Last week, a consortium of European funders, including major research agencies in the UK, France, the Netherlands and Italy, published their “Plan S”. It insists that from 2020 research we have already paid for through our taxes will no longer be locked up. Any researcher receiving money from these funders must publish her or his work only in open access journals. Plan S is not perfect, and the death of the knowledge monopolists has been predicted before. But this should be the beginning of the end of Maxwell’s outrageous legacy. In the meantime, as a matter of principle, do not pay a penny to read an academic article. The ethical choice is to read the stolen material published by Sci-hub.Read More
Add “a phone number I never gave Facebook for targeted advertising” to the list of deceptive and invasive ways Facebook makes money off your personal information. Contrary to user expectations and Facebook representatives’ own previous statements, the company has been using contact information that users explicitly provided for security purposes—or that users never provided at all—for targeted advertising.Read More
“Baseless accusations of interference in the domestic affairs of particular countries are made while simultaneously engaging in an open campaign to undermine and topple democratically elected governments,” said Lavrov.
“[W]e see the desire of a number of Western states to retain their self-proclaimed status as ‘world leaders’ and to slow down the irreversible move toward multipolarity that is objectively taking place,” Lavrov continued. “To this end, anything goes, up to and including political blackmail, economic pressure and brute force. Such illegal actions devalue international law, which lies at the foundation of the postwar world order.”
China, meanwhile, dished out far more restrained criticism of their largest trading partner – with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi defending its trade practices, and stating that China “will not be blackmailed or yield to pressure.”
The French sociologist Emile Durkheim in his classic book “On Suicide” examined the disintegration of social bonds that drive individuals and societies to personal and collective acts of self-destruction. He found that when social bonds are strong, individuals achieve a healthy balance between individual initiative and communal solidarity, which he called a “life-sustaining equilibrium.” These individuals and communities have the lowest rates of suicide. The individuals and societies most susceptible to self-destruction, he wrote, are those for whom these bonds, this equilibrium, have been shattered.
If we do not restore the social bonds shattered by predatory corporate capitalism, when the next financial crisis arrives—and it will arrive—this collective anomie will explode. Frightening demons, harnessing these dark, self-destructive pathologies, will rise from the depths of the ruleless morass.
Suharto 32-year tenure was marred by corruption and nepotism, as his family members and cronies built massive business empires, incorporating elements of the economy from toll roads to television stations. Transparency International has accused Soeharto of embezzling up to $35bn, which would make him one of the world’s most corrupt leaders.
His oppressive rule also saw the killing and disappearance of democracy activists. According to Amnesty International, up to half a million people, mostly his political opponents, were arrested and only about 1,000 were ever brought to trial.
Despite two decades of democracy, the political landscape is still dominated by the surviving old guard of Soeharto’s government who found new vehicles within new democratic institutions. For example, Wiranto, the former defence minister who founded the People’s Conscience (Hanura) party in 2006, was a Soeharto loyalist until he was forced to resign in 1998.
Though the corruption detailed in the newly leaked document took place decades ago, it highlights how lucrative arms deals are often enough incentive for governments to bend the rules in order to keep weapons and cash flowing, no matter the consequences. France today – despite the gravity of the Yemen conflict and the clear involvement of the UAE and Saudi Arabia in committing war crimes – continues to supply the UAE/Saudi coalition with weapons, even though doing so violates its own laws. Indeed, a recent report published by French law firm Ancile Avocat asserted that France’s continued sale of weapons to the two Gulf countries responsible for the carnage and chaos in Yemen was a violation of France’s status as a signatory of the International Arms Trade Treaty, ratified in 2014.
Since the conflict in Yemen began, France’s government has argued that the UAE and the Saudis are using those weapons for “defensive purposes,” despite clear evidence to the contrary, suggesting that the French government is willing to turn a blind eye to the atrocities in Yemen in order to keep the weapons — and cash – flowing.
Women say they are forced to work at least 18 hours a day, denied food, assaulted and prevented from returning home.Read More
Ordinary Americans, too, can find reasons to welcome the decline of the American empire. As Chomsky noted in the late 1960s: “The costs of empire are in general distributed over the society as a whole, while its profits revert to a few within.”
The Pentagon system functions as a great form of domestic corporate welfare for high-tech “defense” (empire) firms like Lockheed Martin, Boeing and Raytheon—this while it steals trillions of dollars that might otherwise meet social and environmental needs at home and abroad. It is a significant mode of upward wealth distribution within “the homeland.”
The biggest costs have fallen on the many millions killed and maimed by the U.S. military and allied and proxy forces in the last seven decades and before. The victims include the many U.S. military veterans who have killed themselves, many of them haunted by their own participation in sadistic attacks and torture on defenseless people at the distant command of sociopathic imperial masters determined to enforce U.S. hegemony by any and all means deemed necessary.
Power, when you get right down to it, is ultimately about control. The ability to control other human beings and decide what happens to them. The more control you have over human lives, the more power you have. Some exert totalitarian control over their spouse and their children, and within their homes they are all-powerful. Some exert control over entire groups of nations, and have the power of life and death over entire populations. Those individuals are the most powerful people in the world.
But in order to have control over another person, you must necessarily violate their personal sovereignty. You must find a way to get your will to override their own will for their own lives in order to control them, be it by physical force, legal compulsion, psychological manipulation, or rape drugs. This is why power-facilitating narratives advanced by governments, religions, education/indoctrination systems, and mass media outlets have aways explained to their audiences why it is in their best interest to subvert their personal sovereignty over their lives, their bodies, their reproductive systems, and their minds.
Greece is the microcosm case example of the new form of 21st century imperialism. In ‘Looting Greece: A New Financial Imperialism Emerges’, published in 2016 by Clarity Press, I described this new form of exploitation organized at the State to State level on a national scale, in which State institutions and apparatuses now play, in the 21st century, an increasing direct role in extracting surplus and value from workers and small business classes on behalf of the big capitalist banks. This is a form of imperialism different from pre-20th century (described in the classic work by Hobson) and early 20th century explanations (influenced heavily by Lenin and Hilferding).Read More
The United States is violating international law, and escalating its aggression. All wars and acts of aggression by the United States since 1928 have violated the Kellogg-Briand Pact and the United Nations Charter since it was signed in 1945. Yet, the United States has a long history of threatening aggression and using military force to remove governments it opposed and install friendly ones. Illegal attacks by the US since World War II have resulted in 20 million people being killed in 37 nations.Read More
ASSOCIATES OF DONALD TRUMP in Indonesia have joined army officers and a vigilante street movement linked to ISIS in a campaign that ultimately aims to oust the country’s president. According to Indonesian military and intelligence officials and senior figures involved in what they call “the coup,” the move against President Joko Widodo (known more commonly as Jokowi), a popular elected civilian, is being impelled from behind the scenes by active and retired generals.
Prominent supporters of the coup movement include Fadli Zon, vice speaker of the Indonesian House of Representatives and Donald Trump’s main political booster in the country; and Hary Tanoe, Trump’s primary Indonesian business partner, who is building two Trump resorts, one in Bali and one outside Jakarta.
It seems that ISIS is not the only danger to the national security of Indonesians. The pirates on the Indonesian (gold) coast are not from the Middle East but rather from Phoenix Arizona, the location of the head quarters of mining company “Freeport McMoRan.” An American multinational that made incredibly huge profits from mining gold on West Papua.
To conclude: let us reflect on what it means when Western intelligence services offer Indonesia assistance in fighting the war on terror. The new Freeport deal may be a milestone from historical perspective; it remains a deal with the devil. Nationalizing Western multinationals has never been without risk.
The overthrow of Gus Dur by People Representative Assembly (MPR) and Indonesia military on flimsy corruption charges.Read More
Indonesia’s second most senior judge was assassinated yesterday. Syafiuddin Kartasamita led the prosecution of Suharto’s youngest son Tommy on charges of corruption. He was sentenced to 18 months last fall, but went into hidingand has since been blamed for a string of bombings in Jakarta.Read More