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US imperialism

Hypocrisy over Cuba’s `political prisoners'

By Tim Anderson

September 13, 2009 -- Political prisoners and Cuba can be a confusing mix, in our times of mass propaganda. Three groups have attracted international attention, over the past decade.

The first group, 70 or so (the ``dissidents''), were arrested in March 2003 by the Cuban government and charged with taking money from a US program which aims to overthrow the Cuban constitution. Amnesty International and many European states, along with the US government, immediately declared them ``prisoners of conscience''. A number have since been released.

The second group of several hundred (``enemy combatants'') were collected by the US government in Afghanistan and Pakistan over 2001-2002 and held for many years in concentration camps at a US military base carved out of the island of Cuba. International protest built up more slowly, and eight years on many are still held without charge or trial.

The third group of five men (``the Cuban Five'’) were arrested in the US in 1998 and accused of being spies, for passing on information about groups in south Florida that were preparing terrorist attacks on Cuba. The US courts have rubber-stamped their convictions. On September 12, 2009, they completed 11 years in US jails.

The other September 11: US backed coup in Chile, 1973

An excerpt from John Pilger's documentary The War on Democracy, which recounts the involvement of the United States government in the brutal 1973 military coup that overthrew the democratic socialist government of President Salvador Allende -- paradoxically on September 11. It ushered in a regime of torture and tyranny. [Click HERE to watch Pilger's full film.]

Below, see director Ken Loach's moving contribution to the 11"9'01 project.

How US warmongers exploited the 9/11 terrorist attacks

By Norm Dixon

[This article was first published on September 11, 2002, on the first anniversary of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in New York and Washington. Its observations remain relevant to this day.]

* * *

In the week before the first anniversary of the devastating September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, TV networks aired a seemingly never-ending string of ``special events'' featuring ``exclusive'' or ``never before seen'' footage of the collapse of the twin towers of the World Trade Center (WTC) and its aftermath. People around the world again experienced the horror, anger and tragedy of that terrible day, when almost 3000 working people were murdered.

Culminating on the anniversary of the day itself, thousands of journalists and TV presenters from across the globe will converge at ``ground zero'' in New York for ``remembrance and reflection''. Solemn ceremonies will be telecast and patriotic speeches by top US politicians broadcast, restating Washington's determination to pursue its ``war on terrorism''.

Interview with Honduras resistance leader: `The US is sustaining the coup'

International solidarity can boost the Honduran people's morale. Photo by James Rodriguez.

During an August 17-19, 2009, international seminar on the economic crisis hosted by the Party of Liberty and Socialism in Sao Paolo, Brazil, Green Left Weekly/Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal journalists Kiraz Janicke and Federico Fuentes, together with journalists from Marea Socialista (Venezuela) and Alternativa Socialista (Argentina), were able to interview Gilberto Rios from the international relations commission of the National Popular Resistance Front against the Coup about the growing resistance movement against the US backed coup which ousted the democratically elected president of Honduras, Manuel Zelaya, on June 28.

For people to people solidarity with Vietnam

RAAF Canberra bombers flew 11,963 sorties during the Vietnam War, dropping 76,389 bombs.

By Peter Boyle

September 1, 2009 -- There has been a lot of media coverage in Australia around the August 31 return of the remains of the last two Australian armed forces personnel – Canberra bomber pilots – who were missing in action in the Vietnam War. But none of the articles put this in the context of the death and damage inflicted on the Vietnamese people by the United States and its ally Australia.

Operating as part of the US Air Force's 35th Tactical Fighter Wing, Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Canberra bombers flew 6% of the wing's sorties but inflicted 16% of the damage. Overall, 11,963 sorties were flown by the Canberra bombers in Vietnam and 76,389 bombs were dropped. Two Canberra bombers were lost in the process.

Total Australian military casualties in the Vietnam War were 521 killed and 2398 wounded, but the numerous high-altitude bombing raids carried out by Australia's Canberra bombers alone would have inflicted much higher casualties.

Industrial action for peace: The Communist Party of Australia and antiwar activity before 1960

[Douglas Jordan was politicised in England in the late 1960s. After arriving in Australia he joined the Socialist Youth Alliance/Socialist Workers League/Socialist Workers Party, in which where he remained a member for 14 years. Today he is a community activist and co-presenter of the City Limits radio program on Melbourne's 3CR.

[After working as a tram conductor in Melbourne and Adelaide he was replaced by a ticket machine in 1998 and so lost his lifetime profession. He returned to study and is now writing his PhD thesis. The thesis -- of which this article is an excerpt -- is a detailed examination of the extent to which Communist Party of Australia union activists raised political issues in their unions.

[In particular it looks at the peace movement, attitudes to the post-war migration program and the Aboriginal struggle for human rights. There was been a general perception that Communist Party union activists were nothing more than industrial militants. The thesis aims to challenge this and show that CPA members often raised political issues and sought support for them from their co-workers.]

* * *

By Douglas Jordan

Woodstock 40 years ago: Country Joe McDonald's and Jimi Hendrix's antiwar classics

40 years ago -- from August 15 to August 18, 1969 -- hundreds of thousands of young people gathered for three days of ``peace, love and music''. In the midst of the mass movement against the Vietnam War and the youth radicalisation it unleashed, oppostion to US imperialism's slaughter in Vietnam was personified by the performances of Country Joe McDonald's ``Feel Like I'm Fixin' to Die' Rag'' and Jimi Hendrix's searing anti-patriotic ``Star-Spangled banner'' (below, press ``Read more'' to watch).

Vietnam: Chemical companies, US authorities knew the dangers of Agent Orange

By Jon Dillingham

Thanh Nien -- August 10, 2009, was the first Orange Day organised in Vietnam –- not only to be remembered by victims of Agent Orange but to mark Vietnam's common pain. Those responsible for exposing Vietnamese citizens and US troops to toxic defoliants kept silent about known health implications, a review of documents finds.

US chemical companies that made Agent Orange and the government and military authorities who ordered its spraying on Vietnam knew the human health toll it could take, according to official and unofficial documents detailing the history of the deadly defoliant.

A review of the documents related to the use of Agent Orange –- a dioxin-laden herbicide -– in Vietnam, including decades-old declassified papers from the companies that manufactured it and the government and military that used it, provides compelling evidence that those in charge also concealed evidence of the devastating effects it could have on people.

Hillary Clinton in Africa: Promoting US corporate and military interests

Hillary Clinton and South African President Jacob Zuma.

By Firoze Manji

August 6, 2009 -- International media attention is focused on the August 3-14 visit of the US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, to seven countries in Africa. Judging by the behaviour of representatives of many African governments, there are great expectations that this visit –- following so closely after US President Barack Obama's two earlier visits to Egypt and Ghana this year -– holds out vast hope for Africa.

But what is the significance of Clinton’s visit? Does it really hold out hope for Africa? There are three dimensions to this visit: The African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA); oil and natural resource exploitation; and security.

Honduras coup: Dress rehearsal for imperial coups across Latin America

Mass opposition has surged since the June 28 coup. Photos from Honduran Resists.

By Felipe Stuart Cournoyer

August 8, 2009 -- The people of Honduras have now suffered more than 40 days of military rule. The generals’ June 28 coup, crudely re-packaged in constitutional guise, ousted the country’s elected government and unleashed severe, targeted and relentless repression.

Grassroots protests have matched the regime in endurance and outmatched it in political support within the country and internationally. Its scope and duration is unprecedented in Honduran history. Popular resistance is the main factor affecting the international forces attempting to shape the outcome of the crisis. It weighs heavily on the minds of the coup’s authors and their international backers.

Honduras: Resistance front calls for boycott of the military-business dictatorship; Global day of action called for August 11

Photo by  James Rodríguez.

Call from the National Front against the Coup d'Etat in Honduras to the worldwide working class 

August 3, 2009 -- Tegucigalpa -- June 28 of the this year when the Honduran population was preparing to participate in a popular opinion poll on ... whether or not to convoke a Constitutional Assembly, thousands of soldiers kidnapped the constitutional president of the republic, Manuel Zelaya Rosales, and they expelled him to the neighbouring country of Costa Rica; they occupied the Presidential House; they violently closed all of the independent radio and television stations; they persecuted all the functionaries of the government and they implanted a state of siege in the whole country.

Hiroshima and Nagasaki: Worst single terror attacks in history

Hiroshima, August 6, 1945.

By Norm Dixon

August 6 and August 9 mark the anniversaries of the US atomic-bomb attacks on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945. In Hiroshima, an estimated 80,000 people were killed in a split second. Some 13 square kilometres of the city were obliterated. By December, at least another 70,000 people had died from radiation and injuries.

Three days after Hiroshima's destruction, the US dropped an A-bomb on Nagasaki, resulting in the deaths of at least 70,000 people before the year was out.

Since 1945, tens of thousands more residents of the two cities have continued to suffer and die from radiation-induced cancers, birth defects and still births.

A tiny group of US rulers met secretly in Washington and callously ordered this indiscriminate annihilation of civilian populations. They gave no explicit warnings. They rejected all alternatives, preferring to inflict the most extreme human carnage possible. They ordered and had carried out the two worst single terror acts in human history.

With Honduras, with all of Latin America -- sign the statement

July 31, 2009 -- We, the undersigned social, political and solidarity organisations, faced with the ongoing coup d’état in Honduras and the imperialist project of installing military bases in Colombia whose objective is to throttle the hope for liberty and emancipation across the Latin American continent,

Declare:

1. Our complete support for the immediate and unrestricted return of President Manuel Zelaya and the restitution of constitutional order, without conditions, to Honduras. Furthermore, we demand the punishment of those responsible for the coup d’état and the recognition of people’s sovereignty to freely decide their future, through referendum, consultation or any other means of participative democracy.

2. We denounce the cynicism shown by the US government and its satellites in the Organisation of America States, with an attitude which speaks of the recognition of the constitutionality of Zelaya’s Presidency at the same time as they reach agreements and hold conversations with the organisers of the coup, and carry out all types of delaying tactics with the objective of demobilising the impressive resistance movement which has been awakened in the interior of Honduras, coordinated in the National Resistance Front against the Coup.

Honduras: Defying regime, Zelaya attempts return; Interview with President Manuel `Mel' Zelaya

Protesters confront police and army, July 4. Photo by James Rodríguez.

By Felipe Stuart Cournoyer

Update, July 24, 2009 --  Today, Honduras has been totally paralysed by a general strike, and Honduran resistance activists and protesters are chanting.

Zelaya - get used to it. The people are rising up
(it rhymes in Spanish).

Also common is the resistenCia, resistenCia, resistenCia, el pueblo unido jamas sera vencido (people united will never be overcome) and so on...

This afternoon Zelaya crossed over the frontier at Las Manos north of Esteli. He stood technically just inside Honduran territory, having crossed the chain separating the two countries in the "neutral" strip between them. Zelaya remained there for about two hours, hoping to meet up with members of his family and others who were trying to join him.

How Obama pardons capitalism for its misdeeds in Africa

By Emilie Tamadaho Atchaca (Benin), Solange Koné (Ivory Coast), Jean Victor Lemvo (Congo Brazzaville), Damien Millet (France), Luc Mukendi and Victor Nzuzi (Congo Kinshasa), Sophie Perchellet (France), Aminata Barry Touré (Mali), Eric Toussaint (Belgium), Ibrahim Yacouba (Niger)[1]. Translated by Maria Gatti

July 20, 2009 -- After the G8 summit in Italy, US President Barack Obama flew off to Africa with a so-called gift: an envelope of US$20 billion to distribute over three years, so that “generous” donors in the rich countries could “help” reduce world hunger. While the promise to eradicate hunger has been made on a regular basis since 1970, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) published a report last month indicating that the number of undernourished people has passed the 1 billion point, that is 100 million more than the year before. At the same time, the United Nations World Food Program (WFP) sounded the alarm bell and announced that it had to cut

Obama in Ghana: The speech he should have made

By Firoze Manji

July 16, 2009 -- The internet and wires have been burning with anger and disappointment at the speech made by US President Barack Obama on July 11 at the start of his visit to Ghana. Below is a speech Obama might have -- or should have -- made during his second visit to the continent in the space of a few weeks.

* * *

Good morning. It is an honour for me to be in Accra, and to speak to the representatives of the people of Ghana. I am deeply grateful for the welcome that I've received, as are Michelle, Malia and Sasha Obama. Ghana's history is rich, the ties between our two countries are strong, and I am proud that this is my second visit to Africa as president of the United States.

Versailles vs Comintern: two visions of world peace

Lenin addresses the opening of the second congress of the Communist International.

By Barry Healy

June 28, 2009, was the anniversary of the two bookends of World War I, in which it is estimated more than 15 million people died. On that date in 1914 Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated in Sarajevo and, five years later, in 1919, 90 years ago this year, the Versailles Treaty was signed in Paris.

The first war in which the capacity of modern industry to deploy, feed, arm and dismember people was so hideously demonstrated, WWI was experienced by its victims as the "war to end all wars". Unfortunately, it proved not to be.

Out of the ashes of the conflict two competing visions of world peace arose: Versailles and the revolutionary and democratic alternative represented by the Communist International (Comintern) emanating from the 1917 Russian Revolution.

US President Woodrow Wilson swept into the treaty negotiations declaring: “The world must be made safe for democracy.” Over six months of intense horsetrading at Versailles a new imperialist order was hammered out, resulting in many of the conflicts that followed.

Iran: (Video) Not a Twitter revolution, not a CIA revolution

By Reese Erlich

June 26, 2009 -- Iran is not undergoing a ``Twitter Revolution''. The term simultaneously mischaracterizes and trivialises the important mass movement developing in Iran. Here’s how it all began. The Iranian government prohibited foreign reporters from traveling outside Tehran without special permission, and later confined them to their hotel rooms and offices. CNN and other cable networks were particularly desperate to find ways to show the large demonstrations and government repression. So they turned to internet sites such as Facebook and Twitter in a frantic effort to get information. Since reporters were getting most of their information from Tweets and You Tube video clips, the notion of a “Twitter Revolution” was born.

We reporters love a catch phrase and, Twitter being all a flutter in the West, it seemed to fit. It’s a catchy phrase but highly misleading.

Honduras: Obama's first coup d'etat?

By Eva Golinger

[As of 11:15 am, June 28, Caracas time, President Manuel Zelaya is speaking live on Telesur from San Jose, Costa Rica. He has verified the soldiers entered his residence in the early morning hours, firing guns and threatening to kill him and his family if he resisted the coup. He was forced to go with the soldiers who took him to the air base and flew him to Costa Rica. He has requested the US government make a public statement condemning the coup, otherwise, it will indicate their compliance. At 5 pm, Roberto Micheletti, head of Honduras' Congress was sworn in as de facto president. At 7 pm, the Organization of American States condemned the coup. US secretary of state Hillary Clinton has formally condemned the coup. For continuing updates, visit Eva Golinger's web site at http://www.chavezcode.com/.]

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