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Australia Continues Its Plunge Into Authoritarianism And Military Brinkmanship

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 16/09/2021 - 11:53am in

Listen to a reading of this article:

Australia has joined the US and UK in an “enhanced trilateral security partnership” called AUKUS with the unspoken-yet-obvious goal of coordinating escalations against China. Antiwar reports:

President Biden and the leaders of Australia and the UK announced a new military agreement on Wednesday aimed at countering China. The pact, known as AUKUS, will focus on the sharing of sensitive military technologies, and the first initiative will focus on getting Australia nuclear-powered submarines.

US officials speaking to CNN described the effort to share nuclear propulsion with another country as an “exceedingly rare step” due to the sensitivity of the technology. “This technology is extremely sensitive. This is, frankly, an exception to our policy in many respects,” one unnamed official said.

This deal will replace a planned $90 billion program to obtain twelve submarines designed by France, an obnoxious expenditure either way when a quarter of Australians are struggling to make ends meet during a pandemic that is four times more likely to kill Australians who are struggling financially. This is just the latest in Canberra’s continually expanding policy of feeding vast fortunes into Washington’s standoff with Beijing at the expense of its own people.

If readers are curious why Australia would simultaneously subvert its own economic interests by turning against its primary trading partner and its own security interests by feeding into dangerous and unnecessary provocations, I will refer them once again to the jarringly honest explanation by American political analyst John Mearsheimer at a debate hosted by the Australian think tank Center for Independent Studies in 2019. Mearsheimer told his audience that the US is going to do everything it can to halt China’s rise and prevent it from becoming the regional hegemon in the East, and that Australia should align with the US in that battle or else it would face the wrath of Washington.

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“The question that’s on the table is what should Australia’s foreign policy be in light of the rise of China,” Mearsheimer said. “I’ll tell you what I would suggest if I were an Australian.”

Mearsheimer claimed that China is going to continue to grow economically and will convert this economic power into military power to dominate Asia “the way the US dominates the Western Hemisphere”, and explained why he thinks the US and its allies have every ability to prevent that from happening.

“Now the question is what does this all mean for Australia?” Mearsheimer said. “Well, you’re in a quandary for sure. Everybody knows what the quandary is. And by the way you’re not the only country in East Asia that’s in this quandary. You trade a lot with China, and that trade is very important for your prosperity, no question about that. Security-wise you really want to go with us. It makes just a lot more sense, right? And you understand that security is more important than prosperity, because if you don’t survive, you’re not gonna prosper.”

“Now some people say there’s an alternative: you can go with China,” said Mearsheimer. “Right you have a choice here: you can go with China rather the United States. There’s two things I’ll say about that. Number one, if you go with China you want to understand you are our enemy. You are then deciding to become an enemy of the United States. Because again, we’re talking about an intense security competition.”

“You’re either with us or against us,” he continued. “And if you’re trading extensively with China, and you’re friendly with China, you’re undermining the United States in this security competition. You’re feeding the beast, from our perspective. And that is not going to make us happy. And when we are not happy you do not want to underestimate how nasty we can be. Just ask Fidel Castro.”

Nervous laughter from the Australian think tank audience punctuated Mearsheimer’s more incendiary observations. The CIA is known to have made numerous attempts to assassinate Castro.

So there you have it. Australia is not aligned with the US to protect itself from China. Australia is aligned with the US to protect itself from the US.

This new move happens as Northern Territory Chief Minister Michael Gunner announces his government’s policy for Covid-19 restrictions once the territory’s population is 80 percent vaccinated which will include “lockouts” during outbreaks wherein people will only be allowed to work and move freely in society if they verify that they are vaccinated using check-in measures which Gunner literally calls a “freedom pass”.

“I’ll say it again and again. If you want your life to continue close to normal, get your jab,” Gunner said. “For vaccinated people, the check-in app will basically be your freedom pass. For people who make the choice to not get vaccinated, no vax means no freedom pass. We’re working with other governments now to get this technology ready.”

This is in alignment with what we’ve been told to expect as the rest of Australia prepares to roll out the use of vaccine passports.

And we continue to see other authoritarian escalations in Australia which have nothing to do with Covid as well. Authorities have been proposing new legal provisions which will allow Australian visas to be cancelled and citizenship revoked in entirely secret proceedings based on information provided by secretive government agencies. The horrifying Identify and Disrupt bill which allows Australian police to hack people’s devices, collect, delete and alter their information and log onto their social media was passed through Parliament at jaw-dropping speed last month. Neither of these escalations are Covid-related.

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People who just started paying attention to Australian authoritarianism during Covid often get the impression that it’s entirely about the virus, but as we discussed previously the actual fundamental problem is that Australia is the only so-called democracy without any kind of statute or bill of rights to protect the citizenry from these kinds of abuses. This is why Australia is looked upon as so freakish by the rest of the western world right now: because, in this sense, it is. People call it a “free country”, but there has never been any reason to do so.

Covid has certainly played a major role in the exacerbation of Australian authoritarianism, but it’s a problem that was well underway long before the outbreak. Back in 2019 the CIVICUS Monitor had already downgraded Australia from an “open” country to one where civil space has “narrowed”, citing new laws to expand government surveillance, prosecution of whistleblowers, and raids on media organizations.

This slide into military brinkmanship and authoritarian dystopia shows no signs of stopping. The abuses of the powerful will continue to grow more egregious until the people open their eyes to what’s going on and begin taking action to steer us away from the existential dangers we are hurtling toward on multiple fronts. If there is any good news to be had here, it’s that if such a miracle ever occurs it will then be possible to immediately course correct and start building a healthy society together.


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I started with a simple beat and it turned into something bigger...

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 15/09/2021 - 3:49am in


Blog, News

A story about how a simple beat I was working on turned into an artistic venture

It all started with a beat

I was out at the studio and I was just messing around with a simple little beat using this drum machine program that I have called Hydrogen.

Then wrote a piano line to go along with the beat and added this Calf Studio plug-in that's supposed to make it sound like old vinyl.

Then I messed around with a few more instruments to add to the song. One of them I added was a bassoon.

It reminds me of something?

As was listening to what I did so far a funny thing happened. It reminded me of something. 

I started thinking of the movie "Big time" the live concert movie by Tom Waits that he did for his album "Frank's wild years".

In particular, it made me think of the song "Shore leave" and that's a song I've wanted to cover for a while.

So I was like, what if I take what I have so far and do Shore leave? Do the version that's in that movie, not the version that's on his album.

I changed some of the parts that I had recorded to match the song, then added the vocals.

Then I got another idea

As I was doing this I started getting another idea. I've been looking for something to animate, I've been looking for a cartoon to make and I'm like, what if I just animated this song? What if I animated my version of what it would be?

I pulled out the tablet that I have and I drew this picture of the character that I would use for the story.

illustration of a man holding a hat

Now as I was working on the song I started storyboarding what the animation would be in my head. 

I was thinking not only of writing the song but what I wanted the video to do!

Set up the first animated scene using Blender Grease Pencil

I've been wanting to mess with the animation software Blender. Mainly with their grease pencil set up for 2D animation. I wanted to see what it's like? So I decided that this was going to be the project I would use to learn it.

I set up the first scene based on the drawing I did in the Blender software but it took me just as long to do this first scene as it took me to come up with the song! 

I didn't want to wait so long to do all of this.

(Watch the first 2 scenes here - FIRST 2 SCENES ANIMATED FOR SHORE LEAVE VIDEO)

I'll animate it as 6-second video segments

The animated segment I did of the song so far was only a few seconds long so I thought, what if i just animated it six seconds at a time? 

I thought of it kind of like an Instagram story or one of those YouTube shorts. 

What if I just created and released segments from the song piece by piece as I go along? Releasing these as I'm animating it! 

That's where I'm at right now. I'm gonna be releasing this song animation in short segments.

So that's the story about how I started working on a beat that became a much bigger thing!


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Grief and Anger After UAE Soldiers Torture and Kill Yemeni-American Student Trying to Visit Family

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 15/09/2021 - 1:56am in

DHAMAR, YEMEN –– As his hope that the Sana’a International Airport will be reopened has faded, smiley-faced Abdulmalek Anwar Alsanabani — a 25-year-old Yemeni-American living in Fresno, California — finally decided to take the risky journey across the south of Yemen in order to see his family in Sana’a. Al-Sanabani had gone eight years away from his loved ones. On Wednesday, he arrived at southern Yemen’s Aden Airport, where he shared his last Facebook post before his smiley face became bloodied and bruised.

Abdulmalek, a graduate of Huntsville Community College, was not kidnapped, imprisoned, and tortured like the thousands of Yemeni students traveling through Saudi-controlled points of entry have been. Rather he was robbed, tortured and murdered at a checkpoint in the Tour Al-Baha district in the northern Lahj province by the Security Belt Forces of Transitional Council, an armed militant group backed by the United Arab Emirates.

On Wednesday, the Southern Transitional Council (STC) announced they had arrested “a suspected member of the Houthi rebel movement” while he was traveling with thousands of U.S. dollars from Aden towards Houthi-controlled areas in the north. The news, published on websites supporting the UAE, was accompanied by a photo showing Alsanabani with his hands tied behind his back on the bed of a military vehicle.

Abdulmalek UAE

A photo showing Abdulmalek bound in the back of a truck belonging to UAE-backed militants

Abdulmalek’s father recounted to MintPress that “We were in constant contact with Abdulmalek during his trip before communication was cut on Wednesday afternoon.” Later, his family was surprised when media outlets and statements by officials affiliated with the Saudi-led Coalition in Tor Al-Baha began reporting the arrest of their son on charges of belonging to the Houthis and possessing sums of money. “We quickly traveled to Aden, but were shocked to find his dead body in the morgue of the Republican Hospital in Aden after he had been tortured and killed,” his father said. Abdulmalek’s body was full of bruises and wounds indicating that he had been tortured. There were also three bullet entry wounds in his back and a fourth in his leg, according to the Alsanabani family.


Death for no reason

Abdulmalek, who had never so much as belonged to a political party or group, was looted of what he had saved for his family, tortured and killed by gunshots by soldiers wearing the uniform of, and receiving their salary from, Abu Dhabi. He committed no crime other than being from an area classified by the Coalition as a “Houthi area.” But Abdulmalek was not the only one to meet such a fate because of the region from which he hailed, his sect or his family.

On Saturday, four students — Hossam Tariq al Shaibani, Ibrahim Ahmed al-Shahari, Ahmed Moeen al-Madani, and Yahya Mansour al-Areiqi — were kidnapped when they arrived at Aden Airport. Their families told MintPress that their fate is still unknown, a fact confirmed by the General Union of Yemeni Students in Malaysia, which issued a statement in the wake of the disappearance.

Since 2015 — when the Saudi war, supported by the United States and other Western military powers, transformed this nation on the Arabian Peninsula into a large prison for millions of Yemenis — students studying abroad, along with stranded medical patients and expatriates, have had only this option to return home: either cross al-Mahrah, Syoun in the east or Aden in the south, all routes that pass through Lahj, Shabwah and Marib, areas under Saudi-led Coalition control. As soon as they arrive at these places, militants affiliated with Saudi Arabia or the UAE check their identities. If they live in provinces, cities, streets, or even neighborhoods that are classified as a hotbed for Ansar Allah (Houthis), or if they belong to certain Yemeni families or are affiliated with a Shia Muslim sect, they ​are often arrested, tortured and imprisoned on charges of belonging to the Houthis.


Grieving and protests

The plights of Abdulmalek and the four other students have touched the hearts of Yemenis across the political and religious divide and sparked an uproar inside the country and abroad. In the United States, hundreds of Yemeni expatriates took to the streets in Michigan, California and New York. Protesters condemned the crime and held the UAE responsible, calling for the Sana’a International Airport to be reopened so that Yemenis can travel safely without the risk of imprisonment, torture and death.

In Yemen, dozens of protests were held, mostly in the northern provinces, but the largest demonstration was in Abdulmalek’s hometown of Dhamar, a city in southwestern Yemen. There, many of his relatives who spoke to MintPress accused both the Biden administration and the UAE of murdering a family member and U.S. citizen. “If the Sana’a Airport was open, Abdulmalek would now live in peace. We know in fact that the airport siege is supported by America,” Hani Alsanabani, one of Abdulmalek’s relatives, told MintPress in the wake of a protest that took place in Sanaban. Abdulmalek’s death has also triggered condemnation from nearly all Yemeni political parties, human rights organizations, activists, journalists, lawyers, and members of the Yemeni community in the United States.


Forced to sell an organ for rent

The closure of the Sana’a Airport and the imposition of an air embargo have exacerbated the humanitarian situation for many civilians both inside and outside the country. With the continued absence of safe corridors, many stranded students, patients and professionals recently deported from Saudi Arabia are left in a state of legal limbo, unable to secure citizenship in neighboring countries and therefore unable to work — leaving them with no way to earn money short of begging on the street or agreeing to sell their organs.

In 2018, Musa al-Ezaki, the editor of Yemen’s widely-circulated Al-Hayat newspaper, made a very public offer to sell one of his kidneys to the highest bidder. Al-Ezaki coordinated with his brother who was living in Egypt at the time to place an ad in a Cario newspaper with the caption, “Under compelling circumstances, I regret to announce the sale of my kidney to pay rent; if someone wants to buy a kidney, please call me.” It’s unknown if al-Ezaki ever found a buyer.

A Saudi Move to Deport Yemeni Professionals En Masse is Likely to Backfire Dramatically

Since 2015, the Saudi bombing of civilians and infrastructure and the imprisonment and torture of political opponents have often characterized the news from Yemen. But the imprisonment of students in secret prisons supervised and managed by both the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia — a fact that is well-known and likely supported by the United States — may be the darkest chapter in this dirty war.

The deaths of Abdulmalek and other students have again sparked concerns among millions of Yemenis — particularly expatriates, students, and medical patients stranded abroad — about the unchecked violence carried out by the Saudi-led Coalition in their country. The incidents further highlight the dangers faced by Yemenis seeking to travel across the country in dangerous circumstances, and the role of the United States in the ongoing suffering of Yemenis who struggle against starvation, epidemics and bombing. It is estimated that nearly four million Yemenis are currently stranded abroad, according to data provided by the Sana’a International Airport Media Center.

Feature photo | A photo showing Abdulmalek bound in the back of a truck belonging to UAE-backed militants

Ahmed AbdulKareem is a Yemeni journalist based in Sana’a. He covers the war in Yemen for MintPress News as well as local Yemeni media.

The post Grief and Anger After UAE Soldiers Torture and Kill Yemeni-American Student Trying to Visit Family appeared first on MintPress News.

Why Israel’s Gilboa Prison Break has Palestanians Celebrating

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 11/09/2021 - 3:39am in

GILBOA PRISON, PALESTINE — It is said that Palestinians are the most incarcerated people in the world. Rarely does one find a Palestinian who has not been a victim of the Israeli prison system and when one does find one such person, he or she will have a sibling, parent or another close relative who serves or has served time in an Israeli prison. Opportunities for Palestinians to celebrate as a nation are few and far between. When the news broke of the escape of six high-profile Palestinian prisoners from one of Israel’s most secure prisons, it was a reason to celebrate. This was a reason not only for Palestinians to celebrate but indeed for all people who believe in justice and freedom.

This escape, which Reuters described as a “Hollywood-style escape,” was a daring and courageous operation. It had Palestinians celebrating in the streets and provides the Palestinian Authority and the countries that surround Palestine an opportunity to demonstrate to whom they are loyal. The world will see whether they will support the efforts of the oppressor to catch the freed political prisoners or support the cause of freedom and help these six brave men find safety.

Gilboa prison Break

A guard stands at northern Israel’s notorious Gilboa prison, Sept. 6, 2021. Sebastian Scheiner | A{P


The prison

Gilboa Prison is located in northeastern Palestine in what used to be known as the Baisan District. It is a beautiful and very fertile region and home to some of Israel’s most prosperous settlements, many of them established prior to 1948.

According to Addameer, the Palestinian prisoner support and human rights association, Gilboa Prison was established in 2004 next to Shatta Prison in the Baisan area. It is a high-security prison described as “the most intensely secured of its kind where occupation authorities incarcerate Palestinian prisoners.”

According to a report by Adalah, the Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, at Gilboa Prison every group of six “security prisoners” is housed in cells that are 22 square meters (c. 230 square feet) in size, including a shared toilet and bathroom. The cells contain three bunk beds and the inmates are unable to maintain social distancing. The beds are situated less than 1.5 meters from each other and the top bunks are positioned just 80 centimeters (c. 30 inches) above the bottom bunks.

Gruesome Details Emerge of Israel’s Torture of Palestinian Prisoners


The Israeli security apparatus fails

The ineptitude of the Israeli security apparatus is well known, although it is not often publicized. Now the entire Israeli security system is desperately trying to come to grips with this breach of security and enormously embarrassing failure. The circumstances of the escape seep slowly to the press and show an enormous hole, no pun intended, in the system. The few details that have emerged through the Israeli press reveal human error, carelessness, and perhaps even the help of officers within the prison, which all led to the success of the prison break.

A hole in a floor is seen after six Palestinian prisoners escaped from the Gilboa prison in north Israel, Sept. 6, 2021. Photo | Israeli Prisons Service via AP

Initially, it was reported that the tunnel through which the prisoners escaped was structural, or part of the prison. Later, it was reported that it had apparently been dug over a five-month period, and then the reports claimed it took an entire year of planning. Then, the guard who was supposed to look over the area where the tunnel entrance was located was asleep while on duty and the prison guards at the command center, where several computer screens show images of every inch of the prison, were just not paying attention.

To add to that, prison authorities were not aware that the prisoners had escaped until several hours after the escape. It began when a civilian called the police and reported seeing “suspicious” looking men crossing a field. It took a couple of hours before the prison was notified and then apparently some time elapsed before the prison authorities realized that the six men were gone. In other words, the prisoners had a head start of several hours before authorities began searching for them, which means they could be anywhere in, or even out of, the country.

As these words are being written, several days have passed since the prisoners escaped and all that the Israeli authorities have been able to accomplish is to ignite riots within the various prisons that hold Palestinians and intense riots throughout Palestine. Jenin, which is the home of all six men, is particularly celebratory and the Jenin Refugee Camp is sealed off by armed Palestinian resistance fighters, keeping the Israeli military and others who might collaborate with the Israeli authorities out.

It has also been reported in the Israel press that four of the six had tried to escape before and were categorized as “high risk of escape.” Still, they were placed together in the same cell.

The Israeli Defense Forces: The Most Inept Army in the World


The Six

Zakaria Zubeidi is the one Palestinian prisoner who is well known both locally and internationally. He is featured in the film Arna’s Children. The movie was directed by Juliano Mer-Khamis, who documented a number of promising child actors in a theatre group he founded with his mother, Arna, at the Jenin refugee camp during the First Intifada. Juliano returned to Jenin Refugee Camp in April 2002 in the aftermath of an Israeli massacre in the camp to see what happened to the children he knew and loved. He found that all but one were killed; the lone survivor was Zakaria Zubeidi, who is featured in the film as a child and then as a commander of Palestinian resistance in the camp.

Zubeidi has been in and out of the Israeli prisons and has survived several assassination attempts. I recall seeing him speak after a showing of the film in Jenin during the Jenin Film Festival several years ago. He was arrested in 2019 and has not yet been sentenced.

Zakaria Zubeidi

Zakaria Zubeidi is carried by supporters during a presidential elections campaign rally in support of Mahmoud Abbas in 2004. Nasser Nasser | AP

Mahmoud Abdullah Ardah, 46, from Jenin, was the leader of the Gilboa Prison escape operation, according to a piece in Middle East Eye that quotes the Palestinian armed group al-Quds Brigades. Ardah was arrested in 1996 and sentenced to life in prison on charges of being a member of the al-Quds Brigades and for his involvement in the killing of Israeli soldiers. He reportedly tried to escape in 2014 from Shatta prison by digging a tunnel, but his plan was unsuccessful.

Mohamed Qassem Ardah, 39, is from Jenin and was arrested in 2002 and sentenced to life in prison. He too was charged with belonging to al-Quds Brigades and being involved in the killing of Israeli soldiers.

Yaqoub Mahmoud Qadri — 49, from Bir al-Basha, Jenin — was arrested in 2003 and sentenced to life in prison on charges of belonging to al-Quds Brigades and killing an Israeli settler. In 2014, he and a number of other prisoners, including Mahmoud Abdullah Ardah, tried to escape from Shatta prison through a tunnel, but the attempt was unsuccessful.

Ayham Nayef Kamanji, 35, is from Kafr Dan. He was arrested in 2006 and sentenced to life in prison on charges of killing an Israeli settler and participating in other armed activities against Israeli targets.

Munadil Yaqoub Nfeiat, 26, is from Ya’bad, southwest of Jenin. He has been jailed without charge since 2019.

The international community must come out in defense of these six men and demand that they be safe from the Israeli authorities. Furthermore, guarantees must be given for the safety of their relatives and the communities these men are from, which will undoubtedly be the victims of more Israeli violence.

Editor’s Note | Shortly after this article was published, Yaqoub Kadri and Muhammad Ardah were captured by Israeli forces in Nazareth. Follow MintPress News on Twitter to read more.

Feature photo | Palestinians ride a motorcycle decorated with a poster that shows pictures of six Palestinian prisoners who escaped from Israel’s notorious Gilboa Prison. Nasser Nasser | AP

Miko Peled is MintPress News contributing writer, published author and human rights activist born in Jerusalem. His latest books are”The General’s Son. Journey of an Israeli in Palestine,” and “Injustice, the Story of the Holy Land Foundation Five.”

The post Why Israel’s Gilboa Prison Break has Palestanians Celebrating appeared first on MintPress News.

Catalyst! Unite’s win for Greater Manchester lorry drivers - News from the Frontline

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 11/09/2021 - 2:09am in

Counterfire's weekly digest with the latest on strikes and workplace struggles

How the US Government Stokes Racial Tensions in Cuba and Around the World

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 11/09/2021 - 1:34am in

HAVANA — “A Black uprising is shaking Cuba’s Communist regime,” read The Washington Post’s headline on the recent unrest on the Caribbean island. “Afro-Cubans Come Out In Droves To Protest Government,” wrote NPR. Meanwhile, The Wall Street Journal went with “Cuba’s Black Communities Bear the Brunt of Regime’s Crackdown” as a title.

These were examples of a slew of coverage in the nation’s top outlets, which presented what amounted to one day of U.S.-backed protests in July as a nationwide insurrection led by the country’s Black population — in effect, Cuba’s Black Lives Matter moment.

Apart from dramatically playing up the size and scope of the demonstrations, the coverage tended to rely on Cuban emigres or other similarly biased sources. One noteworthy example of this was Slate, which interviewed a political exile turned Ivy League professor presenting herself as a spokesperson for young Black working class Cubans. Professor Amalia Dache explicitly linked the struggles of people in Ferguson, Missouri with that of Black Cuban groups. “We’re silenced and we’re erased on both fronts, in Cuba and the United States, across racial lines, across political lines,” she said.

Dache’s academic work — including “Rise Up! Activism as Education” and “Ferguson’s Black radical imagination and the cyborgs of community-student resistance,” — shows how seemingly radical academic work can be made to dovetail with naked U.S. imperialism. From her social media postings, Dache appears to believe there is an impending genocide in Cuba. Slate even had the gall to title the article “Fear of a Black Cuban Planet” — a reference to the militant hip-hop band Public Enemy, even though its leader, Chuck D, has made many statements critical of U.S. intervention in Cuba.

Perhaps more worryingly, the line of selling a U.S.-backed color revolution as a progressive event even permeated more radical leftist publications. NACLA — the North American Congress on Latin America, an academic journal dedicated, in its own words, to ensuring “the nations and peoples of Latin America and the Caribbean are free from oppression and injustice, and enjoy a relationship with the United States based on mutual respect, free from economic and political subordination” — published a number of highly questionable articles on the subject.

One, written by Bryan Campbell Romero, was entitled “Have You Heard, Comrade? The Socialist Revolution Is Racist Too,” and described the protests as “the anger, legitimate dissatisfaction, and cry for freedom of many in Cuba,” against a “racist and homophobic” government that is unquestionably “the most conservative force in Cuban society.”

Campbell Romero described the government’s response as a “ruthless … crackdown” that “displayed an uncommon disdain for life on July 11.” The only evidence he gave for what he termed “brutal repression” was a link to a Miami-based CBS affiliate, which merely stated that, “Cuban police forcibly detained dozens of protesters. Video captured police beating demonstrators,” although, again, it did not provide evidence for this.

Campbell Romero excoriated American racial justice organizations like Black Lives Matter and The Black Alliance for Peace that sympathized with the Cuban government, demanding they support “the people in Cuba who are fighting for the same things they’re fighting for in the United States.”

“Those of us who are the oppressed working-class in the actual Global South — colonized people building the socialist project that others like to brag about — feel lonely when our natural allies prioritize domestic political fights instead of showing basic moral support,” he added. Campbell Romero is a market research and risk analyst who works for The Economist. Moreover, this oppressed working class Cuban proudly notes that his career development has been financially sponsored by the U.S. State Department.

Bryan Campbell Romero

Cuban government critic Bryan Campbell Romero proudly touts his US State Department-funded education

Unfortunately, the blatant gaslighting of U.S. progressives did not end there. The journal also translated and printed the essay of an academic living in Mexico that lamented that the all-powerful “Cuban media machine” had contributed to “the Left’s ongoing voluntary blindness.” Lionizing U.S.-funded groups like the San Isidro movement and explicitly downplaying the U.S. blockade, the author again appointed herself a spokesperson for her island, noting “we, as Cubans” are ruled over by a “military bourgeoisie” that has “criminaliz[ed] dissent.” Such radical, even Marxist rhetoric is odd for someone who is perhaps best known for their role as a consultant to a Danish school for entrepreneurship.

NACLA’s reporting received harsh criticism from some. “This absurd propaganda at coup-supporting website NACLA shows how imperialists cynically weaponize identity politics against the left,” reacted Nicaragua-based journalist Ben Norton. “This anti-Cuba disinfo was written by a right-wing corporate consultant who does ‘market research’ for corporations and was cultivated by U.S. NGOs,” he continued, noting the journal’s less than stellar record of opposing recent coups and American regime change operations in the region. In fairness to NACLA, it also published far more nuanced opinions on Cuba — including some that openly criticized previous articles — and has a long track record of publishing valuable research.


BLM refuses to play ball

The framing of the protests as a Black uprising against a conservative, authoritarian, racist government was dealt a serious blow by Black Lives Matter itself, which quickly released a statement in solidarity with Cuba, presenting the demonstrations as a consequence of U.S. aggression. As the organization wrote:

The people of Cuba are being punished by the U.S. government because the country has maintained its commitment to sovereignty and self-determination. United States leaders have tried to crush this Revolution for decades.

Such a big and important organization coming out in unqualified defense of the Cuban government seriously undermined the case that was being whipped up, and the fact that Black Lives Matter would not toe Washington’s line sparked outrage among the U.S. elite, leading to a storm of condemnation in corporate media. “Cubans can’t breathe either. Black Cuban lives also matter; the freedom of all Cubans should matter,” The Atlantic seethed. Meanwhile, Fox News contributor and former speechwriter for George W. Bush, Marc A. Thiessen claimed in The Washington Post that “Black Lives Matter is supporting the exploitation of Cuban workers” by supporting a “brutal regime” that enslaves its population, repeating the dubious Trump administration claim that Cuban doctors who travel the world are actually slaves being trafficked.

Despite the gaslighting, BLM stood firm, and other Black organizations joined them, effectively ending any hopes for a credible shot at intersectional imperialist intervention. “The moral hypocrisy and historic myopia of U.S. liberals and conservatives, who have unfairly attacked BLM’s statement on Cuba, is breathtaking,” read a statement from the Black Alliance for Peace.

The Bay of Tweets: Documents Point to US Hand in Cuba Protests


Trying to create a Cuban BLM

What none of the articles lauding the anti-government Afro-Cubans mention is that for decades the U.S. government has been actively stoking racial resentment on the island, pouring tens of millions of dollars into astroturfed organizations promoting regime change under the banner of racial justice.

Reading through the grants databases for Cuba from U.S. government organizations like the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and USAID, it immediately becomes clear that Washington has for years chosen to target young people, particularly Afro-Cubans, and exploit real racial inequalities on the island, turning them into a wedge issue to spark unrest, and, ultimately, an insurrection.

For instance, a 2020 NED project, entitled “Promoting Inclusion of Marginalized Populations in Cuba,” notes that the U.S. is attempting to “strengthen a network of on-island partners” and help them to interact and organize with one another.

A second mission, this time from 2016, was called “promoting racial integration.” But even from the short blurb publicly advertising what it was doing, it is clear that the intent was the opposite. The NED sought to “promote greater discussion about the challenges minorities face in Cuba,” and publish media about the issues affecting youth, Afro-Cubans and the LGBTI community in an attempt to foster unrest.

NED grant Cuba

A 2016 NED grant targets hides hawkish US policy goals behind altruistic language like “promoting racial integration”

Meanwhile, at the time of the protests, USAID was offering $2 million worth of funding to organizations that could “strengthen and facilitate the creation of issue-based and cross-sectoral networks to support marginalized and vulnerable populations, including but not limited to youth, women, LGBTQI+, religious leaders, artists, musicians, and individuals of Afro-Cuban descent.” The document proudly asserts that the United States stands with “Afro-Cubans demand[ing] better living conditions in their communities,” and makes clear it sees their future as one without a Communist government.

The document also explicitly references the song “Patria y Vida,” by the San Isidro movement and Cuban emigre rapper Yotuel, as a touchstone it would like to see more of. Although the U.S. never discloses who exactly it is funding and what they are doing with the money, it seems extremely likely that San Isidro and Yotuel are on their payroll.

Only days after “Patria y Vida” was released, there appeared to be a concerted effort among high American officials to promote the track, with powerful figures such as head of USAID Samantha Power sharing it on social media. Yotuel participates in public Zoom calls with U.S. government officials while San Isidro members fly into Washington to glad-hand with senior politicians or pose for photos with American marines inside the U.S. Embassy in Havana. One San Isidro member said he would “give [his] life for Trump” and beseeched him to tighten the blockade of his island, an illegal action that has already cost Cuba well over $1 trillion, according to the United Nations. Almost immediately after the protests began, San Isidro and Yotuel appointed themselves leaders of the demonstrations, the latter heading a large sympathy demonstration in Miami.

“The whole point of the San Isidro movement and the artists around it is to reframe those protests as a cry for freedom and to make inroads into progressive circles in the U.S.,” said Max Blumenthal, a journalist who has investigated the group’s background.

Cuba’s cultural counter-revolution: US gov’t-backed rappers, artists gain fame as ‘catalyst for current unrest’


Rap as a weapon

From its origins in the 1970s, hip hop was always a political medium. Early acts like Afrika Bambaataa and the Zulu Nation, KRS One, and Public Enemy spoke about the effect of drugs on Black communities, police violence, and building movements to challenge power.

By the late 1990s, hip hop as an art form was gaining traction in Cuba as well, as local Black artists helped bring to the fore many previously under-discussed topics, such as structural racism.

Afro-Cubans certainly are at a financial disadvantage. Because the large majority of Cubans who have left the island are white, those receiving hard currency in the form of remittances are also white, meaning that they enjoy far greater purchasing power. Afro-Cubans are also often overlooked for jobs in the lucrative tourism industry, as there is a belief that foreigners prefer to interact with those with lighter skin. This means that their access to foreign currency in the cash-poor Caribbean nation is severely hampered. Blacks are also underrepresented in influential positions in business or education and more likely to be unemployed than their white counterparts. In recent times, the government has tried to take an activist position, passing a number of anti-racism laws. Nevertheless, common attitudes about what constitutes beauty and inter-racial relationships prove that the society is far from a racially egalitarian one where Black people face little or no discrimination.

Cuba Black Lives Matter

Cubans attend a pro-government demonstration in a show of support for the Cuban revolution, in Havana, July 17, 2021. Eliana Aponte | AP

The new blockade on remittances, married with the pandemic-induced crash in tourism, has hit the local economy extremely hard, with unemployment especially high and new shortages of some basic goods. Thus, it is certainly plausible that the nationwide demonstrations that started in a small town on the west side of the island were entirely organic to begin with. However, they were also unquestionably signal-boosted by Cuban expats, celebrities and politicians in the United States, who all encouraged people out on the streets, insisting that they enjoyed the full support of the world’s only superpower.

However, it should be remembered that Cuba as a nation was crucial in bringing about the end of apartheid in South Africa, sending tens of thousands of troops to Africa to defeat the racist apartheid forces, a move that spelled the end for the system. To the last day, the U.S. government backed the white government.

Washington saw local rappers’ biting critiques of inequality as a wedge issue they could exploit, and attempted to recruit them into their ranks, although it is far from clear how far they got in this endeavor, as their idea of change rarely aligned with what rappers wanted for their country.

Sujatha Fernandes, a sociologist at the University of Sydney and an expert in Cuban hip hop told MintPress:

For many years, under the banner of regime change, organizations like USAID have tried to infiltrate Cuban rap groups and fund covert operations to provoke youth protests. These programs have involved a frightening level of manipulation of Cuban artists, have put Cubans at risk, and threatened a closure of the critical spaces of artistic dialogue many worked hard to build.”

In 2009, the U.S. government paid for a project whereby it sent music promoter and color-revolution expert Rajko Bozic to the island. Bozic set about establishing contacts with local rappers, attempting to bribe them into joining his project. The Serbian found a handful of artists willing to participate in the project and immediately began aggressively promoting them, using his employers’ influence to get their music played on radio stations. He also paid big Latino music stars to allow the rappers to open up for them at their gigs, thus buying them extra credibility and exposure. The project only ended after it was uncovered, leading to a USAID official being caught and jailed inside Cuba.

Creative Associates International (CAI): It’s Not Exactly the CIA, But Close Enough

Despite the bad publicity and many missteps, U.S. infiltration of Cuban hip hop continues to this day. A 2020 NED project entitled “Empowering Cuban Hip-Hop Artists as Leaders in Society” states that its goal is to “promote citizen participation and social change” and to “raise awareness about the role hip-hop artists have in strengthening democracy in the region.” Many more target the wider artistic community. For instance, a recent scheme called “Promoting Freedom of Expression of Cuba’s Independent Artists” claimed that it was “empower[ing] independent Cuban artists to promote democratic values.”

Of course, for the U.S. government, “democracy” in Cuba is synonymous with regime change. The latest House Appropriations Bill allocates $20 million to the island, but explicitly stipulates that “none of the funds made available under such paragraph may be used for assistance for the Government of Cuba.” The U.S. Agency for Global Media has also allotted between $20 and $25 million for media projects this year targeting Cubans.


BLM for thee, not for me

What is especially ironic about the situation is that many of the same organizations promoting the protests in Cuba as a grassroots expression of discontent displayed a profound hostility towards the Black Lives Matter movement in the United States, attempting to defame genuine racial justice activists as pawns of a foreign power, namely the Kremlin.

In 2017, for example, CNN released a story claiming that Russia had bought Facebook ads targeting Ferguson and Baltimore, insinuating that the uproar over police murders of Black men was largely fueled by Moscow, and was not a genuine expression of anger. NPR-affiliate WABE smeared black activist Anoa Changa for merely appearing on a Russian-owned radio station. Even Vice President Kamala Harris suggested that the hullabaloo around Colin Kaepernick’s kneeling protest was largely cooked up in foreign lands.

Meanwhile, at the height of the George Floyd protests in 2020, The New York Times asked Republican Senator Tom Cotton to write an op-ed called “Send in the Troops,” in which he asserted that “an overwhelming show of force” was necessary to quell “anarchy” from “criminal elements” on our streets.

Going further back, Black leaders of the Civil Rights era, such as Malcolm X and Dr. Martin Luther King, were continually painted as in bed with Russia, in an attempt to delegitimize their movements. In 1961, Alabama Attorney General MacDonald Gallion said, “It’s the communists who were behind this integration mess.” During his life, Dr. King was constantly challenged on the idea that his movement was little more than a communist Trojan Horse. On Meet the Press in 1965, for instance, he was asked whether “moderate Negro leaders have feared to point out the degree of communist infiltration in the Civil Rights movement.”



The U.S. has also been attempting to heighten tensions between the government of Nicaragua and the large population of Miskito people who live primarily on the country’s Atlantic coast. In the 1980s, the U.S. recruited the indigenous group to help in its dirty war against the Sandinistas, who returned to power in 2006. In 2018, the U.S. government designated Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela as belonging to a “troika of tyranny” — a clear reference to the second Bush administration’s Axis of Evil pronouncement.

Washington has both stoked and exaggerated tensions between the Sandinistas and the Miskito, its agencies helping to create a phony hysteria over supposed “conflict beef” — a scandal that seriously hurt the Nicaraguan economy.

Why Shady Billionaire-Funded NGOs Pushed a PBS Report on Nicaraguan “Conflict Beef”

The NED and USAID have been active in Nicaragua as well, attempting to animate racial tensions in the Central American nation. For instance, a recent 2020 NED project, entitled “Defending the Human Rights of Marginalized Communities in Nicaragua,” claims to work with oppressed groups (i.e., the Miskito), attempting to build up “independent media” to highlight human rights violations.

To further understand this phenomenon, MintPress spoke to John Perry, a journalist based in Nicaragua. “What is perhaps unclear is the extent to which the U.S. has been engaged,” he said, continuing:

There is definitely some engagement because they have funded some of the so-called human rights bodies that exist on the Atlantic coast [where the Mistiko live]. Basically, they — the U.S.-funded NGOs — are trying to foment this idea that the indigenous communities in the Atlantic coast are subjected to genocide, which is completely absurd.”

In 2018, the U.S. backed a wave of violent demonstrations across the country aimed at dislodging the Sandinistas from power. The leadership of the Central American color revolution attempted to mobilize the population around any issue they could, including race and gender rights. However, they were hamstrung from the start, as Perry noted:

The problem the opposition had was that it mobilized young people who had been trained by these U.S.-backed NGOs and they then enrolled younger people disenchanted with the government more generally. To some extent they mobilized on gay rights issues, even though these are not contentious in Nicaragua. But they were compromised because one of their main allies, indeed, one of the main leaders of the opposition movement was the Catholic Church, which is very traditional here.”


A Nicaraguan man poses at a USAID event about LGBT issues in 2018. Source | CAI

U.S. agencies are relatively open that their goal is regime change. NED grants handed out in 2020 discuss the need to “promote greater freedom of expression and strategic thinking and analysis about Nicaragua’s prospects for a democratic transition” and to “strengthen the capacity of pro-democracy players to advocate more effectively for a democratic transition” under the guise of “greater promot[ion of] inclusion and representation” and “strengthen[ing] coordination and dialogue amongst different pro-democracy groups.” Meanwhile, USAID projects are aimed at getting “humanitarian assistance to victims of political repression,” and “provid[ing] institutional support to Nicaraguan groups in exile to strengthen their pro-democracy efforts.” That polls show a large majority of the country supporting the Sandinista government, which is on course for a historic landslide in the November election, does not appear to dampen American convictions that they are on the side of democracy. Perry estimates that the U.S. has trained over 8,000 Nicaraguans in projects designed to ultimately overthrow the Sandinistas.

In Bolivia and Venezuela, however, the U.S. government has opted for exactly the opposite technique; backing the country’s traditional white elite. In both countries, the ruling socialist parties are so associated with their indigenous and/or Black populations and the conservative elite with white nationalism that Washington has apparently deemed the project doomed from the start.



Stoking racial and ethnic tension appears to be a ubiquitous U.S. tactic in enemy nations. In China, the Free Tibet movement is being kept alive with a flood of American cash. There have been 66 large NED grants to Tibetan organizations since 2016 alone. The project titles and summaries bear a distinct similarity to Cuban and Nicaraguan undertakings, highlighting the need to train a new generation of leaders to participate in society and bring the country towards a democratic transition, which would necessarily mean a loss of Chinese sovereignty.

Likewise, the NED and other organizations have been pouring money into Hong Kong separatist groups (generally described in corporate media as “pro-democracy activists”). This money encourages tensions between Hong Kongers and mainland Chinese with the goal of weakening Beijing’s influence in Asia and around the world. The NED has also been sending millions to Uyghur nationalist groups.

Intersectional Imperialism: A Wholesome Menace


Intersectional empire

In Washington’s eyes, the point of funding Black, indigenous, LGBT or other minority groups in enemy countries is not simply to promote tensions there; it is also to create a narrative that will be more likely to convince liberals and leftists in the United States to support American intervention.

Some degree of buy-in, or at least silence, is needed from America’s more anti-war half in order to make things run smoothly. Framing interventions as wars for women’s rights and coup attempts as minority-led protests has this effect. This new intersectional imperialism attempts to manufacture consent for regime change, war or sanctions on foreign countries among progressive audiences who would normally be skeptical of such practices. This is done through adopting the language of liberation and identity politics as window dressing for domestic audiences, although the actual objectives — naked imperialism — remain the same as they ever were.

The irony is that the U.S. government is skeptical, if not openly hostile, to Black liberation at home. The Trump administration made no effort to disguise its opposition to Black Lives Matter and the unprecedented wave of protests in 2020. But the Biden administration’s position is not altogether dissimilar, offering symbolic reforms only. Biden himself merely suggested that police officers shoot their victims in the leg, rather than in the chest.

Thus, the policy of promoting minority rights in enemy countries appears to be little more than a case of “Black Lives Matter for thee, but not for me.” Nonetheless, Cuba, Nicaragua, China and the other targets of this propaganda will have to do more to address their very real problems on these issues in order to dilute the effectiveness of such U.S. attacks.

Feature photo | Cubans attend a pro-government demonstration in a show of support for the Cuban revolution, in Havana, July 17, 2021. Ismael Francisco | AP

Alan MacLeod is Senior Staff Writer for MintPress News. After completing his PhD in 2017 he published two books: Bad News From Venezuela: Twenty Years of Fake News and Misreporting and Propaganda in the Information Age: Still Manufacturing Consent, as well as a number of academic articles. He has also contributed to FAIR.orgThe GuardianSalonThe GrayzoneJacobin Magazine, and Common Dreams.

The post How the US Government Stokes Racial Tensions in Cuba and Around the World appeared first on MintPress News.

How Chevron Used the Law and the FBI to Target Whistle-Blowing Lawyer Steven Donziger

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 10/09/2021 - 12:23am in

Human rights attorney Steven Donziger has now been under house arrest in his New York City apartment for two years. The reason for his detainment, as Lee Camp puts it in this clip from “Redacted Tonight,” is that Donziger made it his business to hold Chevron accountable for how the Big Oil megacorp “harmed, sickened and killed tens of thousands in Ecuador” and tried to avoid paying “billions of dollars” in restitutions.

Donziger’s battle against American oil companies and on behalf of indigenous communities and farmers in Ecuador spans nearly three decades. He was part of an international legal team that represented indigenous groups in Northern Ecuador where, as he tells Camp, from the 1960s to the ’90s Texaco (now Chevron) deliberately “dumped billions of gallons of cancer-causing toxic waste” into local waterways, costing thousands of people their health, livelihood—even their lives.

Though in 2011 the lawsuit culminated in a historic $9.5 billion pollution judgment, Chevron brass subsequently focused on going after Donziger rather than paying the fee. In late July, he was hit with a six counts of criminal contempt, a conviction stemming in part from his refusal to turn over his computer and other devices, which he fought last month with a request for a new trial. His ongoing pre-trial detainment for a misdemeanor offense is unprecedented for any person without a prior criminal record in federal court. (Click here to watch Chris Hedges’ interview with Donziger, and listen to Robert Scheer’s “Scheer Intelligence” podcast episode with Donziger here.)

“So, I’m being prosecuted by a Chevron law firm that has locked me up, deprived me of my liberty,” Donziger says . “I later found out that a prosecutor from the law firm who’s benefiting from her relationship to Chevron, Rita Glavin”—who, as Reuters notes, is also defending former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo as he faces multiple accusations of sexual harassment—”was using the FBI for various meetings with other Chevron lawyers who supposedly were the witnesses against me,” he says. “It’s totally unheard of.”

Donziger’s plight has sparked concern and drawn criticism from around the globe, as the embattled lawyer himself noted Tuesday afternoon on his Twitter feed:

But as Donziger pointed out earlier that day on his Twitter feed, it’s not always easy to find accurate information about his case online:

Donziger brings viewers up to date, and fills in those parts of his story that might not pop right up in a Google search, in his discussion with Camp.

Feature photo | Trudie Styler, co-founder of the Rainforest Foundation and wife of singer Sting, speaks to the press along with human rights lawyers Pablo Fajardo, center, and Steven Donziger at the Live Earth concert at Giants Stadium, July 7, 2007 in East Rutherford, NJ. Tim Larsen | AP

Lee Camp is an American stand-up comedian, writer, actor and activist. Camp is the host of the weekly comedy news TV show “Redacted Tonight With Lee Camp” on RT America. He is a former comedy writer for the Onion and the Huffington Post and has been a touring stand-up comic for 20 years.

The post How Chevron Used the Law and the FBI to Target Whistle-Blowing Lawyer Steven Donziger appeared first on MintPress News.

Philosophy Professor Claims To Be Threatened With Dismissal for Refusing COVID-19 Vaccine

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 09/09/2021 - 10:01pm in

Julie Ponesse, a philosophy professor at Western University’s Huron College, says in a video that she is facing “imminent dismissal” by the university for her refusal to be vaccinated against COVID-19.


Western University has adopted a policy that says “all members of our community – including students, employees and visitors – who plan to be on campus this fall will be required to demonstrate proof of vaccination, except under rare exemptions.”

Ponesse’s refusal is not based on one of the allowable exemption categories (medical or religious) but rather on claims of bodily autonomy. “I’m entitled to make choices about what does and does not enter my body.” She says this is true “regardless of my reasons,” though her main concerns seem to be unfounded and unexplained worries about the safety of the COVID-19 vaccinations, and the mistaken idea that since being vaccinated won’t guarantee that she won’t catch or transmit COVID-19, it is ineffective.

While we are perhaps familiar with this kind of anti-vaccination misinformation and foolishness by now, what’s also interesting about this case, apart from the fact that this one features a philosophy professor, is Ponesse’s conception of her job. “My school employs me to be an authority on the subject of ethics… and I’m here to tell you it’s ethically wrong to coerce someone to take a vaccine.” As Sergio Tenenbaum comments, “Whenever an ethics prof says something like that they have admitted that either they don’t know what their job is or that they are not very good at it” (related). That said, it may be hasty to assume that what Ponesse says in this video is representative of her approach to her work in a classroom setting.

According to several reports, Western University has not fired Ponesse. The CBC relays this statement from a university spokesperson: “While I can’t comment on individual HR matters, I can confirm to you that at this time, no one at Huron has been dismissed as a result of this policy.”

(via Hane Maung)


Sandwell refuse workers kick up a stink - News from the Frontline

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 04/09/2021 - 12:25am in

Counterfire's weekly digest with the latest on strikes and workplace struggles


Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 03/09/2021 - 6:16pm in


News, Japanese

The original English article here by by Pierre Piquemal Translated by Yoshihiro Norikane Edited by Toru Yamamori 2021年4月20日ピエール・ピクマル氏による 2019年2月、当時のストックトン市長マイケルD・タブス(Michael D. Tubbs)は、米国最初の市長主導の24か月に亘る保証付き所得イニシアチブとして、ストックトン経済エンパワーメントデモンストレーション(「SEED」)を開始しました。 2年後、実験の最初の12か月間(コロナ禍前の2020年2月まで)の予備的結果が発表されました。その主な調査結果は、この保証された所得に肯定的なものであり、保証所得は、収入の変動を軽減し、フルタイムの仕事へのアクセスを可能にし、メンタルヘルスを向上させ、自分の時間と決断をより良く管理できるようにするというものでした。 プログラム設計 SEEDプログラムでは、125人のストックトン居住者が無作為(ランダム)に選ばれ、2年間月額500ドルを受け取りました。給付に条件はなく、資格基準は18歳以上のストックトン居住者で、収入の中央値(ストックトンで46,003ドル)以下であることに限られていました。これらの同じ基準を満たす200人の対照群(コントロールグループ)も研究目的で選ばれました。 この実験は、「経済保障プロジェクト」からの100万ドルの助成金を含む民間の寄付によって賄われています。このプロジェクトは、保証所得と独占禁止措置に特に焦点を当てた「すべてのアメリカ人のために経済を再び機能させる」ことを目的としたイニシアチブです。 このプログラムは、テネシー大学のスタシア・マーチン‐ウエスト(Stacia Martin-West)博士とペンシルベニア大学のアーミー・カストロ・ベーカー(Amy Castro Baker)博士の2人の研究者によって、実験前および実験中に収集されたデータの定量的分析と定性的分析の両方からなる「混合法アプローチ」の下で評価されています。データは、調査と対面またはグループインタビューの両方を通して収集されました(実験への参加は、これらのインタビューへの参加を条件とはしていませんでした)。 この実験は、公的機関やコミュニティメンバーと緊密に協力して、地域の特殊性(たとえば、支払いのタイミングやメカニズム)に合わせて調整し、受給者、対照群の人達、SEEDスタッフ間での信頼を構築するように設計されました。この作業は、所得の無条件で保証された性質(「真実であるには良すぎる」と見なされる)および他の給付資格を失うリスク(経済保障プロジェクトによる特定の作業によってカバーされる)に関する当初の懸念に対処するために必要でした。 主な調査結果 暫定的結果は、受給者が受け取った所得について合理的な決定を下し、主に「必需品」(食料、光熱費、自動車の手入れ)に費やしたことを示しています。研究者たちはまた、受給者がより広いネットワーク内の人々を支援することができるというプラスの波及効果も発見しました。受給者はまた、所得変動に翻弄されることがより少なく、注目すべきことに、以前よりも現金または現金同等物の予期しない出費に敢然と立ち向かうことができると報告されました。 保証所得は、受給者に有意義な活動(社交、子供達との時間を過ごす)に従事するためのより多くの時間を与えました。研究者によると、これはどのようにして「財政的不足が時間的不足を生み出す」かを浮き彫りにしている。参加者にはまた、ベースライン測定と比較してメンタルヘルスの改善が報告されましたが、対照群のメンバーでは改善が経験されませんでした。 最後に、このプログラムはフルタイムの雇用増加にもつながりました。プロジェクトの開始時には、受給者の28%がフルタイムの仕事をしていました。 1年後、その割合は40%に上昇しました(対照群においては、割合は32%から37%にしか変化しませんでした)。いくらかの人々は、保証所得により、学位を取得または修了する時間が与えられた、あるいは単に特定の職に応募する自信が増したと述べました。 反応 これらのプログラムが、仕事へのインセンティブを排除せず、また、「貧困はその人の性格からではなく、現金の不足から生じる」と研究者が述べているように、現金給付が貧困に対処する効果的な方法となる更なる証拠により、研究発表に対する反応は肯定的でありました(しかしながら、研究者とタブス市長は、これらの現金給付はストックトンなどの都市の住民が直面する問題への唯一の解決策ではないことを素早く指摘しています)。 一方、SEEDは小規模で比較的短い実験であると指摘し、研究から早急に結論を出すことを警告している人もいます。この研究のもう1つの制約は、保証所得の出費の追跡が、研究者と協力している受給者に依存していたことです(所得は、研究者が支出記録にアクセスできるプリペイド即時決済カードに転送され直接利用されるか、または、現金として引き出されるか別の口座へ振り込まれるかでした。受給者の約40%に相当する後者の場合に対しては、特定の調査を実施する必要がありました。)最後に、一部の批評家は、実験が民間資金で行われていたという事実を利用して、ベーシックインカムが公的機関にとって費用がかかり過ぎると主張しました。 とにかく、これらの結果は、米国のベーシックインカムについての議論の高まりに確実に追加されます。 他の実験も進行中であり、2020年6月、マイケル・タブスと「経済保障プロジェクト」は、都市での保証所得実験の実施に向けて取り組んでいる全米の約40人の市長のネットワークである「保証所得市長会」を設立しました。