Links July 2014

July 16, 2014

Environmental news:

Economic news:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/markets/10965052/Bank-for-International-Settlements-fears-fresh-Lehman-crisis-from-worldwide-debt-surge.html Though this particular discussion between economists is completely missing the point (if there is even a point), it illustrates the fragility of the global financial system.

Imperial news:

pew research freedom

Imperial conquest news:

Media news:

Everything else news:
http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/07/11/on-israel-ukraine-and-truth/ Must read.

The links this month are a rather arbitrary selection because I had not enough time to sift through all relevant alternative news sources. I possibly have missed some excellent analysis and enlightened commentary.

Gallup poll satisfaction

The genuine alternative media voices (mainly bloggers) for the most part have agreed on the interpretation of the two main news stories, which are the advances of the “Islamic State” (ISIS, ISIL, DAESH) in Iraq and Syria, and the military campaign against separatists in eastern Ukraine.

The return of the caliphate

IS (Islamic State) is seen as just another creation of the Western colonial powers, similar to the Taliban and Al-Qaeda. Just another tool, another useful pawn for destabilizing non-desirable governments. A new caliphate is surely not a frightening possibility for Western strategists — forget about democratization, social equality, or human rights, Islamic despots are the best keepers of Middle Eastern oil, as the Gulf potentates have resoundingly proven since the 1930s.

There is clear and undeniable evidence that IS is doing the job of the Western powers. Saudi Arabia is bankrolling it, Turkey provides logistic support and a deployment zone, the USA coordinates and helps with intelligence from spy satellites, surveillance drones, and CIA/NSA data gathering.

The reported details are partly speculation, though some look quite plausible and are solidly backed by facts like the undeniable support from Turkish authorities and the very noticeable eagerness of the US to get rid of Maliki, who is (rightfully) perceived as an Iranian ally. 

Saudi Princes Bandar bin Sultan and Abdul Rachman al-Faisal are named as organizers behind the scene, CIA director and former CIA station chief in Riyadh John Brennan shall be involved. Francis J. Ricciardone, US ambassador in Turkey, is named as main facilitator, heading a control room in the embassy in Ankara.

IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s four years at US-prison camp Bucca as a “civilian internee” could have been a chance to seal a deal, and there are even theories about CIA mind-control. Baghdadi’s detention in Bucca is surrounded by mystery and it is not clear how much time he really spent there.

Though the mentioned details are mostly speculation, they are at least educated guesses.

IS has seized a big chunk of eastern Syria and western Iraq, erased the border between the two nations, and declared an Islamic State. As little as 8,000 fighters strong only two month ago, the movement has been rapidly growing in numbers as their success attracted new recruits. The caliphates territory hasn’t actually grown much more in the past couple of weeks, but IS certainly intends to expand. Right now the jihadists are attacking the Syrian Kurdish city of Kobani.

It is possible that the Kurds in the north and Jabhat al-Nusra, the official al-Qaeda representative in Syria, are faltering under the impact of IS forces, who are energized by their recent successes and strengthened by tanks and artillery captured from the Iraqi army. IS has in the last days taken over most of the Syrian oil fields that it did not already control.

Known for the imposition of medieval Sharia Law, for summary executions and exceptional brutality, the IS conquerors have shown some restraint in the new acquired territories, but they nonetheless have ordered government workers to stop giving food rations to Christians and Shiites in Mosul, they have demolished ancient shrines and Shia mosques (Al-Qubba Husseiniya mosque) have occupied churches and removed crosses (St. Ephrem Cathedral), imposed a poll tax on Christians, ordered all women to veil themselves, closed beauty salons and barber shops, summarily executed Iraqi army prisoners.

ISIL executions b

IS fighters burnt down a 100 year old library in Tal Afar. Built by a Shia scholar, it was the oldest and largest library of its kind in the city. It contained thousands of rare books and manuscripts. 

IS fighters are going from door to door and search for unwed women who they could marry. 

The Sunni caliphate at the moment just rules a large, impoverished and isolated area from which people are fleeing. Yet several million Iraqis in and around Baghdad and Syria’s Kurds are vulnerable to attack and IS control of long stretches of the Euphrates gives it additional leverage. There is more trouble to come for sure, but despite IS propagandists fantasizing about a caliphate from Portugal to India, this movement will not succeed. It faces a battle hardened Syrian army, Shia Iran, and Shia dominated southern Iraq.

The rivalries and ideological rifts between Turkey (which is sympathetic to the Muslim Brotherhood) and Saudi Arabia will come to the surface one day, the atrocities committed by Israel, which is systematically ethnically cleansing the West Bank and annihilating Gaza will infuriate the Arab populations and lead to the fall of Arab monarchies who collaborate with Israel. The Hashemite dynasty in Jordan will be first, because King Abdullah II is an idiot and nobody cares about Jordan anyway.

ISIL fighters d

The new caliphate will be a welcome excuse to continue the perpetual war against terror and its mix of fanaticism and good organization will make it difficult to dislodge the islamic fighters from the newly conquered territories. Maybe IS will be allowed to take over Jordan but much further they will not come.

Their ideology is not very different from Saudi Arabia’s, therefore it is not impossible that after many (deliberately) confusing twists and turns the Islamic Caliphate will join the family of nations and deliver the oil under its control at the usual prices to Western consumers.

And this is the only thing that counts in the end.

The pacification of eastern Ukraine

The Ukrainian troops and the National Guard (which is now the official and government approved organization of the Pravy Sektor nazis), spearheaded by mercenaries from Poland, Germany, and USA, occupied Slavyanks and Kramatorsk after a tactical retreat of separatist forces under Igor Strelkov (Igor Girkin Vsevolodovich). This is a big morale boost for the Kiev government. On the other hand, there are reportedly 3000 Ukrainian soldiers surrounded in the “southern cauldron” (the region along the Russian border) and several Ukrainian columns with tanks and APCs have been attacked and partly destroyed near Lugansk. Another Ukrainian Mi-24 helicopter was downed near Sneshny, two Sukhoi-25 were destroyed near Grlovka and Perevalsk.

The death toll is mounting and the official reports from Ukrainian authorities count 258 killed and 922 injured security personal. The Ukraine claims that a military transport plane was shot down by a missile fired from Russian territory, Russia accuses the Ukraine of shelling the border town Donetsk inside Russia, killing one person. Two Russian paratroopers were reportedly killed by Ukrainian fire near the Russian border, but this story is probably incorrect.

Ukraine destruction b

The civilian death toll is also mounting and has surpassed 1,000, though Kiev only acknowledges 478 casualties. 30 civilians died in the village of Maryinka during nightly shelling and an airstrike destroyed an apartment block in rebel-held Snizhne, killing 11 people. Another airstrike on Shakhtyorsk caused apparently only material damage. Rockets struck Luhansk’s southern suburb of Mirny, setting cars on fire in a car park.

Pro-Ukrainian forces are deliberately destroying infrastructure like water pumps and power lines, they are bombarding civilian areas. Half a million Ukrainian citizens have fled from the Donetsk and Lugansk regions of eastern Ukraine to Russia. This is ethnic cleansing.

Ukraine map 7

Russia has sent “volunteers” and equipment (for instance Sam-6 radar guided missiles, allegedly even S-300) to the separatists, but the separatist militia has only about 26,000 fighters and they are facing up to 53,000 pro-Ukrainian troops with 280 armored vehicles, 250 cannons and mortars, 12 helicopters and 25 aircraft.

Russia is said to consider “surgical strikes” in the separatist regions, but this is unlikely, because the Russians have learnt from the US strategy in Syria and will give the Ukraine the same treatment the Islamist fanatics are giving the Assad government, grinding the state down “on the cheap” with irregular militias while avoiding any decisive overt move which could lead to a dangerous military escalation.

This could go on for a long time and it could get more and more ugly because the new regime in Kiev is under pressure from the West (represented by the EU and the IMF) to keep the eastern regions.

The Western plan is simple: IMF imposed austerity will further reduce economic output. Falling revenues and the IMF-loan precondition of balancing the budget will force the government to sell off all public assets to Western corporations. Increasing unemployment will force the best and brightest to emigrate, providing European companies with skilled but nevertheless cheap workers, technicians, specialists, a development which will inevitably lower average wages and keep the unions in check.

If it indeed turns out this way, it will be a win-win for the corporations — and this is the only thing that counts in the end.

nuland ukraine

The efforts of the Western media to suppress crucial information and to hide what is really going on in Iraq and the Ukraine, the deluge of misinformation and absurd assumptions would be comical if it were not about a human tragedy of unimaginable proportions (at least unimaginable for me).

Millions of Arab children grow up in war zones. They live in countries where the education system is either destroyed or taken over by Islamic fanatics. There is hardly any education in the refugee camps. Girls are mostly not educated at all, boys are put in Madrassas (religious schools), where they are brainwashed and indoctrinated with religious nonsense. They don’t learn the necessary skills to improve the live of their communities and build up a stable and peaceful society.

These children are traumatized, their heads are filled with religious garbage, their hearts are filled with hate and despair. They grow up to become the cheap and easily disposable cannon fodder for the next imperial wars. Busy with negotiating their way through a complicated world which they don’t understand and busy with combat training and learning to handle the weapons which the agents of death handed to them, they will not realize that they are just used (used up) by the masters of war.

If you think the situation is bad now, wait till this generation of war children will enter the scene.

The worst is yet to come!

The picture is not as dark in the Ukraine, but resentment, hate, and despair are growing there as well on both sides.

Corporate journalists have become goofy clowns and spineless lackeys. Their contrition and remorse is evident between the lines. They must have a hard time to reconcile the contradictions and ignore their cognitive dissonance. It is safe to assume, that many of them will suffer from insomnia.

As I revealed in previous blog posts, my sympathies are for the Assad government and for Russia. President Putin is one of the most intelligent players on the world stage. He also seems to be comparatively integer and more cautious (less ruthless) that other leaders.

And yet I have no stake in this, and here are the reasons why:

Syrian ally Iran is a theocracy (which is bad in my view) and promotes population growth (also bad). Iraq’s Nouri al-Maliki was a member of the Islamic Dawa Party and pursues a sectarian (Shia) agenda. Women’s rights in Iraq are greatly diminished, they are the biggest losers of the US invasion. The Iraqi administration is corrupt, but this is nothing special, because Middle Eastern leaders seem to be in general either corrupt stooges, parasites, religious fanatics, or all of this combined.

Bashar al-Assad could be the rare exception, but I’m not sure about this.

And it is all about oil exploration, which contributes to climate change and natures contamination with synthetic chemicals.

The conflict in the Ukraine is also about energy politics and old fashioned economic schemes. The EU wants to expand and to grow the economies, Russia want economic growth too. None of the political leaders has understood until now that unlimited growth on a limited planet is not possible.

Russia provides Western Europe with natural gas and intends to become a major provider of fossil fuels to China. Russia intends to start fracking (hydraulic fracturing) and offshore oil exploration in the arctic. Putin signed a nuclear energy deal in Argentina (meaning additional units in Argentina’s nuclear Atucha 3 power plant). Isn’t Chernobyl and Fukushima enough?

Could there have been a better way to thwart the Western plans of taking over Ukraine than sending weapons and “volunteers” to Donetsk and Luhansk? What about civil obedience, economic sabotage, simply ignoring the government in Kiev and secretly building up a parallel administration? What about bleeding the Western-imposed administration economically instead of militarily?

Such procedures would have been painful too, but not deadly.

Bread and circuses

Not even a consumer society dropout like me is able to escape the FIFA-Worldcup reporting. While looking through the headlines for clues about the latest directives for corporate journalists from the “Ministry of Truth,” I was inevitably confronted with the news, that the “herrenmenschen” from Germany had told the Latinos a lesson they wouldn’t forget for a while.

It was just another humiliation for the Argentinians after the Malvinas war (Guerra del Atlántico Sur) in 1982, the bankruptcy in 2001, the blockade of the iconic sailing ship ARA Libertad in Ghana, and the assault by Paul Singers vulture fund (invigorated by a US Supreme Court ruling), which threatens a second bankruptcy.


Neocolonial and imperial politics aside, the sad fact is, that millions of people spend countless hours watching 22 or so guys running after a ball in a childish and stupid competitive game. They could instead learn useful skills, pursue art and other creative pastimes, participate in social, local communal activities, spend time with family and friends, observe and enjoy nature, work in the garden, meditate.

Gazing at the TV screen and watching spectator sports — what a waste of human intelligence and energy!

News from cat land

The cats are mostly fine. Wendy had an abscess caused by a bite from another animal, maybe a marten or a weasel. I accidentally discovered the abscess while combing her and I brought her instantly to the vet, who also found an infected tooth which had to be removed. I had to give her antibiotics for a week, which was not easy because Wendy was not cooperative at all.

But Wendy seems to be fine now and the missing tooth seemingly is not diminishing her appetite. I’m nevertheless a bit worried about my cat girl, because bad teeth at an age of only six years are not a good sign. Wendy had always a fragile health.

Our 16 year old lady, Miss Marple, still has a constipation and needs laxatives. Miss Marple is as uncooperative as Wendy and always spits out a good part of the medicine.

Linda, an approximately two-and-a-half month old kitten, has joined the cat family. Somebody had dumped her into the forest, leaving the helpless and panicked cat baby by herself. There in the wilderness I found her running around desperately meowing. When I took her in my arms she was clearly relieved and grateful and instantly started purring. Linda was in a bad shape, full of dirt, and limping.

After feeding her I drove to an animal clinic in a town 20 km away (my preferred veterinarian unfortunately is on holiday), where they diagnosed a sprain and gave her analgesics and fever medication. But two days later her left paw was ridiculously swollen and I rushed again to the animal clinic where they made an x-ray and discovered an abscess on the joint.

The pus is removed now and Linda swallows her daily medicine without objection. She is still limping a little bit but otherwise lively and cheerful. I’m not convinced that Linda got the best possible treatment in the animal clinic and I’m glad when our vet is back from the holidays.

Linda playing DSCN1014

I called her Linda because this name came into my mind intuitively as I brought her home from the forest. Maybe Eileen (I lean) would be more appropriate for a limping cat, but Linda will not limp for too long. The name Liza would be more glamorous, but Linda is not glamorous, she is just an ordinary house cat. She is not especially pretty or ugly, she is quite clever but maybe not a cat genius — though this has still to be determined and it cannot be ruled out that she is indeed an extraordinary intelligent cat.

Linda is an average but nevertheless a very special cat, because she is one of the three cats in my life which I rescued from misery and certain death. The other two were Lizzy and Cindy, both have passed away some years ago.

Linda has instantly accepted me as step mother, she is very attached to me and for a few days always ran after me and meowed pleadingly when the distance between us exceeded more than a few meters. This is getting better now and I can let her alone for a little time though she will at one point getting anxious and try to find me. Linda of course sleeps beside me laying on the pillow or on the blanket. She is completely clean, I only had to show her the litter box once and she uses it since then appropriately. It is clear that she spent the first two month of her life in an indoor cat family.

And I still wonder: How can anyone have the nerve to depose such a cute little kitten in the woods?

Linda is most times around me, she drinks from my tee, nibbles on my bread, eats from the rice. I don’t mind, because if the cats indeed carry a zoonotic disease, I will have it contracted already since a long time. Hygiene is not a priority concern alone for practical reasons and increasing hygiene as a top-down initiative is not an option, because the level of hygiene in a cat household is clearly defined by the cats and by nobody else.

Linda bed DSCN1008

The name Linda reminds me of Novel Price laureate Linda Brown Buck, a biologist best known for her work on the olfactory system (alone for this fact Linda seems to be very suitable as a cat name). Linda reminds me of Jazz vocalist Linda Ciofalo.

The name Linda also sparks unpleasant associations to the Gates Foundation. Unpleasant because the Gates Foundation is a racket to promote hardcore neoliberal policies under the disguise of philanthropy.

The Gates Foundation tries to get rid of the US public education system by funding ALEC (a right wing front organization for corporate America), by introducing technology (online courses), by promoting charter schools and high-stakes standardized testing, by firing teachers and closing schools when test scores don’t rise, by narrowly focusing on students short-term employability.

The Gates foundation tries to get rid of Africa’s small farmers by backing agrobiz giant Cargill, pushing Monsato’s GM-seeds, forcing farmers to produce cash crops (Cocoa Livelihoods Program), revolutionizing farm practices (meaning destroying reliable and proven traditions) cooperating with fast food and chicken chain KFC and other corporations.

The Gates foundation tries to get rid of everybody else by promoting nuclear energy (TerraPower’s research in traveling wave reactors, thorium reactors, molten salt reactors).

Back to my friend Linda, who just lays beside me, softly purring. At the moment the other cats are jealous and Gandhi Jr. is outright horrified. They will slowly get used to the new family member, Princess Min Ki and Wendy already sniffed on Linda and didn’t mind eating beside her. To facilitate reconciliation, I will have to spend even more time with the cats.

I don’t complain, this is time well spent!

I couldn’t help myself adding another few to the millions of cute kitten photographs on the web.

Linda guitars DSCN3104

Linda computer DSCN3098

Screenshot Linda 1

One comment

  1. […] For the critical thinking cat lover « Links July 2014 […]


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