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Archive for October, 2012

The removal of President Bashar al-Assad from power will do nothing to end the 19-month civil war in Syria but will only escalate the violence, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Wednesday.

“It is like daydreaming to speculate on the subject, to the effect that if the [Syrian] government is overthrown everything will fall into place,” Lavrov said after a meeting with his French counterpart Laurent Fabius.

“If this is a priority for somebody, bloodshed will continue, and for quite a while, too.”

“Assad’s fate should be decided by the Syrian people,” he added.

There is no military solution to the Syrian conflict as mercenaries fighting on the side of the Syrian insurgents keep arriving in the country from neighboring states, the minister noted.

Lavrov said on Monday Moscow was disappointed by the failure of a United Nations-brokered ceasefire, but there was little sense in blaming either side.

Western powers have condemned both Russia and China for their repeated refusal to back UN sanctions against Assad’s regime, which the United Nations has accused of complicity in the massacre of unarmed civilians. Russia says the UN resolutions contain a pro-rebel bias and that both sides are to blame for the continued fighting, which Syrian rights groups say has claimed up to 35,000 lives.

Russian President Vladimir Putin vowed earlier this year not to allow a repeat of last year’s “Libya scenario,” which saw the ouster and murder of  Muammar Gaddafi after a NATO military campaign.

source.

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TSIDMZ: Sound of the New Man

TSIDMZ

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By Gloria Rubac Pinar del Río, Cuba

Like the Gulf Coast of the United States, the island nation of Cuba was hit hard by hurricanes Gustav and Ike in the fall of 2008.

However, in Cuba, no one, not a single person, was left to their own luck to survive the hurricanes.

“We are lucky to have a Revolution! It is a fact that nobody will be neglected,” wrote Fidel Castro in his “Reflections” on Aug. 28, 2008, before Gustav had yet hit Cuba. “Our strong, forceful and farsighted Civil Defense protects our people.”

Members of the 2009 Pastors for Peace Cuba Friendshipment Caravan, who traveled to Cuba from the U.S. this July, found out just how real that statement is.

One group of caravanistas spent four days in the most western Cuban province, Pinar del Río, which just 10 months earlier had been devastated by Gustav and Ike. Meeting with government and Communist Party officials in the provincial capital, we learned firsthand how Cuba prepares for a hurricane and how they recover from one.

Socialist planning, prevention

“Our major task is prevention. We protect our population and also the resources of our economy,” explained an official.

The province of Pinar del Río has a population of 731,000 people. During Gustav 164,000 people were evacuated and during Ike 192,000 people were evacuated. Everything was organized, well-planned and well-executed. Electricity was out for 20 days, but there were generators for businesses and for people.

“First, we begin before hurricane season is near. We study the population. We identify which of our people will need help. We know which areas will flood first. We have food and supplies ready.

“Second, if a hurricane is approaching and evacuation is necessary, we keep people informed using all media—television, radio and the press. We begin with those most needy, the elderly, families with small children, the sick. Students in boarding schools are immediately taken home. Those who have no one to take them in are taken to civil defense areas that are prepared to house them.

“Then we evaluate economic problems, such as livestock, crops and factories, and take precautions.

“When the hurricane hits us, everyone and everything is protected. Once the hurricane passes, recovery begins immediately.”

In a town in Pinar del Río, Puerto Esperanza, we visited a special school that had been brutally damaged by the hurricanes. Within weeks, Pastors for Peace had sent 30 volunteers to help the community rebuild Escuela Especial Santos Cruz; now it is 90 percent complete. The school educates 76 children with mild to severe mental retardation.

Before the hurricane hit, all desks, books, school records and other supplies were stored in a bunker so they wouldn’t be ruined. After the hurricane students didn’t stop going to school, but met in homes. “Due to good planning, they didn’t miss a beat,” one of the teachers told us.

Puerto Esperanza is a village of 2,000 people on the coast. Historically, many people here have made a living by fishing. Today there is a fishing co-op of 160 workers. After the hurricanes there was a lot of destruction, but today they have rebuilt and recovered from the storms.

The director of the co-op, Magaly Rodríguez Gómez, told us that no one lost their job after Gustav and Ike hit last year. Everyone was paid while the rebuilding was going on.

She explained that since the Cuban revolution there has been a 180-degree turn in the fishing industry.

“Before, the private fishermen wouldn’t pay regular salaries. After the season ended, the workers would lose their jobs. Now, we are paid year-round. After our boats were damaged from the hurricanes, we were still paid while we rebuilt our industry, and it is now 100 percent complete.”

On July 31, 130 caravan members joined with 140 members of the Venceremos Brigade in central Havana for an Anti-imperialist Tribune. One of the speakers was Irma González, daughter of political prisoner René González, one of the Cuban Five being imprisoned in the U.S.

González told the international audience of mostly North Americans: “We welcome you as our brothers and sisters. We take pride that we are never by ourselves. You visit our country in difficult times. You struggle against the blockade and you support our heroes, the Cuban Five.”

She continued, “The last few years of hurricanes have been difficult. Over a half a million homes were destroyed. We had over $10 billion in damage. But nobody was forsaken in our country. We made huge efforts and no one lost their job. The most important thing ever is the life of every single human being in Cuba.”

source.

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Less than 24 hours after Hurricane Sandy ripped through eastern United States, the country’s oldest nuclear power plant – located in Forked River, New Jersey – has been has been put on alert.

You can never make nuclear power stations perfectly safe. You can’t make it impossible for these situations to occur and when they do occur, they can be pretty catastrophic, Professor Christopher Busby from the European Committee on Radiation Risks told RT. The Professor added Oyster Creek plant was a particular risk, located just 65 miles from New York City.

All of the power stations in the area were built against the express wishes of the people who lived there. They were pushed through by some kind of federal axe which overcame the opposition of the people, he said.

Busby spoke to RT about the possible dangers that could occur if waters from Hurricane Sandy flood the nuclear station’s cooling system.

RT: What are the potential dangers as you see it?

Christopher Busby: I think it’s quite unlikely that anything bad will happen. It’s not like a tsunami, it’s not some big tidal wave coming at them. The problem would be that the cooling system would become flooded. The electrical systems that back up the cooling system, so there won’t be any cooling. And in these situations, with nuclear power stations, even though there might be a very remote risk of something happening, when it does happen, it’s pretty catastrophic.

RT:It brings to mind Japan’s Fukushima disaster last year. Are there better protection measures in place now than there were in Fukushima?

CB: The problem is that with all nuclear power stations, you can never make them absolutely perfectly safe. You can make them as safe as you can get, but you can’t make it impossible for these situations to occur. And when they do occur, especially in this one, which is 65 miles south of New York City – with a very, very high population density – it would be pretty catastrophic.

RT:Oyster Creek is America’s oldest nuclear power plant. It was built 2 years before Fukushima. Could its age be a factor in any potential danger?

CB: Of course. The older the nuclear power station, the less good the integrity of the various control systems and the actual metallic components of the control systems, too – of course if they’re older, they’re more corroded, they can be brittle as a result of neutron effects, so yes of course that’s certainly a factor. In fact, oyster creek, like all of those power stations near nyc were built against the express wishes of the people who lived there. They were pushed through by some kind of federal axe which overcame the opposition of people who lived there.

RT:Officials say there are currently NO protective actions taking place outside the nuclear facility, as there is no imminent threat from radiation. Should precautions be taken anyway?

CB: I think it’s more likely that there’s nothing much they can do. So there’s no point in scaring people and trying to run around and do stuff. There isn’t much they can do. All they have to do there is sit and keep their fingers crossed and hope that the flood waters don’t go so high that they actually flood the control systems and the electricity which backed it all up. That’s really the problem. So it’s not really like Fukushima in the sense of the huge amounts of energy that were unleashed then. It could be just a slow flooding affair, which could be just as nasty.

RT:What’s the worst case scenario if this did happen? Would it go up like Fukushima, or does the fact that it’s already closed down mitigate any bad things that might happen there?

CB: Well you could still have a meltdown, of course. The fuel inside the shutdown reactor is still extremely hot and has to be cooled, so if you don’t cool it then it gets very hot and can melt down. So yes, of course, you can still have a catastrophic problem.

source.

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Prague, Czech Republic – During the promotion of a book by former U.S. secretary of State, Madeleine Albright at The new Luxor Palace of Books, there was a general turmoil when the activists of the “Friends of the Serbs in Kosovo” organization asked her to sign the posters and CDs with the photos of atrocities committed over Serbs.

This was followed by a fierce reaction of security, and this association activists were attacked both verbally and physically. M. Albright although she tried to feign indifference and calmness, jumped from her chair and started shouting at attendees to get out. One of the participants, and a member of the Association of Friends of Kosovo Serbs, Daniel Huba, when asked why they were here today, responds:

“From the position of the USA Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright pushed for the bombing of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in 1999. when NATO planes bombed without a UN mandate. She also supported the jihad in Bosnia during 1992-1995, and the manipulation of the facts about Srebrenica, but also personally earned from privatization of Kosovo Telecommunications. She should therefore bear the consequences of her political decisions and acknowledge responsibility for the bloodshed, in which thousands of civilians were killed. “

source.

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Imperialism in the X-Factor Age

In Vietnam, Agent Orange was dropped by the US to poison a foreign population. In Iraq and the former Yugoslavia, depleted uranium was used. In Western countries, things are a bit more complicated because various states have tended to avoid using direct forms of physical violence to quell their own populations (unless you belong to some marginalized group or hit a raw nerve, as did the Occupy Movement last year). The pretence of democracy and individual rights has to be maintained.

One option has been to use South American crack cocaine or Afghan heroin to dope up potential troublesome sections of the population. It’s worked wonders: highly lucrative for the drug running intelligence agencies and banks awash with drug money (1), while at the same time serving to dampen political dissent in the most economically and socially deprived areas. Another tactic has of course been the massive ever-increasing growth of the surveillance industry to monitor ordinary citizens.

But drugs, surveillance and direct violence are kind of a last resort to keep a population in check. Notwithstanding baton charges, tear gas and the use of rubber bullets on the European mainland and that the US Government is not ruling out the use of violence on its own people (2), ideology via the media has and continues to be the choice of method for population control in Western countries.

Whether it’s through the paranoia induced by the fear of terrorism or more general propaganda spewed out by the mainstream ‘news’ channels, political agendas and modes of thought are encouraged which seek to guarantee subservience and ‘integration’, rather than forms of critical thought or action that may lead to a direct questioning of or a challenge to prevailing forms of institutionalised power.

From trade unions to political parties, oppositional groups are infiltrated, deradicalised and incorporated into the system (3) and critical stances are stifled, ridiculed or marginalized. Consensus is manufactured both in cultural and political terms. The result is that presidential candidate TV debates, political discourse and much of the popular mass media is void of proper analytical discussion: public theatre scripted by speech writers and PR people, presented in manipulative, emotive, ‘human-interest’ terms.

From the TV news and commercials to the game-shows and latest instant fame programme, misinformation, narcissism and distraction pervade all aspects of life. Why be aware of the world’s ills and challenge anything when you can live in the dark, watch X-Factor, wear Reebok and shop till you drop? It is an infotainment paradise where lies are truth and unfettered desire a virtue.

It’s a world of crass consumerism and gleaming shopping malls bathed in designer lifestyle propaganda where people drown in their Friday night alcohol vomit, shop till they drop for things they don’t really need or indeed want and bask in their emptiness by watching TV with eyes wide shut.

But this is ‘free market’ democracy. And the concept behind it is that the mass of the population are a problem, and any genuine debate or the electorate’s ability to see what is actually happening must be prevented. People must be distracted – they should be watching millionaire footballers kick a ball around, mind numbing soap operas or some mindless sitcom. Every once in a while, at voting time, they are called on to parrot or back some meaningless slogans.

Politics is no longer about great ideas. The acquisition of power has become the core value in itself, not socialism or any other radical philosophy. What is required from mainstream political leaders is technocrat not, radical; middle manager, not firebrand. In an era of advanced capitalism, the role of mainstream glove puppet political leaders is to demonstrate competence when it comes to managing the machinery of state in order to fine tune the status quo, not overhaul it.

If ‘serious’ debate does even attempt to rear its head, it is increasingly to be found as part of a standardized, corporate TV news-cum-chat show format that is the same from country to country. There is usually some or other smug, user-friendly couple fronting the show, lying about how we may smooth away the wrinkles, according to the gospel of some grossly overpaid beauty guru to the stars.

But then, moving on to the next topic and with an anguished expression, no doubt well rehearsed in front of the mirror that morning, one of the hosts states: “A recent report says that high street fashion retailers use children in the developing world to make its clothes.”

A light and punchy studio debate among the show’s hosts and a ‘fashion expert’ will ensue, peppered with a certain degree of moral outrage. But only a ‘certain degree’ because hypocrisy abounds: “Stay tuned as next up you will be informed of how you too can dress like the celebs but for a fraction of the price.”

The next day it’s competition time. Win vouchers to go shopping for the latest high street fashion items. “Top of the range stuff… But the prices are so cheap… Just how do they do it?” one of the hosts remarks: the very same person from the day before who fronted the ‘in-depth debate’ about how they actually manage to do it by exploiting poverty and child labour.

It’s all very cony and comforting, with its sanctimonious world view of sexed up infotainment and bland titillation. It’s TV to inspire. TV to inspire the masses into apathy, fatalism and acceptance.

“Next up, we have a man who swallowed a live rabbit and lived to tell the tale” is sandwiched between “How you can save on your weekly wine bill” and “Knife crime – lock ‘em up and throw away the key.”

Forget about informed debate when platitudes, simple emotion and ‘common sense’ outlooks will do. You will rarely find anything radical or challenging here or elsewhere on mainstream TV because that’s not the point of it. The point of it all is to convince the public that their trivial concerns are indeed the major concerns of the day and that the major world events and imperialist wars can be trivialised or justified with a few ridiculous clichés about saving oppressed woman in Afghanistan or killing for peace in Africa.

From Fox to CNN, the BBC and beyond, this mind altering portrayal of the world is devoured as avidly as the health-altering, chemically-laden TV dinner that accompanies it. How about can of pesticide-ridden, cancer inducing cola to finish off (4)? Feel the spray. It’s all so refreshingly toxic. No need for Agent Orange here. So many people are already swallowing the poison via their plates or TV. If that fails and the drugs no longer work, the drones are waiting overhead.

Notes

1) Afghan heroin and the CIA, Geopolitical Monitor: http://www.geopoliticalmonitor.com/afghan-heroin-the-cia

2) DHS to purchase another 750 million rounds of ammo, Press TV: http://www.presstv.com/usdetail/256028.html

3) The influence of intelligence services on the British left, Lobster Magazine: http://www.lobster-magazine.co.uk/articles/rrtalk.htm

4) Things grow better with Coke, The Guardian: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2004/nov/02/india.johnvidal

source.

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BACKGROUND: [Jacobson] served in the Israeli Defence Forces, fighting in Lebanon. He worked for American software companies, then made a lot of money in Russia in the 1990s, selling cars, gasoline and cigarettes as the economy opened up, before branching out into construction. In 1992, he told the Toronto Star that he “grew” his own mob to counter armed Russian organized criminals who sought to muscle him out of a mansion in Moscow. Source

Businessman Nathan Jacobson has gone from hobnobbing with the most powerful politicians in Canada to a jail cell. The fugitive, who is facing a sentence in an American prison for conspiracy to commit money laundering, is in Toronto’s Metro West Detention Centre, an official there said Friday.

He was picked up by members of the Toronto Police Fugitive Squad in downtown Toronto on Thursday and made an appearance at the Toronto Courthouse on University Avenue on Friday.

Jacobson pleaded guilty to money laundering connected to an illegal online pharmacy in San Diego in 2008. But the plea was sealed while he helped investigators with their case and he travelled around the world, spending time with senior ministers in the Canadian government. […]

Jacobson, who grew up in Winnipeg, has dual Canadian-Israeli citizenship, and until last year had a credit card clearing company in Tel Aviv, Paygea, which processed payments for online gaming sites and adult websites. Israeli media reports say that when the company ceased operations, it left creditors in the lurch.

Jacobson is a prominent member of the Canadian Jewish community and has been a strong backer of the Conservative government. He was previously on the board of the Canada-Israel Chamber of Commerce and the Canada-Israel Committee.

In May, 2009, he was master of ceremonies for a party celebrating the 61st anniversary of the founding of Israel in the West Block of Parliament Hill, introducing the keynote speaker, Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney.

He has travelled in Israel with Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird and is said to be friendly with both ministers. […]

Next month, Kenney was scheduled to appear with Jacobson at the Royal York Hotel in Toronto, where the minister will receive an honorary doctorate from the University of Haifa. Jacobson, who was to be the master of ceremonies, withdrew after his legal troubles became public. […]

In March, Jacobson was photographed with Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The photo was taken at a reception in the Railway Room on the evening of March 2, 2012, where about 150 or 200 people gathered to greet the two prime ministers.

From 2004 to 2011, Jacobson donated about $10,000 to the Conservative Party, including donations to the central party and to the riding associations of former MP Wajid Khan, Environment Minister Peter Kent and Labour Minister Lisa Raitt.

Source

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