

http://www.truthwiki.org/Vaccine_Fanaticism/

Defend the Greek workers! Oppose the diktat of Schäuble and Merkel!

By Partei für Soziale Gleichheit
July 14, 2015
World Socialist Web Site

 

The Partei für Soziale Gleichheit (PSG—Socialist Equality Party) denounces the agreement forced on Greece by German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble at Sunday’s euro group summit. We call upon workers in Germany and throughout Europe to declare their solidarity with the workers in Greece and organize mass resistance to the policies of the German government.

The new austerity demands, to which the government of Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras capitulated on Monday morning, go far beyond the measures the Greek population rejected, by a large majority, in the referendum held just one week before. For millions of Greeks, the implementation of these measures means poverty, unemployment, disease and even death. Greece will be transformed into a de facto protectorate of Germany and the most powerful European financial interests.

The troika (European Union, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund) is returning to Athens and will dictate government policy. The role of parliament is to be reduced to rubber-stamping austerity measures and signing off on automatic budget cuts. State property valued at €50 billion will be transferred to a fund, to be sold off to the highest bidder, modeled on the Treuhandanstalt, set up in 1990 to liquidate state property in East Germany.

The agreement amounts to a carte blanche for the ruthless exploitation and plundering of the Greek working class.

Even establishment commentators could not overlook the agreement’s undemocratic character. In the Financial Times, Wolfgang Münchau accused Greece’s creditors of reverting to “the nationalist European power struggles of the 19th and early 20th century” and transforming the euro zone into a system “run in the interests of Germany” and “held together by the threat of absolute destitution for those who challenge the prevailing order.”

Paul Krugman in the New York Times accused the euro group of “pure vindictiveness, complete destruction of national sovereignty, and no hope of relief.”

The brutal actions of Schäuble and Merkel recall the darkest chapter in German history. Less than seventy-five years have passed since Hitler’s Wehrmacht occupied Greece, established a brutal regime of terror, and ruthlessly plundered the country. The imposition of high occupation costs, the export of virtually all of Greece’s industrial goods, and the theft of machinery and vehicles led to a famine that took the lives of hundreds of thousands of people.

The Wehrmacht responded to resistance from partisan fighters by massacring the inhabitants of numerous villages, including Distomo, Lingiades and Kommeno. At least 30,000 civilians fell victim to these reprisals. Eight thousand Jews were deported and murdered, and the Jewish community in Thessaloniki, one of the world’s oldest, was completely wiped out. None of the victims were ever compensated, and virtually none of the perpetrators were punished.

Schäuble and Merkel are now walking in the footsteps of their predecessors. The German ruling class is spewing forth all the undigested filth of the past. Their arrogance suggests that they see themselves, once again, as Europe’s master race.

The politicians are supported by a spineless press, for which no cliché or prejudice is too cheap to be hurled at the Greek people. The media spread propaganda and do everything in their power to confuse and mislead the public.

The government also relies on historians such as Jörg Baberowski of Humboldt University, who falsifies history to trivialise German crimes in World War II. It is backed by economists, who declare the impoverishment of the Greek working class a historical necessity, and political scientists, such as Herfried Münkler, who formulates the political arguments for German hegemony in Europe.

All of the parties represented in the German parliament support the government. The Social Democratic (SPD) chairman Sigmar Gabriel has led the way, seeking to outdo Schäuble and Merkel from the right.

They are all convinced that history has been forgotten. But they are deceiving themselves. The working class of Greece, Germany and Europe cannot and will not allow them to repeat Germany’s historic crimes.

The German government is pursuing two goals in its aggressive actions in Greece. It intends to set an example to intimidate all resistance to its austerity course in Europe and Germany. And it seeks to strengthen its hegemonic domination of Europe.

By the time of the 2008 financial crisis, the government had decided that Germany could no longer maintain its dominance through compromises and financial assistance. Germany had to become, in the words of Münkler, Europe’s “taskmaster,” instead of its “paymaster.” Early last year, leading government officials demanded that Germany play a role in Europe and the world that corresponded to its actual influence.

This new great power politics was first tested out in Ukraine, where the German government backed the pro-Western coup that has driven the country to civil war and brought NATO to the brink of a military confrontation with nuclear-armed Russia. These same policies are being continued in what amounts to a civilian coup in Athens.

The face of the European Union has been transformed in the process. It is becoming ever more obvious that the EU is not a mechanism for the peaceful coexistence of Europe’s peoples, but rather an instrument for the predominance of the most powerful imperialist powers and the ruthless exploitation of the working class. Masses of people now view the EU with a mixture of disgust and hatred.

The more openly Germany uses the EU to attain the position of a world power, the more intense the national conflicts within Europe become—above all between Germany and France. Prior to Sunday’s summit there were sharp exchanges between Berlin and Paris, which, due to domestic political considerations, was favoring a more conciliatory course towards Greece. The French government eventually submitted to Germany’s dictates because it fears the threat from its own working class much more than it fears German hegemony. These tensions, however, will flare up again, as will the developing conflict between the US and Germany over who will control Europe.

It is the task of the working class in Germany and throughout Europe to oppose these dangerous actions, which threaten to plunge the working class into desperate poverty, and the continent, once again, into war and dictatorship. To this end, it is vital to draw the lessons of the events in Greece and the role played by Syriza.

It is hard to find a parallel in history to the cowardly and shameful betrayal carried out in the past few days by Tsipras and his government. Elected in January on the basis of a promise to end austerity, Tspiras’ party made one concession after another to Berlin and Brussels.

Finally, it organized a referendum, hoping that a majority would favour the EU-backed austerity measures. Confronted, instead, with an overwhelming majority against austerity, it capitulated completely to the German diktat within a week. Even a right-wing bourgeois government would not have gone so far.

This surrender confirms the PSG’s assessment that Syriza is not a left, and certainly not a socialist, party, but rather a pseudo-left organization representing wealthy, selfish middle class layers primarily concerned with their own well-being. They have nothing but contempt for the working class, which they fear. Their capitulation is grist for the mill of far-right extremists such as Golden Dawn, which, from a reactionary, nationalist standpoint, poses as a more determined opponent of the dictates of Brussels and Berlin than does the supposedly “left” Syriza.

What is true for Syriza also applies, as well, to its international co-thinkers, including the Left Party in Germany and Podemos in Spain.

The Left Party bears immense responsibility for the fate of Greece. In February, it voted for the “aid program” for Greece, including the austerity measures attached to it. Occasionally it criticizes the policies of the German government, in order to maintain a shred of credibility, but it has done absolutely nothing to support the Greek workers.

It has refused to organize a single demonstration in their defense. If the Left Party assumes power in Berlin, it will pursue the same course as Syriza. This has already been proven by its record in power at the state level.

The Left Party works closely with the trade unions, which have sought to aid the German government by shutting down and selling out strikes by train drivers, postal and daycare workers, hospital employees and other professionals.

The working class of Germany must rise to the defense of its class brothers and sisters in Greece. The PSG calls upon all workers involved in social struggles, all young people and the entire working population: Support the Greek workers! Organize solidarity strikes against the dictates of Schäuble and Merkel! Break with the Left Party and the SPD and organize independently!

The fundamental question is the necessity of building a revolutionary leadership—in Greece, Germany and throughout the European continent. Join the PSG, the German section of the International Committee of the Fourth International, and build sections of the ICFI all over Europe that will fight for the unity of the European working class and the establishment of the United Socialist States of Europe!

 

 

US: Tainted Cancer Drugs Can Cause Stroke; Nationwide Recall Is Expanded

By Lori Alton
July 14, 2015
NaturalHealth365, July 12, 2015

 

medicine-cabinetA diagnosis of cancer is devastating. But cancer sufferers who have followed medical provider advice to undergo treatment with so-called cancer-fighting drugs may have unknowingly been exposed to the additional risk of stroke or other life-threatening medical event.

Why is this happening? The danger is due to tainted cancer medication in the form of sterile injectable drugs that the manufacturer began recalling in early June – due to “particulate” matter, as the company described the issue. The recall comes amidst yet another round of big pharma takeovers and acquisitions, leaving consumers to wonder whether drug companies are willing to take any available shortcut – even putting consumer health at risk – to turn a deal and build profit margins.

Multiple recalls of contaminated drugs: A shocking reality within the pharmaceutical industry

In early June, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) distributed a media release from drug manufacturer Mylan in which the company recalled seven lots of the cancer drug gemcitabine, two of which carried the Pfizer label. The cancer drugs are typically used to treat breast, ovarian, pancreatic and non-small cell lung cancers.

Mylan noted that while it was not aware of any incidences of patient health reactions to the drugs, a range of serious health threats are possible if particulate from the tainted drugs are injected into a patient. The company admits the risks can be life threatening, including chance of stroke.

In addition, Mylan announced it was recalling a single lot of methotrexate, a drug used to treat severe psoriasis, certain neoplastic diseases and adult rheumatoid arthritis. The June recall follows an earlier recall by Mylan, in April, during which it recalled one lot of the cancer drug carboplatin with a Mylan label, along with seven lots of cancer meds it manufactured for Pfizer. The latter included five lots of gemcitabine in different doses, and one lot each of methotrexate and cytarabine.

Corporate profits are more important than product safety

The recall of tainted cancer drugs comes amidst a swirling environment of FDA warnings, corporate takeovers and acquisitions that bring into question whether pharmaceutical companies are paying as much attention to safe manufacturing practices as they are to orchestrating their next ‘great’ business deal.

The most recently recalled drugs were all packaged in Agila Onco plants. Mylan acquired the Indian facilities in 2013 through its $1.75 billion buyout of the sterile injectables segment of Strides Arcolab, a strategic step in its bid to become a significant player in the sterile injectables sector.

The drug cytarabine, manufactured for Pfizer and recalled in April, was also made at the Agila plant in Bangalore. It is now known that the facility had already been cited with a warning letter from the FDA 2013, just prior to Mylan closing the deal. The FDA warning involved the plant’s use of defective gloves in the aseptic processing area, and noted that the company was not taking the problem seriously enough.

Just last year, Mylan recalled 10 lots of another Pfizer drug traced to the Agila plant for missing labels and for a black particulate.

Mylan is now in the midst of a complex big pharma game of mergers and acquisitions with a deal involving Perrigo, while at the same time Teva is making a bid for Mylan. Meanwhile, Pfizer is making a bid to expand its own sterile injectables business, sinking $17 billion into a buyout deal with the pharmaceutical company Hospira, a company known for its frequent product recalls.

Bottom line, as the saying goes, ‘let the buyer (cancer patient) beware.’

References:
http://www.fiercepharmamanufacturing.com/story/mylan-expands-recall-cancer-meds-made-pfizer/2015-06-09
http://www.fda.gov/Safety/Recalls/ucm444498.htm
http://www.fiercepharmaasia.com/story/mylans-bangalore-unit-cancer-drug-recall-expanded-firm-works-ma-angles/2015-06-17

UN Reports at Least 15,000 Civilians Killed in Iraq War Since 2014

By SM Gibson
Global Research, July 14, 2015
The Anti-Media, July 13 2015

 

obama_IRAQreport released by the United Nations on Monday reveals a sobering reality of the ongoing war in Iraq: civilians are being targeted en masse. The data shows that the Iraqi conflict has resulted in at least 15,000 civilian deaths and 30,000 injuries since January 2014.

The Report on the Protection of Civilians in the Armed Conflict in Iraq was compiled by the U.N. Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). The report specifically examines the time period between December 11, 2014 to April 30, 2015, where 3,345 persons were killed and another 7,423 were wounded. Baghdad suffered the heaviest losses in the roughly five month period, recording at least 1,586 killed and 4,138 wounded.

Those fortunate enough to evade death or injury have been subject to mass human rights violations as well as displacement. A total of 2,834,676 persons have been displaced within Iraq—including an estimated 1.3 million children—between January 2014 and April 2015.

“Civilians continue to be the primary victims of the ongoing armed conflict in Iraq – and are being subjected to human rights violations and abuses on a daily basis,” said Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.

The findings also determined that “Those who have managed to reach areas of safety consistently reported lack of basic necessities, such as food and sanitary items, and alleged that they were subjected to forced labour, forced religious conversions, ill-treatment, murder, and physical and sexual violence including sexual slavery and the trafficking of women and children.” 

Accusations of war crimes, crimes against humanity, and possible genocide are also being levied against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). Still, according to the report, “In a number of cases, it has been impossible to identify the perpetrators of violations and abuses committed during the reporting period.”

The reported numbers only account for casualties the U.N. was able to verify and recognizes that the actual count may be much larger.

 

 

Why American Presidents are so Rotten

By F. William Engdahl
July 13, 2015
New Eastern Outlook

 

242342342What few people inside or outside the United States grasp is the fundamental transformation of US politics, especially since the 1970’s, from political parties with stable mass-based constituencies to two parties bought lock, stock and barrel by a handful of American oligarchs with one agenda—the advancement of the interests of those same oligarchs regardless of the social consequences. Next year, 2016 is a Presidential election year. Already so-called front-runners are being proclaimed by mainstream media. It has nothing to do with genuine voter support but rather with the money behind Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Jeb Bush.

To understand this transformation makes clearer why the United States and their Washington politicians have become some of the most despised and ridiculed in the world today and why recent presidents from Ronald Reagan through to Barack Obama have been so morally rotten.

A key part of the transformation of America has come from extraordinary Supreme Court rulings. The country has gone from a country and political system where bipartisan consensus and cooperation on legislation in Washington was the hallmark of Washington politics, to the present undemocratic state. Today ultimately there is not a dime’s difference between major candidates—Democrat or Republican. This is because there has been a series of Supreme Court rulings and laws that virtually eliminate what used to be strict limits on how much money individuals and special interest groups could give to get their candidate elected.

Creation of the American Oligarchy

Because of changes introduced in the 1980’s from the Bush-Reagan presidencies the amount of tax exemptions enjoyed by the highest income group has soared while burdens on what was once the stable middle class in income has been squeezed severely over the past three decades. As of 2010 the richest 400 Americans–people like Bill Gates, George Soros, Ted Turner, Warren Buffett, David Rockefeller—had more assets than half of all Americans.

While the average incomes of the top 20 percent in the United States grew by 43 percent in inflation-adjusted terms between 1979 and 2012, the average incomes of those in the middle 60 percent grew by only 10 percent, and the incomes of the bottom 20 percent actually fell by 3 percent. The top rapidly pulled away from the middle, while the bottom simultaneously fell further behind.

The financial crisis that exploded in 2007 with the bursting of the housing bubble devastated the middle class while tax laws enacted after 2008 helped the top 10%. The period since the first Ronald Reagan presidency in 1981 has seen the phenomenal rise of a genuine American oligarchy. The Greek word oligarchy means a form of power structure in which power effectively rests with a few. It can be an oligarchy of royalty. In America today it is an oligarchy of wealth. This is the background to the dangerous developments in US election campaign financing.

No limits…

Since 1979 the US Supreme Court has handed down decisions that have literally opened the floodgates to the oligarchs’ takeover of elections.

After the Nixon Watergate campaign scandal in 1974 Congress passed amendments to the Federal Election Campaign Act. The amendments created a bipartisan Federal Election Commission (FEC), to oversee and enforce the law that initially set limits to total costs of federal campaigns. The act set up disclosure requirements for federal candidates, political parties, and political action committees of donations. On the surface all looked well and good. Political elections would be monitored strictly to prevent big money interests from buying elections.

Then in 1979 Congress made amendments to the FECA law that opened a giant financing loophole in the once strict FECA. A loophole allowed individuals, unions, and corporations to give unlimited sums to parties and national party committees for “party-building” purposes. These donations are known as “soft money.”

That was not enough for some special interests. They wanted to be certain they could push the “little man” out of politics with their money, along the motto “Who pays the piper calls the tune.”

In 2007 during the George W. Bush administration the Supreme Court took up the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act in Federal Election Commission v. Wisconsin Right to Life. The Court ruled, 5—4, that bans on ads paid for by corporations or unions in the weeks leading up to an election are an unconstitutional restriction on the right to advocate on an issue. “Discussion of issues cannot be suppressed simply because the issues may also be pertinent in an election,” Chief Justice John Roberts wrote.

Then, in 2010 during the Obama first term, the Supreme Court ruled, 5–4, in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, that the government cannot restrict the spending of corporations, unions, and other groups for political campaigns, maintaining that it’s their First Amendment right to support candidates as they choose. The US Constitution’s First Amendment in the Bill of Rights prohibits Congress from restricting the press or the rights of individuals to speak freely.

In the majority decision, Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote the astonishing conclusion, “We now conclude that independent expenditures, including those made by corporations, do not give rise to corruption or the appearance of corruption.” The decision gave rise to a proliferation of “super PACs” or Political Action Committees that opened the floodgates for unlimited amounts of money to be poured into political campaigns.

The consequences of these successive rulings has been the soaring costs of all public elections, meaning that only candidates who can woo the big money from Wall Street, the pharmaceutical industry, Monsanto and the agribusiness lobby and private billionaires have a chance to win. No chance for a maverick like Ron Paul or son Rand Paul or Bernie Sanders.

‘Dark money’ now has free speech right

Now the Republicans in the US Congress have just passed a new law that insures that so-called “dark money” will remain dark. Dark money refers to money that passes through supposedly non-political social welfare non-profit organizations, such as the Koch Brothers’ Crossroads GPS or the League of Conservation Voters, and is therefore free from disclosure.

On June 17, the House Appropriations Committee passed the 2016 Financial Services and General Government Appropriations bill. It included provisions that ensure that the so-called “dark money” of elections remains very dark. Section 129 of the bill prevents the IRS from making any investigation whether these social welfare groups are acting exclusively for social welfare; Section 625 prevents the SEC from requiring disclosure of political donations for publicly traded companies; Section 735 prevents a rule that requires government contractors disclose their contributions to political groups, nonprofits, and trade unions.

A closer look at the various candidates for the 2016 Presidential nominations in both Republican and Democratic parties reveals the shocking reality that almost every single one has backing of one or more American billionaires—not millionaires, but billionaires.

The billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch, behind the controversial Keystone oil pipeline from Canada to Texas, neo-conservatives who sit on the board of the American Enterprise Institute think tank, have publicly vowed to spend nearly $900 million to influence election races in 2016. Billionaires George Soros and Alice Walton, a Walmart heiress, back the ‘Ready for Hillary’ PAC, backing Hillary Clinton. Mitt Romney’s 2012 Presidential campaign was backed by billionaire casino mogul Sheldon Adelson, also a financier of Israel’s Netanyahu. Republican “golden boy,” Jeb Bush, is backed by numerous billionaires, many from Wall Street like Henry Kravis.

With the latest dark money law, most Americans will have no clue who is buying which candidate but we can be sure both candidates, Democrat and Republican, will be backed by the financial networks of this American money oligarchy. Little wonder that recent American politics—domestic and foreign have been so rotten. These days we get what they pay for…

F. William Engdahl is strategic risk consultant and lecturer, he holds a degree in politics from Princeton University and is a best-selling author on oil and geopolitics, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.