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Frammistaða einkarekinnar heilsugæslu í Svíþjóð

Gunnar Skúli bloggar - Fim, 19/11/2015 - 17:07

Oddný G. Harðardóttir segir frá því í bloggi sínu að núna sé að hefjast einkavæðing á heilsugæslunni  á höfðuborgarsvæðinu. Talsmenn þess telja einkarekið kerfi betra og benda m.a. á reynslu Svía. Ríkisendurskoðun Svía tók út kerfið og skilaði skýrslu fyrir ári síðan. Niðurstöðurnar eru einkarekstrinum ekki hagstæðar.

Það gengur betur að ná sambandi við heilsugæsluna í dag en áður en ekki eru tengsl við einkavæðinguna því þessi breyting var komin áður. Heilsugæslustöðvum hefur fjölgað en aðallega í þéttbýli þar sem betur stæðir, betur menntaðir íbúar búa og hafa oftast einfaldari vandamál. Á þessum stöðvum eru oftar færri sjúklingar á lækni og því auðveldara að manna stöðvarnar með fastráðnum læknum og þjónustan því vinsælli.

Aftur á móti hefur heilsugæslustöðvum fækkað á svæðum þar sem íbúarnir eru veikari fyrir, þörfin meiri og lengra á heilsugæslustöð. Í Svíþjóð var lögum breytt á þann veg að það er nánast hægt að opna heilsugæslu hvar sem er án tillits til þarfa þ.e. markaðurinn stýrir en ekki nauðsyn eða siðfræðin.

Komum lítið veikra hefur fjölgað en komum veikari sjúklinga hefur fækkað. Enn á ný eru markaðsöflin að verki því greitt er fyrir komur og því er hagstæðara að afgreiða marga létta sjúklinga. Í raun telur maður að þetta ætti ekki að geta gerst en þetta sýnir úttektin.

Þessi úttekt og fleiri rannsóknir hafa sýnt það að einkarekin heilsugæsla er hvorki ódýrari né með meiri framleiðni.

Að markaðsvæða heilsugæsluna kom af stað togstreitu. Ríkisendurskoðun Svía bendir sérstaklega á að siðfræðileg rök fyrir forgangsröðun fara halloka fyrir kröfum markaðarins. Segja beinlínis að erfiðara sé að fylgja siðfræðilegum grundvelli laga um heilbrigðismál.

Þegar skýrsla Ríkisendurskoðunar Svía er lesin fær maður á tilfinninguna að betur hefði verið heima setið en að fara í þessa einkavæðingarferð. Núna þarf að betrumbæta gallana sem kostar sjálfsagt sitt.

Meirihluti Íslendinga og Svía vilja hafa heilsugæsluna hjá hinu opinbera. Fátt bendir til að einkarekið sé betra þegar það er rannsakað. Þess vegna er nauðsynlegt að standa gegn tilgangslausum breytingum í stað þess að byggja upp núverandi heilsugæslu með myndarskap. Við í Dögun stjórnamálasamtök um réttlæti, sanngirni og lýðræði höfum markað okkur skýra stefnu og erum á móti hagnaðardrifnum rekstri innan heilbrigðiskerfisins.

Að taka sér réttinn til að drepa

Gunnar Skúli bloggar - Sun, 15/11/2015 - 19:53

Það er erfitt að einbeita sér því fjöldamorðin í París taka hugann. Hugsunin hvernig ættingjunum líður veldur sársauka. Fyrir nokkrum dögun drápu ISIS menn 43 manneskjur og særðu 200 í Beirut með sjálfmorðssprengjum. Í Nígeríu drápu Boko Harem 117 manns í mosku. Í Kenía voru 147 námsmenn drepnir í háskóla, það var í apríl 2015. Anders Breivik drap 77 manns 2011 í Noregi. Svona mætti lengi telja. Morðingjarnir telja allir að þeir séu í fullum rétti að myrða saklaust fólk. Ég á rétt á…

Maðurinn er í eðli sínu friðsöm skepna. Flestir vilja skapa sér heimili og ala upp börnin sín í friði við allt og alla. Flestir vilja að við séum frjáls til athafna og skoðana svo lengi sem við sköðum ekki náungann. Maðurinn hefur engan sérstakan áhuga á því að stunda styrjaldarekstur. Flestir eru uppteknari af því hvort uppskeran verði góð um haustið eða hvort börnunum gangi vel í skólanum. Sennilega hefðu fáar styrjaldir hafist ef almenningi hefði gefist kostur á að kjósa um það í bindandi þjóðaratkvæðagreiðslum. Ef Assad Sýrlandsforseti hefði boðað til þjóðaratkvæðagreiðslu vorið 2011 í stað þess að senda herinn á mótmælendur væri margt öðruvísi. Hann telur sig hafa rétt á að myrða saklaust fólk.

Græðgin og valdafíkn eru ókostir sem heltekur stundum manninn eins og Assad. Eða þá fjölskylduna sem stjórnar með harðri hendi í Saudi Arabíu og notar trúnna sér til framdráttar. Hálshöggva mann annan hvern dag. Þjálfar og fjármagnar ISIS með samþykki vesturveldanna. Við(Vesturlandabúar) verðum að líta í eigin barm og spyrja okkur hvort við eigum einhvern þátt i þessum harmleik í París. Fjöldamorðin í París eru svo stór atburður að við getum ekki leyft okkur einfaldar skýringar. Hver er orsökin og hvernig upprætum við hana.

Afskipti Vesturveldanna í miðausturlöndum hafa haft skaðleg áhrif. Innrásir í Afganistan, Írak og Líbíu. Sífelldar dróna árásir víðsvegar um heiminn og hernaðarleg íhlutun í mörgum löndum heimsins. Þetta skapar gróðarstíu fyrir hatur. Mið-austurlönd og Afríka eru ein af ríkustu svæðum heimsins, full af auðlindum en mörg þeirra eru máluð sem þjóðir sem lifa ekki af án þróunaraðstoðar. Ef Afríka hefði getað skattlagt með 30% skatti öll skattaundaskot vestrænna stórfyrirtækja í skattaparadísir s.l. 10 ár væri Afríka skuldlaus heimsálfa. Það fara mun meiri fjármunir frá Afríku til vesturlanda á ári en öfugt. Afríka er mun ríkari en vesturlöndin og ætti því að vera senda okkur aðstoð. Ef Afríka væri látin afskiptalaus af okkur væri enginn að deyja úr hungri eða þorsta þar.

Ungur maður sem sér og skilur að þjóð hans gæti lifað góðu lífi ef hún væri ekki arðrænd af vesturlöndum. Sami ungi maður skynjar það eru alltaf einhverjar styrjaldi í löndum sem eru ríkar af auðlindum. Sami ungi maður skynjar það að umræða um trú hans og þjóð er nánast alltaf neikvæð í stærstu miðlum heimsins. Sami ungi maður verður föðurlaus því dróni sprengdi pabba hans í tætlur og heimilið þeirra. Þessi sami ungi maður upplifir að harðstjóri stjórnar landi hans með aðstoð vesturlanda. Þessi sami ungi maður verður eins og ómótaður leir í höndum heilaþvottadeildar ISIS manna. Hann fer til Parísar sannfærður um rétt sinn, til að drepa. Hann trúir því að það sé rétt. Það er hans eina von um breytingu.

Bandaríski hermaðurinn sem stjórnaði drónanum sem sprengdi pabba hans í tætlur er sömu trúar og ungi maðurinn, þ.e. að hann hafði rétt til að drepa. Það er auk þess hans von um breytingu. Samt trúa þeir ekki á sama guð.

Það fæðist enginn sem hryðjuverkamaður eða hermaður, þeir eru búnir til.

Hver er ábyrgð okkar, þessi við eða Vesturlönd. Samkvæmt lýðræðisskipulagi Vesturlanda eru almennir kjósendur valdið. Þeir reyndar afhenda það kjörnum fulltrúum tímabundið en við erum engu að síður valdið. Ef við erum ósátt verðum við að breyta en á meðn við höfum ekki gert það erum við ábyrg fyrir núverandi ástandi.

Þrátt fyrir að stolin velsæld okkur sé þægileg þá eiga kúgaðir meðbræður okkar rétt á því að við reynum að skilja samhengi hlutanna og breyta þessum heimi. Í raun eigum við bara einn rétt, að valda ekki öðru fólki ónæði.

 

Athyglisvert myndband sem tengist efninu:

https://www.facebook.com/ayo.turton/videos/10153727297304324/

Stjórnmálaályktun-stjórnarskráin og fleira

Gunnar Skúli bloggar - Mán, 09/11/2015 - 21:16

Landsfundur Dögunar var haldinn núna um helgina, þ.e. 6. og 7. nóvember 2015. Fundurinn gekk vel og var  eftirfarandi stjórnmálaályktun samþykkt. Ég læt hana hér á bloggið ef einhver skyldi finna þar eitthvað við sitt hæfi. Reyndar birti Mogginn yfirlýsinguna einn fjölmiðla, spurningin hvort þeim fannst hún góð eða voru bara að fullnægja skyldum sínum sem blaðamenn. Dæmi hver fyrir sig.

Stjórnmálaályktun landsfundar Dögunar 2015.

Dögun stjórnmálasamtök samþykktu á landsfundi sínum kjarnastefnu samtakanna sem stefnir að sanngjarnara og réttlátara fjármála-, velferðar-  og húsnæðiskerfis

Fundurinn samþykkti einnig ályktun um stjórnarskrármál, uppgjör föllnu bankanna og húsnæðismál.

Stjórnarskráin

Ljóst virðist að nýja stjórnarskráin kemst aldrei í gegnum spillt Alþingi. Dögun hvetur til að hafin verði söfnun undirskrifta meðal kosningabærra Íslendinga. Þegar meirihluti hefur undirritað samþykki sitt er ný sjórnarskrá samþykkt af þjóðinni og núverandi í raun úr gildi fallin.

Húsnæðismál

Dögun fordæmir seinagang ríkisstjórnarinnar í húsnæðismálum og í raun hefur ekkert gerst annað en að arðsemisfjárfestum hefur verið gert kleift að herja á húsnæðismarkaðinn og með því hækkað fasteigna- og leiguverð á íbúðarhúsnæði.

Ríkissjórn Framsóknar og Sjálfstæðisflokks lofaði breytingum á húsnæðiskerfi landsmanna og mótun framtíðarstefnu í húsnæðismálum sem gerði öllum kleift að búa við húsnæðisöryggi.  Framangreind áform hafa ekki gengið eftir.

Dögun stórnmálasamtök hvetur til þess að hafin verði stórfelld uppbygging á óhagnaðardrifnum leigumarkaði í húsnæðissamvinnufélögum sem er forsenda þess að skapa jafnvægi og aðhald á húsnæðismarkaði.

Fallnir bankar

Dögun fordæmir þá leynd og óskýrleika sem hefur einkennt vinnubrögð í kringum uppgjör á þrotabúum föllnu bankanna sem hrundu til grunna árið 2008 og bitnaði harkalega á þorra almennings.

Það er ljóst að sú leið sem ríkisstjórnin kynnir nú er ekki í neinu samræmi við digurbarkalegar yfirlýsingar forsætisráðherra Sigmundar Davíðs í aðdraganda síðustu alþingiskosninga um hvernig skuli tekið á hrægammasjóðum.  Ekki er ljóst hvort það uppgjör sem ríkisstjórnin hefur kynnt muni  á ný bitna á almenningi. Verst er þó að ríkisstjórnin stefnir á að endurreisa nánast óbreytt fjármálakerfi og var fyrir hrun með tilheyrandi einkavinavæðingu.

Opið bréf til Bjarna Ben

Gunnar Skúli bloggar - Fös, 06/11/2015 - 00:36

Sæll Bjarni, samkvæmt Kjarnanum í dag telur þú að Íbúðarlánasjóður sé Samfélagsbanki og því víti til varnaðar hugmyndum manna um að stofna Samfélagsbanka úr Íslands- og Landsbanka. Íbúðalánasjóður er ekki samfélagsbanki. ÍLS hefur bara íbúðarlán á sinni könnu en banki gerir margt annað. Eru t.d. innlánsreikningar fyrir almenning í ÍLS? Hvernig stóð þá á því að ríkisrekinn íbúðalánasjóður lenti í ógöngum? Mikið til vegna ákvarðana manna í ríkisstjórn Davíðs og Halldórs og tengdra aðila á sínum tíma. Afnám bindiskyldunnar 2003, einkavæðing bankanna og lánlausir verktakar, allt á vakt XD og XB, settu Íbúðalánasjóð í uppnám sem sjóðurinn réð ekki við. Orðræðunni var breytt, að græða varð eftirsóknarverður eiginleiki og mantra. Íbúðalánasjóður sem hafði önnur markmið kunni ekki fótum sínum forráð. Einkabankarnir komu inn á íbúðarlánamarkaðinn og undirbuðu Íbúðarlánasjóð og lántakendur greiddu upp lán sín hjá Íbúðarlánasjóði. ÍLS gat ekki greitt upp sín eigin lán vegna skorts á uppgreiðsluákvæði. Þar með hafði ÍLS talsvert af peningum(án hirðis). Þess vegna lánaði ILS einkabönkunum(af öllum) Eftir glæsilegt gjadþrot þeirra varð það tap ÍLS. Margir verktakar urðu einnig gjaldþrota og ÍLS tapaði þar einnig.

Mistök ÍLS var að treysta einkaaðilum.

Samfélagsbanki er allt annað Bjarni.  Gott væri að stofna samfélagsbanka að fordæmi North Dakota ríkisins í Bandaríkjum Norður-Ameríku. Sá banki var stofnaður 1919 í kjölfar efnahagserfiðleika og uppskerubrests sem einkabankarinr höfðu bara eitt svar við; að innheimta veðin fyrir skuldunum, þeir kunnu ekki neitt annað. Afleiðingin var samfélagsleg katastrófa. Hvað skiptir það einkabanka máli, hluthafarnir fengu sitt. Það er einmitt það sem við höfum upplifað undanfarin ár á Íslandi, almenningi var og er kastað út af heimilum sínum í skiptum fyrir gróða hluthafa

Samfélagsbankinn í Norður Dakóta starfar eftir lögum sem hafa hagsmuni almennings að leiðarljósi. Bankinn fjárfestir í raunverulegri verðmætasköpun en ekki spákaupmennsku. Ríkið getur alltaf fengið ódýr lán hjá bankanum sínum. Þar að auki kunna einkabankarnir í N-Dakóta þessu vel því þeir starfa í skjóli stóra bankans sem veitir þeim rekstraröryggi ef sveiflur verða. Reyndar lenti banki Norður Dakóta ekki vandræðum vegna bankakreppurnnar 2008 því þeir höfðu ekki keypt neina ”gúmmítékka” sem hinir bankarnir gerðu. Það samrýmdist einfaldlega ekki fjárfestingastefnu samfélagsbanka að taka þátt í spilavíti  einkabankanna.

Einkabankar sinna hluthöfum en samfélagsbankar sinna almenningi, á því er í raun eðlismunur.

Kæri Bjarni, það er okkur í Dögun ljúft og skylt að útskýra fyrir þér hugmynd okkar um samfélagsbanka nánar. Þú ert því hjartanlega velkominn á Landsfundar Dögunar um helgina á Grensásvegi 16a í Reykjavík til að kynna þér þessi mál.

'Let's Bring In Our Pentagon Spokesman' - Bombing Syria

Media Lens - Fim, 05/11/2015 - 09:14

One of the great Freudian slips of our time was supplied by a Fox News anchor on March 24, 1999, as Nato was preparing to wage war on Yugoslavia:

'Let's bring in our Pentagon spokesman - excuse me, our Pentagon correspondent.'

For indeed the unwritten rule informing this type of journalism is: if you want to get close to the 'defence' establishment, you better be close to the 'defence' establishment: ideologically, sympathetically, 'patriotically'.

A near-perfect example of this industry-wide perceptual bias has been supplied this year by BBC diplomatic editor, Mark Urban.

Last week, Urban discussed the Russian bombing campaign in Syria in a piece entitled: 'Russia's Syria intervention: One month in.'

This was made fascinating by the fact that, in January, Urban had written a piece on the US bombing campaign in Syria and Iraq: 'On board with the US air crews fighting Islamic State.'

So how do these articles compare?

 

'On Board With The US Air Crews Fighting Islamic State'

The title of the piece on US bombing is an obviously positive, propaganda formulation, indicating that Urban was 'on board' and embedded with a US aircraft carrier attacking the bad guys du jour - Islamic State. The title excludes from consideration the possibility that the US, directly and through regional client regimes, has been supporting Islamic State with weapons, or has other nefarious aims. It is simply waging war on the Official Enemy. This immediately banishes the kind of 'complexity' described by political analyst Bill Blum:

'The mainstream media almost never mentions the proposed Qatar natural-gas pipelines – whose path to Europe Syria has stood in the way of for years – as a reason for much of the hostility toward Syria. The pipelines could dethrone Russia as Europe's dominant source of energy.'

The piece features a Top Gun-style photo of a carrier jet waiting to be launched into action. The article begins by humanising the military operation with context and detail. The aircraft carrier, USS Carl Vinson, 'is a floating town of more than 5,000 souls and 60 fighter aircraft engaged in a costly and complex campaign'. Urban introduces us to Lt Junior Grade 'Sarah', described as 'a 29-year-old weapon systems operator or back seater in an F/A-18F fighter' - a bomb aimer in old money (how journalists love to focus on high-tech military jargon). 'Sarah' is gung-ho:

'There is a coyness among the crews - in front of us at least - about wanting to appear too keen to take life, but after completing the mission, she said, "when we do get to employ [drop bombs] out there it's very exciting".'

The article repeatedly stresses the danger facing US carrier aircrews rather than the people under their bombs: 'Each time it launches one of its jets' the event is 'so dramatic and inherently dangerous'.

While Urban makes just one, oblique reference to the risk to civilians - 'dropping [a bomb] in error could have terrible consequences' - the danger to US aircrews is the major focus:

'But whether it drops multiple bombs or none, the effort involved in launching each mission is considerable and fraught with hazards.'

Urban continues in the same vein:

'"Every flight there is a risk out there," notes Lt Cdr "Mike," who at 35 is one of the veteran pilots on board. It starts with being catapulted off the deck, goes through the in-flight fuel top ups, which he notes "can be unpleasant," flying in close proximity to the tanker in bad weather or at night, and ends with the "controlled car crash" of recovering the jet onto the carrier.

'I watched Lt Cdr Mike's F/A18F land at night on the Vinson's deck after a seven-hour mission over Iraq. As the plane came in at what seemed like an impossibly steep angle and at 160mph, I remembered reading an old carrier pilot's quip that during such recoveries in the hours of darkness, "there are no atheists in the cockpit".'

'Mike, Top Gun pilot that he is', Urban opines, managed to land 'flawlessly' on the carrier.

As well as dangerous, this is uncomfortable work:

'Spending five or more hours strapped to an ejector seat, unable to get up or use a toilet, must be a distinctly unpleasant experience at times. The pilots take snacks and "piddle packs" to relieve themselves into.'

Above all, though, it is dangerous:

'But of course these discomforts are mundane compared to the dangers of going down over IS-controlled territory, as a Jordanian pilot recently did, or crashing during carrier operations.'

Urban continues discussing the risk – to the bombers:

'The crews are all too aware of the risks but are uneasy discussing them with an outsider. "It's not something we like to think about," Lt Sarah said about the risks of getting shot down. Clearly though, it informed her decision not to use her name when interviewed.'

There is apparently no space for a discussion of the morality or legality of the US effort, particularly in light of the catastrophic US 'interventions' in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Pakistan, Yemen and elsewhere. And by the way, why is it the job of the US to bomb anyone, anywhere in the world without UN approval? And why should we believe the US imperial power is guided by moral motives?

The success of the mission is boldly affirmed:

'Those commanding the operations on board are quite sure they are making progress. "Absolutely the situation has changed since airstrikes began", says Cmdr Mike Langbehn, boss of one of the Hornet squadrons... The days of IS making sweeping gains were over and their progress has been halted, several officers said. "They swept through the country, now they're not," commented Capt Thomas.'

By contrast, investigative journalist Patrick Cockburn comments in the London Review of Books this month: 'the [US] campaign has demonstrably failed to contain IS, which in May captured Ramadi in Iraq and Palmyra in Syria'.

Remarkably, the 10-minute video embedded in Urban's article is even more one-sided. It opens with a motivational propaganda speech by the carrier's chaplain on the US mission to 'stem the tide of tyranny and hatred'. It continues with a long description of the awesome size and power of the ship and its weapons, includes jokey interviews with the air crew on their superstitions and on how careful they are not to hit civilians, with officers confidently discussing progress made. The commanding officer is quoted as saying his bombers are 'working the Isis target a couple of bodies at a time'. The video concludes with a poignant prayer from the chaplain requesting that the 'Lord' protect US forces working so patiently to end human life a couple of corpses at a time.

Urban's piece on the US bombing campaign, then, is classic 'patriotic', wartime propaganda glorifying 'our' courageous fighting men and women – named and humanised for the reader - risking their lives to make the world a safer place. And of course they are winning. 

'Let's Bring In Our Pentagon Spokesman' - Bombing Syria

Media Lens - Fim, 05/11/2015 - 09:14

One of the great Freudian slips of our time was supplied by a Fox News anchor on March 24, 1999, as Nato was preparing to wage war on Yugoslavia:

'Let's bring in our Pentagon spokesman - excuse me, our Pentagon correspondent.'

For indeed the unwritten rule informing this type of journalism is: if you want to get close to the 'defence' establishment, you better be close to the 'defence' establishment: ideologically, sympathetically, 'patriotically'.

A near-perfect example of this industry-wide perceptual bias has been supplied this year by BBC diplomatic editor, Mark Urban.

Last week, Urban discussed the Russian bombing campaign in Syria in a piece entitled: 'Russia's Syria intervention: One month in.'

This was made fascinating by the fact that, in January, Urban had written a piece on the US bombing campaign in Syria and Iraq: 'On board with the US air crews fighting Islamic State.'

So how do these articles compare?

 

'On Board With The US Air Crews Fighting Islamic State'

The title of the piece on US bombing is an obviously positive, propaganda formulation, indicating that Urban was 'on board' and embedded with a US aircraft carrier attacking the bad guys du jour - Islamic State. The title excludes from consideration the possibility that the US, directly and through regional client regimes, has been supporting Islamic State with weapons, or has other nefarious aims. It is simply waging war on the Official Enemy. This immediately banishes the kind of 'complexity' described by political analyst Bill Blum:

'The mainstream media almost never mentions the proposed Qatar natural-gas pipelines – whose path to Europe Syria has stood in the way of for years – as a reason for much of the hostility toward Syria. The pipelines could dethrone Russia as Europe's dominant source of energy.'

The piece features a Top Gun-style photo of a carrier jet waiting to be launched into action. The article begins by humanising the military operation with context and detail. The aircraft carrier, USS Carl Vinson, 'is a floating town of more than 5,000 souls and 60 fighter aircraft engaged in a costly and complex campaign'. Urban introduces us to Lt Junior Grade 'Sarah', described as 'a 29-year-old weapon systems operator or back seater in an F/A-18F fighter' - a bomb aimer in old money (how journalists love to focus on high-tech military jargon). 'Sarah' is gung-ho:

'There is a coyness among the crews - in front of us at least - about wanting to appear too keen to take life, but after completing the mission, she said, "when we do get to employ [drop bombs] out there it's very exciting".'

The article repeatedly stresses the danger facing US carrier aircrews rather than the people under their bombs: 'Each time it launches one of its jets' the event is 'so dramatic and inherently dangerous'.

While Urban makes just one, oblique reference to the risk to civilians - 'dropping [a bomb] in error could have terrible consequences' - the danger to US aircrews is the major focus:

'But whether it drops multiple bombs or none, the effort involved in launching each mission is considerable and fraught with hazards.'

Urban continues in the same vein:

'"Every flight there is a risk out there," notes Lt Cdr "Mike," who at 35 is one of the veteran pilots on board. It starts with being catapulted off the deck, goes through the in-flight fuel top ups, which he notes "can be unpleasant," flying in close proximity to the tanker in bad weather or at night, and ends with the "controlled car crash" of recovering the jet onto the carrier.

'I watched Lt Cdr Mike's F/A18F land at night on the Vinson's deck after a seven-hour mission over Iraq. As the plane came in at what seemed like an impossibly steep angle and at 160mph, I remembered reading an old carrier pilot's quip that during such recoveries in the hours of darkness, "there are no atheists in the cockpit".'

'Mike, Top Gun pilot that he is', Urban opines, managed to land 'flawlessly' on the carrier.

As well as dangerous, this is uncomfortable work:

'Spending five or more hours strapped to an ejector seat, unable to get up or use a toilet, must be a distinctly unpleasant experience at times. The pilots take snacks and "piddle packs" to relieve themselves into.'

Above all, though, it is dangerous:

'But of course these discomforts are mundane compared to the dangers of going down over IS-controlled territory, as a Jordanian pilot recently did, or crashing during carrier operations.'

Urban continues discussing the risk – to the bombers:

'The crews are all too aware of the risks but are uneasy discussing them with an outsider. "It's not something we like to think about," Lt Sarah said about the risks of getting shot down. Clearly though, it informed her decision not to use her name when interviewed.'

There is apparently no space for a discussion of the morality or legality of the US effort, particularly in light of the catastrophic US 'interventions' in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Pakistan, Yemen and elsewhere. And by the way, why is it the job of the US to bomb anyone, anywhere in the world without UN approval? And why should we believe the US imperial power is guided by moral motives?

The success of the mission is boldly affirmed:

'Those commanding the operations on board are quite sure they are making progress. "Absolutely the situation has changed since airstrikes began", says Cmdr Mike Langbehn, boss of one of the Hornet squadrons... The days of IS making sweeping gains were over and their progress has been halted, several officers said. "They swept through the country, now they're not," commented Capt Thomas.'

By contrast, investigative journalist Patrick Cockburn comments in the London Review of Books this month: 'the [US] campaign has demonstrably failed to contain IS, which in May captured Ramadi in Iraq and Palmyra in Syria'.

Remarkably, the 10-minute video embedded in Urban's article is even more one-sided. It opens with a motivational propaganda speech by the carrier's chaplain on the US mission to 'stem the tide of tyranny and hatred'. It continues with a long description of the awesome size and power of the ship and its weapons, includes jokey interviews with the air crew on their superstitions and on how careful they are not to hit civilians, with officers confidently discussing progress made. The commanding officer is quoted as saying his bombers are 'working the Isis target a couple of bodies at a time'. The video concludes with a poignant prayer from the chaplain requesting that the 'Lord' protect US forces working so patiently to end human life a couple of corpses at a time.

Urban's piece on the US bombing campaign, then, is classic 'patriotic', wartime propaganda glorifying 'our' courageous fighting men and women – named and humanised for the reader - risking their lives to make the world a safer place. And of course they are winning. 

Landsfundur Dögunar 2015, mjög beisik

Gunnar Skúli bloggar - Mið, 04/11/2015 - 21:28

Núna um helgina verður Landsfundur Dögunar, þ.e. 6. og 7. nóvember. Hér um árið var ég á fundi í Valhöll vegna þess að Guðlaugur Þór ræddi um sýn sína á heibrigðiskerfið. Mér fannst fundarsókn ekki stórkostleg því ég átti von á miklu meira frá XD(minn fyrsti og síðasti fundur í Valhöll). Sjálfstæðismönnum fannst fundarsóknin mjög góð og þá gerði ég mér grein fyrir því að póitísk þátttaka er ekki mikil hjá landanum.

Það eru margar ástæður fyrir lélegri þátttöku í pólitísku starfi en ég tel þá mikilvægustu vera þá að almenningur hefur engin raunveruleg völd á milli kosninga. Almenningur er ekki vitlaus, til hvers að æsa sig ef ekkert gerist. Auk þess er enginn eðlismunur á fjór(fimm) flokknum, þeir eru allir jafn auðsveipir sérhagsmunaaðilunum og hefur það haft neikvæð áhrif og uppgjöf hjá mörgum.

Svo ætla ég að reyna að smala fólki á pólitískan fund og það Landsfund.

Hvað ætli skapi Dögun sérstöðu? Við höfum aldrei svikið kosningaloforð enda höfum við aldrei komist í valdastöðu til að gera það…Það sem einkennir stefnumál Dögunar er að við munum vinna að almannahagsmunum en ekki sérhagsmunum. Það gerir okkur óvinsæl hjá valdstéttinni.

Við ætlum að útrýma fátækt á Íslandi, lögleiða lágmarksframfærsluviðmið, auka völd almennings verulega milli kosninga, koma böndum á fjármálavaldið, stofna samfélagsbanka, gera spillingu mjög erfitt uppdráttar á Íslandi, rústa valdi kvótaauðvaldsins, gera ”þak yfir höfuðið” að mannréttindamáli og til þess að gulltryggja það að elítan þoli okkur ekki ætlum við að kryfja lífeyrissjóðina og stofna eitt lífeyrissjóðskerfi fyrir alla Íslendinga.

Tel að allir þeir sem eru ekki ofurríkir eða ekki ríkir eigi því erindi á Landsfund Dögunar. Allir þessir ”típísku” Íslendingar sem eru að berjast við núllið í bankabókinni sinni og hinir sem hafa ekki séð núllið lengi eiga fullt erindi á landsfund Dögunar. Við erum með stefnuna sem mun skila almenningi betra lífi.

Vertu breytingin sem þú vilt sjá og taktu þátt!

Sundruð föllum við en sameinuð sigrum við, getur ekki verið meira beisik.

 

——————————————————————————-

Kjarnastefna

Dögun stjórnmálasamtök um réttlæti,
sanngirni og lýðræði leggja til eftir farandi áhersluatriði ;

Fjármálakerfið:

Afnema verður völd fjármálakerfisins yfir lífi almennings með eftirfarandi ráðstöfunum:

  • Afnám verðtryggingar á neytendalánum.
  • Aðskilnaður viðskipta og fjárfestingabankastarfsem.i
  • Vextir í landinu verði hóflegir Setja þak á vexti.
  • Hið opinbera stofni virkan samfélagsbanka .
  • Bankaleynd verði afnumin í samræmi við lög um persónuvernd.

Lágmarksframfærsluviðmið og lífeyrismál:

Lögfesta þarf lágmarksframfærsluviðmið til að tryggja framfærslu allra, launamanna sem og lífeyrisþega ( öryrkjar, eldri borgarar ).  Nauðsynlegar ráðstafanir eru:

  • Eitt sameinað lífeyriskerfi fyrir alla landsmenn.
  • Lágmarkslaun verði aldrei lægri en lágmarksframfærsluviðmið.
  • Almannatryggingar tryggi öllum lágmarksframfærslu.
  • Persónuafsláttur hækki og tryggi skattleysi lágmarkstekna.

Húsnæðismál:

  • Húsnæðisöryggi er mannréttindi.
  • Húsaleigumarkaður skal uppbyggður að norrænni, þýskri eða austurrískri
  • Auka þarf valkosti á húsnæðismarkaði og tryggja langtíma leigurétt.
  • skapa þarf rými fyrir óhagnaðardrifin húsnæðssamvinnufélög.
  • Dögun er alfarið á móti því að fjármálafyrirtækin (lífeyristsjóðir, bankar og Íbúðalánasjóður) stofni og reki fasteignafélög inn á leigumarkaði sem arðsemisfjárfestar.

Lýðræðið – ný stjórnarskrá:

Dögun vill nýja stjórnarskrá fyrir þjóðina. Samanber þann ríka vilja sem kom fram í þjóðaratkvæðagreiðslunni 20.október 2012.  Með lögum skal tryggja eftirfarandi rétt almennings:

  • Auðlindarákvæði þar sem þjóðinni er tryggður eignarrétturinn á auðlindum Íslands.
  • Bindandi þjóðaratkvæðagreiðslur óski 10% kjósenda þess.
  • Íbúar kjördæma eða sveitarfélaga geti átt frumkvæði að bindandi atkvæðagreiðslu um sameiginleg hagsmunamál svæðisins óski 10% kjósenda þess.
  • Að ný stjórnarskrá tryggi almenningi aðgang að öllum upplýsingum sem opinberir aðilar safna í samræmi við persónuverndarlög.

Skipan auðlindamála:

  • Orkufyrirtæki verði almennt í eigu ríkis og /eða sveitarfélaga.
  • Nýting allra náttúruauðlinda skal vera sjálfbær.
  • Tryggja þjóðinni arð af auðlindum sínum.

Stjórn fiskveiða :

  • Stokka upp stjórn fiskveiða frá grunni.
  • Jafnræði ríki meðal landsmanna við nýtingu á sameiginlegum fiskveiðiauðlindum.
  • Allur ferskur fiskur verði seldur á fiskmörkuðum og auðlindagjald reiknað af því fiskverði.
  • Aðskilja skal veiðar og fiskvinnslu fjárhagslega.
  • Handfæraveiðar verði gefnar frjálsar.

Siðvæðing stjórnsýslu og fjármálakerfis:

  • Bæta þarf siðferði og auka gagnsæi í stjórnmálum, stjórnsýslu og fjármálakerfi.
  • Lög verði yfirfarin með því markmiði að fyrirbyggja spillingu.
  • Komið verði í veg fyrir óeðlileg völd sérhagsmunaaðila .
  • Skilið verði á milli stjórnmála og viðskiptalífs.

Evrópusambandið:

Við viljum að þjóðarvilji ráði för í ESB málinu. Við leggjum áherslu á opið og lýðræðislegt ferli, óháða upplýsingagjöf og fræðslu og treystum þjóðinni til að ráða niðurstöðunni.

 

———————————————————————————-

Dagskrá landsfundar Dögunar 6-7 nóvember 2015

Staður:   Grensásvegur 16a Reykjavík

Föstudagur 6. nóvember

16:30 Mæting

17:00 Setning landsfundar og kosning fundarstjóra og ritara.

  • Skýrsla framkvæmdaráðs
  • Ársreikningar ársins 2014
  • Umræður um skýrslu stjórnar og reikninga
  • Afgreiðsla reikninga
  • Kynning á fundargögnum

Matarhlé

  • Umræður um kjarnastefnu

Laugardagur 7. nóvember

10:00-12:30 Málefnavinna

  • Lagabreytingar
  • Stefnuskjöl
  • Stjórnmálaályktun
  • Aðrar ályktunartillögur

Hlé

Fundur hefst aftur kl. 13:30: Málefnavinna framhald

kl 15:00 : Atkvæðagreiðsla og kosningar:

  • Lög
  • Kjarnastefna
  • Formanns og varaformannskjör
  • Framkvæmdaráð
  • Úskurðarnefnd
  • Stjórnmálaályktun

 

Skemmtun

Að gera bankakerfið ”meinlausara”

Gunnar Skúli bloggar - Þri, 03/11/2015 - 22:34

Það virðist sem mörgum sé brátt í brók að einkavæða bankana að nýju og sérstaklega ef Íslandsbanki fellur í hlut ríkisins. Samtök atvinnulífsins hvetja eindregið til þess að hlutir ríkisins verði einkavæddir sem fyrst. Mörgum finnst mjög sennilegt að Sjálfstæðis- og Framsóknarflokkurinn muni hlýða kallinu.

Frosti Sigurjónsson þingmaður hefur mælt fyrir því að hið opinbera stofni samfélagsbanka úr Íslands- og Landsbankanum. Við í Dögun höfum líka talað fyrir þessari hugmynd. Aftur á móti eru margir sem sjá þessari hugmynd allt til foráttu. Telja að ríkisbanki skapi einokun, spillingu og að ríkis”kommisörar” stjórni öllu. Síðan er samansemmerki milli þessara fullyrðinga og lélegrar bankastarfsemi. Dulið í textanum er að einkareknir bankar séu betur reknir.

Eftir því sem ég kemst næst eru engin tilfelli í sögunni um að hið opinbera hafi framleitt of mikið(bóla) eða of lítið(kreppa) af peningum. Þetta á við þegar hið opinbera hefur haft fulla stjórn á peningamyndun.

Ef við reynum að meta árangur einkabanka við stjórnun á peningamyndun þá er hollt að rifja upp helstu ártöl þegar kreppur hafa dunið á heiminum eða hluta hans:

1720, 1772, 1792, 1796, 1813, 1819, 1825, 1837, 1847, 1857, 1866, 1873, 1884, 1890, 1893, 1896, 1901, 1907, 1910, 1929, 1973, 1980, 1983, 1987, 1989, 1990, 1992, 1994, 1997, 1998, 2001, 2007

Það sem er augljóst að til þess að ríkisrekinn banki standi sig ver en einkabankarnir í sögulegu ljósi, þá verður ríkisbankinn að leggja verulega mikið á sig til að standa sig ver.

Það er gott að menn hafi þetta í huga þegar þeir íhuga innihald orða Frosta þegar hann segir eftirfarandi: „Þess í stað horfir Frosti til þess að nýta eignarhald ríkisins til að endurskipuleggja bankakerfið til að gera það „meinlausara“.

'I Would Have Refused Such An Order’ – Former RAF Pilot Gives His View Of US Bombing Of MSF Hospital In Kunduz

Media Lens - Þri, 27/10/2015 - 04:45

In our previous media alert, 'Sick Sophistry', we examined media coverage of the deliberate US bombing of a Médecins Sans Frontières hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan on October 3. In particular, we exposed the BBC's Pentagon-friendly reporting of the hospital as having been 'mistakenly' bombed.

On October 24, MSF announced that 30 people had now tragically died, up from the initial toll of 22. The humanitarian organisation, also known as Doctors Without Borders, continued to call for an independent international investigation into what it has called a 'war crime'. Associated Press has just reported new evidence 'that U.S. forces destroyed what they knew was a functioning hospital'.

The report comments:

'The Army Green Berets who requested the Oct. 3 airstrike on the Doctors without Borders trauma center in Afghanistan were aware it was a functioning hospital but believed it was under Taliban control, The Associated Press has learned.'

Damningly, AP adds:

'A day before an American AC-130 gunship attacked the hospital, a senior officer in the Green Beret unit wrote in a report that U.S. forces had discussed the hospital with the country director of the medical charity group, presumably in Kabul, according to two people who have seen the document.'

Meanwhile, there has still been no leading article in any UK newspaper backing MSF's call for an independent inquiry.

In response to our alert, we were contacted by a former RAF pilot with twenty years' military experience in several countries, including Afghanistan. He had discovered our alert by following a link in a comment posted underneath a recent Guardian piece mentioning the attack.

The former pilot gave us his name but, for obvious reasons, wishes to remain anonymous. He told us that he has experience of flying fast jets and multi-engine aircraft, and that he served operationally in the Balkans, Kosovo, Afghanistan and elsewhere. As far as we can tell, he appears to be genuine. He wrote to us in a series of emails (October 21-24):

'First time I have ever come across your organisation and I am very impressed by your work.'

He then wrote:

'It has been my firm opinion from the very beginning that Kunduz hospital was indeed deliberately targeted. I slightly digress from the Lindorff article in that the C-130 Gunship is a pinpoint platform with a choice of munitions. The fact that the hospital was targeted on five separate occasions with unerring accuracy simply underlines how deliberate this attack was. The Gunship itself is a revered weapon on the battlefield, manned by elite crews who are very highly trained. I was involved in the Afghan campaign almost from the beginning when things were pretty hairy. The aircraft of choice for UK Special Forces on the ground was the Gunship and they lobbied for a UK version. It is expensive and due to the side-mounted howitzer limited to one role and so their requests were denied. The Gunship gives unsurpassed support to troops on the ground because of its multi-hour endurance and loiter capability and the accuracy of its smaller calibre cannon and capability of its enormous 105mm howitzer.'

He continued:

'I do not accept that the target could have been mistakenly targeted. The crew and command centre would have been fully aware they were attacking a hospital. I followed one of your links suggesting that the C130 crew challenged their orders to target the hospital. This is the very least that I'd have expected to happen. I have extensive operational experience flying in Afghanistan. I am struggling to comprehend in what circumstance I would blindly follow an order to attack a fully manned civilian hospital. If the description provided by MSF's director-general is accurate I can say without hesitancy that I would have refused such an order for it is an obvious war crime. During the Kosovo war it was fairly routine for RAF Harrier pilots to return home with bombs still loaded because they had been unable to confirm visual acquisition of targets. RAF pilots are probably more inclined to think for themselves than American crews who are extremely tightly controlled. American military personnel give up many rights when they join up, but I am still disappointed that this crew did not appear to do more to challenge their orders. Back in the UK, we lost crown immunity many years ago and it is essential to challenge every questionable act carried out on the battlefield (our emphasis).

'Given that we agree that the hospital was deliberately targeted it would be useful to try and understand why. It is my opinion that whilst possible, it is unlikely that this was a mistake, intentional or otherwise, by Afghan commanders on the ground. I saw an unconfirmed report stating that US Special Forces were on the ground in Kunduz so it is unlikely that Afghans alone would have called in the attack. So the alternative is that the crew were given their mission from US Central Command or it was called in on the ground by their own people. This is why I doubt we'll see an independent inquiry. Very senior military officers would be on the hook for what happened in Kunduz because they would have authorised the sustained attack. It is still possible that the Kunduz hospital is seen as an operational "success"; the world of special operations is opaque. It is also a vague possibility that this was an act of gross incompetence, but that would still constitute a war crime. In any case, I simply do not believe it to be incompetence because of the sustained nature of the attack.'

He also commented on media coverage:

'The response in the mainstream media mainly consisted of repeating what came off the wires. Unfortunately, the US military changed their version several times which weakened their case immediately. My own experience of BBC journalists is positive but when it comes to describing a major news event there is an immediate suspicion of editorial control from on high. I think it is extremely valuable that you target both individual journalists and the reporting of such events in general. I absolutely commend this approach, which is why I am happy to support you in your endeavours.'

You may be shocked that even the deliberate bombing of a hospital may be regarded as an operational 'success'. There is no doubt that, were the full truth to emerge, the attack on the MSF hospital would be even more deeply embarrassing and damaging to Western interests than it already is. After all, 'we' do not commit war crimes; only 'our' enemies do that.

Long-time readers may recall that, in 2007, a serving British army officer in Iraq responded to an exchange we'd had with Mark Urban, the diplomatic editor of BBC Newsnight. The officer strongly rejected Urban's contention that the central US aim was that of 'forcing a democracy into the heart of the Middle East' (Newsnight, BBC2, April 12, 2005), commenting:

'There is a widespread, and well-sourced, belief based on both experience and evidence, in both the British military and academia, that the US is not "just in Iraq to keep the peace, regardless of what the troops on the ground believe. It is in Iraq to establish a client state amenable to the requirements of US realpolitik in a key, oil-rich region. To doubt this is to be ignorant of the motives that have guided US foreign policy in the post-war period and a mountain of evidence since 2003." (quote from Media Lens).'

The officer gave rare voice to widespread scepticism within the military:

'That the invasion was "illegal, immoral and unwinnable", and the "greatest foreign policy blunder since Suez"... is the overwhelming feeling of many of my peers, and they speak of loathsome six-month tours, during which they led patrols with dread and fear, reluctantly providing target practice for insurgents, senselessly haemorrhaging casualties, and squandering soldiers' lives, as part of Bush's vain attempt to delay the inevitable Anglo-US rout until after the next US election.

'Given a free choice most of us would never have invaded Iraq, and certainly would have withdrawn long ago.'

In response, Urban discussed the officer's email on the BBC's Newsnight programme; a rare concession to media activism.

Recall that the former RAF officer who emailed us after our Kunduz media alert made this particularly welcome point:

'it is essential to challenge every questionable act carried out on the battlefield'.

It certainly is essential. And this is true, not just for military personnel with destructive high-tech weaponry at their fingertips; but also for journalists whose reporting has the power to facilitate or obstruct crimes against humanity.

DC and DE

 

Suggested Action

If you decide to contact a journalist in response to our alert, please keep the tone civil. We do not condone abusive language.

Please ask the Guardian and the Independent to publish editorials backing MSF's call for an independent investigation into the US bombing of the Kunduz hospital:

Katharine Viner, Guardian editor-in-chief
Email: katharine.viner@theguardian.com
Twitter: @KathViner

Amol Rajan, Independent editor
Email: a.rajan@independent.co.uk
Twitter: @amolrajan

Please forward any replies to us:
editor@medialens.org

'I Would Have Refused Such An Order’ – Former RAF Pilot Gives His View Of US Bombing Of MSF Hospital In Kunduz

Media Lens - Þri, 27/10/2015 - 04:45

In our previous media alert, 'Sick Sophistry', we examined media coverage of the deliberate US bombing of a Médecins Sans Frontières hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan on October 3. In particular, we exposed the BBC's Pentagon-friendly reporting of the hospital as having been 'mistakenly' bombed.

On October 24, MSF announced that 30 people had now tragically died, up from the initial toll of 22. The humanitarian organisation, also known as Doctors Without Borders, continued to call for an independent international investigation into what it has called a 'war crime'. Associated Press has just reported new evidence 'that U.S. forces destroyed what they knew was a functioning hospital'.

The report comments:

'The Army Green Berets who requested the Oct. 3 airstrike on the Doctors without Borders trauma center in Afghanistan were aware it was a functioning hospital but believed it was under Taliban control, The Associated Press has learned.'

Damningly, AP adds:

'A day before an American AC-130 gunship attacked the hospital, a senior officer in the Green Beret unit wrote in a report that U.S. forces had discussed the hospital with the country director of the medical charity group, presumably in Kabul, according to two people who have seen the document.'

Meanwhile, there has still been no leading article in any UK newspaper backing MSF's call for an independent inquiry.

In response to our alert, we were contacted by a former RAF pilot with twenty years' military experience in several countries, including Afghanistan. He had discovered our alert by following a link in a comment posted underneath a recent Guardian piece mentioning the attack.

The former pilot gave us his name but, for obvious reasons, wishes to remain anonymous. He told us that he has experience of flying fast jets and multi-engine aircraft, and that he served operationally in the Balkans, Kosovo, Afghanistan and elsewhere. As far as we can tell, he appears to be genuine. He wrote to us in a series of emails (October 21-24):

'First time I have ever come across your organisation and I am very impressed by your work.'

He then wrote:

'It has been my firm opinion from the very beginning that Kunduz hospital was indeed deliberately targeted. I slightly digress from the Lindorff article in that the C-130 Gunship is a pinpoint platform with a choice of munitions. The fact that the hospital was targeted on five separate occasions with unerring accuracy simply underlines how deliberate this attack was. The Gunship itself is a revered weapon on the battlefield, manned by elite crews who are very highly trained. I was involved in the Afghan campaign almost from the beginning when things were pretty hairy. The aircraft of choice for UK Special Forces on the ground was the Gunship and they lobbied for a UK version. It is expensive and due to the side-mounted howitzer limited to one role and so their requests were denied. The Gunship gives unsurpassed support to troops on the ground because of its multi-hour endurance and loiter capability and the accuracy of its smaller calibre cannon and capability of its enormous 105mm howitzer.'

He continued:

'I do not accept that the target could have been mistakenly targeted. The crew and command centre would have been fully aware they were attacking a hospital. I followed one of your links suggesting that the C130 crew challenged their orders to target the hospital. This is the very least that I'd have expected to happen. I have extensive operational experience flying in Afghanistan. I am struggling to comprehend in what circumstance I would blindly follow an order to attack a fully manned civilian hospital. If the description provided by MSF's director-general is accurate I can say without hesitancy that I would have refused such an order for it is an obvious war crime. During the Kosovo war it was fairly routine for RAF Harrier pilots to return home with bombs still loaded because they had been unable to confirm visual acquisition of targets. RAF pilots are probably more inclined to think for themselves than American crews who are extremely tightly controlled. American military personnel give up many rights when they join up, but I am still disappointed that this crew did not appear to do more to challenge their orders. Back in the UK, we lost crown immunity many years ago and it is essential to challenge every questionable act carried out on the battlefield (our emphasis).

'Given that we agree that the hospital was deliberately targeted it would be useful to try and understand why. It is my opinion that whilst possible, it is unlikely that this was a mistake, intentional or otherwise, by Afghan commanders on the ground. I saw an unconfirmed report stating that US Special Forces were on the ground in Kunduz so it is unlikely that Afghans alone would have called in the attack. So the alternative is that the crew were given their mission from US Central Command or it was called in on the ground by their own people. This is why I doubt we'll see an independent inquiry. Very senior military officers would be on the hook for what happened in Kunduz because they would have authorised the sustained attack. It is still possible that the Kunduz hospital is seen as an operational "success"; the world of special operations is opaque. It is also a vague possibility that this was an act of gross incompetence, but that would still constitute a war crime. In any case, I simply do not believe it to be incompetence because of the sustained nature of the attack.'

He also commented on media coverage:

'The response in the mainstream media mainly consisted of repeating what came off the wires. Unfortunately, the US military changed their version several times which weakened their case immediately. My own experience of BBC journalists is positive but when it comes to describing a major news event there is an immediate suspicion of editorial control from on high. I think it is extremely valuable that you target both individual journalists and the reporting of such events in general. I absolutely commend this approach, which is why I am happy to support you in your endeavours.'

You may be shocked that even the deliberate bombing of a hospital may be regarded as an operational 'success'. There is no doubt that, were the full truth to emerge, the attack on the MSF hospital would be even more deeply embarrassing and damaging to Western interests than it already is. After all, 'we' do not commit war crimes; only 'our' enemies do that.

Long-time readers may recall that, in 2007, a serving British army officer in Iraq responded to an exchange we'd had with Mark Urban, the diplomatic editor of BBC Newsnight. The officer strongly rejected Urban's contention that the central US aim was that of 'forcing a democracy into the heart of the Middle East' (Newsnight, BBC2, April 12, 2005), commenting:

'There is a widespread, and well-sourced, belief based on both experience and evidence, in both the British military and academia, that the US is not "just in Iraq to keep the peace, regardless of what the troops on the ground believe. It is in Iraq to establish a client state amenable to the requirements of US realpolitik in a key, oil-rich region. To doubt this is to be ignorant of the motives that have guided US foreign policy in the post-war period and a mountain of evidence since 2003." (quote from Media Lens).'

The officer gave rare voice to widespread scepticism within the military:

'That the invasion was "illegal, immoral and unwinnable", and the "greatest foreign policy blunder since Suez"... is the overwhelming feeling of many of my peers, and they speak of loathsome six-month tours, during which they led patrols with dread and fear, reluctantly providing target practice for insurgents, senselessly haemorrhaging casualties, and squandering soldiers' lives, as part of Bush's vain attempt to delay the inevitable Anglo-US rout until after the next US election.

'Given a free choice most of us would never have invaded Iraq, and certainly would have withdrawn long ago.'

In response, Urban discussed the officer's email on the BBC's Newsnight programme; a rare concession to media activism.

Recall that the former RAF officer who emailed us after our Kunduz media alert made this particularly welcome point:

'it is essential to challenge every questionable act carried out on the battlefield'.

It certainly is essential. And this is true, not just for military personnel with destructive high-tech weaponry at their fingertips; but also for journalists whose reporting has the power to facilitate or obstruct crimes against humanity.

DC and DE

 

Suggested Action

If you decide to contact a journalist in response to our alert, please keep the tone civil. We do not condone abusive language.

Please ask the Guardian and the Independent to publish editorials backing MSF's call for an independent investigation into the US bombing of the Kunduz hospital:

Katharine Viner, Guardian editor-in-chief
Email: katharine.viner@theguardian.com
Twitter: @KathViner

Amol Rajan, Independent editor
Email: a.rajan@independent.co.uk
Twitter: @amolrajan

Please forward any replies to us:
editor@medialens.org

Okkar er valið og valdið

Gunnar Skúli bloggar - Þri, 20/10/2015 - 19:52

Það datt lítil sprengja inní samfélagið okkar í dag. Hrægammasjóðirnir sem eiga Íslandsbanka vilja selja hann til íslenska ríkisins. Samkvæmt bloggurum þá komast þeir vel frá stöðuleikaskattinum með þessu. Aðrir bloggarar telja þetta upphafið að nýrri útsölu til vildarvina í boði XD og XB-gamalt vín á nýjum belgjum. Ef skynsemin fær að ráða þá skapast hér möguleikar til hagræðingar og verðmætasköpunar fyrir Ísland.

Með sameiningu Íslandsbanka og Landsbanka skapast mikil hagræðing. Þar með væri hægt að stofna einn stóran og öflugan ríkisbanka sem rekinn væri sem samfélagsbanki. Afleiðingarnar af gjaldþroti einkabankanna haustið 2008 eru svo hrikalegar að ríkisbanki, hversu mikið hann myndi reyna það myndi aldrei ná því að standa sig jafn illa og einkabankarnir. Þar með væri almenningi amk tryggð betri lífskjör með ríkisbanka. Bara það er þó nokkuð.

Best er að stofna samfélagsbanka að fordæmi North Dakota ríkisins í Bandaríkjum Norður-Ameríku. Sá banki var stofnaður 1919 í kjölfar efnahagserfiðleika og uppskerubrests sem einkabankarinr höfðu bara eitt svar við; að innheimta veðin fyrir skuldunum, þeir kunnu ekki neitt annað. Afleiðingin var samfélagsleg katastrófa. Hvað skiptir það einkabanka máli, hluthafarnir fengu sitt. Það er einmitt það sem við höfum upplifað undanfarin ár á Íslandi, almenningi var kastað út af heimilum sínum í skiptum fyrir gróða hluthafa.

Samfélagsbankinn í Norður Dakóta starfar eftir lögum sem hafa hagsmuni almennings að leiðarljósi. Það er munur á samfélagsbanka og ríkisbanka. Hagnaður samfélagsbankans fer til ríkisins og þar með lækka skattar eða þá að það gerir Norður Dakóta kleift að ráðast í frekari framkvæmdir. Bankinn fjárfestir í raunverulegri verðmætasköpun en ekki spákaupmennsku. Ríkið getur alltaf fengið ódýr lán hjá bankanum sínum. Þar að auki kunna einkabankarnir í N-Dakóta þessu vel því þeir starfa í skjóli stóra bankans sem veitir þeim rekstraröryggi ef sveiflur verða. Reyndar lenti banki Norður Dakóta ekki vandræðum vegna bankakreppurnnar 2008 því þeir höfðu ekki keypt neina ”gúmmítékka” sem hinir bankarnir gerðu. Það samrýmdist einfaldlega ekki fjárfestingastefnu samfélagsbanka að taka þátt í spilavíti  einkabankanna.

Einkabankar sinna hluthöfum en samfélagsbankar sinna almenningi, á því er í raun eðlismunur. Með góðri lagasetningu er hægt að láta sameinaðan Íslands- og Landsbanka mala gull í ríkiskassann sem samfélagsbanka. Þeim sem er einstaklega illa við almannahag mæla með einkavæðingu en við hin stefnum að samfélagsvæðingu bankareksturs, eins og við í Dögun gerum?

Okkar er valdið og valið.

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