Monthly Archives: April 2012

ZANU-PF declares two members liberation war heroes

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April 25, 2012

Zanu-PF has declared two of its four members who died in a car crash while conducting party district elections in Gutu over the weekend liberation war heroes. This was in recognition of the role they played before and after independence. Provincial executive committee member, Cde Elizabeth Shudu (46) of Chipimbi Village in Chiredzi and Gutu district ex-detainees chairperson, Cde Alois Puraje (63) of Old Location in Mpandawana, died on the spot while Cde Tsungai Mutakwa (40) of Zvavahera Village in Gutu and  Stanley Munengerwa (39) of Mpandawana in Gutu, died on admission at Gutu Mission Hospital.

Their car, a Land Cruiser, veered off the road and plunged into a river last weekend. Two other Zanu-PF members sustained severe injuries and are hospitalised at Gutu Mission Hospital. The Land Cruiser belongs to Masvingo Governor and Resident Minister Titus Maluleke. Zanu-PF Masvingo provincial chairman Cde Lovemore Matuke, yesterday said Cdes Shudu and Puraje had been declared liberation war heroes after considering their sterling work in freeing Zimbabwe.

Cde Matuke said Cde Puraje will be buried in Gutu this week while Cde Shudu will be buried in Chiredzi on Saturday.

“We declared Cde Shudu and Cde Puraje as liberation heroes because of the roles they played in making sure Zimbabwe was freed from the yoke of colonial tyranny through our independence and also for the work they continued to do even after independence seeking the betterment of lives of the majority.

“Cde Puraje spend over eight years in jail after he was arrested by the Ian Smith regime for assisting freedom fighters during our country’s independence and he was chairman of ex-detainees Gutu district chapter.

Cde Shudu was a reputable war collaborator who assisted guerrillas with food and uniforms during our struggle for independence and continued to serve the party Zanu PF with distinction even after independence and was aparty provincial executive member at the time of her death,’’ said Cde Matuke.

Source

Arizona: School Board fires head of Mexican-American Studies

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Arizona anti-immigrant bashing

By Paul Teitelbaum
April 23, 2012

The Tucson Unified School Board, in a 3-2 vote, ousted the director of the Mexican-American Studies Program on April 10.

Program Director Sean Arce co-founded the MAS Program in 1999 and developed it into one of the most successful programs in the district. In 2004, the Mexican-American Studies Department was combined with the Pan-Asian, African-American and Native-American Studies Departments to create the new Ethnic Studies Department. This made the Tucson district the only K-12 public school district in the U.S. with an Ethnic Studies Department.

During the two-and-a-half-hour public comment period prior to the vote, people defended Arce and the program and lambasted the racist cowards on the board. Not one comment was made against the program. Community activist Isabel Garcia expressed the anger and outrage of the people when she told the board, ”I believe you prefer our children in prison than graduating from these high schools.”

Board Superintendent John Pedicone, an opponent of the Ethnic Studies Program, offered no explanation for Arce’s firing, saying only that his contract was not renewed “for a number of reasons.” (Arizona Daily Star, April 11) Arce had refused to go along with the board’s plan to gut the MAS Program, removing all its substance but leaving the name intact. His firing was in retribution for his tireless defense of ethnic studies. It is also seen as a warning to any other teacher who does not bow to the board’s dictates.

Hundreds of supporters of the program filled the board meeting room and overflowed into the streets. They saw the director’s firing as a continuation of the racist war that has been declared against the MAS Program and the Latino/a people by the state of Arizona. Since 2006, when then-Superintendent of Schools Tom Horne unleashed the racist campaign to shut down Ethnic Studies, the community has fought back and defended the program against the most vicious lies and slander.

In 2010, within days of passing the racist, anti-immigrant SB1070 law, the state legislature passed HB2281, which outlawed Ethnic Studies in Arizona and targeted Tucson’s Mexican-American Studies Program in particular.

In January the Tucson Ethnic Studies Program was declared in violation of HB2281. Within weeks textbooks were banned and removed from the classroom, and teaching Latino/a and Indigenous culture became a crime.

Racists step up attacks, acting openly

It did not go unnoticed that the firing of Sean Arce occurred on the National Day of Justice for Trayvon Martin. The demonization of Latino/a youth and their culture, the denial of the right of oppressed peoples to study their history, and the political lynching of the MAS Program’s founder all emanate from the same racist system that led to the murder of Trayvon Martin. The slow dismemberment of the Ethnic Studies Program by the Tucson School Board is another symptom of this racist poison.

Two migrant workers were murdered on April 9 outside the small town of Eloy, Ariz., when a truck transporting migrants was ambushed by a group of armed vigilantes. The mainly Latino/a town of Eloy is home to not just one but four for-profit prisons run by the private profit-making Corrections Corporation of America. It is one of the areas where known vigilante groups, like the Border Guardians and Minutemen, roam the desert.

In Pinal County, Arizona, which borders on Mexico, neo-Nazi J. T. Ready, of the so-called National Socialist Movement, has announced his bid to run for sheriff. Ready’s Facebook page features photos of him and his armed militias on patrol in the desert. Not only has Facebook allowed the page to remain online, but local media soft-sell Ready as an acceptable candidate.

The state of Arizona is preparing to fund an armed, all-volunteer state militia that would patrol the border. Senate Bill 1083 would create the Arizona Special Missions Unit. This is nothing more than putting the racist Minutemen and Border Guardians on the state payroll.

The racist legislators promoting this militia are spewing venom about “an invasion” and “international criminal activity” in a further attempt to whip up racist anti-Mexican and anti-immigrant “frenzy. (statepress.com, Feb. 16)

As the economic crisis deepens, impoverishing more and more workers, racist atrocities occur with increasing frequency. The state relies on this racism to keep people divided and distracted from the true cause of the crisis: the capitalist profit system in decay. That is why, without a shred of evidence, a school program that empowers Latino/a youth is ferociously set upon and targeted for destruction, while an ambush and murder by armed vigilantes is treated as just another homicide. This is why a neo-Nazi like J. T. Ready is portrayed as an acceptable candidate for sheriff.

Workers and oppressed communities need to build unity and solidarity and fight back against the racists, their henchmen and the crumbling capitalist system that is the cause of it all.

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New U.S. spy service targets China and Iran

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April 24, 2012

China and Iran are the high-priority targets for a new spy service created by the Pentagon. The Defense Clandestine Service is aimed at ramping up spying operations overseas, and suggests a shift in national threat assessment.

The plan approved by Defense Secretary Leon Panetta last week will see hundreds of case officers working alongside the CIA.

The military and civilian spy agencies will increasingly focus on similar threats.

The large military build up in China is likely to be one of the main targets for the new agency. Iran, Al-Qaeda in Africa, and North Korea’s nuclear programme are also on the priority list.

During the last decade the US has mainly focused on war zones such as Iraq and Afghanistan.

The new service is expected to grow in the coming years by shifting people’s assignments, the New York Times quoted a senior Defense Department official as saying.

The Pentagon has already sought to downplay concerns that the new service would take over CIA functions, rather beef up existing CIA intelligence teams.

While serving the Pentagon case officers in the field will answer directly to the top intelligence representative in their posting, usually the CIA’s chief of station.

There have been complaints that the CIA and Defense Department were stepping on each other’s toes, with the Defense Intelligence Service also gathering information about terrorists and nuclear proliferation along with the CIA.

A study completed by the Director of National Intelligence, has assessed that traditional spying activities are not enough.

Now the Pentagon wants more info on what is called “national intelligence” — gathering and distributing information on global issues and sharing that intelligence with other agencies.

The new project was worked out by the top Pentagon intelligence official, the Undersecretary for Defense Intelligence Michael Vickers, and his CIA counterpart who heads the National Clandestine Service.

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CPP: Intensify the people’s anti-imperialist and democratic struggles on 39th anniversary of the NDFP

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The following statement below was originally published by the Communist Party of the Philippines

April 24, 2012

The entire leadership and membership of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and Red fighters and commanders of the New People’s Army (NPA) extend their warm revolutionary greetings to the allied organizations of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) as it marks its founding anniversary.

Thirty-nine years ago today, the Preparatory Commission of the NDFP issued the NDF 12-point program, which since then has served as the framework for building the Filipino people’s unity under the banner of the national democratic revolution.

The NDFP has been waging armed struggle, carrying out agrarian revolution, mass base and united front building in the past four decades. It represents the Filipino people’s revolutionary forces and their people’s democratic government, which are being built on the foundations of the victories attained in waging people’s war. Through the NDFP, the collective interests of the Filipino people are being represented in negotiations with the reactionary government, in the field of international diplomacy and solidarity relations with other revolutionary forces, people’s movements and other groups.

Let us celebrate four decades of united front building through the NDFP. Through the NDFP, the Filipino people are being united with the basic alliance of the proletariat and peasantry at its core, in alliance with the progressive forces of the petty bourgeoisie, and in further alliance with the patriotic forces of the national bourgeoisie. The NDFP has also entered into temporary alliances with factions of the ruling classes in order to build broad alliances to isolate and fight the ruling clique.

The Filipino people are today confronted with the reactionary ruling Aquino puppet regime. As the current caretaker of the rotten semicolonial and semifeudal system, the Aquino regime is implementing the worst of the neoliberal economic policies imposed by US imperialism and its financial and economic agencies, exhibiting the most detestable forms of subservience to its imperialist masters and employs the most brutal tactics of suppression combined with outright deception.

Conditions are exceedingly favorable to expand the NDFP in a big way. The various democratic sectors comprising the Filipino people are restive and seek to organize or join organizations that uphold their national and democratic demands. Workers, peasants, the mass of unemployed, ordinary employees, overseas contract workers, professionals, youth and students, women, educators, church and religious people, artists and workers in the field of culture and arts, journalists and other media workers, scientists and technologists, small businessmen, minority peoples, the Moro people and numerous other oppressed and exploited sectors seek to expand the existing underground organizations or build new ones to ally with the NDFP.

Amidst their worsening socio-economic conditions, the Filipino people demand to intensify their mass struggles and armed resistance. They demand to unite the broadest number on the basis of their demands for social justice and their patriotic aspirations for national liberation.

The CPP calls on all revolutionary forces to exert all out effort to expand and build more revolutionary mass organizations representing the various democratic sectors of the Filipino people. Let us further expand the NDFP to unprecedented heights. Let us build the broadest possible alliance and mobilize the biggest number of people in democratic and anti-imperialist mass struggles and isolate and oppose the ruling Aquino puppet regime. Let us gather the broadest possible support for the armed revolution and the people’s mass struggles.

Fidel meets with Nguyen Phu Trong: ‘Renovation has not been an easy task’

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By Lázaro Barredo Medina and Claudia Fonseca Sosa

Cuban former leader Fidel Castro meets Vietnam's Communist Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong, (L), in Havana April 12, 2012.

Just prior to his interview with Granma, on the afternoon of April 11, Nguyen Phu Trong, Secretary General of the Communist Party of Vietnam Central Committee, had the opportunity to meet with Fidel and our conversation began with his impressions of the encounter.

I just returned from Fidel’s house and we had a conversation that lasted almost two hours. If we had had more time, we would have continued talking.

Today I saw a very healthy Fidel, as compared to our first meeting in 2010. The meeting was very cordial and interesting, without any kind of protocol, like two brothers living in the same house. Fidel held my hands for several minutes and said he was very happy [to see me.] We Vietnamese have a lot of respect for Fidel and his people.

Once the conversation began, we became aware of the many things we have to reflect upon. Fidel spoke not only of political issues, but about science and technology as well.

Fidel recalled his 1973 trip to Vietnam. He referred to my comments at the event held yesterday at Hai Phong wharf [in Havana] and of the strong friendship Cuba and Vietnam share.

When I arrived, there was a copy of the lecture I gave, at the Party’s Ñico López Advanced Studies School, on the table. He asked about the number of copies made and the number of cadres at the event.

He considered my speech insightful and accurate and wanted to clarify a few of the [Cuban] guidelines that are similar to policies Vietnam has been implementing. He wanted to know my opinion. He said that currently there are many people who only want to listen and not reflect.

He also said that he had been following my visit through the media and asked how I had been feeling. He wanted to hear about aspects of my visit to the province of Pinar del Río and inquired, in some detail, about agricultural development in Vietnam.

He was interested in our plans to visit different countries in Latin America and, to my surprise, knew that April 14 was my birthday and asked where I would be at that time.

The entire time, Fidel showed that his mind was very clear, undertaking studies with a very logical, scientific approach. We are convinced that leaders need to have these qualities, to be concrete.

STRATEGIES FOR SOCIALIST RENOVATION

The Vietnamese leader offered a brief explanation of the principal steps Vietnam has taken in its policy of Renovation.

When, in 1986, Vietnam began to implement the policy of Renovation – known in Vietnamese as Doi Moi – many thought that the country intended to abandon socialism. Since then, 26 years have transpired and history has shown the contrary, because through our experience, combined with Marxist-Leninist theoretical and scientific arguments, and the thought of Ho Chi Minh, we reached the conclusion that only through socialism can we maintain our national independence, prosperity and the happiness of our people.

With the leadership of the Communist Party, the Vietnamese people have been able to adapt relevant economic transformations to the historical context and the concrete needs of the country, without sacrificing political stability. We have achieved impressive socio-economic gains and are constantly drawing closer to our ideal of “building a ten times more beautiful Vietnam.”

But in order to fulfill Ho Chi Minh’s dream we have had to deal with diverse obstacles and advance without making hasty decisions. Our Party is conscious that the transition to socialism is a prolonged, difficult and complicated process.

The Doi Moi process has not been easy. Beginning in the 1980’s, through the present, we have come a long way. From 1981 until 1985, we went through what could be called pre-Renovation, during which we carried out different experiments, balancing theory with practice. We drew conclusions.

It was not until 1986 that the policy of Renovation was formulated. Between 1980 and ‘81 we began to grant lands to rural workers, but it was not until the 6th Congress of our Party in 1986 that the Political Bureau drafted Resolution no. 10 which defined the work to be done one step at a time.

From then on, agricultural development began to accelerate and, allow me to tell you, as an example, reaching production of 47 million tons of rice a year took a great deal of effort and continues to require effort year after year.

Up until 1989, we were importing rice to meet the needs of the population. That year, we were not only able to meet our own internal needs, but were able to export our first million tons of rice, as well.

In the industrial sector, something similar happened. Between 1981 and 1982, we began to eliminate the bureaucratic system, but the policies to be followed were not approved until 1986. It wasn’t until 1991 that talk began of a multi-faceted economy, of a market economy with a socialist orientation. During this period we were also facing a 20-year U.S. blockade and talk of integration into the world economy was not possible.

And all of this in addition to other problems such as lasting damage caused by the wars. I will only mention one example. Millions of people, still today, are suffering incurable illnesses; hundreds of thousands of children are born with abnormalities, as a consequence of Agent Orange, a dioxin the U.S. troops sprayed during the war. According to experts, it will take Vietnam 100 years to completely rid itself of the bombs and mines still buried in our soil. As I said during my talk at the Ñico López, in the province Quang Tri alone, which Fidel visited in 1973, thousands and thousands of live bombs and mines remain buried in 45% of the arable land.

These are just a few examples of the arduous task we faced in the renovation effort. Most difficult, however, is changing the general and individual mentality in Vietnam. Many people thought that the changes would lead us away from socialism. They even spoke of deviations, others are more conservative. Vietnam has not only made significant economic gains during the last 25 years, but has also solved some social problems in a much better fashion than capitalist countries at a similar level of development. And as evidence of this is the fact that, in our country, the poverty rate, which was 75% in 1986, was reduced to 9.6% in 2010. The renovation has led to very positive changes and considerably improved the lives of our people. This was recognized by the United Nations which has reported that Vietnam is one of the first countries to meet many of the Millennium Objectives.

And during my visit these last few days in Cuba, as I’ve conversed with your leaders, it appears to me that you are in the same phase. The change of mentality must take place at all levels, from the highest level to the grassroots.

The Renovation’s consolidation is an issue we addressed in our recent 11th Party Congress and, as for long term objectives and tasks, it should be emphasized that our goal is for Vietnam to become fundamentally an industrialized country by 2020. Our development strategy, from 2011 to date, is based on three basic principles: invest in infrastructure, develop human resources and reform institutions.

Of course, we face challenges in the area of the economy and international integration and in the area of social programs where we face some limitations and doing it all, as I said during my lecture at the Party School here, we are conscious that corruption, bureaucratism and degeneration are potential dangers to a party in power, especially under market economy conditions. The Communist Part of Vietnam demands of itself constant self-renovation, self-criticism and is waging a vigorous struggle against opportunism, individualism and the degeneration of its ranks and throughout the political system.

BILATERAL RELATIONS

During your stay in Cuba, the excellent relations between Cuba and Vietnam, a symbol of the era, were noted. What are the ties between the two countries specifically and what cooperative projects are projected as a result of the visit?

Both parties are products of revolutionary processes and of the fusion of distinct political organizations; this is something Cuba and Vietnam share.

Both countries have a one party system. Cuba, as well as Vietnam, is developing via the socialist route. We are following the legacy of our predecessors in combination with Marxism-Leninism. We are two strong peoples, very brave and courageous in struggle. Our parties established, very early on, ties of friendship, solidarity and cooperation. We are following the same logic, defending our respective revolutions. Thus our relationship is very close.

From very early on, we’ve exchanged work and leadership experiences, and we have collaborated in different international forums and bodies, promoting causes we share. In 2011, both parties held congresses and, once ours was concluded, we sent an emissary here to inform you of the outcome. Raúl has also offered to send us someone to do the same.

At this time, Vietnam has the Renovation policy and Cuba is applying its strategy of updating its economic model. Both of us are following the socialist path. There are many similarities, although each country has its own conditions and historical particularities. There is nothing standing in the way of further development of the relationship between the two parties.

During our visit, we have agreed to expand the exchange of delegations, as well as bilateral meetings and exchanges of experience. We are going to organize seminars, workshops between the two countries and the two parties.

We want to continue building this friendship, this respectful mutual understanding, to strengthen this relationship of sisterhood, taking important steps along the road both countries have taken in the struggle for national independence and socialism.

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People’s Korea: Protests denouncing Lee Myung Bak group held in Jagang Province, Rason City

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The following article below was originally published by the Korean Central News Agency

Pyongyang, April 23 (KCNA) — Servicepersons and people in Jagang Province and Rason City of the DPRK met on Monday to vow to wipe out the rat-like Lee Myung Bak group in this land and sky.

Present there were officials of party and power organs and working people’s organizations, service personnel of the Korean People’s Army and the Korean People’s Internal Security Forces, people of different social standings and youth and students in the province and city.

The statement issued by a spokesman for the KPA Supreme Command was read out to be followed by speeches.

The speakers said that they could never pardon the rat-like Lee group who hurt the dignity of the supreme leadership of the DPRK by mobilizing elder reactionaries no better than paupers, gangster-like students and ultra-right conservative media persons.

The strong revolutionary armed forces of Mt. Paektu will search every rat hole and hang the whole rat-like Lee group, the sworn enemy, till all of them are dried up and perish, they declared.

The rat-like Lee group will bitterly experience what severe final punishment the merciless sacred war launched by the DPRK will mete out to them for the indelible crimes they have committed so far, they noted.

Service persons and people will beat to death the Lee group and blow up their bases for provocations and build on this land a reunified thriving nation shining with the august name of the great sun.

Then followed protest demonstrations.

The village India didn’t know about: Maoist red army its govt.

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By Harinder Baweja
April 22, 2012

Helicopters were kept on standby for casualty evacuation; targets were chosen with care after studying satellite images and the troops were warned — the encounters would be fierce and the naxals could be in the hundreds, even thousands. After weeks of planning, security forces armed with automatic rifles, satellite phones and Swedish Carl Gustav rocket launchers made their very first foray into the dense Abujhmad jungle, straddling the two states of Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh.  Abujhmad, or ‘unknown hill’ — 6,000 sq km of thick forest — has not been surveyed since the British.

As part of the operation, security forces had zoomed in on a map of the area with the help of Google Earth, on to a couple of structures they identified as a ‘naxal camp’. A plan was prepared to go in and take out the naxalites. The mission had a second aim — the stronghold had to be psychologically breached, since it is as much home to the naxals as it is a zone ‘liberated’ of all government control.

Primed for a fierce fight, weapons ready, the troops marched 70 km to the ‘naxal camp’.

What they found instead was a village with 15 to 20 thatched huts. The cluster of buildings the forces saw for the first time on Google Earth were homes of Muria tribals, now startled at the sight of armed men in uniform.

“Nobody knew there was a village called Bodiguda,” S Elango, CRPF DIG (operations) exclaimed, of a village that had been discovered for the first time since Independence.

The nameless, faceless tribals — who have never seen or heard of electricity or water taps, schools or dispensaries, men or machines — have grown up believing the naxals are the government. The rebels bring them rice and medicines and take care of their daily needs. They’ve never seen transport or ration through PDS; what they are familiar with is the Red army.

The closest to civilisation is a larger village — or town — called Behramgarh, 29 km away, which also has a police station but the tribals of Bodiguda seldom venture there.

The grand strategy — to control the naxal spread — is to clear, hold and develop. Last month’s security operation that took weeks of planning ended with a one-hour exchange of fire in the jungles. Two injured jawans, no naxal arrests, and yes, the discovery of Bodiguda.

Early this week, home minister P Chidambaram, speaking of the Red threat to chief ministers, said they did not have the upper hand because “there are not enough men, weapons and vehicles, not enough roads, and not enough… civil administration.” He could well have added another line — and some states don’t know of villages where our own live.

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A Tale of Two Rocket Launches

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By Stephen Gowans
April 22, 2012

A tale of the two rocket launches: North Korea's Kwangmyŏngsŏng-3 (left) and India's Agni-V (right).

North Korea launched a rocket on April 13 to loft a satellite into space–part of the country’s civilian space program. The rocket, based on ballistic missile technology, broke up only minutes after launch. Western state officials and media rebuked Pyongyang for directing part of its strained budget to a rocket launch when it depends on outside food aid. Along with other countries, India “voiced deep concern.” [1]

Six days later, India launched Agni-V, a ballistic missile capable of delivering a 1.5 ton nuclear warhead to any point in China. India–which the American Federation of Scientists estimates has an arsenal of 80 to 100 nuclear weapons—boasted that the launch represented “another milestone” in its “quest to add to the credibility” of its “security and preparedness.” [2]

Both launches violated UN Security Council resolutions. Security Council Resolution 1172 (1998) calls upon India “to cease development of ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons.” [3] Security Council Resolutions 1718 (2006) [4] and 1874 (2009) [5] direct North Korea to do the same.

On April 16, North Korea was censured by the Security Council for violating resolutions 1718 and 1874. [6] India has not been censured for violating resolution 1172. Indeed, that a Security Council resolution exists which prohibits India’s ballistic missile program has been almost completely ignored.

What’s more, while North Korea was savagely attacked in the Western media for its satellite launch, the same media treated India’s long-range ballistic missile test with either indifference or approval. India’s massive poverty was not juxtaposed against its decision to allocate resources to building nuclear warheads and the missiles to carry them.

North Korea’s nuclear weapons

The United States was the first country to introduce nuclear weapons to the Korean peninsula, in the form of tactical battlefield weapons. Later, when the USSR dissolved, Lee Butler, the head of the US Strategic Command, announced that the United States would retarget some of its strategic ballistic nuclear missiles from the former Soviet Union to North Korea. One month later, Pyongyang withdrew from the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. [7]

A cardinal principle of nuclear nonproliferation is that countries with nuclear weapons should not target countries without them. Doing so provides the targeted country with a reason to develop its own nuclear weapons as a deterrent.

After North Korea’s first underground nuclear test, on October 9, 2006, the UN Security Council met to impose sanctions. At the meeting, North Korean ambassador Pak Gil Yon explained that North Korea initiated its nuclear weapons program because it felt compelled to protect itself from the danger of war from the United States.

This was hardly paranoid. Washington’s desire to see the collapse of North Korea is undoubted. An ideological competitor vis-à-vis the United States whose zeal for economic and political independence is second to none, North Korea remains one of the few remaining challenges to the US-led neo-liberal world economic order. In an attempt to crush the fiercely independent state, Washington has made North Korea the most heavily sanctioned country on earth—and hasn’t relieved the pressure in six decades.

This, on top of tactical and strategic nuclear weapons threats, nearly 30,000 US troops on the Korean peninsula, the incessant visits of nuclear weapons-equipped US warships and warplanes to South Korean ports and airbases, and the Pentagon’s de facto control of the South Korean military in peacetime and de jure control in wartime, constitutes a significant existential threat to North Korea.

In 2003, the Bush administration ratcheted up the threat by naming North Korea as part of an “axis of evil.” It then invaded the first country on its list, Iraq, and warned the other two to “draw the appropriate lesson.” [8] In light of this, Pak’s explanation that North Korea conducted the nuclear test to “bolster its self-defense” and that it “wouldn’t need nuclear weapons if the US dropped its hostile policies” rings true. [9]

Since then, the United States has delivered an additional reason for Pyongyang to draw the appropriate lesson—though not the one it hoped. Nato’s intervention in Libya on behalf of al-Qaeda-connected rebels likely wouldn’t have happened had the country’s leader, Muammar Gaddafi, not given up his chemical and nuclear weapons programs in exchange for reversal of sanctions and Western investment.

Hypocrisy

Washington says that it believes China sold North Korea the chassis for a missile-transport vehicle displayed in a North Korean military parade shortly after the failed satellite launch and would use “the episode to tighten pressure to better enforce United Nations sanctions forbidding the sale of weapons or technology to North Korea that would aid its ballistic missile and technology program.” [10]

Security Council resolution 1718 directs member states not to supply North Korea with battle tanks, armored combat vehicles, artillery, combat aircraft, attack helicopters, missiles or missile systems. A truck chassis hardly fits the list, and is clearly not a nuclear weapon or technology.

But why does a resolution—which concerns a nuclear test—ban sales to North Korea of conventional military equipment? Resolution 1172, dealing with India’s and Pakistan’s nuclear tests, imposed no similar sanctions on these countries. The likely explanation is that the resolution aims to deny Pyongyang an effective means of self-defense, both nuclear and conventional. In other words, the Security Council used North Korea’s efforts to tighten its security as a pretext to block its access to the equipment, technology and materials it needs for self-defense. By contrast, since the United States dropped its sanctions on India last decade, the latter has been permitted to add to the credibility of its security and preparedness without impediment.

Moreover, why was North Korea sanctioned at all? Having withdrawn from the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty under the threat posed by US strategic missiles, Pyongyang was bound by no international covenant prohibiting it from developing nuclear weapons. The Security Council justified the sanctions on the grounds that the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction is a threat to international peace and security. Invoking authority to prevent possible outbreaks of war between nations, however, has become a convenient way for the Security Council to legitimize arbitrary actions. It simply describes some incident as a threat to peace between nations—whether it is or not–and thereby hands itself authority to act.

Have North Korea’s nuclear tests truly represented a threat to international peace and security, or only a threat to the ability of certain permanent Security Council members to target North Korea with nuclear weapons free from the risk of nuclear retaliation? The United States, Britain and other countries that have nuclear weapons emphasize the deterrent nature of their nuclear arsenals. Rather than threatening international peace and security, these countries maintain that their WMDs preserve it. Why, then, should WMDs in the hands of countries threatened with nuclear annihilation constitute threats, while in the hands of the countries that pose the threat, nuclear weapons are considered a buttress to international peace and security? It seems more likely that peace and security between nations would be strengthened were the United States to cease targeting North Korea with nuclear weapons or were it deterred by Pyongyang’s possible nuclear retaliation.

Obviously (though not so obviously to Washington) a truck chassis is not a nuclear weapon or technology, but it is not unknown for Washington to broaden the definition of banned items to turn ostensibly narrow sanctions into broad-based ones. [11] UN Security Resolutions 1718 and 1874 do the same. While they appear to be limited to prohibiting North Korea from developing ballistic missile technology for military use, they have been interpreted by the Security Council to prohibit civilian use, as well. Hence, in censuring Pyongyang for its satellite launch, the president of the Security Council noted that any rocket launch that uses ballistic missile technology, even for civilian use, is a violation of the UN Security Council resolutions. [12] This means that as far as the Security Council is concerned, North Korea cannot have a civilian space program.

The United States’ criticism of China for selling North Korea a truck chassis, on grounds that the sale is a violation of a Security Council resolution, is not only baseless, it’s hypocritical. Washington has agreed to sell India spent nuclear fuel and nuclear technology, not only to “bring tens of billions in business to the United States” but to also cement “a new partnership between the two nations to counter China’s rise.” [13] Yet Security Council resolution 1172 directs “all States to prevent the export of equipment, materials or technology that could in any way assist programs in India or Pakistan for nuclear weapons.” Hence, while the United States accuses China of violating a Security Council resolution by selling the North Koreans truck parts, Washington itself has cleared the way to export equipment, material and technology to India to assist its nuclear program in violation of a Security Council resolution. Canada, too, which is selling uranium to India, is violating the same Security Council resolution. [14]

There are, then, four sets of double-standards that mark the West’s reaction to North Korea’s satellite launch.

• North Korea was censured by the Security Council for launching a satellite as part of a civilian space program, but India escaped censure for launching a ballistic missile whose purpose would be to destroy Chinese cities. Both launches violated Security Council resolutions, but the Security Council and Western media ignore the resolution prohibiting India’s ballistic missile program.

• North Korea’s attempt to loft a satellite into space was reviled by Western media and presented as a threat, while India’s launch of a long-range missile capable of carrying a payload to wipe Chinese cities off the map merited few critical remarks.

• North Korea was rebuked for what was widely described as an extravagant expenditure on a rocket launch at a time Pyongyang is dependent on outside help to feed its people [15], while India’s widespread and profound poverty hardly seemed a consideration to a Western media that could find little critical to say about India’s expensive nuclear weapons and ballistic missile program.

• China has been criticized by the United States for selling truck parts to North Korea, presumably in violation of a Security Council resolution prohibiting sales of conventional military equipment to Pyongyang, while it has approved the sale of spent nuclear fuel and nuclear technology to India in violation of Security Council Resolution 1172.

India’s efforts to add to the credibility of its security and preparedness are accepted as legitimate by Western governments and media because they’re directed at China. Pyongyang’s efforts to add to the credibility of its security and preparedness are reviled and censured because they’re aimed at bolstering North Korea’s defense against hegemonic threats. India’s actions—insofar as they contribute to the United States’ new military strategic focus of containing the challenge of China’s rise—is in Wall Street’s interests. North Korea’s actions—in challenging the United States’ ability to forcibly integrate the country into the US-led neo-liberal world economic order—is against Wall Street’s interests. Accordingly, one rocket launch is condoned, the other condemned.

1. “India’s role in Asia-Pacific enormously important: US”, The Economic Times, April 17, 2012.
2. Simon Denyer, “India tests missile capable of reaching Beijing”, The Washington Post, April 19, 2012.
3. http://daccess-dds-ny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/N98/158/60/PDF/N9815860.pdf?OpenElement
4. http://daccess-dds-ny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/N06/572/07/PDF/N0657207.pdf?OpenElement
5. http://daccess-dds-ny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/N09/368/49/PDF/N0936849.pdf?OpenElement
6. http://daccess-dds-ny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/N12/295/91/PDF/N1229591.pdf?OpenElement
7. Bruce Cumings, Korea’s Place in the Sun: A Modern History, W.W. Norton & Company, 2005. 488-489.
8. The warning was issued by US Undersecretary of State John Bolton. The other country on the list was Iran, now subjected to economic warfare, assassinations, sabotage, incursions by US reconnaissance drones, attacks by proxy terrorist armies, destabilization and threats of military intervention by the United States, its invariable cobelligerent Britain, and Israel.
9. http://daccess-dds-ny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/N06/572/07/PDF/N0657207.pdf?OpenElement
10. Mark Landler, “Suspected sale by China stirs concern at White House”, The New York Times, April 20, 2012.
11. Similarly, Nato bombing campaigns notoriously broaden the definition of legitimate military targets to cover civilian infrastructure, including roads, bridges, TV and radio broadcasting facilities, factories and even farms.
12. The combined implication of the resolutions is that:

• North Korea cannot lawfully defend itself against the threat of nuclear attack;
• It cannot lawfully be sold conventional military equipment for self-defense;
• It cannot lawfully have a civilian space program.
13. Simon Denyer and Pama Lakshmi, “U.S.-India nuclear deal drifts dangerously”, The Washington Post, July 15, 2011.
14. Bill Curry, “Canada signs nuclear deal with India”, The Globe and Mail (Toronto), June 27, 2010.
15. Sanctions contribute heavily to North Korea’s food security problems.

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Syrian rebel leader calls for peace with Israel

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By Lizzie Phelan
April 22, 2012

The marked failure by so-called pro-Palestine solidarity circles in the west to defend the resistant Syrian government lead by Bashar al-Assad becomes even more ridiculous as the evidence that the conspiracy against Syria is first and foremost against the interests of the Palestinian homeland grows with each day.

Over the duration of the crisis in Syria, a number of examples of close cooperation between the Syrian opposition and senior figures from the zionist entity (Israel) have surfaced in the media that is not controlled by the NATO and puppet GCC nations.

One of those included a telephone conversation between Radwan Ziyade and Mouhammad Abdallah from the so-called “Syrian National Council” begging Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barack for more support.

There have also been numerous instances reported in Syrian media of Syrian security forces seizing weapons from insurgents that originate from the zionist entity.

The visit by staunchly pro-zionist US senators John McCain and Joe Liebrman to Syrian rebels in order to support their call for more weapons, was also unequivocal.

No doubt so-called supporters of Palestine will find some way to dismiss the latest proof that the conspiracy against Bashar al-Assad’s Syria plays directly into the hands of the zionists.

Yesterday, the Times of Israel covered Syrian rebel leader, Nofal al-Dalawibi’s, comments that Israel had nothing to fear from a Syria run by the rebels.

The same article acknowledges the tough time the zionist entity has confronted over the decades under Baathist Syria, a fact which self professed pro-Palestinians choose to ignore. It adds: “Dalawibi’s interview marked the potential beginning of a change from that mindset, should the Syrian opposition struggle prevail.”

The zionists are clear, Assad’s Syria is bad for them and good for the future of a Palestinian homeland. And those who claim to support Palestine but fail to defend Assad’s Syria are playing perfectly into the zionists hands.

Source

National Democratic Front: Armed struggle of the NPA and the people is a Just war

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The following statement below was originally published by the Communist Party of the Philippines

The CPP-NPA and the NDF are engaged in a just revolutionary war. The justness of this revolutionary war addresses the fundamental interests of the people especially the workers and the peasants who have long aspired for freedom and democracy, true development and a just and enduring peace.

The US-Aquino and its AFP/PNP are widely boasting their “victory” in the first year (2011) implementation of the Oplan Bayanihan against the revolutionary movement nationwide. They popularized their fantasy-statistics on the decrease of the armed strength of the NPA, dismantling of the targeted guerrilla fronts, waning of the mass base and isolation from the support of the people. They go beyond predicting that come 2016, after the term of P-Noy the revolutionary forces will be reduced to strategic insignificance.

The local reactionaries in Negros, particularly Alfredo Maranon Jr and the military officers under the Central Command-AFP Visayas and the 3rd Infantry Division, Phil Army have parroted the official propaganda psywar line of the US-Aquino and the AFP. They repeatedly declare that there are only 212 NPAs left in Negros after their “victorious” military campaign in 2011 that has resulted in several “surrenders”, AWOL, captured and KIA of officers and members of the Red Army.

The people of Negros know how to find the truth. The people can never be deceived by lies and disinformation being peddled by the class enemy. The people have been honed in 43 years of civil war in the country. They are conscious and have persevered in the protracted armed and unarmed, legal and illegal struggle against the exploitative and repressive semi-colonial and semi-feudal system.

Frank Fernandez 
Spokesperson
NDF-Negros Island

April 22, 2012