Saturday, July 31, 2010

Trends & Prospects

Trends to Barbarism
and Prospects for Socialism

Western societies and states are moving inexorably toward conditions resembling barbarism; structural changes are reversing decades of social welfare and subjecting labor, natural resources and the wealth of nations to raw exploitation, pillage and plunder, driving living standards downward and provoking unprecedented levels of discontent.

We will proceed by outlining the economic political and military processes driving this process of decay and decomposition and follow with an account of the mass popular responses to their own deteriorating conditions. The deep structural changes accompanying the rise of barbarism become the basis for considering the prospects for socialism in the 21st century.

The Rising Tide of Barbarism

In ancient society ‘barbarism’ and its carriers ‘the barbarians’ were envisioned as threats by outside invaders from outlying regions descending on Rome or Athens. In contemporary Western societies, the barbarians came from within, among the elite of society, intent on imposing a new order which destroys the social fabric and productive base of society, converting stable livelihoods into insecure deteriorating conditions of daily life.

The key to contemporary barbarism is found in the deep structures of the imperial state and economy. These include:

(1) The ascendancy of a financial-speculative elite which has pillaged trillions of dollars from savers, investors, mortgage carriers, consumers and the state, siphoning enormous resources from the productive economy into the hands of a parasitic elite embedded in the state and paper economy.

(2) The militaristic political elite overseeing a state of permanent warfare since the middle of the last century. Endless wars, cross border assassinations, state terror and the suspension of traditional constitutional guarantees have led to the concentration of dictatorial powers, arbitrary jailing, torture and the denial of habeas corpus.

(3) In the midst of a deep economic recession and stagnation, high levels of state spending on economic and military empire building at the expense of the domestic economy and living standards, reflects the subordination of the local economy to the activities of the imperial state.

(4) Corruption at the top in all aspects of state and business activity – from state procurement to privatization to subsidies for the super-rich – encourages the growth of international crime from top to bottom, the lumpenization of the capitalist class and a state where law and order have fallen into disrepute.

(5) As a result of the high costs of empire building and the pillage by the financial oligarchy, the socio-economic burden has been placed directly on the shoulders of wage and salaried workers, pensioners and the self-employed resulting in long-term, large-scale downward mobility. With job losses and the disappearance of well paying jobs, home foreclosures skyrocket and the stable middle and working classes shrink and are forced to extend their hours of labor and years of work.

(6) As imperial wars spread across the world targeting entire populations, via sustained bombings and clandestine terror operations, they generate opposing terrorist networks, which also target civilians in markets, transport and public spaces. The world resembles a Hobbesian world of ‘all against all’.

(7) Rising ethno-religious extremism linked to militarism is found among Christians, Jews, Moslems, Hindus, replacing international class solidarity with doctrines of racial supremacy and penetrating the deep structures of states and societies.

(8) The demise of European and Asian welfare collectivism – in the ex USSR and China – has lifted the competitive pressures on Western capitalism and encouraged them to revoke all the welfare concessions conceded to labor in the post World War II period.

(9) The demise of “Communism” and the integration of social democracy into the capitalist system have led to a severe weakening of the Left, which the sporadic protests of the social movements have failed to replace.

(10) In the face of the current large scale assault on workers’ and middle class’ living standards, there are only sporadic protests at best and political impotence at worst.

(11) Massive exploitation of labor in post-revolutionary capitalist societies, like China and Vietnam, includes the exclusion of hundreds of millions of migrant workers from elementary public educational and health services. The unprecedented pillage and seizure by domestic oligarchs and foreign multinationals of thousands of lucrative strategic public enterprises in Russia, the ex-Soviet republics, Eastern Europe, the Balkans and Baltic countries was the greatest transfer of public to private wealth in the shortest time in all of history.

In summary, ‘barbarism’ has emerged as a defining reality, product of the ascendancy of a militarist and parasitic financial ruling class. The barbarians are here and now, present within the frontiers of Western societies and states. They are dominant and aggressively pursuing an agenda which is continually reducing living standards, transferring public wealth to their private coffers, pillaging public resources, savaging constitutional rights in their pursuit of imperial wars, segregating and persecuting millions of immigrant workers and promoting the disintegration and diminution of the stable working and middle class. More than at any time in recent history, the top 1% of the population controls an increasing share of national wealth and income.

Myths and Realities of Historical Capitalism

The sustained, large scale roll back of social rights and welfare provisions, wages, job security, pensions and salaries demonstrates the falsity of the idea of the linear progress of capitalism. The reversal, product of the heightened power of the capitalist class, demonstrates the validity of the Marxist proposition that class struggle is the motor force of history – at least, in so far, as the human condition is considered the centerpiece of history.

The second false assumption is that states based on ‘market economies’ require peace and the corollary that ‘markets’ trump militarism, is disproven by the fact that the premier market economy, the United States has been in a constant state of war since the early 1940’s, actively engaged in wars on four continents, to the present day, with new bigger and bloodier wars on the horizon. The cause and consequence of permanent warfare, is the growth of a monstrous ‘national security state’ which recognizes no national borders and absorbs the greater part of the national budget.

The third myth of ‘advanced’ mature capitalism is that it constantly revolutionizes production through innovation and technology. With the rise of the militarist – financial speculative elite, productive forces have been pillaged and ‘innovation’ is largely in the elaboration of financial instruments which exploit investors, strip assets and wipe out productive employment.

As the empire grows, the domestic economy diminishes, power is centralized in the executive, legislative powers are diminished and the citizenry is denied effective representation or even a veto via electoral processes.

Mass Responses to Rise of Barbarism

The rise of barbarism in our midst has provoked public revulsion against its principal practitioners. Surveys have repeatedly found

(1) Profound disgust and revulsion against all political parties.

(2) Huge majorities harbor profound distrust of the corporate and political elite.

(3) Majorities reject the concentration of corporate power and the abuse of that power, especially among bankers and financiers.

(4) There is widespread questioning of the democratic credentials of political leaders who act at the behest of the corporate elite and promote the repressive policies of the national security state.

(5) A large majority rejects the pillage of the state treasury to bail out banks and financial elite, while imposing regressive austerity programs on the working and middle class.

Prospects for Socialism

The capitalist offensive has certainly had a major impact on the objective and subjective conditions of the working and middle classes, increasing impoverishment and provoking a rising tide of personal discontent but not yet massive anti-capitalist movements or even dynamic organized resistance.

Major structural changes require a coming-to-terms with the current adverse circumstances and the identification of new agencies and modes of class struggle and transformation.

One key problem is the need to recreate a productive economy and to reconstruct a new industrial working class in the face of years of financial plunder and de-industrialization, not necessarily the ‘dirty’ industries of the past, but certainly new industries using and inventing clean energy sources.

Secondly, the highly indebted capitalist societies require a fundamental shift from high-cost militarism and empire building toward a kind of class-based austerity that impose sacrifice and structural reforms on the banking, financial and big retail commercial sectors, substituting local production for cheap consumer imports.

Thirdly, downsizing the financial and retail sector requires the upgrading of skills of the displaced workers and employees as well as shifts in the IT sector to accommodate the shifts in the economy. Paradigmatic shifts from the money wage to the social wage, in which free public education to the highest levels and universal health care and comprehensive pensions replace debt-financed consumerism. This can become the basis for strengthening class consciousness against individual consumerism.

The question is how do we move from weakened, fragmented labor and social movements in retreat or on the defensive, to a position capable of launching an anti-capitalist offensive?

Several subjective and objective factors are possibly working in this direction. First, there is the growing negativity of vast majorities to political incumbents and, in particular, to the financial and economic elites who are clearly identified as responsible for the decline in living standards. Secondly, there is the popular view, shared by millions, that the current austerity programs are clearly unjust – having the workers pay for the crises that the capitalist class brought forth. As yet these majorities are more “anti” status quo than “pro” transformation. The transition from private discontent to collective action is an open question as to who and how, but the opportunity exists.

Several objective factors could trigger a qualitative shift from passive angry discontent to a massive anti-capitalist movement. A “double dip” recession, the end of the present anemic recovery and the onset of a more profound and prolonged recession/depression, could further discredit current rulers and their economic backers.

Secondly, a period of unending and deepening austerity could discredit the current ruling class notion of “necessary pain for future gain” and open minds and move bodies to seek political solutions to achieve current gains by inflicting pain on the economic elites.

Unending and unwinnable imperial wars that bleed the economy, and working class could ultimately create a consciousness that the ruling class has “sacrificed the nation” for ‘no useful purpose’.

Likely, the combination of a new phase of the recession, perpetual austerity and mindless imperial wars can turn the current mass malaise and diffuse hostility against the economic and political elite toward socialist movements, parties and trade unions.

James Petras is a Bartle Professor (Emeritus) of Sociology at Binghamton University, New York. He is the author of 64 books published in 29 languages, and over 560 articles in professional journals, including the American Sociological Review, British Journal of Sociology, Social Research, Journal of Contemporary Asia, and Journal of Peasant Studies. He has published over 2000 articles

Friday, July 30, 2010


How About An Ice-Cold Glass Of Sewage-Infested Water?

By Amnesty International

The remains of a destroyed water cistern in a West bank town

Press Release

On Saturday 31 July, Amnesty International members will be handing out free samples of bottled water to people in Dublin, Cork and Galway.The only trouble is that the water – like 90 percent of water available to Palestinians in Gaza, is filthy.

(The remains of a destroyed water cistern in a West bank town)
On a sizzling hot day in Ireland, all we have to do to cool off is reach for the tap. For Palestinians living in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, there’s no such relief.

Almost 200,000 Palestinians living in the West Bank have no running water, making ordinary tasks, like washing and cooking, that we take for granted almost impossible.

Israeli settlers enjoy refreshing dips in brimming swimming pools while only miles away, Palestinian water reservoirs stand empty.

"The Israeli Government is deliberately taking water from Palestinians in the hope of driving them off their land," said Amnesty International Campaigns Officer Eilís Ní Chaithnía.

"Diseases from drinking sewage-infested water are rife in parts of the Occupied Palestinian Territories because Israeli authorities restrict the water sources."

To send a message to the Israeli authorities, Amnesty International will be doling out bottles of dirty water to thirsty passers-by this Saturday (31 July) - to see how we like it.

Eilís Ní Chaithnía will be on hand at the entrance to St Stephen’s Green, Dublin city centre at 2pm to give interviews and answer any questions about our "Thirst for Justice" campaign.

Volunteers will hand out free samples of bottled water in pairs, while also collecting signatures for a petition to the Israeli authorities demanding a fair share of water for Palestinian communities.

Amnesty International will also hold the day of action in Galway city, Cork city and Clonakilty this Saturday afternoon.

Amnesty International is calling on the Israeli government to ensure Palestinians get a fair share of the water supply.

Currently Israelis consume four times as much water per person as the Palestinian community does.

"The Irish Government needs to put pressure on Israel to ensure that it upholds international law by immediately lifting all restrictions on Palestinians' access to water," said Eilís Ní Chaithnía.

Take Action.

Help us get the water flowing

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Israel Destroys

Bedouin Village

By Brian Ennis
July 27, 2010

1300 police officers and security personnel guarded the area as bulldozers demolished a Bedouin village near Rahat.

Israeli security personnel and from the Israel Land Administration arrived at the Bedouin village of al-Arakib, near Rahat, Tuesday morning. The village is unrecognized by the state of Israel.

When the Israelis arrived they found large bonfires had been lit by the locals in protest.

They destroyed a total of forty-five structures. The residents watched as their lives were destroyed and some left-wing activists clashed with the authorities.

Dr. Awad Abu Farikh, a spokesman and resident of the village, was quoted as saying that, "Today we got a close glimpse of the government's true face. We were stunned to witness the violent force being used. The black-clad special unit forces are the true face of Lieberman's democracy. This operation is the first step in the uprooting of many villages. We shall return to our villages, build our homes and not leave this place."

A spokesman for the Israel Land Administration said that anything that is rebuilt will be taken down.

Iraq Reconstruction

Funds 'Missing'
July 27, 2010

The US Defence Department is unable to properly account for $8.7 billion in Iraqi oil money tapped by the US for rebuilding the war ravaged nation, according to an audit.

This came in an audit report released by the US Special Investigator for Iraq Reconstruction on Tuesday.

The report offers a compelling look at continued laxness in how such funds are being spent.

The audit found that shoddy record keeping by the Defence Department left the Pentagon unable to fully account for over 95 per cent of a total of $9.1 billion it withdrew between 2004 and 2007 from a special fund set up by the UN Security Council.

Of that amount, the Pentagon "could not provide documentation to substantiate how it spent $2.6 billion."

The funds are separate from the $53 billion allocated by Congress for rebuilding Iraq.

No basic services

The report comes at a critical time for Iraq, where people complain basic services like electricity and clean water are sharply lacking seven years after the US-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein.

The audit cited a number of factors that contributed to the inability to account for most of the money withdrawn by the Pentagon from the Development Fund for Iraq.

It said most of the Defence Department organisations that received DFI money failed to set up Treasury Department accounts as required.

In addition, it said no Defence Department organisation was designated as the main body to oversee how the funds were accounted for or spent.

"The breakdown in controls left the funds vulnerable to inappropriate uses and undetected loss," the report said.

Money on hold

The audit found that the US continues to hold about $34.3 million of the money even though it was required to return it to the Iraqi government.

The audit did not indicate that investigators believed there were any instances of fraud involved in the spending of these funds.

The DFI includes revenues from Iraq's oil and gas exports, as well as frozen Iraqi assets and surplus funds from the now-defunct, Saddam Hussein-era oil-for-food programme.

With the establishment of the Coalition Provisional Authority, which ran Iraq shortly after the start of the US invasion in 2003 until mid-2004, about $20 billion was placed into the account.


We are moving toward an economic union
between Cuba and Venezuela;
This constitutes a new kind of relationship

● Closing speech by General of the Army Raúl Castro Ruz, president of the Councils of State and Ministers, at the 1st Cuba-Venezuela Presidential Summit

Dear and esteemed Venezuelan and Cuban vice presidents and ministers;


We have attended the celebrations for the 57th anniversary of the 26th of July attacks. There could have been no better setting for this meeting.

We have concluded the first Cuba-Venezuela Presidential Summit, which opens up a new stage in our relations, after following a long and intense path, during which the links between our peoples have continued to strengthen, guided by the principles of friendship, cooperation and solidarity.

We are fulfilling the commitments reached by both parties last April, an occasion on which we agreed to periodically hold these meetings to provide them with an appropriate and systematic follow-up.

Both in the preparatory process – in which President Chávez directly participated – and in this meeting, we have rigorously examined the progress of our exchanges in the economic, commercial and financial orders, areas in which we have increased cooperation and intensified complementariness. What is required now is constant monitoring and evaluation so that everything that has been agreed is fulfilled and so that we can guarantee, to the greatest degree possible, the development of our economies in a manner that satisfies the material and spiritual needs of our peoples.

Many compañeros have worked intensively over the past few days in high-level preparatory technical meetings. The results of the working groups that preceded us demonstrate the opportunities that we have to continue advancing our economic integration. We have identified 139 projects with the potential to be established in the medium term, of which a significant number can be implemented immediately. We have also reviewed a further 370, such as those mentioned by Vice President Ramírez, which may be evaluated in the future.

The hierarchy that we have achieved within these projects, and their concentration in strategic sectors such as energy, food production, healthcare, mining and light industry, makes it possible for us to give them due priority and to concentrate our efforts and resources in those areas that are strategic for the development of our nations and guarantee the sustainability and strength of our political and socioeconomic systems.

It is our duty to work together and make the maximum effort to implement these agreements within the agreed timeframes, with the necessary rigor and quality, optimizing resources, achieving tangible results, and quickly counteracting factors that could endanger the fulfillment of these goals.

This is the effort that our peoples are demanding of us; it is our contribution to strengthening the links of sisterhood that we have forged and which have their roots in a common history, in the spirit, thinking and work of Bolívar and under the constant inspiration of Fidel and Chávez.

We are moving toward an economic union between Cuba and Venezuela. It constitutes a new kind of relationship that will permit a greater level of organization of joint projects and, at the same time, it is an important step toward the aim of achieving real economic complementariness, based on the optimum use of infrastructure, knowledge and the existing resources of both countries and, above all, the political will of our governments.

Once again, we have confirmed our will to increasingly strengthen cooperation with other peoples on a basis of absolute respect for the path chosen by each country and conscious of the fact that we will only overcome if we are united. This is demonstrated in the advances that we have made together, Cubans and Venezuelans, those who have a duty to share what we have achieved with our brothers and sisters in ALBA and other nations.

Dear compañeros:

It is particularly significant and hopeful that our economic links are being consolidated and are growing, even in the midst of the global economic crisis.

We are confronting a difficult international situation which, in addition to political and economic instability and the deterioration of the environment, is presenting the dangers of new military adventures in different parts of the world which, in one way or another, affect us all.

In our region, the deployment of U.S. military bases in Colombia is placing regional stability and the sovereignty of neighboring states at risk. We support Venezuela’s right to defend itself from threats and provocations.

We are fighting for peace and harmony between sister peoples and our actions will always have this objective; but in case any problem arises, no one should have the slightest doubt about whose side Cuba will be on.

For 200 years, since the beginning of our wars of independence and since long before that, historical experience has taught us that "Our America" has only one alternative: to unite, fight and overcome.

¡Gloria a Bolívar and Martí!

Viva to the friendship between the peoples of Cuba and Venezuela!

Translated by Granma International

Monday, July 26, 2010

Wikileaks Mirrors

Find all the current Wikileaks Mirrors here. Helpful, if the main site - - is down.

Real mirrors on different IP Addresses

  • - Mirror hosted in Sweden []

  • - Mirror hosted in the United States []

  • We Need Wikileaks

    Sunday, July 25, 2010

    US War in Somalia

    Comes to Uganda, Threatens To Set Whole Region Aflame

    A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
    July 24, 2010

    The U.S. war against Somalia expands outwards and "has now blown back to Uganda," the U.S. ally that, "along with the minority Tutsi dictatorship in Rwanda, is America's most reliable mercenary force in Black Africa." Ethiopia and Kenya prepare to join Uganda in an offensive against the Somali resistance, to save America’s puppet mini-state in Mogadishu.

    U.S.-backed War in Somalia Comes to Uganda, Threatens to Set Whole Region Aflame

    A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

    "The bombing in Kampala must be understood in the context of the planned expansion of the war in Somalia."

    The bombs that exploded in Kampala earlier this month, killing 76 people and unleashing a wave of arrests and deportations by the Ugandan regime, are chickens coming home to roost from the U.S.-sponsored war in Somalia. U.S. corporate media routinely fail to note that the Ugandan military and other U.S. African allies are all that prevent the farcical U.S.-backed mini-government in Somalia from being evicted from the few neighborhoods it still controls in Mogadishu, the Somali capital. The rest of south and central Somalia belongs to the Shabab and another Islamist group, that earned their nationalist credentials in fighting Ethiopian troops that invaded Somalia with full U.S. backing in late 2006. The invasion interrupted a brief period of relative peace in Somalia and plunged the country into what United Nations officials called the "worst humanitarian crisis in Africa – worse than Darfur."

    The Shabab justified the Uganda bomb attacks on the grounds that Ugandan troops have been killing Somali civilians for years. Under the guise of African Union peacekeepers, the Ugandan and Burundian soldiers have been able keep open the road to Mogadishu's airport, the Somali regime’s lifeline to U.S. arms and supplies. But the puppet state is a government in name only, without the popular support to field an army capable of defending itself. The rump faction has been reduced to recruiting child soldiers as young as 12, causing the United Nations Security Council to threaten sanctions. Of all the world’s governments, only the United States and Somalia have failed to ratify the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, which outlaws the use of child soldiers.

    "Washington’s African allies propose to send 15,000 more troops to Somalia to engage in offensive operations."

    Frustrated at the failure of massive U.S. arms and money in Somalia, Washington has encouraged its Ugandan, Kenyan, Ethiopian and other U.S. client states to launch their own offensive against the Somali resistance, in violation of United Nations resolutions. Washington’s African allies propose to send 15,000 more troops to Somalia to engage in offensive operations. This would include the formal re-entrance of Ethiopian soldiers, some of whom never left Somalia, and thousands of troops from Kenya’s large Somali minority and others from Somali refugee camps – a violation of international law.

    The bombing in Kampala must be understood in the context of this planned expansion of the war in Somalia. The conflict has now blown back to Uganda, whose strongman, Yoweri Museveni, now uses the bombings to justify the already-planned Somali offensive. Along with the minority Tutsi dictatorship in Rwanda, Uganda is America's most reliable mercenary force in Black Africa. Both countries bear much of the responsibility for the death of millions in eastern Congo, following their invasions with the backing of the United States.

    Kenya will certainly be further destabilized, as well, in the course of the Somalia offensive.

    This is what passes for "soft power" in the Obama administration: arming and instigating Africans to fight each other. It will backfire on the United States, sooner rather than later – but not before many thousands more Africans have died. For Black Agenda Radio, I'm Glen Ford. On the web, go to

    Fallujah’s Health

    Fallout ‘Worse’ Than Hiroshima, Nagasaki

    By Stephen C. Webster
    July 24, 2010

    'Mutagenic and carcinogenic agents' blamed for soaring infant mortality, cancers

    In Fallujah, a city just 50 miles from Baghdad, life has never been the same since April 2004, when U.S. Marines declared the entire area a free-fire zone and proceeded to do what Marines do best. Packing the most destructive weaponry in the world, American soldiers laid siege to the city, deploying depleted uranium munitions, white phosphorus and tons of conventional ballistics

    Operation Vigilant Resolve went on for a full month. Though U.S. forces allowed an estimated 70,000 women, children and elderly leave the city, to this day the campaign to recapture Fallujah is beset with allegations of war crimes.

    In the wake of America's "shock and awe" bombing campaign to take Baghdad, radiation detectors as far away as the United Kingdom noticed a fourfold spike in radioactivity in the atmosphere. At the time, the Department of Defense bragged that the substance, a nuclear byproduct with a fraction of the radioactivity as standard uranium, is commonly ingested by Americans, in food, drinking water and the air, allegedly with no ill effects. Officials went on to say its use would cause "no impact on the health of people and the environment."

    Today, according to a study by the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health [PDF link], rates of cancer, leukemia, infant mortality and sexual mutations in Fallujah are higher than those reported in the aftermath of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki nuclear detonations.

    "Iraqi doctors in Fallujah have complained since 2005 of being overwhelmed by the number of babies with serious birth defects, ranging from a girl born with two heads to paralysis of the lower limbs," a report by The Independent noted. "They said they were also seeing far more cancers than they did before the battle for Fallujah between US troops and insurgents."

    Images of Iraqi children born horribly mutated are extremely difficult to look at and not for the feint of heart.

    An earlier study by the same scientific journal found that while chronic low-dose exposure to depleted uranium does not necessarily produce a straightforward set of symptoms, large doses can cause acute toxicity in the kidneys.

    "Adult animals that were exposed to depleted uranium during development display persistent alterations in behavior, even after cessation of depleted uranium exposure," they summarized. "Adult animals exposed to depleted uranium demonstrate altered behaviors and a variety of alterations to brain chemistry. Despite its reduced level of radioactivity evidence continues to accumulate that depleted uranium, if ingested, may pose a radiologic hazard."

    A 2007 study by Chemical Research in Toxicology similarly found depleted uranium particles to be cytotoxic and clastogenic to lung cells in particular.

    It was first introduced on the battlefield during the Gulf war in 1990, and has been used in U.S. armor and munitions ever since. It was widely suspected as the culprit in the numerous cases of Gulf War syndrome. According to USA Today, soldiers reported becoming "unusually fatigued, and others said that their joints ached. They experienced headaches, rashes and hair loss, and their memories occasionally failed them. In some cases, the symptoms were severe enough to require hospitalization."

    "In Fallujah the rate of leukemia is 38 times higher, the childhood cancer rate is 12 times higher, and breast cancer is 10 times more common than in populations in Egypt, Jordan, and Kuwait," researchers write. "Heightened levels of adult lymphoma and brain tumors were also reported. At 80 deaths out of every 1,000 births, the infant mortality rate in Fallujah is more than five times higher than in Egypt and Jordan, and eight times higher than in Kuwait."

    The study's data was gathered by passing out surveys to 711 households in Fallujah. From those homes, a total of 4,843 individuals responded.

    "This study was intended to investigate the accuracy of the various reports which have been emerging from Fallujah regarding perceived increases in birth defects, infant deaths and cancer in the population and to examine samples from the area for the presence of mutagenic substances that may explain any results," they summarize. "We conclude that the results confirm the reported increases in cancer and infant mortality which are alarmingly high."

    Wednesday, July 21, 2010

    US Terrorism

    Iran to West: Stop Backing Terrorism

    Tuesday, 20 July 2010 16:53 PressTV

    Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast has called on the US and certain European countries to stop supporting terrorism.

    "Western countries had better stop supporting terrorists instead of giving them shelter on their soil and strengthening them," Mehmanparast said at his weekly press conference on Tuesday when asked about the recent Zahedan bombings.

    On Thursday, two bombs were detonated in quick succession in front of the Zahedan Grand Mosque in the southeastern province of Sistan-Baluchestan. At least 27 people lost their lives and more than 100 others were injured in the incident.

    Mehmanparast called on Western countries to provide an explanation as to why they back terrorist groups, for instance Jundallah, if they are really opposed to terrorism.

    The Iranian spokesperson further added that Western support for terrorism breaches all principles that they claim to be advocating.

    Calling Iran the biggest victim of terrorism, Mehmanparast said that serious work was needed to eradicate terrorism and extremism.

    According to the Iranian spokesman, talks with Pakistan are on the agenda in order to come up with ways to counter terrorism.

    Tehran has repeatedly called on Islamabad to stop terrorists from crossing into Iran as they carry out terrorist attacks in the country.

    The Islamic Republic has blamed Thursday's attack on the West, in particular the US, saying that the deadly attack was carried out under the auspices of the United States.

    Tehran says it was earlier proved that the terrorist Jundallah group, which has carried out many terror attacks in Iran, had close links with the US government.

    Despite the US denial of any links with the group, Jundallah leader, Abdolmalek Rigi, who was arrested in February and executed in June, said in his confessions that he had received financial support form the US government.

    Although Jundallah has claimed responsibility for the blasts, analysts say the group is unlikely to have carried out the attack since it was effectively disbanded after Rigi was executed in Iran last month.

    Extremist Wahhabis and Salafis trained by US intelligence agents in Pakistan are believed to have carried out the bombings.

    Tuesday, July 20, 2010

    To Shoot An Elephant


    "...afterwards, of course, there were endless discussions about the shooting of the elephant. The owner was furious, but he was only an Indian and could do nothing. Besides, legally I had done the right thing, for a mad elephant has to be killed, like a mad dog, if it's owner fails to control it".

    George Orwell defined a way of witnessing Asia that still remains valid. "To shoot an elephant" is an eye witness account from The Gaza Strip. December 27th, 2008, Operation Cast Lead. 21 days shooting elephants. Urgent, insomniac, dirty, shuddering images from the only foreigners who decided and managed to stay embedded inside Gaza strip ambulances, with Palestinian civilians.

    George Orwell: “Shooting an elephant” was originally published in New Writing in 1948.


    Gaza Strip has been under siege since June 2007, when Israel declared it an "enemy entity". A group of international activists organized a siege-breaking movement, the Free Gaza movement. Thanks to their efforts, and despite the Israeli ban on foreign correspondents and humanitarian aid workers to cover and witness operation "Cast Lead" on the ground, a group of international volunteers: self organised members of the International Solidarity Movement were present in Gaza when the bombing started on December, 27th 2009. Together with two international correspondents from Al Jazeera International (Ayman Mohyeldin and Sherine Tadros), they were the only foreigners who managed to write, film and report for several radio stations what was happening inside the besieged Palestinian strip.
    Were they journalists? Were they activists? Who cares!. They became witnesses. Being a journalist or being whatsoever depends on how you feel. It is an ethical responsibility that you manage to share with a wider audience what you and those who are around you are going through. It will be the result of your work that will lead you to a professional career as a journalist or not, rather than pre-assumptions and labels. Make them know. Make those who you want to: listen and be aware of what you are aware of. That is a journalist. Having a card, with "press" written on it, or getting a regular salary is not necessary to be a witness with a camera or a pen. Forget about neutrality. Forget about objectivity. We are not Palestinians. We are not Israelis. We are not impartial. We only try to be honest and report what we see and what we know. I am a journalist. If somebody listens, I am a journalist. In Gaza´s case, no "official journalists" were authorized to enter Gaza (apart from those who were already inside) so we became witnesses. With a whole set of responsibilities as regarding to it.

    I have always understood journalism as "a hand turning the lights on inside the dark room". A journalist is a curious person, an unpleasant interrogator, a rebel camera and a pen making those in power feel uncomfortable. And that is the concept of my work in Gaza: To fulfil a duty in the most narrated conflict on earth, where the story of the siege and the collective punishment that is being imposed by Israel on the whole population of the territory in retaliation for rockets sent by Hamas will never be told with enough accuracy. For this it has to be lived. I sneaked inside Gaza despite Israeli attempts not to allow us to enter and I was "politely" asked to leave by those in power in Gaza. That is my idea of journalism. Every government on earth should feel nervous about somebody going around with a camera or a pen ready to publish what he or she manages to understand. For the sake of information, one of the biggest pillars of democracy.

    This is an embedded film. We decided to be "embedded within the ambulances" opening an imaginary dialogue with those journalists who embed themselves within armies. Everyone is free to choose the side where they want to report from. But decisions are often not unbiased. We decided that civilians working for the rescue of the injured would give us a far more honest perspective of the situation than those whose job is to shoot, to injure and to kill. We prefer medics rather than soldiers. We prefer the bravery of those unarmed rescuers than those with -also interesting, but morally rejectable experiences who enlist to kill. It is a matter of focus. I am not interested in the fears, traumas and contradictions of those who have a choice: the choice of staying home and saying no to war.


    Chavez Warns of US Military Escalation

    CARACAS - Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez warned Sunday of increased international tensions over the military escalation by the United States and its allies around the world.

    "There are highly alarming elements: the military exercises that the South Koreans and gringos performed in the Yellow Sea; the pressure on Iran for daring to develop nuclear energy for peaceful purposes; the mobilization of U.S. and Israeli troops near Iran's coasts, and the violence in Iraq and Afghanistan occupied by the empire," Chavez said during his usual Sunday news commentary, "Las lineas de Chavez."

    The president also listed Israel's blockade of Gaza with Washington's blessing as another alarming factor.

    Chávez highlighted that the Barack Obama government "is proving to be, in words and actions, the second Bush administration (George W.), because it follows the same line as a warmonger and the same strategy of domination."

    Chavez denounced the continuing and false accusations by Obama government agencies regarding alleged links between Caracas and international drug trafficking, and the surprising presence on unconvincing explanations for thousands of U.S. marines in Costa Rica and the overflights of Dutch aircraft in Venezuelan territory.

    He also mentioned as other reasons for concern the violent destabilization plans revealed in the wake of capture of Salvadoran terrorist Francisco Chavez Abarca on national soil; the Chilean Senate's attempt to interfere in the September 26 elections and statements by the outgoing Colombian government linking Venezuela with Colombian guerrilla groups like the FARC and ELN.

    "What a picture! We would be naive if we did not look at all of this aggression as a whole; everything is related," he said. "I think we are looking at a reenactment of the U.S. imperial doctrine, which is facing the new projects for the sovereignty of our America" he stated.


    Militarization of Central America and the Caribbean:

    The U.S. Military Moves Into Costa Rica

    by Mark Vorpahl Global Research, July 19, 2010

    Nestled between Panama to its south and Nicaragua to its north, Costa Rica is a Central American nation roughly the size of Rhode Island.

    If another nation were to send Rhode Island a force of 7,000 troops, 200 helicopters, and 46 warships in an effort to eradicate drug trafficking, it is doubtful that the residents of Rhode Island would consider this offer "on-the-level." Such a massive military force could hardly be efficiently used to combat drug cartels. The only logical conclusion is that the nation whose troops now are occupying this other country had another agenda in mind that it didn't want to share.

    In early July, by a vote of 31 to 8, the Costa Rican Congress approved the U.S. bringing into their nation the same military force described above, justified with the same dubious "war on drugs" rationale. According to the agreement, the military forces are supposed to leave Costa Rica by the end of 2010. This begs the question, however, if such an over the top display of military muscle is needed now to combat the drug cartels, what will be done in the next few months to make their presence unnecessary? The history of such U.S. military deployments around the world suggests a more credible outcome than what the agreement states. Once the U.S. moves such massive forces into a country, they rarely move them out.

    When push comes to shove, the political machinery in Costa Rica is subservient to U.S. government and corporate interests. Nevertheless, there are many in Costa Rica who are declaring that the agreement is a violation of their national sovereignty and is unconstitutional. (In 1948 Costa Rica abolished its army, which was sanctioned in its constitution.) Legislator Luis Fishman has vowed to challenge the decision of the Congress in the courts.

    Shifting Strategy and Tactics

    The buildup of U.S. armed forces in Costa Rica is part of an escalating pattern that indicates a shifting of strategy and tactics for the U.S. in controlling what the Monroe Doctrine infamously described as the U.S.'s "backyard" — that is, all of Latin America. Since the U.S. government inspired covert coup d’etats and political reversals of popular governments and/or movements in Guatemala, Brazil, Chile, Nicaragua, and El Salvador in previous decades, U.S. rulers had figured they had things stitched up to their liking in Latin America. The political elites in Latin America were uniformly in the pockets of the U.S. corporate empire and appeared to be more or less in control of their people. They commonly outlawed strikes and at times even trade unions, eliminated minimum wage laws, and gave enormous tax breaks to U.S. corporations.

    Therefore, the U.S. Empire builders could use their political and economic might alone to subjugate these neo-colonies to a very profitable neoliberal agenda. This agenda included allowing U.S. corporations easy access to pillage these nations’ public sectors through privatization, letting multi-national corporations overrun these nations’ local markets and farms through the elimination of trade barriers, and increasing the exploitation of their workers and the devastation of their natural resources by tossing out national labor and environmental standards. Because of the profits enjoyed by a few as a result of these measures, they carried the day, though they, in turn, created a simmering spirit of rebellion in the semi-colonies' peasantry and workers that would inevitably find expression.

    As the U.S. began to set its sights on and send its resources to other parts of the world, most notably the Middle East and Asia, the web they had wrapped around Latin America began to unravel. This was most apparent in Venezuela where a U.S.-backed coup attempt in April of 2002 failed because of the massive mobilizing of the Venezuelan people in defense of their democratic rights. All subsequent attempts of the Venezuelan oligarchy, in collusion with the U.S. State Department, to get rid of Chavez resulted in their humiliation because of the constant support and organizing of the country’s lower classes. It became apparent to the U.S. ruling class that they could no longer rely on the Venezuelan oligarchy, which had lost direct control over the political situation. What is more, the popular upsurge witnessed in Venezuela in the past decade, opened up floodgates for anti-imperialist organizing across the continent, resulting in the election of a number of left-wing presidents.

    Not only was the neoliberal agenda of the U.S. being blocked, an alternative to the U.S. Free Trade policies was being set up. The Bolivarian Alternative for Latin America and the Caribbean (ALBA), which was initiated by Venezuela and Cuba, began to build a trading block based on exchange according to different nations' needs rather than U.S. corporate profits. While ALBA needs to be more substantially developed in order to fulfill its promise, especially in regards to organizing grassroots control to determine its priorities, it is a challenge to U.S. corporate and political dominance in the region.

    U.S. Military Moves

    As a result, the U.S. government began to shift its reliance from solely economic and political means to control Latin America towards taking military measures, even while engaged in wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. What have been some of these measures?

    In 2006 the U.S. conducted military exercises off the coast of Venezuela called "Operation Partnership of the Americas." This exercise involved four ships, 60 fighter planes, and 6,500 U.S. troops.

    In 2006 the U.S. State Department classified the islands of Aruba, Bonaire, and Curacao, with their military bases jointly contracted to Holland and the U.S., as "The Third Frontier of the United States." U.S. aircraft carriers, war ships, combat planes, Black Hawk helicopters, nuclear submarines, and thousands of troops began to build up in Curacao in particular. In 2009 a U.S. military plane was intercepted in Venezuelan airspace that had flown from Curacao's base.

    In 2008 the U.S. reactivated the Fourth Fleet to patrol Caribbean waters. This fleet had been out of commission since 1950. Now it operates with the potential of acting as a floating base for the U.S. to conduct military strikes throughout Central and South America.

    In 2009 the U.S. made a deal with Colombia to build up its military personal in seven bases, from 250 to 800 American troops with 600 civilian contractors, effectively taking control over these installations. This was widely denounced throughout Latin America as an action aimed at intimidating Venezuela. In December of that year a U.S. drone plane flying from one of these Colombian bases violated Venezuelan airspace.

    From 2009 to 2010 the U.S. worked behind the scenes to legitimize a military coup in Honduras against lawfully elected President Zelaya, who had aligned the nation with ALBA. Part of the U.S.'s motivation behind its actions was to maintain control of Soto Cano's Airbase, with its 550 U.S. troops and 650 U.S. and Honduran civilians. In the 1980's the U.S. had used this base for a training ground and launching pad for the Contra terrorists in Nicaragua and El Salvadorian death squads opposed to the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN). There is good reason for concern that this Airbase will again be used for similar operations today.

    In 2009 the U.S. and Panama agreed to open up two naval bases in Panama, which will be the first time U.S. military forces will be based in this nation since 1999.

    War on Drugs?

    Most of these measures have been justified on the grounds of combating drug trafficking, including the military buildup in Costa Rica. However, they have not curtailed this problem at all. Such U.S. military buildups have generally been accompanied by an increase in drug trafficking, as has happened in both Columbia and Afghanistan. Based on this record it can only be concluded that the "War on Drugs" rationale is a red herring for public relations consumption, not the actual motivation.

    This military build up in Costa Rica is the latest in a series of moves the U.S. has made in Latin America that seeks to use threats and arms to reverse the strength of popular anti-imperialist forces across the region. The U.S. is playing with the possibility of erupting a continental conflagration for the sake of corporate profits.

    While it is doubtful that the U.S. wants to directly engage in a military conflict with, most likely, Venezuela right now, preparations for this possibility are being made. What is more likely in the short term is that the U.S. military will use its forces to engage in sabotage and intimidation in hopes of reversing support for the nations aligned with ALBA. It is also very possible that the U.S. military will help to support proxy armies, such as Colombia's, in military conflicts that align with U.S. interests. However, this is a dangerous game. Even in the short term, the U.S. ruling class may drag the nation into another direct conflict, in spite of their intentions, that could spread to involve numerous other nations.

    Peace and International Solidarity

    While U.S. workers are suffering from unemployment, insufficient health care, drastic cuts to education and social services, as well as environmental catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico created by the Obama governmental collusion with BP, the priorities of the U.S. ruling class are elsewhere. They are more concerned with pouring money into military buildups that threaten war. The target of such a war or wars would be the popular working class movements in Latin America, whose only crime has been to struggle to liberate themselves from super exploitation and political repression. It is the same economic and political elite in the U.S. that are denying U.S. workers what is rightfully theirs that are opposing the efforts of workers and peasants throughout the continent to empower themselves.

    It is the task of the anti-war movement not only to oppose the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, but also to prevent future U.S. wars in Latin America. Wherever anti-war activists seek to mobilize people against war, they should also seek to educate about the U.S. empire's military moves in Latin America.

    Furthermore, it will require international solidarity to combat what the U.S. elite is doing in Central and South America. There was recently an event that could go some way towards preparing this solidarity. In Sanare, Venezuela, from June 21 - 25, a series of meetings were held entitled "Ecuentro of the Americas: Resisting Militarization and Promoting a Culture of Peace." It consisted of delegates of organizations from 19 nations across the continent, including School of the Americas (SOA) Watch of the U.S. You can read more about this at

    Mark Vorpahl is a union steward as well as an anti-war and Latin American Solidarity activist.

    Monday, July 19, 2010

    Reflections Of Fidel

    The other tragedy

    IN my meeting with the CIEM economists on Tuesday, July 13, I talked of the excellent documentary by the French director Yann Arthus-Bertrand, with the participation of the most eminent and well informed international figures, on the other terrible danger to the human species which is taking place before our eyes: the destruction of the environment.

    The documentary affirms in a clear and categorical way:

    "In the great adventure of life on Earth, every species has a role to play, every species has its place. Not one of them is useless or harmful, they all balance each other. And here is where you, homo sapiens, intelligent human being, come into history. You benefit from a fabulous legacy of 4,000 million years, provided by the Earth. You are only 200,000 years old, but you have already changed the face of the world."

    "The invention of agriculture changed our history. That was less than 10,000 years ago."

    "Agriculture was our first great revolution. It resulted in the first surpluses and gave birth to cities and civilizations. Memories of thousands of years searching for food faded. Having made grains the yeast of life, we multiplied the number of varieties and learned to adapt them to our soils and climates. We are like all species on Earth. Our principal daily concern is that of feeding ourselves. When the soil is less than generous and water becomes scarce, we are capable of making prodigious efforts to extract enough from the soil to remain alive."

    "Half of humanity works the land, more than three quarters with their hands."

    "Pure energy. The energy of the sun, captured during millions of years by millions of plants more than 100 million years ago. It is coal, it is gas. But, above all, it is oil."

    "In the last 60 years, the population of Earth has almost tripled. And more than two billion people have moved into the cities."

    "New York. The first megalopolis of the world is the symbol of the exploitation of energy that Earth provides for human ingenuity. The workforce of millions of immigrants, coal energy, the indispensable power of oil. The United States was the first to ride on the phenomenal revolutionary power of ‘black gold.’ In the fields, machines replaced people. One liter of oil generates as much energy as 100 pairs of hands in 24 hours."

    "They produce sufficient grains to feed two billion people. But much of those grains are not used to feed people. Here and in other industrialized nations it is transformed into feed for livestock or into biofuels."

    "As far as the eye can see, fertilizer below, plastic above. The greenhouses of Almería, Spain are the orchard of Europe. A city of vegetables of uniform size waits every day for hundreds of trucks to take them to the supermarkets of the continent. The more developed a country, the more meat its inhabitants consume. How can the world demand be satisfied without having recourse to concentration camp-style farms? Constantly faster. Like the lifecycle of livestock that can never have seen a meadow."

    "In these food lots, packed with millions of head of livestock, not a single blade of grass grows. A fleet of trucks from every corner of the country takes tons of grain, food soy and protein granules to be converted into tons of meat. The result is that 100 liters of water are needed to produce one kilogram of potatoes, 4,000 liters for a kilo of rice and 13,000 for a kilo of beef. Not to mention the oil burned in the production and transportation process."

    "We know that the end of cheap oil is imminent, but we refuse to believe it."

    "Los Angeles. In this city spread out over more than 100 kilometers, the number of cars is practically the same as the number of inhabitants."

    "The day seems like no more than a pale reflection of the nights that convert the city into a starry sky."

    "Everywhere machines are excavating, removing and tearing out of the land little pieces of stars buried in its depths since its creation… Minerals."

    "…80% of this mineral wealth is consumed by 20% of the world population. Before the end of this century, excessive mining will have used up almost the totality of the planet’s reserves."

    "Since 1950, the volume of international trade has increased 20 times; 90% of trade goes by sea. Five hundred million containers are transported every year, sent to the largest centers of consumption…"

    "Since 1950, the fishing industry has increased fivefold, from 18 to 100 million metric tons per year. Thousands of shipping-factories are emptying the oceans. Three quarters of the fishing areas are exhausted, finished, or in danger of becoming so."

    "Five hundred million humans live in the desert lands of the world, more than the whole combined population of Europe."

    "Israel transformed the desert into arable land. Although now these farms are drip irrigated, the consumption of water is still increasing alongside exports."

    "The once powerful River Jordan is now just a stream, its water has flown to the supermarkets of the entire world in crates of fruits and vegetables."

    "India is at risk of becoming the country that will suffer the most from lack of water in the coming century. Mass irrigation has fed its growing population and in the last 50 years, 21 millions wells have been sunk."

    "Las Vegas was built in the desert. Millions of people live there. Thousands more arrive every month. Its inhabitants are among the largest consumers of water in the world."

    "Palm Springs is another desert city with tropical vegetation and luxury golf courses. How much longer will this mirage continue to prosper? The Earth cannot support it."

    The Colorado River, takes water to these cities, is one of those rivers that no longer reaches the sea."

    "Scarcity of water could affect two billion people before 2025."

    "All living material is bound together: water, air, land, trees."

    "Primitive forests provide a habitat for three quarters of the planet’s biodiversity; in other words, of all life on Earth."

    "…in just 40 years, the largest rainforest in the world, the Amazon, has been reduced by 20%, has given way to livestock ranches or soy farms; 95% of this soy is used to feed livestock and poultry in Europe and Asia. Thus, a forest is transformed into meat."

    "More than two billion people, almost one third of the world population, still depend on charcoal. In Haiti, one of the poorest countries in the world, charcoal is one of the principal consumer goods of the population."

    "In the hills on Haiti, only 2% of the forests remain…"

    "Every week, more than one million people increase the population of the cities of the world. One human out of every six is now living in a precarious, unhealthy and overpopulated environment, without access to daily necessities, like water, drainage, electricity. Hunger is extending again, it is affecting almost one billion people. Throughout the planet, the poor are fighting to survive, while we continue excavating for resources without which we can no longer live."

    "Our activities liberate gigantic volumes of carbon bioxide. Without realizing it, molecule by molecule, we have affected the climatic balance of the earth."

    "The Arctic icecap is melting due to the effect of global warming, the icecap has lost 40% of its thickness in 40 years. In summer its surface is shrinking year by year. It could disappear during the summer months by 2030. Some say 2015."

    "By 2050, a quarter of land species could be threatened with extinction."

    "…as Greenland is warming rapidly, the freshwater of an entire continent is flowing toward the salt water of the oceans."

    "The ice of Greenland contains 20% of all the fresh water on the planet; if it melts, the sea level is going to rise by close to seven meters. The atmosphere of our planet is one indivisible whole. It is a asset that we all share."

    "In Greenland, lakes are beginning to appear in the landscape. The icecap is melting at a speed that not even the most pessimistic scientists foresaw 10 years ago. More and more rivers fed by glaciers are joining together and emerging onto the surface. It was believed that the water would freeze in the depths of the ice. On the contrary, it is flowing under the ice, carrying the ice crust toward the sea, where it breaks, turning into an iceberg."

    "The expansion of water on heating caused, in the 20th century alone, a rise of 20 centimeters. Everything is becoming unstable. The coral reefs are extremely sensitive to the slightest change in the water temperature; 30% have disappeared. They are an essential link in the species chain."

    "If the sea level keeps rising faster and faster, what will the great cities do, those like Tokyo, the most populated city of the world?"

    "…in Siberia and in many parts of the world, it is so cold that the ground is constantly frozen. This is known as permafrost. Under this surface is resting a climatic time bomb: methane, a greenhouse gas 20 times more powerful than carbon bioxide. If the permafrost melts, the release of methane could cause the greenhouse effect to go out of control with consequences that nobody can foresee."

    "Twenty percent of the world population consumes 80% of its resources."

    "The world invests 12 times more in military expenditure than in aid to developing countries."

    "Five thousand people die every day from drinking polluted water, one billion people do not have access to drinking water."

    "Close to one billion are suffering from hunger."

    "More than 50% of the grain marketed in the world is used for animal feed or biofuels."

    "Species are dying a thousand times more rapidly than the natural rate."

    "Three quarters of fishing areas are exhausted, reduced or in dangerous descent."

    "The average temperature of the last 15 years has been the highest ever registered."

    "The ice cap is 40% thinner than 40 years ago."

    In the final minutes of the documentary, the director Yann Arthus-Bertrand softens the language in order to praise some positive actions of countries which, without any spirit of offending or wounding, he felt obliged to mention.

    His final words were:

    "It is time for us all to come together. What is important is not what has gone, but what remains. We still have half of the world’s forest, thousands of rivers, lakes and glaciers, and thousands of successful species.

    "Today we know that the solutions are here. We all have the power to change. So, what are we waiting for?

    "It depends on us to write what comes next. Together."

    The subject that has occupied the major part of my efforts: the imminent danger of a war that would be the last of the prehistory of our species, to which I have dedicated nine Reflections since June 1st, constitutes a problem that is becoming daily more aggravated.

    As is logical, 99.9% of people are sheltering the hope that an element of commonsense will prevail.

    Unfortunately, given all the elements of the reality that I perceive, I no longer see the most minimal possibility of that being so.

    For that reason, I think that it would be much more practical for our peoples to prepare themselves to face that reality. Our only hope consists of doing that.

    The Iranians have done precisely that, as we did in October 1962, when we opted for disappearing before giving in.

    Yesterday was like today, by the designs of chance, not merits of intelligence or the individual history of any one of us.

    The news arriving every day from Iran is not moving one millimeter from the position affirmed by them to sustain their just rights to peace and development, with one new element: they have already succeeded in producing 20 kilograms of uranium enriched by 20%, sufficient for constructing a nuclear artifact, which is even further maddening for those who, a while back, decided to attack them. That is what I analyzed on Friday the 16th with our ambassadors.

    Not even Obama could change that, nor has he demonstrated at any time the decision to do so.

    Fidel Castro Ruz

    July 18, 2010

    Breaking The Siege

    Saturday, July 17, 2010

    Watch Out

    For Running Cameras

    Today's Arabic edition of CNN online carries the story that an Israeli television channel recently aired a video of the Israeli premier, Benjamin Netanyahu, speaking to the family of an Israeli settlement of "Ofra" in 2001, without knowledge that the camera was working at the time. During his talks with the Israeli family, Netanyahu boasted that it was he who destroyed the Oslo agreement, and that he drives America as he pleases.

    Friday, July 16, 2010

    The Trick

    By Mana Neyestani - Iran

    Wednesday, July 14, 2010

    USA Not Playing Fair

    Or Telling The Truth

    By Fidel Castro Ruz

    Taken from CubaDebate

    The United States is not playing fair and is not telling the truth, affirmedComandante en Jefe Fidel Castro on the special Roundtable program broadcast on Cuban television on Monday evening, and hosted by journalist Randy Alonso.

    Fidel gave an exhaustive analysis of the situation in the Middle East, particularly the crisis provoked by the United States and Israel in their policy of harassing Iran, as well as an assessment of the nuclear arsenal at the disposal of the major international powers and the sinking of the Cheonan, the flagship vessel of the South Korean Navy, an attack that has been attributed to DPK Korea.

    Reiterating the danger of unleashing a war using nuclear weapons, as he previously mentioned in his Reflections, the leader of the Revolution provided a vast range of arguments and commented on the opinions of political analysts on the latest events in the Middle East.

    During the Roundtable, also attended by historian Rolando Rodríguez; Osvaldo Martínez, director of the World Economy Research Center; and Dr. Carlos Gutiérrez, director of the National Scientific Research Center (CNIC), Fidel analyzed the enormous military arsenal at the disposal of the principal world powers headed by the United States: “The number of strategic warheads is absurd,” he confirmed.

    Information from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), said Fidel, left no doubt whatsoever as to the danger facing humanity. The total military spending of the United States in 2009 was $1.531 trillion, representing a 49% increase in relation to 2000.

    It is not difficult to imagine what would happen if even just a small part of this arsenal were to be used and “in (U.S.) Congress, some members’ positions are even more aggressive than that of the president,” added the leader of the Revolution.

    Military spending in the United States has continued to grow. Fidel noted that the budget of its Defense Department was in excess of $316 billion in 2001 and $565 billion in 2010, a 2.16-fold increase.

    “The United States alone spends more than all the other countries put together,” he said. “It has 2,002 strategic and 500 non-strategic warheads. It has deployed 2,702, while Russia has 2,787 strategic and 2,047 non-strategic warheads. Between the two, that is almost 7,000 strategic warheads. It is a ludicrous figure.”


    Responding to a comment from Randy about the danger that a war in the Middle East could produce, Fidel confirmed, “I fully agree about the imminent risk of war,” adding, “I started writing about this subject after the accusation was made against North Korea, which was accused of sinking the very sophisticated South Korean submarine, one of the U.S. industry’s most modern models, which uses special metals, items that they do not sell to North Korea.”

    He scorned the accusation made against DPK Korea which, they claim, used an old torpedo manufactured in the 1950s for the attack. “Imagine that! An old torpedo against that sophisticated boat!” he commented.

    He confirmed that a U.S. analyst had provided a logical explanation: “South Korea was engaged in maneuvers with its ally, the United States. The worst thing about this event – one which is very difficult for the United States to admit – is that it was them who sunk the sophisticated South Korean vessel. Forty-six men died….A boat like that could only have been blown up with a mine. And they did it.”

    Fidel said that he was convinced that if this situation with Korea had gotten out of hand then, it would have been a very dramatic situation, and he recalled what the Koreans had said: “There will be a sea of fire, of flames.” He acknowledged that “this was what I had thought initially, that the problem was going to break out there, because the (Security Council) resolution on Iran had not yet been passed.”

    When it was passed, “It became evident that conflict would first be unleashed against Iran, and then in Korea. The people who should pay most attention to what happens in Iran are those in North Korea.”


    Fidel commented on recent statements by U.S. political scientist Noam Chomsky, who confirmed that the U.S. position on Iran “is the most serious foreign policy crisis that the Obama administration is facing.”

    “Iran is the big apple of discord,” stated Fidel, “because it is a certain fact that they will not be able to carry out their inspections. Thirty-one years ago, when they launched their chemical war against Ayatollah Khomeini who managed to overthrow the Shah of Iran without the use of weapons, there was no army, they just had the Revolutionary Guards.”

    Fidel added, “Ahmadinejad is not an improviser – you may or may not be in agreement with him – but he is not an improviser. To make a calculation on the basis that the Iranians are going to come running out to ask the yankis for forgiveness is absurd.”

    He argued that the Iranians “have spent 30 years preparing themselves, with industrial development, acquiring planes, radars, anti-aircraft weapons…The Russians committed themselves to providing them with S-300 missiles, but they are taking their time and have not handed them over. All the planes that they have been able to buy, they have bought. They have Russian weapons. They have hundreds of rocket launchers alone. The Army also has its forces, in the air, on land and sea. The Navy also has air, land and sea capability. Soldiers – just the Revolutionary Guards alone – there are more than one million of them. They are training everyone above 12 years of age and younger than 60. And there are 20 million Shiite Muslims. Who is going to sympathize with that enemy who wants to destroy everything and announce it as well?”

    Fidel stated that the nuclear powers jointly possess some 20,000 nuclear weapons and the pretext used against Iran is risible: “This problem that has been created is risible, as are all the resolutions (of the UN Security Council). The risk is that Iran could develop or manufacture two nuclear weapons within the next two or three years. Where is the logic? This whole problem is because of this.”

    In the opinion of the Comandante en Jefe, the real cause is “the control and the influence that the state of Israel has over the United States. A country that has become a nuclear power in the space of a few years.”

    He affirmed that Cuba understands the nuclear experience very well: “We have lived under the threat of being attacked. During the Reagan government, they carried out a nuclear test in the ocean. In a boat. We guessed that because we had troops on their way to Namibia.”

    Via Israel, “they provided the South Africans with 14 nuclear weapons, more powerful than those that were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. This situation is nothing new. We were there (Angola) with 60,000 men advancing. And we had already felt the threat of a nuclear experience.”

    He recalled the moment when the Soviets installed their nuclear rockets in Cuba; “From then on they didn’t like us, because when we made this Revolution, we didn’t have any alliance with the USSR.” That alliance “came to us at a very opportune moment, because when (the U.S.) took away our oil, (the USSR) gave it to us. We are not talking without having lived through that experience: we went through it in ’62 and in ’70 and a bit, on an internationalist mission. And we adopted all the measures; advancing and going underground. We couldn’t take any chance. Everything had been confirmed. Not even Mandela knew what they did with those weapons. I asked him: ‘I don’t know,’ he said. They took them away. They have never acted cleanly.”

    “Could they be playing around with this?” he added. “If you’re talking about a hypothesis, you’re not going to convince anybody. There is no need to dramatize, because the events are dramatic enough in themselves.”

    The leader of the Revolution provided a new analysis on these dangerous events for humanity in his Reflection published on the CubaDebate website on Sunday, July 11.

    Monday, July 12, 2010

    Reflections Of Fidel

    The origin of wars

    I affirmed on July 4 that neither the United States nor Iran would give in; "one, due to the pride of the powerful, and the other, out of resistance to the yoke and the capacity to fight, as has occurred so many times in the history of humanity…"

    In almost all wars, one of the parties wishes to avoid them, and sometimes, both. On this occasion, it would come about even though one of the parties does not wish it, as happened in the two World Wars in 1914 and 1939, with only 25 years of distance before the first outbreak and the second.

    The slaughters were horrific, they would not have been unleashed without prior errors of calculation. The two parties were defending imperialist interests and they believed that they would obtain their objectives without the terrible cost that that implied.

    In the case that concerns us: one of them is defending national, absolutely just interests. The other is pursuing illegitimate intentions and crude material interests.

    If we analyze all the wars that have taken place, starting from the known history of our species, one of the parties has sought those objectives.

    Any illusion that, on this occasion, such objectives will be reached without the most terrible of all wars is absolutely vain.

    In one of the best articles published by the Global Research website on Thursday, July 1, signed by Rick Rozoff, he provides abundant indisputable arguments on the United States’ intentions, of which any well-informed person must be aware.

    "...Victory can be attained when an adversary knows it is vulnerable to an instantaneous and undetectable, overwhelming and devastating attack without the ability to defend itself or retaliate," is what the United States thinks, according to the author.

    "…A country which aspires to remain the only state in history to wield full spectrum military dominance on land, in the air, on the seas and in space."

    "…To maintain and extend military bases and troops, aircraft carrier
    battle groups and strategic bombers on and to most every latitude
    and longitude. To do so with a post-World War II record war budget of $708 billion for next year."

    It was "…the first country to develop and use nuclear weapons…"

    "… the U.S. retains 1,550 deployed nuclear warheads and 2,200
    (by some counts 3,500) more in storage and a triad of land, air and
    submarine delivery vehicles."

    "The non-nuclear arsenal used for disabling and destroying the air
    defenses and strategic, potentially all major, military forces of other nations will consist of intercontinental ballistic missiles, adapted submarine-launched ballistic missiles, hypersonic cruise missiles and bombers, and super stealthy strategic bombers able to avoid detection by radar and thus evade ground- and air-based defenses."

    Rozoff lists the many press conferences, meetings and statements of Joint Chiefs of Staff and high-ranking members of the government of the United States in the last few months.

    He explains the commitments to NATO and the reinforced cooperation with Near East allies, primarily, read Israel. He says, "The U.S. is also intensifying space and cyber warfare programs with the potential to completely shut down other nations' military surveillance and command, control, communications, computer and intelligence systems, rendering them defenseless on any but the
    most basic tactical level."

    He speaks of the signing in Prague, on April 8 of this year, of the new START Treaty between Russia and the United States, which "does not contain any constraints on current or planned U.S. conventional prompt global strike capability."

    He refers to countless news items on the subject and illustrates the intentions of the United States with one overwhelming example.
    He notes that "…’The Department of Defense is currently exploring the full range of technologies and systems for a Conventional Prompt Global Strike (CPGS) capability that could provide the President more credible and technically suitable options for dealing with new and evolving threats.’"

    I maintain the opinion that any president whosoever, not even the most expert military chief, would not have one minute to know what should be done if it was not already programmed on computers.
    Imperturbably, Rozoff relates what the Global Security Network affirms in an analysis titled: "’Cost to test U.S. global-strike missile could reach $500 million,’" by Elaine Grossman.
    "’The Obama administration has requested $239.9 million for prompt global strike research and development across the military services in fiscal 2011… If funding levels remain as anticipated into the coming years, the Pentagon will have spent some $2 billion on prompt global strike by the end of fiscal 2015, according to budget documents submitted last month to Capitol Hill.’"

    "A terrifying scenario comparable to the effects of a PGS attack, in this case the sea-based version, appeared three years ago in Popular Mechanics:
    "’In the Pacific, a nuclear-powered Ohio class submarine surfaces, ready for the president's command to launch. When the order comes, the sub shoots a 65-ton Trident II ballistic missile into the sky. Within 2 minutes, the missile is traveling at more than 20,000 ft. per second. Up and over the oceans and out of the atmosphere it soars for thousands of miles.
    "’At the top of its parabola, hanging in space, the Trident's four warheads separate and begin their screaming descent down toward the planet.
    "’Traveling as fast as 13,000 mph, the warheads are filled with scored tungsten rods with twice the strength of steel.

    "’Just above the target, the warheads detonate, showering the area with thousands of rods-each one up to 12 times as destructive as a .50-caliber bullet. Anything within 3000 sq. ft. of this whirling, metallic storm is obliterated.’"

    Rozoff immediately explains the April 7 statement of General Leonid Ivashov, joint chief of staff of the Russian armed forces, made in a column entitled "Obama’s nuclear surprise."

    In that same column Ivashov, refers to the speech by the U.S. president in Prague last year: "The existence of thousands of nuclear weapons is the most dangerous legacy of the Cold War" – and his signing of the START II agreement in that same city on April 8, Rozoff quotes the author, who stated:

    "’No examples of sacrificial service of the U.S. elites to mankind or peoples of other countries can be discovered in the U.S. history over the past century. Would it be realistic to expect the advent of an African-American president to the White House to change the country's political philosophy traditionally aimed at achieving global dominance? Those believing that something like that is possible should try to realize why the U.S. – the country with a military budget already greater than those of all other countries of the world combined – continues spending enormous sums of money on preparations for war.’"

    "… ‘The Prompt Global Strike concept envisages a concentrated strike using several thousand precision conventional weapons in 2-4 hours that would completely destroy the critical infrastructures of the target country and thus force it to capitulate.’"
    "’The Prompt Global Strike concept is meant to sustain the U.S. monopoly in the military sphere and to widen the gap between it and the rest of the world. Combined with the deployment of the missile defense supposed to keep the U.S. immune to retaliatory strikes from Russia and China, the Prompt Global Strike initiative is going to turn Washington into a modern era global dictator.’"

    "’In essence, the new U.S. nuclear doctrine is an element of the novel U.S. security strategy that would be more adequately described as the strategy of total impunity. The U.S. is boosting its military budget, unleashing NATO as the global gendarme, and planning real-life exercise in Iran to test the efficiency of the Prompt Global Strike initiative in practice. At the same time, Washington is talking about the completely nuclear-free world.’"

    In essence, Obama is trying to deceive the world by talking of a humanity free of nuclear weapons, which would be replaced by other extremely destructive ones, ideal for terrorizing state leaders and achieving the new strategy of total impunity.

    The yankis believe that Iran’s rendition is already close. The European Union is expected to announce a sanctions package of its own to be signed on July 26.

    The last meeting of the 5+1 took place on July 2, after Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad affirmed that "his country would return to talks at the end of August with the participation of Brazil and Turkey."

    A high-ranking EU official "stated that neither Brazil nor Turkey will be invited to take part in talks, at least not at this level."

    "Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki stated that he was in favor of defying international sanctions and continuing with the enriched uranium program."

    From Tuesday, July 5, in the face of the European reiteration that they are to promote additional measures against Iran, this country has responded that it will not negotiate until September.

    Every day the possibilities of overcoming the insurmountable obstacle are reducing further.

    What is going to happen is so evident that it can be foreseen in an almost exact form.

    For my part, I must make a self-criticism; I committed an error in affirming in the June 27 Reflection that the conflict would break out on the Thursday, Friday or at the latest Saturday. It was already known that Israeli warships were navigating toward that objective together with the yanki naval forces. The order to search Iranian merchant ships was already given.

    However, I did not realize that there was a prior step: confirmation of the negation of permission for the inspection of its mercantile fleet on the part of Iran. In analyzing the torturous language of the Security Council imposing sanctions on that country, I did not notice that detail to give the inspection order full effect. It was the only thing missing.

    The 60-day period given by the Security Council on June 9 to receive information on compliance with the Resolution expires on August 8.

    But something really most lamentable happened. I was working on the latest material on the delicate issue drafted by the Cuban Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the said document did not contain two key paragraphs – the last two of the abovementioned resolution – which textually state:
    "Requests within 90 days a report from the Director General of the IAEA on whether Iran has established full and sustained suspension of all activities mentioned in resolution 1737 (2006), as well as on the process of Iranian compliance with all the steps required by the IAEA Board of Governors and with other provisions of resolutions 1737 (2006), 1747 (2007), 1803 (2008) and of this resolution, to the IAEA Board of Governors and in parallel to the Security Council for its consideration;
    "Affirms that it shall review Iran’s actions in light of the report referred to in paragraph 36 above, to be submitted within 90 days, and: (a) that it shall suspend the implementation of measures if and for so long as Iran suspends all enrichment-related and reprocessing activities, including research and development, as verified by the IAEA, to allow for negotiations in good faith in order to reach an early and mutually acceptable outcome;
    (b) that it shall terminate the measures specified in paragraphs 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 12 of resolution 1737 (2006), as well as in paragraphs 2, 4, 5, 6 and 7 of resolution 1747 (2007), paragraphs 3, 5, 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11 of resolution 1803 (2008), and in paragraphs 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 21, 22, 23 and 24 above, as soon as it determines, following receipt of the report referred to in the paragraph above, that Iran has fully complied with its obligations under the relevant resolutions of the Security Council and met the requirements of the IAEA Board of Governors, as confirmed by the IAEA Board of Governors; (c) that it shall, in the event that the report shows that Iran has not complied with resolutions 1737 (2006), 1747 (2007), 1803 (2008) and this resolution, adopt further appropriate measures under Article 41 of Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations to persuade Iran to comply with these resolutions and the requirements of the IAEA, and underlines that further decisions will be required should such additional measures be necessary…"

    A compañero from the Ministry, after the exhausting work of many hours at the machine making photocopies of all the documents, fell asleep. My eagerness in seeking out information and exchanging points of view on these delicate issues, made it possible for me to discover this omission.

    From my point of view, the United States and its NATO allies have said their last word. Two powerful states with authority and prestige did not exercise their right to veto the perfidious UN resolution.

    It was the only possibility of gaining time to seek some formula for saving the peace, an objective that would have afforded them greater authority to continue fighting for it.

    Today, everything is hanging from a tenuous thread.

    My principal intention was to advise international public opinion of what was occurring.

    I have in part achieved that by observing what was taking place, as a political leader who, for many years, has been confronting the empire, its blockades and its indescribable crimes. But I am not doing it out of revenge.

    I am not hesitating to run the risks of compromising my modest moral authority.

    I shall continue writing Reflections on the subject. There will be a number more after this one in order to continue going more profoundly into it in July and August, unless some incident occurs to trigger the deadly weapons currently pointed at each other.

    I have very much enjoyed the final games of the World Cup and the volleyball games, in which our valiant team is marching at the head of its group in the World League of that sport.

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