31 October, 2009 — Real News Network
Mexico has taken steps to allow foreigners whether legally or illegally, to apply for citizenship
31 October, 2009 — Real News Network
Mexico has taken steps to allow foreigners whether legally or illegally, to apply for citizenship
29 October, 2009 — Strategic Culture Foundation
The trial of President of the Serb Republic in Bosnia Radovan Karadzic started on October 26. Karadzic was not present he refused to attend, and this was due to serious reasons. Though the prosecution started putting the indictment together 14 years ago, it kept tailoring the document throughout the term. The most recent changes were introduced on October 19, leaving Karadzic just 7 days to prepare his defense, which is outrageous even for the Hague Tribunal.
Over the past years mass media have spent unbelievable amounts of black paint on Karadzic. The charges in the final version of the indictment include deportations, persecution, killings, terror against civilian population, hostage-taking, and, of course, genocide. The alleged crime sites span half the territory of Bosnia, but for the most part the focus is on Sarajevo and Srebrenica. Karadzic is charged with planning and implementing the genocide against Bosnian Muslims and Croats. To support allegations that Karadzic was open about his genocide plans, Prosecutor A. Tiger cited him as addressing the Bosnians with the following statement: Don’t you understand that you are going to perish? A lot of us will die, but none of you will survive! A. Tiger failed to mention, however, that Karadzic was talking about the Bosnians’ plan to start a war and the words were a warning, not an indication of the existence of some mythical genocide plan.
31 October, 2009 — Real News Network
Justice Richard Goldstone challenges US government to justify its claims that his findings are flawed
Al Jazeera’s Shihab Rattansi talks to Judge Richard Goldstone about the investigation into the Gaza war. He travelled to the United Nations in New York to find out if the war on Gaza has transformed Richard Goldstone from a sober jurist into a man on a mission to discredit Israel on an international stage.
28 October, 2009 — Palestine Telegraph
There was much praise for the UN investigations into war crimes committed in Gaza, led by Richard Goldstone. However, I feel that this report did not go far enough to investigate some other more serious allegations that were made.
There is a sense of urgency to bring this investigation forward and to put those responsible on trial but one must understand that something much more sinister did not even get a mention and has since been swept under the carpet.
Let’s take a closer look at some aspects of this report which certainly showed a distinct weakness in the team’s ability to understand what constitutes a breach of the Geneva Convention.
30 October, 2009 — The Magnes Zionist
The Honorable Howard Berman
Chairman, House Committee on Foreign Affairs
The Honorable Ileana Ros-Lehtinen
Ranking Member, House Committee on Foreign Affairs
October 29, 2009
Dear Chairman Berman and Ranking Member Ros-Lehtinen,
It has come to my attention that a resolution has been introduced in the Unites States House of Representatives regarding the United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict, which I led earlier this year.
I fully respect the right of the US Congress to examine and judge my mission and the resulting report, as well as to make its recommendations to the US Executive branch of government. However, I have strong reservations about the text of the resolution in question – text that includes serious factual inaccuracies and instances where information and statements are taken grossly out of context.
I undertook this fact-finding mission in good faith, just as I undertook my responsibilities vis à vis the South African Standing Commission of Inquiry Regarding Public Violence and Intimidation, the International War Crimes Tribunal on the former Yugoslavia, the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, the International Panel of the Commission of Enquiry into the Activities of Nazism in Argentina, the Independent International Commission on Kosovo, and the Volker Committee investigation into the UN’s Iraq oil-for-food program in 2004/5.
29 October, 2009 — Political Philosophy Society
Location: Logan Hall, Institute of Education, Bedford Way
Prof. Noam Chomsky – Professor Emeritus in Linguistics at MIT; world renowned author and leading intellectual
Tariq Ali – Historian, Author and well known political commentator
The Imperial College Political Philosophy Society, in association with Palestine societies at UCL, SOAS, Goldsmiths, LSE, Imperial and Kings, proudly present one of the greatest political philosophers of all time: MIT Professor Emeritus Noam Chomsky, for what could be his last trip to London.
30 October, 2009 — The Morning Star Online
Sometimes in politics what is absent is more revealing than what is present
Negative space is a concept that artists are more familiar with than either politicians or the BBC. This is the space between objects that helps to define the objects themselves. Often what is absent is far more intriguing and revealing that what is present.
This is the notion that has stayed with me long after the BBC’s inclusion of British National Party leader Nick Griffin on its Question Time panel.
The law and not the BBC will ultimately decide whether the BNP is a legitimate political party or not.
The recent court ruling that its constitution is racist will test whether the party’s desire for a platform will override its more visceral appeal to ignorance and prejudice.
What the BBC decided, however, was that the BNP was both legitimate and significant.
President Obama and his top health officials are engaging in a major public relations effort to divert attention away from whether its swine flu vaccine is effective and safe – to whether there is enough of it to go around. And the media, as always, is cooperating fully. This echoes the way media debate was manipulated during the Vietnam and Iraq Wars. Instead of debating whether we should even be fighting those wars, the media debated only whether we were using the correct military strategy.
Increasing numbers of scientists and doctors are issuing harsh criticisms of the Government’s plan to vaccinate (forcibly if necessary) virtually the entire U.S. population with what they claim is a poorly tested vaccine that is not only ineffective against swine flu, but could cripple and even kill many more people than it helps.
The CDC’s public relations campaign has been running “scare” ads that portray swine flu as a full-blown “pandemic” responsible for snuffing out countless lives, and which, unless stopped by universal vaccination, could kill millions of American citizens. But scientists and health officials throughout the world have called the governments claims unjustified and deliberately misleading.
30 October, 2009— Real News Network
Al Giordano: A month before elections, coup regime that once sought to kill time is now running out of it
1. Peace House 50th Anniversary Celebration and Benefit
2. Housmans Peace Diary 2010
3. End of the decade sale!
4. ‘What is Psychogeography Today?’ with Rich Cochrane
5. ‘Bob Dylan & Babylon: Together through Life’ with John Gibbens
6. ‘People Power: Unarmed Resistance and Global Solidarity’ with Howard Clark
7. ‘Songs of the Land’ with Leslie Ray
8. ‘Last Shop Standing: Whatever Happened to Record Shops’ with Graham Jones
9. ‘The Chomsky Effect’ with Robert F Barsky
10. Forthcoming Events
11. ‘Listening To Grasshoppers’ by Arundhati Roy
12. ‘Angels Of Anarchy’ by Patricia Allmer
30 October, 2009 — Mathaba.net
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (Mathaba) – In a very compelling and eloquent testimony in answer to questions by Commission members of the War Crimes Tribunal which is taking place here.
After years of isolation and unjust imprisonment in Afghanistan and Guantanamo by the U.S. and British intelligence agencies and military, the testimony of Moazzam Begg, a young British Asian Muslim, is almost a miracle, given his sanity and eloquence after his ordeals, which is a testimony to his strength of character and faith.
He gave very detailed testimonies which are clear to observers and psychologists, can only be born of truth and a willingness to answer all questions and give testimony in complete openness and honesty. He said that seeking justice is something everybody wants.
In Britain, Mr Begg has a case against the British intelligence for violation of his human rights. He said that places such as this commission, are the only places that the victims of torture and extraordinary rendition have as recourse and that this offers hope of justice for those victims.
Judges of the Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Tribunal who will hear the cases that pass the commission of inquiry, are Dato’ Abdul Kadir Sulaiman, a retired Malaysian Federal Court judge, Tunku Sofiah Jewa, Mr Francis A. Boyle, Prof. Salleh Buang, Prof. Niloufer Bhagwat, Mr Alfred L Webre and Prof. Emeritus Datuk Dr Shad Saleem Faruqi.
The Commission Deliberations which opened this morning will include testimonies of 7 witnesses and is to continue all day today. Tomorrow October 31st the Hearing of Application for an Advisory Opinion is to be filed by the Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Commission.
In testimonies given by Moazzam Begg it is clear that British Intelligence were heavily involved in the interrogation of prisoners and abductees, including at Guantanemo Bay, the U.S. base in U.S. occupied Cuban territory.
He said that he can produce for the Commission details of his case against the British government, in answer to a question about the involvement of the British in the horrific human rights abuses that took place in U.S. custody.
92% of people captured were not involved with Taliban or Al-Qaidah or any battle field, 2% were accused to have something to do with Al-Qaidah and 8% involvement with the Taliban. The vast majority of the 92% were handed over as a result of people wanting to claim the bounties offered by the U.S. for any foreigners given to them within Afghanistan.”
Former Brit ambassador Craig Murray says UK and USA sent prisoners to Uzbek to be tortured
29 October 2009 — Morning Star Online
DEFIANCE: Strikers on the picket lines are fed up of management attacks.
Post workers have continued their offensive with a third national strike against bosses’ threats to cut thousands of Royal Mail jobs.
More than 43,000 workers at huge mail centres and trucking depots across Britain defied management and refused to take out the post, in protest against Royal Mail executives’ attempts to tear up union agreements protecting their jobs.
Mail sorters, long-distance drivers and engineers set up picket lines before dawn after last-minute talks at the TUC between the workers’ union and post bosses were derailed by what CWU deputy leader Dave Ward described as ‘Royal Mail’s lack of sincerity in wanting an agreement.’
Standing in solidarity with striking post workers on the picket line at central London’s huge Mount Pleasant mail centre, Mr Ward explained that ‘post workers have already lost 60,000 jobs and another 60,000 are at risk, while the remaining full-time workers fear being forced to accept part-time positions.’
But Royal Mail’s negotiators ‘walk away every time we get close to a deal,’ he charged.
CWU general secretary Billy Hayes responded to management’s hard line, declaring: ‘I can see the strike action increasing now, because I don’t think we’re going to put up with this messing about.’
And referring to Royal Mail chief executive Adam Crozier’s demand that post workers should ‘shut up,’ Mr Hayes asserted: ‘Our people are not going to shut up – our people are very angry.’
Strikers on the picket lines pledged defiance in the face of management attacks.
CWU Wales rep Amarjit Singh insisted that post workers ‘have been put in this position through no fault of their own.
‘Our members don’t want to strike, they don’t want to lose money, but their terms and conditions and job security are on the line,’ he stressed.
Newcastle CWU rep John Frazer emphasised that ‘no-one has broken the strike – it has completely held up.’
And Birmingham union rep Steve Reid added that workers were prepared to begin an ‘indefinite strike’ to oppose management’s offensive.
‘It’s our jobs, our livelihoods that are on the line, but it’s not only that – it’s a public service, the customers’ post that’s at risk,’ he declared.
Workers on the picket line at the Nine Elms mail centre in south London urged the union to step up pressure on the government to force Royal Mail to back down.
Striker Paul Cotes said: ‘Labour should take notice because this is an important fight that could last to the election and it will define the future of our members – whether we stay full or part time, or even employed at all.’
Fellow picket Mr Patel pointed out that CWU members in London had recently voted by 96 per cent to call on the union to disaffiliate from Labour because of the party’s failure to protect the publicly owned mail service.
‘Dave Ward has said, that as a union, we can’t go on supporting a party that is attacking us,’ Mr Patel recalled.
‘So it is vital that the union wins this dispute to show that we can fight for our jobs,’ he added.
29 October, 2009 — COHA
“Central America and the Caribbean, historical sugar-producing economies where the sugar-ethanol infrastructure already has a foundation, labor costs are low, and the political conditions are more or less stable– offers the best near-term potential for large-scale sugarcane ethanol production. This is a market opportunity which Cuba, with the longest experience of sugar–ethanol and sugarcane derivates production in the region, is positioned to take advantage of.”
– Sugarcane Energy Use: The Cuban Case, Alonso-Pippo Walfrido, University of Havana, 2008
As the result of a precipitous contraction in the Cuban economy, Cubans have recently experienced crippling energy cutbacks and other shortfalls that are reminiscent of the devastating hardships of the “Special Period,” and industries have continued to falter due to the evaporation of credit and investment flows which largely dried up after the break-up of the Soviet empire. In the first half of 2009, the Obama Administration launched a series of modest initiatives aimed at normalizing U.S.-Cuba relations, most recently exemplified by the loosening of restrictions on travel by Cuba-Americans, lifting controls on remittances, and giving the nod to U.S. telecommunication investments on the island. Though President Obama recently renewed the Trading With the Enemy Act, policy mitigations have prompted speculation that a greater volume of trade and investment is likely to be permitted in the future. These factors, coupled with the current 28-year high in sugar prices and the delicate health of Fidel Castro, lead to the question: would Cuba benefit from, and does it possess the technological and infrastructural means and political will to expand and modernize its sugar and sugarcane ethanol industries to take advantage of the unique developments now taking place around the globe? Based on the following assessment, despite the precipitous collapse of Cuba’s sugar industry beginning in the early 1990s, the country’s economy would benefit from opening its markets to foreign investment and revitalizing its tattered sugar industry for the production of raw sugar, ethanol and electricity.
29 October, 2009 — joebageant.com
Ajijic, Mexico: Every afternoon when I knock off from writing, after I suck down a Modelo beer and take an hour nap, I step out onto the 400-year-old cobbled street, with its hap-scatter string of vendors lining both sides. All sorts of vendors — vegetable vendors, vendors of tacos, chicharrones, chenille bedspreads and plucked chickens, cigarros, soft drinks, sopa and suet. Merchants whose business address consists of a tiny one room aboratto or a card table in front of their casita.
Tourists seldom venture over to this working class neighborhood on Calle Zaragoza, and the neighborhood merchants’ customers are their neighbors. Their goods are the common fare of daily family life in Mexico. Today, at a table less than two blocks away, I purchased a dozen brown eggs, with the idea of making huevos rancheros. The purchase took three quarters of an hour, and included stumbling but cheerful half English/half Spanish conversations with the six vendors between my casita and the table of Gabriel, the old egg and cheese vendor with an artificial leg and wizened smile who assures me that rooster fertilized eggs make a man go all night. “I am too old to care about that,” I half say, mostly in that gesturing rudimentary sign language understood everywhere.
“Hawwww” he chortles and says something in Spanish I cannot understand. An English speaking bystander, a teenager with a backward baseball cap and dressed in “L.A. sag,” translates: “He says his pendejo is as hard as his plastic leg. You still alive! You never too old!”
28 October, 2009
Fault Lines’ Avi Lewis reports on polarization and power in the Americas
28 October, 2009 — Stop NATO
The century’s longest war continues to rage in South Asia with no sign of abating. Instead, the invasion of Afghanistan on October 7, 2001 has exploded into endless armed hostilities that have spread across the length and breadth of the nation, with U.S. and NATO military forces fighting an intensified counterinsurgency conflict in the north, south, east and west of Afghanistan, now paralleled by equally brutal and even larger-scale combat operations in neighboring Pakistan.
With over 100,000 Western troops and rumors of perhaps a doubling of that number in the works, and with Washington spending billions of dollars in expanding bases to accommodate those reinforcements, the Afghanistan-Pakistan campaign under the direction of U.S. and NATO military commander General Stanley McChrystal and Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard Holbrooke portends yet greater violence, bloodshed and imperiling of regional stability.
The U.S. lost 22 personnel on October 26-27, making this month Washington’s costliest ever in the deadliest year of a war that is now in its ninth calendar year.
The White House and Pentagon have also extended lethal drone missile attacks inside Pakistan, where they are nearly daily occurrences, and will soon deploy Marines to the nation’s capital in a massively revamped U.S. embassy and army trainers to the Iranian border, “the first foreign forces formally stationed in Baluchistan since Pakistan’s independence in 1947.” 
Several million civilians have been uprooted and displaced by Western and Pakistani air and ground attacks.
In addition to being the lengthiest and biggest war in the world, the U.S. and NATO Afghan campaign is the first armed conflict in this young millennium with an international dimension. In fact its global scope in some aspects is grander than those of the two world wars of the first half of the last century.
29 October, 2009
Unemployment and Debt Rises as a Made In The USA Crisis Goes Global
Johannesburg: There was lots of skepticism when I came to South Africa two years ago to show my film IN DEBT WE TRUST. While my critique of consumer debt resonated, the film’s forecast of a financial crisis didn’t. Their economy seemed to be doing well and it was hard to tell a society that tends to look inward that they would be affected by a financial crisis in America, l0,000 miles away.
Most believed it would pass them by.
It hasn’t. A year ago, the International Monetary fund warned that 200,000 people would be affected. People living on $2 a day might end up surviving on $1 or not surviving at all. These victims around the world are mostly not part of the US debate or our media coverage. The faces and stories of these victims are as conspicuous by their absence as have been stories of the one million families that had their homes foreclosed upon in the last quarter,
As if South Africa doesn’t have enough problems—the AIDS Pandemic, massive poverty, and simmering unrest, the Finance Minister yesterday discussed the impact that the global economic crisis is having. There’s been a loss of 500,000 jobs and a fall off of taxes and an increase in expenditures.
The projected deficit will soar with a shortfall doubling to 7.6% of GDP. The government has to cut costs that will mean a further cutback in social services at the very time of growing protests against service failures and neglect of the poor. South Africa will now be forced to go deeper into debt, to borrow more money