US-Russian START treaty: A comprehensive flicker By Eric Walberg

30 March, 2010 —

Two floundering presidents grabbed at a chance to show some results. No one will be happy, as always with compromises, says Eric Walberg

The US administration is preening itself on finally clinching a new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) with Russia, President Barack Obama calling it the most comprehensive arms control agreement in nearly two decades. It is to be signed in Prague 8 April, where Obama launched his campaign for a nuclear weapons-free world a year ago, and which was supposed to get a US missile defence base. Obama axed this, at least for the moment, to mollify the Russians.

Despite it being the only flicker of peacefulness out of Washington in nearly two decades, the reaction in the US is one of indifference or hostility as the right now latches on to each and every Obama initiative to show its displeasure over healthcare and other Obama-inspired liberal policies.

In Russia the reaction is sullen caution and hostility. Obama’s announcement was greeted officially only by Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who warned that Russia reserved the right to withdraw from the treaty if it deems American missile defences a threat. Yes, Obama backed down a bit on the original Bush bases in the Czech Republic and Poland. But then all of a sudden, out of the wild blue yonder, Romania and Bulgaria said they would be getting them instead by 2015, and Poland invited the US to station troops there on a new base. What a coincidence. Despite the last minute addition of a few words as a sop to the Russians, US Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Affairs Ellen Tauscher was quick to emphasise there would be no constraints on the expansion of interceptor missile deployments.

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National Security Archive Update, March 30, 2010: Uraguay – BORDABERRY CONDEMNED FOR 1973 COUP

Becomes First Latin American President Successfully Prosecuted for Attacking the Constitution

National Security Archive Posts Declassified Evidence Used in Trial

U.S. Documents Implicated Bordaberry in Repression

Washington, DC, March 30, 2010 – For the first time in Latin America, a judge has sent a former head of state to prison for the crime of an “Attack against the Constitution.” In an unprecedented ruling last month in Montevideo, former Uruguayan President Juan María Bordaberry was sentenced to serve 30 years for undermining Uruguay’s constitution through an auto-coup on June 27, 1973, and for being a participant in nine disappearances and two political assassinations committed by the security forces while he was president between 1972 and 1976.

Declassified U.S. documents provided as evidence in the case by the National Security Archive show Bordaberry as justifying his seizure of extra-constitutional powers on June 27, 1973, by telling the U.S. Ambassador that “Uruguay’s democratic traditions and institutions… were themselves the real threat to democracy.” Another document, written within days after the coup, shows that the police were ordered to launch, in coordination with the military, “intelligence gathering and operations of a ‘special’ nature”–references to death squad actions that ensued.

“These declassified U.S. documents,” said Carlos Osorio, who heads the National Security Archive’s Southern Cone project, “helped the Court open the curtain of secrecy on human rights crimes committed during Bordaberry’s reign of power.”

Follow the link below for more information:

En Espanol

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The crisis of neoliberalism By GERARD DUMENIL

30 March, 2010 — The Real News Network

Dumenil: Neoliberalism imposed a new discipline on worker, cutting the progress of purchasing power.

Dr. Dumnil is one of the worlds foremost theorists of neoliberalism and economic crisis and is the author of numerous influential books, many of which have been translated into several languages. These include Capital Resurgent: Roots of the Neoliberal Revolution (2004) and his forthcoming The Crisis of Neoliberalism: from the subprime to the great contraction



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Haiti versus Chile: Earthquake Olympics by John Feffer

30 March , 2010 — Foreign Policy in Focus

The survivors of the devastating earthquakes in Haiti and Chile are still scrambling to deal with the damage. Here, however, pundits are still scrambling to explain the dramatic difference in impact. Haiti’s quake on January 12 came in at 7.0 on the Richter scale, leveled the capital city, and left more than 200,000 dead. Chile’s earthquake on February 27 registered a magnitude of 8.8, which means it was 500 times more powerful than the Haitian shock. But fewer than 1,000 Chileans died, and the damage to buildings was considerably less.

This significant disparity in impact has generated a thousand theories. The proliferation of theories has established a kind of competition between the two countries, in which Haiti must suffer twice: by comparison as well as by earthquake. Here are three of the more unlikely arguments for why Chile fared better than Haiti in the Earthquake Olympics:

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Media Mutes General’s Afghan Admission

30 March, 2010 — Media Channel

‘We have shot an amazing number of people, but to my knowledge, none has ever proven to be a threat,’ says top American commander.

President Obama’s sneak visit to Afghanistan this weekend, although shrouded in secrecy, still received lots of prime press coverage.

At the same time, an astonishing open admission of possible US war crimes by Obama’s man on the ground in Kabul, senior American and NATO commander in Afghanistan General Stanley A. McChrystal, was reported by Richard A. Oppel Jr. in the New York Times… and then promptly ignored by the rest of the mainstream media.

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Media Disinformation regarding America’s Afghan War By Prof. Marc Herold

28 March, 2010 – Global Research

Examining a microcosm can shed light on the larger reality. I have chosen to analyze a small mountain hamlet, Chagoti Ghar (Chergotah), located some forty kilometers east of Khost city in eastern Afghanistan in a time frame separated by eight and a third years – November 23rd 2001 and March 24th 2010. Both times, two Afghan civilians perished as a result of foreign occupation fire. In both instances, the U.S corporate media was silent. Both times, to pierce the veil of silence spun by the American military industrial media information complex (MIMIC) a person had to turn to independent, regional media; in November 2001 to the Peshawar-based Afghan Islamic Press news agency and in March 2010, to the Kabul-based Pajhwok Afghan News.[1] Those killed in 2001 perished during morning prayers and those obliterated in 2010 succumbed after sundown. A women and girl were martyred in November 2001 and a teenaged couple was killed in March 2010. A Bush air strike killed two in 2001 and an Obama ground attack did the same in 2010. Continue reading


30 March, 2010 — MEDIA LENS: Correcting for the distorted vision of the corporate media

In November 2008, the historic importance of Barack Obama’s presidential victory was a relentless theme across the media spectrum. Even the pretence of a mainstream commitment to balanced reporting vanished from sight in deference to the self-evident Truth. The Guardian led the way, gushing almost exactly as it had over Blair in 1997:

They did it. They really did it. So often crudely caricatured by others, the American people yesterday stood in the eye of history and made an emphatic choice for change for themselves and the world… Today is for celebration, for happiness and for reflected human glory. Savour those words: President Barack Obama, America’s hope and, in no small way, ours too. (

The former Europe minister and arch-Blairite, Denis MacShane, sounded a rare, unwitting note of caution:

“I shut my eyes when I listen to this guy [Obama] and it could be Tony. He is doing the same thing that we did in 1997.” (Tom Baldwin, Blair team look in mirror of history, The Times, November 8, 2008)

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Israel has Breached Peremptory Norms of Humanitarian Law By Kawther Salam

29 March, 2010 — Palestine Think Tank

Phil Shiner, Supervisor of Public Interest Lawyers, United Kingdom, said during the panel discussion on the Seminar on Assistance to the Palestinian People that the Advisory Opinion was extremely helpful as it had identified three different pre-empting norms Israel had breached, explaining that peremptory norms or jus cogens norms were actions recognized in international law that no State was ever permitted to commit, such as genocide, slavery and denial of the right to self-determination. The opinion was crystal clear that Israel was in breach of international law and set out the obligations of third States.

He said that customary international law was part of the common law of the United Kingdom and part of the jurisdiction of other European States. He had unsuccessfully brought two cases to Court where the United Kingdom was in violation of international law through, for instance, permitting the sale of arms to Israel, which had then been used in the Gaza offensive, and suggested that civil society, should identify EU States where legal actions in that regard could be brought.

The EU-Israeli Association Agreement is also in breach of jus cogens norms, as the Agreement includes a provision which says that relations between parties must be based on respect for human rights and democratic principles. That clause requires parties to respect customary international law and the principles of the United Nations Charter which prohibits acquisition of territory by force. He was working on a court challenge in that regard and suggested that what was being done in the UK could be done elsewhere.

Phil Sheiner Speech at UN 26.03.2010 from Kawther Salam on Vimeo.

Speech delivered by Phil Sheiner of Public Interest Lawyers in Birmingham, UK, at the UN Civic Society Meeting for Palestine held at the UN Vienna on 26.03.2010.

more about “Israel has Breached Peremptory Norms …“, posted with vodpod

Load those questions! By Harry Feldman

27 March, 2010 — Bureau of Counter Propaganda

Heading their 17 March press release ‘49% Say Israel Should Stop Building Settlements As Part of Peace Deal’, Rasmussen reported last week on their ‘National Survey of 1,000 Likely Voters Conducted March 15-16, 2010’.

At first I thought it was just a headline, but it turns out that what they actually asked was,

As part of a Middle Eastern peace agreement, should Israel be required to stop building new settlements in occupied Palestinian territory?’.

Leaving aside the little matter of the commonplace that an agreement between Israel and the PA, which is what they mean, applies to the entire Middle East, as the expression ‘a Middle Eastern peace agreement’ suggests, this is a curious way to frame the question.

All previous versions of the two state ‘solution’ have explicitly aimed to end the occupation of at least some of the territory that Israel seized in June 1967. Obviously Israel occupies all of Mandadory Palestine, but the likelihood that those drafting the question or those responding understood it that way is vanishingly small.

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Jerusalem Quartet London concert disrupted

30 March, 2010

Protesters disrupted a lunchtime performance by the Jerusalem Quartet in London today. The concert at the Wigmore Hall was being broadcast live by the BBC.

Here is a recording of the initial disruption, whereupon the broadcast was stopped! (I wonder who that soprano could have been…..!) The JC said we shouted…Cheek! I’ll send them this release with the audio link!


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HLLN 30 March, 2010: Delatour, Clinton, Free Trade and the lost of over 830,000 rural jobs to wage slavery sweatshops/Haiti: Stuck in a Trap | What Bill Clinton's Mea Culpa Should Mean

30 March, 2010 — HLLN

Recommended HLLN Link:
MARCH 12th, 2010- Address to the Camps, Bataye Ouvriye

What’s Clinton’s empty apology worth to Haitians living under tents, sheets, old cardboards or tarps…

The U.S.-promoted agricultural policies, such as forcing Haitian rice farmers to compete against U.S.-subsidized agribusiness, cost an estimated 830,000 rural jobs. Real jobs where the people of Haiti actually made more, relatively speaking than .38 cents an hour, owned more land, had better shelter and security in the countryside and ate food from the land that was non-cancerous unlike Arkansas nutrition-less rice and other US food imports. It’s no secret that US food is full of pesticides/harmful hormones and the most cancerous food on the planet, which is why HLLN has noted that US health care reform must also integrate US food system reform. (Healthcare reform also requires food system reform by Ezili Dant of HLLN

The Sweatshop Hoax

Haiti and the Aid Racket
How NGOs are Profiting Off a Grave Situation

Changing Haiti’s Paradigm: Haitians must rebuild Haiti not the failed Internationals (UN/USAID/Clinton/IFIs/NGO poverty pimp industry in Haiti)

Photos: Ezili Dant Vodun Remembrance to Honor Quake Victims

In this post

Haiti: Stuck in a Trap
By Richard Morse, Huffington Post, March 28, 2010

Ruth Messinger: What Bill Clinton’s Mea Culpa Should Mean

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