Sunday, July 28, 2013

The July 28 news roundup podcast Ta Yp' Opsin (Consider These)

This week on the podcast Ta Yp' Opsin:
- where is the outrage for the surveillance and monitoring of communications?
- the next dramatic showdown between Republicans and the White House
- Detroit: the war of words between the city and its creditors
- Obamacare  and a "cramped and confused understanding" of religious rights
- Greece focuses on the reforms demanded by the troika
- bloodshed plunges Egypt deeper into turmoil
- assassinations spur violent protests in Tunisia and Lybia
- release of more than 100 Palestinian prisoners split the Israeli cabinet
- Korean divide lives on 60 years after end of war

Download and listen here:

Ta Yp’Opsin (Consider These) weekly podcast (in Greek) with Chicago journalists Elena Spilioti and George Zorbas. News, commentary and great music!

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Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Τα Υπ΄ Όψιν της 14 Ιουλίου 2013

Στα Υπ΄Όψιν αυτής της  εβδομάδας, μεταξύ άλλων συζητάμε:

-Αίγυπτος: Η μεσανατολική βοήθεια στο στρατό στηρίζει μουσουλμανικές ανελεύθερες κυβερνήσεις
-Ομπάμα: Η ασφάλιση των φτωχών κινδυνεύει , η αθώωση Ζίμμερμαν διχάζει και η συριακή αντιπολίτευση πιέζει: καμμιά ιδέα κανείς;
- Ρωσία: Το άτακτο μέλος του ΠΟΕ εκνευρίζει την ΕΕ                                       
- Λουξεμβούργο: ο «Έλληνας» Γιουνκέρ παραμερίζεται: ποιός ωφελείται;
- Οι Φιλιππίνες- υπόδειγμα: κοσμικοί και μουσουλμάνοι μοιράζονται ειρηνικά τον πλούτο.  

-Πακιστάν: Οι Ταλιμπάν υπόσχονται, ο στρατός δυσπιστεί
-Ελλάδα: ο ΣΥΡΙΖΑ γίνεται κόμμα χωρίς τελεία στις συνιστώσες του και η νομιμότητα δοκιμάζεται στο πολυνομοσχέδιο, την ΝΕΡΙΤ και τη Λίστα Λαγκάρντ

Και στο δεύτερο μέρος:

-Ιντερνετ στο Ραμαζάνι:  «Οδηγός τσέπης για το Ισλάμ» και υπηρεσία υπενθύμισης.... προσευχής
-Οι  απίστευτες σβάστικες των δασών και οι μονγκόλοι νεοναζί  που την είδαν ...οικολόγοι

-Αριζόνα, Κοιλάδα του Θανάτου: «τουρισμός του καύσωνα»: πώς είναι οι  120ο Φαρενάϊτ και αν το αυγό ψήνεται στο πεζοδρόμιο

-Βενεζουέλα: « Αντισταθείτε στη CIA: κλείστε το Facebook
-Οι ψαλμοί δεν εγγυώνται  παράδεισο  στον ουρανό αλλά ελαττώνουν το στρες στη γή – για να το σκεφτούμε!

-«Βαμπίρ με εμπειρία ζητά  βίζα εργασίας στην Αγγλία» - και δεν είναι το μόνο.

Ακούστε Τα Υπ΄Όψιν με τους δημοσιογράφους Έλενα Σπηλιώτη και Γιώργο Ζορμπά για ενημέρωση, συζήτηση και πολλή μουσική! Αυτή την εβδομάδα στο



Friday, July 12, 2013

Edward Snowden's statement

WikiLeaks has posted a long statement by Edward Snowden, dated July 12, 2013. Here it is in full:
Hello. My name is Ed Snowden. A little over one month ago, I had family, a home in paradise, and I lived in great comfort. I also had the capability without any warrant to search for, seize, and read your communications. Anyone’s communications at any time. That is the power to change people’s fates.It is also a serious violation of the law. The 4th and 5th Amendments to the Constitution of my country, Article 12 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and numerous statutes and treaties forbid such systems of massive, pervasive surveillance. While the US Constitution marks these programs as illegal, my government argues that secret court rulings, which the world is not permitted to see, somehow legitimize an illegal affair. These rulings simply corrupt the most basic notion of justice – that it must be seen to be done. The immoral cannot be made moral through the use of secret law.I believe in the principle declared at Nuremberg in 1945: "Individuals have international duties which transcend the national obligations of obedience. Therefore individual citizens have the duty to violate domestic laws to prevent crimes against peace and humanity from occurring."Accordingly, I did what I believed right and began a campaign to correct this wrongdoing. I did not seek to enrich myself. I did not seek to sell US secrets. I did not partner with any foreign government to guarantee my safety. Instead, I took what I knew to the public, so what affects all of us can be discussed by all of us in the light of day, and I asked the world for justice.That moral decision to tell the public about spying that affects all of us has been costly, but it was the right thing to do and I have no regrets.Since that time, the government and intelligence services of the United States of America have attempted to make an example of me, a warning to all others who might speak out as I have. I have been made stateless and hounded for my act of political expression. The United States Government has placed me on no-fly lists. It demanded Hong Kong return me outside of the framework of its laws, in direct violation of the principle of non-refoulement – the Law of Nations. It has threatened with sanctions countries who would stand up for my human rights and the UN asylum system. It has even taken the unprecedented step of ordering military allies to ground a Latin American president’s plane in search for a political refugee. These dangerous escalations represent a threat not just to the dignity of Latin America, but to the basic rights shared by every person, every nation, to live free from persecution, and to seek and enjoy asylum.Yet even in the face of this historically disproportionate aggression, countries around the world have offered support and asylum. These nations, including Russia, Venezuela, Bolivia, Nicaragua, and Ecuador have my gratitude and respect for being the first to stand against human rights violations carried out by the powerful rather than the powerless. By refusing to compromise their principles in the face of intimidation, they have earned the respect of the world. It is my intention to travel to each of these countries to extend my personal thanks to their people and leaders.I announce today my formal acceptance of all offers of support or asylum I have been extended and all others that may be offered in the future. With, for example, the grant of asylum provided by Venezuela’s President Maduro, my asylee status is now formal, and no state has a basis by which to limit or interfere with my right to enjoy that asylum. As we have seen, however, some governments in Western European and North American states have demonstrated a willingness to act outside the law, and this behavior persists today. This unlawful threat makes it impossible for me to travel to Latin America and enjoy the asylum granted there in accordance with our shared rights.This willingness by powerful states to act extra-legally represents a threat to all of us, and must not be allowed to succeed. Accordingly, I ask for your assistance in requesting guarantees of safe passage from the relevant nations in securing my travel to Latin America, as well as requesting asylum in Russia until such time as these states accede to law and my legal travel is permitted. I will be submitting my request to Russia today, and hope it will be accepted favorably.If you have any questions, I will answer what I can.Thank you.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Τα Υπ' όψιν της 7 Ιουλίου 2013

Στα Υπ’ Όψιν αυτής της εβδομάδας, μεταξύ άλλων, συζητάμε;
-Αίγυπτος: μη-πραξικόπημα σε κοινοβουλευτική μή-δημοκρατία; Ο στρατός και η δικτατορία της πλειοψηφίας
-Συρία: νέοι παίκτες στην αντιπολίτευση: ο αρχηγός και η εξτρεμιστική διάδοχος της Νάσρα      
-Σνόουντεν: η προσβολή στον Μοράλες φέρνει νοτιοαμερικάνικα άσυλα
-Το Πακιστάν στο ΔΝΤ ενώ συνομιλεί για πυρηνικά με την Κίνα
-Αφγανιστάν: συναρχία Ταλιμπάν-Καμπούλ;
Και στο δεύτερο μέρος:
- Τα θλιβερά σκάνδαλα της οικογένειας Μαντέλα
-Τσετσένοι αντάρτες απειλούν τους Ολυμπιακούς στο ρωσικό Σότσι
-Περού: ένας «ροντέρο» για πρόεδρος;
-Πού απαγορεύονται οι κρύες μπύρες
-Πρώην χορτοφάγοι σε λίστες ντροπής

Ακούστε Τα Υπ΄Όψιν με τους δημοσιογράφους Έλενα Σπηλιώτη και Γιώργο Ζορμπά  για ενημέρωση, συζήτηση και πολλή μουσική! Αυτή την εβδομάδα στο

Thursday, July 4, 2013


In the case of Egypt, the question maybe shouldn’t be “coup” or “no coup” but “invited “ or not “invited” coup. That might take care of a lot of technicalities since, after all, the term is not included in the U.S. law which bars "any assistance to the government of any country whose duly elected head of government is deposed by military coup d'etat or decree."
As Huntington has insisted, “ the most important causes of  military intervention are not military but political and reflect [….] the political and institutional structure of the society”.  Or, in other words, wherever there is a void, there is an opportunity/ chance / excuse for intervention. Yet, not all military regimes are everywhere the same: some champion the poor while others have supported wealthy corporate and landowning interests. The probability of military involvement depending, among others, on class origins, educational levels, ideological orientations and internal organization of the officer corps, it is also a fact that, especially in the developing countries, the armed forces offer great organizational coherence and clarity of purpose: this is their strength but also their failure to appreciate the functional aspects of the game of politics. Civilian political institutions on the other hand do not regard things in terms of black and white: this is one of their virtues and vulnerabilities.
In cases of external enemy, civilian institutions have been able to exercise control over the military but when the military is trained to fight for internal security, it is invariably taught on domestic political and economic issues: involvement in domestic politics is only a step away: to restore and maintain order and stability, to punish corruption, to promote specific policies and economic development – successful results not necessarily guaranteed, tensions almost sure. And, in the case of Egypt, to become the vehicle for the expression of the majority of the population which decided to oust Mursi.
If / When a legitimate government emerges in Egypt and the country is not run by decrees any more, the military may go back to the barracks: “mission accomplished”, this was a “caretaker” coup (?), foreign aid (especially the  US one) continues to come in therefore the military remains financially strong as does its image ( no failed governance tests risk due to prolonged stay) : but will the national political culture of Egypt develop a strong belief in the unique legitimacy of the procedures for the transfer of power (such as elections) and in the capability of sovereign individuals and institutions to legitimately hold that power?  And how strong can civil society (meaning the associations, unions etc that can act independently of the government) become if the Muslim Brotherhood does not develop a moderate leadership?  
Unless the Egyptian civil society heads in this direction, the state of the economy and the fractioned opposition may create the demand for the next leader to step down too – but what if an interim ( or not ) situation supported by the military is still there? Just before Mursi, the army offered to help govern a country in disarray for three months and it stayed on for seventeen. Will agreements with the international community ( economic and political)  be legitimate and binding for the next government or will this have to wait? If so, what will happen in the country in the meantime with people waiting in line due to gas shortage and the huge percentage of the population - the young ones-  is un- or underemployed? And most of all, how will the clash of secular versus religious values be handled? The interim president already talked about a new ‘ethos” – implementation details to be seen to while the leader of the Muslim Brotherhood is in jail, maybe just for now, and TV stations have been raided.
If the young democracy of Egypt is in a process of “political learning” – and for that matter, the “political Islam” is currently learning too: a failure  does not necessarily mean the end -,  civilian leaders may  understand how to avoid future military interventions.
Until then, countries may have or not have a coup, depending on what the domestic and foreign policy of other international players decide to call it.

-Elena Spilioti