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Leaked TTIP Documents Confirm Corporate Power Grab at Heart of EU/US Trade Deal

May 2, 2016 – 11:05 am |

Greenpeace have leaked 248 pages of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiating texts, confirming worst fears of environmentalists and social justice activists.
The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) is a massive trade deal …

Read the full story »
Neoliberalism

The dominant ideology of modern times is hard to pin down but its influence is global and catastrophic. A mixture of bogus economic theory, direct assaults on behalf of class power and a Trojan horse to subvert democracy – everyone needs to understand the nature and influence of neoliberalism.

Corruption

Our taxes pay the wages of politicians, the police and the civil service. These people take our money and our trust to look after OUR interests. When they decide to play the game for themselves and their friends its called corruption and it should always be exposed and challenged.

Corporate Capture

Politics, the Civil Service, the media, the police, the EU Commission – the list of organisations that should bat for us but instead bat for corporate power is depressing – we chart the slide and the fightback. We follow the money, the cushy appointments, the backroom deals all the way to the top

Squashing Dissent

If there is one characteristic of the modern neoliberal era its that the establishment has become hyper-sensitive to any kind of criticism and organised protest. We keep track of all the latest legal and illegal ways that legitimate peaceful protest is undermined, bullied and squashed.

Spying

The role played by the ‘security services’ of the UK and the USA in the mass Orwellian surveillance of innocent people was exposed by the whistleblower Edward Snowden – we will trace developments of this terrifying new front in the battle to defend democracy and basic freedoms.

Corporate Capture, Featured, Guest Articles, Neoliberalism »

Disaster Capitalism: Ecuador Forced to Pay US Oil Giant $180M

May 2, 2016 – 1:16 pm |
The Ecuadorean government is being forced to use money that could go toward relief efforts to instead pay off a multinational oil company.

The Ecuadorean government is being ordered to pay US$180 million payment on Friday to the multinational oil corporation Occidental, just two weeks after a major earthquake struck the country, killing hundreds and causing billions of dollars in damage.

“Urgently needed public resources are being channelled to an oil multinational during an emergency because of a decision by for-profit arbitrators at a secretive international tribunal,” said Cecilia Olivet, a researcher with the Transnational Institute, a center-left think tank based in Amsterdam.

disasterrelief__jpeg_1718483346

The final payment is part of a total settlement of US$980 million imposed on the Ecuadorean government by the World Bank-affiliated International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID).

The settlement came after the Ecuador terminated an oil concession due a breach of contract and national law on the part of Occidental. The U.S. oil giant then sued the government at an international investment arbitration tribunal, the product of the U.S.-Ecuador Bilateral Investment Treaty. The massive reward came despite the tribunal acknowleding that Occidental broke the law.

Critics warn that forcing Ecuador to pay off the settlement now could hamper relief efforts in a country still recovering from a 7.8-magnitute earthquake.

The US$180 million payent is more than double the US$72 million international humanitarian appeal launched by the United Nations and emergency relief organizations to assist Ecuadoreans in need of drinkable water, housing and basic health services.

“Ecuador would be morally justified in prioritizing the lives and emergency disaster relief of its people over paying a multi-million dollar Investor State Dispute Settlement award to a petrol company,” said Sam Cossar, a campaigner with Friends of the Earth. “If Ecuador is forced to pay this US$180 million, the international community would be neglecting its duty to rebuild the country.”

WATCH: Ecuador Earthquake: Coastal Residents Remain Hopeful Despite Destruction

 The ICSID is comprised of special legal tribunals that allow corporations to file legal claims against a country in an international arbitration court and provide them with the right to demand compensation for government actions that impact corporate profits.  

Since the ICSID was created, South American countries have accounted for 27 percent of all arbitration cases. Bolivia (2007), Ecuador (2010), and Venezuela (2012) have all abandoned their ICSID contracts.

Currently, there are almost 700 known ICSID cases worldwide. Critics argue the tribunal undermines states’ ability to protect public interests at the expense of corporate profits.

TeleSur

Leaked TTIP Documents Confirm Corporate Power Grab at Heart of EU/US Trade Deal

May 2, 2016 – 11:05 am |

Greenpeace have leaked 248 pages of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiating texts, confirming worst fears of environmentalists and social justice activists.
The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) is a massive trade deal …

New Study Shows Mass Surveillance Breeds Meekness, Fear and Self-Censorship | Glenn Greenwald

April 29, 2016 – 4:14 pm | One Comment

A newly published study from Oxford’s Jon Penney provides empirical evidence for a key argument long made by privacy advocates: that the mere existence of a surveillance state breeds fear and conformity and stifles free expression. Reporting …

What Zionism has meant for Palestinians | Ben White

April 29, 2016 – 3:53 pm | One Comment

“If there are other inhabitants there, they must be transferred to some other place. We must take over the land. We have a greater and nobler ideal than preserving several hundred thousands of Arab fellahin.”
Menahem …

Has the future already been drowned in the babbling of Facebook?

April 24, 2016 – 1:40 pm |

Years ago, I worked in a cramped office as a civil servant. My male and married boss was having an affair with a woman in my office, his wife worked at an office just up the …

Media Pretend Not To Know About British Boots on the Ground in Libya | Craig Murray

April 19, 2016 – 9:50 am |

Yesterday Philip Hammond, UK foreign secretary, visited a naval base in Tripoli to be shown docking facilities for British military vessels. The authoritative Jane’s Defence Weekly published that the 150 strong amphibious Special Purpose Task …

Britain’s part in the ‘drone war’ in Yemen urgently needs explaining | Anna H. Jackman

April 16, 2016 – 10:39 am | One Comment

Recent allegations of the UK’s “systemic collaboration” in CIA-led drone operations in Yemen have raised questions about the UK’s unfolding drone programme
.

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, more commonly known as drones, have become the most talked-about weapon of …

A World War has begun. Break the silence | John Pilger

March 24, 2016 – 12:43 am | 2 Comments

The world is in the grip of a massive wave of militarism of which most of us are blissfully ignorant, writes John Pilger. When did mainstream media last tell you about the US’s $1 trillion …

The Brussels Attacks: Our pain and rage are immense, but we need reason and understanding more than ever | Frank Barat

March 23, 2016 – 9:38 am | Comments Off on The Brussels Attacks: Our pain and rage are immense, but we need reason and understanding more than ever | Frank Barat

The second day of Spring in my hometown, Brussels, started like any other day. I took the kids to school and nursery this morning, then went to work. Or, rather, came back home, where most …

Iain Duncan Smith: Good Riddance to Bad Rubbish

March 19, 2016 – 11:02 am | Comments Off on Iain Duncan Smith: Good Riddance to Bad Rubbish

So with a wearying predictability Iain Duncan Smith has had another epiphany and resigned.
We are now invited to believe that he has developed a conscience about what the Tories are doing to the unemployed, the sick and the disabled. …

‘Chilling Effect’ of Mass Surveillance Is Silencing Dissent | Nafeez Ahmed

March 17, 2016 – 7:25 pm | Comments Off on ‘Chilling Effect’ of Mass Surveillance Is Silencing Dissent | Nafeez Ahmed

Thanks largely to whistleblower Edward Snowden’s revelations in 2013, most Americans now realize that the intelligence community monitors and archives all sorts of online behaviors of both foreign nationals and US citizens.
But did you know …

Beware the march of the authoritarians! | Jonathon Porritt

March 17, 2016 – 10:27 am | Comments Off on Beware the march of the authoritarians! | Jonathon Porritt

Is the UK sinking into authoritarian rule? That’s how it looks, writes Jonathon Porritt, as the government joins with right wing media and fossil fuel companies to attack local democracy and environmental campaigners. Is this …

Labour Must Once More Become The Party of Empty Buzzwords, Says Dan Jarvis

March 11, 2016 – 10:17 am | Comments Off on Labour Must Once More Become The Party of Empty Buzzwords, Says Dan Jarvis

Dan Jarvis – a man who is touted as being a future Labour leader by the sort of people who tipped Liz Kendall to be the same thing – has said that Labour must once …

The Evil Empire Has the World in a Death Grip | Paul Craig Roberts

March 7, 2016 – 11:33 am | One Comment

In my archives there is a column or two that introduces the reader to John Perkins’ important book, Confessions of an Economic Hit Man. An EHM is an operative who sells the leadership of a …

The Corbyn Effect: How Apathy Became Hope | Steve Turner

March 7, 2016 – 9:51 am | Comments Off on The Corbyn Effect: How Apathy Became Hope | Steve Turner

LAST WEEK Tony Blair professed bafflement at the rise — on both sides of the Atlantic — of popular movements by people who in Blair’s view choose to “rattle the cage”.
I think this is a …

Beware Israeli propaganda dressed up as news

March 6, 2016 – 12:07 pm | Comments Off on Beware Israeli propaganda dressed up as news

The Haze’s attention was drawn to this lengthy article in the staunchly pro-Israel Telegraph.
It is typical example of pro-Israeli propaganda that has been all over the corporate media recently. The piece is so flimsy that one almost feels sorry …

Capitalism dying of thirst | James Plested

March 5, 2016 – 10:37 am | Comments Off on Capitalism dying of thirst | James Plested

The world faces a growing water crisis, with billions of people experiencing severe water scarcity, according to a new report published in the journal Science Advances.
The report, authored by Arjen Hoekstra and Mesfin Mekonnen from …

To my fellow Israelis: We can stop this | Jonathon Ofir

February 9, 2016 – 12:43 am | One Comment

An open letter to my fellow Israelis:
This is probably a culmination of nearly a decade’s reviewed study of our history. At some point, beyond the singular stories, cases and arguments, I feel something unequivocal and …

Assange’s stitch-up is a lesson for us all | Daniel Margrain

February 6, 2016 – 2:22 pm | Comments Off on Assange’s stitch-up is a lesson for us all | Daniel Margrain

Yesterday’s UN ruling (February 5) that deemed the deprivation of liberty of Julian Assange to be unlawful is a legally binding vindication of all those activists who have supported the quest of the Wikileaks founder to bring into …

We need to talk about Trident | John Wright

February 5, 2016 – 3:22 pm | One Comment

There is a range of public opinion on Trident but, outside of the Labour Party, it is unlikely that those holding differing views get to discuss the issue with each other. John Wright argues that …

Western Aggression: The Highest Form of Terrorism | Edward S. Herman

February 1, 2016 – 12:12 pm | Comments Off on Western Aggression: The Highest Form of Terrorism | Edward S. Herman

Aggression is arguably the highest form of terrorism as it invariably includes the frightening of the target populations and their leaders as well as killing and destruction on a large scale.. The U.S. invaders of …

Media Silent As US-Backed Saudi Forces Starve Half Million Yemeni Children

February 1, 2016 – 11:27 am | Comments Off on Media Silent As US-Backed Saudi Forces Starve Half Million Yemeni Children

While the media was flooded with images of the starving children of Syria, the thousands of children suffering from Saudi Arabia’s U.S.-backed onslaught on Yemen made far fewer headlines.
The mainstream media was eager to report …

War Is Still Not the Answer | Justin Podur

January 31, 2016 – 12:06 pm | Comments Off on War Is Still Not the Answer | Justin Podur

“Antiwar sentiment may mostly have evaporated, but war is as horrible as ever.”
The unelected Saudi monarchy began the year by executing 47 people. It continues to bomb hospitals, homes, and civilians in Yemen as it …

Grotesque inequality and discrimination: Tories have disgraced Britain

January 27, 2016 – 3:56 pm | One Comment

News has reached Sodium Haze of two decisions in the court of appeal that have the effect of deeming the Bedroom Tax as unlawful and discriminatory.
The circumstances are worth noting.  
One of the two successful appeals was …

Why we shouldn’t be surprised by Tesco | Stephen Devlin

January 27, 2016 – 12:17 am | Comments Off on Why we shouldn’t be surprised by Tesco | Stephen Devlin

Today the Groceries Code Adjudicator (which is jargon for one woman, Christine Tacon, whose job it is to monitor the misbehaviour of supermarkets) revealed a terrible array of exploitative practices that Tesco uses when dealing …

Unity can deliver us from the tories and climate disaster | John Wright

January 26, 2016 – 2:55 pm | Comments Off on Unity can deliver us from the tories and climate disaster | John Wright

The UK’s 2020 general election could be as historically critical as Germany’s in 1933, argues John Wright.
The Nazis achieved power in Germany not by winning the support of a majority of the electorate, but via …

Love wins, locals support mosque targeted in hate attack | Martin Booth

January 26, 2016 – 1:53 pm | Comments Off on Love wins, locals support mosque targeted in hate attack | Martin Booth

Zaheer Shabir had scarcely put down the microphone when a man approached to grasp both of his hands.
Shaking them enthusiastically, the man told Shabir: “I’ve lived in Bristol all my life and that was the …

How we used to die; how we die now | Louis Profeta, M.D.

January 25, 2016 – 5:06 pm | Comments Off on How we used to die; how we die now | Louis Profeta, M.D.

An emergency physician’s  beautifully written and agonizingly empathic account of “how we used to die” starkly contrasted with how most people die now in our death-defying, death-dealing military industrial medicopharmaceuticalized culture. 
In the old days, she would be propped …

Hatred cannot defeat the Tories – our values must

January 21, 2016 – 1:32 pm | 5 Comments

 
Sodium Haze has been very quiet of late. I have been pondering how (and if) to proceed.
As a minor aggregator of independent articles and news I am subscribed to many social media feeds and blogs. Recently I have …

David Cameron’s plan to bomb ISIS is based on “fantasy” | Kapil Komireddi

November 27, 2015 – 11:03 am | 2 Comments

David Cameron’s case for military intervention in Syria is like that old Groucho Marx joke: “We have to have a war. I’ve already paid a month’s rent on the battlefield”.
Cameron wants us urgently to sign …

Why are so many Americans skeptical about climate change? A study offers a surprising answer. | Joby Warrick

November 24, 2015 – 1:58 pm | Comments Off on Why are so many Americans skeptical about climate change? A study offers a surprising answer. | Joby Warrick

Climate change has long been a highly polarizing topic in the United States, with Americans lining up on opposite sides depending on their politics and worldview. Now a scientific study sheds new light on the …

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