Obama Administration Endorses Continued Spying on Americans By Tom Burghardt

13 April, 2009 Global Research, Antifascist Calling

Justice Department Moves to Squash NSA Spying Suits

Since fatuously declaring his to be a “change” administration, President Barack Obama has quickly donned the blood-spattered mantle of state secrecy and executive privilege worn by the Bush regime.

On Friday April 3, the Department of Justice filed a motion to dismiss one of the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s (EFF) landmark lawsuits against illegal spying by the National Security Agency (NSA).

That suit, Jewell v. NSA, was filed last September against the NSA, NSA Director Keith B. Alexander, President George W. Bush, Vice President Richard Cheney, U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey and Mike McConnell, Director of National Intelligence. But with the departure of the Bush gang, the defendants now include President Barack Obama, NSA Director Keith B. Alexander, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and Dennis C. Blair, Director of National Intelligence.

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13 April, 2009

According to a survey conducted by Haitian Priorities Project, 70 members were allocated in ten departments within Haiti monitoring the progress of the electoral contests for April 19 2009. Based on the findings, only 5% of potential voters nationwide say they are ready to go to the polls in order to elect 12 senators for the upcoming elections on April of this year.

Two Consecutive lists were presented, one with the allowed names accepted by the Electoral College (CEP), and the other with the names of the candidates admitted by the CEP including those 12 candidates of Fanmi Lavalas. A great percentage of candidates admitted by the CEP, that the population is not familiar with, being aware of their names or presence in the upcoming elections in April.

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La revolucion energetica: Cuba’s energy revolution By Laurie Guevara-Stone

[Photos by Mario Alberto Arrastia Avila]

2 April, 2009 — A new revolution is sweeping the island of Cuba, which is making massive progress on energy efficiency and renewable generation. Indeed, such is the success of the two-year old program on this small island of 11 million people, that many other countries could learn from its efforts to be energy independent and curb climate change.

cuba-energy-1.jpgJust a few years ago Cuba’s energy situation was bleak. The country had 11 large, and quite inefficient, thermoelectric plants generating electricity for the entire island. Most of the plants were 25 years old and only functioning 60% of the time. There were frequent blackouts, especially during peak demand periods. There was also a high percentage of transmission losses along the electrical distribution grid. To add to the energy crisis, most Cuban households had inefficient appliances, 75% of the population was cooking with kerosene, and the residential electricity charges did not encourage conservation. In 2004 the eastern side of Cuba was hit by two hurricanes in a short period of time, affecting transmission lines and leaving 1 million people without electricity for 10 days. All of this in the face of the overarching drivers of peak oil and climate change, made Cubans realise they had to make energy more of a priority. Thus, in 2006, began what Cubans call la revolución energética -– the energy revolution.

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Luis Bilbao: The grand duel — At the Fifth Summit of the Americas, a crucial battle is to be waged By Luis Bilbao

[Translated by Gonzalo Villanueva for Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal. It was first published in America XXI.

9 April, 2009 — The time has arrived: to align with the North to engage in the futile business of saving capitalism, or define positions and accelerate towards South American unity, the complementary solidarity of the region’s economies and authentic sovereignty towards the good life for all. That is the option for which there is no possible postponement.

The United States and its partners are attempting to attract key countries of the hemisphere to support its strategy, once again like neo-colonies clinging to the metropolis. That was the significance of the G-20 summit on April 2 in London, that is the intention of Washington for the Fifth Summit of the Americas in Trinidad and Tobago, 15 days later. In contrast, the countries of the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas (ALBA) will meet on April 16 in Caracas, Venezuela to ratify a common line of action against the crisis and a response to imperial capital. The participation of all members of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) in the meeting of ALBA is the last opportunity to present a united front before the destructive power of the global crisis is unleashed.

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ADBUSTERS Win Legal Victory Against Canada’s Media Giants – Legal Action in the US Next

13 April 2009

After 15 years of legal tussling to bring democracy to the public airwaves, Adbusters has finally scored a great victory. The Supreme Court of British Columbia has granted us an appeal in our landmark case against Canada’s CBC and Canwest Global, giving us the go-ahead to set a precedent and establish some public rights over the airwaves (check out the judges’ ruling here).

People are spending an unparalleled 8.5 hours per day in front of screens and even with the influx of new screen formats – cell phones, computers, Kindle – TV is still dominant. It’s the most powerful social communications medium of our time. And yet it is a place where commercial imperatives rule and dissenting voices are routinely censored. Adbusters’ attempts to purchase airtime from major commercial broadcasters for its socially-minded public service spots have been repeatedly denied over the years.

The airwaves are public property – just like city sidewalks or parks. They are a public space where freedom of speech must prevail. This is an inspiring idea for media activists and could pave the way for further legal victories down the road not only on the TV airwaves, but in cyberspace as well.

Not surprisingly, none of Canwest’s 13 daily newspapers or 23 TV channels covered the appeal court ruling. The silence has been deafening. Canadians citizens should be aware that the largest media conglomerate in our country is censoring the news to suit its own interests.

Here’s who did cover the story: CBC Radio, the Globe and Mail, the Georgia Straight and the Tyee.

CBS, NBC, ABC, FOX, MTV and the Food Channel have also repeatedly refused to sell us airtime over the past 15 years and we would like to launch a freedom of speech legal action in the US. If you know an American lawyer who may be interested in being part of our legal team then let us know, email kono@adbusters.org if you want to talk strategy or contribute to our legal war chest.

The endgame will be a series of lawsuits around the world forcing the half a dozen media megacorporations controlling the bulk of news and entertainment flows around the planet to return some control back to the public.

Email kono@adbusters.org if you want to talk strategy or contribute to our legal war chest.

Source: Atlantic Free Press

Lavrov says Georgia conflict proves dangers of NATO expansion

The August conflict with Georgia demonstrated just how dangerous NATO’s eastward expansion could be, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told a session of the Foreign and Defense Policy Council on Saturday.

‘The Caucasus crisis showed how dangerous the automatic eastward expansion of NATO is. It is enough just to imagine what would have happened if Georgia had been a NATO member, as Russia would have still had no other option but to act as it did last August,’ he said. Last December European NATO members led by Germany blocked bids by Georgia and Ukraine, who are actively seeking membership in the military alliance.

The refusal followed Russia’s five-day war with Tbilisi in August, launched after Georgian troops mounted an offensive on its former republic, South Ossetia. The conflict led to a suspension in the Russia-NATO Council in September 2008, although the two sides agreed earlier this month to resume work.

Lavrov said the Russia-NATO Council could be a basis for cooperation within the Euro-Atlantic space, but ruled out Russia joining the alliance. ‘The Russia-NATO Council could, if all participants, including the EU, have the political will, become a constructive basis for cooperation…in the Euro-Atlantic space,’ he said, adding ‘I don’t think Russia could join NATO as it currently stands.’

The minister also described Russia-American relations, which have shown signs of a thaw since U.S. President Barack Obama took office in January, as ‘cautiously optimistic.’

‘Irrespective of what decisions the Obama administration makes in the coming months… the positive change in our relations with the U.S. will work to the general global benefit of regional politics, particularly in the Euro-Atlantic,’ the foreign minister said.

Source: Georgia – South Ossetia War Blog

Israeli Scholar Disputes Founding Myth By Morgan Strong

12 April, 2009

The founding narrative of the modern State of Israel was born from the words of Moses in the Old Testament, that God granted the land of Israel to the Jewish people and that it was to be theirs for all time.

Then, there was the story of the Diaspora – that after Jewish uprisings against the Romans in the First and Second centuries A.D., the Jews were exiled from the land of Israel and dispersed throughout the Western world. They often were isolated from European populations, suffered persecution, and ultimately were marked for extermination in the Nazi Holocaust.

Finally after centuries of praying for a return to Israel, the Jews achieved this goal by defeating the Arab armies in Palestine and establishing Israel in 1948. This narrative – spanning more than three millennia – is the singular, elemental and sustaining claim of the State of Israel as a Jewish nation.

But a new book by Israeli scholar Shlomo Sand challenges this narrative, claiming that – beyond the religious question of whether God really spoke to Moses – the Roman-era Diaspora did not happen at all or at least not as commonly understood.

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Iraq in Fragments by Dahr Jamail

12 April, 2009 — Foreign Policy In Focus

“[W]hat lengths men will go in order to carry out, to their extreme limit, the rites of a collective self-worship which fills them with a sense of righteousness and complacent satisfaction in the midst of the most shocking injustices and crimes.” — Love and Living, by Thomas Merton

On Wednesday, March 25, Major General David Perkins of the U.S. military, referring to how often the U.S. military was being attacked in Iraq, told reporters in Baghdad, “Attacks are at their lowest since August 2003.” Perkins added, “There were 1,250 attacks a week at the height of the violence; now sometimes there are less than 100 a week.” While his rhetoric made headlines in some U.S. mainstream media outlets, it was little consolation for the families of 28 Iraqis killed in attacks across Iraq the following day. Nor did it bring solace to the relatives of the 27 Iraqis slain in a March 23 suicide attack, or those who survived a bomb attack at a bus terminal in Baghdad on the same day that killed nine Iraqis. Continue reading

Embedded processes are turning against Venezuela's Bolivarian Revolution

VHeadline commentarist the Reverend Obed Juan Viscaino Najera writes: When the current revolutionary process took power then years ago, some must have foreseen that it was going to bring many contradictions upon itself since each revolutionary process brings with it, its own parallel counter-revolutionary process.

  • Many of those processes are natural and historic … they are born close to politics and in other strategic arenas within the revolution … they do not commit to its long-term ideological principles and values … they contrast with principles that they find contrary to their own ideals and political, class or economic interests.

Every triumphant revolutionary processes brings with it the destruction of the old established order and the construction of a new political, economic, social and cultural model … which immediately conflicts with the old established order turned powerless and removed from the traditional, economic and political spheres within a society, according to the Antonio Gramsci Theory.

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Will Obama Vacate Iraq? By Nasir Khan

12 April, 2009

On February 27, 2009 President Barack Obama delivered his much-anticipated policy speech on Iraq. The important point in his announcement was the withdrawal of some U.S. troops from Iraq by August 31, 2010. However, it did not mean an end to the American occupation of Iraq, or an end to an illegal genocidal war that the Bush-Cheney administration had started. Despite his high-blown rhetoric about withdrawing from Iraq, Obama did not deal with many important questions. Thus what was not said cannot be regarded as an oversight but rather as an indication of how the new administration intends to pursue its policy objectives. Those who had wished to see a break by the new administration with the Bush-Cheney administration’s wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are concerned because they detect the continuation of the goal of the U.S. domination, which the American rulers usually refer to as the ‘U.S. interests’ in the region.

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