- #1. Over One Million Iraqi Deaths Caused by US Occupation
- # 2 Security and Prosperity Partnership: Militarized NAFTA
- # 3 InfraGard: The FBI Deputizes Business
- # 4 ILEA: Is the US Restarting Dirty Wars in Latin America?
- # 5 Seizing War Protesters' Assets
- # 6 The Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act
- # 7 Guest Workers Inc.: Fraud and Human Trafficking
- # 8 Executive Orders Can Be Changed Secretly
- #9 Iraq and Afghanistan Vets Testify
- # 10 APA Complicit in CIA Torture
- # 11 El Salvador's Water Privatization and the Global War on Terror
- # 12 Bush Profiteers Collect Billions From No Child Left Behind
- # 13 Tracking Billions of Dollars Lost in Iraq
- # 14 Mainstreaming Nuclear Waste
- # 15 Worldwide Slavery
- # 16 Annual Survey on Trade Union Rights
- # 17 UN's Empty Declaration of Indigenous Rights
- # 18 Cruelty and Death in Juvenile Detention Centers
- # 19 Indigenous Herders and Small Farmers Fight Livestock Extinction
- # 20 Marijuana Arrests Set New Record
- # 21 NATO Considers “First Strike” Nuclear Option
- # 22 CARE Rejects US Food Aid
- # 23 FDA Complicit in Pushing Pharmaceutical Drugs
- # 24 Japan Questions 9/11 and the Global War on Terror
- # 25 Bush's Real Problem with Eliot Spitzer
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
AJ: This is earth shattering. Can you break it down for us and tell us what the economists have done?
GP: Well, I'll tell you two things. One, I spoke to the former chief economist, Joe Stiglitz who was fired by the (World) Bank. So I, on BBC and with Guardian, basically spent some time debriefing him. It was like one of the scenes out of Mission Impossible, you know where the guy comes over from the other side and you spend hours debriefing him. So I got the insight of what was happening at the World Bank. In addition, he did not brief me but I got some other sources. He would not give me inside documents but other people handed me a giant stash of secret documents from the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.
AJ: So to insulate himself, somebody else did it.
GP: No, I'm telling you. He wouldn't touch it but I really did get from completely independent sources a big stack of documents.
AJ: Just like you got W199I, from the same folks we got it from.
GP: And so one of the things that is happening is that, in fact, I was supposed to be on CNN with the head of the World Bank Jim Wolfensen and he said he would not appear on CNN ever if they put me on. And so CNN did the craziest thing and pulled me off.
AJ: So now they are threatening total boycott.
GP: Yea right. So what we found was this. We found inside these documents that basically they required nations to sign secret agreements, in which they agreed to sell off their key assets, in which they agreed to take economic steps which are really devastating to the nations involved and if they didn't agree to these steps, there was an average for each nation that signed one-hundred and eleven items that they are required to sign on to. If they didn't follow those steps they would be cut-off from all international borrowing. You can't borrow any money in the international marketplace. No one can survive without borrowing, whether you are people or corporations or countries - without borrowing some money and having some credit and ...
AJ: Because of the debt inflation pit they've created.
GP: Yea, well, see one of the things that happened is that - we've got examples from, I've got inside documents recently from Argentina, the secret Argentine plan. This is signed by Jim Wolfensen, the president of the World Bank. By the way, just so you know, they are really upset with me that I've got the documents, but they have not challenged the authenticity of the documents. First, they did. First they said those documents don't exist. I actually showed them on television. And cite some on the web, I actually have copies of some...
AJ: Greg Palast dot com?
GP: Yea, gregpalast.com. So then they backed off and said yea those documents are authentic but we are not going to discuss them with you and we are going to keep you off the air anyway. So, that's that. But what they were saying is look, you take a country like Argentina, which is, you know, in flames now. And it has had five presidents in five weeks because their economy is completely destroyed.
AJ: Isn't it six now?
GP: Yea, it's like the weekly president because they can't hold the nation together. And this happened because they started out in the end of the 80s with orders from the IMF and World Bank to sell-off all their assets, public assets. I mean, things we wouldn't think of doing in the US, like selling off their water system.
AJ: So they tax the people. They create big government and big government hands it off to the private IMF/World Bank. And when we get back, I want to get to the four-parts that you elegantly lay out here where they actually pay off the politicians billions to their Swiss bank accounts to do this transfer.
GP: That's right.
AJ: This is like one of the biggest stories ever, Sir. I'm sorry, please continue.
GP: So what's happening is - this is just one of them. And by the way, it's not just anyone who gets a piece of the action. The water system of Buenos Aires was sold off for a song to a company called Enron. A pipeline was sold off, that runs between Argentina and Chile, was sold off to a company called Enron.
AJ: And then the globalists blow out the Enron after transferring the assets to another dummy corporation and then they just roll the theft items off.
GP: You've got it. And by the way, you know why they moved the pipeline to Enron is that they got a call from somebody named George W. Bush in 1988.
AJ: Unbelievable, Sir. Stay right there. We are talking to Greg Palast.
~ more... ~
In a recent opinion in Greece people were asked following all the civil unrest which party they would vote for, PASOK the socialist party won around 26 per cent Nea Dimikrotia the conservative party won around 26 per cent, but way out in the lead was "kanenas" at 48 per cent.
Who is "kanenas" you may ask? Well the word "kanenas" means nobody in Greece, so the leading force in politics in Greece galvanizing Greeks, is that nobody is able to steer Greece through its current crisis, and Greeks have lost faith in its politicians. How true is this for the rest of Europe also?
~ more... ~
Fears are mounting in political circles within Europe that the past two weeks of riots in Greece raise the specter of copycat demonstrations in other European nations. Already demonstrations stimulated by the global financial and economic crisis are beginning to ripple across the Continent.
Young Europeans are increasingly publicly clamoring in the streets in outcry against loss of employment prospects and the lack of overt government initiatives to bail them out of rapidly rising unemployment in a faltering job market.
With unemployment rates already at between 20 and 30 percent for youth in Spain, Italy and France in addition to Greece, tensions are riding high on the streets in these countries. Already, in the wake of the riots in Greece, public protests have started in Barcelona, Madrid, Rome and Bordeaux. With an eye to history, the deputy editor of the Paris daily newspaper Liberation declared, “We would be wrong to consider what's happening in Athens as an exotic upheaval in a setting of ancient ruins and blue sea. It's in Europe that revolts burst out.”
President Sarkozy of France was more explicit. Referring to the Paris riots of 1968, which led to the fall of the De Gaulle administration, he mused, “We can't have a European May '68 for Christmas” (Le Canard Enchaîn, December 22).
Economic hard times have a record of producing ugly public protests in Europe. Recently EU education reforms have combined with hiking unemployment to spawn a rash of street protests on the Continent. In the largest student demonstration since the riotous '60s, hundreds of thousands of students and academics gathered in Rome on October 30 to vent their feelings against the EU reforms publicly. This mass demonstration came hard on the heels of similar protests in Paris, Finland and Croatia. In Sweden, youth have been caught up in running street battles with police recently.
A leading member of the French Socialist Party, Laurent Fabius, is quoted as observing, “The 'Greek Syndrome' menaces all countries today, as we find ourselves in a truly grave crisis with an explosion of social inequalities” (EUobserver, December 23).
To compound the unsettling situation in Europe, Russia's Prime Minister Vladimir Putin threw a spanner in the works yesterday. In his very calculating way, fully realizing the difficulties that Europe is currently facing, Putin declared to the world, and, in particular, his major gas customer, the European Union, that the day of cheap gas was ending.
To add insult to injury, Gazprom, Europe's main supplier of natural gas, announced on Monday that for the third consecutive winter, Europe faced interruptions to its gas supply. Alluding to a squabble with Ukraine over an alleged $2 billion of payments in arrears for Russian gas, Viktor Zubkov, who is Russian first deputy minister as well as chairman of Gazprom, said: “We cannot rule out that the position of the Ukrainian side, and certain steps, which are linked to gas transit through Ukrainian territory, could lead to a disruption of supply stability to Europe.”
Public protests, student unrest, rising unemployment, banking crisis, credit crunch, threats of no heating in winter—it all adds up to the prospect of a real season of discontent in Europe.
When politicians begin to make comparisons with 1968, you know they fear the damage that any revisiting by Europe to that terribly disruptive year could bring. This fear is severely emphasized by the fact that few pundits see 2009 as bringing any real hope of global economic recovery. To the contrary, as each month goes by, new gigantic areas of debt are revealed, pushing off even further into the future any real prospect for economic regeneration.
~ more... ~
In 2008, Macedonia did not get a definite date for the start of the negotiations over country's accession to the European Union. Neither did the country get the long-awaited invitation for NATO membership. Things have clear explanation – no solution was found to Macedonia's name dispute. The year was also marked by early general elections.
European and European-Atlantic integration
The beginning of the year seemed promising for Skopje, as the European Unions was presided by Slovenia. One of the prior tasks before the Slovenian EU presidency was to stir up the European perspective of Skopje. However, it did not happen. Despite the progress registered in terms of meeting the EU criteria, some member states felt reserved about Macedonia's EU membership. This reservation was explained not only with the tension between Macedonians and Albanians, but also with the EU's enlargement exhaustion. Thus, the talks over the date for the start of the pre-accession negotiations with the Balkan country were postponed for the future.
In 2008, Macedonia did not manage to cross NATO's threshold. At the summit meeting of the Alliance, organized in April in Bucharest, the country did not receive a membership invitation. Greece took advantage of its right to impose a veto, which it grounded with the unsolved Macedonia's name dispute. The name issue remains unsolved for yet another year.
There were several meetings of the negotiating teams and the special UN mediator Matthew Nimitz. In 2008, Nimitz did not offer concrete solution but a “package of ideas”, providing key directions leading to some solution. However, neither of the proposals was officially announced. There was information that there are proposals such as “Republic of Macedonia (Skopje)” and “Republic of North Macedonia”. Athens, on the other hand, said it would be an allowance for it to accept a derivative name containing the word “Macedonia”. It was said that Washington has a plan for solution, which was negotiated with Skopje. The official authorities denied the information. Anyway, the problem is still unsolved.
Over the last moths, there were several events that could possibly bear some effect on the development of the name dispute. The White House has a brand new president – Barack O[bam]a. However, it is believed that the new president will not consider the Macedonian - Greek problem a priority. There were reshuffles in Macedonia's negotiating team. The government of Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski decided to file a claim against Greece at the International Court of Justice in Hague over violation of the Interim Accord of September 1995, which obliges Greece not to hamper Skopje's membership in international organizations under the name of Former Yugoslavian Republic of Macedonia (FYROM).
The ruling's decision, however, did not find good response – neither abroad, nor in the country itself. President Branko Crvenkovski declared that precious time has been lost with that claim. According to experts, the case at Hague could take two to five years.
~ FOCUS Information Agency ~
When three officers of Germany's foreign intelligence service the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND), were arrested in Pristina November 19, it exposed that country's extensive covert operations in the heart of the Balkans.
On November 14, a bomb planted at the office of the European Union Special Representative was detonated in downtown Pristina. While damage was light and there were no injuries, U.N. "peacekeepers" detained one of the BND officers hours after the blast when he was observed taking photos of the damaged building. Two of his colleagues waited in a car and acted as lookouts. The officer named these two colleagues as witnesses that he was in his office at the time of the attack.
That office, identified by the press as the "private security firm" Logistics-Coordination & Assessment Service or LCAS, in reality was a front company for BND operations. Its premises were searched three days later and the trio were subsequently arrested and accused by Kosovan authorities of responsibility for bombing the EU building. As a result of the arrests, the BND was forced to admit the real identities of their agents and the true nature of LCAS.
A scandal erupted leading to a diplomatic row between Berlin and Pristina. The German government labeled the accusations "absurd" and threatened a cut-off of funds to the Kosovo government. A circus atmosphere prevailed as photos of the trio were shown on Kosovan TV and splashed across the front pages of the press. Rumors and dark tales abounded, based on leaks believed by observers to have emanated from the office of Kosovo's Prime Minister, the "former" warlord Hashim Thaci, nominal leader of the statelet's organized crime-tainted government.
When seized by authorities one of the BND officers, Andreas J., demonstrated very poor tradecraft indeed. Among the items recovered by police, the operative's passport along with a notebook containing confidential and highly incriminating information on the situation in Kosovo were examined. According to media reports, the notebook contained the names of well-placed BND informants in the Prime Minister's entourage. According to this reading, the arrests were an act of revenge by Thaci meant to embarrass the German government.
On November 29, the trio--Robert Z., Andreas J. and Andreas D.--departed Kosovo on a special flight bound for Berlin where they "will face a committee of German parliamentarians who have taken an interest in their case," according to an account in Spiegel Online.
More curious than a violent attack on the streets of Pristina, a city wracked by gangland killings, car hijackings, kidnappings and assaults is the provenance of the bomb itself. In other words, why would German intelligence agents attack their own? But before attempting to answer this question, a grim backstory to the affair rears its ugly head.
~ more... ~
The night of Saturday the 20th to Sunday, December 21st, the area around the central square of Exarchia and the Polytechnic University of Athens became again the battlefield between the riot police and groups of youth. Earlier, Saturday night at 21.00 pm, at the same hour and place of the assassination of the young Alexis by the Police, a two weeks memorial meeting was held attended by a thousand people. The street itself was renamed and new plates were installed with the name “Alexandros Grigoropoulos Street”. The clashes started immediately after the memorial and continued until the morning.
Sunday the occupation of the GSEE (General Confederation of Labor) by the other “GSEE” (General Assembly of Labor in Rebellion) was called off. Before leaving the building in excellent conditions, the workers have called the security service of the trade union bureaucracy and together examined the place and signed a paper signaling that everything is OK. This was necessary to avoid any provocation: the planting by the police of weapons, drugs or fake claims of destruction of the luxurious neoclassical building in marble where the so-called “leaders of the working class” are sitting doing nothing and preventing the working class to do something. The workers occupying the building left it in an orderly manner and marched through Athens as a powerful group of 500 people shouting slogans for the release of the arrested, for workers’ self-organization, and for a General Strike.
The Popular Assembly of Petralona has occupied for a while the private station 9.89 of the Town Hall of Athens and broadcasted a political declaration denouncing the assassination of Alexis, the Police, and the capitalist government of the murderers, calling for the continuation of the revolt, and for a General Strike.
Marches and conflicts with police took place in most of the working class areas: in Kaisariani (famously called “the Greek Stalingrad” because of the battles from house to house and from room to room by the Communist Partisans against the Nazis in 1944), Nea Ionia, Vyronas, Nea Smyrni, Chaidari etc.
The General Assembly of the schoolchildren took the decision to continue the occupation of the schools. The main slogan is: “Christmas are postponed but not the revolt!”
Now all the efforts are focusing in the preparation of the big national march of schoolchildren, students, teachers and workers next Tuesday, on December the 23rd.
The revolt continues in the context of a deepening political and social economic crisis, as an expression and as a factor of it. A phony budget presented by the right wing government and claiming that Greece will not experience a recession (!) or a surge in unemployment (!!!) in 2009 was voted tonight in the Parliament despite the fact that everybody, from the government or from the opposition knows very well that the budget is a fraud, rejected even by the EU authorities. What was spelled out by former PASOK Prime Minister Costas Simitis in the discussion is the already known fact that the country is actually bankrupt, Greece possibly will be evicted from the Euro-zone and the IMF will intervene.
Two former ministers of the previous PASOK government, Christos Verelis and Thodoros Pangalos (the ex Foreign Minister who betrayed and delivered the Kurdish PKK leader Ocalan to the hands of the Turkish MIT) made a call to appoint a jointly accepted “supra-party” economic virtual dictator in the Ministry of Finances and/or to form a Coalition government of the right wing New Democracy and of PASOK to manage the national bankruptcy. The same Pangalos in an interview in a Sunday paper, “Elefterotypia”, today, called the revolt “sheer political hooliganism” blaming the reformists of Synaspismos / SYRIZA, and fully agreeing with Aleca Papariga’s accusations ( despite his own well known anti-communism or rather because of that). Papariga, the General Secretary of the Stalinist KKE gave today an interview in the Sunday right wing paper Real news where, apart from her fervent defense of Stalin, of the Moscow Trials and of the mass purges of the ’30s, she was repeating that “there is no revolt” and the clashes with the police is “the realization of a plan organized long ago by the foreign intelligence services of imperialism”!! It is not a surprise that the yellow right wing populist paper Avriani had in the front page the headlines: “The Police are useless- Let ask the citizens or the KKE to re-establish order!”
This order is now needed by the ruling class more than ever as the disintegration of the over-indebted capitalist Greek economy accelerates. Another former Minister of PASOK, Alecos Papadopoulos proposed to invite officially the IMF or another international institution of this type to take control and manage the economy of the country!
Karamanlis is preparing a reshuffling of his government that will solve nothing. Early elections that appear inevitable cannot solve the country from a bankruptcy. The current revolt is a precursor earthquake and not the principal earthquake, which is coming in 2009!
As the slogan on the wall of the Athens University says in English: Merry Crisis and a Happy New Fear!
Savas Michael, Athens, December 21, 2008
In 1953, Joseph Alsop, then one of America's leading syndicated columnists, went to the Philippines to cover an election. He did not go because he was asked to do so by his syndicate. He did not go because he was asked to do so by the newspapers that printed his column. He went at the request of the CIA.
Alsop is one of more than 400 American journalists who in the past twenty‑five years have secretly carried out assignments for the Central Intelligence Agency, according to documents on file at CIA headquarters. Some of these journalists' relationships with the Agency were tacit; some were explicit. There was cooperation, accommodation and overlap. Journalists provided a full range of clandestine services—from simple intelligence gathering to serving as go‑betweens with spies in Communist countries. Reporters shared their notebooks with the CIA. Editors shared their staffs. Some of the journalists were Pulitzer Prize winners, distinguished reporters who considered themselves ambassadors without‑portfolio for their country. Most were less exalted: foreign correspondents who found that their association with the Agency helped their work; stringers and freelancers who were as interested in the derring‑do of the spy business as in filing articles; and, the smallest category, full‑time CIA employees masquerading as journalists abroad. In many instances, CIA documents show, journalists were engaged to perform tasks for the CIA with the consent of the managements of America's leading news organizations.
The history of the CIA's involvement with the American press continues to be shrouded by an official policy of obfuscation and deception for the following principal reasons:
■ The use of journalists has been among the most productive means of intelligence‑gathering employed by the CIA. Although the Agency has cut back sharply on the use of reporters since 1973 primarily as a result of pressure from the media), some journalist‑operatives are still posted abroad.
■ Further investigation into the matter, CIA officials say, would inevitably reveal a series of embarrassing relationships in the 1950s and 1960s with some of the most powerful organizations and individuals in American journalism.
Among the executives who lent their cooperation to the Agency were Williarn Paley of the Columbia Broadcasting System, Henry Luce of Tirne Inc., Arthur Hays Sulzberger of the New York Times, Barry Bingham Sr. of the LouisviIle Courier‑Journal, and James Copley of the Copley News Service. Other organizations which cooperated with the CIA include the American Broadcasting Company, the National Broadcasting Company, the Associated Press, United Press International, Reuters, Hearst Newspapers, Scripps‑Howard, Newsweek magazine, the Mutual Broadcasting System, the Miami Herald and the old Saturday Evening Post and New York Herald‑Tribune.
By far the most valuable of these associations, according to CIA officials, have been with the New York Times, CBS and Time Inc.
~ more... ~
Meanwhile, the ex-Army Chief of Pakistan General (R) Aslam Baig has said that US General Mullen is pressing our authorities to allow India to hit certain targets, keeping silent and indifferent to the situation as they have been doing in case of US attacks, which he believes, will cool down India and diffuse tensions between the two countries.
I don't think that conscientious Pakistani nation and brave armed forces of Pakistan will accept such a situation. This will be shameful and render Pakistan submission to India,” the retired General said. While talking to the Nawa-i-Waqt/The Nation.
He further said that the nation would lose its confidence in their government and the armed forces for ever and the nation would stand no where, should such a situation prevailed. He called upon the rulers to explain their position in this regard.
He said that the US was after ridiculing the sovereignty of Pakistan only to please India and Mullen had come with a dangerous message.
“We are ten times more powerful than in 1965 and twenty times stronger than we were in 1971,” the General said.
~ The Nation ~
Britain's new Defence Secretary John Hutton expressed support for French plans to strengthen European defence capacity, saying: "If we can support it, we should" in an interview published Sunday.
Hutton, who only got the job following a reshuffle of Prime Minister Gordon Brown's Cabinet this month, said it was "perfectly sensible" to work with European Union allies on such issues.
He went on to describe "EU haters" as "pathetic" in an interview with The Sunday Times newspaper.
France, which currently holds the rotating EU presidency, wants to ensure that Europe can stand alone militarily if it needs to. The aim is to be able to deploy 60,000 troops with air and naval support within 60 days by 2018.
But one of its main goals -- the establishment of a real EU military headquarters in Brussels -- has been blocked by Britain, which is keen not to double up on work being done by the NATO military alliance.
Experts say the plans would need backing from Britain which, alongside France, has the EU's biggest defence spend. Hutton's comments suggest a softening of attitude.
"I think we've got to be pragmatic about those things," Hutton told The Sunday Times.
~ more... ~
Greek blues. To someone unfamiliar with this music, the term might sound like a contradiction. In fact, it's more like a tautology. Four centuries of Ottoman rule until the 20th century might have been tough for a once-proud empire to stomach (although we Greeks hardly needed encouragement. Even at the peak of Greek civilisation 2,500 years ago we still made time to invent tragedy). When pressed to define “real” Greek music, our taxi driver pointed us to rebetika. So the Greek blues has a name. But this was a word I never heard in my childhood, mainly because, by the time my parents were growing up, rebetika had been supplanted by its more well-scrubbed offspring laika - or, to use its literal meaning, “popular”.
My parents never stopped to tell me the real history of Greek music in this century - and, when I grew up and made my own inquiries, I realised why. The music that Greeks have come to recognise as their own was created in the hash dens or tekedhes that lined the port of Piraeus - much of it by Greeks and Turks forced to flee Smyrna (now Izmir) after the catastrophic Greek assault on the city ended in capitulation in 1922. The song titles speak for themselves. Rosa Eskenazi's Why I Smoke Cocaine; Anestis Delias' The Junkie's Complaint; Smoking the Hubble Bubble for Hours by Vamvakaris.
If none of those songs made it to our chip shop, it's hardly surprising. Vamvakaris was the Robert Johnson of rebetika, with a back story just as mythical as Johnson's crossroads encounter with the Devil. Having stowed away as a child from the island of Syros, he vowed to chop off his hand with a meat cleaver if he didn't learn to play the bouzouki within six months. On Why I Smoke Hooka Tobacco, in 1933, he sounds barely conscious - scratching out a minimal modal accompaniment on his bouzouki which wouldn't sound out of place on the first Velvet Underground album.
Anyway, my parents would have struggled to find this music on any records at the time. In 1936, the Greek music industry was in its infancy when Ioannis Metaxas' Fascist Government came to power. That Greece was adopting a form of music that hailed from Asia Minor was a huge embarrassment to Metaxas, who thought that everyone ought to be listening to Mozart.
Many of rebetika's foremost practitioners may have been refugees, but their camaraderie created a subculture of sharply-dressed, streetwise men. Just as Jamaica had its rude boys and hip-hop spawned male archetypes who identified themselves as “gangstas”, rebetika had the manga. “Hey mangas,” begins Poser, written in 1935 by Delias, shortly after acquiring the heroin addiction that ended his life. “If you're going to carry a knife/ You'd better have the guts, poser, to pull it out.” If Metaxas' instinct was to outlaw the people who made this music, what he actually did was far cleverer. He co-opted them. Tsitsanis removed cadences from his music that might be deemed “Asian” in character. Vamvakaris followed suit. “He simply had no choice,” says his son Stelios, also a musician. “The lyrics had to be generalised. If he wanted to carry on putting records out and feed his family, he needed to be careful not to fall foul of the censors.”
The effects of Metaxas' censorship have resounded throughout Greek life long after his demise. Take the case of Manos Hadjidakis, the man behind arguably the most well-known piece of Greek music in the past 100 years, Never on Sunday. In 1949 Hadjidakis gave a speech at the Arts Theatre in Athens, urging Greeks to embrace rebetika as an authentic expression of their Greekness. His words were greeted with such vilification that he was urged by the Greek chief of police to lie low for a few months. As his adopted son, George Hadjidakis, explains: “The feeling out there was that how could this man have the temerity to drag the rebetes, with their hashish, with their drug problems, on to the boulevards of uptown Athens.”
Undaunted, Hadjidakis assimilated rebetika melodies and lyrics into his own music. His achingly beautiful Six Folklore Melodies album was an act both political and artistic. “It didn't matter where this music had come from,” George Hadjidakis says. “After so many years under Ottoman rule, he realised that Greece didn't have a classical music to call its own. That's what he set about doing, using rebetika, traditional rural folk songs and Byzantine influences.” Compared with the job at hand, celebrity was a mere distraction. In 1964, months after Hadjidakis received his Oscar for Never on Sunday, his cleaner retrieved it from a bin bag.
~ more... ~
The poet whose verse was more feared by the Ottoman Empire than insurgents' bullets has won the belated honour of a "day of celebration" in the country he romanticised, Greece.
Nearly 200 years after George Gordon, Lord Byron, invoked the battles of Marathon and Thermopylae to "dream that Greece might still be free", the government in Athens has announced a Byron day on the anniversary of the writer's death.
Readings, drama and school outings will celebrate the role of the peer, who partly redressed a reputation for bisexual immorality by dying while preparing to serve in the Greeks' revolutionary navy. More practically, he used his inherited fortune as the 6th Lord Byron to fit out the rebels' fleet.
The new feature of the modern Greek calendar will fall on April 19, the date Byron died in 1824 at Messolonghi in Western Greece. He had chosen a high profile target to attack in the shape of the Ottoman fortress at Lepanto, scene of the greatest naval defeat ever suffered by the Sultan's forces, in 1571.
~ more... ~
The French government is strongly advocating the teaching of Arabic language and civilization in French schools. Not surprising, considering the number of Arabs and Muslims in France, and the unctuous deference with which they are treated by officials, beginning notably with Nicolas Sarkozy, who cannot praise enough the splendor of Arabic contributions to the world.
The French National Assembly was the scene of a meeting earlier this month of the first Conference on the Teaching of Arabic Language and Culture, attended by a variety of interested parties. There was much wearisome blather about the need for "dialogue."
In his message to the participants, French President Nicolas Sarkozy called Arabic the "language of the future, of science and of modernity," and expressed the hope that "more French people share in the language that expresses great civilizational and spiritual values."
~ more... ~
Later Friday, about 50 protesters interrupted the official premiere of the Greek National Theater, holding up banners urging people to join the demonstrations. A slogan spray-painted outside the Bank of Greece seemed to reflect the mood: “Merry crisis and a happy new fear.”
~ more... ~
Hundreds of anarchists chanting "cops, pigs, murderers" marched through Athens on Tuesday hours after a gunman opened fire at a riot-police bus in a third week of anti-government protests since police shot dead a teenager.
An unidentified gunman shot at the bus carrying 19 officers when it stopped at traffic lights outside a university campus in eastern Athens at around 5 a.m.
Two bullets hit the bus, bursting a tyre, but no one was injured in the incident, which is being investigated by counter-terrorism police.
It came after a two-day lull in Greece's worst riots in decades, sparked by the shooting of 15-year-old Alexandros Grigoropoulos.
"It's worrying us," police spokesman Panagiotis Stathis told Mega TV. "We collected seven bullet cases from the spot."
~ more... ~
The OFFICIAL video for the Athens PROTEST Freeze in Syntagma Square on the 20th of Dec 2008. Event organized by FREEZE TIME, filmed by the KLEIN MEIN FILM TEAM
And an unofficial video of the same event:
In the 1990s, Kevin P. Miller began producing documentaries about the great social issues of our time. His film The Promised Land both won international accolades and helped raise $500,000 in donations to benefit the homeless, proving to Miller that documentary films could affect social change. He went on to produce The War Within, a film about race relations and Let Truth Be The Bias, which tackled the loss of civil liberties and featued a guns-drawn raid at the clinic of a revered holistic doctor. In 2005, Miller produced We Become Silent, a film about Codex Alimentarius and "free trade," which was narrated by British actress Dame Judi Dench.
With his new film, Generation RX, Miller investigates collusion between pharmaceutical manufacturers and their regulatory watchdogs at the FDA, and also questions whether we have forced millions of children onto pharmaceutical drugs for commercial rather than scientific reasons. "It began when I saw a video of people testifying before the FDA in 1991 about Prozac," he said. "I was so moved by their personal stories, moved to tears, really. But apparently the FDA was not. It was then that I knew that someday I would produce a film like Generation RX."
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