Friday 2 November 2007

Why sell the golden goose?

The upcoming privatisation of the mobile phone network proves everything that is wrong with the Lebanese government. The network has been one of the state's main sources of revenue, generating between $750 to $900 million a year.

Why sell it off at a time when there is a crippling national debt?

The answer is of course that the business of profit will remain "private" while debt will remain "public".

The government argues that they can make a quick $7 billion. But since there is a deadline to reduce the "national debt" by 2012, surely hanging on to this key sector is a good bit of forward planning?

Not if it gets in the way of neo-liberal dogma, apparently.

So in come mega wealthy cell phone companies—like ZAIN, Kuwait's Mobile Telecommunications Co. (with current revenues of $1,470.54 million)—and out goes whatever is left of health provisions and pensions.

Monday 29 October 2007

More on US bases

Former MP Nasser Kandil appeared on Lebanese television on Sunday to reveal a document, which he said was issued by an agency in the US Department of Defense, that confirms US intentions to set up a base, or several bases in Lebanon.

The US embassy denied it, again.

Still wondering what "a strategic alliance between Lebanon and the US" means? Hmmm

Acting like US soldiers

More evidence of the "Fallujah-style" looting and wanton destruction of Palestinian homes in the camp.

Nahr al Bared—a lament

Like all Palestinian songs, this one ends with a call for a homeland.
**Warning, this video contains some distressing images.

The camp is levelled

Army abuse of prisoners

A Lebanese soldier shouts at prisoners captured at Nahr al-Bared. The men are obviously traumatised or badly wounded.

Nahr al Bared—army torched homes

Irish peace activist Michael Birmingham has uncovered shocking evidence of the torching, looting and dustruction of Palestinian homes in Nahr al-Bared camp.

He writes:

"Something terrible has been done to the residents of Nahr al Bared, and the Lebanese people are being spared the details. Over the past two weeks, since the camp was partly reopened to a few of its residents, many of us who have been there have been stunned by a powerful reality. Beyond the massive destruction of the homes from three months of bombing, room after room, house after house have been burned. Burned from the inside.

"Amongst the ashes on the ground, are the insides of what appear to have been car tyres. The walls have soot dripping down from what seems clearly to have been something flammable sprayed on them. Rooms, houses, shops, garages— all blackened ruins, yet having had no damage from bombing or battle. They were burned deliberately by people entering and torching them."