Red Reading: Spectrezine's latest picks from recent publications

Understanding the EU Reform Treaty
UK NGO Statewatch has published eleven analyses of different aspects of the EU Reform Treaty, the text which has replaced the rejected Constitutional Treaty from which it is, indeed, indistinguishable to the naked eye.

The draft Reform Treaty would repeal or amend every single Article of the 62 Articles of the current Treaty on European Union (TEU) and would make 296 amendments to the 318 Articles of
the current Treaty establishing the European Community (TEC) – yet Gordon Brown's government, Sarkozy and the Netherlands' right-wing prime minister all claim that because it's an amending treaty, and not a 'constitution', no referendum is needed.

The format also means that the Treaty can only be understood – in common with its predecessor Treaties of Maastricht, Amsterdam and Nice – if the amendments are set alongside the existing text.

As a spokesperson for Statewatch explained, "In order to further public understanding of and debate upon the draft Reform Treaty, eleven Statewatch analyses by Professor Steve Peers, University of Essex make the text of the draft Treaty comprehensible, by setting out the entire texts of the existing TEU and TEC and showing precisely how those texts would be amended by the draft Treaty."

“Terrorist lists” still above the law
On 11 July 2007 the Court of First Instance (CFI, the EU’s lower court) ruled that the EU decisions to freeze the assets of Professor Jose Maria Sison and Stichting al-Asqa, both based in the Netherlands, were unlawful (see judgments in Case T-47/03 and Case T-327/03). The Court followed the same reasoning as the December 2006 judgment in favour of the People’s Mujahadeen of Iran (PMOI) against their inclusion on the EU “terrorist list” (see judgment in Case T-228/02). In each case the Court ruled that fundamental rights and procedural guarantees had been infringed. Specifically, affected parties did not receive any reasons for the imposition of the sanctions against them and were consequently unable to exercise their defence and fair trial rights in accordance with the European Convention on Human Rights. The Court was also unable to effectively review the lawfulness of the decisions that led to their inclusion on the EU “terrorist list”. While the CFI ruled the asset-freeze unlawful in these three cases, it has
repeatedly upheld the validity of the EU proscription regime itself, so despite their victories, the PMOI, Sison and Al-Asqa remain on the “terrorist list”. Read the rest of this Statewatch Analysis by Ben Hayes

EU Exports: Neoliberalism, or Capitalisme Sauvage
The Permanent Peoples' Tribunal Hearing on Neo-liberal Policies and European Transnational Corporations in Latin America and the Caribbean, held in Vienna in May 2006, heard cases in relation to the social, economic and environmental impacts caused by the activities of European-based corporations operating in Latin America and the Caribbean. These covered five thematic areas: public services, natural resources, food and agriculture, the financial system and labour. Summaries and full reports of all 27 cases are now available for download.

Lebanon
Inside Lebanon: Journey to a Shattered Land with Noam & Carol Chomsky is a collection of essays by Noam and Carol Chomsky, Irene Gendzier, Assaf Kfoury, Hanady Salman and others. Edited by Arab American mathematician and political activist Assaf Kfoury, it is the result of a journey undertaken in May 2006 by Noam and Carol Chomsky, their first visit to the country. Their trip occurred just two months before Israel unleashed a new military campaign against both Lebanon and Palestine. During their eight-day trip, they toured refugee camps and a former Israeli prison and torture compound; met with political leaders—including the pro-government coalition; conducted interviews and gave public lectures on US imperialism and the imminent crises facing the Middle East.

Inside Lebanon documents Noam and Carol Chomsky’s journey and situates it within the tragically altered context of Lebanon and Palestine before and after the war of 2006. Noam Chomsky’s essays provide the background and framework for understanding the role of U.S. politics, power, and policies in these conflicts by examining how the United States wages war and imposes world domination while presenting itself as the righteous protector of democracy. Ironically, U.S. efforts at imperial control generate conflict and crises within the region while undermining the very democracy they claim to promote.

Inside Lebanon also includes essays, diaries, and photographs by Irene L. Gendzier, Assaf Kfoury, Jennifer Loewenstein, Fawwaz Traboulsi, Hanady Salman, Rasha Salti, Mona el-Farra, Laila el-Haddad, and Carol Chomsky. Collectively, their contributions illuminate the region-wide conflict, of which Lebanon is only one piece. It serves as a record of events during the war, while linking conflicts on the ground to the global order.

Describing the collection as "erudite and humane" John Pilger said that "in telling us wisely about Lebanon’s struggle, (Inside Lebanon) illuminates brilliantly the true nature of voracious power.”

You can order a copy for just $14.95 direct from publishers Monthly Review Press