Ecuador – The fight Against Moreno and the IMF is far from Over | The Vineyard of the Saker


17-10-19 07:53:00,

by Peter Koenig for The Saker Blog

Ecuador, the fight against IMF austerity measures is far from over. Just a few hours after my article was published on Sunday, 13 October, Ecuador  – and the IMF’s Killing Spree, President Lenin Moreno declared the infamous Decree 883 as canceled, i.e. the astronomical price increases for fuel were reversed, the (police) state of emergency and curfew were called off. He wanted to put an end to the 11 days of police and military violence-induced protests that beset mainly Quito.

The police, supported by the army carried out repression during the protests, like they have not been seen in Ecuador’s recent history, claiming at least 7 death, about 1,340 injured and more than 1,100 arrested. The streets of Quito were an absolute chaos; destruction, fire, tear gas, smoke.

Other austerity measures included, shrinking government spending, laying off 23,000 state employees, privatization of social services and infrastructure – and more – all linked to the IMF loan of US$ 4.2 billion, were also “canceled”. At least, so it looked and sounded at the outset.

This apparent victory was achieved largely thanks to the indigenous movement, the Conaie (Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador) – an umbrella organization of indigenous groups across Ecuador. They have relentlessly fought for their rights and against the ferocious abrogation of all the social benefits they acquired – finally – during the years of Rafael Correa’s socialist government – which served, and still serves, an example for much of Latin America.

Not the indigenous groups, or anybody else of the Ecuadorian people – were consulted about the IMF loan. The basic IMF deal was already brokered in January 2019, when Lenin Moreno met Madame Lagarde, at that time still head of the IMF at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos. There were just some “minor issues” that Moreno had to resolve before he could sign this horrendous debt onto Ecuador’s books.

One of the “issues” was a request by the US via its extended arm, the IMF – to expel Julian Assange from the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, to bring him closer to extradition to the US, where he may face the death penalty,

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Will Mercenaries Fight America’s Wars? Private Mercenary Army on Behalf of Venezuela “Opposition” – Global Research


07-08-19 09:41:00,

President Donald Trump’s pre-election pledge to end America’s useless wars in the Middle East and Afghanistan just might turn out to be somewhat less than what was promised if some political allies of the president have their way. For the past year there have been rumors circulating in Washington about the possibility of using mercenaries rather than American soldiers to keep the lid on a volatile Afghanistan and to arrange for regime change in countries like Venezuela.

It perhaps should surprise no one that a country dedicated to “free markets” should at least somewhat embrace the idea of using mercenaries to fight its wars. The concept is already embedded in the federal government, increasingly so since 9/11. A majority of the workers in the intelligence community as well as in the civilian ranks of the Pentagon are already paid contractors who work for the “Beltway bandit” firms that specialize in national security. A substantial number of those hires are armed paramilitaries operating in Afghanistan and elsewhere in the Mideast and Africa.

The logic for going with contractors rather than employees has been that budgets go up and down, so it is the smart thing to have a lot of people working for you who are on one-year contracts and can be let go if the money to pay them is not authorized. The downside is that the average federal employee costs roughly $125,000 per year in pay and benefits. A contractor costs three times as much, which means that the taxpayer pays the piper for something that is a convenience for the government.

The most prominent advocate for mercenary armies is Erik Prince, an outspoken supporter of Donald Trump and the founder of the controversial private security firm Blackwater. Blackwater was a major private military contractor in Iraq, where it provided security for State Department operations and facilities. Notoriously, in 2007, Blackwater employees shot and killed 17 Iraqi civilians at Nisour Square in Baghdad. One of Prince’s employees was eventually convicted of murder and three others have been convicted of manslaughter. Prince subsequently renamed the Blackwater security company and then sold it in 2010.

Prince, the scion of a wealthy Midwestern family that made its money selling auto parts, is himself a former Navy SEAL.

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You gotta fight for your rights @Ryanair


05-12-18 07:20:00,

5 december 2017: dag op dag een jaar geleden nam Ryanair een flinke bocht. Voor het eerst sinds de oprichting van Michael O’ Leary’s lowcost luchtvaartmaatschappij, stond de Ierse ceo niet meer per definitie weigerachtig tegenover vakbonden. Het betekende de start van een turbulent sociaal jaar bij Ryanair. Een jaar waarin de werknemers – piloten én cabinepersoneel – van de prijsbreker beslisten om zelf te vechten voor hun rechten.

Op nationaal niveau worstelen vakbonden in heel Europa al jaren met Ryanair, maar echt veel vooruitgang werd er niet geboekt. Pas nadat verschillende Europese ‘sleutelspelers’ besluiten om de hardwerkende handen in elkaar te slaan, geraakt het dossier in een stroomversnelling. Deze informele contacten resulteren in een zogenaamde ‘Position Paper’, opgemaakt in Lissabon op 24 april 2018. Tal van vakbonden, waaronder de LBC-NVK en Franstalige evenknie CNE, onderschrijven een gemeenschappelijke eisenbundel en engageren zich om op nationaal niveau niet voor minder te gaan. De drie belangrijkste eisen : de volledige toepassing van het lokaal arbeidsrecht, gelijke arbeidvoorwaarden voor het voltallige personeel van Ryanair en de vrije erkenning van vakbonden bij de luchtvaartmaatschappij.

Ryanair had intussen een publiek statement gemaakt. Naar eigen zeggen waren ze klaar om te onderhandelen. Het waren slechts woorden, geen daden. Want nog steeds kregen we geen reactie of antwoord op onze vraag, onze legitieme vraag, over bovengenoemde eisen. Resultaat: de eerste Europese staking bij Ryanair was een feit.

Hallo Europa?

De talloze succesvolle acties van het personeel en de publieke steun voor de werknemers en de moeilijke werkomstandigheden waarin ze aan de slag waren, maakten dat de politiek wel kleur moest bekennen. En toegegeven: er werd wel degelijk openlijk een  standpunt in genomen door o.a. Minister van Werk Kris Peeters en door Europees Commissaris voor Werk en Sociale Zaken Marianne Thyssen. De wet is de wet, en ook Ryanair moet eraan houden, klonk het. Oef … 

Maar: op de vraag of Europa ook effectief iets gaat doen aan die flagrante schending van haar eigen regels, was het antwoord duidelijk: “neen, dit behoort niet tot de bevoegdheden van de EU”.  Sta me toe eventjes van mijn melk te zijn …

Even later vernemen we van de Minister van Werk dat hij met verschillende EU-lidstaten afgesproken heeft om aan diezelfde Europese Unie te vragen initiatief te nemen in dit toch wel duidelijk Europees probleem.

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US Prosecutors Fight To Keep Assange Indictment Sealed


27-11-18 12:12:00,

Federal prosecutors are fighting a request for the unsealing of any pending US criminal indictment against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, according to Reuters

In a Monday filing submitted to Judge Leonie Brinkema, prosecutors in Alexandria Virginia asked the court to deny the disclosure request by a journalists’ group – based on a recent disclosure in a court document filed in an unrelatedcriminal case, which was called an “unintentional error.” 

Prosecutors said the erroneous filing does not constitute a confirmation or denial by them as to whether sealed criminal charges against Assange exist, and argued that neither the U.S. constitution nor U.S. common law “require that the government provide such a confirmation or denial.”

On Tuesday, Judge Brinkema is scheduled to hear arguments in a case brought by the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, which has applied for the unsealing of court records “including the docket and any criminal complaint, indictment or other charging document” related to any sealed U.S. charges against Assange. –Reuters

Assange – along with WikiLeaks and several associated individuals, have been under investigation by prosecutors and an Alexandria-based federal grand jury for several years, although no public charges have been filed. Earlier in the month, Assistant US Attorney Kellen S. Dwyer wrote in a court filing that “due to the sophistication of the defendant and the publicity surrounding the case, no other procedure is likely to keep confidential the fact that Assange has been charged.” Later in the filing, Dwyer wrote that the charges would “need to remain sealed until Assange is arrested.”

Beginning in 2010, the Department of Justice under the Obama administration attempted to draw a distinction between WikiLeaks and other news organizations – with former Attorney General Eric Holder insisting that Assange’s organization does not deserve the same first amendment protections during the Chelsea Manning case in which the former Army intelligence analyst was found guilty at a court-martial of leaking thousands of classified Afghan War Reports. That said, the former president’s administration chose not to move forward with prosecution. 

US officials have given mixed messages over Assange, with President Trump having said during the 2016 election “I love WikiLeaks,”

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Can Cannabis Fight Tumors? | Light On Conspiracies – Revealing the Agenda

Can Cannabis Fight Tumors? | Light On Conspiracies – Revealing the Agenda

21-05-18 09:06:00,

Medical cannabis has a long history as a natural analgesic,1 and is now legal in 30 U.S. states,2,3 the majority of which allow limited use of medical marijuana under certain medical circumstances. The medicinal qualities of marijuana are primarily due to high amounts (about 10 to 20 percent) of cannabidiol (CBD), medicinal terpenes and flavonoids.

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Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the psychoactive component of marijuana that makes you feel “stoned,” but it too has valuable medical benefits, so depending on your problem, you may want higher or lower levels of THC. Cannabinoids interact with your body by way of naturally occurring cannabinoid receptors embedded in cell membranes throughout your body.

There are cannabinoid receptors in your brain, lungs, liver, kidneys, immune system and more. Both the therapeutic and psychoactive properties of marijuana occur when a cannabinoid activates these cannabinoid receptors.

Cannabis Has Long History of Use for Pain, Seizures and More

The U.S. government, through the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), actually holds a patent on CBD as an antioxidant and neuroprotectant — an ironic and paradoxical situation considering the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration has classified cannabis as a Schedule 1 controlled substance, which by definition has no accepted medical use.

This federal classification also makes it very difficult, time consuming and expensive to study the health effects of marijuana. Labs have to jump through a lot of legal hoops before being granted permission to study Schedule 1 drugs. Despite such difficulties, a number of studies have found a wide range of uses for the herb. For example, The Journal of Pain,4 a publication by the American Pain Society, has a long list of studies on the pain-relieving effects of cannabis.

Cannabis also has been used for over 80 years for drug-resistant seizure disorders. In January 2015, the American Academy of Pediatrics updated its policy statement on marijuana,5 acknowledging that cannabinoids “may currently be an option for … children with life-limiting or severely debilitating conditions and for whom current therapies are inadequate.”

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse,

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