Boletín de Noticias / Newsbulletin

No. 1619

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19 – 08 – 2012



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En España más gente come sobras de los supermercados


Efecto de la crisis


La crisis económica en España ha producido un aumento de personas que acuden a comedores sociales así como de las que recogen las sobras de los supermercados. Antes la gente, principalmente indigentes e inmigrantes, se acercaba a los supermercados de las ciudades tras el cierre de las puertas para tomar comida de los contenedores.

Ahora muchos empleados les sacan productos que no podrán vender al día siguiente, porque están a punto de caducar, y los colocan junto a los contenedores de basura en lugar de dejarlos en un almacén del supermercado, como hacían antes.

Los empleados suelen dejar fuera los productos -muchas frutas, verduras, leche, yogures- a una hora fija, sin esperar a la hora de cierre de la tienda.

Las personas que acuden a buscar comida ya no son solo indigentes, como antes de la crisis, sino que muchas de ellas son ciudadanos de clase media, con familias en las que uno o más de sus miembros se ha quedado sin empleo. Ya se conocen de encontrarse a la puerta del supermercado y la recogida de la comida se produce normalmente sin peleas entre ellos.


Nunca pensé que tendría que hacer esto, pero la comida está en buen estado”, contó la esposa de un desocupado, que no quiere identificarse, mientras recoge unas verduras a la puerta de un supermercado.

También hay inmigrantes, como Abdul, marroquí y ex trabajador de la construcción, que dice que cada vez se encuentra con más personas buscando comida entre los contenedores: “¿Qué voy a hacer? Si no hago esto no come mi familia”, formada por cuatro personas. En España hay 5,27 millones de desocupados (un 22,85% de la población activa) y las familias en las que todos sus miembros están desempleados suman ya 1.575.000 personas. Cerca de ocho millones de personas, alrededor del 20% de la población, una de las tasas más elevadas de la Unión Europea (UE), vive con ingresos inferiores al 50% de la renta per cápita nacional.

http://www.diariopopular.com.ar/notas/111933-en-espana-mas-gente-come-sobras-lossupermercados


Ecuador pide una reunión del Consejo de Seguridad de la ONU sobre Assange

Correa dice que el fundador de Wikileaks permanecería indefinidamente en embajada


Agencias


18/8/2012.- La Asamblea Nacional de Ecuador pidió ayer al Gobierno de su país que solicite una reunión del Consejo de Seguridad de Naciones Unidas, para evitar que Reino Unido use la fuerza y entre sin autorización en la Embajada ecuatoriana en Londres para detener al fundador de WikiLeaks, Julian Assange.


En una larga sesión extraordinaria que concluyó pasada la medianoche, el órgano parlamentario de Ecuador resolvió rechazar la “amenaza” del Reino Unido y convocó a los ecuatorianos a unirse en torno a la defensa de la soberanía nacional.


El pasado miércoles, el canciller ecuatoriano, Ricardo Patiño, dijo que recibió un comunicado británico en el que se amenazaba con irrumpir en la Embajada ecuatoriana para localizar y arrestar a Assange, para luego extraditarle a Suecia, donde le imputan cargos por supuesto delitos sexuales que él niega.


El jueves, Patiño comunicó que su Gobierno había otorgado asilo a Assange y dijo confiar en que Londres concedería un salvoconducto para que pueda viajar a Quito, aunque las autoridades británicas negaron tal posibilidad y, más bien, ratificaron su interés de extraditar al “exhacker” australiano.


La tensa situación entre Ecuador y el Reino Unido motivó al presidente de la Asamblea ecuatoriana, el oficialista Fernando Cordero, a convocar a una reunión extraordinaria a sus colegas legisladores para tratar el asunto.


En su resolución, aprobada por 73 legisladores de los 80 presentes en la sesión, la Asamblea Nacional recomendó al Gobierno que, “solicite una reunión urgente” del Consejo de Seguridad de Naciones Unidas para evitar la “amenaza” británica.


También valoró y reconoció el respaldo internacional al Estado ecuatoriano y destacó las anunciadas reuniones de la Alianza Bolivariana para nuestra América (ALBA) y de la Unión Suramericana de Naciones, que tendrán lugar este sábado y domingo en Guayaquil.


El órgano parlamentario ecuatoriano, asimismo, instó a la comunidad internacional a “rechazar toda amenaza o uso de la violencia como mecanismo para la resolución de conflictos entre Estados soberanos”.


En ese sentido demandó al Reino Unido a que busque “soluciones pacíficas en cualquier tipo de controversia”, fundamentaba en los principios de “independencia e igualdad jurídica de los Estados”.


Además, la Asamblea ecuatoriana decidió solicitar “a todas las instancias parlamentarias internacionales el apoyo” a la causa ecuatoriana y convocó a los ciudadanos del país a mantener una “férrea unidad” en defensa de “la dignidad y soberanía de nuestra patria”.


Correa dice que Assange permanecería indefinidamente en embajada


Por su parte el presidente de Ecuador, Rafael Correa, dijo el viernes que el fundador de WikiLeaks, Julian Assange, permanecería por tiempo indefinido asilado en la embajada ecuatoriana en Londres ante la negativa del Reino Unido de otorgarle un salvoconducto para que salga de ese país.


"El problema es que ellos (Londres) no van a dar el salvoconducto", dijo el mandatario socialista en una entrevista radial en la ciudad andina de Loja (420 km al sur) y agregó que "el señor Julian Assange puede pasar indefinidamente en nuestra embajada".


El creador de WikiLeaks está refugiado en la legación ecuatoriana desde el 19 de junio pasado para evitar ser extraditado a Suecia donde fue acusado de delitos de abuso sexual que niega haber cometido. Quito le concedió el jueves un asilo diplomático.


La decisión ecuatoriana generó una inmediata reacción británica. El ministro de Relaciones Exteriores, William Hague, expresó: "nosotros no autorizaremos a Assange a salir libremente del Reino Unido, y no hay ninguna base legal para que lo hagamos". Gran Bretaña afirma que debe extraditar a Assange a Suecia para dar cumplimiento a una orden judicial de extradición.


Correa señaló que el derecho europeo "es un poco diferente" al latinoamericano, el cual refiere que cuando se otorga asilo diplomático "el país donde se encuentra la embajada tiene que dar obligatoriamente el salvoconducto".


"En Europa no es así, al menos en el Reino Unido", dijo el gobernante.


Assange estima que si es enviado a Suecia para responder las acusaciones judiciales podría ser luego entregado a Estados Unidos que a su vez lo investiga por un presunto espionaje al haber publicado cientos de miles de documentos secretos de Washington en WikiLeaks, por lo cual teme ser condenado a cadena perpetua o a la pena de muerte.

http://www.matrizur.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=22833:ecuador-pide-una-reunion-del-consejo-de-seguridad-de-la-onu-sobre-assange&catid=37:patria-grande&Itemid=56


Washington no reconoce asilo de Ecuador a Assange

Autor: AFP


18/08/12.-El gobierno de Estados Unidos dijo este viernes que no reconoce el "asilo diplomático" que Ecuador otorgó al australiano Julian Assange, el fundador de Wikileaks refugiado en la embajada ecuatoriana en Londres.


"Estados Unidos no forma parte de la Convención de 1954 de la (Organización de Estados Americanos) OEA sobre el Asilo Diplomático y no reconoce el concepto de asilo diplomático como una cuestión de derecho internacional", dijo en un comunicado el Departamento de Estado.


Ecuador otorgó el jueves asilo diplomático a Assange por suponer que su vida estaría en peligro en caso de ser extraditado a Suecia, donde es requerido por supuestamente haber cometido crímenes sexuales.


Además, Quito recurrió a la OEA, que sostiene reuniones de emergencia en Washington para decidir si llamará a los cancilleres de los 34 Estados miembro para discutir el caso de Assange.


Una "convención sobre el asilo diplomático" de la OEA del 29 de diciembre de 1954 estipula que el "asilo es concedido en misiones diplomáticas (...) a personas perseguidas por razones políticas", con excepción de aquellas "acusadas o juzgadas por delitos de derecho común".


"Creemos que se trata de un asunto bilateral entre Ecuador y Gran Bretaña y que la OEA no tiene ningún papel en esta cuestión", aseguró el gobierno estadunidense.


El presidente ecuatoriano Rafael Correa dijo este viernes que Assange, quien se encuentra desde el 19 de junio en la embajada ecuatoriana en Londres, puede permanecer "indefinidamente" en ese lugar, a raíz de que Gran Bretaña se rehúsa a otorgarle un salvoconducto para que abandone el país.


Assange, de 41 años y fundador de Wikileaks, la página web que reveló miles de cables secretos estadunidenses, teme ser enviado a Suecia, pues piensa que una vez en ese país pueda ser extraditado a Estados Unidos y juzgado por traición.


Estados Unidos negó haber presionado a Gran Bretaña para detener a Assange, y, aunque no evocó posibles acciones legales, aseguró que no tiene intenciones de "perseguir" al australiano.


Pese a que Washington no forma parte de la convención de 1954, utilizó varias veces la inmunidad en sus misiones diplomáticas para proteger a militantes en países considerados no democráticos, como China.

http://www.matrizur.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=22824:-washington-no-reconoce-asilo-de-ecuador-a-assange&catid=44:imperio&Itemid=62


Oficina Europea de Patentes aprovecha los vacíos legales para conceder patentes sobre las semillas, vegetales e incluso sobre las cosechas


Autor: concienciaeco.com


17 de agosto de 2012.- A esta conclusión se ha llegado, después de que el 3 de abril de 2012, la coalición internacional “No Patents on Seeds” (No a las Patentes sobre las Semillas) publicó un informe acerca de las patentes relativas a las selecciones convencionales de vegetales y animales que se solicitaron y expidieron en la Oficina Europea de Patentes (OEP) en el año 2011. El informe recoge ejemplos de patentes sobre girasoles, melones, pepinos, arroz y trigo. Dichas patentes se concedieron pese a la decisión tomada por la instancia superior (Enlarged Board of Appeal: Gran Cámara de Recurso) de la OEP en 2010, la cual ratificaba la prohibición de las patentes sobre las selecciones clásicas de conformidad con el derecho europeo de patentes.


Estas patentes bloquean el acceso a la diversidad biológica, obstaculizan la innovación, reducen la libertad de elección de los agricultores y asimismo hacen que los productores y consumidores de alimentos pasen a ser más dependientes. Es hora de que instituciones como el Parlamento Europeo y la Comisión Europea asuman el liderazgo legal para detener la venta absoluta de los recursos necesarios para la vida cotidiana. Deben ponerle freno con urgencia ahora”, afirma Christoph Then, uno de los coordinadores de “No Patents on Seeds”.


El informe demuestra que es preciso emprender una acción política inmediata para evitar que la OEP siga adentrándose permanentemente en terreno pantanoso en aras de satisfacer los intereses de las empresas agroquímicas internacionales. Ya se han presentado unas 1.000 solicitudes de patente, aún pendientes, relacionadas con la selección convencional de vegetales. En 2011 se archivaron alrededor de 100 solicitudes nuevas y se expidió más de una docena en este ámbito. Se concedió otra docena de patentes relativas a la selección de animales de granja, alegando el material de reproducción, la selección del sexo, la selección asistida por marcadores, la clonación o la ingeniería genética. En suma, a finales de 2011, la OEP concedió cerca de 2.000 patentes sobre vegetales y unas 1.200 sobre animales, ya sea recurriendo o no a la ingeniería genética.


En los últimos meses, los agricultores, seleccionadores y el sector alimentario han expresado su preocupación por los acontecimientos actuales. Los parlamentos alemán y neerlandés, respectivamente, han adoptado unas resoluciones para que no se siga patentando ni continúe creciendo el monopolio de la selección animal y vegetal. Actualmente, muchos observadores están a la espera de recibir una señal clara por parte del Parlamento Europeo y la Comisión de la UE puesto que, en 1998, se aprobó una directiva de patentes que excluía la obtención “esencialmente biológica” de vegetales y animales.


La coalición “No Patents on Seeds” insta al esclarecimiento del derecho europeo de patentes a fin de excluir las patentes sobre los vegetales y animales, el material de reproducción, los procesos de selección, las plantas y animales objeto de esas selecciones, así como sobre los alimentos y otros productos derivados de dichos vegetales y animales.


Christoph Them, de la Coalición Internacional “No Patent on Seeds” habló de estos problemas en el seminario “La biodiversidad está en nuestras manos”, de la campaña internacional “Libéralos:alimentación, salud y conocimiento sin patentes”, el pasado 17 de mayo en Barcelona. Promovida por la organización italiana Ricerca e Cooperazione , ha contado con la contribución de la Unión Europea. En España la campaña ha estado liderada por la Fundación Más Vida.

http://www.matrizur.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=22822:oficina-europea-de-patentes-aprovecha-los-vacios-legales-para-conceder-patentes-sobre-las-semillas-vegetales-e-incluso-sobre-las-cosechas&catid=46:conocimiento-y-tecnologia&Itemid=69


English


UK threatens to storm Ecuadorean embassy to seize Assange

By Robert Stevens

17 August 2012


The threat by the UK’s Conservative-Liberal Democrat government to storm the Ecuadorean embassy to arrest WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange shows contempt for international law and a colonial-style disregard for Ecuadorean sovereignty.


It marks a new stage in the British ruling class’ descent into criminality, aiming to silence a man who has helped expose many of its innumerable crimes and those of the United States and other imperialist powers.


Thursday saw the much-anticipated announcement by Ecuador that it will grant political asylum to Assange, based upon the probability that his extradition to Sweden would be followed by his transfer to the United States and a trial for treason. A government spokesman said that Ecuador had sought assurances from Sweden that Assange would not be transferred to the US, but the Swedish authorities had refused to do so.


The case against Assange is a transparent politically motivated frame-up, utilising trumped-up accusations of sexual assault in Sweden. Ecuador offered to allow Swedish prosecutors the opportunity to question Assange at the embassy, in person or via videoconference. But this was rejected.

Police outside the Ecuadorean Embassy


On Wednesday night, police officers began to gather around the embassy in anticipation of the expected announcement by Ecuador. Assange entered the embassy on June 19, requesting diplomatic sanctuary and political asylum under the United Nations Human Rights Declaration. This followed the ruling by the UK’s Supreme Court rejecting Assange’s final appeal against his extradition to Sweden.


In its letter that day to the Ecuadorean government, the British government stated that the embassy will be given a weeks’ notice of a raid by the police, should it grant asylum. On Thursday morning, police vans were stationed along roads next to the building. A number of those protesting to demand Assange’s freedom were forcibly moved from in front of the embassy to a pen set up across the road. Arrests of protesters were made, including one who was filming a live feed for the Occupy News Network.


Demonstrators chanted “Hands off Assange”, “Hands off Ecuador”, and “There’s only one decision—No Extradition”.


On Wednesday Ecuador Foreign Minister Ricardo Patiño announced in a news conference the receipt of the letter from the UK government, via the British Embassy.


Ecuador rejects in the most emphatic terms the explicit threat of the British official communication,” he said, denouncing the threat as “improper of a democratic, civilised and law-abiding country.”


If the measure announced in the British official communication is enacted, it will be interpreted by Ecuador as an unacceptable, unfriendly and hostile act and as an attempt against our sovereignty,” he warned. “It would force us to respond. We are not a British colony.”


The letter from the UK Foreign Office was couched in language befitting Britain’s role as an imperialist aggressor. Claiming the Diplomatic and Consular Premises Act 1987 provides for actions to be taken “in order to arrest Mr Assange in the current premises of the embassy,” it continued: “We need to reiterate that we consider the continued use of the diplomatic premises in this way incompatible with the Vienna convention and unsustainable and we have made clear the serious implications that this has for our diplomatic relations.”


On Thursday a UK government spokesman issued a statement saying a decision by Ecuador’s government to grant Assange the right to political asylum would be disregarded. “Giving asylum doesn’t fundamentally change anything,” the spokesman said.


The hypocrisy and cynicism of the British government in its claim that Ecuador is acting in breach of the Vienna convention knows no bounds.


It is they who are overturning fundamental precepts of international law, including the Vienna Convention, in an attempt to railroad Assange to trial. International law specifically defines foreign embassies as sovereign space, and such diplomatic posts are considered as territory of the foreign nation.


Commenting on the dire consequences of threat to seize Assange, Geoffrey Robertson, an internationally recognized human rights lawyer who has represented Assange, said: “It’s very clear from the Vienna Convention and indeed from our own Diplomatic Privileges Act from 1964 that the diplomatic premises and consular premises are what we call inviolable.


And the local police can only enter them with the consent of the head of the mission.”


The British government cited the Diplomatic & Consular Premises Act of 1987 as providing the basis for withdrawing recognition of the Ecuadorean embassy. However, the Act is specific in stating, “The Secretary of State shall only give or withdraw consent or withdraw acceptance if he is satisfied that to do so is permissible under international law.”


Were the British police to be sent into the embassy without consent to arrest Assange, this would be a clear violation of international law, specifically Article 22 of the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.


Opposing Ecuador’s request to allow Assange the freedom to leave Britain, UK Foreign Secretary William Hague declared bluntly: “We will not allow Mr Assange safe passage out of the United Kingdom, nor is there any legal basis for us to do so. The United Kingdom does not recognise the principle of diplomatic asylum.”


In a statement, Assange thanked the Ecuadorean government for granting the right to asylum, adding, “While today is a historic victory, our struggles have just begun. The unprecedented US investigation against WikiLeaks must be stopped.


While today much of the focus will be on the decision of the Ecuadorean government, it is just as important that we remember Bradley Manning [the US soldier accused to leaking information to WikiLeaks] has been detained without trial for over 800 days.


The task of protecting WikiLeaks, its staff, its supporters and its alleged sources continues.”


The descent of British diplomacy into threats and police thuggery against another sovereign nation is of a piece with the naked criminality being defended. The ruling class and its political representatives, including the former Labour governments of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown have over the last decade planned and waged illegal wars of aggression in Iraq and Afghanistan. They are now supporting the US-coordinated covert war against Syria, aimed at replacing the government of Bashar al-Assad and paving the way for war with Iran.


The targeting of Assange is also being conducted in collusion with the Obama administration in the United States, Britain’s partner in crime.

http://www.wsws.org/articles/2012/aug2012/assa-a17.shtml


Imperialist lawlessness and the witch-hunt against Julian Assange

By Chris Marsden and Barry Grey

18 August 2012


Britain’s aim in deporting WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to Sweden is to create the conditions for him to be transferred to the United States and tried for treason. It is a filthy enterprise, carried out on instructions from the Obama administration in Washington.


Its aim is to punish and destroy someone who has done much to expose the bloody crimes of successive US and UK governments. The American ruling elite and its international accomplices want to make an example of Assange. They aim to intimidate all those who seek to counter the wall of official lies, promoted by a corrupt “mainstream” media, used to conceal or justify war crimes and conspiracies against the peoples of the world.


Those who are guilty of conducting wars of aggression in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya, waging a covert war against Syria, and carrying out targeted assassinations, rendition and torture have no compunction trampling on fundamental precepts of international law. These include the right to political asylum.


The UK’s Conservative-led coalition government has threatened to withdraw its recognition of the Ecuadorean embassy in London and send police to storm the premises and seize Assange. The imperialist arrogance of this threat was rightly denounced by Ecuador as “an unacceptable, unfriendly and hostile act and an attempt against our sovereignty.” Ecuador’s foreign minister added at a Thursday press conference announcing his government’s decision to grant Assange’s request for political asylum, “We are not a British colony.”


The Vienna Convention specifically defines a foreign embassy as sovereign space. Such a diplomatic post is considered the territory of the foreign nation.


Such legal trifles could not matter less to the British government and its American overlords. British Foreign Secretary William Hague reiterated his government’s rejection of safe passage for Assange and its determination to seize him the moment he sets foot out of the Ecuadorean embassy. He declared, “The United Kingdom does not recognise the principle of diplomatic asylum.”


Piling one contemptible lie upon another, Hague continued: “It is important to understand that this is not about Mr. Assange’s activities at WikiLeaks or the attitude of the United States of America. He is wanted in Sweden to answer allegations of serious sexual offences.”


The Swedish government—the willing accomplice in the imperialist frame-up of Assange—piped up to support Britain’s violation of the right of asylum. It had made use of highly dubious charges of sexual misconduct to demand that Assange appear in Sweden for questioning, providing the pseudo-legal pretext for his extradition. “It is unacceptable that Ecuador would want to halt the Swedish judicial process and European judicial cooperation,” said Swedish foreign ministry spokesman Anders Joerle.


There is no serious legal basis for the allegations of sexual abuse against Assange—the Swedish authorities have not even lodged formal charges against him. The accusations were made by two women who sought out Assange and had consensual relations with him.


In response to Ecuador’s granting political asylum, Claes Brogstrom, the lawyer for the women making the sexual assault claims, declared disingenuously, “There’s no demand from the United States that he should be extradited to the US.”


Not yet. But as Brogstrom is well aware, the Obama administration convened a secret grand jury to draw up charges against Assange. It is waiting for him to be shipped to Sweden to strike.


WikiLeaks has reported that special task forces have been established by US intelligence agencies and subpoenas issued compelling WikiLeaks associates to appear before a grand jury. Assange has every reason to fear sharing the fate of Private Bradley Manning, who is accused of disclosing classified military data to WikiLeaks and has already been incarcerated for more than 760 days, mostly under inhuman and abusive conditions.


A conviction on sedition charges could bring the death penalty. Alternately, Assange could be thrown into the black hole of Guantanamo or some other military prison. Assange has said, with every justification, that he fears for his life.


Everyone but the willfully blind knows that Assange is the victim of a witch-hunt, yet this has not stopped the nominally liberal media from continuing to back extradition and denounce Assange. The New York Times merely stated that “The Obama administration has refused to say what plan it has, if any, to seek Mr. Assange’s extradition to the United States.” It then gloated that “WikiLeaks has shrunk substantially in the months that Mr. Assange has been fighting his legal battle,” and denounced the organization as “an agency of the political left.”


The UK media is worse still. The Guardian issued a de facto lawyer’s opinion on behalf of Assange’s persecutors, editorialising that he had no “well-founded fear” of political persecution, but was merely seeking to avoid “allegations of sexual assault, which is in anyone’s language a serious non-political crime.”


The Independent’s editorial acknowledged that “both the UK and Sweden have reportedly refused to guarantee that he would not face extradition to the US,” before stating blandly that this “may fuel suspicion.” But it insisted, “In present circumstances, though, the US is a distraction. If Mr. Assange is to live up to the honesty and integrity he professes, he must defend himself in Sweden, then contest any US extradition on its merits.”


Not since the 1930s, with the triumph of fascism in much of Europe and the build-up to a second world war, has imperialism operated on the world stage with such brazen disregard for legality. Once again, the law of the jungle prevails in international relations. This is the external expression of the turn to unmitigated class war within the imperialist countries, driven by a global breakdown of the capitalist system.


The persecution of Assange being orchestrated by the US has united a gang of cutthroats, thieves and professional liars. They are collectively the political representatives of an oligarchy whose fabulous wealth is coined from the blood, sweat and tears of countless millions throughout the world.


The defence of Julian Assange and WikiLeaks requires the independent political mobilisation of workers and young people against the offensive being waged by the ruling class and all its political defenders. Such a fight must be based on a socialist perspective, aimed at establishing workers’ governments committed to the reorganisation of society on the basis of social equality, freedom and genuine democracy.

http://www.wsws.org/articles/2012/aug2012/assa-a18.shtml


South African police massacre striking miners

By Bill Van Auken

17 August 2012


South African police opened fire with automatic weapons on striking platinum miners in the country’s North West province on Thursday, killing at least 30.


Other reports cite a death toll as high as 40.


Corpses were strewn on the ground after a three-minute hail of gunfire. Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa told the media, “A lot of people were injured and the number keeps on going up.”


The mass killing came on the sixth day of a strike by miners at Marikana operations of the British-owned Lonmin Plc, the world’s third-largest platinum mining company. Thousands of rock drillers walked out of the mines last Friday to press their demand for a doubling of salaries. The platinum mines are among the lowest paying in South Africa, and miners charge that little has changed in their conditions since the end of apartheid nearly two decades ago.


Lonmin had ratcheted up tensions in the dispute by issuing an ultimatum that any miners failing to report to work today would be fired. The South African police, meanwhile, vowed before the massacre that they would put an end to the workers’ struggle. South African Police Service Provincial Police Commissioner Zukiswa Mbombo told the media Thursday morning, “our intention is to make sure that people leave that illegal gathering area where they are and that is what we will do today … today we are ending this matter.”


Before gunning down the striking miners, some 3,000 of whom had gathered on a hill overlooking the mine, police tried to drive them off, encircling them with razor wire and using tear gas, stun grenades and water cannon. It was in the confusion created by these attacks that a column of miners carrying machetes and sticks approached a line of police armed with automatic weapons. Video of the confrontation shows the police machine-gunning the defenseless workers.


The savage repression, which has drawn widespread comparisons to the massacres carried out by the apartheid regime in Sharpeville in 1960 or Soweto in 1976, was carried out with the full backing of the African National Congress (ANC) government and its most important union supporter, the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), which has worked with management and the government to break the strike.


Underlying the conflict is the challenge to the NUM posed by a breakaway union, the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU), which has organized a substantial section of workers who are disaffected from the NUM over its subordination of the miners’ interests to those of the mine owners and the ANC government.


According to some estimates, the AMCU has the support of a third of the miners at Lonmin’s Marikana mine, while the NUM has the support of another third, while the rest have chosen not to affiliate with either union. In the days leading up to the massacre, 10 people were killed in violence that pitted supporters of the two unions against each other, as well as in clashes with police.


Both the NUM and the ANC government rushed to justify the slaughter at Marikana, even as masses of South Africans reacted with shock to the bloodletting.


NUM spokesman Lesiba Seshoka told the media, “The police cannot just watch as our country is held to ransom by criminals.” Miners reported that NUM officials were working directly with the police in organizing the repression, traveling together with them in armored Caspir vehicles.


South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma of the ANC declared himself “shocked and dismayed by this senseless violence.” He quickly added, however, “I have instructed law enforcement agencies to do everything possible to bring the situation under control and to bring the perpetrators of violence to book.” Clearly the “perpetrators” he had in mind were not the murderous police, but their victims among the striking miners.


The NUM and the trade union federation of which it is a part, COSATU (Congress of South African Trade Unions), are a pillar of support for the ANC government, which in turn defends the interests of the mining corporations and other sections of foreign and domestic capital.


Rival upstart unions like the AMCU and the Professional Transport & Allied Workers Union (PTAWU) have grown at the NUM’s and COSATU’s expense, out of the growing frustration and anger of South African workers over the complete integration of the union leadership into the government and the corporations.


These relationships are personified in the figure of the former NUM leader, Cyril Ramaphosa, one of the major beneficiaries of the policy of “black empowerment” that followed the fall of apartheid. He and others joined corporate boards, grabbed government contracts and amassed fortunes. Now one of South Africa’s richest men, Ramaphosa’s personal fortune was estimated last year at over $275 million, a large share of it in mining interests.


The AMCU had won enough support at the Lonmin mine to receive the company’s recognition as a union. At The Rustenburg operations of the world’s second-largest platinum producer, Impala, it claims to represent over half of the 20,000 workers and the company is conducting an independent audit to determine which union should act as the bargaining agent.


These defections from the ANC-affiliated unions are symptomatic of growing unrest within the working class as a whole and intense resentment over the levels of social inequality in South Africa, which are among the highest anywhere in the world. Increasingly, workers’ ire is turned toward the ANC and the class of black capitalists it has spawned at the expense of the masses of working people.


The unrest in the mining areas has been accompanied by growing protests within the poorer urban neighborhoods over the government’s failure to deliver adequate services in terms of housing, electricity, water and sanitation.


At least four people have been killed in protests that have gripped western Cape Town over the past week and a half. The unrest has seen the stoning of trains, vehicles and police stations, as well as roads blocked with burning tires as workers and youth have taken to the streets to protest against inadequate housing, deteriorating infrastructure, and poor public services.


Unrest has been fanned by the impact of the world capitalist crisis upon South Africa, whose economy is heavily dependent upon crisis-stricken Europe. The official unemployment rate stands at 25 percent, while many say that a real figure would be closer to 40 percent. Growth forecasts for this year have been slashed to 2.7 percent. Analysts warn that at least 7 percent is required to begin to address the unemployment crisis, however.


Meanwhile, South Africa’s richest 100 individuals saw their net worth rise by 62 percent last year, even as more than half of the country’s 50 million people fell below the official poverty line.

http://www.wsws.org/articles/2012/aug2012/safr-a17.shtml


Stumbling Towards Nuclear War?

Is Washington Deaf As Well as Criminal?

by PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS


The morons who rule the American sheeple are not only dumb and blind, they are deaf as well. The ears of the american “superpower” only work when the Israeli prime minister, the crazed Netanyahu, speaks. Then Washington hears everything and rushes to comply.


Israel is a tiny insignificant state, created by the careless British and the stupid americans. It has no power except what its american protector provides. Yet, despite Israel’s insignificance, it rules Washington.


When a resolution introduced by the Israel Lobby is delivered to Congress, it passes unanimously. If Israel wants war, Israel gets its wish. When Israel commits war crimes against Palestinians and Lebanon and is damned by the hundred plus UN resolutions passed against Israel’s criminal actions, the US bails Israel out of trouble with its veto.


The power that tiny Israel exercises over the “worlds’s only superpower” is unique in history. Tens of millions of “christians” bow down to this power, reinforcing it, moved by the exhortations of their “christian” ministers.


Netanyahu lusts for war against Iran. He strikes out against all who oppose his war lust. Recently, he called Israel’s top generals “pussies” for warning against a war with Iran. He regards former Israeli prime ministers and former heads of the Israeli intelligence service as traitors for opposing his determination to attack Iran. He has denounced america’s servile president Obama and america’s top military leader for being “soft on Iran.” The latest poll in Israel shows that a solid majority of the Israelis are opposed to an Israeli attack on Iran. But Netanyahu is uninterested in the opinion of Israeli citizens. He has Washington watching his back, so he is war mad. It is a mystery why Israelis put Netanyahu in public office instead of in an insane asylum.


Netanyahu is not alone. He has the american neoconservatives in his corner. The american neoconservatives are as crazed as Netanyahu. They believe in nuclear war and are itching to nuke some Muslim country and then get on to nuking Russia and China. It is amazing that no more than two or three dozen people have the fate of the entire world in their hands.


The Democratic Party is helpless before them.


The Republican Party is their vehicle.


The Russians, watching Netanyahu push Washington toward dangerous confrontations keep raising their voices about the danger of nuclear war.


On May 17 Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev warned the West against launching “hasty wars,” which could result “although I do not want to scare anyone” in “the use of a nuclear weapon.”


On November 30 of last year the Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Russia warned of nuclear war with NATO. General Nikolai Makarov said that NATO’s eastward expansion meant that the risk of Russia coming into conflict with NATO had “risen sharply.” General Makarov said, “I do not rule out local and regional armed conflicts developing into a large-scale war, including using nuclear weapons.”


Here is Russian president Medvedev (currently the prime minister) describing the steps toward nuclear war that Russia has taken pushed by the crazed warmongers in Washington wallowing in their insane hubris:


With regard to the american missile bases on Russia’s borders, “I have made the following decisions. First, I am instructing the Defense Ministry to immediately put the missile attack early warning radar station in Kaliningrad on combat alert. Second, protective cover of Russia’s strategic nuclear weapons will be reinforced as a priority measure under the program to develop our air and space defenses. Third, the new strategic ballistic missiles commissioned by the Strategic Missile Forces and the Navy will be equipped with advanced missile defense penetration systems and new highly-effective warheads. Fourth, I have instructed the Armed Forces to draw up measures for disabling missile defense system data and guidance systems. These measures will be adequate, effective, and low-cost. Fifth, if the above measures prove insufficient, the Russian Federation will deploy modern offensive weapon systems in the west and south of the country, ensuring our ability to take out any part of the US missile defense system in Europe. One step in this process will be to deploy Iskander missiles in Kaliningrad Region. Other measures to counter the European missile defense system will be drawn up and implemented as necessary. Furthermore, if the situation continues to develop not to Russia’s favor, we reserve the right to discontinue further disarmament and arms control measures.”


Russian president Vladimir Putin has said, as politely as possible, that the US seeks to enslave the world, that the US seeks vassals, not allies, that the US seeks to rule the world and that the US is a parasite on the world economy. It would be difficult for an informed person to take exception with Putin’s statements.


Putin told the politicians in Washington and Western and Eastern European capitals that surrounding Russia with anti-ballistic missiles “raises the specter of nuclear war in Europe.” Putin said that the Russian response is to point nuclear armed cruise missiles, which cannot be intercepted by anti-ballistic missiles, at the US missile bases and at European capitals. The American move, Putin said, “could trigger nuclear war.”


Putin has been trying to wake up the american puppet states in Europe at least since February 13, 2007. At the 43rd Munich Conference on Security Policy, Putin said that the unipolar world that Washington was striving to achieve under its banner, “is a world in which there is one master, one sovereign. And at the end of the day this is pernicious not only for all those within this system, but also for the sovereign itself because it destroys itself from within.”


That has certainly happened to the US which now has a police state as thorough-going as Nazi Germany. And even better armed: http://rt.com/usa/news/dhs-ammo-rounds-security-560/print/


Putin went on to tell his European audience that in Russia, “we are constantly being taught about democracy. But for some reason those who teach us do not want to learn themselves.” Instead, Putin said, “we are seeing a greater and greater disdain for the basis principles of international law. And independent legal norms are, as a matter of fact, coming increasingly closer to one state’s legal system. One state and, of course, first and foremost the United States, has overstepped its national borders in every way. This is visible in the economic, political, cultural and educational policies it imposes on other nations. Well, Who likes this? Who is happy about this?”


People are not happy, Putin said, because they don’t feel safe. Not to feel safe “is extremely dangerous. It results in the fact that no one feels safe. I want to emphasize this–no one feels safe!” The result, Putin said, is “an arms race.”


Putin politely unbraided the Italian defense minister, a person owned by Washington, for suggesting that NATO or the EU could take the place of the UN in justifying the use of force against sovereign countries. Putin took exception to the idea that Washington could use its puppet organization or its puppet states to legitimize an act of US aggression. Putin stated flatly: “The use of force can only be considered legitimate if the decision is sanctioned by the UN.”


Putin went on to discuss the forked tongue of Washington. Reagan and Gorbachev had firm agreements, but Reagan’s successors put “frontline forces on our borders. . . . The stones and concrete blocks of the Berlin Wall have long been distributed as souvenirs. But we should not forget that the fall of the Berlin Wall was possible thanks to a historic choice – one that was also made by our people, the people of Russia – a choice in favor of democracy, freedom, openness and a sincere partnership with all the members of the big European family. And now they are trying to impose new dividing lines and walls on us – these walls may be virtual but they are nevertheless dividing ones that cut through our continent. And is it possible that we will once again require many years and decades, as well as several generations of politicians, to dissemble and dismantle these new walls.”


Putin’s speech of more than 6 years ago shows that he has Washington’s number. Washington is The Great Pretender, pretending to respect human rights while Washington slaughters Muslims in seven countries on the basis of lies and fabricated intelligence. The american people, “the indispensable people,” support this murderous policy. Washington uses the status of the dollar as reserve currency to exclude countries that do not do Washington’s bidding from the international clearing system.


Washington, awash in hubris like Napoleon and Hitler before they marched off into Russia, has turned a deaf, dumb, and blind ear to Putin during the entirety of the 21st century. Speaking on May 10, 2006, Putin said: “We are aware of what is gong on in the world. Comrade wolf [the US] knows whom to eat, he eats without listening, and he’s clearly not going to listen to anyone.”


Where,” Putin asked, is Washington’s “pathos about protecting human rights and democracy when it comes to the need to pursue its own interests?” For Washington, “everything is allowed, there are no restrictions whatsoever.”


China also has caught on. Now the hubris that drives Washington toward world hegemony confronts two massive nuclear powers. Will the criminal gang in Washington drive the world to nuclear extinction?


Washington, thinking that it owns the world, has imposed more unilateral sanctions on Iran without any basis in any recognized law. The imposed sanctions are nothing but Washington’s assertion that its might is right.


The Russian Foreign Ministry said that Washington could stick its sanctions up its ass. “We consider efforts to impose internal American legislation on the entire world completely unacceptable.”

Washington will do what it can to assassinate Putin and effect regime change through the Russian “opposition” that Washington funds. Failing that, Washington’s pursuit of world hegemony has run up against a brick wall. If the fools in Washington with their hubris-inflated egos don’t back off, that mushroom cloud they have been warning about will indeed blossom over Washington.

http://www.counterpunch.org/2012/08/17/stumbling-towards-nuclear-war/


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