[Yet another example of the US’ arrogance of empire, this time among fellow imperialists. Who can doubt that the world political crisis is opening new cracks of suspicion and resentment against the has-been Godfather, among his partners in crime? — Frontlines ed.]
Berlin accuses Washington of cold war tactics over snooping
Reports of NSA snooping on Europe go well beyond previous revelations of electronic spying
Ian Traynor, The Guardian, in Brussels, 30 June 2013
Transatlantic relations plunged at the weekend as Berlin, Brussels and Paris all demanded that Washington account promptly and fully for new disclosures on the scale of the US National Security Agency’s spying on its European allies.
As further details emerged of the huge reach of US electronic snooping on Europe, Berlin accused Washington of treating it like the Soviet Union, “like a cold war enemy”.
The European commission called on the US to clarify allegations that the NSA, operating from Nato headquarters a few miles away in Brussels, had infiltrated secure telephone and computer networks at the venue for EU summits in the Belgian capital. The fresh revelations in the Guardian and allegations in the German publication Der Spiegel triggered outrage in Germany and in the European parliament and threatened to overshadow negotiations on an ambitious transatlantic free-trade pact worth hundreds of billions due to open next week.
The reports of NSA snooping on Europe – and on Germany in particular – went well beyond previous revelations of electronic spying said to be focused on identifying suspected terrorists, extremists and organised criminals.
Der Spiegel reported that it had seen documents and slides from the NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden indicating that US agencies bugged the offices of the EU in Washington and at the UN in New York. They are also accused of directing an operation from Nato headquarters in Brussels to infiltrate the telephone and email networks at the EU’s Justus Lipsius building in the Belgian capital, the venue for EU summits and home of the European council.
Citing documents it said it had “partly seen”, the magazine reported that more than five years ago security officers at the EU had noticed several missed calls apparently targeting the remote maintenance system in the building that were traced to NSA offices within the Nato compound in Brussels. Continue reading
[As the capitalist crisis — the so-called “Great Recession” — continues to shake up lives and property relations, real estate corporations are reorganizing housing markets to take advantage of mass desperation and this now also affects the funeral and cemetary markets. For a diabolical view of how capitalist cost-benefit analysis anticipates death rates–soaring from suicides, but traffic deaths declining because people cannot afford car repairs or gas–and how science ends up with a body glut–see this article. — Frontlines ed.]
Economic Crisis Leaves Hard-Hit Spaniards Scrimping on Funerals
By Dan Bilefsky, New York Times, November 22, 2012
BARCELONA — María Cristina Riveros can barely afford to live, let alone die. So when the end comes, she insists, there will be no spray of red roses or marble tombstone to mark her grave. Instead she is donating her body to science, to avoid being a financial burden on her family.
“I’m not upset about death — I’m upset about life,” said Mrs. Riveros, 53, an unemployed geriatric nurse and single mother, as she waited in line on a recent day for food at a church here. Her 16-year-old daughter, who suffers from a rare immune deficiency, needs €9,000, or about $11,500, for an operation, she said. Monthly insurance payments for her own funeral were out of the question.
Europe’s grinding economic crisis has left hard-hit Spaniards scrimping on death. They are defaulting on cemetery plots — and thousands face being evicted from them. They are opting for inexpensive funerals, or financing them in monthly installments. Pricey extras like grief therapy, organists to play “Ave Maria” or elaborate floral arrangements are being pruned.
But while austerity tears at the funeral industry — and some say the social fabric of the country — it has been a boon for science. Donating a body has become such a popular alternative to the cost of a funeral that some medical schools complain they do not have enough refrigerators to store all of them. Continue reading
Activists battle with police during violent clashes in Lisbon, as protests against austerity sweep across Europe.
Video: Protests Across Europe Against Austerity
Rome is being brought to a standstill as anti-austerity protesters take on riot police in the streets.
A wave of anti-austerity anger is sweeping across Europe with general strikes in Spain and Portugal and walkouts in Greece and Italy – grounding flights, closing schools and shutting down transport.
Millions of workers have been taking part in the dozens of co-ordinated protests in a so-called European Day of Action and Solidarity against spending cuts and tax hikes. Continue reading
By SUZANNE DALEY, The New York Times, November 11, 2012
SEVILLE, Spain — The first night after Francisco Rodríguez Flores, 71, and his wife, Ana López Corral, 67, were evicted from their small apartment here after falling behind on their mortgage, they slept in the entrance hall of their building. Their daughters, both unemployed and living with them, slept in a neighbor’s van.
“It was the worst thing ever,” Mrs. López said recently, studying her hands. “You can’t image what it felt like to be there in that hall. It’s a story you can’t really tell because it is not the same as living it.”
Things are somewhat better now. The Rodríguezes are among the 36 families who have taken over a luxury apartment block here that had been vacant for three years. There is no electricity. The water was recently cut off, and there is the fear that the authorities will evict them once again. But, Mrs. López says, they are not living on the street — at least not yet.
The number of Spanish families facing eviction continues to mount at a dizzying pace — hundreds a day, housing advocates say. The problem has become so acute that Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has promised to announce emergency measures on Monday, though what they may be remains unclear.
While some are able to move in with family members, a growing number, like the Rodríguezes, have no such option. Their relatives are in no better shape than they are, and Spain has virtually no emergency shelter system for families.
For some, the pressure has been too much to bear. In recent weeks, a 53-year-old man in Granada hanged himself just hours before he was to be evicted, and a 53-year-old woman in Bilbao jumped to her death as court officials arrived at her door. Continue reading
Main Greek union calls general strike on November 6-7
ATHENS – Agence France Presse
Greece’s main union to called a 48-hour general strike for November 6-7 in protest at a new wave of austerity measures unveiled by the government in order to unlock EU-IMF bailout loans, AFP reported.
“The central aim and demand of the unions is the rejection (by parliament) of unacceptable, destructive and coercive measures imposed by the troika,” the General Confederation of Greek Workers (GSEE) said in a statement, referring to the EU, IMFand European Central Bank.
#14N: European General Strike
Soulevons-nous! Erheben wir uns! Solleviamoci! Continue reading
By Tracy Rucinski and Paul Day, REUTERS
MADRID | Tue Sep 25, 2012
(Reuters) – Protesters clashed with police in Spain’s capital on Tuesday as the government prepared a new round of unpopular austerity measures for the 2013 budget to be announced on Thursday.
Thousands gathered in Neptune plaza, a few meters from El Prado museum in central Madrid, where they formed a human chain around parliament, surrounded by barricades, police trucks and more than 1,500 police in riot gear.
Police fired rubber bullets and beat protesters with truncheons, first as protesters were trying to tear down barriers and later to clear the square. The police said at least 22 people had been arrested and at least 32 injured, including four policemen.
As lawmakers started to leave the parliament shortly after 2100 GMT in official cars or by foot, a few hundred people were still demonstrating in front of the building. Most dispersed shortly afterwards.
The protest, promoted over the Internet by different activist groups, was younger and more rowdy than recent marches called by labor unions. Protesters said they were fed up with cuts to public salaries and health and education.
“My annual salary has dropped by 8,000 euros and if it falls much further I won’t be able to make ends meet,” said Luis Rodriguez, 36, a firefighter who joined the protest. He said he was considering leaving Spain to find a better quality of life. Continue reading
By Associated Press, August 10, 2012
Sanchez Gordillo has boasted that his town has full employment thanks to the farm cooperatives his office has established for the jobless.
Police said one person was arrested during an eviction Friday of union members who were squatting on Defense Ministry land near Ecija that is lying fallow to demand it be given to hard-pressed farmers.
Four others were arrested elsewhere Friday, and two Thursday, although all but two have been released on bail pending legal action.
July 09, 2012 via Associated Press
Spanish miners in the northwestern provinces of Asturias and Leon, armed with homemade rockets and slingshots, have been battling police in protest against government cuts, including a slashing of subsidies in their industry.
Striking Spanish Miners Fire Homemade Rockets at Police
June 15, 2012 via Telegraph.co.uk
Striking Spanish coal workers continued to block roads and clashed with police inside a mine in the northern region of Asturias on Friday.
At least 100,000 Spaniards angered by grim economic prospects and the political handling of the international financial crisis have turned out for street demonstrations in the country’s cities, marking the one-year anniversary of a movement that inspired similar pressure groups in other countries.
Tens of thousands of protesters in Madrid flooded into the central Puerta del Sol plaza in the evening and aimed to stay for three days. But authorities warned they wouldn’t allow anyone to camp out overnight, and up to 2000 riot police were expected to be on duty.
“I’m here to defend the rights that we’re losing and for the young people who have it so tough,” 57-year-old middle school teacher Roberto Alonso said. “They’re better educated than ever. But they don’t have work. They don’t have anything. They’re behind and they’ll stay that way.”
At least 20,000 people demonstrated in Barcelona. Marches were also held in Bilbao, Malaga and Seville. Sympathisers held protests in other European cities. Continue reading
by Alasdair Fotheringham, The Independent (UK)
Approximately a quarter of a million protesters took to the streets in Barcelona, with some fringe groups attacking police vans and smashing shop windows until late into the evening. In contrast Madrid’s almost equally large demonstration, where the crowds of chanting, whistling protestors filled the emblematic Puerto del Sol square and surrounding streets to bursting point, was reported as being totally peaceful.
“There’s lots of people here, but we need even more, this country is going through an awful situation and its going to get worse,” young protester Luis Ferrer, on the dole for three months, told The Independent in Madrid’s demonstration.
“If we don’t make ourselves heard now, we never will. I don’t think we’re going to end up like Greece, but they’re using this recession to take away our rights as workers.It’s just an excuse.”
“The labour reforms they want to bring in are terrible and our wages are awful,” Jose, a protestor in his twenties, added. “They want us to work more and more, put up taxes too and that’s just not on.” Continue reading
Maria Carrion & Ivan Martinoz on Pro-Democracy, Toma la Plaza!, Protests Spreading Across Spain
May 27, 2011
Tens of thousands of Spanish protesters are demonstrating across the country calling for better economic opportunities, a more representative electoral system, and an end to political corruption. Democracy Now! speaks with independent journalist Maria Carrion and protest spokesperson Ivan Martinoz in Madrid. Continue reading
[Some are calling it the emergence of a Tahrir Square in Spain. — Frontlines ed.]
Before the NATO Summit in Lisbon on November 19-20, 2010
Pentagon Forges NATO Proxy Armies In Eastern Europe
by Rick Rozoff
On November 19 and 20 the leaders of 28 North American and European nations, all the major Western military powers and their vassals, will gather in the capital of Portugal for this year’s summit of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Until recently held every other year, NATO summits are now annual events, with the last held in France and Germany in 2009 and the preceding one in Romania in 2008.
Prior to last year’s summit in Strasbourg and Kehl, the first held in two nations, four in a row had occurred in Eastern Europe: The Czech Republic in 2002, Turkey in 2004, Latvia in 2006 and Romania in 2008. None of those host countries, of course, are anywhere near the North Atlantic Ocean. Neither are any of the 12 nations incorporated into the Western military bloc in the past 11 years.
This year’s summit will endorse the Alliance’s first Strategic Concept for the 21st century, a draft of which was crafted by a so-called group of experts led by former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and presented in a report entitled NATO 2020: Assured Security; Dynamic Engagement.
Despite NATO referring to itself as a “military alliance of democratic states in Europe and North America” and claiming that all its members’ opinions carry equal weight – as though Luxembourg and Iceland could block or override the U.S., the world’s sole military superpower as its current head of state proudly christened it last December – next month’s summit will be a rubber stamp affair.
Everything the Pentagon and White House demand will be granted, most notably:
The subordination of NATO’s theater interceptor missile initiative, the Active Layered Theatre Ballistic Missile Defence Programme launched in 2005, and the U.S.-German-Italian Medium Extended Air Defense System (MEADS) to a U.S. missile shield structure throughout all of Europe and into the Middle East.
The retention of at least 200 U.S. nuclear bombs on air bases in Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Turkey.
A complementary cyber warfare “dome” over the European continent directed by the new U.S. Cyber Command. 
The qualitatively accelerated military integration of NATO and the European Union in the aftermath of the Lisbon Treaty entering into force last December 1. A Portuguese adviser to President of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso recently affirmed “that the best solution for the enhancement of EU-U.S. relations would be that the European Union (EU) joins NATO.”  Continue reading
[This Chinese move seems motivated by a search for profitable investments and the opportunity to step across the threshold of Europe. When the Greek financial crisis exploded a few months ago, and Germany, the UK, and the US all resisted bailing out the bankrupt regime, the Chinese smelled an opportunity to go where they could not go before.–Frontlines ed.]
New York Times, November 1, 2010
PARIS — When Prime Minister Wen Jiabao of China visited Athens last month, he came bearing gifts: billions of dollars worth of business deals and a wave of favorable attention from a crucial foreign investor.
“The support of our Chinese friends is fortunate for us,” Greece’s minister of state, Haris Pamboukis, said by telephone. But China has much greater ambitions. Greece is one foothold for China’s broad, strategic push into Europe. It is snapping up assets depressed by the global financial crisis and becoming a significant partner of other hard-hit European nations.
That message will be reinforced by a visit this week by China’s president, Hu Jintao, who is scheduled to meet with top officials and business executives of Portugal and France.
Ultimately, analysts say, Beijing hopes to achieve not just more business for its own companies, but also greater influence over the economic policies set in the power corridors of Brussels and Germany.
“They are indicating a willingness to stick their nose into Europe’s business,” said Carl B. Weinberg, chief United States economist of High Frequency Economics. “It’s very clever and sends a clear message,” he added, “that China is a force to be contended with.”