Jeremy Scahill on “Obama’s undeclared war against Pakistan”; The end of Western hegemony?; Deaths in Iraq on the rise; Admitting fraud, Iran denies nullifying vote; Mousavi calls for rally on Thursday, Iran judiciary threatens force; Somalia announces “state of emergency”; U.K. thugs arrest women for asking their badge numbers; Scientology leader beats his staff.
“Obama’s Undeclared War Against Pakistan Continues, Despite His Attempt to Downplay It” by Jeremy Scahill (Rebel Reports): “It is clear—and has been for a long time— that the Obama administration is radically expanding the US war in Afghanistan deeply into Pakistan. Whether it is through US military trainers (that’s what they were called in Vietnam too), drone attacks or commando raids inside the country, the US is militarily entrenched in Pakistan. It makes Obama’s comment that “[W]e have no intention of sending US troops into Pakistan” simply unbelievable.”
“Is this the death of the dollar?” by Edmund Conway (Telegraph): “Since 2002 its trade-weighted strength – calculated against a basket of other currencies – has fallen by more than a quarter, from 112 to 81 points. In the same period, the proportion of dollars held by reserve managers in leading central banks has also taken a dive. According to figures from the IMF, confirmed holdings of dollars in government vaults, from Beijing and Tokyo to London and Paris, fell from 71pc of reserves to 64.5pc between 2002 and 2008.” If you’re unfamililar with dollar hegemony, this is a great article building on the story of Japanese finance ministers with $134bn in U.S. bonds at the bottom of a suitcase in Switzerland and the meeting of Brazil, Russia, India, and China last week.
“The Columbus Era 1492–2009” by Scott Kelly asks if this is the end of Western hegemony (LRC): “In March, China – the largest holder of US treasuries and bonds, has said that Europe and Asia should trade without the dollar. This is a momentous event, for the dollar has been the world’s reserve currency, and its downfall will have dark ramifications for the US and its economy. Some say this is the beginning of the end for the dollar. We will soon be in a multi-polar world, that will no longer be dominated by people from the West. The East is rising, and they will claim their share of the world.”
Jason Ditz on the weekend that killed 120 in Iraq, including a suicide bombing in the Kirkuk region which killed 80. (AntiWar.com)
“Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, a military unit, has threatened to crush further protests,” reports al Jazeera. The Iran government stated, “Be prepared for a resolution and revolutionary confrontation with the Guards, Basij and other security forces and disciplinary forces,” as a threat. Thousands gathered to mourn the death of Neda Soltani, but were quickly dispersed by stormtroopers. Iran continues to blame the West. The Russian foreign ministry is calling for a “constitutional” solution, as one of Iran’s largest trade partners and nuclear program overseers. For whatever reason, French President Nicholas Sarkozy, is took the time to say the burqa is “will not be welcome on our territory” because it’s a “subjugation” of women to the French Parliament today. Greens, Communists, and Socialists stormed out of the Parliament claiming the president overstepped his boundaries. Over the weekend, Mr. Sarkozy called for Iran to annul the election in Iran, joining primary opposition candidate, Mir Housein Mousavi’s, call.
Iran’s Guardian Council has admitted over 100% of voters voted in 50 electoral districts, but has ruled out nullification. Mr. Mousavi called for a rally on Thursday to “commemorate those killed in post-election violence”, according to his facebook page. A senior member of Iran’s judiciary said that “any words or statements” encouraging people to “create insecurity”, stage “illegal protests”, and make “provocative statements” are “criminal acts” to be “confronted firmly”. The former Shah’s son, Reza Pahlavi, has called for the government to recognize the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. See today’s Guardian live blog for more on today’s events.
“How Neda Soltani became the face of Iran’s struggle” by Robert Tait and Matthew Weaver (Guardian).
“The streets from Tehran University to Azadi Square were overtaken by smoke from tear gas,” says one Iranian woman to IPS in an article by Sara Farhang (IPS)
“I grab a brick and throw. I never thought I’d do it,” says “Besandiar Poorgiv,” a student in Tehran. (Guardian)
“Iranian regime change is for Iranians to decide” by Mary Sanchez (McClatchy): “If Iran’s government needs reform, it is Iran’s people that must make that case – and they are, very eloquently and tragically even with their lives. The last thing Iranian reformers and protesters need is to be painted as agents of the Great Satan.”
“Iran’s Green Revolution: Made in America?” by Justin Raimondo (AntiWar.com): “In any case, the cheerleaders have been getting louder as the protests continue and blood is shed: leading the charge are our old “friends,” the neoconservatives, most of whom had been keeping a low profile (except on the op-ed page of the Washington Post). After the humiliation of having been proved totally wrong about Iraq, relative silence was the only viable option, at least for the moment.”
The CIA is using Twitter to gather intelligence, reports Amos Harel (Ha’aretz)
Britain has seized the equivalent of about $1bn in Iranian assets, using Iran nuclear program as a guise — though, Iran has fully complied with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
“As of today, the country is under a state of emergency,” said Somali President (in name only) Sharif Sheikh Ahmed. “We are asking the world and neighbouring countries to intervene in Somalia’s situation immediately.” Odd. The Somalis have been calling for everyone in the country to intervene from within in taking Mr. Ahmed out of power since his coronation. After the African Union backed sending more troops to collaborate with the gov’t, Ethiopia committed troops again after leaving Somalia less than a year ago. Amy Goodman of DN! interviewed Sadia Ali Aden today, a Somali writer and activist. See the video here.
“The Ruins of Gaza” by Laura Durkay (SWO) is her account of what she witnessed on her trip with the CODEPINK delegation: “We quickly learned that although there is supposedly a ceasefire in effect, “ceasefire” is a relative term in Gaza–and it means that Palestinians are to cease firing while Israel does what it wants.”
Palestinians held a peaceful sit-in in al-Quds (East Jerusalem) of the West Bank, protesting Israel’s plan to displace 1,500 more Palestinians with new settlements. Israeli settlers torched a tent with three Palestinians inside. There were no casualties. Matteo Benatti of the Red Cross said, “[I]t is unlawful under the Fourth Geneva Convention for an occupying power to transfer parts of its own population into the territory it occupies.”
“When Bibi Says Yes, What Does He Mean?” by Uri Avnery (AntiWar.com): “The entire speech was addressed to one single person: Barack Obama. It was not designed to appeal to the Palestinians. It was quite clear that the Palestinians are only the passive object of a discussion between the president of the USA and the prime minister of Israel. Except in some tired old clichés, Netanyahu spoke about them, not to them.”
Two women were arrested in the U.K. for asking an officer for his badge number. This criminal organization can’t fill a pothole, but it can defend our rights, of course. (h/t: Jonathon Turley 6:27):
More than $500bn in global stimulus packages expected to be used for bribes and wasteful procedures, according to Kroll, the world’s leading risk consultancy firm. This is just of the ~$5tn governments are pumping into the system for stimulus, not the bailouts and credit leveraged on those bailouts. The World Bank projects the global economy “contracting” by 2.9% — 1.6% in the “developing world”, excluding China and India. The European Central Bank has a policy “unlimited one-year funds“. Erik Nielsen, European economist at Goldman Sachs, said, ““If I were a bank I would be gathering up all the furniture to use as collateral to take part.”
Peruvian President Alan Garcia’s approval rating is down to 21%,as clashes between Peru’s indigenous people and government clash over land rights. The government is granting contracts to foreign miners and energy companies for land it’s stolen. There was a recent clash where 34 died — including nine civilians — according to official reports, but Amazonians have claimed that police are dumping bodies in the river and that many activists have gone missing.
The Pan American Health Organisation’s effort to boost vaccine purchases for middle-income Latin American families will greatly raise the prices for those making efforts to vaccinate the poorest of Africa. (FT) No shit.
U.S. Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-NY) and Former Rep. Cynthia McKinney (G-GA) have sent open letter to Atty. Gen. Eric Holder open a civil rights investigation into the case of Mumia Abu-Jamal. Mr. Abu-Jamal’s case is full of holes, including a mass of withheld investigation. See his most recent interview from death row with Amy Goodman on DN! here. (h/t: InfoShop News)
Church of Scientology leader, David Miscavige, physically beat his staff. (The Raw Story)