Sunday, September 30, 2007

Mandela's Speech

On Poverty

Like slavery and apartheid, poverty is not natural. It is man-made and it can be overcome and eradicated by the actions of human beings. And overcoming poverty is not a gesture of charity. It is an act of justice. It is the protection of a fundamental human right, the right to dignity and a decent life. While poverty persists, there is no true freedom. The steps that are needed from the developed nations are clear. The first is ensuring trade justice.

The full speech is at The link text

Friday, September 28, 2007

Cuba UN Statement

26 September 2007

Mr. President:
Never before had the real dangers menacing the human species become so evident; never before had the violations of International Law become so evident, as they increasingly jeopardize international peace and security; never before had inequality and exclusion become so evident, as they impact on over two-thirds of the population on our planet.

Read the whole speech here:  
The link text

How Wealth Creates

Poverty In The World

By Michael Parenti

There is a “mystery” we must explain: How is it that as corporate investments and foreign aid and international loans to poor countries have increased dramatically throughout the world over the last half century, so has poverty? The number of people living in poverty is growing at a faster rate than the world’s population. What do we make of this?

Over the last half century, U.S. industries and banks (and other western corporations) have invested heavily in those poorer regions of Asia, Africa, and Latin America known as the “Third World.” The transnationals are attracted by the rich natural resources, the high return that comes from low-paid labor, and the nearly complete absence of taxes, environmental regulations, worker benefits, and occupational safety costs.

The U.S. government has subsidized this flight of capital by granting corporations tax concessions on their overseas investments, and even paying some of their relocation expenses---much to the outrage of labor unions here at home who see their jobs evaporating.

The transnationals push out local businesses in the Third World and preempt their markets. American agribusiness cartels, heavily subsidized by U.S. taxpayers, dump surplus products in other countries at below cost and undersell local farmers. As Christopher Cook describes it in his Diet for a Dead Planet, they expropriate the best land in these countries for cash-crop exports, usually monoculture crops requiring large amounts of pesticides, leaving less and less acreage for the hundreds of varieties of organically grown foods that feed the local populations.

By displacing local populations from their lands and robbing them of their self-sufficiency, corporations create overcrowded labor markets of desperate people who are forced into shanty towns to toil for poverty wages (when they can get work), often in violation of the countries’ own minimum wage laws.

In Haiti, for instance, workers are paid 11 cents an hour by corporate giants such as Disney, Wal-Mart, and J.C. Penny. The United States is one of the few countries that has refused to sign an international convention for the abolition of child labor and forced labor. This position stems from the child labor practices of U.S. corporations throughout the Third World and within the United States itself, where children as young as 12 suffer high rates of injuries and fatalities, and are often paid less than the minimum wage.

The savings that big business reaps from cheap labor abroad are not passed on in lower prices to their customers elsewhere. Corporations do not outsource to far-off regions so that U.S. consumers can save money. They outsource in order to increase their margin of profit. In 1990, shoes made by Indonesian children working twelve-hour days for 13 cents an hour, cost only $2.60 but still sold for $100 or more in the United States.

U.S. foreign aid usually works hand in hand with transnational investment. It subsidizes construction of the infrastructure needed by corporations in the Third World: ports, highways, and refineries.

The aid given to Third World governments comes with strings attached. It often must be spent on U.S. products, and the recipient nation is required to give investment preferences to U.S. companies, shifting consumption away from home produced commodities and foods in favor of imported ones, creating more dependency, hunger, and debt.

A good chunk of the aid money never sees the light of day, going directly into the personal coffers of sticky-fingered officials in the recipient countries.

Aid (of a sort) also comes from other sources. In 1944, the United Nations created the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Voting power in both organizations is determined by a country’s financial contribution. As the largest “donor,” the United States has a dominant voice, followed by Germany, Japan, France, and Great Britain. The IMF operates in secrecy with a select group of bankers and finance ministry staffs drawn mostly from the rich nations.

The World Bank and IMF are supposed to assist nations in their development. What actually happens is another story. A poor country borrows from the World Bank to build up some aspect of its economy. Should it be unable to pay back the heavy interest because of declining export sales or some other reason, it must borrow again, this time from the IMF.

But the IMF imposes a “structural adjustment program” (SAP), requiring debtor countries to grant tax breaks to the transnational corporations, reduce wages, and make no attempt to protect local enterprises from foreign imports and foreign takeovers. The debtor nations are pressured to privatize their economies, selling at scandalously low prices their state-owned mines, railroads, and utilities to private corporations.

They are forced to open their forests to clear-cutting and their lands to strip mining, without regard to the ecological damage done. The debtor nations also must cut back on subsidies for health, education, transportation and food, spending less on their people in order to have more money to meet debt payments. Required to grow cash crops for export earnings, they become even less able to feed their own populations.

So it is that throughout the Third World, real wages have declined, and national debts have soared to the point where debt payments absorb almost all of the poorer countries’ export earnings---which creates further impoverishment as it leaves the debtor country even less able to provide the things its population needs.

Here then we have explained a “mystery.” It is, of course, no mystery at all if you don’t adhere to trickle-down mystification. Why has poverty deepened while foreign aid and loans and investments have grown? Answer: Loans, investments, and most forms of aid are designed not to fight poverty but to augment the wealth of transnational investors at the expense of local populations.

There is no trickle down, only a siphoning up from the toiling many to the moneyed few.

In their perpetual confusion, some liberal critics conclude that foreign aid and IMF and World Bank structural adjustments “do not work”; the end result is less self-sufficiency and more poverty for the recipient nations, they point out. Why then do the rich member states continue to fund the IMF and World Bank? Are their leaders just less intelligent than the critics who keep pointing out to them that their policies are having the opposite effect?

No, it is the critics who are stupid not the western leaders and investors who own so much of the world and enjoy such immense wealth and success. They pursue their aid and foreign loan programs because such programs do work. The question is, work for whom? Cui bono?

The purpose behind their investments, loans, and aid programs is not to uplift the masses in other countries. That is certainly not the business they are in. The purpose is to serve the interests of global capital accumulation, to take over the lands and local economies of Third World peoples, monopolize their markets, depress their wages, indenture their labor with enormous debts, privatize their public service sector, and prevent these nations from emerging as trade competitors by not allowing them a normal development.

In these respects, investments, foreign loans, and structural adjustments work very well indeed.

The real mystery is: why do some people find such an analysis to be so improbable, a “conspiratorial” imagining? Why are they skeptical that U.S. rulers knowingly and deliberately pursue such ruthless policies (suppress wages, rollback environmental protections, eliminate the public sector, cut human services) in the Third World? These rulers are pursuing much the same policies right here in our own country!

Isn’t it time that liberal critics stop thinking that the people who own so much of the world---and want to own it all---are “incompetent” or “misguided” or “failing to see the unintended consequences of their policies”? You are not being very smart when you think your enemies are not as smart as you. They know where their interests lie, and so should we.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Respect Mother Earth

Let's respect our Mother Earth

Letter from President Evo Morales to the member representatives of the United Nations on the issue of the environment.

Sister and brother Presidents and Heads of States of the United Nations: The world is suffering from a fever due to climate change,and the disease is the capitalist development model. Whilst over 10,000 years the variation in carbon dioxide (CO2) levels on the planet was approximately 10%, during the last 200 years of industrial development, carbon emissions have increased by 30%. Since 1860, Europe and North America have contributed 70% of the emissions of CO2.2005 was the hottest year in the last one thousand years on this planet.

Different investigations have demonstrated that out of the 40,170 living species that have been studied, 16,119 are in danger of extinction. One out of eight birds could disappear forever. One out of four mammals is under threat. One out of every three reptiles could cease to exist. Eight out of ten crustaceans and three out of fourinsects are at risk of extinction. We are living through the sixth crisis of the extinction of living species in the history of the planet and, on this occasion, the rate of extinction is 100 times more accelerated than in geological times.

Faced with this bleak future, transnational interests are proposing to continue as before, and paint the machine green, which is to say, continue with growth and irrational consumerism and inequality, generating more and more profits, without realising that we are currently consuming in one year what the planet produces in one year and three months. Faced with this reality, the solution can not be an environmental make over.

I read in the World Bank report that in order to mitigate the impactsof climate change we need to end subsidies on hydrocarbons, put aprice on water and promote private investment in the clean energysector. Once again they want to apply market recipes and privatisation in order to carry out business as usual, and with it, the same illnesses that these policies produce. The same occurs in the case of biofuels, given that to produce one litre of ethanol you require 12 litres of water. In the same way, to process one ton of agrifuels you need, on average, one hectare of land.

Faced with this situation, we – the indigenous peoples and humble and honest inhabitants of this planet – believe that the time has come to put a stop to this, in order to rediscover our roots, with respect for Mother Earth; with the Pachamama as we call it in the Andes.

Today, the indigenous peoples of Latin America and the world have been called upon by history to convert ourselves into the vanguard of the struggleto defend nature and life. I am convinced that the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, recently approved after so many years of struggle, needs to pass from paper to reality so that our knowledge and our participation can help to construct a new future of hope for all. Who else but the indigenous people, can point out the path for humanity in order to preserve nature, natural resources and the territories that we have inhabited from ancient times.

We need a profound change of direction, at the world wide level, so as to stop being the condemned of the earth. The countries of the north need to reduce their carbon emissions by between 60% and 80% if we want to avoid a temperature rise of more than 2º in what is left of this century, which would provoke global warming of catastrophicproportions for life and nature.

We need to create a World Environment Organisation which is binding, and which can discipline the World Trade Organisation, which is propelling us towards barbarism. We can no longer continue to talk of growth in Gross National Product without taking into consideration the destruction and wastage of natural resources.

We need to adopt an indicator that allows us to consider, in a combined way, the Human Development Index and the Ecological Footprint in order to measure our environmental situation.We need to apply harsh taxes on the super concentration of wealth, and adopt effective mechanisms for its equitable redistribution. It is not possible that three families can have an income superior to the combined GDP of the 48 poorest countries. We can not talk of equity and social justice whilst this situation continues.

The United States and Europe consume, on average, 8.4 times more than the world average. It is necessary for them to reduce their level of consumption and recognise that all of us are guests on this same land; of the same Pachamama.

I know that change is not easy when an extremely powerful sector hast o renounce their extraordinary profits for the planet to survive. In my own country I suffer, with my head held high, this permanent sabotage because we are ending privileges so that everyone can "Live Well" and not better than our counterparts. I know that change in the world is much more difficult than in my country, but I have absolutec onfidence in human beings, in their capacity to reason, to learn from mistakes, to recuperate their roots, and to change in order to forge ajust, diverse, inclusive, equilibrated world in harmony with nature.

Evo Morales Ayma
President of the Republic de Bolivia
September 24, 2007

Translated by Federico Fuentes for Bolivia Rising,

Iran Beautiful Iran

A View to Beautiful Iran on YOUTUBE

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Egyptian Workers

Occupy Factory

Taken from the BBC over here

Thousands of workers have taken control of one of Egypt's biggest state-owned textile factories in a continuing protest over pay and work conditions.

The workers also want the head of the company to be sacked, and are demanding the release of five representatives who were detained by police on Monday.

The strike at the Misr Helwan Spinning and Weaving Company's factory in Mahalla al-Kubra began on Sunday.

A strike at the plant last year led to a wave of labour protests across Egypt.

The industrial action in December forced the government to back down and meet the workers' demand for annual bonuses equivalent to 45 days' wages.

But representatives for the workers said the textile company did not fulfil its promise despite posting profits of 217m Egyptian pounds ($39m) for the last financial year, and are now demanding a fair share.

Government fears

The protests by an estimated 27,000 workers brought the textile company to a standstill.

Groups of employees beat drums and chanted slogans demanding the dismissal of the chairman of the board, Mohib Salah al-Din, and criticising the management of the government holding company which owns the factory.

They also called for the dismissal of the representatives of the government-approved labour union who visited them on Sunday.

The protests intensified on Monday after the public prosecutor ordered the detention of five of the workers' representatives on charges of inciting the strike, unlawful gathering and destruction of public properties.

"They say we are the leaders who have incited 27,000 workers to strike," Wael Habeeb, one of the five men, told the BBC Arabic Service. "How, I do not understand!"

The BBC's Arab affairs analyst, Magdi Abdelhadi, says the Egyptian government, which does not tolerate dissent, is fearful of the workers' growing self-confidence.

There are fears that labour unrest might spread to other low-paid industries as it did last year, our correspondent says.

While it is much easier to crush a handful of political protesters in Cairo, using police force against thousands of striking workers could prove to be a far more difficult task, our correspondent adds.

Ahmadinejad Speech

The following is the full English language transcript of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's Tuesday, September 25, 2007 speech at the United Nations. A video of the speech is at this link.

In the name of God, the compassionate and the merciful, oh, God, hasten the arrival of Imam al-Mahdi and grant him good health and victory and make us his followers and those who attest to his rightfulness.

Mr. President, excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, I am pleased and grateful to the almighty to have the opportunity once again to attend this important universal forum.

In the present tumultuous world and with the predominance of loud outcries, threats and tensions, and at a time when the big powers are unable to solve present problems, when mistrust in regional and international arenas is on the rise, when the psychological security of societies is being targeted by an onslaught of political and propaganda designs, and disappointment prevails over efficacy of policies and actions of the international organizations in the establishment of a durable peace and security, and the protection of human rights is being weakened, I plan to touch upon and explain the roots of and the ways out of these predicaments and some of the principal challenges facing our world.

I will also speak to you about the need for remedying the present situation, prospects for a brighter and more hopeful future, and about the appearance of the sublime and beauty, compassion and generosity, justice and blossoming of all the God-given human talents and the prominence of faith in God and realization of the promise of God.

I will then submit to your judgment the nuclear issue of Iran as a reality and testing ground for the measurement of honesty, efficacy, steadfastness and accomplishment.

In the closing part of my statement, I will offer my proposals.

Dear friends and colleagues, as you are all aware, mankind is currently facing important, numerous and diverse challenges and I will refer to some of them.

One, organized attempts to destroy the institution of family and to weaken the status of women. Family is the most sacred and valuable human institution that serves as the center of the purest mutual love and affection amongst mothers, fathers and children, and as a safe environment for the nurturing of human generations and a fertile ground for the blossoming of talents and compassion.

This institution has always been respected by all peoples, religions and cultures. Today, we are witnessing an organized invasion by the enemies of humanity and plunderers to destroy this noble institution that is targeted by promoting lewdness, violence and by breaking the boundaries of chastity and decency.

The precious existence of women, as the manifestation of divine beauty and as the peak of kindness, affection and purity has been the target of heavy exploitation in recent decades by the holders of power and the owners of media and wealth.

In some societies, this beloved human has been reduced to a mere instrument of publicity and all the boundaries and protective shields of chastity, purity and beauty have been trampled. This is a colossal betrayal of human society, of succeeding generations and an irreparable blow to the pillar of social coherence, the family.

Two, widespread violations of human rights, terrorism and occupation.

Unfortunately, human rights are being extensively violated by certain powers, especially by those who pretend to be their exclusive advocates.

Setting up secret prisons, abducting persons, trials and secret punishments, without any regard to due process, extensive tappings of telephone conversations, intercepting private mail, and frequent summons to police and security centers have become commonplace and prevalent.

They use various pretexts to occupy sovereign states and cause insecurity and division, and then use the prevailing situation as an excuse to continue their occupation.

For more than 60 years, Palestine, as compensation for the loss that they incurred during the war in Europe, has been under occupation of the illegal Zionist regime.

The Palestinian people have been displaced or are under heavy military pressure, economic siege, or are incarcerated under abhorrent conditions. The occupiers are protected and praised, while the innocent Palestinians are subjected to political, military, and propaganda onslaught.

The people of Palestine are deprived of water, electricity, and medicine for the sin of asking for freedom. And the government that was freely elected by the people is targeted.

Terrorists are being organized to attack the lives and property of the people with the blessings of the politicians and military officials of the big powers. The brutal Zionists carry out targeted assassinations of Palestinians in their homes and cities, and terrorists are decorated with medals of peace and receive support from the big powers.

On the other hand, they gather a number of Jews from different parts of the world through false propaganda and with the promise of providing them with welfare, jobs and food, and settle them in the occupied territories, exposing them to the harshest restrictions, psychological pressures and constant threats.

They prevent these people from returning to their homelands and by coercion and propaganda induce them to malevolence toward the indigenous Palestinian people.

Iraq was occupied under the pretext of overthrowing a dictator and the existence of weapons of mass destruction. The Iraqi dictator, who had been supported by the same occupiers, was disposed of, and no weapons of mass destruction were discovered. But the occupation continues under different excuses. No day passes without people being killed, wounded or displaced. And the occupiers not only refuse to be accountable and ashamed of their adventure, but speak in a report of a new market for their armaments as a result of their military adventure.

They even oppose the constitution the national assembly and the government established by the vote of the people while they do not even have the courage to declare their defeat and exit Iraq.

Unfortunately, we are witnessing the biter truth that some powers do not value any nation or human beings and the only things that matter to them are themselves, their political parties and their groups.

In their view, human rights are tantamount to profits for their companies and their friends. The rights and dignity of the American people are also being sacrificed for the selfish desires of those holding power.

Three, aggressions against indigenous cultures and national values.

Culture is the manifestation of identity and the key to the survival of nations and the foundation for their interaction with others. In an organized movement, indigenous cultures that are messengers of monotheism, love and fraternity are being subjected to broad and destructive aggressions. National customs and values are humiliated, and the self-esteem and character of nations are ridiculed and defamed.

The purpose is to promote blind emulations, consumerism, skepticism toward God and human values, and plundering other people's wealth by big powers.

Fourth: Poverty, illiteracy, health care issues, and the gap between the poor and rich. While a major part of the natural environment in Asia, Africa, and Latin American is being plundered by the political and economic domination of certain powers, the situation of poverty and depravation is very alarming.

Let me draw your attention to some data which was issued by the United Nations. Every day, close to 800 million people go to bed hungry, and about 980 million suffered from absolute poverty with less than $1 a day in purchasing power.

People of 31 countries, equivalent to 9 percent of the world's population, have an average life expectancy of 46 years, which is 32 years less than the average of developed countries.

The gap between the rich and the poor in some parts of the world has increased by 40 times, and many countries, the majority of the people are deprived of access to education and schooling.

In developing countries, the maternal mortality rate during pregnancy is 450 per 100,000. This ratio is seven in the richer nations and the ratio of mortality of new births is 59 for developing countries and six for the richer nations. One-third of the deaths in the world, or 50,000 people daily, result from poverty. I believe this data clearly demonstrates the tragic situation dominating economic interactions in the world.

Five: Ignoring noble values and the promotion of deception and lies. Some powers sacrifice all human values, including honesty, purity, and trust for the advancement of their goals.

They propagate skepticism and deception in their relations between states and peoples. They lie openly, level baseless charges against others, act contrary to legal norms and damage the climate of trust and friendship.

They openly abandon morality and noble values in their relations with others and substitute selfishness, supremacy, amnesty and imposition for justice, respect for others, love, affection and honesty. They sacrifice all the good things and the sublime in life for their own greed.

Six: Violations of rules of international law and disrespect of commitments. Some who were themselves the drafters of international law openly and easily violate it and apply discriminatory policies and double standards to others. They drafted disarmament regulations, but every day test and stock pile new generations of lethal weapons.

They frame the Charter of the United Nations, but show disrespect to the right of self-determination and independence of sovereign nations. They conveniently abrogate their (inaudible) and do not yield to laws concerning protection of the environment. Most of the violations of international obligations are committed by a few global powers.

Seven: Escalation of threats and the arms race.

Some powers, whenever their logic fails, simply use the language of threat. The huge arms race casts a shadow of threats over the globe. The nations of Europe were the victims of two world wars and a number of other devastating conflicts and were subjected to the consequences of the Cold War for many decades.

Today, they're living under the shadow of the threat and their interests, security and lands are endangered under the shadow of the arms race imposed by certain big powers. A bullying power allows itself the right to set up a missile system, makes the life of the people of the continent bitter and lays the ground for an arms race.

Some rulers, who superficially appear to be powerful, believe the tools they have at hand can be used at any time and for any purpose, and consequently, threaten others and cast a shadow of insecurity over nations and regions.

International organizations and mechanisms clearly lack the capacity to overcome problems and challenges to put in fair -- place fair and just relations of peace, fraternity and security. There is hardly any government or nation that places much hope in these mechanisms to secure its rights or defend its independence, territorial integrity and national interests.

Dear friends and colleagues, there are many more challenges than the ones I have enumerated and I know that one would have introduced more if one had wanted to touch upon them. But I chose to confine myself to the ones I have stated. Now the important and decisive question concerns the roots and causes of these challenges.

A scientific and careful analysis shows that the root of the present situation lies in two fundamental factors.

Without doubt, the first factor lies in the relations arising from the consequences of the Second World War. The victors of the war drew the road map for global domination and formulated their policies not on the basis of justice, but for ensuring the interests of the victors over the vanquished nations.

Therefore, mechanisms arising from this approach and related policies have not been capable of finding just solutions for global solutions since 60 years ago.

Some big powers still behave like the victors of the world war and regard other states and nations, even those that had nothing to do with the war, as the vanquished and humiliate other nations and demand extortion through condescending positions similar to that of the master-servant relationship of the Medieval ages.

They believe that they should have more rights than others and also are not accountable to any international organizations.

Mr. President, among all the ineffective bodies, unfortunately the U.N. Security Council ranks first. They have created circumstances in which some powers with exclusive and special right to veto in the Security Council act as prosecutor, judge and executioner, regardless of being a defendant or respondent.

It is natural for countries have been subjected to those powers' infringements of their rights have no hope in getting what they deserve from the council.

Unfortunately, humanity has witnessed in all long wars, like the Korean and Vietnam wars, the war of the Zionists against the Palestinians and against Lebanon, the war of Saddam against the people of Iran, and the ethnic wards of Europe and Africa, one of the members of the Security Council was one of the belligerents who supported one party against the other, usually the aggressor for the conflict itself.

Let's look at Iraq. They first occupied the country and then received authorization from the Security Council, the same council in which the same occupiers have the right to veto.

Who should the people of Iraq complain about? And where should they take their complaints with hopes of securing their rights?

We saw in Lebanon that some powers for a long 33 days prevented the Security Council from taking any action against the Zionist regime with the hope of giving them time to achieve victory.

However, when they became disappointed in seeing their hopes unfulfilled, they decided to cease the hostility by adopting a resolution. But the duty of the Security Council is to prevent the expansion of conflicts, to put in place cease-fires, and to promote peace and safety.

To whom and what organization should the people of Lebanon complain?

Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, the presence of some monopolistic powers has prevented the Security Council from performing its main duty which is the maintenance of international peace and security based on justice.

The credibility of the council has been tarnished and its efficacy in defending the rights of the U.N. member states has been undermined. Many nations have lost their confidence in the council.

Some other mechanisms, such as the monetary and banking mechanisms, are in the same undesirable situation and have been turned into tools for the imposition of the wishes of some powers on other nations.

It is evident that these mechanisms are not capable of responding to current needs and solving challenges and establishing fair and sustainable relations.

Dear colleagues, again, there is no doubt that the second and more important factor is some big powers' disregard of morals, divine values, the teachings of the prophets and the instructions by the almighty God, as well as the rule of the (inaudible).

How can the incompetents, who cannot even manage and control themselves, rule humanity and arrange its affairs?

Unfortunately, they have put themselves in the position of God. They were in servitude to their own whims and the desire to have everything for themselves.

For them, human dignity and the lives, properties, and territories of others are no longer respected. Humanity has had a deep wound on its tired body, caused by impious powers, for centuries.

Today, the problems that people around the world face are mainly rooted in the disregard of human values and ethics, and also in the rule of the selfish and incompetent.

Friends, ladies, and gentlemen, the only sustainable way to the betterment of mankind is the return to the teachings of the divine prophets, monotheism, respect for the dignity of humans, and the flow of love and affection in all relationships, ties, and regulations, and to reform the present structures on this basis.

To fulfill this objective, I invite everyone -- everybody to form a front of fraternity, amity, and sustainable peace, based on monotheism and justice, under the name of "Coalition for Peace," (ph) to prevent incursions and arrogance and to promote the culture of affection and justice.

I hereby announce that, with the help of all independent, justice-seeking and peace-loving nations, the Islamic Republic of Iran will be heading down this path.

Monotheism, justice, and compassion for humans should dominate all the pillars of the U.N. And this organization should be a forum for justice, and every member should enjoy equal spiritual and legal support.

The general assembly, as the representative of the international community, should be considered the most important pillar of the U.N., in order to, free from any pressure and threats by the powers, take required measures for the reforming of the U.N. structures, and especially change the present status of the Security Council and defined new structures, based on justice and democracy with the purpose of becoming responsive to the present requirements and to be able to settle existing challenges, heading to the establishment of an enduring stability and security.

Mr. President, Excellencies, the nuclear issue of Iran is a clear example of how such mechanisms perform and the prevailing thoughts behind them.

You are all aware that Iran is a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency and has always observed its rules and regulation, and has had the most extensive cooperation with this agency in all areas.

All our nuclear activities have been completely peaceful and transparent. According to the statute of the IAEA, any member has a number of rights and obligations. In fact, all members have to stay on a peaceful path and, under the supervision of the agency, assist other members. And they are entitled to be supported by the agency and have access to the fuel cycle with the help of the agency and its members.

Thus far, Iran has fulfilled all of its obligations but has been deprived of other members' technical assistance and, even at times, of the agency's support.

For about five years, some of the aforementioned powers have, by exerting heavy pressure on the IAEA, attempted to prevent the Iranian nation from exercising its rights. They have derailed Iran's nuclear issue from its legal tracks and have politicized the atmosphere to impose their wishes through taking advantage of all their potentials.

The government of Iran spared no effort to build confidence. But they were not satisfied with anything short of the complete halt of all activities, even those related to research and university fields. They were only after depriving the Iranian people of their inalienable rights, even to the extent that those centers not involved in the fuel cycle or not in need of supervision by the agency were closed.

After three years of negotiations and attempts to build confidence, the Iranian nation came to the firm belief that the main concern of these powers is not the possible deviation of Iran's nuclear activities, but is to prevent its scientific progress under this pretext.

And if this trend continues, there will be no possibility for Iran to enjoy its rights, not even in the next 20 years.

Therefore, Iran decided to pursue the issue through its appropriate, legal path, one that runs through the IAEA, and to disregard unlawful and political impositions by the arrogant powers.

In the last two years, abusing the Security Council, the arrogant powers have repeatedly accused Iran and even made military threats and imposed illegal sanctions against it.

However, by the grace of faith in God and national unity, Iran has moved forward step by step, and now our country is recognized as one with the capacity for industrial-scale fuel cycle production for peaceful purposes.

Unfortunately, the Security Council, in dealing with this obvious legal issue, was influenced by some bullying powers and failed to uphold justice and protect the rights of the Iranian people.

Fortunately, the IAEA has recently tried to regain its legal role as supporter of the rights of its members while supervising nuclear activities. We see this as a correct approach adopted by the agency.

Previously, they illegally insisted on politicizing the Iranian nation's nuclear case, but today, because of the resistance of the Iranian nation, the issue is back to the agency.

And I officially announce that in our opinion the nuclear issue of Iran is now closed and has turned into an ordinary agency matter.

Today, many important questions have been raised about the nuclear activities of certain powers within the IAEA which should be dealt with properly.

Of course, Iran has always been and will be prepared to have constructive talks with all parties. I would like to thank all the nations and countries that during this difficult period defended the legal rights of my nation and motherland. And I also want to appreciate the members of the Non-Aligned Movement, our friends in the Security Council and the IAEA's Board of Governors, the committed and law-abiding experts of the agency, and its director general, for their standing by the law.

I would also like to announce that, unlike the monopolistic powers, the Iranian nation is ready to offer to other members its experiences in the form of educational programs and based on its obligations under the agency's statue and under its supervision.

Now I would like to address those who have shown hostility toward the Iranian nation for about five years, offended and accused my people who have contributed to the history and civilization of the world. And I advise them to learn from history and their recent actions.

They badly mistreated the great Iranian nation, but they should be careful not to inflict the same on other members of international organizations and not to sacrifice the dignity of international organizations for the sake of their unlawful wishes.

Today, the nations of the world are wide awake and resistant. If you reform yourself, the world, the whole world will be reformed. Nations are inherently good and can coexist peacefully. Those powers should endeavor to serve their own people, others do not need them.

Is it not high time for these powers to return from the path of arrogance and obedience to Satan to the path of faith in God? Would they not like to be cleansed of the impurities, submit to the will of God and believe in him?

Faith in God means believing in honesty, purity, justice and compassion for others. They can be certain that they will benefit from purity, honesty, justice, and loving and respecting the human dignity.

They can also be certain that such values are more and more considered appropriate, valuable and beautiful by the nations of the world.

This is the invitation of all the divine prophets, from Adam to Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus Christ, and Mohammed, peace be upon up him. If they accept this invitation, they will be saved. And if they don't, the same calamities that befell the people of distant past will befall them, as well.

According to the Holy Koran, one who does not answer the divine call should not think that he has weakened God on earth. He has no companion but God and he is clearly engulfed by darkness. They have nothing of their own and cannot escape from the dominion of the rule of God and his will.

In this important gathering, I have to remind them of the following words of the almighty which has been mentioned in the Holy Koran. Do they not look at the powers and governments which came before them? If the people of the past had actually possessed something, they would have kept it and would not have let you possess it now.

God destroyed them because of their sins and nobody could protect them against the will of god. These powers have to know that the thoughts and methods based on oppression and injustice are doomed to failure. Do they not see the signs of vigilance and resistance based on monotheism, philanthropy and the justice-seeking spirit of the nations of the world? Do they not notice that we are nearing the sunset of the time of empires? I hope that this invitation will have a practical answer.

Excellencies, peoples and governments are not obliged to obey the injustice of certain powers. These powers, because of the reasons already mentioned, have lost the competence to lead the world. I officially declare that the age of relations arising from the second World War, as well as the era of materialistic thoughts based on arrogance and domination, is well over now.

Humanity has passed a perilous precipice, and the age of monotheism, purity, affinity, respecting others, justice and true peace-loving has commenced.

It is a divine promise that the truth will be victorious and the Earth will be inherited by the righteous. You who are free, believers and the people of the world, put your trust in God.

You who crave high values, wherever you are, try to prepare the grounds for the fulfillment of this great divine promise by serving the people and seeking justice.

The era of darkness will end. Prisoners will return home. The occupied lands will be freed. Palestine and Iraq will be liberated from the domination of the occupiers. And the people of America and Europe will be free of the pressures exerted by the Zionists.

The tenderhearted and humanity-loving governments will replace the aggressive and domineering ones. Human dignity will be regained.

The pleasing aroma of justice will permeate the world, and people will live together in a brotherly and affectionate manner.

Striving in this way to surrender rule to the righteous and perfect human, the promised one, is indeed the final cure for the wounds of humanity, the solution of all problems and the establishment of love, beauty, justice and a dignified life all over the world.

This belief and endeavor is the key to unity and the constructive interaction among nations, countries, the people of the world and all the true justice seekers.

Without any doubt, the promised one who is the ultimate savior, along with Jesus Christ and other holy saviors, will come. In the company of all believers, justice seekers and benefactors, he will establish a bright future and fill the world with justice and duty.

This is the promise of God, therefore it will be fulfilled.

Come, let's play a part in the fulfillment of all this glory and duty. I wish for a bright future for all human beings and the dawn of the liberation of and freedom for all humans, and the rule of love and affection all around the world, as well as the elimination of oppression, hatred, and violence, a wish which I expect will be realized in the near future.

Thank you very much.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Killer Americans

If you are a citizen or live in the U.S. you directly fund these crimes. What are YOU going to do about it?

Several thousand civilians died in the collapse of the WTC towers, and hundreds of military personnel were killed in the attack on the Pentagon — though the numbers are small compared to;

the hundreds of thousands of civilians incinerated in the U.S. fire bombings of Hamburg, Dresden and Tokyo, and in the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki;

the two to five million post-World-War-II refugees from the Soviet Union who were forcibly returned to Stalin, to face either immediate execution or a slow death in the Gulag, on the orders of Roosevelt and Eisenhower in Operation Keelhaul;

the millions of civilians who died from hunger and disease as a result of U.S.-instigated mass starvation of Germans during 1945-1950 under the Morgenthau Plan;

the millions of Native Americans killed by soldiers and occupiers of their land in the 19th Century or allowed to starve to death by the U.S. government in the 20th (a clear case of genocide);

the thousands of Iranians tortured and murdered by SAVAK, the secret police of the regime installed in 1953 as a result of a CIA-led coup which overthrew the popular Iranian Premier, Mossadegh);

the murder of between 20,000 and 40,000 Vietnamese from 1968 to 1971 by the CIA in their political assassination program Operation Phoenix;

the million or so Vietnamese, Laotians and Cambodians killed by the American military in the 1960s and 70s whilst defending their countries from American domination (or simply because they happened to be where the Americans carried out their carpet bombings);

the tens of thousands of civilians who were tortured and murdered by CIA-installed dictatorships in Central and South America;
the 200,000 people (all civilians) killed (using U.S.-supplied equipment) as a result of Indonesia's invasion of East Timor in 1975 for which prior approval was given by the then U.S. President and U.S. Secretary of State (Ford and Kissinger);

the six million Brazilian Indians who have died as a result of the policies of multinational corporations;

the 10,000 to 20,000 people, mostly civilians, killed in the U.S.-supported 1982 invasion of Lebanon by Israel;

the 300,000 Iranians killed in the Iran/Iraq war, which was started by Iraq at the instigation of the U.S. (which supplied Iraq with the weapons it used);

the 180,000 civilians killed by Reagan's CIA-cocaine-funded Contras in Nicaragua and El Salvador in the 1980s;

the 6,000 (perhaps as many as 20,000) Iraqi civilians killed during the 41 days and nights of bombing by the British and the Americans in 1991 (during which time the civilian infrastructure was targeted, a war crime), including: the 500 civilians (including whole families) burnt alive and turned into cinders when American missiles penetrated a shelter in Baghdad;

the tens of thousands of Iraqi conscripts slaughtered on the "Highway of Death" by U.S. Navy pilots during their attempted retreat from Kuwait in 1991 (another war crime because the soldiers killed were not in a combat situation);

the tens of thousands of Kurdish civilians killed in South-East Turkey during the 1990s by Turkish government soldiers using weapons and equipment supplied to them by the U.S. (which knew exactly what they were doing with them);

the tens of thousands of civilians in Sudan who have died due to the absence of medicines resulting from the destruction of the Sudanese pharmaceutical plant by American cruise missiles in 1998 and from the economic sanctions imposed on Sudan;

the one to two million Iraqi civilians, two-thirds of them children, who have died in the last ten years as a result of the effects of the hundreds of tons of cancer-causing depleted uranium left over from the million or so exploded rounds of DU ammunition used in attacks by American warplanes in the 1991 American/British 6-week terrorist campaign against Iraq and from the subsequent U.S./British-imposed economic blockade and criminally punitive sanctions (not to mention those killed by the bombing raids which occur every week);
and the tens of millions of civilians who die every year in Third World countries from starvation, disease and despair because their countries are mired in poverty and corruption as a result of economic exploitation by American multinationals acting with the support and approval of the American government.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Fawwaz Traboulsi

For A Historic Compromise
Between Lebanon and Syria
-- Who Will Dare It?

taken from here

[Translator's note: The following is the translation of part of a longer article by Fawwaz Traboulsi, which first appeared in Arabic in the Beirut daily as-Safir on June 28, 2007. Three points of clarification to put the article in context:

(1) Traboulsi qualifies the 2005 withdrawal of Syrian troops from Lebanon as having marked a "violent" rupture in Lebanese-Syrian relations. The qualification does not refer to the withdrawal as such but to the events surrounding it. These events have included several political assassinations, starting with the killing of former prime minister Rafiq Hariri in February 2005, and a standoff between allies and foes of the Syrian government in Lebanon that has fitfully turned violent.

(2) Traboulsi criticizes pro-US Lebanese politicians who have put their trust in the neo-cons in Washington. He points out this trust may yet prove to be an illusory and dangerous gamble as the neo-cons' hold on power in Washington crumbles. As an example, Traboulsi mentions the now-discredited Paul Wolfowitz, often praised by pro-US Lebanese politicians before his downfall, and then makes a sudden contrast with Noam Chomsky still "steadfast in the face of the empire." This is an oblique reference to Chomsky's visit to Beirut in May 2006, a highly publicized event which Traboulsi helped organize and which is still resonating in public commentaries by foes and friends alike. During that visit, whenever asked to comment on the internal Lebanese conflict, Chomsky would repeatedly stress that it was for the Lebanese themselves to settle their own differences and settle them away from external interference.

(3) In the final paragraph of the article, Traboulsi refers to Michel Kilo, a well-known Syrian journalist and human-rights activist. Kilo is one of the signatories of a joint declaration by more than two hundred Lebanese and Syrian writers and intellectuals, which calls for improved relations between the governments of the two countries. This is the so-called Beirut-Damascus/Damascus-Beirut Declaration that was published in all major Beirut dailies on May 12, 2006. Within days later, Kilo along with a few of the most prominent Syrian signatories (Anwar al-Bunni, Mahmoud Issa, Khalil Hussein and Suleyman Shummar) were arrested in Damascus by the Syrian police. Since his arrest, government-controlled newspapers in Damascus have published articles about Kilo claiming that he is part of an international campaign to topple the Syrian regime. On March 26, 2007, Kilo was charged in criminal court with "weakening national sentiment," "spreading false information" and "inciting religious and racial dissension," and sentenced to three years in prison. These charges were a response to his role in drafting the Beirut-Damascus/Damascus-Beirut Declaration. -- Assaf Kfoury]

While politicians in Beirut continue their bickering, blaming each other for the continuing governmental crisis, there were several ominous developments at the frontiers of the country in recent weeks -- the terrorist attack on the Spanish contingent of the UNIFIL in the south, the expected decision of the Security Council to put UN observers to monitor smuggling of arms across the Lebanese-Syrian border in the east, the closure of transit points between Lebanon and Syria in the north.

These developments did not have to happen for one to be reminded of the dangerous deterioration in relations between Lebanon and Syria, but they certainly make it more compelling to ask: Has the time not come to finally step back from the brink and to consider initiatives that would set relations between the two countries on a new, mutually-beneficial course? Since independence from French colonial rule in the 1940's, the two countries have experienced a violent breakdown in relations at least twice. The first time was at the onset of the 1975-1990 civil war when Syrian troops entered Lebanon; Syria thus became a direct party in the internal conflict, which abruptly put an end to a three-decade old arrangement between the two countries. The second time was in 2005, when the withdrawal of Syrian troops ended an arrangement that had prevailed during the previous decade and a half.

The two countries have each caused the other to bleed enough, far more than they can each sustain. The government in Damascus is not any nearer to being toppled today than it was two years ago, nor is it any more capable of reimposing its hegemony on Lebanon, contrary to what some may still imagine. Pursuit of these two divergent goals, by opponents and allies of the Syrian regime, has mired the two contending camps in Lebanon in a debilitating gridlock, which has made them bet increasingly on the intervention of external forces and favorable regional changes. Lebanese opponents of Syria are under the illusion they can safely rely on Western intervention and protection because of Syria's fears of an international tribunal that will implicate Syrian officials in the assassination of former prime minister Rafiq Hariri; they view the conflict between the two countries as one that can be limited to putting in place appropriate security measures for policing the borders. But the conflict is more than a matter of deficient security measures. The issue of renewed Syrian influence in Lebanon will be unavoidably taken up in negotiations that the Syrian government has been so eager to start with the United States and the European Union; if such negotiations succeed, Syria will certainly have to concede something for being allowed to exercise anew some influence in Lebanon, just as Syria's Lebanese opponents will have to concede something for this renewed influence. Under the circumstances, if concessions are to be made by both countries, is it not preferable that they make these concessions to each other directly rather than be obliged to make them by external intervention?

According to Syrian vice-president Farouk al-Sharaa, the "March 8 coalition" of opposition parties allied with Syria is stronger than the "March 14 coalition" that supports the Fuad Siniora government. If this is indeed the case, it is all the more reason for the Damascus government to encourage its Lebanese allies to be the first to make concessions. In doing so, the Lebanese public will hear for once that Damascus has taken a positive initiative towards a settlement of the internal crisis, an initiative to counter the policy of the "stick" that has been used so far to threaten people's livelihoods by closing trading routes between the two countries.

Put differently, in the interest of all concerned, can't there be a different way to resolve the crisis -- a way that will avoid a logic of boycott and quasi-racist incitement (against Syria and the Syrian government) from one side, and a vengeful determination to reimpose a diktat (on the Syrian government's Lebanese opponents) from the other side? Media campaigns and verbal attacks may be less painful than violent reprisal, but the continued policy of betting on the neo-cons in Washington in order to topple the regime in Damascus has shown itself to be illusory and has already exacted a heavy price that the majority of Lebanese, from all sides, are no longer willing to pay. Here are the neo-cons, like the failed and corrupt Paul Wolfowitz and others like him, who have been forced to depart from the political scene. (And Noam Chomsky remains steadfast in the face of the empire!) The history of this region is replete with situations when Western powers, faced with a choice between Syria and Lebanon to safeguard their interests, have time and again chosen the first over the second.

Away from the logic of mutual destruction, enmity and revenge, is there still a way to launch a Lebanese or Syrian initiative that will rectify relations between the two countries? Little matters which party will take the first step in such an initiative. All that matters is that it will serve common interests of both countries, accepting their complementarity not their identity, and respecting the differences in their political and economic systems. Such an initiative must be launched, and it will have to start with a truce between both sides, suspending the relentless campaigns of incitement against each other and putting an end to all security breaches between the two.

Who will rise up to the challenge? Who will have the courage to declare both sides made mistakes? Who will publicly admit that revenge only begets revenge, and blood only blood? Now that the International Tribunal has been formed, which side will have the courage to extend a friendly hand to the other? Such tolerance should in no way undermine the investigation to uncover the truth in the assassination of Rafiq Hariri and to bring its perpetrators to justice. The investigation should be pursued, and pursued without allowing the US to exploit it in pursuit of its own political agenda in the Middle East.

The question is addressed to both camps in Lebanon differently. To the parties supporting the government: Will you propose something to resolve the crisis other than a US-European "protection" that does not protect? To the opposition parties: Will you break out of a puzzling silence on all pending issues between the two countries (as if such issues do not exist)? As Syria's self-declared friends and allies in Lebanon, will you advance your vision of friendly relations between the two countries?

Who will rise up to the responsibility of offering a historic compromise between Lebanon and Syria? Indeed, is there anyone there listening?

Right now there is a political prisoner in Damascus who is paying the price for the enmity between the two countries. This is Michel Kilo, who has been in a Syrian jail for more than a year now for wanting to rectify the relations between the two countries. May Kilo's release be a sign that someone in Damascus is finally listening!

Fawwaz Traboulsi teaches at the Lebanese American University, Beirut-Lebanon. He has written on history, Arab politics, social movements and popular culture and translated works by Karl Marx, John Reed, Antonio Gramsci, Isaac Deutscher, John Berger, Etel Adnan, Sa`di Yusuf and Edward Said. The translator, Assaf Kfoury, teaches computer science at Boston University.

Enemy Of My Enemy

Is My Friend?! Nope...

Lately in the left-wing and activist circles, a discussion has been heated up regarding alliances, and its justifications. Mainly the theme rotates around: “My Enemy’s enemy is my friend.” Such concepts appear in terms of 14th of March supporting US involvement in Lebanon (as long as it supports their goals), opposing Iran and Syrian intervention, or witnessing 14th of Marchers supporting Fatah while the opposition supporting Hamas, Chavez, and Galloway. Another logic would be the secular Syrian Social Nationalist Party (SSNP) and the Lebanese Communist Party (LCP) supporting Hezbullah and their coalitions in the name of resistance. Same applies when a member of the Democratic Left would tell me “Comrade Seniora” (which is contradictory if you ask me since the latter supports 100% free market as well as burying Lebanon in the WTO.)

Europe of the past would fit our investigation. Probably we witnessed such alliances being forged when one powerful figure became too powerful and forced the others to bandwagon against that ruler. One example would be Napoleon, whereby his blunt theme was “Unified Europe” under his self-proclaimed empire. The 19th Century itself was an era of kingdoms and alliance fluctuations. Different Monarchs/republics fluctuated their alliances according to interest, in order to establish a balance of power. This might fit the Realist School in international affairs, whereby nations switch alliances to maintain a balance of power. No Republic/Monarchy would enter an alliance to make one nation stronger than the others to the extent being unstopped. World War I witnessed the explosion of these alliances whereby few nations (Axis) saw they had the chance to balance against if not completely annihilate their opponents.

The first time we can witness the alliance falsely assumed is the Brest-Litovsk conference, which resulted at first the invasion of the Soviet Union by Monarchy Germany. Indeed, Lenin and Trotsky from the beginning found they had no choice from the beginning but gain time to organize their army. Karl Radeck also found the same logic and tried to spread the ideas of Marx and Engels by distributing Pamphlets of Communism to the German soldiers. At a one point, Monarchy Germany declared they are defending themselves, Western Europe, and the whole world from Bolshevik toxic ideas.

The first time we can regard the concept Enemy of my Enemy is my Friend was witnessed to its full scale was the unholy alliance between Stalinist Moscow and Capitalist Washington DC during World War II. The allies tried to overthrow the Bolsheviks after the October Revolution of 1917, but Trotsky’s defenses were capable to block them and repel outside Soviet borders 11 major invading armies, not to forget the civil war ignited by the West against the Red Army. The first time I say the unholy alliance was formed between tyrant Stalin and greedy Franklin Roosevelt. There was no choice in the mater, lunatic Hitler swept through Europe, and made to the borders of Leningrad and Stalingrad, while the whole West except for Britain (the fact it was an island played a role). Stalin started his unholy alliance with Hitler to seize 50% of Poland, but then his plan backfired on him when Hitler invaded the Soviet Union. After a relapse of six months, Stalin recovered and played his plan B card. It wasn’t planned actually, the United States needed Russia to remain standing, Russia (and here I say Russia instead of Soviet Union because Stalin was desperate to survive the offensive and introduced Russian Nationalism with the Logo: ‘Fight For Mother Russia’; not bad for a Georgian fake Communist). Eventually Nikita Khrushchev spilled the bottle in his memoirs (Khrushchev Remembers; interviewed by Roshenko) that 81% of the Soviet heavy equipment were merged between US and Russian technology. Hitler failed to take over Russia and its rich resources, but eventually his army collapsed at two powerful fronts.

I went to the details of World War II because this is par excellence the number 1 unholy alliance to occur in the history of the world (unless we consider the alliance which included Lebanese Forces and Hezbollah voting for each other more awkward. Now, I will move to two unholy alliances that go parallel to each other, and till now they seem to be holding: RESPECT in the UK and Kifaya in Egypt. Both also included two unholy alliances that are really parallel to each other. George Galloway’s coalition includes the Muslim Brotherhood and The Socialist Workers’ Party. The coalition emerged with good performance on the syndicate level. Galloway took the opportunity to bandwagon with the Muslim Brotherhood over there, while the Muslim Brotherhood accepted a coalition made of heresy committers or atheists (in the case of the SWP). The SWP stepped down on its revolutionary goals or shorter run goals, which is opposing US imperialism by all means available, and hence weakening the Marxist movement in England. George Galloway is the spearhead of the RESPECT coalition and the second in command is a member of the Muslim Brotherhood. The SWP blindly supports Hezbollah for example because Hezbollah for them defeated Israel. Moreover, the spearhead of the RESPECT coalition, Mr. Galloway disregards who opposes US imperialism and supports blindly anyone who stands up to their faces. Galloway eventually became a hero in the Lebanese arena when he broke the media silence on Lebanon as it was being bombarded by the Israelis with his famous interview with Sky News. Yet, Galloway for me as a revolutionary Marxist, his influences are more negative rather positive. The goal is not parliamentary gains, or political points, rather establishing a workers’ movement that would achieve the Proletariat’s demands. This takes a lot of effort, and hopefully our esteemed comrades of the SWP would realize to use their immense knowledge of Marxism and experience for that goal.

The Kifaya movement in Egypt is a similar scenario. The Comrades never learnt by supporting Jamal Abdul Nasser to become the President of Egypt, they signed their doom with a two-fold seal. The short run for our comrades in Egypt was to get rid of British colonialism, and hence they went blindly after Abdul Nasser, and he repaid them with placing a blind eye on the Muslim Brotherhood as they devoured Marxists from one side, and then he butchered with them (well, not only Egypt, but Syria and Lebanon as well except those blindly following Russia, such as Khaled Bikdash). Later, Nasser foolishly thought he can use the Socialists and the Muslim Brotherhood to balance against each other. Only difference, the Brotherhood in prisons increased in numbers, specially after the humiliating defeat of Nasser in a time-interval less than a week, which was the Six Day war of 1967, where Nasser as an undisputed leader collapsed, and secular Arab Nationalism was replaced with Islam as the only salvation for the Arabs. As economy worsened, the Brotherhood and its look-a-like expanded through its Islamist Social Welfare system while Sadat (as well as Moubarak) abused their position as Presidents to maximize profits and powers while the people were starving.

Kifaya emerged as a reaction to the never ending rule of Moubarak. Kifaya is sort of motivated by the Zapatista logo, Ya Basta!, because Kifaya’s translation to English means Enough! Unlike RESPECT which is forged out of three primary partners, Kifaya embodied anyone who despised Moubarak’s regime. This includes the Muslim Brotherhood and its allies (most powerful driving force), the Communists, the Arab Nationalists, Socialists, intellectual movements, Feminists, Syndicate, lawyers, and of course alter-globalization movements such as AJIJ. Yet, the comrades over there never learnt their lesson, that short run goals (ousting Moubarak out of office) will bring them more trouble if they are not well prepared. If you ask any socialist over there, they will reply “first get rid of Moubarak, then when the time we and the Brotherhood encounter each other comes, we will handle it.” Problem is that Egypt has the Islamist networks and welfare systems have been spreading around to the extent it makes the return of a real organized Marxist movement semi-impossible at this rate. The Marxists should focus on building themselves as a first priority, rather rush blindly after Kifaya. Now, I may sound I am undermining the efforts of our comrades in Egypt, but on the contrary, I salute every single one of them who raises his finger at Moubarak’s regime, which at least he is regarded as a US satellite installed over Cairo and Egypt. Yet, the Marxists’ primary goal is to build themselves from scratch (same as our situation in Lebanon), and I know it is difficult, but I can foresee that a coalition with the strongest party (Brotherhod) if they win, it will be disastrous to the progressive reforms and welfare system of the Marxists. The Islamist networks offered the majority of the Egyptians and non-Muslim foreigners their services equally, but the long-run is still not showing ok. After a religious movement s a right-wing and we shouldn’t commit the same errors of Galloway cheering el-Assad. So, in such cases, is my enemy’s enemy my friend? I think not specially if there is no progressive core essence on their side.

Lenin and Trotsky knew that perfectly well back in 1917. Lenin wouldn’t reconcile his Marxist goals for nothing. He was offered different positions when the February revolution took over. The Right-Wingers offered him and Trotsky several cabinet positions, Trotsky, like Lenin, saw that only a workers’ revolution would bring the salvation to the Proletariat. The Bolsheviks remained low profile and indirectly a small hunted down sect while attempting to preserve their core as revolutionary, progressive, scientific, and Marxist. Sadly, few glitches escaped, and Stalin emerged out of these glitches. The theme is “no enemy of my enemy is my friend.” The only time Lenin and Trotsky agreed that the Bolsheviks to ally with other factions when they split them (Social Revolutionaries, Mensheviks) into a reactionary right-wingers, and the revolutionary left-wings, with them at what Lenin would call years later “Commanding Heights”.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Killing History

The Ancient City of Babylon

I have noticed that many Americans think that in their war on Iraq, that they are only killing the enemy, the people of that country. Among so much other wrongs, like hospitals, water supplies, schools, churches, farming land that have been destroyed, the Americans are trying to destroy the culture and history of Iraq by abusing and ruining their ancient sites of history too. America now has 7 military posts on these type of sites. And this is not coincidence, as some might suggest.

America has also caused a situation where this war torn country in desperation is stealing its own artifacts, and left it open to all others to do so also. All this while their American invader allows this to go on, making it easy for them to do so, gladly helping them on. This is not just an unplanned circumstance, but one purposefuly done by the American military, a terroristic technique, to annihilate a country from its physical history and to be able to say they were not the only ones doing it, so don't blame them.

Actually, America does nothing it claims and brags it stands for, and all the evils it can do, it does. It draws short on nothing with their want of totaly wiping out a civilization.

Here is a quote from Wikipedia under Babylon, the section called Effects of the U.S military.

US forces were criticised for building a helipad on ancient Babylonian ruins following the 2003 invasion of Iraq, under the command of General James T. Conway of the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force. The vibrations from helicopter landings led a nearby Babylonian structure to collapse.

US forces have occupied the site for some time and have caused damage to the archaeological record. In a report of the British Museum's Near East department, Dr. John Curtis describes how parts of the archaeological site were levelled to create a landing area for helicopters, and parking lots for heavy vehicles.

Below are listed 5 links telling of this destruction in further detail.

Troops 'Vandalise' Ancient City of Ur
Ed VulliamySunday May 18, 2003
The Observer

One of the greatest wonders of civilisation, and probably the world's most ancient structure - the Sumerian city of Ur in southern Iraq - has been vandalised by American soldiers and airmen, according to aid workers in the area.

Iraq May End Up With No History
Sep 18 2007
Turkish Weekly

Iraq may soon end up with no history with almost every historical site in the war-torn country is under the control of looters, who have privatized the very cradle of human civilization under the watchful eye of US occupation forces whose military hardware has left the walls of Sumarian cities cracking and ground shaking,

It is the Death of History
Special investigation by Robert Fisk
Published: 17 September 2007
The Independant

2,000-year-old Sumerian cities torn apart and plundered by robbers. The very walls of the mighty Ur of the Chaldees cracking under the strain of massive troop movements, the privatisation of looting as landlords buy up the remaining sites of ancient Mesopotamia to strip them of their artefacts and wealth. The near total destruction of Iraq's historic past – the very cradle of human civilisation – has emerged as one of the most shameful symbols of our [America's] disastrous occupation.

British and American Collusion in the Pillaging of Iraq's Heritage
Is A Scandal That Will Outlive Any Passing Conflict
By Simon Jenkins
Guardian June 8, 2007

Fly into the American air base of Tallil outside Nasiriya in central Iraq and the flight path is over the great ziggurat of Ur, reputedly the earliest city on earth. Seen from the base in the desert haze or the sand-filled gloom of dusk, the structure is indistinguishable from the mounds of fuel dumps, stores and hangars. Ur is safe within the base compound. But its walls are pockmarked with wartime shrapnel and a blockhouse is being built over an adjacent archaeological site. When the head of Iraq's supposedly sovereign board of antiquities and heritage, Abbas al-Hussaini, tried to inspect the site recently, the Americans refused him access to his own most important monument

Months of War that Ruined Centuries of History
Maev KennedySaturday
January 15, 2005
The Guardian

The military camp was established by the American forces in April 2003, and damage was already visible when Dr Curtis first visited part of the site that June. The same contractors, Kellogg, Brown and Root - a subsidiary of the American civil engineering corporation Halliburton, of which the US vice-president, Dick Cheney, is a former chief executive officer - were used to develop and maintain the site throughout, as it grew to a 150-hectare camp, housing 2,000 soldiers.

Taser Democracy

Internet videos show student tased for asking John Kerry questions
by Video Links
Tuesday Sep 18th, 2007 1:31 PM

Videos posted on the internet today show University of Florida student Andrew Meyer screaming for help Monday as he is being tased by a police stun gun. John Kerry and his audience looked on mostly in silence.

Andrew Meyer asked the 2004 Democratic presidential candidate (and probable winner) Kerry his thoughts about Greg Palast's book Armed Madhouse, and asked Kerry about his membership in the secret Yale society known as Skull and Bones.

While Kerry tried to answer Meyer's questions, police surrounded the non-resisting student, tackled him, and shocked him with an electronic stun gun or taser.

Numerous films are surfacing on the internet which show the crowd mostly sitting mutely. A few filmed the events, and a few shouted "police brutality."

The police said that he was being arrested for trying to "incite a riot."

The student spent the night in custody, and now Kerry is saying that he regrets the incident happened.

MSNBC News:UF Student Tasered At John Kerry Speech

Amateur video:
University of Florida student Tasered at Kerry forum

Another Amateur video showing a bit before the arrest:
(notice the police discussing their action prior to the moment of arrest)
University Of Florida Student Tasered At John Kerry Speech

Fox News "Fair and Balanced" coverage of the same story
FoxBlast: Student Tasered

The Fox News story did not show any of the events that led up to the arrest and tasering. It did not show the student asking about the 2004 election and John Kerry's Fraternity afiliation in a political forum. What a way to run a democracy! What a way to spin a story!!!

I think I might be afraid of asking any tough questions of my Senator or Congressman.

This morning, the newspapers rather than asking the tough questions themselves, just blindly print the AP news story which justifies the police's actions and demonizes the student for being a prankster and being politically active.

Tasered student has history of practical jokes
FLORIDA | College officers' actions at forum probed,CST-NWS-taser19.article

September 19, 2007

GAINESVILLE, Fla.---- A university student with a history of taping his own practical jokes was Tasered by campus police and arrested after loudly and repeatedly trying to ask U.S. Sen. John Kerry questions during a campus forum.

Andrew Meyer, 21, spent a night in jail before his release from jail Tuesday morning on his own recognizance. He had no comment when he left. His attorney, Robert Griscti, did not return messages seeking comment.

Videos of the Monday night incident, posted on several Web sites and played repeatedly on television news, show University of Florida police officers pulling Meyer away from the microphone after he asks Kerry about impeaching President Bush and whether he and Bush were both members of the secret society Skull and Bones at Yale University.

University of Florida student Andrew Meyer struggles with University Police as officers try to remove him from a question and answer session with Sen. John Kerry.

• NBC5 video: Student shocked with taser
University spokesman Steve Orlando said Meyer was asked to leave the microphone after his allotted time was up. Meyer can be seen refusing to walk away and getting upset that the microphone was cut off.

As two officers take Meyer by the arms, Kerry, D-Mass., can be heard saying, ''That's all right, let me answer his question.''

Audience members applaud, and Meyer struggles for several seconds as up to four officers try to remove him from the room. Meyer screams for help and tries to break away from officers with his arms flailing at them, then is forced to the ground and officers order him to stop resisting.

As Kerry tells the audience he will answer the student's ''very important question,'' Meyer yells at the officers to release him, crying out, ''Don't Tase me, bro,'' just before he is shocked by the Taser. He is then led from the room, screaming, ''What did I do?''

Meyer was arrested on charges of resisting an officer and disturbing the peace, according to Alachua County jail records, but the State Attorney's Office had yet to make the formal charging decision. Police recommended charges of resisting arrest with violence, a felony, and disturbing the peace and interfering with school administrative functions, a misdemeanor.

University President J. Bernard Machen issued a statement Tuesday saying he requested the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to investigate the arrest. Officials said it would determine whether the officers used an appropriate level of force.

Machen called the situation ''regretful'' in an afternoon news conference and said two officers involved in the incident were placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the probe.

''We're absolutely committed to having a safe environment for our faculty and our students so that a free exchange of ideas can occur,'' Machen said.

Kerry said Tuesday he regretted that a healthy discussion was interrupted and that he never had a dialogue end that way in 37 years of public appearances. He also said he hoped neither the student nor police were injured.

''Whatever happened, the police had a reason, had made their decision that there was something they needed to do. Then it's a law enforcement issue, not mine,'' he told The Associated Press in Washington.

Meyer has his own Web site and it contains several ''comedy'' videos that he appears in. In one, he stands in a street with a sign that says ''Harry Dies'' after the latest Harry Potter book was released. In another, he acts like a drunk while trying to pick up a woman in a bar.

The site also has what is called a ''disorganized diatribe'' attributed to Meyer that criticizes the Iraq war, the news media for not covering the conflict enough and the American public for paying too much attention to celebrity news.

Here are some of the tough questions:

(1) Why could John Kerry not intervene the police's action and simply answer the tough question? Wasn't Democracy about open discussion, freedom of thought and speech?
(2) What is the best way to speak out on political issues now that "911 Changed everything" ??? (It's been 6 years for God's sake)
(3) What is the best way for campus police to react to students being a bit nervous while asking tough questions on political issues? Is a taser arrest warranted?
(4) Why can't the newspapers ask the tough questions anymore? Are they afraid that no one will advertise any more? Are they afraid that someone might read their canary cage liner?
(5) Why is the investigation of 2004 voter fraud not being taken further? Why no arrests yet? Why are none of the politician crooks involved getting tasered?

Here is Meyer's "disorganized diatribe":

Decide for yourself. You may be next. Shades of 1984?

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Why a War?

Cannibis, let it go Free

Here is the plant that America makes war on. The reason they give their citizens is that it will save them and their children from drug addiction. But its citizens should look deeper for the reasons why their country has outlawed it. If the Americans were so worried about addicting their people they would not sell alcohol and cigarettes at their stores, nor would they push perscription drugs that alter their minds. The effort spent on outlawing this plant would be much better spent on how to use it. This is one of the many ways America throws its power around and oppresses an entire world over it. All for its own greed.

Everything that can be made of cotton, petroleum, or timber can be made with eco-friendly hemp! All paper, plastics, paints, varnishes, packaging, textiles, pressed board, many medicines and building components can be made with it, over 25,000 known uses. It grows without most fertilizers, pesticides, or herbicides to foul the soil and water, and in soil and conditions other crops will not grow. It's fibers are the longest and strongest in nature. Canvas is Dutch for cannabis. For thousands of years all ships sails, rope, and most clothing were made with cannabis fiber.

Cotton is one of the most destructive crops to our environment, but as long as hemp is illegal some people are literally "making a killing" off of it. Just like the petroleum, timber, and pharmaceutical industries. In Russia cotton irrigation is responsible for the serious decline of some of the largest freshwater lakes on Earth.

Even synthetic plastics were developed with cellulose plastic technology. Henry Ford fueled and built a car with cellulose materials, primarily hemp. The plastic panels ten times stronger than steel. Neither he or Diesel planned on using petroleum as a fuel. The cannabis seed is also the single most nutritious thing you can eat and can replace the need for hormones and remnants in our feedstock which is why American beef is banned in Europe. All mammals, birds, and reptiles have cannabinoid receptors in their body which is why cannabinoids will revolutionalize medicine. Cannabis is proven to promote the growth of brain cells and destroy tumors. In Canada and Europe it is being used to treat Alzheimers, MS, autism, epilepsy, migraine, nausea, chronic pain, obesity, diabetes, arthritis, emphysema, asthma, Parkinsons, Huntingtons, Tourettes, Crohns disease and more. For some reason modern science is only recently beginning to study it.

One acre of hemp equals four of timber for pulp and is ten times more efficient than corn for ethanol production. Hemp is the single most useful plant on the planet and will soon be used for food, fuel, shelter, medicine, pleasure, and spirituality. The reason cannabis is illegal is so that billionaires can remain billionaires

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Mountain of Debt

Absolute Faith, No More

By Hamid Varzi

What have Americans gained from their nation's mountain of debt? A crumbling infrastructure, a manufacturing base that has declined 60 percent since World War II, a rise in the wealth gap, the lowest consumer-savings rate since the depths of the Great Depression, 50 million Americans without health insurance, an educational system in decline and a shrinking dollar that makes foreign travel a luxury.

The U.S. economy, once the envy of the world, is now viewed across the globe with suspicion. America has become shackled by an immovable mountain of debt that endangers its prosperity and threatens to bring the rest of the world economy crashing down with it.

The ongoing sub-prime mortgage crisis, a result of irresponsible lending policies designed to generate commissions for unscrupulous brokers, presages far deeper problems in a U.S. economy that is beginning to resemble a giant smoke-and-mirrors Ponzi scheme. And this has not been lost on the rest of the world.

This new reality has had unfortunate side effects that go beyond economics. As a banker working in the heart of the Muslim world, I have been amazed by the depth and breadth of anti-Americanism, even among U.S. allies, manifested in reactions ranging from fierce anger to stoic fatalism. Muslims outside the United States interpret America's policies in the Middle East not as an effort to spread democracy but as a blatant neocolonialist attempt to solve its economic problems by force. Arabs and Persians alike argue that America's fiscal irresponsibility has forced the nation to seek solutions through military aggression. Many believe that America's misguided adventure in Iraq was a desperate attempt to capture both a reliable source of cheap oil and a major export market for the United States.

The United States borrows a whopping $2.5 billion daily from abroad to service its burgeoning debt. In order to continue borrowing at reasonable interest rates America needs to retain credibility with its overseas creditors, especially Far Eastern nations running huge trade surpluses. A cessation of foreign lending would force the Fed to raise interest rates to attract money, precipitating a collapse of the already weak housing market and pushing the economy into recession.

This is why the Chinese, in particular, have threatened to retaliate against proposed U.S. trade sanctions by reducing their $1.3 trillion in dollar holdings.

The U.S. debt situation is so grave that the Chinese would not even need to "dump dollars" to precipitate a meltdown but could simply refuse to extend further credit: They could cease purchasing additional Treasury Bonds and Treasury Bills, without selling any excess inventory. China has the far stronger hand, because a run on the dollar would merely reduce China's gigantic cash surplus while increasing America's debt burden to astronomical levels.

U.S. debt affects all nations, but in surprisingly different ways: Third world farmers suffer from the effects of gigantic U.S. farm subsidies aimed at reducing the trade deficit, while Russia has actually profited from America's lack of discipline.

Flush with funds generated from a decade of trade and account surpluses, Russia views U.S. sensitivity to its expansionist energy policy as a response to America's own failure to reduce energy waste and exploit alternative energy sources when it had the opportunity to do so. In sum, American economic decadence has become a source of Russian strength.

America's supply-side economists argue that there is nothing wrong with going into debt, but this is valid only as long as a nation and its consumers are gaining something in return.

What have Americans gained from their nation's mountain of debt? A crumbling infrastructure, a manufacturing base that has declined 60 percent since World War II, a rise in the wealth gap, the lowest consumer-savings rate since the depths of the Great Depression, 50 million Americans without health insurance, an educational system in decline and a shrinking dollar that makes foreign travel a luxury.

The best cars, the best bridges and highways, the fastest trains and the tallest buildings are all to be found outside America's borders. Supply-siders ignore the crucial distinction between, on the one hand, debt employed as an investment vehicle to enhance competitiveness and, on the other, debt used to pay off current expenses and to create even more debt.

The bottom line is that America is awash in red ink and seeks the wrong solutions to its debt problems. A return to fiscal responsibility would make America far stronger, both domestically and internationally, than would a continuation of current policies that falsely project strength through idle protectionist threats and failed military aggression. Current tensions between the United States and the rest of the world will continue as long as America's military bark is louder than its economic bite.

A solution to the U.S. debt problem requires radical measures, including: the elimination of corporate tax loopholes, a reversal of tax breaks for the ultra-rich, a bipartisan campaign to eliminate budget "pork," imposition of stringent limits on corporate debt and speculative lending, a vast reduction in military expenditure and, finally, an additional 50 cent per gallon gasoline tax that would slash the federal deficit, curtail energy waste and spur technological breakthroughs.

Let us hope America heeds the warnings, dispenses with junk-food economics and embraces a crucial diet of fiscal discipline. It remains to be seen, however, whether America's political leaders have the courage to instigate such reforms, and whether Congress is finally willing to do something for the future of ordinary, hard-working Americans.

Hamid Varzi is an economist and banker based in Tehran.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

End of Cheap Oil?

Is the age of cheap oil about to come to an end? According to many experts, we are about to reach the point of "peak oil" Watch this 10 minute program on YouTube:

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Propaganda 101 #3

Astroturf - Fake Grass Roots Effort

On August 23 2007, the Washington Post carried an article titled "Left, Right Proxies Push on Iraq"
The proxy fight over the Iraq war grew more crowded yesterday with the launch of Freedom's Watch, a lobbying group that will mount a $15 million advertising and grass-roots campaign to maintain Republican support for President Bush's policies.

Freedom's Watch's ads include images such as this one, and they emphasize the sacrifice of U.S. troops and their families.

You can read the rest of the story here.

This propaganda effort has launched a number of their ads on YouTube

In one of their videos the continue to claim that Iraq attacked us on 9/11, even though that claim has been disproved time and time again.

In another video, a mother who lost her son in Iraq claims that we are making progress in Iraq and that if we give up now, we would be throwing away all the efforts that thousands of men like her son gave in trying to give freedom to Iraq. I thought everyone knows that Iraq does not have self-rule and that their constitution was designed by oil men like J. Paul Bremmer to allow the US to take their oil.

In the third video, the group claims that attacks on congressman Craig were made due to the progress he sees in Iraq. Congressman Craig was criticized due to his harsh anti-gay stance and then himself getting caught soliciting sex from an under-cover officer at an airport.

All the ads come across to seem as if they were sponsored by a grass-roots movement. Such fake grass-roots movements have been termed "astro-turf"

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