China’s NGO Law: Countering Western Soft Power and Subversion, by Eric Draitser

Source: New Eastern Outlook

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China has recently taken an important step in more tightly regulating foreign non-governmental organizations (NGOs) inside the country. Despite condemnation from so called human rights groups in the West, China’s move should be understood as a critical decision to assert sovereignty over its own political space. Naturally, the shrill cries of “repression” and “hostility toward civil society” from western NGOs have done little to shake the resolve of Beijing as the government has recognized the critical importance of cutting off all avenues for political and social destabilization.

The predictable argument, once again being made against China’sOverseas NGO Management Law, is that it is a restriction on freedom of association and expression, and a means of stifling the burgeoning civil society sector in China. The NGO advocates portray this proposed legislation as another example of the violation of human rights in China, and further evidence of Beijing’s lack of commitment to them. They posit that China is moving to further entrench an authoritarian government by closing off the democratic space which has emerged in recent years.

However, amid all the hand-wringing about human rights and democracy, what is conveniently left out of the narrative is the simple fact that foreign NGOs, and domestic ones funded by foreign money, are, to a large extent, agents of foreign interests, and are quite used as soft power weapons for destabilization. And this is no mere conspiracy theory as the documented record of the role of NGOs in recent political unrest in China is voluminous. It would not be a stretch to say that Beijing has finally recognized, just as Russia has before it, that in order to maintain political stability and true sovereignty, it must be able to control the civil society space otherwise manipulated by the US and its allies.

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They Say Paraguay is in Africa: Mosaic of Horror, by Andre Vltchek

Source: counterpunch

Welcome to Asuncion
Welcome to Asuncion

I have always liked this country of red earth, mighty rivers and rough cobblestone streets. I have liked its bougainvillea, its long silent nights, and its endless open spaces.

But almost everything that could went wrong for the Paraguayan people, or at least for its indigenous majority.

Before Evo Morales became the President, Bolivia had been the most destitute country in South America. Paraguay was slightly “above it” – the second poorest nation. Now, most likely, it is the most deprived.

***

It is pitch dark outside, and the road is flooded. As in other extreme right wing countries worldwide, from Indonesia to Kenya, the drainage system is far from being a priority of the rulers.

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The Seeds of Eurasia; A vision manifests, by Pepe Escobar

Source: TomDispatch

This is by far one of the most significant deals of our fledgling century, a world of possibilities lies ahead. The importance of what Pepe Escobar is covering here is eloquently put into frame by Tom’s excellent introduction to Pepe’s piece.

Pepe’s “Eurasian Big Bang” has all the potential to set things in motion that the very Masters of the Universe may not be able to stop. And that is what makes this the seed of actions to come for the next generations.

What Pepe is really telling us is that the vision China is showing the world is not only unparalleled (How can casino capitalism compete with vision?!) but so mesmerizing that all the beltway can do now is huff and puff as the caravan passes by.

“The purpose of meditation is to look at something deeply and see its roots”, (Thich Nhat Hanh)

Pepe does just that, sit back, make a cup of tea and enjoy this one.

AE

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The Eurasian Big Bang 
How China and Russia Are Running Rings Around Washington
By Pepe Escobar

Let’s start with the geopolitical Big Bang you know nothing about, the one that occurred just two weeks ago. Here are its results: from now on, any possible future attack on Iran threatened by the Pentagon (in conjunction with NATO) would essentially be an assault on the planning of an interlocking set of organizations — the BRICS nations (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa), the SCO (Shanghai Cooperation Organization), the EEU (Eurasian Economic Union), the AIIB (the new Chinese-founded Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank), and the NDB (the BRICS’ New Development Bank) — whose acronyms you’re unlikely to recognize either.  Still, they represent an emerging new order in Eurasia.

Tehran, Beijing, Moscow, Islamabad, and New Delhi have been actively establishing interlocking security guarantees. They have been simultaneously calling the Atlanticist bluff when it comes to the endless drumbeat of attention given to the flimsy meme of Iran’s “nuclear weapons program.”  And a few days before the Vienna nuclear negotiations finally culminated in an agreement, all of this came together at a twin BRICS/SCO summit in Ufa, Russia — a place you’ve undoubtedly never heard of and a meeting that got next to no attention in the U.S.  And yet sooner or later, these developments will ensure that the War Party in Washington and assorted neocons (as well as neoliberalcons) already breathing hard over the Iran deal will sweat bullets as their narratives about how the world works crumble.[Please click below to continue reading]

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The Geopolitics & Economics of the Iran Nuclear Deal, by Eric Draitser

Source: New Eastern Outlook

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The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action agreed to in Vienna by the P5+1 countries and Iran is clearly a landmark agreement, one which will significantly alter the political and economic balance of power in the Middle East, as well as the global strategic picture. However, amidst the chorus of celebration from many capitals around the world, and condemnations from Israel, some of the Gulf states, and certain segments in Iran, much of the geopolitical significance of the agreement has been overlooked.

From this perspective, the deal is more than simply a new chapter in Iran’s relations with the West and the world at large; it is the agreement by which Iran will transform itself from a potentially powerful, though politically and economically isolated country, to an emerging regional power that will become a linchpin of the strategies of both the western and non-western worlds. Of course, this potential benefit came at the cost of major concessions from Tehran, concessions which are in many ways difficult to justify, especially within the context of Iranian domestic politics where issues of national pride have a very real political currency and cannot necessarily be measured in rials, euros, and dollars.

However, an analysis of the impact of the deal cannot simply be relegated to what is in Iran’s immediate interests, nor those of the P5+1 countries, but rather must take into account the long-term strategic imperatives of each. Moreover, the emerging non-western alliance of BRICS, Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), New Silk Road, and Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) broadly speaking, factor significantly into this deal. So too does Turkey, both an important trading partner for Iran, but also a political adversary.

Seen in this way, the agreement reached in Vienna is a watershed in early 21st Century geopolitics and economic development, one which will have vast implications for years, and perhaps decades, to come.

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Socialist Argentina Helping People in Fascist Paraguay, by Andre Vltchek

Source: Telesur

One of the mightiest South American waterways – Rio Paraguay – is forming a national frontier between Argentina and Paraguay, two countries with similar cultures but diametrically different political systems.

Argentina is socialist, with free medical care and mostly free education. It has a progressive government. It sent its creditors, the World Bank and IMF, packing. It defaulted its debt, which was accumulated during the right-wing and pro-Western governments (Greece should study and follow Argentina’s model). It is increasingly close to other socialist Latin American countries, and also to non-Western powers like Russia and China.

Paraguay is a divided country. Even according to the BBC, fewer than 2 percent of the landowners are said to control 70 percent of its arable land. Other sources put the number to 75 percent and higher. Periodically, indigenous people demand their land back, and periodically, they get murdered.

Paraguay used to be the second poorest country in South America, right after Bolivia. But with enormous positive changes taking place in Bolivia during the last decade, Paraguay is now hitting the continent’s rock bottom.

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US Targets Venezuela Using Border Dispute as Pretext, by Eric Draitser

Source: Telesur

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Draitser argues that Venezuela and Guyana’s despute over the Essequibo region is a new front in the destabilization of Venezuela The ongoing border dispute between the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and its eastern neighbor Guyana is no simple disagreement over an arbitrary line on a map. Actually, it is a conflict of significant political and economic dimensions, one which will have deep and far-reaching geopolitical implications in the near and long term.

The area in question is known as Guayana Esequiba (Essequibo), a region with competing territorial claims going back more than a century to a time when British imperial interests dominated the contours of the political map of much of the world, including Latin America. Since 1966, when Guyana became a nominally independent country, this territory has been under dispute by the interested parties; Venezuela has claimed the territory as part of its sovereign authority going back to an odious 1899 decision in favor of Britain. However, that has not stopped Guyana from seeking to undermine the stability of the region by claiming de facto sovereignty over the whole of the territory, selling highly valued oil and gas exploration concessions to key North American corporate energy interests. These actions have led to an intensification of the conflict, forcing Venezuela to respond with diplomatic and political pressure.

But of course, as with all things pertaining to Venezuela on the international stage, there is a hidden agenda rooted in the imperial politics of Washington. In its attempt to stifle Venezuela’s political and economic development as an independent regional actor, the US is using its influence to destabilize the region. The goals are distinct, but intimately connected: enrich US energy corporations at the expense of Venezuela and, simultaneously, both position military assets and shape propaganda that paints Venezuela as an aggressor, thereby providing the pretext for US escalation. In this way, Washington is attempting to reassert by stealth the hegemony it once maintained with brute force.

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An Open Letter to the Spirit of a Rebellious Leader, by ADAM CHIMIENTI

Source: Counterpunch

Sankara

[Note: Thomas Sankara, president of Burkina Faso from 1983-87, was assassinated on October 15, 1987. This letter was written on the 25th anniversary of his death and modified slightly after.]

Dear President Sankara,

It was 25 years ago this autumn that you were removed from office and killed. So much has happened since then. Your beloved Burkina Faso, the country you renamed to reflect the upright nature of the people there, is imperiled. The vast majority is impoverished and frustrated by the current state of affairs. Your former comrade, Blaise Compaoré, who was instrumental in bringing you to power and supporting you, had eventually engineered your removal and assassination. He has most certainly congratulated himself on this twenty-fifth anniversary in power. Recently, Blaise won his last election but quickly set to work on how he could maneuver around a constitutional amendment that limits a president to two terms. Strange! He is currently serving his fourth term and has indicated he will run yet again in 2015.i

I imagine you are not surprised by this turn of events. You were making predictions about how your removal was inevitable in the years, months, and weeks leading up to the dark, fateful day when Africa lost a powerful and fiercely independent voice. It also probably would not surprise you that most people around the world have never heard of you and they most certainly won’t pay heed to the reminders of this tragic anniversary by international media or official government ceremonies. There will surely be commemorations in your honor but the silence will ultimately be deafening.

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The US Stock market is now Sharia Compliant and Halal

Auckland, New Zealand.

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From the Amanah brochure

As the sheeple (Muslim variety) celebrated across Auckland this Eid (festival following the holy month of Ramadan), a new “investment scheme” greeted them after prayers.

Among the food vendors, mom and pop shops, sweet vendors and kebab grills was “Amanah Kiwisaver Plan”. New Zealand’s first and only “Sharia Compliant” KiwiSaver plan.

KiwiSaver is a government run scheme of the usual variety; You put in a dollar and the government puts in a dollar and we all wait for the stock market to implode and go home empty handed. The “Sharia Compliant” version is not government affiliated.

When asked where the funds would be invested, the answer by a representative was what made our day:

“It has to be Halal and Sharia compliant and so we only invest in the US Stock market. It is one of the most heavily regulated markets,”

Needless to say, this was the best Eid gifts we have ever received. A gem of this variety is usually rare. Here is another snapshot from the corporate brochure:

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We were unable to find out who the magic 50 are…

When asked what they thought about 0% borrowing and stock buybacks leading to a really over valued market, the answer was:

“China is an overvalued market”

AE

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Ufa at the Center of the World, by Mark Sleboda

Source: The Brics Post

For the week of July 6-10, the city of Ufa, Russia will have been at the center of the world, or more particularly the very center of the emerging multipolar world order.

Russia, with host and presidency duties of the annual heads of state’s summits of both BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) and the SCO (Shanghai Cooperation Organization), has taken advantage of the opportunity to hold both summits in concert.

The occasion is also being used to hold a meeting of the heads of the newly formed EAEU (Eurasian Economic Union). This is no coincidence or mere convenience – this is a definitive statement about world order and international relations.

Ufa was surely chosen by Russia for two reasons beyond simply pumping needed infrastructure money into the city. First, Ufa, as the capital of the Islamic majority Bashkortostan Republic will highlight the summits’ – and Russia’s multi-confessional – character.

Second, Ufa’s location in central Russia on the verge of the Urals – also stresses Russia’ enormous size, bridging both the West and the East.

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Are we the fascists now?, by John Pilger

Source: OffGuardian

The recent 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz was a reminder of the great crime of fascism, whose Nazi iconography is embedded in our consciousness. Fascism is preserved as history, as flickering footage of goose-stepping blackshirts, their criminality terrible and clear. Yet in the same liberal societies, whose war-making elites urge us never to forget, the accelerating danger of a modern kind of fascism is suppressed; for it is their fascism.

To initiate a war of aggression…,” said the Nuremberg Tribunal judges in 1946, “is not only an international crime, it is the supreme international crime, differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.”

Had the Nazis not invaded Europe, Auschwitz and the Holocaust would not have happened. Had the United States and its satellites not initiated their war of aggression in Iraq in 2003, almost a million people would be alive today; and Islamic State, or ISIS, would not have us in thrall to its savagery. They are the progeny of modern fascism, weaned by the bombs, bloodbaths and lies that are the surreal theatre known as news.

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