Archive for June, 2006

Mexico’s Presidential Front-Runner May Roil U.S. Conservatives

Friday, June 30th, 2006

…Lopez Obrador has survived the intense fear-and-loathing campaign generated by the Mexican businesses and right-wingers who charge that he would become Hugo Chavez and Fidel Castro rolled into one populist nightmare. Fear is their brand, because their alternative is the widely unpopular gospel of free trade and free markets.

At the same time, Lopez Obrador has largely weathered the critique of subcomandante Marcos and the Zapatistas, who are carrying out their la otra campana [the Other Campaign], a speaking and organizing tour that rejects all political parties and seeks to unify Mexico’s social resistance movements. When pressed, Marcos will deny that the Zapatistas are urging a “no” vote on Lopez Obrador, saying they only are stressing that the presidential election will bring no fundamental change to the people of Mexico. The intensive and massive support for Lopez Obrador represents a “popular will” that the Zapatistas cannot ignore, according to a continuing Zapatista supporter I interviewed who also is working hard for Lopez Obrador. Similarly, the attachment of the independent media to the Zapatistas may have caused a lack of attention to the popular movement to elect Lopez Obrador.

Complicating the scene is the Zapatistas’ designation of election day, July 2, as a “national day of direct action,” a defiance of federal election laws. That could give the right a pretext to bring out police and troops to crush anyone blocking roads.

“The country is a powder keg that could ignite on election day,” warn activists who accompanied the recent Zapatista campaign and witnessed the police repression in May of flower vendors in San Salvador Atenco, where a land resistance movement had succeeded in becoming virtually autonomous from the state. The Zapatistas forged an alliance with the community and, for the present, Marcos and his associates have camped out in Mexico’s urban jungles instead of their traditional bases in the mountains of Chiapas.

North American Union to Replace USA?
President Bush is pursuing a globalist agenda to create a North American Union, effectively erasing our borders with both Mexico and Canada. This was the hidden agenda behind the Bush administration’s true open borders policy.

Secretly, the Bush administration is pursuing a policy to expand NAFTA politically, setting the stage for a North American Union designed to encompass the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. What the Bush administration truly wants is the free, unimpeded movement of people across open borders with Mexico and Canada.

President Bush intends to abrogate U.S. sovereignty to the North American Union, a new economic and political entity which the President is quietly forming, much as the European Union has formed.

The blueprint President Bush is following was laid out in a 2005 report entitled “Building a North American Community” published by the left-of-center Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). The CFR report connects the dots between the Bush administration’s actual policy on illegal immigration and the drive to create the North American Union:

At their meeting in Waco, Texas, at the end of March 2005, U.S. President George W. Bush, Mexican President Vicente Fox, and Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin committed their governments to a path of cooperation and joint action. We welcome this important development and offer this report to add urgency and specific recommendations to strengthen their efforts.

What is the plan? Simple, erase the borders. The plan is contained in a “Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America” little noticed when President Bush and President Fox created it in March 2005.

Bolivians prepare for vote to rewrite constitution

Friday, June 30th, 2006

LA PAZ, Bolivia (Reuters) – Bolivians go to the polls on Sunday to elect a national assembly to rewrite the constitution, a project President Evo Morales says will give more power to the country’s poor indigenous majority.

Constitutional reform was a major election promise of leftist Morales, who took office as the South American country’s first indigenous president in January vowing to end 500 years of domination by a white elite.

Sunday’s vote — which includes a referendum on greater regional autonomy — is his first electoral test and polls suggest his party will win a big majority in the constitutional assembly.

Campaigning on behalf of assembly delegates from his party, Morales, who nationalised the energy industry in May, has pushed the nationalisation of all natural resources in the gas- and mineral-rich country, without saying exactly how.

He is also campaigning for a “no” vote on the regional autonomy referendum, which analysts say could put him on a collision course with the powerful pro-autonomy lobby of wealthy Santa Cruz province, an opposition stronghold.

“We’re not going to fight our brothers, but it’s now or never for autonomy,” pro-autonomy leader German Antelo told flag-waving Santa Cruz residents during a rally to back a “yes” vote. Local media said 200,000 people attended.

Opposition parties have sought to exploit fears about the influence of Morales’ ally, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.

Television ads for the rightist Podemos party, led by former President Jorge ‘Tuto’ Quiroga, show images of Chavez in military uniform with the words: “Why is Chavez so interested in our constitution? … Say ‘No’ to Chavez.”

Israel has right to defend itself: White House

Friday, June 30th, 2006

…”In any actions the government of Israel may undertake, the United States urges that it ensures that innocent civilians are not harmed and also that it avoid the unnecessary destruction of property and infrastructure,” he said.

The White House spokesman blamed Hamas for the events in Gaza but said “all parties ought to take every measure to restore the security situation in Gaza.

“The hostage-taking and the attacks by Hamas last weekend have precipitated the current events in Gaza,” he said. “As we have said since the attack, Hamas should release and return the kidnapped Israeli soldier immediately.

“It’s the responsibility of the Palestinian Authority to stop all acts of violence and terror,” Snow added. “Hamas has done the opposite: It’s been complicit in perpetrating violence, terror and hostage-taking.”

Israel threatens to kill exiled Hamas leaders
JERUSALEM (AFP) – Israel threatened to kill exiled Syrian-based leaders of the ruling Palestinian Hamas movement, blaming them for the kidnapping of a soldier by militants in the Gaza Strip.

To drive the point home, four Israeli warplanes overflew President Bashar al-Assad’s palace in northern Syria early Wednesday while the leader was inside.

“This operation was launched due to the support and protection Syria gives Hamas, which is responsible for the kidnapping of our soldiers,” an army spokeswoman said.

The action provided “a way for Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to prove the long arm of the Israeli army,” said a report by Channel 10 television.

Apparently it extends all the way to the White House press room.

Seizure of Hamas MPs raises international alarm
…”We call on Israel to exercise utmost restraint in the current crisis,” the G8 foreign ministers said in a joint statement.

“The detention of elected members of the Palestinian government and legislature raises particular concerns.”

Shalit’s father hopes IDF raid won’t yield more casualties
Noam Shalit, the father of abducted Israel Defense Forces soldier Corporal Gilad Shavit, said Wednesday that his family believes that the government decided to carry out a military incursion in the Gaza Strip after deep consideration.

“The emphasis here is on an intelligent, rather than impassioned, operation,” Shalit said. “We would like no additional injuries, not among IDF troops and certainly not among innocent civilians on both sides, Israeli and Palestinian. This is of the utmost importance to us.”

Yeah deep consideration weeks before his son was kidnapped. Like the kidnapping of the 2 Americans in Iraq, this one seems timed perfectly.

Somali Islamists extend olive branch to Washington

Friday, June 30th, 2006

MOGADISHU: The supreme leader of SomaliaÍs Islamic courts union, which has seized control of Mogadishu from a US-backed warlord alliance, said on Wednesday he was ready to work with arch-foe the United States but demanded it respect the sovereignty of the African nation.

Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys, a cleric designated a terrorist by the United States, for suspected links to Osama bin LadenÍs al-Qaeda network, also criticised Washington for supporting warlords in their battle with Islamic militia. ñWe are ready for partnership with the Americans.

We would like to work with them if they respect us and stop interfering with Somali internal affairs,î Aweys told AFP by telephone from central SomaliaÍs Galdudud region.

ñAmerica should know that all people are equal and that no one has a right to dictate policies to others, including how to administer a nation.

It is our right to impose the laws that we want to govern our country. If we follow Sharia law, it is not AmericaÍs problem,î added Aweys who is the head of the Somali Council of Islamic Courts (CIC).

U.S. and Iraqi forces clash with Shi’ite militia

Friday, June 30th, 2006

BAQUBA, Iraq (Reuters) – Iraqi and U.S. troops battled Shi’ite militiamen in a village northeast of Baghdad on Thursday, and witnesses and police said U.S. helicopters bombed orchards to flush out gunmen hiding in the palm groves.

Iraqi security officials said Iranian fighters had been captured in the fighting, in which the commander of an Iraqi quick reaction force and two soldiers were shot dead by a sniper. They did not say how the Iranians had been identified.

Over 500 Reports of Sexual Assault among U.S. Troops in Iraq and Afghanistan

Friday, June 30th, 2006

Over 500 cases of sexual assault have been reported among U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan since the summer of 2002, according to the executive director of the Miles Foundation, a nonprofit group that tracks sexual crimes in the military.

“The combat theater is illustrative of the hostility towards women in the U.S. Armed Forces,” according to Christine Hansen, the executive director of the foundation. Hansen is testifying this afternoon before the House Government Reform Committee.

Hansen notes that survivors of sexual assault in the combat theater point to many issues that contribute to the hostile environment there for women in the military, including “lack of privacy to perform daily routines; insufficient lighting in and around the tents; isolation; existence of a sexually charged atmosphere; presence of pornography; and availability of condoms for male troops.”

Hansen also points out that the wide availability of alcohol has not helped. Alcohol has been involved in 70 to 75 percent of the reported cases.

Posada’s CIA ties uncovered in papers

Friday, June 30th, 2006

Nearly four years after the failed CIA-backed Bay of Pigs invasion, Cuban exile militant Luis Posada Carriles continued to work for the spy agency, according to CIA files released to The Miami Herald.

His job: ”Training Branch Instructor” for its Miami station, which then was responsible for intelligence-gathering missions into Cuba. He was part of the covert JMWAVE — the code name for the CIA Miami bureau, which at the time operated within the University of Miami.

His tenure: March 26, 1965, to July 11, 1967.

The revelation of Posada’s ties to the CIA’s operations in Miami was contained in documents requested by The Miami Herald as part of a Freedom of Information Act request.

Although some of Posada’s CIA links were known previously, the CIA files released to the newspaper this month add detail about the Cuban militant’s connections to America’s storied and controversial spy agency.

The information comes at a time that Posada, currently detained in El Paso, Texas, is seeking approval of his U.S. citizenship application on the ground that he served the CIA and the U.S. military.

Posada, 78, has been held since immigration agents took him into custody in Miami last year after his surreptitious entry into the United States from Mexico. Posada was detained just hours after holding an ”invitation-only” press conference at a West Miami-Dade County warehouse.

Posada has been denied asylum, although an immigration judge in El Paso prohibited the government from deporting him to Cuba or Venezuela.

Posada has been accused of blowing up a Cuban airliner in the Caribbean in 1976, bombing hotels in Cuba in 1997 and 1998, and conspiring to kill Cuban President Fidel Castro in Panama in 2000. He has denied all of the allegations.

The story that cries out to be told to the American people

Secrets of Dallas: the role of George Bush in the JFK assassination-cum-coup

Israel army launches Gaza assault

Thursday, June 29th, 2006

The Israeli army has begun a ground offensive in southern Gaza to try to gain the release of an Israeli soldier.

The incursion comes hours after Israeli aircraft struck at bridges and a power plant in the Gaza Strip.

Cpl Gilad Shalit was abducted by Palestinian militants during a raid on an Israeli post near Gaza on Sunday.

Israel had warned of a massive military assault if he was not freed and its tanks have been massing along the border with Gaza for several days.

What an appalling spectacle.

Israel rounds up Hamas politicians
Israeli forces arrested more than 60 Hamas politicians in the West Bank and bombed targets in the Gaza Strip today to increase pressure on Palestinian militants to release an Israeli soldier held captive since Sunday.

There were no casualties in the Israeli attacks but a confrontation between the army and Palestinian factions became more likely as Israeli forces prepared to enter areas of northern Gaza.

Israel reoccupied areas of southern Gaza yesterday and bombed bridges and an electricity plant to force Palestinian militants to free the abducted soldier. The electricity supply for half of Gaza has been cut and all supplies of fuel and food have been halted.

Palestinian fighters have prepared bombs and barricades in anticipation of the army’s advance into populated areas. Corporal Gilad Shilat was captured by gunmen from Hamas and the Popular Resistance Committees on Sunday. His captors want to exchange him for Palestinian prisoners but Israel insists it will not negotiate for the freedom of the 19-year-old.

After a separate kidnapping, soldiers discovered the body of Eliyahu Asheri, 18, in a shallow grave near Ramallah. He was abducted on Sunday as he hitchhiked through the West Bank.

Militants of the Popular Resistance Committees involved in the kidnapping of Corp Shilat said Asheri would be killed if Israel did not halt its invasion of Gaza. The Israeli army said he was probably killed soon after his abduction.

If he’s dead he can’t very well be released. There is no one in the world to stand up to these pathological bullies. How many people have they kidnapped, tortured, and murdered? How many more?

Israeli Planes Buzz Home of Syria Leader
DAMASCUS, Syria ã Israel said its warplanes buzzed the summer residence of President Bashar Assad Wednesday in a bold warning to the country that shelters the political leader of Hamas, the Islamic militant group holding an Israeli soldier captive in the Gaza Strip.

State-run Syrian television, in its account of the incident, said two Israeli planes flew near Syria’s Mediterranean coast early Wednesday and “national air defenses opened fire in the direction of the planes, and they dispersed.” Assad’s summer residence is in the western city of Latakia on the Mediterranean coast.

Miami bomb plot suspects ‘entrapped’

Thursday, June 29th, 2006

…There was “a lot of talking going on by the the informant and more listening by the defendant and or the defendants”, Mr Levin told Fox News Channel host Bill O’Reilly.

Nathan Clarke, a lawyer for another suspect Rotschild Augustine, agreed.

“With respect to my client, from what I can read in the indictment, there’s going to be a question of whether there’s even sufficient evidence to sustain the burden of proof on conviction,” Mr Clarke said.

“If by any chance there’s a scintilla of that then, of course, there’s going to be the entrapment issue,” he said.

An Interview with Mumia Abu-Jamal

Thursday, June 29th, 2006

…As I noted in We Want Freedom, the BPP developed an internationalist perspective, because Huey P. Newton (the Party’s Minister of Defense & co-founder) was curious about revolutionary struggles and liberation struggles that came before, whether in China, in Cuba, in Congo-Brazzavile, wherever.

What Party members learned was that people should study struggles in other parts of the world–and take what is useful, applicable, in their own struggles here.

What we see now, for the most part, is precisely the opposite: where folks from the so-called First travel to Third locations, and presume to teach lowly third-world populations how to struggle. I call this tendency “left imperialism”, because those people, usually white leftists, base their claim to supremacy not upon their specific, or organizational work, but upon their privileged place in the Empire; their U.S. nationality, and often their Western background- their whiteness.

From what experience base can U.S. leftists claim supremacy? What project can they point to that is successful, and should be replicated anywhere else in the world? The mass incarceration? The poisonous public school system? The crumbling environment? The deepening racial rifts? The Clinton Administration?

Nothing succeeds like success; and U.S. “leftists” have precious little success to boast about–at home or abroad.

An example of “left imperialism” can be found in how easily so-called liberals applauded U.S. bombing, takeover and occupation of Afghanistan, and later Iraq. Liberals typically argue that Afghanistan was a “good” war and occupation; yet Iraq was “bad”. In point of fact, both, if I’m not mistaken, violated international law. But beyond that, the Afghanistan war was allegedly justified on the basis that the Taliban regime “‘harbored” terrorists.

At the same time that U.S. politicians were barking such charges, the country was flush with terrorists, who waged wars against their own peoples in defense of their American masters.

People who have waged bloody massacres against Haitian workers and students live in peaceful solitude in the U.S. Anti-Castro terrorists who have bombed planes, and poisoned crops, and bombed hotels live in splendid peace in Miami-today. Meanwhile, the Cuban Five are unjustly incarcerated in this country for fighting against U.S. sponsored terrorism.

I can’t count how many dictators, generals, cut-throats, have been kicked out of their home countries, and found refuge in the U.S. One final note about ‘harboring terrorists’…. more people have been taught torture techniques in the U.S. School of the Americas (since renamed), than in any dusty camp in Afghanistan. Latin Americans call the school, la escuela de golpes de Estado: coup d’?tat school.

How many graduates of this ‘School of the Americas’ have raped, tortured, garroted, blown up, killed–terrorized the people of Latin American countries?

The point is not to simply be anti-war, but to be above all anti-imperialist. That’s something that left imperialists find impossible to, do.