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Showing posts from July, 2009

U.S. not happy Iraq terrorist camp being closed!

It is rather ironic that the U.S. comes to the defence of an organisation that is on the State Dept. list of terrorist groups! However, these are anti-Iranian terrorists and as such quite useful as providing information to the U.S. and also no doubt engaging in covert activities within Iran to help destabilise the existing government. The ideological orientation as Marxists or even their former terrorist activities do not seem to bother the U.S. any more than the jihadist ideology of those who fought against the Evil Empire (USSR) in Afghanistan bothered the U.S.








News From Antiwar.com - http://news.antiwar.com/2009/07/29/us-not-happy-as-iraq-announces-plans-to-close-mek-camp/ -

US ‘Not Happy’ as Iraq Announces Plans to Close MEK Camp

Posted By Jason Ditz On July 29, 2009

US officials are reportedly “not happy” with the situation unfolding in the MEK’s Camp Ashraf, following yesterday’s deadly raids by Iraqi forces. Today, the Iraqi government says that it plans to close the camp down enti…

U.S. warned Pakistan on Helmand Spillover into Balochistan

The U.S. seems not to care what happens in Pakistan as long as it creates more violence that may force Pakistan to further internal conflict. The spillover creates even more tension in an already tense area that contains many who wish to separate from Pakistan. The U.S. simply ignores Pakistani complaints and follows whatever policies the U.S. thinks are in its own interest.

- News From Antiwar.com - http://news.antiwar.com/2009/07/29/us-warned-pakistan-on-helmand-spillover/print/ -

US Warned Pakistan on Helmand Spillover

Posted By Jason Ditz On July 29, 2009 @ 6:59 pm
US envoy Richard Holbrooke says that since the US launched its massive offensive in the Helmand River Valley, US officials including top commander in Afghnaistan General Stanley McChrystal have “fairly regularly” consulted with Pakistani officials about what is going on.

The hope is that the coordination will prevent the clash, near the Pakistani border, from spilling into the Balochistan Province, in which Pakistan is alrea…

Gates: If Iraqis stop feuding withdrawal may be quicker.

Actually there seems little sign of any rapid removal of troops from Iraq. There is not a peep about the referendum on the SOFA agreement that is supposed to be voted on in August. If the referendum does not pass then it will be interesting to see what happens. The demand might very well be for the troops to be withdrawn immediately. Biden claimed that troops might be withdrawn if sectarian violence increased. Hmm...so troops will be withdrawn if there is more violence or if there is less violence as Gates promises. One can be sure given the size of the huge Baghdad embassy that a U.S. military presence in some form will be ongoing no matter what the recent rhetoric may be. The U.S. has made sure that Iraq has no functioning air force so the U.S. can probably control the skies for some time to come.


News From Antiwar.com - http://news.antiwar.com/2009/07/29/gates-us-may-speed-pullout-if-iraq-leaders-curb-feuds/print/ -

Gates: US May Speed Pullout if Iraq Leaders Curb Feuds

Posted By Jas…

Blackwater renamed Xe Worldwide spreads fear in Peshawar Pakistan

From Monsters and Critics.com
This is the sort of thing that the media tend to ignore. Blackwater had such a bad reputation that it decided to rebrand itself! However, it would seem that its character has not changed nor probably its cosy relationship with the U.S. government.
This article points out that the company is probably involved in covert operations as well as providing security for another private contractor. Some of the employees were killed and could have been targetted in the recent Pearl hotel bombing. Nice that their employees can be put up in five star hotels!


US Blackwater-Xe mercenaries spreads fear in Pakistani town (Feature)
By Nadeem Sarwar and Aqeel Yousafzai
Jul 27, 2009, 6:22 GMT



Peshawar - Fear is spreading across University Town, an upmarket residential area in Pakistan's north-western city of Peshawar, due to the overt presence of the controversial US private security contractor Blackwater.

Sporting the customary dark glasses and carrying assault rifl…

Malalai Joya: The Big Lie of Afghanistan

Joya has been an outspoken female critic of the Karzai government and the occupation. She was kicked out of parliament for pointing out the obvious fact that some of the parliamentarians were war lords and human rights abusers! She often wears a burqa to avoid being the an assasination target!
As Joya points out the Karzai government is filled with fundamentalist Islamists (and so-called reform Taliban) as well as former warlords. What they all have in common is that they support the NATO US led occupation. However, even Karzai has begun to make noises against the occupiers, especially the missions that kill many civilians. He needs to do this to retain any credibility among the population.


The Big Lie of Afghanistan
By Malalai Joya

July 26, 2009 "The Guardian" -- July 25, 2009 -- In 2005, I was the youngest person elected to the new Afghan parliament. Women like me, running for office, were held up as an example of how the war in Afghanistan had liberated women. But this de…

Robert Reich on the Recovery

Given that consumers are in no position to resume the breakneck spending pace that fuelled the long economic growth in the earlier bull market the present profit growth in some companies is simply a result of cost savings. Perhaps the stimulus package has helped as well. But as Reich points out unemployment is still rising and those without jobs are not big spenders. Those with jobs are often up to their ears in debt and their first priority will be to pay that off. There is no sign of conditions that would lead to a big increase in spending. Any recover will probably be slow and painful...


http://www.salon.com/opinion/feature/2009/07/24/wall_street_rally/print.html

The Wall Street rally: Watch your wallets
The profits aren't real. Keep your eye on the real economy, where unemployment and underemployment keep rising

By Robert Reich
Jul. 24, 2009

"Been Down So Long It Seems Like Up To Me," the precocious 1966 novel by the late Richard Farina, defined the late 1960s countercultu…

Kygryz Election Fraud

As this article clearly shows when U.S. interests might be threatened by contesting the legitimacy of an election the free press in the west observes almost total silence or a the most the news will be hidden on the back pages of newspapers. As this article notes it is rather ironic that the Kyrgyz incumbent received a whopping 85 per cent of the vote far more than Ahmadinejad and monitors claimed there were many irregularities but this elicits no complaints! As with the treatment of women in Saudi Arabia criticism is restrained because U.S. interests might suffer as a result of criticism. In the case of Kyrgistan the squeaky wheel not only got the increase in larger lease payments for a U.S. base but also was allowed to steal an election it would seem.

Kyrgyz Election Fraud Widespread Say Monitors
July 24, 2009, Matthew Good
At what point does one jump on the bandwagon with regards to rigged elections? Everything on the web went green after the fraudulent Iranian election in June, with…

Majority in U.S. oppose both Iraq and Afghan wars

Popular majorities for or against something do not necessarily translate into policies that conform to majority opinion. There is bi-partisan support for the Afghan war so in the two party system the war can go on without either party feeling that it will be defeated because of popular opposition. There are many who profit from the war as well and the armed forces serves as a means of providing jobs for those who otherwise might swell the ranks of the unemployed.
There will be cutbacks in health care and other social services and state governments will be reduced to asking workers for unpaid work days and paying debts with IOUs but military expenditures will increase and indeed the numbers in the armed forces will probably increase as well. This is from antiwar.com.

Poll: Majority in US Oppose Both Wars
Posted By Jason Ditz A new AP-GfK poll released today shows a majority of Americans opposed to the wars in both Afghanistan and Iraq. The numbers also reveal growing concern that the p…

Zelaya attempts again to return to Honduras.

It is rather strange that Zelaya would actually announce where he will cross the border. It seems very unlikely that the military will stand down as Zelaya suggests. More likely he will be arrested if he gets in at all and there may be violent confrontations with supporters.
The article speaks of the OAS taking over negotiations, however the Honduran coup govt. has left the organisation. What is there to negotiate anyway since the coup govt. refuses to countenance the return of Zelaya and that is the key demand of the OAS! It makes no sense except as a stalling mechanism supported by the U.S. to avoid having to do something about the coup. Obama is loathe to actually move strongly against the coup leaders because he will be seen to side with Chavez, Cuba, etc. This is from the BBC.

Honduras leader starts return bid
Ousted President Manuel Zelaya is on his way to the Honduran border in a second attempt to return home after nearly a month in exile, reports say.

He left the Honduran emba…

Honduran Negotiations finish today (Wednesday)

If the two sides do not agree to the new solution Arias will turn over negotiations to the OAS. It is rather surprising that the U.S. was not able or not willing to put sufficient pressure on the coup administration to force them to sign. Maybe they will at the last moment. Zelaya claims he will return to Honduras agreement or no agreement. If that happens there could be a lot of bloodshed. I doubt that Zelaya will get much support from Clinton.

This is from Bloomberg.

Zelaya, in his interview with Telesur from the Honduran embassy in Managua, said the next step if the mediation efforts fail will be to ask the UN and OAS to help enforce the resolutions they passed unanimously to return him to power and restore constitutional order in Honduras.

He said he plans to meet again with U.S. State Department officials Thomas Shannon and Ian Kelly and Clinton in a bid to bolster support for his return.

Elections coming up in Kurdistan..

There seems little interest in these in the mainstream western press. There is a new reform party that seems to be gaining conisderable momentum but it remains to be seen whether it can make much headway against the two traditional rivals anchored in different tribal groups. The two groups have managed to field candidates jointly and this will make it even more difficult for the many opposition groups to make much headway.' One thing all the parties agree on and that is for the extension of Kurdish control over disputed areas around Kirkuk and Mosul. Most Kurds are thankful for the relative peace and prosperity in Kurdistan over the last years so this may be enough to return the old guard parties.

This is from the Economist.


An election in Iraqi Kurdistan

Change in the air?

Jul 16th 2009 SULAYMANIYAH

A new movement is trying to break an old duopoly

AS IRAQ’S Kurds prepare to vote on July 25th for a regional assembly and a president, the buzzword is Goran, meaning change. It is also th…

Arias talks fail Zelaya to return to Honduras next weekend.

This is from my post to Allvoices. --with additional commentary.


These talks were set up only because of the insistence of the U.S. as a way of defusing the situation but the U.S. did not reckon on the intransigence of the coup leaders. Although Zelaya sounded just as uncompromising it was he who accepted Arias proposals for a government of reconciliation. But the coup will not let Zelaya resume the presidency under any conditions it seems. The coup leaders know that the U.S. is a toothless tiger when it comes to actually moving against a group that it had long supported and with whom it still has strong military ties. While in the short term the coup government will suffer international isolation in the longer term there will be presidential elections held under the auspices of the coup government and then things will return to normal with the elite ruling and the military watchful in the wings.
Zelaya is making plans to return next weekend. There are already organised demonstrations …

Arias had Costa Rican constitution amended so he could seek another term!

Apparently no one see this as any great sin. It is only when it is done by supposed socialists such as Chavez that there is any harm done. Arias is a good guy well liked by the U.S. and a supporter of neo-con economic policies.
This is from my post at Allvoices.
but with some alterations..

It is ironic that the mediator in the Honduran crisis Oscar Arias actually did what Zelaya was accused of plotting to change the country's constitution so as to be able to run again. If he had not been able to change the constitution by changing some members of the supreme court he would not be president now! Where are the press on this one.

This is from Wikipedia.
The Costa Rican constitution had been amended to include a clause which forbade former presidents seeking reelection. Arias challenged this in Sala IV, the Constitutional Court, which initially rejected his application. That ruling came down in September 2000. Arias then used his considerable political connections to alter the Court´s co…

"Bribe"or No, Pfizer May Get Its Way in the Philippines

At least Arroyo is making some attempts to put a cap on drug costs. Some such as the U.S. just seem to let the companies charge whatever the market will bear. As as result, drugs often cost much more in the U.S. than other countries such as Canada. The U.S. public just seems to grin and bear it or some actually travel to Canada to buy drugs.
No doubt there is considerable pressure on Arroyo to make the legislation as weak as possible as this article shows. I noticed when I was in the Philippines that drugs were often more expensive than in Canada. Given the huge differences in income for the average person this would make many medications unaffordable to most Filipinos. The price cap legislation is a step in the right direction.



This is from industry.bnet.

"Bribe" or No, Pfizer May Get Its Way in Philippines
By Jim Edwards July 16th, 2009 @ 12:57 pm

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo of the Philippines said she will consider the interests of foreign investors and other “sati…

Iraq and Kurdistan struggle for control of Kirkuk and oil fields

There is not much attention being paid to this issue in the Western Press. The US and UN have attempted to get the two sides to agree to a negotiated solution but this seems to have gotten nowhere. The Kurds in particular seem about ready to de facto assert their control of some regions. This could very well lead to armed conflict as the article mentions. Saddam had settlled Arabs in some of the areas and now they face discrimination as the Kurds try to wrest control from the central government. The conflict is exacerbated by the fact that there are huge oil riches involved in the areas under dispute.

This is from AFP. There is also a similar article in the Washington Post.
Iraq-Kurd impasse seen to threaten unrest
By Mehdi Lebouachera (AFP) – 23 hours ago

BAGHDAD — Kurdish demands to expand their autonomous region in northern Iraq to include the Kirkuk oil fields and other districts threaten to trigger armed conflict, diplomats and analysts warn.

Six years after the US-led invasion in whi…

U.S. Troop levels in Iraq to remain stable until at least 2010.

As this announcement from the Department of Defense shows there will in effect be no net withdrawal of troops from Iraq for the rest of 2009. There are still some casualties each month while in Afghanistan casualties are increasing rapidly. The American people continue to pay a high price for their Imperial adventures but then some people and companies profit.
There is no mention that the force levels might be influenced by any decisions the Iraqis might make and that includes a scheduled referendum on the SOFA to take place soon unless the U.S. manages to convince the Maliki govt. to delay it.


This is from defenselink:


DoD Announces Upcoming Operation Iraqi Freedom Rotation


The Department of Defense announced today additional major units scheduled to deploy in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. The announcement involves three division headquarters and eight brigade combat teams consisting of approximately 30,000 personnel.



These units will replace redeploying units, with no increase …

Zelaya gives Marchetti one week to quit..

This appears as if it is sheer bravado on Zelaya's part. The Marchetti regime has no intention of quitting. I notice from U.S. media that there is a considerable amount of support for the coup rather than Zelaya because they associate Zelaya with Chavez. For years the U.S. supported military regimes in Latin America. As long as the new more democratic regimes are safely in the hands of the elites there are no problems but once anyone is elected who wants to reform the system the elites get restless and the military intervenes once again having been well trained by the U.S. The negotiations seem simply a stalling tactic. The Marchetti govt. will probably move up the presidential elections so that a new president will be chosen even before negotiations are finished so Zelaya's return will make little sense. Arias is a staunch U.S. ally. I expect that Zelaya was in effect forced into this mediation farce.


Honduras' Manuel Zelaya gives rival week to quit
Accusing the man servin…

U.S. Opposes Insulza's Reelection at OAS.

It seems that the U.S. obviously intervened to give Arias, a free trader and staunch U.S. ally a key role in Honduran negotiations, negotiations that are conveniently going nowhere. Actually right now they are not even taking place! To side with Chavez et al is to offend the U.S. and ensure attempts to have someone else more friendly to U.S. policies as head of the OAS. However, it remains to be seen how much influence U.S. complaints will have. Times are changing!

This is from Santiagotimes.


U.S. OPPOSES INSULZA’S REELECTION AT OAS



Monday, 13 July 2009
Criticism Directed At Support Given To Chávez And Cuba National media reported this weekend that U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has twice stated to Chile’s government that the U.S. will not support the re-election in 2010 of Chile’s José Miguel Insulza to head the Organization of American States (OAS).



Insulza, a former Chilean Interior Minister, apparently rubbed the U.S. the wrong way following his leadership role in the OAS’s de…

Explosion kills Afghan Police Chief and 3 officers.

Many of the local police are so unpopular that locals support the Taliban. The Taliban just withdraw from an area as long as foreign troops have control or engage in sporadic attacks. It is hardly surprising there is an increasing opposition to the occupation given air and other attacks who have killed a considerable number of non-combatants.

This is from the NYTimes.



July 14, 2009
Explosion Kills Afghan Police Chief and 3 Officers
By CARLOTTA GALL and RUHULLAH KHAPALWAK
KABUL, Afghanistan — The police chief of a district south of Kabul that the Americans had sought to make a Taliban-free model of safety and security was killed Monday along with three of his officers in a roadside blast.
The deaths cast a blow to the American effort and suggested that Taliban operatives had re-infiltrated the district, Jalrez, in Wardak Province.
........
He(Karzai) also addressed the growing concern among Afghans about the foreign troop presence, with the largest increase of American troops since 2001 and a …

Costa Rica eyes fresh Honduran mediation talks.

This allows more time for the coup government to settle into power. Given that the two sides are at complete loggerheads it could be that no solution is ever reached. Negotiations will drag on and the coup government will set new presidential elections as soon as possible. Zelaya is not eligible to run and probably Marchetti would not run either. Once a new president is elected the Honduran government can claim that now an elected president is in power everything is hunky dory. The government will be in control of the electoral process but then the system is designed to ensure that the right sort of people get in anyway. Zelaya was originally one of them but sometimes people turn against their own class as happened in Zelaya' case.
If the negotiations are successful it will probably be for Zelaya to return as president but with limited powers. He will be a lame duck president until the elected president takes power in January. No one involved in the coup will face any punishmen…

Obama administration officals claim they have no legal right to investigate Taliban deaths or Bush refusal to do so.

A video called the Convoy of Death is available.

The video shows that U.S. officials were involved at some stages. They were probably CIA operatives or some special forces operatives. So Americans were involved. The video provides evidence of that.
Obama simply does not want to investigate. Dostum is still an important figure in Afghan politics. This is just avoidance justification on the part of the Obama administration.


No legal rights to investigate Taliban deaths - or Bush admin. refusal to do so, officials say
LARA JAKESAP News
Jul 11, 2009 06:48 EST
Obama administration officials said Friday they had no grounds to investigate the 2001 deaths of Taliban prisoners of war who human rights groups allege were killed by U.S.-backed forces.


The mass deaths were brought up anew Friday in a report by The New York Times on its Web site. It quoted government and human rights officials accusing the Bush administration of failing to investigate the executions of hundreds, and perhaps thousa…

Philippines to sell a half billion dollars in global bonds..

As the Philippine economy slows down tax revenue has been declining so that the deficit will be larger even a record although still not that bad in relationship to GDP. The government may even issue 500 million more bonds later.

This is from Forbes.

-Philippines to sell $500 million global bond soon.
MANILA, July 10 (Reuters) - The Philippines plans to sell $500 million of dollar or euro bonds soon to plug a record budget deficit and to relieve pressure on domestic markets from rising borrowing needs.
The central bank approved on Friday the government's request to issue as much as $1 billion in global bonds, suggesting more issuance could come later this year.
'I think the idea is just come up with $500 million. It is most likely dollars (bonds),' National Treasurer Roberto Tan told Reuters.
The government raised its total borrowing needs by $1 billion this year after it slashed its revenue target by almost the same amount due to a slowing economy.
Manila also has obtained a guar…

Newt Gingrich urges Iran ''sabotage''

This sort of talk confirms Iran's view of the recent protests and undercuts Obama's attempts to portray the US as neutral. Of course we already know that funds have been allocated to do precisely the sort of things that Newt commends. If any sabotage occurs Iran will know who to blame and Gingrich provides the smoking gun evidence!


This is from aljazeera.


US politician urges Iran 'sabotage'

The former speaker of the US House of Representatives has said that the US should "sabotage" Iran's oil and gas infrastructure as part of its efforts to bring down the government.
In an interview with Al Jazeera's Avi Lewis for the Fault Lines programme, Republican Newt Gingrich said targeting Iran's refinery would spark an economic crisis that would destabilise the government in Tehran.
He said the US should "use covert operations … to create a gasoline-led crisis to try and replace the regime".
"I think we have a vested interest, the world has a v…

Stalemate but head of UN general assembly says solution is near.

It is hard to see why déScoto is optimistic that there will be a solution when the two sides are still completely at loggerheads. No doubt there will be tremendous pressure on Zelaya to agree to go back with reduced powers and stay as a lame duck powerless president until new elections. Of course there will be no punishment of the coup leaders except that they may have to give up on prosecuthing Zelaya. So far they have been unwilling to do that except for "political" crimes.
Note that Honduras depends upon remittances from Hondurans in the US for 25 per cent of its income.

This is from aljazeera.

Honduras talks hit stalemate
Talks aimed at ending a political crisis in Honduras have failed to reach a resolution, after the two individuals claiming the presidency of the country left the negotiations.
Delegates for Roberto Micheletti, the military-backed interim president, and Manuel Zelaya, the deposed elected president, failed to reach a breakthrough in talks mediated by Osca…

The cost of Empire: new Pakistan embassy to cost 736 million

While back in the US states such as California are sending out IOU's because they are broke the federal government has lots of money to spend on items such as this. The US is obviously going to stay in Pakistan for some time. There is never a recession in the military-industrial complex!


The entire article can be found at atimes.


Baseless expenditures
By Chalmers Johnson
The United States empire of bases - at US$102 billion a year already the world's costliest military enterprise - just got a good deal more expensive. As a start, on May 27, the State Department announced it will build a new "embassy" in Islamabad, Pakistan, which at $736 million will be the second priciest ever constructed. It will cost only $4 million less, if cost overruns don't occur, than the Vatican-City-sized one the George W Bush administration put up in Baghdad. The State Department was also reportedly planning to buy the five-star Pearl Continental Hotel (complete with pool) in Peshawar, …

Role of the International Republican Institute in the Honduran Coup

While this article may have its faults it certainly discusses and brings up issues that are simply ignored or glossed over by mainstream western media for the most part.
This is the same group that was involved in the failed coup that attempted to overthrow Chavez. This article also claims that they were involved in the overthrow of Aristide. NED or the National Endowment for Democracy has become in effect a means by which attempts are made to establish U.S. friendly regimes worldwide. It does openly what the CIA used to do covertly!

Role of the International Republican Institute (IRI) in the Honduran Coup The International Republican Institute talks of “coup” in Honduras, months before
By Eva Golinger

The International Republican Institute (IRI), considered the international branch of the U.S. Republican Party, and one of the four “core groups” of the congressionally created and funded National Endowment for Democracy (NED), apparently knew of the coup d’etat in Honduras against…

Stiglitz on corporate welfarism for the big banks

Stiglitz has no definition of socialism. He seems to see it as helping out ordinary individuals. No doubt it would but surely he should know as an economist that socialism is the socialisation of the means of production distribution and exchange through worker or some type of collective ownership and production on the basis of need rather than profit.
What some commentators are calling socialism with American characteristics is not socialism at all but a form of corporate welfare where costs are socialised and profits privatised. As some have put it, it is "socialism" for the rich.

© The Berkeley Electronic Press
The Economists’ Voice
www.bepress.com/ev
Joseph E. Stiglitz

With all the talk of “green shoots” of economic recovery, America’sbanks are pushing back on efforts to regulate them. While politicians talk about their commitment to regulatory reform to prevent arecurrence of the crisis, this is one area where the devil really isin the details—and the banks will muster w…