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Bolivia Witnessing Community Radio Renaissance

teleSUR | October 7, 2014

Bolivian president Evo Morales’ government has been promoting community radio stations as an alternative to the mainstream press, and it’s starting to show results.

In the eastern city of Santa Cruz, Radio Venceremos has become one of the most popular local community stations.

“We go on the air so that the people can participate in our programming, we call on listeners to join our broadcast so they can report and inform people on the issues affecting their neighborhood and so they can feel like they have a voice, it is the voice of the voiceless,” one of the station’s presenters told teleSUR English’s correspondent, David Dougherty.

“The government of President Evo Morales has actively promoted the diffusion of community radio stations in both rural and urban areas where marginalized populations demand alternatives to Bolivia’s mainstream media offerings,” the host explained from Venceremos’ studio in a community recreation center in the working class Plan 3000 neighborhood.

For years community radio stations had been struggling across the country, but according to Catarina Campos from the National Network of Information and Communication Workers, the sea change came from communities that demanded a voice on the airwaves.

The community radio stations emerged as a result of a push from the people,” she stated. However, Campos also credits Morales’ government with responding to the demands of the grassroots.

“Now with the government of President Evo Morales we see a bit more support on behalf of the state, but without a doubt the community radio stations were born of the necessities and pressure exerted by these communities,” she stated.

October 8, 2014 Posted by | Video | , | Leave a comment

Nuland Lands in Kiev as US-backed Regime Tools Up for War

By Finian CUNNINGHAM | Strategic Culture Foundation | October 7, 2014

In an ominous sign that the war in Ukraine is set to further escalate, US state department official Victoria Nuland arrived in Kiev where she met with senior members of the Western-backed regime.

In recent days the ceasefire brokered on September 5 has come under intense pressure as Kiev military forces have stepped up their barrage of the eastern city of Donetsk, with several civilian casualties reported almost on a daily basis.

As civilian homes burn in Donetsk, the Kiev regime has also begun openly talking about resuming its war footing by “raising combat readiness” and mobilising new army units toward the eastern Donbass regions, where it is trying to suppress a pro-independence movement in the self-declared People’s Republics of Donetsk and Luhansk.

For the past month, the Kiev regime has been talking out of both sides of its mouth. At times it has been declaring commitment to a ceasefire brokered by Russian President Vladimir Putin and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). At other times, hardliners in the regime have been warning that there was no such truce in practice, and that it was on the verge of an all-out war with Russia.

All the while, the putative ceasefire has been in tatters largely because Kiev’s forces have refused to withdraw from the conflict lines and continued to shell civilians centres.

Now the Kiev President Petro Poroshenko has flipped to a strident war rhetoric. In a televised appearance this week, the former industry tycoon had swapped his tie and suit for military uniform, and was warning that forces under his command were ready to use “modern fighting techniques”.

Poroshenko said that “Ukraine has transferred its economy to a military footing and will provide everything possible for the Ukrainian army to be stronger”. This while his bankrupt country owes Russia $5.3 billion in unpaid gas bills.

Last week his hardline Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk declared that Kiev’s military had been replenished with new equipment and winter gear.

The timing of this renewed militarism across the board in Kiev’s political leadership – together with increasing violations of the ceasefire in the east – seems more than coincidental with the arrival of eminence grise Victoria Nuland.

Nuland, who is Assistant Secretary of State to John Kerry, hasn’t been in Kiev since March. For the past seven months, she has taken a noticeably low profile with regard to Ukraine. Her absence was no doubt aimed at deflecting from her earlier controversial involvement in overseeing the CIA-backed coup on February 22, when the elected government of then President Viktor Yanukovych was deposed by the fascist cabal headed up by Yatsenyuk.

Two weeks before that coup, Nuland had been caught in a private phone call with the US ambassador to Ukraine, Geoffrey Pyatt, plotting on the shape of the new regime, with Yatsenyuk nominated as the point man. Nuland was also caught disparaging the European Union with expletives, in a clear signal that Washington was taking the driving seat to install the new regime, headed up by their man “Yats”.

Yatsenyuk’s Fatherland Party and the neo-Nazi Svoboda party, with its Right Sector stormtroopers, have dominated the regime’s anti-Russia policies ever since. Following a secret visit to Kiev in April by CIA director John Brennan, the regime embarked on a massive military offensive to suppress dissident ethnic Russian populations in the east of the country who were refusing to recognise the legitimacy of the US-backed coup.

That offensive – dubbed an anti-terror operation – has been largely under-reported by Western news media, even though it has resulted in more than 3,600 deaths and up to one million refugees. Most of the casualties have been civilian, with a Russian Investigative Committee reporting last week that at least 2,500 people have been killed from indiscriminate shelling of civilian centres in Donetsk and Luhansk by Kiev forces. The latter comprise regular army units, as well as neo-Nazi paramilitaries belonging to the so-called National Guard and various private militia (death squads) run by pro-Kiev oligarch figures, such as Igor Kolomoisky.

Both Washington and Brussels have obfuscated this terror campaign by affecting to give it legality by referring to the Kiev regime as the “government of Ukraine”. Washington and Brussels have also amplified Kiev’s diversionary propaganda accusing Russia of covert aggression and destabilising the Donbass regions. Moscow has consistently denied any involvement; and Western governments, the Kiev regime and NATO have not produced a shred of verifiable proof to support their tendentious claims against Russia.

Russia’s President Putin and the OSCE chairman, Didier Burkalter, who is also the Swiss president, this week reiterated that all sides in the Ukrainian conflict must abide by the terms of the ceasefire signed in Minsk on September 5.

But it seems that Kiev is now moving to dispel any pretence of recognising that ceasefire.

Since the truce was called – and apparently signed up to by Kiev’s President Poroshenko – the pro-independence Russian-speaking militia in Donbass have claimed that Kiev’s forces were only using the lull in violence as an opportunity to regroup.

Speaking on September 8, Donetsk People’s Republic deputy premier Andrei Purgin said: “They are doing what was impossible without truce conditions. All the movements of convoys would have been impossible. During the truce, convoys of combat vehicles are reaching destinations and preparing for attacks.”

Poroshenko’s public role in all this seems to have been to give an outward impression of adhering to a cessation and paving the way for political dialogue with the dissident regions.

However, that impression has to be set against continual breaches of the ceasefire and mounting civilian casualties by his forces, relentless anti-Russian rhetoric from the hardliners like Yatsenyuk, and the supply of military aid to the Kiev regime from Washington – the last tranche worth $53 million was announced while Poroshenko was being feted in the White House three weeks ago.

This week on the day that Nuland landed in Kiev, the regime announced what many suspected all along – that it was merely using the month-old ceasefire as a tactical launchpad to redouble its military operations.

Andrey Lysenko, Kiev’s National Defence and Security Council spokesman, said on Monday: “We have managed to upgrade the equipment currently in service, to get new armaments, and to reorganise and retool the defence industries that manufacture armaments and repair hardware.” He added: “We have also managed to regroup our forces, to carry out deep reconnaissance and to gather more information about the enemy. We have completed the third wave of mobilisation. We have replaced the units that needed that, we gave them a chance to have some rest after heavy fighting and to get back to normal”.

By “normal”, Lysenko means “terrorising civilians in eastern Ukraine”.

This underscores what Poroshenko has in recent days said about “the economy moving to a war footing”.

The sinister sign is that the Kiev regime, including the “Candy King” Poroshenko, is now realigning to an all-out belligerent policy toward the people of eastern Ukraine, and by extension, toward Russia itself.

The long overdue visit to Kiev this week by Victoria Nuland – Washington’s Ukraine hawk – carries the foreboding imprimatur of US-backed war escalation.

October 8, 2014 Posted by | Deception, Militarism, Progressive Hypocrite | , , | Leave a comment

Terrorism and Assassinations in Venezuela

By Maria Paez Victor | CounterPunch | October 8, 2014

Last Friday, the centre of Caracas was filled with thousands of mourning citizens as they accompanied two flag draped coffins loaded with flowers they had cast upon it in homage.

If a Member of Parliament representing the Venezuelan opposition had been brutally tortured and stabbed to death in his own home, the Western press –including Canada’s- would have splashed the news in headlines around the world.

Yet this has just happened to a Member of Parliament from the governing party of Venezuela, but the international press is mostly silent. International politicians have not wrung their hands with indignation or regret, as they have about the lawful incarceration of opposition leader Leopoldo López who publicly and repeatedly incited mobs to violence and caused has at least 47 deaths.

On Wednesday, October 1, 2014, Robert Serra, 27 years old, a lawyer and legislator from the governing party PSUV, the youngest Member of Parliament of Venezuela, and his partner Maria Herrera, were assassinated in their own home in a central area of Caracas. It was an outrageous and deliberate act of terror. Robert Serra and María Herrera were tortured, stabbed and then bled to death. He specialized in criminology, and was engaged in the task of helping to curb crime in the country. María Herrera assisted him in this vital work. Robert Serra came from a poor family; his mother worked as a street hawker to help him go to law school. He was famous for his insightful interventions in parliament and was much beloved, some referred to him as “ a future Chávez”.

Their deaths were carried out systematically. Ernesto Samper, ex-president of Colombia and current president of UNASUR, said: “This crime is evidence of the infiltration of Colombian paramilitary in Venezuela.”

Just a few weeks ago, President Santos of Colombia deported to Venezuela a young man, Lorent Saleh, who had been meeting with paramilitaries in Colombia to conspire against the Venezuelan government. He appears in a video with Alvaro Uribe, ex-president of Colombia, who owes his political career to his connections to Escobar, the head of Colombian narco-traffic, and is accused by the Colombian Senate of being behind the proliferation of the paramilitary there. Saleh stated he was buying arms of war and contracting snipers and explosive experts because “they” were going to carry out selective assassination of 20 leaders of the Venezuelan government in order to bring it down. Then he said who “they” were: leaders of Venezuela’s opposition parties.

In Parliament, days before his assassination, Robert Serra had denounced  -in no uncertain terms- the terrorist plans of Alvaro Uribe and Lorent Saleh.

The Venezuelan government of President Nicolás Maduro has been under relentless and continuous attack since it was elected. It has been submitted to economic sabotage with contraband and withholding of food and goods, a deliberate campaign of false rumors, and three months of street violence to create the appearance of chaos and lack of governability.  These subversive actions were deftly overcome by a government that stuck to the letter of the law, refused to take the bait of meeting violence with violence, and its call for peace included setting up negotiations with the opposition facilitated by ministers of neighboring countries. The Venezuelan people overwhelmingly repudiated the violent opposition tactics, and gave Mr. Maduro’s popularity an even larger boost.

In an attempt to produce “regime change”, violence has been intensified now to include assassinations. This was agreed upon in a meeting at Guadarrama, Spain at the end of June hosted by the Spanish spy agency CNI and the FAES – a think tank of the party Partido Popular of ex-president of Spain, Jose Maria Aznar. The USA’s CIA carries out the financing and training of the CNI, as Edward Snowdon has revealed.[i]

Two Venezuelan opposition leaders, Julio Borges and Ramon Muchacho, who were also behind the street violence, were present, and a video message from Maria Corina Machado was viewed. She could not be present as she is being investigated for her part in the street violence, which she enthusiastically led. Machado, as a standing member of Venezuela’s parliament, ignominiously accepted simultaneously the position of ambassador of Panama in order to address the OAS in 2014. According to the Constitution, she in effect, forfeited her condition of parliamentarian by representing a foreign government – and one, which at that time- was against Venezuela.

Machado, along with Lopez, instigated the street violence that cost so many deaths and millions in damages. Yet, holding  such disdain for the rule of law, she was invited by the Canadian Council for the Americas to speak at the prestigious Canadian law firm of Cassel Brock and Blackwell  last  May. This was a clear example either of Canadian willful ignorance or connivance.

The imperial forces believe Venezuela’s oil is just too rich a prize to leave in the hands of its people. The sterling leadership that the country has shown in promoting the integration of Latin America for the purposes of solving its common social problems and to protect its natural resources is just unacceptable to the greed of multinationals, the United States, and their subservient allies who seem to think the petroleum is theirs to take.

The assassinations of Robert Serra and María Herrera, of Eliézer Otáiz head of Caracas Municipality 5 months ago, the killings during the street riots of last March that were led by paramilitary (not students as the world press stated) and the bombing death of district attorney Danilo Anderson ten years ago, as well as the hundreds of rural leaders that have been assassinated by paramilitary mercenaries hired by the large landowners, have only fed the determination of the Venezuelan people. They know that their Bolivarian government, no matter how besieged and no matter how big the problems, is a government on their side, not on the side of the powerful elites and their foreign owners that have never in Venezuelan history sided with the poor or the nation’s best interest.

As the crowds wound their slow way towards the cemetery where Robert Serra and María Herrera were to be buried, the ubiquitous cry that was heard at every step was: “Justice! Justice! We want justice!”  The Venezuelan authorities dare not ignore this clamor.

María Páez Victor, Ph.D. is a Venezuelan born sociologist living in Canada. 

Notes. 

[i] Carlos Fazio, “Violencia y terrorismo son ejes de la nueva fase de desetabilizacion subversive”, Resumen Latinoamericano, 2 octubre 2014, http://www.resumenlatinoamericano.org/

October 8, 2014 Posted by | War Crimes | , , | 1 Comment

America sí Evelyn Cornejo

October 8, 2014 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, Video | | Leave a comment

How Many People Must Be Maimed or Killed Before We End the Militarization of Our Police Forces?

By Kara Dansky | ACLU Center for Justice | October 7, 2014

Yesterday, a grand jury in Habersham County, Georgia, decided not to bring charges against the police officers who threw a flashbang grenade into the crib of Bounkham Phonesavanh, known affectionately as “Baby Bou Bou.” The explosion left a hole in the then-19-month-old’s chest, exposing his rib, and almost ripped his nose from his face.

How could this happen? Combine systemic police militarization, the war on drugs, and sloppy police work, and you have the perfect recipe for disaster.

In May, the Habersham County Special Response Team executed a no-knock drug raid on the home of a family friend where Baby Bou Bou, his parents, and sisters were staying. It was the middle of the night, and even though the family’s minivan was parked in the driveway and children’s toys were in the yard, a squad of SWAT officers decided to throw a flashbang grenade into the living room.

Acting and looking like an invading army, the cops broke down the door, terrorizing the entire family. When Alecia, Baby Bou Bou’s mother, tried to go to him, they screamed at her to shut up. They violently threw and pinned Bou, his father, to the ground, injuring his shoulder so badly he cannot take care of his children alone anymore. Alecia and Bou did not see their son until they arrived at the hospital several hours later.

When they were able to see him, they were devastated.

The explosion from the flashbang tore a hole in Bou Bou’s chest, separated his nose from his face, and covered his body in third degree burns. His injuries were so severe that doctors placed Bou Bou in a medically induced coma.

And for what?

The man the SWAT team was looking for no longer lived in the house and was later arrested without incident. There weren’t any guns or drugs in the home either. To add insult to injury, the county refuses to pay the Phonesavanh’s medical bills, which now total $1 million, claiming the law doesn’t allow it.

The Phonesavanh family, however, is not alone. SWAT teams raid people’s homes approximately 50,000 times a year in the United States. Most of these raids are to search for drugs. Many of them result in tragedy.

In May, the police shot and killed a man in his home during a raid to search for some marijuana. The man had reported that he was fearful of being burglarized and the police told him: “If anyone breaks into this house, grab your gun and shoot to kill.” When he followed their instructions, they killed him.

In July, a St. Paul SWAT team raided a home and killed the family dogs in front of two young children. All they found was some marijuana.

Earlier this month, the Georgia State Patrol sent a helicopter and a K-9 Unit to a man’s home in search of what they thought was marijuana. It turned out to be okra.

As we pointed out in our report, War Comes Home: The Excessive Militarization of American Policing, police militarization is real. And it can be deadly. America watched in horror as law enforcement responded to the peaceful protests in Ferguson, Missouri, as though they were an invading army. They threatened to kill peaceful protesters. They pointed assault rifles at people exercising their right to peaceably assemble. They jailed journalists.

Some lawmakers have suggested that the answer is better training. Training will help, but it is not an answer to the very real and very entrenched problem of police militarization.

Law enforcement agencies have been aggressively using military weapons and tactics in communities of color for decades, mostly for the purpose of waging the failed and wasteful War on Drugs. They have been able to do so largely courtesy of the federal government, which funnels billions of dollars’ worth of funding and equipment to state and local law enforcement agencies – equipment that was designed for combat.

Habersham County, where the flashbang exploded in Baby Bou Bou’s crib, has received at least 17 assault rifles, 13 automatic pistols, two utility trucks, and an armored personnel carrier from the federal government in the last 10 years alone. When the police use combat weaponry to serve drug warrants and respond to peaceful protests, they do so knowing that they are using weapons and tactics designed for war against their own citizens.

What happened to Baby Bou Bou is not a rare occurrence, and neither is the lack of accountability for the police officers who altered his life forever. It’s the price our communities pay – young and old, disproportionately black and brown – when police believe they are counterinsurgents waging the War on Drugs, and Uncle Sam arms them that way.

It is time to end police militarization. Not only through improved training, but through an end to the federal programs that fuel it and a shift in how the police view the communities they’re meant to protect and serve.

October 8, 2014 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Militarism, Subjugation - Torture | , | Leave a comment

FBI starts anti-jihadist neighborhood informer campaign

RT | October 8, 2014

The FBI counter-terrorism division is calling on to Americans to report on fellow citizens engaged in suspicious activities to help identify possible terrorists, in the first place those connected to terrorist activities overseas.

In a statement published by the FBI on Tuesday, assistant director of the counter-terrorism division Michael Steinbach said the Bureau needs “the public’s assistance in identifying US persons, going to fight overseas with terrorist groups or who are returning home from fighting overseas.”

Any useful information about terror suspects can be sent to the FBI’s website or by calling 1-800-CALL-FBI, the agency announced.

Steinbach also asked the American public to help identifying a man from an IS propaganda video aimed at appealing to a Western audience.

In the 55-minute video, a masked man addressed a group of alleged Islamic State prisoners in Arab and English.

“Dressed in desert camouflage and wearing a shoulder holster, the masked man can be seen standing in front of purported prisoners as they dig their own graves and then later presiding over their executions,” the FBI said. His accent is believed to be North American, he added.

“We’re hoping that someone might recognize this individual and provide us with key pieces of information,” Steinbach said, adding: “No piece of information is too small.”

There have been a number of arrests of terror suspects made on American soil since the 9/11 attacks in 2001. Dozens of American citizens in recent years have joined various terrorist organizations, such as Al-Qaeda in Yemen, Taliban militants in Pakistan or the Al-Shabaab terrorist group in Somalia.

Yet now there is a new global international terrorist organization called the Islamic State (also known as ISIS or ISIL), that has captured large areas of Iraq and Syria, and is fighting with all of its neighbors: the Iraqi army, the Syrian army and Kurdish Peshmerga self-defense forces.

On Saturday, the FBI arrested Mohammed Hamzah Khan, 19, at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport, who was preparing to board a flight to Vienna with the alleged intention of traveling to Syria via Turkey, and of joining the Islamic State terrorist organization.

“We are all witness that the western societies are getting more immoral day by day,” Khan wrote, explaining his motivations in a three-page letter to his parents discovered in his bedroom by FBI agents. “I do not want my kids being exposed to filth like this,” he wrote, the AP reported.

As of August, there were a reported 12,000 militants from 50 nations fighting in the ranks of the Islamic State militia, the US State Department estimated.

October 8, 2014 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance, Islamophobia | , , , , | Leave a comment