Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
January 16, 2013

Open Thread 2013-2

As the last one is full ...

(... and as I have no idea what to write about)

News & views ...

Posted by b on January 16, 2013 at 12:34 PM | Permalink

Comments

I love this story - great idea: outsource yourself.

Bob was his company’s best software developer, got glowing performance reviews and earned more than $250,000 a year.

Then one day last spring, Bob’s employer thought the company’s computer system had been attacked by a virus.

The ensuing forensic probe revealed that Bob’s software code had in fact been the handiwork of a Chinese subcontractor.

Bob was paying a Chinese firm about $50,000 a year to do his work, then spent the day surfing the web, watching cat videos and updating his Facebook page.

Posted by: b | Jan 16, 2013 12:36:35 PM | 1

US Americans among the hostages in the Algerian/Libyan desert

numbers of hostages are claimed to be 150 BP employees.

Posted by: somebody | Jan 16, 2013 1:04:40 PM | 2

Russia warns the world is nearing currency war

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-01-16/russia-says-world-is-nearing-currency-war-as-europe-joins.html

Posted by: nikon | Jan 16, 2013 1:42:03 PM | 3

The funny thing is, these same "Islamists" where the same bunch France armed to overthrow Qaddaffi.

Posted by: Zico | Jan 16, 2013 2:21:23 PM | 4

Oh, my!...
Cuban leaders have gone to great lengths to legitimize the reforms with an unprecedented solicitation of public input.

I always thought Cuba was a dictatorship.

Posted by: Maracatu | Jan 16, 2013 2:29:48 PM | 5

Zico, 4, that is the beauty of 19th century colonialism, to play all sides off, backing one side on Monday, another side on Tuesday and returning to one side on Wednesday .... all that ensuring that it is your side that is sought after and decisive ...
Of course once the natives got a real leader you might be in for a long war and out of the country.

Posted by: somebody | Jan 16, 2013 3:23:11 PM | 6

... and as I have no idea what to write about
What? Are you not well? :-) But if you are not not well then I’d be interested in your comments on this: Germany Repatriates Gold Reserves

Posted by: juannie | Jan 16, 2013 4:29:31 PM | 7


Iran gives Syria $1bn import credit line!!!

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/01/16/us-syria-iran-credit-idUSBRE90F13520130116

Posted by: neretva'43 | Jan 16, 2013 4:36:12 PM | 8

This is getting truly hilarious:
We spoke earlier -jokingly- that the best candidate to blame for the killing of the PKK affiliates in Paris was Iran, it seems that our theory is seriously being considered!!! :)
First Le Monde counted everybody including Martians as the possible suspects except the Turkish government (using an online translator):

"Settling of scores within kurdish sphere of influence, linked to ongoing negotiations between Ankara and Abdullah Öcalan, action of the Turkish movement of extreme right of the grey Wolves, murder for money, personal settling of scores: several lanes are possible, explained a specialist of kurdish sphere of influence in France, under the pretence of anonymity."

Then Today's Zaman reported the Kurdish activist Ahmet Turk as saying:

"“I don't think this time it is the [Turkish] state,” Türk was quoted by Habertürk daily as saying. He added that the perpetrators could be international forces that don't want to see Turkey become a lone international power in the region.

“Finding a solution to the Kurdish issue would make Turkey the sole power in the region. For this reason, Iran could be the one responsible [for the killings]. It happened before too,” Türk claimed."

Then al-monitor made this ingenious (!!) analysis:

"For the culprites to be agents working for the Turkish government is a most absurd allegation. Why would a government that wants the PKK to give up arms want to block the process with its invisible hands? And why would it endanger its very valuable Turkish-French relations by committing murders on French soil? Unless they are totally moronic, this is unthinkable."

Of course in al-monitor's mind the same line of reasoning does not apply to Iran which was blamed for killing of its own Kurdish activists in mykonos at a time when the government of Iran was approaching the Kurdish activists for 'peace talks'!

This also goes against the opinion of the vast majority of Kurds who screamed: "TURQUIE ASSASSIN, HOLLANDE COMPLICE !"

And also against the suspicions of the majority of the Kurdish activists who warned France that if they did not find the culprits that they would be accomplices and responsible for the failure of the peace process. After all why would France try to cover-up the crime unless the truth would lead to a disastrous scandal? And what could possibly be scandalous other than a fellow NATO member, a "model democracy" and a reliable partner in the "war against terror" being involved in breaking international law and completely disrespecting the French sovereignty (not that the French deserve any better!) would go ahead and send an assassination team to assassinate refugees in France!!

So I guess fairly soon we may hear that it is the Iranian jets which are pounding PKK positions inside Iraq for the third consequtive day!!
In fact I am fairly confident that if the Japanese police looks carefully they will figure out that Iran and Mr. Khamenei were behind the Fukushima disaster too!!

Posted by: Pirouz_2 | Jan 16, 2013 4:38:06 PM | 9

This is getting truly hilarious:
We spoke earlier -jokingly- that the best candidate to blame for the killing of the PKK affiliates in Paris was Iran, it seems that our theory is seriously being considered!!! :)
First Le Monde counted everybody including Martians as the possible suspects except the Turkish government (using an online translator):

"Settling of scores within kurdish sphere of influence, linked to ongoing negotiations between Ankara and Abdullah Öcalan, action of the Turkish movement of extreme right of the grey Wolves, murder for money, personal settling of scores: several lanes are possible, explained a specialist of kurdish sphere of influence in France, under the pretence of anonymity."

Then Today's Zaman reported the Kurdish activist Ahmet Turk as saying:

"“I don't think this time it is the [Turkish] state,” Türk was quoted by Habertürk daily as saying. He added that the perpetrators could be international forces that don't want to see Turkey become a lone international power in the region.

“Finding a solution to the Kurdish issue would make Turkey the sole power in the region. For this reason, Iran could be the one responsible [for the killings]. It happened before too,” Türk claimed."


Posted by: Pirouz_2 | Jan 16, 2013 4:39:50 PM | 10

Then al-monitor made this ingenious (!!) analysis:

"For the culprites to be agents working for the Turkish government is a most absurd allegation. Why would a government that wants the PKK to give up arms want to block the process with its invisible hands? And why would it endanger its very valuable Turkish-French relations by committing murders on French soil? Unless they are totally moronic, this is unthinkable."

Of course in al-monitor's mind the same line of reasoning does not apply to Iran which was blamed for killing of its own Kurdish activists in mykonos at a time when the government of Iran was approaching the Kurdish activists for 'peace talks'!

This also goes against the opinion of the vast majority of Kurds who screamed: "TURQUIE ASSASSIN, HOLLANDE COMPLICE !"

And also against the suspicions of the majority of the Kurdish activists who warned France that if they did not find the culprits that they would be accomplices and responsible for the failure of the peace process. After all why would France try to cover-up the crime unless the truth would lead to a disastrous scandal? And what could possibly be scandalous other than a fellow NATO member, a "model democracy" and a reliable partner in the "war against terror" being involved in breaking international law and completely disrespecting the French sovereignty (not that the French deserve any better!) would go ahead and send an assassination team to assassinate refugees in France!!

Posted by: Pirouz_2 | Jan 16, 2013 4:40:28 PM | 11

So I guess fairly soon we may hear that it is the Iranian jets which are pounding PKK positions inside Iraq for the third consequtive day!!
In fact I am fairly confident that if the Japanese police looks carefully they will figure out that Iran and Mr. Khamenei were behind the Fukushima disaster too!!

Posted by: Pirouz_2 | Jan 16, 2013 4:41:03 PM | 12

I see my link at #7 is behind a firewall at the WSJ. Here is another link to some commentary at Infinite Unknown.
What Do German Central Bankers Know That We Don’t?

Ben Bernanke and the rest of the US Federal Reserve bet the farm that they could engage in countless monetary interventions, keep interest rates at zero, and print over $2 trillion in new money without damaging the US’s credibility.

They were wrong. Indeed, Germany just fired a major warning shot to the US Federal Reserve.

Posted by: juannie | Jan 16, 2013 4:44:15 PM | 13

Are neocon staffers at the State Department exploiting the transition period between Clinton and Kerry as an opportunity to stoke aggression against Syria? A couple of days ago, an unnamed staffer leaked to Foreign Policy info about a State Department cable from Turkey, which the source claimed confirmed that Syria's government had used chemical weapons on Dec. 23. Then apparently, a spokesperson for the whitehouse had to do damage control:

“The reporting we have seen from media sources regarding alleged chemical weapons incidents in Syria has not been consistent with what we believe to be true about the Syrian chemical weapons program,” White House National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor said in a statement.

US President Barack Obama had previously drawn “a red line” at Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's use of chemical weapons, saying that the eventuality would trigger a major change in US policy regarding Syria. The statement was widely interpreted as a threat to militarily intervene in the conflict.

“If the Assad regime makes the tragic mistake of using chemical weapons, or fails to meet its obligation to secure them, the regime will be held accountable,” Vietor said.

Neocons at WINEP are unhappy that the Whitehouse has not declared causus belli:

The White House's threats to react to Assad's WMD activity have softened over time. In Obama's Aug. 20 statement, he indicated that "a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around" would trigger U.S. action.

Obama then shifted his warning to Assad about red lines in December, after intelligence reports stated that the Syrian regime had moved some precursor chemicals out of storage and mixed them, making them easier to deploy. Now, Obama's red line is that the United States will react if Syria uses these weapons.

"The use of chemical weapons is and would be totally unacceptable," Obama said Dec. 3, directing his comments at Assad. "If you make the tragic mistake of using these weapons, there will be consequences and you will be held accountable." That same day, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton added: "we are certainly planning to take action if that eventuality were to occur."

Outside analysts worry that the administration's red line may have shifted again.

"Given the fact you have that in a cable, this indicates that the Obama administration may not simply jump into the conflict because chemical agents are used," said Andrew Tabler, senior fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. "Assad has a much better idea now of what he can do and get away with."

"This shows that actually the red line on chemical weapons is not clear and that the regime may be able to use some chemical agents, and the response might not be immediate," he said.

Posted by: Rusty Pipes | Jan 16, 2013 5:26:20 PM | 14

Good read from counterpunch on the Empire's South American adventures.

http://www.counterpunch.org/2013/01/16/militarizing-latin-america/

Posted by: ben | Jan 16, 2013 11:50:41 PM | 15

12) I did not notice a "popular" campaign in Germany. What seems to have happened is that the central audit authority checking on Bundesbank documentation found it lacking concerning the inventory of gold reserves. There seems to be no answer to what happened to the GDR gold reserves for example.

Bundesbank says that they keep gold abroad to be able to get foreign currencies in time of crisis. They do not really seem to have a concept where to get foreign currency in time of crises. So the audit concluded that they need this concept.

The gold is therefore brought home for stock taking and will be spread in a different way according to the new concept.

I guess France is out as it would be part of a Eurozone crisis.


Posted by: somebody | Jan 17, 2013 3:15:44 AM | 16

Bob's story was doing the rounds at my (IT) office today. The consensus was that the Project Manager should be sacked, and Bob given his position.

An interesting topic on this block (below). Germany is No. 1 (yeah!) (also picked up by somebody)

http://emsnews.wordpress.com/2013/01/17/sovereign-wealthy-germany-wants-half-its-gold-back-from-federal-reserve-vaults-in-nyc/
Sovereign Wealthy Germany Wants Half Its Gold Back From Federal Reserve Vaults In NYC
Another sign the US dollar is in trouble: Germany is demanding the Bank of NY which is a Federal Reserve entity, hand over half of the gold it has held for Germany since WWII. Germany is, along with China, one of the few major countries with sovereign wealth and it is as of today, #1. Not Japan nor China, it is Germany. The Germans are still hitched to the euro but they fear it is doomed at this point in time so are quietly preparing the ground for the possibility their fellow sovereign wealth holders might switch suddenly to the gold standard which ruled international trade for hundreds of years, with one empire after another wearing the Gold Trade Crown and then giving it up through bankruptcy and war.

Posted by: DM | Jan 17, 2013 4:15:32 AM | 17

The fraud found in London about other metals mixed with gold in the emsnews article in 15 is interesting. Was the same fraud found in NY? Is there something going on with banksters stealing other's gold now? Besides their now documented massive currency thefts? Venezuela brought their gold home from London about a year ago:

Venezuela Begins Return of Gold Reserves from Abroad to Central Bank

http://venezuelanalysis.com/news/6664

Most of theirs had been held in London.

Posted by: вот так | Jan 17, 2013 10:26:24 AM | 18

Blaming Damascus for Aleppo blast is blasphemous - Lavrov

http://english.ruvr.ru/2013_01_17/Blaming-Damascus-for-Aleppo-blast-is-blasphemous-Lavrov/

"Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has condemned allegations that the explosion that killed over 80 people at the university of Aleppo in Syria was organized by Syrian government troops. Speaking on Thursday, he called such statements blasphemous.

“I saw a report on CNN, which said that Syrian government troops were behind it. Nothing can be more blasphemous,” Lavrov told reporters in Dushanbe.

Asked whether the various interpretations of the Aleppo events might affect Russian-U.S. relations, he said: “I don’t understand how a terrorist act can spark differences."

He stressed that the Aleppo explosion was qualified as a terrorist act by many world leaders and also by the United Nations."

Posted by: вот так | Jan 17, 2013 10:56:44 AM | 19

More blatant ethnic and political corruption absurdy in the Israeli-American court system:

Moscow warns of strong response to Schneerson library ruling

http://english.ruvr.ru/2013_01_17/Moscow-warns-of-strong-response-to-Schneerson-library-ruling/

Posted by: вот так | Jan 17, 2013 11:13:19 AM | 20

The Israeli-American courts system is essentially useless for those who don't have oligarch status.

Feds taunt rights group with blacked-out docs on GPS tracking

http://rt.com/usa/news/feds-obstruct-gps-info-171/

"The American Civil Liberties Union has been given information on how Washington determines when it can surveil American citizens using GPS. The documents are so heavily redacted by the Justice Department, though, that they are essentially worthless.

­The redacted sections – which consume several paragraphs and even entire pages – are thought to show legal interpretations outlining the government's rationale on tracking its citizens with GPS. With so much of the documents blacked out, Americans are still wondering whether the federal government is required to obtain a warrant before spying on them with GPS technology – and if so, when exactly it can do so.

The ACLU, one of the most powerful American civil rights groups, had to sue the government in August 2011 with a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request in order to get their hands on the memos."

Posted by: вот так | Jan 17, 2013 11:47:42 AM | 21

from the memory hole

Washington Post

The Army’s Criminal Investigation Command, which is conducting a probe of the fatal plunge off the Martyrs Bridge in Bamako, the capital of Mali, said it does not suspect foul play but has “not completely ruled it out.” Other Army officials cited poor road conditions and excessive speed as the likely cause of the 5 a.m. crash.

U.S. officials have revealed few details about the soldiers’ mission or their backgrounds, beyond a brief news release announcing their deaths hours after the accident.

In many countries, including most in Africa, Special Operations forces work openly to distribute humanitarian aid and train local militaries. At times, the civil-affairs assignments can provide credible cover for clandestine counterterrorism units.

But in Mali, U.S. military personnel had ceased all training and civil-affairs work by the end of March, about a week after the country’s democratically elected president was overthrown in a military coup.

great.

Posted by: somebody | Jan 17, 2013 12:10:20 PM | 22

How a Government Report Spread a Questionable Claim About Iran

Several media outlets reported this month on an alarming finding from a new U.S. government study: Iran’s intelligence ministry, as CNN put it, constitutes “a terror and assassination force 30,000 strong.”
...
So how did the government researchers come up with the number? They searched the Internet — and ended up citing an obscure, anonymous website that was simply citing another source.

The trail on the 30,000 figure eventually ends with a Swedish terrorism researcher quoted in a 2008 Christian Science Monitor article. But the researcher, Magnus Ranstorp, said he isn’t sure where the number came from. “I think obviously that it would be an inflated number” of formal employees, said Ranstorp.

Posted by: b | Jan 17, 2013 1:20:21 PM | 23

Thanks to вот так #17 for the nugget that Lavrov said today regarding the 82 killings at Aleppo University on Tuesday: "I saw a report on CNN, which said that Syrian government troops were behind it. Nothing can be more blasphemous." (ref). I like the choice of word "blasphemous" from comrade Sergei.

By the way USA ambassador to the UN Susan Rice said on her twitter account: "According to eyewitnesses, regime jets launched the strikes." (ref). She's an horrific twit in my eyes.

Yesterday the Syrian Army General Command said the deaths of the 82 people at Aleppo University on 15 Jan 2013 were determined to have been due to two rocket shells fired from the al-Lairamoun neighborhood of Aleppo, and this finding then "prompted the army to hit back against the gatherings of terrorists in the [al-Lairamoun] area". (ref). I wish the army had been hitting back more aggressively against the terrorists beforehand, and hadn't waited until after this setback.

Posted by: Parviziyi | Jan 17, 2013 1:28:03 PM | 24

BND study - in German - As own oil production grows US will lose interest in the Gulf region

Posted by: somebody | Jan 17, 2013 6:31:31 PM | 25

25

"As own oil production grows US will lose interest in the Gulf region"

The information in that article is simply rubbish. For several reasons. Irregardless of how much energy reserves the USA has, its interest in other country's reserves will remain. This is because the Israeli-Americans want to control all the world's energy because if one controls the basic needs of a country, one effectively controls that country. Israeli-American interest in ME oil reserves is not for the USA, but to control who gets the oil.

Second, the article refers to the oil in the Bakken Shale Formation in North Dakota and the Eagle Ford Shale in Texas as "shale oil" (Schieferöl - correct?). It is not. The oil in those shale formations is simply oil that is hard to get at. Shale oil is something else entirely. One can find out what it is at the link below.

Third, the article counts theoretical American oil resources, not oil reserves. These are also very different amounts with different meanings. Resources refers to the theoretical possible amounts that could be there. Reserves are the amounts proven to be there that can be economically recovered. Most oil resources can not be economically recovered. And what can be recovered changes with new tech and changes in economic factors.

Fourth, the reserves in the Bakken formation are estimated to be between 2 bb and 20 bb. That in the Eagle Ford is estimated to be 3.35 bb. The USA uses 1 bb of oil every 52 days, so one can see that the idea of the USA having these untapped vast reserves lauded in the article is a wild exaggeration and quite absurd. They are counting oil that is beyond economic recovery as oil in the storage tank waiting to be.

And fifth, even if that oil were economically and technically recoverable, it would be quite a ways into the future that such could be possible. There wont be any more that is recoverable in 2020 than there is now.

The article is an advert for fracking, essentially. And Spiegel/Reuters are part of the paleo-zio-fascist propaganda machine. The only thing reliable about what is produced by such businesses, is that they can not be relied upon for factual information.

The following article will explain why the Spiegel/Reuters material was rubbish better and in a lot more detail. Those interested may also want to read the discussion following.

Does the U.S. Really Have More Oil than Saudi Arabia?

http://www.theoildrum.com/node/9753

Posted by: вот так | Jan 17, 2013 8:36:49 PM | 26

And related to fracking:

"It's been total hell..."
Obama’s EPA Shuts Down Damning Fracking Study

http://www.counterpunch.org/2013/01/17/obama-epa-shut-down-weatherford-tx-shale-gas-water-contamination-study/

"Change you can believe in", wasn't that the line? Yeah, the sort of change a Bush with a suntan would work for.

Posted by: вот так | Jan 17, 2013 9:54:37 PM | 27

Natural Gas: Where Endless Money Went to Die

http://www.zerohedge.com/contributed/2012-06-20/natural-gas-where-endless-money-went-die

Posted by: nikon | Jan 18, 2013 3:01:07 AM | 28

Vat Tak agree on the reliability of Der Spiegel. The US already has lost interest in the Gulf region though, i.e. leading from behind.
Nikon is right, it is a matter of price. When prices are high enough all means of extraction are worth considering and new technology to be developed. Yes, it is an environmental desaster.
However the fracking boom is real and the US is considered energy independent. And presumably more interested in high energy prices than low prices.
It is possible that part of US policy is to deny a stable environment to China. That would be a disaster for Europe as they are just as dependent. I think most of the instability is simply caused by the US withdrawing and none of the other players being able to fill the vacuum. Drone strikes just further destabilize.
At present there is a BRICS/Iran stability axis. I think Europe will have to join.

Posted by: somebody | Jan 18, 2013 3:42:42 AM | 29

@ вот так
"The information in that article is simply rubbish. For several reasons.

well, given who posted it, whaddya expect?

Posted by: yeah, but . . . | Jan 18, 2013 5:39:05 AM | 30

Funny thing, or maybe I'm paranoid ;). Along with the "*these* islamists are really evil, would you stand and watch while they cut off other peoples hands?"-spin I've seen some comments in the major german onlinepapers' comments-section who explicitely mentioned that "the culture of mali is threatened by the islamists, especially the music". When I read a comment like this for the first time, I already thought it would be kind of strange, from the second time on I thought it's an "emotional" spin.
Now the guardian has this article http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2013/jan/18/mali-magical-music along with a picture of a dozen happy smiling musicians from the "most musical of nations".
I guess the notion of "islamists that want to forbid the magic music of mali" will be coming around somewhat more often the next weeks.
Hey come on, we need to send troops there to protect Ali Farke Toure!

Posted by: peter radiator | Jan 18, 2013 10:21:30 AM | 31

yep.

Sahara Media accompagne Ansar Edine en train de demolir les mausolees de Tombouctour

"La campagne a concerné toutes les parties de la ville, sauf que les hommes d’Ançar Edine n’ont pas touché à ceux qui sont proches des mosquées célèbres de la ville, tel le mausolée de la mosquée de Jangar Yabir historique, classé par l’Unesco comme patrimoine de l’humanité."

Translation - Sahara Media accompanies Ansar Edine destroying the mausolees de Tombouctou

The campaign concerned all parties of the town except that the men of Ansar Edine did not touch the mausolees closest to the historic Jangar Yabir mosque, part of Unesco world heritage.

There is a good history of the kidnapping business in the Sahara by Andy Morgan with this quote

Many are convinced he’s only in it for the money and always has been. “Belmokhtar will kidnap, rob or smuggle anything for anyone,” a silver-haired Saharanist once said to me, “so long as the price is right.”

Posted by: somebody | Jan 18, 2013 10:58:33 AM | 32

Algerian Militants Demand Release of Two Terrorists held in US Prisons

The Blind Sheikh, and Aafia Siddiqui. Interesting.

Posted by: L Bean | Jan 18, 2013 11:27:25 AM | 33

if you don't know what to write about, move you eyes some thousand miles south from your usual viewpoint and write and read about this:

A CALL FOR INTERNATIONAL SOLIDARITY

South Africa: Farmworkers Strike for Decent Wages

The 5th November 2012 will forever be ingrained in the history of South Africa. On that day, 8000 farm workers downed tools in the Hex River valley and surrounds – an area renowned for table grapes and the heart of South Africa’s wine making industry.

Media reports stated that an estimated 30 hectares of vineyards were burned in that first week. An attempt at negotiations fail as police start using rubber bullets as the first step in dispersing crowds. Many are injured.

Farm Workers call for R150 (18 US-$, 13€) per day as more towns and villages in the area join the strike. Meanwhile, organised agriculture state that the strike is politically motivated and that millions of rand will be lost due to this strike.

On the 14th November the farm worker strike experiences its first death; 27 year old Michael Daniels is shot and killed in Wolesley, allegedly by police who used live ammunition in trying to quash the protest.

This is also the first week that protesters see the use of private security guards by farmers to protect themselves and the land. Meanwhile, people continue to strike.

Rallies are organised during the first week in December culminating in a day of mass action on 4 December 2012, including a march in Paarl, where many were arrested, farm workers in De Doorns and COSATU suspend the strike as more violence becomes imminent. Calling for workers to continue the strike on 9 January 2013 if demands are not met

With the calling off the strike and no agreements reached another rally is organised on the 16th December, Day of Reconciliation in the history of South Africa and a public holiday.

Here, workers are resolute in their demand for R150 per day.
Strikes resume of the 9 January as commercial agriculture still refuse to budge on the demand of R150 per day. At this stage police become heavier handed with the use of force. One person is reported dead – shot and killed; he was not part of the protests. A political official is shot in the face and those that were arrested were refused bail. COSATU has now suspended the strike again.

Minister of Labour Mildred Olifant indicated that government would only look at an increase in the minimum wage in March of this year and has been criticised for her “flippancy” in handling the strike.

ENOUGH
IS
ENOUGH

www.tcoe.org.za

Posted by: thomas | Jan 18, 2013 12:16:25 PM | 34

Reaping the fruits of Apartheid

The protests and mobilisation that started in the small town of De Doorns on the 6th November and spread to over 20 towns in the Western Cape, galvanised the anger of farmworkers and dwellers against decades of baasskap, slave wages and extreme poverty. Like Marikana in the mining sector De Doorns has ignited the imagination of the farmworkers and the rural poor.

What developed was a rebellion rather than simply a strike. In spite, of very low levels of union organisation, difficulties in communication between distant farms and confusion created by calling the strike on and off, farmworkers mobilised from Clanwilliam on the West Coast to Ladismith in the Karoo in support for R150 per day. The current minimum wage is just R69 and many workers do not even receive this.

That the issues underlying the strike go well beyond wages was demonstrated last Friday (11th January) when over five hundred farm workers and farm dwellers from the farms in the Robertson district gathered in front of the Robertson Police station.

They were there to lay charges of violence and abuse against the police and their employers. This protest was organised by CSAAWU, an independent Farm workers union and Mawubuye Land Rights Forum, a popular organisation of small farmers. The Human Rights Commission and the Commission for Gender Equality were there to record this remarkable demonstration. Senior police officers were forced not to just hear these testimonies but were forced to accept the charges against their colleagues.

Farmworkers were extremely angry at the role of the police. They provided evidence of police intimidation and brutality. of strikers. In one such incident police drove into Nkqubela Township, shooting indiscrimately at community people. Photos of damages to windows and houses were shown to the Human Rights Commission. In another incident police were accused of coming onto the Le Chasseur farm in the evening before the protest where they started to shoot at the farmworkers that were meeting in the open. Another group of strikers from McGregor described how police shot at them as they marched: “We were peaceful, we had no stones, nothing. Instead they shouted and swore at us for striking. Then they shot at us.”

Farm workers from the Le Chasseur district demanded the immediate arrest of a farm manager who openly brandished his rifle and threatened to shoot at them as they protested peacefully at the entrance of the farm. The station commander refused fuelling the strong sentiment of farmworkers of a justice system that only exists for farmers.

As Ryno Visser a CSAAWU shop steward remarked,“we say to the police, stop this intimidation, we want the farmers to come to us. You (the police) are not our bosses.”

Farm workers also spoke out against the working and living conditions on the farms.

“ I was told to pack my bags and get off the farm if I did not resign from the union,” says one farm worker who works on a grape and wine farm outside Ashton.

Another worker complained about the way in which his boss speaks to him and the other workers; “ I have worked on the farm for 18 years and my wife and son also works on the farm with me and the farmer often humiliates me in front of my son and wife. It’s the on-going swearing and abuse. I cannot even speak back to him. I am treated like his child. I feel so angry.”

Johanna Jonker from Ashton complained: “We have no toilets, but the farmer’s wife says we are filthy pigs because we live in squalor. Yet they are so rich and do so little to improve our living conditions. We have to be bold and fight for change.”

Many of the farm workers spoke of the deductions from their wages. “ I am supposed to earn R340,00 for the week, but sometimes I only get R80,00 or even less. I had to buy electricity, buy food and this is deducted from my wages because I made debt at the farm shop. How can I live on this? ” asks Koos from Bonnievale.

Although labour legislation and legal protection has been extended to farm workers, extremely low wages (below even the minimum wage), long hours, dangerous working conditions, victimisation of trade-union members and the use of undocumented immigrants were the norm.

It was also clear that the protection afforded to farm workers by the Department of Labour is hopelessly inadequate. Currently there are less than 1000 labour inspectors for all workplaces in South Africa whilst there are approximately 50,000 farms and 600 000 farm workers in the country.

So, while the strikers demand for R150 per day may be overtaken by a new sectoral determination that comes into affect on 1 March, the real significance of the strike is the confidence and new levels of self organisation of farmworkers will lead to further struggles over the stalled transformation of the countryside and the agricultural sector more specifically.

Posted by: thomas | Jan 18, 2013 12:22:47 PM | 35

Cheap Labour, Cheap Lives: Migrant Farm Workers. A New Form of Slavery?
By Chris Webb
Global Research, July 25, 2012
Socialist Project and Amandlapublishers.co.za

Posted by: thomas | Jan 18, 2013 12:51:48 PM | 36

28

Interesting article. I'll bet the pricing is being artificially held down by the "big boys" to squeeze out the "little boys", as is usual when pricing is kept below cost of a product. That's standard monopoly capitalism (called "free market" now).

See also the discussion about gas in the first segment of this show:

In Focus → Will shale revolution trigger a golden age American energy economy?

http://english.ruvr.ru/radio_broadcast/25369469/101421895.html

29

"The US already has lost interest in the Gulf region though, i.e. leading from behind."

Wrong. Israel-America is interested in the gulf more than ever. The whole business of making war on Iran is part of that. So is the war on Syria and the "Arab Spring" color revolutions. The "USA" isn't withdrawing from the area, it is consolidating what it controls and expanding control into regions it lacks control.

"US is considered energy independent."

It has always been essentially energy independent. The "shortages" are engineered for monopoly capitalist reasons and geopolitical reasons. Not from lack of domestic supply.

"It is possible that part of US policy is to deny a stable environment to China."

Possible? You're kidding. China is the main target of Israeli-American expansion and to get China, the paleo-zio-fascists will have to destabilise China. That is what the "great game" geopolitical strategy is all about, control of Eurasia. All of Eurasia.

"That would be a disaster for Europe as they are just as dependent."

For the European people, everything Israel-America and their European puppets do is a disaster. Nothing new there. Like everywhere else, they want a return to the robber baron days of the 19th century, but instead of a multitude of players ruling the roost, they want just one player enthroned.

"I think most of the instability is simply caused by the US withdrawing and none of the other players being able to fill the vacuum."

That's ludicrous. The "USA" isn't withdrawing. There is no "vacuum".

"At present there is a BRICS/Iran stability axis. I think Europe will have to join."

One would think so, but the "people" running Europe work for Israel-America (IE: the NWO) and Europe is to remain an Israeli-American colony. At least, that's the plan, and why the European "leadership" continually subverts their own independence.

All of these wars, coups, destabilizations and "revolutions" Israel-America is making around the world show this economic grouping is expanding, or trying to, not withdrawing, and sees Russia, and especially China, and their growing economic grouping, as the major obstacle of their prized NWO.

Posted by: вот так | Jan 18, 2013 1:29:35 PM | 37

31

Good spot. That is one of the spin-offs of the attack on Mali, a gift to the music industry (which coincidentally is as, if not more, concentrated in as few few hands as the media in general). They exploit anything they can to make money off of. The culture exploitation of South Africa during the anti-apartheid days of the 80's was a similar side enterprise those people undertook. Make money off the culture while at the same time, enslaving the people of that culture.

Posted by: вот так | Jan 18, 2013 1:46:59 PM | 38

#38
I don't think that the spin is meant for the music industry, it's a meme of "evil islamists" vs. "nice and harmless people".

Like the other way round, they portraied the same "evil islamists" as "sneaker rebels" "twitter revoultionaries" and guys wearing football jerseys. The latter (jerseys) came up several times during the libyian war and, just like the music meme now, was repeated at the very same time in comments and articles. I personally think that it's clearly a kind of weekly guideline for the propaganda-accounts in various online-papers. Like "we need to show a "nice guys vs. evil madmen" scenario, let's the what touches the average reader emotionally... kids, women, football, music, facebook".

Anyway, I never heard anyone complaining about islamists banning music in Syria, Benghazi or Saudi-Arabia. But all of a sudden a bunch of people pop up in the same minute to tell us about the endangered musical culture of Mali... well.

(this should have been just a sidenote... sorry for the bad english ;))

Posted by: peter radiator | Jan 18, 2013 3:42:52 PM | 39

Qatar does not seem to appreciate the shift either ...

Influential group slams French 'haste' in Mali

DOHA: An Islamic group headed by influential scholar Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi yesterday criticized France's "haste" in launching an offensive against militants in Mali, warning of "dangerous consequences." "Military intervention has dangerous consequences, whether in killing, destruction, displacement... and famine, which Mali is already suffering from," the Qatar-based International Union of Muslim Scholars said in a statement. It criticized "France's haste in sparking war before having exhausted all means of a peaceful solution and national reconciliation."

Presumably they own some islamist rebels in Mali.

Posted by: somebody | Jan 18, 2013 4:52:06 PM | 40

Qatar intervening in Northern Mali?

Posted by: somebody | Jan 18, 2013 5:02:18 PM | 41

39) no, they are beginning to talk about Saudi Arabia, too. Let's hope it is a policy shift.

This is CNN

So the world has a new front on the global war on terror and France has a new battle to fight in Africa.

Within northern Mali itself, however, and throughout the Muslim world, this is not seen as a war on terror but as a cultural conflict, one that pits a group of people who feel that the future of their society will be best served by rejecting Western liberal values and returning to the core tenets of Islam against another group who believe in religious tolerance, secularism, democracy and music.

This conflict turns musicians, artists and writers into frontline soldiers.

Saudi Arabia destroyed its mausoleums and silenced its musicians decades, even centuries, ago. In the Algerian civil war of the 1990s, many musicians, writers and cultural figures were killed, prompting others to flee overseas.

In Mali they're still singing, still writing, still fighting, for the time being at least.

In this new battleground in the cultural wars of the Muslim world, a distant mirror of the religious wars that shook Europe in the 15th and 16th centuries, Malian musicians are taking a stand. That's why music matters. That's why Mali matters

There is a disclaimer on the bottom of the page. So quite likely I am too optimistic and Quatari and Saudi money will win.

Posted by: somebody | Jan 18, 2013 5:28:02 PM | 42

39

I agree totally. My comment earlier wasn't in disagreement, I was pointing out they might seek to do a little profiteering on the side, as well. Watch for Lady Gaga or Madonna (Paul Simon's retired, I think) suddenly taking an interest in the music from the region...

As an example how these "people" market their propaganda and model it to fit various audiences, around the time of Bush, Sr's attack on Iraq in 91, a group of "Kurds" were making the rounds of American media. They used a line of attack specifically developed to influence Americans. Since zionists had by then convinced Americans that Arabs are all "bad people out to genocide the Jews", these "Kurds" stressed that Kurds are not Arabs. They further tweeked the propaganda to the American sense of European specialness by pointing out that Kurdish culture was different from Arabs and much like Christians. They even made a big deal about the Kurdish languages being an Indo-European variety, and not an Arabic language (they didn't say a Semitic language, as they were coached that Americans associate Semitic with Jewish - not Hebrew, that's too technical for the indoctrinated McDonalds consumer). As most Americans are pretty much clueless about foreigners, especially those who don't speak English and live in foreign lands, they would have no idea that they were being manipulated by a slick marketing scheme to sell Kurdish independence (from Iraq and Iran) based upon their own zionist psychologically enhanced prejudices and ignorance. The propaganda message was exactly tailored to suit the audience. That's what think tanks are for.

Posted by: вот так | Jan 18, 2013 8:49:32 PM | 43

43) yep, and that marketing accounts for Touaregs being Sufis, Islamist terrorists or human trafficers, depending on the agenda.

US Americans are pretty much clueless for sure

Mali joins the list of US anti-terror boomerangs

To the dismay of the US, junior Malian officers trained as part of $620m pan-Sahelian counter-terrorism initiative launched in 2002 to help four semi-desert states resist Islamic militancy took part in a coup in March last year. Others among them defected to the Tuareg revolt that eventually led to a coalition of Islamist militias, allied with Algerian militants from al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, capturing the northern two-thirds of Mali.

Potentially, these US-trained officers are now using US counter-insurgency knowhow against France’s intervention force.

“It is a great failure,” says Dr Berny Sèbe, an expert in Franco-African relations at the University of Birmingham. “Some of them defected. Others organised a coup.”

Posted by: somebody | Jan 19, 2013 12:15:30 AM | 44

There has been a very real "business" incentive for all side involved in the "Global War on Terror" to "create terrorists"
The US army bureaucracy competing for resources, some of these resources trickling down to the African states involved, including weapons plus the suppression of opponents designated as terrorists.

Posted by: somebody | Jan 19, 2013 12:50:50 AM | 45

Possibly the Touareg will make it this time - if the French are desparate enough
Touareg negotiate support of French forces

Posted by: somebody | Jan 19, 2013 4:03:04 AM | 46

in the meantime french press didn't get the memo or didn't receive instructions yet ^^
http://www.liberation.fr/monde/2013/01/18/le-touareg-l-ennemi-designe-a-bamako_875152

Posted by: rototo | Jan 19, 2013 4:49:10 AM | 47

47 :-)) seems like the French are not desperate enough. It is clear that the Mali government would prefer a few Jihadis they can fight a war on terror with to Tuareg separatists. Same for Algeria.

Posted by: somebody | Jan 19, 2013 5:57:40 AM | 48

Looks like Polisario is in the crosshairs also

Mali de hauts responsables d'AQMI auraient rejoint les camps du Polisario

Posted by: somebody | Jan 19, 2013 6:35:24 AM | 49

In German - interview with the director of the Society for Endangered People

Summary - "hostage taking is the most lucrative business in the area, when tourists no longer come to North Mali because of offical warnings hostage takers will just travel longer... we are fighting people we fund by paying ransom"

"Jihadists are now leaving the towns in the North withdrawing to mountains. To find them there you need to know the area. Only Toaregs can put an end to these networks as it is only them who have the necessary knowledge. That would only happen in exchange for autonomy in North Mali. That would not be in the interest of the government of Mali."


Posted by: somebody | Jan 19, 2013 7:20:28 AM | 50

the idea made it into the New York Times now

Mali will only succeed, French officials say, if the state is reconfigured, with significantly more autonomy for the Tuaregs in the north, who have long wanted their independence, and rebuilt governmental institutions and legitimacy. That of course will take some time, even if it is done under the auspices of Ecowas or the United Nations.

Posted by: somebody | Jan 19, 2013 9:18:31 AM | 51

As a sign of the contempt the fanatical Israeli-American owned British government holds their own WW2 veterans for helping "the enemy" in the past:

Honor denied: UK won't let WWII vets accept Russian bravery medals

http://rt.com/news/uk-veterans-russian-bravery-medals-314/

"Three thousand British sailors who braved arctic conditions and enemy bombers to deliver vital supplies to the Eastern Front during WWII have been denied medals for bravery offered by Russia for their outstanding service.

­The UK Foreign Office said this week that British veterans who served in the legendary Arctic convoy during World War II may not accept the Ushakov Medal for Bravery.

Officials stated that if the medals were accepted, it would violate the law as the service took place more than five years ago and the veterans are in line to receive British medals for their duty.

The Foreign Office added that it "very much appreciates" Russia’s bid to honor the Britons' "brave and valuable" service.

The decision has been met with anger and scorn in some quarters. An e-petition has been created on the Downing Street website asking the government to reconsider, as many former navy men feel let down.

“The one the Russians are offering now is a special state award for outstanding courage during World War II,” eighty-five-year-old Ken Reith told the Courier, adding, “I would prefer to get the Russian medal, to be honest, because at least it is being given with heartfelt gratitude instead of the one we’ve been fighting for from British bureaucrats for almost 70 years...”

Posted by: вот так | Jan 19, 2013 8:34:29 PM | 52

http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/video/2013/jan/16/damon-albarn-mali-video ;-)

Posted by: peter radiator | Jan 19, 2013 9:00:33 PM | 53

53

That was last year, he, and his family have a long term interest in African music, and apparently he is one of the few musicians left around who isn't owned by zionists:

Gorillaz play in Syria but boycott Israel

http://www.thejc.com/news/world-news/36194/gorillaz-play-syria-boycott-israel

While Guardian is a zionist rag, and will be presenting the zionist propaganda about Mali, and doing the usual zionist routine of misrepresenting the views and actions of others with reference to that region, I don't think it likely Damon Albarn fits the Lady Gaga/Paul Simon mold.

Posted by: вот так | Jan 19, 2013 9:39:14 PM | 54

Yeah I just happened to skim the guardian frontpage and my selective perception made me notice the "western people's music in mali" meme. Interesting story about damon albarn, though (although in 2010 it was probably more "ok" to play a gig in syria, as Assad had not yet been identified as saddam-hitler-devil-2.0 yet, but thats not to doubt that d.a. might be somewhat independent after all).

Posted by: peter radiator | Jan 19, 2013 11:55:55 PM | 55

lance armstrong
liar, cheat n bully
screams the headlines

kinda like murika's bio down to a tee hehehe
http://www.4thmedia.org/2012/09/18/the-us-led-apocalypse-the-americas-apocalyptic-eternal-war/

Posted by: denk | Jan 20, 2013 12:47:51 AM | 56

everybody knows fukus = fuck uk + us, that coalition of killing
[courtesy deb]

likewise fukusi[srael], fukusi[ndia]

in libya, syria, mali, france is ostensibly leading the pack of hyenas, thus we've fukus = fxxx france + uk + us !
[we all know who's the real ringleader leading from behind, dont we ;-)]

pity oz, whats a nice girl like u doing in this biz ?
now we've the perfect acronym .....fukUSA !

Posted by: denk | Jan 21, 2013 12:19:20 AM | 57

Putin tasks security service with creating cyber attack detection system for Russian news agencies

http://english.ruvr.ru/2013_01_21/Putin-tasks-security-service-with-creating-a-system-of-detection-of-cyber-attacks-on-Russian-news-agencies/

"Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered the federal security agency (FSB) to develop a statewide system of detection, prevention and response to cyber attacks against Russian news agencies.

A decree to this effect was published Monday at the official website for legislative information.

One of the system’s main objectives will be to determine the causes of malfunction experienced by online information sources.

A presidential decree posted on the Internet portal of legal information on Monday says: "To vest powers in FSB of establishing a state system of detecting, preventing and mitigating the effects of computer attacks on the information resources of the Russian Federation - computer systems and telecommunication networks located in the Russian Federation and at Russian diplomatic missions and consular offices abroad."

At the president's orders, the future system will also make forecasts in information security, and organize the interaction of owners of information resources and communication operators in tackling tasks related to the identification, prevention and mitigation of effects of computer attacks.

The system will also perform the function of "controlling the degree of protection of the critical information infrastructure of the Russian Federation from computer attacks" and identifying the causes of computer incidents.

The white paper was signed on 15 January and came into force the same day."

Thus is interesting in that it singles out the media for protection. Back in 2008 while Israel-America was using their Georgian flunky to invade South Ossetia, Israeli-American government cyber war specialists attacked several of the Russian media sites (the English language ones) to block info reaching the west of the ongoing war crimes they were committing in South Ossetia. The disruption at RT was so great they started a new site.

Posted by: вот так | Jan 21, 2013 3:31:07 AM | 58

Be cheerful on Blue Monday, most depressing day of the year

http://english.ruvr.ru/2013_01_21/Be-cheerful-on-Blue-Monday-most-depressing-day-of-the-year/

"Today is the third Monday of January, and therefore today is the Blue Monday, the most depressing day of the year, as it was determined in 2005 by British psychologist Cliff Arnall in accordance with the most-miserable-day-of-the-year formula he designed.

Arnall’s formula is based on a number of factors: weather conditions are usually poor on that day, one has come to realize that some of his/her New Year’s resolutions will be hard to fulfill, holiday bills have to be paid. Besides it is Monday, the beginning of a working week. As a result, as Arnall claimed, one is feeling most depressed on this very day of January."

But...

"Carnall’s theory has been questioned ever since it appeared. Partly because it was designed for a travel company’s marketing campaign."

Then again:

THE 57th PRESIDENTIAL INAUGURATION: OBAMA 2.0! Swearing-in, 11:55 a.m., Blue Room

http://www.politico.com/playbook/0113/playbook9859.html

Maybe there is something to this Blue Monday theory after all?

Posted by: вот так | Jan 21, 2013 5:01:47 AM | 59

Chavez expected home in near future - Argenis Chavez

http://english.ruvr.ru/2013_01_22/Chavez-expected-home-in-near-future-Argenis-Chavez/

"Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez may be expected to return to his home country in the near future, says his brother Argenis Chavez."

Sounds like he's improving. Hope so.

Posted by: вот так | Jan 21, 2013 8:01:56 PM | 60

this is how fukus bring *democracy* to u
http://space4peace.blogspot.com/2013/01/resistance-on-okinawa.html

Posted by: denk | Jan 22, 2013 10:55:38 PM | 61

61
those dumbass, dont they know the fukusans are there to protect
them from the evil chinese *empire*, such ingrates !
http://www.workers.org/2011/world/okinawan_0721/

Posted by: denk | Jan 23, 2013 2:25:03 AM | 62

62
fukus the guardian of peace ?
well tell that to the rape victims of okinawa, the afghans, iraqis...

+Okinawan crime victims know that U.S. Marines are not here to protect them, as do the people of Indochina, Iraq and Afghanistan who have been killed and maimed in recent decades by weapons dropped from Okinawa-based warplanes+
http://www.japantimes.co.jp/text/rc20100527a3.html

Posted by: denk | Jan 23, 2013 3:25:00 AM | 63

Pirouz_2
*In fact I am fairly confident that if the Japanese police looks carefully they will figure out that Iran and Mr. Khamenei were behind the Fukushima disaster too!! *

i'd invoke my theorom 2
*always ask the u.s. [the usual suspects] first

hence i suspect fukus were behind the Fukushima disaster.

Posted by: denk | Jan 24, 2013 1:25:05 AM | 64

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