Monday, December 12, 2011

The History of Money

Part - 3  /  Part - 4  /  Part - 5   This presentation explores how money is created and issued. Money used to be backed by gold and silver but today's money is backed by debt, your promise to pay back a loan and the government's promise to back up the currency. 
Money as Debt is a short animated documentary film by Canadian artist and film maker Paul Grignon about the monetary systems practiced through modern banking. The film presents Grignon's view of the process of money creation by banks and its historical background, and warns of his belief in its subsequent unsustainability.

Saturday, November 05, 2011

'Deadly clashes' continue in Syria

Activists say 18 people have been killed by security forces in protests across Syria. The clashes come just days after the government said it would stop the violence against anti-government demonstrators.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Syria's, violence keep continues

President Bashar al-Assad, dictator of Syria, at first wavered between force and hints of reform. But in April, just days after lifting the country’s decades-old state of emergency, he launched the first of what became a series of withering crackdowns, sending tanks into restive cities as security forces opened fire on demonstrators.

Neither the violence nor Mr. Assad’s offers of political reform, rejected as shams by protest leaders, brought an end to the unrest. Similarly, the protesters have not been able to withstand direct assault by the military’s armored forces.

The conflict is complicated by Syria’s ethnic divisions. The Assads and much of the nation’s elite, especially the military, belong to the Alawite sect, a small minority in a mostly Sunni country. 
Syria’s crackdown has been condemned internationally, as President Assad, a British-trained doctor, who had seem inherited iron-handed regime dictator from his father, Hafez al-Assad.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Poverty in Saudi Arabia?

Firas Baqna, Khalid al-Rasheed and Hussam al-Darwisch was arrest because showing the real situation poverty of its own citizen in the rich kingdom of oil, Saudi Arabian. While the wealthy get rich, the building get higher, the life get expensive, there still a lot of Saudi citizen suffer because the income which they get, less then the price of live which they need to pay daily. This could be normal at many country, but not in this rich oil country as Saudi Arabia is one of only a few fast-growing countries in the world with a relatively high per capita income around $25,000 (2011). And specially the case arrested the person who took video to tell the true about what happening, is not a normal thing and its not fair.

Friday, September 09, 2011

Loose Change 2nd Edition (9/11 Lies)

Loose Change is a series of films released between 2005 and 2009 which argue that the September 11, 2001 attacks were planned and conducted by elements within the United States government, and base the claims on perceived anomalies in the historical record of the attacks. The films were written and directed by Dylan Avery, and produced by Korey Rowe, Jason Bermas and Matthew Brown.

Loose Change 2nd Edition Recut (2006) opens with a brief description of past suspicious and questionable motives in the history of American government. This discussion includes mention of Operation Northwoods, a plan put forward during the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962 to create and utilize bogus terrorist attacks against the United States which were to be blamed on Cuba as a pretext for invasion of the country. Focus is particularly directed at the previously proposed plans to substitute real commercial airliners with pilotless drone aircraft in order to investigate the plausibility of covertly using them as weapons whilst maintaining the cover of an accident.

Attention is also given to the Project for the New American Century, a neo-conservative think-tank which released a report in 2000 titled "Rebuilding America's Defenses". In particular the film points out a line from that report which states:
"The process of transformation, even if it brings revolutionary change, is likely to be a long one, absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event – like a new Pearl Harbor." – Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld
It also highlights the fact that during the same year the report was released the Pentagon conducted the first of two training exercises which simulated a Boeing 757 crashing into the building. There is also mention that from September 6 to September 10 an unusual amount of put options were placed on the stock of American Airlines, Boeing and United Airlines]

This is followed by an examination of the attacks on the Pentagon. The film opposes the official story of Flight 77 hitting the Pentagon, alleging that the path of destruction does not match that which a 757 would leave. In particular it points out the size of the hole in the Pentagon caused by the crash, examining a lack of debris and landscape damage seemingly inconsistent with prior airliner crashes. It is also alleged that too few parts were recovered from the crash site to reliably ascertain that they were of a Boeing 757 and that certain flywheel observed at the site seemed too small to have been part of the aircraft's engine turbine. The wheel was officially declared to have been part of the APU but disputed by some experts as not to have come from the APU of a 757 but likely from an E-3 Sentry aircraft. It is also claimed that the alleged hijacker-pilot Hani Hanjour had difficulty performing basic controls on a small Cessna at a flight school where he rented, and that perhaps not even an experienced pilot could have maneuvered the reflex angle of turn at the airspeed and altitude at which the aircraft approached without going into a high speed stall. Mention is also given to three cameras on nearby buildings that allegedly caught the entire incident at the Pentagon on film, which the government confiscated and has refused to release in full.

The next section focuses on the destruction of the World Trade Center itself. The film comes out in favor of the controlled demolition theory of the destruction of World Trade Centers 1, 2 and 7. Cited as evidence are eyewitness reports from a janitor, firemen, and other people near the buildings who heard bangs, many of them describing them as explosions as well as videotapes showing windows far below the burning floors blow out during the collapse and seismograph results recorded during the collapse compared to the collapse of other similar buildings. The film claims that WTC 1, 2 and 7 were the first steel frame buildings in history to collapse due to fire. Another allegation centers on an audio recording in which it is claimed two distinct explosions can be heard at the time of the impact.

The film also posits that the official story of the collapse ignores the laws of physics. In particular, the video alleges that the fires inside the twin towers were not hot enough to bring the buildings down. An audio tape is presented in which the Captain of Ladder 7 claims that the fires can be brought under control by two lines and it is mentioned that building 7 had taken only minor damage before its own collapse. These allegations follow a listing of buildings that burned longer than the Twin Towers and did not fall.

For Flight 93, the video ignores the more mainstream theory of the plane being crashed by passengers to instead allege it was landed safely at Cleveland Hopkins Airport where it was evacuated by government personnel into an unused NASA research center. Evidence cited included photographs and eyewitness reports of the crash site as evidence, media reports of a corresponding and bizarre evacuation at Cleveland Hopkins Airport, oddities in the transcripts of cell-phone calls supposedly placed from the plane during the hijacking, and the sighting of the tail number of Flight 93 on an aircraft in use at a later date.

This is then followed by a more miscellaneous listing of allegations. It is claimed that cell phone calls could not be made from American Airlines flights at the time of the crash, asking why American Airlines had to install a system in their own airplanes to allow the reception of cellular signals within the planes if they could do this regardless on September 11. It is suggested that the calls from passengers and crew were faked using sophisticated voice-morphing technology developed by the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico and that the December 13, 2001 video of Osama Bin Laden claiming responsibility for the attacks was also faked, featuring what appeared to be an overweight lookalike version of Bin Laden. Finally it is alleged that of the list of hijackers initially released by the government, many were not in the planes and therefore survived September 11, 2001 and may even be alive today.

In the end, the film gives financial motives for people who would have benefited from launching the attacks themselves. Mention is first made of Larry Silverstein, who stood to receive a substantial insurance payout after the attacks due to a specific anti-terrorism clause. Other allegations of insider trading and Halliburton's benefiting from the subsequent launch of America's "War on Terror" are made.

Saturday, September 03, 2011

Famine - Somalia

"Although we've saved many lives, 4,5 or 6 children die every day", says Doctor Abdalla Bulle. This is the result of a political deadlock, which has meant that aid is only trickling into an area hit by the worst drought in 60 years. Many aid agencies have pulled out of al-Shabaab areas and international donors are unwilling to rush in money, fearing it will end up in the hands of militants. Al-Shabaab deny they are hindering the aid effort: "we have only refused those who were doing more harm than good, and those with political agendas", a spokesman tells us.

Indeed, on the ground aid workers seem more concerned with a lack of foreign aid than with AS interference. "There is no fear that aid agency funds are going to al-Shabaab. It's not humane that we can't access funds because of this fear", Hassan from Islamic Relief says. They, like other aid agencies here, maintain that they fully control the distribution of their aid. Some refugees say the group is controlling their movements, but there remains little evidence of corruption. To stop the disaster a full-scale rescue effort is needed, but while the argument over access goes on, the people's long wait continues.

Saturday, August 06, 2011

'The war you don't see' - Listening Post - Al Jazeera English

'The war you don't see' - Listening Post - Al Jazeera English

On this show, Al Jazeera interview renowned filmmaker and journalist, John Pilger about his new film, The War You Don't See, Iran and Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks. John Pilger is a multi-award winning war correspondent, filmmaker and author. From his very first documentary about the Vietnam War, he has been challenging convention and changing opinion. His irreverent coverage has not only held Western powers to account but also the journalistic complacency, ignorance or inability that many argue, allowed the Bush and Blair governments to go to war, ostensibly unchallenged. His latest film, The War You Don't See is no exception. It questions the media's role in the lead up to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. It also questions the coverage we seeing today on Iran and asks whether those mistakes are being repeated.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

What and who is Memri tv ?

The Middle East Media Research Institute, or MEMRI for short, is a Middle Eastern press monitoring organization with headquarters located in Washington, DC. MEMRI was co-founded in 1998 by Yigal Carmon, a former colonel in the Israeli military intelligence and Meyrav Wurmser, an Israeli-born, American political scientist. MEMRI distributes free English language translations of material published in Arabic, Persian, Urdu, Pashto, and Turkish, publishes analyses and reports on its website and offers specialized content for a fee.

The organization's translations are regularly quoted by major international newspapers, and its work has generated strong criticism. Critics have accused MEMRI of often producing inaccurate translations with undue emphasis and selectivity and disseminating the most extreme views from Arabic and Persian media while ignoring moderate views that are often found in the same media outlets.

Saturday, July 09, 2011

The Invisible Government - John Pilger

Part - 2
Part - 3
Part - 4

The Invisible Government

By John Pilger (07/20/07)

- The title of this talk is Freedom Next Time, which is the title of my book, and the book is meant as an antidote to the propaganda that is so often disguised as journalism. So I thought I would talk today about journalism, about war by journalism, propaganda, and silence, and how that silence might be broken. Edward Bernays, the so-called father of public relations, wrote about an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. He was referring to journalism, the media. That was almost 80 years ago, not long after corporate journalism was invented. It is a history few journalist talk about or know about, and it began with the arrival of corporate advertising. As the new corporations began taking over the press, something called "professional journalism" was invented. To attract big advertisers, the new corporate press had to appear respectable, pillars of the establishment—objective, impartial, balanced. The first schools of journalism were set up, and a mythology of liberal neutrality was spun around the professional journalist. The right to freedom of expression was associated with the new media and with the great corporations, and the whole thing was, as Robert McChesney put it so well, "entirely bogus".

For what the public did not know was that in order to be professional, journalists had to ensure that news and opinion were dominated by official sources, and that has not changed. Go through the New York Times on any day, and check the sources of the main political stories—domestic and foreign—you'll find they're dominated by government and other established interests. That is the essence of professional journalism. I am not suggesting that independent journalism was or is excluded, but it is more likely to be an honorable exception. Think of the role Judith Miller played in the New York Times in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq. Yes, her work became a scandal, but only after it played a powerful role in promoting an invasion based on lies. Yet, Miller's parroting of official sources and vested interests was not all that different from the work of many famous Times reporters, such as the celebrated W.H. Lawrence, who helped cover up the true effects of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima in August, 1945. "No Radioactivity in Hiroshima Ruin," was the headline on his report, and it was false.

Consider how the power of this invisible government has grown. In 1983 the principle global media was owned by 50 corporations, most of them American. In 2002 this had fallen to just 9 corporations. Today it is probably about 5. Rupert Murdoch has predicted that there will be just three global media giants, and his company will be one of them. This concentration of power is not exclusive of course to the United States. The BBC has announced it is expanding its broadcasts to the United States, because it believes Americans want principled, objective, neutral journalism for which the BBC is famous. They have launched BBC America. You may have seen the advertising.

The BBC began in 1922, just before the corporate press began in America. Its founder was Lord John Reith, who believed that impartiality and objectivity were the essence of professionalism. In the same year the British establishment was under siege. The unions had called a general strike and the Tories were terrified that a revolution was on the way. The new BBC came to their rescue. In high secrecy, Lord Reith wrote anti-union speeches for the Tory Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin and broadcast them to the nation, while refusing to allow the labor leaders to put their side until the strike was over.

So, a pattern was set. Impartiality was a principle certainly: a principle to be suspended whenever the establishment was under threat. And that principle has been upheld ever since.

Take the invasion of Iraq. There are two studies of the BBC's reporting. One shows that the BBC gave just 2 percent of its coverage of Iraq to antiwar dissent—2 percent. That is less than the antiwar coverage of ABC, NBC, and CBS. A second study by the University of Wales shows that in the buildup to the invasion, 90 percent of the BBC's references to weapons of mass destruction suggested that Saddam Hussein actually possessed them, and that by clear implication Bush and Blair were right. We now know that the BBC and other British media were used by the British secret intelligence service MI-6. In what they called Operation Mass Appeal, MI-6 agents planted stories about Saddam's weapons of mass destruction, such as weapons hidden in his palaces and in secret underground bunkers. All of these stories were fake. But that's not the point. The point is that the work of MI-6 was unnecessary, because professional journalism on its own would have produced the same result.

Listen to the BBC's man in Washington, Matt Frei, shortly after the invasion. "There is not doubt," he told viewers in the UK and all over the world, "That the desire to bring good, to bring American values to the rest of the world, and especially now in the Middle East, is especially tied up with American military power." In 2005 the same reporter lauded the architect of the invasion, Paul Wolfowitz, as someone who "believes passionately in the power of democracy and grassroots development." That was before the little incident at the World Bank.

None of this is unusual. BBC news routinely describes the invasion as a miscalculation. Not Illegal, not unprovoked, not based on lies, but a miscalculation.

The words "mistake" and "blunder" are common BBC news currency, along with "failure"—which at least suggests that if the deliberate, calculated, unprovoked, illegal assault on defenseless Iraq had succeeded, that would have been just fine. Whenever I hear these words I remember Edward Herman's marvelous essay about normalizing the unthinkable. For that's what media clichéd language does and is designed to do—it normalizes the unthinkable; of the degradation of war, of severed limbs, of maimed children, all of which I've seen. One of my favorite stories about the Cold War concerns a group of Russian journalists who were touring the United States. On the final day of their visit, they were asked by the host for their impressions. "I have to tell you," said the spokesman, "that we were astonished to find after reading all the newspapers and watching TV day after day that all the opinions on all the vital issues are the same. To get that result in our country we send journalists to the gulag. We even tear out their fingernails. Here you don't have to do any of that. What is the secret?"

What is the secret? It is a question seldom asked in newsrooms, in media colleges, in journalism journals, and yet the answer to that question is critical to the lives of millions of people. On August 24 last year the New York Times declared this in an editorial: "If we had known then what we know now the invasion if Iraq would have been stopped by a popular outcry." This amazing admission was saying, in effect, that journalists had betrayed the public by not doing their job and by accepting and amplifying and echoing the lies of Bush and his gang, instead of challenging them and exposing them. What the Times didn't say was that had that paper and the rest of the media exposed the lies, up to a million people might be alive today. That's the belief now of a number of senior establishment journalists. Few of them—they've spoken to me about it—few of them will say it in public.

Ironically, I began to understand how censorship worked in so-called free societies when I reported from totalitarian societies. During the 1970s I filmed secretly in Czechoslovakia, then a Stalinist dictatorship. I interviewed members of the dissident group Charter 77, including the novelist Zdener Urbanek, and this is what he told me. "In dictatorships we are more fortunate that you in the West in one respect. We believe nothing of what we read in the newspapers and nothing of what we watch on television, because we know its propaganda and lies. I like you in the West. We've learned to look behind the propaganda and to read between the lines, and like you, we know that the real truth is always subversive."

Vandana Shiva has called this subjugated knowledge. The great Irish muckraker Claud Cockburn got it right when he wrote, "Never believe anything until it's officially denied."

One of the oldest clichés of war is that truth is the first casualty. No it's not. Journalism is the first casualty. When the Vietnam War was over, the magazine Encounter published an article by Robert Elegant, a distinguished correspondent who had covered the war. "For the first time in modern history," he wrote, the outcome of a war was determined not on the battlefield, but on the printed page, and above all on the television screen." He held journalists responsible for losing the war by opposing it in their reporting. Robert Elegant's view became the received wisdom in Washington and it still is. In Iraq the Pentagon invented the embedded journalist because it believed that critical reporting had lost Vietnam.

The very opposite was true. On my first day as a young reporter in Saigon, I called at the bureaus of the main newspapers and TV companies. I noticed that some of them had a pinboard on the wall on which were gruesome photographs, mostly of bodies of Vietnamese and of American soldiers holding up severed ears and testicles. In one office was a photograph of a man being tortured; above the torturers head was a stick-on comic balloon with the words, "that'll teach you to talk to the press." None of these pictures were ever published or even put on the wire. I asked why. I was told that the public would never accept them. Anyway, to publish them would not be objective or impartial. At first, I accepted the apparent logic of this. I too had grown up on stories of the good war against Germany and Japan, that ethical bath that cleansed the Anglo-American world of all evil. But the longer I stayed in Vietnam, the more I realized that our atrocities were not isolated, nor were they aberrations, but the war itself was an atrocity. That was the big story, and it was seldom news. Yes, the tactics and effectiveness of the military were questioned by some very fine reporters. But the word "invasion" was never used. The anodyne word used was "involved." America was involved in Vietnam. The fiction of a well-intentioned, blundering giant, stuck in an Asian quagmire, was repeated incessantly. It was left to whistleblowers back home to tell the subversive truth, those like Daniel Ellsberg and Seymour Hersh, with his scoop of the My-Lai massacre. There were 649 reporters in Vietnam on March 16, 1968—the day that the My-Lai massacre happened—and not one of them reported it.

In both Vietnam and Iraq, deliberate policies and strategies have bordered on genocide. In Vietnam, the forced dispossession of millions of people and the creation of free fire zones; In Iraq, an American-enforced embargo that ran through the 1990s like a medieval siege, and killed, according to the United Nations Children's fund, half a million children under the age of five. In both Vietnam and Iraq, banned weapons were used against civilians as deliberate experiments. Agent Orange changed the genetic and environmental order in Vietnam. The military called this Operation Hades. When Congress found out, it was renamed the friendlier Operation Ranch Hand, and nothing change. That's pretty much how Congress has reacted to the war in Iraq. The Democrats have damned it, rebranded it, and extended it. The Hollywood movies that followed the Vietnam War were an extension of the journalism, of normalizing the unthinkable. Yes, some of the movies were critical of the military's tactics, but all of them were careful to concentrate on the angst of the invaders. The first of these movies is now considered a classic. It's The Deerhunter, whose message was that America had suffered, America was stricken, American boys had done their best against oriental barbarians. The message was all the more pernicious, because the Deerhunter was brilliantly made and acted. I have to admit it's the only movie that has made me shout out loud in a Cinema in protest. Oliver Stone's acclaimed movie Platoon was said to be antiwar, and it did show glimpses of the Vietnamese as human beings, but it also promoted above all the American invader as victim.

I wasn't going to mention The Green Berets when I set down to write this, until I read the other day that John Wayne was the most influential movie who ever lived. I a saw the Green Berets starring John Wayne on a Saturday night in 1968 in Montgomery Alabama. (I was down there to interview the then-infamous governor George Wallace). I had just come back from Vietnam, and I couldn't believe how absurd this movie was. So I laughed out loud, and I laughed and laughed. And it wasn't long before the atmosphere around me grew very cold. My companion, who had been a Freedom Rider in the South, said, "Let's get the hell out of here and run like hell."

We were chased all the way back to our hotel, but I doubt if any of our pursuers were aware that John Wayne, their hero, had lied so he wouldn't have to fight in World War II. And yet the phony role model of Wayne sent thousands of Americans to their deaths in Vietnam, with the notable exceptions of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney.

Last year, in his acceptance of the Nobel Prize for Literature, the playwright Harold Pinter made an epoch speech. He asked why, and I quote him, "The systematic brutality, the widespread atrocities, the ruthless suppression of independent thought in Stalinist Russia were well know in the West, while American state crimes were merely superficially recorded, left alone, documented." And yet across the world the extinction and suffering of countless human beings could be attributed to rampant American power. "But," said Pinter, "You wouldn't know it. It never happened. Nothing ever happened. Even while it was happening it wasn't happening. It didn't matter. It was of no interest." Pinter's words were more than the surreal. The BBC ignored the speech of Britain's most famous dramatist.

I've made a number of documentaries about Cambodia. The first was Year Zero: the Silent Death of Cambodia. It describes the American bombing that provided the catalyst for the rise of Pol Pot. What Nixon and Kissinger had started, Pol Pot completed—CIA files alone leave no doubt of that. I offered Year Zero to PBS and took it to Washington. The PBS executives who saw it were shocked. They whispered among themselves. They asked me to wait outside. One of them finally emerged and said, "John, we admire your film. But we are disturbed that it says the United States prepared the way for Pol Pot."

I said, "Do you dispute the evidence?" I had quoted a number of CIA documents. "Oh, no," he replied. "But we've decided to call in a journalistic adjudicator."

Now the term "journalist adjudicator" might have been invented by George Orwell. In fact they managed to find one of only three journalists who had been invited to Cambodia by Pol Pot. And of course he turned his thumbs down on the film, and I never heard from PBS again. Year Zero was broadcast in some 60 countries and became one of the most watched documentaries in the world. It was never shown in the United States. Of the five films I have made on Cambodia, one of them was shown by WNET, the PBS station in New York. I believe it was shown at about one in the morning. On the basis of this single showing, when most people are asleep, it was awarded an Emmy. What marvelous irony. It was worthy of a prize but not an audience.

Harold Pinter's subversive truth, I believe, was that he made the connection between imperialism and fascism, and described a battle for history that's almost never reported. This is the great silence of the media age. And this is the secret heart of propaganda today. A propaganda so vast in scope that I'm always astonished that so many Americans know and understand as much as they do. We are talking about a system, of course, not personalities. And yet, a great many people today think that the problem is George W. Bush and his gang. And yes, the Bush gang are extreme. But my experience is that they are no more than an extreme version of what has gone on before. In my lifetime, more wars have been started by liberal Democrats than by Republicans. Ignoring this truth is a guarantee that the propaganda system and the war-making system will continue. We've had a branch of the Democratic party running Britain for the last 10 years. Blair, apparently a liberal, has taken Britain to war more times than any prime minister in the modern era. Yes, his current pal is George Bush, but his first love was Bill Clinton, the most violent president of the late 20th century. Blair's successor, Gordon Brown is also a devotee of Clinton and Bush. The other day, Brown said, "The days of Britain having to apologize for the British Empire are over. We should celebrate."

Like Blair, like Clinton, like Bush, Brown believes in the liberal truth that the battle for history has been won; that the millions who died in British-imposed famines in British imperial India will be forgotten—like the millions who have died in the American Empire will be forgotten. And like Blair, his successor is confident that professional journalism is on his side. For most journalists, whether they realize it or not, are groomed to be tribunes of an ideology that regards itself as non-ideological, that presents itself as the natural center, the very fulcrum of modern life. This may very well be the most powerful and dangerous ideology we have ever known because it is open-ended. This is liberalism. I'm not denying the virtues of liberalism—far from it. We are all beneficiaries of them. But if we deny its dangers, its open-ended project, and the all-consuming power of its propaganda, then we deny our right to true democracy, because liberalism and true democracy are not the same. Liberalism began as a preserve of the elite in the 19th century, and true democracy is never handed down by elites. It is always fought for and struggled for.

A senior member of the antiwar coalition, United For Peace and Justice, said recently, and I quote her, "The Democrats are using the politics of reality." Her liberal historical reference point was Vietnam. She said that President Johnson began withdrawing troops from Vietnam after a Democratic Congress began to vote against the war. That's not what happened. The troops were withdrawn from Vietnam after four long years. And during that time the United States killed more people in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos with bombs than were killed in all the preceding years. And that's what's happening in Iraq. The bombing has doubled since last year, and this is not being reported. And who began this bombing? Bill Clinton began it. During the 1990s Clinton rained bombs on Iraq in what were euphemistically called the "no fly zones." At the same time he imposed a medieval siege called economic sanctions, killing as I've mentioned, perhaps a million people, including a documented 500,000 children. Almost none of this carnage was reported in the so-called mainstream media. Last year a study published by the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health found that since the invasion of Iraq 655, 000 Iraqis had died as a direct result of the invasion. Official documents show that the Blair government knew this figure to be credible. In February, Les Roberts, the author of the report, said the figure was equal to the figure for deaths in the Fordham University study of the Rwandan genocide. The media response to Robert's shocking revelation was silence. What may well be the greatest episode of organized killing for a generation, in Harold Pinter's words, "Did not happen. It didn't matter."

Many people who regard themselves on the left supported Bush's attack on Afghanistan. That the CIA had supported Osama Bin Laden was ignored, that the Clinton administration had secretly backed the Taliban, even giving them high-level briefings at the CIA, is virtually unknown in the United States. The Taliban were secret partners with the oil giant Unocal in building an oil pipeline across Afghanistan. And when a Clinton official was reminded that the Taliban persecuted women, he said, "We can live with that." There is compelling evidence that Bush decided to attack the Taliban not as a result of 9-11, but two months earlier, in July of 2001. This is virtually unknown in the United States—publicly. Like the scale of civilian casualties in Afghanistan. To my knowledge only one mainstream reporter, Jonathan Steele of the Guardian in London, has investigated civilian casualties in Afghanistan, and his estimate is 20,000 dead civilians, and that was three years ago.

The enduring tragedy of Palestine is due in great part to the silence and compliance of the so-called liberal left. Hamas is described repeatedly as sworn to the destruction of Israel. The New York Times, the Associated Press, the Boston Globe—take your pick. They all use this line as a standard disclaimer, and it is false. That Hamas has called for a ten-year ceasefire is almost never reported. Even more important, that Hamas has undergone an historic ideological shift in the last few years, which amounts to a recognition of what it calls the reality of Israel, is virtually unknown; and that Israel is sworn to the destruction of Palestine is unspeakable.

There is a pioneering study by Glasgow University on the reporting of Palestine. They interviewed young people who watch TV news in Britain. More than 90 percent thought the illegal settlers were Palestinian. The more they watched, the less they knew—Danny Schecter's famous phrase.

The current most dangerous silence is over nuclear weapons and the return of the Cold War. The Russians understand clearly that the so-called American defense shield in Eastern Europe is designed to subjugate and humiliate them. Yet the front pages here talk about Putin starting a new Cold War, and there is silence about the development of an entirely new American nuclear system called Reliable Weapons Replacement (RRW), which is designed to blur the distinction between conventional war and nuclear war—a long-held ambition.

In the meantime, Iran is being softened up, with the liberal media playing almost the same role it played before the Iraq invasion. And as for the Democrats, look at how Barak Obama has become the voice of the Council on Foreign Relations, one of the propaganda organs of the old liberal Washington establishment. Obama writes that while he wants the troops home, "We must not rule out military force against long-standing adversaries such as Iran and Syria." Listen to this from the liberal Obama: "At moment of great peril in the past century our leaders ensured that America, by deed and by example, led and lifted the world, that we stood and fought for the freedom sought by billions of people beyond their borders."

That is the nub of the propaganda, the brainwashing if you like, that seeps into the lives of every American, and many of us who are not Americans. From right to left, secular to God-fearing, what so few people know is that in the last half century, United States adminstrations have overthrown 50 governments—many of them democracies. In the process, thirty countries have been attacked and bombed, with the loss of countless lives. Bush bashing is all very well—and is justified—but the moment we begin to accept the siren call of the Democrat's drivel about standing up and fighting for freedom sought by billions, the battle for history is lost, and we ourselves are silenced.

So what should we do? That question often asked in meetings I have addressed, even meetings as informed as those in this conference, is itself interesting. It's my experience that people in the so-called third world rarely ask the question, because they know what to do. And some have paid with their freedom and their lives, but they knew what to do. It's a question that many on the democratic left—small "d"—have yet to answer.

Real information, subversive information, remains the most potent power of all—and I believe that we must not fall into the trap of believing that the media speaks for the public. That wasn't true in Stalinist Czechoslovakia and it isn't true of the United States.

In all the years I've been a journalist, I've never know public consciousness to have risen as fast as it's rising today. Yes, its direction and shape is unclear, partly because people are now deeply suspicious of political alternatives, and because the Democratic Party has succeeded in seducing and dividing the electoral left. And yet this growing critical public awareness is all the more remarkable when you consider the sheer scale of indoctrination, the mythology of a superior way of life, and the current manufactured state of fear.

Why did the New York Times come clean in that editorial last year? Not because it opposes Bush's wars—look at the coverage of Iran. That editorial was a rare acknowledgement that the public was beginning to see the concealed role of the media, and that people were beginning to read between the lines.

If Iran is attacked, the reaction and the upheaval cannot be predicted. The national security and homeland security presidential directive gives Bush power over all facets of government in an emergency. It is not unlikely the constitution will be suspended—the laws to round of hundreds of thousands of so-called terrorists and enemy combatants are already on the books. I believe that these dangers are understood by the public, who have come along way since 9-11, and a long way since the propaganda that linked Saddam Hussein to al-Qaeda. That's why they voted for the Democrats last November, only to be betrayed. But they need truth, and journalists ought to be agents of truth, not the courtiers of power.

I believe a fifth estate is possible, the product of a people's movement, that monitors, deconstructs, and counters the corporate media. In every university, in every media college, in every news room, teachers of journalism, journalists themselves need to ask themselves about the part they now play in the bloodshed in the name of a bogus objectivity. Such a movement within the media could herald a perestroika of a kind that we have never known. This is all possible. Silences can be broken. In Britain the National Union of Journalists has undergone a radical change, and has called for a boycott of Israel. The web site has single-handedly called the BBC to account. In the United States wonderfully free rebellious spirits populate the web—I can't mention them all here—from Tom Feeley's International Clearing House, to Mike Albert's ZNet, to Counterpunch online, and the splendid work of FAIR. The best reporting of Iraq appears on the web—Dahr Jamail's courageous journalism; and citizen reporters like Joe Wilding, who reported the siege of Fallujah from inside the city.

In Venezuela, Greg Wilpert's investigations turned back much of the virulent propaganda now aimed at Hugo Chávez. Make no mistake, it's the threat of freedom of speech for the majority in Venezuela that lies behind the campaign in the west on behalf of the corrupt RCTV. The challenge for the rest of us is to lift this subjugated knowledge from out of the underground and take it to ordinary people.

We need to make haste. Liberal Democracy is moving toward a form of corporate dictatorship. This is an historic shift, and the media must not be allowed to be its façade, but itself made into a popular, burning issue, and subjected to direct action. That great whistleblower Tom Paine warned that if the majority of the people were denied the truth and the ideas of truth, it was time to storm what he called the Bastille of words. That time is now.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

BERSIH ? - Malaysia

What BERSIH have to do with NDI (which under NED)?

National Democratic Institute For International Affairs (NDI),
Chairman: Madeleine K. Albright
Vice Chairman: Rachelle Horowitz
President: Kenneth D. Wollack
[Some critics say, this organization NDI is "specializes in setting up puppet governments."]


- Exposing the National Endowment for Democracy

Trojan Horse:
The National Endowment for Democracy
By William Blum

How many Americans could identify the National Endowment for Democracy? An organization which often does exactly the opposite of what its name implies. The NED was set up in the early 1980s under President Reagan in the wake of all the negative revelations about the CIA in the second half of the 1970s. The latter was a remarkable period. Spurred by Watergate—the Church committee of the Senate, the Pike committee of the House, and the Rockefeller Commission, created by the president, were all busy investigating the CIA. Seemingly every other day there was a new headline about the discovery of some awful thing, even criminal conduct, the CIA had been mixed up in for years. The Agency was getting an exceedingly bad name, and it was causing the powers-that-be much embarrassment.

Something had to be done. What was done was not to stop doing these awful things. Of course not. What was done was to shift many of these awful things to a new organization, with a nice sounding name—The National Endowment for Democracy. The idea was that the NED would do somewhat overtly what the CIA had been doing covertly for decades, and thus, hopefully, eliminate the stigma associated with CIA covert activities.

It was a masterpiece. Of politics, of public relations, and of cynicism.

Thus it was that in 1983, the National Endowment for Democracy was set up to "support democratic institutions throughout the world through private, nongovernmental efforts". Notice the "nongovernmental"—part of the image, part of the myth. In actuality, virtually every penny of its funding comes from the federal government, as is clearly indicated in the financial statement in each issue of its annual report. NED likes to refer to itself as an NGO (Non-governmental organization) because this helps to maintain a certain credibility abroad that an official US government agency might not have. But NGO is the wrong category. NDI is a GO.

"We should not have to do this kind of work covertly," said Carl Gershman in 1986, while he was president of the Endowment. "It would be terrible for democratic groups around the world to be seen as subsidized by the C.I.A. We saw that in the 60's, and that's why it has been discontinued. We have not had the capability of doing this, and that's why the endowment was created."

And Allen Weinstein, who helped draft the legislation establishing NED, declared in 1991: "A lot of what we do today was done covertly 25 years ago by the CIA."

In effect, the CIA has been laundering money through NED.

The Endowment has four principal initial recipients of funds: the International Republican Institute; the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs; an affiliate of the AFL-CIO (such as the American Center for International Labor Solidarity); and an affiliate of the Chamber of Commerce (such as the Center for International Private Enterprise). These institutions then disburse funds to other institutions in the US and all over the world, which then often disburse funds to yet other organizations.

In a multitude of ways, NED meddles in the internal affairs of numerous foreign countries by supplying funds, technical know-how, training, educational materials, computers, faxes, copiers, automobiles, and so on, to selected political groups, civic organizations, labor unions, dissident movements, student groups, book publishers, newspapers, other media, etc. NED typically refers to the media it supports as "independent" despite the fact that these media are on the US payroll.

NED programs generally impart the basic philosophy that working people and other citizens are best served under a system of free enterprise, class cooperation, collective bargaining, minimal government intervention in the economy, and opposition to socialism in any shape or form. A free-market economy is equated with democracy, reform, and growth; and the merits of foreign investment in their economy are emphasized.

From 1994 to 1996, NED awarded 15 grants, totaling more than $2,500,000, to the American Institute for Free Labor Development, an organization used by the CIA for decades to subvert progressive labor unions. AIFLD's work within Third World unions typically involved a considerable educational effort very similar to the basic NED philosophy described above. The description of one of the 1996 NED grants to AIFLD includes as one its objectives: "build union-management cooperation". Like many things that NED says, this sounds innocuous, if not positive, but these in fact are ideological code words meaning "keep the labor agitation down ... don't rock the status-quo boat". The relationship between NED and AIFLD very well captures the CIA origins of the Endowment.

NED has funded centrist and rightist labor organizations to help them oppose those unions which were too militantly pro-worker. This has taken place in France, Portugal and Spain amongst many other places. In France, during the 1983-4 period, NED supported a "trade union-like organization for professors and students" to counter "left-wing organizations of professors". To this end it funded a series of seminars and the publication of posters, books and pamphlets such as "Subversion and the Theology of Revolution" and "Neutralism or Liberty". ("Neutralism" here refers to being unaligned in the cold war.)

NED describes one of its 1997-98 programs thusly: "To identify barriers to private sector development at the local and federal levels in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and to push for legislative change ... [and] to develop strategies for private sector growth." Critics of Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic, a socialist, were supported by NED grants for years.

In short, NED's programs are in sync with the basic needs and objectives of the New World Order's economic globalization, just as the programs have for years been on the same wavelength as US foreign policy.
Interference in elections

NED's Statement of Principles and Objectives, adopted in 1984, asserts that "No Endowment funds may be used to finance the campaigns of candidates for public office." But the ways to circumvent the spirit of such a prohibition are not difficult to come up with; as with American elections, there's "hard money" and there's "soft money".

As described in the "Elections" and "Interventions" chapters, NED successfully manipulated elections in Nicaragua in 1990 and Mongolia in 1996; helped to overthrow democratically elected governments in Bulgaria in 1990 and Albania in 1991 and 1992; and worked to defeat the candidate for prime minister of Slovakia in 2002 who was out of favor in Washington. And from 1999 to 2004, NED heavily funded members of the opposition to President Hugo Chavez in Venezuela to subvert his rule and to support a referendum to unseat him.

Additionally, in the 1990s and afterward, NED supported a coalition of groups in Haiti known as the Democratic Convergence, who were united in their opposition to Jean-Bertrand Aristide and his progressive ideology, while he was in and out of the office of the president.

The Endowment has made its weight felt in the electoral-political process in numerous other countries.

NED would have the world believe that it's only teaching the ABCs of democracy and elections to people who don't know them, but in virtually all the countries named above, in whose electoral process NED intervened, there had already been free and fair elections held. The problem, from NED's point of view, is that the elections had been won by political parties not on NED's favorites list.

The Endowment maintains that it's engaged in "opposition building" and "encouraging pluralism". "We support people who otherwise do not have a voice in their political system," said Louisa Coan, a NED program officer. But NED hasn't provided aid to foster progressive or leftist opposition in Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua, or Eastern Europe—or, for that matter, in the United States—even though these groups are hard pressed for funds and to make themselves heard. Cuban dissident groups and media are heavily supported however.

NED's reports carry on endlessly about "democracy", but at best it's a modest measure of mechanical political democracy they have in mind, not economic democracy; nothing that aims to threaten the powers-that-be or the way-things-are, unless of course it's in a place like Cuba.

The Endowment played an important role in the Iran-Contra affair of the 1980s, funding key components of Oliver North's shadowy "Project Democracy" network, which privatized US foreign policy, waged war, ran arms and drugs, and engaged in other equally charming activities. At one point in 1987, a White House spokesman stated that those at NED "run Project Democracy". This was an exaggeration; it would have been more correct to say that NED was the public arm of Project Democracy, while North ran the covert end of things. In any event, the statement caused much less of a stir than if—as in an earlier period—it had been revealed that it was the CIA which was behind such an unscrupulous operation.

NED also mounted a multi-level campaign to fight the leftist insurgency in the Philippines in the mid-1980s, funding a host of private organizations, including unions and the media. This was a replica of a typical CIA operation of pre-NED days.

And between 1990 and 1992, the Endowment donated a quarter-million dollars of taxpayers' money to the Cuban-American National Foundation, the ultra-fanatic anti-Castro Miami group. The CANF, in turn, financed Luis Posada Carriles, one of the most prolific and pitiless terrorists of modern times, who had been involved in the blowing up of a Cuban airplane in 1976, which killed 73 people. In 1997, he was involved in a series of bomb explosions in Havana hotels, and in 2000 imprisoned in Panama when he was part of a group planning to assassinate Fidel Castro with explosives while the Cuban leader was speaking before a large crowd, although eventually, the group was tried on lesser charges.

The NED, like the CIA before it, calls what it does supporting democracy. The governments and movements whom the NED targets call it destabilization.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Syrian Revolt

The Syrian government had already killed an estimated 1,200 civilians in an indication to crackdown the protesters. A military operation took place in the town as part of a wider crackdown since March of protests calling for the end of President Bashar al-Assad's rule.

Activists have admitted that a small number of protesters, pushed to the extreme by over four months of a crackdown that has seen tanks and even helicopters bombard cities and towns, are fighting back.

"We can't know who killed the security because no one is allowed in to see," said Rami Abdul-Rahman, of the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which claimed at least 27 civilians and 13 security force personnel had been killed in Jisr al-Shughour over the weekend. "You can't control people who see their relatives killed or tortured and not expect a small minority not to fight back, but it is all regime-stoked," he said.

Human rights organisations say more than 1,200 civilians, including 77 children, have been killed since the protests broke out in mid-March, while the government claims more than 200 of its personnel have been shot dead.

This video is for awareness about the current situation in Syria. In 15th of March 2011, the Syrians started a peaceful revolution against the current regime (ruled by Bashar Al-Assad) to end oppression and poverty in Syria that has lasted for more than 40 years.

Friday, May 06, 2011

Julian Assange: 'Facebook, Google & Yahoo.. All CIA Spies for US

"Facebook in particular is the most appalling spying machine that has ever been invented. Here we have the world's most comprehensive database about people, their relationships, their names, their addresses, their locations and the communications with each other, their relatives, all sitting within the United States, all accessible to US intelligence. Facebook, Google, Yahoo - all these major US organizations have built-in interfaces for US intelligence. It's not a matter of serving a subpoena. They have an interface that they have developed for US intelligence to use," Assange noted in his interview with Russia Today.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Chaos Escalates in Ivory Coast Over Disputed Presidency

Laurent Gbagbo was arrested on Monday (11.04.11) afternoon after French forces in the former colony closed in on the bunker where he had been holed up for the past week. Gbagbo had been in power for more than 10 years, and had refused to step down after his rival Alassane Ouattara won a November presidential election according to UN-certified results.

The erstwhile beacon of prosperity and stability in West Africa has been held hostage for five months by incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo, who has refused to cede power after losing a November runoff presidential election. Instead, he has mobilized the state apparatus and a fanatical core of young militants against the citizens who voted for his challenger, Alassane Ouattara. Daily battles rage between a burgeoning pro-Ouattara insurgency in Abidjan known as the "invisible commandos," and the army, which backs Gbagbo. More then 500 deaths since mid-December, according to the U.N. mission there, known as ONUCI.

Muslim face growing attack in Ivory Coast

Muslim face growing attack in Ivory Coast by Marco Chown Oved

As dozens of mourners gathered at a mosque, the twisted wreckage of a burned car lay outside — another sign of the growing campaign of violence against Muslims who widely support Alassane Ouattara, the internationally recognized winner of November’s presidential election.

Ouattara, who is Muslim, is locked in a battle with the entrenched president Laurent Gbagbo for power, and their conflict is veering dangerously toward sectarian violence.

At least 10 mosques across Abidjan have been set ablaze, and another was abandoned after attackers threw a grenade through a window during prayers.

“Us Muslims, we’re not safe. We are the object of every kind of violence. We’re afraid. We don’t know how this is going to end,” said Imam Idriss Koudouss, president of the National Islamic Council. “And we aren’t even involved in politics.” Ouattara supporters also have been beaten to death with bricks, even doused with gasoline and burned alive. Cell phone videos of the horrors are traded on the street and broadcast on state television along with calls to arms.

“It’s the political manipulation of ethnicity,” said Corinne Dufka, a senior researcher with Human Rights Watch.

“The root of the conflict is competition for political power and the fault lines are drawn along religious, ethnic and national lines.”

November’s presidential election was supposed to reunite the country after a 2002-2003 civil war split it into a rebel-controlled north and a loyalist south. But when Gbagbo refused to recognize UN-certified results showing that he lost, Ivory Coast was plunged back into a cycle of violence.

The UN says up to 1 million people have fled the fighting and at least 462 people have been killed, though Ouattara’s camp puts the toll at 832. The vast majority of these deaths were Ouattara supporters who were abducted and killed by Gbagbo-allied security forces, human rights groups say.

“We’re afraid. Everyone’s leaving,” said Abdias Goita, a father of two who waited outside the Malian embassy for evacuation Friday. “My brother had his door broken down by pro-Gbagbo militias. He gave them all the money he had — about 200,000 francs ($430) — but they slit his throat anyway.” During the presidential campaign, little was made of the fact that Ouattara would be Ivory Coast’s first Muslim president, drawing much of his support from the north. In the aftermath though, pro-Gbagbo police and militias have been widely accused of targeting Muslims because they are perceived as being defacto Ouattara supporters.

Last week, riot police showed up at Imam Sissouma’s mosque, arresting him and his son and taking the offering box. A fellow imam immediately called the interior minister to plead for their release and thought everything would be fine when Sissouma’s wife called to say they were back at home, safe and sound.

But Sissouma’s wife called back a half hour later to say the riot police had executed him and five other people, including his elderly mother.

Interior Minister Emile Guirieoulou acknowledged receiving the call, but refused to confirm the arrests or the killings, because the investigation is ongoing.

“In Ivory Coast, there have never been religious problems, Christians and Muslims live side by side. This tragic incident is a pure result of the political crisis,” said Imam Moussa Drame, whose own mosque was attacked in December.

Some 38.6 percent of Ivorians are Muslim, and 32.8 percent are Christians, according to the CIA World Factbook. An inter-religious council, made up of Christian and Muslim leaders is one of the country’s most respected institutions.

But xenophobia has long been a problem in this country, which has attracted millions of immigrant laborers from neighboring Mali and Burkina Faso. They came to work on plantations, especially cocoa farms that produce the raw material that goes into much of the world’s chocolate.

Resolving who would even be allowed to vote in the presidential election took years.

Now armed youth who support Gbagbo are stopping and threatening people at makeshift roadblocks across Abidjan.

Those with northern or Muslim names are accused of being pro-Ouattara rebels, and are beaten or killed, activists say.

Human Rights Watch reported dozens of ethnically and religiously motivated killings earlier this month, often carried out by the police or by pro-Gbagbo youth with police consent. Ouattara supporters were beaten to death “with bricks, clubs, and sticks, or doused them with gas and burned them alive.” Cell phone videos of the incidents have been posted on YouTube and Facebook, often accompanied by dehumanizing and anti-Muslim comments.

Fueling the fire is a relentless campaign of what the UN has called “lies” and “propaganda” on Gbagbo-controlled state television. The Radio-Television Ivorienne (RTI) is referred to by some foreign journalists as TV Mille Collines, in reference to the radio station that encouraged the genocide in Rwanda in 1994.

In one report aired last week, the anchorman smiled as he described a dozen alleged rebels killed by pro-Gbagbo soldiers in central Abidjan as “culled like little birds.” Graphic images of their bloodied bodies were interspersed with images of soldiers giving each other high five and cheering crowds.

“The future Gbagbo proposes for his country is war, anarchy and violence, with ethnic, religious and xenophobic dimensions,” wrote Louise Arbour, president of the International Crisis Group, in an open letter this week.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Inside free Libya

Libya, an oil-rich nation in North Africa, has been under the firm, if sometimes erratic, control of Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi since he seized power in 1969. But in February 2011, the unrest sweeping through much of the Arab world erupted in several Libyan cities. Though it began with a relatively organized core of antigovernment opponents in Benghazi, its spread to the capital of Tripoli was swift and spontaneous.

Colonel Qaddafi lashed out with a level of violence unseen in either of the other uprisings, but an inchoate opposition cobbled together the semblance of a transitional government, fielded a makeshift rebel army and portrayed itself to the West and Libyans as an alternative to Colonel Qaddafi's four decades of freakish rule.

Momentum shifted quickly, however, and the rebels faced the possibilty of being outgunned and outnumbered in what increasingly looked like a mismatched civil war. As Colonel Qaddafi’s troops advanced to within 100 miles of Benghazi, the rebel stronghold in the west, the United Nations Security Council voted to authorize military action, a risky foreign intervention aimed at averting a bloody rout of the rebels by loyalist forces.

On March 19, American and European forces began a broad campaign of strikes against Colonel Qaddafi and his government, unleashing warplanes and missiles in a military intervention on a scale not seen in the Arab world since the Iraq war.

'Western agenda behind Libya attack'

The United States, Britain and France have launched air and sea attacks on forces loyal to Libyan ruler Muammar Gaddafi to enforce a no-fly zone. Press TV has discussed the issue with John Rees from the Stop the World Coalition in London.

Press TV: Regarding the no-fly zone, would you share your thoughts with us on the implementation of that UN Security Council resolution?

John Rees: I think it's immediately clear that what many people imagined to be the look of a no-fly zone has been completely contradicted by the very first hour of its implementation. I think most people kind of thought it would be a kind of neutral pacific umbrella, which would allow revolutionary forces to regain momentum inside Libya itself.

But what is absolutely clear now is that with 110 Tomahawk cruise missiles fired within a matter of hours and with air sorties being run over Libya the Western intervention will entirely transform the nature of this conflict.

It's not about helping the Libyan people it's about asserting the power of Western imperial nations in this part of the globe.

Press TV: Let's discuss the resolution itself a little more. There doesn't seem to be an end-game designated in this resolution; no time frame; and also the targets have not been defined as to which targets are to be attacked and which are not. Can you tell us more about the missing addendums in this resolution?

John Rees: It is increasingly clear that rather than being a specific and illuminative commitment it is indeed as you say an open-ended one. I believe it is a revival of an old UN resolution, which does rather give you the impression that something has been designed here, which is to give the freest possible hand to the military of the big powers and not to circumscribe their activity in any way whatsoever.

Press TV: You mention it's been designed in a way to give mostly the Western powers as much freedom as possible, but the question that pops into mind is - is it just going to end there, is what we are seeing with the foreign military intervention in a no fly zone going to be the end of it?

John Rees: The obvious risk is that it won't; that this will be the wedge. And we can imagine scenarios so easily I think where the war would descend from the air to the ground.

For instance, what would be the situation if Libyan air defenses bring down one of the major powers' aircraft? Or, if they capture a pilot and display that pilot perhaps after torture on the television screens - will we not then here very insistent voices in London and Paris and in Washington saying that special services need to be deployed or perhaps larger numbers of troops? What if Gaddafi continues to fight a conflict with the Libyan people, which he hasn't mainly done through air power by the way, it's been perhaps 90 percent to do with ground forces? What if he continues that struggle and the no fly zone doesn't halt his attack on the Libyan revolution? Will there not then be calls for further measures?

I think we've been here before; we've seen what happens before and I think the dangers are all too apparent now.

Press TV: Some very interesting points you've mentioned there. Apart from the reasons that might demand further intervention from foreign forces in Libya, what about the aftermath of the resolution? Do you think the US is going to be obliged or assume the role of a protagonist in the survival of the revolution?

John Rees: I think the US is certainly engaged obviously militarily. And if it is a lasting conflict it will be the US overwhelming military arch that is called upon to do the bulk of the fighting. Certainly the overstretched British forces deployed already in Afghanistan to be cut to 93,000 personnel if the current government carries through its defense review are not going to be conducting any type of long term commitment here.

So, if it lasts longer and if they are drawn into greater deployment it will be the US, which is at the heart of that. And they will alter the character of what's going on. They are not there to defend the revolution; they are there to halt or freeze revolutionary developments and to gain a hand in a fast moving series of revolutionary movements in the Arab world, which has left them utterly disconcerted, that's what this is about.

Press TV: Prior to the implementation and of the drafting of the resolution of the no fly zone - how come the US has been taking a back seat in all of this?

John Rees: I think for two reasons really. Anybody who's watched the international opinion poll will know that US international standing is at an all-time low after Iraq and Afghanistan and so it makes sense in PR terms that they're not seen to lead this. And anybody who has studied domestic opinion polls will know that the Afghan war is massively unpopular in the US; deployment in this conflict is also unpopular in the US and this president ran on his record of arguing for withdrawal - which still hasn't happened - form Iraq.

So there are both domestic and international reasons why the US would prefer to others rode in the forward seat on this particular expedition.

Press TV: Regarding the events that are going to be transpiring on the ground, is this no-fly zone going to be enough to shift the momentum of what's going on in favor of the revolutionaries?

John Rees: Military events in the middle of battle are notoriously hard to predict. I think it was Napoleon who said that no plan survives contact with the enemy. So I think we'll have a very different picture perhaps in two or three days' time than we have at the moment.

But I think we do have to be clear that this is not the purpose; it's not the motivation for the US to intervene to assist the revolutionary process. If that is what they were interested in, after all, they wouldn't be allowing the Saudis and the Qataris and others to try to crush the revolution in Bahrain.

If assisting revolutions was their aim that contradiction wouldn't exist. They have interests in Libya and they have a genuine interest I think in hoping they can draw a line in front of the further advance of the revolutionary movement throughout the Middle East. And that means intervening to at least freeze the revolutionary process in Libya and allowing the surviving dictators to attack the revolutionary forces in other countries without them even mentioning the question of intervention let alone actually acting on it.

Press TV: You mentioned a few Arab nations in your comments. What can you tell us about the Arab world's reaction and their willingness in participating in the implementation of the no-fly zone over Libya?

John Rees: I mentioned Qatar - there's a deep irony surely in the fact that Qatari troops are now currently being deployed alongside Saudi troops in crushing the Bahrain revolution and at the same time it is being said that they will supply aircraft to take part in the no-fly zone. The only way you can make sense of this is if you say that what is going on in Libya is an attempt to freeze the revolutionary process and to advance Western aims because that is congruent or complimentary to what they're doing in Bahrain. Otherwise you have a great deal of difficulty making any logical sense of the two cases here.

Press TV: What about Gaddafi's side? What kind of a contingency plan do you think he has? Up until the implementation of this no-fly zone it had always been just talk, but now it has actually materialized; we've seen French and US forces already attacking targets in Libya - what do you think Gaddafi has in mind for his next step?

John Rees: Well I think it's a big ask to invite me to comment on the state of mind of Colonel Gaddafi - I don't feel that I have the necessary qualifications to do that. However, what I think the effect will be on the Gaddafi camp is this: that the threat of foreign intervention will underline something that has been a constant part of Gaddafi's propaganda from the beginning and that is that the revolution is simply a tool or front for the Western powers. This intervention makes it seem as if that is true and therefore some people who may have been thinking of deserting or quitting the Gaddafi camp, some sections of the army, may feel more inclined to stay with the army.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Earthquake, tsunami & threat of multiple nuclear reactor meltdowns in Japan

Last Friday, Japan was shaken by a strong 9.0-magnitude earthquake and it was one of the worst on record for that country and one of the worst recorded in the past 100 years.

The earthquake in Japan was followed by a tsunami with waves as high as 10 meter. The effect was devastated buildings, missing trains and a cruise ship, cracks on the roads and widespread flooding throughout the island. Residents are now without power, food and water.

The estimated death toll from Japan's disasters climbed past 10,000 Sunday as authorities raced to combat the threat of multiple nuclear reactor meltdowns and hundreds of thousands of people struggled to find food and water. The prime minister said it was the nation's worst crisis since World War II.

Nuclear plant operators worked frantically to try to keep temperatures down in several reactors crippled by the earthquake and tsunami, wrecking at least two by dumping sea water into them in last-ditch efforts to avoid meltdowns.

Japan was warned two years ago that its safety rules were not up to date and a strong earthquake would pose a serious problem to its nuclear power stations, reveals a cable leaked by WikiLeaks. The country is now facing the prospect of a nuclear meltdown following a massive earthquake and tsunami.

The Telegraph reported that an International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) official had pointed out in December 2008 that safety rules were out of date and strong earthquakes would pose a 'serious problem' for nuclear stations.

The Japanese government had then vowed that it would upgrade safety at all its nuclear plants and it built an emergency response centre at the now stricken Fukushima plant that was designed to withstand magnitude 7 temblor. The earthquake that rocked Japan Friday measured 9 on the Richter scale.

A US embassy cable cited by The Daily Telegraph said: 'He (an IAEA official) explained that safety guides for seismic safety have only been revised three times in the last 35 years and that the IAEA is now re-examining them. Also, the presenter noted recent earthquakes in some cases have exceeded the design basis for some nuclear plants, and that this is a serious problem that is now driving seismic safety work.'

The media report said safety warnings about nuclear power plants in Japan, which is one of the most seismologically active countries in the world, were raised during the 2008 meeting of the G8's Nuclear Safety and Security Group in Tokyo.

The cables show how Tokyo opposed a court order to shut down another nuclear power plant in western Japan due to concerns about whether it could withstand powerful earthquakes. The court ruling said there was a possibility people might get exposed to radiation if there was an accident at the plant that built to withstand a 6.5 magnitude earthquake.

A March 2006 cable said that the court's concerns were not shared by the country's nuclear safety agency. It said: 'Japan's Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency believes the reactor is safe and that all safety analyses were appropriately conducted.' The government overturned the ruling in 2009.

There have been explosions at three of the reactors in the Fukushima plant while a fire broke out at a fourth reactor. Prime Minister Naoto Kan appealed for calm as he asked people living in the radius of up to 20 km to leave.

Japan's chief cabinet secretary Yukio Edano said radioactivity around the damaged nuclear reactors, located 250 km north of Tokyo, had reached dangerous levels. 'We are talking now about radiation levels that can endanger human health,' he said.

The prospect of a nuclear meltdown at the Fukushima plant triggered panic, with many Tokyo residents deciding to leave the city.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Libya revolt

More then 200 people already been killed in a bloody crackdown on demonstrations and some activist have mention the figure was high as 300 people dead and thousands more injured across the country.

Pro-Gaddafi forces fired machine guns at mourners marching in a funeral for demonstrators killed in earlier clashes, with one Benghazi hospital reporting at least 15 further fatalities. Some of this was non-Libyan mercenaries which dictator Gaddafi uses to attack Benghazi, where an uprising against his rule is under way. Demonstrators have been attacked by sniper fire, automatic weapons and even heavy artillery.

The crackdown in Libya is shaping up to be the most brutal repression of the anti-government protests that began with uprisings that toppled the regimes in Tunisia and Egypt.

Libya’s autocratic ruler faces the public rage after having been in power for 41 years. He was the one who had brought ‘revolution’ in Libya by overthrowing the monarchy. During his youth days, Col Muammar Qaddafi was fond of being called as a revolutionary leader. But it is perturbing to think what he has given to his people over the past four decades.

Libya is a country which possesses huge oil and gas resources and one of the top 12 richest oil producing countries but unfortunately Gaddafi seem have make it as a private property for his own family and clan, as this moment, its was report that the rate of unemployment in Libya is about 30%.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Corruption in Egypt

Many Egyptians feel the only ones benefitting from the country's wealth are businessmen with ties to the ruling National Democratic Party. How did Egypt become so corrupt? And what can a new government really do about it?

Corruption rules in Egypt "Corruption Government" 

The main problem of corruption is not only related to the successive arrests of its figures who belong to or may be close to the ruling regime, such a series is no longer interesting as it has been repeated several times. Corruption has actually become a social law and a hidden behavior that would rule the different aspects of the Egyptian life.

The political corruption is the basis of the political crime that continued for two decades and half – the period of the current regime – to violate freedoms, practice torture, construct detention camps and destroy institutions, emphasizing a state of emergency for 25 years. The economic corruption was, also, the cause of wasting several development opportunities in Egypt during the 25 years. Corruption became a ruling social law that corrupted tastes, ambitions and the spiritual value of justice, equality and equal opportunities among the Egyptian citizens. It also spoiled the society right criteria. We kept on watching this gloomy series everyday, the fall of senior and junior figures in all fields and in the different media and governmental institutions in this Mubarak's (certainly unblessed) era. It was natural in this era that Egypt would lose much of its media leadership when its economic drive was obstructed; favoritism spread with a negative influence on the economic and social development.

The development rate dropped 2% currently against 4.6% two years ago. Depression dominated the Egyptian markets while citizen's purchase ability decreased. The interest rate problem led to the retreat of the Egyptian pound against the dollar. Competition increased between local products and those imported ones in addition to the few foreign investments in the country. The UNCTAD report on the international investment reported that the foreign investment decreased in Egypt from $600 millions to only $200 millions. Egypt was one of the most developing countries that was able to attract investment in the 1980s.

There is also a rising rate of unemployment and poverty. Official statistics said that the number of the unemployed in Egypt rose from 112.535 in 1950 to 5 millions in early 2004, meaning that the number of the unemployed increased at a rate of 4000% in the last 54 years, in case of these statistics are authentic. If the successive governments were serious in confronting unemployment, the unemployed rate would not have risen from 1.2% in 1950 to reach 3.4% in 1970, 7.10% in 1986, 11.1% in 1990 and 13% early this year. The current unemployment rate in Egypt meant that it exceeded limits, as economic studies agreed that the safe rate of the unemployment in any society should range at 4.3%only.

Concerning poverty, The World Bank report in 2003 indicated that 52% of the Egyptians were living with less than two dollars daily and that about 23% were living under poverty line. It was not either serious or joking; it has to do with the corruption that characterized the successive governments during Mubarak's era.

Every day, we hear of a new corruption crime or the arrest of a big corruption figure. Killing a citizen in the police station or drowning hundreds in the sea is not the first while suppressing the elites in central Cairo is not the last as well. Such series of corruption cases only confirm that a desire to reform such a worn out regime represents only a camouflage and a justification to keep the current regime as it is, maintaining absolute tyranny and corruption! Corruption is the opposite of reform; it is the tyranny of those people having power.

The most important of its modern features is corrupt state, cheating, bribery, fraud in dealings. Moroccans interpret corruption as bribery, which Ibn Al Atheir identified it as "reaching the target through compliment". No body will be able to construct the modern developed state except through providing a regime that guarantees necessary punishment to curb corruption and corrupt people.

Kefaya, through this file, tolls the bell of power and favoritism. It warns that life in Egypt is closely linked to the ability to cope with the ruling corruption in the different fields. One of the foreign observers said in one word; "living in Egypt is living under corruption". Amid the repeated corruption cases in the country, Ahmad Ragab suggested a new term "corruptionistan". He says: "such a government is the only one that does not respond to reports of the Auditing Organization.

Corruption in Egypt, dark cloud that does not vanish

Monday, February 07, 2011

Yemen revolt

SANAA (AFP) -- Tens of thousands of Yemenis staged a "day of rage" on Thursday calling for the ouster of President Ali Abdullah Saleh, as a similar number of government loyalists held a counter protest in the capital.

"We are here to bring down a corrupt and tyrannical regime," Najib Ghanem, a lawmaker from the Islamist Al-Islah party that belongs to the Common Forum alliance of opposition parties, told anti-Saleh protesters at Sanaa University.

"The revolt for justice began in Tunisia. It continues today in Egypt, and Yemen tomorrow will be free from injustice," he said of the Tunisian president's fall and protests in Egypt seeking the departure of its president.

Addressing the massive crowd, Common Forum speakers all repeated the same message: the peaceful struggle will continue until the fall of an unjust regime.

The demonstration, the biggest since protests against Saleh's rule first erupted in mid-January, came despite the president saying on Wednesday that he would not seek another term and that he had postponed controversial April elections, two key opposition demands.

"We are gathered here demanding that President Saleh and the corrupt government resign," said a member of parliament from the opposition parties, Abdulmalik al-Qasuss as news AFPpada Thursday (27/01/2011). They see the problems of poverty, unemployment, and corruption, collusion, and nepotism became increasingly. Yemen is the poorest country in the Arab world.

Saudi royal family corruption

Saudi King Abdullah said, he support Egyptian president Mubarak and called the protesters troublemakers for calling for freedom of expression: Saudi King Abdullah has expressed his support for embattled President Hosni Mubarak and slammed those "tampering" with Egypt's security and stability, state news agency SPA reported on Saturday.

The Saudi ruler, in Morocco recovering from back surgery performed in the United States, telephoned Mubarak early Saturday, the report said.

During the conversation, Abdullah condemned "intruders" he said were "tampering with Egypt's security and stability ... in the name of freedom of expression."

- This statement from Saudi ruler is seem came from the fear that Saudi might be next to face the revolt movement which now have shake the Arab world. Flush with petrodollars, the world’s top oil exporter can splash out to alleviate any social tensions due to unemployment, as around 10 percent of the Saudi work force is jobless.

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Egypt revolt

"Down, Down with Mubarak," thousands chanted in downtown Cairo Tuesday. The protests was against corruption, unemployment and the regime of the 82-year-old Western-backed President Hosni Mubarak who has ruled the country since 1981 with an iron fist.

Protests broke out at different locations in Cairo, confusing the police further. A nearby demonstration in downtown Cairo targeted the high court while another took place in the affluent district Mohandseen. A third came in the industrial neighbourhood Shobra.

Later in the day the police, clearly surprised by the growing numbers of people, started firing tear gas and using water canons. Riot police blocked all entries to downtown Cairo with armored vehicles. Cars were stopped at check-points, and some passengers were forced out of their cars by the police. But the number of protests keep grow to hundred-hundred of thousand people and seem now, the whole country want Mubarak to step-down.

As Hosni Mubarak and his family keep making billion-billion of money since 30 year`s he hold the power as Egypt President, people of Egypt keep suffering from poverty and high unemployment, as well as alleged torture and corruption by Mubarak's regime.

Hosni Mubarak's and his family's net worth is estimated to be between US dollars 40 and 70 billion, a media report said. The wealth of the Egypt's first family was built largely from military contracts during his days as an air force officer; Mubarak eventually diversified his investments through his family when he became President in 1981, the 'ABC News' quoted experts as saying.

Amaney Jamal, a political science professor at Princeton, said those estimates are comparable with the vast wealth of leaders in other Gulf countries. "The business ventures from his military and government service accumulated to his personal wealth. There was a lot of corruption in this regime and stifling of public resources for personal gain," Jamal was quoted as saying. Jamal said that Mubarak's assets are most likely in banks outside of Egypt, possibly in the UK and Switzerland.

Mubarak, his wife and two sons were able to also accumulate wealth through a number of business partnerships with foreigners, according to Christopher Davidson, professor of Middle East Politics at Durham University in the UK.

The Mubarak family owns properties in London, Paris, Madrid, Dubai, Washington, New York and Frankfurt, according to a report from IHS Global Insight. Aladdin Elaasar, author of 'The Last Pharaoh: Mubarak and the Uncertain Future of Egypt in the Obama Age', said the Mubaraks own several residences in Egypt, some inherited from previous presidents and the monarchy, and others he has built.

Democratic revolution in Tunisia

Part - 2
Part - 3

Topics talked over in this edition of Press TV's Comment are as follows:

-Arab nations have risen at last against their tyrannical, brutal and corrupt regimes towards democracy. Ben Ali is out, and the other dictators will follow them soon. Friday, January 28 will see the uprising that will sweep Mubarak from power.

-Lebanese people and politicians defeated the US-Israeli plot to create internal strife but they failed.

-Phone tapping in the UK: It seems that Galloway's phones were tapped by journalists working for Rupert Murdoch. Murdoch claims that he did not know about that and is handing over documents of his journalists' phone tapping to a court in London and Galloway too will be at court.

PressTVGlobalNews: Comment by George Galloway

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

The Secret Iraq Files

It is the biggest leak of military secrets ever. Al Jazeera has obtained access to almost 400,000 classified American documents. Torture, claims of murder at the checkpoint - revelations that make a mockery of the rules of combat. This special programme reveals the truth about the war in Iraq.

The Iraq War documents leak is the unsanctioned disclosure of a collection of 391,832 United States Army field reports, also called the Iraq War Logs, of the Iraq War from 2004 to 2009 to several international media organizations and published on the Internet by WikiLeaks on 22 October 2010.

The files record 66,081 civilian deaths out of 109,000 recorded deaths. The leak resulted in the Iraq Body Count project adding 15,000 civilian deaths to their count, bringing their total to over 150,000, with roughly 80% of those civilians. It is the biggest leak in the military history of the United States, surpassing the Afghan War documents leak of 25 July 2010.

The sheer magnitude of data contained in the secret files reveals a graphic narrative of the war that goes far beyond any information about the conflict ever released into the public domain.

Using thousands of classified US military reports, Al Jazeera is now able to tell the inside story of a war which left thousands dead and a country fractured along sectarian lines.

Working with the Bureau of Investigative Journalism in London for the past 10 weeks, Al Jazeera has analysed tens of thousands of documents, finding facts the US has kept hidden from public scrutiny.

What has been uncovered often contradicts the official narrative of the conflict. For example, the leaked data shows that the US has been keeping records of Iraqi deaths and injuries throughout the war, despite public statements to the contrary.

The latest cache of files pertains to a period of six years – from January 1, 2004, to December 31, 2009 – and shows that 109,000 people died during this time. Of those, a staggering 66,081 – two-thirds of the total – were civilians.

The figures are much higher than previously estimated and they will inevitably lead to an upward revision of the overall death toll of the conflict.

As a result of the information contained in the war logs, the Iraq Body Count (IBC) – an organisation that kept records of the number of people killed – is about to raise its death toll estimates by 15,000: to 122,000 from 107,000.

The new material throws light on the day-to-day horrors of the war. The military calls them SIGACTs – significant action reports – ground-level summaries of the events that punctuated the conflict: raids, searches, roadside bombings, arrests, and more. All of them are classified “secret”.

The reports reveal how torture was rampant and how ordinary civilians bore the brunt of the conflict.

The files record horrifying tales: of pregnant women being shot dead at checkpoints, of priests kidnapped and murdered, of Iraqi prison guards using electric drills to force their prisoners to confess.

Equally disturbing is the response of the military to the civilian deaths caused by its troops. Excessive use of force was routinely not investigated and the guilty were rarely brought to book.

We understand that lives could be put at risk with the publication of such sensitive data, so you'll notice we've redacted almost all the names that appear in these cables – the exception being very well-known figures, people like Iraqi prime minister Nouri al-Maliki. Our media partners have done the same.

But working alongside the New York Times, The Guardian, Der Spiegel, and the UK's Channel 4 TV, Al Jazeera is clear that releasing the Iraq files – despite their secret nature – is vital to the public interest.

- Al Jazeere-english