Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Pilot of 'Cocaine One' DC 9 is Re- Re- Re-Arrested

"His story ended, not with a bang, but a Twitter."

By Daniel Hopsicker, Mad Cow News

One of the greatest escapes since the Great Houdini was locked in handcuffs and leg-irons, nailed inside a crate, and lowered to the bottom of New York’s East River reached its conclusion two weeks ago, when a drug pilot who has escaped from custody in three different countries and eluded an international manhunt was arrested in a van with 70 kilos of cocaine in a parking lot at the Radisson Hotel in Caracas, Venezuela.

Carmelo Vasquez-Guerra, the pilot on two of the most famous and controversial drug flights of the past decade, was taken into custody by Venezuelan police without incident, along with two other men, ending an incredible five-year long saga featuring repeated arrest, but little detention.

During that time Vasquez-Guerra was arrested, and then inexplicably released from custody, in not one...not two... but in three different countries, located on two separate continents.  His astounding ability to slither out of serious trouble raises disturbing questions about who's winning—and losing—the war on drugs.

Carmelo Vasquez-Guerra—in global drug trafficking—is The Great Houdini II.

Even so, when his time ran out, and his run from the law finally ended, he went out, not with a bang…

But a Twitter.

A Tweet from the Minister of Funny Walks

"Stopped in Caracas by the CICPC: Carmelo Guerra Vásquez," twitted Tarek El Aissami, Venezuela’s Minister for the Interior and Justice. "Wanted by Interpol with a Red Notice for drug trafficking."

Fans of El Aissami on Twitter presumably know the significance of an Interpol “Red Notice.”
But even the uninitiated can make a good guess.

Carmelo Vásquez-Guerra, the most notorious drug pilot in the world, was in custody. It was an important event in a crucial struggle, because, when he talks, what he has to say will be of crucial importance in a larger arena.

Two combatants are locked in a death match: the American Drug Enforcement Administration, the DEA... and a man whose red beret has prompted more heartburn in the U.S. than anyone since Che Guevara.

Hugo Chavez is either Venezuela’s “President,” or Venezuela’s “strongman,” depending on your—or your native country’s—point of view.  He was democratically elected, but is highly controversial, even feared, in his own country, and by large segments of his own people.

The 'kingpin of kingpins' in a global jihad?

Now, under the intense glare of a worldwide media spotlight, some big questions about Hugo Chavez are about to receive answers.

Is Hugo Chavez, through cronies like countrymen Vasquez-Guerra and Walid Makled—recently called the ‘kingpin of kingpins’ by the U.S. Attorney in New York—a major global drug trafficker?

Is he collaborating in drug trafficking with elements of Al Qaeda, as the DEA charges, creating a drug pipeline from Venezuela through West Africa and the Sahara to Europe?
With the arrest of Carmelo Vasquez-Guerra (who, the government of Venezuela would like you to know, is the 60th drug trafficker being sought by Interpol caught in Venezuela since 2005), the  possibility even exists that answers may be forthcoming.

If Venezuela extradites him to any of a number of countries in where he is wanted for drug trafficking, Chavez will be throwing down the gauntlet—as well as his red beret—in front of the American DEA.

What the world wants to know from the captured pilot are a few of the slippery secrets, which no one doubts he possesses, to help illuminate the real politick of the global drug trade to those of us who have not been initiated, or "read into," what might be called the "clandestine mysteries.'

Debtmocracy for Greece - FKN Newz

A Pipeline of Injustice: Greek consular official admits that natural gas pipeline drives complicity in Gaza siege

By Charlotte Kates, Gaza TV News

It has been widely reported and speculated that the reason for Greece’s participation in the suppression of Freedom Flotilla Two may be found in its own economic situation – that the government of Prime Minister George Papandreou, pushing a devastating IMF/EU austerity plan on the Greek people against their will, is so desperate for international financial and economic support that it is willing to serve as the enforcement arm for Israel’s illegal siege on Gaza.

Yesterday, in Vancouver, Canada, a Greek consular official, Georgios Ayfantis, confirmed that this is indeed the case.

In a conversation with a delegation of activists supporting the Tahrir, the Canadian Boat to Gaza, who entered the consulate demanding a meeting about the Freedom Flotilla, Ayfantis asserted that Greece’s economic interests were at stake in stopping the Flotilla, saying that an undersea natural gas pipeline and a natural gas liquidizing plant in Crete were at stake.

The offer Netanyahu made followed on Papandreou’s visit to Israel in July 2010 - the first visit of a Greek Prime Minister in decades - and is sharply at odds with both the growing movement for boycott, divestment and sanctions from Israel, and Greek public opinion, which even the World Jewish Congress concedes is “clearly pro-Palestinian.”

Ayfantis further asserted that the Papandreou government’s enforcement of the Israeli siege was about “interests,” that Greece was afraid of Israel, and that the U.S. – and the Canadian government of Stephen Harper – is backing Israel completely.

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Phone-hacking scandal: Jonathan Rees obtained information using dark arts

By Nick Davies, Guardian

Freemason set up network of corrupt police, customs officials, taxmen and bank staff to gain valuable information

Years ago, Jonathan Rees became a freemason. According to journalists and investigators who worked with him, he then exploited his link with the lodges to meet masonic police officers who illegally sold him information which he peddled to Fleet Street.

As one of Britain's most prolific merchants of secrets, Rees expanded his network of sources by recruiting as his business partner Sid Fillery, a detective sergeant from the Metropolitan Police. Fillery added more officers to their network. Rees also boasted of recruiting corrupt Customs officers, a corrupt VAT inspector and two corrupt bank employees.

Other police contacts are said to have been blackmailed into providing confidential information. One of Rees's former associates claims that Rees had compromising photographs of serving officers, including one who was caught in a drunken state with a couple of prostitutes and with a toilet seat around his neck.

It is this network of corruption which lies at the heart of yesterday's claim in the House of Commons by Labour MP Tom Watson that Rees was targeting politicians, members of the royal family and even terrorist informers on behalf of Rupert Murdoch's News International. The Guardian's own inquiries suggest that Watson knows what he is talking about.

Much of what the police sources were able to sell to Rees was directly related to crime. But Rees also bought and sold confidential data on anybody who was of interest to his Fleet Street clients, to which the police often had special access. The Guardian has confirmed that Rees reinforced his official contacts with two specialist 'blaggers' who would telephone the Inland Revenue, the DVLA, banks and phone companies and trick them into handing over private data.

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More police violence in #Spain, evictions in eight squares #spanishrevolution #europeanrevolution


Over the past days the Spanish National Police force has coordinated to evict many of the squares that continued to be occupied by the 15M movement. The squares in Palma de Mallorca, Manacor, Santa Cruz de Tenerfe, Badajoz, Castellon, Gandia and las Palmas have been emptied forcefully and cleaned up. The last one to fall was the camp in Valencia, which was evicted early in the morning, at around 5.30 am local time and without warning. Most of the camps were small and the people staying there were coordinating the information booth left in most squares, as well as other permanent activities. This made most evictions easy and pacific.

In Santa Cruz de Tenerife (in the Canary Islands) and Palma de Mallorca (in the Balearic Islands), however, police forces displayed the same un-called for violence that is becoming a symptomatic reaction of Governments across Europe (click here and here). In Santa Cruz eyewitnesses described police actions as“something brutal, like a gale. They charged into an area where there were many minors. It was very violent, I saw how a girl was hit with a stick and she started to vomit blood”. In the end a total of twenty people had to be attended due to superficial wounds of many kinds. Around thirty people were present at the time, while police forces had more than 70 officers present. Members of the camp also denounced that the police destroyed or confiscated materials that were part of the movement’s infrastructure such as tents, furniture and computers. The regional Government on the other hand, explained its actions alleging that it was necessary to “clean” the square, and that protesters did not allow the operation to be carried out. The Government delegate in the Canary Islands, Dominica Fernandez even went as far as to state that “there has not been any moment of violence. The cleaning operation was carried out and 45 minutes were given for the campers to pick up their belongings.”

In Palma de Mallorca the situation was very similar, with protestors sitting on the ground with hands raised in signs of peaceful resistance, while police insisted on dispersing the assemblies being carried out. Two people were arrested and 28 others were wounded, among them three police officers. According to a press release by the camp’s official web page police actions “had a pacific response on behalf of the people present at the square, including the ones attacked. Most of them sat on the floor and raised their hands. Then the police tried to disperse the collective charging against them again, aggressively telling them to leave.” This situation went on for a while and when “police officers were told to identify themselves, these responded with an aggressive stance, pointing the rubber bullet shotguns at the protesters.” When the wounded people went to the hospital to receive an official medical statement of their situation, the police forced them to identify themselves, pressuring them on their decision to press charges, according to the same web.

~ Europeanrevolution ~

A warning to Troica, banks and investors

Warning against the Troika, the banks and local or foreign prospective investors who covet Greece’s public property.

The revoked and dictatorial Greek government that does not represent the people of this country has just voted for bills, with which it intends to sell Greek public property and land against the will of the majority of the people.

We would like to inform those who consider this a potential investment opportunity that we shall not delay overturning this government which will soon account for its crimes against the people and the country. The government’s signatures and bills are legally void. The Greek people have not ratified them and by all means do not recognize them.

We warn every prospective investor not to even think of approaching an auction or sale of public property or land, and not even to consider buying it. Besides the fact that, as soon as we regain our country’s sovereignty, the investor will lose all purchased, the money spent for the illegal trade will not be reimbursed.

We also warn every prospective investor that until we regain control of our country, we will recur to all necessary actions via our self organization to annul and sabotage every investment, so that we defend our rights as these stem from the Greek Constitution and the internationally recognized rights of the people.

Therefore, we warn all prospective investors not to dare go bargain shopping for our public property and land in Greece, unless they realize the high risk of their investment. In the above case, the investment will be considered “welcome” in the country where, when somebody deprives the people of their freedom, they can give birth to a Kanaris¹  or demolish a bridge in Gorgopotamos².

The People’s Assembly of Syntagma Square 03/07/2011

1)      Constantine Kanaris (or Canaris, Greek: Κωνσταντίνος Κανάρης) (1793 or 1795 – September 2, 1877) was a Greek Prime Minister, admiral and politician who in his youth was also a freedom fighter, pirate, privateer and merchantman.

2)      The rail bridge at Gorgopotamos that was blown up by the resistance during WWII

Euroskeptics take on German government over debt bailout

Lawyers have had plenty of time to prepare their case contesting Germany's involvement in bailouts for indebted eurozone countries. But as proceedings open, the euroskeptic plaintiffs are not confident.

The Karlsruhe-based Constitutional Court opened a hearing on Tuesday in a case challenging  government financial interventions such as the bailout packages - totaling 273 billion euros ($396 billion) - for Greece, Ireland and Portugal.

A group of German euroskeptic academics led by Joachim Starbatty filed the case last year. The group argues that creating rescue funds violates the European Union's "no-bailout clause," which says neither the EU nor member states should take on the liabilities of individual governments.

In court on Tuesday, Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble said "a common currency cannot survive without solidarity among its members," referring to the 17 countries that share the euro currency.

Andreas Vosskuhle, chairman of the panel of judges hearing the case, added that it was not the court's role to pass judgment on the European Union or economic strategies, but merely interpret Berlin's authority to lend to foreign countries and accept liability.

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A Dream to Change the World: Pachas Pajamas

Pacha's Pajamas ( is an urban fairy tale that centers on a little girl with big dreams. One night, the animals and plants on her new pajamas come alive. Nature unites to tell its captivating story at a global festival where species have come together to bring balance to the planet.

NATO War Crimes: Depleted Uranium Found in Libya by Scientists

By Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya, Global Research

War crimes and crimes against humanity have been and continue to be committed in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya by NATO. Amongst these crimes, the Atlantic Alliance has been using depleted uranium against Libya, specifically civilians and civilian infrastructure.

Bombed sites in Libya have been visited by professional scientists working in the Surveying and Collecting Specimens and Laboratory Measuring Group. The scientists and trained experts have conducted field surveys looking for radioactive isotopes (radioisotopes) at bombed sites. The samples from these sites were then scientifically analyzed at the laboratories of the Nuclear Energy Institution of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya.

Analysis in Libya through inductively coupled plasma has shown that several sites contain even higher than expected doses of uranium. Holes caused by NATO missiles also have high radioactive measurements, as do the fragments of NATO ordinance. Sites analyzed by the teams of scientists include Bab Al-Azizia and Souk Al-Ahad.

The teams of scientists have found it hard to conduct their important work during the NATO bombings. They have put their health in jeopardy and their lives at risk. Moreover, many of these sites have been bombed numerous times and again on different days. This adds an extra dimension of danger to the teams.

The U.S. and NATO are using “dirty bombs” in Libya. These are the countries that claim that Iran and Syria are attempting to make nuclear weapons. So far, however, it is these very same countries that are using weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and use nuclear technology in an irresponsible and criminal manner. An international war crimes tribunal is in order. The Obama Administration, Nicolas Sarkozy, David Cameron, and NATO cannot be allowed to stand with impunity.

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Time for a U.S. Revolution – Fifteen Reasons

By Bill Quigley, CommonDreams.Org

It is time for a revolution. Government does not work for regular people. It appears to work quite well for big corporations, banks, insurance companies, military contractors, lobbyists, and for the rich and powerful. But it does not work for people.

The 1776 Declaration of Independence stated that when a long train of abuses by those in power evidence a design to reduce the rights of people to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, it is the peoples right, in fact their duty to engage in a revolution.

Martin Luther King, Jr., said forty three years ago next month that it was time for a radical revolution of values in the United States. He preached “a true revolution of values will soon cause us to question the fairness and justice of many of our past and present policies.” It is clearer than ever that now is the time for radical change.

Look at what our current system has brought us and ask if it is time for a revolution?

David Graeber studied 5,000 years of debt: real dirty secret is that if the deficit ever completely went away, it would cause a major catastrophe

By Jay Kernis, CNN

Answering today’s OFF-SET questions is David Graeber, who teaches anthropology at Goldsmiths College, University of London. He is the author of “Towards an Anthropological Theory of Value,” “Lost People,” and “Possibilities: Essays on Hierarchy, Rebellion and Desire.”

His new book is entitled “Debt: The First 5,000 Years,” and in it, Graeber indeed examines the historical significance of debt, the struggle between rich and poor, and the moral implications inherent in our ideas about credit and debt.

The U.S. Treasury Department last Friday reiterated its Aug. 2 deadline for raising the debt ceiling, and urged Congress "to avoid the catastrophic economic and market consequences of a default crisis by raising the statutory debt limit in a timely manner.”  The White House wants a deal by July 22. If the debt ceiling isn't raised, the Treasury would not be able to pay nearly half of the 80 million payments it needs to make every month, according to an estimate by budget experts at the Bipartisan Policy Center.

How did the United States get into this situation?

Because the Republicans are engaged in one of the most extraordinary campaigns of political recklessness in recent memory.

One has to presume that Republicans are perfectly well aware that the US debt is not really a crisis, and that they're not really going to force into default just to be able to hack further away at social programs. That's what they seem to be telling Wall Street, anyway. But it's almost unimaginably irresponsible. If you play chicken, there is always the chance that you'll go off a cliff.

So if Congress doesn’t raise the $14.3 trillion debt ceiling in a few weeks, and the U.S. defaults on its debt for the first time in history, what level of confusion, calamity and crisis might this country face?

 It's really hard to say. Probably in the short run, not that much – there are always expedients the federal government can use to stop the gap temporarily, and the business community will put enormous pressure on the Republicans to cut it out.

The danger would be the effects overseas – would it accelerate movements to abandon the use of US treasury bonds as international reserve currency. Since 1971, when Nixon went off the gold standard, the dollar has essentially played the role gold used to play as the bedrock of the world banking system.

Russia has been arguing the world should move away from the system for years, China occasionally at least pretends to toy with it, and Dominique Strauss-Kahn was apparently working on an alternative system as well before.... well, you know.

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Elements of bathos in Greek tragedy

By Mahir Ali, Dawn

It is not difficult to empathise with the protesters who have of late been crowding Syntagma Square in Athens, who have been attempting to circumvent the Greek government`s compliance with demands from the European Union (EU) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Notwithstanding the demonstrations of popular displeasure — which, despite being generally peaceful, were tear-gassed to such an extent that the police response has been described as chemical warfare — the Greek parliament last week passed the `austerity measures` prescribed as a precondition for obtaining the billions of euros necessary to avoid defaulting on its debts.

Greece cannot afford to pay back what it has borrowed, so further loans must be thrown its way — provided it drastically reduces public spending, including through sharp cuts in the salaries of state employees (an unusually high proportion of the population, by European standards, falls in that category) and includes prized state assets in the inventory for an everything-must-go sale that is expected to eventually yield 50bn euros.

The EU agreed last year to a 110bn euro bailout — terminology that suggests philanthropic financial assistance but in fact refers to high-interest loans — under stringent conditions, which helps to explain why release of the final tranche entailed a spot of drama. Another 120bn euros is to follow.

There is talk of restructuring Greece`s debt, which is effectively tantamount to postponing its tryst with destiny by permitting the loans to be paid back later.

Leading ratings agency Standard & Poor`s (S&P) has warned, however, that such moves would effectively be considered a default. Back in April, the Greek prime minister, George Papandreou, condemned such agencies for “seeking to shape our destiny and determine the future of our children”. Last month, Nobel prize-winning economist Amartya Sen decried the tendency of allowing “international financial institutions and ratings agencies the unilateral power to command democratically elected governments”.

“It is worth remembering,” he went on to say, “that the record of ratings agencies in certifying financial and business institutions preceding the 2008 economic crisis was so abysmal that the US Congress seriously debated whether they should be prosecuted.”

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Headed to Europe this summer? It's going to be a riot

By Chris Elliot, Baltimore Sun

If you're looking for a little adventure this summer -- a strike, a riot or maybe even a revolution -- skip the Middle East and head to Europe.

Traditionally quiet and predictable Western Europe, a magnet for many American tourists, hasn't seen this much political and economic uncertainty in a while. As reports of economic bailouts, work stoppages, unrest in the streets and fluctuating currencies find their way back to the States, travelers wonder whether it's safe.

I do. I'm headed to Europe twice with my family: on a Mediterranean cruise in July and a tour of Italy in early September.

While none of the experts I spoke with advised me to cancel, they did caution me to monitor the situation carefully.

"This is very different from years past," says Bruce McIndoe, president of iJET Intelligent Risk Systems, a security consulting company. "The nexus of governing and financial issues will create a much more dynamic and tense environment throughout Europe over years past, where it has been much more localized."

American visitors are worried about two key issues: safety and money.

[ ... ]

As always, the silver lining is the bargains that await contrarian travelers. James Stathis, who publishes the website, says recent news of riots in Athens'sConstitution Square have created opportunities for bargain hunters.

"This is a great time to visit because smart travelers know that crowds will be down," he adds. "Prices are also down. The islands, villages and everywhere outside of Constitution Square in Athens are safe and fun to visit."

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A Possible Revolution in Belarus

On Sunday, July 3, the people of Belarus celebrated the 1944 withdrawal of Nazi forces at the hands of the Red Army; the day that is considered by the government to be Independence Day. However, rather than being marked by celebrations, nationalistic sentiment, and popular support for the government, this Independence Day brought to light deep-seated sentiments that have been subdued for 17 years, the time that President Alexander Lukashenko has been in power.

Demonstrators in Minsk responded to calls for revolution that originated on a Russian social networking site and used hand clapping and other nonviolent gestures to demonstrate their dissatisfaction with the current regime. Then, in the style of the authoritarian governments of the past, Lukashenko's troops mercilessly beat and arrested dozens of prisoners at the rally.

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'I Paid a Bribe' may be a model for anti-corruption

By Gregory M. Lamb, Christian Science Monitor

India's innovative "I Paid a Bribe" website – which puts a spotlight on government corruption – may become a model for rooting out corruption around the world.
PoliticsCo-founder Ramesh Ramanathan told The Hindu news site that he had received requests from seven countries to start similar sites for them.

"I Paid a Bribe," begun last August, invites people to post anonymous reports on instances in which they have had to bribe an official. They can also share ways that they have been able to avoid paying a bribe.
"Bribery is routinely expected in interactions with government officials – to register your house, to get your driving license, domestic water connection, even a death certificate," Swati Ramanathan, the other co-founder, told the BBC. "We said, 'It's not enough to moralize, we need to find out what exactly is this corruption? What's the size of it?'"

The site has recorded more than 10,000 incidences of bribery.

NY Fed Won't Say How Much Money Went to Iraq

By Earmon Javers, CNBC

The New York Fed is refusing to tell investigators how many billions of dollars it shipped to Iraq during the early days of the US invasion there, the special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction told CNBC Tuesday.

The Fed's lack of disclosure is making it difficult for the inspector general to follow the paper trail of billions of dollars that went missing in the chaotic rush to finance the Iraq occupation, and to determine how much of that money was stolen.

The New York Fed will not reveal details, the inspector general said, because the money initially came from an account at the Fed that was held on behalf of the people of Iraq and financed by cash from the Oil-for-Food program. Without authorization from the account holder, the Iraqi government itself, the inspector general's office was told it can't receive information about the account.

The problem is that critics of the Iraqi government believe highly placed officials there are among the people who may have made off with the money in the first place.

And some think that will make it highly unlikely the Iraqis will sign off on revealing the total dollar amount.

“My frustration is not with the New York Fed, it is with the Iraqis,” said Stuart Bowen Jr., the Special Inspector General for Iraq reconstruction (SIGIR). “They haven’t been sufficiently responsive.”

As for the New York Fed’s position of secrecy about the total amount transferred to Iraq, Bowen said, “We understand it in the sense that it's a foreign account and the account holder, according to their own rules, must provide permission.”

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Among The Costs Of War: Billions A Year In A.C.?

The amount the U.S. military spends annually on air conditioning in Iraq and Afghanistan: $20.2 billion, according to a former Pentagon official.

That's more than NASA's budget. It's more than BP has paid so far for damage from the Gulf oil spill. It's what the G-8 has pledged to help foster new democracies in Egypt and Tunisia.

"When you consider the cost to deliver the fuel to some of the most isolated places in the world — escorting, command and control, medevac support — when you throw all that infrastructure in, we're talking over $20 billion," Steven Anderson tells weekends on All Things Considered guest host Rachel Martin. He's a retired brigadier general who served as chief logistician for Gen. David Petraeus in Iraq. He's now in the private sector, selling technologies branded as energy-efficient to the Defense Department.

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"Dignite al Karama", "Freedom Flotilla 2" boat heads for Gaza
ATHENS — A French motor yacht slipped out of Greek waters Tuesday in an attempt to break Israeli's naval blockade on Gaza, reviving an international campaign that appeared to have ground to a halt.

The "Dignite al Karama" is so far the only boat in a planned flotilla organised by pro-Palestinian activists to set sail from Greece, after the authorities there blocked other vessels from leaving the port of Athens, Piraeus.

The 19-metre (63-foot) yacht had eight passengers aboard and expected to be "off Gaza within an day or two," said a spokesman for the French Boat to Gaza campaign, Jean-Claude Lefort.

Lefort said the Dignite had managed to slip past the Greek authorities because "it wasn't spotted. It wasn't in Piraeus, it was somewhere else."

While the Dignite celebrated its departure, frustrated activists from the Spanish boat in the flotilla occupied the Spanish Embassy in Athens on Tuesday, a diplomatic source said.

Thirty mainly Spanish activists had met with their ambassador to ask Madrid to put pressure on Greece to allow them to sail, according to one of the protesters. They then "decided to occupy the rooms," he said.

"It's somewhat of a symbolic occupation. There are only four activists currently in the embassy, all of whom are Spanish," the source from the embassy said, adding that a dozen supporters were gathered in the street.

Another small boat, the Juliana, was preparing to leave the Alimos marina south of Piraeus on Tuesday, a spokesman for the boat's Greek, Norwegian and Swedish crew said.

Meanwhile Captain John Klusmer of the US boat Audacity of Hope was released on Tuesday without charge by a prosecutor in Piraeus, according to Jane Hirschmann, a spokeswoman for his group.

Klusmer was detained after the US boat was intercepted by coastguards Friday while attempting to break Greece's ban.

Greek authorities said they imposed a ban on the flotilla's departure for the "safety" of the activists on board, but pro-Palestinian supporters have accused Athens of merely extending Israel's blockade.

An attempt by the Canadian Tahrir to set sail was thwarted Monday just minutes after it left port on the island of Crete.

The Tahrir, which was carrying activists from Canada, Belgium, Italy, Switzerland and Turkey, was boarded by more than a dozen armed special forces, according to passengers on the boat, and was forced to turn back to port.

The Freedom Flotilla II had originally intended to set sail from Greece with 12 boats and over 350 activists from 22 countries, but has come up against a stream of obstacles, including two vessels they claimed were sabotaged.

Organisers have blamed Israel for sabotaging the propellers on the Irish and Swedish-owned boats and for blackmailing Greece into imposing the ban on all Gaza-bound vessels leaving its ports.

The flotilla's planned departure coincided with the news that the president of the debt-ridden country, Karolos Papoulias, is set to visit Israel in an effort to strengthen their diplomatic and economic ties.

Activists continued to plan protests in Athens to challenge the ban, with calls for a march on Syntagma Square outside the parliament on Tuesday evening.

The Zionist state had also begun making intense preparations to foil plans by hundreds of activists to flood Israel's Ben Gurion international airport on Friday in a show of solidarity with the Palestinians.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered authorities to prepare for the "planned provocation," which will "be dealt with in accordance with Israeli law and international law and conventions," his office said in a statement.

Israeli media reported that flights landing on Friday from Europe would be taken to a separate terminal and all passengers carefully screened.

Pro-Palestinian activists have also said they plan to arrive in their hundreds at Ben Gurion airport outside Tel Aviv on Friday to protest against Israel's blockade of the Gaza Strip.

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A protest march from Syntagma Square in support of the Flotilla

This evening (7/3/2011) we went to Syntagma Square, the seat of the resistance in Greece. The people organized a march to support the flotilla. 600 strong we marched to the ministry that has stopped our boats, we marched to the Israeli Embassy & we marched to the American Embassy in solidarity with the people fasting there. We ruled the street. Returning to the square we were met by thousands of people . Amazing.

The Origins of the Term "Privatization"

Michael Perelman on the origins of the term "privatization." I first met Michael many, many years ago as an undergraduate at CSU Chico where he was teaching:

The Nazi Heritage of Privatization, by Michael Perelman: Privatization is very popular among laissez-faire types today. The recent issue of theJournal of Economic Perspectives offers a ... tale in which the term privatization is falsely credited to Peter Drucker. In fact, Nazis coined the term. Their intent was to skew the distribution of income toward the rich, with the objective of reducing consumption. After all, the rich have a lower marginal propensity to consume.


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