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by Michael Werbowski / March 11th, 2014
"National aspirations must be respected; people may now be dominated and governed only by their own consent. Self determination is not a mere phrase; it is an imperative principle of action. . . ."
— Woodrow Wilson with his famous self-determination speech on 11 February 1918 after he announced his Fourteen Points on 8 January 1918.
Secessionist movements are nothing new to history and have been endorsed in the past, by some great statesmen such as US president Woodrow Wilson. Yet the upcoming Crimean referendum is given much attention by the west, almost as if it were setting some dangerous precedent and had to be interdicted. Or as if it were a unique case, which it isn’t. Why now? Or why is the west so eager to nip in the bud the potential for the formation of a “break away state” in the Crimean peninsula? Possibly because Western powers who with vehemence and vituperation (unmatched in shrillness even during the worst days of the cold war) are denouncing the upcoming referendum on the possible formation of an independent or quasi-sovereign region in Ukraine, are themselves, dealing with secessionist movements at home.
If we look at precedents or precursors to independence or statehood, then referendums are the logical way to go. Kosovo in 1991 had an infamous referendum, which was meant to tear that territory away from Serbia. This move subsequently resulted in the US and NATO-led bombing of Serbia. After the war Kosovo declared independence. The new state was almost overnight recognised by the US, UK and Canada and others such as Germany, which participated in prosecuting the Balkan war; a conflict which resulted in bloodletting not seen since the Second World War in Europe. In the case of Bosnia it also held a referendum, which triggered the break up of ex-Yugoslavia. The US for purely geopolitical gain and in a strategy designed to further Balkanise the region, recognised the new state and even exerted great pressure on its western European allies to do the same, despite some well-founded reservations.
Full article: http://dissidentvoice.org/2014/03/the-wests-dangerous-game-in-ukraine/
The right to national self-determination is enshrined right into chapter 1 of the UN Charter.
The right of nations to maintain territorial integrity is not. The international law dealing with self determination reads: "All peoples have the right of self-determination. By virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development."
In other words, people have a right to determine the nation they belong to. Ukraine signed that treaty.
International law recognizes the right of nations to defend their territory from outside invasions, but it does not recognize the right of nations to prevent their own people from lawfully seceding. In spite of the hot air bellowing from various politicians, there's never really been any question that, under international law, the Crimean's have the right to declare independence and hold a referendum on their future. Russia has no right to be there, but the Crimeans do.
Yes, arguing they have no right to decide their future is a 'game', and about as hypocritical as it gets.
Posted by polly7 | Wed Mar 12, 2014, 10:48 AM (11 replies)
March 6, 2014
Recently I was asked if I thought the Obama administration was involved to any significant degree in encouraging civil unrest in Venezuela. My answer begins with a question of its own: do bears shit in the woods?
The Obama White House aided and abetted the military overthrow of Honduras’ democratically elected president Manuel Zelaya in the summer of 2009. It did much the same when right-wing business interests in Paraguay conducted a “judicial coup” against that nation’s democratically elected president Ferdinand Lugo three years later.
These Latin American coups were undertaken with U.S. aid and diplomatic cover for a simple reason. Zelaya and Lugo were moving to align their countries with the leftward and populist shift of Latin American politics and policy that has been evident since the charismatic socialist Hugo Chavez was elected president of Venezuela in late 1998. That shift involves related and significantly successful efforts to reduce savage socioeconomic inequalities within Latin American states and to re-orient those states’ political-economies and security arrangements around their shared regional interests. Washington’s bipartisan imperial elite abhors such developments for reasons that are neither mysterious nor novel.
If Obama assisted right wing coups to preserve oligarchic and military rule in the relatively small and economically insignificant nations of Honduras and Paraguay, it’s not much of a reach to imagine he would like to see regime change in socialist Venezuela. The leader of Latin America’s challenge to Washington’s hemispheric power and to the related scourge of U.S.-imposed neoliberalism, Venezuela has undertaken significant experiments not only in attacking poverty by redistributing its considerable petroleum-based wealth downwards but also in participatory citizens’ and workers’ democracy.
It’s not for nothing that the United States has been “more committed to ‘regime change’ in Venezuela than anywhere else in South America,” spending hundreds of millions of U.S. taxpayer dollars funding opposition groups there since Chavez was first elected. Nowhere has Latin America’s independent and leftward drift gone further and with greater consequence than in Venezuela, which happens – no small matter in Washington’s calculations –to sit atop the world’s largest oil reserves.
Full article: http://zcomm.org/znetarticle/venezuela-the-united-states-and-obama/
Posted by polly7 | Tue Mar 11, 2014, 06:38 AM (8 replies)
by Felicity Arbuthnot / March 10th, 2014
Levesque asks: “Have the Neo-Nazis cornered Ukraine’s National Security agenda?”
The answer would appear to be a rapidly accelerating affirmative, with Robert Parry stating that Neo-Nazis are now in charge of four Ministries and “some ten ‘oligarchs’ mostly run the show in shifting alliances, buying up media outlets and politicians, while the vast majority of the population faces a bleak future, which now includes more European-demanded ‘austerity’ …”
In neighbouring Russia, as the Sochi Paralympics opened with a spectacular ceremony, President Obama, Prime Minister Cameron, Chancellor Angela Merkel and their parties hurled their collective toys from their prams and failed to attend. Another chance to make peace not war in what should be the Olympic spirit, also willfully thrown away.
The opening theme was “Breaking The Ice,” and “the importance of breaking down barriers and stereotypes …” a popular 1990’s Russian song called “Good-bye America” played as the Russian team closed the parade.
Felicity Arbuthnot is a journalist with special knowledge of Iraq. Author, with Nikki van der Gaag, of Baghdad in the Great City series for World Almanac books, she has also been Senior Researcher for two Award winning documentaries on Iraq, John Pilger's Paying the Price: Killing the Children of Iraq and Denis Halliday Returns for RTE (Ireland.) Read other articles by Felicity.
Posted by polly7 | Tue Mar 11, 2014, 06:35 AM (51 replies)
by Media Lens / March 10th, 2014
.........Marsden adds some of the vital context that is so lacking in ‘mainstream’ news coverage:
Media Lens is a UK-based media watchdog group headed by David Edwards and David Cromwell. The second Media Lens book, Newspeak: In the 21st Century by David Edwards and David Cromwell, was published in 2009 by Pluto Press. Read other articles by Media Lens, or visit Media Lens's website.
Very interesting to read all the different media slants on all of this and the replies back from common people ... who seem better informed and make some of these 'journalists' look like complete corporate tools.
Posted by polly7 | Tue Mar 11, 2014, 06:19 AM (4 replies)
By David McReynolds
March 9, 2014
Before launching into my analysis of events in Ukraine, there are a few points which should be made for an American audience.
The context of the Ukrainian Crisis:
Here I want to step back away from the immediate crisis of Ukraine, for a look at the history which dictates much Russian policy – under Putin as it did under Stalin.
Russia has no natural barrier – no river, no mountain range – to guard it on its Western border. It has suffered invasion from the West three times in recent memory – under Napoleon and then twice under the Germans. In the last invasion, under Hitler, between 25 and 27 million Soviet citizens lost their lives. All the factories, dams, railroads. towns and cities West of a line from Leningrad in the North to Moscow to Stalingrad in the South were destroyed. Americans make much of 9.11 (and I don’t make light of it) but for Russia it was not just a handful of buildings in one city which were destroyed – it was entire cities, leveled. And then with the wounded to care for, the orphans, the widows.
Americans have never understood what the war meant to Russia and why, after the war, the Soviets sought to build a “protective band” of territory between itself and Germany. This was Eastern Europe, which under the iron boot of Stalin became “people’s democracies” or “presently existing socialism”.
Full article: http://zcomm.org/znetarticle/ukraine-an-analysis/
Posted by polly7 | Mon Mar 10, 2014, 02:06 PM (6 replies)
Iraqi women at university in Iraq in the 1970s
Zainab Salbi Zainab Salbi
Posted: September 21, 2009 12:32 PM
Where Are Iraqi Women Today?
I'm sitting by the Tigris River in Baghdad on a hot July evening. The air is still, the dust has settled, and the call for prayers is echoing over the river as it reflects lights from relatively new restaurants. I visited my mother's grave yesterday and learned that her tombstone was destroyed by a missile two years ago in one of the clashes between the militias and the US troops. "Not even the dead are spared from the bombings in Iraq," I thought to myself. But at least my mother is not witnessing the pain many Iraqi women are witnessing as they try to find space for themselves in the "new Iraq."
What Sanctions, War, Occupation Brought to Iraqi Women: Collapse of Rights
Published on Tuesday, November 12, 2013 by Common Dreams
New poll and reporting by Reuters put spotlight on deteriorating situation for women in country 'once at the vanguard of women's rights in the region'
- Andrea Germanos, staff writer
As independent journalist Rania Khalek explained earlier this year:
Contrary to popular imagination, Iraqi women enjoyed far more freedom under Saddam Hussein’s secular Ba’athist government than women in other Middle Eastern countries. In fact, equal rights for women were enshrined in Iraq’s Constitution in 1970, including the right to vote, run for political office, access education and own property. Today, these rights are all but absent under the U.S.-backed government of Nouri al-Maliki.
Sorry cali, don't want to hijack your thread .... just a bit more info on what the women in Iraq have been through. I just can't get over how horrible for them it's gotten. http://www.democraticunderground.com/10024634075
Posted by polly7 | Sun Mar 9, 2014, 01:05 PM (2 replies)
by T. Mayheart Dardar / March 8th, 2014
In February the World Bank announced an ambitious plan to initiate a $1 billion fund to finance an effort to map the mineral resources of the African continent. Their plan is to use advanced satellite and surveillance technology to, in the words of a World Bank senior manager, “identify the areas with more profitability.”1
Full article: http://dissidentvoice.org/2014/03/mapping-africa/
Posted by polly7 | Sun Mar 9, 2014, 10:39 AM (3 replies)
you could substitute that with dangerous bases.
Preparing the Ground for NATO
by William Blum / March 8th, 2014
.....Since the end of the Cold War the United States has been surrounding Russia, building one base after another, ceaselessly looking for new ones, including in Ukraine; one missile site after another, with Moscow in range; NATO has grabbed one former Soviet Republic after another. The White House, and the unquestioning American mainstream media, have assured us that such operations have nothing to do with Russia. And Russia has been told the same, much to Moscow’s continuous skepticism. “Look,” said Russian president Vladimir Putin about NATO some years ago, “is this is a military organization? Yes, it’s military. … Is it moving towards our border? It’s moving towards our border. Why?”1
Posted by polly7 | Sun Mar 9, 2014, 10:36 AM (1 replies)
Consortium News / By Robert Parry
March 7, 2014
Though we’ve seen other examples of the U.S. political/media elite losing its collective mind — particularly during the crazed run-up to war in Iraq in 2002-2003 and the near stampede into another war with Syria in 2013 — the frantic madness over Putin and Ukraine is arguably the most dangerous manifestation of this nutty Official Washington “group think.”
Not only does Putin lead a powerful nation with a nuclear arsenal but his cooperation with President Obama on Syria and Iran have been important contributions toward tamping down the fires of what could become a wider regional war across the Middle East.
Yet, it is perhaps Putin’s assistance in finding peaceful ways out of last year’s Syrian crisis as well as getting Iran to negotiate seriously over its nuclear program — rather than pressing for violent “regime change” in the two countries — that earned Putin the undying enmity of the neocons who still dominate Official Washington and influence its “group think.”
Maybe that enmity explains part of the mysterious why behind the Ukraine crisis and the endless demonization of Putin.
And, no ....... I don't love Putin or hate the U.S. Our Conservatives are saying pretty much the same things.
Posted by polly7 | Sun Mar 9, 2014, 09:41 AM (11 replies)
By Arturo Rosales writes from Caracas. Axis of Logic
Thursday, Mar 6, 2014
Burning motorcycle of a member of the Bolivarian National Guard
Snipers murdered a member of the National Guard (GNB) and a citizen this morning as the men were clearing a street barricade set up by the opposition.
There is little doubt that the disturbances of the last two weeks have been orchestrated to lead to a coup by either forcing President Maduro to resign or by creating chaos and conditions for international intervention.
The Attack By "Peaceful Protestors" on the Venezuelan National Guard on Friday. (Report and Photo Essay)
By Les Blough in Venezuela. Axis of Logic.
Wednesday, Mar 5, 2014
Posted by polly7 | Sat Mar 8, 2014, 11:28 PM (2 replies)