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Hometown: Saskatchewan
Home country: Canada
Member since: Sat Jul 9, 2005, 11:46 PM
Number of posts: 13,355

Journal Archives

In Loving Memory: Hugo Chavez Frias 1954-2013 - by Cindy Sheehan

Source: Albany Tribune

Friday, March 22, 2013

Today, I write from a great well of sadness, but not just for me, for the world. My dear friend in peace and justice, President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, just lost his fierce and valiant battle with cancer.

Many people know about Hugo Chavez, the president, and constant thorn in the side to El Imperio the meddlesome and harmful Empire to the north. But I want to eulogize Chavez the man I knew.

As we sorrowfully say, “vaya con la paz” to our Brother, Hugo Chavez, let’s also say, “long live the revolution.”

Full Article: http://www.zcommunications.org/in-loving-memory-hugo-chavez-frias-1954-2013-by-cindy-sheehan

Teach the Children War


By davidswanson - Posted on 20 March 2013

The National Museum of American History, and a billionaire who has funded a new exhibit there, would like you to know that we're going to need more wars if we want to have freedom. Never mind that we seem to lose so many freedoms whenever we have wars. Never mind that so many nations have created more freedoms than we enjoy and done so without wars. In our case, war is the price of freedom. Hence the new exhibit: "The Price of Freedom: Americans at War."

The exhibit opens with these words: "Americans have gone to war to win their independence, expand their national boundaries, define their freedoms, and defend their interests around the globe." Those foolish, foolish Canadians: why, oh, why did they win their independence without a war? Think of all the people they might have killed! The exhibit is surprisingly, if minimally, honest about imperialism, at least in the early wars. The aim of conquering Canada is included, along with bogus excuses, as one of the motivations for the War of 1812.

The most outrageous part of the opening lines of the exhibition, however, may be the second half: ". . . define their freedoms, and defend their interests around the globe." The exhibition, to the extent that I've surveyed it online, provides absolutely no indication of what in the world can be meant by a war being launched in order to "define our freedoms." And, needless to say, it is the U.S. government, not "Americans," that imagines it has "interests around the globe" that can and should be "defended" by launching wars.

The exhibit is an extravaganza of lies and deceptions. The U.S. Civil War is presented as "America's bloodiest conflict." Really? Because Filipinos don't bleed? Vietnamese don't bleed? Iraqis don't bleed? We should not imagine that our children don't learn exactly that lesson. The Spanish American War is presented as an effort to "free Cuba," and so forth. But overwhelmingly the lying is done in this exhibit by omission. Bad past excuses for wars are ignored, the death and destruction is ignored or falsely reduced. Wars that are too recent for many of us to swallow too much B.S. about are quickly passed over.

Full Article: http://www.zcommunications.org/teach-the-children-war-by-david-swanson

(Disclaimer: Please don't think that by posting these articles I'm giving Canada or any other country that's done its own share of contributing to this war-making around the world a pass. I hate war and the devastation it leaves in its wake no matter who initiates or aids in it, and that includes us.) The exhibit is actually quite amazing but Swanson is correct, the information, in many cases is woefully inadequate or just plain false.

'Falluja Babies' and Depleted Uranium -- America's Toxic Legacy in Iraq

Al Jazeera English / By Dahr Jamail

'Falluja Babies' and Depleted Uranium -- America's Toxic Legacy in Iraq

Two US-led wars in Iraq have left behind hundreds of tons of depleted uranium munitions and other toxic wastes.
March 18, 2013

Article 35 of Protocol I, a 1977 amendment of the Geneva Conventions, prohibits any means or methods of warfare that cause superfluous injuries or unnecessary suffering. Article 35 also prohibits those nations from resorting to means of war that could inflict extensive and long-term damage on human health and the environment.

The observed impacts of DU in Iraq suggest that these weapons fall under Article 35 as being prohibited, by the very nature of their suspected long-lasting effects on human health and the environment.

Article 36 (of Protocol I) also obliges any state studying, developing, or acquiring a new weapon to hold a legal review of that weapon.

Thus far, Belgium (2007) and Costa Rica (2011) have passed domestic laws prohibiting uranium weapons within their territories. In 2008, the European Parliament adopted a resolution that stated that "the use of DU in warfare
runs counter to the basic rules and principles enshrined in written and customary international, humanitarian and environmental law".

Full Article: http://www.alternet.org/world/falluja-babies-and-depleted-uranium-americas-toxic-legacy-iraq?paging=off

Chavez's Death, Like His Life, Shows The World's Divisions

By Mark Weisbrot

Source: Aljazeera

Thursday, March 21, 2013

The unprecedented worldwide response to the death of President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, and especially in the Western Hemisphere, has brought into stark relief the "multi-polar" world that Chavez fought for. Fifty-five countries were represented at his funeral on March 8, 33 (including all of Latin America) by heads of state. Fourteen Latin American countries decreed official days of mourning - including the right-wing government of Chile. In contrast to the emotional outpourings, and the honour and respect that came from Latin American heads of state, the White House put out a cold and unfriendly statement that - to the horror of many Latin Americans - didn't even offer condolences.

Before Chavez, democratically elected leftist presidents tended to end up like Salvador Allende of Chile - overthrown in a CIA-backed coup in 1973. Much of the Latin American left, including Chavez himself, was still sceptical of the electoral route to social change more than 20 years later, since the local elites, backed by Washington, had an extra-legal veto when they needed it.

Chavez was able to play a vital role in the "second independence" of South America because he was different from other heads of state in a number of important ways. I noticed this when I met him for the first time in April 2003. He seemed to treat everyone the same - from the people who served him lunch at the presidential palace to visitors whom he respected and admired. He talked a lot, but he was also a good listener.

On the other hand, his tenure also shows the enormous power of the media in shaping public opinion. Most governments are quite familiar with his accomplishments, but because the Latin American and US media reported almost exclusively negative news on Venezuela for 14 years - sometimes grossly exaggerated as well - most people in the Western Hemisphere never learned even the basic facts about Venezuela or what Chavez was doing.

Full Article: http://www.zcommunications.org/chavezs-death-like-his-life-shows-the-worlds-divisions-by-mark-weisbrot

Chileans Said “No” to Pinochet

By Saul Landau

Thursday, March 21, 2013

The new film, “No”, takes place in Chile in 1988 as the nation faced a plebiscite -- a vote of all citizens -- on whether to keep General Augusto Pinochet in power, or not. The Army commander who seized power after a 1973 military coup against elected President Salvador Allende had ruled for more years than Hitler, and had become an old man who gained international notoriety by assassinating, disappearing,” torturing, and sending opponents into exile. But the foreign investors praised his embrace of Chicago Boys economics, a supposedly free market economy whereby proletarios (proletarians) could evolve into proprietarios (property owners), which in practice meant that capitalists could buy Chile’s forests and convert them into chopsticks and tooth picks.

After 15 years of military dictatorship and unbridled capitalism, Chileans got to vote to allow Pinochet to continue his rule. It was “Yes” or “No” -- open the political game to a genuine choice. The film focuses on the “No,” campaign waged by the anti-Pinochet forces. To win voters, Chilean TV offered each side a series of 15 minute daily programs.

The old Chilean lefties, who directed the campaign, had no experience in selling their side of the story on television; so they choose René Saavedra (Gael Garcia Bernal), a talented ad man, to design the campaign to convince the Chilean majority to reject Pinochet.

Rene designs the commercials in the style he perfected through making soft drink commercials and soap opera promotions, to use the zeal shown by actors pitching a fizzy drink to deliver a message for a new, happier Chile. But Rene must spar with left-wing ideologues about the contents of the message. All recognize the fact that Pinochet had to concede to the referendum because of strong foreign pressure to legitimize a government that was inherently illegitimate—Pinochet’s coup and post-coup brutality was directed against an elected government, and the Chilean population that supported it.

Full Article: http://www.zcommunications.org/chileans-said-no-to-pinochet-by-saul-landau

Bolivia Establishes the World's Largest Protected Wetland

Posted 19 March 2013 16:54 GMT

Written by
Pablo Andres Rivero

Under the Ramsar Convention, the Bolivian government designated three new wetlands to be a protected area in the ‘Llanos of Moxos’, a vast region in the Beni province that is now the largest protected wetland in the world.

Positive News explains that this protected area represents “the combined size of the Netherlands and Belgium.”

The Ramsar Convention is formally known as the Convention on Wetlands (Ramsar, Iran, 1971). It is defined as:

an intergovernmental treaty that embodies the commitments of its member countries to maintain the ecological character of their Wetlands of International Importance and to plan for the “wise use”, or sustainable use, of all of the wetlands in their territories.

Unlike the other global environmental conventions, Ramsar is not affiliated with the United Nations system of Multilateral Environmental Agreements.

Full Article: http://globalvoicesonline.org/2013/03/19/bolivia-establishes-the-worlds-largest-protected-wetland/

'Falluja Babies' and Depleted Uranium -- America's Toxic Legacy in Iraq

Al Jazeera English / By Dahr Jamail 24 COMMENTS

Two US-led wars in Iraq have left behind hundreds of tons of depleted uranium munitions and other toxic wastes.
March 18, 2013 |

Today in Fallujah, residents are reporting to Al Jazeera that many families are too scared to have children, as an alarming number of women are experiencing consecutive miscarriages and deaths with critically deformed and ill newborns.

Dr Samira Alani, a pediatric specialist at Fallujah General Hospital, has taken a personal interest in investigating an explosion of congenital abnormalities that have mushroomed in the wake of the US sieges since 2005.

"We have all kinds of defects now, ranging from congenital heart disease to severe physical abnormalities, both in numbers you cannot imagine," Alani told Al Jazeera at her office in the hospital last year, while showing countless photos of shocking birth defects.

Alani also co-authored a study in 2010 that showed the rate of heart defects in Fallujah to be 13 times the rate found in Europe. And, for birth defects involving the nervous system, the rate was calculated to be 33 times that found in Europe for the same number of births.

Full Article: http://www.alternet.org/world/falluja-babies-and-depleted-uranium-americas-toxic-legacy-iraq?paging=off

Out of the Blue: The Many Faces of Depression

by Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

Depression doesn't just look one way. Major depressive disorder affects more than 14 million adult Americans each year, and many don't attribute the range of symptoms they encounter to depression. In this series of videos, six individuals share their experiences with depression, including some of its less identifiable manifestations, which range from anger and irritability to feeling overwhelmed by a lack of focus and difficulty making decisions.

DBSA thanks the Takeda-Lundbeck Alliance for its unrestricted support for the production of Out of the Blue video series.



A Decade of Occupation

By Yifat Susskind and Yanar Mohammed

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

A decade after the US invasion of Iraq, only one of the straw-man arguments for going to war remains standing: “We did it for democracy and women’s rights."

And yet we hear the same thing again and again from women in the shelters we operate throughout Iraq: “Why are we living in these violent times?” They don’t mourn the fall of Saddam, but women here have suffered 10 years of spiraling abuse, including a spike in ‘honor killings,’ forced veiling, and a growing tolerance for beating women into subordination.

If you talk to women in war zones anywhere, they’ll tell you that domestic violence increases in war-time. But in Iraq, violence against women has also been systematic. And unknown to most Americans, it has been orchestrated by some of the very forces that the US boosted to power.

Like religious fundamentalists everywhere, these sectarian militias and clerics have a social vision for their country that depends on subjugating women. But because the US wagered that they could deliver stability, these men were cultivated as allies in Iraq. As we now know, they never even got the stability they traded women’s rights for.

Full Article: http://www.zcommunications.org/a-decade-of-occupation-by-yifat-susskind

Iraq War Among World's Worst Events

By David Swanson

Source: Warisacrime.org

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

At 10 years since the launch of Operation Iraqi Liberation (to use the original name with the appropriate acronym, OIL) and over 22 years since Operation Desert Storm, there is little evidence that any significant number of people in the United States have a realistic idea of what our government has done to the people of Iraq, or of how these actions compare to other horrors of world history. A majority of Americans believe the war since 2003 has hurt the United States but benefitted Iraq. A plurality of Americans believe, not only that Iraqis should be grateful, but that Iraqis are in fact grateful.

A number of U.S. academics have advanced the dubious claim that war making is declining around the world. Misinterpreting what has happened in Iraq is central to their argument. As documented in the full report, by the most scientifically respected measures available, Iraq lost 1.4 million lives as a result of OIL, saw 4.2 million additional people injured, and 4.5 million people become refugees. The 1.4 million dead was 5% of the population. That compares to 2.5% lost in the U.S. Civil War, or 3 to 4% in Japan in World War II, 1% in France and Italy in World War II, less than 1% in the U.K. and 0.3% in the United States in World War II. The 1.4 million dead is higher as an absolute number as well as a percentage of population than these other horrific losses. U.S. deaths in Iraq since 2003 have been 0.3% of the dead, even if they've taken up the vast majority of the news coverage, preventing U.S. news consumers from understanding the extent of Iraqi suffering.

In a very American parallel, the U.S. government has only been willing to value the life of an Iraqi at that same 0.3% of the financial value it assigns to the life of a U.S. citizen.

The 2003 invasion included 29,200 air strikes, followed by another 3,900 over the next eight years. The U.S. military targeted civilians, journalists, hospitals, and ambulances. It also made use of what some might call "weapons of mass destruction," using cluster bombs, white phosphorous, depleted uranium, and a new kind of napalm in densely settled urban areas.

Full Article: http://www.zcommunications.org/iraq-war-among-worlds-worst-events-by-david-swanson
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