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Gaza Flotilla Determined to Sail Despite Setbacks

Audacity of Hope
© The Associated Press
The activist run boat Audacity of Hope is escorted by the Greek coast guard in port of Perama, near Athens, Greece, July 1, 2011.

An international aid flotilla is continuing with plans to sail to the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip despite a series of setbacks.

Pro-Palestinian activists organizing the aid flotilla say they still intend to challenge Israel's blockade on Gaza, a day after an American boat was intercepted by the Greek coast guard and turned back to Athens. American Greta Berlin, who was on board the vessel, blames Israel and the United States for the setback.

"The Greek government is under a huge amount of pressure from the Israeli government and probably our own government as well," said Berlin.

Israel and the U.S. have urged the flotilla not to violate the Gaza blockade, warning that the mission is dangerous and provocative. Last year ago, Israeli naval commandos intercepted a Gaza aid flotilla, and in the botched raid, nine pro-Palestinian activists were killed. The incident sparked international outrage and raised regional tensions.

The United Nations and European Union have backed the Israeli and U.S. position, which calls for the flotilla to dock in Israeli or Egyptian ports and transfer their cargo to Gaza legally over land.

Dollar

Meaner Tougher IMF with Lagarde

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© N/A
Christine Lagarde
On June 28, New York Times writer Liz Alderman headlined, "France's Lagarde Named New Head of IMF," saying:
She'll assume "one of the most powerful positions in global finance as a worsening crisis in Greece threatens the euro currency union and rattles financial markets worldwide."
Washington's choice all along, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner endorsed her over Mexico's central bank governor Agustin Carsten, her only competitor after IMF board of directors excluded Israeli central bank governor Stanley Fischer. Allegedly because of age, he, in fact, lacked support outside Israel, and US officials stuck with traditional IMF policy of a European in charge.

An American always heads the World Bank, yet Washington dominates all international lending agencies, assuring it anoints officials heading them, public discourse notwithstanding.

USA

The Business Of America Is War

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Noted trends analyst Gerald Celente said it, and it's true. In fact, America's business is war, more war, multiple wars, permanent wars, pillaging one nation after another for wealth, power, and dominance, while homeland needs go begging.

America never was and isn't now the "land of the free and home of the brave." In fact, it's become a "Let 'em eat cake" society.

Whether or not Marie Antoinette actually said it, France's 1789-99 revolution was very real, delivering guillotine justice, not promised "Liberte, Egalite, and Fraternite," a status now destroying what's left of American freedom, heading for the trash bin of history if not already there.

Earlier articles discussed Washington's wars against Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya and Yemen, as well as numerous proxy ones in Africa, Asia, Central and South America, and at home against Muslims, Latino immigrants, and working households.

Combined, they represent a shocking contempt for rule of law justice, democratic values and humanity, notions now mere artifacts long ago abandoned to advance America's imperium.

Alarm Clock

Roger Ailes' Secret Nixon-Era Blueprint for Fox News

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© Unknown
Republican media strategist Roger Ailes launched Fox News Channel in 1996, ostensibly as a "fair and balanced" counterpoint to what he regarded as the liberal establishment media. But according to a remarkable document buried deep within the Richard Nixon Presidential Library, the intellectual forerunner for Fox News was a nakedly partisan 1970 plot by Ailes and other Nixon aides to circumvent the "prejudices of network news" and deliver "pro-administration" stories to heartland television viewers.

The memo - called, simply enough, "A Plan For Putting the GOP on TV News" - is included in a 318-page cache of documents detailing Ailes' work for both the Nixon and George H.W. Bush administrations that we obtained from the Nixon and Bush presidential libraries. Through his firms REA Productions and Ailes Communications, Inc., Ailes served as paid consultant to both presidents in the 1970s and 1990s, offering detailed and shrewd advice ranging from what ties to wear to how to keep the pressure up on Saddam Hussein in the run-up to the first Gulf War.

The documents - drawn mostly from the papers of Nixon chief of staff and felon H.R. Haldeman and Bush chief of staff John Sununu - reveal Ailes to be a tireless television producer and joyful propagandist. He was a forceful advocate for the power of television to shape the political narrative, and he reveled in the minutiae constructing political spectacles - stage-managing, for instance, the lighting of the White House Christmas tree with painstaking care. He frequently floated ideas for creating staged events and strategies for manipulating the mainstream media into favorable coverage, and used his contacts at the networks to sniff out the emergence of threatening narratives and offer advice on how to snuff them out - warning Bush, for example, to lay off the golf as war in the Middle East approached because journalists were starting to talk. There are also occasional references to dirty political tricks, as well as some positions that seem at odds with the Tea Party politics of present-day Fox News: Ailes supported government regulation of political campaign ads on television, including strict limits on spending. He also advised Nixon to address high school students, a move that caused his network to shriek about "indoctrination" when Obama did it more than 30 years later.

All 318 pages are available here. First, some highlights:

Bad Guys

Fox News Plan Exposed By Document

MSNBC/The Young Turks host Cenk Uygur speaks with John Cook of Gawker about a Nixon era document that involved current Fox News president Roger Ailes laying out how to create a Republican propaganda TV network.

Alarm Clock

Record 44.7 Million People on Food Stamps

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© foodfreedom.wordpress.com
The one and only clearest indication of just how effective the recovery and QE2 (Quantitative Easing 2) in general has been, comes courtesy of the USDA, whose just released update of April participation in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), better known as food stamps, shows yet another record, this time 44.647 million people, an increase from May's 44.587 million. And after rising modestly in the last month, the average monthly benefit per household dropped again to a post April 2009 revision low of $282.38/month.

Newspaper

Neoconservatives Want War and More War

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© Unknown
The neoconservatives remain powerful in Washington in large part because of their continued influence inside leading opinion-setting journals like the New York Times and the Washington Post, two prestige newspapers that have pressed ahead with the neocon agenda despite serious blows to their credibility in recent years

Sometimes the New York Times and the Washington Post behave like two vintage ocean-liners competing to see which will edge out the other in a competition to become the flagship for American neoconservatism. Think of a cross-Atlantic race between the Titanic and the Lusitania.

The Times was pouring on the coal in Friday's editions, pushing the Obama administration and NATO to finish off the war in Libya. The Times editors seemed most concerned at the prospect of negotiations to resolve the conflict without a clear-cut military victory over Col. Muammar Gaddafi.

"There has been recent talk by all sides about a possible political deal between the rebels and the government," the Times fretted. "We are eager to see an end to the fighting. But Washington and NATO must stand firmly with the rebels and reject any solution that does not involve the swift ouster of Colonel Qaddafi and real freedom for Libyans."

People

UN workers responsible for 5,500 Haiti cholera deaths

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© Agence France-Presse
"An exact correlation in time and places" between arrivals from Nepal, and a cholera outbreak in Haiti: CDC report.
United Nations peacekeepers from Nepal brought the strain of cholera to Haiti responsible for an epidemic that has killed 5,500 people, according to a study published by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The study is the first to establish a direct link between the arrival of the Nepalese UN battalion near the small town of Mirebalais and the cholera epidemic that erupted in mid-October 2010.

On Thursday in New York, UN acting deputy spokesman Farhan Haq said the agency was "aware of the report and as with other prior reports, we will study its findings diligently."

The research, led by a group of French doctors, appeared in the CDC's July issue of Emerging Infectious Diseases.

Attention

Foreign Ministry denies Irish claim of flotilla sabatoge

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© Reuters /John Kolesidis
Irish activists say Israel sabotaged their ship; Gov't in Athens prohibits ships with Greek, foreign flags from departing from Greece to Gaza; US ship 'Audacity of Hope' turned back shortly after embarking.

Israel was not behind the engine damage caused to an Irish ship participating in the Gaza-bound flotilla, Foreign Ministry officials said on Saturday.

Last week, Saoirse, one of ten ships set to sail in the mass movement to break the Gaza sea blockade, was docked in Turkish waters when it sustained engine damage. Fintan Lane, coordinator of the Irish Ship to Gaza organization, called the act "dangerous sabotage" and said the ship he believed divers had worked underwater to cut a piece of the propeller shaft.

Stormtrooper

Malaysia arrests 14 for 'Bersih' protest T-shirts

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© The Associated Press
Malaysian activists in Bersih (Clean) T-shirts at a 2007 rally. Authorities have been arresting people for wearing the shirts ahead of a protest against electoral corruption.
Word means 'clean' and is used by group planning banned rally against electoral corruption

Malaysian police have detained 14 opposition activists for wearing T-shirts promoting a planned rally against alleged electoral abuses.

It is the latest attempt by authorities to deter citizens from marching in Kuala Lumpur on 9 July in what the opposition hopes will be Malaysia's biggest protest in nearly four years.

The activists are demanding that authorities overhaul voter lists, introduce transparent procedures for ballots to be counted and make other policy changes ahead of national elections widely expected by mid-2012. Government officials say current electoral laws are fair enough.

Authorities have arrested nearly 100 activists in cities across the country since Friday. Some were handing out leaflets linked to the planned demonstration, while others were travelling to publicity events. More than half have been freed.