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Military Resistance 12C7
Obama Regime Fights To Keep Thousands Of Former Marines Poisoned At Camp Lejeune From Suing For Damages:
Moves To Block Their Legal Claims For Harm Done To Them;
“How Many Bullets Do We Have To Take Before We Finally Get Our Day In Court?”
A sign cautions visitors outside a water-treatment plant at the Marine base at Camp Lejeune, N.C., last year. (Photo: Allen Breed, AP) March 1, 2014 by Richard Wolf, USA TODAY WASHINGTON — President Obama signed a law in 2012 offering health benefits to thousands of former Marines and their families who were exposed decades ago to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina. But in a related case headed to the Supreme Court in April that could bolster or block their claims for damages, Obama's Justice Department has argued that the clock has run out. The little-noticed case could have profound implications for victims of hidden contamination at Camp Lejeune and other former industrial sites in states that set deadlines on damage claims. Those lawsuits generally involve “enormous financial stakes — typically in the millions of dollars,” according to a petition filed by the electronics manufacturer at the center of the high court case. It also puts the Obama administration in the awkward position of opposing environmental cleanup and help for veterans — two issues that have been among the president's top priorities. The focus of both the Supreme Court case involving property damage and health risks, and the more serious Camp Lejeune claims of deaths and serious illnesses from toxic water supplies, is a fundamental issue: How soon must victims cry foul? North Carolina, home to both conflicts, has a 10-year “statute of repose” after which claims are deemed moot. Unlike a statute of limitations, which usually begins when an injury is recognized, the clock ticks from the date of the final contamination — even if residents remain unaware until decades later.
A provision in the federal Superfund law passed in 1980 was intended to help victims by giving them two years to file claims from the date they discover the cause of their injuries. Landowners who unknowingly bought contaminated property in Asheville, N.C. — the issue in the Supreme Court case — and veterans who lived and raised families at Camp Lejeune 400 miles away both discovered contamination decades later. The Justice Department, which declined to comment on the case while it is pending, has contended that the state's 10-year deadline precludes the lawsuits. “The United States has a substantial interest in the proper resolution of this question,” the government said in its August 2012 federal appeals court brief in CTS Corp. v. Waldburger. It specifically noted that the Camp Lejeune claims rest on the same issue. “The fact that some plaintiffs will be unaware of their claims until after the statute of repose expires is an inherent feature of statutes of repose,” the government argued. Exposing polluters to greater liability could discourage voluntary disclosure and cleanup, it said, as well as pose a burden to industry. The appeals court wasn't convinced. It sided with the 23 landowners seeking damages and remediation because their land had been contaminated with toxic chemicals from 1959 to 1985, when CTS Corp. ran an electronics manufacturing plant in Asheville. It wasn't until 2009 that landowners learned their water could cause liver and kidney damage, heart ailments and cancer. “Our decision here will likely raise the ire of corporations and other entities that wish to rest in the security of statutes of repose, free from the threat of being called to account for their contaminating acts,” the panel said in a divided 2-1 ruling. Congress' intent in passing Superfund legislation, it said, was that “victims of toxic waste not be hindered in their attempts to hold accountable those who have strewn such waste on their land.” How the Supreme Court handles the Waldburger case will affect Camp Lejeune claimants, and potentially others, who get caught in the no-man's land between state legal deadlines and federal Superfund laws. One clock ticks forward from the polluter's last act, the other from the victim's discovery. The last wells contaminated with industrial solvents such as trichloroethylene (TCE), benzene and other chemicals at the Marine Corps base came on line in 1985. Under North Carolina law, that means claims must have been filed by 1995. But no one knew of the danger until 1997. Jerry Ensminger, a 24-year Marine veteran, was among the first to take notice. His daughter Janey was 9 when she died of a rare form of leukemia in 1985. She had been conceived at the base during her father's time there.
In recent years, health and environmental studies have classified TCE as a human carcinogen and linked it to kidney cancer, non-Hodgkins lymphoma, childhood cancers and other defects. Babies exposed during pregnancy have been found to be at greater risk of developing cancers or birth defects later in childhood. Ensminger's crusade to expose the Marine Corps he served was featured in a 2011 documentary, Semper Fi: Always Faithful. The following year, he stood beside Obama as the president signed the law — named after Janey Ensminger — offering health benefits to victims of the contamination. Obama noted that the law wouldn't help Janey or others who succumbed to their illnesses. But he said, “It will honor their memory by making a real difference for those who are still suffering.” Through Nov. 11 of last year, 655 veterans had received treatment for one or more of the 15 illnesses or conditions covered under the law, according to Department of Veterans Affairs figures. To date, no family members have been helped. “That law is an admission by the government that they poisoned us,” Ensminger says. Now he wants to see individual claims for damages by Camp Lejeune victims “go forward and be heard in an open courtroom.” Thirteen Camp Lejeune claims are combined in a case pending before the 11th Circuit federal appeals court in Georgia. The government is opposing those on the same grounds — that the time for claims to be filed has expired. The case was argued in January, but no decision is expected until after the Supreme Court rules in Waldburger. The high court's decision, expected by June, could affect not only the Camp Lejeune claims but any future cases involving military bases, scores of which are located near environmental Superfund sites. In a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder late last year, 23 environmental, health, veterans and related groups called the Justice Department's argument in the Waldburger case “particularly troubling” because it linked the potential result to the Camp Lejeune claims. If the government's argument prevails, they wrote, “landowners in Asheville and thousands more who have been unwittingly harmed in similar cases of contamination would be denied the justice they deserve.” Mike Partain, who was born at the Marine base in 1968 and was diagnosed with male breast cancer seven years ago, puts it another way: “How many bullets do we have to take before we finally get our day in court?”
AFGHANISTAN WAR REPORTS
Sgt. 1st Class Robert C. Skelt Jr.
3.1.14 Fayetteville Observer
FAYETTEVILLE - Sgt. 1st Class Roberto “Tico” Carlos Skelt Jr, 41, of Fayetteville, passed away Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2014, in Kapisa Province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered from enemy small arms fire. Roberto was born in New York City, N.Y., to working class immigrants from the Dominican Republic. He was the fourth of five children. Being the first born son to Roberto and Aridia Skelt, Tico was quiet as a child, but very charismatic. The charisma continued to grow as he aged, which led to him to be loved by many and allowed him to make friends easily. As he grew, Tico was often the influential person in the groups that he was involved. He was naturally gifted as an athlete and found his first passion in football. Football allowed Tico to have a positive outlet for his tremendous amount of energy and physical strength he possessed. Tico also was known to stand up against injustice. He was a “protector” to his family and friends. Tico was truly an amazing son, brother, father and husband. Tico is the epitome of an American soldier, what a man should be and a true example of unconditional love. Sgt. 1st Class Roberto C. Skelt Jr. enlisted in the military in 1990. He entered the ranks of the Special Forces in 2004. He was deployed overseas multiple times. Sgt. 1st Class Skelt was an instructor at the Special Warfare Center where he grew in experience and knowledge as a skilled operator. Sgt. 1st Class Skelt was a great soldier and leader and was awarded the following: Bronze Star (3), Purple Heart, Meritorious Service Medal (3), Army Commendation Medal (2), Army Achievement Medal (4), National Defense Service
Medal with a Bronze Service Star, Kosovo Campaign Medal Bronze with a Service Star, Afghanistan Campaign Medal with a Bronze Service Star (2), Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Korean Defense Service Medal, NATO Medal with a Bronze Service Star. Combat Infantry Badge, Parachutist Badge, Expert Marksmanship Badge, Special Forces Tab.
POLITICIANS REFUSE TO HALT THE BLOODSHED THE TROOPS HAVE THE POWER TO STOP THE WAR
SOMALIA WAR REPORTS
The Fog Of War
07 Mar 2014 by Hamza Mohamed, Al Jazeera [Excerpts] Ethiopian and Somali forces have taken a strategic regional capital from the rebel group al-Shabab, a spokesman for the UN-backed soldiers has told Al Jazeera. Colonel Ali Aden Houmed, a spokesman for the African Union Mission in Somalia, said on Friday that Hudur, the capital of Bakool province, “is in our hands and free of al-Shabab”.
Houmed said the rebel group tried to resist before its forces retreated. “They tried to fight, they lost and ran away. Three soldiers from the Somali national army sustained small injuries. No casualty on AMISOM side.” But a spokesman for the rebel group denied those claims. “Nothing changed. Hudur is still in our hands. They are 10km outside the town. They are shelling the town's residents,” said Sheikh Abdiaziz Abu Muscab, the military spokesman for al-Shabab. Residents fled the town fearing clashes between the fighting groups. On Thursday, al-Shabab lost the town Bakool town of Rabdhure to Ethiopian and Somali forces, but retook it at night after soldiers withdrew. “They took the town but could not hold it. It is now under the full control of the mujahideen,” Abu Muscab said. Houmed however said his troops had merely withdrawn to the outskirts as part of a usual military strategy. At least 12 people were killed in the heavy fighting for control for Rabdhure.
“At a time like this, scorching irony, not convincing argument, is needed. Oh had I the ability, and could reach the nation’s ear, I would, pour out a fiery stream of biting ridicule, blasting reproach, withering sarcasm, and stern rebuke. “For it is not light that is needed, but fire; it is not the gentle shower, but thunder. “We need the storm, the whirlwind, and the earthquake.” “The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppose.” Frederick Douglass, 1852
The Social-Democrats ideal should not be the trade union secretary, but the tribune of the people who is able to react to every manifestation of tyranny and oppression no matter where it appears no matter what stratum or class of the people it affects; who is able to generalize all these manifestations and produce a single picture of police violence and capitalist exploitation; who is able to take advantage of every event, however small, in order to set forth before all his socialist convictions and his democratic demands, in order to clarify for all and everyone the world-historic significance of the struggle for the emancipation of the proletariat.” -- V. I. Lenin; What Is To Be Done
Ukrainian Protesters Used Snipers To Kill Other Protestors To Make The Government Look Bad?
Have You Heard How This Horror Was Made Known To The World By Ukraine’s Most
Famous Doctor, Who Organized Medical Care For Revolutionaries At Maidan?
The Doctor Says It Never Happened;
It’s A Stupid Lie Fabricated And Spread By Reactionary Filth To Slander The Revolution
Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Paet speaks with Chief physician Olga Bogomolets on Maidan Square, Kiev. Photo: Estonian Foreign Ministry
The filthy lie that Bogomolets said protesters were killing other protesters was spread by Russia Today, the tyrant Putin’s media propagandists. What a surprise. ****************************************************************************** Mar 07 2014 by Mitch Potter, Washington Bureau; Toronto Star [Excerpts] KYIV—Though Ukraine’s journey out of revolution remains fraught with the potential for more violence, the fog of war has lifted enough to make better sense of the inferno that engulfed central Kyiv two weeks ago.
Those three horrifying days on Independence Square, Feb. 18 to 20, stunned the world, with cascading images of flaming buildings, flying bricks, Molotov cocktails and protesters felled by sniper’s bullets ultimately sent President Viktor Yanukovych into permanent exile. One especially explosive conspiracy theory emerged Wednesday in a leaked phone call between EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton and her Estonian counterpart, Urmas Paet. The tape, which the Estonian foreign ministry confirmed was accurate, features Paet outlining a conversation with a woman named Olga, who told of evidence showing that the victims in Kyiv, police and demonstrators alike, were killed by the same bullets. “So there is a stronger and stronger understanding that behind snipers it was not Yanukovych, it was somebody from the new coalition,” Paet says. Russia Today feasted on the story, presenting it as evidence to back President Vladimir Putin’s allegation that the deaths on Kyiv came at the hands of opposition provocateurs. The Olga in question was identified by Russian media as Olga Bogomolets, a Ukrainian doctor who worked throughout the clashes to treat wounded. Told of the tape, however, Bogomolets denied having any such conversation. She said she has no such evidence as she was never in a position to compare wounds. “During the entire confrontation in Kyiv, I did not have access to law enforcement officers who died, and therefore I could not give any information on the nature of the injuries,” she told Ukrainska Pravda. “I’m a doctor, not a forensic medical examiner to give this kind of assessment.” *********************************************************************** Mar. 08 2014 by PAUL WALDIE, KIEV; The Globe and Mail She is no ordinary revolutionary. She comes from a long line of doctors, so renowned in Ukraine that one of the country’s leading medical schools is named after her great-grandfather. She’s also a popular singer, art collector and founder of a prestigious dermatology and cosmetology clinic. When protesters took over Kiev’s Independence Square last fall to demonstrate against President Viktor Yanukovych, Dr. Bogomolets rushed to their side and organized a network of makeshift medical clinics for the movement, known as Maidan.
And when a group of protesters and police clashed in a deadly confrontation last month, Dr. Bogomolets stood among the corpses in the Hotel Ukraine and became the public face of the grief and horror of that day. On Friday, sitting in her comfortable office filled with antique chairs and beautiful artwork, Dr. Bogomolets spoke at length with The Globe and Mail about her frustration with the government’s response to Maidan and the pressure she is facing to run for president in May. The new government brought “in a few new faces, but our goal was not to change the faces,” she said. “We are just coming back to what was before, just a different picture, a little bit of a different picture.” Her first experiences with the new leadership did not go well. Just after Mr. Yanukovych fled to Russia last month, opposition party leader Arseniy Yatsenyuk began forming a new government and his officials offered Dr. Bogomolets the position of minister of health. She said she would only accept if she could bring in her own team, conduct a thorough audit of the operations and adopt European Union standards of transparency to stamp out rampant corruption. “The next day in (private) the politicians told each other that I refused,” she said. She also discovered that most of the senior positions in the department had already been filled with political allies, meaning she would have had no real control. A few days later when Mr. Yatsenyuk was about to climb on a giant stage at the square to announce his cabinet to the crowds, he turned to Dr. Bogomolets and offered her the post of vice-prime minister of humanitarian affairs. She declined, knowing that once again all of the department positions had been filled and she would have been merely a token. “For me it was just a signal not to join,” she said. Like many in Maidan, she is concerned that the Yanukovych team has simply been replaced by another team and that not enough has been done to go after those who killed the protesters and beat up students. “We have two sides of the coin, and we have had one side and then they just turned it to the different side,” she said. Government officials have not commented on the offers to Dr. Bogomolets. For now she is building her own organization, joining with others to make sure wounded protesters get medical treatment and working closely with the Maidan, which still occupies the square but is coming under pressure from the government to scale back. “Right now we are thinking what steps should we make to change the system,” she said. Many people are encouraging her to run for president, including some wealthy business people who have pledged financial support. She hasn’t decided if she’ll run, mainly because she’s wary of accepting money that could compromise her. She said she’s also
uncomfortable with the dirty politics in Ukraine. “I’m saying if I will [run] I will not play by your rules.” She has already been the subject of one dirty trick. This week someone leaked a telephone conversation between the Estonian Foreign Minister and EU Foreign Affairs chief Catherine Ashton, which suggested that the doctor had said both protesters and police used snipers during last month’s clash. The revelation caused an uproar and called the protest movement into question. Dr. Bogomolets insisted that she did not indicate that protesters used snipers. She simply relayed to the Estonian minister what she saw that day – protesters shot in the head and heart. “What I saw were people who were killed by snipers and only on (protesters’) side.” While she won’t commit to running for president, she said that she is ready to serve her country. “I understand that we have to do something because if we (don’t) all these people who died, they just died for nothing,” she said. “I’m ready to serve the people. It doesn’t matter how. When God gives you opportunities you have to give your heart.”
A Slice Of Our History [Not Their History]
“It Looks Like The Allegedly Passive Bosnian Citizens Finally Had Enough”
“These People Do Not Stop At Just Talking About Democracy,
They Want To Exercise It In Practice”
“They Are Demanding A Government Of Experts, A Return Of Workers’ Self-Management In The Companies, And Revision Of Privatisations”
“The Army Of Unemployed Workers Of Bosnia Will Not Be Satisfied If The Biggest Success Of This Uprising Stops At A Minimal Social Insurance”
March 6, 2014 by Richard Schuberth via BH Protest Files [Excerpts] Original text from Der Standard, translation from Pescanik.net http://pescanik.net/2014/02/bosna-kao-lek Selection and translation by Edina Husanovic (Richard Schuberth is a writer. His Devil’s New Dictionary, published by Klever Verlag, is coming out these days. In 1998, his satirical play Friday in Sarajevo dealt with the causes and contradictions of the Bosnian war. ************************************************************************** It looks like the allegedly passive Bosnian citizens finally had enough. The first signs of this happened in 2012, when the Federation-based war veteran association was collecting aid for their former enemies from Republika Srpska, when both groups’ pensions were cut by the political warmongers following the IMF orders. Or when in the same year, at the commemoration of the Srebrenica atrocities, the family members of the victims forbid the local politicians and international community representatives to address the spectators. As this didn’t prevent them they were greeted by a chorus of whistles. These protests are something more than an impulsive expression of dissatisfaction. They have quickly grown to be a political movement with clear aims and ideas.
These people do not stop at just talking about democracy, they want to exercise it in practice. They are demanding a government of experts, a return of workers’ self-management in the companies, and revision of privatisations. Nationalistic elites are panicking, as evident in their attempts to pacify their sheep by proclaiming their demands for ethnically clean entities in Bosnia. Because, when representatives of all three confessions become that which they have always been, which is Bosnians, that will be a clear message to all nationalistic magnates that it is the time to pack the bags. It seems that even international partners are expressing pent up frustration. For decades they have demanded from the Bosnian citizens, as if from children with learning difficulties, to show more of a democratic initiative. But the sort of democracy that they have had an opportunity to see this February does not resemble much the democracy expected by the IMF and the EU. The West regularly spreads its discourses around the peripheries: first this was the discourse of nationalism, the agent of all wars, which sent over 100.000 Bosnians to their deaths in the nineties, and now it is the stale post-democracy that has during the crisis times turned into a euphemism for disempowerment of citizens in favour of financial capital. The army of unemployed workers of Bosnia will not be satisfied if the biggest success of this uprising stops at a minimal social insurance. The ‘High Representative’ Valentin Inzko is a perfect embodiment of the inner conflict of neo-liberal self-delusion. The old left-wing romantic impulse prompted him to sift out some solidarity with the events, while his institutional super-ego threatened with European tanks. However, the Balkans can redeem us. With our deeply Balkan ideologies and business practices, we did everything to spoil its manners, but it can now teach us a democracy worth its name. The Bosnian Spring could become a powerful social movement that could herald a winter of nationalism and an autumn of international custody. There is a hope that the dandelion of the Bosnian Spring could find its way towards the meaningless democracy of the European Union.
Drug Decriminalization In Portugal:
“The Data Show That, Judged By Virtually Every Metric, The Portuguese Decriminalization Framework Has Been A Resounding Success”
“Drug-Related Pathologies — Such As Sexually Transmitted Diseases And Deaths Due To Drug Usage — Have Decreased Dramatically”
April 2, 2009 By Glenn Greenwald; Cato Institute. Glenn Greenwald is a constitutional lawyer and a contributing writer at Salon. He has authored several books, including A Tragic Legacy (2007) and How Would a Patriot Act? (2006). n July 1, 2001, a nationwide law in Portugal took effect that decriminalized all drugs, including cocaine and heroin. Under the new legal framework, all drugs were “decriminalized,” not “legalized.” Thus, drug possession for personal use and drug usage itself are still legally prohibited, but violations of those prohibitions are deemed to be exclusively administrative violations and are removed completely from the criminal realm. Drug trafficking continues to be prosecuted as a criminal offense.
While other states in the European Union have developed various forms of de facto decriminalization — whereby substances perceived to be less serious (such as cannabis) rarely lead to criminal prosecution — Portugal remains the only EU member state with a law explicitly declaring drugs to be “decriminalized.” Because more than seven years have now elapsed since enactment of Portugal’s decriminalization system, there are ample data enabling its effects to be assessed. Notably, decriminalization has become increasingly popular in Portugal since 2001. Except for some far-right politicians, very few domestic political factions are agitating for a repeal of the 2001 law. And while there is a widespread perception that bureaucratic changes need to be made to Portugal’s decriminalization framework to make it more efficient and effective, there is no real debate about whether drugs should once again be criminalized. More significantly, none of the nightmare scenarios touted by preenactment decriminalization opponents — from rampant increases in drug usage among the young to the transformation of Lisbon into a haven for “drug tourists” — has occurred. The political consensus in favor of decriminalization is unsurprising in light of the relevant empirical data. Those data indicate that decriminalization has had no adverse effect on drug usage rates in Portugal, which, in numerous categories, are now among the lowest in the EU, particularly when compared with states with stringent criminalization regimes. Although postdecriminalization usage rates have remained roughly the same or even decreased slightly when compared with other EU states, drug-related pathologies — such as sexually transmitted diseases and deaths due to drug usage — have decreased dramatically. Drug policy experts attribute those positive trends to the enhanced ability of the Portuguese government to offer treatment programs to its citizens — enhancements made possible, for numerous reasons, by decriminalization. This report will begin with an examination of the Portuguese decriminalization framework as set forth in law and in terms of how it functions in practice. Also examined is the political climate in Portugal both pre- and postdecriminalization with regard to drug policy, and the impetus that led that nation to adopt decriminalization. The report then assesses Portuguese drug policy in the context of the EU’s approach to drugs. The varying legal frameworks, as well as the overall trend toward liberalization, are examined to enable a meaningful comparative assessment between Portuguese data and data from other EU states. The report also sets forth the data concerning drug-related trends in Portugal both preand postdecriminalization. The effects of decriminalization in Portugal are examined both in absolute terms and in comparisons with other states that continue to criminalize drugs, particularly within the EU.
The data show that, judged by virtually every metric, the Portuguese decriminalization framework has been a resounding success. Within this success lie self-evident lessons that should guide drug policy debates around the world.
• .pdf (4.04 MB) • .epub (1.16 MB) • .mobi (2.38 MB
CLASS WAR REPORTS
“The Pro-European Bourgeois Leaders In Kiev Will Prostrate Themselves Before The EU And IMF In Order Obtain ‘Aid’”
“These Politicians Are Just As Much In The Hands Of Ukraine’s Billionaire Oligarchs As The Ousted ProRussian Government Were”
“The Oligarchs And The Parties They Are Backing Are Now Preparing For A Drastic Programme Of Devaluation, Austerity And ‘Labour Reform’”
1 March, 2014 by Michael Roberts, Redline [Excerpts] The people of Ukraine are left with Hobson’s choice: either go with KGB-led crony capitalism from Russia or go with equally corrupt pro-European ‘democrats’. The majority have opted for the latter because, at least for the moment, it means they can argue, protest and campaign without being kidnapped, shot dead or tortured. But many are well aware that opting for the pro-EU parties does not mean the end of corruption or a further collapse in already pitiful living standards – Ukraine’s GDP is $175bn for a population of 45m, or about $3800 per person. Ireland’s GDP is the same for a population of 6m, or $28,000 per person, eight times as much. The collapse of the pro-Russian regime of Yanukovych is a big defeat for Russia’s national interests. Putin sees Ukraine as a satellite of Russian crony capitalism. As he once told the then-US President George Bush: “Ukraine is not even a state”. In public, Mr Putin can’t bring himself to call Ukraine anything but a “krai”, the Russian word for territory.
He was determined to stop Ukraine coming under the wing of German-led European capitalism. But his man, Yanukovych could not deliver. Now the pro-European bourgeois leaders in Kiev will prostrate themselves before the EU and IMF in order obtain ‘aid’. These politicians are just as much in the hands of Ukraine’s billionaire oligarchs as the ousted pro-Russian government were. As the German journal, Der Spiegel has explained, two oligarchs, Akhmetov and Firtash, between them control over 90 MPs in the Ukraine parliament. Akhmetov is worth $15 billion and is head of the holdings company System Capital Management, which controls more than 100 companies with some 300,000 employees. They include metallurgical and pipe factories, banks, real estate firms, mobile phone enterprises and a large media company. He is the de-facto ruler of Donbass, the home of Ukrainian heavy industry and owns the football team Shakhtar Donetsk. These oligarchs soon realised well before the current crisis that Yanukovych would not be around for much longer. They began carefully looking around for alternatives. Akhmetov opted for controlling the main bourgeois ’orange revolution’ party of imprisoned former prime minister, ‘goldilocks’ Tymoshenko, and is now supporting Arseniy Yatsenyuk, who took over the leadership of her Fatherland alliance when she was incarcerated and is set to be the new prime minister. Firtash, for his part, is backing Vitali Klitschko’s party UDAR. Firtash has placed people in Klitschko’s UDAR Party, a former head of the secret service, for example. The oligarchs and the parties they are backing are now preparing an emergency plan for Ukraine, which will amount to getting dollars and euros from the IMF and the EU in return for a drastic programme of devaluation, austerity and ‘labour reform’. The nation needs to borrow USD2bn by the end of this month and a further USD9bn by the end of the year just to keep up with government debt repayments. This money was due to come from Russia, which promised a total of USD15bn but, with that promise now off the table, it falls to the West to stave off Ukraine’s looming bankruptcy. The government needs to raise USD9bn to cover payments to Gazprom and the IMF as well as its own maturing Eurobond issuance and loans. Then there is the current account gap of some USD13bn. And maturing debt from the bank and nonfinancial corporate sector adds a further USD8bn. Totting it all up, 2014 financing needs are around USD30bn, effectively double current FX reserves (see graph of FX reserves and external debt below. The new government will devalue the Ukrainian currency, the hryvnia, further – it has already collapsed – to try boost exports. Mainstream economists and government advisers argue that this is needed to “restore competitiveness”, which has been eroded
by a 9% per annum rise in real wages since 2008 while industrial unit labour costs are up by almost 40% over the same period.
In other words, real wages must now be slashed by encouraging a sharp increase in inflation and cuts in employment. The aim is to raise the profitability of Ukraine’s key export sectors, agriculture and steel. What will the IMF demand? It wants a 40% rise in energy prices with government subsidies removed. It complains that these subsidies cost 7% of GDP a year so that Ukraine’s residents get cheap gas and heating during the bitter Ukraine winters. It wants an end to that. The IMF recent delegation to Ukraine said “upfront, meaningful, and broad-based tariff increases are essential for reducing large quasi-fiscal losses, attracting new investments, and improving governance”. It will want to restructure the banks and it wants ‘fiscal consolidation’ which means “high budget expenditure should be reduced by rationalizing public procurement, restraining the growth in public sector wages and employment, and limiting pension indexation to inflation.” The new government will go along with this. Indeed, the prime minister elect has said that while it will mean hardship for the people and be unpopular, he was prepared to conduct ‘suicide politics’. For these leaders, there is no alternative but to agree to the EU-IMF terms. Yatsenyuk has already pledged the country to join the EU.
Ukraine could still stage a financial meltdown and a banking collapse. More likely, the new government will be helped over the next few months with bridging loans until the IMF deal is truck. Then the hardship for the people will really begin in earnest. Ukraine’s foreign debt is about to double as it takes on new debt from the IMF and the cost of existing dollar and euro debt jumps as the hyrvnia is devalued. This burden will be on shoulders of Ukrainians for a generation. There is an alternative to the Hobson’s choice offered by capitalism to Ukraine’s people. A real people’s government would take over the interests of the oligarchs who stole Ukraine’s wealth in the first place. It would seize funds to meet the needs of ordinary people on heating, education and public services. It would revoke the debts owed to Russian and Western banks and demand that the IMF write off its loans so that Ukraine could start without the heavy burden of debt. Ukraine remains a key agricultural exporter and also a low-cost steel producer. If the banks and major export sectors were in the government’s hands and not those of oligarchs (and foreign private equity companies in the future), then a national plan could be implemented.
Palestinians Call Off Demonstration On Free Palestinian Territory After Zionist Regime Threatens To Open Fire And Kill Them All:
“It Intended To Shoot At The Upper Body Of Those Who Approached The Separation Barrier”
March 5, 2014 by Charlie Andreasson, International Solidarity Movement
Gaza, Occupied Palestine The regular Friday demonstration at the “buffer zone” east of Jabaliya was stopped by Palestinian police and security forces. The Israel had send a message via Egypt to the Palestinian authorities in Gaza that it would not tolerate any demonstrations and that it intended to shoot at the upper body of those who approached the separation barrier. From the crest at the slope of the hill on the other side, down to the fence and its rolls of razor wire, several Israeli military vehicles were seen. Palestinian police and security forces had a tough task keeping demonstrators away. Islam Shahwan, spokesman for the Palestinian ministry of the interior and national security in Gaza, later said in a statement posted on Facebook and released through the ministry, “It was our commitment to the lives of the our young people from getting shot by the Israeli army through lack of access to the fence and to keep young people away a little bit in order to preserve their lives.” “We are keen on the lives of our young people and our children and we appreciate their enthusiasm,” Shahwan added. “Thanks God there was no one injured during that day, we take care of the lives of our young brothers.” The demonstration was planned in dedication to Muatazz Washaha, 24 years old, who had been killed by the Israeli military the day before in the West Bank village of Birzeit. Military forces of the occupying power had surrounded the house where he lived, let other residents evacuate, then shelled the house, well aware that Muatazz were there. Like earlier targeted killings in the occupied territories, the Israeli military is very restrictive regarding protests, and has previously used violence against any form of demonstration. The warning to Gaza that the Israeli military intended to shoot at the upper body of civilians who approached the fence must be understood in light of the incident in the village of Birzeit. According to an officer at the site of the planned demonstration, no more protests against the occupying power or its abuses will be allowed in the “buffer zone.” They have, on every occasion, resulted in a dozen injuries from live ammunition, as well as direct hits of tear-gas canisters. Mohammed Helles is still in a coma at Gaza’s alShifa hospital after he was hit in the head with a canister at the previous demonstration.
Three Gaza Youths Wounded By Occupation Troops Inside Free Palestinian Territory, As Usual
Palestinians carry an injured boy shot by Israeli forces near the eastern border of the Gaza Strip (ALRAY Photo: February 21, 2014) 25 February 2014 ALRAY Gaza, ALRAY - Three civilians have been wounded by live bullets and tear gas bombs fired in clashes with Israeli forces stationed along the eastern border of Gaza City. Spokesman for Ministry of Health in Gaza Ashraf al-Qedra said a 23-year-old got cramps in his limbs caused by inhalation of tear gas. The other is a journalist with 26 years of age who sustained a moderate injury after being reportedly shot in the left knee, Qedra said in his Facebook page. A 22-year-old citizen was also shot with more than a bullet in the feet during the clashes. It’s worth mentioning that Intifada Youth Coalition earlier called for a popular protest at the eastern Gaza border to commemorate the 1994 Ibrahimi Mosque massacre and to protest the Israeli-imposed buffer zone. Some 38 Gazans have been injured since early February in the popular protests taking place usually on Fridays along the eastern border of the Strip. Since late December 2013, eight have been killed in separate border shootings and airstrikes, the latest of whom was Ibrahim Suleiman Mansur, 26, who shot dead while collecting gravel east of Gaza City, according to Ministry of Health.
The buffer zone is between 500 meters and 1500 meters into the Strip, effectively turning local farms into no-go zones. According to UNOCHA, 17 percent of Gaza's total land area and 35 percent of its agricultural land were within the buffer zone as of 2010, directly affecting the lives and livelihoods of more than 100,000 Gazans.
Israel Cuts Off Water Supply To 45,000 Palestinians
“The Residents Of Ras Shehadeh; Ras Khamis, As-Salam And Anata Have Been Without Water For 20 Days”
06 March 2014 The Middle East Monitor Some 45,000 Palestinians living in the Shuafat refugee camp and the suburbs of Ras Shehadeh, Ras Khamis, As-Salam and Anata in Jerusalem have had their water cut off for nearly three days. The residents said Israel's water company Gihon started by gradually reducing the water supply nearly two weeks ago until it stopped entirely. A member of Shuafat's popular committee; Khaled Al-Khalidi said on Wednesday that 23,000 refugees had no access to water for three days while the residents of Ras Shehadeh; Ras Khamis, As-Salam and Anata have been without water for 20 days.
Al-Khalidi demanded “UNRWA, the camp's service provider, to fulfil its obligations towards the refugees and prosecute the Jerusalem municipality and Gihon to oblige them to return the water supply.” Al-Khalidi pointed out that “UNRWA and Jordan signed an agreement in 1956 to provide water service to the Palestinian refugees without charge and in 1967 the Israeli Civil administration joined the Convention. However in 1988 when Israel tried to cut off the water supply to the camp residents, the refugees prosecuted the company and forced it to return the water supply.” The Chairman of the Ras Al-Khamis Development committee, Jameel Sandouqa, said the educational and health institutions were paralysed by the company's actions. “We addressed the Association for Civil Rights and filed a complaint against Gihon. We also contacted Gihon's Deputy Director General Eli Cohen, but he denied any cut off in the water supply.” Sandouqa said his committee contacted Minister of the Knesset Effie Cole and asked her to hold an urgent meeting at the Knesset to press the water company to return the water supply to the areas' residents. “Gihon has cut off water to the region to force us to receive services from the Jerusalem municipality and impose a new reality in the region,” he said. Sandouqa added that the Israeli army has closed the Shuafat military crossing for three days now for maintenance which forces the camp's students to walk all the way around the terminal to their homes causing them great suffering and endangering their lives. To check out what life is like under a murderous military occupation commanded by foreign terrorists, go to: http://www.palestinemonitor.org/list.php?id=ej898ra7yff0ukmf16 The occupied nation is Palestine. The foreign terrorists call themselves “Israeli.”
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DANGER: POLITICIANS AT WORK
Man Arrested For DWI After Testing Negative On Breath, Blood Tests:
“I Told Them I Would Take A Blood Sample As Well, Just To Prove That I Didn't Have Anything In My System”
“That Test Looked For Seven Types Of Drugs In His System, And Davis Tested Negative For All Of Them”
Photo: Jonathanturley.org February 26, 2014 by TONY PLOHETSKI AND PHOTOJOURNALIST DEREK RASOR, KVUE News Austin AUSTIN — One man endured a night in jail and a criminal case hanging over his head for a year only to have prosecutors say they don’t think he was even guilty of a crime. It happened Jan. 1, 2013. Austin police pulled Larry Davis and his vintage Buick over in Northeast Austin after running a red light. Soon, they were investigating him for drunken driving and he was arrested. Davis insists he only had one drink that night and he blew a 0.00 on a voluntary breath test. “I told them I would take a blood sample as well, just to prove that I didn't have anything in my system,” he said. That test looked for seven types of drugs in his system, and Davis tested negative for all of them. When the evidence arrived on his desk a few weeks later, Davis’ lawyer couldn’t believe what he saw. “My reaction was just shock that this happened,” attorney Daniel Betts said. WFAA sister station KVUE first reported cases like this in a 2011 joint Austin AmericanStatesman investigation. One case was that of Bianca Fuentes, who blew below the legal limit of .08 in a breath test. At the time, county prosecutors were dismissing about 30 percent of drunk driving cases – more than any major Texas county -- because they said APD was bringing them weak cases that wouldn’t hold up in court. A Defenders review finds similar statistics for 2013. Of 5,648 new DWI cases filed last year, 1,559, a little less than 30 percent, were dismissed.
Police are still abiding by a take-no-chances policy, even if it means the cases are later thrown out. Police originally pulled Davis over for running a stop sign near Interstate 35 and Highway 290, and they say the officer arrested him based on his performance on a sobriety test. But even police say his case is highly unusual. They almost never arrest a driver whose breath test was zero and whose blood tests came back negative. Commander David Mahoney says the officer in Davis’ case believes he could have been on another drug – like marijuana – that wasn’t part of the drug test. “If there is someone who is impaired, we don't want them driving. We need to get them off the road, so that was probably his mindset,” Mahoney said. But now, Davis and his lawyer plan to file a grievance with the Austin Police Monitor’s office against the officer who arrested him.
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