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Index May 2012

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2012-05-01: Occupy and Tea Party Members Meet in Minnesota;
2012-05-01: … des femmes … ;
2012-05-02: New Documents Spotlight Reagan-era Tensions over Pakistani Nuclear Program;
2012-05-03: You Can Do Well By Doing Good;
2012-05-04: Genomic research: Consent 2.0;
2012-05-05: Who are the real fascists: Marine Le Pen – or the United States?
2012-05-06: Die Stoakogler;
2012-05-07: Are Humans Getting Better?
2012-05-08: The latest victim of anti-gay rhetoric;
2012-05-09: If Elections Could Change Things, They’d Be Illegal;
2012-05-10: Laboring under the Nazis German High Court to Address Ghetto Pensions;
2012-05-11: Academic Spring: phase two;
2012-05-12: Responsibility to protect R2P;
2012-05-13: The final countdown;
2012-05-14: The Brain – Talks, Conferences on YouTube;
2012-05-16: Must We Stand Idly By While World Leaders Spout This Codswallop?
2012-05-17: EU and Eurozone GDP, first quarter 2012;
2012-05-18: Life with Ukraine’s street children;
2012-05-19: You call it trading, I call it stealing;
2012-05-20: Taliban Death Threats The West’s Afghan Workers Fear NATO Withdrawal;
2012-05-21: Preying on the Poor;
2012-05-22: New Congo Crisis;
2012-05-23: How does China define human rights?
2012-05-23: Living for the City;
2012-05-24: HUMAN RIGHTS: North American Game Plans and the Convention on Genocide;
2012-05-25: Democracy in America: Politics and private equity – Bringing the Bain;
2012-05-26: NPWJ News Digest on FGM and women’s rights – and link;
2012-05-27: Where US gun culture meets segregation: The enemy within;
2012-05-28: Peering into mysteries of space;
2012-05-29: Anatoly S. Chernyaev Diary, 1972;
2012-05-30: The euro crisis: An ever-deeper democratic deficit;
2012-05-31: Noam Chomsky: speaking of truth and power.

Noam Chomsky: speaking of truth and power

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Published on Al-Ahram weekly online, David Tresilian’s interview with Noam Chomsky, 3 – 9 June 2010.

(a short excerpt) … Your latest book is called Hopes and Prospects – What are the hopes?

  • The first part of the book is about South America, and in South America there are many quite hopeful developments. For the first time in 500 years, since the Conquistadors, South America is beginning to move towards some degree of independence and integration and at least facing some of its severe internal problems. The colonial structure is extreme in South America, where there is a very narrow concentration of wealth in a mostly Europeanised, sometimes white elite, surrounded by an awful tragedy and some of the worst inequality in the world, in a region that has a lot of resources and a lot of potential. Some steps are being taken to deal with this.    Continue Reading…

The euro crisis: An ever-deeper democratic deficit

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The level of further integration necessary to deal with the euro crisis will be hard to square with the increasing cantankerousness of Europe’s voters – Published on The Economist, May 26, 2012.

FOR the past six decades, steps forward to greater European union have taken place at moments of incipient crisis. None, though, has been taken in a time of disaster. The next leap in integration looks set to change that. All the plausible solutions to the self-inflicted mess of the euro crisis require a significant new level of fiscal and potentially political union, not least because some countries, such as Germany, actively want greater political union and see it as the price of their co-operation.   Continue Reading…

Anatoly S. Chernyaev Diary, 1972

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Soviet government official Anatoly Chernyaev records an insider’s view of the Brezhnev era – Published on National Security Archive, Electronic Briefing Book No. 379, by Svetlana Savranskaya, May 25, 2012. (Translated and edited by Anna Melyakova and Svetlana Savranskaya).

Washington, D.C., May 25, 2012 – Today the National Security Archive publishes excerpts from Anatoly S. Chernyaev’s diary of 1972 for the first time in English translation with edits and postscript by the author. While the diary for the Gorbachev years, 1985-1991, published before and widely used in scholarly work on the end of the Cold War provided a major source on the Gorbachev reforms, the earlier years of the diary give the reader a very rare window into the workings of the Brezhnev inner circle in the 1970s.  Continue Reading…

Peering into mysteries of space

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Published on Al Jazeera, by Tania Page in Africa, May 26, 2012 (see also the video, 1.40 min).

Africa is where we first stood upright, and where we first learned to use tools. Now it’s also where we have the best chance of learning about the very beginnings of the universe, with a tool that will push scientists and engineers well beyond the boundaries of their existing skills and knowledge.

From deep in space, the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) will pick up radio waves to decipher our universe and how life began – well before this little blob in the galaxy called Earth was even a twinkle.   Continue Reading…

Where US gun culture meets segregation: The enemy within

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Gated communities for the lower middle classes as well as the rich are little frontier towns with their own sheriffs, suspicious of every outsider – Published on Le Monde Diplo, by Rowland Atkinson and Oliver Smith, May 2012.

George Zimmerman, who shot Trayvon Martin at a gated community in Sanford, Florida, in February, is to be charged with second-degree murder. The case, in which Martin, an unarmed black teenager, died, reminds us how young African-American males face prejudice and heightened risks of death or harm.   Continue Reading…

NPWJ News Digest on FGM and women’s rights – and links

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Published on No Peace Without Justice NPWJ, by Mme Chantal Compaoré /, May 18, 2012.

Le 15 mai 2012, s’est tenu dans la salle de conférence de l’ambassade d’Ethiopie à Washington D.C, sous la présidence de Mme Chantal Compaoré, première Dame du Burkina Faso, Ambassadrice de bonne volonté du Comité interafricain (CI-AF), coordonnatrice de la campagne internationale pour la résolution de l’Assemblée générale des Nations unies interdisant les mutilations génitales féminines en Afrique et dans le monde, un événement de haut niveau sur les pratiques traditionnelles: pont entre les Etats-Unis et l’Afrique … // Continue Reading…

Democracy in America – Politics and private equity: Bringing the Bain

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Published on The Economist, May 22, 2012.

ON “MEET THE PRESS” this past Sunday, Cory Booker, the superhero mayor of Newark, compared Barack Obama’s ads criticising the behaviour of Bain Capital under Mitt Romney to a Republican plan for new ads attacking Mr Obama for his association with Reverend Jeremiah Wright. “This kind of stuff is nauseating to me on both sides”, Mr Booker said. “It’s nauseating to the American public.”   Continue Reading…

HUMAN RIGHTS: North American Game Plans and the Convention on Genocide

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Published on Global, by John Bart Gerald, May 23, 2012.

Both the U.S. and Canada have strong laws against the crime of genocide, as required by the U.N. Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, of 1948. Despite ongoing threats to surviving Indigenous peoples and a genocide against the    peoples of Iraq, the Convention is not invoked, and in North America laws against genocide aren’t applied to our own societies. 1   Continue Reading…

Living for the City

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David Harvey’s Rebel Cities – Published on Dissident Voice, by Ron Jacobs, May 21, 2012.

I live in the small city of Burlington Vermont in the United States. Most every day I walk through the city’s main public square known by its street name, Church Street. A public street that has been semi-privatized, the street is often the center of a struggle between citizens and private interests over the nature of the public square.    Continue Reading…

How does China define human rights?

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After diplomatic debate over dissident Chen Guangcheng, we ask on what basis the US should judge China’s rights record – Published on Al Jazeera, May 21, 2012.

Chen Guangcheng is the Chinese dissident behind a diplomatic rift between the US and China. After months of wrangling over his fate, Chen and his immediate family arrived in the US on Saturday, capping off three weeks of rollercoaster diplomacy that reached the highest levels of the Chinese government and the US White House … //   Continue Reading…

New Congo Crisis

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Preying on the Poor

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Published oon ZNet (first on TomDispatch), by Barbara Ehrenreich, May 18, 2012.

Individually the poor are not too tempting to thieves, for obvious reasons. Mug a banker and you might score a wallet containing a month’s rent. Mug a janitor and you will be lucky to get away with bus fare to flee the crime scene. But as Business Week helpfully pointed out in 2007, the poor in aggregate provide a juicy target for anyone depraved enough to make a business of stealing from them.   Continue Reading…

Taliban Death Threats The West’s Afghan Workers Fear NATO Withdrawal

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Published on Spiegel Online International, by Matthias Gebauer and Shoib Najafizada in Berlin and Mazar-e-Sharif in Afghanistan, May 18, 2012.

With the German army pulling out of Afghanistan in 2014, hundreds of Afghan workers fear they will become victims of revenge by the Taliban, who have already condemned them as traitors. German authorities are already preparing for a wave of visa applications … //

… Deadly Risk:   Continue Reading…

You call it trading, I call it stealing

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Published on Intrepid Report, by Jerry Mazza, May 18, 2012.

Dear Mr. CEO of JPMorgan Chase, Mr. Jamie Dimon: There you are sitting with egg on your face and $2 billion plus going deep into the red on bad bets. You, the guy who fought for less and not more regulation is now in the middle of a major mess. You, the guy who hates the Volker rule named after ex-Fed Chief, Paul Volker, and says it went too far and that “if you want to be trading, you have to have a lawyer and a psychiatrist sitting next to you determining what ‘was your intent’ every time you did something.” That was some expensive exaggeration, wouldn’t you say?    Continue Reading…

Life with Ukraine’s street children

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Published on The Guardian, by  Marcel Theroux, May 16, 2012.

… The head of Kiev’s Centre for Children’s Services is a charming former social worker called Nikolai Kulyeba. He says there are no more than 10 or 15 children under 18 living on the streets in Kiev. “Otherwise,” he says, with a certain circularity of thinking, “I would know about it.”   Continue Reading…

EU and Eurozone GDP, first quarter 2012

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German growth due to exports and … a rise in government consumption – Published on REWR Blog, by merijnknibbe, May 15, 2012.

Today, Eurostat published data on first quarter GDP in the Eurozone and the EU. Some cherries:

  • an increasing number of countries has slipped into a technical recession (two subsequent quarters in which seasonally adjusted GDP declines). Newcomers: Czech Republic, Spain, the UK and Romania. Continue Reading…

Must We Stand Idly By While World Leaders Spout This Codswallop?

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Even Churchill told the Empire that Britain would not stand by idly and see Poland trampled – Published on The Independent, by Robert Fisk, May 14, 2012.

… Haven’t I heard this before? Why yes, I have. Back in 2009, Robert Gates was getting very exhausted with North Korea and its nuclear weapons. And what did he tell us, on 30 May to be exact? “We will not stand idly by” as Pyongyang developed nuclear weapons. Last year, Barrack Obama said America would not “stand idly by” when a tyrant (to whit, Muammar Gaddafi) “tells his people there will be no mercy”.    Continue Reading…


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Judge Denies Declassification of Final Volume of CIA Official Report on Invasion of Cuba – Published on The National Security Archive, by Peter Kornbluh, May 10, 2012.

CIA Officials Defy Obama Directive on FOIA which states that the Government should not keep information confidential merely because public officials might be embarrassed by disclosure, because errors and failures might be revealed, or because of speculative or abstract fears.

Washington, DC, May 10, 2012 – More than year after the National Security Archive sued the CIA to declassify the full “Official History of the Bay of Pigs Operation,” a U.S. District Court judge today sided with the Agency’s efforts to keep the last volume of the report secret in perpetuity. In her ruling, Judge Gladys Kessler accepted the CIA’s legal arguments that, because Volume V was a “draft” and never officially approved for inclusion in the Agency’s official history, it was exempt from declassification under the “deliberative process privilege” despite having been written over 30 years ago.  Continue Reading…

The Brain – Talks, Conferences on YouTube

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The final countdown

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Despite hiccups, Egypt’s transitional phase is coming to an end – Published on Al-Ahram weekly online, by Dina Ezzat, 10 – 16 May 2012.

It is a very busy time in the corridors of several presidential campaign headquarters. Posters are being sent away for distribution; commercials are being finalised for airing; public speeches are being drafted; and the candidates are getting ready for the final round of the big race … //

… According to parliamentary sources, parliament speaker Saad El-Katatni acted promptly to accommodate the frustrations of the commission: he made a statement apologising for any offence that PEC might have felt from criticism made against its performance, although he also suggested that parliament, for its part, is equally offended by accusations of alleged interference levelled by PEC.   Continue Reading…

Responsibility to protect R2P

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Introduction and implementation, distrust and misuse, the R2P attempt failed miserably in Libya – Published on Current Concerns, by Dr h.c. Hans-Christof von Sponeck, May 8, 2012.

In a few months, the UN will be 67 years old. Initially, in 1945, there were 51 states that joined as a state community. Currently the UN includes 193 states. Southern Sudan is the youngest member. Quickly the new state has been accepted. Those in power at the moment wanted it that way. Palestine must go on waiting. Membership means acceptance of the UN Charter, which links binding covenants, conventions and other international agreements to a network.1    Continue Reading…

Academic Spring: phase two

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Published on RWER Blog, by Edward Fullbrook, May 7, 2012.

In case you have not been watching this Spring’s coming, since the spectacular Harvard development of two weeks ago, another large tree, the UK government, has bloomed.  Its Minister of State for Universities and Science announced last week that beginning in the near future all UK publicly funded academic research will be available on the Web free of charge to anyone anywhere in the world.  This is not a politician’s pipe dream; Jimmy Wales, the co-founder of Wikipedia, has already been hired to set it up.   Continue Reading…

Laboring under the Nazis German High Court to Address Ghetto Pensions

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Published on Spiegel Online International, by Christoph Schult, May 9, 2012. (Translated from the German by Ella Ornstein).

For years, former laborers in Nazi-era ghettos have been fighting to get the pension that German law ostensibly guarantees them. A strict interpretation of that legislation, however, has meant that a vast majority of applications have been rejected. Now, a complaint has been filed with Germany’s highest court.   Continue Reading…

If Elections Could Change Things, They’d Be Illegal

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Published on ZNet, by Nikolas Kosmatopoulos, May 07, 2012.

… Crypto-racist and violence-prone armed gangs – aka dias and delta motorcycled police teams – roam the streets of major cities, beating up journalists and harassing and arresting those who appear “suspicious” or “rebellious”.

Guilty politicians from both major parties (the conservative/neoliberal New Democracy and the social-democratic/neoliberal PASOK) hide from an enraged people behind the walls of guarded palaces, evoking doomsday scenarios in case the citizenry dare not vote them back into office.  Continue Reading…