(Photo by Real Democracy GR – MultiMedia Team )
Greece’s political establishment trembles as banks and government offices burn amid violent anti-austerity riots. Has the country finally reached a tipping point?
Exactly ten years ago, the crisis-ridden country of Argentina spiraled into a bout of social unrest that would eventually lead to the largest sovereign default in history. After three years of being forced to swallow the bitter pill of IMF-imposed austerity, a tipping point was finally reached: foreign creditors and neoliberal governments had pushed the people too far. They rose up in defiance and ousted five successive Presidents in the space of just three weeks.
With the incredible images of flame-engulfed buildings and policemen emerging out of Athens, it now looks like Greece may be headed down the same path. The country has become ungovernable. Even though a majority of traitors was found to pass yet another deeply unpopular austerity package through Parliament, this weekend’s violent protests indicate that the ‘Argentina moment’ may have arrived. The Greek people simply can’t take any more austerity.
The Popular March to Brussels that left the Puerta del Sol of Madrid on July 26th, is now at the Pyrenees. Until today, over one hundred people have decided to go to Brussels. The Marchers are, among other places, from Italy, Greece, Germany, France, Russia, USA, Cuba, Colombia, Mexico, Tunisia, Poland and England. Women and men of all ages are sharing this experience.
After twenty-three days on tour along towns and cities in Northern Spain, on Wednesday August 17th, early in the morning and from the city of Irun, the March will cross the border. Then, they will meet their counterparts in France at Baiona, where a warm welcome is prepared.
On Monday, August 8th, also the Mediterranean March to Brussels left the city of Barcelona in their journey to the Belgium capital. The Marchers are currently 21 and tomorrow it’s expected that several people will join up them. Besides, 12 participants have already confirmed their presence in the neighbor country, who will join up the March to accompany them to cross the border.
On the 1st of August 2008 Syrian General Muhammad Suleiman, who also bore the title of Special Presidential Advisor for Arms Procurement and Strategic Weapons for President Bashar al-Assad, was murdered in highly mysterious circumstances. General Suleiman was shot three times in the head, neck and stomach at his home in the exclusive Rimal al-Zahabieh resort in the Mediterranean city of Tartous. It was speculated then that the shots came from a sniper located on a boat, which explained how the top level security forces surrounding Suleiman were avoided. At this time relations between Syria and Israel were at their worst and the talk of war was in the air, particularly due to Syria’s intent on upgrading its nuclear and chemical weapons facilities, a strategy headed by Suleiman. Therefore, most of the international press, most notably The Sunday Times, stated as a fact that it was Israeli intelligence agency Mossad who was to blame.
An inside job
Recent cables published by Wikileaks, however, shed a new light on the assassination, revealing a very delicate multi-lateral diplomatic situation. The fact that this information came from the U.S. embassy in Paris is particularly revealing. In cable #08PARIS1717 Ambassador Stapleton, says that Boris Boillon, adviser at the French presidency, asserted to him that “the killing seemed to be some sort of inside job”.
Despite the obfuscation of information by major outlets in traditional media and Internet, the movement born in Europe on the past 15th of May is spreading all across the continent, each day with more intensity and popular support. The repercussions, both in economic and political scenario are still unknown, in the same way the effects of the Cablegate episode of November 2010 were difficult to apprehend in that date but step by step shows its importance to contemporary society. The revolution lead by the European youth holds all Western economical and political structures as its enemy and is the type of social movement that does not have its shelter- an essential characteristic of a revolution. Relevant information of the gatherings, protests and projects are provided uniquely by independent media, and in some occasions these are being boycotted. The website for the Real Democracy Now platform in Berlin claimed that they were attacked, and the independent media site, www.europeanrevolution.com was finally put offline illegally, after having been blocked via DNS in, at least, France and Belgium. Below is a recollection of information from past events in different countries.
As the main camps in Puerta del Sol (Madrid) and Plaza Catalunya (Barcelona) prepare to pack their tents and leave on Sunday, organizers have started to spread their message to the rest of Europe. From the beginning the Internet was abuzz with proposals of a European revolution or a #globalcamp, and for that purpose thousands of blogs and independent websites have been opening, planting the roots of the protests happening now in over twenty major cities in France, Italy (full agenda and aditional information in English here) and Portugal. Greece has also taken the streets and an estimated 30 thousand people are protesting outside of Athen's Parliament as we can see from this live feed. Here you can find a live streaming of the General Assembly in Paris.
Des responsables français en armement ont certainement suivi le départ du Druzki, la frégate un peu vétuste que Sofia vient d'envoyer au larges des côtes libyennes dans le cadre de l'opération alliée contre le régime de Kadhafi. Car le Druzki aurait pu être une corvette de classe Gowind, l'une des quatre que la France comptait vendre à la Bulgarie au prix d'un milliard de dollars US - soit pratiquement le double du budget annuel de la défense dans ce pays. Qu'est-ce qui a fait capoter ce "contrat du siècle" inclus dans l'ambitieux partenariat stratégique entre les deux pays signé par Nicolas Sarkozy à Sofia, le 4 octobre 2007, quelques semaines après l'euphorie de la libération des infirmières bulgares?
A lire les télégrammes diplomatiques américains de cette époque, révélés par les sites Bivol et BalkanLeaks , les partenaires locaux de WikiLeaks (cf. infra), il apparaît que les Bulgares ont surtout voulu temporiser, soufflant le chaud et le froid, dans le but de ne pas froisser Paris qui a joué un rôle actif dans la libération des infirmières. Beaucoup de responsables bulgares, y compris des militaires de haut rang, ne sont pas dupes : ils considèrent dès le départ cette acquisition comme vouée à l'échec, ces corvettes françaises dernier cri étant considérées comme un luxe inutile pour la marine bulgare.
Mais, plus que tout, la lecture de ces câbles illustre les efforts que Washington déploie pour dissuader les Bulgares d'honorer ce contrat contraire, selon eux, aux intérêts stratégiques de Sofia. Et surtout, des Etats-Unis, qui font un intense lobbying en faveur de l'achat par la Bulgarie de matériel américain d'occasion - notamment des avions de combat multifonctions.
Réformes bulgares, opportunités américaines
France24 is reporting that former Ivory Coast president Laurent Gbagbo, who refused to acknowledge defeat in the election last November, has been captured and taken to the Abidjan headquarters of rival president Alassane Ouattara, according to "diplomatic sources". Early reports said he was arrested by French troops, there as part of a UN mission approved in March after UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and French President Nicolas Sarkozy accused Gbagbo of using heavy weapons against civilians.
It is now being reported that Ouattara troops arrested him. Youssoufou Bamba, the U.N. envoy of president-elect Ouattara stated that Gbagbo has been arrested, is alive, and will be brought to justice, according to the Washington Post. They quote Bamba as saying, “That’s the Republican Forces of Cote d’Ivoire who have conducted the operation. Gbagbo is arrested. He is under our custody. . . . Right now, he is being brought to a safe location for the next course of action.” Bamba is also quoted as saying that he was confident that as “the news will spread” of Gbagbo’s arrest, his forces “will stop fighting and they will lay down their weapons.” He added: “Those fighting are fighting for nothing, because this man is over, this era is over. We will address the serious problem of the humanitarian situation and the security situation . . . and restore public order.”
Next: We got Obasanjo to anoint Yar'Adua, says Saraki
"Contrary to the belief that former President Olusegun Obasanjo personally hand-picked late President Umaru Yar'Adua as his successor, a United States diplomatic cable obtained by Wikileaks and made available exclusively to NEXT, has detailed how a group of governors led by Bukola Saraki, the Kwara State governor, worked behind the scene to pressure Mr. Obasanjo into anointing the former Katsina State governor as his replacement.
No other person than Mr. Saraki himself gave the account of the political intrigues that threw up the late president to a former US Consul General, Brian Browne."
Aftenposten: MP CRITICIZES JAPANESE NUCLEAR PLANS
"Lower House Diet Member Taro Kono voiced his strong opposition to the nuclear industry in Japan, especially nuclear reprocessing, based on issues of cost, safety, and security during a dinner with a visiting staffdel, Energy Attache and Economic Officer October 21. Kono also criticized the Japanese bureaucracy and power companies for continuing an outdated nuclear energy strategy, suppressing development of alternative energy, and keeping information from Diet members and the public. He also expressed dissatisfaction with the current election campaign law."
Aftenposten: CLIMATE CHANGE: EMISSION IMPOSSIBLE: NPP SHUTDOWN EXACERBATES JAPAN´S KYOTO TARGET BIND
Next: Yar’Adua made me acting President, says Yayale
"As his health failed late president Umaru Yar’Adua illegally bypassed his vice president, Goodluck Jonathan, and handed presidential authority to Yayale Ahmed, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation.
This unconstitutional act has now come to light through US diplomatic cables leaked to Wikileaks and made available exclusively to NEXT."
Next: Buhari says speaker’s comments confirm his fears
"Two parties who went to court over the 2007 presidential elections, Atiku Abubakar and Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday reacted to comments credited to Speaker Dimeji Bankole that the late president, Musa Yar’Adua, bribed Supreme Court justices to swing the judgment in his favour. While Mr. Abubakar, the candidate of the opposition Action Congress in the election, maintained that the speaker of the House of Representatives’s comment had disgraced Nigeria, Mr. Buhari, the presidential candidate of the Congress for Progressive Change, said the revelation had vindicated his stand that the nation’s judiciary could not be trusted, and therefore needed a thorough overhaul."
Der Spiegel: EADS-Manager verspotteten Kollegen vor US-Diplomaten (EADS managers colleagues mocked U.S. diplomats)
The streets of Bahrain are becoming increasingly violent. Security forces are using live rounds on protesters. Just over a day ago, right before dawn security forces ambushed protesters camping peacefully in the Pearl Roundabout, an area they had turned into their “Tahrir Square.” Many were injured, a few were killed. And, the world is witnessing the brutal discriminatory practices often used by the regime against Shia citizens and activists who dare to criticize the regime or exercise freedom of expression.
For years, a monarchy headed by King Hamad bin Isa al- Khalifa has come under sharp criticism for its use of torture. Amnesty International published a report on February 11 titled, “Crackdown in Bahrain: Human Rights at the Crossroads.” And now, WikiLeaks has released several cables detailing the torture of political prisoners and other Bahrainis.
Amidst the on going protests / revolution, several leaders across the world have spoken out in regards to the turmoil which has over taken Egypt. The following are excerpts from the various governments' press release.
Chancellor Angela Merkel has called for an end to violence in Egypt. Further, calling on all parties, especially the Egyptian government to authorize peaceful demonstrations, and to allow freedom of expression.
"We expect the authorities and relevant public bodies to respect public liberties, notably freedom of expression." (Foreign Ministry)
Reuters reported today on possible EU legal action against Hungary for its new media law passed in 2010 (reported here by WL Central). Hungary has two weeks to show that the new law complies with EU rules regarding free speech and media freedom, and with EU regulations on broadcasting. The report goes on to state:
The commission, which serves as the EU executive body, is concerned whether the new rules limit freedom of expression in Hungary by requiring all broadcasters to provide balanced coverage of news and to register with a state authority.
The full article can be read here.
The Guardian: WikiLeaks points to US meddling in Haiti
"US embassy cables reveal how anxious the US was to enlist Brazil to keep the deposed Jean-Bertrand Aristide out of Haiti.
Confidential US diplomatic cables from 2005 and 2006 released this week by WikiLeaks reveal Washington's well-known obsession to keep exiled former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide out of Haiti and Haitian affairs."
Le Monde: En 2007, les ministres suédois voulaient stopper les réfugiés irakiens (In 2007, the Swedish ministers wanted to stop the Iraqi refugees)
"Des télégrammes diplomatiques américains transmis par WikiLeaks au quotidien suédois Svenska Dagbladet font état, vendredi 21 janvier, des efforts de plusieurs ministres suédois pour limiter l'arrivée de réfugiés irakiens en Suède. (The American diplomatic cables sent by Wikileaks to the Swedish paper "Svenska Dagbladet" report, this friday January 21st, the efforts of several Swedish ministers to limit the entry of Iraqi refugees in Sweden.)"
Today, The German news outlet Frankfurter Rundschau reported on some comments made by Jebali Hamadi. Hamadi was the leader of the Islamic party Al-Nahdha just prior to the fall of the Ben Ali government of Tunisia. In the brief interview, Jebali Hamadi is reported to have said:
Aber eine Beteiligung an dieser Regierung lehnen wir ab. Wir wollen eine Regierung, an der sich alle beteiligen, ohne Ausnahme.
(Participation in this government, we reject. We want to be involved in a government in which all political parties are equally represented, without exception.)
Jebali Hamadi continued in the interview to state:
Wir sind gegen Einschränkungen. Aber schauen Sie auf die Straße! Das Volk hat sich gegen die Politik der RCD ausgesprochen. Wer in die Repression verwickelt ist, kann nicht an der Regierung beteiligt werden
Washington Post: PARIS -- Lawyers for ex-inmates of the Guantanamo prison camp used documents released by WikiLeaks to argue for their acquittal in a French terrorism trial Thursday.
The lawyers for five Frenchmen, originally acquitted of the charges in a 2009 trial, argued that it was inappropriate for French investigators to have discussed the ex-inmates' cases with American authorities after a new trial was ordered. Lawyer Dominique Many said it "shocked" him that investigators would discuss ongoing cases with the U.S. government.
In one March 2005 cable, French investigators told American officials that the cases against two of the ex-Guantanamo inmates, Ridouane Khalid and Khaled Ben Mustafa, "would be much more difficult" than for other French former inmates of the prison. The cable was among many released recently by WikiLeaks.
Le Monde: "La Tunisie fait des progrès sur les droits de l'homme..." ("Tunisia makes progress on human rights")
""La Tunisie n'est pas une dictature..." La phrase figure en sous-titre d'un télégramme diplomatique de l'ambassade des Etats-Unis, daté du 14 août 2007, obtenu par WikiLeaks et révélé par Le Monde. Les mots sont ceux de Serge Degallaix, ambassadeur de France en Tunisie de juillet 2005 à septembre 2009. ("Tunisia is not a dictatorship..." The sentence is found on the title of a diplomatic cable from the American embassy, dated August 14th 2007, obtained by Wikileaks and revealed by Le Monde. The words come from Serge Degallaix, ambassador of France in Tunisia between July 2005 and September 2009.)"
The Guardian: TNK-BP boss predicted break-up of Russian joint venture
"Leaked comments suggest that BP sees Rosneft as its long-term partner, not TNK-BP, according to cables obtained by WikiLeaks.
BP's top executive in Russia predicted that its TNK-BP subsidiary would be carved up by the end of this year by Rosneft, the British oil company's new partner, acting with Gazprom, according to leaked US embassy cables."
The Guardian: Turkey let US use airbase for rendition flights
"Turkey allowed use of Incirlik airbase as refuelling stop, US embassy cable reveals, after Turkish denials of involvement.
Turkey allowed the US to use its airbase at Incirlik in southern Turkey as part of the "extraordinary rendition" programme to take suspected terrorists to Guantánamo Bay, according to a US diplomatic cable."
The Guardian: 'Baby Doc' Duvalier's possible return to Haiti concerned US
"US envoy said in 2006 that return of 'Baby Doc' Duvalier could complicate ability of Haiti's new government to establish itself.
The US expressed its concern about the possible return of Jean-Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier to Haiti as far back as 2006, when the country was about to hold elections, according to a confidential US diplomatic cable."
Le Monde: Les prédateurs du clan Ben Ali vus par les diplomates américains (The predators of Beli Ali's clan viewed by the American diplomats)
"Une blague circulait à Tunis avant la chute du régime : un jour, le président Ben Ali roulait au volant de sa voiture, dans les rues de la capitale, seul et sans garde du corps. A un feu rouge, un policier l'arrête. Ben Ali explique qu'il s'appelle Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali et qu'il est le président de la République. "Jamais entendu parler de vous ", lui rétorque l'homme en uniforme, avant de le conduire au poste de police. Le chef du poste est là. Il examine les papiers de Ben Ali et les lui remet aussitôt en disant : "C'est OK pour lui. C'est un parent des Trabelsi." (A joke circulated in Tunisia before the fall of the regime: one day, President Ben Ali was driving at the wheel of his car in the streets of the capital, alone and without a bodyguard. At a red light, a policeman stops him. Ben Ali says he is called Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali and he is the President of the Republic. "Never heard of you", the man in uniform answers back before driving him to the police station. The head of the station is there. He looks at the papers of Ben Ali and tells right back: "It's okay for him. He's a parent of Trabelsi.")"