Monday, November 20, 2017

Is Poland's Capitalist Economic System Failing To Benefit Polish Workers In 21st Century?



Polish working-class people in the 21st-century have apparently not gained much prosperity within Poland from the post-late1980s re-establishment of a capitalist economic system in Poland. As a Bloomberg Business Week article of May , 2014, for example, observed:

"...Pay and benefits in Poland average 10.4 EU (euros) compared with 42.6 EU (euros) in Germany. Poland is home to 5 of the continent's 20-poorest regions. Unemployment nationwide is 13.5 percent...More than 1 million earn less than 5 Zloty ($1.66) an hour.

"At least 25 million young Poles have left during the decade...About a half-million Poles left the country last year [in 2013], the most since the exodus after Poles became EU citizens and were free to move and work in member states..."

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Al-Thani Family's Qatar History Revisited: Part 4



As the 2017 World Almanac and Book of Facts noted, "military ties" of the U.S. government with the Al-Thani absolute monarchical government in Qatar "have been expanding" and "Camp As-Sayliyah, a base near Doha" in Qatar, "served as a command center for the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, March 2003." In addition, "a 10-year defense cooperation agreement" between the Democratic Obama administration and the Al-Thani regime was signed on December 10, 2013. Yet most people in the United States know little about the history of Qatar during the last few hundred years. For example:   

By the 1940s, the Al-Thani family in Qatar no longer was able to enrich itself by exporting pearls to foreign markets. As Rosemarie Said Zahlan's book The Creation of Qatar observed:

"The pearling...trade was dealt a crippling blow, from which it never recovered, in the 1930s. The international economic depression of 1929, which apparently decreased the demand for luxury items, coincided with introduction into world markets of the Japanese cultured pearl..."

But by granting UK imperialism's Anglo-Persian Oil Company [APOC] a concession in 1935 to exploit and profit from Qatar's then-undeveloped oil resources, the Al-Thani family member who held Qatar's emir position between  1913 and 1948, Abdullah Al-Thani, was able to more greatly enrich the Al-Thani family; as oil began to be discovered and then exported from Qatar after World War II. As Georgia State University Professor of History Allen Fromherz noted in Qatar: A Modern History, by the end of World War II: 

"The entire population of Qatar had fallen to 16,000. Entire villages that had survived for centuries were depopulated as tribes emigrated en masse to neighboring, more prosperous shores. In 1944 only 6,000 fishermen were engaged in the pearl harvest as opposed to 60,000 some 20 years before...

"...The 1916 treaty with Abdullah allowed the Anglo-Persian Oil Company [APOC] and the British government to make exclusive claims to potential oil deposits in Qatar. As the pearl industry declined in the 1920s Sheikh Abdullah...was eager to sign an oil agreement with APOC that would allow him to consolidate his position...By 1935...he finally signed the oil concession with APOC...Abdullah received a large payment of 400,000 Indian rupees upon signature of the agreement, with a further 150,000 to be paid to him personally each year. This amount was increased to $300,000 Indian rupees after the sixth year...A political agreement was also signed, securing British control over oil operations in Qatar and increasing British interference in Qatar's internal affairs. Shortly after the concession was signed by APOC, the company was transformed into an affiliate of the Iraq Petroleum Company, similarly controlled by the British, and renamed Petroleum Development Qatar Ltd., the predecessor to Qatar Petroleum..."

(end of part 4)



Sunday, November 12, 2017

Al-Thani Family's Qatar History Revisited: Part 3




As the 2017 World Almanac and Book of Facts noted, "military ties" of the U.S. government with the Al-Thani absolute monarchical government in Qatar "have been expanding" and "Camp As-Sayliyah, a base near Doha" in Qatar, "served as a command center for the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, March 2003." In addition, "a 10-year defense cooperation agreement" between the Democratic Obama administration and the Al-Thani regime was signed on December 10, 2013. Yet most people in the United States know little about the history of Qatar during the last few hundred years. For example


Between 1913 and 1971, Qatar was a colony alone of UK imperialism, within which Al-Thani family members like Abdullah Al-Thani (1913-1948), Ali Al-Thani (1948-1960) and Ahmad Al-Thani (1960-1972) governed as absolute monarchs in support of British  imperialist special economic interests in Qatar. As the 1979 book The Creation of Qatar by Rosemarie Said Zahlan recalled, in the July 19, 1913 Anglo-Turkish Convention, Turkey's "Ottoman Empire renounced all rights to Qatar, thus formally ending their occupation of that country" and "in 1915 the Ottoman's abandoned Doha," Qatar. As a result, "the field" for solo colonial rule of Qatar, utilizing Al-Thani family members as its puppets, "was now open for Britain. A treaty between the UK imperialist government's political representative in Qatar, Percy Cox, and Abdullah Al-Thani was then signed on November 3, 1916, which stated:

"...I, Shaikh' Abdullah, further understand that I will not have relations nor correspond with, nor receive the agents of any other Power without the consent of the High British Government...I also declare that, without the consent of the High British Government, I will not grant pearl-fishing concessions, or any other monopolies, concessions, or cable landing rights, to anyone whomsoever...I undertake to allow the establishment of a British Post Office and a Telegraph installation anywhere in my territory..."

And according to the same book:

"Once the Turkish presence on the eastern coast of Arabia had been removed by the disintegration of the Ottoman Empire, Britain could pursue a more forceful policy in Qatar...In March 1926 he [Abdullah Al-Thani] granted an option to the D'Arcy Exploration Company, a subsidiary of the Anglo-Persian Oil Company [APOC)..."

(end of part 3)






Thursday, November 9, 2017

Al-Thani Family's Qatar History Revisited: Part 2



As the 2017 World Almanac and Book of Facts noted, "military ties" of the U.S. government with the Al-Thani absolute monarchical government in Qatar "have been expanding" and "Camp As-Sayliyah, a base near Doha" in Qatar, "served as a command center for the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, March 2003." In addition, "a 10-year defense cooperation agreement" between the Democratic Obama administration and the Al-Thani regime was signed on December 10, 2013. Yet most people in the United States know little about the history of Qatar during the last few hundred years. For example:

During the pre-World War II historical era of the Al-Thani family's absolute monarchical rule in Qatar, when only the export of pearls was then Qatar's chief money-making export business operation, many of the people who lived in Qatar were slaves of East African family background; and slavery continued to exist in Qatar as late as the 1950s. As Georgia State University Professor of History Allen Fromherz noted in his 2012 book Qatar: A Modern History, "little discussed in Qatar today, slavery existed in Qatar well into the twentieth century" and "it was not until the 1950s that all slaves were manumitted..." In her 1979 book, The Creation of Qatar, Rosemarie Said Zahlan also recalled: 

"...Another large segment of the population were the negroes, descendants of the slaves who had been brought to the Gulf from East Africa during the 19th-century. Over the years, one-third of them had been able to buy their own manumission, primarily through their work in pearling. The rest remained enslaved until the middle of the present [20th] century...Today [in 1979] they are...considered as Qataris...Qatar had an extremely scanty supply of fresh water and consequently could not rely on even a subsistence level of agriculture. The only resource was the sea. It was from the sea that Qataris made their living, exporting their one precious commodity, the pearl.

"The pearling industry was the pivotal point of the economic and social structure of Qatar...The ruler levied a tax on the pearl ships, which, together with customs duties, formed the basis of his revenue...The entire male population probably left the main towns for the pearling banks during the season...

"...Qatar had a large African-population, two-thirds of whom were slaves...Almost half of the pearling population of Qatar were negroes, either slaves or former slaves; it is clear, therefore, that without this substantial addition to the population, the pearling fleet and its products would have been considerably less. Although household slaves also existed, their exact number is difficult to ascertain because they gradually became a part of the families they worked for...

(end of part 2)

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Al-Thani Family's Qatar History Revisited: Part 1



As the 2017 World Almanac and Book of Facts noted, "military ties" of the U.S. government with the Al-Thani absolute monarchical government in Qatar "have been expanding" and "Camp As-Sayliyah, a base near Doha" in Qatar, "served as a command center for the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, March 2003." In addition, "a 10-year defense cooperation agreement" between the Democratic Obama administration and the Al-Thani regime was signed on December 10, 2013. Yet most people in the United States know little about the history of Qatar during the last few hundred years. For example:

Were it not for the support it received, historically, from the UK imperialist and Ottoman Turkish imperialist governments after 1860, the Al-Thani family might have not become the family which has monopolized political and economic power within Qatar since the late 19th-century. As Georgia State University Professor of History Allen J. Fromherz's 2012 book, Qatar: A Modern History recalled:

"...It could be said that the current power of Al-Thani family...has no fundamental historical precedent outside of British interference...The British and Ottoman powers...were interested in legitimizing Al-Thani rule and ignoring or sidelining the rival claims of other tribes..Qatar is ruled by Al-Thani family...This was not always the case...The power of Al-Thani of Qatar is relatively young. The treaty of 1868 between Muhammad bin Thani and Britain...was the first formal recognition of a Sheikh of Qatar. Until the central prominence of Al-Thani had been established by the treaty the Qatar Peninsula lacked a cohesive independent centre...There was simply no known tradition of monarchy or dynastic successor in Qatar before the treaty of 1868 between Muhammad bin Thani and the British Colonel Pelly...

"Before Muhammad bin Thani consolidated his position in the 1850s, several other tribes and prominent men were the leaders of Bidas (Doha). As even the British acknowledged in several reports, Al-Thani were not always considered the representatives of Qatar...Al Thani did not, according to [Assistant to the India Viceroy Lord Curzon J.] Lorimer, have a deep historic claim to power...Indeed, if authority in Qatar were determined simply by which tribe had been there the longest continuously, power would legitimately not be vested in Al-Thani but in Al-Musallam...The ancestor of the current Emir did not arrive in Qatar from the Jabrin Oasis, and subsequently from Kuwait, until the 1750s...

"The power of Al-Thani would not have been nearly as solidified by the end of the 19th century had it not been for Ottoman interference...It was the British Empire that had first recognized Muhammad bin Thani as the leader of Qatar..."

When the UK imperialist government replaced the Ottoman Turkish imperialist government as the dominant imperial power in the Persian Gulf region during World War I, its 1916 Anglo-Qatari Treaty more tightly consolidated the Al-Thani family's political and economic power within Qatar. As the same book also noted:

"...The Anglo-Qatari Treaty...effectively made Al-Thani the sole legal distributor of arms, thereby giving them sole authority over the weapons and means of warfare...The consolidation in the hands of the Sheikh of the right to purchase weapons substantially bolstered his position...The fourth Article virtually hands over all of Qatar's foreign policy to the British government..."

And according to Qatar: A Modern History,  the Al-Thani monarchical dynasty member who was Oatar's emir in 1916, Sheikh Abdallah was, "given the title of Companion of the Most Eminent Order of the British Empire;" while "the 1916 treaty with Abdallah" also "allowed the Anglo-Persian Oil Company [APOC] and the British government to," not surprisingly, "make exclusive claims to potential oil deposits in Qatar."

(end of part 1)

Friday, November 3, 2017

Did Nobel Peace Prize Winner Barack Obama Wage Drone War Illegally As U.S. President?



In 2009, the Norwegian Nobel Committed awarded a "Nobel Peace Prize" worth over $900,000 to a  Democratic Party politician named Barack Obama. Yet during the 8 years that Obama occupied the U.S. power elite's White House oval office in Washington, D.C. he apparently ordered or sanctioned drone war attacks on people in foreign countries that sometimes killed civilians. As a New York Times national security correspondent named Mark Mazzetti recalled in his 2013 book The Way Of The Knife: The CIA, a Secret Army, and a War at the Ends of the Earth:

"...America has pursued its enemies using killer robots and special-operation troops...The foundations of the secret wars were laid by a conservative Republican president and embraced by a liberal Democratic one who became enamored of what he had inherited. President Barack Obama came to see it as an alternative to the messy, costly wars...It has...turned the American president into the final arbiter of whether specific people in far-off lands live or die...It is now easier for the United States to carry out killing operations at the ends of the earth than at any other time in its history...

"...Obama's desire to manage aspects of the targeted-killing program directly from the White House gave [former CIA official John] Brennan a role unique in the history of American government: one part executioner, one part chief confessor to the president, one part public spokesman sent out to justify the Obama doctrine of killing off...enemies in remote parts of the world...Obama, Brennan, and other senior members of the new administration would come to rely on targeted killing...No prominent member of President Obama's own party had criticized drone strikes...The meetings over two days at Langley were the first sign that President Obama planned to rely on the CIA and Joint Special Operations Command in ways that not even George W. Bush and Dick Cheney had...

"...During his first year in office, President Obama ordered a review of the roughly one dozen cover-action programs that CIA was carrying out at the time, from the drone strikes to a campaign to sabotage Iran's nuclear work...The summer 2009 meetings effectively rubber-stamped all of the CIA's secret ventures...By the time a `principals committee' meeting was scheduled for the fall, when President Obama's top national security advisers would make final decisions on the covert-action programs, not one of them was under consideration for cancellation...The Obama administration approved every one of the covert-action programs that had been handed down by President Bush...

"Even as the Obama administration discussed the future of the CIA's covert-action programs, there was no thought about ending the targeted-killing efforts. In the early months of the administration, National Security Adviser James Jones led a project to compile a centralized `kill list'...The American strikes in Yemen would claim more civilian casualties than...operatives affiliated with al Qaeda in the Arabian peninsula.

"The first American strike came on December 17, 2009...Obama approved the operation. The next day...several Tomahawk cruise missiles slammed into the desert camp in Abyan...Wideos taken by locals at the camp revealed missile fragments with American markings and also proved that the Tomahawk missiles had been topped with cluster bombs...Most of the dead were civilians, and bloody images of dead women and children went viral on YouTube...

"The CIA had approval from the White House to carry out missile strikes in Pakistan even when CIA targeters weren't certain about exactly who it was they were killing...In an area of known militant activity, all military-aged males were considered to be enemy fighters. Therefore, anyone who was killed in a drone strike there was categorized as a `combatant.'...On March 17, 2011...CIA drones attacked a tribal council meeting in the village of Datta Khey, in North Waziristan, killing dozens of men...Just as lawyers for President Bush had redefined torture to permit extreme interrogations by the CIA and the military, so had lawyers for President Obama given...secret agencies latitude to carry out extensive killing operations...

"Throughout the...presidential election season of 2012, President Obama frequently alluded to targeted killings as a sign of his toughness...Targeted killings have made the CIA the indispensable agency for the Obama administration..."

Friday, October 27, 2017

Did `Non-Profit' MacArthur Foundation Profit From NYC Gentrification-Co-op-Condominium Conversion In 1980s?



The Chicago-based 'non-profit" MacArthur "Genius Grant" Foundation apparently made a lot of money, historically, during the 1980's from the gentrification process in Manhattan and the conversion of apartment building rental units into co-op or condominium units in Manhattan, Queens and Great Neck. As The Assassination Of New York by Robert Fitch recalled in 1993:

"One of the biggest industries in the city had been throwing people out of their apartments--`condo conversion' it was called...The MacArthur Foundation...got involved. A team from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation converted thousands of apartments in the boom years. MacArthur managed to unload its total inventory in 1985 for about $500 MILLION..."

Among the apartment buildings converted into co-ops or condominiums by the "non-profit" and "philanthropic" MacArthur Foundation's real estate deal were "the eight buildings of Lincoln Towers, on the West Side between 66th and 70th streets; nine other buildings in Manhattan, mainly in the East 66s and 70s, and two properties outside Manhattan--Silver Towers apartments in Kew Gardens, Queens, and Great Neck Terrace in Great Neck, Long Island." (New York Times 6/13/93).