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Lula censures anti-Iran sanctions

Press TV – December 21, 2010

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has harshly criticized the decision to impose economic sanctions on Iran over its nuclear energy program.

On Monday, Lula said that the sanctions could have been avoided if the United States had accepted a declaration issued in Tehran in May.

The foreign ministers of Iran, Turkey, and Brazil signed a declaration in Tehran on May 17, according to which Iran would ship 1200 kilograms of its low-enriched uranium to Turkey to be exchanged for 120 kilograms of 20 percent enriched nuclear fuel rods to power the Tehran research reactor, which produces radioisotopes for cancer treatment.

The nuclear declaration gives Iran a guarantee since the low-enriched uranium would be stored in Turkey and would be returned if Iran does not receive the 20 percent enriched nuclear fuel within one year.

Despite the fact that Iran agreed to conduct the fuel swap in a third country — a demand made by the West that Iran had previously rejected due to guarantee concerns — on June 9 the UN Security Council passed a resolution imposing a fourth round of sanctions on Iran following an intense US campaign claiming that Iran’s nuclear program could have potential military applications.

The Brazilian president also said he received a letter from US President Barack Obama in May, which set conditions for Iran to avoid sanctions. He added that those terms were met in the fuel swap declaration and emphasized that the anti-Iran sanctions are therefore unnecessary.

Iran has described the sanctions as illegal, saying that as a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), it has the right to enrich uranium to produce fuel.

Lula also stated that the US cannot be the lone arbitrator of the Middle East, saying, “There will not be peace in the Middle East as long as the United States is the guardian of peace. It is necessary to involve other countries in negotiations (between Israel and the Palestinians),” DPA quoted him as saying.

December 20, 2010 Posted by | Economics | 2 Comments

Book Review: Firedamp

By Ben Zeller

Firedamp is a work of gripping fiction rooted in fact. It is a story of love, hate and revolution, of heroes and villains. In the late eighteen/early nineteen hundreds thousands of poor but hopeful immigrant coal miners, railroaded to the Colorado/New Mexico border, found themselves and their families in a hostile environment. Forced to work under deplorable conditions for next to nothing, they fought back. It is this story and the story of the powerfully wealthy men who tried to drive them to do their bidding.

Charles Winslow, the wealthy railroad man / mine owner, and his family are products of my imagination as are most characters in the novel including the Slovak powder-man, Leos Nemcova and his son, born on the docks of NYC in the blizzard of 1888. In the storm’s fury the boy’s mother, Frederica Arial, a strikingly beautiful, manipulative woman, abandons her son and husband. Frederica will stop at nothing to achieve monetary goals in her new world. The story traces all of their lives to Trinidad Colorado. Black John, George Metaxas, King Trec, Hector Finnigan and the Sol Bertilina family are among the book’s fictional characters. From the fabulously wealthy to the wretchedly poor these people are as real as the atrocities committed by them and against them were real: as the tragic revolution those atrocities spawned was real.

In the telling I fictionalize historical figures instrumental in the story’s plot. Winslow’s and Rockefeller’s cold-blooded mine superintendent, LM Bowers, is an example. (Bowers telegrams to Junior Rockefeller and Mr. Junior’s replies are authenticated and on record in the Trinidad, Colorado Public Library.) Louis Tikis, Sheriff Farr, Monty Linderfelt, the Fighting Greeks and the Black Hand Committee were real people and real organizations plucked from Raton NM. and Trinidad CO. history of that time

Before and while writing FIREDAMP I spent weeks listening to those who lived through that era or whose parents lived through it. At the age of eleven, my friend Gabe Lucero went to work in the mines of Dawson, New Mexico. (Gabe’s father and brothers were killed in Dawson Mines disasters.) I interviewed Congressman Judge, J. Edgar Chenowith of Trinidad who as a boy in 1914 stood on the street corner when the women marched in protest to free the 82 year old Mother Jones. (She was incarcerated under orders issued by LM Bowers.) I read reams of newsprint, biased and unbiased, published during these troubled times. I gleaned much first-hand information from Papa John Oborosoler, my daughters’ great grandfather, who left the mines to raise his family on Johnson Mesa. Papa John was delivering vegetables to strikers in the tent city of Ludlow the day Bowers’ hand- picked militia opened fire. The people in the Public Library of Trinidad were an immense help. Peter Collier & David Horowitz’s book, THE ROCKEFELLERS gave me historical insight. I used all of this to spur my imagination. – Ben Zeller April, 2002

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December 20, 2010 Posted by | Economics, Solidarity and Activism, Timeless or most popular | Comments Off on Book Review: Firedamp

Israeli Troops Invade Hospital Near Bethlehem

By Saed Bannoura – IMEMC News – December 19, 2010

The Bethlehem Arab Rehabilitation Hospital reported Sunday that a group of Israeli soldiers surrounded the hospital with armored vehicles and jeeps, then invaded the Emergency Room, pointing guns at patients.

The soldiers then roughly demanded of the ER staff that they produce admissions records for the past 48 hours, according to the Director of the Hospital, Edmund Shehadeh. They threatened to confiscate a computer containing medical records, but ended up leaving the hospital empty handed.

Invasions of hospitals are routine in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip, despite the fact that hospitals are accorded special protection under the Fourth Geneva Convention, and are not supposed to be invaded by military force.

Israeli military forces routinely violate their obligations as an occupying power under the Fourth Geneva Convention, particularly in the areas concerning protection of civilian populations, and attacks on schools and hospitals.

Some patients in Palestinian hospitals are civilian victims of Israeli military attacks, and the invasions of hospitals are especially traumatic to these patients, according to psychologists who work with Palestinians living under Israeli military occupation.

December 20, 2010 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Illegal Occupation | 1 Comment

Nablus: Israel gives villagers 24 hours to vacate

Palestine Information Center – 20/12/2010

NABLUS — Israeli authorities have given the people of the east Nablus village of Tana 24 hours to evacuate their homes before demolishing them, and threatened to confiscate their livestock when the deadline falls, sources in Nablus said.

Tana is home to more than 35 Palestinian families. They have decided to resist decisions to demolish their homes and eject them from them, calling on officials to stand by them in the face of the arbitrary ruling.

The village’s population has been residing there since the 1940’s. They had prior to that dwelled in caves in the rock village before they began building to house themselves and their livestock, their key source of livelihood.

The village sits seven kilometers away from Beit Fourik. Villagers have fallen victim to Jewish settlers from time to time.

Since developing the village, residents have been ordered to stop building and under threat of demolitions. The structures there have been taken down on several occasions, the last of which was about ten days ago, when 12 homes, a school, and several were wiped out. The Beit Fourik municipality leveled the entire village last month for allegedly being erected on the West Bank’s Area C, a region placed under Israeli security control after the Oslo Accords.

The village has a land area of about 250 acres and is located near the Jewish settlement of Mahura, which was founded in 1969. Israel has siezed more than 2,500 acres of the land surrounding Beit Fourik for the interest of settlers there.

December 20, 2010 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | 3 Comments