Posts Tagged ‘trade’

Corrupt Egyptian system: feeds the IDF, starves Gazans, oppresses journalists

February 6, 2009

Iqbal Tamimi | Palestine Think Tank, Feb 5, 2009


Once upon an alleged democracy, the Egyptian government decided a couple of days ago to try the journalist Majdi Hussein, the secretary-general of the Egyptian Labour party in a military court – even though he is a civilian – because he broke the law when he tried to “illegally enter the Gaza Strip”.

One wonders what is legal and what is not when it comes to Gaza.  It seems the law in Egypt is extremely elastic and can accommodate all manipulations and tailoring of the law to fit different sizes of growing plots. The good old Egyptian system is abiding by the law to the letter, and that’s why it wants to try a journalist in a military court for entering Gaza ‘illegally’ while the good old authority was providing the Israeli military ‘legally’ with tons of foods through the Gaza crossings while blocking any food sent to the starved to death children of Gaza who were burned to the bone by white phosphorus by that same Israeli army Egypt was feeding.

Last month the opposition Egyptian newspaper Alosbooa ‘The Week’ revealed in one of its reports a controversial story that was not refuted by the authorities about the Egyptian company ‘International Union of Food Industries’ which was providing the Israeli army with large quantities of homegrown Egyptian vegetables during the aggression on Gaza, since the very first day of the aggression.

The report revealed that the Egyptian trucks were loaded with tons of frozen local grown vegetables from the company stores in the city of Sadat to the Israeli company “Food Channel”, through Al Awja crossing between Egypt and Israel. One of the drivers said that he has made these deliveries many times to Israel but he was hiding this fact from his relatives and neighbours in Albadry neighbourhood at Assalam city, and that he used to tell them that he was delivering goods to other Arab countries, or the delivery is heading towards far ports like Savaja because he was embarrassed to tell them the truth. Other drivers said they no more feel embarrassed or ashamed of doing so because their government itself has normalized relations with Israel years ago. The workers in the company said that the food was repackaged with Hebrew writing, showing the expiry date and the contents, and that the food has been prepared according to Jewish religious rules.  Thus indicating that it complied with the traditional religious Jewish parameters, and that’s why the company imposed a cordon around the place, keeping stored bags, boxes, posters and empty cartons away from the sight of intruders, not allowing any of the workers or the staff to approach the packaging area, and searching every worker at the end of his shift before leaving.

Contrary to what was expected, trade exchange between Egypt and Israel because of Israeli policies towards the Palestinians has increased notably to 4 billion dollars in addition to exports of oil and gas.

Regarding the journalist Majdi Husse, this was not his first encounter with the Egyptian authorities. He was Chief Editor of an Egyptian Islamic bi-weekly when he was imprisoned for 4 months along with the journalist Muhammad Hilal in 1998 with charges of defaming former Minister of the Interior in Egypt, Lt. Gen. Hussein al-Alfi.

Hussein said he was prevented twice by the Egyptian authorities from entering the Gaza Strip through the Rafah crossing point, forcing him to take an alternative route to get into the Palestinian territ“Food Channel”ories.

The Egyptian prosecutor in Al-Arish city said the decision to put Hussein on military trial (even though he is a civilian) came after three days of investigations with him, and that he was arrested upon his arrival to the Egyptian side of the border with Gaza. The trial of Hussein is expected to be held on Thursday.

The Labour party in Egypt considered subjecting one of its top officials to a military trial as a grave violation of human rights, since he is a civilian, and commented that Majdi’s decision to get into Gaza Strip was driven by his “nationalist, Islamic, and popular considerations, and that Majdi’s determination to enter the Strip reflects the general feeling in the Egyptian street to lift the siege on Gaza and to open the Rafah crossing point before the Palestinian people.”

Majidi is not the only Arab journalist Egyptian authorities prevented from entering Gaza, the Al-Jazeera team was denied entry into Gaza too. The Egyptian authorities denied two of Al-Jazeera’s top journalists Ahmed Mansour and Ghassan Bin Jiddo entry into the Gaza Strip without explaining the reasons. Especially since Egypt had granted entry into the Gaza Strip to foreign and European journalists.

In a telephone call with his satellite channel, Mansour confirmed that the Egyptian authorities told them that they (he and bin Jiddo) were denied entry, at a time it granted many journalists of different nationalities the right to enter the Strip.

“We presented our identification documents to the Egyptian authorities and requested permission to enter the Gaza Strip as other journalists did, but we were denied entry,” added Mansour.

Mansour also said that the Egyptian officials stopped answering their telephone calls, but he stressed that the Al-Jazeera team will remain at the borders till a rational reason by the Egyptian authorities is given to justify such action.

Hence, according to the law-abiding Egyptian authorities, it is illegal to open the crossing to allow food and aid to the starved Gaza children, but it is legal to feed the Zionist army who were barbecuing Gaza children. It is legal to allow foreign journalists to cross to the Gaza haven, but it is against the law to allow Arab journalists to cross the borders to investigate or offer emotional support. It seems it is legal to stand on the borders and watch a full nation being killed and not only to stand idly doing nothing, but also to punish those who intend to help.

Fidel Castro: The Law of the Jungle

October 14, 2008

Racism, Obama and the Fall of the American Economy

Fidel Castro | Counterpunch, Oct 13, 2008

Trade, within a society and between countries, is the exchange of goods and services produced by human beings. The owners of the means of production appropriate the profits. As a class, they are the leaders of the capitalist state and they boast of fostering development and social wellbeing through market. This they  worship as an infallible God.

In every country there is competition between the strongest and the weakest; the ones with more physical energy and better fed, those who learned how to read and write, who attended school and have more experience accumulated; the ones with more extensive social relations and more resources, and those within society who fail to have these advantages.

Now, as far as the countries is concerned, there are differences between those with a better climate and more arable land, more water and more natural resources in the area where they are located, when there are no more territories to conquer; the ones mastering technology, having greater development and handling unlimited media resources and those who, on the contrary, do not enjoy any of these prerogatives. These are the sometimes enormous differences between the rich and the poor nations.

It´s the law of the jungle.

There are no differences between ethnic groups, however, when it comes to the mental faculties of the human being. This has been thoroughly proven by science. The present society is not the natural way in which human life evolved, but rather a creation of the mentally developed man without which his life would be inconceivable. Therefore, what is at stake is whether the human being will be able to survive the privilege of having a creative mind.

The developed capitalist system, epitomized by the country with a privileged nature where the European white man brought his ideas, dreams and ambitions, is today in a crisis. But, it is not the usual crisis happening once in a number of years; not even the traumatic crisis of the 1930s but the worst of all crises since the world started to pursue this growth and development model.

The current crisis of the developed capitalist system is taking place when the empire is about to change leadership in the elections to be held in twenty-five days; it was all that was left to see.

The candidate of the two main parties that will say the last word in these elections are trying to persuade the bewildered voters –many of whom have never cared to cast a vote- that as candidates to the presidency they can secure the wellbeing and consumerism of what they describe as a people of middle class only, even though they are not planning to introduce any real changes to what they consider the most perfect economic system the world has ever known. The same world that, in their respective minds, is less important than the happiness of over three hundred million people who account for less than five percent of the world population. The fate of the remaining ninety-five percent of human beings, peace and war, the fit or unfit-for-breathing air, will highly depend on the decisions of the administrative leader of the empire, whether or not that constitutional position has any power at a time of nuclear weapons and space shields moved by computers in circumstances where every second counts and when ethical principles keep loosing their value. Still, the more or less nefarious role of the President of that country cannot be overlooked.

Racism is deeply-rooted in the United States where the mind of millions of people can hardly reconcile with the notion that a black man, with his wife and children could live in the White House, which is precisely called White.

It´s a miracle that the Democratic candidate has not met the same destiny as Martin Luther King, Malcolm X and others who only a few decades ago dreamed of justice and equality. He is in the habit of looking at his adversary with serenity and of smiling at the dialectic predicament of an opponent gazing into space.

The Republican candidate, on the other hand, who likes to enhance his reputation as a belligerent man, was one of the worst students in his class at West Point. He has confessed that he did not know any Mathematics; it can thus be assumed that he knew less of the complicated economic science.

The truth is his adversary surpasses him in cleverness and composure.

Something McCain has aplenty is age, and his health condition is not safe.

I am bringing up these data to indicate that eventually -if anything went wrong with the candidate´s health, in case he is elected- the lady of the riffle, the inexperienced former governor of Alaska could become President of the United States. It can be noticed that she does not know a thing.

Meditating on the current US public debt -$10,266 trillions- that President Bush is laying on the shoulders of the new generations in that country, I took to calculating how long it would take a man to count the debt that he has doubled in eight years.

A man working eight hours a day, without missing a second, and counting one hundred one-dollar bills per minute, during 300 days in the year, would need 710 billion years to count that amount of money.

I could not find a more graphic way to describe the volume of money that is practically mentioned every day now.

In order to avoid a general state of panic, the US administration has declared that it will secure deposits that do not exceed 250 thousand dollars. It will be managing banks and such funds as Lenin would never have thought of counting with an abacus.

We might be wondering about the contribution of Bush´s administration to Socialism. But, let´s not entertain any illusions. Once the banking operations go back to normal, the imperialists will return the banks to the private business as some other countries in this hemisphere have already done. The peoples always foot the bill.

Capitalism tends to reproduce itself under any social system because it is based on selfishness and on man´s instincts.

The only choice left to human society is to overcome this contradiction; otherwise it would not be able to survive.

At this time, the ocean of money being poured into the world finances by the central banks of the developed capitalist countries is dealing a hard blow to the Stock Exchanges of the countries which resort to these institutions in an effort to beat their economic underdevelopment.  Cuba has no Stock Exchange. We shall certainly find more rational  and more socialist ways of financing our development.

The current crisis and the brutal measures of the US administration to save itself will bring more inflation, more devaluation of the national currencies, more painful losses in the markets, lower prices for basic export commodities and more unequal exchange. But, they will also bring to the peoples a better understanding of the truth,  a greater conscience, more rebelliousness and more revolutions.

We shall see how the crisis develops and what happens in the United States in twenty-five days.

A Free Kashmir: Random Thoughts

October 2, 2008

Part 31

By Dr. Abdul Ruff Colachal | Kashmir Watch, October 2, 2008

Independent Kashmir: Optimism of Freedom Leaders Every nation has the right to be free and govern it themselves People in Kashmir should be able to capitalize on it at the international level. People of Jammu Kashmir want their birth right, right to self-determination and peace will remain elusive in the region until people are not given right to decide their own future.

Kashmiris struggling for their full and complete independence from occupying terror India should feel happy now because a good section of anti-Kashmiris in India and Kashmir are growing restless thanks to the positive development in Kashmir towards attaining their rightful sovereignty from their oppressors who thought Kashmir would be under their brutal custody for ever. The fact that not many pro-India elements from Kashmir are in great demand now in New Delhi’s by lanes of power. There has been a feeling in New Delhi that India will have to vacate Kashmir any day and stop killing the innocent Kashmiris under fictitious pretexts. A recent demonstration in New Delhi by a national political wing to free Kashmir from Indian military rule has espoused enough enthusiasm among the global Kashmiris looking for a sovereign nation at the earliest.

ONE: Freedom Fighters

The English colonizers of India discovered a lot of “things” for the people to fight each other so that the occupiers could stay comfortably. Amarnath Shrine was also discovered by the British raj in 19th Century for India Hindus. Now they want to expand the scope of importance of that temple structure by illegally annexing l forest lands of Kashmiris. The JK state government, under pressure from government of India, illegally transferred 800 kanals of forestland to Shrine Board on the instructions of New Delhi and the president of India herself was present in Srinagar when the final deal was cleared on pressure by the JK Forest minister under coercion. But the grace of Almighty Allah it awakened people of Kashmir and hundreds and thousands of people are on the streets demanding freedom.

Kashmir Freedom fighters and their supporters are being subjected to innumerable difficulties. No doubt, underdogs are available every where at the disposal of the ruthless rulers for a price and in Kashmir they are being used by India to ruin and kill Kashmir Muslims. India successfully created strong pro-India lobbyists in Delhi, Kashmir and important world capitals. Pro-India political outfits like Congress, NC and other parties have been strengthening Indian occupation in Kashmir. People should be aware that pro-India parties seek votes in the name of development, but in assembly they are working against Islam.

Ever since India tactfully annexed its neighboring Kashmir in 1947, over a lakh Kashmiris have laid their lives for freedom and martyrdom has been continuing fearlessly against all tactics and strat3egis of occupier India, which split the Jammu Kashmir nation along religious and regional lines to advance its nefarious terrorism goals. Kashmir land has created quite successfully, serious freedom leaders who lead the struggle thus far. But with a view to suppress the struggle India kills Kashmiris Muslims but none, including the Un has taken the explosive terror situation in Kashmir quite seriously because of the powerful propaganda by India through media and cash. More than 80 Kashmiri Muslims have been killed in police action in the past two months alone. Kashmir is not the issue of elections or governance. It is not even a dispute, but a case of fraud and genocide and state terrorism by India in Kashmir. Even if it is an internationally recognized dispute, it must be resolved as per the wishes and aspirations of the people of Jammu and Kashmir.

Vote that managed a regime to support the Indian terror case in Kashmir had same power that time which later bullet had. People who represent the aspirations and sentiments of Kashmiris are the real representatives. The recent protests have given a new dimension to the freedom struggle and it is great to observe the Kashmiri youth realizing their insecurity under the Indian occupation. Sheikh Abdul Aziz and other 50 people have been martyred since Muzaffarabad March on August 11. It is great tribute to the people of the state and a lesson for everyone that anything can be achieved through unity. Today Kashmir people have succeeded in pressing India and Pakistan to open points through the bloody line (LOC) we will continue our efforts until this line is completely smashed away.

Continued . . .

POLITICS-INDIA: Polls Uncertain With Jammu Divided From Kashmir

September 22, 2008

By Athar Parvaiz Bhat | Inter-Press Service News

SRINAGAR, Sep 21 (IPS) – Plans by the central government to conduct elections in Jammu and Kashmir, due originally in November, remain uncertain because of the serious regional and religious differences that have cropped up between the two main regions that make up the composite territory.

Relations between Hindu-majority Jammu and the Muslim-dominated Kashmir valley have been souring since May over a move to transfer forest land to a board that manages a popular, annual pilgrimage to the Hindu cave shrine of Amarnath, deep in the Kashmir Himalayas.

Agitations over the controversial move resulted in the regional People’s Democratic Party (PDP) withdrawing support to the coalition government led by chief minister Ghulam Nabi Azad of the Congress party and the state being placed under direct central rule on Jul. 7.

And now, the federal government, the election commission, political parties and civil society leaders are unable to agree on when to schedule elections for a new state assembly.

“I don’t think holding elections would be a good thing to do at a time when the state is passing through a difficult situation. The entire state is on edge due to the communal and regional tension. I reckon that it will cause the situation to deteriorate further,” Balraj Puri, a noted expert on the Kashmir conflict who is based in Jammu, told IPS.

“Let the situation calm down. I think an internal dialogue between the two regions should be started on a priority basis to bring about a rapprochement,” said Puri who favours autonomy for the different regions of the state.

Prof. Rekha Choudhary, who teaches political science at Jammu University, believes that by planning to hold elections the central government appeared to be insensitive to the serious regional polarisation that has occurred. ”I think holding elections in the state in the current circumstances would be a huge risk. We have never seen the kind of hostilities between the regions of the state like what exists today,” she said.

Choudhary said the central government seems to be driven by the belief that holding elections would help bridge the gap between the Jammu and Kashmir regions. “In Kashmir pro-freedom groups that have appealed for a total boycott of the elections are going to gain in popularity by capitalising on the popular mood of hostility against India. And in Jammu, the right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) which favoured the land transfer to the Hindu shrine board, is going to benefit,’’ she said.

India’s Kashmir state is a classic example of linguistic and ethno-religious diversity and comprises the three distinct regions of Kashmir, Jammu and Ladakh. Together, these regions are known to the world as Indian Administered Kashmir.

About 55 percent of the state’s total population of 10 million is settled in the alpine Kashmir region, traditionally the seat of power. While 98 percent of the people who live in Kashmir are Muslim, Jammu’s population is 60 percent Hindu. Ladakh accounts for two percent of the total population.

About a third of the area of the former princely state Jammu and Kashmir is under the administration of Pakistan.

In 1989, people in Muslim-dominated Kashmir began an armed struggle in favour of freedom from India and this spilled over into the Muslim areas of Jammu.

Political analysts say the mistrust between the Jammu and Kashmir regions has been brewing for a long time. The people and leaders of these regions have been competing for central developmental funds and prized positions in administration.

“The government of India never tried to evolve a mechanism to hold all the regions together in order to give them a feeling of belongingness. It never had a focused policy regarding Kashmir and was keen on installing puppet regimes in the state which would serve its own interests,” observes Gul Mohammad Wani who teaches political science at Kashmir University.

“Jammu region is demanding a greater share in power which, according to them, has always remained centred in Kashmir. On the contrary, people in the Kashmir region are demanding complete freedom from India,” Wani said.

Observers say that if the elections are not held by November, they will have to be postponed till April given the harsh winter in Kashmir and Ladakh. Out of a total of 87 assembly constituencies, a majority of them, 50, fall in Kashmir.

Most political parties prefer to delay polls till next year. The exception remains the pro-Hindu BJP which may benefit from the communal divisions, especially in Jammu.

“We suggest that congenial conditions be created for holding elections before announcing election dates,” says Omar Abdullah, president of the pro-India National Conference party. His viewpoint is shared by Mehbooba Mufti, leader of the PDP which also favours Kashmir remaining a part of India.

At least 42 people died during the agitations against the land transfer with the movement quickly morphing into revival of calls for freedom from Indian rule — not heard for the last five years.

Suspicions between the two regions worsened after traders in the Kashmir region announced snapping of relations with their Jammu counterparts in reaction to what they called “economic blockade” of their region by the people of Jammu during the agitation.

Kashmir receives essential supplies and exports its produce to markets in India solely through the 300 km-long Jammu-Srinagar highway.

“How can we think of maintaining trade ties with the traders from Jammu when they were party to the recent economic blockade of Kashmir by the people of Jammu,” says president of the Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industries (KCCI) Mubeen Shah. “The wounds, inflicted by the economic blockade of Kashmir, will take a lot of time to heal up’’

According to economists, boycotting trade with Jammu would mean immense loss to traders on both sides.

“Kashmir’s total trade is estimated at Rs 520 billion (11.3 billion US dollars) per annum out of which the yearly trade exchange between the Kashmir and Jammu regions is Rs 270 billion (six billion dollars),” says Prof. Nissar Ali who teaches economics at Kashmir University.

Traders in Kashmir have now intensified their demand for reopening the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad road, which connects Indian Kashmir with the Pakistan administered part.

Before Pakistan and India grabbed control of parts of Jammu and Kashmir in 1947, the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad road served as the main link between Kashmir and the markets of Rawalpindi in Pakistan and beyond.

On Aug. 11, thousands of Kashmiri traders and common people took out a symbolic march towards Muzaffarabad, the capital of Pakistan administered Kashmir, to assert this demand. At least five people were killed and many others injured when police, stopped the march by opening fire some 20 km ahead of the Line of Control, the de-facto border between the Indian and Pakistani parts of Kashmir.

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