Archive for June 12th, 2012

12/06/2012

Bailout of Spanish Banks Will Further Tighten the Austerity Thumbscrew

Human Wrongs Watch

By Stefan Steinberg, (WSWS*), 12 June - Remarks by German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble on Monday (11 June) directly contradict assurances by Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy that there were “no strings attached” to last weekend’s rescue deal for Spanish banks.

**E.Commission headquarters, Brussels. Photo: JLogan 

The bailout of Spanish banks was hastily agreed at an emergency telephone conference by euro zone finance ministers at the weekend in order to prevent a possible meltdown of the European banking system.

The deal came after intense pressure was placed on the Spanish government by the US and European governments, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and international banks.

Announcing the agreement, Rajoy was anxious to avoid the impression that the rescue represented a full-scale bailout. He declared that the agreement was a “victory for Spain” and gave “new credibility to the European project”.

Initial media reports spoke of a “mini bailout” and stressed that the money for Spanish banks did not involve the type of stringent austerity measures and budget supervision laid down by the European Union and IMF as part of their €400 billion in loans to Greece, Ireland and Portugal.

12/06/2012

The Arab Spring – The Empires Hit Back

Human Wrongs Watch

By Johan Galtung, TRANSCEND* – The multi-season Arab Spring is the third anti-imperialist Arab revolt in less than a century: against the Ottoman empire, the Western Italian-French-English empire, and now the US-Israel empire. The empires hit back.

Photo credit: **Author Bernd.Brincken | Wikimedia Commons.

The Ottomans were weak, but England-France-Israel even invaded Egypt in 29 October 1956–in the shadow of the Hungarian revolt against the Soviet empire that crumbled 23-25 years later. And now it is the turn o USA-Israel to try to maintain an illegitimate structure.

So much for the background.  In the foreground is class, pitting the powerless at the bottom against the powerful at the top. Wealth flows upward accelerated by corruption; military, police and secret police forces protect the top against revolts; decision-making is by dictatorships; all of this that used to be justified by the fight against communism is now hitched on to fight against islamism.

Needless to say, we can have corrupt, brutal dictatorships in Arab countries without any imperial backing. Like in former colonies –Libya-Palestine-Iraq-Lebanon-Syria–where borders were drawn regardless of inner and outer fault-lines, trusting that by sheer force they could contain such “indigenous, tribal” conflicts.

12/06/2012

Sahel: No Food for 18 Million People – Urgent Help Needed for Women, Children

Human Wrongs Watch

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said it urgently needs more funds to assist women and children suffering due to drought, disease and conflict in West Africa’s Sahel region.
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*A mother with her severely malnourished child in the Sahel region. Photo: UNICEF/Chad/2012/C Tidey

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“Across the Sahel we are dealing with multiple needs to save lives and help children, and the Mali crisis has only put more children in danger,” UNICEF’s Regional Director for West and Central Africa, Manuel Fontaine said in a news release on 11 June.
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Having already secured $93 million, UNICEF needs $146 million for the rest of the year for the Sahel to make up its total goal of some $238 million for 2012.

The funds will go towards responding to the growing needs in the region, where the UN estimates that about 18 million people are affected by a drought and food crisis in nine countries.

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