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Argentina’s envoy to Britain: Malvinas referendum is illegal

Press TV – March 4, 2013

A referendum on the Malvinas Islands’ sovereignty is a publicity stunt with no legal ground, Argentina’s ambassador to Britain Alicia Castro has said.

The Malvinas settlers will take part in a referendum next Sunday for the islanders to decide whether they want to remain British or rather they want to rejoin Argentina as motherland.

Argentina, however, has repeatedly announced that the islander’s vote does not count as they believe the Royal Navy has expelled the Argentinians who originally lived on the territory and has replaced them with British settlers.

“This referendum has no legal grounds. It’s not approved, nor will it be recognized by the United Nations or the international community,” Castro said.

“So this referendum is little more than a public relations exercise.”

Britain illegally occupied the Malvinas Islands in 1833 and has since refused to leave. Over the past years, Argentina has repeatedly brought the question of Malvinas to international forums in a bid to highlight its sovereignty over the region.


Some Facts about the Question of the Malvinas Islands

Tripoli Post – 27/02/2013

Dear Editor,

I would like to avail myself of the possibility to reach the readers of The Tripoli Post in order to correct a series of inaccuracies included in the article entitled “Senkaku/Diaoyu: Another Falklands?” of your February 9th issue. I thank your prestigious publication for allowing me to contribute to a fairer and better understanding of the “Question of the Malvinas Islands”.

When comparing the case of the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands and the case of the Malvinas Islands, the author of the aforementioned article says that the latter “have been inhabited by some thousands of English-speaking people of British descent for almost two centuries” and that “Argentina’s claim relates to a short-lived colony in 1830-33 which was preceded by somewhat longer-lived French and British colonies in the 1700s.”

Not true: it is well documented that from as early as the XVIth Century the whole austral region of the Americas – with its coasts, seas and islands – was under the effective control of the Spanish authorities by virtue of several treaties signed by Spain and the United Kingdom. The 32 consecutive Governors named by Spain for the Islands further proves this, as also does the fact that the Argentine governments which succeeded Spain took over and exercised themselves both jurisdiction and administrative faculties over the Malvinas Islands.

Furthermore, all through the process leading to its recognition of the Argentine state in 1825, the United Kingdom did not state any intention to stake a claim to the Malvinas Islands. And in June 1829 Argentina formally created the Political and Military Command of the Malvinas Islands.

On the 3rd of February 1833, a corvette of the British Royal Navy forcefully expelled the Argentine authorities from the islands. Thus started the colonial situation which still prevails and which has incessantly been protested by Argentina.

It is important to mention that in 1965 the United Nations General Assembly adopted Resolution 2065 (XX) which recognizes the existence of a sovereignty dispute between Argentina and the United Kingdom, establishes that the situation in the Malvinas Islands is a form of colonialism and invites both governments to engage without delay in negotiations to find a peaceful solution to the problem. This mandate has been reiterated and confirmed up to the present through 40 Resolutions
of the General Assembly and the Decolonization Committee of the UN, as well as by other multinational fora, amongst which the most recent is the Africa – South America Summit held last week in Malabo, where the 54 African countries joined South America in recognizing the legitimate Argentine Sovereignty rights over Malvinas, South Georgias and South Sandwich Islands and the surrounding maritime areas.

Unfortunately, while the United Kingdom refuses to resume dialogue with the Argentine Republic, it does continue carrying out unilateral activities in the disputed area, such as exploration and exploitation of oil and fisheries, thus disrespecting also Resolution 31/49 of the United Nations General Assembly, which calls on both parties in the sovereignty dispute to refrain from adopting decisions which introduce unilateral modifications to the situation. These unilateral activities also include the increasing militarization of the area, which challenges the characterization of the South Atlantic as a Peace Zone, therefore causing concern in the countries of Latin America.

In the meantime, the Argentine Republic reaffirms its vocation for dialogue and its predisposition to comply with the many calls of the international community in order to find a peaceful, fair and definitive solution to the sovereignty dispute.

Mauricio Nine
Chargé d´Affaires
Argentine Embassy in Libya”

March 4, 2013 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , | 10 Comments

Ricardo Haussmann – a reliable commentator for the Guardian on Venezuela?

By Dr Francisco Dominguez | Venezuela Solidarity Campaign | March 3, 2013

Last Monday the Guardian Comment is Free website carried a piece by Ricardo Haussmann on Venezuela entitled The legacy of Hugo Chávez: Low growth, high inflation, intimidation.

The piece painted a doomsday scenario for modern day Venezuela, arguing that “Venezuelan leader Hugo Chávez is a master at holding onto power, but it has cost his country and people dearly.”

Ironically this came out just days before the Venezuelan economy was announced to have grown 5.6% in 2012 on the back of a huge housing stimulus.

Worse still, the piece appeared just a couple of days before the anniversary of the ‘Caracazo’ of 1989.  The Caracazo is the day when the Venezuelan people rose up against a package of cuts forced on them. Over two thousand people were then brutally executed by state security forces in what has been termed Venezuela’s worst human rights disaster in history. In stark contrast, precisely on February 27 (2013), Venezuela was elected by about three quarters of the governments represented in the UN to become permanent member of the United Nations Human rights Council for three years.

What is the link between this and Ricardo Haussmann?

In 1989, he was an economic advisors to the soon-to-be-disgraced president Carlos Andres Perez who carried out the cuts and subsequent Caracazo violence.

As this academic paper points out 

“Pérez appointed to his economic cabinet a team of radically pro-market technocrats largely recruited from the Instituto de Estudios Superiores de Administración (IESA). These ministers–among whom were Miguel Rodríguez, Moisés Naím, Ricardo Haussmann, Gerver Torres, and Julián Villalba–became known as the “IESA Boys,” by analogy to the “Chicago Boys” of Pinochet’s Chile. This team designed the shock “paquete” that Pérez promised in his inaugural address in February 1989 and put into effect two weeks later”.

After that, from 1992 to 1993, Haussmann served as Minister of Planning in Venezuela and as a member of the Board of the Central Bank of Venezuela  also under Carlos Andres Perez. Clearly the ‘Caracazo’ was not severe enough to break his link with President Perez.

Around the same time, Haussmann was Chair of the IMF-World Bank Development Committee. Judging by the nature and tone of his attack on the current Venezuelan government, one may have expected this to have been the dawn of some golden IMF-sponsored growth across Latin America.

Yet as economist Mark Weisbrot has pointed out, this period marked the worst economic performance of the Continent in a century. Only with the recent leftward shift (in many ways led by Venezuela) was there a much needed combination of economic growth and social justice.

Rejected by the Carter Centre 

Haussmann later based himself in the US at Harvard, but came to prominence again following the 2004 recall referendum against Hugo Chavez, when he published a paper claiming that “statistically” the outcome could have been the result of fraud. At the time, the Wall Street Journal was amongst those who recycled the claim. The well respected Carter Centre  debunked the myth and the politically motivated claims of fraud by stating clearly that “the results were accurate”.

Haussmann’s and Venezuela’s new right

In the run up to last October’s election, won by Hugo Chavez in a landslide victory, it was Haussmann (acting as an advisor to the defeated right-wing candidate Henrique Capriles) who claimed the right-wing opposition would have 200,000 people at polling stations and could then announce their own results before the official ones.

Luckily this plan – which was seen by many as the start of a worrying destabilisation aimed at getting the legitimate results not recognised internationally – failed to pick up momentum due to the scale of Hugo Chavez’s victory, with Capriles himself recognising the results. But this was not before the Spanish newspaper ABC had published a fake exit poll claiming Hugo Chavez had lost.

Surely his role as an advisor to the  right-wing political candidate should have featured in the Guardian piece. This would better explain the reasons for the content of the piece.

Likewise sections of the British media have also recently quoted Diego Arria (who denies the 2002 coup in Venezuela was even a coup!) and the 2002 coup-supporting, hard right-wing MP (and friend of George W.Bush) María Corina Machado. Both are prominent signatories to a recent public petition calling on the Venezuelan military to overturn the country’s elected government. 

Of course, people are entitled to express their views on Venezuela. But it’s clear that the Venezuelan people have time and again rejected the views pushed by Haussmann and the other members of the Venezuelan right recently attracting such interest in certain quarters of the British media.

March 4, 2013 Posted by | Deception, Economics, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , | 1 Comment

Obama Wades Deeper Into Syria’s Morass

By SHAMUS COOKE | CounterPunch | March 4, 2013

The recent announcement that the United States would increase its “non-lethal” military aid to Syria’s rebels shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone.  Some speculated that Obama — having been repeatedly proved wrong about the Syria government’s stability — would leave Syria in silent humiliation.

Not so. The destruction of Syrian society will continue, indeed, increase.  Although there are plenty of non-military options the Obama administration could pursue, he’s instead choosing the bloodiest course possible. Millions of Syrians have had their lives destroyed, and now millions more can look forward to a similar fate.

U.S. media outlets have reported that all of the hundreds of millions of dollars of U.S. aid to Syria’s rebels has been “non-lethal,” but the New York Times admitted recently:

“American officials declined to discuss an ongoing covert program to train rebel fighters or the extent to which it has made a difference on the battlefield.”

It’s no exaggeration to say that Obama is helping to orchestrate the largest state-sponsored terror campaign since the still-simmering genocides of the Congo and Yugoslav wars. This fact has been completely hidden from the view of the U.S. public, but it’s a fact nonetheless.

For example, the only effective fighting force of the Syrian rebels, the Al Nusra Front, has been labeled a terrorist organization, even by the United States. Its frequent terrorist bombings have helped shred the fabric of Syrian society; its most recent massive car bombings killed 100 mostly-innocent people in central Damascus, including dozens of children and wounding hundreds more.

U.N.-Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi denounced the latest terrorist attack as a “war crime.” But such labels do not get attached to allies of the United States. Obama is ignoring the countless similar attacks by Syria’s terrorist rebels, ensuring that such attacks will increase.

In fact, U.S. officials blocked a Russian-sponsored resolution at the United Nations Security Council condemning the recent terror bombings. Actions like these both minimize and encourage indiscriminate terrorist bombings.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s most recent announcement of U.S. aid to Syrian rebels made sure to mention that the aid will not go to “terrorists” — an absurd statement considering that the terrorists in Syria are the ones in power on the ground for the opposition. Of course most of the crucial aid will be funneled to them, no matter who initially receives it.

The Obama administration has been on a relentless search for a non-terrorist dominated Syrian opposition, only to fail and then re-start his quest. Initially the ‘Syrian National Council’ play-acted as the non-terrorist “revolutionary” opposition.

But Hillary Clinton later confronted reality and dumped the group, correctly labeling them as “… a bunch of out-of-touch exiles who should be replaced with a group more representative of the fighters on the ground.”

The same article referred to the Syrian National Council as “too accommodating to terrorists.”

Obama then sent Clinton on an international tour to discover and organize a brand new non-terrorist “legitimate” Syrian opposition. On her journey Clinton unearthed yet another group of handpicked rich Syrian exiles who hadn’t been in the country in decades, with no connections on the ground and, more importantly, zero military presence of any significance. Clinton re-named the group the National Coalition of Syrian Revolution, and unveiled her new offspring to glowing U.S. media acclaim. But Hillary’s latest baby was again born from smoke and mirrors. The New York Times reported:

“…the coalition has struggled to agree on a slate of governing leaders that would unite what is still a loosely allied organization, trying to weave together local councils, splinter organizations, disparate opposition groups and the loyalties of the armed units fighting the forces of President Bashar al-Assad.”

Obama now intends to buy the legitimacy of his new Syrian opposition, as part of the newly announced aid package. The New York Times shamelessly reports:

“one aim of the $60 million in [new] assistance is to help the National Coalition of Syrian Revolution and Opposition Forces build up its credibility within the country…”

Obama’s new “friends of Syria” would like the United States to destroy Syria. Many within the rag tag grouping are demanding a direct U.S. military intervention to topple the existing government.

Anyone who has paid attention to the Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libyan wars understands that U.S.-style regime change equals the destruction of a nation. The above three countries were all once independently functioning civilizations, but are now socially and economically destroyed and regionally fragmented, ruled by whomever in the region happens to have the most guns.

As millions of Syrians become internally and externally displaced refugees and the country obliterated, the Obama administration is purposely choosing not to settle the situation with diplomacy. Both Russia and Syria have made recent offers for negotiations. By rebuking these offers and aiding the rebels instead, Obama is choosing more mass slaughter.

Reuters reports:

“Syria is ready for talks with its armed opponents, Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem said on Monday, in the clearest offer yet to negotiate with rebels fighting President Bashar al-Assad.”

The Obama Administration responds to the peace negotiations:

“…[Syria’s Foreign Minister’s] offer of talks drew a dismissive response from U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, who was starting a nine-nation tour of European and Arab capitals in London [to help organize the Syrian rebels yet again].”

Why does Obama choose war instead of peace? Because presently Obama cannot dictate his terms; the majority of Syria is still controlled by the Syrian government, which remains in a much more powerful bargaining position, a painfully stubborn fact.

Obama will thus continue to sponsor large-scale mass murder and ethnic-religious cleansing until his handpicked rebels gain enough power on the ground to negotiate a peace favorable to U.S. interests.

The Obama administration’s hands are awash with the blood of countless innocent Syrians, blood that promises to spill into Lebanon and other neighboring states as the region becomes destabilized along ethnic-religious lines. The “popular revolution” in Syria has long ago been replaced by foreign mercenary terrorists financed by Saudi Arabia and Qatar. The Obama administration has overseen this entire process, while actively trying to organize a respectable “public face” for the rebels.

Obama’s recent strides in Syria end with a logical conclusion: U.S. direct military intervention. The stage is still being set, waiting until optimal conditions are met for a Libyan style U.S./NATO mass-bombing mission to finish off the Syrian government. In the eyes of Obama the resulting disaster will be worth the mess, since a non-compliant regime to the U.S. will have been toppled, thus clearing the path for the long term plan of crushing Iran.

Shamus Cooke is a social service worker, trade unionist, and writer for Workers Action (www.workerscompass.org) He can be reached at shamuscooke@gmail.com

March 4, 2013 Posted by | Militarism, Progressive Hypocrite, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , | 1 Comment

Mother of Bilin protestor killed by Israel files court petition

Ma’an – March 4, 2013

206628_345x230BETHLEHEM – The mother of Bassem Abu Rahmah, who was killed in 2009 during a non-violent protest in Bilin, filed a petition to Israel’s High Court on Sunday to demand justice for the death of her son, B’Tselem said.

The petition was filed jointly with Bilin village council, B’Tselem and Yesh Din, and demands that Israeli Military Advocate General, Major-General Danny Efroni, be ordered to reach a decision in the case and prosecute the soldier and all those bearing command responsibility for the killing of her son.

Bassam Abu Rahman, 30, was killed in 2009 after being shot in the chest with a tear-gas canister during a demonstration against Israel’s separation wall.

Three video segments filmed during the protest prove that Abu Rahmah did not act violently and did not endanger the soldiers in any way, B’Tselem said.

The petition includes opinions from experts who reviewed the videos, stating that the grenade was aimed directly at Abu Rahmah.

Other soldiers in the same video can be seen firing tear-gas canisters directly at protestors in the presence of senior officers and in complete contravention of the open-fire regulations, B’Tselem said.

Despite these findings, the former Military Advocate General initially refused to open an investigation, only changing his mind after a threat to petition Israel’s High Court with expert opinion documenting the “unequivocal conclusion that the firing was aimed directly at Abu Rahmah.”

“The failure to reach a decision is dangerous and conveys the message to IDF and Border Guard personnel engaged in dispersing demonstrations that even if they shoot and kill demonstrators, they will not bear criminal liability,” B’Tselem said.

“Such a message reflects contempt for the lives of Palestinian civilians.”

The death of Bassam Abu Rahmah was featured in the highly praised Palestinian documentary “5 Broken Cameras.”

The film is based on five years of amateur camera work by journalist Emad Burnat as he documented weekly protests against land seizures by Israeli forces and settlers in the village of Bilin.

March 4, 2013 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , | Leave a comment