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Bolivia's President Evo Morales gives a speech during a meeting with

Bolivian President Evo Morales will file a lawsuit against the US government for crimes against humanity. He has decried the US for its intimidation tactics and fear-mongering after the Venezuelan presidential jet was blocked from entering US airspace.

“I would like to announce that we are preparing a lawsuit against Barack Obama to condemn him for crimes against humanity,” said President Morales at a press conference in the Bolivian city of Santa Cruz. He branded the US president as a “criminal” who violates international law.

In solidarity with Venezuela, Bolivia will begin preparing a lawsuit against the US head of state to be taken to the international court. Furthermore, Morales has called an emergency meeting of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) to discuss what has been condemned by Venezuela as “an act of intimidation by North American imperialism.”

The Bolivian president has suggested that the members of CELAC withdraw their ambassadors from the US to send a message to the Obama Administration. As an additional measure he will call on the member nations of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas to boycott the next meeting of the UN. Members of the Alliance include Antigua and Barbuda, Cuba, Dominica, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Venezuela and Saint Lucia.

“The US cannot be allowed to continue with its policy of intimidation and blockading presidential flights,”
stressed Morales.

The Venezuelan government announced on Thursday that President Nicolas Maduro’s plane had been denied entry into Puerto Rican (US) airspace.

“We have received the information from American officials that we have been denied travel over its airspace,” Venezuelan Foreign Minister Elias Jaua said, speaking to reporters during an official meeting with his South African counterpart. Jaua decried the move “as yet another act of aggression on the part of North American imperialism against the government of the Bolivarian Republic.”

President Maduro was due to arrive in Beijing this weekend for bilateral talks with the Chinese government. Jaua was adamant that the Venezuelan leader would reach his destination, regardless of any perceived interference.

The US government has not yet made any statement regarding the closing of its airspace to the Venezuelan presidential plane. Puerto Rico is an unincorporated territory of the US.

Relations on the rocks

Washington’s relations with Latin America have deteriorated since the beginning of the year following the aerial blockade that forced Bolivian President Evo Morales’ plane to land in Austria in July. Several EU countries closed their airspace to the presidential jet because of suspicions that former CIA employee Edward Snowden – wanted in the US on espionage charges – was on board. Bolivia alleged that the US was behind the aerial blockade.

In response to the incident, Latin American leaders joined together in condemnation of what they described as “neo-colonial intimidation.”

Later in the year, the revelations on the US’ global spy network released by Edward Snowden did little to improve relations. Leaked wires revealed that the National Security Agency (NSA) had monitored the private communications of both the Brazilian and Mexican presidents.

The Brazilian government denounced the NSA surveillance as “impermissible and unacceptable,” and a violation of Brazilian sovereignty. As a result of US spying Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff has postponed a state visit to Washington in October.

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Russian Envoy: Syria Can Resist US Attack!

Russian ambassador to Lebanon Zasypkn talks with pilot of Russian aeroplane that arrived with humanitarian aid for Syrian refugees in  Lebanon, at Beirut international airport
By: Marlene Khalifeh Translated from As-Safir (Lebanon).

 

Regional incidents and the terrorist Ruwais bombing in Lebanon have disturbed the quiet holiday that Russian Ambassador Alexander Zasypkin was enjoying at his home in Podolsk, south Russia, whose nature and refreshing climate he dwelled on. But today, Zasypkin is busy following the Syrian issue, which the Americans suddenly heated up by announcing possible upcoming air strikes against targeted Syrian sites.

Perhaps this week’s “star announcement” was the statement by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Monday, Aug. 26, when he said that Russia will not react militarily to a US military intervention in Syria

In Beirut, Zasypkin supported Lavrov’s position and was surprised that some thought that Russia was willing to go to war with the United States and destabilize the world for many years, as happened during the Cold War. He reiterated his country’s positions, which reject bypassing the UN Security Council. He expects that the new US “adventure” will expand the conflict in the region, as the United States did in Iraq and Libya. Zasypkin seemed certain about the Syrian army’s superiority relative to the opposition and, alluding to Iran, he warned about how the Syrian regime’s allies will react to a US strike.

Zasypkin accused the “Syrian opposition’s gunmen” of using poison gas against civilians, and he advised the Lebanese people, under these circumstances, to form a government that groups all sides and that doesn’t exclude any party that is represented in the Lebanese parliament.

Following is the text of the interview:

As-Safir:  Russia chose not to react militarily to a US military intervention in Syria. What does that mean? And does Moscow accept a repeat of the Libyan experience?

Zasypkin:  We do not accept a repeat of the Libyan experience by means of a decision in the UN Security Council. It is known that we used our veto right three times to prevent decisions that are unbalanced toward the Syrian reality. We want to prevent any action outside the UN Security Council. And if they resort to a military strike, then it would be a violation of international law.

As-Safir:  Will Russia stop at only describing the situation and accept direct US interference in Russia’s area of ​​influence?

Zasypkin:  We think that we are taking a strong political stance regarding what is happening. Our commitment to international legitimacy means that we will not accept any attempt at a direct foreign intervention in Syria. We believe that this is the strongest possible thing that Russia can do in these circumstances. Some might want us to use the same methods as the Americans and threaten their allies. But we will not fall into this trap and we will stick to the political struggle. At the same time, we have warned that this aggression will not be easy and that there will be a reaction from Syria. And we are aware of the positions of some other international parties allied to Syria.

As-Safir:  Some have interpreted Foreign Minister Lavrov’s words to mean that Russia has withdrawn its support for the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.

Zasypkin:  What is happening on the subject of chemical weapons, as well as the threats, shows that our approach is sound, so we will maintain it. We will not accept foreign attempts to force the Syrian president to step down. Today, as before, we assert that this issue is in the hands of the Syrian people and not in the hands of third parties, regardless of the methods they use to achieve this goal.

As-Safir:  But doesn’t the expected American military intervention change the power balance before going to the Geneva II conference?

Zasypkin:  This is an old discussion. We have been hearing for several months that they want a period of time to change the power balance to create suitable conditions for the negotiations. We do not accept this logic. We believe negotiations should have happened a long time ago. The facts indicate that the situation was moving in the [Syrian] army’s favor on the ground. If there is a strike, there will be multiple effects, whose implications we cannot accurately assess. What’s certain is that it will lead to the escalation of the situation and to the expansion of the conflict.

As-Safir:  During his visit to Russia, did Saudi Prince Bandar bin Sultan bin Abdul Aziz inform President Vladimir Putin about this sudden US change? How was the atmosphere of the Russian-Saudi meeting?

Zasypkin:  We believe that the meeting was useful because it was an opportunity for direct talks with the Saudi side and for Russia to explain its position and geopolitical constants. And I would like to emphasize that the rumors on bargains regarding regional issues are incorrect.

As-Safir:  Iran said that the Americans may be able to start the war but not decide how it will end. Did we enter into a regional war?

Zasypkin:  During the last decades, the Americans went into several adventures, like Iraq and the NATO operation in Libya. They have always led to chaos and tragic results for everyone, including the United States. So we warn of the same scenario if there is a strike against Syria, especially because it is a pivotal state in the region. The international community must support a political settlement in Syria through negotiations between the government and the opposition according to the Geneva accord. And this requires dealing with the parties to the conflict, and preparing for the Geneva II conference.

Russia accuses the Syrian opposition

As-Safir:  What is Russia’s political assessment about the poison gas massacre in east and west Ghouta? Is it true that Russia has failed to control the use of this weapon?

Zasypkin:  It’s not the first time that they’ve used the pretext of weapons of mass destruction to go on military adventures, as happened in Iraq. And according to our information, those who used chemical weapons in Syria are the armed opposition, not the Syrian regime. We have handed over the complete file about the Khan al-Asal incident to the UN Security Council. We must await the results of the experts’ investigations and the discussions in the Security Council.

As-Safir:  What if the UN Security Council is bypassed, as some parties have called for, such as British Foreign Minister William Hague and even Turkey?

Zasypkin:  We adhere to the UN Security Council despite attempts to sabotage its role. This is how Russia’s position differs from that of the international community, and we’re proud of it. We will continue to apply our international obligations in this regard. Those who act outside the scope of the Security Council should take responsibility for their actions because history does not end today.

As-Safir:  What will happen the day after the expected US strike?

Zasypkin:  The magnitude of the conflict will grow and its area will expand. And in our opinion, the Syrian regime can resist.

Lebanon, international terrorism and the government

As-Safir:  What does Russia think about what has been happening in Lebanon lately, regarding car bombs that claimed hundreds of innocent people in the southern suburbs and Tripoli?

Zasypkin:  We strongly condemn these acts, and we are striving to maintain the international consensus on security and stability in Lebanon regardless of what is happening in the region.

As-Safir:  Has Lebanon entered the “Iraqization” phase?

Zasypkin:  I think that the international constants regarding Lebanon are still in place. But subversive parties are trying to escalate the situation. So we have to stand in solidarity with Lebanon.

As-Safir:  Will Russia help Lebanon with anti-terrorism equipment?

Zasypkin:  If that’s necessary, we are ready.

As-Safir:  Who has an interest in seeing Lebanon blow up? Did the takfiri hypothesis that Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah talked about convince you?

Zasypkin:  There is a game going on in the framework of the international terrorist network. As an external party, I cannot point to any groups inside Lebanon who committed the crime. The investigation and the judicial outcomes must uncover who committed the crime.

As-Safir:  What about the proposals regarding the upcoming Lebanese cabinet? Does Russia accept a cabinet that doesn’t include Hezbollah?

Zasypkin:  This is an internal issue, but we always call for national dialogue. And we think that the best kind of government is one that includes all the main Lebanese groups without exception. This is the best choice for Lebanon. And given the exceptional circumstances we are experiencing in the region, the Lebanese government should be strong and capable of managing things in the country, especially with respect to security, the economy and social issues. Regarding the issue of representation and how the shares are divided, that should be decided by consultation among the Lebanese parties.

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Boston: Hands off Syria!

boston-syriaThe Green Star sends our warm regards to all the supporters of freedom and justice who took part in the Boston Hands off Syria march and demonstration as well as other anti-imperialist actions nation wide.

SOLIDARITY WITH SYRIA!

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Vladimir PutinBy Carlos Martinez

I tried to write this status without swearing, but I can’t do it, sorry. Stephen Fry is a dickhead. How ridiculously hypocritical and stupid to call for the Russian Winter Olympics to be banned on account of “anti-gay” laws.

Why didn’t Fry call for the London Olympics to be banned? Does Britain have a great record on human rights? Have we respected the human rights of the Iraqi, Libyan, Afghan, Yugoslav and Syrian people? And if brown people and weird Slav(e)s aren’t important enough to worry about, then have we respected the human rights of the Irish, on whom the British state developed the world’s most advanced torture techniques?

Why didn’t Fry call for the Atlanta Olympics, or the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics, to be banned, given the US record of flagrant human rights abuses at home and abroad? How about the fact that the US imprisons over 1% of its adult population (double Russia’s incarceration rate), and how about the fact that black people are incarcerated at 10 times the rate of whites? Does that not warrant a boycott? (Sorry, I keep forgetting that non-whites don’t really have ‘rights’ in the commonly understood sense of the word.)

What Stephen Fry is saying is that the most significant form of oppression in the world today is homophobia. Colonialism, imperialism, racism, capitalism, neoliberalism, sexism – none of these really matter. This (self-evidently wrong) position puts him solidly on the side of imperialism. He applauds Cameron for supporting gay marriage, whilst condemning Putin – one of the precious few world leaders moving seriously and confidently against western hegemony. In summary, Fry may be a very witty, eloquent, amiable chap, but he is unquestionably on the wrong side of the global barricades.

The irony is that his first suggestion for an alternative location is Utah, where the majority of the population is Mormon. The Mormonic view on homosexuality is summed up quite nicely on the mormon.org FAQ site: “We cannot stand idle if homosexuals indulge in immoral activity, if they try to uphold and defend and live in a so-called same-sex marriage situation. To permit such would be to make light of the very serious and sacred foundation of God-sanctioned marriage and its very purpose, the rearing of families.” And yet it’s Vladimir Putin who “cannot be seen to have the approval of the civilised world”?! Ridiculous.

Obviously, this issue is closely linked with Russia’s granting of asylum to Edward Snowden, and with Obama’s cancellation of his Moscow visit. Stephen Fry is letting us know, loud and clear, that he stands with Obama, Cameron, and the rest of the “civilised” (imperialist) world against the growing tide of multipolarity and national liberation.

(And, before you start an irrelevant debate: I do oppose homophobia and have nothing against homosexuals getting married!)

 

from the Agent of Change

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Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin has praised Russian authorities for not caving in to pressure from abroad, saying granting asylum to US whistleblower Edward Snowden would help prevent the establishment of a ‘global electronic prison camp’.

 

It is encouraging news that Russia is demonstrating its independence in this case as it has in many others, despite the pressure” said the head of the Holy Synod’s Department for Relations between the Church and Society.

Vsevolod Chaplin added that the Snowden saga has been broadly discussed both on the domestic and international level, with Russia’s position potentially bolstering its image as a country upholding “the true freedom of ideals.”

The Russian cleric further argued that Snowden’s revelations confirmed the existence of a pernicious problem discussed by Orthodox Christians for many years – “the prospective of a global electronic-totalitarian prison camp”.

First they get people addicted to convenient means of communication with the authorities, businesses and among each other. In a while people become rigidly connected to these services and as a result the economic and political owners of these services get tremendous and terrifying power. They cannot help feeling the temptation to use this power to control the personality and such control might eventually be much stricter that all known totalitarian systems of the twentieth century,” Interfax news agency quoted Chaplin as saying.

The church official added that in his view true democracy remained an unreachable ideal.

Any political system fixes the domination of a few over many. In the twentieth century the harshest forms of such political power used brute force, but now they are using soft power, through total data collecting and through soft persuasion of people, first through slogans but then through legal acts,” Chaplin explained. He noted that currently the soft power system was promoting such topics as declaring the western political system as the only viable option, making religion a marginal trend, and sidelining both criticism of market fundamentalism and leftist political platforms.

Chaplin urged Russian authorities to defend “real freedom, the freedom from the global ideological dictate and from the electronic prison camp.”

The cleric also offered a possible solution – the development of its own electronic communications system that would be independent from foreign-based mediums. “The nation has the brains for this and I hope we will also have a will,” Chaplin declared.

Russia is currently considering Edward Snowden’s request for temporary asylum and the former NSA contractor still remains in the transit zone of the Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport.

The Russian Justice Ministry on Tuesday sent a formal response to a letter from US Attorney General, who assured Moscow that Snowden would not face the prospect of death or torture if handed over to the United States.

The Russian ministry did not provide the details of its reply to the press.

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buti

 

Those who had hoped US President Barack Obama’s term of office would be different had been disappointed, Young Communist League (YCL) national secretary Buti Manamela said on Friday.

Obama’s three-nation tour, scheduled to bring him to South Africa later in the day, was a one-sided affair for the US’s benefit, Manamela said.

“In reality, Obama is here for trade relations, not for the benefit of the continent, but the gain of United States imperialism. The benefit of American companies to continue raping our mineral resources.”

Manamela and other officials led more than a thousand activists in a march to the US embassy in Arcadia, Pretoria.

“We are here to display our anger and frustrations in relation to continued US domination, not only of the economy, but the political sphere as well,” he said.

source.

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U.S. President Barack Obama laughs at the White House Correspondents Association annual dinner in Washington

 

Is anyone really surprised that Attorney General Eric Holder said that the Justice Department followed the rules in seizing two months of telephone records from 20 Associated Press journalists to investigate a CIA leak aas he recused himself from a FBI investigation?

The Obama era has been one of the worst for domestic civil liberties. It has become the status quo for law enforcement at every level to spy on Americans. Los Angeles police track tens of thousands of cars daily. Seattle police read text messages without search warrants. California police look at old e-mails the same way. Internet companies say they will protect users’ privacy, but have policies that still give police what they want.

Which brings us to the Justice Department’s subpeona of the AP’s phone records for an investigation into who leaked details about a failed terror attack to the country’s largest news organization. The DOJ informed the AP on Friday that it had obtained the phone records, creating an uproar in media circles. But no one should be surprised.

“This administration is as untransparent as the Bush administration—if not more,” Dana Priest, Washington Post investigative reporter told the new released documentary, War on Whistleblowers, which traces how the Bush and Obama White Houses have declared war on a litany of national security and Pentagon leakers. “They have really tried very hard to prosecute people who they believe have leaked information.”

“It does have an intimidating effect—not just on leakers, but on the process, on us doing our job” said Michael Isikoff, NBC investigative reporter, told the filmmakers. “And I think the impact is the American public learns less and American democracy is poorer rather than richer as a result of these prosecutions.”

The Dismal Obama Years

Civil libertarians have had very few victories under Obama. In March, a federal District Court blocked the FBI from ordering telecom companies to turn over customer data and blocked FBI gag orders on this domestic spying program, although the government will appeal. And last fall, a federal court also suspended a section of a major defense bill that gave the government permission to arrest people who were suspected of speaking with alleged terrorists, which included the journalists who sued. However, another federal court reinstated that provision pending appeal.

Moreover, even Obama’s latest pledge to try to close the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, has been seen as disingenuous—and not because Republicans in Congress say they will block that move—but because he hasn’t issued an executive order to do it.
These developments underscore that Obama barely differs from the George W. Bush when it comes to the ‘War on Terrorism.’ While Obama has not continued some tactics used by his predecessor, such as CIA black sites and torture, he’s gone further than Bush with targeted assassinations and with expanding the domestic national security state.

Let’s list Obama’s assault on civil liberties including newest attack on whistleblowers.

1. War on whistleblowers. The seizure of AP phone records is just the latest twist in a deepening war on media whistleblowers. Obama has revived the century-old Espionage Act to prosecute more then double the number of whistleblowers than all prior presidents combined. And he has draped these actions in secrecy. For example, the DOJ told the AP last Friday that it had already taken the phone records with one line in a letter.

2. War on domestic dissent. The Atlantic’s Wendy Kaminer, writinga powerful piece after Obama’s second inaugural said, “Kelly Clarkson’s musical paean to liberty seemed more sincere.” She lists five areas where the Obama is worse that Bush on civil liberties. “They include, but are probably not limited to, summary detention and torture; the prosecution of whistleblowers; surveillance of peaceful protesters; the criminalization of journalism and peaceful human-rights activism; and extensive blacklisting that would have been the envy of Joe McCarthy; and secrecy about a shadow legal system that makes the president’s ‘We the people’ trope seem less inspirational than sarcastic.”

3. Expanded surveillance state. In May 2011, Obama signed a renewal of several of the Patriot Act’s most controversial segments, including the use of ‘ roving wiretaps,’ the government’s expanded access to business records, and the ‘lone wolf’ provision, which allows surveillance of individuals not affiliated with any known terrorist organization. And last December, Obama signed five-year extension of the FISA Amendments Act, which was temporarily blocked in federal court but the administration is appealing it.

4. No legal recourse. Obama has claimed power not merely to detain citizens without judicial review but to execute them if they join America’s enemies abroad, about which The New York Times said, “It is extremely rare, if not unprecedented, for an American to be approved for targeted killing.” The Bush administration never claimed this right, but last fall The Washington Post reported the administration was formalizing a process for approving kills or captures and initially the CIA will not be bound by the new rules.”

5. Expanded military tribunals. Military justice systems do not fall under the U.S. Constitution. In late 2011, Obama signed a bill codifying the administration’s stance on military commissions and detention of terror suspects that extended Bush war on terror doctrine.

But this is not even the full list of the civil liberties abuses under Obama. His response to the Wikileaks case and prosecution of Bradley Manning and lack of transparency on his national security portfolio despite campaign pledges, pose an undeniable conclusion: Obama, the former constitutional law professor, is no friend of civil liberties.

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