For some time last year an intense debate raged in the US regarding the use of torture to extract “confessions” from alleged “terrorists”. Some friends in the US asked me and other Nobel Peace Laureates to write to President Obama on this obviously politically sensitive theme.
by Roberto Savio*
SAN SALVADOR, Aug (IPS) – In recommendations to German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the end of July, the German Council of Economic Experts outlined how a weak member country could leave the Eurozone and called for strengthening the European monetary union.
US President Barack Obama is due to unveil what he called “the biggest, most important step we have ever taken” in tackling climate change.
The aim of the revised Clean Power Plan is to cut greenhouse gas emissions from US power stations by nearly a third within 15 years.
The measures will place significant emphasis on wind and solar power and other renewable energy sources.
However, opponents in the energy industry have vowed to fight the plan.
By Bill McKibben – The Nation
On the day the heat index in an Iranian city broke world records, Shell Oil moved forward with its plan to drill in the Arctic.
Shell Oil’s icebreaker Fennica is apparently on its way to the Arctic from the Pacific Northwest, ending a dramatic week-long siege that saw activists dangle from bridges and blockade the Portland harbor with kayaks, and a federal court threaten environmentalists with heavy fines.
By JACK EWING and LIZ ALDERMAN – The New York Times
FRANKFURT — The Greek businessman was nervous as he carried a suitcase stuffed with cash through security at the Athens airport a few months ago. But the distracted and overworked officials waved him through.
A few hours later the man touched down in Frankfurt, where he quickly deposited the money in a German bank.
The stash was part of 40 billion euros, or about $44 billion, that businesses and individuals have withdrawn from Greek banks since December, exacerbating the country’s financial woes.
By Thalif Deen
UNITED NATIONS, July 2015 (IPS) – The U.N.’s highly ambitious post-2015 development agenda, which is expected to be finalised shortly, has come fire even before it could get off the ground.
A global network of civil society organisations (CSOs), under the banner United Nations Major Groups (UNMG), has warned that the agenda, which includes 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), “lacks urgency, a clear implementation strategy and accountability.”
Alberto Rabilotta* – Alai
28/07/2015It is very curious that the political leadership of the European Union (EU) and their traditional spokespersons, the politicians, economists and the mainstream press that for decades have sustained and defended this project, have not joyfully saluted, with statements of confidence, that the irreversible order has been maintained with the humiliating defeat inflicted on the government and people of Greece.
Robert J. Burrowes*
There is much that is revolting about the current world and Andre Vltchek, Christopher Black and Peter Koenig are well placed to document it, which they have done in their new book ‘The World Order and Revolution! Essays from the Resistance’. http://badak-merah.weebly.com/the-world-order-and-revolution.html
Adam Davidson* – The New York Times
There is definitive proof, for anyone willing to look, that Greece is not solely or even primarily responsible for its own financial crisis. The proof is not especially exciting: It is a single bond, with the identification code GR0133004177. But a consideration of this bond should end, permanently, any discussion of Greece’s crisis as a moral failing on the part of the Greeks.
By Mark Buchanan* – Bloomberg
One of the more troubling elements of the recent drama over Greece’s debt was the urge by many to see a deficiency of national character, rather than euro-zone economics, as the problem. Right-leaning opinion, not only in Germany but around the world, put the trouble down to Greek corruption and, worse, laziness: The bad people of Greece retire too early and produce less per capita than the European average, despite working longer hours.
By Thalif Deen
UNITED NATIONS, July 2015 (IPS) – When the 21-year-old Crown Prince of Jordan, Al Hussein bin Abdullah II, presided over a Security Council meeting last April, he was described as the youngest ever to chair one of the U.N.’s most powerful political bodies armed with powers to wage wars and declare peace.
Yanis Varoufakis* – Financial Times?
Plan would have eased Greece’s chronic liquidity shortage, writes Yanis Varoufakis
A paradox lurks in the foundations of the eurozone . Governments within the monetary union lack a central bank that has their back, while the central bank lacks a government to support it.
Boaventura de Sousa Santos*
Europe’s biggest problem is Germany, not Greece. Just over two years ago (May, 2013) I published a piece entitled “The German Diktat”, in which I listed the justifications given by Germany at the beginning of the First World War for its atrocities against Belgium, a small country that had refused to go along with Germany’s bellicose plans.
By JOSEPH E. STIGLITZ*
ATHENS — AS the Greek crisis proceeds to its next stage, Germany, Greece and the triumvirate of the International Monetary Fund, the European Central Bank and the European Commission (now better known as the troika) have all faced serious criticism. While there is plenty of blame to share, we shouldn’t lose sight of what is really going on. I’ve been watching this Greek tragedy closely for five years, engaged with those on all sides. Having spent the last week in Athens talking to ordinary citizens, young and old, as well as current and past officials, I’ve come to the view that this is about far more than just Greece and the euro.
By Frederika Randall – The Nation
Why doesn’t Italy, with its strong left-wing traditions, have a Podemos like Spain?
Rome—Italians were anything but indifferent this spring when the Syriza government in Greece decided to defy the dogma of European austerity. Syriza’s natural allies here, those to the left of the Partito Democratico (PD), were exuberant: At last there was going to be a real battle against the neoliberal consensus.
By A. D. McKenzie
PARIS, Jul 24 2015 (IPS) – “We received a garden as our home, and we must not turn it into a wilderness for our children.”
These words by Cardinal Peter Turkson summed up the appeal launched by dozens of religious leaders and “moral” thinkers at the Summit of Conscience for the Climate, a one-day gathering in Paris earlier this week aimed at mobilising action ahead of the next United Nations climate change conference (COP 21) scheduled to take place in the French capital in just over four months.
By ANDREW HIGGINS – The New York Times
BRUSSELS — To many Greeks, the debt the country has amassed is the evil fruit of austerity policies, imposed from the outside, that asphyxiated its economy and trampled on its sovereignty.
Edward Luce – Financial Times
THOSE WHOM THE gods will destroy they first make mad. Critics of Barack Obama’s Iran deal have been giving a good impression of having lost the plot. An Israeli cabinet minister described it as “one of the darkest days in world history”. Republicans liken Mr Obama to Neville Chamberlain.
Boaventura de Sousa Santos*
Europe has become a laboratory of the future. What is being tested there should be cause for concern for all democrats and particularly for everyone on the left. Two experiments are currently underway in this laboratory – and hence supposedly controlled – environment. The first experiment is a stress test on democracy, its guiding hypothesis being as follows: a strong country’s democratic will can undemocratically trump the democratic will of a weak country without making a dent in the normalcy of Europe’s political life.
By Roberto Savio*
Greece was the civilization where drama and farce were established as forms of theatre. The negotiations with the Eurozone were a drama for the Greek people, and a farce for the European leaders. In fact, it is a dramatic for all, that this brings to an end of the most radical dream after the Second World War. Let us see why. It will be a little long, but without examining a little history it is impossible to understand how we came to this situation.