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24 May, 2018

An open letter to Federica Mogherini and the European imperative to save the Iran nuclear deal

Save the Iran nuclear deal

We, the undersigned, thank you for your speech on 8th May 2018, pledging the European Union’s intention to remain steadfast in its commitment to the historic accord concluded between Iran and the E3/EU+3, the so-called Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). Too often, politicians have inclined to patronise and admonish, but, instead, you opted for a “universal language” of respect and dialogue. You proclaimed that “[t]his deal belongs to each and every one of us”, and that it enjoins us not to “let anyone dismantle this agreement”. But despite such salutary remarks, in the aftermath of the Trump administration’s public announcement to withdraw from the JCPOA and re-impose sanctions on Iran, the survival of the agreement is far from assured.

The majority of Iranians have demonstrated their heartfelt support for this hard-won diplomatic accord. They have shown their support through their two-time election of a president promising to initiate constructive dialogue with the world, patiently awaiting the outcome of a long and arduous series of negotiations despite the debilitating impact of sanctions on their everyday lives, celebrating in the streets of major Iranian cities when the JCPOA was successfully agreed upon, and finally, announcing their approbation of the agreement in over 100 cities across the globe in the weeks and months that followed.

In your speech you stated that “the European Union will remain committed to the continued full and effective implementation of the Nuclear Deal”. We wholeheartedly welcome this commitment, but as you are fully apprised, it is crucial that Europe is able to discharge its international obligations and ensure, despite U.S. sanctions, that Iran and its people enjoy the full economic and political dividends promised according to not only the letter, but also the spirit of the JCPOA. The IAEA has repeatedly verified Iran’s compliance and honouring of its commitments under the agreement, and this ought to be reciprocated in turn.

In an increasingly unstable global climate and ever-more precarious “age of extremes”, it is essential that one of the great diplomatic successes of the 21st century not find itself carelessly squandered. By your own estimation it took some twelve years for this agreement to be reached. If Europe in coordination with its Russian and Chinese partners prove unable to salvage the JCPOA, the likelihood of further instability in the region and even war increases exponentially.

While the JCPOA showed that diplomacy is possible, in view of recent events and President Trump’s reneging on the accord, the message to the world shouldn’t be that peace is inevitably transient and short-lived. For every one of us who is committed to fostering peace through reasonable dialogue and mutual understanding, preserving the integrity and viability of the JCPOA is of inestimable importance. Trust in the European Union, UN Security Council and wider international community is at stake, as well as their credibility to tackle many of the enormous challenges which lie ahead in the years to come.

The Iranian people backed peace and diplomacy. Now it is the responsibility of the international community to demonstrate that they made the right decision and that the promises that were made will be carried out and effectively realised. Failure is not an option. The alternative path is simply too costly, not only for the present generation, but for posterity as well.

Ο Κούλης ετοιμάζει κράτος σκληρής καταστολής ...

failed evolution

Το νέο παραλήρημα Μητσοτάκη που ξεκίνησε τη χθεσινή του ομιλία στη βουλή με τα κοινότυπα συστημικά τσιτάτα περί 'μιας και μοναδικής βίας', αυτή τη φορά έχει μια βαθύτερη εξήγηση.

Δεν έχει να κάνει απλά με το γεγονός ότι το κόμμα του βρίσκεται σε παρακμή και ότι δεν έχει να προσφέρει τίποτα απολύτως στον Ελληνικό λαό πέρα από τη γνωστή συνταγή σκληρής λιτότητας που επιβάλλει παντού ο άξονας Βρυξελλών-Βερολίνου, στην οποία και ο ίδιος άλλωστε είναι ιδεολογικά ταγμένος.

Δεν έχει να κάνει απλά με μια απόπειρα αποπροσανατολισμού της κουβέντας από την καυτή πατάτα της οικονομίας, όπου εκεί η Νέα Δημοκρατία δεν έχει και δεν μπορεί να παρουσιάσει ούτε μία, έστω στοιχειώδη εναλλακτική.

Έχει να κάνει κυρίως με το νέο πονοκέφαλο που του έφεραν πρώην και νυν στελέχη της δεξιάς παράταξης, τα οποία άμεσα ή έμμεσα επικρότησαν την τραμπούκικη επίθεση κατά του Μπουτάρη.

Και αυτό γιατί με τις δηλώσεις αυτές έβαλαν δυναμίτη (από την άκρα δεξιά βεβαίως μεριά), στα θεμέλια του αφηγήματος του νεοφιλελεύθερου αστικού καθεστώτος περί 'μιας και μοναδικής βίας' η οποία είναι 'καταδικαστέα απ'όπου και αν προέρχεται'.

Ο πανικός των συστημικών φερέφωνων μετά τις δηλώσεις των στελεχών της δεξιάς ήταν χαρακτηριστικός, αφού έσπευσαν να τις επικαλύψουν, ανασύροντας τη θεωρία των δύο άκρων και χρησιμοποιώντας μια κραυγαλέα ισοπεδωτική λογική σε βαθμό ανοησίας. Έτσι, για παράδειγμα, το γιαούρτωμα εξισώθηκε με το μαχαίρωμα, κάτω από την ομπρέλα αυτού του αφηγήματος.

Αλλά και η αγωνία Μητσοτάκη να καθησυχάσει το αστικό καθεστώς ήταν ξεκάθαρη. Η φράση του «Δεν σας επιτρέπω να αφήσετε το παραμικρό υπονοούμενο ότι η ΝΔ έχει οποιαδήποτε σχέση με οποιαδήποτε έκφραση βίας», έγινε για να αποκαταστήσει την τάξη, υποδηλώνοντας ότι η παράταξή του θα παραμείνει πιστή στο αφήγημα περί 'μιας και μοναδικής βίας'.

Όμως πέρα από τις γενικότητες, ο Μητσοτάκης ξεκίνησε το παραλήρημα του περί βίας αναφερόμενος συγκεκριμένα στα 'Εξάρχεια', τους 'Ρουβίκωνες' και τους 'αγανακτισμένους'. Και στο σημείο αυτό, πάλι κάτι ξέχασε: τους φασίστες.

Έτσι, έστειλε σήμα στους μηχανισμούς του αστικού καθεστώτος ότι θα συνεχίζει να το προστατεύει εγκαθιστώντας ένα κράτος σκληρής καταστολής, χωρίς να πειράξει το ακροδεξιό βαθύ κράτος που επιστρατεύει η εγχώρια ολιγαρχία όταν αισθάνεται κίνδυνο. Ένας κίνδυνος που μπορεί να έρθει σε περίπτωση νέων αναταραχών από τις βάναυσες πολιτικές λιτότητας που ο Μητσοτάκης θα συνεχίσει να εφαρμόζει πιστά.

Αφού λοιπόν δεν πρόκειται να φέρει καμία πραγματική αλλαγή προς όφελος των πολιτών, παρά θα συνεχίσει το ίδιο μοντέλο που επιβάλλει έτσι και αλλιώς η ευρωζώνη, θα χρειαστεί να έχει με το μέρος του όλο το οπλοστάσιο της προπαγάνδας των συστημικών ΜΜΕ πριν από τις εκλογές, όποτε και αν γίνουν.

Διότι μπορεί και ο Τσίπρας να εφαρμόζει (και θα συνεχίσει να εφαρμόζει το ίδιο μοντέλο), αλλά τουλάχιστον είναι απαλλαγμένος από το γεμάτο σκάνδαλα παρελθόν του Μητσοτάκη και της παράταξής του, που μαζί με το ΠΑΣΟΚ, οδήγησαν τη χώρα τελικά στη χρεοκοπία.

For Ecuador, currying favor with Washington is as simple as sacrificing Julian Assange

Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno has made no secret of his annoyance with the man he refers to a “hacker,” calling Assange “a stone in his shoe” as Ecuador seeks to restructure itself as a trusted ally of the United States.

by Elliott Gabriel

Part 2 - An attack on Assange’s mental health

Sealed off from the internet, phone calls, or outside visitors, the 46-year-old Assange is now faced with deteriorating health, an inability to visit the hospital to treat chronic health maladies, and conditions usually suffered by those held in solitary confinement.

Last August, Assange explained to The New Yorker that he suffers from bouts of anxiety and depression due to his isolation, often remaining awake for anywhere between 18 and 22 hours per day: “The walls of the Embassy are as familiar as the interior of my eyelids … I see them, but I do not see them.

Rafael Correa — the former president of Ecuador, who extended asylum to Assange in 2012 while the U.S., Britain and Sweden sought his detention — has denounced the move as a blatant attempt to psychologically torment the whistleblower. Speaking to The Intercept, the popular former head of state noted: “Denial of visitors is a clear violation of his rights. Once we give asylum to someone, we are responsible for his safety, for ensuring humane living conditions. Without communications to the outside world and visits from anyone, the government is basically attacking Julian’s mental health.

Source, links:



Analyzed: The Western media's fear and loathing of Venezuela

"The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum." – Noam Chomsky

By Manmeet Sahni

Part 5 - Questionable Statistics

Moreover, the figures supporting Paez's argument in the Wall Street Journal simply don't add up. Joe Emersberger breaks them down in the Green Left Weekly: "According to a Colombian university study of Venezuelan migration to Colombia, it averaged about 47,000 per year from 2011–2014, then increased to 80,000 per year in 2015–16.

"U.S. government data show migration from Venezuela to the United States increasing from about 7,000 per year before 2013 to 28,000 per year by 2015, including Venezuelans who have entered without authorization.

"Between 2000 to 2013, the United States was the destination for about 30 percent of Venezuelan-born people who left to live abroad, according to the World Bank figures.

"If the Colombian university study and U.S. government data are accurate, then the United States has been the destination for about 20 percent of Venezuelan migrants after 2013. That would mean about 140,000 Venezuelans per year were leaving to live abroad by 2016.

"That is not remotely comparable to the 5 million Syrians who fled the country in the first five years following the civil war – and that doesn't include over a million per year who fled their homes inside Syria (the internally displaced)."

Western media continue to dismiss the May 20 elections as a farce, despite the fact they will be overseen by international experts and organizations – including the African Union, the Caribbean Community and the Latin American Council on Electoral Experts (CEELA) – and involve one of the most technologically sophisticated voting systems in the world.

With just days to go until Venezuela chooses its next president, luminaries across the continent are rightly petitioning to fight such media bias and calling instead for "balanced information that allows us to understand the complexity of the situation in Venezuela."



[1] [2] [3] [4]

23 May, 2018

The European Financial Dictatorship in panic again, warms its machine for a second coup against Italy

How many more financial coups the European Financial Dictatorship is willing to orchestrate in order to maintain austerity and sado-monetarism inside the member-states?

The Brussels/Berlin axis in the European Financial Dictatorship (eurozone) has put itself in alarm mode again, this time due to what appears to be a bigger threat for its iron, authoritarian model of austerity and sado-monetarism. The threat comes from the new eurosceptic coalition government in Italy, formed by the anti-establishment Five Star Movement and the anti-immigrant Northern League.

The European Vice President, Valdis Dombrovskis, rushed to launch an indirect threat against the new coalition in Italy, saying that "We view it as important that the Italian government remains on course in pursuing a responsible budget policy," and "We can only advise it to stay on course in terms of economic and fiscal policies, to stimulate growth through structural reforms and to keep the budget deficit under control,". Warning shots also fired by the French Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire.

Yet, there are signs that even bigger threats came from the top destructive weapon of the European Financial Dictatorship, the European Central Bank: “Rumors are rife that the European Central Bank may use its regular bond buying to sway the program of the new Italian government, but past data provides little evidence it uses these purchases to intervene in times of political turmoil. Italian bond yields have risen sharply on fears that a populist government will clash with Brussels over spending plans, and some have suggested the ECB may have reduced purchases recently to send the new government a signal about discipline. Traders see little evidence of this for now, and Italian spreads over Germany actually narrowed on Tuesday, suggesting that investors’ nervousness may be calming as the new government provides clarity over its plans.

Sounds familiar?

Recall that, the Greek political establishment collapsed with the rise of SYRIZA in power, and the ECB was forced to proceed in an open financial coup against Greece when the current PM, Alexis Tsipras, decided to conduct a referendum on the catastrophic measures imposed by the ECB, IMF and the European Commission, through which the Greek people clearly rejected these measures, despite the propaganda of terror inside and outside Greece. Due to the direct threat from Mario Draghi and the ECB, who actually threatened to cut liquidity sinking Greece into a financial chaos, Tsipras finally forced to retreat, signing another catastrophic memorandum.

Yet, this was not the first financial coup. While Greece was the major victim of an economic war, Germany used its economic power and control of the European Central Bank to impose unprecedented austerity, sado-monetarism and neoliberal destruction through silent financial coups in Ireland, Italy and Cyprus.

It has been revealed that back in 2011, a certain mechanism of the political and economic elite within and out of Italy, forced Berlusconi to resign in order to be replaced by the technocratic puppet Mario Monti to impose harsh austerity, as a key element of the neoliberal agenda.

As described, the former Prime Minister, Romano Prodi, gave blessing to Monti and a prophecy: "When Italian spreads reach 300 units, you will be asked to govern." Italian spreads finally surpassed the 300 units that Prodi predicted, to reach 500. Italy was in face to face with the ghost of bankruptcy. Either by populism, or by free choice, Berlusconi did not abide by the orders of Germany. He became unpopular, as he challenged austerity policies, so he had to be removed.

No surprise that the head of the Bank of Italy at that time was (guess who) ... Mario Draghi.

One year later, Draghi, as the head of the ECB this time, will announce the decision for unlimited purchase of government bonds in eurozone. As described back then “the ECB becomes a corresponding Fed in the European area, “serving” the problematic economies that are excluded from the bond markets, through the print of new money. Therefore, the problematic economies will be loaded with more and more debt which the ECB, i.e. the largest private European banks will hold. Someone could argue that is not something new, since nations were facing huge debts in previous years, because they were indebted to banks through the excessive borrowing from the markets. But in this case, there is an important difference that makes things much worse: it is the cruel conditions imposed by the ECB to states that need to buy money. States that are excluded from markets, are now trapped within the neoliberal economic empire of the eurozone and will be forced to follow new austerity measures every time they need ECB to buy their bonds.”, which is exactly what happened to Greece.

The trap mechanism was completed. Anyone who dared to refuse austerity and sado-monetarism, imposed by the Brussels/Berlin axis, through 'undesired' political parties in power, would be delivered to the hands of the ECB regime and would be forced to take all the painful measures, through economic suffocation.

The new coalition in Italy will certainly have to face this sinister mechanism (perhaps another silent or open financial coup), in case that it will remain committed to its promise to relief the Italian people from brutal austerity.

So, the next big question is: how many more financial coups the European Financial Dictatorship is willing to orchestrate in order to maintain austerity and sado-monetarism inside the member-states?

Facebook partners with hawkish Atlantic Council, a NATO lobby group, to “protect Democracy”

Facebook is hoping that a new alliance with the Atlantic Council — a leading geopolitical strategy think-tank seen as a de facto PR agency for the U.S. government and NATO military alliance – will not only solve its “fake news” and “disinformation” controversy, but will also help the social media monolith play “a positive role” in ensuring democracy on a global level.

The new partnership will effectively ensure that Atlantic Council will serve as Facebook’s “eyes and ears,” according to a company press statement. With its leadership comprised of retired military officers, former policymakers, and top figures from the U.S. National Security State and Western business elites, the Atlantic Council’s role policing the social network should be viewed as a virtual takeover of Facebook by the imperialist state and the council’s extensive list of ultra-wealthy and corporate donors.

The partnership is only the latest in a steady stream of announced plans by the Menlo Park, California-based company to address controversy surrounding its role in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. The company has been mired in scandal stemming from the allegations of “election interference” carried out through the social network – usually pinned on the Russian government and ranging from the use of independent media to the theft of Facebook user data by political consultancy firm Cambridge Analytica.

The announcement should sound alarm bells when one considers the Atlantic Council’s list of sponsors – including, but not limited to, war-profiteering defense contractors; agencies aligned with Washington and the Pentagon; Gulf Arab tyrants; major transnational corporations; and such well-loved Western philanthropic brands as Carnegie, Koch, Rockefeller, and Soros. Even the name of the group itself is meant to evoke the North Atlantic Council, the highest political decision-making body of North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

Full report:

Surveillance state? Amazon selling facial recognition technology to govt ‘threatens freedom’

Amazon’s powerful new facial recognition technology automates mass government surveillance and threatens individual freedom, according to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).

The online retail giant has begun selling the big brother-like technology, which it calls “Rekognition,” to law enforcement and local government authorities across the United States.

The new service can identify, track and analyze people in real time, recognizing up to 100 people in a single image. The information it collects can then be scanned against databases featuring tens of millions of people, the ACLU said.

Full report:

Anti-Macron protest turns violent in Paris

Maduro declares top US diplomat persona non grata, gives him 48 hours to leave

Maduro, in rejection of Washington's interventionist policies, has given Chargé d'Affaires Todd Robinson 48 hours to leave Venezuela.

President Nicolas Maduro said United States Chargé d’Affaires Todd Robinson and head of political affairs Brian Naranjo have 48 hours to leave Venezuela. Maduro says the decision to expel the pair is aimed at defending Venezuela's sovereignty and in rejection of Washington's interventionist policies against the country and its people.

"I have declared him persona non grata, and I announce the exit of the United States Chargé d'Affaires in 48 hours," Maduro said of Todd Robinson during the official proclamation of his re-election. He accused Robinson of being involved in "a military conspiracy" against Venezuela saying the U.S. embassy had been meddling in the military, economic and political issues, and vowed to present evidence to the nation shortly.

"Neither with conspiracies nor with sanctions will you hold Venezuela back," Maduro said, at the National Electoral Council's (CNE) headquarters in downtown Caracas.

He said that the government had given the embassy more than 20 warnings regarding interference into Venezuelan internal affairs, but all had fallen on deaf ears.

Maduro announced the measures in a speech after receiving credentials from the country’s National Electoral Council confirming his new presidential mandate following his victory in Sunday’s election.

Maduro said that Venezuela faces unconventional forms of war that seek to colonize it again and destroy its democracy but the country and its people have prevailed.

A miracle brings us here. How many obstacles we have overcome. The maker of the miracle is the people of Venezuela, with their strength,” Maduro told the crowd at the CNE. “Venezuela is capable of overcoming any challenge, and has the democratic and institutional maturity and strength of conscience.”


Γλυκά πονούσε το γιαούρτι

Η φασιστική επίθεση στο Γιάννη Μπουτάρη, ήταν μια πρώτης τάξεως ευκαιρία για το «μετώπο της λογικής» και της «αριστείας». Στις μέρες που ακολούθησαν, μετά το Σάββατο, η «θεωρία των δύο άκρων», οι «αγανακτισμένοι» και η συλλογική ευθύνη, είχαν επανέλθει μεθοδευμένα στη δημόσια συζήτηση, από ΝΔ-ΚΙΝΑΛ και τους «μπαχαλάκηδες» της ενημέρωσης. Αποκορύφωμα, η χθεσινή δήλωση του Παύλου Τσίμα.

του Κωνσταντίνου Ταχσίδη

"Δηλαδή, αν γιαουρτώνουμε τον Πάγκαλο είναι καλό, ενώ αν μαχαιρώνουμε τον Φύσσα είναι κακό; Η βία είναι βία"... Παύλος Τσίμας, 21/5/2018, ΣΚΑΙ.

Ίσως είναι αδύνατο να συλλάβει κάποιος το επίτευγμα του Παύλου Τσίμα, αλλά χθες το βράδυ ξεπέρασε ακόμα και τον πιο βρώμικο, προπαγανδιστικό εαυτό του καναλιού στο οποίο εργάζεται. Εξίσωσε το «γιαούρτωμα» ενός πολιτικού που επανειλημμένα έχει προσβάλει το κοινωνικό σύνολο (όχι τους πλούσιους φυσικά, την "πλέμπα") με το μαχαίρωμα και τη δολοφονία ενός αντιφασίστα μουσικού από μέλη της εγκληματικής, νεοναζιστικής οργάνωσης, Χρυσή Αυγή.

Όχι. Του Παύλου Τσίμα δεν του ξέφυγε εν τη ρύμη του λόγου. Ήξερε πολύ καλά τι έλεγε.

Οι «Τσίμες», οι «Μπάμπηδες» και οι ντερμπεντέρηδες της ενημέρωσης, ξέρουν καλά τι λένε εδώ και οχτώ χρόνια. Κάθε τους λέξη είναι μελετημένη. Κάθε τους αναφορά, σύγκριση και αναλογία, προστίθεται με χειρουργική ακρίβεια πλάι στις εικόνες που επιλέγονται και στην ιεράρχηση των ειδήσεων στα μπρίφινγκ. Οχτώ χρόνια κλείνουν το μάτι στους ακροδεξιούς εγκληματίες. Μελετημένα και μεθοδευμένα ξαναγράφουν την ιστορία... ή τουλάχιστον ένα αφήγημα που οι "χρήσιμοι ηλίθιοι" θα οικειοποιηθούν.

Οι ιεροκήρυκες της «θεωρίας των δύο άκρων» και του «μαζί τα φάγαμε», εκφράζουν, χωρίς πλέον να ντρέπονται, αυτά που ήδη υποψιαζόμασταν ότι σκέφτονται! Δεν έχουν άλλωστε και άλλη επιλογή. Τα περιθώρια έχουν στενέψει. Πρέπει να ξεπλύνουν τους φασίστες εγκληματίες και να τους εξισώσουν με το... Ρουβίκωνα. Τις κόκκινες μπογιές με το αίμα. Τα φέιγ-βολάν με τον εθνικισμό. Τα γιαούρτια με τα μαχαίρια.

Δεν είναι φυσικά η πρώτη φορά που το ανεπίσημο γραφείο Τύπου του Κυριάκου Μητσοτάκη, θέλοντας να περάσει την επικίνδυνη "θεωρία των δύο άκρων", παίζει με το ψυχολογικό όριο ανοχής της κοινής γνώμης. Τουλάχιστον με το ποσοστό της που έχει ακόμα δημοκρατικά αντανακλαστικά.

Έχει προηγηθεί, μεταξύ άλλων ότι: τον Παύλο Φύσσα το δολοφόνησαν για το ποδόσφαιρο. Ο Ρουπακιάς ανήκε στην αριστερά και έναντι αμοιβής πήγε στην ΧΑ και είναι ράκος στη δίκη, ενώ η Μάγδα Φύσσα είναι "λυτή" και "τραμπούκος". Οι χρυσαυγίτες είναι «αγανακτισμένοι κάτοικοι» και ο Ρουβίκωνας η μεγαλύτερη απειλή για τη χώρα.

Και όμως, το χειρότερο δεν είναι αυτό που τόλμησε να ξεστομίσει ο Παύλος Τσίμας. Το χειρότερο είναι πως συνηθίσαμε. Που μας φαίνεται ως κάτι φυσιολογικό, σαν μια ξαφνική καταιγίδα σε κυριακάτικο πικ-νικ, που… ε, τι να κάνουμε; συμβαίνει. Έτσι είναι η ζωή.


Bolivia's Evo Morales condemns US sanctions on Venezuela

"It is a reprisal for having democratically defeated the coup, boycott against President Nicolás Maduro," Bolivia's president reiterated.

Bolivian President Evo Morales has rejected a new round of sanctions imposed on Venezuela by the United States' after Nicolas Maduro was re-elected as the country's president Sunday.

"We condemn the unilateral decision that imposes a new economic blockade to suffocate the Venezuelan people, in retaliation for having defeated the coup, boycott against President Nicolas Maduro democratically. Trump must understand that the world is not his estate," Morales said in a tweet posted late Monday.

The U.S. along with its right-wing European and Latin American allies have repeatedly called Venezuela's elections a 'sham' before and after Maduro won at the polls.

Morales' remarks come after he congratulated Maduro on his re-election, and praised it as a victory against foreign interventionism.

"It is a reprisal for having democratically defeated the coup and boycott against President Nicolás Maduro," Morales reiterated.

Over 20 million Venezuelans were called to the polls to elect their next president, where Maduro won with 6,190,612 votes, with a 46 percent voter turnout.


For Ecuador, currying favor with Washington is as simple as sacrificing Julian Assange

Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno has made no secret of his annoyance with the man he refers to a “hacker,” calling Assange “a stone in his shoe” as Ecuador seeks to restructure itself as a trusted ally of the United States.

by Elliott Gabriel

Part 1

For all practical purposes, whistleblower and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is now a prisoner in asylum at the Embassy of Ecuador in London, facing the torture of near-total isolation from the outside world and hanging by the thread of the Andean state’s dwindling hospitality.

On Thursday, the Australian – who, strangely enough, was given Ecuadorian citizenship last December – faced a new layer of precariousness atop his six-year refuge, when Ecuadorean President Lenin Moreno ordered that additional security assigned to the building be withdrawn.

According to Ecuador’s government, the London Embassy will now have the same level of security enjoyed by the other ambassadorial facilities the Andean nation maintains throughout the globe.

Since March, Ecuador has applied new pressure on Assange, beginning with the withdrawal of Assange’s internet connection. Authorities claim this move was in response to his “interference,” in the form of comments on Spain’s repression of Catalonian independence advocates and British accusations that Russia poisoned an ex-spy.

The move also coincided with a visit by two top-level officials from U.S. Southern Command to Quito for discussions to renew U.S.-Ecuador security ties. These had largely been frozen following the 2009 shuttering of the U.S. Air Force base in the coastal city of Manta, a major hub of U.S. espionage activity in the region.

Speaking to Sputnik, veteran journalist John Pilger commented: “It’s quite clear that this government has deferred to the United States … But Ecuador is a tiny country, and in the historical pattern has been pressured massively by the United States, which of course is working its way right through the governments that might have challenged U.S. interests in Latin America, from Venezuela to Argentina to Bolivia and now to Ecuador.

Beyond Washington alone, Economist Intelligence Unit analyst Aristodimos Iliopoulos told Bloomberg that the move is also meant to curry favor with international financial institutions and extractive industries, which hope to exploit Ecuador’s resources. Iliopoulos noted: “The back story is that Ecuador wants to grow again by getting back into the good graces of international investors in oil and mining projects. So the wager might be that clamping down on Assange is seen as a sign of good will.

Source, links:


Analyzed: The Western media's fear and loathing of Venezuela

"The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum." – Noam Chomsky

By Manmeet Sahni

Part 4 - Fractured Opposition

In December 2017, pro-opposition think tank Atlantic Council received US$1million from the U.S. State Department to work with Venezuela's "fractured opposition."

According to the Miami Herald, the funds will help finance a year-long project to "draw more international attention to the crisis, show the public what Venezuela could look like under new leadership, and provide the opposition and other stakeholders the tools needed to work more cohesively together."

Jason Marczak, director of the Atlantic Council's Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center, told the Miami Herald: "What we're trying to do is address the fractures within the opposition. That is then helpful for the opposition's overall stance because what the government wants is a divided opposition."

But according to Alternet journalist Max Blumenthal, the Atlantic Council is "a pro-regime-change think tank that is funded by Western governments and their allies." It's also financed in part by "Viktor Pinchuk, Ukrainian nationalist and longtime friend/donor of the Clintons."

According to, this same council has pushed for "arming Salafist militant groups against the Bashar Al-Assad regime in Syria and lobbied for more militaristic policies toward Russia. In Venezuela, the organization is intimately linked to the pro-United States opposition."

Western media often question the motives of non-traditional media trying to portray Venezuela without bias, but rarely do they question the motives of those opposing the Latin American nation.

For instance, in February this year, the Wall Street Journal published a story headlined 'Venezuela's Misery Fuels Migration on Epic Scale.' The story quotes Tomas Paez, described as an immigration expert at Venezuela's Central University, as saying: "Nearly 3 million Venezuelans – a tenth of the population – have left the oil-rich country over the past two decades of leftist rule. Almost half that number – some 1.2 million people – have gone in the past two years." notes that in 2002 Paez signed his name to a quarter-page ad in the Venezuelan newspaper El Nacional, welcoming Pedro Carmona – then head of Venezuela's largest business federation – as the country's new president after a U.S.-backed military coup briefly ousted Chavez.


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22 May, 2018

Ecuador and Julian Assange in great danger as traitor Moreno is about to throw them into the hands of the US empire

Ecuador’s president, Lenín Moreno, shook up his cabinet and appointed six new ministers this week. The move appears to confirm what many of his critics on the Left have long suspected, which is that Moreno is moving the country increasingly towards the Right. That is, they say he is reversing the policies under the previous government, Rafael Correa, who pursued a fairly progressive agenda, particularly in foreign and economic affairs. For example, President Moreno’s new Minister of the Economy, Richard Martinez, comes directly from the country’s business class, where he worked as a consultant for the Chamber of Industry and Production, and he also was president of Ecuador’s Business Committee, which is the country’s main business association.

Greg Wilpert of the Real News spoke with Guillaume Long, former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ecuador under former President Rafael Correa, about the rapid turn of the new Ecuadorian administration towards neoliberal policies, under Lenín Moreno.

Long gave some impressive details about Moreno's actions so far, proving that he acted like a US agent. His mission is to destroy Correa's legacy and throw Ecuador into the hands of the US empire by implementing destructive neoliberalism. This is obviously part of an ongoing operation through which the US imperialist hawks seek to wipe out the last Leftist governments in Latin America. Moreno's behavior made Long finally resign from his position.

As Long said:

I felt Moreno was moving more and more towards the Right, sort of had a creeping conservative agenda that was becoming more and more difficult to reconcile with.

What I felt Moreno was doing, was kind of reintroducing the US in kind of security and geopolitics and moving away from what we had espoused during the Citizens’ Revolution, which was more kind of sovereign, non-aligned foreign policy based on Latin American integration and sort of an intelligence incursion in a multipolar world. And not just this kind of return within the US kind of imperial fold.

So, I felt that it wasn’t possible to be Moreno’s personal representative in the UN anymore. There were a number of issues that I disagreed with.

Moreno, also, by January, had made it pretty clear that he wanted to obliterate the legacy of his predecessor, Rafael Correa. I think Moreno was elected in 2017 basically on a platform promising the continuation of the Citizens’ Revolution, of Rafael Correa’s political process. And so, I felt that there was a betrayal there. He was obliterating it rhetorically. He was blaming everything on his predecessor. But he was also organizing a referendum, which actually occurred in February, attempting to bury the legacy of Correa and to prevent Rafael Correa from ever coming back in Ecuador in politics. One of the questions of the referendum was aimed at barring any type of reelection.

The situation has got significantly worse. There’s an even greater departure from the legacy ten years of the Citizens’ Revolution of Rafael Correa’s government. We’ve really gone Right-wing now.

The new Minister of Economy and Finance, was actively involved in the campaign of Moreno’s rival in the 2017 elections that Moreno won. Moreno was elected against Guillermo Lasso - very, very neoliberal. So, Moreno wasn’t the perfect candidate, but facing the threat of a Lasso government we were all very anxious for his victory.

What Moreno did over the next few months is, little by little, have people from the Lasso camp coming to his government. He said this was all about ‘dialogue’ and ‘being very inclusive.’ Being inclusive and dialogue is a good thing, but he actually said at one point, in a conversation with bankers, that he was very grateful for them. Those are the words he employed. He was very grateful for them not having voted for him and that he was very angry. He had actually used the word hatred, ‘I have a lot of hatred for the people who voted for me.’

It’s taken him a year to get where he wanted to get to, which is to bring the neoliberals on board to run the country. And this new Minister of Economy and Finance, is a complete neoliberal, he is not a moderate neoliberal. He’s a very radical neoliberal who believes in the whole neoliberal recipe, which is the direct opposite of what we did for ten years when we had a much more heterodox, a much more sort of anti-austerity program, which allowed for growth, redistribution, for the reduction of poverty, of inequality, and was very successful. I think Ecuador was one of the most successful economic models in the “pink tide” for Latin America for a long time.

Moreno’s actions also explain why Ecuador actually starts to turn against Julian Assange. From the impressive details given, it is obvious that Moreno acts like a puppet of Washington who was seeking to sabotage Ecuador's course towards Left under Rafael Correa. The whole story and recent developments show that the ringer tightens around Julian Assange and that under the traitor Moreno, Ecuador methodically pushes him too into the hands of the US empire.

Recall that recently, Rafael Correa, in an exclusive interview with the Intercept, denounced his country’s current government’s decision for blocking Julian Assange from receiving visitors in its Embassy in London as a form of “torture” and a violation of Ecuador’s duties to protect Assange’s safety and well-being. Correa said this took place in the context of Ecuador no longer maintaining “normal sovereign relations with the American government — just submission.

Also, Correa recently told journalists in Madrid that Assange’s “days were numbered” because Moreno, his former protégé, would “throw him out of the embassy at the first pressure from the United States.

Κυβέρνηση κατά της ΕΕ και της λιτότητας στην Ιταλία

του Λεωνίδα Βατικιώτη

Αντιμέτωπες με μια ασύμμετρη απειλή βρίσκονται Βρυξέλλες και Βερολίνο όσο αποκαλύπτονται πλευρές του κυβερνητικού προγράμματος της υπό σχηματισμό κυβέρνησης στην Ιταλία που προέκυψε από τις εκλογές της 4ης Μαρτίου. Το έγγραφο 39 σελίδων που έδωσε στη δημοσιότητα τη Δευτέρα 14 Μαΐου η ιταλική έκδοση της ιστοσελίδας Huffington Post προκάλεσε σοκ, όσο κι αν τόσο το Κίνημα των Πέντε Αστέρων και η Λίγκα του Βορρά δήλωσαν ότι έχουν μετακινηθεί έκτοτε από αυτές τις θέσεις, στο πλαίσιο επικαιροποιήσεων, χωρίς ωστόσο να το αποποιούνται!

Τα θέματα που κυρίως έθιγε το επίμαχο έγγραφο σκορπώντας αναταράξεις στην πολιτική και οικονομική ελίτ της Ευρώπης ήταν δύο και σχετίζονταν αρχικά, με τον θεσμικό «ζουρλομανδύα της λιτότητας» όπως πρώτος ο Ρομάνο Πρόντι, από τη θέση του προέδρου της Ευρωπαϊκής Επιτροπής, είχε χαρακτηρίσει το δημοσιονομικό πλαίσιο της ΕΕ. Επιπλέον, με το δημόσιο χρέος της Ιταλίας. Συγκεκριμένα, αυτό που εξέτασαν οι επικεφαλής των δύο ιταλικών πολιτικών κομμάτων που κέρδισαν από κοινού το 49% των ψήφων (32% το Κίνημα των Πέντε Αστέρων και 17% η ξενοφοβική Λίγκα του Βορρά) ήταν την καθιέρωση μέτρων που θα επιτρέψουν στην οικονομική πολιτική κάθε κράτους μέλους να γυρίσει στην προ-Μάαστριχτ περίοδο. Στην πράξη αυτό που ζήτησαν ήταν την ακύρωση των σφιχτών δημοσιονομικών κανόνων που απαγορεύουν ελλείμματα στον κρατικό προϋπολογισμό άνω του 3% του ΑΕΠ επί ποινή κυρώσεων που φθάνουν ακόμη και στην περικοπή κονδυλίων.

Επιπλέον Λίγκα και Πέντε Αστέρες, όπως έγραψαν, είναι διατεθειμένοι να ζητήσουν από την Ευρωπαϊκή Κεντρική Τράπεζα να παγώσει ή να ακυρώσει ομόλογα ύψους 250 δισ. ευρώ μετά το επικείμενο τέλος του προγράμματος Ποσοτικής Χαλάρωσης. Πρόκειται για πρόταση που φέρνει στην επιφάνεια τις ανησυχίες που ήδη υπάρχουν στη Ρώμη εν όψει του σφιξίματος της νομισματικής πολιτικής από το φθινόπωρο, η οποία θα δυσκολέψει αφάνταστα τη διαχείριση του ιλιγγιώδους δημόσιου χρέους που φθάνει τα 2,35 τρις. ευρώ κι ως ποσοστό (132% ΑΕΠ) υπολείπεται μόνο των (άνευ ανταγωνισμού ελέω τρόικας) ελληνικών επιδόσεων.

Οι επικεφαλής των δύο κομμάτων έθεσαν επί τάπητος την αλλαγή των δημοσιονομικών συνθηκών της ΕΕ, προκειμένου να υλοποιήσουν το πρόγραμμα που ενέκριναν οι ψηφοφόροι τους και το οποίο θα σημάνει την άνοδο του ελλείμματος το 2019 στο 5,5% (δε χάλασε κι ο …κόσμος με άλλα λόγια) από 1,3% φέτος. Σαλβίνι και ντι Μάγιο έχουν εξαγγείλει ακύρωση της πρόσφατης συνταξιοδοτικής αντιμεταρρύθμισης ώστε τα όρια ηλικίας συνταξιοδότησης να επιστρέψουν σε χαμηλότερα επίπεδα, μείωση φόρου μέσω της καθιέρωσης ενός ενιαίου φορολογικού συντελεστή της τάξης του 15% και για όσους έχουν οικογενειακό εισόδημα άνω των 80.000 ευρώ, στο 20% (από αλλεπάλληλα κλιμάκια που ξεκινούν από 23% και φτάνουν στο 43% τα οποία ισχύουν σήμερα) και ελάχιστο εγγυημένο εισόδημα για όλους τους πολίτες.

Επίσης, η νέα κυβέρνηση έχει υποσχεθεί να ακυρώσει μια ψηφισθείσα αύξηση του ΦΠΑ που θα ξεκίναγε να εφαρμόζεται το 2019. Όπως συμβαίνει πάντα σε αυτές τις περιπτώσεις, τα ευχάριστα αυτά μέτρα επισκιάσθηκαν από τη συζήτηση για το οικονομικό κόστος που επισείει η υλοποίησή τους, χωρίς ωστόσο να εξετασθούν οι ευεργετικές επιδράσεις στην οικονομία της Ιταλίας από την άρση των κυρώσεων κατά της Ρωσίας, όπως έχουν εξαγγείλει να πράξουν Λίγκα και Πέντε Αστέρες ή από την αύξηση του λαϊκού εισοδήματος. Μένοντας λοιπόν μόνο στα αρνητικά, η Corriere della Sera εκτίμησε το κόστος των μέτρων από 65 ως 100 δισ. ευρώ, ενώ υπολόγισε πώς μόνο το καθολικό εισόδημα θα στοιχίσει 17 δισ. ευρώ ανά έτος.

Οι αμφισβητήσεις για το κυβερνητικό πρόγραμμα ξεκίνησαν από τον 76χρονο πρόεδρο Σέρτζιο Ματαρέλα, ο οποίος επικαλούμενος τις προκλητικές υπερεξουσίες που διαθέτει (σε βαθμό να μπορεί να απορρίπτει νόμους με τους οποίους διαφωνεί, υπουργούς και τον ίδιο τον πρωθυπουργό), και ακυρώνουν στην πράξη τη λαϊκή ετυμηγορία, έφθασε να απειλήσει ακόμη και με νέες εκλογές σε περίπτωση που η σύνθεση της κυβέρνησης δεν είναι της αρεσκείας του. Δήλωσε επίσης ότι θα μπλοκάρει κρατικές δαπάνες που αυξάνουν το δημοσιονομικό έλλειμμα, γράφοντας στο παλαιότερα των υποδημάτων του προφανώς ότι πρόκειται για ένα πρόγραμμα που όχι μόνο βελτιώνει την ζωή των πολιτών ισοδυναμεί δηλαδή με κοινωνική πρόοδο, αλλά κι ό,τι σε τελική ανάλυση, αυτή είναι η βούληση του εκλογικού σώματος.

Κανένα σχόλιο φυσικά δεν έκανε ο ιταλός πρόεδρος για τα νέα αυστηρότατα μέτρα που θα λάβει η κυβέρνηση συνεργασίας ενάντια στους μετανάστες και αποτελούν αιτία διαφωνίας με τους Πέντε Αστέρες. Η Λίγκα του Βορρά εξελέγη υποσχόμενη να απελάσει με διαδικασίες εξπρές τουλάχιστον 600.000 μετανάστες, που βρίσκονται στη γειτονική χώρα χωρίς τα νόμιμα χαρτιά. Η επίδειξη πυγμής της ξενοφοβικής Λίγκας του Βορρά γίνεται μάλιστα σε μια περίοδο που σε δικαστήριο της Ρώμης γίνονται συγκλονιστικές αποκαλύψεις από νιγηριανούς επιζώντες οι οποίοι έχουν στραφεί εναντίον της ιταλικής κυβέρνησης εξ αιτίας της χρηματοδότησης που προσφέρει στην ακτοφυλακή της Λιβύης προκειμένου να παρεμποδίζει, με κάθε …τρόπο, αφρικανούς μετανάστες να φτάσουν στις ιταλικές ακτές.

Η ευθεία σύγκρουση της Ρώμης με τις πολιτικές λιτότητας των Βρυξελλών θα οδηγήσει στα ύψη την αποστροφή των Ιταλών απέναντι στην ΕΕ, δεδομένου ότι ήδη στη γειτονική χώρα υπάρχει το πιο ισχυρό κλίμα εναντίον της ΕΕ σε σύγκριση με κάθε άλλη χώρα της Ένωσης, όπως έδειξαν οι Financial Times την Τρίτη 15 Μαΐου. Με βάση στοιχεία του Ευρωβαρόμετρου που συγκεντρώθηκαν το φθινόπωρο του 2017, η Ιταλία είναι η χώρα με το μικρότερο ποσοστό αποδοχής της ΕΕ και το υψηλότερο ποσοστό εναντίωσης στην ΕΕ. Κατά συνέπεια, η ρήξη που επιλέγουν με την ΕΕ οι Πέντε Αστέρες και η Λίγκα συναντά ευρεία αποδοχή…