Saturday, April 18, 2009

'Revolution' by Award


A poem about how the revolutionary state of mind. The revolution of an empowering mentality... "I wanted to capture the essance of the moment of clarity"...Slam Poetry by black male poet "AWARD"

Humble The Poet - Imagine 2009 (Obama Diss) Ft. Sikh Knowledge




Humble The Poet - A Milli (Revolution Remix)

French Resistance on the Big Screen

Cinema is about seducing an audience to have them go away and think, writer-director Costa-Gavras tells MAYA JAGGI as he celebrates 45 years of film-making

COSTA-GAVRAS recalls his shock at arriving at the Gare de Lyon in Paris from Greece in 1954, at the "gloomy weather and black facades, and the look people give you if you don't speak the language. My first impulse was to get back on the train and go home". Now 76, he is one of French cinema's most internationally feted writer- directors, having made some 20 films over 45 years.

A student at the Sorbonne in the 1950s, he still lives in Paris's Latin Quarter, in a pink house off a courtyard hidden behind the Boulevard Saint-Michel, where his grandchildren play around him. He is a naturalised citizen, has a French knighthood and in 2007 became president of the Cinematheque Francaise, one of the world's largest film archives, lavishly rehoused in a Frank Gehry building across the Seine.

This year marks the 40th anniversary of his landmark feature Z (1969), about an incorruptible judge investigating the killing at a peace demo of a reformist politician, played by Yves Montand. With democracy disappearing in a fog of dirty tricks, conspiracy and cover-up, Z was an indictment of the US-backed coup in Greece, and was banned there under the military junta of 1967-74.

With dark humour, a faux-documentary style and a soundtrack by Mikos Theodorakis - then under house arrest - it made Costa- Gavras's name as master of a genre that married the pace and suspense of the action thriller with political critique, and it won an Oscar for best foreign language film. Z has recently begun an anniversary tour with a screening in New York in a new 35mm print.

Lured to Hollywood in the 1980s, Costa-Gavras has also made movies in English. Missing(1982), which won an Oscar for best screenplay adaptation, probed another US-backed coup, this time in Chile in 1973. As a conservative American (played by Jack Lemmon) searches for his disappeared journalist son, he is confronted by the depth of his country's collusion in Pinochet's coup. Amen(2002) proved equally controversial, investigating as it did the silence or complicity of the Catholic church and the allied powers in the Holocaust.

Yet Costa-Gavras doesn't march behind the banner of political cinema. All cinema is political, he says, even action movies showing "heroes saving the Earth only with a gun". Nor is he bound by the thriller. "Every story has its own style, which I try to find." His films are often based on fact ("Any similarity to persons or events is deliberate", Z announced). His interest is in the "pyramid of power", and in relationships destroyed by global politics, ideologies and beliefs. Yet alongside silent abuses of authority are those who resist - stubborn witnesses, upright judges, dissenting consciences. For Coata-Gavras, "resistance is the most important thing".

Costa-Gavras's latest feature,Eden Is West, draws on his early experience of exile. The bitter-sweet fable cum road movie about an illegal migrant in Europe, whose dream is to reach Paris, opened London's Human Rights Watch film festival last month. It begins, like a modern Odyssey, in the Aegean, as a boatload of migrants cast their identity documents overboard, leaving their pasts in their wake to join the ranks of the sans-papiers. Elias is the present- day Ulysses, a picaresque ingenu played almost wordlessly by the Italian actor Riccardo Scamarcio, who evades police and swims ashore.

~ more... ~

Men's underwear sales, Greenspan's economic metric, reveal crisis

From Sam Stein's post with reporting by Arthur Delaney

As chairman of the Federal Reserve, Alan Greenspan was known for using quirky, proletariat metrics to judge the temperature of the economy. The most famous of these, as recounted by NPR's Robert Krulwich in January 2008, were the sales of men's underwear. If the economic scales dipped even the slightest, Greenspan reasoned, it was as sure a sign as any that people were truly feeling the pinch.

"If you look at sales of male underpants it's just pretty much a flat line, it hardly ever changes," Krulwich recounted after the publishing of Greenspan's book, "The Age Of Turbulence." "But on those few occasions where it dips that means that men are so pinched that they are deciding not to replace underpants. And [Greenspan] said 'that is almost always a prescient, forward impression that here comes trouble.'"

Well, here comes trouble.

A revised survey by the leading global research company, Mintel, shows relatively large drops in the sales of men's underwear in the United States. The study, to be released April 9, projects a 2.3 percent drop in sales of all men's underwear products in 2009. Underscoring just how quickly the market has gone south, in November 2008, Mintel had forecast sales to grow by 2.6 percent in 2009. A serious downturn led to a serious revision.

~ more... ~

60 drone hits kill 14 al-Qaeda men, 687 civilians

Friday, April 10, 2009

By Amir Mir

LAHORE: Of the 60 cross-border predator strikes carried out by the Afghanistan-based American drones in Pakistan between January 14, 2006 and April 8, 2009, only 10 were able to hit their actual targets, killing 14 wanted al-Qaeda leaders, besides perishing 687 innocent Pakistani civilians. The success percentage of the US predator strikes thus comes to not more than six per cent.

Figures compiled by the Pakistani authorities show that a total of 701 people, including 14 al-Qaeda leaders, have been killed since January 2006 in 60 American predator attacks targeting the tribal areas of Pakistan. Two strikes carried out in 2006 had killed 98 civilians while three attacks conducted in 2007 had slain 66 Pakistanis, yet none of the wanted al-Qaeda or Taliban leaders could be hit by the Americans right on target. However, of the 50 drone attacks carried out between January 29, 2008 and April 8, 2009, 10 hit their targets and killed 14 wanted al-Qaeda operatives. Most of these attacks were carried out on the basis of intelligence believed to have been provided by the Pakistani and Afghan tribesmen who had been spying for the US-led allied forces stationed in Afghanistan.

The remaining 50 drone attacks went wrong due to faulty intelligence information, killing hundreds of innocent civilians, including women and children. The number of the Pakistani civilians killed in those 50 attacks stood at 537, in which 385 people lost their lives in 2008 and 152 people were slain in the first 99 days of 2009 (between January 1 and April 8).

Of the 50 drone attacks, targeting the Pakistani tribal areas since January 2008, 36 were carried out in 2008 and 14 were conducted in the first 99 days of 2009. Of the 14 attacks targeting Pakistan in 2009, three were carried out in January, killing 30 people, two in February killing 55 people, five in March killing 36 people and four were conducted in the first nine days of April, killing 31 people.

Of the 14 strikes carried out in the first 99 days of April 2009, only one proved successful, killing two most wanted senior al-Qaeda leaders - Osama al Kini and Sheikh Ahmed Salim Swedan. Both had lost their lives in a New Year's Day drone strike carried out in the South Waziristan region on January 1, 2009.

Kini was believed to be the chief operational commander of al-Qaeda in Pakistan and had replaced Abu Faraj Al Libi after his arrest from Bannu in 2004. Both men were behind the 1998 bombings of the US embassies in Dares Salaam, Tanzania, and Nairobi, Kenya, which killed 224 civilians and wounded more than 5,000 others.

There were 36 recorded cross-border US predator strikes inside Pakistan during 2008, of which 29 took place after August 31, 2008, killing 385 people. However, only nine of the 36 strikes hit their actual targets, killing 12 wanted al-Qaeda leaders. The first successful predator strike had killed Abu Laith al Libi, a senior military commander of al-Qaeda who was targeted in North Waziristan on January 29, 2008. The second successful attack in Bajaur had killed Abu Sulayman Jazairi, al-Qaeda's external operations chief, on March 14, 2008. The third attack in South Waziristan on July 28, 2008, had killed Abu Khabab al Masri, al-Qaeda's weapons of mass destruction chief. The fourth successful attack in South Waziristan on August 13, 2008, had killed al-Qaeda leader Abdur Rehman.

The fifth predator strike carried out in North Waziristan near Miranshah on Sept 8, 2008 had killed three al-Qaeda leaders, Abu Haris, Abu Hamza, and Zain Ul Abu Qasim. The sixth successful predator hit in the South Waziristan region on October 2008 had killed Khalid Habib, a key leader of al-Qaeda's paramilitary Shadow Army.

The seventh such attack conducted in North Waziristan on October 31, 2008 had killed Abu Jihad al Masri, a top leader of the Egyptian Islamic group. The eighth successful predator strike had killed al-Qaeda leader Abdullah Azzam al Saudi in east of North Waziristan on November 19, 2008.

The ninth and the last successful drone attack of 2008, carried out in the Ali Khel region just outside Miramshah in North Waziristan on November 22, 2008, had killed al-Qaeda leader Abu Zubair al Masri and his Pakistani fugitive accomplice Rashid Rauf.

According to the figures compiled by the Pakistani authorities, a total of 537 people have been killed in 50 incidents of cross-border US predator strikes since January 1, 2008 to April 8, 2009, averaging 34 killings per month and 11 killings per attack. The average per month killings in predator strikes during 12 months of 2008 stood at 32 while the average per attack killings in the 36 drone strikes for the same year stood at 11.

Similarly, 152 people have been killed in 14 incidents of cross-border predator attacks in the tribal areas in the first 99 days of 2009, averaging 38 killings per month and 11 killings per attack.

Since September 3, 2008, it appears that the Americans have upped their attacks in Pakistani tribal areas in a bid to disrupt the al-Qaeda and the Taliban network, which they allege is being used to launch cross border ambushes against the Nato forces in Afghanistan.

The American forces stationed in Afghanistan carried out nine aerial strikes between September 3 and September 25, 2008, killing 57 people and injuring 38 others. The attacks were launched on September 3, 4, 5, 8, 12, 15, 17, 22 and September 27. However, the September 3, 2008 American action was unique in the sense that two CH-47 Chinook transport helicopters landed in the village of Zawlolai in the South Waziristan Agency with ground troops from the US Special Operation Forces, fired at three houses and killed 17, including five women and four sleeping children.

Besides the two helicopters carrying the US Special Forces Commandos, two jet fighters and two gun-ship helicopters provided the air cover for the half-an-hour American operation, more than a kilometre inside the Pakistani border.

The last predator strike on [April 8, 2009] was carried out hardly a few hours after the Pakistani authorities had rejected an American proposal for joint operations in the tribal areas against terrorism and militancy, as differences of opinion between the two countries over various aspects of the war on terror came out into the open for the first time.

The proposal came from two top US visiting officials, presidential envoy for the South Asia Richard Holbrooke and Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen. However, the Pakistani military and political leadership reportedly rejected the proposal and adopted a tough posture against a barrage of increasing US predator strikes and criticism emanating from Washington, targeting the Pakistan Army and the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) and creating doubts about their sincerity in the war on terror and the fight against al-Qaeda and Taliban.

~ The News ~

Anger as Royal Bank of Scotland cuts 9,000 jobs

The scale of the part-nationalised lender's latest redundancy programme – under plans to cut 9,000 technology, property, operations and processing jobs worldwide in the next two years – provoked union outrage.

The bank will cut 4,500 of these jobs in Britain in a clear-out of its back-office operations - on top of the 2,700 UK positions lost in the retail and corporate bank earlier this year.

Vince Cable, the Liberal Democrat Shadow Chancellor, said: "As he enjoys his multimillion-pound pension, Sir Fred Goodwin should spare a thought for the thousands of people he has now put out of work."

Rob MacGregor, national officer for Unite, added that the news was "truly devastating".

"Unite is appalled that thousands of people who form the backbone of the RBS operations are to be made redundant," he said. "These employees are totally blameless for the current position which RBS is in, yet they are paying for the mistakes at the top of the bank."

~ more... ~

Caldero'n's Ambassador to Canada has blood on his hands

Francisco Barrio Terrazas, Mexico's new ambassador to Canada, assumed the cushy diplomatic posting on February 26th, 2009. He had previously served as mayor of Ciudad Juarez, known as the Murder Capital of North America, and later as governor of Chihuahua state.

That's right ladies and gents.

Representing the regime of Felipe Calderón in Canada is a man who governed a city where more four hundred women have been killed since 1993. Many of the women killed were sexually assaulted first. Barrio Terrazas refused to call for an investigation until 1998.

"We can't accept that Canada, a model country that's culture is based on the respect of human rights and rule of law, could shelter a person who tolerated the murder and rapes of women and girls," reads a statement concerning Barrio Terrazas' appointment from May our Daughters Come Home, a women's group based in Juarez.

As if that weren't bad enough (because it certainly is), Barrio Terrazas has an equally distinguished past as governor of Chihuahua:

"During the Fox administration, the drug cartels penetrated the federal police and the security apparatus in Mexico in unprecedented levels, when (Barrio Terrazas) was the man in charge of making sure the federal bureaucracy operated without fraud, waste and abuse," Tony Payan from the University of Texas at El Paso told the Canadian Press.

Currently, there are over 12,000 soldiers and police occupying Ciudad Juarez. More than 2,000 people have been murdered in Juarez since early 2008, and during January and February of 2009, there were five murders a day in the city of 1.7 million.

Photo: Barrio Terrezas relaxes in Ottawa with Michaëlle Jean while Chihuahua burns.


~ The Dominion ~

Canada: Family demands answers in tot's death on reserve

Elise Stolte reports for The Edmonton Journal :

Pneumonia victim latest of grisly string of child deaths

A Hobbema family wants answers after an infant died of pneumonia in her foster mother's home.

"We knew she was sick," the baby's grandmother said on Wednesday. "If I had a chance, I would have grabbed her and taken her to the doctor myself."

The 13-month-old girl died Saturday night. She cannot be identified because she was in provincial care.

An autopsy Tuesday found nothing suspicious in the child's death, but toxicology results are pending, RCMP Cpl. Greg Crook said. Police were called to the home Saturday night and found paramedics trying to revive the child. She was later declared dead at Wetaskiwin's hospital.

"It's just a terrible set of circumstances," Crook said.

[ ... ]

Kasohkowew's authority was temporarily revoked in 2002 after a string of child deaths.

A review showed staff were badly overworked.

At the time of their deaths, all the children were either in Kasohkowew's care or known to its child-protection workers.

Two died in fires, one drowned in the bathtub at his Red Deer foster home, another died from head injuries inflicted by a foster parent, one died from a cough-syrup overdose, another by choking on a balloon, and a teenage girl hanged herself.

~ more... ~

[Global Systemic Crisis] Summer 2009: The international monetary system’s breakdown is underway

Franck Biancheri writes for Newropeans Magazine :

The perspective of a US default this summer is becoming clearer as public debt is now completely out of control with skyrocketing expenses (+41%) and collapsing tax revenues (-28%), as LEAP/E2020 anticipated more than a year ago. In March 2009 alone, the federal deficit has nearly reached USD 200-billion (way above the most pessimistic forecasts), i.e. a little less than half of the deficit recorded for the entire year 2008 (a record high year)…

The next stage of the crisis will result from a Chinese dream. Indeed, what on earth can China be dreaming of, caught – if we listen to Washington – in the “dollar trap” of its 1,400-billion worth of USD-denominated debt (1)? If we believe US leaders and their scores of media experts, China is only dreaming of remaining a prisoner, and even of intensifying the severity of its prison conditions by buying always more US T-Bonds and Dollars (2).

In fact, everyone knows what prisoners dream of? They dream of escaping of course, of getting out of prison. LEAP/E2020 has therefore no doubt that Beijing is now (3) constantly striving to find the means of disposing of, as early as possible, the mountain of "toxic" assets which US Treasuries and Dollars have become, keeping the wealth of 1,300 billion Chinese citizens (4) prisoner. In this issue of the GEAB (N°34), our team describes the “tunnels and galleries” Beijing has secretively begun to dig in the global financial and economic system in order to escape the "dollar trap" by the end of summer 2009. Once the US has defaulted on its debt, it will be time for the "everyman for himself" rule to prevail in the international system, in line with the final statement of the London G20 Summit which reads as a "chronicle of a geopolitical dislocation", as explained by LEAP/E2020 in this issue of the Global Europe Anticipation Bulletin.

~ more... ~

Greece's troubled government - An Aegean fog

From the Economist :

Tourism, which employs one in five Greeks, is suffering, partly because of a strong euro. The number of foreign holidaymakers on Greek beaches this summer may fall by 15-20%, say hoteliers. The British are heading for Turkey, where a weak pound is partly offset by a falling lira. Bookings by Russians, the fastest-growing market last year, are sharply down. “If there's a surge in late bookings, there's a slim possibility we can break even,” says Nikiforos Lambrinos, a hotelier on Crete, glumly.

After 15 unbroken years of growth at around 4% a year, Greeks are not used to belt-tightening. But Mr Papathanasiou cannot offer even a modest fiscal stimulus. The cost of financing a public debt standing at 94% of GDP has risen since Greece's credit rating, like Spain's and Portugal's, was downgraded in January. The budget deficit is already over the theoretical ceiling of 3% of GDP for euro-area countries.

A record of fudging budget numbers gives Greece little credibility in Brussels. The European Commission has demanded more reforms to keep the deficit below 3% in 2010. Mr Papathanasiou has already announced unpopular measures, including a wage freeze for civil servants and a one-off tax for high earners. More spending cuts are on the way. But structural reforms such as modernising the health-care and pension systems remain stuck.

The gloomy atmosphere is taking its toll on Costas Karamanlis, the prime minister, and his conservative New Democracy party. Last month Mr Karamanlis marked his fifth anniversary in the job by telling a journalist he felt “exhausted” and might step down if New Democracy loses the election that may come next year or even sooner. With only a one-seat majority in parliament, the party trails the opposition Socialists by over seven points, say polls.

Corruption scandals still beset the government. This week a former director of Greece's competition watchdog was convicted of bribe-seeking. A former minister, Aristotle Pavlidis, is accused of involvement in a bribery scandal over subsidised ferry routes. Mr Pavlidis, who insists he is innocent, has resisted pressure to resign from parliament. Disgruntled conservatives fear that, as Mr Karamanlis and his government focus on anarchists and fiscal discipline, their grip on power is slipping.

~ more... ~

The never ending story of Halki Theological Seminary reopening

Gül Demir and Niki Gamm report for Hurriyet :

ISTANBUL - Since 1971 there have been attempts to reopen the Halki Theological Seminary on Istanbul's Heybeliada and while the appeals have not fallen on deaf ears, various reasons have been put forward as to why it should not be reopened. Successive Turkish governments have argued that reopening Halki would lead the way to applications for Muslim universities, even though Muslim seminaries were never opened before. However, the current education minister has said he can see no reason why it cannot be reopened

The never ending story of Halki Theological Seminary reopening Ever since 1971, the Halki Theological School that belonged to the Orthodox Church on Heybeli Island near Istanbul has been closed on the grounds that all private schools of higher education be shut down.

This occurred following a period of increasing period of internal strife and near chaos that led to an intervention but not an outright coup by the Turkish military establishment. The closure of the schools of higher education was an attempt to quell some of the chaos that in part was being perpetrated by university students. It was not directly aimed at the Halki Theological School; however, this closure was carried out by the National Education Directorate, not the ministry and not the military.

In 2004 on the occasion for year-long celebrations for the 550th anniversary of the Greek School in Fener, Turkey's Education Minister Hüseyin Çelik attended ceremonies with the Greek Education Minister at the time Petros Efthimiou. Çelik pointed out that he didn't see any reason why it couldn't be opened, a claim that he repeated in a Sabah newspaper interview in August 2004. At that time he pointed out that if an Islamic religious faculty with a Turkish Muslim in charge of it could be built in the center of Rotterdam in the Netherlands, why couldn't the school be reopened. In 2005, the new Greek Minister of Education Marietta Yannakou came and Çelik was present at this occasion as well.

Since 1971 there have been attempts to reopen the Halki School and while the appeals have not fallen on deaf ears, various reasons have been put forward as to why it should not be reopened. These have mainly been put forward by groups that could be considered ultra-nationalists who believe their concerns are valid. They see the very existence of the Orthodox Patriarchate in Istanbul as a nest of spies working to undermine the Turkish Republic and they don't hesitate to express their antipathy by staging protest meetings at the gates of the Patriarchate in Fener. Along with this they believe that the opening of the school would lead to the education of additional Turkish enemies who would act as agents for the Greek government as if Greece were the same country that it was many decades ago. In the meantime all this was played out against a backdrop of Turkish and Greek Cypriot troubles with each side seemingly each other's bargain chips to gain the upper hand or at least that held each other's populations "hostage."

~ more... ~

Secwepemcw people call for blockade

From Blockade on Unceded Secwepemc Territory between Chase & Kamloops

[[Update]]

Wednedsay April 1, 11 am UPDATE:

The blockade itself has been postponed to a later time based on spiritual guidance and advice. A continuous camp presence, however, is currently being maintained and ceremonies for protection and guidance are being conducted. Police helicopters are circling above and RCMP is around the area.

[[Reposting]]

NATIVE YOUTH MOVEMENT
INTERNATIONAL STATEMENT
APRIL 1ST, 2009

Unceded Secwepemc Territory, between Kamloops and Chase, bc, kkkanada

KKKANADA--STOP THE NEW WESTWARD EXPANSION

THE GENOCIDE CONTINUES WITH THE DESECRATION OF OUR ANCIENT SECWEPEMC BURIAL AND VILLAGE SITES FOR HIGHWAY & RAILWAY EXPANSION

The Secwepemc Peoples and their allies will be conducting a roadblock today to demand the halt of the Trans Canada Highway and Canadian Pacific Railway expansion through the highway corridor along the South Thompson River and Shuswap Lakes. The expansion of these two major federal and provincial transportation systems has been involved in the desecration of our ancestral burial and village sites, as well as, the continued genocide of our Peoples.

We, as Indigenous Peoples, have the right to have the spirits of our ancestors rest in peace in their original resting place. We will not give up our principles and values for the benefits of a highway or railway. The desecration to our graves and burial sites is considered a hate crime against humanity and a violation of our Indigenous and human rights.

The picture goes much deeper than this however, since kkkanada and the province of british Columbia have no legal authority to be making decisions about our Secwepemc Territory and giving permission to the CP Railway and Trans Canada Hwy to expand onto unceded Secwepemc lands. The Secwepemc Peoples still remain a distinct Nation and hold there ground to defend their rights and title to these lands.

The new westward expansion of highways, railways, pipelines and fibre optic lines all go through Indian Territories and Reserves, these infrastructures are all used for the benefit of the continued invasion and theft of our last remaining lands, water and “resources.” The transportation system in the past was used to colonize the west and now our lands have become the new frontier for the new age of development: mining, tourism, logging, the 2010 Winter Olympic Games, the Tar Sands, these are all the elite that will benefit from the transportation route expansion, while the Indigenous Peoples are being threatened once again.

The Canadian Pacific Railway, known as CP Rail, is mainly a freight railway now, was instrumental in the settlement and development of Western Canada. The CP company became one of the largest and most powerful in Canada, a position it held as late as 1975. CP Rails network stretches from Vancouver to Montreal, and also serves major cities in the United States such as Minneapolis, Chicago, and New York City.

The Trans Canada Highway system was approved by the Trans-Canada Highway Act of 1948, construction commenced in 1950, officially opened in 1962, and was completed in 1971. This federal-provincial highway system joins all ten provinces of Canada.

WE have never given permission to Canada, nor BC to build this highway or railway through our lands, it has actually cut our access to our sacred water and forcibly removed out Peoples from our traditional village sites and kekuli's (underground homes), which are forms of Genocide.

The ancestors remains found by a team of archaeologists have been dated back 7,500 years and the Secwepemc woman was found holding a traditional root digging stick, surrounded by Secwepemc artifacts and ceremonial items. Since contact there has been into the tens of thousands of artifacts and remains found and now are in the hands of museums all over the world.

The Secwepemc have conducted ceremonies at the site and the Sacred fire has been lit and the protection of the site is under vigilance.

~ more... ~


From Secwepemcw Protect Ancestors from CP Rail & Highway Expansion

Sisters, brothers and supporters, we are writing this letter for support of the Secwpemcw people. We ask for you're assistance to protect the ancestor from the (CPR) Canadian Pacific Railway and the Trans-Canada Highway Corridor Project. We are stopping further development on our territory. Archeologists have uncovered artifactsthat are thousands of years old along with a woman that has been there for 7,500 yrs. We have to protect our way of life and our traditional burial grounds. We are in need of some financial support to feed the
people and to build a structure so we have a campsite set up for information and visitors.

We have reinstated a care taker to get the remains and artifacts back from the museums. As we all know, the remains and artifacts are all over the world, it will be a large job to under take but we accept the challenge. The remains and artifacts will be brought back to Secwepmec Territory and to be reburied near the location of being found.

~ more... ~

Skopje rapped for travel alert

From the Kathimerini English Edition :

Athens yesterday condemned a decision by Skopje to issue a travel warning to its citizens regarding Greece, noting that the neighboring country was “showing its worst side.”

The warning advises citizens of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) to avoid visiting major Greek cities due to “the outbreaks (of violence) of the past months.” Athens and Thessaloniki are presented as hubs of instability, with attacks on police and riots a daily occurance. Reacting to the announcement, Foreign Ministry spokesman Giorgos Koumoutsakos noted that just five days earlier FYROM Foreign Minister Antonio Milososki had written to Athens appealing for closer ties. “Now he is intentionally misleading his country's citizens, urging them not to visit Greece,” he said. “Milososki is clearly confused,” Koumoutsakos said.

Earlier this month, Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis warned Skopje that the road to its accession to the European Union and NATO would remain closed if it continued to antagonize Athens.

Revenge of the 'Waco Gene'

William Norman Grigg writes in LewRockwell.com :


The Regime has made it official
that "right-wing extremism" is a threat to Homeland Security.

That political genus is divided into two species – "white supremacist and anti-government groups" – with the latter further differentiated into various sub-species, including immigration reform activists, "disgruntled military veterans," gun rights advocates, members of citizen militia groups, anti-globalists, constitutionalists, "hate groups," and others deemed politically unsuitable by the Regime.

Less than two years ago, Congress enacted – by a vote of 404–6 – the Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act. Its first offspring was an official commission to examine potential content-based Internet restrictions. At some point, it also begat a specialized section within the Homeland Security Department called the Extremism and Radicalization Branch (which we'll call the ERB).

This means that for the first time in American history, the federal government has a full-time intelligence organ devoted exclusively to scrutinizing the political opinions and affiliations of U.S. citizens. It is difficult to overstate the importance of this development as a milestone in our nation's apostasy from its founding as a constitutional republic.

Earlier this month, the ERB's "Homeland Environment Threat Analysis Division" issued a nine-page "Intelligence and Analysis Assessment" of "right-wing extremism" for the supposed benefit of state and local law enforcement agencies. That document consists of reheated leftovers from several previous "intelligence analyses" of the "radical right," including the FBI's notorious 1999 Project Megiddo broadside.

The ERB report concludes with the observation that the Department of Homeland Security "will be working with its state and local partners over the next several months to ascertain with greater regional specificity the rise in rightwing extremist activity in the United States, with a particular emphasis on the political, economic, and social factors that drive rightwing extremist radicalization."

This is significant chiefly because it acknowledges that every "local" police agency in the United States is now a sensory organ, and enforcement appendage, of the Homeland Security State.

~ more... ~

Freedom State



About Freedom State


It’s about sanity. It’s about a quest. It’s about crazy love. When eight mental health home patients wake up to discover that the Nurse is absent, the T.V. is out, and there’s a glass eye made in Rapture, Indiana… they come to the only possible conclusion: the apocalypse has happened. Each takes a role in their society, a finds a new sense of purpose through imagination. Led by their president, a disenfranchised housewife who has decided normal is crazy, they commandeer the facility’s short bus and head out on a mission to save survivors.

FREEDOM STATE
Recommended Serving Size: at least 1
Daily Value: depends
Active Ingredients: Apocalypse (15%), Short Bus (24%), Glass Eye (8%), Mental Health (110%), Diver (7%), Space (80%), Cornbread (10%), Deer head (12.5%), Crazy Love (35%), Clues (25%), Sprinkles (1 %), Edge of the World (11%), Homebase Security (18%), Darwin (3 %), The Machine (14%), Windmill (2%), Army (4%), Houseboat (12%), Polar Bears (2.5%), Holy Water (0.5%).

Manufactured in Portland Oregon.

[ hat tip to Psychedelic Tourist ]

IVAW: Matthis Chiroux's hearing this Tuesday

On Tuesday April 21st an Army administrative discharge board will hear the case of Sgt. Matthis Chiroux, an Individual Ready Reservist (IRR) who last summer publicly refused activation orders in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.  The board will convene at 9am at the Army Human Resources Command, 1 Reserve Way in Overland, Missouri, just outside of St. Louis.  IVAW members and supporters will rally outside the hearing starting at 8:30am.

Although Chiroux is voluntary attending this hearing, all other IRR members who have refused activation have not had any disciplinary actions taken against them by the military other then receiving a General or Other Than Honorable discharge from the IRR.  This discharge has no effect on benefits like the GI Bill that IRR members earned through their service while on active duty.  Service members who have questions about the IRR can click here or contact the GI Rights Hotline at 877-447-4487. 

Chiroux, a member of Iraq Veterans Against the War, refused to participate in what he described as "an illegal and immoral occupation" May 15th, 2008, in Washington D.C., after nine other veterans testified to Members of the U.S. Congress about abuses they experienced during deployments to Iraq. Chiroux also vowed to remain public in the U.S. to defend himself from any charges brought against him by the military.

"My resistance as a noncommissioned officer to this abhorrent occupation is just as legitimate now as it was last year," said Chiroux, adding, "Soldiers have a duty to adhere to the international laws of war described as supreme in Art. 6 Para. 2 of the U.S. Constitution, which we swear to abide by before the orders of any superior, including our former or current president."

Following Chiroux's refusal to activate, the military did not contact him until after he and 10 other IVAW members marched on the final presidential debate Oct. 15, 2008, in Hempstead, N.Y. demanding to question then Senators Obama and McCain regarding their war policies and plans to care for returning veterans. After the veterans were brutalized and arrested by police, (one suffered a fractured skull and is currently suing the police for damages) the Army initiated an administrative separation process for “misconduct” as a result of Chiroux's refusal to activate.

"I go now to St. Louis to honor my promises and convictions," said Chiroux. "Obama or No-Bama, the military must cease punishing soldiers of conscience, and we will demonstrate to them why."

Following the hearing, Chiroux and other IVAW members will testify about their military experiences that led them all to resist in different capacities the U.S.'s Overseas Contingency Operation (formerly the Global War on Terror).  The event will start at 5:30pm, and will take place at the St. Louis Friends Meeting, 1001 Park Ave in Downtown St. Louis click here for directions. 
Click here for background information.

~ Source: IVAW ~

Kurd refugee in coma after beating by Igoumenitsa coast guard thugs

Translated from an Indy.gr article :

One more victim added to the coast guard's murderous actions in the country's western ports

On 3 Apr, 2009 in Igoumenitsa, members of the Coast Guard corps critically injured an Iraqi Kurd (eyewitnesses who are undocumented foreigners describe "commandos" wearing blue uniforms and army fatigues). The coast guard asked the illegal immigrants at the scene to leave the port area. They did indeed leave but returned as their intent is to be make their way to Italy. The coast guard was waiting for them and after Arresting Arivan Osman Abdullah, a 29-year-old Kurd, they beat his head against the concrete until he began to bleed internally.

He was transported to the Philiaton medical center and from there to the Hatzikosta Hospital at Ioannina, and from there to the Papanikolaou Hospital in Thessaloniki, where he underwent head surgery but he has become a 'vegetable' as he is on life support. According to the doctors he will either die or remain in a vegetative state, in which case some family member of his will have to request for the plug to be pulled on the life support unit.

Pirate Bay operators reject jail terms and fines as 'crazy'

From the Irish Times :

Derek Scally in Berlin

Operators of online file-sharing site the Pirate Bay have attacked as “crazy” a Swedish court verdict sentencing four men connected to the service to a year in prison for aiding copyright infringement.

Hollywood movie studios and other media companies had sued the Pirate Bay for lost earnings, claiming the site enabled users to download copyright films, music and software.

They hailed yesterday’s verdict as an important step in their battle against lost revenues.

Operators of the Pirate Bay rejected the verdict, insisting they did not make copyright material available, but only pointed users in the right direction.

The Stockholm court agreed with the complainants and handed down the year-long sentences for breaching copyright law.

Frederik Neij, Gottfrid Svartholm Warg, Carl Lundstrom and Peter Sunde, were also ordered to pay damages of 31 million Swedish kronor (€2.8 million).

“We had to try the question of whether these four men had been acting to help others file-share,” said Judge Tomas Norström.

“That is a crime and it is our conclusion that they were helpful to such an extent that they entered into the field of criminal liability.”

Defence lawyer Jonas Nilsson expressed surprise at the verdict and the level of the fine, but described the ruling as “just the first round”.

“I think this is a clear case for the supreme court,” he said.

The website operators reacted with humour to the ruling, remarking in a posting: “As in all good movies, the heroes lose in the beginning but have an epic victory in the end anyhow. That’s the only thing Hollywood ever taught us.”

In an online press conference Pirate Bay spokesman Peter Sunde, one of those sentenced, said they “cannot and will not” pay the 31 million Swedish kronor fine.

Holding to the camera a piece of paper reading “IOU 31,000,000 SEK”, he added: “Even if I had the money, I would rather burn everything I own and I wouldn’t even give them the ashes.”

The ruling was welcomed by the Irish music industry, which has been seeking to get internet service providers such as Eircom to block websites engaged in copyright infringement.


Pirate Bay reaction

"So, the dice courts judgement is here. It was lol to read and hear, crazy verdict.

But as in all good movies, the heroes lose in the beginning but have an epic victory in the end anyhow. That's the only thing hollywood ever taught us.
"



The Pirate Bay Verdict and the Future of File Sharing

JR Raphael

Apr 17, 2009

The verdict against the founders of The Pirate Bay is being hailed by many as a triumphant win against illegal file-sharing. The four men involved in the BitTorrent tracking site were found guilty on Friday of being accessories to violating copyright law. A Swedish court sentenced each of them to a year in jail and a collective fine of $3.6 million.
In the long run, though, the verdict may not be as significant as some suggest when it comes to the battle against online file-sharing. Does the name Napster ring a bell?

The Pirate Bay Ruling

As was the case with Napster, The Pirate Bay doesn't actually host copyrighted files -- it simply allows users to post links to material hosted on third-party servers. That's why, incidentally, prosecutors ended up dropping the initial charge of "assisting copyright infringement" and pursuing only a "assisting making available copyrighted material" charge instead.

"The court said even if you are distributed, you are nevertheless encouraging your customers to violate copyright, and we'll hold you accountable," explains Steve Chang, an attorney specializing in intellectual property matters with Banner & Witcoff.
Napster, of course, ended up effectively boarding up as a result of its lengthy court battle (which, by the way, began exactly one decade ago this December). The Pirate Bay, though, isn't going anywhere yet. Its founders have already indicated they plan to appeal, and the case is expected to head as high as the Supreme Court. Many legal experts expect it could be years before a final verdict is reached.

"It took the entertainment industry three years to get this first verdict," a member of the Swedish "Pirate Party" tells The Register . "If they think they're going to make people stop file sharing, then they're living in a fantasy world."

Beyond the Courts

The bigger issue is that unlike Napster, The Pirate Bay and other modern peer-to-peer-oriented networks are far less centralized and simple to shut down. And, even if The Pirate Bay itself were somehow to be shuttered, there are countless other comparable tracking services all over the world. Could they all be targeted and taken down? It's highly unlikely.

But let's take it a step further. Let's say this whole thing plays out in the high court and The Pirate Bay loses. Let's say BitTorrent completely ceases to exist as a result. (Just play along for a minute.) Would that, then, be the end of online file-sharing?

The answer: of course not. Even in that extreme (and extremely unlikely) scenario, little would be accomplished in the grand scheme of things. Technology is constantly evolving. Just as more advanced decentralized peer-to-peer networks sprung up in the wake of Napster's shutdown, new alternatives would surface once again were a site like The Pirate Bay to lower its sails. Already, countless other methods exist for exchanging data with ease, and more will only pop up as the months wear on.

"In the big scheme of things, piracy is always going to happen," Chang says. "The ramification of this [ruling] is possibly providing the next evolution."

The Evolution

That evolution has already begun. Just recently, The Pirate Bay team prepared a new service called IPREDator, set to launch publicly any day now. It allows people to surf the Net more anonymously using a virtual private network, or VPN. Unlike other VPN services, The Pirate Bay promises its IPREDator will keep no logs of customer activity and therefore could never turn user information over to authorities.

"As in all good movies, the heroes lose in the beginning but have an epic victory in the end," boasts a message posted to The Pirate Bay Web site Friday morning. "That's the only thing Hollywood ever taught us."

If there's one Hollywood analogy to be made, it's that this storyline is far from finished. Rest assured, more sequels are on the way.


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image from http://www.spitting-image.net

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