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Archive for April 24th, 2016

The real reason Dilma Rousseff’s enemies want her impeached

The story of Brazil’s political crisis, and the rapidly changing global perception of it, begins with its national media.

The country’s dominant broadcast and print outlets are owned by a tiny handful of Brazil’s richest families, and are steadfastly conservative. (Like in most countries?)

For decades, those media outlets have been used to agitate for the Brazilian rich, ensuring that severe wealth inequality (and the political inequality that results) remains firmly in place.

Indeed, most of today’s largest media outlets – that appear respectable to outsiders – supported the 1964 military coup that ushered in two decades of rightwing dictatorship and further enriched the nation’s oligarchs.

This key historical event still casts a shadow over the country’s identity and politics. Those corporations – led by the multiple media arms of the Globo organisation – heralded that coup as a noble blow against a corrupt, democratically elected liberal government. Sound familiar?

Dilma Rousseff

Dilma Rousseff: a target of the rich and powerful. Photograph: Fernando Bizerra Jr/EPA

For more than a year, those same media outlets have peddled a self-serving narrative: an angry citizenry, driven by fury over government corruption, rising against and demanding the overthrow of Brazil’s first female president, Dilma Rousseff, and her Workers’ party (PT). The world saw endless images of huge crowds of protesters in the streets, always an inspiring sight.

But what most outside Brazil did Not see was that the country’s plutocratic media had spent months inciting those protests (while pretending merely to “cover” them). The protesters were not remotely representative of Brazil’s population. They were, instead, disproportionately white and wealthy: the very same people who have opposed the PT and its anti-poverty programmes for two decades.

Slowly, the outside world has begun to see past the pleasing, two-dimensional caricature manufactured by its domestic press, and to recognise who will be empowered once Rousseff is removed. It has now become clear that corruption is not the cause of the effort to oust Brazil’s twice-elected president; rather, corruption is merely the pretext. (Or the tip of the iceberg?)

Rousseff’s moderately leftwing party first gained the presidency in 2002, when her predecessor, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, won a resounding victory. Due largely to his popularity and charisma, and bolstered by Brazil’s booming economic growth under his presidency, the PT has won four straight presidential elections – including Rousseff’s 2010 election victory and then, just 18 months ago, her re-election with 54 million votes.

‘Flowers for democracy’ demonstration against the impeachment of Dilma Rousseff
Pinterest Women carrying flowers take part in a ‘flowers for democracy’ demonstration against the impeachment of Dilma Rousseff. Photograph: Eraldo Peres/AP

The country’s elite class and their media organs have failed, over and over, in their efforts to defeat the party at the ballot box.

But plutocrats are not known for gently accepting defeat, nor for playing by the rules. What they have been unable to achieve democratically, they are now attempting to achieve anti-democratically: by having a bizarre mix of politicians – evangelical extremists, far-right supporters of a return to military rule, non-ideological backroom operatives – simply remove her from office.

Indeed, those leading the campaign for her impeachment and who are in line to take over – most notably the house speaker Eduardo Cunha – are far more implicated in scandals of personal corruption than she is.

Cunha was caught last year with millions of dollars in bribes in secret Swiss bank accounts, after having falsely denied to Congress that he had any foreign bank accounts. Cunha also appears in the Panama Papers, working to stash his ill-gotten millions offshore to avoid detection and tax liability.

It is impossible to convincingly march behind a banner of “anti-corruption” and “democracy” when simultaneously working to install the country’s most corruption-tainted and widely disliked political figures.

Words cannot describe the surreality of watching the vote to send Rousseff’s impeachment to the Senate, during which one glaringly corrupt member of Congress after the next stood to address Cunha, proclaiming with a straight face that they were voting to remove Rousseff due to their anger over corruption.

As the Guardian reported: “Yes, voted Paulo Maluf, who is on Interpol’s red list for conspiracy. Yes, voted Nilton Capixaba, who is accused of money laundering. ‘For the love of God, yes!’ declared Silas Camara, who is under investigation for forging documents and misappropriating public funds.”

But these politicians have overplayed their hand. Not even Brazil’s Masters of the Universe can convince the world that Rousseff’s impeachment is really about combating corruption – their scheme would empower politicians whose own scandals would be career-ending in any healthy democracy.

Eduardo Cunha
Pinterest Eduardo Cunha was caught last year with millions of dollars in bribes in secret Swiss bank accounts. Photograph: Andressa Anholete/AFP/Getty Images

A New York Times article last week reported that “60% of the 594 members of Brazil’s Congress” – the ones voting to impeach Rousseff – “face serious charges like bribery, electoral fraud, illegal deforestation, kidnapping and homicide”. By contrast, said the article, Rousseff “is something of a rarity among Brazil’s major political figures: she has not been accused of stealing for herself”.

Last Sunday’s televised, raucous spectacle in the lower house received global attention because of some repellent (though revealing) remarks made by impeachment advocates. One of them, prominent rightwing congressman Jair Bolsonaro – widely expected to run for president and who a recent poll shows is the leading candidate among Brazil’s richest – said he was casting his vote in honour of a human-rights-abusing colonel in Brazil’s military dictatorship who was personally responsible for Rousseff’s torture. His son, Eduardo, proudly cast his vote in honour of “the military men of ’64” – the ones who led the coup.

Until now, Brazilians have had their attention exclusively directed towards Rousseff, who is deeply unpopular due to the country’s severe recession. Nobody knows how Brazilians, especially the poor and working classes, will react when they see their newly installed president: the pro-business, corruption-tainted nonentity of a vice-president who, polls show, most Brazilians want impeached.

Most volatile of all, many – including the prosecutors and investigators who have led the corruption probe – fear that the real plan behind Rousseff’s impeachment is to put an end to the ongoing investigation, thus protecting corruption, not punishing it.

There is a real risk that once she is impeached, Brazil’s media will no longer be so focused on corruption, public interest will dissipate, and the newly empowered faction in Brasilia will be able to exploit its congressional majorities to cripple that investigation and protect themselves.

Ultimately, Brazil’s elite political and media classes are toying with the mechanics of democracy. That’s a dangerous, unpredictable game to play anywhere, but particularly so in a very young democracy with a recent history of political instability and tyranny, and where millions are furious over their economic deprivation.

Note: A razão real que os inimigos de Dilma Rousseff querem seu impeachment

Types of prison systems in Morocco, since 1600

 Jaafar Bakli posted

يعتقد بعض أصدقائي السوريين أن معتقل تدمر الصحراوي هو أسوأ سجن عربي؛ هؤلاء المساكين لم يسمعوا عن سجن «تازمامرت» الذي بناه الحسن الثاني خصيصا للاحتفال بمن تآمروا عليه في السبعينيات!
أيها الرفاق، نحن في بلاد المغرب العربي، نتشرف بأننا بنينا ألعن تشكيلة سجون في تاريخ البشرية قاطبة. وليس صحيحا ما وشوشوه في آذانكم، بأن معتقلات «الغولاغ» في سيبيريا هي الأقسى في العالم، أو أن معسكر «أوشفيتز» في بولونيا الذي بناه النازيون هو الأسوأ، أو أن سجن «تول سلينغ» الذي خصّصه الخمير الحمر للترحيب بمعارضيهم في كمبوديا، هو الأشنع… كل تلك السجون هراء، فنحن بنينا «حبس قارة» في مكناس، وكفى به لنا شاهدا و وكيلا!

حبس «قارة» هذا -يا إخوان- بناه السلطان إسماعيل العلوي (الجد الأعلى لملك المغرب الحالي)، قبل حوالي ثلاثة قرون. وهو سجن فريد من نوعه، فهو الوحيد في العالم الذي لا يعرف أحد -إلى حد يوم الناس هذا- أين يبتدأ، وأين ينتهي، وكيف يتشعب، ومما يتكوّن. وذلك انّ سجن «مولاي» إسماعيل يمتد على مساحة بضعة عشرات من الكيلومترات، في شكل متاهة مظلمة عملاقة تحت الارض

. كما أن ّ «سجن قارة» هو الوحيد بين كل سجون العالم الذي «يفتخر» بأنه لم يوجد سجين خرج من بين جدرانه حيا. و«حبس قارة» -يا أعزائي- هو السجن الوحيد الذي لم تجعل فيه أبواب، لا للدخول ولا للخروج [الباب والدرج الذي صار الآن يهبط منهما السياح لزيارة قاعة من قاعات السجن، بُنيا في وقت متأخر، بعد أن ألغي السجن].

«حبس قارة» هو عبارة عن مجموعة هائلة من الدهاليز المبنية تحت الأرض بطريقة عشوائية بلا معنى، ومتوالدة بلا حد. وكل سرداب من سراديبه يتكون من قاعة معتمة علوها أكثر من ثمانية أمتار، تنفتح من جدرانها ممرات متصلة نحو مجموعات أخرى من القاعات التي لا تكاد تنتهي، ويضيع السجين في طياتها السفلية، فلا يعرف مطلقا طريقا للرجعة إذا توغل قليلا في الأنفاق الموحشة المظلمة المتشابهة!

وقديما كان يتم إنزال سجناء «قارة» عبر سلالم من حبال يدليها السجانون من بعض الكوّات في سقوف السراديب. ومن تلك الكوّة في السقف يرمون للبؤساء بعض الطعام والشراب الذي يقتاتون عليه في الظلمات. ويمتد السجن على طبقات متشعبة تحت مدينة مكناس القديمة، وينسج كثير من المغاربة صورة أسطورية لقارة فيؤكدون أنه بحجم مكناس كلها، ويزايد مغاربة آخرون بالقول أن سجن «مولاي إسماعيل» أكبر من مدينته مكناس نفسها، وأنه يمتد مئات الكيلومترات ليصل إلى بلدات أخرى بعيدة مثل تازة وترهون وخنيفرة! وكثيرون يؤمنون بأن «قارة» مسكون بالأرواح الملعونة لآلاف الناس الذين قبروا فيه أحياء!

لا أحد حاول أن يستكشف لغز سجن «قارة» وأفلح! وقبل عشرين عاما حاول فريق من المغامرين الأوروبيين أن يتوغلوا في متاهة السجن العجيب، ولبلوغ هدفهم هذا استجلبوا معدات الكترونية وتجهيزات كثيرة. ولكن من سوء الحظ أن بعض أولئك المغامرين ضاعوا في السراديب، ولم يعثر لهم على أثر. وهكذا قامت السلطات المغربية بإقفال ممرات السجن بجدران من الإسمنت، ومنعت التوغل فيه، مكتفية بثلاث قاعات فقط يمكن للزائرين أن يتجولوا داخلها.


تماما فوق تلك المقبرة العملاقة المسماة «حبسا»، والتي بناها «أمير المؤمنين» ليدفن فيها المناوئين له، والمتمردين عليه، ومن قبض عليهم من الأسرى الأجانب؛ أنشأ «المولى» (هكذا يسمى السلطان في المغرب) مدينته الملكية الفاخرة المتكوّنة من مجمعات قصور سلطانية شاسعة ورائعة، وقد حاول إسماعيل أن يضاهي بما بناه في مكناس قصر فرساي الذي أنشأه معاصره لويس الرابع عشر. وتمتد قصور «مولاي إسماعيل» على مساحة عشرات من الكيلومترات المربعة، تحيط بها الحدائق الزاهرة، والمجاري السيابة بالماء. وفي تلك القصور سكنت زوجات «المولى» ومحظياته اللاتي بلغ عددهن مئات الجواري المختارات بعناية، واللائي كنّ يتبدلن بجواري أخريات يوميا.

وحسب مقال تاريخي نشر في موقع Live science الأميركي (بتاريخ 24 شباط 2014) ، وحاول أن يتقصى تاريخ حكم «مولاي» إسماعيل جد السلالة العلوية الحاكمة حاليا في المغرب، الذي امتد عهده 55 عاما مابين 1672 و 1727: فإننا نخرج بمعطيات غريبة عن «سلفنا الصالح» وعن «أمير المؤمنين»، وعن «الشريف العلوي حفيد الرسول»:

– «أمير المؤمنين» افتتح عهده بذبح 400 معارض سياسي من وجهاءمدينة فاس، وعلق رؤوسهم جميعا على أسوار مدينتهم.

– «أمير المؤمنين» ذبح 30 ألف شخص، طيلة عهده المديد، بمعدل يناهز مذبوحا واحدا كل يوم.

– «أمير المؤمنين» (حسب ما يذكره شارل شوا الكاتب في مجلة Live science الأميركية، استنادا إلى باحثين في تاريخ «مولاي» إسماعيل) أنجب حينما بلغ من العمر 57 عاما، 1171 طفل بالتمام والكمال. بمعنى انه كان يمارس الجنس بمعدل يتراوح بين 0.83 و 1.43 مرة في اليوم الواحد على مدى 32 سنة متتالية.

– «أمير المؤمنين» كان يمقت الزنا، وكان قاسيا جدا مع الزناة، فكل من كان يشتبه فيه باقتراف الزنا كان المولى إسماعيل يعاقبه بقطع الرأس. أما الزانيات فقد اختصهن «أمير المؤمنين» بعقوبة الخنق، أو كان يأمر بتقطيع أثدائهن، أو بنزع أسنانهن. وأمّا من قبض عليه بتهمة استراق النظر لإحدى جواري السلطان، يكون مصيره النزول إلى ما تحت جنة «المولى»، حيث جحيم «قارة» جاهز لابتلاعه.



Old fragrance from the dead; 

Fragrance wafting hot,

Myrrh, spices, thyme

Old fragrance travelled for years

Over oceans and deserts

Spreading tales and myths

Reminiscing stories of old countries and empires;


Lights of a star reaching mankind

Star long time dead.

Dead star still sending the message to common people:

“I live; I live in your eyes, in your dreams, in your hopes.

I have disintegrated, but the light

Recreated, and reborn of me by other stars is on.


Old fragrance from the dead

Civilization, culture, and man

Breathes of cedars in Lebanon

Flaming in the sun

Confined in closets.

Old fragrance from the dead

To mankind living in a shrinking present

A past unwanted

A future disconnected and uncertain.

Old fragrance from the dead

Death still sending messages

Of centuries ago,

Olfactory  messages

Of a dying nature

Cedar breath from Lebanon.


“Defining political issue of our time”:

NYU grad student union overwhelmingly votes to boycott Israel over violations of Palestinian human rights

BDS is an international grassroots movement that uses peaceful economic means to pressure Israel into complying with international law and respecting Palestinian human rights. The campaign was called for by Palestinian civil society and by major trade unions in the occupied Palestinian territories.

NYU Graduate Student Organizing Committee is first private university labor union to support  ‪#‎BDS‬, as movement grows

Remi Kanazi shared this link

NYU Graduate Student Organizing Committee is first private university labor union to support BDS, as movement grows|By Ben Norton

Graduate students at New York University have overwhelmingly voted to boycott Israel in protest of its violation of Palestinian human rights.

Exactly two-thirds of voting members of the graduate student union the Graduate Student Organizing Committee, or GSOC-UAW 2110, supported a referendum on Friday that calls for New York University and United Auto Workers International to withdraw their investments from Israeli state institutions and international corporations complicit in violations of Palestinian human and civil rights.

At least 645 union members participated in the vote. An additional 57 percent of voting members pledged to uphold the academic boycott of Israel, refraining from participating in research and academic programs sponsored by institutions funded by the Israeli government.

The union says this “was an unusually large membership turnout, a testament to union democracy.” It explained in a statement that the vote took place after a period of “vigorous debate and engagement with the union among wide layers of graduate workers.”

“After months of mass mobilization and a four-day election, GSOC members have taken a clear stand for justice in Palestine,” explained Shafeka Hashash, a member of the union’s Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions, or BDS, caucus.

“This historic endorsement of BDS by GSOC at NYU occurs in the wake of growing momentum for the movement across university campuses and labor unions nationwide,” she added.

BDS is an international grassroots movement that uses peaceful economic means to pressure Israel into complying with international law and respecting Palestinian human rights. The campaign was called for by Palestinian civil society and by major trade unions in the occupied Palestinian territories.

The Graduate Student Organizing Committee is a labor union representing more than 2,000 teaching assistants, adjunct instructors, research assistants and other graduate workers at New York University, or NYU. It is the first recognized graduate worker union at a private university in the U.S.

The union says its referendum vote it sets “an important precedent for both solidarity with Palestine and for union democracy.”

“In addition to bringing material gains for their members, NYU graduate students are reclaiming the union as a political platform for social justice causes,” explained Maya Wind, an Israeli activist and Ph.D. student at NYU who is a member of the union.

“Through the recent mass mobilization for justice in Palestine we have taken a stand on one of the defining political issues of our time,” she added. “The referendum success is indicative of the traction the movement is gaining across university campuses, and increasingly among graduate students.”

The referendum also calls on NYU to close its sister program in Israel’s Tel Aviv University, which the union says violates its own non-discrimination policy.

A recent U.S. State Department report acknowledged the “institutional and societal discrimination against Arab citizens of Israel,” as well as the unlawful killings, excessive force and torture people endure at the hands of the Israeli military in the illegally occupied Palestinian territories.

The BDS movement is growing rapidly throughout the U.S. and the world.

In the past week, at least two major graduate student unions voted to endorse a boycott of Israel. The Graduate Employee Organization at the University of Massachusetts Amherst passed a BDS resolution by referendum, as well as the City University of New York Doctoral Students Council, which approved an academic boycott measure overwhelmingly via vote.

“The impact of NYU’s referendum will not only reverberate across private academic institutions where unionization efforts have gained momentum, but across the American academy more broadly,” GSOC said in a statement.

At least 8 major U.S. academic associations have voted to boycott Israel in protest of its violation of Palestinian human rights, including the American Studies Association, the American Anthropological Association, the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association and the Association for Asian American Studies. Many of these votes had resounding majorities in favor.

Several national unions have also made similar votes, including the United Electrical Workers union.

Despite the democratic nature of these votes, the efforts have faced huge backlash.

Legislators around the U.S. are proposing bans on boycotts of Israel, which legal experts say is unconstitutional.

When the University of California system’s graduate student union voted to endorse the BDS movement by a landslide in 2014, Salon exposed how the small pro-Israel opposition derailed the democratic process with the help of a prominent law firm that has defended powerful multinational corporations like Wal-Mart, Amazon, Apple and Chevron. Under this pressure, the United Auto Workers International Executive Board nullified the vote, even while admitting that it was thoroughly democratic.

NYU’s graduate student union also says the UAW Local 2110 Executive Board “attempted to interfere with democratic elections to union leadership bodies.” GSOC condemned union executives for having “cracked down on their own membership” in an undemocratic manner.

Ph.D. student and union member Sean Larson told Salon the local executive executive board has disqualified a large number of candidates for the leadership election, “disputing our membership criteria eligibility and the eligibility for candidates to run in both elections.”

GSOC is pushing back against the backlash. “In the fight for social justice and against repression, the BDS movement and union democracy are natural allies,” the union affirmed in a statement.

“By empowering the members themselves to speak, the emerging movement for union democracy among graduate students is helping to lead these efforts. Rank-and-file democracy is the future of the labor movement, and the labor movement can secure a vigorous future for BDS in the United States.”

Ben Norton is a politics staff writer at Salon. You can find him on Twitter at @BenjaminNorton.
Note: The picture below is for a Jew wrapping himself in a plastic bag on a plane in order Not to get contaminated by impure passengers 

يهودي متعصب يسافر بكيس على متن طائرة، خوفاً من الاحتكاك بالناس وفقدان “طهارته”. الصورة نُشرت للمرة الاولى قبل ٣ سنوات.

Hauvick Habéchian's photo.




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