…fifa? or haiti can wait, as usual?…

…it seems that one has to depend on a ferret to ferret out important news…

The UN, its Nepalese soldiers, and cholera, well, there, the fate of a Haiti with slightly more people than NGOs, whose staff and consultants are less indigent, much less indigent…

The Guardian reports on a joint investigation done by the US National Public Radio (NPR) and an online news blog, ProPublica. That investigation has to do with the American Red Cross (ARC) and the allocation of the funds it received for victims of the Haiti earthquake.

As The Guardian reports, American Red Cross squandered aid after Haiti earthquake, report alleges. Couple paragraphs that invite at least a skim of the article, Read the rest of this entry »

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…baltimore: police, poverty, behaviours – learned and inflicted…

…Baltimore: abandon hope, all ye who enter?…

Not as perplexing? The likelihood is very low, to zero, zilch, that all who join the police force in the US (and even elsewhere) are predisposed to psychopathic, sociopathic or violent behaviour so often evident. It is likely that some very small percent may display any of those characteristics. Thus, what would account for the near total unleashing of confrontation, violence rather than restraint, patience, or persuasion?

A case in point. RT reports on the pepper spraying and initially violent arrest of an unarmed protester who walks up to a line of officers at the start of the curfew, and invites their reaction. The video demonstrates their reaction, Baltimore protester wearing ‘F**k the police T-shirt’ gets face full of pepper spray (VIDEO).

Police officers sprayed pepper at him at a near point-blank range. The man was then pulled to the ground by the hair and dragged away by three law enforcers. The man didn’t appear to be resisting the police.

Read the rest of this entry »


…inequality? what inequality? hold the pitchforks! pass the duck!…

…the glib, ever more so; the gullible, increasingly much less so…

To put the face of the disadvantaged to the forefront, we have an article from The Independent (UK), The food poverty scandal that shames Britain: Nearly 1m people rely on handouts to eat – and benefit reforms may be to blame

And from The Guardian, From food banks to property bubbles – the moral decay that blights Britain. A tart observation on how the visible is made invisible, especially with regard to the disadvantaged,

Food banks will be to the 2010s what hunger marches were to the 1930s. But they are not dramatic places. You don’t see queues of distressed people waiting by their doors. The food banks are discreet. The Anglicans who run them show their kindness by doing nothing to draw attention to their clients’ poverty.

 [Yet the Guardian’s writer places his faith in another political party, the party of Tony Blair, to right wrongs of which Labour had been a major part?] Read the rest of this entry »


…en honduras, ahuas and río blanco – life of the 99.999%…

…and the law of unintended consequences, two tales from CEPR’s The Americas Blog…

From its Alexander Main comes,

The DEA’s Disappointing Response to Members of Congress Pressing for U.S. Investigation of Ahuas Killings three snippets

Nearly 17 months ago, dozens of heavily-armed Honduran and U.S. police agents carried out a pre-dawn drug interdiction operation along the Patuca River that left two women, a teenager and a young man dead and several others injured.  There is no evidence that the dead victims or the 12 other individuals traveling on the same boat – six of whom were women and six of whom were children ranging in age from two to fourteen – had any ties to drug trafficking.  The tragic incident – which Rights Action and CEPR analyzed extensively in the report “Collateral Damage of a Drug War” – left over half a dozen orphans in its wake and deeply scarred the tightly knit indigenous community of Ahuas, where the shootings took place.

[snip]

In January of this year, 58 members of the House of Representatives sent a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry and Attorney General Eric Holder expressing concern about the Ahuas killings and asking for a U.S. investigation of the incident to be carried out.  A full six months later, the DEA sent the 58 members a response which made no reference to the request for an investigation and provided a description of the DEA’s role in the incident which contains significant inaccuracies and unsubstantiated claims. 

[bold added]

[snip]

The fact that in their letter the DEA describes procedures to “maximize safety from all involved personnel” but makes no reference at all to any procedures designed to minimize casualties and maximize safety for bystanders suggests that no lessons have been drawn from the Ahuas incident.  The shooting incident and the subsequent treatment of the victims and the local residents that sought to provide the victims with assistance indicates that, at least in this instance, the only thing that mattered to the DEA agents was recovering the drug shipment.  Human lives appear to have been irrelevant within the context of the operation.

the substance of which  provokes questions as who are in charge of whom? Who are the subordinates? Accountable? Is this a perfunctory inquiry, or will the Congress seek to improve the image of the US by insisting on strict adherence to the rule of law, especially as it relates to a very impoverished country, and with one of the highest murder rates in the world?

And to reinforce the reality of corporate and multilateral development bank (MDB) cooperation comes this from Dan Beeton,

New Report Details Multilateral Development Bank, U.S. Role in Human Rights Abuses in Río Blanco, Honduras Couple excerpts should inspire further reading.

The report also notes that the multilateral development banks (MDBs) pressured Honduras and other Central American countries to “allow private energy investment” through structural adjustment programs in the 1990’s. But the World Bank and IDB’s role in the current conflict is not limited to the last century. After citing information from the Central American Bank for Economic Integration [PDF], the report concludes that:

Public funds facilitated by MDB’s private sector funding agencies, including the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation and the IDB’s International Investment Corporation, appear to be funding the Agua Zarca dam through [the Central American Mezzanine Infrastructure Fund, CAMIF], an investment fund that in reality does not respond to the safeguard policies of the MDB’s, even though it may be obligated to.

[note: that should be Inter-American, not International, Investment Corporation (IIC)]

[snip]

With 22.4 percent of voting shares [PDF] in the IFC and 30 percent of the votes in the IDB, the United States wields enormous leverage over the MDBs, but unfortunately thus far the U.S. government seems uninterested in supporting human rights in Río Blanco. In fact, the report also notes that the U.S. Ambassador to Honduras, Lisa Kubiske, seems to have signaled a green light for the recent persecution of the anti-dam activists:

The investigation that led to the charges [against Cáceres, Gómez and Molina] was launched around the same time that Honduran newspaper reports circulated on June 28, 2013 claimed that US Ambassador to Honduras, Lisa Kubiske, had called on the Honduran government to prosecute those who promote land occupations, stating that “the government should guarantee a functional justice system to proceed against those who encourage campesinos to invade lands.”

Yet again, corporate interests take precedence over the environment and those who inhabit it, the indigenous, voiceless mass. No need to mention the environmental and human catastrophe left untreated in a massive area of the Amazon region in Ecuador by Chevron (before, Texaco).

It seems not so long ago that major project approval criteria for some MDBs used to include: environmental, economic, financial, social, respect for human rights, criteria also espoused by government bilateral agencies such as USAID or DFID. Times do change.


…in vacuo, iterum iterumque – one african event, yet no evident context…

That recent episode, a tragedy inflicted on innocents, at a mall in Kenya, has been treated as an irrational act that lacks any probable, proximate cause – thanks to the compulsion of establishment media committed to avoid inconvenient linkages

But for that still solid core of exhaustive, professional journalism, the casually informed would have remained as uninformed as the mass of willingly uninformed. Two key articles suggest themselves.

The Guardian puts the Kenya episode in sufficient context, How al-Shabaab was born Here one noteworthy observation:

Amid the outrage against al-Shabaab, it’s important to recognise that terrorism does not happen outside of history. That is certainly true of al-Shabaab, which was born out of the Islamic Court Union, a loose formation of Islamic judicial systems that managed to restore some sort of civil order after years of a violent anarchy in Somalia, opening the Mogadishu airport and earning the support from a Somali majority. “The Courts achieved the unthinkable, uniting Mogadishu for the first time in 16 years, and re-establishing peace and security,” said a 2007 briefing paper by the respected Chatman House (pdf).

Tom Engelhard adds further depth. Engelhardt, a recognized investigative reporter in matters of war and national security issues of the US. Which Came First: The Chicken or the Terrorist?

The idea that there was some history to all of this, that it involved Washington and the U.S. military, secret CIA prisons and covert drone strikes, the funding, supplying, and organizing of proxy African troops, and the thorough destabilizing of Somalia because Washington feared an Islamic group that was actually unifying the country — out of which al-Shabab (“the youth”) emerged — seems unbelievable, though it is simple fact.  And here’s a reality that you won’t see on your TV screen 24/7: if al-Shabab is a nightmare, history has joined it to Washington at the hip.  The particular kind of destabilization that gripped Somalia in the post-9/11 years, including a U.S.-inspired Ethiopian invasion and years later a Kenyan version of the same, has now spread to Kenya itself.  As Nick Turse has argued at this site, this sort of destabilization is now happening across the African continent…

The two articles, especially  Engelhardt’s, present established facts and sharp analysis that the corporate MSM will one day suddenly have to report, albeit minimally, as ‘breaking news’. At worst, the skeptical can engage in the independent research to challenge the substance of the two articles, and also benefit from the self-enrichment that comes from abandoning misleading, breathless  superficialities that pass for news. In any event there is that context, that frame of reference that must be considered.

There is that idiocy of  encouraging folk to only ‘look forward’ – each day, tabula rasa, in vacuo. Consequences do tend to arrive at the doorstep – of the innocent, and when least expected.