Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Mexican Drug War Intel Report: Over 22,000 Dead, Police Detain 27% of the Zetas’ Foot Soldiers, Open Hunting Season On Cops
Hey there drug war fans, I got some statistics to throw your way. While you gringos pay attention to the unemployment rate and foreclosure statistics, we here in Mexico track the national kill count—how many people died, who suffered the losses and where the action went down. The latest numbers were just released: they are compiled by the federal government, so they are not 100% accurate. For starters, the body count should be higher. But hey, with over 20,000 dead, the situation looks bad enough to me, whether they fudged the numbers or not.
* 22,000+ Killed since start of war against narcotraffic, from Dec. 2006 to Mar. 2010 (when president Calderon started his term).
* 3,300+ Killed from Jan. to March 2010.
Arrests w/breakdown by cartel*
* 121,000 Narco-arrests since 2006.
* - 27% Gulf Cartel/Zetas.
* -24% Pacific/Sinaloa Cartel.
* -17% Cartel de Juarez
* -14% Beltran Leyva
* -13% Arellano Felix
*no specific number given
Violence has been on the rise because of territorial realignment, fragmentation of the cartels and internal restructuring . Law enforcement agents of all branches (state, federal, military) have now become targets for sicarios.
* 1,286 Firefights counted form December 2008 to March 2010.
* 977 Narcos against authorities.
* 309 Narcos against narcos.
Casualties by region
* 6,757 Official narco-related deaths in Chihuahua since Calderon started his term
* (4,324 From the city of Ciudad Juarez alone)
* 3,136 In Sinaloa, the cradle of narco-traffickers.
* 1,826 In Guerrero.
Intelligence: Cartel on Cartel warfare
Cartels team up on the Zetas: The new phase of the war appears to be an offensive to exterminate the Zetas by an alliance between the Sinaloa Cartel, the Gulf Cartel and the Michoacan Family. They claim to be doing this because the Zetas corrupted the business and preyed on the civilian population, which brought too much attention and became bad for business. So they are looking to go back to the old days. Civilians are getting war-weary and accept don’t mind this “social cleansing” campaign so long as the kidnappings, car thefts and extortions stop.
The Sinaloa Cartel expands territory: They are taking advantage of the chaos to exterminate their other rivals, like the Beltran Leyva. In the last couple of months they started turning the Nayarit riviera and Acapulco into the usual macabre circus act of decapitated bodies, bullet-ridden cars and piles of charred bodies. The DEA is Sinaloa Cartel’s #1 admirer and PR Agent and it claims that El Chapo Guzman is winning the war against Vicente Carrillo Fuentes and his Juarez Cartel. That means Sinaloa is the lord of the routes into the US.
The Sinaloa Cartel appears to be using the violence to consolidate territory, secure and expand shipment routes and some cross-border access—then start moving product into America. War or no war, they got a job to do.
West side calm: In the Pacific they have an alliance in Michoacan with the Milenio Cartel and the Family; And in Jalisco, with the old school capo Nacho Coronel. But Oaxaca, Guerrero and Nayarit are pretty much controlled by what remains of the Beltran Leyva Cartel.
The importance of the Pacific lies in all of its many ports–this means they can receive container ships full of the necessary ingredients to make synthetic drugs, or receive cocaine from South America. Control of the Pacific is vital to ensure reliable imports of product into the country.
The in-land routes serve to move the drugs closer to the border, which they do by hiding the goods in trailer trucks masquerading as fruit transport or whatever they think of, whatever regularly goes to and from the border towns.
Of course, the air and the sea can still be used to move drugs inside the country, but the main destination is always the United States: market número uno.
Border cities see the most action: The jewel cities of the drug trade are the border towns: Tijuana, Ciudad Juarez and Nuevo Laredo. Border cities are important for the cross-border highway access and non-stop flow of traffic: cars, trucks, tourists and semis—all provide a lot of space to stash dope. Anybody who controls these cities has a gold mine, and the Sinaloa Cartel is craving them real bad.
That’s why Ciudad Juarez has been turning into an ever-worsening blood-bath: ever since El Chapo sent his sicarios to capture the plaza in 2008, it’s been 2 years of going from bad to worse to worse-than-bad. (Remember, more than 4,000 people have been killed here over the past two years.)
The last jewel left unsnatched appears to be Tijuana, the main plaza of the Arellano Felix Cartel, which now has total control of the border. So don’t be surprised if it starts going to hell again. It’s just business, Mexican Drug Cartel style.
Pancho Montana is an eXiled Special Mexican War on Drugs Correspondent. As a native of Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, located in northern Mexico, Mr. Montana lives in Gulf Cartel territory. That means the streets belong to the Zetas, a paramilitary organization trained by the Yankees and hired by the Gulf Cartel to keep things civilized and business booming.
Below is the text of a talk delivered to the fifth Bilin international conference for Palestinian popular resistance, held in the West Bank village of Bilin on April 21.
Israel’s apologists are very exercised about the idea that Israel has been singled out for special scrutiny and criticism. I wish to argue, however, that in most discussions of Israel it actually gets off extremely lightly: that many features of the Israeli polity would be considered exceptional or extraordinary in any other democratic state.
That is not surprising because, as I will argue, Israel is neither a liberal democracy nor even a “Jewish and democratic state”, as its supporters claim. It is an apartheid state, not only in the occupied territories of the West Bank and Gaza, but also inside Israel proper. Today, in the occupied territories, the apartheid nature of Israeli rule is irrefutable -- if little mentioned by Western politicians or the media. But inside Israel itself, it is largely veiled and hidden. My purpose today is to try to remove the veil a little.
I say “a little”, because I would need far more than the time allotted to me to do justice to this topic. There are, for example, some 30 laws that explicitly discriminate between Jews and non-Jews -- another way of referring to the fifth of the Israeli population who are Palestinian and supposedly enjoy full citizenship. There are also many other Israeli laws and administrative practices that lead to an outcome of ethnic-based segregation even if they do not make such discrimination explicit.
So instead of trying to rush through all these aspects of Israeli apartheid, let me concentrate instead on a few revealing features, issues I have reported on recently.
First, let us examine the nature of Israeli citizenship.
A few weeks ago I met Uzi Ornan, an 86-year-old professor from the Technion university in Haifa, who has one of the few ID cards in Israel stating a nationality of “Hebrew”. For most other Israelis, their cards and personal records state their nationality as “Jewish” or “Arab”. For immigrants whose Jewishness is accepted by the state but questioned by the rabbinical authorities, some 130 other classifications of nationality have been approved, mostly relating to a person’s religion or country of origin. The only nationality you will not find on the list is “Israeli”. That is precisely why Prof Ornan and two dozen others are fighting through the courts: they want to be registered as “Israelis”. It is a hugely important fight -- and for that reason alone they are certain to lose. Why?
Far more is at stake than an ethnic or national label. Israel excludes a nationality of “Israeli” to ensure that, in fulfilment of its self-definition as a “Jewish state”, it is able to assign superior rights of citizenship to the collective “nation” of Jews around the globe than to the body of actual citizens in its territory, which includes many Palestinians. In practice it does this by creating two main classes of citizenship: a Jewish citizenship for “Jewish nationals” and an Arab citizenship for “Arab nationals”. Both nationalities were effectively invented by Israel and have no meaning outside Israel.
This differentiation in citizenship is recognised in Israeli law: the Law of Return, for Jews, makes immigration all but automatic for any Jew around the world who wishes it; and the Citizenship Law, for non-Jews, determines on any entirely separate basis the rights of the country’s Palestinian minority to citizenship. Even more importantly, the latter law abolishes the rights of the Palestinian citizens’ relatives, who were expelled by force in 1948, to return to their homes and land. There are, in other words, two legal systems of citizenship in Israel, differentiating between the rights of citizens based on whether they are Jews or Palestinians.
That, in itself, meets the definition of apartheid, as set out by the United Nations in 1973: “Any legislative measures or other measures calculated to prevent a racial group or groups from participation in the political, social, economic and cultural life of the country and the deliberate creation of conditions preventing the full development of such a group or groups.” The clause includes the following rights: “the right to leave and to return to their country, the right to a nationality, the right to freedom of movement and residence, the right to freedom of opinion and expression.”
Such separation of citizenship is absolutely essential to the maintenance of Israel as a Jewish state. Were all citizens to be defined uniformly as Israelis, were there to be only one law regarding citizenship, then very dramatic consequences would follow. The most significant would be that the Law of Return would either cease to apply to Jews or apply equally to Palestinian citizens, allowing them to bring their exiled relatives to Israel – the much-feared Right of Return. In either a longer or shorter period, Israel’s Jewish majority would be eroded and Israel would become a binational state, probably with a Palestinian majority.
There would be many other predictable consequences of equal citizenship. Would the Jewish settlers, for example, be able to maintain their privileged status in the West Bank if Palestinians in Jenin or Hebron had relatives inside Israel with the same rights as Jews? Would the Israeli army continue to be able to function as an occupation army in a properly democratic state? And would the courts in a state of equal citizens be able to continue turning a blind eye to the brutalities of the occupation? In all these cases, it seems extremely unlikely that the status quo could be maintained.
In other words, the whole edifice of Israel’s apartheid rule inside Israel supports and upholds its apartheid rule in the occupied territories. They stand or fall together.
Next, let us look at the matter of land control.
Last month I met an exceptional Israeli Jewish couple, the Zakais. They are exceptional chiefly because they have developed a deep friendship with a Palestinian couple inside Israel. Although I have reported on Israel and Palestine for many years, I cannot recall ever before meeting an Israeli Jew who had a Palestinian friend in quite the way the Zakais do.
True, there are many Israeli Jews who claim an “Arab” or “Palestinian” friend in the sense that they joke with the guy whose hummus shop they frequent or who fixes their car. There are also Israeli Jews -- and they are an extremely important group -- who stand with Palestinians in political battles such as those here in Bilin or in Sheikh Jarrah in Jerusalem. At these places, Israelis and Palestinians have, against the odds, managed to forge genuine friendships that are vital if Israel’s apartheid rule is to be defeated.
But the Zakais’ relationship with their Bedouin friends, the Tarabins, is not that kind of friendship. It is not based on, or shaped by, a political struggle, one that is itself framed by Israel’s occupation; it is not a self-conscious friendship; and it has no larger goal than the relationship itself. It is a friendship -- or at least it appeared that way to me -- of genuine equals. A friendship of complete intimacy. When I visited the Zakais, I realised what an incredibly unusual sight that is in Israel.
The reason for the very separate cultural and emotional worlds of Jewish and Palestinian citizens in Israel is not difficult to fathom: they live in entirely separate physical worlds. They live apart in segregated communities, separated not through choice but by legally enforceable rules and procedures. Even in the so-called handful of mixed cities, Jews and Palestinians usually live apart, in distinct and clearly defined neighbourhoods. And so it was not entirely surprising that the very issue that brought me to the Zakais was the question of whether a Palestinian citizen is entitled to live in a Jewish community.
The Zakais want to rent to their friends, the Tarabins, their home in the agricultural village of Nevatim in the Negev -- currently an exclusively Jewish community. The Tarabins face a serious housing problem in their own neighbouring Bedouin community. But what the Zakais have discovered is that there are overwhelming social and legal obstacles to Palestinians moving out the ghettoes in which they are supposed to live. Not only is Nevatim’s elected leadership deeply opposed to the Bedouin family entering their community, but so also are the Israeli courts.
Nevatim is not exceptional. There are more than 700 similar rural communities -- mostly kibbutzim and moshavim -- that bar non-Jews from living there. They control most of the inhabitable territory of Israel, land that once belonged to Palestinians: either refugees from the 1948 war; or Palestinian citizens who have had their lands confiscated under special laws.
Today, after these confiscations, at least 93 per cent of Israel is nationalised -- that is, it is held in trust not for Israel’s citizens but for world Jewry. (Here, once again, we should note one of those important consequences of the differentiated citizenship we have just considered.)
Access to most of this nationalised land is controlled by vetting committees, overseen by quasi-governmental but entirely unaccountable Zionist organisations like the Jewish Agency and the Jewish National Fund. Their role is to ensure that such communities remain off-limits to Palestinian citizens, precisely as the Zakais and Tarabins have discovered in the case of Nevatim. The officials there have insisted that the Palestinian family has no right even to rent, let alone buy, property in a “Jewish community”. That position has been effectively upheld by Israel’s highest court, which has agreed that the family must submit to a vetting committee whose very purpose is to exclude them.
Again, the 1973 UN Convention on the “crime of apartheid” is instructive: it includes measures “designed to divide the population along racial lines by the creation of separate reserves and ghettos for the members of a racial group or groups … [and] the expropriation of landed property belonging to a racial group or groups or to members thereof.”
If Jewish and Palestinian citizens have been kept apart so effectively -- and a separate education system and severe limits on interconfessional marriage reinforce this emotional and physical segregation -- how did the Zakais and Tarabins become such close friends?
Their case is an interesting example of serendipity, as I discovered when I met them. Weisman Zakai is the child of Iraqi Jewish parents who immigrated to the Jewish state in its early years. When he and Ahmed Tarabin met as boys in the 1960s, hanging out in the markets of the poor neighbouring city of Beersheva, far from the centre of the country, they found that what they had in common trumped the formal divisions that were supposed to keep them apart and fearful. Both speak fluent Arabic, both were raised in an Arab culture, both are excluded from Jewish Ashkenazi society, and both share a passion for cars.
In their case, Israel’s apartheid system failed in its job of keeping them physically and emotionally apart. It failed to make them afraid of, and hostile to, each other. But as the Zakais have learnt to their cost, in refusing to live according to the rules of Israel’s apartheid system, the system has rejected them. The Zakais are denied the chance to rent to their friends, and now live as pariahs in the community of Nevatim.
Finally, let us consider the concept of “security” inside Israel.
As I have said, the apartheid nature of relations between Jewish and Palestinian citizens is veiled in the legal, social and political spheres. It does not mirror the “petty apartheid” that was a feature of the South African brand: the separate toilets, park benches and buses. But in one instance it is explicit in this petty way -- and this is when Jews and Palestinians enter and leave the country through the border crossings and through Ben Gurion international airport. Here the façade is removed and the different status of citizenship enjoyed by Jews and Palestinians is fully on show.
That lesson was learnt by two middle-aged Palestinian brothers I interviewed this month. Residents of a village near Nazareth, they had been life-long supporters of the Labor party and proudly showed me a fading picture of them hosting a lunch for Yitzhak Rabin in the early 1990s. But at our meeting they were angry and bitter, vowing they would never vote for a Zionist party again.
Their rude awakening had come three years ago when they travelled to the US on a business trip with a group of Jewish insurance agents. On the flight back, they arrived at New York’s JFK airport to see their Jewish colleagues pass through El Al’s security checks in minutes. They, meanwhile, spent two hours being interrogated and having their bags minutely inspected.
When they were finally let through, they were assigned a female guard whose job was to keep them under constant surveillance -- in front of hundreds of fellow passengers -- till they boarded the plane. When one brother went to the bathroom without first seeking permission, the guard berated him in public and her boss threatened to prevent him from boarding the plane unless he apologised. This month the court finally awarded the brothers $8,000 compensation for what it called their “abusive and unnecessary” treatment.
Two things about this case should be noted. The first is that the El Al security team admitted in court that neither brother was deemed a security risk of any sort. The only grounds for the special treatment they received was their national and ethnic belonging. It was transparently a case of racal profiling.
The second thing to note is that their experience is nothing out of the ordinary for Palestinian citizens travelling to and from Israel. Similar, and far worse, incidents occur every day during such security procedures. What was exceptional in this case was that the brothers pursued a time-consuming and costly legal action against El Al.
They did so, I suspect, because they felt so badly betrayed. They had made the mistake of believing the hasbara (propaganda) from Israeli politicians of all stripes who declare that Palestinian citizens can enjoy equal status with Jewish citizens if they are loyal to the state. They assumed that by being Zionists they could become first-class citizens. In accepting this conclusion, they had misunderstood the apartheid reality inherent in a Jewish state.
The most educated, respectable and wealthy Palestinian citizen will always fare worse at the airport security check than the most disreputable Jewish citizen, or the one who espouses extremist opinions or even the Jewish citizen with a criminal record.
Israel’s apartheid system is there to maintain Jewish privilege in a Jewish state. And at the point where that privilege is felt most viscerally by ordinary Jews to be vulnerable, in the life and death experience of flying thousands of feet above the ground, Palestinian citizens must be shown their status as outsider, as the enemy, whoever they are and whatever they have, or have not, done.
Apartheid rule, as I have argued, applies to Palestinians in both Israel and the occupied territories. But is not apartheid in the territories much worse than it is inside Israel? Should we not concern ourselves more with the big apartheid in the West Bank and Gaza than this weaker apartheid? Such an argument demonstrates a dangerous misconception about the indivisible nature of Israel’s apartheid towards Palestinians and about its goals.
Certainly, it is true that apartheid in the territories is much more aggressive than it is inside Israel. There are two reasons for this. The first is that the apartheid under occupation is much less closely supervised by the Israeli civilian courts than it is in Israel. You can, to put it bluntly, get away with much more here. The second, and more significant, reason, however, is that the Israeli system of apartheid in the occupied territories is forced to be more aggressive and cruel -- and that is because the battle is not yet won here. The fight of the occupying power to steal your resources -- your land, water and labour -- is in progress but the outcome is still to be decided. Israel is facing the considerable pressures of time and a fading international legitimacy as it works to take your possessions from you. Every day you resist makes that task a little harder.
In Israel, by contrast, apartheid rule is entrenched -- it achieved its victory decades ago. Palestinian citizens have third or fourth class citizenship; they have had almost all of their land taken from them; they are allowed to live only in their ghettoes; their education system is controlled by the security services; they can work in few jobs other than those Jews do not want; they have the vote but cannot participate in government or effect any political change; and so on.
Doubtless, a related fate is envisioned for you too. The veiled apartheid facing Palestinians inside Israel is the blueprint for a veiled -- and more legitimate -- kind of apartheid being planned for Palestinians in the occupied territories, at least those who are allowed to remain in their Bantustans. And for this very reason, exposing and defeating the apartheid inside Israel is vital to the success of resisting the apartheid that has taken root here.
That is why we must fight Israeli apartheid wherever it is found -- in Jaffa or Jerusalem, in Nazareth or Nablus, in Beersheva or Bilin. It is the only struggle that can bring justice to the Palestinians.
Jonathan Cook is a writer and journalist based in Nazareth, Israel. His latest books are “Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East” (Pluto Press) and “Disappearing Palestine: Israel's Experiments in Human Despair” (Zed Books). His website is www.jkcook.net. He contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com.
Saturday, April 24, 2010
Statement of Congressman Ron Paul - United States House of Representatives
Statement on Motion to Instruct Conferees on HR 2194, Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability and Divestment Act - April 22, 2010:
Mr. Speaker I rise in opposition to this motion to instruct House conferees on HR 2194, the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability and Divestment Act, and I rise in strong opposition again to the underlying bill and to its Senate version as well. I object to this entire push for war on Iran, however it is disguised. Listening to the debate on the Floor on this motion and the underlying bill it feels as if we are back in 2002 all over again: the same falsehoods and distortions used to push the United States into a disastrous and unnecessary one trillion dollar war on Iraq are being trotted out again to lead us to what will likely be an even more disastrous and costly war on Iran. The parallels are astonishing.
We hear war advocates today on the Floor scare-mongering about reports that in one year Iran will have missiles that can hit the United States. Where have we heard this bombast before? Anyone remember the claims that Iraqi drones were going to fly over the United States and attack us? These “drones” ended up being pure propaganda – the UN chief weapons inspector concluded in 2004 that there was no evidence that Saddam Hussein had ever developed unpiloted drones for use on enemy targets. Of course by then the propagandists had gotten their war so the truth did not matter much.
We hear war advocates on the floor today arguing that we cannot afford to sit around and wait for Iran to detonate a nuclear weapon. Where have we heard this before? Anyone remember then-Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice’s oft-repeated quip about Iraq: that we cannot wait for the smoking gun to appear as a mushroom cloud.
We need to see all this for what it is: Propaganda to speed us to war against Iran for the benefit of special interests.
Let us remember a few important things. Iran, a signatory of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, has never been found in violation of that treaty. Iran is not capable of enriching uranium to the necessary level to manufacture nuclear weapons. According to the entire US Intelligence Community, Iran is not currently working on a nuclear weapons program. These are facts, and to point them out does not make one a supporter or fan of the Iranian regime. Those pushing war on Iran will ignore or distort these facts to serve their agenda, though, so it is important and necessary to point them out.
Some of my well-intentioned colleagues may be tempted to vote for sanctions on Iran because they view this as a way to avoid war on Iran. I will ask them whether the sanctions on Iraq satisfied those pushing for war at that time. Or whether the application of ever-stronger sanctions in fact helped war advocates make their case for war on Iraq: as each round of new sanctions failed to “work” – to change the regime – war became the only remaining regime-change option.
This legislation, whether the House or Senate version, will lead us to war on Iran. The sanctions in this bill, and the blockade of Iran necessary to fully enforce them, are in themselves acts of war according to international law. A vote for sanctions on Iran is a vote for war against Iran. I urge my colleagues in the strongest terms to turn back from this unnecessary and counterproductive march to war.
This bill which had 343 co-sponsors passed in the House of Representatives on Dec 15, 2009 by roll call vote. The vote was held under a suspension of the rules to cut debate short and pass the bill, needing a two-thirds majority. This usually occurs for non-controversial legislation. The totals were 412 Ayes, 12 Nays, 10 Present/Not Voting. On March 11, 2010, the bill passed the Senate by unanimous consent.
These are the names of the Representatives who voted against the bill in the House:
Baldwin, Blumenauer, Conyers, Duncan, Flake, Hinchey, Kucinich, Lynch, McDermott, Moore (WI), Paul, Stark.
These answered "present" (abstained):
Johnson, E. B., Kilpatrick (MI), Lee (CA), Waters
Bottom line: AIPAC controls Congress at about 98% and the even though the USA is already going bankrupt because it is involved in 5,5 wars (Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and, covertly, Iran) - all of which it is loosing - Congress is overwhelmingly eager to begin yet another war on behalf of the only openly racist and genocidal state on the planet.
And in the meanwhile, the US media icon Time is celebrating the 50 year anniversary of The Pill.
What would it take to wake up this stupidified population of zombies?
Friday, April 23, 2010
This track is not an attack upon the American people,
It’s an attack upon the system within which they live.
Since 1945 the United States has attempted to overthrow more than 50 foreign governments,
In the process the US has caused the end of life for several million people,
And condemned many millions more to a life of agony and despair.
The strength of your dreaming prevents you from reason,
The American dream only makes sense if you’re sleeping,
It’s just a cruel fantasy; their politics took my voice away,
But their music gave it back to me,
The land where the lumpen are consumed by consumption,
Killing themselves to shovel down food in abundance,
I guess a rapper from Britain is a rare voice,
America is capitalism on steroids,
Natives kept in casinos and reservations,
Displaced slaves never given reparations,
Take everything from Native Americans,
And wonder why i call it the racist experiment,
Afraid of your melanin, the same as it’s ever been,
That aint gonna change with the race of the president,
I see imperialism under your skin tone,
You could call it Christopher Columbus syndrome.
Is it Obama’s nation? Or an abomination?
Is it Obama’s nation? Or an abomination?
Is it Obama’s nation? Or an abomination?
Doesn’t make any difference when they bomb your nation.
Oh say can you see by the dawn’s early light,
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming,
Whose broad stripes and bright stars through perilous fight,
For the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming.
The world’s entertainer, the world’s devastator,
From Venezuela, to Mesopotamia,
Your cameras lie, cause they have to hide the savage crimes,
Committed on leaders that happen to try and nationalize,
Eating competitions? while the worlds been starving,
Beat up communism with the help of Bin Laden,
Where would your war of terror be without that man,
Every day you create more Nidal Hassan’s,
Kill a man from the military, you’re a weirdo,
But kill a wog from the Middle East you’re a hero,
Your country is causing screams that never reach your ear holes,
America inflicted a million Ground Zero’s,
Follow the dollar and swallow your humanity,
Soldier’s committing savagery you never even have to see,
Those mad at me, writing emails angrily,
I’m not anti-America, America is anti-me!
Is it Obama’s nation? Or an abomination?
Is it Obama’s nation? Or an abomination?
Is it Obama’s nation? Or an abomination?
Doesn’t make any difference when they bomb your nation.
And the rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night, that our flag was still there,
Oh say does that star spangled banner yet wave,
For the land of the free and the home of the brave,
I don’t care if him and Cheney are long lost relations,
What matters more is the policies, I lost my patience,
Stop debating bringing race into the conversation,
Occupation and cooperation equals profit making,
It’s over; people wake up from the dream now,
Nobel peace prize, Jay Z on speed-dial,
It’s the substance within, not the colour of your skin,
Are you the puppeteer or the puppet on the string?,
So many believed it was instantly gonna’ change,
There was still Dennis Ross, Brzezinski and Robert Gates,
What happened to Chas freeman? (AIPAC),
What happened to Tristan Anderson?,
It’s a machine that keeps that man breathing,
I have the heart to say what all the other rappers aren’t,
Words like Iraq, Palestine, Afghanistan,
The wars on, and you morons were all wrong,
I call Obama a bomber cause those are your bombs.
Not every Zionist is Jewish,
and not every Jew is a Zionist.
This is for Palestine, Ramallah, West Bank, Gaza,
it's about time we globalized the intifāḍa (rebellion),
listen close I've got six words for Obama,
long live Palestine,
long live Gaza.
Palestine, Ramallah, West Bank, Gaza,
it's about time we globalized the intifāḍa (rebellion),
listen close I've got six words for Obama,
long live Palestine, long live Gaza.
The government supports the people of the UK didn't,
Zionism is not compatible with Judaism - the hijacked faith,
the state is misrepresenting,
Israel equals misplacement and ethnic cleansing.
I know I'm on a list, for being more verbal, curse every Zionist since Theodor Herzl,
Balfour was not a wise man,
shame on Rothschild,
between them the monster they created has gone wild.
Tears to laughter,
our children don't fear disaster,
living near the master,
clear the facts,
hear the casket,
we rap and we die from bombastic times,
summer days in the thunder blaze,
they merk their dreams like Theodor Herzl screams,
and the UN and 48 ????
from mothers, daughters,
sons martyred and empty fathers.
Even though all they do on TV is lie,
I was watching the news,
you can see the tears of mothers falling on earth,
the kids are sweet,
show them that they take the hands of kids who just learnt how to talk and..load it...shoot,
this is what I saw on the news.
Ba eenka ma to televesion hamash mishinan doroogh migan,
Dastahm akhbar mididam,
Ke chiz ha ro joor haro ashkahey madararo zameen mirizan,
Bache ha sheerinan,
Beheshoon majrobati ke bacheyi ke tazeh yad gerefteh ra bareh o tastesho migiran...Por karde...va... tirizad,
Chand vaght pish sanehayeh eineh een to akhbar mididam..ahdaro chididam.
Israel is a terrorist state,
the evidence is quite obvious,
war criminals using lethal weapons like white phosphorus,
burns your flesh to the bone,
and if you happen to live,
you'll be left infected with cancer,
you'll curse the fact that you did,
forgive me if I wish to say fate on those Israelis,
responsible for killing all those innocent little babies,
I studied the Torah and learnt by their own admission,
Israel's actions are not kosher in their own religion.
The Devils got an unholy plan for the Holy Land,
so I hope my Qurān,
cuts the power in the other hand,
no oasis just bloodstained sands,
Settlements settin up to eliminate child, woman and man..
no such thing as the Middle East,
brother they deceiving you,
no matter where you stand there's always something to the east of you,
so whether it's the Mossad or the FBI policing you,
it's all one struggle till the final breath is leavin you
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Ukraine will receive a discount of $100 per 1,000 cu m at the natural gas price of $330 and a 30% discount on other prices, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said on Wednesday. Medvedev's announcement came after a meeting with his Ukrainian counterpart Viktor Yanukovych in Kharkov in eastern Ukraine. "Discounts for Ukraine will come into effect from April this year," Yanukovych said.
Ukraine has agreed to extend the term of Russian Black Sea Fleet presence in the country's Crimea for 25 more years, the Russian president said on Wednesday. The new agreement, signed after talks between Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and his Ukrainian counterpart Viktor Yanukovych, also stipulates the extension for an additional five years after the term expires.
Commentary: All this is excellent news. After years of NATO-sponsored folly, it does appear that Russia and the Ukraine are finally going to start to work together. Such a collaboration could be extremely beneficial for both countries, and the backlog of joint projects which needs to be revived is long (think, for example, of the AN-70). I just hope that the Ukrainians will never forget that bitter lesson: neo-Nazi nationalists and US/NATO agents have wrecked their country and set it back by at least a decade, if not more. I want to believe that the Ukrainians will not repeat that mistake again.
PS: I just came across an interesting news item: looks like the Antonov company is now under Russian ownership!
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Barack Obama is a zealous believer in the imperialist capitalist system imposed by the United States to the world. "God bless the United States," is the final phrase of his speeches.
Some events hurt the sensitivity of the world public which sympathized with the victory of the African-American over the far-right candidate in that country. On the basis of one of the deepest economic crises the world has known, and on the pain brought on by the young Americans who lost their lives or were injured or maimed in the genocidal wars of conquest unleashed by his predecessor, he won with the vote of the majority of the 50% of Americans who cast a vote in that democratic nation.
Out of an elementary sense of ethic, Obama should have refrained from accepting the Nobel Peace Prize when he had already decided on sending forty thousand troops to an absurd war in the heart of Asia.
The warmongering policy and the plundering of natural resources, as well as the unequal terms of trade of the current administration toward the poor countries of the Third World are no different from those of his predecessors, most of them from the far-right, --with few exceptions throughout the past century.
The antidemocratic document imposed at the Copenhagen Summit on the international community, which had given credit to his promise to cooperate in the struggle against climate change, was another one of those events that disappointed many people around the world. The United States, the largest producer of greenhouse-gas emissions, was not willing to make the necessary sacrifices despite the flattering previous words of its president.
The list of contradictions would be endless between the ideas defended by the Cuban nation for five decades with great sacrifices and the selfish policies of that colossal empire.
Still, we don’t feel any animosity toward Obama, much less toward the American people. We feel that the Healthcare Reform has been a significant battle and a success of his administration. However, it is really amazing that 234 years after the Declaration of Independence proclaimed in Philadelphia in the year 1776, which drew inspiration from the ideas of the great French encyclopedists, the government of that country has approved medical care for the overwhelming majority of its citizens, something that Cuba accomplished for its entire population half a century ago despite the cruel and inhuman blockade imposed --and still in force-- by the mightiest country that has ever existed. In the past, it was only after almost a century of independence and following a bloody war, that Abraham Lincoln could obtain the legal emancipation of the slaves.
On the other hand, I can’t help but think of a world where over one-third of the population have no access to medical care or the basic medicines required to ensure health. And this situation will be aggravated as climate change, and water and food shortage worsen in a globalized world where the population grows, the forests disappear, the arable land decreases, the air is more polluted, and the human species inhabiting it -which emerged less than 200 thousand years back, that is, 3.5 billion years after the first forms of life on the planet is running the real risk of annihilation.
Even conceding that the Health Reform comes as a success to the Obama administration, the current President of the United States cannot ignore that climate change poses a threat to health, and worse still, to the very existence of every nation in the world, as the rise in temperature -beyond critical limits which are already in sight melts down the water of the glaciers, and the tens of millions of cubic meters contained in the enormous ice caps of the Antarctic, Greenland and Siberia melt down within a few decades leaving under water every port facility in the world and lands where a large part of the world population lives, works and eats today.
Obama, the leaders of the wealthy nations and their allies, as well as their scientists and sophisticated research centers are aware of this; they cannot ignore it.
I understand the satisfaction expressed in the presidential speech and his recognition of the contribution made by the members of Congress and the administration to make possible the miracle of the Health Reform, which strengthens the government’s position vis-à-vis political lobbyists and mercenaries that curtail the authority of the administration. It would be worse if those responsible for tortures, murders on contract and genocide were in charge of the US government again. As a man unquestionably smart and sufficiently well informed, Obama knows there is no exaggeration in my words. I hope the foolish remarks he sometimes makes about Cuba do not cloud his mind.
In the aftermath of his success in this battle for the right of every American to healthcare, 12 million immigrants, most of them Latin American, Haitian and from other Caribbean countries are demanding the legalization of their presence in the United States where they do the hardest work and the American society cannot do without them, but where they are arrested, separated from their families and sent back to their countries.
The overwhelming majority migrated to America escaping the tyrannies imposed by the United States on the countries of the region and the dire poverty these have endured as a result of the plundering of their resources and the unequal terms of trade. Their family remittances make up a high percentage of the GDP of these countries’ economies. Now, they expect an act of basic justice. If the Cubans have been singled out with an Adjustment Act which promotes brain drain and the enticement of their educated youths, why are such brutal methods applied to the illegal immigrants from Latin America and the Caribbean?
The devastating earthquake that battered Haiti -the poorest nation in Latin America, hammered by an unprecedented natural catastrophe that took the lives of more than 200 thousand people and the terrible economic damage that a similar phenomenon brought on Chile are eloquent proof of the dangers looming over the so-called civilization and of the need for dramatic measures that can give the human species the hope to survive.
The Cold War failed to benefit the people of the world. The huge economic, technological and scientific power of the United States would be unable to survive the tragedy hovering on the planet. President Obama should look up in a computer the relevant data and talk to his most outstanding scientists; then, he will see how far his country is of being the model it promotes for humanity.
As an African-American, he suffered the offense of discrimination, according to his own narrative in the book "Dreams From My Father." He was acquainted with the poverty of tens of millions of Americans; educated in that country and as a successful professional he has enjoyed the privileges of the rich middle class and ended up idealizing the social system where the economic crisis, the lives of Americans uselessly sacrificed and his undisputable political talent gave him political victory.
Yet, to the most intractable right-wing Obama is an extremist; and they threaten to continue fighting in the Senate to neutralize the effects of the Health Reform and to openly boycott it in several States of the Union by declaring it an unconstitutional law.
The problems of our times are much more serious.
The International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and other international financial institutions strictly controlled by the United States -the creators of tax havens and the culprits of the financial chaos in the planet-- allow the bailout of the big American banks by their government every time one of the frequent and increasingly intense crises of the system hits that country.
The United States Federal Reserve capriciously mints the hard currency that pays for the wars of conquest, the profits of the Military Industrial Complex, the military bases distributed around the world, and the large investments used by the transnational companies to control the economy of many countries worldwide. Nixon unilaterally suspended the gold standard while the vaults of the New York banks keep seven thousand tons of gold, little over 25% of the world reserves in that metal, a figure that at the end of World War II was in excess of 80%. It is said that the US public debt exceeds 10 trillion dollars, which is more than 70% of its GDP and stands like a burden for the new generations. This is said when the truth is that the world economy is the one paying that debt with the huge amounts of US dollars spent in purchasing goods and services, the same dollars that the large transnationals of that country use to buy a considerable portion of the world riches and to sustain that nation’s consumer society.
Anyone understands that such a system is unsustainable and also why the wealthiest sectors in the United States and their allies in the world advocate a system that can only be sustained with ignorance, deception and the conditioned reflexes created in the world public through the monopoly over the mass media, including the main networks of the Internet.
Today, the structure is crumbling with the accelerated advance of climate change and its disastrous consequences which are placing humanity face to face with an exceptional dilemma.
The wars between powers seem no longer a possible solution to the great contradictions as they were until the second half of the 20th century. Still, they have had such an impact on the elements that make human survival possible, that they could prematurely put an end to the existence of the current intelligent species that populates our planet.
A few days ago I expressed my firm belief that, in light of the scientific knowledge prevailing today, the human beings will have to solve their problems on planet Earth since they will never be able to cover the distance separating the Sun from its closest star located four light-years away, -one light-year equals 187,500 miles per second, as our high school students know, provided a planet similar to our beautiful Earth existed around that sun.
The United States invests huge amounts of money to confirm the presence of water on planet Mars, or if there was or is any elementary form of life there. No one knows what for, if not out of mere scientific curiosity. Millions of species are disappearing from our planet at a faster pace and its enormous water sources are constantly being poisoned.
The new laws of science -following Einstein’s formulas on energy and matter, and the big-bang theory as the origin of the millions of constellations and infinite stars and/or other theories have given rise to deep changes in such basic concepts as space and time, which draw the attention of and are subjected to analysis by theologians. One of them, our Brazilian friend Friar Betto, deals with the subject in his book "The Work of the Artist: A Holistic Vision of Universe," presented in the recent International Book Fair held in Havana.
The advancement of science in the past one hundred years has had an impact on the traditional approaches that prevailed through thousands of years in social sciences and even in Philosophy and Theology.
The most honest thinkers are paying significant attention to the new knowledge but we know absolutely nothing of how President Obama feels about the compatibility of consumer societies with science.
In the meantime, it is worthwhile meditating about these subjects now and then; this will certainly not prevent human beings from dreaming and from taking things with due serenity and steely nerves, but it is the duty of at least those who chose to become politicians and who sustain the noble and unwavering objective of a human society where justice and solidarity prevail.
Fidel Castro Ruz
March 24, 2010
Monday, April 19, 2010
The logic of power is still overriding the power of logic, quipped the head of Iran’s Atomic Organisation Ali Salehi at the “Nuclear Energy for all, Nuclear Weapons for None” disarmament conference in Tehran last weekend, referring to US foreign policy, in particular, nuclear. Taking this elegant formulation a step further, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says nuclear-armed states such as the United States should be removed entirely from the IAEA and its Board of Governors. Iran’s president called for the formation of a new international body to oversee nuclear disarmament, or at least the reinvigoration of the Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT).
Twenty-four foreign and deputy foreign ministers and official representatives from 60 states, including China, Russia, Pakistan, India, Iraq, and Turkey came to Teheran, with the glaring exception of the US and Israel, though they were invited along with everyone else. The conference was a direct reply to Washington’s refusal to invite Iran to its own Nuclear Security Summit last week, which attracted the attention of 47 leaders, and focused -- more cynically -- merely on international control of all nuclear-related activity.
Obama’s conference was limited to efforts to protect weapon-usable nuclear materials (notably spent fuel from Ukraine) to safeguard against nuclear terrorism, and endorsed Obama’s call for securing all nuclear materials around the globe within four years to keep them out of the grasp of terrorists.
This is an echo of the 1946 Baruch Plan by the US to force a prostrate world into accepting US control of nuclear power/ weapons. A threadbare demand by the only country which has actually used nuclear weapons in battle -- against innocent civilians. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei said, “The one and only nuclear criminal in the world now falsely claims to be fighting against the spread of atomic weapons but has definitely not taken and will not take any serious action in this regard.”
This counter-conference was a coup for Iran -- a truly international platform for challenging Washington’s assertion that it wants to see a world without nuclear weapons. “The conference expressed its concerns about the continued existence of Weapons of Mass Destruction -- nuclear arms in particular -- as well as their application or threat to apply them,” the closing statement said.
Iran’s Joint Armed Forces Chief of Staff Hassan Firouzabadi said the Washington summit actually worked against the purpose of non-proliferation: “Its result was that nuclear weapons should be safeguarded and this was in conflict with the NPT and disarmament.” He pointed out the hypocrisy of Washington’s Nuclear Posture Review which claims it does not seek first use of nuclear weapons -- except against Iran and North Korea, asking sarcastically what makes Iranian and North Korean citizens different from the rest of the world. Iran’s UN ambassador Mohammad Khazaee dotted the “i”s, calling Washington’s new nuclear weapons policy “state terrorism”.
Salehi led the criticism of the NPT where “in the past 40 years most of the activities have been focusing on the non-proliferation and then on the peaceful use of nuclear energy and not on the disarmament. So, we have not seen any positive or hopeful steps in the disarmament issue.” He complained that there is no “watchdog for the disarmament. We want to have specific date, specific date, announced for the complete disarmament of the countries that have nuclear weapons. We are after the power of logic but unfortunately still the rule of jungle is prevailing.”
Iran’s top nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili said, “In order to achieve disarmament and non-proliferation, we must promote the NPT and prevent powers from exerting their influence on the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).” Iran’s top envoy to the IAEA, Ali Asghar Soltanieh, noted that the conference will play a significant role in the outcome of next month’s NPT conference in New York.
Iran’s call for real nuclear disarmament is supported, oddly enough, by Germany, which called for the removal of all US nuclear weapons from Europe last year. The removal of all nuclear weapons from the Middle East, of course, was on all participants’ minds. All agreed that Israel must be pressured to join the NPT, completing the work that Obama’s conference should have done. There, only Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdogan and Egypt's Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul Gheit dared raise the issue of Israeli nuclear weapons.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Rybakov told the Iranian conference, “We need to achieve the goal of the establishment of a zone free from weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East and here Israel’s role is crucial. Without their due involvement, nothing would be possible.” Ayatollah Khamenei was less restrained: “If the US claim of fighting the spread of nuclear weapons is not a lie, how can the Zionist regime manage to avoid international regulations -- in particular the NPT -- and turn occupied Palestine into an arsenal of nuclear weapons?”
Foreign ministers from Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon supported the Organisation of Islamic Conference head, Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, in calling for a nuclear weapon-free Middle East. Their presence no doubt irked Washington, as did Turkey’s role in both conferences. As a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council, member of the Non-Aligned Movement and NATO, EU candidate, and Iran’s Muslim neighbour, Turkey has suddenly emerged from its US shadow as an important regional mediator.
In a jab to Washington for spurning the conference, Rybakov effused: “It is an excellent opportunity to have a free-flowing exchange of views on some critical issues. We are discussing the way to go forward to this [nuclear weapon-free] goal.”
On Iran’s nuclear programme, delegations from Turkey, Syria, Lebanon and Iraq voiced their support for Iranian nuclear activities, which they described as peaceful. Rybakov said the international community is well aware that “atomic bombs are against Iran’s religious beliefs and defensive doctrine,” but urged Iran to resolve the current stand-off in a way “that may be considered satisfactory to the US and some other countries” so that “full confidence in the exclusively peaceful nature of the Iranian nuclear programme.” Paul Ingram, executive director of the British American Security Information Council, said “The Tehran conference will undermine US strategies in forming a front against Iran.”
This counter-conference highlighted the real reason for targeting Iran: more than any other country, it exposes Washington’s real agenda, its imperial agenda. As if responding to the conference's success, a secret memo penned by Defence Secretary and well-known peacenik Robert Gates in January was leaked as the conference closed, calling for new options against Iran including invasion, Bush’s tired policy of “leaving all the options on the table”.
But like the US conference, much of the real activity was going on behind the scenes, and it was not all nuclear. Pakistan and China were low-key, but nonetheless their presence was a snub to Washington. Iran is China’s key energy partner, importing 12 per cent of its oil from Iran, and is busy helping build the Peace Pipeline to carry Iran’s natural gas to Pakistan (and in the future to India and China), despite US attempts to force Pakistan to cancel the project and cooperate on a pipeline through Afghanistan to Central Asia. India and Iran are jointly constructing power plants and plan to exchange electricity via Pakistan. Tehran is already exporting electricity to Turkey, Armenia and Afghanistan. With Iraq’s oil industry in disarray, and as Iran’s nuclear power plants begin work in August, Iran is poised to become the energy powerhouse in Central Asia.
That, along with the likes of Iran’s disarmament conference, is doing much more for regional peace than US invasions and threats. Such nuclear-armed countries as India and Pakistan would be happy to give up their nukes if everyone else did, making them natural allies of Iran -- and the world at large. Actions speak much louder than words in politics, and Iran’s current diplomatic and economic demarche is showing up the empty White House rhetoric at each turn.
Eric Walberg writes for Al-Ahram Weekly http://weekly.ahram.org.eg/ You can reach him at http://ericwalberg.com/
I would like to welcome the honorable guests who have gathered here. It is a pleasure that the Islamic Republic of Iran is hosting the International Conference on Nuclear Disarmament today. Hopefully, you will make use of this opportunity and present human societies with the timeless and valuable results that you will obtain through discussion and consultation.
The study of atoms and nuclear sciences are one of the greatest human achievements which can and should be at the service of the wellbeing of nations across the world as well as the growth and development of all human societies. The applications of nuclear sciences cover a wide range of medical and industrial needs as well as energy requirements, each of which has considerable importance. For this reason, it can be said that nuclear technology has gained a prominent position in economic areas of life. And with the passage of time and the rise in industrial and medical needs and energy requirements, its importance will continue growing, and the efforts to achieve and utilize nuclear energy will increase accordingly. Just like other nations of the world, Middle Eastern nations that are thirsty for peace, security, and progress have the right to guarantee their economic position as well as a superior position for their future generations through utilizing this technology. Preventing the nations of the region from paying serious attention to this natural and valuable right is probably one of the goals behind creating doubts about the peaceful nuclear programs of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
The interesting point is that currently the only nuclear criminal in the world is falsely claiming to fight the proliferation of nuclear weapons. This is while there is no doubt that it has not taken any serious measures in this regard, and it will never do so. If America's claims of fighting the proliferation of nuclear weapons were not false, would the Zionist regime be able to turn the occupied Palestinian lands into an arsenal where a huge number of nuclear weapons are stored while refusing to respect international regulations in this regard, especially the NPT?
Unfortunately, although the word atom is associated with the progress of human knowledge, it is equally associated with the most appalling event in history and the greatest genocide and misuse of man's scientific accomplishments. Although many countries have made an effort to manufacture and amass nuclear weapons - which in itself can be considered a preface to committing crimes and has seriously jeopardized global peace - there is only one government that has committed a nuclear crime so far. Only the government of the United States of America has attacked the oppressed people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki with atomic bombs in an unfair and inhumane war.
Since the detonation of the early nuclear weapons by the US government in Hiroshima and Nagasaki created a human disaster of unprecedented proportions in history and exposed human security to a great threat, the global community has reached a unanimous agreement that it is necessary to completely destroy such weapons. The use of nuclear weapons resulted not only in large-scale killings and destruction, but also in indiscriminate massacre of people - military members and civilians, young and old, men and women. And its anti-human effects transcended political and geographic borders, even inflicting irreparable harm on future generations. Therefore, using or even threatening to use such weapons is a serious violation of the most basic rules of philanthropy and is a clear manifestation of war crimes.
From a military and security perspective, after certain powers were armed with this anti-human weapon, there remained no doubt that victory in a nuclear war would be impossible and that engagement in such a war would be an unwise and anti-human act. However, despite these obvious ethical, intellectual, human, and even military realities, the strong and repeated urge by the global community to dispose of these weapons has been ignored by a small number of governments who have based their illusory security on global insecurity.
The insistence of these governments on the possession and proliferation of nuclear weapons as well as increasing their destructive power - which are useless except for intimidation and massacre and a false sense of security based on pre-emptive power resulting from guaranteed annihilation of everyone - has led to an enduring nuclear nightmare in the world. Innumerable human and economic resources have been used in this irrational competition to give the superpowers the imaginary power to annihilate more than a thousand times their rivals as well as other inhabitants of the world including themselves. And it is due to this reason that this strategy has been known as "Mutual Assured Destruction" or MAD.
In recent years, a number of governments who possess nuclear weapons have even gone beyond the pre-emptive strategy based on mutual annihilation in dealing with other nuclear powers to the extent that in their nuclear policies they insist on maintaining the nuclear option even if they are faced with conventional threats from countries violating the NPT. This is while the greatest violators of the NPT are the powers who have reneged on their obligation to dispose of nuclear weapons mentioned in Article 6 of the Non-Proliferation Treaty. These powers have even surpassed other countries with respect to promoting nuclear weapons in the world. By providing the Zionist regime with nuclear weapons and supporting its policies, these powers play a direct role in promoting nuclear weapons which is against the obligations they have undertaken according to Article 1 of the NPT. These countries, headed by the bullying and aggressive US regime, have posed a serious threat to the Middle East region and the world.
It behooves the International Conference on Nuclear Disarmament to investigate the threats posed by the production and stockpiling of nuclear weapons in the world and propose realistic solutions to counter this threat to humanity. This will prepare the ground for taking steps towards safeguarding peace and stability.
We believe that besides nuclear weapons, other types of weapons of mass destruction such as chemical and biological weapons also pose a serious threat to humanity. The Iranian nation which is itself a victim of chemical weapons feels more than any other nation the danger that is caused by the production and stockpiling of such weapons and is prepared to make use of all its facilities to counter such threats.
We consider the use of such weapons as haraam and believe that it is everyone's duty to make efforts to secure humanity against this great disaster.
Sayyid Ali Khamenei
Farvardin 27, 1389
Jumada al-Awwal 1, 1431
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
In this latest interview, George and Jeffrey Blankfort touch on a painful subject for many progressives, including myself: the fact that Noam Chomsky has a totally mind-boggling "blind stop" on two of the most important, I would even say *defining*, issues determining the nature and goals of the US Empire: the role of the Israel Lobby (or "Zionist Power Configuration" or ZPC as James Petras refers to it) and the truth about 9/11. In this interview, George and Jeffrey do not touch upon the issue of 9/11 (although George himself fully understands that 9/11 was an 'inside job"), but only on the first 'blind spot' of Chomsky. Both George and Jeffrey Blankfort clearly have a great deal of admiration for Noam Chomsky, as do I, but they value the truth and the voice of their own common sense and conscience even more and they refuse to simply bow to Chomsky's otherwise undeniable moral authority.
Interestingly, both George and Blankfort also clearly understand that the only a "One State" solution can truly bring piece to the Middle-East and that this means a total defeat of the Zionist ideology.
George Kenny is doing a fantastic job with his podcast and website. If you appreciate his work and if you can afford to, please drop by on his website and donate a little something (or a big something!) to support him and his work. And if you cannot, then send him a little note of gratitude and of support.
Fighting against empire is an often discouraging activity, and those who do have the courage to do so need all the kinds words and support we can give them!
PS: Jeff Blankfort is a radio program producer with KPOO in San Francisco, KZYX in Mendocino and KPFT/Pacifica in Houston. He is a journalist and Jewish-American and has been a pro-Palestinian human rights activist since 1970. He was formerly the editor of the Middle East Labor Bulletin and co-founder of the Labor Committee of the Middle East. He was also a founding member of the Nov. 29 Coalition on Palestine. He won a sizable lawsuit against the Jewish Anti-Defamation League (ADL) in February 2002 for its vast illegal spying against him, as well as other peaceful political groups and individuals (including anti-Apartheid groups/activists). Blankfort sends out an influential annotated/commented emails of articles appearing mostly in the US press about Israel, Palestine, Middle East, Neocons, and the Zionist lobby. Many of his articles can be found here.
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
It is really a huge joy for me to share with you something which I recently discovered and which I have come to consider the single most interesting and far-reaching series of lectures I have ever heard. Dr John Marciano's "Empire as a Way of Life" (thanks to C. for introducing me to Marciano's work!)
In the course of Fall 2006 and Spring of 2007, Dr Marciano, Professor Emeritus of the State University of New York at Cortland, taught ten monthly seminars on the topic of the history of the US imperialism and of Empire. These seminars were recorded by the L.A. Sound Posse and the lecture notes were made available to the public by Dr Marciano (both are licensed under the Creative Commons, attribution, non-commercial, share alike, 2.5 license). Each lecture includes a 40 minutes presentation by Dr Marciano followed by a Q&A. In preparation for each session the participants had to read key chapters from a list of books (available here); the main points of these readings were presented in Dr Marciano's presentations.
It is hard for me to refrain from hyperbole in praising these lectures, so I will go ahead and say it as I feel: simply put these lectures are "The Key" (all in caps) to the understanding of the nature of capitalism, the nature of the regime in power in the USA since 1776, the goals and methods of US foreign and domestic policies, the nature of the power structure of the US government and state and the reasons for the US Global Empire. Not only that, Marciano goes where very few before him dared to venture: he looks into the cultural and sociological mechanisms which have made it possible for a clear majority of US citizens to actively support a regime and a set of policies which are clearly diametrically opposed to the values professed by the Founding Fathers of the USA, the US Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. After all, this is one of the key questions which we all need to ask: how is it that a country which is ostensibly democratic in its founding documents is also a global hegemony which is literally constantly at war with the rest of the planet from its foundation in the 18th century to the present day? The other question, of course, is: how can an apparently democratic society end up having to top 1% of the population being richer than the bottom 95%? What is the unifying ideology, worldview and culture which has made this possible?
Dr Marciano breaks all the taboos which carefully and inflexibly channel the political discourse in the USA and he carefully deconstructs every single myth, one by one, which a vast majority of US Americans believe about their country and history. If Howard Zinn wrote a brilliant People's History of the United States, then John Marciano brings together the works of the best historians to analyze the powerful and quasi-unchallenged beliefs which not only influenced but, in fact, determined - and still are determining - the course of US history.
You want to understand why the governments change every 4 years but the US policies are always, always, exactly the same? You want to understand why it is impossible to tell the Republicans and the Democrats apart? You wonder why Presidents like Johnson, Dubya or Obama get elected on a "peace" platform only to dramatically escalate the number of conflicts and wars the US is involved in? The Marciano lectures are what you are looking for.
I have assembled all the recordings made by the L.A. Sound Posse of these lectures into one audio file (in mp3 format) and I have collected all the lecture notes into one PDF file and combined both of these into one zipped file
While it might be tempting to use the faster option and just read the lecture notes, I recommend that you listen to the audio of the lectures. First, the notes and audio are somewhat different and, second, the very interesting Q&A at the end of the presentations is missing from the lecture notes. Lastly, the recording is of very good quality and Dr Marciano is a great speaker. Therefore - take the time to listen to these lectures, if at all possible.
I very much hope that you will take the time to listen to these lectures (the total listening time is about 11 hours). I strongly believe that these lectures are really a "must listen to" for anybody struggling with the difficult task of making sense of what the US Empire is doing nowadays, or for anybody interested in history in general, and the history of imperialism in particular.
I was aware of a lot of the things which Dr Marciano brings up, and I had a general sense of these issue, but it was a very powerful experience for me to have it all laid out, piece by piece, into a comprehensive and systematic manner. Listening to these lectures I felt over and over again this "aha!" moment when you know that you are touching a crucial, essential, truth which makes it possible to suddenly clearly understand something.
Friends, this is really great, great stuff and I urge you to download it, listen to it and, most importantly, pass it on.
Resistance to the Empire is not futile - if is, in fact, a moral imperative - but to resist we first need to understand the nature of the regime which we want to defeat. This series of lectures is absolutely crucial for this.
PS: I have re-uploaded them all to Mediafire. Here is the new link to the folder with both the recording and the class notes:
Here is the link to the lectures themselves: (all in one large file)
And here is the link directly to the class notes:
Monday, April 12, 2010
The pretense that a president of a modest country like Kyrgyzstan can play in big league politics is shed with the ouster of the tulip revolutionary president Kurmanbek Bakiyev, after last week’s riots in the capital Bishkek that left 81 dead and government buildings and Bakiyev’s various houses trashed.
Bakiyev tried to have the best of both big power worlds, last year brashly threatening to close the US airbase, vital to the war in Afghanistan, after signing a cushy aid deal with Russia, and then reversed himself when the US agreed to more than triple the rent to $60 million a year and kick in another $100m in aid. As a result he lost the trust of both, and found himself bereft when the going got tough last week, as riots exactly like those that swept him to power erupted.
It was the US that was there in 2005 to help him usher in a new era of democracy and freedom, the “Tulip Revolution”, but this time, it was Russia who was there to help the interim government coalition headed by opposition leader and former foreign minister Roza Otunbayeva pick up the pieces. As Otunbayeva looks to Kyrgyzstan’s traditional support for help extricating itself from a potential failed-state situation, cowed and frightened US strategists are already advocating trying to convince the Russians that the US has no long-term plans for the region, and that they can work together. Recognising the obvious, writes Eric McGlinchey in the New York Times, “ Kyrgyzstan is in Russia’s backyard, and the fact that we depend on our airbase there for our Afghan war doesn’t change that. Presenting a united front with Russia, however, would help Washington keep its air base and avoid another bidding war."
This coup follows the same logic as the more dignified rejection of the Orange Revolution in Ukraine in February, and has given a new lease on life to Georgian opposition politicians, who vow they will follow the Kyrgyz example if their rose revolutionary president continues to persecute them and spout his anti-Russian venom. Indeed, the whole US strategy in ex-Sovietistan seems to be unraveling, with Uzbekistan still out in the cold for its extreme human rights abuses, and the recent inauguration in February of Turkmenistan’s new gas pipeline to China.
Reversing Bakiyev’s flip-flop, Otunbayeva first indicated the US base would remain open, then hours later, sent shock waves through the US political establishment by reversing herself and saying it would be closed “for security reasons”. The agreement was renewed last June and is due for renewal in July this year. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton immediately telephoned Otunbayeva and sent Assistant Secretary of State Robert Blake to Bishkek, who announced with relief that the base would remain open after all.
But, unlike Bakiyev, Otunbayeva is no crafty politician out to fill her and her family’s pockets. While the former put his son Maxim in charge of negotiating the lucrative rental deal with the Americans last year (just where did the $160m go?) and set him up as head of the new national Central Agency for Development, Investment, and Innovation, Otunbayeva is above the corrupt clan-based politics of her predecessors. A graduate of Moscow State University and former head of Kyrgyz State National University philosophy faculty, she was foreign minister under both Askar Akayev and Bakiyev. She served as the first Kyrgyz ambassador to the US and Canada, and later the UK, and in 2007, was elected to parliament on the candidate list of the Social Democratic Party, becoming head of the opposition SDP in October 2009.
She visited Moscow twice this year, in January and March, and has forged close links with the United Russia Party. Her first formal talks as interim president were with Putin. Her flop-flip rather reflects the serious strain that the pushy US has put on Kyrgyz society, which until 9/11 was a sleep backwater which admired and was grateful to Russia for its security and economic well-being. There can be no doubt that the Kyrgyz people would much prefer good relations with Russia than the US. The base has provided nothing to the surrounding community except for the transitting soldiers’ purchase of alcohol and their soliciting of prostitutes.
For all his antidemocratic behaviour, Bakiyev’s threat to close the base last year was in response to public pressure. Locals were furious that a US solider killed an unarmed Kyrgyz outside the base and was whisked back to the US without any repercussions, much like the recently exposed case of US soldiers in a helicopter who gunning down two unarmed Reuters news staff in Baghdad, but who were cleared by a military investigation. This resentment and the instability it encourages are what Otunbayeva was alluding to in her terse phrase “security reasons”.
So, the question on everyone’s lips: did Russia pull the strings this time, tit for tat? True, there was little love lost between Putin and Bakiyev after the latter reneged on his promise to close the American base last year. Bakiyev’s erratic behaviour in the past two years certainly irritated the Russians. Apart from the issue of the US base, ties between the Kremlin and Bakiyev’s government had deteriorated sharply in recent months, in part because of the government’s increasingly anti-Russian stance, including the blocking of Russian-language websites and increased discrimination facing Russian businessmen. Coincidentally, Russia imposed duties on energy exports to Kyrgyzstan on 1 April.
When Otunbayeva suggested the base would be closed, there were cries that the Kremlin was behind the coup. But this speculation was nixed by Obama himself. “The people that are allegedly running Kyrgyzstan ... these are all people we’ve had contact with for many years. This is not some anti-American coup, that we know for sure,” assured Michael McFaul, Obama’s senior director for Russian affairs, as Obama and Medvedev were smiling for the cameras in Prague in their nuclear disarmament moment. He also dismissed the immediate assumption that it was “some sponsored-by-the-Russians coup,” claiming -- appropriately for the occasion -- that cooperation over Kyrgyzstan was another sign of improved US-Russia relations.
Diligence LLC analyst Nick Day, “Russia is going to dominate Kyrgyzstan and that means problems for the US.” Yes, and so what? Russia is just a heart-beat away from events throughout the ex-Soviet Union by definition. Russians and Russian-sympathisers come with the territory. In early March, a member of the Council of Elders and head of the Pensioners’ Party, Omurbek Umetaliev, said, “We believe it is unacceptable to allow the existence on this limited territory of military bases from two leading world powers, which have conflicting positions on many issues of international politics. Although the presence of a Russian military base in Kyrgyzstan is historically justified, the military presence of the US and NATO countries is a threat to our national interests.”
True, even the threat to close the base is a blow to US imperial strategy in Eurasia, especially its surge in Afghanistan, which would be seriously jeopardised without its Manas air base. The US resupplies 40 per cent of forward operating bases in Afghanistan by air because the Taliban control the main roads. 1,500 US troops transit Manas each day -- 50,000 in the past month, with 1,200 permanently stationed there. Because of attacks on its supply convoys travelling through Pakistan, the Pentagon wants to shift much of its resupply effort to its new Northern Distribution Network, which runs through Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.
Paul Quinn-Judge, Central Asia director of the International Crisis Group -- reporting from Manas -- said the fear was that such stepped-up US shipping will lead to attacks by the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) and the Islamic Jihad Union, groups which have a loyal following in the restive Ferghana valley, which is divided among those very Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, and has witnessed more than one uprising in the recent past. “The problem with the Northern Distribution Network is obvious,” Quinn-Judge says. “It turns Central Asia into a part of the theatre of war.”
Confusion over the status of the US base will be top on United States President Barack Obama’s crammed agenda now and he would do well to look further than the next wilted flower coup. “In Kyrgyzstan there should be only one base -- Russian,” a senior Russian official told reporters icily in Prague. “Russia will use this as a lever in negotiations with America,” frets Day.
But another way to look at this is that this is a golden opportunity for Obama to definitively reverse the cowboy politics of Bush and the neocons, to build some real bridges with Russia, the country which will remain vital to Kyrgyzstan whatever geopolitical phantasms Washington has in mind. The delicious irony in the Kyrgyz coup is that as Medvedev and Obama were posing in Prague, where Russia basically acceded to US missile defence diktat, geopolitical inertia in Kyrgyzstan was doing Russia’s work for it, scuttling US Eurasian plans, and putting the cards back in Russia’s hands.
And what is this nonsense about how “vital” this base is to the US? It’s been there ten years. Just how long does it expect to stay? Could the answer be “For ever”? The current Kyrgyz line is that the agreement will be reviewed to make sure it isn't "against the interests of the people or for bribes", government spokesman Almazbek Atambayev said after a visit to Moscow. "The United States plans to withdraw troops from Afghanistan next year. We will approach the transit centre issue in a civilised way and resolve it with the US leadership." So the US probably has another year there with grudging Russian approval.
Voluntarily leaving next summer would be the best advertisement to the world, and Russia in particular, that Obama represents a new, less belligerent US. The writing is on the wall: it is only a matter of months, a year at most, till Manas becomes a Russian base, and the sooner the US accepts the obvious, the better. Both Moscow and Washington have a common goal to preserve stability in the region, and given Moscow’s acquiesence to US-NATO transit of its territory to service the war in Afghanistan, this would automatically extend to a now-respectful US’s use of the soon-to-be Russian base in Manas.
Already the echoes of post-Vietnam realism in US politics, detente with the “enemy”, can be detected in McFaul’s words. This was the last period when a subdued US pursued sensible, even peaceful, foreign policies, having accepted defeat in its criminal war against Vietnam, culminating in the push by Carter to force the Israelis to withdraw from Sinai and make peace, however grudging, with at least one neighbour. The world could do with more Kyrgyz coups.
Eric Walberg writes for Al-Ahram Weekly http://weekly.ahram.org.eg/ You can reach him at http://ericwalberg.com/