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Archive for March 4th, 2012

American scholar Noam Chomsky says the world does not accept the US portrayal of Iran as an “imminent threat” to global peace, and that Washington and Tel Aviv are instead seen as greater evils.

“There is little credible discussion of just what constitutes the Iranian threat, though we do have an authoritative answer, provided by US military and intelligence. Their presentations to Congress make it clear that Iran doesn’t pose a military threat,” Chomsky wrote in his latest article titled “What Are Iran’s Intentions?” published Friday.

Chomsky added that even “the majority of Americans” recognized Iran’s right to its nuclear energy program before Washington officials and media launched a “massive propaganda onslaught” against the Islamic Republic over the past two years.

He added that presently powerful countries like Russia, China, India, and 120 member nations of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) oppose the US policy on Iran.

“Western commentary has made much of how the Arab dictators allegedly support the US position on Iran, while ignoring the fact that the vast majority of the population opposes it-a stance too revealing to require comment,” he said.

Instead, Chomsky said, “Europeans regard Israel as the greatest threat to world peace,” and in the Arab world he added, “Israel and the US are regarded as the pre-eminent threat.”

The United States, Israel, and some of their allies accuse Iran of pursuing military objectives in its nuclear energy program and have used this pretext to impose international and unilateral sanctions on the Islamic Republic and to call for a military strike against Tehran.

Iran has repeatedly refuted the Western allegations, arguing that as a signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), it is entitled to develop and acquire nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.

Israel, which is widely believed to be the sole possessor of a nuclear arsenal in the Middle East with over 200 undeclared nuclear warheads, pursues the policy of “deliberate ambiguity” on its nuclear program.

Tel Aviv has rejected global demands to join the NPT and does not allow IAEA inspectors to observe its controversial nuclear program.

Iran has always pursued the policy of nuclear transparency and has granted IAEA inspectors access to its nuclear facilities to conduct snap inspections.

from PressTV

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By Pablo Alborada & Jody McIntyre. Latin American Bureau

Venezuela’s Hip-Hop Revolución (HHR) movement was founded in 2003 and brings together like-minded young people from across the country. As well as organising several international revolutionary hip-hop festivals in Venezuela HHR has created 31 hip-hop schools across the country, which teenagers can attend in conjunction with their normal day-to-day schooling.

Whilst filming in Venezuela for our forthcoming documentary on HHR, we were told that normally those attending the hip-hop schools learnt hip-hop skills for four days per week and had one day per week of political discussion. However, in some schools those attending had decided they preferred the ratio the other way round.

Once participants have ‘graduated’ from the course, they are encouraged to become tutors to the next batch of attendees. Most graduates come from low-income backgrounds, and many go on to establish schools in their local areas.

At a hip-hop school we visited near Charallave, about an hour south of Venezuela’s capital, Caracas, one student told us how he had done just that. First, he approached the political leaders in the area, and they agreed that the project was a strong idea. Then, he approached the gang leaders in the neighbourhood, and they agreed to make sure the kids got to and from their classes without being hassled. To many of the participants, the hip-hop schools are another element of a new spirit of unity and solidarity in their local communities. In their eyes, hip-hop and the political struggle are inextricably linked, and this is their chance to play a tangible part in building the better future they want to grow up in.

HHR took us from the school to a nearby barrio, where music equipment had been set up for a show local HHR members were putting on for the community. As the music started kids came out from their houses; most of them were still dressed in their school uniforms. Entire families came out to their balconies to watch what was going on below.

These hip-hop workshops are a monthly occurrence, so the young people in the area know when to come. Unfortunately, that afternoon it was pouring with rain, which apparently kept many people indoors. Nevertheless, a crowd quickly grew. Many of the kids were very young, and, without shoes or a care in the world, they washed their feet in the huge puddles of rainwater. The barrios are at the heart of the HHR movement, and the crowd at the workshop we visited were captivated by the rapping and break-dancing on display.

Our trip to Venezuela also coincided with the inauguration and first ever conference of CELAC, the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States. Thirty-three presidents from all of the countries of the Americas (except the US and Canada) were in Caracas for the event. Photo exhibitions displayed on central avenues of Caracas in the days preceding the conference expressed solidarity with the people of Cuba, Libya and Iraq, the workers movement in Argentina, the Palestinian people, and the Occupy Wall Street movement in the US amongst others.

‘CELAC is the most important development in the last 200 years,’ Jamil, a member of HHR, told us. ‘We respect Chávez, because he understands our struggle, but we are always looking to be self-critical in order to keep our revolution moving in the right direction…

‘I’m a revolutionary from my heart. Chavez fucks around and flips on us, we’re gonna flip on him. And that’s what I think he expects from us. You know what I mean? That’s why he is so serious with his proposals and with what he does. He has the confidence that he won’t flip on the people. And he understands that capitalism is crumbling. And this is our time, this is our moment, you know, for Latin America, for Venezuela and for us.”

For more information on ‘Hip Hop Revolución’ and a video clip of the film, visit: http://www.alborada.net/alboradafilms.

source.

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Vladimir Putin, set to win a third presidential term, declared his victory and thanked his voters for their support. Polling at over 64 percent with over two thirds of the votes counted, victory seems assured.

We have won in an open and fair struggle,” Putin said, addressing 110,000 people gathered on Manezhnaya Square outside the Kremlin walls.

He stressed that this victory signals a defeat for those who want to destroy Russia.

This was more than just a presidential election. This was a very important test for us – a test for the political maturity of our people and independence. We have demonstrated that nobody can impose anything on us. We have shown that our people are capable of telling the difference between the desire for novelty and progress, and political provocations that press for only one goal: to destroy Russia. Today our people have proven that such scenarios are not going to work in our country,” Putin said.

We will work honestly and intensely, and we will achieve success. We encourage you all to unite for the benefit of our or nation and our homeland.”

Putin, who is likely to win the election with over 60 per centof the vote, appeared on stage with outgoing President Dmitry Medvedev, who also thanked all of Putin’s supporters.

Thank you all for supporting our candidate. We all needed this victory – our country needed it. Each one of us needs this victory. We will not give it away to anybody,” Medvedev said.

In 2008, when Medvedev won the presidential race, they also appeared together to give speeches.

Speaking at the rally, Putin appeared to have tears in his eyes. This sparked an online frenzy, with many bloggers crestfallen with what was perceived as an emotional reaction, while others were quick to call them “crocodile tears.” Putin later said the cold wind had made his eyes water.

It was windy, windy it was,” he told journalists, arriving at his headquarters.

source.

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Boosters of the industrial resurgence would have us believe it is a reflection of improved U.S. productivity, entrepreneurial zeal or, as Obama put it in the State of the Union, “American ingenuity.” In the case of Chrysler, that should be Italian ingenuity, given that the bailout put the company under the control of Fiat.

But it can just as easily be argued that domestic manufacturing is advancing because the United States has taken on more of the characteristics of the countries that hosted those runaway shops. Deunionization, deregulation, corporate tax preferences, excessive business subsidies and a shriveled safety net are more pronounced than ever before in the U.S. economy. If any of the Republican Presidential candidates get in office, those trends will only accelerate. […]

The perils of joining the manufacturing revival chorus can be seen by looking at heavy equipment producer Caterpillar. The company has been getting a lot of attention lately for expanding its domestic employment through moves such as the planned construction of a $200 million plant in Athens, Georgia that is projected to employ about 1,400. […]

It appears that unions have no role in Cat’s limited back-to-the-USA plan. The company’s new domestic facilities tend to be located in “right to work” states. After recently trying to impose huge pay cuts at a factory in Ontario, Cat first locked out the workers, then shut down the plant and is now reported to be shifting the work to a facility in Muncie, Indiana, the latest state to adopt a “right-to-work” law to hamstring unions.

By locating the Athens plant in a labor-unfriendly state such as Georgia, Cat is expected to be able to pay wages far below those in its unionized plants. It is also worth noting that Cat agreed to build the plant in Georgia only after it received $75 million in tax breaks and other financial assistance, one of the largest subsidy packages the state has ever offered.

The message of all this seems to be that the U.S. can enjoy a renewal of manufacturing if we are only willing to put up with a few minor inconveniences such as union-busting and big tax giveaways to corporations. That’s apparently what is really meant by American ingenuity.

Source

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Syrian government forces have arrested a large number of gunmen with different nationalities in Baba Amr neighborhood in the restive city of Homs.

According to reports many of those detained are Arab nationals, among them Qatari intelligence agents. Others are reportedly from Afghanistan, Turkey and a number of European countries, including France.

The security forces have also seized sophisticated Israeli, European and American-made weapons in the area as well as confiscating made-in-Israel shells, rockets and communication equipment.

Syrian forces retook control of the Baba Amr district on Thursday. They discovered tunnels used by the armed terrorist groups to smuggle arms and move from one place to another and seized a large cache of weapons in Baba Amr following an operation to clear the area of armed gangs.

Baba Amr was one of the key strongholds of the Syrian Free Army– an armed group looking to topple the government.

Armed groups have targeted many governmental institutions and security agencies in Syria since mid-March last year when unrest hit the country.

Hundreds of people, including security forces, have been killed in the turmoil.

While the West and the Syrian opposition accuse the government of the killings, Damascus blames,” saboteurs and armed terrorist groups” for the unrest for orchestrating the violence from abroad.

from PressTV

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Mérida, 1st March 2012 (Venezuelanlysis.com) – Venezuela’s oil minister, Rafael Ramirez, has confirmed that Venezuela will continue to supply Syria with oil, despite international pressure against the Assad government and other nations that maintain relations with the Arab country. Responding to criticisms in the mainstream press, Ramirez said Venezuela does not fear any possible sanctions that could result from continued trade.

“Syria is a blockaded country. If it requires diesel and we can supply it, there isn’t any reason not to,” announced the minister to the press, while making clear that Venezuela would continue to support the Syrian government, a close ally of Venezuela in the Middle East.

Conflict in Syria

The Syrian government has been embroiled in a civil conflict for the past year, with the United Nations claiming that the Assad government has used unnecessary force against peaceful protesters. Syrian government sources, however, maintain that they are responding to attempts by armed terrorist groups to forcefully overthrow the government. The official death toll on both sides is still unknown, although various estimates place it somewhere between 2000-5000 people (Click here for details).

As a result of the conflict, Syria is currently facing economic sanctions imposed by the European Union (EU), the United States, the Arab League and Turkey, who claim that they are exerting diplomatic and economic pressure on the Syrian government in order to halt its repression against the political opposition.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has been a vocal supporter of a mediated resolution to the crisis, and has accused Western countries of taking advantage of political instability in the Middle East to advance its own agenda. The Venezuelan head of state has also likened the Syrian conflict to that which developed in Libya last year, where NATO forces gave logistical and economic support to an armed uprising against head of state Muammar Gaddafi.

Responding to a question on whether Venezuelan could face sanctions for continuing to send oil to Syria, Ramirez declared that, “we cannot determine our foreign policy by fear of US sanctions. We’ve said that they honestly don’t matter to us…no one is going to impose upon us from outside”.

Ramirez went on to confirm that two oil tankers of 300,000 barrels each had recently left Venezuela en route for the Arab nation.

Diplomatic Fallout

A United Nations Security Council resolution calling for political transition in Syria was vetoed last month by Russia and China, who cited the text as “unbalanced”.

Russia’s Ambassador to the UN, Vitaly Churkin, further warned against members of the international community “calling for regime change, [and] pushing the oppositionists to power” in Syria.

The EU announced fresh sanctions on Monday against the Syrian central bank and regime officials, as well as halting purchases of gold and gems from the country.

In an attempt to settle the conflict, Syrians passed a new constitution by national referendum last Saturday which included provisions for the establishment of multiparty elections. According to reports by RT news, 57% of Syrians turned out to vote in the referendum, with 89% voting in favour of the government’s new proposals.

Syrian opposition groups boycotted the referendum, calling for al-Assad to stand down, while the US rejected the vote as “laughable”.

Meanwhile on Tuesday minister Ramirez denounced international sanctions as creating destabilisation in world oil markets, slamming “an offensive by the most violent consumer countries, the United States and Europe, to get easy access to the petroleum reserves of African and Arab countries”.

In May last year the US imposed sanctions against Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA for continuing to trade with the Islamic Republic of Iran.

The Venezuelan government condemned the move as an “imperialist attack” at the time and declared itself sovereign in its foreign policy decisions.

Speaking about the Syrian conflict in mid-February, Chavez emphasised that Venezuela is a “free country” that will sell oil to who is wants.

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Not previously available in the English language, this is the first translation of Julius Evola’s autobiography, Il Cammino del Cinabro. The book provides a guide to Evola’s corpus as he explains the purpose of each of his books. This book is the key which unlocks the unity behind Evola’s diverse interests. It is a perfect place to start for those new to Evola’s thought, and a must read for all seasoned Evolians. The book includes hundreds of well-researched footnotes and a complete index.

Julius Evola was a renowned Dadaist artist, Idealist philosopher, critic of politics and Fascism, ‘mystic’, anti-modernist, and scholar of world religions. Evola was all of these things, but he saw each of them as no more than stops along the path to life’s true goal: the realisation of oneself as a truly absolute and free individual living one’s life in accordance with the eternal doctrines of the Primordial Tradition. Much more than an autobiography, The Path of Cinnabar in describing the course of Evola’s life illuminates how the traditionally-oriented individual might avoid the many pitfalls awaiting him in the modern world. More a record of Evola’s thought process than a recitation of biographical facts, one will here find the distilled essence of a lifetime spent in pursuit of wisdom, in what is surely one of his most important works.

available from Arktos here.

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