Why Hezbollah walked

Why Hezbollah walked

Franklin Lamb, South Beirut

“ In case no one has noticed, the Obama administration  just gifted Lebanon to Iran.  Washington earlier presented Iraq,  Afghanistan, the Gulf,  and Pakistan. Could it be more clear that Iran’s strategic trump card is America’s  subservience  to Israel?  For Iran, Israel’s strangle hold on the US government is the gift that keeps on giving. ”  With his comment, my neighbor, Lebanese Human Rights Ambassador Ali Khalil, declared American hegemony in the region was on a slippery and descending slope and that yesterday’s political maneuvering in Lebanon likely accelerated American withdrawal .

My other neighbors in South Beirut appeared to go to bed early last night following the day’s events which saw the collapsed of Lebanon’s US-Saudi and Israeli backed government. Some, like my American and Lebanese roommates were planning for quick evacuations  should our Hezbollah neighborhood-watch guys give us that special knock on the door. Two rapid raps and a shouted “Yalla!” (Let’s go) and it’s time to head north fast without looking back. The reason is because, like many here, some neighbors fear Israel might use this latest government crisis to invade Lebanon again.

Yesterday, our  “government” electricity (and internet) was cut from 10 a.m. until  2 p.m. and again from 6 p.m. to midnight.   At least ten hour daily power cuts is the  norm south and north of the  pro-US/Saudi Hamra “chic” district, where three hours or less daily power cuts are experienced.  Spending lots of hours in candle light probably made  the unsubstantiated rumors even more unsettling.  “The armed forces of Lebanon, Hezbollah and its allies, Turkey, Syria, Jordan, Israel and Iran are on military alert. The Americans may send battalions from Iraq!”, the young man who works in the phone shop near my flat whispered. I could not help noticing that some of the young men normally hanging out in our hood seemed to have vanished. Even my phone card guy was impatient with me wanting to recharge my phone, “ please hurry”, he said, ”I have an appointment and need to close my shop.”

The assassination of Prime Minister Rafik Hariri

The current government crisis has its origins in the February 14,  2005  Valentine’s Day murder of Lebanon’s prime minister Rafic Hariri and 20 others.  The Bush administration declared Syria  responsible and saw an opportunity to force the Assad regime to drop its friendship with Washington’s  regional nemesis Iran, and to end its support for the National Lebanese Resistance led by Hezbollah.

One of Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s State Department lawyers came up with the idea to use the  UN Security Council to set up a Special Tribunal  for Lebanon (STL) to try Hariri’s killers and to hammer Syria into warming to Israel and to US projects for the region.

What was not considered at the time, but later became a godsend from the points of view of Israel and the Bush administration was  leaked STL  information claiming that Hezbollah members might also be involved in the assassination. Hardly believing, one imagines, their really good luck, Israel and the US abruptly changed directions and decided to use the newly formed Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) to rid themselves of Hezbollah once and for all as well as to correct Syria’s behavior, believing that the Syrian government would also be indicted.

The pressure on Hezbollah caused the party to condemn what it claims is  false witnesses and it strongly urged the Lebanese government to open a case against them and not allow the STL, which it and others believe has became fatally politicized  by  rushing to judgment,  to receive Lebanese government cooperation. Hezbollah’s  adversaries hailed the tribunal  even if Lebanon’s stability was endangered.  After nearly fourteen months of trying to get the Saad Hariri government to seriously reconsider its positions on the STL, the Hezbollah led opposition gave the majority an ultimatum either to call a cabinet meeting by January 12, 2011 to discuss the STL or the opposition Cabinet members would resign.  What Hezbollah and its allies wanted was for PM Hariri to convene a Cabinet session to consider whether to stop payment of Lebanon’s  49 percent share of the financing of the STL,  whether to withdraw the Lebanese judges from the tribunal, consider ending  all cooperation with the STL, and prosecuting  the “false witnesses” it claimed was linked to the UN probe into Rafik Hariri’s killing.

Under enormous pressure from Washington, Paris and Riyadh , Saad  balked.  The opposition quickly resigned. Under article 69 the Lebanese Constitution, the resignation of one-third plus one of Cabinet members automatically leads to the collapse of the 30-member government.  It was the first time in Lebanon’s politically turbulent history that a government collapsed under pressure of the resignations of one-third plus one of its members.

In order to secure the eleventh cabinet resignation, to add to Hezbollah’s ten, in order to bring down the pro-US government, Hezbollah Secretary General  Hassan Nasrallah’s key political aide Hussein Khalil, called President Suleiman’s Cabinet designee, Sayyed Hussein. Khalil reportedly conveyed Nasrallah’s greetings and his hope that Hussein would decide what to do based on his conscience.  Huyssein’s resignation quickly followed and Hariri’s Premiership ended as he sat with President Obama at the White House.

What the toppling of the Hariri government means for the near term

Regional players reacted more or less predictably with the US accusing Iran, Syria and Hezbollah of ‘blackmail’, the French warning Syria that is would be held to account if there is  violence in Lebanon and the British warning of long term dangers. British Foreign Secretary William Hague said in a statement: “This is an extremely serious development which could have grave implications for Lebanon and for regional stability.”  One British diplomat added last this evening, “Good Grief, however can we resolve this problem anytime soon?”

Israeli Foreign Ministry officials said they were “carefully following events” in Lebanon following the resignations and that “The Lebanese understand that an attempt by extremist to disturb the peace may turn out as a perilous gamble,”  according to Israeli  TV Channel 10.  Israel is being accused today in Lebanon of trying to provoke strife and to gain advantage from the governmental crisis.  Yesterday after  kidnapping Sharbel Khoury, a shepherd from near Rmeish (he was released 24 hours later) the Israel navy also entered Lebanese waters along the coast.  This afternoon (1/13/10)  Israeli warplanes overflew Baalbek, Nabatiyeh and Marjayoun. These incursions constituted Israel’s 7,269 and 7,270th violation of Lebanese sovereignty since the August 2006 adoption of UN Security Council Resolution 1701 ordering it to stay out of Lebanon.  Several UNIFIL and UN protests have had no effect on Israel while Washington remains mute on the subject of Israeli violations of Lebanese sovereignty.

Free Patriotic Movement member and Hezbollah supporter  Jebran Bassil,  who was Minister of Energy until yesterday, blamed Washington for the fact that  Saudi-Syrian efforts to prevent the resignations, reached a dead end. “The other side bowed to external, especially American pressure, ignoring the advice and wishes of the Saudi and Syrian sides,” Bassil said.

For his part, Progressive Socialist Party (PSP) leader Walid Jumblatt  seemed to agree with the FPM  and he attributed the failure of mediation efforts of Saudi Arabia and Syria to the “forces of darkness,” alluding to leading Western powers, “It appears the forces of darkness got involved and stymied the Syrian-Saudi initiative, through which we would have seen a blocking of the negative repercussion of the STL indictment.”

Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea blamed the rival March 8 camp for seeking what he called “Stalin-like” powers, accusing it of “seeking to steal away the prerogatives of the president and the prime minister.”

What next for Hezbollah?

The Hezbollah led opposition, as a result of the last election, has a majority in the 128-member Parliament, which enables it to name a candidate of its own for prime minister during the president’s soon to be announced binding parliamentary consultations.  At noon on 1/13/10, Hezbollah voting bloc leader MP Mohammed Raad, announced that the opposition will name “a personality with a history of national resistance to head the new government.” Some are speculating that Hezbollah might propose the longtime Sunni leader Omar Karami, a moderate self effacing fellow with strong Syrian, progressive, and popular support.

Whatever it decides to do, Hezbollah may well take its time as its ponders major responsibilities that would envelope  the resistance movement should it decide to govern Lebanon. Some of its supporters are urging Hezbollah to accept the daunting challenge and implement its 2009 Manifesto and its recent election platforms and end the mafia like corruption among some Lebanon’s political leaders. Several Lebanese civil society NGO’s are urging Hezbollah to do more for Lebanon’s increasingly fragile environment, fix once and for all Lebanon’s serious water, electricity and infrastructure problems, and let the Lebanese public decide if Hezbollah  is true to their cause and warrants its future electoral support.

Others continue to  also lobby the party to immediately end Lebanon’s and the Arabs shame and grant Palestinian refugees the internationally mandated basic civil rights to work and to own a home. If Hezbollah heads the government, Palestinian prospects for achieving these elementary rights may be realized sooner rather than later.

Franklin Lamb is doing research in Lebanon and is reachable c/o fplamb@gmail.com

Sarah Palin Likens Her Critics To Anti-Semitic Conspiracy Theorists

[The complete idiocy of Sarah Palin and the dumb-asses propelling her to fame can be seen in this "blood libel" accusation which she has made against people who suggest that her brand of extremist pedagogy has contributed to the politically-motivated Arizona  murders.  If insane, or inane political rhetoric can push an unstable individual to take actions based on his political beliefs, then Palin comparing her critics to scared illiterate peasants from the Middle Ages, who think that Jewish people drank the blood of sacrificed Christian children, ranks right up there with some of the craziest politics of all time.  This may or may not be an intentional attempt to appeal to anti-Semitism among Republicans,  but it does strike a chord with that same crowd.  Bringing old anti-Semitic conspiracy theories into the debate about responsible American politics is bad politics, and just plain wrong.  This clearly demonstrates her bad judgment.  She has no business in politics.

Since being tapped as John McCain's VP, Palin has gained considerable influence in Arizona politics, McCain's home district.  The woman has nothing of her own to say, but she helps to hype the issues with garbage such as this "libel" charge and the map with twenty bulls-eyes, one of which had Ms Giffords' name on it.  Her particular brand of negative politics has been used for a long time by ultra right-wing Republicans, since the corporations first took over the American political process.  This blatant attempt to use hyper-ventilated rhetoric to turn the people into a mob, in order to turn their anger into undeserved personal opportunities, has helped to radicalize young "conservative" Republican listeners.  Unstable, angry listeners, without a moral compass could easily think that violent actions might solve something, such as silencing the idiots of the world, whether they be on the right or the left.

Put down your guns, kids.  Guns are not our solution.

Ms. Palin, get out of politics, so that the country you claim to love so deeply might have a little better chance of surviving a long history of successive governments full of people just like you.]

Arizona shooting: Palin denounces ‘blood libel’

Former Vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin

Without naming names, Ms Palin criticises “those who claim political rhetoric is to blame” for the shooting

Former Alaska governor Sarah Palin has attacked as a “blood libel” suggestions that political rhetoric contributed to Saturday’s fatal shootings in Arizona.

Ms Palin, tipped as a possible 2012 presidential runner, hit out at “irresponsible statements” apportioning “blame for this terrible event”.

Her remarks came as new details emerged about the attack, in which six were killed and a congresswoman wounded.

Jared Loughner, 22, has been jailed pending trial for the attack.

The video statement from the 2008 vice-presidential candidate came hours before President Barack Obama is set to fly to Arizona to attend a service honouring victims of the shooting.

Some commentators have suggested increasingly vitriolic political rhetoric in the US may have contributed in some way to the attack, with some specifically criticising Ms Palin for using an online graphic containing crosshair symbols that marked targeted Democratic districts in the recent US mid term elections.

Among the districts targeted was that of Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona, who was gravely injured in Saturday’s attack at a constituency outreach meeting in a Tucson shopping centre.

Six were killed in the attack, including a federal judge and a nine-year-old girl, and more than a dozen wounded. Ms Giffords was shot in the head and remains in critical condition, though doctors have said she is able to breath on her own and appears slowly to be recovering.

Mr Loughner has been charged with several federal crimes over the shooting, and could face the death penalty. In an initial court appearance on Monday he was remanded in custody pending trial.

Cry Out!–(INDIGNEZ VOUS!)

http://saptestele.wordpress.com/2011/01/08/indignez-vous-by-stephane-hessel-the-text/

Cry Out!.pdf

CRY OUT!
INDIGNEZ VOUS!
By Stephane Hessel, 93
Page 1
Much the very last step. The end is not far away. What
chance to take this opportunity to recall what has served as
base for my political engagement: the years of resistance
and the sixty-six years program developed by the National
Council of Resistance! It was Jean Moulin that we owe,
through this Council, the meeting of all parts of occupied
France, movements, parties, trade unions, to proclaim their
adherence of the Fighting France and the only leader that it
is recognized: General de Gaulle. In London, where I had
joined General de Gaulle in March 1941, I learned that this
Council had developed a program, which was adopted in
March, 1944 and which porposed to Liberated France a set
of principles and values which supported the democracy of
Our modern country. Of these principles and values, is that
we need today more than ever. It behooves us all together to

ensure that our society is a society in which we are proud
of: not of this society of undocumented papers, expulsions,
suspicions against immigrants, not this society that
challenges pensions, the achievemnets of Social Security,
not this society where the media are in the hands of the
moneyed classes, all things that we would have refused to
endorse if we were the true heirs of the National Council of
Resistance. From1945, after a terrible tragedy, it was an
ambitious resurrection which engaged the forces present in
the Council of Resistance. Remember, then they created
Social Security as the Resistance wished, as the program
stated: ” A comprehensive plan for Social Security, to
ensure livelihoods for all citizens,
Page 2
in all cases or if they are unable to obtain them through
work “,” a pension to the old workers to assure a dignified
end of their days. “The energy sources, electricity and gas,
coal, the major banks were nationalized. That’s what this
program was still stating: “the return to the nation of the
major means of production, produced by common sources
of energy, wealth of the subsoil, insurance companies and
large banks; ” the establishment of genuine economic and

social democracy involving the eviction of large feudal
economic and financial that directed the economy. ” The
public interest must prevail over the interest individual, the
fair sharing of the wealth created by the world of work
override the power of money. The Resistance said ” a
rational organization of the economy to ensure the
subordination of special individual interests to the public
interest and free from the dictatorship introduced to the
professional image of fascist states”. A real democracy
needs a free press, and the Resistance knows this and states
“The press freedom, its honor and independence againt the
power of the State, the power of money and foreign
influences.” That is what turns further orders on the press in
1944. Yet that is what is now in danger. The Resistance was
calling for “an effective opportunity for all French children
to benefit from the most developed education”, without
discrimination, yet the reforms proposed in 2008 go against
this project. Young teachers, which actions I support, were
up to refuse to apply them and they saw their wages cut as a
punishment. They were outraged, have “disobeyed” and
found these reforms too far from the ideal of the republican
school, too much in the service of
Page 3

the money society and not enough developing the creative
and critical thinking. It is just the base of the social
conquests of the Resistance which is now in question (2) .
The reason of the Resistance was outrage.
We dare say that the State was no longer covering the
costs of these civic action. But how can it lack today the
money to maintain and extend these achievements while
production of wealth has increased considerably since the
Liberation period when Europe was ruined? If not because
the power of money, so fought by the Resistance, has never
been greater, insolent, selfish, with his own servants into the
highest echelons of the State. Banks are now privatized and
first show of their conscious dividends and high salaries of
their leaders, not the general interest. The gap between the
poorest and richest has never been so important, and the
race for money, the competition has never been so
encouraged. The basic pattern of resistance was indignation.
We, veterans of resistance movements and fighting forces
of Liberated France, we call the younger generations to
stand up, to transmit the heritage of the Resistance and its
ideals. We say take over, cry out! The political and
economic responsibles, the intellectuals and all society shall

not resign or be intimidated by the current international
dictatorship of financial markets that threatens the peace
and democracy. I wish you all, to each of you to have your
design indignation. Is invaluable. When something get you
outraged, as I was outraged by the Nazis, then you have to
become an activist, strong and committed. We joined the
stream of history and the mainstream of the history must
continue through each. And this trend is towards more
justice, more freedom but not this freedom of uncontrolled
fox in the henhouse. These rights, including the Universal
Declaration drafted the program in 1948,
Page 4
are universal. If you meet someone who doesn’t benefit of
those, help him to conquer them.
Two visions of History
When I try to understand what caused fascism, what caused
the invasion by it and by Vichy, I tell myself that the
wealthy, with their selfishness, have been terribly afraid of
the Bolshevik revolution. They have been guided by their
fears. But if today as then, a vocal minority stands, this will
suffice, we will leaven so that the dough rises. Admittedly,

the experience of a very old like me, born in 1917, differs
from the experience of young people today. I often asks
college teachers the opportunity to intervene to their
students, and I tell them: you dont have the same obvious
reasons for committing. For us, to resist, was not to accept
the German occupation, the defeat. It was relatively simple.
Simple as what followed, decolonization. Then the war of
Algeria. It was that Algeria became independent, it was
obvious. As for Stalin, we all applauded the victory of the
Red Army against the Nazis in 1943. But even if we had
knowledge of the great Stalinist trials of 1935, and even
whether to keep an ear open counterbalance to communism
for American capitalism, the need to oppose this intolerable
form of totalitarianism was an obvious move. My long life
has given me a succession of reasons to be indignant. These
reasons are born less from an emotion and more from a
concious commitment. Being young and very marked by
Sartre, a senior classmate. Nausea, The Wall, Being and
Nothingness were very important in shaping my thinking.
Sartre taught us to say: “You are responsible as
individuals.”It was a libertarian message. The
responsibility of man who can not rely on a power or a god.
Instead, we must

Page 5
engage on behalf of its responsibility as a human. When I
went to the École normale, in 1939, I entered it as a fervent
disciple of the Hegel, and I followed the Maurice Merleau-
Ponty Seminar. His teaching explored concrete experience,
that of the body and its relationship with the senses. But my
natural optimism, which means that everything is desirable
or possible, I was rather from Hegel. The Hegelianism
interprets the long history of humanity as having a
meaning: man’s freedom is progressing step by step.
History is made of successive shocks. The history of society
progresses, and then, man having reached its full freedom,
has the democratic state for ideal form. There are of course
other concepts of history. Progress made by freedom,
competition, the race “of more”, this may be experienced as
a destructive hurricane. Thus represents a friend of my
father, the man who shared with him the task to translate
into German In Search of Lost Time by Marcel Proust. He is
the German philosopher Walter Benjamin. He pulled a
pessimistic message out of Paul Klee’s Angelus Novus
painiting where the figure of angel opens his arms as if to
contain and repel a storm that he identified with progress.
For Benjamin, who committed suicide in September 1940 to

escape Nazism, the sense of history is the irresistible path of
disaster into disaster.
Indifference: the worst attitude
True, the reasons for outrage today may seem less net or the
world too complex. Who controls, who decides? It is not
always easy to distinguish between all the currents that
govern us. We are no longer dealing with a small elite
who’s actions we clearly understand. It’s s a vast world,
Page 6
we feel that it is interdependent. We live in an inter
connectivity that has never existed. But in this world, some
things are unbearable. To see this, we must look, search. I
tell young people: Look for a bit, you’ll find. The worst
attitude is indifference, saying “I can not do anything, I’m
doing my job. ” By having this, you lose one of the
components which is essential in humans. One of the
essential components: the faculty of outrage and its
consequence – commitment. We can already identify two
major challenges: 1.The huge gap between the very poor
and very rich and which continues to grow. This is an
innovation of the twentieth and twenty first century. The

very poor in the world today earn just two dollars per day.
We can not let that gap widen further. This statement alone
should generate commitment. 2. Human rights and the state
of the planet. I had the chance after Liberation of being
involved in drafting the Universal Declaration of Human
Rights adopted by the United Nations, 10 December 1948
in Paris at the Palais de Chaillot. It’s under Chief Henri
Laugier, Assistant Secretary General of the UN, and
Secretary of the Commission on Human Rights That
together with others we were to participate in the drafting of
this declaration. I can not forget, in its development, the role
of René Cassin, curator National Justice and Education,
Government of Free France, in London in 1941, which was
awarded the Nobel peace in 1968, nor that of Pierre Mendes
France in the Economic and Social Council to whom the
texts that we developed were subjected before being
considered by the Third Committee of the ‘ General
Assembly, responsible for matters Social, Humanitarian and
Cultural Committee. The UN had fifty-four Member States
at the time, and I assured the secretariat. René Cassin was
the one whom we owe the term “universal rights
Page 7

and not” international “as suggested by our Anglo-Saxon
friends. For there is much at stake at the end of the War
World: emancipate from the threats posed to humanity by
Totalitarianism. To emancipate we must ensure that each
Member State of United Nations undertakes to respect these
universal rights. It is a way to defeat the argument of full
sovereignty that a State may assert while engaging in crimes
against humanity on its soil. This was the case of Hitler
who considered himself his own master and allowed to
cause genocide. The Universal Declaration owes much to
the universal revulsion against Nazism, fascism,
totalitarianism, and even, by our presence, the spirit of the
Resistance. I can not resist the urge to quote Article 15 of
the Universal Declaration of Human Rights: “Everyone has
the right to a nationality ” and Article 22:” Everyone, as a
member of the society has the right to social security; and is
entitled to the satisfaction of economic, social and cultural
rights indispensable for dignity and the free development of
his personality, thanks to the national efforts and
international cooperation, taking into account the
organization and resources of each country.” And if this
statement has a declarative scope, and not legal, it has
nevertheless played a powerful role since 1948; we saw
colonized people in their grasp struggle for independence,

and stocked their minds in battle for freedom. I note with
pleasure that in recent decades have increased the number
of non-governmental organizations, social movements as
ATTAC (Association for the Taxation of Financial
Transactions
Page 8
), FIDH (International Federation of Human Rights)
Amnesty … who are acting and performing. It is obvious
that to be effective today, we must act in a network, take
advantage of all means of modern communication. For
young people, I say look around you, if you will find
themes that justify your outrage – the treatment made to
immigrants, undocumented migrants, Roma. You will find
concrete situations that lead you to give play to strong
citizen action. Seek and you shall find!
My indignation about Palestine
Today, my biggest outrage is for Palestine, Gaza,
Cisjordania. This conflict is the source of indignation. You
must read the report of September 2009 of Richard
Goldstone on Gaza, in which the South African judge,
Jewish, accuses Israel of committing “acts amounting to

war crimes and perhaps in some circumstances, crimes
against ‘ humanity “during its operation” Cast Lead ”
which lasted three weeks. I myself returned to Gaza in
2009, where I was able to enter with my wife through our
diplomatic passports in order to ‘ study firsthand what the
report said. The people who accompanied us have not been
allowed into the Gaza Strip. There and in the Cisjoradnia.
We also visited the Palestinian refugee camps set up in 1948
by ‘ UN agency, UNRWA, where more than three million
Palestinians hunted from their land by Israel are waiting for
a Return that is increasingly problematic. As for Gaza, is a
under the sky prison for a million and half Palestinians. A
prison where they survive. More than the material
destructions like the Red Cross hospital in Cast Lead, is the
behavior of Gazans, their patriotism, their love of the sea
and beaches, their constant concern for the welfare of their
children,
Page 9
countless, laughing, that haunt our memory. We were
impressed by their clever way to deal with all shortages
imposed on them. We saw them make the fault cement
bricks to rebuild thousands of homes destroyed by tanks.

We confirmed that there had been one thousand and four
hundred dead – women, children and old included, in the
Palestinian camp – during this operation ” Cast Lead ” by
Israeli army against only fifty wounded Israelis. I shared the
findings with the South African judge. That Jews could
commit themselves to war crimes, it is unbearable. Alas,
history gives little examples of people who learn from their
own history. I know that Hamas who won the recent
parliamentary elections was unable to avoid being sent
rockets on Israeli towns in response to the situation of
isolation and blockade in which Gazans are. I obviously
think that terrorism is unacceptable, but we must recognize
that when you are busy with military means infinitely
superior to yours, the popular reaction can not be nonviolent.
Is this what it’s for the Hammas to send rockets into
the city Sderot ? The answer is no. It does not help its cause,
but we can explain this gesture by the exasperation of
Gazans. In the concept of exasperation, one needs to
understand violence as a regrettable conclusion to an
unacceptable situation for those affected. So we can say that
terrorism is a form of ‘ exasperation. And that exasperation
is a negative term. It should not be ex-asperation, it must be
es-perer (hope). The exasperation is a denial of hope. It is
understandable, I would almost say it is natural, but so far is

not acceptable. Because that ‘ it does not provide the results
that may eventually produce hope.
Page 10
Nonviolence, the path we must learn to follow.
I am convinced that future belongs to non-violence, to the
reconciliation of different cultures. This is the way that
humanity must cross the next step. And, I agree with Sartre,
we can not excuse terrorists who throw bombs, they can be
understood. Sartre wrote in 1947: “I accept that violence
manifested in any form is a failure. But it is an inevitable
failure because we are in a world of violence. And it is true
that the use of violence is violence that is likely to
perpetuate, it is true that the only way is to stop.” What I
would add is that non-violence is a safer way to stop it. We
can not support terrorists as Sartre did on behalf of this
principle during the Algeria war or during the attack on the
Munich games in 1972, committed against Israeli athletes.
This is not efficient and Sartre himself eventually wonder at
the end of his life on the meaning of terrorism and
questioned its reason. “Violence is not effective, “ is far
more important than whether we should condemn or not
those whodeliver it. Terrorism is not effective. In the

concept of efficiency, I choose a non-violent hope. If there
is a violent hope is in the poetry of Guillaume Apollinaire:
“That hope is violent ” not politics. Sartre, in March 1980,
three weeks before his death, said: “We must try explain
why the world of today, which is horrible, is only one
moment in a long historical development, that Hope has
always been one of the dominant forces of revolutions and
insurections, and how I still feel that hope is my conception
for the future. We must understand that violence turns his
back on hope. And that he preferred hope, the hope of nonviolence.
This is the path we must learn to follow. From
either side of the
Page 11
oppressors or of the oppressed, we must come to a
negotiation to remove the oppression; it is thereby to no
longer have terrorist violence. Therefore we must not let
accumulate too much hate. The message of Mandela, of
Martin Luther King finds its relevance in a world which has
exceeded the comparison of ideologies and totalitarianism
conqueror. This is a message of hope in modern societies’
capacity to overcome conflicts by mutual understanding and
vigilant patience. If so, if based on rights, the violation of

them should provoke our indignation. There is not
compromise on these rights.
For a peaceful uprising
I have noted – and I’m not the only – the Israeli government
response to the fact that every Friday citizens of Bil’id will
come, without throwing stones without using force, to the
wall in protest. The Israeli authorities have called the march
of “non-violent terrorism.” Not bad … It was Israel to
called the terrorist nonviolent. They were especially
embarrassed by the efficiency of non-violence that is
committed to ensuring it raises the support, understanding,
support of all those who in the world are the enemies of
oppression. Productivist thinking, driven by the West, led
the world in a crisis that we must avoid a radical break with
the headlong rush of “growing” in the financial field but
also in science and technology. It is high time for the sake
of ethics, justice, sustainable balance become prevalent. For
the most serious risks we face. They can put an end to the
human adventure on a planet that it can make it
uninhabitable for man.
Page 12

But it remains true that important progress has been made
since 1948: decolonization, the end of apartheid, the
destruction of the Soviet empire, the fall of the Berlin Wall.
On the contrary, the first decade of the twenty first century
was a period of decline. This fall, I explained it in part by
the U.S. President George Bush, September 11, and
disastrous consequences as ‘ have drawn the United States
in this military intervention in Iraq. We had this economic
crisis, but we did not further initiated a new policy
development. Similarly, the Copenhagen summit against
global warming didn’t permited to engage in a genuine
policy for protecting the planet. We are at a threshold
between the horrors of the first decade and opportunities in
the following decades. But hopefully, there’s always hope.
The previous decade, the 1990s, had been of great progress.
The UN has been able to convene conferences like those of
Rio on Environment in 1992, that of Beijing on Women in
1995 and in September 2000, at the ‘ initiative of Secretary
General United Nations, Kofi Annan, the 191 member
countries adopted the statement on the “Eight Millennium
Development Goals” by which they undertake to halve
poverty in the world by 2015. My great regret, is that
neither Obama nor the EU has so far been manifested with
what should be their contribution to a constructive phase,

pressing the fundamental values. How to conclude the call
to outrage? Recalling further that, on the occasion of the
sixtieth anniversary of the National Programme Resistance,
we said March 8, 2004, we veterans Resistance movements
and fighting forces of Free France (1940-1945), although
that “Nazism was defeated, thanks to the sacrifice of our
brothers and sisters of the Resistance and the UN against
Fascist barbarism
Page 13
But this threats not disappeared totally and our anger
against Injustice is still intact. No, this threat has not
disappeared completely. Also, we call today to a real
peaceful insurrection against the means of mass
communication that do not offer a horizon for our youth,
mass consumption, the contempt for the weakest, and
culture, generalized amnesia and excessive competition of
all against all. ” To those who will make the twenty-first
century, we say with our affection : “CREATE is to resist.
RESIST IS TO CREATE. “

Citizens for Democracy, Pakistan

Citizens for Democracy, Pakistan:

Position and Press Statement on assassination of Salmaan Taseer

Citizens for Democracy (CFD)

7 January 2011

Karachi: Citizens for Democracy (CFD), a nation-wide umbrella group of political parties, trade unions, professional organisations, NGOs and individuals, strongly condemns the cold-blooded and cowardly murder of Salmaan Taseer.

The unarmed Governor of Punjab was shot in the back in the most cowardly manner by one of his own bodyguards on Jan 4, 2011, following a concerted propaganda campaign that falsely accused him of having been disrespectful to the Prophet of Islam (peace be upon on Him). This campaign was conducted in the media and through the mosques.

We strongly condemn those who are glorifying the assassin, who opened fire at the back of an unarmed man. We express our concern at the Rawalpindi District Bar Association’s support to the murderer and the offer to contest his case free of any fee, which signifies support for the murderer.

There is no proof of ‘blasphemy’ against Taseer. Even in the case of Aasia Bibi, the Christian woman sentenced by a sessions court for alleged blasphemy, the sentence has yet to be confirmed by the High Court and then by the Supreme Court before she can be considered guilty and executed.

The questions arising from this assassination indicate the involvement of retrogressive forces in Pakistan that have over the past couple of decades made inroads into the ‘establishment’.

The assassin, Malik Mumtaz Qadri, was assigned to the elite force guarding the Punjab Governor even though he (Qadri) was earlier removed from the Special Branch because he was perceived as a security threat.

How did he end up on the security detail of a Governor who was already receiving death threats?

Why did the other guards not open fire, as per standard operating procedures in VIP guard duty? (In Qadri’s confession after his arrest, he said that he had told his colleagues what he was going to do and asked them not to open fire, as he would surrender.)

While appreciating the arrest of the cleric who had offered a reward for Taseer’s murder, and of the other guards who were on duty and did nothing to protect the Governor, we demand:

• Detailed inquiry and names of those responsible for this negligence should be made public and they be tried in a court of law.
• Action and a legal process against all the guards on duty, who have been apprehended and placed in police custody, for they are accomplices.
• Legal proceedings against the cleric Yousuf Qureshi of the Mohabat Khan Masjid, Peshawar, who at a public gathering on Dec 3, 2010 offered a Rs 500,000 reward to kill Aasia Bibi if her death sentence was not confirmed by the High Court.
• Legal action against the Khatm-e-Naboohat for distributing threatening pamphlets (attached) against PPP MNA Sherry Rehman.
• Legal action against those who continue to indulge in hate speech and threaten those who support amendment of the ‘Blasphemy Law’. We reiterate our stand that no one has the right to take the law into their own hands and kill anyone, regardless of whether they are accused of blasphemy or any other crime.

CFD was formed at a meeting convened by Professional Organisations Mazdoor Federations & Hari Joint Committee (POJAC) on Dec 19, 2010 in Karachi. POJAC member organizations include:

  1. Sindh High Court Bar Association
  2. Pakistan Medical Association
  3. All Pakistan Newspaper Employees Confederation
  4. Mutahida Labour Federation
  5. Karachi Union of Journalists
  6. Pakistan Workers Federation
  7. All Pakistan Trade Union Federation
  8. All Pakistan Clerk Association
  9. Democratic Labour Union State Bank of Pakistan
  10. UBL Workmen Union (CBA)
  11. National Bank Trade Union Federation
  12. Karachi Bar Association
  13. Pakistan Nursing Federation
  14. National Trade Union Federation
  15. Sindh Hari Committee
  16. Govt. Sec. Teachers Association
  17. Pakistan Hotel And Restaurant Workers Federation
  18. Mehran Mazdoor Federation
  19. All Sindh Primary Teachers Association
  20. Sindh Professor Lecturer Association
  21. Malir Bar Association, Karachi
  22. Pakistan Trade Union Federation
  23. Railway Workers Union Open Line (cba) Workshop
  24. Mehran Railway Employees Welfare Association
  25. All Pakistan Trade Unions Organisations

In addition to POJAC, CFD members and those endorsing the above statement include:

  1. Awami Party
  2. Labour Party Pakistan (LPP)
  3. Progressive Youth Front (PYF)
  4. Communist Party Pakistan (CPP)
  5. Peace and Solidarity Council
  6. Pakistan Institute of Labour, Education & Research (Piler)
  7. Action Committee for Human Rights
  8. Dalit Front
  9. Commission for Justice and Peace (CJP)
  10. Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP)
  11. Caritas
  12. Aurat Foundation
  13. Women’s Action Forum (WAF)
  14. People’s Resistance
  15. Sindh Awami Sangat
  16. National Organisation of Working Committees
  17. Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum
  18. Child and Labour Rights Welfare Organisation
  19. Progressive Writers Association (PWA)
  20. Port Workers Federation
  21. Shirkat Gah
  22. Pakistan Peace Coalition (PPC)
  23. Idara-e-Taleem-o-Aagahi (ITA)
  24. Sanjan Nagar Public Education Trust (SNPET)
  25. Pakistan Dalit Solidarity Network (PDSN)
  26. Sindh Democratic Forum (SDF)
  27. SAP-Pakistan
  28. AwazCDS-Pakistan
  29. GCAP-Pakistan
  30. Home Based Women Workers Federation (HBWWF)
  31. Labour Education Foundation (LEF)
  32. Progressive Youth Forum
  33. National Students’ Federation (NSF)
  34. The Researchers

Contact: Citizens for Democracy – cfd.pak@gmail.com

Watching the Brits Letting the Fascists Turn Great Britain Into Argentina

“That’s another feature of disaster capitalism: it exacerbates the crises on which it thrives, creating its own opportunities.”

“Only a crisis – actual or perceived – produces real change.”(15) After a crisis has struck, he added later, “a new administration has some six to nine months in which to achieve major changes; if it does not act decisively during that period, it will not have another such opportunity.”(16)

Britain’s Shock Doctrine

The economic crisis is the disaster the Conservatives have been praying for. Now they can reshape the economy on corporate lines.

 

By George Monbiot. Published in the Guardian 19th October 2010.

We’ve been staring at the wrong list. In an effort to guess what will hit us tomorrow, we’ve been trying to understand the first phase of the British government’s assault on the public sector: its bonfire of the quangos. Almost all the public bodies charged with protecting the environment, animal welfare and consumers have been either hobbled or killed(1). But that’s only half the story. Look again, and this time make a list of the quangos which survived.

If the government’s aim had been to destroy useless or damaging public bodies, it would have started with the Commonwealth Development Corporation. It was set up to relieve poverty in developing countries, but when New Labour tried, and failed, to privatise it, the CDC completely changed its mission. Now it sluices money into lucrative corporate ventures, while massively enriching its own directors. Private Eye discovered that in 2007 this quango paid its chief executive just over a million pounds(2). The magazine has also shown how the CDC has become entangled in a series of corruption cases(3). Uncut. Unreformed.

The same goes for the Export Credit Guarantee Department. The ECGD effectively subsidises private corporations, by underwriting the investments they make abroad. At one point, 42% of its budget was spent on propping up BAE’s weapons sales(4). It also pours money into drilling for oil in fragile environments(5,6). A recent court case showed how it has underwritten contracts obtained with the help of bribery(7,8). Uncut. Unreformed.

The Sea Fish Industry Authority exists “to help improve profitability for the seafood industry”(9). Though it is a public body, all but one of its 11 directors work for either the fishing industry or food companies(10). They seek to “promote the consumption of seafood”(11), to “champion the industry in public debates”(12) and to “influence the regulatory process” in the industry’s favour(13). Uncut. Unreformed.

Can you see the pattern yet? Public bodies whose purpose is to hold corporations to account are being swept away. Public bodies whose purpose is to help boost corporate profits, regardless of the consequences for people and the environment, have sailed through unharmed. What the two lists suggest is that the economic crisis is the disaster the Conservatives have been praying for. The government’s programme of cuts looks like a classic example of disaster capitalism: using a crisis to re-shape the economy in the interests of business.

In her book The Shock Doctrine, Naomi Klein shows how disaster capitalism was conceived by the extreme neoliberals at the University of Chicago(14). These people believed that the public sphere should be eliminated, that business should be free to do as it wants, and almost all tax and social spending should be stopped. They believed that total personal freedom in a completely free market produces a perfect economy and perfect relationships. It was a utopian system as fanatical as any developed by a religious cult. And it was profoundly unpopular. For a long time its only supporters were the heads of multinational corporations and a few wackos in the US government.

In a democracy under normal conditions, those who were harmed by abandoning public provision would outvote those who gained from it. So the Chicago programme couldn’t be imposed in these circumstances. As the Chicago School’s guru, Milton Friedman, explained, “only a crisis – actual or perceived – produces real change.”(15) After a crisis has struck, he added later, “a new administration has some six to nine months in which to achieve major changes; if it does not act decisively during that period, it will not have another such opportunity.”(16)

The first such opportunity was provided by General Pinochet’s coup in Chile. The coup was plotted by two factions: the generals and a group of economists trained at the University of Chicago and funded by the CIA. Their ideas had already been comprehensively rejected by the electorate, but now the electorate was irrelevant: Pinochet used the crisis he had created to imprison, torture or kill anyone who dissented. The Chicago School policies – privatisation, deregulation, massive tax and spending cuts – were catastrophic. Inflation rose to 375% in 1974; the highest rate on earth. Even so, Friedman insisted that the programme was not going far or fast enough. On a visit to Chile in 1975 he persuaded Pinochet to hit much harder. The result was a massive increase in unemployment and the near-eradication of the middle class. But the very rich became much richer, and the corporations, scarcely taxed, deregulated, fattened on privatised assets, became much more powerful.

By 1982, Friedman’s prescriptions had caused a spectacular economic crash. Unemployment hit 30%; debt exploded. Pinochet sacked the Chicago economists and started re-nationalising stricken companies, whereupon the economy began to recover. Chile’s so-called economic miracle began only after Friedman’s doctrines were abandoned. The Chicago School’s catastrophic programme pushed almost half the popultaion below the poverty line and left Chile with one of the world’s highest rates of inequality(17).

But all this was spun by the corporate media as a great success. With the help of successive US governments, similar programmes were imposed on dozens of countries in which crises ensured that the population was unable to resist. Other Latin American dictators copied Pinochet’s economic policies, with the help of mass disappearances, torture and killings. The poor world’s debt crisis was used by the IMF and the World Bank to impose Chicago School programmes on countries that had no option but to accept their help. The US hit Iraq with economic shock and awe – privatisation, a flat tax, massive deregulation – even as the bombs were still falling. After Hurricane Katrina wrecked New Orleans, Friedman described it as “an opportunity to radically reform the educational system”(18). His disciples immediately moved in, sweeping away public schools while the residents were picking up the pieces of their lives, replacing them with private charter schools.

Our crisis is less extreme, so, in the United Kingdom, the shock doctrine cannot be so widely applied. But, as David Blanchflower warned yesterday, there’s a strong possibility that the cuts programme will precipitate a bigger crisis: “it’s a terrible, terrible mistake. The sensible thing to do is to spread [the cuts] over a long time”(19). That’s another feature of disaster capitalism: it exacerbates the crises on which it thrives, creating its own opportunities.

So we shouldn’t wonder that 35 corporate executives wrote to the Telegraph yesterday, arguing, just as Milton Friedman used to do, for a short, sharp shock, before the window of opportunity closes(20). The policy might hit their profits for a while, but when we stagger out of our shelters to assess the damage, we’ll discover that we have emerged into a different world, run for their benefit, not ours.

www.monbiot.com

References:

1. https://spreadsheets.google.com/ccc?key=0AhsZb7eJoMM5dHlDMXhaMmM1TTdsSE9LTUZiQlh1NGc&hl=en#gid=0

2. Richard Brooks, 3rd September 2010. That’s Rich! How Britain’s poverty relief fund abandoned the poor … while its bosses cleaned up. Private Eye.

3. As above.

4. http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/oct/02/bae-jobs-sfo

5. http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2007/aug/16/russia.climatechange

6. http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/jun/30/uk-loans-brazil-offshore-drilling

7. http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2009/jul/08/mabey-johnson-serious-fraud-office-plea-bargain

8. http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2008/jan/02/scamsandfraud.money

9. http://www.seafish.org/upload/file/about_us/Economics%20team%20LR.pdf

10. http://www.seafish.org/about/board.asp?p=bc

11. http://www.seafish.org/upload/file/about_us/MarketingComms.pdf

12. http://www.seafish.org/upload/file/about_us/MarketingComms.pdf

13. http://www.seafish.org/upload/file/2008_sea_fisheries_statistics_summary/SSI%20brochure.pdf

14. Naomi Klein, 2007. The Shock Doctrine: the rise of disaster capitalism. Allen Lane, London.

15. Milton Friedman, Capitalism and Freedom, quoted by Naomi Klein, as above.

16. Milton Friedman and Rose Friedman, Tyranny of the Status Quo, quoted by Naomi Klein, as above.

17. Naomi Klein, as above.

18. Milton Friedman, 5th December 2005. article in the Wall Street Journal, quoted by Naomi Klein, as above.

19. http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2010/oct/18/david-blanchflower-warns-against-spending-cuts

20. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/letters/8069609/Osbornes-cuts-will-strengthen-Britains-economy-by-allowing-the-private-sector-to-generate-more-jobs.html


The Coming War over the Constitution–Civil War Next?

Despite a few victories in the lame-duck session of Congress, Democrats and progressives should be under no illusion about the new flood of know-nothingism that is about to inundate the United States in the guise of a return to “first principles” and a deep respect for the U.S. Constitution.

The same right-wingers who happily accepted George W. Bush’s shift toward a police state – his claims of limitless executive power, warrantless wiretaps, repudiation of habeas corpus, redefining cruel and unusual punishment, suppression of dissent, creation of massive databases on citizens, arbitrary no-fly lists, and endless overseas wars – have now reinvented themselves as brave protectors of American liberty.

Indeed, the Tea Party crowd so loves the Constitution that the new Republican House majority will take the apparently unprecedented step ofreading the document aloud at the start of the new congressional session, presumably including the part about enslaved African-Americans being counted as three-fifths of a white person for purposes of congressional representation.

One also has to wonder if these “constitutionalists” will mumble over the preamble’s assertion that a key purpose of the Constitution is to “promote the general Welfare.” And what to do with Section Eight of Article One, which gives Congress the power to levy taxes, borrow money, regulate commerce among the states, and “establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization”?

If one were to buy into the Tea Party’s interpretation of the founding document, you’d have to denounce such concepts as “socialism” and/or “intrusions” on states’ rights.

Part of the Tea Party’s mythology is that federal taxes are an unconstitutional imposition invented by modern-day “lib-rhuls,” that the national debt is another new thing, and that regulation of commerce is outside federal authority.

Surely, there can be honest debates about what’s the best way to “promote the general Welfare,” or the wisest balance between taxation and debt, or the proper role of states in enforcing laws when there is a federal interest (as with Arizona’s anti-immigrant “present your papers” law).

But the pretense of the Tea Party is that the U.S. Constitution is definitive on these points and that the Founders favored today’s right-wing interpretation of the federal government’s powers, i.e. that taxes, debt and regulation of commerce are somehow unconstitutional.

Another curious “reform” from the new Republican House majority will be a requirement to specify what constitutional authority underpins every piece of legislation, a rather silly idea since every bill can make some claim to constitutionality even if the federal courts might eventually disagree.

But the larger truth that the Tea Partiers don’t want to acknowledge is that the Constitution represented a major power grab by the federal government, when compared to the loosely drawn Articles of Confederation, which lacked federal taxing authority and other national powers.

The Founders also recognized that changing circumstances would require modification of the Constitution which is why they provided for amendments. Indeed, the primary limitations on federal authority were included in the first ten amendments, called the Bill of Rights. Subsequent amendments included the eradication of slavery and extending the vote to blacks, and later to women.

Civil Liberties?

Yet, while the Tea Partiers and the Right have embraced a mythical view of the Constitution as some ideal document that opposes federal power to tax, borrow and pass laws that improve “the general Welfare,” they have been less interested in the document’s protection of civil liberties, especially when the targets of abuse are Muslims, Hispanics, blacks and anti-war dissenters.

Many on the Right have found plenty of justifications to trample on the rights of these minorities, even when the actions violate clear-cut mandates in the Constitution, such as the Fourth Amendment’s requirement of “probable cause” before the government can engage in search and seizure and the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition on inflicting “cruel and unusual punishment.”

Especially when the Right’s hero George W. Bush was violating those rights last decade, there were word games to explain the unexplainable.

For instance, in 2007, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales argued that “there is no expressed grant of habeas in the Constitution.” But that was a point of sophistry since the Founders took habeas corpus rights for granted under English law and thus limited the reference in the Constitution to the extreme circumstances required before the government could suspend its need to justify a person’s incarceration before a judge.

Gonzales’s game-playing was similar to the argument made by Tea Party favorite Christine O’Donnell during a Delaware Senate debate – that the Constitution doesn’t call for the “separation of church and state,” because those specific words aren’t used.

The First Amendment does say that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion,” which Thomas Jefferson paraphrased as the “separation of church and state.” But it has become an article of faith among many on the Right that “separation of church and state” is a myth. O’Donnell later described herself as high-fiving her aides, thinking she had won the debating point.

Many on the American Right also insist that the Founders created a “Christian nation,” even though the word “Christian” is nowhere to be found in the Constitution and the Founders pointedly set no religious exclusions for those serving in the U.S. government.

One has to wonder, too, how the Republicans on opening day will read the Constitution’s prescribed oath for the president’s swearing in, which ends with a promise to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of United States,” without the add-on “so help me God,” which was freelanced by George Washington but is not what the drafters of the Constitution wrote.

Leaving out “so help me God” might be deemed part of the war on Christmas.

Radical Revision

Curiously, too, while supposedly revering the Constitution and its original intent, the Tea Partiers and their Republican allies simultaneously are proposing a radical revision of the founding document, an amendment that would allow a super-majority of states to overturn laws passed by Congress and signed into law by the president.

This neo-nullificationism smacks of South Carolina’s resistance to President Andrew Jackson’s federalism in the 1830s, a clash that set the stage for the Confederacy’s secession and the Civil War in the 1860s. The proposed Tea Party amendment, which is supported by many Southern officials including incoming House Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia, could again wreak havoc on the nation.

A New York Times editorial noted that because the proposed amendment “focuses on giving states power to veto (e.g., taxes) without their shouldering responsibility for asserting it (trimming appropriations because of lost tax revenue), the unintended consequences would likely be at least as important as the intended.”

In other words, the Tea Party and the Republicans are positioning themselves as both fundamentalists embracing the Constitution’s “original intent” and radicals determined to rip it up. Still, they are not likely to pay any price for their reckless ideas or their blatant hypocrisy.

If we’ve learned anything over the past several decades, it is that reason and consistency have little place in the U.S. political/media system. What counts is the size of the megaphone – and the American Right has built a truly impressive one, while the Left has largely downplayed the need for making an alternate case to the public.

As the Times noted, the Tea Party’s proposed 28th Amendment “helps explain further the anger-fueled, myth-based politics of the populist new right. It also highlights the absence of a strong counterforce in American politics. …

“The error that matters most here is about the Constitution’s history. America’s fundamental law holds competing elements, some constraining the national government, others energizing it.

“But the government the Constitution shaped was founded to create a sum greater than the parts, to promote economic development that would lift the fortunes of the American people.”

The Times also noted the inability of the American Left to make a case for more government intervention to address the nation’s deepening problems, such as high unemployment and severe income disparity. The Times wrote:

“In past economic crises, populist fervor has been for expanding the power of the national government to address America’s pressing needs. Pleas for making good the nation’s commitment to equality and welfare have been as loud as those for liberty.

“Now the many who are struggling have no progressive champion. The left have ceded the field to the Tea Party and, in doing so, allowed it to make history. It is building political power by selling the promise of a return to a mythic past.”

This means that we can expect the Tea Party’s myth-based assertions about the Founders’ intent to continue, along with the Right’s selective concern about the liberties guaranteed by the Constitution.

When those rights are extended to non-white minorities, it’s “lib-rhul” activism. If the rights go to multinational corporations or white folks with guns, then that’s the way it was meant to be.

Though the Tea Partiers insist that race is not a factor in their current fury against government power, they don’t explain their relative silence when Republican George W. Bush, a white man, was asserting unlimited executive power. But Barack Obama, a black man, can’t even get away with welcoming students back for the school year without howls about Orwellian totalitarianism.

Even Michelle Obama’s well-intentioned campaign for healthful eating has become a target of anger from the likes of former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and the Right’s powerful media machine.

So, it seems the country is in for a new round of crazy while the voices for sanity stay largely mute.

[For more on these topics, see Robert Parry’s Lost History andSecrecy & Privilege, which are now available with Neck Deep, in a three-book set for the discount price of only $29. For details, click here.]

Anti-fascist rally in Moscow brought together more than 2000 people

Митинг на Пушкинской площадиMeeting “Russia without fascism, according to various sources, collected from 1.5 to 4 thousand people

Sunday’s rally at Pushkin Square, was held under the slogan “Moscow – for all”, “Fascism will not pass” and “Russia without the Nazis.”

In the management of Information and Public Relations Moscow police say that the rally passed without incident.

Journalists working for the campaign estimate the number of participants at about 2,5 thousand people. In the Russian capital’s police department said in a rally attended by about fifteen hundred people. The organizers say about 4 thousand.

The action came in response to a ride in recent years in Moscow and other Russian cities rioting and clashes on ethnic grounds.

Despite the fact that the rally was attended by many politicians, including the organizers of the “Marches of Dissent” and shares the 31 th, political slogans may sound.

The gathering were popular Russian film actors and directors, writers and public figures.

Writer Viktor Shenderovich read a letter from Elena Bonner, who was unable to come to the Pushkin.

Акция протеста в поддержку Ходорковского перед Белым домомDecember 26 was also held rally in support of Khodorkovsky, the White House

“Think of what I went there again to save the motherland, even though his legs do not walk” – ended with the message of his wife of Andrei Sakharov.

Came to the rally director Pavel Lungin, poet Dmitry Bykov, actress Chulpan Khamatova, the governor of Kirov Region Nikita White and many others.

Another rally was held Sunday at the White House, where a group of activists organized a performance in support of former Yukos head Mikhail Khodorkovsky.

Established a group of protesters in front of the home government a symbolic cage, which was placed a masked man Putin.

Along with this, they unfurled a banner calling to release Khodorkovsky, who on Monday shall be declared the verdict on the so-called second Yukos case.

The rally was foiled by police. As a result, briefly detained several photographers protest.

Breakfast on Eternal Flame Sparks Anger in Kiev

Nationalists cooked breakfast on the sacred eternal flame marking the Soviet liberation of Kiev, sparking a scandal in the Ukrainian capital city.

Kiev police arrested 32-year-old Anna Donets this past week as a suspect in the protest at the city’s Park of Glory on Dec. 16. Four women gathered that day around the eternal flame that burns before the monument to the Soviet soldiers who died freeing Kiev from the Nazis. Then the women pulled out a pan and demonstratively used it to fry eggs and hot dogs.

On Tuesday, the press office of an extreme Christian nationalist party called “The Brotherhood” disseminated a link to a video of the event.

The party’s site says that “in prosecuting the girls who participated in this act the state is taking an expressly heathen, anti-Christian position, since the rituals of the Ukrainian state are the rituals of heathen cults — in particular, the placing of memorial wreaths by the Ukrainian president before the eternal flame at the Glory Monument in Kiev several times each year.”

The police have reported numerous outraged calls from people who viewed the video. An attempt to defile a monument to military glory and defense of a country evokes an outcry anywhere, of course. But the local situation is more complex.

The population of the Ukraine is split between ethnic Ukrainians and Russians, between speakers of Ukrainian and Russian. The monument is to Soviet soldiers, including both nationalities. As interpreted by extreme Ukrainian nationalists, the victory of the Nazis returned Ukrainians to their oppression by Russians.

The situation is compounded by the fact that for the countries of the former Soviet Union, as for much of Eastern Europe, World War II is not textbook history, but very much a matter of national pride and a continuing part of life. The war is often mentioned in the news, politicians remember it in their speeches, and it is celebrated ostentatiously on several holidays each year. Veterans are honored and receive special privileges.

The monument where the women demonstrated is a special place in Kiev. At its base is the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Leading up to it is the Alley of Heroes, lined with the graves of 34 Soviet soldiers. No one is buried in the tomb itself.

The video shows “a recipe for making eternal eggs.” The song “Once Again the Battle Continues,” recorded in 1974 by a Soviet pro-state pop singer, was added as background music. The end of the chorus is: “And Lenin is so very young, and a young October awaits!”

The women, whose faces are not hidden, came prepared with ingredients and a pan, which they display to the camera. As one of them holds the pan over the flame, police officers who were on duty near the memorial come over to talk to them. Apparently, the women were able to convince them that the action was no big deal. Soon, two more join in, cooking hot dogs on sticks.

The Brotherhood has pointed out to the press that Donets was arrested on Josef Stalin’s birthday, Dec. 21, making her “a victim of the spiritual executioner of the Ukrainian people.” According to reports, Donets is accused of violating Article 296 of the Ukrainian criminal code, which outlaws “hooliganism.” She could face three years in prison.

The police are still on the lookout for the three other participants. Two of the police officers on duty near the monument have been fired, according to reports, and three others have been subjected to disciplinary measures.

Washington’s incendiary role in Asia

Washington’s incendiary role in Asia

Bill Van Auken

Washington’s encouragement of South Korea’s live-fire military exercise in disputed waters off the North Korean coast is emblematic of the increasingly incendiary role played by US imperialism in Asia.

The latest round of war games was staged on Yeonpyeong island and was virtually identical to the live-fire artillery drill conducted by South Korean forces there last month. That operation provoked a retaliatory artillery barrage from North Korea that killed two South Korean civilians and two marines and sparked worldwide fears of an outbreak of all-out war on the Korean peninsula.

There was one notable difference between the two military exercises. This time the Pentagon ordered the deployment of some 20 US military personnel on Yeonpyeong to ensure that, in the event of a North Korean response, Washington would have a casus belli to join with the South Korean armed forces in unleashing massive retaliation.

There is no disputing the provocative character of these actions. Yeonpyeong lies little more than seven miles off the North Korean coast (and some 50 miles from South Korea). The waters into which South Korean artillery was lobbing shells and F-15K fighter bombers were dropping bombs are claimed by North Korea, which rejects the so-called Northern Limit Line, unilaterally imposed by the US military at the close of the Korean War in 1953.

Given the sequence of events last month, the US-backed military exercise amounted to a deliberate dare to Pyongyang to strike again, in order to provide the pretext for a South Korean counter-attack. Appealing to his right-wing base and to the military, South Korean President Lee Myung-bak has instituted a new policy allowing South Korean forces to unleash disproportionate retaliatory force, meaning air strikes on North Korean targets.  [SEE: South Korea’s Chief of Army and Defense Minister Have Both Quit, Live-Fire Drills Continue]

After North Korea failed to make any military response to Monday’s exercise, Washington and Seoul were reportedly preparing still more drills in order to “send a strong message” to the North and potentially trigger an armed clash.

The US used its veto power and temporary presidency of the United Nations Security Council to turn an emergency session convened Sunday—after deliberate delay—to stonewall efforts to avoid a renewed confrontation between the two Koreas. Russia had called for the session in an effort to prevail on both the North and the South to refrain from further military actions that could lead to war and to have a UN special envoy dispatched to both Seoul and Pyongyang to seek a resolution of the conflict.

Washington, however, was interested not in diffusing the tensions, but in ratcheting them up as a means of pursuing its own strategic interests in the region. US Ambassador Susan Rice rejected any resolution outside of a unilateral condemnation of North Korea and dismissed any other action by the council as irrelevant.

What is the US ruling elite after in its pursuit of an increasingly bellicose policy on the Korean Peninsula, where nearly 34,000 US troops, at least 114,000 Chinese soldiers and as many as four million Koreans died in a brutal war half a century ago?

The principal aim of US policy is not that of preventing military conflict between the two Koreas, but rather exploiting the danger of conflict as a means of exerting pressure on China and countering its increasing economic and political weight throughout Asia.

In an effort to diminish tensions, China sought to convene a meeting of the participants in the Six Party Talks on the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula—the two Koreas, the US, China, Russia and Japan—which have been suspended since 2008. Washington, however, adopted an opposite approach. It hosted its own meeting of the foreign ministers of South Korea and Japan in Washington in what amounted to solidifying an anti-Chinese bloc over the Korean crisis.

This has been joined by the nearly continuous staging of a US military show of force in the region, with repeated war games and deployments of the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS George Washington and its battle group in the Yellow Sea, South China Sea and Sea of Japan, in defiance of Chinese protests.

Posing as a champion of freedom of the seas and inserting itself as a defender of China’s adversaries in territorial disputes, such as those over the Spratley and Senkaku/Diaoyu islands, Washington has sought to forge a series of military alliances and agreements aimed at encircling and containing China.

Washington is responding to a profound shift in the geo-strategic situation in Asia and internationally signified by China’s rise to the position of the world’s second largest economy and by the profound crisis of US capitalism. As in Afghanistan and Iraq, the response of the US ruling elite is an attempt to offset economic decline by ever greater reliance on the residual military power of American imperialism.

Increasingly, the US military is being trained to view China as its most likely adversary in the outbreak of a new major war.

This year’s US Joint Forces Command’s Joint Operating Environment (JOE) report—a strategic guide to perceived threats and future deployments of the US military—includes the chilling warning, “The course that China takes will determine much about the character and nature of the 21st Century—whether it will be ‘another bloody century,’ or one of peaceful cooperation.”

It goes on to sketch out potential scenarios for US-Chinese military conflicts, including the possibility of a war for oil between the world’s two largest economies. The document warns that “China’s concern for protecting its oil supplies [in the Sudan]… could portend a future in which other states intervene in Africa to protect scarce resources. The implications for future conflict are ominous, if energy supplies cannot keep up with demand and should states see the need to militarily secure dwindling energy resources.”

In other words, should China’s actions cut across US imperialism’s own attempts to militarily assert its hegemony over the world’s key energy producing regions, the result could be war.

The implications of such a war, between two nuclear-armed powers, are beyond horrific.

Curiously, last week the New York Times ran an article entitled “US Rethinks Strategy for the Unthinkable,” which dealt with the latest thinking within policy circles on the survivability of a nuclear war.

“We have to get past the mental block that says it’s too terrible to think about,” W. Craig Fugate, administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, told the Times. “We have to be ready to deal with it.”

An article that appeared last December in the influential foreign policy journalForeign Affairs indicated that such consideration of the “unthinkable” has been directly focused on China. It cited a study by US nuclear weapons analysts on the “consequences of a US nuclear attack using high-yield warheads” to knock out China’s own intercontinental ballistic missile arsenal.

“Even though China’s silos are located in the countryside,” the article reported, “the model predicted that the fallout would blow over a large area, killing 3-4 million people.”

Two decades after the end of the Cold War, the danger of a nuclear conflagration is greater than ever and is growing, driven by the historic crisis of US and world capitalism. This danger carries with it a threat to the future of all humanity.

The only progressive answer to the poisonous growth of militarism in general and the incendiary role played by US imperialism in particular is the struggle to unite the working class across national boundaries in a common fight for the socialist transformation of society.

“How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?”

[We are a long way from the point where our Afghan follies are admittedly described as mistakes.  Even though most of us already understand that we have failed, very few are willing to admit that the entire terror war has been a huge mistake.  Just like our failure in Vietnam, there is a time lag of years between the point where we realize that we have lost and the point where we understand why we have lost--because we were wrong all along.  Between that future time where we understand our massive error and now, how many more people will die and how many more uncounted billions will be poured down the bottomless pit?

If America really had a peace movement, then we would now be witnesses to and participants in a massive effort to save our sinking country by hastening the day of our understanding.  Unlike the ending of the previous war, the resolution of the this war will affect our own survival as a functioning Nation.  The longer it takes to reach its inevitable conclusion, the worse our chances become to survive the impending economic/military collapse.  As long as we keep dedicating trillions to a lost war and trillions more to the corrupt financial centers who have financed that corrupt war (fueled on pure debt), we will have nothing left but austerity to deal with our real problems.   If we resolve it more quickly, devoting less resources to futile schemes at "winning," then the more resources will be available to fix the collateral damage.

There is nothing as costly to a Nation as an entire government of failed leaders who are intent upon hiding their mistakes.  A single admission of error is seen as the final fatal mistake.]

The withdrawal of Soviet troops from Afghanistan. Courtesy of the ITAR-TASS News Agency. source

The costs of war

“We are winning” in Afghanistan, says Gen. David H. Petraeus. President Obama declares that the December military review shows we are “on track.” No doubt the president and the general are right: We will keep “making progress” for as many months or years as we choose to fight what is now America’s longest war – until we finally pull out, in defeat or in political exhaustion, wondering what we have accomplished for all the blood and treasure spent.

The president’s review only confirmed what informed observers already know. U.S. troops can win nearly any firefight. But ultimately we are no more secure, and Afghanistan is no closer to becoming a stable and developing country. No matter how light or agile their “footprint,” U.S. and allied occupying forces end up generating as many enemies as they kill, not only in Afghanistan but in other Muslim lands. No matter how much help we give to the Afghan people, inevitably it is seen as being on behalf of a government that is more a kleptocracy than a democracy.

How does one measure progress in what should be more accurately described as a counterproductive and now unnecessary war? We’re chasing a diminished band of al- Qaeda terrorists who now pose little threat to us in the forbidding terrain of North Waziristan and Baluchistan on the Pakistani border, while our Pakistani allies cynically buy into both sides of the fight.

We’re spending $100 billion a year on a country that had a gross domestic product of a little more than $2 billion when we invaded in 2001. We manage this feat only by helping to fund both sides of the conflict (much of the aid ends up in the hands of the Taliban as well as regional warlords who don’t support the Karzai government). The military focus displaces attention that should be devoted to regional diplomacy and a political settlement within Afghanistan. Instead we are “making progress,” even as the review quietly shifts our departure date from 2011 to 2014.

Missing in the president’s review are the actual costs of the war. That includes what economists call “opportunity costs,” or what we miss by continuing this course. By 2014, this administration will have spent more than $700 billion on Afghanistan directly. Poverty is an unfashionable word in Washington, but it afflicts a record 43 million Americans. Childhood poverty is rising. Nationally, only one in seven black male teens held any type of job in the first quarter of this year. We should not fool ourselves: A generation of children raised on dangerous streets is being condemned to a life of misery – hunger, broken families, unemployment, drugs and crime. The nation we are failing to build in Afghanistan is our own.

If poverty is too liberal a concern, consider the costs of Afghanistan to our economic competitiveness. America is literally falling apart. Our aged and decrepit infrastructure is becoming a clear and present danger. Lives are lost when a bridge falls in Minneapolis or the levees collapse in New Orleans. SUVs are swallowed by collapsing sewage systems in New York. Children go to schools judged dangerous to their health. Hours are lost when aged train switches freeze, sewer systems collapse or traffic snarls. Even the basics of civilization, such as access to clean water, are increasingly at risk because of aging and leaky sewage systems. Our electric grid, our broadband system and our transportation system all lag behind those of global competitors. Combine the $700 billion spent in Afghanistan and the $700 billion to be squandered on tax breaks for the richest 1 percent of Americans over the next decade, and you have real money, even for Washington. Money that this increasingly challenged country can no longer afford to waste.

Notably absent in the commentary about the president’s review, too, are the war’s human costs. The service of those in our volunteer army is routinely praised on all sides. The Democratic Congress under President George W. Bush and Obama committed itself to improving military pay, educational benefits and medical and psychological care. But celebrating servicemembers’ courage ignores the basic question: How do you ask young men and women to give their life or limbs for a cause that you know is lost? Or worse, has no justifiable purpose?

The December military review has resulted in a predictable political straddle. The president fulfills his pledge that some troops will come home in 2011; General Petraeus gets a commitment for another four years of occupation before the Afghan government might “assume responsibility.” In the 2012 presidential race, the withdrawals can be advertised to unhappy doves, while the continuing commitment can be used to appease the appetite of hawks.

Afghanistan now awaits its Fulbright. It is time for the Senate to make an independent review of the war, and to challenge – as Sen. J.William Fulbright did during the Vietnam war – a president unwilling to end a conflict he knows will not be won. Surely, it is fate that the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee is Sen. John Kerry. Nearly 40 years ago, as a brave, decorated, young Navy lieutenant returning from Vietnam, he challenged senators to do their duty, saying that each day “someone has to give up his life so that the United States doesn’t have to admit something that the entire world already knows . . . that we have made a mistake. . . . How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?”

Does Sen. Kerry, now steeped in Washington’s political culture, have the same courage as that young man? Will he stand up, as Fulbright did before him, to challenge a president of his own party in the nation’s best interest? A new generation of young men and women depends on him to lead.

Katrina vanden Heuvel is editor and publisher of the Nation and writes a weekly online column for The Post.

Europeans March To Survive–Americans Play Army and Pray for Unemployment Extensions

[Because the people are so programmed to see things through the rose-colored lenses supplied by Hollywood, it is presently impossible to make a logical assessment of the American psyche and have it understood by more than a handful.  If, by some miracle, it was possible to write a comprehensible assessment, it could not circulate beyond the alternative universe.

For those reasons, it will be up to future historians to interpret why the American people of the current generation just sat on their asses quietly, passively, while their world caved-in all around them.  Maybe some of us who still bother to think for ourselves should leave them a few clues to aid them in their investigation of our collective dereliction of duty.  Perhaps they will have to look no deeper than our national addiction to electronic entertainment, but in my opinion, the downfall of the American Republic reflects mankind's genetic flaws, imperfections of the human experiment.

We were genetically programmed to fail, because man, the hybrid animal (neanderthal + homo sapien), has always been at war with himself--and modern man (Americans especially) has done nothing to bring that inner conflict to an end.  We have no science that is dedicated to healing the mental turmoil that is "Man."  To the contrary, every available means has been exploited by the American and British governments to exacerbate human conflict, in particular, primitive human reactions have been exploited by amoral political scientists to serve as the basis for an elementary system of behavioral mind-control.

Where man, the psychologically conflicted being, was naturally going to have problems evolving beyond his primitive state, Americans, as life-long subjects in a massive illegal mind-control experiment, have had to overcome a form of evolutionary sabotage coming from a hidden military dictatorship masquerading as a benevolent govt.  In my mind, where the Creator might have created us in an imperfect form, American govt. has compounded those imperfections and guaranteed the failure of the political experiment known as the American Republic, in order to multiply profits for a limited few, many of them not even American citizens.

America, the strong "superpower" is fast becoming a pauper state which cannot be saved by any conceivable military action, no matter what the brainwashed "warrior culture" believes to the contrary.  Americans will remain on their asses, while the TV tells them that some "surge," escalation, or other military ejaculation issues forth to cover the crime scenes with their superior warrior seed, thus miraculously saving the town and the blushing leading lady, and the "hero" rules the day.  The armchair patriots will wipe a tear from their eyes, knowing that all is swell here in "Pleasantville," and the bankers will really haved saved our Nation from the greed that enslaves us all, until their TVs are taken or have no power, and their busted armchairs sit propped-up on bricks in the alley or behind the local mall.

Sit on your asses and mock those stupid Europeans, as they pour into the streets and demand that government save their "Socialist" health care system.  Suppress your instinct to react to my words by smacking me in the face for a few moments, while your minds have time to reflect on what I have said, and your wiser internal voice will tell you that I am right.]

Italian students demonstrate against new education law

Italian students demonstrate against new education law

Italian students hold anti-government protests

ROME : Students took to the streets across Italy on Wednesday amid heavy security to protest against a radical reform of the university system planned by Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s government.

The rallies came just over a week after protest clashes in the centre of Rome that injured nearly 200 people and saw cars set alight and tear gas fired in some of the most tourist-heavy streets of the Italian capital.

Protest organisers on Wednesday said they would avoid a confrontation with police by steering clear of the “palaces of power” in the city centre.

A student delegation was set to meet with President Giorgio Napolitano later on Wednesday to present a list of complaints over the planned reform.

“I hope that everything takes place without any serious incidents,” Education Minister Mariastella Gelmini told reporters.

Several hundred students clashed with police in Palermo in Sicily, as they tried to enter a local government building. A group of students was later seen throwing stones and bottles against the main police station in the city.

The university reform — which would merge some smaller universities, limit academic hiring and introduce non-academic university deans — is set to be adopted definitively by the Senate, the upper house of parliament, this week.

Napolitano would then have to sign the reform into law.

The student protest has become part of a wider opposition movement against the government’s austerity measures and high rates of youth unemployment.

- AFP /ls

Protesters gather during a rally in Athens

Protesters gather during a rally in Athens

Protests in Athens ahead of 2011 austerity budget vote

ATHENS : Protests and rubbish clogged central Athens on Wednesday as lawmakers prepared to approve an austerity budget under a tough economic overhaul imposed after the debt-hit country’s international bailout.

Unionists, Communists and leftists staged separate demonstrations to reject the economic blueprint containing over 14 billion euros in savings for 2011 in a bid to restore balance to Greece’s woeful public finances.

The streets of the capital were already clogged with traffic since morning from a public transport strike — the fourth this month — against wage cuts and parts of the city are overflowing with garbage after a sanitation walkout.

The 2011 budget includes cuts in the badly mismanaged Greek health sector and public companies, a two-percent increase in the lower sales tax rate from 11 to 13 percent, a tax evasion crackdown, lower defence spending and a nominal pension freeze.

The Socialist government of George Papandreou has a six-seat majority in parliament and is expected to carry the vote to be held after midnight.

But the strain of the fiscal correction after decades of profligacy has exposed deep strains in the ruling Pasok party, with many prominent lawmakers now publicly questioning a strategy that has plunged Greece into recession.

“Is this budget reliable? The answer is no,” said Vasso Papandreou, the head of the Greek parliament’s economic affairs commission, and no relation to Prime Minister George Papandreou.

“It has shortcomings in its aims and execution,” she argued in the chamber.

Investors also doubt that Greece can pull off what it promises, despite having slashed its public deficit by some six percent of output this year.

One of the big rating agencies, Fitch, said on Tuesday it could downgrade its rating on Greece after a similar warning from another agency, Moody’s, last week.

In an interview with Newsweek magazine on Wednesday, the prime minister insisted that “reform was long overdue.”

“Greece is one of the richest countries in the world but was also one of the most mismanaged. The world financial crisis highlighted all our weaknesses.”

With thousands of jobs already lost, wages cut and prices climbing from tax hikes, the country’s influential unions have hit back with seven general strikes this year and waves of street protests.

“Right now people are in limbo,” Papandreou admitted on Wednesday.

“Our drastic measures are still fresh, and people feel the pain. Reforms need time to kick in and show results,” he said.

Fearful of further social unrest in the midst of the festive season, the government has opted to postpone to early next year a controversial reform to liberalise scores of regulated professions.

Officials say that existing entry or pricing restrictions in these sectors have stymied competition for decades but many of the professionals targeted in the reform, including notaries, pharmacists, engineers and architects, counter that the measure will harm quality of service and have pledged to resist it.

The economic overhaul has been mandated by the European Union and the International Monetary Fund which in May extended Greece a 110-billion-euro (145-billion-dollar) loan when the country came close to bankruptcy.

The money is released in instalments conditional on Greece making progress in its reforms.

Under the terms of the rescue, Greece agreed that its public deficit would be reduced to 7.6 percent of Gross Domestic Product in 2011, aiming to eventually reach the EU limit of three percent.

But additional measures became necessary after the 2009 public deficit was revised upwards last month to 15.4 percent of GDP from the previous 13.6 percent by Eurostat, the EU statistics agency.

The resulting effect is that the 2010 shortfall will now be 9.4 percent of output, above the 8.1 percent target.

Accordingly, Athens has had to find extra savings to keep its finances on track to meet the 2011 target.

- AFP /ls

Veterans for Peace White House Civil Disobedience to End War

[This is it, folks.  Whenever the returning vets turn to the protest lines to say "no" to more of the illegal hell on earth that they have experienced---Then you know that the revolution has come--All that holds it back is you, and me.

Listen to Chris Hedges speak of hope and know that something has to change --NOW.  If We the People want our children and our grandchildren  to fight for corporate profits for what amounts to all of their lifetimes, then we will turn away from these brave veterans and the cause of Peace which compels them to chain themselves to the White House fence in the freezing cold.

Fighting this war is NOT our Manifest Destiny, but ending the war is one step closer to our best destiny, towards that American ideal that our troops have always thought they were defending.  That was the reason all of these good veterans offered their own lives in battle, thinking that they were defending all that "America" stood for.  The corporate reality they were really fighting for was a big fat lie, adorned in the most complicated of Hollywood's illusions.  This protest is them offering their own bodies once again, to defend that one universal human right, which is worth all of our lives.  The Right to Live.]

This video, featuring portions of a speech given by Chris Hedges, was shot outside the White House on Dec. 16, 2010.

 

 

Exclusive: US empire could collapse at any time, Pulitzer winner tells Raw Story

By Nathan Diebenow
Friday, December 17th, 2010 — 9:42 am

ChrisHedges Exclusive: US empire could collapse at any time, Pulitzer winner tells Raw StoryAmerica’s military and economic empire could collapse at any time, but predicting the precise day, week or month of its potential demise is unattainable, according to a former New York Times war correspondent who spoke with Raw Story.

“The when and how is very dangerous to predict because there’s always some factor that blindsides you that you didn’t expect,” Pulitzer-winning journalist Chris Hedges said in an exclusive interview. “It doesn’t look good. But exactly how it plays out and when it plays out, having covered disintegrating societies, it’s impossible to tell.”

He explained that he learned this lesson as events unfolded around him in the fall of 1989. Then, members of the opposition to the Soviet Empire told him that they predicted travel across the Berlin Wall separating East from West Germany would open within the year.

“Within a few hours, the wall didn’t exist,” he said.

Hedges was one of the 131 activists were arrested in an act of civil disobedience outside the White House yesterday, even as Obama was unveiling a new report citing progress in the Afghanistan war.

Speaking to Raw Story on Wednesday night, he said the signs of US collapse are plain to see and compared the country’s course through Afghanistan to Soviet Russia’s.

“We’re losing [the war in Afghanistan] in the same way the Red Army lost it,” he said. “It’s exactly the same configuration where we sort of control the urban centers where 20 percent of the population lives. The rest of the country where 80 percent of the Afghans live is either in the hands of the Taliban or disputed.”

“Foreigners will not walk the streets of Kabul because of kidnapping, and journalists regularly meet Taliban officials in Kabul because the whole apparatus is so porous and corrupt,” he said.

One day after this interview was conducted, reports hit the global media noting the CIA’s warning to President Obama, that the Pakistan-supported Taliban could still regain control of the country.

Hedges predicted that President Obama’s war report released Thursday would “contradict not only [US] intelligence reports but everything else that is coming out of Afghanistan.”

His prediction came startlingly true: the CIA’s own assessment was said to stand in striking contrast with President Obama’s report.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates, however, insisted that the US controlled more territory in Afghanistan than it did a year ago.

‘A corporate coup d’état in slow motion’

Hedges said he attended the protest and planned to get arrested because he is against the corporate powers that have enveloped the nation.

“We’ve undergone a corporate coup d’état in slow motion,” he said. “Our public education system has been gutted. Our infrastructure is corroding and collapsing. Unless we begin to physically resist, they are going to solidify neo-feudalism in this country.”

“If we think that Obama is bad, watch the next two years because these corporate forces have turned their back on him,” Hedges warned.

Hedges, author of “Death of the Liberal Class,” said that his vision of America is one with a functioning social democracy, which stands in stark contrast to the nihilism of the corporate state.

“American workers, as they are repeatedly told, will have to become competitive with prison labor in China,” he said. “That’s where we’re headed, and all the pillars of the liberal establishment are complicit in this.”

“At least if you get sick in the UK, you don’t go bankrupt or die,” he added.

Hedges said that another pressure point is the US dollar, which he pointed out had been dropped by Russia and China in favor of modified ruble/renminbi exchanges.

“A few more deals like that, and our currency becomes junk,” he said.

Hedges continued, “As long as we have relative stability, these lunatic fringe movements can be held at bay, but if we don’t undertake serious structural reform, which we’re not doing, then it is inevitable that we will come to a tremendous crisis – economic and political as well as environmental.”

No Act Of Rebellion Is Wasted

No Act Of Rebellion Is Wasted

By Chris Hedges

TruthDig.com

I stood with hundreds of thousands of rebellious Czechoslovakians in 1989 on a cold winter night in Prague’s Wenceslas Square as the singer Marta Kubišová approached the balcony of the Melantrich building. Kubišová had been banished from the airwaves in 1968 after the Soviet invasion for her anthem of defiance, “Prayer for Marta.” Her entire catalog, including more than 200 singles, had been confiscated and destroyed by the state. She had disappeared from public view. Her voice that night suddenly flooded the square. Pressing around me were throngs of students, most of whom had not been born when she vanished. They began to sing the words of the anthem. There were tears running down their faces. It was then that I understood the power of rebellion. It was then that I knew that no act of rebellion, however futile it appears in the moment, is wasted. It was then that I knew that the Communist regime was finished.

“The people will once again decide their own fate,” the crowd sang in unison with Kubišová.

I had reported on the fall of East Germany before I arrived in Prague. I would leave Czechoslovakia to cover the bloody overthrow of the Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceauşescu. The collapse of the Communist regimes in Eastern Europe was a lesson about the long, hard road of peaceful defiance that makes profound social change possible. The rebellion in Prague, as in East Germany, was not led by the mandarins in the political class but by marginalized artists, writers, clerics, activists and intellectuals such as Vaclav Havel, whom we met with most nights during the upheavals in Prague in the Magic Lantern Theater. These activists, no matter how bleak things appeared, had kept alive the possibility of justice and freedom. Their stances and protests, which took place over 40 years of Communist rule, turned them into figures of ridicule, or saw the state seek to erase them from national consciousness. They were dismissed by the pundits who controlled the airwaves as cranks, agents of foreign powers, fascists or misguided and irrelevant dreamers.

I spent a day during the Velvet Revolution with several elderly professors who had been expelled from the Romance language department at Charles University for denouncing the Soviet invasion. Their careers, like the careers of thousands of professors, teachers, artists, social workers, government employees and journalists in our own universities during the Communist witch hunts, were destroyed. After the Soviet invasion, the professors had been shipped to a remote part of Bohemia where they were forced to work on a road construction crew. They shoveled tar and graded roadbeds. And as they worked they dedicated each day to one of the languages in which they all were fluent—Latin, Greek, Italian, French, Spanish or German. They argued and fought over their interpretations of Homer, Virgil, Dante, Goethe, Proust and Cervantes. They remained intellectually and morally alive. Kubišova, who had been the most popular recording star in the country, was by then reduced to working for a factory that assembled toys. The playwright Havel was in and out of jail.

The long, long road of sacrifice, tears and suffering that led to the collapse of these regimes stretched back decades. Those who made change possible were those who had discarded all notions of the practical. They did not try to reform the Communist Party. They did not attempt to work within the system. They did not even know what, if anything, their protests would accomplish. But through it all they held fast to moral imperatives. They did so because these values were right and just. They expected no reward for their virtue; indeed they got none. They were marginalized and persecuted. And yet these poets, playwrights, actors, singers and writers finally triumphed over state and military power. They drew the good to the good. They triumphed because, however cowed and broken the masses around them appeared, their message of defiance did not go unheard. It did not go unseen. The steady drumbeat of rebellion constantly exposed the dead hand of authority and the rot and corruption of the state.

The walls of Prague were covered that chilly winter with posters depicting Jan Palach. Palach, a university student, set himself on fire in Wenceslas Square on Jan. 16, 1969, in the middle of the day to protest the crushing of the country’s democracy movement. He died of his burns three days later. The state swiftly attempted to erase his act from national memory. There was no mention of it on state media. A funeral march by university students was broken up by police. Palach’s gravesite, which became a shrine, saw the Communist authorities exhume his body, cremate his remains and ship them to his mother with the provision that his ashes could not be placed in a cemetery. But it did not work. His defiance remained a rallying cry. His sacrifice spurred the students in the winter of 1989 to act. Prague’s Red Army Square, shortly after I left for Bucharest, was renamed Palach Square. Ten thousand people went to the dedication.

We, like those who opposed the long night of communism, no longer have any mechanisms within the formal structures of power that will protect or advance our rights. We too have undergone a coup d’état carried out not by the stone-faced leaders of a monolithic Communist Party but by the corporate state. We too have our designated pariahs, whether Ralph Nader or Noam Chomksy, and huge black holes of state-sponsored historical amnesia to make us ignore the militant movements, rebels and radical ideas that advanced our democracy. We opened up our society to ordinary people not because we deified the wisdom of the Founding Fathers or the sanctity of the Constitution. We opened it up because of communist, socialist and anarchist leaders like Big Bill Haywood and his militant unionists in the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW).

We may feel, in the face of the ruthless corporate destruction of our nation, our culture, and our ecosystem, powerless and weak. But we are not. We have a power that terrifies the corporate state. Any act of rebellion, no matter how few people show up or how heavily it is censored by a media that caters to the needs and profits of corporations, chips away at corporate power. Any act of rebellion keeps alive the embers for larger movements that follow us. It passes on another narrative. It will, as the rot of the state consumes itself, attract wider and wider numbers. Perhaps this will not happen in our lifetimes. But if we persist we will keep this possibility alive.

If we do not, it will die.

All energy directed toward reforming political and state structures is useless. All efforts to push through a “progressive” agenda within the corridors of power are naive. Trust in the reformation of our corporate state reflects a failure to recognize that those who govern, including Barack Obama, are as deaf to public demands and suffering as those in the old Communist regimes. We cannot rely on any systems of power, including the pillars of the liberal establishment—the press, liberal religious institutions, universities, labor, culture and the Democratic Party. They have been weakened to the point of anemia or work directly for the corporations that dominate our existence. We can rely now on only ourselves, on each other.

Go to Lafayette Park, in front of the White House, at 10 a.m. Dec. 16. Join dozens of military veterans, myself, Daniel Ellsberg, Medea Benjamin, Ray McGovern, Dr. Margaret Flowers and many others who will make visible a hope the corporate state does not want you to see, hear or participate in. Don’t be discouraged if it is not a large crowd. Don’t let your friends or colleagues talk you into believing it is useless. Don’t be seduced by the sophisticated public relations campaigns disseminated by the mass media, the state or the Democratic Party. Don’t, if you decide to carry out civil disobedience, be cowed by the police. Hope and justice live when people, even in tiny numbers, stand up and fight for them.

There is in our sorrow—for who cannot be profoundly sorrowful?—finally a balm that leads to wisdom and, if not joy, then a strange, transcendent happiness. To stand in a park on a cold December morning, to defy that which we must defy, to do this with others, brings us solace, and perhaps even peace. We will not find this if we allow ourselves to be disabled. We will not find this alone. As long as a few of us rebel it will always remain possible to defeat a system of centralized, corporate power that is as criminal and heartless as those I watched tumble into the ash bin of history in Eastern Europe.

Chris Hedges is a senior fellow at The Nation Institute. His newest book is “Death of the Liberal Class.” You can find out more about the Washington protest atwww.stopthesewars.org

Copyright © 2010 Truthdig, L.L.C.

veteran-led civil resistance at the White House Dec. 16.

LOGISTICS FOR DEC 16TH ACTION IN DC

Real Hope is about doing somethingHere is an update on the veteran-led civil resistance at the White House Dec. 16.

1. Wednesday, Dec. 15:Evening gathering at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church 1525 Newton St. NW (corner of 16th and Newton Streets), where we will go over plans for the next day’s action. People can begin arriving at St. Stephen’s by 5 pm and Food Not Bombs will provide a simple vegetarian meal that evening. Daniel Ellsberg and others who will be joining us on Thursday as well as some of the organizers will speak. People can sleep at St. Stephen’s that night (bring sleeping bags) and also after 9:30 PM on Thursday night if necessary.

2. Thursday, Dec. 16: Brief motivational rally at 10 am in Lafayette Park (near the White House) with speakers: Daniel Ellsberg (of Pentagon Papers fame), subject of the documentary The Most Dangerous Man in America; Brian Becker, National Coordinator, ANSWER coalition; Peace Mom Cindy Sheehan, Peace of the Action; Ray McGovern, retired CIA officer and former U.S. Army Intelligence officer; Mike Ferner, president, Veterans For Peace; Diane Wilson, environmental activist and author of An Unreasonable Woman; Debra Sweet, Director, World Can’t Wait; Mike Prysner, Iraq vet, cofounder of March Forward!, Medea Benjamin, co-founder Code Pink and others.  (more updates to follow)

From there we will do a silent vigil march to the White House (route to be determined) to take our stand for peace. You don’t have to bring signs – we’ll provide them so we can have a uniform look. At the White House, many of us will do nonviolent civil resistance, the key word being nonviolent. We want peace but we need to demand it in a dignified, determined and peaceful way. We expect everybody to observe nonviolent guidelines that will be handed out at St. Stephen’s the night before and at the rally. There will be a legal support team and legal observers on hand for the civil resistance.

3. A limited quantity of heavy duty, hooded sweatshirts (design attached) will be available at St. Stephen’s on Wednesday night. The price is $25.

Visit our website at www.stopthesewars.org or on facebook join our group “Take A Stand for Peace”!

See you in DC.

 

Local VFP Supported Actions:

St. Louis, MO - Chapter 61.. Thursday, December 16, Meet on the east side of Thomas Eagleton building @ noon.

.. Woody
NW IN -STOP THESE WARS! Thursday, December 16, Noon-1PM,Congressman Pete Visclosky’s local office,7895 Broadway,Merrillville, Indiana 46410,office number (219) 795-1844
Salt Lake City, Utah – Chapter 118.. Solidarity Protest December 16, 2010 Federal Building 125 S. State 10:00 a.m. sponsored by Wasatch Coalition for Peace and Justice and Healthy Planet Mobilization Committee in Salt Lake City, Utah. Contact Dayne Goodwin daynegoodwin@gmail.com 801-364-0667.
San Francisco, CA – Bay Area VFP..Thurs. Dec. 16, 12noon, New Federal Building, 7th & Mission Sts., SF.  Among the speakers will be Medal of Honor winner Charlie Liteky. Local endorsers: Veterans for Peace-Bay Area, AIM West, ANSWER Coalition, Code Pink, Courage to Resist, Unitarian Universalists for Peace, March Forward!, Peace Workers, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, World Can’t Wait
Saratoga Springs, NY..Chapter 147 -Thursday, Dec. 16, End the Wars candlelight vigil, corner in front of the downtown Saratoga Springs Post Office from 5:00 pm ’till 6:00-6:30 pm.  Please bring candles or flashlights.  See you there…Michael McGraw

Grants Pass, OR..Chapter 156 – Peace vigil in front of the Josephine County Court House, 500 NW 6th Street at 3:00 PM on December 16, 2010.  Contact Daniel Guy 541-301-4546

Des Moines, IA..Chapter 161- Thursday Dec 16, 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m, Nollen Plaza, downtown followed by visits to Senator’s Harkin and Grassley’s DM Offices.  Contact Gil Landolt, 515 333-2180, peacevet@hotmail.com

Boston, MA..Chapter 9 – Brown bag lunch protest at 12:30 pm at the offices of John Kerry and Scott Brown in support of the D.C. action on Dec. 16. This is being organized by the Justice with Peace Coalition which is made up of all the peace groups in the Boston area.

New York City, NY..Chapter 34 – Rally at Times Square Recruiting Station 5PM – Civil Disobedience @ 6PM

Bellingham, WA..Chapter 111 -  Thursday, Dec 16th – Chapter members and local supporters are planning to do some freeway blogging starting at the time the civil resistance takes place in DC (time TBA). Chapter 111 banners and more will be displayed on overpasses through Bellingham. Contact Bill 671-4462 or Victoria 738-8462 for details.  Friday, Dec 17th – Follow-up vigil at the Federal Building on the corner of Magnolia and Cornwall in Bellingham, WA from 4 to 5pm.  Wear VFP garb.

Astoria, OR - A vigil in support of the VFP Washington, DC action on Thursday, December 16, at 5:30 PM, at the Astoria Post Office @ 8th and Commercial Streets.

 

VU students protest “School of Assassins”

VU students protest “School of Assassins”

By Jon Christian

School of AssissinsCaitlin Mitchell

Demonstrators were arrested as they made their way back to the parking lot

On a sunny Saturday afternoon a few days before Thanksgiving, Katy Savage found herself in Muscogee County Jail in Columbus, Georgia. Savage, who traveled to Columbus with eight Vanderbilt students to take part in the annual School of the Americas Watch (SOAW) vigil, never imagined she would be arrested during the course of the demonstration.

“I said ‘you guys aren’t doing the [civil disobedience] thing, are you?’ and they said ‘no, no, we’re just standing on the sidewalk,” Savage said. 30 seconds later, I was arrested.”

The School of the Americas, which was renamed the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (WHISC) in 2001, is a combat training school for Latin American soldiers located near Columbus. Human rights activists have called for the school to be closed for years due to widespread reports of graduates committing war crimes upon their return to Latin America. Graduates of the academy include Panamanian military dictator Manuel Noriega and Raúl Iturriaga, director of the secret police under Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet.

SOAW was founded in 1990 by Catholic priest Roy Bourgeois in order to draw attention to the institution’s record of human rights abuses. This year’s vigil was the organization’s twenty-first protest.

Vanderbilt sophomore Caitlin Mitchell, who took a lead role organizing the trip to the vigil, first became interested in SOAW when Bourgeois gave a presentation at her high school. She attended the vigil for the first time in 2009, and decided to mobilize a larger number of Vanderbilt undergraduates to attend the event this year. Working with Vanderbilt Students for Nonviolence, she pulled together a group of nine Vanderbilt and Nashville activists who pooled their resources to make it to this year’s vigil.

For Mitchell, taking part in nonviolent demonstrations like the SOAW vigil is both about enacting political change and learning what other activists are doing at the grassroots level around the country and the world. She used her own excitement about demilitarization, education and peaceful demonstration to inspire fellow students to do the same.

“I told potential participants that they would get a chance to learn about U.S. policy in Latin America, and that they would get to meet activists from all over the United States and Latin America,” Mitchell said. “It was less about saying ‘get angry at this,’ and more about ‘hey, look what cool things you can do.’”

The School of the Americas Watch vigil is characterized by a bold artistic sensibility which incorporates elaborate costumes, large-scale puppets and theatrical performances.

Traditionally, a large number of activists at the vigil would climb over the barbed wire fences separating WHISC from the protest zone. Following 9/11, the penalty for doing so was raised to 6 months in prison, and only a few protesters scaled the fence this year. On Saturday, however, a number of demonstrators – some wearing massive puppet costumes – moved to the edge of the protest zone and blocked traffic.

“The way the protest was set up is they had the street up to the gates and the first intersection blocked off as the official protest zone. Afterwards, a group of 12 people were going to march out of the protest zone and block traffic in the street,” Mitchell said.

When demonstrators stepped off the curb, police moved in and began to arrest people both on and off the protest zone. In addition to activists, police arrested journalists, photographers and one local man who was not involved with the SOAW vigil but who stepped out of a local barber shop to take a photograph of the chaos.

“The police were blaring speakers, saying that if we left the protest zone we could be arrested,” Mitchell said. “I was just standing at this gas station, and there were people right in front of me getting arrested.”

In the confusion, somebody handed Savage the arm of an elaborate, multi-person puppet. The police apprehended her almost immediately.

“What’s astonishing to me is that at this point, they’re not evening making up things that people were arrested for like disorderly conduct or disrupting the peace or anything like that,” Savage said. “They’re actually arresting people explicitly for following their First Amendment rights. I don’t know why that isn’t more of a big deal to people.”

That evening, a number of Vanderbilt students joined a rally of several hundred across the street from Muscogee County Jail, where Savage was being held, to show their support for the people who were arrested. Police emerged with riot gear and dispersed the gathering.

“People started to realize, ‘wait, what if they arrest us too?’” said Tristan Call, a graduate student with the Vanderbilt Department of Anthropology. “It was a major reality check for a lot of us. If you’re involved with a movement like this in the United States, your constitutional rights don’t exist. Or, they only exist until after you’ve been arrested.”

Savage spent a day and a half in jail before going to trial with the other 25 activists who were taken into custody on Saturday. None of the police could remember where she had been apprehended or any specifics of the arrest, but she was charged with unlawful assembly, picketing and demonstration without a permit. In total, 25 out of 26 arrested individuals were penalized with jail time or fines – including the local man from the barber shop.

“It takes them about a half an hour to ring up a credit card in jail,” Call said with a laugh. “It takes 30 seconds at Subway, but in jail – we were literally there for six hours paying fines for everybody to get out.”

The group returned home determined to bring an even larger group to the vigil next year. In spite of her ordeal, Savage says that she’s glad to have shown support for victims of WHISC and for all that she learned over the weekend.

“The conferences that they hold before and during [the vigil] are what I really relish,” Savage said. “[and the opportunity] to learn about things that people are doing, and ways that you can connect with people.”

For more information about SOA/WHISC, visit soaw.org.

A ghost haunts Europe

A text written by Evangelismos Squat towards Europe

Οn the 24th November, many student demonstrations took place in Britain, in which participated over 50,000 people. The march was called in response to the new educational measures announced by the British government. By now, the tuition fees, for someone who wanted to attend a british university, run into 3,000 pounds per year. With the new reforms the government reduces the national spending on education by 80% and the fees triple, reaching the amount of 9,000 pounds. The students occupied the University of Sussex in Brighton and the University of Leeds, a quite radical move for the british standards, since in British universities does not exist the asylum, as it is in Greece.

But it’s not just England that is currently in turmoil. In Portugal, a potential victim of the IMF, took place one of the biggest strikes, participating 3 out of the totally 10 million citizens of the country. In Italy, students stormed the building of the Senate, during the protest against the higher education reforms promoted by the government. The students managed to break the security fence and they entered the lobby of the building. The cops managed literally at the last moment to shut the wooden door leading to the Senate Hall. Furthermore, Ireland has entered a cycle of protests since it joined the IMF. Demonstrations, strikes, conflicts, occupations are taking place at this moment not only in Europe but throughout the world.

We have reached the point of no return. Capitalism is a monster that has just come of age and even more hungry. The Capital in its attempt to take advantage of the crisis that itself has created, puts in motion its mechanism and attacks with hard antisocial measures flattening not only the permanently excluded and oppressed masses but also parts of society that until today were “favored”. The Power upgrades and intensifies its repression, to allow bankers to fill their pockets (and bellies) undisturbed. In a few years  the number of people living under conditions of economic deprivation will have increased significantly. A “low intensity” war is raging; a war that the bosses have gone against society and at the forefront of this war is the youth.

The bosses want us divided, so that they can govern us better. But what actually divide us? What divides the students who come in thousands to the streets in Heraklion and Chania in Crete, Greece  from the students in England and Italy who occupy universities and attack buildings and cops? What separates us from the people in Portugal, Ireland and France who demonstrate and fill the streets in capital cities with banners and anger? Absolutely nothing.

Instead, we are in division with the bosses and the State. Because, it is them who created poverty and misery. Because the society of profit is their own creation.
We welcome all people who resist, no matter where they come from. Solidarity, resistance and dignity have no borders. Let’s join with all those fighters in every corner of the world, who refuse to have their future determined by the banks and parliaments, and engage in a hard and difficult struggle against a brutal system.

Authoritative power has no place among us.

Solidarity to all those who stand against State and Capital.

Evangelismos Squat. Theotokopoulou 18, Heraklion, Crete, Greece

in greek:  http://evagelismos.squat.gr/

Uribe Seeking Immunity to Testify on Multinational Corp. Use of Colombian Paramilitary Killers

[The ongoing Colombian government investigation of its history with paramilitary death squads threatens to expose criminal nature of American corporate policies in "Third World."  American corporations relied upon paramilitary/terrorist muscle to get their way in Colombia, even joining forces with underworld types to subvert Colombian government and the military.  The corruption necessary to maintain the obscene profits reaped from the region has permeated every level of society.  The present govt. should have the support of the entire world (if not American support) in this brave endeavor to free itself from the fascist beast.]

U.S. Government asks Alvaro Uribe immunity if Drummond

NATION The petition is contained in a letter dated Nov. 12 signed by the Colombian ambassador to the United States, Gabriel Silva, former Minister of Defense under President Alvaro Uribe.

Tuesday December 7, 2010

The Colombian government, through its ambassador to the United States, Gabriel Silva, requested immunity for the president Alvaro Uribe to avoid having to testify in the case against U.S. company Drummond of course support for paramilitary groups in Colombia during the early years of administration, La Fm.

The request is contained in a letter dated Nov. 12 signed by the Colombian ambassador, who was Defense Minister Uribe and to the Department of State of that country.

In that letter, the Government requests “sovereign immunity” for being “head of state” for Uribe, was launched last November 22 to a subpoena as a witness made by the federal court for the District of Columbia (USA) on Drummond case.

The case dates back to 2001, when paramilitaries, allegedly supported by the multinational mining, began a campaign of terror with the murders of Valmore Locarno Rodriguez and Victor Hugo Orcasita Amaya, who practiced then as president and vice president of the union of workers in the Drummond .

The summons which did not attend, Uribe would be asked if he knew the crimes committed by paramilitaries, allegedly supported by the multinational, during the first years of his administration in the department of Cesar, where Drummond operates deposits coal.

From 2001 until demobilized paramilitaries of the AUC killed nearly 70 people in that region.

A group of 500 families of the victims, convinced that Drummond supported and financed the paramilitaries, the United States filed a lawsuit against the mining.

Terry Colligsworth Counsel, which represents families of those victims, confirmed Tuesday to The Fm request for immunity for Uribe and noted that this request should be studied now by the Department of State United States.

He said he does not believe that immunity is granted, since the U.S. laws provide for the privilege to incumbents, but not for exmandatarios.

He also said that “this week” will ask the court to take the case to set a new date for mention again Uribe.

Most crimes committed by paramilitaries in Cesar continues today with impunity, including several officials from the Prosecutor’s Office traveled to the region to investigate.

The little clarified corresponds to the confessions of exparamilitar Rodrigo Tovar Pupo, alias Jorge 40, who after being extradited to the United States assumed their guilt in the murder of trade unionists Locarno and Orcasita.

Jorge 40, who executed the murders while leading the Northern Bloc of the AUC, accepted responsibility for the purpose of obtaining legal benefits, he said at the time his lawyer, Hernando Bocanegra.

In the trial that followed in Colombia for the killing of trade unionists, another exparamilitar, Alcides Matos, aka “Samaria”, said Drummond executives were aware of the intention to murder the leaders.

EFE

An upsurge of civic activism is challenging Putinism

An upsurge of civic activism is challenging Putinism

By Lyudmila Alekseeva

How did “Putinism” – that distinctively Russian blend of authoritarian politics and dirigiste economics – happen? And, now that it has, how can Russians move beyond it, to realize the rights and liberties promised to them in the country’s Constitution?

An active Russian civil society, which seemed to appear out of nowhere in Mikhail Gorbachev’s Soviet Union of 1989-1990 after the long Soviet hibernation, receded far too quickly. The astounding difficulty of everyday survival after the USSR’s collapse trapped most Russians into focusing on their families’ most urgent needs. Civic apathy set in.

So Vladimir Putin came to power at a very convenient moment for any ruler – when the people are quiescent. Cunningly, Putin then strapped this apathy to the first shoots of post-Soviet economic growth in order to conclude a new social contract: He would raise living standards in exchange for ordinary Russians’ acceptance of severe limits on their constitutional rights and liberties.

Until recently, both sides adhered to this tacit contract. But, with the global financial crisis, the Kremlin stopped meeting its side of the bargain. Thus, a new social contract is needed, especially as a new, post-Soviet generation of Russians has entered political life – a generation that has not been poisoned by the fear that decades of state terror in the USSR implanted in their forebears.

Putin and his entourage “tightened the screws” on Russians over the past decade, and faced almost no resistance to their claims to unchecked power. Now, from the entire spectrum of civil and political rights enumerated in Russia’s Constitution, we Russians have only one right remaining: the right to leave and return to the country freely. All other rights have been lost or substantially weakened.

But Russian citizens, especially younger ones, are beginning to realize what they have lost. By the same token, the post-Soviet generation has a very different idea of a decent standard of living than their parents had, and hence their aspirations are much higher.

Many have traveled abroad, and all have seen foreign films, from which they have learned that people of their social status in the West have a far more comfortable life than they do. A majority of Soviet people did not have a car or a country house or even a separate apartment. Now the young feel deprived if they can’t have all of that.

At first, people did not think of civil rights as they strove for such previously unknown comforts. They relied on the Kremlin to set the conditions that would give them new opportunities. Now, they are gradually coming to understand that the government has failed them.

A struggle for the restitution of constitutional rights in Russia first became noticeable in 2009. At Triumph Square in Moscow, protestors have consistently demanded that Article 31, which guarantees the right to peaceful assembly, be respected. Movement-31, an umbrella grouping of like-minded protestors, has spread rapidly, staging simultaneous demonstrations in Moscow and 48 other cities two months ago in support of the right to free assembly. There have been simultaneous protests in the past, but usually against increases in rent or utility charges.

One can understand why the demand to comply with Article 31 has gained popular support. For ordinary citizens, who have neither access to media nor personal contacts with the authorities, protests are an opportunity to inform officials of their demands, requests and suggestions.

There are also other signs of awakening civic engagement, which are particularly evident in internet discussions, which the Kremlin cannot control in the same way it does other media. Citizens have started to use the internet for self-organization, for example, to generate simultaneous “flash mobs,” as well as protests by automobile owners, in different cities.

Most recently, the internet has become a means of public control over civil-rights violations by the authorities, as images taken with mobile phones become available instantaneously to all. The authorities have to reckon with the fallout, punishing officials who have come into the spotlight this way.

Russia’s federal government and regional authorities are clearly alarmed by this rapidly growing civic activism. But, despite changed conditions, they respond with the same old methods – suppression, intimidation, and misinformation. And, with elections to the State Duma due in December 2011, followed by the presidential election in March 2012, officials are particularly concerned by an upsurge of civic activism.

It is not hard to see why. Over the past decade, the electoral system has been “improved” in such a way that no outcome can lead to a change in the federal government. That leaves street demonstrations and other forms of civic activism as the only way to challenge Putinism’s standard-bearers. Indeed, given state control of the mainstream media, such activism may be the only way to learn what citizens really think about their rulers.

 

Lyudmila Alekseeva, a veteran Soviet human rights activist, is director of the Moscow Helsinki Group.THE DAILY STARpublishes this commentary in collaboration with Project Syndicate © (www.project-syndicate.org).

Colombian Government Cleans House–issue arrest warrant for ex-police chief in 1989 candidate assassination

[SEE:  Columbia Attempts to Demobilize 18,000 Paramilitaries Without Igniting Civil War ]

Colombian prosecutors issue arrest warrant for ex-police chief in 1989 candidate assassination

LIBARDO CARDONA Associated Press

November 25, 2010

BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) — Colombian prosecutors issued an arrest warrant Thursday for a 73-year-old former domestic security chief who they say participated in the 1989 assassination of presidential candidate Luis Carlos Galan.

Retired Gen. Miguel Maza Marquez has been charged with aggravated homicide for allegedly allying himself with the drug traffickers whose hired guns killed Galan, said German Gomez, spokesman for Colombia’s chief prosecutor.

The DAS domestic security agency that Maza Marquez led provides bodyguards for politicians, human rights activists and others. Prosecutors say the general intentionally lightened Galan’s bodyguard contingent to enable the Aug. 18, 1989 assassination.


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Galan’s 1989 presidential campaign was a crusade against Pablo Escobar and other cocaine lords who terrorized Colombia, killing hundreds of judges, journalists and police in a bid to avoid extradition.

A lawyer for Maza Marquez told The Associated Press on Thursday his client is innocent but would turn himself in shortly. The general had been jailed in the case in August 2009 but was freed in April due to procedural errors.

Attorney Juan Carlos Cardenas called the prosecution’s case flawed because it is based on witnesses — jailed paramilitary warlord Ivan Roberto Duque and convicted mass murderer Alonso de Jesus Baquero — who were not present when the assassination was planned.

The chief prosecutor, Guillermo Mendoza, told reporters that authorities had incriminating evidence against Maza Marquez but he would not elaborate.

Maza Marquez led the DAS from 1985-1991 and was at the time considered a hero in Colombia for his efforts fighting Escobar’s Medellin Cartel. He himself survived the Dec. 6, 1989 bombing of DAS headquarters by the cartel in which more than 50 people were killed.

Police killed Escobar in 1993 after a massive manhunt.

Join Protests Against Privacy Violations At Your Local Airport On Opt-Out Day

BuildingWhat? – A campaign to raise awareness o…, posted with vodpod

[Tune-in to Truth Jihad Radio tonight to hear a follow-up report from the engineer for 911 Truth (appearing in the video above), who took the issue of Buldg. #7 to Fox News, where reporter Geraldo Rivera actually asked relevant questions concerning the cover-up.  Truth Jihad is working to keep the ball rolling on this key issue all across the grass roots "prairie" of the vast unexplored terrain of the mind-numbed American people.  The same goes for his follow-up report on airport  Opt-Out Day protests.  Kevin Barrett is stepping forward and trying to create some good changes.  Everyone should get behind him and show-up at the airport near you, with signs and video cameras in hand.

Peace.]

Geraldo-educator Tony Szamboti, Pentagon attack expert Barbara Honegger on Truth Jihad Radio

http://truthjihadradio.blogspot.com/2010/11/geraldo-educator-tony-szamboti-pentagon.html Truth Jihad Radio Sat. 11/20/10, 5-7 pm Central, American Freedom Radio (archived here.) Call-in number: (402) 237-2525 or post your questions to my Facebook page.

First hour: Tony Szamboti returns! Tony had to leave early last week and rush across town to join an amazing Geraldo Rivera WTC-7 episode at the Fox News studio…

Second hour: Pentagon attack expert Barbara Honegger, “founding mother” of the Boston Tea Party for 9/11 Truth and thus the Tea Party movement – now she’s demanding a blood test!

More details: http://truthjihadradio.blogspot.com/2010/11/geraldo-educator-tony-szamboti-pentagon.html

* * *

A call for We Are Change and all other courageous activists to SUPPORT OPT-OUT DAY.. http://truthjihad.blogspot.com/2010/11/call-for-we-are-change-and-all-other.html

…by going to your nearest airport on Opt-Out Day, Wednesday November 24th, and engaging in civil information activism…even if you aren’t traveling! (Or ESPECIALLY if you aren’t traveling – because you, unlike the poor folks getting scanned and groped, won’t have a flight to miss!)

How? Just stand near where people line up to go through the checkpoint, being careful not to physically obstruct anyone, and talk to travelers about Opt-Out Day, naked body scanners, and “enhanced pat-downs” that amount to sexual assaults. Ask people to Opt Out of the naked body scanners, and to insist that the TSA sexual assault take place in full view of other passengers. Be sure to inform them that they are 30 times more likely to be struck by lightning than to be killed by a terrorist, as I explain in my book Questioning the War on Terror.

Keep in mind that the Supreme Court has ruled that airports are not exempt from First Amendment protections.

If you want to provoke a confrontation with authorities and film it for YouTube, that shouldn’t be too hard.  Speaking loudly, bullhorning, and/or holding up signs such as “TSA = Total Sexual Assault” would be easy ways to get asked to leave. Insist on your First Amendment Rights (at least up to the point that arrest seems imminent) and film the conversation.

I will personally send $50 by check or paypal (your choice) to the person who makes the best Opt-Out Day We Are Change type activist video. You don’t have to belong to We Are Change to enter the contest. Just put your video on Youtube and email a link to kbarrett[at]merr[dot]com.  Entries will be accepted through the end of November 2010.

If anyone else wants to pledge some additional prize money, please let me know and I’ll keep track of the amount of prize money here.

Thanks for listening!
Kevin Barrett
Author, Questioning the War on Terror: A Primer for Obama Voters: http://www.questioningthewaronterror.com

Projecting Power or Promoting Peace: The Prophetic Call For Justice, Kindness, Humility

Projecting Power or Promoting Peace: The Prophetic


Call For Justice, Kindness, Humility

By Robert Jensen

15 November, 2010
Countercurrents.org

[A version of this essay was delivered at the “People's Response to the George W. Bush Library and Policy Institute” event at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX, on November 14, 2010.]

I want to speak tonight in the language of spirit, but about subjects that transcend religion. I want to discuss politics, but in a way that transcends parties. I want to struggle with crises we have created out of ignorance and inattention; face up to problems that have no simple solutions; deal with the depths of human destructiveness and despair.

This will lead us, of course, to George W. Bush and his administration’s contribution to this mess.

But first I want to talk about sin and redemption. I want to confess, to testify, and to prophesy. I want to speak in this manner not just because we are at Southern MethodistUniversity, but because it is appropriate for end times.

By end times, I don’t mean the fantasies of a rapture that will take us to a heavenly place but the realities of a rupture in the fabric of our living world. These are the times in which we must end the unjust and unsustainable systems that govern our world — the end times for U.S. imperialism, for a predatory corporate capitalism, and for the fantasy of endless abundance. If we cannot end those systems in our time, then the end times surely are coming.

There is no place better to face our obligation to end those times than the George W. Bush Presidential Center, a monument to these failed systems.

In the shadow of that center, let’s begin by posing a spiritual question: Are we going to settle for piety (in both theology and politics) and sink into the profane? Or can we strive for humility and seek the holy (in spiritual and secular terms)?

This evening I am speaking in the language of the Christian tradition in which I was raised and to which I have returned, though the values I speak of are common to all the theological and philosophical traditions that people hold dear in this world. We speak through the stories of our culture and our time, but I believe those of us here tonight speak a common language of love. More on that later.

Tonight we are focused on one specific period of time, one administration, one set of lies and obfuscations, and their terrible consequences. But our task is to face a larger reality in regard to empire, economics, and ecology. The problem is not that the policies of George W. Bush’s administration put us on a new road, but instead that they took us faster and further toward the inevitable destination of the road on which we’ve been on. This road on which we have been traveling leads to a cliff, and we are perilously close to the edge.

So, I want to speak theologically but in the service of a political question: Do we imagine our future will be secured through the projection of power or through the promotion of peace? If we dare to answer “peace,” are we willing to take the risks necessary to challenge that power?

Confession and testimony

First, my confession. Although I am arguing that we should focus on the big picture — on the systems and institutions that structure power in society — I have sometimes succumbed to the temptation to mock political opponents. During the eight years of the Bush administration, I sometimes made fun of our president, suggesting he was intellectually and/or emotionally and/or morally unsuited for high office. I sometimes repeated his most comical verbal missteps, using phrases such as “make the pie higher” as cheap laugh lines, even though I knew that played into the hands of Bush’s handlers, who loved presenting him as an ordinary guy, clearing brush on his ranch and clear-cutting the English language.

For these sins, I ask forgiveness. It’s easy to shore up one’s own sense of moral and intellectual superiority by mocking others. Even when others deserve to be mocked, it is almost always self-indulgent and counterproductive. Better than implying we are right because others are so obviously wrong, we should demonstrate we are right through righteousness.

Second, my testimony. In a funny way, George W. Bush is responsible for me returning to membership in a Christian church, a tradition that I had abandoned as a young person. I joined St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in Austin in 2005, in part because of the welcoming atmosphere of that progressive congregation and the political courage of its pastor, the Rev. Jim Rigby. I was pleasantly surprised to find a church that welcomed my radical politics and didn’t demand that I accept supernatural theological claims (the belief in god as a force, entity, or being that has the capacity to direct the world; or the belief in the resurrection of Jesus as a historical event). St. Andrew’s was a hospitable place for me to land, where religion was understood as the struggle for deeper wisdom through historical experience, mythology, and poetry, rather than the imposition of rigid rules through delusion, dogma, and doctrine.

But I might not have been looking for a place to land if not for Bush’s skillful use of religion politically, which forced me to think more about the Christian character of the United States. By that I don’t mean we are a “Christian nation” in the sense that Glenn Beck suggests, but only that Christianity provides the dominant spiritual narrative of the culture. Bush helped me realize that I could deride the forces that are most prominent in that tradition today (which vary, depending on the denomination, from the mushy centrist to the harsh reactionary) or I could fight for a progressive theology and a radical politics rooted in the Gospels and the prophetic tradition of the Hebrew Bible. For two decades I had assumed that the crude, ham-handed theology and politics of the Moral Majority and similar groups would run its course, but I finally realized that was based on wishful thinking, not evidence. So, I went back to church.

For this revelation, I am grateful to the former president. Not everyone has to work within a religious tradition, of course, but progressive/radical movements cannot afford to abandon that turf to the reactionary right. For most of my life I had felt smug and comfortable in my secular worldview, which reduced my political effectiveness and limited my vision. Bush changed my heart, in a roundabout sort of way.

The prophetic voice

Confession of sin and testimony about faith are important, but more crucial for the future is our willingness to prophesy. I don’t use that term to suggest I can see the future or have special status. Rather, I believe we all should strive to tap into the prophetic voice within us. To speak in that voice is not to claim exclusive insight or definitive knowledge, nor is it to speak arrogantly. We speak in the prophetic voice when we are true to the best of our traditions and the best in ourselves. The prophets of the Hebrew tradition, for example, typically did not see themselves as special. When the king’s priest confronted Amos for naming the injustice of his day, Amazi’ah called Amos a “seer” and commanded him to pack his bags and head to Judah and “never again prophesy at Bethel, for it is the king’s sanctuary, and it is a temple of the kingdom.” Amos rejected the label:

[14] Then Amos answered Amazi’ah, “I am no prophet, nor a prophet’s son; but I am a herdsman, and a dresser of sycamore trees,

[15] and the Lord took me from following the flock, and the Lord said to me, “Go, prophesy to my people Israel.”

[Amos 7:14-15]

You may be saying to yourself, I seek no such calling, but neither did the prophets. Jeremiah told God he did not know how to speak, but God didn’t buy the excuse:

[7] But the Lord said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am only a youth’; for to all to whom I send you you shall go, and whatever I command you you shall speak.

[8] Be not afraid of them, for I am with you to deliver you, says the Lord.”

[9] Then the Lord put forth his hand and touched my mouth; and the Lord said to me, “Behold, I have put my words in your mouth.

[10] See, I have set you this day over nations and over kingdoms, to pluck up and to break down, to destroy and to overthrow, to build and to plant.”

[Jer. 1:7-10]

Nor was it typically much fun to fill the role of a prophet. On this, Jeremiah was clear:

[9] Concerning the prophets: My heart is broken within me, all my bones shake; I am like a drunken man, like a man overcome by wine, because of the LORD and because of his holy words.

[Jer. 23:9]

My heart is broken within me as well. This room is no doubt filled with broken hearts tonight. I speak not just of the heartbreaks that come, inevitably, with being human — the heartbreaks of disappointment, distress, disease, and death. The heartbreak that I refer to is not the unavoidable suffering of being human, but the suffering produced by imperialism, a predatory corporate capitalism, and a fantasy of endless abundance. That avoidable suffering demands that we speak prophetically in opposition to the systems out of which that suffering arises. We know we must reject religious fundamentalism, but we also must reject the national fundamentalism at the heart of imperial wars of domination; the economic fundamentalism at the heart of capitalism’s cult of greed; and the technological fundamentalism that spins the story of infinite consumption on a finite planet.

To speak prophetically we must strip away the delusional trappings of the culture and remember the core of our humanity. The world is complex, but the command is simple. Another of the Old Testament prophets, Micah, captured this:

[8] He has showed you what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?

[Mic. 6:8]

Of those virtues, I want to focus on the importance of humility. When we speak in the prophetic voice, we necessarily speak with passion and conviction. But we all know that passion and conviction can lead any of us to arrogance and self-righteousness. The counterbalance to that is humility, which brings us back to George W. Bush.

False humility

In Bush’s first presidential campaign, during the second debate, he used the word “humble” five times when discussing his approach to foreign policy:

“It really depends upon how our nation conducts itself in foreign policy. If we’re an arrogant nation, they’ll resent us. If we’re a humble nation but strong, they’ll welcome us. And our nation stands alone right now in the world in terms of power, and that’s why we’ve got to be humble and yet project strength in a way that promotes freedom. … “We’re a freedom-loving nation. And if we’re an arrogant nation, they’ll view us that way, but if we’re a humble nation, they’ll respect us. … “I think the United States must be humble and must be proud and confident of our values, but humble in how we treat nations that are figuring out how to chart their own course.” [1]

That’s the Bush rhetoric on humility, but we know what the reality was like. Humility was not the strong suit of the Bush administration, especially in foreign policy. The Bush administration didn’t really do humility, unless we define humility as the instinct to use massive violence to achieve the goals of elites, while expressing contempt for international law, international institutions, the views of a vocal group within the United States, and the views of a majority of the people of the world.

That’s a fair description of U.S. foreign policy during the Bush administration. I use the term “unilateralist thugs” to describe the Bush gang. “Thugs” in the sense of the willingness to use violence, and “unilateralist” in the approach to international law and organizations, and domestic and world opinion. When the United States invaded Afghanistan in 2001, the Bush administration didn’t even bother going to the U.N. Security Council for authorization, preferring to ignore international law. When the United States invaded Iraq in 2003, it attempted to secure a resolution but went forward anyway when that attempt failed.

The humility Bush promised evaporated quickly, but that shouldn’t surprise us, for humility hasn’t been the stance of any U.S. administration. We might recall the Clinton administration’s Iraq policy. During Clinton’s eight years, economic sanctions starved the Iraqi people by the tens of thousands each year, and although most of the world opposed that policy the Clinton administration kept the U.N. Security Council in line to maintain the embargo. When that strategy — described as genocidal by a U.N. official who resigned in protest — wasn’t working well enough, Clinton authorized the bombing of Iraq in December 1998 in “Operation Desert Fox.” The Clinton gang argued that existing Security Council resolutions gave them the right to kill, a position the rest of the world rejected, and Clinton bombed away without concern.

Clinton followed that up with the bombing of Yugoslavia in 1999. That also lacked U.N. authorization, though in that endeavor the Clinton administration marshaled NATO to provide the appearance of legitimacy. That operation was not only morally bankrupt but also a “crime against peace” in international law, but effort was put into garnering some level of international cooperation. We might think of the Clinton gang as “multilateralist thugs,” willing to use violence but providing the appearance of concern for international opinion when it suited them.

Obama continues the trend, making it clear that U.S. foreign policy remains based on the only trump card the United States has left in its hand — a decisive superiority in the capacity to kill and destroy, the result of the fact that we spend as much on war as the rest of the world combined. So, the occupation of Iraq continues; the occupation of Afghanistan surges forward; we conduct drone attacks in Pakistani territory; we continue to threaten Iran.

If we look at economics, we see the same pattern. The Republicans favor a reactionary capitalist program that would drive a stake in the heart of the New Deal, while the Democrats prefer a conservative capitalist approach that would keep the New Deal breathing, barely. For the energy needed to run an irrational consumption-based economy, the Republicans offer fantasies of more intensive penetration of the Earth to keep the machine running, while the Democrats prefer fantasies of endless invention.

Given a choice between those two sets of approaches, I’ll take the less violent, the less harsh, the less ugly. But being forced to choose between these options is a classic case of false alternatives, an attempt to constrain our imaginations at the time we need them most. We are not forever doomed to live in a monstrous imperial world system or a predatory capitalist economic system or an unsustainable high-energy/high-technology system. There are other options, other models, other visions.

We need to shout that truth, in the prophetic voice. We need to tap into our conviction and passion, speaking prophetically about the evil of these systems and our refusal to capitulate to them.

We also need humility, recognizing none of us has a perfect system to take down off the shelf and implement tomorrow. When we critique evil and are challenged — “Well, if you are so smart tell us how you would run the world” — we need not pretend to have all the answers. We need only to be confident in our critique and committed to constructing alternatives.

Harsh humility

We try to balance passion and humility. We recognize our limits but don’t hesitate to speak harshly when necessary. Let’s return to Micah, the source of that call for justice, kindness, and humility. Micah also called out the injustice around him, never softening what he knew to be the truth:

[12] Your rich men are full of violence; your inhabitants speak lies, and their tongue is deceitful in their mouth.
[13] Therefore I have begun to smite you, making you desolate because of your sins.
[14] You shall eat, but not be satisfied, and there shall be hunger in your inward parts; you shall put away, but not save, and what you save I will give to the sword.
[15] You shall sow, but not reap; you shall tread olives, but not anoint yourselves with oil; you shall tread grapes, but not drink wine.

[Mic. 6:12-15]

And:

[2] The godly man has perished from the earth, and there is none upright among men; they all lie in wait for blood, and each hunts his brother with a net.

[3] Their hands are upon what is evil, to do it diligently; the prince and the judge ask for a bribe, and the great man utters the evil desire of his soul; thus they weave it together.

[4] The best of them is like a brier, the most upright of them a thorn hedge. The day of their watchmen, of their punishment, has come; now their confusion is at hand.

[Mic. 7:2-4]

If we were to tap into our prophetic voice, what would we say about George W. Bush? He is guilty of crimes against peace, crimes against humanity, and war crimes. Opening a presidential center in his name is an abomination. I empathize with the students, staff, and faculty of SMU, who must now walk a campus with a monument to a war criminal. That empathy comes easy, for it is my own fate as well. Less than a mile from my office at the University of Texas is the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum, another monument to a war criminal. Just as the cries of the dead in Iraq and Afghanistan will float over SMU, the cries of the dead in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia ring in my ears at UT.

Let’s review the presidents of my lifetime: Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush I, Clinton, Bush II, Obama. Republicans and Democrats; liberals, moderates, and conservatives; from the west, east, Midwest, south, north; dull- and quick-witted, or just plain witless. All of them different, yet all of them thugs, all of them criminals.

The cries of the dead echo not just at SMU and UT, but across the United States, across an imperial society in which we citizens have failed to force our government to respect even minimal conceptions of human dignity and equality, the hallmarks of a decent society.

What would Amos and Jeremiah and Micah say? What will we say?  More importantly, what will we do?

Love in action

I promised I would come back to the topic of love. Whether we are secular or religious, or what religious tradition we might come from, we all recognize not only the power of love in our individual lives but the necessity of love in our political lives. As so many great political figures have noted — from a revolutionary such as Che Guevara to a proponent of non-violence such as Martin Luther King, Jr. — love must be at the center of radical politics.

Another of the prophets made this crystal clear in one sentence, from the Book of Osheroff, chapter 1, verse 1: “Solidarity is love in action.”

If you are scrambling to figure out why you don’t remember the Book of Osheroff, don’t worry — I made it up. My late friend Abe Osheroff was real and he spoke in as prophetic a voice as I have ever heard, but he’s not in the biblical canon — he was a thoroughly secular 20th century radical activist. Starting as a teenager in Depression-era New York helping evicted tenants, Abe was involved in progressive politics at every level — from fighting in the 1930s for the Republic in the Spanish Civil War to community work in the civil rights movement in the United States, from neighborhood organizing against developers at home to the seemingly endless struggle to end U.S. wars around the world. Abe so impressed me that I produced a documentary film about his life, [2] and the film’s final frame carries that point he made so often: “Solidarity is love in action.”

Abe knew that if solidarity is to be lived, it requires both love and action. Abe knew that love without action is empty, and that action without love is dangerous. We all know people who profess to love the world but who retreat into the passivity made possible by affluence and privilege. We should ask of them, what do they truly love? We also all know people who act out of what they claim to be a commitment to justice but through their actions hurt others without thought. We should ask of them, to what are they truly committed?

We know these people exist because, if we are to be honest with ourselves, we all can remember moments when that person was us, when we fell short. That’s because radical love in a political context is not easy. Paulo Freire, the great Brazilian activist and educator, always talked of love in this way:

As an act of bravery, love cannot be sentimental; as an act of freedom, it must not serve as a pretext for manipulation. It must generate other acts of freedom; otherwise, it is not love. Only by abolishing the situation of oppression, is it possible to restore the love which that situation made impossible. If I do not love the world — if I do not love life — if I do not love people — I cannot enter into dialogue.

On the other hand, dialogue cannot exist without humility. The naming of the world, through which people constantly re-create that world, cannot be an act of arrogance. [3]

To speak in the prophetic voice is not to proclaim the truth self-righteously but to claim our rightful place in dialogue, the collective struggle to understand the truth, which requires love and through which we seek to deepen our capacity to love. We seek the prophetic voice within us to allow us to love more fully, something that Paul the Apostle understood. When we call out injustice, when we find the courage to speak truths in a fallen world, it can be easy to be consumed by our anger and our grief, to lose track of that love. As we go forward to find the courage to speak prophetically, we should hold onto these words from Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians:

[2] And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.

[1Cor. 13:2]

We all struggle with this. For me, being angry is easy. After 20 years of political activism, I can easily launch into angry condemnations of the craven and the corrupt in power. But I struggle to hold onto my capacity to love, always more, and always more authentically. That may be the defining quality of the prophetic; it is our authentic voice in which we speak the truth with love, preparing to act on that truth.

Authenticity is a tricky concept. It is a state or quality we often invoke, though we are not always clear about its meaning. Abe gave me the best definition of authenticity I’ve ever heard:

Authenticity comes when your thoughts, your words, and your deeds have some relation to each other. It comes when there’s a real organic relationship between the way you think, the way you talk, and the way you act. You have to fight for authenticity all the time in this world, and if you don’t fight for it you will get derailed. But when you have it, when you feel that surge of recognition — that I’m saying exactly what I’m thinking, and I’m ready to do something about it — well, that’s an intellectual and emotional orgasm that makes sex look like nothing. [4]

Abe made that point in an interview with me, the transcript of which I titled “On the Joys and Risks of Living in the Empire.” In his political life, Abe took far more risks than I have to date. And, as a result, I think Abe experienced a deeper joy than I. The prophetic voice of Abe, who died on April 6, 2008, inspires me, but more importantly his memory haunts me. He encouraged me in my political activities, but what I remember most is not the supportive words he spoke but the unspoken challenge: What are you willing to risk?

Risk and joy

Think back to February 15, 2003. Many of us on that Saturday participated in actions in opposition to the planned U.S. invasion of Iraq. It was an exhilarating day, the largest coordinated political protest in the history of the world. At least 10 million people participated worldwide, with a clear message for the Bush administration: The invasion being planned is illegal and immoral, and we reject not only this war but your right to use violence to achieve your political and economic goals. I was the emcee of the event in Austin, and I remember being amazed at the thousands who gathered at the Capitol, stretching back so far that our loudspeakers couldn’t reach the entire crowd.

We had a compelling message, rooted in international law, political principles, and moral values. We had huge numbers of people. We had an international presence. And none of it mattered; the war came. Why could the Bush administration ignore us without consequence? I have pondered that question for the past seven years, and I keep coming back to one thing: What level of risk were we willing to take?

For most people, attending an anti-war rally posed no risk. Immigrants and people in targeted groups (Arabs, South Asians, Muslims) had reason to feel threatened, but people who look like me — with only rare exceptions — don’t face serious repression in the United States today for engaging in peaceful political activity. What were most of us willing to do beyond attending a rally in opposition to a war being planned? A month later, when the war came, we got a partial answer. The crowd for the standing call to come to the Capitol when the bombs fell was at best one-fourth of the pre-war rally. Most of the people who came on February 15 weren’t willing to come out in public once the nation was at war; even that trivial a risk was too much.

I could be cocky and say that in 2003 I was willing to risk my job, my physical safety, even my life to stop the war. It might be true; I certainly felt the urgency of the moment. But the question is moot, because at that time there was no strategy for taking such risks. These decisions about risk are made by individuals but in the context of options developed collectively, and the movement I was part of had not discussed such options.

A political movement that wants to challenge entrenched power cannot succeed without substantial numbers of people willing to take risks. If those in power know we aren’t ready to take risks, they can ignore our voices, confident that our opposition will dissipate. To create that group of people, we need to talk seriously, not about juvenile fantasies of armed revolution but about long-term commitment to a radical political project that aims to end imperialism, capitalism, and the ecologically unsustainable living arrangements of the affluent world.

So, I want to leave you with three questions that I heard posed by the sociologist Allan Johnson [5] in a workshop for activists. In our political and social networks, Johnson suggested, we should ask:

1. What are the risks you would have to take (or have taken) if you actively work for social justice and ecological sustainability in a way that is self-critical and challenges powerful institutions and people?

2. What are the risks if you don’t do that work?

3. If you take the risks in #1, in order to survive and thrive what do you need from:

· yourself

· others

· institutions and organizations (public and private)

The point of the exercise is, first, to force us not only to articulate the risks in acting but the risks in not acting. Rather than assume that the greater risk is in challenging power, we should ponder our fate if we let our fear rule us. Second, Johnson wants us to think about risk not in the abstract but concretely. If we can articulate what we need, we can start to imagine how to act.

Back to Abe: The phrase I used was the “ joys and risks.” One of the most important lessons I learned from Abe was that the joy I will feel in this world is directly related to the risks I am willing to take. When I think of Abe, what I remember most is not his insightful analysis, his knowledge of history, or his stories about past political actions. Instead, I remember his laugh. I remember the way he embraced life, even at the end when he was in considerable pain and unable to move far from his chair in the living room. Abe took risks I have never taken, and I think he felt joy at a depth I’m still struggling to reach.

Abe would be the first to tell me not to spend too much time comparing myself to him, and not to assume that the choices made in a previous era can map the choices we face today. Nothing is so simple.

But this much is simple: We face cascading crises on all fronts — political and economic, cultural and ecological — crises that may well outstrip the human capacity to cope. As a species, we aren’t nearly as smart as we like to think, and as a result we have to come to terms with the likelihood that some of the problems we have created may be beyond solutions that we can imagine. The human capacity to love and create is up against not only our capacity to hate and destroy; we also struggle with our tendency to create solutions that bring into being even greater problems. It is not only our ignorance that is dangerous, but our inability to understand our ignorance.

This much is also simple: We live in dark and dangerous times, and we know we cannot be seduced by those urging us to revert to religious, national, economic, or technological fundamentalisms, all of which would only exacerbate the danger. To whom should we listen?

Listen to the cries of the dead from imperial wars.

Listen to the cries of those suffering in a predatory economic system.

Listen to the cries from the living world all around us.

And, perhaps mostly importantly, listen to the cry of your own heart.

———————–

Robert Jensen is a journalism professor at the University of Texas at Austin and board member of the Third Coast Activist Resource Center in Austin. He is the author of All My Bones Shake: Seeking a Progressive Path to the Prophetic Voice, (Soft Skull Press, 2009); Getting Off: Pornography and the End of Masculinity (South End Press, 2007);The Heart of Whiteness: Confronting Race, Racism and White Privilege (City Lights, 2005); Citizens of the Empire: The Struggle to Claim Our Humanity (City Lights, 2004); and Writing Dissent: Taking Radical Ideas from the Margins to the Mainstream (Peter Lang, 2002). Jensen is also co-producer of the documentary film “Abe Osheroff: One Foot in the Grave, the Other Still Dancing,” which chronicles the life and philosophy of the longtime radical activist. Information about the film, distributed by the Media Education Foundation, and an extended interview Jensen conducted with Osheroff are online athttp://thirdcoastactivist.org/osheroff.html .

Jensen can be reached at rjensen@uts.cc.utexas.edu and his articles can be found online athttp://uts.cc.utexas.edu/~rjensen/index.html . To join an email list to receive articles by Jensen, go to http://www.thirdcoastactivist.org/jensenupdates-info.html

The Beautiful Breasts of Ukrainian Democracy

[These attractive, energetic young Ukrainian babes have discovered the disabling power of bouncing breasts in public.  If this new explicit form of political protest catches-on in the US, it might just shut this country down more efficiently than useless calls for a general strike ever could.]

Activists from the women rights organization Femen take part in a motorcycle procession celebrating Independence Day in Kyiv, August 24, 2010. (Yaroslav Debelyi)

Activists from the women rights organization Femen protest in front of a statute of Lenin, against Ukraine giving concessions to Russia in central Kyiv, October 27, 2010. (Yaroslav Debelyi)

Ukraine’s topless group widens political role

Ukraine's topless group widens political role

In this file photo from April 2009, Femen protesters distribute leaflets on Independence Square informing foreigners that Ukraine is not a brothel.Yaroslav Debelyi

Reuters

Brazenly provocative, the bare-breasted young women of Femen are becoming an eye-catching — if unsolicited — fixture on Ukraine’s political scene.

Anna Hutsol, Femen’s spikey-haired 26-year-old leader, says she commands a small army of 300 mainly student activists ready to peel off in public to support Ukrainian women’s rights.

As the group broadens its activities to embrace wider causes, she says Femen is undeterred by increased police action.
“We plan more protests this year,” Hutsol told Reuters.

Femen activists caused a minor diplomatic stir last month during a visit by Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin with a topless street protest in which they made raunchy references to his personal life.

Last week two semi-clad Femen members disrupted an Iranian exhibition with a protest in support of an Iranian woman held in jail for adultery and complicity of murder. The Ukrainian authorities, who once laughed off Femen’s activities as cheeky but harmless antics, may now be losing patience after the anti-Putin demonstration which touched a raw nerve in sensitive ties with a powerful neighbour.

“The police are becoming more aggressive now. But at least that shows we are being taken seriously,” Hutsol told Reuters in an interview in a downtown Kiev cafe.

UKRAINIAN WOMEN’S PLIGHT

Established in 2008 by a group of Kiev university students, Femen says its main aims are to improve the role of women in Ukraine’s male-dominated, post-Soviet society.

“We want to show that our women have a demeaning role in our society. Their place is seen as in the kitchen or in bed,” said Alexandra Shevchenko, a 22-year-old economics student who regularly plays a leading role in topless protests.

Sex tourists and visiting foreign businessmen who feed Ukraine’s sex industryare the group’s main targets. It has also campaigned against sexual harassment of students in universities and railed against international beauty contests such as the Miss Universe competition.

Even Mykola Azarov — the country’s dour, grey-haired prime minister — found himself an unlikely target of Femen when he drew fire by naming an all-male government.

But this is no classic women’s movement. In conversation, Femen activists invoke no role models.


Anna Hutsol

Ex-prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko, Ukraine’s best known woman, is for them just another actor on a stale political scene.

The explicitly sexual nature of Femen’s protests – young women stripping to the waist, cavorting provocatively and chanting near-obscene slogans — raises the question of whether its activists are not undermining their own movement’s values.

But they themselves see no contradiction. “We started out being dressed but we found nobody took any notice. I’m a big fan of taking off our clothes. It’s how we get attention for our views,” said Shevchenko.

“It’s all we’ve got, our bodies. We are not ashamed of this,” said 20-year-old Inna, a journalism student.

Hutsol says about 300 young women take part in protests, but Internet and email contacts indicate a support base of about 25,000 people.

Financing, she says, comes from businessmen and local entrepreneurs who sympathise with their cause.

TARGETS WIDENING

Femen’s first topless actions in mid-2009 targeted the sex industry, prostitution and the spread of Internet pornography.

Early this year the group widened its agenda when Femen activists, protesting about vote-rigging in the presidential election, staged a topless demonstration at a polling booth as President Viktor Yanukovich himself turned up to vote. Since then it has held about 30 protests in the capital Kiev including one outside the government building. Many of them are short-lived: a flash of skin and a hurriedly-squawked slogan before security men move in to hustle the Femen activists off-stage.

When Putin visited in late October, six Femen activists stripped to the waist near the statue of Soviet state founder Lenin and chanted sexually-charged slogans, telling the Russian leader to keep his hands off Ukraine.

“Ukraine is not Alina”, read one — a reference to Alina Kabayeva, the Olympic gymnast whom media speculation links romantically to Putin.

Hutsol said the Putin action clearly ruffled feathers and police had since questioned many of those who took part.

Its small support base, meagre resources, limited agenda and a “young-centric” membership suggest Femen has little prospect of broadening into a political movement.

But in a country deeply cynical about politics, Femen represents — albeit on a modest scale — one of the few regular street protest movements. Asked if Femen had a political agenda for the future. Hutsol said: “We do have some ideas, some plans. We are working on them.”

German people in unprecedented rebellion against government

German people in unprecedented rebellion against government

1000 injured in nuclear protests: police at breaking point

By Jane Burgermeister

Like the Roman legions vanquished in the Teutoburger Wald in Lower Saxony in 9 AD, the 17,000 police officers that marched into the woods around the nuclear storage facility in Gorleben in northern Germany on Sunday morning looked invincible. Police personnel from France, Croatia and Poland had joined in the biggest security operation ever mounted against protestors against the a train carrying nuclear waste to a depot in an isolated part of  Lower Saxony’s countryside. Helicopters, water canons and police vehicles, including an armoured surveillance truck, accompanied an endless column of anti-riot police mounted on horses and also marching down the railway tracks into the dense woods. Tens of thousands of anti riot police clattered along the tracks, their helmets and visors gleaming in the morning sun, and wearing body armour, leg guards and carrying batons.

But by Sunday night, those same police officers were begging the protestors for a respite.

Trapped in black, icy  woods without supplies or reinforcements able to reach them because of blockades by a mobile fleet of farmer’s tractors, the exhausted and hungry police officers requested negotiations with the protestors. A water cannon truck was blocked by tractors, and yet the police still had to clear 5000 people lying on the railway track at Harlingen in pitch darkness. The largest ever police operation had descended into chaos and confusion in the autumn woods of Lower Saxony, defeated by the courage and determination of peaceful protestors who marched for miles through woods to find places to lie down on the tracks and to scoop out gravel to delay the progress of the “the train from hell.”

The police union head Reiner Wendt gave vent to the general frustration when he issued a press statement via the DPA news agency last night saying the police had reached exhaustion point and needed a break. Behind the scenes, a battle seemed to be raging between the police chiefs, tucked up in their warm headquarters urging more action, and the exhausted officers on the ground.

The police on the ground won out. The Castor train – called a “Chernobyl on wheels” because it has been carrying 133 tonnes of highly radioactive waste to an unsafe depot – was stopped in the middle of the countryside and Nato barbed wire was placed around it. Lit by floodlights and guarded by a handful of police, the most dangerous train on the planet was forced to a halt after a 63 hour journey across France and Germany.

The defeat of the legions at Teutoburg marked the end of the attempt by the Roman empire to conquer Germania magna. And the failure of the biggest ever police operation two thousand years later in the woods of Lower Saxony to tame women, elderly people and school children protesting the government’s nuclear policy, could well also go down as a turning point.

The Berlin government can no longer rely on the discredited mainstream media to control the way people see issues. Too many people recognise it to be a tool of propaganda. The government now needs to resort to brute force to bludgeon through decisions that enrich corporations and banks and impoverish everyone else. But the police forces  at its disposal are simply not sufficient given the scale of the protests now gripping Germany. Only 1,500 police reinforcements could be mustered on Morning from the entire territory to deal with road blockades by thousands of protestors aiming to delay the transport of the nuclear waste on the final leg of its journey.

The police officers were exhausted after shifts of 24 hours or more, often without any food or just a cappucino and snack bar, and they had nothing to look forward to but more of the same drudgery after a night spent four to a room in a Youth Hostel.

Report on the Castor pushes the police to the limit

A leading figure in a German police police union Bernard Witthaut today even lashed out at the government for trying to drive through unpopular policies using the police.

“Whether in Stuttgart or in Wendland today my colleagues are simply not getting out of their anti riot gear because of the wrong decisions by the government,” he said.

Many police officers also expressed sympathy with the protestors’ aims.

The question now is: how long can the use of police to bludgeon protestors continue when the protests are reaching this scale? How long can Germany be governed by a semi authoritarian regime using brute force when the force at its disposal is so small? The German army cannot be deployed on this kind of mission without sparking even more outrage. A false flag terrorist operation will hardly wash when the people are so fed up with the government lies and the media lies. EU soldiers will find it hard to deal with the Germans. The German and EU secret police cannot infiltrate all of the protestor’s organizations when there are simply so many.

The German people as a whole are on the march.

“Citizens in rebellion,” shouted a TAZ headline.

“Civil war in Wendtand,” fumed Bild.

NGO chief Kersin Rudek spoke for many when she said:

“We have lost faith in the government until they prove that their politics is for the people and not for the corporations.”
She talked about the “anger” among people at the “arrogance of the political class.”

As in the Stuttgart 21 railway protests, it was people from all walks of life,  a genuine grass roots movement, that arrived in Wendland to protest the decision by the CDU/CSU/FDP government to ignore a legally binding deadline to phase out nuclear power. Against the wishes of the majority, Bilderberg Chancellor Angela Merkel announced this autumn that 17 reactors would continue for another 12 years at gigantic cost to the tax payer in subsidies.

The tax payers of Lower Saxony even have to foot the bill of  50 million euro for the police operation to protect the nuclear waste – and not the electricity companies making a fortune from the extravagant energy source [which is associated with France's WMD program] while the government keeps investments in ground-breaking new renewable energy technologies such as the third generation solar cells at a negligible amount.

As in Stutggart, the police used savage force against peaceful demonstrators reinforcing the impression of a government out of control and refusing to respect the basic democratic right of people to hold protests without being beaten to a pulp. Videos of the Castor transport on Sunday show police beating people with their truncheons, punching them and throwing them to the ground. Police also used tear gas, pepper spray and water canon.

Standstill for hours, then begin the evacuation
One clip shows a police officer using his fist to punch a man lying on the railway track in the head.

About a 1000 people were injured, it is reported. 950 people are reported to have suffered eye injuries due to pepper spray and tear gas, according to a spokesperson of “Castor schottern”. Another sixteen protestors suffered broken bones. There were 29 severe head wounds. Two people had to be taken to hospital.

Demonstrators are adapting to long night
One person had to be taken by helicopter after suffering multiple bone fractures after being trampled by a police horse.
But as in Stuttgart, the people did not give up in spite of the risk of savage beatings at the hands of the police. They insisted on their civic right enshrined in the constitution to hold peaceful political protests.

More than 50,000 people from all parts of the country and all walks of life attended a rally on a field close to Dannenberg. Thousands then marched through the autumn woods, splitting into small groups to descend into the valley, break through police lines to chain themselves to the rails or remove gravel from the  tracks to delay the train.

According to Spiegel, 7000 people alone took part in the road and railway blockades.

An armoured police car was set on fire by masked men but it is not clear if this was an agent pravocateur acting to discredit the protestors. A video shows a man able to walk up to the armoured car and set it alight unhindered.

The overwhelming number of protestors were peaceful.

In spite of the sub zero temperatures and ground frost, up to 5000 protestors  lay down on the railway tracks at Harlingen late in the evening and refused to move. Supplies of hot tea, food and blankets were brought to them by mobile kitchens. Fires were lit to help stay warm.

The police worked from midnight until 7 am to clear protestors blocking the track, dragging many to an open air “prison concentration camp” where people were forced to sleep in fields surrounded by police trucks.

This morning, the protestors have regrouped today and thousands are reported to be preparing to block the transport by road of the nculear waste from Dannenberg to Gorleben.

now threatened road terror

The organisers of the protest kept journalists and the public informed using live tickers, press releases and at Infopoints so that the whole country could follow the events outside the mainstream media. Radio Wendland is also broadcasting updates on the incredibly heroic resistance of so many people. At great personal risk, tens of thousands of people gave an example of courageous and peaceful non-violent resistance that will surely go down in history.

If this is the resistance for Castor and Stuttgart 21, just imagine what will happen when Germans finally grasp the scale of the banking scam being carried out by their “elite.”

The CDU/CSU/FDP government has already hit record lows in the polls and after Sunday’s savage police operation against peaceful protestors, support for them is sure to plummet further.

The feudal lords without a feudal army to push through their agenda of robbery are facing the end of the road now that their media propaganda apparatus based on the Springer and Bertelsmann empire is falling apart and their strategy of divide and rule through a false left/right political paradigm is no longer working.

A new freedom and power was born in the woods of Wendland. And it belonged to the people who have had enough of the arrogant authoritarian political class.

Anti-war vets to protest Clinton meeting

A GROUP of Australian veterans against the war in Afghanistan will protest against the Australia United States Ministerial (AUSMIN) talks being held in Melbourne.

Stand Fast, a national association of veterans against the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, will protest against the talks being held between US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, US Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Australian Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd and Australian Defence Minister Stephen Smith.

While the ministers from the two countries discuss defence alliance issues at Government House, Stand Fast members will protest a few hundred metres away outside Victoria Barracks.

Stand Fast spokesman Hamish Chitts said as well as wanting troops out of Afghanistan, Stand Fast was opposed to Australia being part of an alliance with the US and was protesting against the US being allowed to use Australian military bases.

“It’s been foreshadowed they’re going to be doing this deal that bases are made available to the US,” Mr Chitts said.

“So we’re protesting against that because for one we don’t think the Australian military should be as closely integrated into the US military as it currently is and it seems to be heading to be more so.”

He said the US kept putting Australia into “unwinnable wars that are illegal by international law” and motivated by greed.

The protest will be the sixth Stand Fast has held at army locations across Australia in recent months.

German police clash with anti-nuclear activists

German police clash with anti-nuclear activists

Photo

German police push away anti-nuclear activists who are blocking the railway track in the small village of Leitstade near Dannenberg, November 7, 2010.

REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch

By Annika Breidthardt

DANNENBERG, Germany (Reuters) – German police clashed on Sunday with anti-nuclear activists trying to disrupt a shipment of nuclear waste heading to a storage dump, using truncheons and tear gas to clear a blocked rail line.

A police spokesman said some 250 activists had tried to damage the track near the waste dump to halt a train carrying the waste. When police tried to stop them, the activists responded with tear gas and flare guns.

“The situation is not yet under control,” said another police spokesman.

Riot police used truncheons, tear gas and water cannon to stop the violent activists, who were part of a larger group of about 4,000 protesters near the town of Leitstade trying to halt the train. A police vehicle was set on fire, police said.

About a dozen protesters were injured, demonstrators were quoted as saying by local media reports. Police could not confirm any injuries.

The waste shipment has become a tense political issue this year due to anger over Chancellor Angela Merkel’s decision to extend the lifespan of Germany’s 17 nuclear power plants despite overwhelming public opposition.

The waste originated in Germany and was reprocessed at the French nuclear group Areva’s processing plant at La Hague for storage in a site in the northern German town of Gorleben.

The train was held up repeatedly on its way across France and Germany on a journey that began on Friday. In Germany thousands staged sit down strikes on tracks and others lowered themselves on ropes from bridges to prevent the train from passing. They were removed by police.

The waste shipment is expected to arrive in Gorleben, near the central town of Dannenberg, later on Sunday.

Merkel’s government has slumped in popularity due largely to its decision to extend nuclear power by about 12 years beyond the original shut-down set for 2021. Germany gets 23 percent of its power from nuclear plants.

Scenes of violence in previous transports have contributed to Germany’s strong anti-nuclear mood.

Protesters fear the depot at Gorleben, built as an interim storage site, could become permanent. Greenpeace says the site, in a disused salt mine, would be unsafe over the long term.

(Writing by Erik Kirschbaum; editing by David Stamp)

Medvedev Gives Russians Hope, Vetoes Putin-Backed First Amendment Restrictions

[When this veto is considered against Putin's drive to recreate a "lite" version of the Soviet Union as seen in the stifling of Moscow protests, and his ongoing vendetta against the co-owner of Novaya Gazeta, it is becoming much clearer, that Medvedev is not Putin's puppet.]

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev

Medvedev vetoes law restricting protests

MOSCOW : President Dmitry Medvedev has in a rare move vetoed a bill agreed by the Russian parliament last month which activists said would further restrict opposition protests, the Kremlin said Saturday.

The new law was agreed by the State Duma, the lower house, on October 22 and then approved by the Federation Council upper house on October 27 and only needed to be signed by Medvedev to come into force.

The changes would notably have forbidden anyone convicted in the past of organising an illegal demonstration of putting in a request for permission to hold a protest.

“I reject the law,” Medvedev said in a letter to the State Duma speaker Boris Gryzlov and the head of the Federation Council Sergei Mironov.

“The law… has aspects which would impede the realisation of the constitutional right of citizens to hold gatherings, meetings, demonstrations, marches and pickets,” he said in the document released by the Kremlin.

The law had been passed overwhelmingly in the State Duma and was backed by the ruling United Russia party whose overall leader is Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.

Russian police have regularly cracked down on opposition demonstrations deemed to be unauthorised although some observers have detected a new climate of tolerance after the ousting of Moscow mayor Yuri Luzhkov in September.

NATO Counter Summit in Lisbon, Portugal, November 19th-21st 2010

NATO Counter Summit in Lisbon, Portugal, November 19th-21st 2010

“No to War – No to Nato” presents with the support of Rosa Luxemburg Foundation, Stiftung Friedensbewegung and DIE LINKE, Germany

 

At the next NATO summit meeting in Lisbon from November 19th to 21st 2010, the new NATO strategy will be adopted. The new strategy should “lead NATO through the uneasy and dangerous times at the beginning of the 21st century”, as formulated in the contract for the development of the new strategy at the summit of heads of states and governments in Strasbourg in April 2009. The expert group set up for designing the strategy, placed under the direction of former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, made its recommendations in May for the new NATO strategy, entitled “NATO 2020”. “The alliance must be versatile and flexible in this time period of uncertainty in the 21st century”, said Madeleine Albright at the presentation of the report. If a (first) conclusion of this document is to be drawn, than it can only be: pure militarism, continuing of the wars, especially in Afghanistan and, above all, further nuclear armament. The words are more cautious and vague, but the reality is brutal and war-like. Approaches for greater political cooperation, e.g. with Russia, are foiled by aggressive armament policy (including the missile defence system). The critique of the peace movement, which we have formulated in connection with the 60th birthday of NATO, is still necessary and correct: NATO is a dinosaur that should be abolished.

 

NO to the new NATO-Strategy! Getting Active for Global Peace, Disarmament and the End of NATO

Location: Liceu Luís de Camões, Lisboa

 

11/19/2010 – Friday

11.00-11.15 Welcome

Natália Nogal (for PAGAN), Reiner Braun (for ICC)

11.15-13.00 Lectures

Moderation / Chair: Arielle Denis, Mvt. Paix / Andreas Speck, WRI

  • War and Peace (Sandra Monteiro, Le Monde Diplomatique, Portugal)
  • The new NATO Strategy and Global Crisis (Vitor Lima, PAGAN, Portugal)
  • Nuclear weapons in the new NATO-Strategy (Joseph Gerson, AFSC, USA)
  • Relations between Russia and NATO (Vitaly Merkushew, Eurasian Network of Political Research, Russia)
  • NATO and Missile Defense (Jan Majicek, No BASES Network, CR)
  • NATO’s War in Afghanistan (RAWA, Afghanistan) (TBC)

14.00-22.30 Workshop Blocks

14.00-16.30 Workshop Block I – Discussion of the NATO Strategy

  • NATO and Nuclear Weapons (convenor: Dave Webb, CND)
  • NATO, War and Global Crises (convenor: Jacques Fath, PCF)
  • NATO and Afghanistan (convenor: Reiner Braun, INES / Joseph Gerson, AFSC)
  • NATO and EU (convenor: Michael Youlton, IAWM / PANA)
  • History of NATO (convenor: Erhard Crome, RLS)

short coffee / snack break

17.00-19.00 Workshop Block II War, Militarization and Peace

  • Feminism and Militarization (convenor: Kristine Karch, INES)
  • Portugal and Militarization (convenor: Nuno Moniz, PAGAN)
  • The Military Industrial Complex and the Privatization of War (convenor: Rae Street, CND)
  • NATO and Bases (convenor: Elsa Rassbach, DFG-VK – GIs and U.S. Bases / Jan Majicek, NO BASES Network)
  • Youth and Militarization (convenor: Nuno Moniz, PAGAN)
  • From neutrality to NATO – Scandinavia in Partnership for Peace (convenor: Agneta Norberg, Swedish Peace Council)

one hour dinner break

20.00-22.30 Workshop Block III Peaceful, Just and Social Alternatives

  • Alternative Security Systems (convenor: Erhard Crome, RLS)
  • Actions for Peace (convenor: Monty Schädel, DFG-VK / Lucas Wirl, INES)
  • Human security and other concepts (convenor: António Dores,PAGAN / Tobias Pflüger, IMI)
  • Nuclear Weapons Convention (convenor: Reiner Braun, IALANA Europe)
  • Disarmament for development (convenor: Ben Cramer, IPB)
  • Non violent resistance (convenor: Andreas Speck, WRI)

22.30 Peace Party

11/20/2010 – Saturday

10.00-12.00 Public Event in the City of Lisboa — NO to War – NO to NATO

Moderation / Chair: Joseph Gerson (AFSC) / Irina Castro (PAGAN)

Discussion in the centre of the city, open for the general public and interested people. With Politicians and Activists:

  • Willy Meyer, Member European Parliament GUE/ NGL, European Left, Spain
  • Jeremy Corbyn, Member of Parliament, Labour Party, GB
  • Colonel Mario Tomé, PAGAN, Portugal
  • Arielle Denis, Mouvement de la Paix, France
  • Christine Hoffmann, pax christi Germany, Germany

15.00 International Anti-NATO demonstration

Location: Av. Da Liberdade

11/21/2010 – Sunday

10.00-10.45 Introduction Lectures: Lessons Learnt

Portugal and NATO (Ricardo Robles, PAGAN)

NATO and Latin America (Eduardo Melero, UAM, Spain)

 

Peace Assembly – Anti-War Assembly:

How to continue acting for a world without war and NATO

Moderation: Arielle Denis, Dave Webb, Tobias Pflüger

10.45 – 11.15 Reports from the Working Groups

Reports of anti-NATO-activities in Lisboa

short coffee / snack break

11.45 – 14.00 Open Microphone: 3 min. reports and discussion on activities and future plans against NATO

Agreements on common activities

14.00 Presentation of the Declaration of the ICC and Conclusions

Remarks by Reiner Braun

 

Organizational information:

a) Program: The convenors are responsible for organizing the workshops. The ICC takes care for the Plenary Speakers. The full program with the speakers of the workshops will be published after November 1st.

 

b) Registration: For further information about and to register for the  conference, please send an email to: Kongress@IALANA.de Registration starts on October 18th and is necessary for a successful preparation and arrangement of the conference.

 

c) Conference donation: The conference is organized by activists for activists, we ask you to support our conference. Voluntary conference fee: 10 € which may be paid at the conference

 

d) Accommodation: For private accommodation, please contact:accommodation.lisbon2010@gmail.com

 

Cheap hotels and hostels close to the counter summit:

For any further questions: Please contact: kongress@ialana.de or check out the webpage: http://www.no-to-nato.org

“I’m Going to Canada!”–How to Stop a War

[This was a very effective tactic for war resistance back in the Nam era.  If my draft lottery number hadn't been so high(343 out of 366)  I planned to go to Canada or Australia myself.  If only we had the draft now, it would surely motivate millions of Americans to pour into the streets once again.  Until every teenager and his family begins to see the personal stake they have in ending this war, there will be no civil action on the scale that we are hearing about in Europe.  Social action is the key to stopping austerity cuts and war escalations.]

Refusing orders

Former US soldiers describes deployment in Afghanistan

“No one will force me to draw my weapon on little kids. I’m not going to do that anymore.”
That was one of many experiences which changed the life of Jules Tindungan, a former soldier of the United States military who described his deployment to Afghanistan in 2007 as “15 months of hell.” It was the fighting, trauma and constant violence in the War on Terror which caused Tindungan, a Los Angeles native, to second guess whether enlisting in the army was a good idea.
“I joined (the army) when I was 17. I struggled in high school. I wasn’t that great of a kid,” Tindungan told a group of about 50 people at St. Paul’s Anglican Church Oct. 16 as part of the Refusing Orders, Crossing Boarders event. “The U.S. military was one of the largest employers in Southern California. McDonalds was the second largest. All things changed when I was deployed. I was very young. It was a lot of responsibility given to me.”
As a soldier, Tindungan was part of an infantry unit, and was trained to know “the ins and outs of weaponry,” knowing military procedures such as when to invade homes and pull people out during a fight.
While stationed in Afghanistan Tindungan noticed that life that much different in the country when compared to California.
“I saw how people trying to carve out a lifestyle in the terrain. I saw resemblances of Southern California and these dirt places in Afghanistan.”
Tindungan was injured while fighting overseas, hit in the lower left leg by a mortar shell. While injured Tindungan worked the radio while his “brothers” in the army were fighting on the field.
“Instead of being with my brothers I was hearing them scream (on the radio),” Tindungan said. “So a lot of me changed. My outlook changed on what I was doing.”
In 2008, Tindungan was sent home. He was scheduled to redeploy for another round overseas but instead of packing his bags, Tindungan returned to California, chucked his cell phone into the ocean and fled.
Tindungan found new life in Vancouver, B.C., where he met his wife and got a new job.
“I’m doing pretty good for myself,” Tindungan said.
Tindungan was one of 11 war resisters on a panel sharing their stories and answering questions as part of Refusing Orders, Crossing Boarders, an event organized by the War Resisters Support Campaign in Canada and the Buffalo Chapter of Veterans For Peace.
The day-long event was meant for American War Resisters who sought refuge on Canadian soil to share their stories on why they made their choices to resist the military life and the struggles behind it.
Bruce Byers, one of the organizers of the event, said the purpose of Refusing Orders, Crossing Borders was to show support for former soldiers who refuse to participate in the military.
“All are veterans of the United States army. Some have seen combat,” Byers said. “But all refuse to participate. I hope (participants) leave with the courage and understanding of they (soldiers) made their decisions.”
During a question period, the panel was asked how they feel about being called a war resister, a coward or a traitor.
War resister Dale Landry said he doesn’t consider himself a deserter, nor is he a coward or a traitor.
“They say when you leave you commit treason. It’s such a narrow definition,” Landry said. “To commit treason means to assist foreign countries during a war. I wasn’t against the United States.”
Panelist Phil McDowell said he doesn’t consider himself a coward. McDowell said the decision to leave was his choice.
“I don’t care what people call me,” McDowell said to applause from the crowd.
For more information about the War Resisters Support Campaign, visit http://www.resisters.ca.

Sonia Gandhi Blasts Hindutva Extremists RSS for “terrorist activities.”

[Well, Pakistan, isn't this what you have been waiting for?  Stand-up, speak-up in support of this brave Indian woman and her party.  Then be prepared to admit LeT involvement in the Mumbai attacks.  All of you have to make an effort to overcome the obstacles that Western support for Pakistani and Hindutva terrorism has erected between you, because it has been built on the foundation of your own hostilities.  SEE: David Colemann Headley Is A CIA-FBI Agent]

http://topnews.in/law/files/Sonia-Gandhi_1.jpg

 

Cong will “forcefully” resist any attempts to abuse religion for political gains: Sonia

PTI

Congress on Tuesday went full blast in attacking the RSS and its sister organisations, accusing them of being involved in terrorism and held that the Allahabad High Court verdict does not condone the demolition of Babri Masjid but skirted the raging issue of housing scam in Mumbai.

The day-long session of AICC, to ratify re-election of Sonia Gandhi as party president, saw over 1,000 delegates authorising her to nominate members to the Congress Working Committee, the highest policy-making body of the party.

Inaugural speech

In her inaugural speech, Ms. Gandhi said Congress and the governments led by her party will “forcefully” resist attempts by anyone to abuse religion for political gains.

Talking about the September 30 Allahabad High Court verdict on Ram Janambhoomi-Babri Masjid title suit, she said it in “no way condones” the demolition of the disputed structure on December 6,1992.

The demolition was a “shameful, criminal act” and “all those responsible must be brought to justice,” she said.

True character of RSS

Taking the attack a notch further, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee piloted an AICC statement that said “recent revelations through detailed investigations have exposed the true character of RSS and its sister organisations.

“The investigations indicate the involvement of its members in terrorist activities.”

Justifying the inclusion of references to the RSS, Mr. Mukherjee said, “RSS organisation is to be exposed. Their links with the terrorist activities which have been recently highlighted through the revelations are to be brought in.”

PM lauds Sonia

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh hailed the role of Ms. Sonia Gandhi as the “longest serving” party president for the last 12 years and her efforts in bringing the party to power at the Centre for a second continuous term.

He expressed confidence that under her leadership the party would continue to be in power for a long time.

No scam reference

In all the speeches, there was no reference to the raging scam relating to Mumbai’s Adarsh Housing Society in which the Congress leaders of Maharashtra are facing allegations of irregularities. Chief Minister Ashok Chavan has already offered his resignation.

There was also no reference to the Commonwealth Games scams.

The AICC statement said investigations “indicate the involvement” of RSS members in terrorist activities.

“Communal and terrorist elements, whichever source they may originate from, that aim at destroying our national fabric will be fought at any cost,” it said.

Various issues

Ms. Gandhi spoke on a number of other issues like Jammu and Kashmir, terrorism, price rise, Naxalism and women’s reservation and party’s preparations for the next round of Assembly elections.

She noted that a “new situation” had emerged in Jammu and Kashmir and appealed to all the dissatisfied sections to trust the government and give peace a chance so that the future of next generations could be built.

“I speak for all of us when I express my anguish at the loss of young lives in Kashmir. I share their grief. Their loss is national loss. The whole generation has seen nothing but violence and conflict,” she said.

She said the priority should be on development of the state. “There has to be a meaningful political dialogue with all parties and all regions,” she said.

On terrorism, she said the “threat is for real and we will never relax our vigil against terrorism“.

The Congress president said it was “crystal clear” as to who was behind the attacks on November 26, 2008 in Mumbai, apparently referring to Pakistan.

Touching upon the issue of Naxalism, she said while firm police action is necessary, there was a need for greater emphasis on socio-economic development.

On inflation, she said food prices have come down but there was a “need to bring these down further”.

She said states were as much responsible for this as the Centre.

She also said the Congress was committed to bring the Women’s Reservation Bill in Lok Sabha soon.

Jeff Feltman’s ‘really great plan’ for Lebanon

Jeff  Feltman’s ‘really great plan’

“ Let’s  blame (Imad) Mughniyah for killing Hariri. He’s dead so the investigative trail ends. Just say, ‘We had no idea what he was doing’.  No more tribunal. Everyone is happy.  And as a sweetener we’ll take Hezbollah off our Terrorism list.” US undersecretary of State for Near East Affairs Jeffrey Feltman to Hezbollah via the Saudi-Syrian, back channel on 10/22/10

“Do you think we’re that stupid?” Hezbollah (smelling a set-up) to Obama via the same channel 10/23/10

Franklin Lamb,

Dahiyeh, South Beirut

Beirut is abuzz this morning over some pretty bizarre events that have been unfolding the past few months concerning Hezbollah and the UN created International Tribunal for Lebanon, created in 2007 to bring to justice those involved in the Valentine Day 2005 assassination of then Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri.

Another one occurred yesterday morning, 10/27/10, at 9:00 am at  Dr. Iman Charara’s  street level private obstetrics and gynecology clinic, here in Dahiyeh, a Hezbollah south Beirut neighborhood which is still recovering from Israel’s 33 days of carpet bombing in 2006 which destroyed pretty much everything including  more than 250 homes, scores of businesses, and much of the infrastructure.

Some, but not all of the facts of this still unfolding episode are agreed upon.  Two English speaking male investigators, two male security persons, and one female interpreter, all from the Special Tribunal for Lebanon arrived in Dahiyeh to speak with Dr. Charara. They asked for phone numbers and addresses of 17 of her patients for as far back as 2003. The STL had called on 10/22/10 to make an appointment, and after checking with the Lebanese Medicinal Association regarding privacy issues, Dr. Charara agreed.  When she led the delegation into an adjoining office to consult with her secretary about researching her office files, according to Dr. Charara, “I was surprised by the large number of women who came shouting and cursing the investigators,” she told this morning Beirut’s Daily Star. Dr. Iman Charara told New TV that she does not know how the clash between the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) investigators and the women at her clinic erupted.

According to one witness who has a business opposite the clinic:

“The women were yelling ‘you are American, Israeli!’ and they were cursing the investigators and demining that they leave.”  At least one briefcase, a laptop computer, cell phones,  notebooks and other material was taken from the STL investigators during the melee.  According to the Office of the STL Prosecutor:  “ Mr Bellemare and the STL takes this incident very seriously and we are currently conducting an investigation,” the media relations unit of the Hague-based  Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) stated by email. “We want everything returned, including the cell phones that were stolen.”

Bellemare’s office also  denounced the “use of violence” against two of its investigators  saying that the event will not deter the office’s investigation. “Several items belonging to Bellemare’s office staff were stolen during the attack,” it added. A security source told The Daily Star the belongings that were confiscated during the attack contained important STL documents.

So far unproven allegations in Beirut this morning claim that some of the Burqa clad “women” were in fact men.  “One woman definitely had a man’s hand and was very strong.  I saw  a man’s hand as  ‘she’  bit mine” one police officer reported.

Visibly upset, an anti-resistance March 14 Member of Parliament, stated,  “Where are the briefcases?  Who cares now? Within two hours Hezbollah surely has copied everything—CD’s, flash memories, the works. Hezbollah may now know as much about the STL prosecution’s  case as Bellemare does. Maybe more!  This is one hell of a mess.”

The March 14 Secretariat General issued a statement saying “the incident represents an attack on the international community’s legitimacy and its resolutions, and particularly, UN resolutions 1701 (UNIFIL and disarming of Hezbollah)  and 1757 ( setting up the Hariri Tribunal).”

Hezbollah has denied any connection between the incident at Dr. Charara’s clinic and the Party.  “It seems it will not be the last in a series of violations of the country and its sovereignty under what is said to be investigation and truth,”  a Al-Manar television news anchor said.  Meanwhile, Hezbollah  Secretarial-General Hassan Nasrallah is expected to hold a news conference on the subject.

Some  knowledgeable sources are starting to ask questions this morning regarding the STL investigators conduct.  “ If the Media Office of the STL had followed the rules and contacted the Media Office of Hezbollah before sending in their team, things would have been different”, Human Rights Ambassador Ali Khalil told this observer.

It is true that the STL knew, or should have known, apart from the common courtesy aspect, that for security reasons the rules regarding such visits include contacting the Hezbollah Office of Media Relations in Dahiyeh.  If its Director, Dr. Ibrahim Mousawi is not in, his competent and gracious assistants  Wafa or Rana will  professionally assist  visitors. Practically  everyone in Lebanon, certainly media representatives, know this.  Why did the STL  apparently attempt an end run around security especially since just this week the Lebanese court sentenced 32 more Israeli spies to jail terms, five from the Mossad’s overseas intelligence service?  In addition, more than 100 people have been arrested on suspicion of espionage just since April 2009, including telecom employees, members of the security forces and even some active duty troops.

People are edgy in Dahiyeh and elsewhere in Lebanon about foreigners seeming to snoop around.

Broad ranging analyses are running the gamut this morning. MP Yassine Jaber of the Shia Amal movement, an ally of Hezbollah, said during  an interview with local television, that the incident was a sign the tribunal was “not welcome” in Lebanon.

Various diplomatic sources, as well as  some political party officials and security contacts think they know what caused yesterday’s incident.

Jeffrey Feltman, the Undersecretary of State for near eastern affairs and a Bush administration holdover is the prime suspect among some.  Feltman was the American Ambassador to Lebanon from 2004-2008.  In reality he never left although Michele Sison and now Maura Connelly, both handpicked by Feltman, succeeded him here in Lebanon.  Connelly was his former personal assistant, and like Sison before here,  functions, according to one Congressional source, as “ a talking potted plant. Both served to occupy the  Ambassadors office at the US Embassy in Beirut but Feltman  still calls the shots, just as David Welch did before his retirement.”

What caused yesterday’s incident according to the above sources approximate the following:

Feltman was beside himself as were many in the State Department and on Capitol hill by the reception Lebanon gave to Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad earlier this month.  At the time Feltman was in Saudi Arabia discussing his claimed creation and pet project, the Special Tribunal for Lebanon. He spoke to increasingly unsympathetic Saudi ears what he thought was “ a really great plan” how to solve the growing STL problem which he admitted Washington and Tel Aviv had underestimated.

The Saudi’s told Feltman they would discuss the matter with the Syrians who would contact Hezbollah.

Feltman had planned to drop in on Damascus but instead he tore over to Lebanon, on White House short notice orders, he told his friend, Druze leader Walid Jumblatt. His mission was  to denounce Ahmadinejad’s  visit as “provocative,  creating instability, and not helpful to the “peace process.”

Lebanon yawned at his airport statements, including the identical one that Hilary Clinton made earlier in Bosnia: “With respect to President Ahmadinejad’s visit to Lebanon, the United States supports the integrity and sovereignty of Lebanon. We reject any efforts to destabilize or inflame tensions within Lebanon. We are very committed to supporting the Lebanese Government as it deals with a number of challenges in its region.” To many Lebanese, it was Mr. Feltman’s  visit that violated Lebanon’s stability and sovereignty. His problems began to increase and he found that  Lebanon was still largely in a state of rapture over the Iranian Presidents visit and the juicy prospects for up to S10 billion in trade ( having already received $ 1 billion in aid)  between Iran and Lebanon.  His meeting with Lebanon’s President Suleiman  and Prime Minister  Saad  Hariri were perfunctory.  Parliamentary Speaker Berri, ally of Hezbollah  even declined to meet with Feltman citing a “conflict of schedule” which one Amal source joked meant Berri wanted to watch the latest Sherlock Holmes movie with his family.  Some did complain in the media about Feltman not observing ‘diplomatic protocol’ by not giving advanced notice and expecting Lebanese officials to clear their weekend relaxation time to be at his beck and call.

But what apparently really caused Feltman to urge to STL to squeeze Hezbollah by sending its investigators to Dahiyeh  to signal that the Tribunal was impossible to stop, was the rejection by all factions but the Lebanese Forces, of the Feltman Plan. Its reported essence, now apparently scrapped, was as follows:

Given that Washington realized that there is no way  that the Tribunal is going to work out, it is best to find a way to trash it. Feltman has a “Dead men don’t talk” plan.  Imad, Mughniyah who many thought was dead these past 26 years was really killed this time on February 12, 2008  in Damascus. Beirut sources reveal that Israel, who killed Mughniyah, aimed for February 14, not the 12th in order to deliver the message that it can carry out an assassination at will and on any date.  Israel wanted to kill Mughniyah on the same day they killed Hariri, i.e. February 14.  But they missed their target date by  less than 48 hours due to “mission correction  contingencies”.

Feltman beleives, but has never been able to prove according to former CIA agent Robert Baer, that Mughniyah might have been involved in anti-American acts in April of 1983, (US Embassy), October of 1984 (US Marine barracks) and other  so-called “terrorist” activities.

Earlier this month, Feltman  sent a message to Hezbollah to the effect than if Hezbollah will go along with blaming Mughniyah for killing Hariri that works for the Americans because it will be circumstantial evidence that he also did acts of terrorism in the 1980’s so all files could be closed once and for all. He told more than one person he met with in Beirut this month  that he thought  his was “a really great plan.”

Apparently Secretary Clinton and President Obama did too.

Hezbollah did not.

One knowledgeable source explained: “ Feltman’s project is unimaginable.  First Hezbollah had nothing to do with Prime Minister Hariri’s assassination.  Secondly, if even a 9 year old Madhi scout or one of our street sweepers committed an offense the Party would accept full responsibility. We our one.  Nasrallah has made this clear.  We would never betray one of our own or allow a false charge to be made against him or her.”

One party member told this observer: “Feltman knows exactly what he is doing and its an infantile attempt to set up the National Lebanese Resistance.  It is well known that he has spent the past more than six years hatching a series of projects with the Israelis to destroy the resistance to Israel’s occupation of Palestine and  advance Israel’s plan for territorial gains in Lebanon. The attempted destruction of Hezbollah’s fiber optic communications network, airport security, an airbase at Kleit, Nahr al Bared’s destruction,  and various Salafist projects to note  just a few, carry his signature.  All aimed at starting another Lebanese civil war or at least a Shia-Sunni conflict.  The Tribunal is just the lasted but not the last of these.”

Another  Dahiyeh source explained; “If Hezbollah were to sacrifice Imad Mughniyah or any of its members, Feltman and the Israelis would shout,  ‘See, the Shia killed the Sunni so let’s go hang them!’  He tried to trick Hezbollah.”

So Feltman may have messaged the STL investigators to “do your job” yesterday.

The “ladies” of Dahiyeh sent a return message.

Franklin Lamb is doing research in Lebanon and is reachable c/o fplamb@gmail.com

“With respect to President Ahmadinejad’s visit to Lebanon, the United States supports the integrity and sovereignty of Lebanon. We reject any efforts to destabilize or inflame tensions within Lebanon. We are very committed to supporting the Lebanese Government as it deals with a number of challenges in its region.”