Showing posts from October, 2009

Uri Avnery: A critical view of Israeli policy

Avnery is an Israeli who is always very critical of Israeli Palestinian policy. He takes a very jaundiced view of attempts to blame the Goldstone report for many of their troubles. As Avnery points out the Israelis have given nothing to Abbas in return for his more moderate approach to Israel than that of Hamas. So counterproductive is the policy that Avenery actually seems to think Israel would be happier if they had only Hamas to deal with since no one would press them to make peace with Hamas as Obama is pressing them to make peace through Abbas.

The Slippery Slope

By Uri Avnery

October 29, 2009 "Outlook India" -- IT IS, of course, all the fault of Judge Richard Goldstone. He is to blame for it, as he is to blame for all the other ills that are befalling us now.

He is to blame for the trouble we are having at the UN, both in New York and in Geneva. For the conspiracy to bring our political and military leaders to trial in The Hague. For the ongoing crisis between us and Turke…

Iraq oil pipeline to Turkey sabotaged...

This shows that insurgents are still active and able to cause economic damage although it seems that the flow will be stopped only for a few days. There is still no oil law in Iraq as a whole but Kurdistan has its own oil law and has signed a number of agreements that are not recognised by the federal government.

Iraq oil pipeline to Turkey sabotaged-engineer
Wed Oct 28, 2009 8:08am EDT

KIRKUK, Iraq, Oct 28 (Reuters) - The Kirkuk pipeline that takes crude from northern Iraq to the Turkish port of Ceyhan was damaged on Monday morning by an explosion caused by "sabotage action," an engineer with Iraq's North Oil Company said.

Iraq is trying to rebuild its oil infrastructure after years of war, sanctions and strife, and is working on deals with oil majors that would substantially boost output in a nation with the world's third largest crude reserves.

The engineer, who asked not to be identified, said the blast happened near Mosul, a volatile city still suffering frequent att…

The U.S. trains Georgian troops to serve in Afghanistan

This certainly does not get front page coverage in US news media! This is typical of the US trying to spread the pain of Afghanistan around. No doubt the Georgian troops are funded by the US government rather than the Georgian govt. The US also provides the Georgian army with arms and other equipment. Georgia was also a member of the coalition of the billing in Iraq but its 2000 troops had to be rushed back to Georgia during the conflict with Russia. The US is trying to have Georgia become part of NATO. This type of action on Russia's doorstep is bound to create friction with Russia.

This is from thenews.

US military trains Georgian troops for Afghanistan mission

Tuesday, October 27, 2009
TBILISI: Georgian forces on Monday launched a joint training exercise with the US military ahead of the deployment of hundreds of Georgian troops next spring in Afghanistan, the defence ministry said. US military cooperation with pro-Western Georgia has strained ties between the United States and Ru…

Pfaff: Arrogant US Misses the Message from Pakistan's People.

It is not really a question of being arrogant it is that the US is quite used to bribing people in order to achieve their aims. The Pakistani armed forces are dependent for weapons and even for funding on the US government. That being the case the US government feels it should be able to call the tune. Of course a lot of this aid feed corrupt officials in the military but if anything there is even more corruption in the civilian govt. However, there is less US complaint about that since Zardari does what he is told by Washington for the most part. Pfaff is correct of course that this type of action feeds anti-Americanism and will cause strong opposition to the Zardari govt. Pfaff might have noted that the US is also increasing drone attacks often with collateral damage that will help militants recruit more suicide bombers. This is from

Arrogant US Misses the Message From Pakistan’s People

by William Pfaff, October 28, 2009

There has always been in American foreign policy ci…

US sending envoys to try to end crisis in Honduras

There seem to be splits within the government on Honduras but even those opposed to the coup have been rather half-hearted about cracking down on the regime. They have cut off some aid and cancelled some visas but refrained from further pressure. Indeed, they have yet to declare the coup a military coup. The sending of envoys may be another fruitless efforst as Micheletti has spurned every effort at negotiations from the very beginning and in effect insulted the OAS and thumbed its nose at the US. Unless the pressure within Honduras for Micheletti to compromise is stronger than it has been so far nothing much will happen. This has been surprising to me all along since if Zelaya did come back it would be with reduced powers and for only a short period and there would be an amnesty for coup leaders. In a short time things would be back to normal with the elite in firm control.

U.S. Sending Envoys to Try to End Crisis in Honduras
Published: October 26, 2009

If smoking tobacco is so bad then outlaw it!

This creeping criminalisation of smoking is indefensible. If smoking is as bad as it is claimed for people why not just outlaw it entirely? The reason is clear. The same politicians who climb on the moralistic bandwagon to limit smoking want to collect high taxes from smokers at one and the same time. The point is that sin is profitable both for the tobacco companies and also helps fill government coffers which are very much depleted these days.

All Smoking on patios may be banned
New anti-tobacco bill expected later this fall
By James Wood, The StarPhoenixOctober 27, 2009 8:47 AM
The provincial government is contemplating a smoking ban on restaurant and bar patios and in vehicles carrying minors.

New anti-tobacco legislation, expected to be introduced later this fall, would also set new limits on how close people smoking can be to public buildings and curtail tobacco sales in pharmacies.

The Saskatchewan Party government promised new anti-tobacco measures in the throne speech that started …

AFRICOM and U.S. Global Military Agenda

This article gives a detailed account of the U.S. agenda in Africa and how it is involved in so many countries there. The program is so large that it is not surprising that a separate AFRICOM command has been set up to co-ordinate activities. All of this helps protect US investment and to project its power throughout Africa where the US is in competition with other countries such as China. This military empire is hugely expensive and a drain on scarce US resources when the US debt is going through the roof. Terrorism may very well win the war on terror simply by bankrupting the US or at the very least ensuring that the US pays for its war on terror by having a lower standard of living at home.

AFRICOM and America's Global Military Agenda: Taking The Helm Of The Entire World
By Rick Rozoff
Global Research, October 27, 2009
Stop NATO - 2009-10-22
“The developments come as the White House seeks grounds to establish a major military presence in Africa….[A]nalysts caution that similar pret…

Obama has the choice to be a failed war president or successful peacemaker.

Turse goes on at length about present day US operations in the Philippines. However, the US is not directly fighting or at least is not supposed to be. They are supposed to be doing aid work and training the Philippine Armed forces. However Turse's flashback to operations a hundred years ago that were also aimed at Philippine separatists the Moros is quite interesting although at present there is a rather shaky truce with them. The Vietnam war was of course a disaster for the US but the conquest of Iraq was supposed to have overcome the Vietnam syndrome that supposedly made the US cautious in invading other countries. However, early optimism was followed by a long gruelling war which is still not over although the US is supposed to have most combat troops out soon and the Iraqis see the withdrawal plan as a victory for them rather than the U.S. Turse does not really go into how Obama is supposed to be a peacemaker in Afghanistan or elsewhere just that warmaking leads to failure. P…

Zelaya conditions talks to his reinstatement.

These negotiations have been a farce from the beginning. From the very start the premise was that the negotiations would set conditions for Zelaya's return to the presidency. Also from the start Micheletti and the coup govt. has made it clear that on no conditions would they agree to Zelaya's return. The negotiations were a complete waste of time. However, the negotiations did waste so much time that the presidential elections will soon take place in November. The coup government is banking on many in the international community simply giving up on Zelaya and recognising the results of the election. Micheletti et al may very well be correct and there are some signs that the elections may be recognised by the U.S.
This is from Presstv.

Zelaya conditions talks to his reinstatement

Ousted Honduran president Manuel Zelaya will return to talks only if his rivals agree to reinstate him first, his advisers say. The Organization of American States (OAS) on Wednesday called for a push to …

Honduran coup government stalling until election..

This is from Reuters.
This article strikes me as correct although it is possible that some negotiated solution might still happen as'the Honduran economy is suffering from the continuing isolation of the coup government. Nevertheless no further economic punishment has been meted out by the US and there is also a concerted PR campaign that has enlisted support for the coup govt. in the US. There are signs as well that the US might very well recognise the results of the presidential elections even though they are being undertaken under a govt. that the international community does not recognise! From the very start it seems that the coup govt. took a certain line namely that there was no coup or no illegality and it has ignored the OAS and never bargained in good faith but is simply stalling with the thought that this will all blow over after the election. They may be correct. This shows that Obama is not really an agent of change but that he fears change particularly change tha…

Honduras negotiations. Now going round in circles.

On Friday Micheletti presented for consideration a proposal which had already been rejected several times. Micheletti seems to treat the whole issue of negotiations as joke. Yesterday he presented a proposal which ina the first instance would require recognising that there was really no coup that everything done by the de facto govt. was on the up and up! Micheletti has never accepted the basic presuppositions of any negotiations and that is that Zelaya return to the presidency. From this site.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Going Around in Circles
The de facto government of Roberto Micheletti Bain, yet again today, proposed the already rejected idea that if Zelaya steps down, Micheletti will step down, and some third party could take over. Its been suggested, and rejected, multiple times in the negotiations, and even in the months leading up to the negotiations. Vilma Morales, negotiator for Micheletti, made this suggestion during a press conference this morning after Zelaya declared the dia…

Philippines: Govt. stealthily implements Agricultural agreement.

This is typical government behavior. Doing things behind the scenes that have important implications for constituents in this case farmers while not keeping them informed or able to have time to fight back. This agreement cannot be enforced according to the constitution unless approved by the senate. Not only will this move hurt farmers but it will cut down on govt. revenues as well just at a time when the govt. needs money to deal with the costs of the recent calamites from typhoons.

Senate to grill Favila on sneaky trade accord
By Angie M. Rosales
The Senate will summon Trade and Industry Secretary Peter Favila next week to seek his explanation over what senators saw as a stealthy implementation of an international agreement that will allow imported farm products into the country tax-free to the detriment of local agricultural products.
Sen. Loren Legarda, chairman of the Senate committee on agriculture, pointed out that the Asean Trade in Goods Agreement (Atiga), which was s…