Monthly News Review: June 2015

 

On the 26th June there were four major terrorist attacks across four countries, of course this is not including Syria, Iraq, East Ukraine, Yemen and Palestine  and other parts of the world for whom terror attacks are part of daily life . In Somalia an African Union Base was attacked by Islamic militants, the base was captured and over seventy soldiers were killed, survivors were captured and beheaded. The base was recaptured by government forces two days later with the militants withdrawing offering no resistance, the African Union Base was predominantly a peacekeeping force to assist the Somalian government. This is the African Union’s vision from its website An integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa, driven by its own citizens and representing a dynamic force in global arena.”

 

In Kuwait a bomb was exploded by a suicide bomber at a mosque attended by Shia Muslims that killed 27 people and injured 227. The attack happened on Friday prayers during Ramadan which would make the Mosque especially busy, over 2000 people were inside praying at the time.

 

In Tunisia at hotel in Sousse, 38 tourists were killed by a  lone gunmen who entered the hotel complex and gunned down sunbathers on the beach and in the hotel before being shot dead in the road outside the hotel by security forces, over 30 were wounded. Most of the tourists killed were British.

 

On the same day in Saint-Quentin-Lavalier in France, a delivery driver tried to cause an explosion by ramming his car into containers at a chemical factor , he was let in by security as he was recognized as a regular visitor. Police intercepted him  when he was trying to create further explosions and he was arrested. However the delivery firms owner, the boss of the driver, was found beheaded with his head impaled on a nearby fence.

 

All the attacks are believed to be carried out by Islamic Militants with connections to IS.

 


June 17th saw another mass shooting in America, this time a young white male entered a church attended by the black community and opened fire killing nine people, there was one survivor who was left alive on purpose so she could recount what had happened. The individual was a 21 year old named Dyann Roof who felt strong ties to the confederacy that was the southern states of America during the American civil war.

 

The notable death among the nine if one can say such a thing is the death of Senator Clementa Pinkney. Pinkney had spent the earlier part of the day with Hilary Clinton doing Democratic promotion activities and it was in the evening the murders occurred at the church where he was also a pastor and giving a sermon to a small but presumably select audience which included his sister. Recently, Pinkneys most notable action was sponsoring a bill that brought about a state law that forced the police to wear body camera’s. This follows from the incident where Walter Scott was shot eight times in the back when running from a police office after being detained for a minor indiscretion. The Walter Scott incident was caught on camera http://newswars.org/usa-police-brutality/ and it sparked an outcry, the officer now faces murder charges which is rare in the US. On the back of this Pinkney pushed for cameras on police which got signed into law. However, a late amendment to the bill ensured the police footage does not have to be revealed to the public and is only released at the police departments discretion.

 

Another notable outcome of this is the burning of the Confederate flag amongst those wishing to make a statement on the incident. They perceive it to be burning a symbol of racism as the Southern States during the civil war were in favour of slave owning. Filmed burnings trended on social media after the event. Wouldn’t it make more sense to put energy into trying to ensure a mechanism that allowed the public access to police camera footage when required? Burning a flag is an easy thing to do, but ultimately means nothing other than a demonstrating one’s displeasure in a moment in time. Getting access to that camera footage when needed would bring lasting positive changes to lives and also be a great gesture to Pinkney and his legacy. Research shows a massive reduction in violent reactions from the police when they wear camera’s, the kind of conclusion one could reach with common sense, a research report merely puts the obvious into numbers on a piece of paper. A report cited by the White House’s Taskforce on 21st Century Policing found that the officers wearing cameras had 87.5 percent fewer incidents of use of force and 59% fewer complaints than the officers not wearing the cameras. With public access to the footage controlled solely by the police department there is now a real risk that not only will people be unable to access footage in cases of complaint but the police can now cherry pick what they do release to media and general public and it is used more as a public relations tool rather than a tool for citizens protection (and police) which is the original intention. The confederate flag burning movement wasn’t just restricted to flag burning videos, official buildings have taken the flag down from masts, and large companies have removed it from their stores. Its movements like this that apparently satisfy people even thought it actually achieves nothing that will change their lives.

 

The last thing to say on this is how the arrest of Dylann Roof was conducted http://newswars.org/usa-charleston-suspect-arrested/For a mass murderer it was a surprising gentle affair. Even with no resistance, which there wasn’t, you would expect the police, based on previous experience, to be all over this individual with extreme force, bearing in mind he had just shot nine people.

 

 


The Trans Pacific Partnership or TPP took another step closer to becoming reality in June with President Obama signing a bill, with the approval of both parties, that allows him to fast track negotiations, whatever that is supposed to mean. The US and 11 other Pacific rim countries; Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam are involved in a huge trade deal that apparently constitutes  40% of global trade between them. Other than the odd leak of a draft no one knows quite whats involved as they won’t release the details, not until the bill is finalised. In addition to the negotiators, 600 official corporate trade advisers have access to the documents . As the name would suggest it presumably focuses on trade which can only mean one thing, it is there to benefit business and when we say business its almost certainly going to be big business. When big business gets together to talk about how to make more money, the conversation doesn’t usually include statements like, how can we ensure a better quality of life for our fellow citizens and people of this world. Instead you can expect talk of more customers, more sales, and more profit, or , reduced staff, reduced staff pay, reduced purchasing costs and more profit. Increase income and lower costs are the only two mechanisms in business that you can influence to achieve profit to whatever degree. So whatever is in store for those that will live with the consequences of the TPP the majority are highly unlikely to better off, but time will tell.

 

 


The general elections in Turkey took place on June 7th, the current president, Erdogan, who leads the Islamic orientated AKP party was running for a fourth term in office. The AKP who also calls itself the justice and development party has been in power since  2002 and overseen a generally high economic growth period for the Turkish people.

 

The Turkish parliament holds 550 seats and the AKP won 258 of those seats which meant they didn’t have enough of a majority to form a government but instead a coalition government would have to be formed. The only problem is that to date a Turkish government hasn’t yet been formed because there are no parties willing to join with another party to form a coalition so a return to the polls may be happening sooner rather than later.

 

This image form the Guardian explains it quite well:

 

Coalition scenarios after Turkey's elections

http://www.theguardian.com/world/live/2015/jun/08/turkey-election-2015-ruling-party-loses-majority-as-pro-kurdish-hdp-gains-rolling-report

 

The main opposition party is the CHP which is the party of Turkeys founding father Mustafa Kemal or Ataturk as he often refereed to. The popularity of this party is predominantly on the west coast of Turkey where most of the tourist areas are and the people there are less religious. After the last Sultan of the Ottoman empire abandoned his people to side with the Imperialist British, in cahoots with non other than London Mayor, Boris Johnson’s great grandfather Ali Kemal Bey who was a British agent, the Ottoman empire was invaded by Greece. No doubt at the behest of the Imperial powers. The Greeks tore through what is now Turkey and the Turks were on their knees with nothing left when a military officer named Mustafa Kemal rallied the nation and fought back. They drove the Greeks back to the west coast towards Greece and reclaimed the mainland. The country was named Turkiye and Kemal, its founding father became Ataturk – father of Turkey. Ataturk made some sweeping changes compared to how life was under the Ottomans, he ensured the country was secular, meaning that religion and government were to be separate entities, or in other words, religion was to have no place in government. He formed a new language, gave women rights, and an abundance of laws that looked to give the people some equality, choice and independence, something that’s not possible when under strict religious rule.  Ataturk was not only a great military strategist he was a great politician and arguably one of the greatest men of 20th century.

 

Yet if Ataturk is so popular in Turkey why isn’t the CHP party doing better, this is because Turkey is a country of two faces, the liberal citizens and  the religious citizens. At the moment the pendulum swing has been in favor for the AKP, and of course once they gained power in 2002 they looked to reverse all the changes made by Ataturk all those years ago and start dragging Turkey towards an Islamic state. The government has many policies in place that encourage religious conversions towards Islam and of course the more successful these policies the more votes they will get as the party that represents Islam.

 

There is another factor large at play in Turkish politics, a man by the name of Fethullah Gülen, this man is in self imposed exile in the United States and is the leader of a Islamic sect called the Gulen Movement that has millions of followers in Turkey. Gulen lives in a large ranch in Pennsylvannia where he is regularly visited by Turkish officials, perhaps to receive their orders or for training?

Gulens Ranch

Rumor has it that Gulan, is a CIA asset, a question that is even asked openly in the Turkish newspapers. Turkey has one of the worst track records in the world when it comes to arresting and imprisoning journalists who ask the wrong questions, however, when one looks at some of the media available to the Turkish public on a mainstream platform there are dissenting voices of the like you would never get in a western society, (not that this is in any way a promotion for the government but rather a sign of the steadfastness and courage of those who oppose the ruling government), these come in the main from the Vatan Party who although haven’t won any seats in the election but still have a loyal and growing following, westerners would recognise them as a workers party or socialists. Many observers believe that Erdogan had the support of Gulan which is why the AKP came to power in 2002, yet is is also said they then had a falling out in 2013/14 and Gulen is now working to oust Erdogan and shoe in another party who presumably is willing to be more compliant. So who might be the shoe in, well it looks like the CHP are the next most likely, but there is another rumour, Gulen has its claws in the CHP party, the ultimate betrayal for Ataturk, not only is his party now subject to religious inclinations, if Gulen really is linked to the CIA then Turkish sovereignty is severely compromised.