From Rob Brown's commentary in the Jerusalem Post
An “intifada-style popular revolt” is how The New York Times has portrayed the latest popular uprising against Indian occupation which has swept through this predominantly Muslim province this summer, making the breathtakingly beautiful Kashmir Valley appear even more of a paradise lost. Although not clad in keffiyehs, young Kashmiri teenagers can sometimes resemble their Palestinian peers as they throw stones at army patrols and dodge tear-gas canisters on the streets of the state capital, Srinagar.
But what the world is never told by The New York Times, nor by most other supposedly liberal organs, is that New Delhi's response to such civil disobedience has been far more savage and brutal than anything authorized in Jerusalem or Tel Aviv, leading in the past to serious armed insurrection (often incited by Pakistan).
The Indian essayist Pankaj Mishra justly observed recently: “The killing fields of Kashmir dwarf those of Palestine and Tibet. In addition to the everyday regime of arbitrary arrests, curfews, raids and checkpoints enforced by nearly 700,000 Indian soldiers, the valley's 4 million Muslims are exposed to extrajudicial execution, rape and torture, with such barbaric variations as live electric wires inserted into the penis.”
A leading local NGO, the International People's Tribunal on Human Rights and Justice in Indian-Administered Kashmir, has reported that extrajudicial killings and torture are commonplace there. It claims that the Indian military occupation of that state between 1989-2009 has resulted in more than 70,00 deaths, and many of these killings were deemed “acts of service” by India's feared Central Reserve Police Force, leading to promotion and financial reward (bounty is paid after claims made by officers are verified, apparently).
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Friday, October 15, 2010
From Rob Brown's commentary in the Jerusalem Post
Sally Kinnes reports for Herald Scotland:
Peter Godwin shares his eye-witness accounts of atrocities in Zimbabwe.
Robert Mugabe's generals had a name for what they did after the elections of 2008. They called it Operation Mavhoterapapi – Who Did You Vote For? There was only one possible answer and those who gave the wrong one risked ending up like Denias Dombo. A mechanic with a young family, he was left so badly beaten he subsequently tried to hang himself.
Peter Godwin's new book, The Fear, chronicles this kind of torture and much, much worse. A white Zimbabwean, Godwin returned to his homeland in April 2008 to write a post-election feature for Vanity Fair. He had hoped to be dancing on Mugabe's political grave. Instead what followed was so dreadful, he knew it deserved a book. “The longer I stayed, the more I felt it needed to be recorded. When you see something like that happen, if you have the power to amplify it, then you have a duty to do so.”
Travelling with his younger sister, Georgina, Godwin describes in the book his journey around Zimbabwe as Mugabe worked on rigging the results. When they first see someone being pushed in a wheelbarrow, they think it is because of the transport shortage. It is only later that they realise these are the first victims of torture, being wheeled home because they are too badly injured to walk. Then the catalogue of horrors unfolds: a man who was beaten, stripped naked and had his legs run over, twice; men whose testicles were tied with wire and yanked around until they passed out from the pain; a man whose penis was tortured with a crochet hook.
The beatings are military operations. “It's very organised. It's not spontaneous violence, there is something horribly structured about it, just as it was when the white farmers were attacked. When you talk to enough people, you know what is going to happen next, it is absolutely down to a plan.” As the military ratcheted up their assault to Operation Ngatipedzenavo – Let Us Finish Them Off – so the hospitals invented a new medical acronym. This was PEV, post-election violence.
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From Thievery 101 by Mark Sircus:
Taxpayers, senior citizens, and everyone who is even near approaching retirement are facing their own Waterloo. Bondholders are going to be competing with the pension beneficiaries for scarce government resources on the local, state, and federal level for there is just not enough money to pay everyone their due. Already Social Security is failing the elderly by not keeping up with inflation, but that is just a whiff of what is yet to come.
Big U.S. cities and counties are being put in a headlock by unfunded public pensions as they face a $574 billion funding gap. The gap at the municipal level would be in addition to $3,000 billion (3 trillion) in unfunded liabilities already estimated for state-run pensions, according to research from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and the University of Rochester. The financial demands of unfunded pension promises come as state and local governments grapple with years of falling tax revenue related to the recession.
The government has to do something so they will probably do what they do best—steal from the common man and give it to the rich. Until the very end when the system just collapses in on itself, we will see evermore-desperate plans to save the sinking ship. Actually, according to some, it is really not a rescue attempt but just efforts to give the “rats” more time to abandon ship, leave the country, get into gold, build underground shelters, and have more fun at everyone else's expense.
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In the end, contemporary capitalism has not been about the freedom to achieve financial security and get ahead based on one's efforts. It has been about theft and destruction and an evil that is centered at the very top layer of humanity. All of us who believe in the system and walk around smugly and comfortably are voting for the thievery to continue and for the rich to get even richer, or for them to at the very least keep what they have stolen, not only from the rest of the planet but from mother earth and our precious environment.
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By Jason Leopold and Jeffrey Kaye, t r u t h o u t investigative report:
In 2002, as the Bush administration was turning to torture and other brutal techniques for interrogating "war on terror" detainees, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz loosened rules against human experimentation, an apparent recognition of legal problems regarding the novel strategies for extracting and evaluating information from the prisoners.
Wolfowitz issued his directive on March 25, 2002, about a month after President George W. Bush stripped the detainees of traditional prisoner-of-war protections under the Geneva Conventions. Bush labeled them "unlawful enemy combatants" and authorized the CIA and the Department of Defense (DoD) to undertake brutal interrogations.
Despite its title - "Protection of Human Subjects and Adherence to Ethical Standards in DoD-Supported Research" - the Wolfowitz directive weakened protections that had been in place for decades by limiting the safeguards to "prisoners of war."
"We're dealing with a special breed of person here," Wolfowitz said about the war on terror detainees only four days before signing the new directive.
One former Pentagon official, who worked closely with the agency's ex-general counsel William Haynes, said the Wolfowitz directive provided legal cover for a top-secret Special Access Program at the Guantanamo Bay prison, which experimented on ways to glean information from unwilling subjects and to achieve "deception detection."
"A dozen [high-value detainees] were subjected to interrogation methods in order to evaluate their reaction to those methods and the subsequent levels of stress that would result," said the official.
A July 16, 2004 Army Criminal Investigation Division (CID) report obtained by Truthout shows that between April and July 2003, a "physiological warfare specialist" atached to the military's Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape (SERE) program was present at Guantanamo. The CID report says the instructor was assigned to a top-secret Special Access Program.
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From a brilliant article by David H. Freedman in The Atlantic:
"...Salanti remained poised, as if the grilling were par for the course, and gamely acknowledged that the suggestions were all good—but a single study can’t prove everything, she said. Just as I was getting the sense that the data in drug studies were endlessly malleable, Ioannidis, who had mostly been listening, delivered what felt like a coup de grâce: wasn’t it possible, he asked, that drug companies were carefully selecting the topics of their studies—for example, comparing their new drugs against those already known to be inferior to others on the market—so that they were ahead of the game even before the data juggling began? “Maybe sometimes it’s the questions that are biased, not the answers,” he said, flashing a friendly smile. Everyone nodded. Though the results of drug studies often make newspaper headlines, you have to wonder whether they prove anything at all. Indeed, given the breadth of the potential problems raised at the meeting, can any medical-research studies be trusted?
That question has been central to Ioannidis’s career. He’s what’s known as a meta-researcher, and he’s become one of the world’s foremost experts on the credibility of medical research. He and his team have shown, again and again, and in many different ways, that much of what biomedical researchers conclude in published studies—conclusions that doctors keep in mind when they prescribe antibiotics or blood-pressure medication, or when they advise us to consume more fiber or less meat, or when they recommend surgery for heart disease or back pain—is misleading, exaggerated, and often flat-out wrong. He charges that as much as 90 percent of the published medical information that doctors rely on is flawed. His work has been widely accepted by the medical community; it has been published in the field’s top journals, where it is heavily cited; and he is a big draw at conferences. Given this exposure, and the fact that his work broadly targets everyone else’s work in medicine, as well as everything that physicians do and all the health advice we get, Ioannidis may be one of the most influential scientists alive. Yet for all his influence, he worries that the field of medical research is so pervasively flawed, and so riddled with conflicts of interest, that it might be chronically resistant to change—or even to publicly admitting that there’s a problem.
The city of Ioannina is a big college town a short drive from the ruins of a 20,000-seat amphitheater and a Zeusian sanctuary built at the site of the Dodona oracle. The oracle was said to have issued pronouncements to priests through the rustling of a sacred oak tree. Today, a different oak tree at the site provides visitors with a chance to try their own hands at extracting a prophecy. “I take all the researchers who visit me here, and almost every single one of them asks the tree the same question,” Ioannidis tells me, as we contemplate the tree the day after the team’s meeting. “‘Will my research grant be approved?’” He chuckles, but Ioannidis (pronounced yo-NEE-dees) tends to laugh not so much in mirth as to soften the sting of his attack. And sure enough, he goes on to suggest that an obsession with winning funding has gone a long way toward weakening the reliability of medical research.
He first stumbled on the sorts of problems plaguing the field, he explains, as a young physician-researcher in the early 1990s at Harvard. At the time, he was interested in diagnosing rare diseases, for which a lack of case data can leave doctors with little to go on other than intuition and rules of thumb. But he noticed that doctors seemed to proceed in much the same manner even when it came to cancer, heart disease, and other common ailments. Where were the hard data that would back up their treatment decisions? There was plenty of published research, but much of it was remarkably unscientific, based largely on observations of a small number of cases. A new “evidence-based medicine” movement was just starting to gather force, and Ioannidis decided to throw himself into it..."
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A compilation of facts, footage, and pictures I made depicting modern slavery, human trafficking, etc.
The slave market is estimated to be worth $42 billion. All over the world, people continue to be kidnapped, transported, bought and sold like commodities. But in the 21st century how can anybody be forced into slavery? And can those who escape lead normal lives? Find out in a new XL report on RT.
Siddharth Kara first encountered the horrors of sexual slavery in a Bosnian refugee camp in 1995. Since then, he has traveled to India, Nepal, Burma, Thailand, Vietnam, the United Kingdom, Italy, the Netherlands, Albania, Moldova, Mexico, and the United States to learn the mechanics of this brutal business and to take stock of its devastating human toll. This book provides a rare business analysis of sex trafficking, focusing on the local drivers and global macroeconomic trends that gave rise to the industry after the fall of the Berlin Wall. Kara quantifies the size, growth, and profitability of sex trafficking and other forms of modern slavery-metrics that have not been published before-and locates the sectors that would be hardest hit by specifically designed interventions and penalties. Kara bolsters his analysis with a riveting account of this unconscionable industry, sharing the stories of victims and revealing the shocking conditions of their exploitation. He concludes with a plan for aggressive measures that would sharply increase the costs of exploiting sex slaves, thereby reducing their aggregate demand among slave owners and consumers.
Felicity Lawrence comments in The Guardian:
The re-emergence of slavery on ships off West Africa is profoundly shocking but it is not a surprise. Last week slavery its modern form came to light in cases of forced labour uncovered on trawlers fishing for the European market. In a haunting echo of the 18th century triangular trade, west African workers were found off the coast of Sierra Leone on board boats where they lived and worked in ships' holds with less than a metre of head height, sometimes for 18 hours a day for no pay, packed like sardines to sleep in spaces too small to stand up, with their documents taken from them and no means of escape.
It is no accident that globalisation has seen the reemergence of slavery. The human degradation off West Africa is replicated elsewhere. I first came across modern slavery when investigating the UK chicken supply chain in Thailand in 2002. UK retailers and manufacturers now source much of their cheap commodity chicken from Asian factories. On the subcontracted farms around Bangkok that supply the international poultry processing factories I found illegal Burmese migrants trapped in debt bondage and forced labour. Fifteen Burmese refugees, interviewed for me by the American Centre for International Labour Solidarity, described sleeping in one room on the floor working whatever hours their Thai boss required of them, without pay and without a day off for two months. They had been kept in order by violence and by the threat of deportation if they complained.
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Swiss private banks withstood assaults on client secrecy by the U.S., France and Germany to attract more than 50 billion francs ($53 billion) of assets since the end of 2007.
While UBS AG customers withdrew 248 billion francs during the past two and a half years, those redemptions were exceeded by net flows into the nation's 19 other biggest banks by client assets, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Credit Suisse Group AG, Pictet & Cie. and Bank Sarasin & Cie. won the most funds, bringing in almost 196 billion francs between them. Swiss firms opened branches elsewhere in Europe to keep clients who no longer want to bank in Switzerland, and invested in Asia, where the number of millionaires rose 26 percent last year.
“The Swiss private banks have been underrated by those who said they were on their last legs,” said Sebastian Dovey, a managing partner at Scorpio Partnership, a London-based consulting firm. “The reality shows that while they may have been badly bruised during the financial crisis, their businesses are relatively intact and are poised for growth.”
The industry was shaken on March 13, 2009, when Switzerland agreed to work with countries investigating tax evasion to avoid being blacklisted as a haven by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. The Swiss have initialed or signed 28 tax treaties since then to implement international standards and help track down tax evaders. Only 16 percent of the 863 billion francs held in Swiss banks by European nationals were declared, according to estimates last year by Geneva-based broker Helvea.
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Morningland Dairy is the latest attempt by the FDA to fulfill the Healthy People 2020 objective to kill raw dairy. Morningland is owned by Joseph and Denise Dixon, who operate the cheese plant and make raw cheese from cows kept right on the property and managed by one of their eldest daughters. They have 12 children, 4 who still live at home, and they have been actively engaged in real food for decades. They were caught up in the Rawesome Raid dragnet and many believe the questionable California Dept of Food and Agriculture tests on their cheese are the legal justification for the multi-agency guns drawn raid at Rawesome.
In the thirty years of Morningland Dairy operations NO ONE has become ill from consuming their products. Yet they have been ordered by the Missouri Milk Board to destroy ALL of their cheese without actual tests being performed on the cheese stock. This is nearly 50,000 pounds of cheese, or approximately $250,000.
Since the Milk Board and the FDA showed up at Morningland on August 26th, they have been “embargoed” from shipping or making any product. They dumped their milk for nearly six weeks before being approved to send it into homogenized, pasteurized distribution. All the while, they have had to pay the bill to keep the dairy and cheese plant operable.
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The Slovakia government the cancelled all its debts owed by Sudan unconditionally which totalled 40 million, Sudan's state media reported.
Sudan's official news agency (SUNA) quoted the honorary consul of Slovakia in Sudan Nasr Al-Deen Sholgamy as saying that Slovakia is the first European country to cancel debt on Sudan.
The country's external debt as of December, 31 2009 stood at about $35.68 billion mostly owed to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Austria and the United States.
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