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Archive for setembro \20\UTC 2016

Milosevic exonerated, as the NATO war machine moves on

Posted by iscariotes em 20 de setembro de 2016

Fonte: RT

The ICTY’s exoneration of the late Slobodan Milosevic, the former President of Yugoslavia, for war crimes committed in the Bosnia war, proves again we should take NATO claims regarding its ’official enemies’ not with a pinch of salt, but a huge lorry load.

For the past twenty odd years, neocon commentators and ‘liberal interventionist’ pundits have been telling us at every possible opportunity, that Milosevic (a democratically elected leader in a country where over 20 political parties freely operated)  was an evil genocidal dictator who was to blame for ALL the deaths in the Balkans in the 1990s. Repeat after me in a robotic voice (while making robotic arm movements): ‘Milosevic’s genocidal aggression’ ‘Milosevic’s genocidal aggression’.

But the official narrative, just like the one that told us that in 2003, Iraq had WMDs which could be launched within 45 minutes, was a deceitful one, designed to justify a regime change-op which the Western elites had long desired.

The ICTY’s conclusion, that one of the most demonized figures of the modern era was innocent of the most heinous crimes he was accused of, really should have made headlines across the world. But it hasn‘t. Even the ICTY buried it, deep in its 2,590 page verdict in the trial of Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic who was convicted in March of genocide (at Srebrenica), war crimes and crimes against humanity.

There was no official announcement or press conference regarding Milosevic‘s exoneration. We’ve got journalist and researcher Andy Wilcoxson to thank for flagging it up for us.

How very different it all was when the trial of the so-called ‘Butcher of the Balkans’, began in February 2002! Then, you‘d have to have been locked in a wardrobe not to be aware of what was going on.

CNN provided blanket coverage of what was described as “the most important trial since Nuremberg.” Of course, Milosevic’s guilt was taken as a given. “When the sentence comes and he disappears into that cell, no one is going to hear from him again,” declared US lawyer Judith Armatta from the Coalition for International Justice, an organization which had the former US Ambassador to Yugoslavia, Warren Zimmerman, as an advisory board member.

Anyone who dared to challenge the NATO line was labeled a “Milosevic apologist”, or worse still, a “genocide denier”, by ‘Imperial Truth Enforcers’.

But amid all the blather and the hype surrounding the ’trial of the century’ it soon became apparent the prosecution was in deep, deep trouble. The Sunday Times quoted a legal expert who claimed that “Eighty percent of the prosecution’s opening statements would have been dismissed by a British court as hearsay.” That, I believe, was a generous assessment.

The problem was that this was a show trial, one in which geopolitics came before hard evidence. It’s important to remember that the original indictment against Milosevic in relation to alleged Kosovo war crimes/genocide was issued in May 1999, at the height of the NATO bombing campaign against Yugoslavia and at a time when war was not going to plan for the US and its allies.

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ARCHIVE PHOTO: Children sit on a Russian tank near the South Ossetian city of Tskhinvali on August 10, 2008 © Said Gutziev

The indictment was clearly designed to exert pressure on Milosevic to cave into NATO’s demands.

The trouble for NATO was that by the time Milosevic’s trial was due to start, the Kosovo narrative had already unraveled. The lurid claims made by the US and its allies about genocide and hundreds of thousands being killed, catalogued by the great John Pilger here, had been shown to be false. In September 2001, a UN court officially held that there had been no genocide in Kosovo.

So in an attempt to beef up their weakening case against Milosevic the prosecutors at The Hague had to bring in new charges relating to the war in  Bosnia, accusing ‘Slobo’ of being part of a ‘joint criminal conspiracy’ to kill/ethnically cleanse Bosnian Croats and Bosnian Muslims in pursuance of a ’Greater Serbia’ project.

In normal criminal prosecutions evidence is collected and then, if it’s deemed sufficient, charges are brought. But the opposite happened in the case of Milosevic: he was charged for political reasons and the hunt for evidence then followed.

The irony is that the former Yugoslav President had already been praised by President Clinton for his role in brokering a peace deal in Bosnia in 1995, which was signed in Dayton, Ohio.

The truth is that Milosevic was no hardcore Serb nationalist but a lifelong socialist, whose commitment was always to a multi-racial, multi-ethnic Yugoslavia.

His aim throughout his time in power was not to build a ’Greater Serbia‘, but to try and keep Federal Yugoslavia together, as the ICTY now belatedly acknowledges.

Not only was Milosevic not responsible for ethnic cleansing which took place in Bosnia, he actually spoke out against it. The ICTY noted Milosevic’s “repeated criticism and disapproval of the policies made by the Accused (Karadzic) and the Bosnian Serb leadership.” Milosevic, a man for whom all forms of racism were anathema, insisted that all ethnicities must be protected.

Donald Rumsfeld (L), George W. Bush (C) and Dick Cheney © Larry Downing

But in order to punish Milosevic and to warn others of the consequences if they dared to oppose US power, history had to be re-written. The pro-Yugoslavia socialist who had opposed the policies of the Bosnian Serb leadership had to be turned, retrospectively, into the villain of the Bosnian War and indeed blamed for all the bloodshed which took place in the Balkans. Meanwhile, the aforementioned US Ambassador Warren Zimmerman, whose malign intervention to scupper a diplomatic solution helped trigger the Bosnian conflict got off scot-free.

The ‘Blame it All on Slobo’ campaign saw facts simply thrown out of the window. One article, written, I kid ye not, by an Oxford University Professor of European Studies even had Milosevic as leader of Yugoslavia in 1991 (the year that Slovenia broke away). In fact the Bosnian Croat, Ante Markovic, was the leader of the country at the time.

Inevitably, Milosevic was likened to Hitler. “It was just like watching the evil strutting Adolf Hitler in action,” wrote the News of the World’s political editor, when Milosevic had the temerity to defend himself in court. “There were chilling flashes of the World War Two Nazi monster as the deposed Serb tyrant harangued the court.”

To make sure readers did get the Milosevic=Hitler point, the News of the World illustrated their diatribe with a picture of Hitler ‘The Butcher of Berlin’, in front of a concentration camp, with a picture of Milosevic ‘The Butcher of Belgrade’ superimposed on a picture of a Bosnian concentration camp. Which in fact, he had nothing to do with.

Very conveniently for the prosecution, Milosevic died suddenly in his cell in March 2006.

Going by what we had seen at the trial up to that point, it’s inconceivable that a guilty sentence could have been passed. A whole succession of ’smoking gun’ witnesses had turned out to be dampest of damp squibs.

As I noted in an earlier piece:

Star witness Ratomir Tanic was exposed as being in the pay of Western security forces, whilst ex-Yugoslav secret police chief Rade Markovic, the man who was finally going to spill the beans on Milosevic and reveal how his former master had ordered the expulsion of ethnic Albanians from Kosovo, in fact did the opposite and testified that he had been tortured to tell lies and that his written statement had been falsified by the prosecution.In addition, as I noted here, the former head of security in the Yugoslav army, General Geza Farkas (an ethnic Hungarian), testified that all Yugoslav soldiers in Kosovo had been handed a document explaining international humanitarian law, and that they were ordered to disobey any orders which violated it. Farkas also said that Milosevic ordered no paramilitary groups should be permitted to operate anywhere in Kosovo.

When Milosevic died, his accusers claimed he had “cheated justice”. But in fact, as the ICTY has now confirmed, the injustice was done to Milosevic.

While he had to defend himself against politically-motivated charges at The Hague, the US and its allies launched their brutal, illegal assault on Iraq, a war which has led to the death of up to one million people. Last year a report from Body Count revealed that at least 1.3 million people had lost their lives as a result of the US-led ‘war on terror’ in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

An Iraqi family watches U.S. soldiers in in Baquba early June 28, 2007.  (Reuters/Goran Tomasevic)

Those sorts of figures help us get Kosovo into some kind of perspective. Even if we do hold Milosevic and the Yugoslav government responsible for some of the deaths there in 1999, (in a war which the West had clearly desired and provoked) far, far, greater death and destruction has been caused by the countries who were the keenest to see the President of Yugoslavia in the dock. As John Pilger noted in 2008, the bombing of Yugoslavia was the“perfect precursor to the bloodbaths in Afghanistan and Iraq.”

Since then we’ve also had the NATO destruction of Libya, the country which had the highest living standards in the whole of Africa and the backing of violent ‘rebels’ to try and achieve ‘regime change’ in Syria.

You don’t have to be Sherlock Holmes to see a pattern here.

Before a US-led war or ‘humanitarian intervention’ against a targeted state, a number of lurid claims are made about the country‘s leader and its government. These claims receive maximum media coverage and are repeated ad nauseam on the basis that people will bound to think they’re true.

Later it transpires that the claims were either entirely false (like the Iraq WMD ones), unproven, or greatly exaggerated. But the news cycle has moved on focusing not on the exposure of the fraudulent claims made earlier but on the next aggressive/genocidal ‘New Hitler’ who needs to be dealt with.  In 1999 it was Milosevic; now it’s Assad and Putin.

And guess what, dear reader? It’s the same people who defend the Iraq war and other blood-stained Western military interventions based on lies, unproven claims or great exaggerations, who are the ones doing the accusing.

As that very wise old saying goes: When you point one finger, there are three fingers pointing back to you.

Em https://www.rt.com/op-edge/354362-slobodan-milosevic-exonerated-us-nato/

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Maconha legalizada movimentou US$ 5,4 bilhões nos EUA

Posted by iscariotes em 11 de setembro de 2016

Fonte: SuperinteressanteMaconha

Muito se discute sobre a legalização da maconha no Brasil e no mundo, e um novo argumento acaba de chegar às mesas de bar: agora é comprovado que, pelo menos nos Estados Unidos, a regulamentação da produção e do comércio da cannabis e seus derivados se mostrou um negócio extremamente lucrativo, na casa dos bilhões de dólares.

De acordo com a New Frontier e a Arc View Group, empresas especializadas em coletar dados relacionados à maconha, durante o ano de 2015 a cannabis legalizada gerou uma movimentação de 5,4 bilhões de dólares (R$ 21 bilhões). O número representa um aumento de 800 milhões de dólares, em comparação com os 4,6 bilhões registrados em 2014.

O lucro não vem só da venda da planta em si, mas de todos os derivados e dos acessórios relacionados ao consumo e produção. Wall Street recebe cada vez mais novos investidores e empresas interessadas em agir dentro do campo de negócios abrangido pela maconha.

Acredita-se que com o passar do tempo mais investidores apostem nesse mercado. “Ainda existe um certo estigma em torno do assunto”, contou ao New York Times Brandy There, cofundador de uma empresa que cria produtos para cultivo da cannabis, a Surna.

Se a tendência se mantiver, 2016 será um bom ano para o mercado da erva. Os responsáveis pela pesquisa dizem que, durante esse ano, 6,7 bilhões de dólares (R$ 26 bilhões) serão movimentados pela maconha legalizada.

Em http://super.abril.com.br/comportamento/maconha-legalizada-movimentou-us-54-bilhoes-nos-eua

Posted in Economia, História, Mundo | Leave a Comment »

Times reporter who was shot in Syria claims he saw the same gunman now being a part of US-backed rebel group

Posted by iscariotes em 4 de setembro de 2016

Fonte: Daily Mail

A reporter for Britain’s Times newspaper who hit the headlines after being kidnapped and shot in Syria said that a recent Facebook video appeared to show the gunman was now a US-backed rebel.

Anthony Loyd was seized along with photographer Jack Hill in 2014, as they were returning to Turkey after several days working in the conflict zone of Aleppo.

Loyd was shot twice in the leg while being held captive and both men suffered severe beatings after Hill and the guide tried to escape.

However, Loyd said he recently saw his shooter, whom he named as Hakim Abu Jamal, in a video waving around a Kalashnikov gun while celebrating a US-backed rebel group victory in the border town of al-Rai.

“It was with some surprise watching a video of a victorious band of western-backed rebels that I noticed the face of America’s newest ally in the war against Isis in Syria,” he wrote in Saturday’s Times.

“It was the face of a man I last saw in May 2014, when he leaned forward to shoot me twice in the left ankle at almost point-blank range while my hands were tied,” he added.

“He shot me in the middle of a crowd of onlookers, after a savage preliminary beating, denouncing me as ‘a CIA spy’. Now, it seems, he works with them,” he added.

Loyd was hooded and tied up and put in the back seat of a car, while Hill and the guide were put in the boot before being driven to a warehouse in the town of Tall Rifat.

Hill and the guide managed to break out and overpower their main captor. The guide escaped but Hill was recaptured and beaten, and Loyd was shot to stop him trying to leave.

He said Jamal was the ringleader of the gang, who hoped to secure a kidnap bounty from the two men, and criticised the CIA’s vetting process.

“Centcom, the US Central Command, did not respond to Times requests over three days this week to explain how such a well-known hostage taker with family connections to extremists could have passed US vetting procedures,” he wrote.

Reporters Without Borders says Syria is the most dangerous place in the world for journalists, with more than 110 killed since the conflict began in March 2011.

Em http://www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/afp/article-3772147/Reporter-shot-Syria-claims-gunman-US-backed-rebel.html

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Rich Clan Shaping Brazil Narrative Stays Away From Dark Chapter

Posted by iscariotes em 2 de setembro de 2016

Fonte: Bloomberg

Brazil’s Marinho clan, with a combined family fortune of $18 billion, is trying to move beyond a past that keeps popping up between the cracks of today’s impeachment crisis.

As heirs to Grupo Globo, the most powerful media operation Latin America has ever known, their soap operas and news programs reach 99.7 percent of Brazilian televisions. Revenue is seven times greater than that of their biggest competitor. And they’ve been the primary broadcaster in Brazil of the Olympics, the World Cup and the nation’s rambunctious Carnival festivities.

But buried in the story behind how this family amassed a fortune that counts three of the top 10 spots on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index for Brazil is a chapter set in the nation’s dark age of military rule. Though the brothers who now control Globo have apologized for their late father’s support of the 1964 coup that ushered in a two-decade dictatorship, the legacy still haunts the Marinhos. Supporters of suspended President Dilma Rousseff, a former guerrilla fighter who was tortured during that era, say Globo’s news coverage in the run-up to her ongoing impeachment trial helped tip the scales against her. The media juggernaut denies any bias.

 Dictatorship Era

“Globo was one of the business groups that benefited the most from the military dictatorship era,” said Joao Braga Areas, an historian who has researched Globo’s involvement in the military regime. “There are groups today that still see Globo not only as an opponent of Dilma, but as a coup monger.”

Rousseff, who presented her defense at her impeachment trial in the Senate Monday, says her ouster is a “coup” that must be righted with new elections, which are supported by a majority in polls. Globo’s logo — a sphere representing the Earth with a TV screen inside that looks a lot like an eyeball — often appears on picket signs at pro-Rousseff protests that pop up at airports and major thoroughfares and were a staple during the Olympic Games that ended this month. A favorite chant: “The people aren’t naïve — down with Globo!”

An opinion piece published by the Guardian in April dredged up Globo’s support for the 1964 overthrow and said it’s acting in a similar way today to “agitate for the Brazilian rich.” Rousseff’s predecessor and mentor, Luis Inacio Lula da Silva, accused Globo of trying to “rewrite history.”

Joao Roberto Marinho, now the group’s chairman, fought back in a rare letter to the newspaper. “Globo Group fulfilled their duty to inform and will continue to do so,” he said. “When the impeachment proceedings began, we again allocated equal time and space for defense and prosecution.”

 Grupo Globo declined to comment for this article.

Six Museums

In addition to owning the media empire, the Marinhos’ foundation has also designed six museums, giving the family a dominant hand in shaping the nation’s cultural and historical narrative. It’s a version of events, the historian Braga says, that makes little mention of the country’s complicated past with military rule or the media dominance that the regime helped Globo obtain.

Globo is mentioned 40 times in a 229-page report issued in December by Rio state’s Truth Commission, which investigated the 1964-1985 dictatorship, with a section by Braga on its business ties during that time. Roberto Marinho, the late patriarch who controlled Globo from 1925 to just before his death in 2003, is named eight times, including now-declassified documents in which the U.S. ambassador at the time describes him as the “main articulator” of the military regime.

That relationship helped Globo get around a ban on foreign media ownership to secure a lucrative partnership with U.S. media giant Time-Life, which sent $6 million to the company between 1962 and 1966 — then worth 30 times the Brazilian group’s capital, according to the report. Many of Globo’s competitors denounced the deal in a congressional inquiry, and lawmakers ruled it unconstitutional. The regime’s attorney general gave his blessing anyway. Marinho ended the partnership in 1971, even though he considered it to be legal, according to a statement on Globo’s website.

Marinho’s influence remained after Brazil’s transition to democracy in the 1980s, with close ties to leaders such as former President Jose Sarney, whose family owned a Globo affiliate. “Dr. Roberto,” Sarney once observed about the patriarch, “was very contained when it came to talking about the past.”

Truth Commission

To be sure, Globo wasn’t alone in supporting the dictatorship and then collecting dividends for decades to come. The federal Truth Commission has detailed how military ties at Brazil’s biggest builders and at other enterprises from banks to newspapers helped them amass substantial fortunes. But Globo stands out because of its influence in the everyday lives of Brazilians, and its financial strength relative to its peers. Its profit grew 30 percent to 3 billion reais ($929 million) last year, and the Olympics helped it weather Brazil’s second year of recession.

Some of the Rio Truth Commission’s findings mirrored claims made in a 1993 documentary, “Beyond Citizen Kane,” about Globo’s ties to the dictatorship. It has been widely viewed online, even after Globo didn’t approve of the film’s use of its images and tried buying the rights to the documentary.

The commission’s efforts to turn a former torture center downtown into a tribute to the victims of the dictatorship have fallen flat so far. The building remains abandoned and its windows boarded up, standing in stark contrast to the Museum of Tomorrow a few blocks away, which juts out toward Rio’s Guanabara Bay like a sort of psychedelic white beacon.

That museum, designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, serves as the epicenter of Brazil’s Olympic legacy, with exhibits highlighting how human activity affects climate change. Created by the city of Rio with the Roberto Marinho Foundation, its opening was covered by Globo Group’s newspapers and TV stations.

Slavery Exhibit

Hugo Barreto, secretary general of the charitable foundation, said Globo isn’t avoiding touchy parts of history with its existing and planned museums, which also look at the Portuguese language, culture through soccer and image and sound. The Rio art museum has an exhibit that focuses on slavery, for example, and he recounted a story about a military general who once wanted an educational program to refer to the coup as a “revolution.” The foundation refused.

Barreto says there are no plans for more museums, after designing six in 12 years. He hadn’t heard of the efforts to transform the former torture center, a project that Globo isn’t involved with.

On a recent afternoon, a rusty chain kept the doors shut at the building where dissidents of the military regime were held. A sign said the dusty edifice will be restored to create a police museum. The street outside was quiet, save for the sound of an Olympics swimming race, being broadcast by Globo on TV in a nearby bar.

Em http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-08-30/rich-clan-shaping-brazil-narrative-stays-away-from-dark-chapter

Posted in Brasil, Política | Leave a Comment »