Anti-US governor wins Okinawa poll

The Japanese on the southern Island of Okinawa have re-elected incumbent governor Hirokazu Nakaima, who wants an end to the American military presence.

Nakaima, who wants the US base off Okinawa altogether, beat his opponent who agreed to relocate the base to a less crowded area on the island.

In May, Tokyo and Washington agreed to implement a 2006 plan to relocate Marine Corps Air Station Futenma to a less crowded area in Okinawa.

The move infuriated local residents, who view the base as a source of noise, pollution and serious crime –including rape.
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Cuban Rum Steps Up in World Markets

Havana, Nov 26 (ACN-RHC) The worldwide prestige of Cuban rum is reaffirmed by the growing demand of Ron Legendario, whose sales show an annual 10 percent increase.

The trademark’s deputy director of marketing, Carlos Sanchez, stated that Ron Legendario is currently available in more than 15 European countries.

Ron Legendario is produced in six factories across the country, three of them located in Pinar del Rio, Matanzas and Villa Clara and one in Havana, Sanchez said. Legendario is distributed in Europe by the Valencian Legendario SL company, which is currently seeking entry into other markets.

The trademark’s leading product is the Legendario Elixir de Cuba 7-year-aged rum, which is the richest, smoothest, sweetest and most delicate rum produced in the island.

Other Legendario spirits commercialized by the Spanish company are
Dorado, Añejo, Añejo Blanco, Carta Blanca Superior and Gran Reserva 15 Years.

 

Protest at White House: No New Korean War!

Washington, November 27 (RHC)– Protesters gathered Saturday in front of the White House in Washington to call for an end to the provocations against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. The emergency anti-war rally was called in response to the latest escalation of hostilities in the Korean Peninsula.

Organizers of the anti-war protest said the provocations could lead to a new Korean War — “one that could expand to wider regional, and potentially nuclear, conflict.”

In a statement released just before Saturday’s protest rally began, organizers said that the biggest provocation in the region is the massive presence of U.S. military bases, troop, nuclear and conventional weapons. “In 2010, 65 years after the end of World War II, there are scores of U.S. Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine bases in the Republic of Korea, Okinawa, and all across Japan. This vast deployment of military power halfway around the world far exceeds that of any other country.”

The anti-war protesters said that the real purpose of this military machine “is to secure and further the interests of the U.S. corporate power and strategic domination in Asia and around the world. It is the enemy of the people of Korea, China, Japan and the people of the United States.”

US contacts allies about WikiLeaks move

The United States has briefed its key allies, including Britain, France, Germany and Saudi Arabia ahead of the mass release of classified documents by WikiLeaks.

Whistleblower website WikiLeaks plans to release around three million leaked documents, including cables sent to Washington from American embassies throughout the world.

The website had previously posted online secret details of US military operations in war-ravaged Iraq and Afghanistan.

United States Department of State Spokesman Philip Crowley says the United States is “gearing up for the worst-case scenario.”

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California passes bill to counteract ‘disturbing’ Texas curriculum

Measure ensures Texas standards don’t ‘creep into our textbooks,’ senator tells Raw Story

The California Senate on Friday approved legislation that sends a clear message to Texas and textbook publishers: don’t mess with our kids’ minds.

“My bill begins the process of ensuring that California students will not end up being taught with Texas standards,” State Senator Leland Yee (D-San Francisco), who authored and sponsored the legislation, said in an interview. Texas standards had better not “creep into our textbooks,” he said.

The S.B. 1451 measure – approved on a bipartisan vote of 25-5 – requires the California State Board of Education to examine and report any discrepancies between the new Texas standards and California’s standards. “At that point,” Yee told Raw Story, “we will make it very, very clear that we won’t accept textbooks that minimize the contributions of minorities and propagate the close connection between church and state.”

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US base row puts Japan coalition at risk

Japan‘s Social Democratic Party (SDP) is threatening to leave the ruling coalition over the controversial US military base on the southern island of Okinawa.

Senior SDP official Seiji Mataichi said Saturday that it was natural for the party to leave the coalition.

The development comes after the Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama dismissed the SDP chief from his cabinet for opposing his decision to keep the American base on Okinawa.

Hatoyama has abandoned his campaign promise to move the Marine Corps Air Station Futenma off the southern Japanese island, resulting in a dramatic drop in his approval rating to nearly 20 percent.

The airbase has been under US command since after World War II. More than half of some 47,000 US troops in Japan are stationed in Okinawa.

Islanders have for long been opposed to the presence of US military personnel, who are allegedly involved in crime, pollution, noise and accidents, on Okinawa.

Study: Occupied Baghdad is least livable city on planet

The Iraq war is still being touted by Washington and the Pentagon as a war for progress and stability in the region. A study released May 26, however, reveals a radically different reality.

The Mercer Quality of Living Survey ranked Baghdad last in a list of “most livable cities.” The study took into account political, economic, ecological, social and cultural factors.

The result is not surprising considering the devastation brought on by the U.S.-led invasion. Sewage treatment plants, factories, schools, hospitals, and museums have been destroyed. As a result, Iraqi citizens now have scarce access to water and electricity.

The demolition of infrastructure is an important tactic in imperialist war and helps explain why the study found that, “A lack of security and stability continue to have a negative impact on Baghdad’s quality of living.”

The only benefactors from the occupation have been big corporations like BP, who got access to the giant Rumaila oil field. The citizens of Iraq continue to pay with their lives.

Japan minister fired over US airbase

The Japanese premier fires a minister for rejecting Tokyo’s recent compromise with Washington on a controversial US airbase on Okinawa Island.

Japan’s Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama dismissed consumer affairs minister, Mizuho Fukushima, The Wall Street Journal reported on Friday.

Tokyo and Washington have issued a statement, saying that Marine Corps Air Station Futenma in the southern island of Okinawa would be relocated to a new site on the same island.

Fukushima told a press conference that she “could not betray the people of Okinawa,” Press TV’s Michael Penn reported. The former minister added that she “could not accept the plan to create a new US airbase on the island which would increase the burden for Okinawan people.”

Fukushima said that politics demanded trust and that if she betrayed her campaign promises to the people, she would be breaking that trust.

Hatoyama had run for premier on a campaign to materialize a “more equal” relationship with Washington. He had also promised to move the base off the island which houses three-quarters of the thousands-strong Japan-based US military.

Locals there have for long protested the presence of the military personnel who are allegedly involved in crime, pollution, noise and accidents.

Fukushima had stood up to Hatoyama’s and other Cabinet ministers’ plea for her to endorse the agreement.

Her party, the Social Democratic Party of Japan, could, meanwhile, leave Hatoyama’s coalition, jeopardizing his chances in the Upper House elections set to be held in July.

2010 National Drug Control Strategy

President Obama’s 2010 National Drug Control Strategy uses a multifaceted approach to combat drug abuse and drug use in America’s communities.

This Strategy “provides a collaborative and balanced approach that emphasizes community-based prevention, integration of evidence-based treatment into the health care system, innovations in the criminal justice system, and international partnerships to disrupt drug trafficking organizations. Because nearly all Americans are impacted by the consequences of drug use, the Strategy is designed to be relevant at the local level. Whether you are a parent looking for information, a community member interested in treatment resources, a police officer or local elected official searching for new approaches to drug-related crimes, or someone who wants to know more about the Administration’s drug policy, the National Drug Control Strategy will serve as a useful resource.”

Red Cross confirms ‘secret jail’ in Bagram, Afghanistan

The US airbase at Bagram in Afghanistan contains a facility for detainees that is distinct from its main prison, the Red Cross has confirmed to the BBC.

Nine former prisoners have told the BBC that they were held in a separate building, and subjected to abuse.

The US military says the main prison, now called the Detention Facility in Parwan, is the only detention facility on the base.

However it has said it will look into the abuse allegations made to the BBC.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said that since August 2009 US authorities have been notifying it of names of detained people in a separate facility at Bagram.

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Fallujah birth defects investigated

An investigation of a rise in birth defects in Fallujah is underway, which is being attributed to the use of chemical weapons by British and American soldiers.

Public Interest Lawyers, representing Iraqi families, has requested that the Ministry of Defence release information regarding whether any British soldiers were involved in the fighting or helped to supply the use of prohibited weapons during the seize on Fullujah in 2004, and any legal advice given to Tony Blair at the time. During the attack, coalition forces are alleged to have used white phosphorus, a modern form of napalm, and depleted uranium against the population. Iraqi families accuse the UK government to breaching international law, war crimes and failing to intervene to prevent a war crime.
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A Tutorial on the Classified Information Procedures Act

Last week, prosecutors in the case of Thomas A. Drake, the former National Security Agency official who is charged with unlawfully retaining classified information that he allegedly disclosed to a reporter, asked the court to hold a pre-trial conference on the use of the Classified Information Procedures Act (CIPA) in that case.

CIPA was passed by Congress in 1980 to regulate the disclosure of classified information in criminal prosecutions, such as espionage cases, and to prevent so-called “graymail,” in which a defendant threatens to release classified information in the hope of forcing the government to abandon the case.

In a nutshell, CIPA requires the defense to notify prosecutors and the court of any classified evidence it intends to introduce.  Courts must then determine if the classified evidence is admissible. If so, the government may propose an unclassified substitution that does not involve classified information.  But if the court finds that the unclassified substitution is inadequate to preserve the defendant’s right to a fair trial, and if the Attorney General objects to disclosure of the classified version, then the indictment may be dismissed.

Perhaps assuming that the judge (or the defense) was unfamiliar with the law, prosecutors in the Thomas Drake case filed a motion (pdf) explaining the meaning of each section of CIPA.

The purpose of their CIPA tutorial was “to inform the Court of the applicability of CIPA and its procedures to issues involving classified information that will arise before and during the trial of this case,” they wrote. See “Government’s Motion for Pretrial Conference Under Section 2 of the Classified Information Procedures Act,” May 5, 2010.

The development and early history of CIPA were reviewed by the Congressional Research Service in a March 2, 1989 report entitled “Classified Information Procedures Act (CIPA): An Overview.”

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War on drugs goes literal: biowarfare on poppies

US and British forces in Afghanistan have been accused of waging biological warfare on poppy fields to stymie opium crop production.

Last week, the UK’s Daily Telegraph reported:

Poppy plants have been suffering from a mysterious disease which leaves them yellow and withered and slashes the yield of opium resin which is sold on and processed into heroin.

According to the Telegraph, yields have dropped by up to 90 per cent in some fields. Some Afghan farmers are blaming British and American soldiers for spraying the crops with the disease. Officials have denied involvement.

Jean-Luc Lemahieu, head of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime in Afghanistan (UNODC), said that plant samples were currently being tested to confirm whether the origins of the disease are natural or human-induced.

Considering that spraying has been forbidden by the president of Afghanistan, “we start with the belief that this is a natural phenomenon,” says Lemanhieu. It could be due to insects such as aphids, or fungi, he says.

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Washington Finally Feeling Drone War Backlash

Back in early 2009, when guys like David Kilcullen and Andrew Exum warned that the American drone war in Pakistan could create more terrorists than they kill, they were pilloried by the national security establishment for their views. Since the failed Times Square bombing — a terror attack allegedly in response to the drone strikes — Kilcullen and Exum’s take is quickly becoming conventional wisdom in Washington.

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U.S. says it has 5,113 nuclear warheads

WASHINGTON — The United States has 5,113 nuclear warheads in its stockpile and “several thousand” more retired warheads awaiting the junk pile, the Pentagon said Monday in an unprecedented accounting of a secretive arsenal born in the Cold War and now shrinking rapidly.

The Obama administration disclosed the size of its atomic stockpile going back to 1962 as part of a campaign to get other nuclear nations to be more forthcoming, and to improve its bargaining position against the prospect of a nuclear Iran.

“We think it is in our national security interest to be as transparent as we can be about the nuclear program of the United States,” Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton told reporters at the United Nations, where she addressed a conference on containing the spread of nuclear weapons.

The United States previously has regarded such details as top secret.

The figure includes both “strategic,” or long-range weapons, and those intended for use at shorter range.

The Pentagon said the stockpile of 5,113 as of September 2009 represents a 75 percent reduction since 1989.

A rough count of deployed and reserve warheads has been known for years, so the Pentagon figures do not tell nuclear experts much they did not already know.

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Forty years since the Kent State massacre

May 4 marks the 40th anniversary of the shootings of unarmed student protesters at Kent State University in northeast Ohio. The Ohio National Guard killed four students and wounded nine others at a rally against the Nixon administration’s decision to escalate the Vietnam War by invading neighboring Cambodia.

The four students who died were Allison B. Krause and Jeffrey Glenn Miller, who had participated in the antiwar protest, and two bystanders, Sandra Lee Scheuer and William Know Schroeder, who were walking between classes when the troops opened fire. Miller was killed instantly, Scheuer died within minutes, while Krause and Schroeder succumbed to their wounds after several hours.

One of the students wounded, Dean Kahler, 20, was a first-semester freshman who was a curious onlooker to the protest. A bullet cut his spinal column, leaving him in a wheelchair to this day.

At least 67 bullets were fired during the 13-second fusillade, and students were hit over a wide area. The closest of the victims, one of the wounded, was 71 feet from where the troops formed a firing line. The furthest, wounded in the neck, was 750 feet away. The four dead students were between 265 and 345 feet distant. None of the victims was armed or could have posed a physical threat to the guardsmen.

The Kent State Massacre was part of a wave of violent state repression that swept the United States in the aftermath of the April 30 television announcement by President Richard Nixon that US forces had crossed the border from Vietnam and invaded Cambodia.

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May 1st in History

Bay of Pigs: A Victory of Latin America over the United States

The Cuban people will be celebrating the 49th anniversary of the defeat of the mercenary troops financed and trained by the US government that invaded Cuba on April 16, 1961 with the objective of overthrowing the government of Fidel Castro.

More than 500 mercenaries disembarked at the Bay of Pigs, where they planned to create a beachhead.

However, the rapid and overwhelming response of the Rebel Army and the Cuban people, allowed Cubans to defeat the imperial forces in less than 72 hours.

This victory preserved independence and sovereignty, and strengthened the revolution and the socialist system.

The leader of the Cuban revolution, Fidel Castro, said that this battle made a difference between the past and the future, reaction and progress, tradition and fidelity to principles, capitalism and socialism, imperial domination and liberation.

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Hamas Leader Was ‘Drugged And Suffocated’

[  Succinylcholine is NOT a sedative.  It is a muscle relaxer used to induce paralysis, so the victim can die awake, while his lungs refuse to work.  Mossad also knew it would be detected. ]

The Hamas commander who was killed in his Dubai hotel room was drugged and then suffocated, police have said.

It is believe a sedative was used to relax the victim’s muscles to make his death look more natural.

Major General Khamis Mattar al-Mazeina, deputy commander of Dubai police said in a statement: “The killers used the drug succinylcholine (suxamethonium chloride)* to sedate Mahmoud al Mabhouh before they suffocated him.”

He added: “There were no signs of resistance shown by the victim.”

Mabhouh was found dead in his hotel room on January 20.

The Israeli intelligence agency Mossad has been widely accused of carrying out the assassination. Israel has neither confirmed nor denied this.

See also: Interpol adds suspected Dubai assassins to most wanted list

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Cubans Nominate their Candidates

Havana, February 26 (RHC) –Thousands of Cubans began attending community meetings countrywide to nominate candidates suitable for the post of delegates to be elected by direct, secret voting in the upcoming polls, scheduled for April 25.

As part of the Cuban electoral system, based on mass participation of the population, nearly 51,000 such meetings have been held so far.

To be elected as delegate of his/her electoral district, the candidate has to win over 50 percent of the votes, with a second round supposed to be held seven days later if needed.

The post of delegate is exercised without remuneration. Those elected have the responsibility to be in constant touch with their electors in order to solve problems existing in their territories, and can be removed by the voters if their performance is poor.

The second step in the electoral process is the formation of municipal and provincial assemblies of the National Assembly of People’s Power of Cuba with the participation of the delegates elected by the people.

Happy birthday, Comrade Kim

PYONGYANG – It’s a cold, crisp, sunny morning in the capital of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), and there could not be a more important game in town. Billboards bearing the numbers “2.16 [February 16]” – usually decorated with huge red flowers – are all over the place. The flowers are the only splashes of full color against drab grays and browns. They are of course kimjongilia, a modified begonia programmed to bloom exactly on – when else – 2.16.

For Pyongyang‘s 2 million or so residents, it’s time to party. Today is the 68th birthday of the General Secretary of the Workers’ Party of Korea, Chairman of the National Defense Commission and Supreme Commander of the Korean People’s Army – comrade Kim Jong-il.

Kim Jong-il, aka the Dear Leader, has been the maximum leader of North Korea for almost 12 years now. But he’s not the president (the titular head of state is the chairman of the presidium of the Supreme People’s Assembly, Kim Yong-nam.) A key reason is that he’s not very fond of the endless, obligatory diplomatic round of meeting foreign heads of state.

The relentlessly apocalyptic Western media narrative would lead one to believe that on this eventful day the citizens of what is routinely depicted as a “Stalinist/communist/terrorist/totalitarian/insane/rogue/axis of evil gulag” would be one step short of showering a battery of commemorative missiles over South Korea, Japan or the west coast of the US for that matter, not to mention conduct another nuclear test. Reality though bears no “axis of evil” overtones.

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Manifesto of Joe Stack

If you’re reading this, you’re no doubt asking yourself, “Why did this have to happen?”  The simple truth is that it is complicated and has been coming for a long time.  The writing process, started many months ago, was intended to be therapy in the face of the looming realization that there isn’t enough therapy in the world that can fix what is really broken.  Needless to say, this rant could fill volumes with example after example if I would let it.  I find the process of writing it frustrating, tedious, and probably pointless… especially given my gross inability to gracefully articulate my thoughts in light of the storm raging in my head.  Exactly what is therapeutic about that I’m not sure, but desperate times call for desperate measures.

We are all taught as children that without laws there would be no society, only anarchy.  Sadly, starting at early ages we in this country have been brainwashed to believe that, in return for our dedication and service, our government stands for justice for all.  We are further brainwashed to believe that there is freedom in this place, and that we should be ready to lay our lives down for the noble principals represented by its founding fathers.  Remember? One of these was “no taxation without representation”.  I have spent the total years of my adulthood unlearning that crap from only a few years of my childhood.  These days anyone who really stands up for that principal is promptly labeled a “crackpot”, traitor and worse.

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Report to Congress about the USA PATRIOT Act

The U.S. Department of Justice, Office of the Inspector General, released a new report Report to Congress on Implementation of Section 1001 of the USA PATRIOT Act.

This report details “Section 1001 of the USA PATRIOT Act (Patriot Act), Public Law 107-56, directs the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ or Department) to undertake a series of actions related to claims of civil rights or civil liberties violations allegedly committed by DOJ employees. It also requires the OIG to provide semiannual reports to Congress on the implementation of the OIG’s responsibilities under Section 1001.”

New name for Iraq war: Operation New Dawn

Effective Sept. 1, the War on Iraq will acquire a new official moniker: “Operation New Dawn.”

Defense Secretary Robert Michael Gates announced the move Wednesday in a memo to Gen. David Howell Petraeus, chief of United States Central Command, that was first reported by ABC News.

In the brief, one-paragraph memo, a copy of which also went to Adm. Michael Glenn “Mike” Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gates said the name change is designed to coincide with “the change of mission for U.S. forces in Iraq.”

“Aligning the name change with the change of mission sends a strong signal that Operation Iraqi Freedom has ended and our forces are operating under a new mission,” Gates wrote. “It also presents opportunities to synchronize strategic communication initiatives, reinforce our commitment to honor the Security Agreement, and recognize our evolving relationship with the Government of Iraq.”

Censorship of Arab News Media

The U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved a bill to censor some of the Arab news media, particularly satellite channels if Washington deemed, with Israeli backing, that these satellite channels are broadcasting content that is in conflict with American and Israeli interests in the region.

It is strange that this U.S. legislative step, which was opposed by only three members of the House of Representatives, came on the heels of the president’s success in turning a new page in the Islamic and Arab world by drawing a new framework for their relationship, based on mutual respect and common interests rather than opportunities, particularly as stated in his speech at Cairo University.

Note that the United States claims to defend human rights and freedom of the press but accuses the “terrorists,” wherever they are, of lacking respect for democracy and human rights. At the same time, the U.S. is behaving contrary to what it preaches because it considers the basic measure for freedom of the press to be something that does not harm American or Israeli interests.

Full text of H.R. 2278 can be found at THOMAS.

For more information on H.R. 2278, see Gov Trak.

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Noriega Will Be Extradited to France, His Lawyer Says

Former Panamanian strongman Manuel Antonio Noriega Moreno will extradited to France after the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal against the extradition, his lawyer said, though the final say on the matter belongs to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Noriega “has exhausted all his legal options. He has to go to France,” defense attorney Frank A. Rubino told Efe. “It could be in a week or a month. I don’t know.”

The general, who remains inside a federal prison in Miami, had asked the high court to find that as a prisoner of war, he was entitled to return to the República de Panamá after serving a reduced 17-year sentence in the United States for drug trafficking and money laundering.

A U.S. federal judge found in 1992 that Noriega had POW status by virtue of his having been captured during the December 1989 U.S. invasion of Panama.

Noriega, who ruled Panama from 1983-1989, was due to be released from prison in September 2007, but has remained in custody pending the outcome of France’s request for his extradition.

As his scheduled release drew near, Paris asked the United States to extradite Noriega, who was sentenced in 1999 to 10 years in prison by a French court that convicted him in absentia on charges of laundering some $3.1 million in drug money through the purchase of an apartment.

“I have no idea how they can know where the money came from,” Rubino said Monday. “We’re extremely discouraged by the (Supreme Court) ruling.”

France has promised to give the Panamanian a new trial if he is extradited.

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José Martí’s Anniversary Celebrated across Cuba

Havana, January 28, (RHC)—The anniversary of the birth of Cuba’s national hero, José Julián Martí Pérez, was widely celebrated across the island today. Visitors and Cubans from all over the country laid wreaths in homage to Marti at different locations. Last night thousands of young university students carried out their traditional torch light march from the steps of the Universidad de La Habana to the Museo Fragua Martiana, a center of study for the works of Jose Marti.

At 12 noon a twenty-one gun salute was sounded from the Castillo de los Tres Reyes Magos del Morro overlooking the Bay of Havana.

Jose Marti was born in 1853, in Havana. He was a writer, poet, journalist, translator and philosopher. He played an essential role in the Cuban War of Independence of 1895, by gathering funds and presenting the plight of the Cuban people abroad, unifying Cuban immigrants and making the necessary preparations for the war. He died on May 19th 1895, in the Battle of Dos Ríos. Marti’s ideology was his greatest legacy: his thoughts on independence, solidarity, the unity of Latin America and the dangers of imperialism and annexation have influenced and guided popular social movements in Latin America and Cuba, starting with Fidel Castro and the Cuban Revolution.

“Christian mafia” rules America

A group known as the “Christian mafia” is the oldest and arguably the most powerful and influential religious rights organization in the United States, says American author Jeff Sharlet.

He recently published a book entitled “The Family” in which he reveals how the group functions.

“It goes back to the 1930s. They don’t seek publicity. They like to refer to themselves as the ‘Christian mafia.’ The leaders say the more invisible you can make your organization the more influence it will have,” Sharlet told RT.

The group has “expansionist ideas of American power” that lead them to a very active role in foreign affairs, says the journalist.

In his book he describes, among other things, mechanisms through which the mafia influences other countries – mostly ones that are smaller and much weaker economically. For example, he claims The Family has been directly connected to Uganda’s new legislation that authorizes the execution of gays. Why do they need this? The answer is simple:

“There are a lot of policies they want to influence – gay laws and laws on abortion bring about economic changes,” Sharlet explains. “You go to a small country like Uganda or Somalia or Central America… A few US senators can have an outsized influence there and they can use those countries as guinea pigs for their religious right ideas. They can put into practice the very laws that they can’t get passed here.”

The idea is to sort of work from outside, the author says. “If you can build this in Central Asia, in Africa, even in Europe, all around the American empire, one day you look up and say – the rest of the world decided this is the way things should be.”

Gerald Celente Interview – Words of wisdom

Gerald Celente in Wikipedia

Trends Research Institute

Trends Journal

Ecuador: US extremists trying to destabilize us

Ecuador has accused right-wing extremists in the United States of planning to destabilize the South American country.

President Rafael Vicente Correa Delgado‘s accusations, in his weekly radio program on Saturday, targeted US-based groups and not the US government, the Associated Press reported.

Correa said that the groups were funneling aid to parts of Ecuador’s indigenous movement, plotting to destabilize progressive government initiatives rather than using direct confrontation.

The Ecuadorian president, however, gave no examples of any specific aid.

In the past few months, Indian protests and roadblocks have forced Correa to reconsider proposals to force mines on Indian lands without their consent and to put water under state control.

“US has to break with its superpower arrogance” – Bill Ayers

The US should give up its superpower ambitions and put itself on equal footing with other nations – otherwise, it will find itself at an impasse, believes American scholar William Charles “Bill” Ayers.

“The arrogance of shouting your opinion and unwillingness to hear anything in response is something that puts us in a parallel situation. It means we can’t grow, we can’t change,” he told RT.

“It has already created problems for the US and they are getting bigger. I think what we need is to break from that tradition of American foreign policy of the last sixty years or longer and really imagine ourselves entering into the world as a nation among nations – not as a superpower, not as police of the world. We need to enter into the conversation with respect – for ourselves, but also respect for others.”

Professor Ayers also responded to the criticism from talk show host Bill O’Reilly, who mocked his recent interview with RT.

Bill O’Reilly is apparently unhappy about me, unhappy that I had something to say but he did not say anything about the content what I have said. That interview that we did had a lot of content. One of the things we talked about how a country like the United States with less than five per cent of the world’s population can kind of police the world and have a trillion dollar military budget,” Ayers said.

“So the media ought to have taken that content – not trying to scream or yell or make slogans about who’s saying what. But this is what Bill O’Reilly specializes in,” he added.

Tribute to Cuban Heroine Celia Sanchez

Havana, Jan 11 (Prensa Latina) Dozens of Cuban citizens gave tribute to Cuban revolutionary heroine Celia Sánchez Manduley in the 30th anniversary of her death.

Different generations of Cubans went up to the Pantheon of the Cuban Revolutionary Armed Forces (FAR) in the Colon Cemetery in Havana to pay tribute to this revolutionary fighter Monday.

The walk was headed by Lazara Mercedes Lopez, first secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba (PCC – Partido Comunista de Cuba) in the Cuban capital; and Ana Judith Area, first secretary of the Union of Young Communists in Havana.

Celia Sanchez was one of the first women to take arms against the Fulgencio Batista y Zaldívar dictatorship until the triumph of the Cuban Revolution.

She participated in the preparation of the Granma expedition and together with Cuban clandestine leader Frank Pais, she organized the farmers of the zone to support the expedition.

She came to Cuban land on December 2, 1956 with the group of 82 men headed by Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz to start the war. On March 19, 1957, she climbed the Sierra Maestra Mountains and became a member of the Rebel Army, being the main promoter of the Mariana Grajales Coello Female Platoon.

7,724 Slain in Mexico in 2009

MEXICO CITY – Last year was the deadliest in Mexico in the past decade, with 7,724 people killed in violent incidents attributed to organized crime, Mexico City daily El Universal said on Friday.

That total translates into an average of more than 21 homicides a day.

The newspaper, which has been keeping a daily tally of the number of deaths from Mexico’s drug war, said there have been 16,205 organized crime-related killings in Mexico since President Felipe de Jesús Calderón Hinojosa took office in December 2006.

Chihuahua was far and away the most violent state in Mexico last year, with 3,250 murders, followed by Sinaloa (930), Durango (734), Guerrero (672), Baja California (444), Michoacan and Sonora, according to El Universal.

Mexican authorities do not provide homicide figures stemming from the cartels’ battles with each other and the security forces.

The Mexican government has deployed more than 40,000 soldiers and 20,000 federal police nationwide to combat the drug cartels and other organized criminal outfits in the country’s most violence-ridden states.

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FARC in Colombia : A History of Armed Resistance

CARTAGENA DE INDIES, Colombia — In May 2003 a leak from the Bush Treasury Department indicated that the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) was about to add to its extensive narcotics traffickers list. This time it would add someone in Colombia.

OFAC would be using one of the enlightened Republican Congress’s new drug war laws, the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act. I was pretty sure who the new addition would be. The word “kingpin” was a dead giveaway.

It had to be the guy who had attained high office; whose brother had organized 20 or more death squads and maintained a couple of them out at the family hacienda; whose cousin in the Colombian Congress was the mouthpiece for those death squads as well as a close friend and promoter of various well known narcotraficantes, including the legendary Pablo Emilio Escobar Gaviria; someone whose own father was wanted by the Colombian police and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration for cocaine trafficking when he was killed in an abortive kidnap plot; and who himself was removed from his position as mayor of Medellín for having well-known ties to drug runners.

Who else could it be, but master criminal and El Presidente himself, Álvaro Uribe Vélez?

Imagine my surprise when it was announced the next day, that it was not Uribe after all, but the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia – People’s Army (FARC-EP: Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia – Ejército del Pueblo) and 15 of their known or suspected leaders, even though I already knew they had to be a bad bunch of hombres. Five years before, in 1997, they were named a Foreign Terrorist Organization by the U.S. Department of State.

It couldn’t have been easy to make it to the top of two government lists at the same time (the terrorist list and the narcotraficantes list) and be the defining designees of a whole new hyphenated word, “Narco-terrorist”! That should keep them from gaining credibility with anyone with media access in the U.S.! I started wondering who these FARC guys were. Somebody needed to check them out, find out where they came from, and why.

See also:

New Year Greetings from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia – People’s Army (FARC)

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War Veteran’s Speech

Dutch MP: Curaçao is US spy base

Mr. Harry an Bommel has asked Foreign Minister Maxime Verhagen whether he is aware that a Boeing RC-135 aircraft has been making regular reconnaissance flights from the Caribbean island’s Hato International Airport airport over the past few weeks.

War on drugs
The flights were the cause of angry reactions by Venezuelan president Hugo Rafael Chávez, who accused the Netherlands of colluding with the United States. The Hague government is contributing to rising tensions between Venezuela and Colombia, according to the Venezuelan authorities.

The opposition MP said it is up to the Netherlands to help de-escalate these tensions. He is asking for a ban on American military flights over Colombia from the Antilles. Ostensibly such flights are part of the US “war on drugs” but Mr. Van Bommel claims they are also used in a “war on guerrillas”. The MP wants to scrap the US-Netherlands Forwards Operations Location Treaty enabling the Americans to use airfields in Curaçao and the Antilles for anti-drugs flights.

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Colombia rebels ‘to join forces’

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Colombia‘s two biggest rebel movements have said they will join forces after years of being pushed onto the defensive by the US-backed policies of Alvaro Uribe (Álvaro Uribe Vélez), the Colombian president.

In a joint statement on Thursday the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia – People’s Army (FARCFuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia – Ejército del Pueblo) and the National Liberation Army (ELNEjército de Liberación Nacional) said they would unite with “force and belligerence” against Uribe.

“We are on our way toward working for unity,” said the statement signed by the FARC and ELN, both of whom have been blacklisted as terrorist groups by the US.

“Our only enemy is North American Imperialism and its oligarchic lackeys,” read the statement published on the Agencia de Noticias Nueva Colombia (ANNCOL) news agency website, often the first to carry Colombian rebel statements.

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