Tonight I have confirmation that the worst is over. President Francois Hollande's bullish assessment came at the end of yet another long night of debate at a European summit. His lectern was marked "Jeudi 18 Octobre" though it was well into vendredi 19. The main reason for his optimism was the pre dawn compromise on banking union, the euro zone's new banking supervisor was on course to be to be legally established by the end of the year, and would become operational in the course of 2013. So some time next year the euro zone's rescue fund, the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) could be used directly to capitalize troubled banks. As the French tell the story, European leaders were able to drag Germany back to last June's promise to create a banking union in order to break the vicious circle between weak banks and weak sovereigns, after it had tried to backpedal from several aspects of the deal. Indeed, the agreed timetable was faster than promised in June, noted Mr Hollande, and the ECB will have the power to supervise all 6,000 odd euro zone banks. There was other good news too: Greece seemed close to agreement with its creditors, thereby ensuring it would not be thrown out of the euro, a euro zone statement paid tribute to to Greece's "remarkable effort" and Spain's borrowing costs were coming down, thanks to the conditional readiness of the European Central Bank to intervene in bond markets. Even better for Mr Hollande was the fact that there had been no talk of the proposal by Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor, to create a super commissioner with the power to dictate budgetary policies to member states. All such ideas were for the future, said the president, if and when the treaties were revised, to create joint Eurobonds. The Germans seemed more downbeat and defensive. There would be no direct recapitalization before next year, noted Angela Merkel, the German chancellor.
Earlier this year, I watched the BBC's main political debate program that allows an audience of members of the public to put questions to a panel of politicians and so called experts. Syria was on the agenda. A member of the panel referred to the Syrian rebels as freedom fighters. Within a few minutes, all panel members and the audience were using this term to refer to the rebels. It led me to ponder why so many people were willing to accept at face value an agenda that portrayed the insurgents in such a wholly positive light. It also led me to conclude just how easy it is to manipulate ordinary people into backing imperialist ventures abroad, which are fought on behalf of rich interests. At a time of biting austerity and attacks on workers and the welfare state, well over a billion pounds of ordinary people's money was used to fund the illegal bombing of Libya. The justification sold to people for such militarism is that dictators are bad. The justification sold to people for attacking or destabilizing countries resulting in mas death is that democracy must therefore be forced through by the barrel of a gun. Isn't it terrible, the politicians and media say, that Assad is a brutal dictator who is preventing democracy by putting down the rebels. The Assad regime undoubtedly has its faults, but nothing is ever said about by the corporate media about the authoritarian ruling clique in Saudi Arabia, which has even given its name to the House of Saud. Nothing is ever said about a western backed dictator in Bahrain, who has been in power for 52 years. Nothing is ever revealed about the brutal ongoing crackdowns on protestors and dissenters in those countries. When Bahrain used Saudi troops to put down uprisings in 2011, the resultant death toll was proportionally much larger than was the loss of life in Egypt during the uprising there. In fact, if the death toll in Bahrain were taken as a proportion of the population, the equivalent death toll for Egypt would have been 12,000. Where was the outrage from the US and its client states? That's right, there was none. The King of Bahrain was even invited to attend Queen Elizabeth's Jubilee celebrations at Buckingham Palace.
Last week, more than 100 organizations worldwide, including dozens of US Campaign coalition members, signed onto a letter of support for the first Israeli sports team boycott campaign in the United States, organized by member group Minnesota Break the Bonds Campaign. The Israeli basketball team Maccabi-Haifa has been in the United States, playing US teams, including the Minnesota Timber wolves. When the Timber wolves refused to cancel their game with the Maccabi, almost two dozen activists protested inside the stadium, calling on the team to "Stop Playing with Apartheid!" The protestors were ejected from the game for "disruptive and inappropriate messages". Meanwhile counter protestors waving Israeli flags were allowed to stay. According to a press release on the MN BBC website, a legal observer and civil rights attorney was assaulted and temporarily arrested by local security and police. A boycott of Apartheid South Africa's sports team proved to be a particularly effective tool in the struggle to end oppression there. At the time, South African teams that had not taken a public stance against apartheid would not be invited by any self respecting tournament or venue. It should be no different with Apartheid Israel today. In the same way that South African teams were, almost all Israeli sports teams are cynically used as "ambassadors" of an apartheid state. Additionally, Maccabi is sponsored by Ya'akov Shahar, chairman of Mayer's Cars and Trucks Ltd, the official importer to Israel of Volvo. Both companies are heavily involved in the Israeli occupation, as documented by Who Profits, an Israeli research project. Israeli sports teams like Maccabi are also notorious for racism and racial discrimination against Palestinians.
What goes on in America's schools is essentially identical to what goes on in the Madrassas of the Muslim world. In both, orthodox beliefs are taught as truth and critical examination is discouraged. Two worlds clash in loggerheads. In the 1960s, I came across a little book entitled Master Teachers and the Art of Teaching. This unpretentious little book, written by John E Colman of St John's University, not only enlightened me as a young university professor, but proved to be invaluable. In it, about a dozen different teaching methods are described, along with some information about the master teachers who designed them. Each of these methods was used successfully to teach some subjects to some students. None was used successfully to teach all subjects to all students. Throughout my teaching career, I found opportunities to utilize many of these methods when the right situations arose. The lesson I learned from this little book is that there is no one teaching method that works for teaching all subjects to all students. Finding the right method for the students at hand is at best an art, never a science, and is never easy. Few people understand this. In fact, teacher training suppresses it. Teaching methods are taught to prospective teachers as fixed, reliable procedures that never fail, when in reality, they rarely succeed. And although carried out in numerous variations, the predominant way of teaching in America's schools at all levels has been the teacher's lecture and the student's need to memorize it. Today the lecture is often presented in various ways. The student listens to the teacher speak, or reads a teacher's words in a textbook, or watches a televised presentation or a computerized video, and students are asked to memorize some portion of the presented material. Furthermore, the memorization of presented material is the most boring way of teaching anyone anything. No one likes having to memorize stuff.
Mitt Romney is not only one of the wealthiest presidential candidates in history, his finances are by far the most opaque. In April, the Washington Post reported that Romney "has taken advantage of an obscure exception in federal ethics laws to avoid disclosing the nature and extent of his holdings." By offering a limited description of his assets, Romney has made it difficult to know precisely where his money is invested, whether it is offshore or in controversial companies, or whether those holdings could affect his policies or present any conflicts of interest. This is no accident. From what we do know, Romney has, or has recently had some highly controversial investments in his extensive portfolio. The New York Times reported that Romney was invested in China's "unfair" trading practices on the campaign trail. His trust "also invested in derivative securities linked to the Japanese stock market and to an index that includes stocks in every major country except the United States. It invested in a derivative that would profit if the dollar fell against a group of foreign currencies," according to the Times. While he calls Russia our "number one geo-strategic foe," he also invested in the politically influential Russian state oil company, Gazprom. Gazprom is one of Russia's "national champion" companies, which are expected not only to turn a profit, but also to advance the country's national interests. It has long been seen as Vladimir Putin's "premier instrument of power," according to Foreign Affairs. Andrew Kaczynski at Buzzfeed reported that while "Romney has often used Chinese piracy ans intellectual property theft as an issue while attacking President Obama on China," he had invested in "Youku, a Chinese version of YouTube" that "became a haven for downloading illegal American content." He also invested in Youku, a Chinese version of YouTube" that became a haven for downloading illegal American content." He also invested in a Bain fund with a major stake in GOME, a Chinese electronics company that, according to the Boston Globe, "is being sued by Microsoft Corp. for selling computers with pirated versions of its Windows and Office software."
In 1948, George Orwell published his classic dystopian novel 1984, flipping the numbers in the publication year to speed us into a future that is now, of course, 18 years in our past. In that book, he imagined a three superpower world of regularly shifting alliances in which war was a constant, but its specific nature eternally forgotten. As he wrote, "To trace out the history of the whole period, to say who was fighting whom at any given moment, would have been utterly impossible, since no written record, and no spoken word, ever made mention of any other alignment than the existing one." Of course, predicting the future is a perilous thing. Instead of three squabbling superpowers ruling the globe, we have one, and yet there are some eerie real world parallels to Orwell's fiction. By 1984, for instance, the US and the Saudis were funneling huge sums of money and vast quantities of weaponry through Pakistan's intelligence outfit, the Inter Services Intelligence directorat, to support the most fundamentalist and extreme of the Afghan mujahedeen, who were then fighting that other superpower, the Soviet Union, in their country. These included Gulbuddin Hekmatar and, as Anand Gopal has pointed out at TomDispatch, Jalaluddin Haqqani, who received millions of dollars, anti aircraft missiles, and even tanks. He was, at the time, so beloved by Washington officials that former congressman Charlie Wilson once called him 'goodness personified.'Hekmatyar and Haqqani were among those President Ronald Reagan, shades of Orwell's "Ministry of Truth" dubbed "freedom fighters." Jump forward nearly two decades, and the Haqqani network is perhaps Washington's greatest bugaboo in the present Afghan War, a group regularly denounced by the Obama administration for its attacks on US troops, while Hekmatyar and his group Hizb-i-Islami, like the Haqqani's, are allied with the Taliban.
Rosa Luxemburg: The triumph of imperialism leads to the annihilation of civilization. With signs of a global economic downturn mounting, US aggression across the Middle East and North Africa ratchets up, and once again, US imperialism stands poised to swing open the gates of Hell. The choice presently confronting humanity, then, is one between imperialism on the one hand, and the struggle against imperialism on the other. The choice presently confronting humanity then, is one between imperialism on the one hand, and the struggle against imperialism on the other. According to the IMF's World Economic Outlook report released last week, the risks for a serious global slowdown are alarmingly high. The report projects the world economy to expand just 3.3 percent this year and 3.6 percent in 2013, both projections down from the IMF's July forecast. As Joseph Davis, chief economist at the Vanguard Group, cautioned to the Wall Street Journal, the odds of a global recession are not fully appreciated. Indeed, for as the Financial Times reports, the Tracking Indices for the Global Economic Recovery, the Brookings Institution Financial Times index of the world economy, finds severe problems in both advanced and emerging markets. The global economic recovery, Brookings senior and index creator Eswar Prasad warned, is on the ropes, and though in its latest report the IMF continued to peddle the harsh elixir of austerity for the depressed economies of the euro zone periphery, the Fund also came to tacitly acknowledge the limits of austerity. The IMF now says global efforts to slash deficits and debt may have hurt growth, because they occurred too quickly and too widely, the Wall Street Journal reported.
The Nobel Committee did it again. The essence of its highest award, the Nobel Peace Prize, has been perverted. It's been turned into a propaganda tool, a form of institutionalized revisionism, for which war is upheld as a peaceful endeavor, creeping alongside power struggles called humanitarian interventions in a fantasy tale we call history. Neither Henry Kissinger, nor Barack Obama and the European Union (EU) deserved a peace prize. How can the EU deserve a peace prize when its been using its military might in the Middle East and Africa for over a decade? As David Swanson notes: "Europe has not during the past year, which is the requirement, or even during the past several decades done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations. Ask Libya, Ask Syria. Check with Afghanistan. See what Iraq thinks. Far from doing the best work to abolish or reduce standing armies, Europe has joined with the United States in developing an armed global force, aggressively imposing its will on the world. There were good nominees and potential nominees available, even great ones. "The West is so in love with itself that many will imagine this award a success. Surely Europe not going to war with itself is more important that Europe going to war with the rest of the world!" (David Swanson, Why Europe Did Not Deserve a Nobel Peace Prize). In addition to waging war with murderous weapons, the EU also uses "economic weaponry" directed against civilians, such as the sanctions it imposes on Iran. Unlike the EU, Iran has not invaded or attacked any country and the reasons justifying the economic sanctions are pure fantasy. Kourosh Ziabari explains: This union has aggressively declared an all out, bloodless war on Iran, affecting millions of innocent civilians in my country who cant understand for what crime they are being targeted and punished in such a belligerent and unfair manner!!
It was Not to End the War or save lives. Like all Americans, I was taught that the US dropped nuclear bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in order to end WWII and save both American and Japanese lives. But most of the top American military officials at the time said otherwise. The US Strategic Bombing Survey group, assigned by President Truman to study the air attacks on Japan, produced a report in July of 1946 that concluded: Based on the detailed investigation of all the facts and supported by the testimony of the surviving Japanese leaders involved, it is the Survey's opinion that certainly prior to 1 November 1945, Japan would have surrendered even if the atomic bombs had not been dropped, even if Russia had not entered the war, and even if no invasion had been planned or contemplated. General, and later president Dwight Eisenhower, then Supreme Commander of all Allied Forces, and the officer who created most of America's WWII military plans for Europe and Japan said: The Japanese were ready to surrender, and it wasn't necessary to hit them with that awful thing. Eisenhower also noted: In July 1945, Secretary of War Stimson, visiting my headquarters in Germany, informed me that our government was preparing to to drop an atomic bomb on Japan. I was one of those who felt that there were a number of cogent reasons to question the wisdom of such an act. The Secretary, upon giving me the news of the successful bomb test in New Mexico, and of the plan for using it, asked for my reaction, apparently expecting a vigorous assent. During his recitation of the relevant facts, I had been conscious of a feeling of depression, and so I voiced to him my grave misgivings, first on the basis of my belief that Japan was already defeated, and that dropping the bomb was completely unnecessary, and secondly because I thought that our country should avoid shocking world opinion by the use of a weapon whose employment was, I thought, no longer mandatory as a measure to save American lives. It was my belief that Japan was, at that very moment, seeking some way to surrender with a minimum loss of face.
Paul Ryan ended the one and only vice presidential debate last week just as he began it, conveniently stepping over the facts. Ryan stepped on the facts when, referring to Governor Romney, he asked "Wouldn't it be nice to have a job creator in the White House?" It's widely known that when he left the governorship of his state back in 2007, Massachusetts came in 47 out of 50 states in job creation. On Iran, once again, Congressman Ryan stepped on the facts when he characterized Iran as "racing towards a nuclear weapon." Vice President Biden called him out on it. Biden laughed and said, rightly, "Iranians are a good way away from getting a nuclear weapon. There is no weapon that the Iranians have now. What is all this bluster?" The man who would be a heartbeat away from the Oval Office laments the Obama administration's effort to address the imploding deficit by making much needed cuts to defense. Instead, Mr. Ryan and his sidekick,"Cool Hand Mitt", want to increase defense spending by $2 trillion. Yes, $2 trillion, which is what some economists estimate the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, over the past decade, have added to the deficit. Deficit hawk Ryan gave a big thumbs up to both wars. During the debate, he now says he and Romney "are for peace, too." Well, show me the math, pal. How can any candidate for any elected office have the chutzpah to insult the intelligence of American voters with a bold faced lie like that one. When Ryan says, "That's what we have to do. We have to change Iran's mind," how does he plan to do so? If grueling economic sanctions that the current administration has applied, sanctions so severe that protestors took to the streets of Teheran in desperation, weren't enough, what's left? Boots on the ground? Fighter jets in the air? Occupying and pummeling Teheran in much the same way their immediate predecessor, George W Bush occupied and pummeled Iraq only to discover later that there were no"weapons of mass destruction."
American teacher: Whom are you going to vote for? American student #1 18 year old male, eligible to vote: I am voting for Romney. American student #1: It is unfair for Obama and people to pick on the upper class, just because they are wealthy. I listen to my parents about these things. American teacher: Alright, that's a reason. Do you know anything about national security and how it affects you? What do you think about Iran? What about the decay of many of our cities and towns in our country? How about the unemployed? What about those military personnel returning from Iraq and Afghanistan? I mean there are a lot of issues that you should consider when casting your vote, whether it be for Romney or Obama. You can't rely solely on the easiest sources of information. American student #1: Well, look, I am voting for Romney because it will be something new. American female student #2 female, 18 year old, eligible to vote: I am voting for Obama because Romney wants to cut funding for the arts. Abortion is a matter for each woman to decide. Romney is not focused on our country's problems. I don't like his attitude. I do not know all the issues or much about the Iran situation, except that it is not good. Really, they are not that much different, but Obama is my choice. Voting just for something new is crazy. Above is a record of a conversation with two eighteen year old Americans, who will be casting their votes in the presidential election of 2012. A third student, just shy of her eighteenth birthday, was asked the same questions to which she said that Romney would be her selection because "it would be for something new." All three students were sincere and passionate about their responses. So in this three person poll, Romney wins 2-1. All three indicated that there was not much difference between the two of them.
This Sunday's elections will pit incumbent President Hugo Chavez Frias against neoliberal pro-US opposition candidate Henrique Capriles Radonski. Opinion polls vary widely both ways, proof it will be a head to head race. This election is not only of vital importance to Venezuela, but to all of Latin America, as Chavez has been a veritable barrier against traditional US interventionism in the region. Get Chavez! That's been the rallying call in the mainstream Western media, demonizing Chavez's refusal to align Venezuela to the Western powers' geopolitical objectives throughout the world, something the US and its allies find very hard to swallow. That's why they've put all of their clout behind young upstart Henrique Capriles Radonski, as if he were a savior of democracy in Venezuela. But that's not quite the case when you consider that Capriles Radonski was very much involved in the failed US backed coup in April 2002 to oust Chavez, and even spent a short spate in jail for it. Chavez, in turn, is presented as "authoritarian and not democratic". And yet, when he lost the 2007 constitutional reform referendum or the 2010 congressional elections, his government fully heeded the electorate's will. No one today doubts that Sunday's elections will be transparent and fair. So why all the anger and fuss against Chavez? To those who haven't got the message yet. "It's his foreign policy, Stupid!" Irrespective of whether his domestic policies are good or bad, his foreign policies have held Venezuela's sovereignty and self esteem very high indeed, actively supporting all nations being savagely attacked by the US, UK, NATO or Israel. Such is Venezuela's support of the martyred people of Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya, all flagrantly bombed, invaded and devastated by the Western powers based on outright lies, perverted distortions of the truth, and corporate greed to grab oil resources. It must be said. At the center of the "We Hate Chavez" movement is Israel, for here lies one of the clues to the sudden rise of Capriles Radonski.
When Senator Barack Obama ran for the presidency in 2008, many wishful thinking Democratic voters viewed him as a peace candidate, because he opposed the Iraq war, but voted yes on the war budgets while in the Senate. Some others assumed his foreign military policy would be along the lines of Presidents George H W Bush, whom Obama admired, or Bill Clinton. Some who identified as progressives actually thought his foreign and military policy might tilt to the left. Instead, center rightist that he is, Obama's foreign military policy amounted to a virtual continuation of George W Bush's Global War on Terrorism under a different name. He extended Bush's wars to Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, Libya and elsewhere while greatly expanding the war in Afghanistan, hiking the military budget, encouraging the growth of militarism in US society by repeatedly heaping excessive praise on the armed forces, and tightening the military encirclement of China. Summing up sume of his military accomplishments a few months ago, Obama declared: "We've succeeded in defending our nation, taking the fight to our enemies, reducing the number of Americans in harms way, and we've restored America's global leadership. That makes us safer and it makes us stronger, and that's an achievement that every American, especially those Americans who are proud to wear the uniform of the United States Armed Forces should take great pride in." Obama actually has little to show for his war policy after nearly four years. Most important, Afghanistan, the war he supported with enthusiasm is predictably blowing up in his face. A symbol of the Bush-Obama 11 year Afghan folly is the recent 2,000th death of an American soldier, not at the hands of the Taliban, but a US trained Afghan police officer, our supposed ally. The truth is that public opinion in Afghanistan has always overwhelmingly opposed the invasion, and rightly so.
On October 3, 2012 the Turkish military launched repeated mortar shelling inside Syrian territory. The military action, which was used by the Turkish military, conveniently to establish a ten kilometer wide no mans land buffer zone inside Syria, was in response to the alleged killing by Syrian armed forces of several Turkish civilians along the border. There is widespread speculation that the one Syrian mortar that killed five Turkish civilians well might have been fired by Turkish backed opposition forces intent on giving Turkey a pretext to move militarily, in military intelligence jargon, a false flag operation. Turkey's Muslim Brotherhood friendly Foreign Minister, the inscrutable Ahmet Davutoglu, is the governments main architect of Turkey's self defeating strategy of toppling its former ally Bashar Al-Assad in Syria. According to one report since 2006 under the government of Islamist Sunni Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his pro-Brotherhood AKP party. Turkey has become a new center for the Global Muslim Brotherhood. A well informed Istanbul source relates the report that before the last Turkish elections, Erdogans AKP received a donation of $10 billion from the Saudi monarchy, the heart of world jihadist Salafism under the strict fundamentalist cloak of Wahabism. Since the 1950's, when the CIA brought leading members in exile of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood to Saudi Arabia, there has been a fusion between the Saudi brand of Whabism and the aggressive jihadist fundamentalism of the Brotherhood. The Turkish response to the single Syrian mortar shell, which was met with an immediate Syrian apology for the incident, borders on a full scale war between two nations which until last year were historically, culturally, economically and even in religious terms, closest of allies. That war danger is ever more serious.
Sunday October 7 was a day of mixed emotions. First there was coming to terms with seeing black shirted fascists marching along the water front in Samos Town. When I first came here in 1995, I could never ever imagined such an event taking place on Samos. On Sunday it happened. But, there was also relief that the Golden Dawn (GD) presence was so small. I counted 35 in their ranks, of whom half appeared to be from outside Samos. They were the ones getting them sorted out in ranks of 3 in the car park, before they marched, and leading the chants. The others may have been from Samos, but none were recognized by those we were with, although later I was told by a close friend who lives and works in the town that she recognized 3 police men from Samos among the GD marchers. I think there were 3 or 4 women while the rest were men, mostly in their 20s and 30s dressed in jeans and black T shirts. Most of them seemed to be carrying a flag, lots of Greek and some Golden Dawn flags, which I supposed helped disguise their small turn out. GD called for the demonstration and had publicly invited all Greek Samians to protest against the re-opening and refurbishing of the Detention Center that had only been built around 8 years ago, but had been closed for some years as the flow of refugees moved to the land border to the north between Greece and Turkey and away from islands such as Samos, Lesbos and Chios. But as the land border has been hardened into a death trap for those who dare, so the older routes to Samos have re-opened. By the end of September, the cells across a number of police stations on the island were shamefully crammed with up to 9 adults living in rooms of less than 15 sq meters. Many of these recently arrived refugees, included significant numbers of young children. In the middle of September I went with a friend to take some food and drink to 8 Algerian refugees locked up in Karlovassi police station and being kept inside a single room 24/7 at a time when daytime temperatures were still very high.
This year's Nobel Prize was granted to the European Union for its relentless contribution to "the advancement of peace and reconciliation, democracy and human rights in Europe." While the EU's contribution to peace is debatable, the key issue is whether a union of states, which constitutes a political, economic, monetary and fiscal entity is an "eligible candidate" for the Peace Prize, in accordance with the mandate of the Norwegian Committee. The Olympic Games are "granted" to countries. But the Nobel Peace Prize cannot under any stretch of the imagination be granted to a nation state, let alone a union of nation states. The Norwegian Nobel Committee has a responsibility to ascertain "the eligibility of candidates" in accordance with the Will of Alfred Bernhard Nobel: "The whole of my remaining realizable estate shall be dealt with in the following way: the capital, invested in safe securities by my executors, shall have conferred the greatest benefit to mankind. The said interest shall be divided into five equal parts, which shall be apportioned as follows: one part to the person who shall have produced in the field of literature the most outstanding work in an ideal direction, and one part to the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies, and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses. For champions of peace, the prize will be awarded by a committee of five persons, to be elected by the Norwegian Storting. It is my express wish that in awarding the prizes no consideration whatever shall be given to the nationality of the candidates, but that the most worthy shall receive the prize, whether he be a Scandinavian or not. Will of Alfred Bernhard Nobel, November 27, 1895.
This Sunday's elections will pit incumbent President Hugo Chavez Frias against neoliberal pro-US opposition candidate Henrique Capriles Radonski. Opinion polls vary widely both ways, proof it will be a head to head race. This election is not only of vital importance to Venezuela, but to all of Latin America, as Chavez has been a veritable barrier against traditional US interventionism in the region. That's been the rallying call in the mainstream Western media, demonizing Chavez's refusal to align Venezuela to the Western powers' geopolitical objectives throughout the world, something the US and its allies find very hard to swallow. That's why they've put all of their clout behind young upstart Henrique Capriles Radonski, as if he were the savior of democracy in Venezuela. But that's not quite the case when you consider that Capriles Radonski was very much involved in the failed US backed coup in April 2002 to oust Chavez, and even spent a short spate in jail for it. Chavez, in turn, is presented as "authoritarian and not democratic". And yet, when he lost the 2007 constitutional reform referendum or the 2010 constitutional reform referendum or the 2010 congressional elections, his government fully heeded the electorate's will. No one today doubts that Sunday's elections will be transparent and fair. So why all the anger and fuss against Chavez? To those who haven't got the message yet: "It's his foreign policy, Stupid!" Irrespective of whether his domestic policies are good or bad, his foreign policies have held Venezuela's sovereignty and self esteem very high indeed, actively supporting all nations being savagely attacked by the US, UK, NATO, or Israel. Such is Venezuela's sovereignty and self esteem very high indeed, actively supporting all nations being savagely attacked by the US, UK, NATO or Israel. Such is Venezuela's support of the martyred peoples of Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya, all flagrantly bombed, invaded and devastated by the Western powers, based on outright lies, perverted distortions of the truth, and corporate greed to grab oil resources!!
The War is Worth Waging, Afghanistan,'s vast reserves of Minerals and Natural Gas. US and NATO forces invaded Afghanistan eleven years ago, yet Afghanistan is defined as a state sponsor of terrorism. The war in Afghanistan continues to be heralded as a war of retribution in response to the 9/11 attacks. This article, first published in June 2010, points to the "real economic reasons" why US NATO forces invaded Afghanistan eleven years ago. The legal argument used by Washington and NATO to invade and occupy Afghanistan under "the doctrine of collective security" was that the September 11 2001 attacks constituted an undeclared armed attack from abroad by an unnamed foreign power: The 2001 bombing and invasion of Afghanistan has been presented to world public opinion as a just war, a war directed against the Taliban and Al Qaeda, a war to eliminate "Islamic terrorism" and instate Western style democracy. The economic dimensions of the "Global War on Terrorism" are rarely mentioned. The post 9/11 counter terrorism campaign has served to obfuscate the real objectives of the US NATO war. The war on Afghanistan is part of a profit driven agenda: a war of economic conquest and plunder, "a resource war". While Afghanistan is acknowledged as a strategic hub in Central Asia, bordering on the former Soviet Union, China and Iran, at the crossroads of pipeline routes and major oil and gas reserves, its huge mineral wealth as well as its untapped natural gas reserves have remained, until June 2010, totally unknown to the American public. According to a joint report by the Pentagon, the US Geological Survey (USGS) and USAID, Afghanistan is now said to possess "previously unknown" and untapped mineral reserves, estimated authoritatively by the New York Times, to be on the order of one trillion dollars. The previously unknown deposits, including huge veins of iron, copper, cobalt, gold and critical industrial metals like lithium, are so big and include so many minerals that are essential to modern industry that Afghanistan could eventually be transformed into one of the most important mining centers in the world, the United States officials believe!!!