Despite Ceasefire, Imperialists Continue Arming Syrian Terrorist Groups

New Worker

THE SYRIAN government has agreed to a temporary ceasefire following intense efforts by the United Nation’s special envoy over the past two weeks. But the Syrian army is continuing mopping up operations in the run up to the halt in fighting.

Meanwhile a senior Russian general says that the Nato-supported rebels have been supplied with top-of-the range Stinger anti-aircraft missiles and the Assad government has official accused France of openly arming and funding the terrorist gangs.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is also marking the Muslim festival with a general amnesty for crimes committed before 23rd October 2012, though it will not cover acts of terrorism, arms smuggling or drug dealing. The amnesty covers convicts and anyone who gives themselves up now but it will not apply to criminals who remain on the run.

Prisoners on death row will have their sentence commuted to life imprisonment and life sentences will be reduced to 20 years.

The Syrian armed forces and most of the sectarian rebel militias will observe a ceasefire over the four day Muslim holiday of Eid al Adha that begins on Friday.

United Nations special envoy Lakhdar Ibrahimi, who brokered the deal, says he hopes to use the lull to discuss a longer and more effective ceasefire to allow the political process to develop. And the UN’s head of peacekeeping operations, Herve Ladsous said that he was making plans to send a new observer force to Syria should a lasting ceasefire be agreed.

This week Russian Chief of Staff, Nikolai Makarov, told the Russian media that the Nato-backed rebels are now being supplied with state-of the art equipment.

General Makarov said he had “reliable” information that the rebels have obtained shoulder-launched missiles including US-made Stingers.

“The Americans are in denial, saying they have not supplied anything to the rebels,” General Makarov told reporters on Wednesday.

“But we have reliable information that the militias fighting against the Syrian government forces have portable anti-aircraft missile systems from several states, including Stingers made in the United States.”

“We still need to find out who has delivered them,” he said adding that it was possible that these and other weapons could have been delivered to the rebels from abroad by several means of transport, “including passenger planes”.

That the Syrian rebels have been armed and financed by US-led imperialism and their feudal Arab lackeys has been an open secret for months. Earlier in the year US President Barack Obama signed a secret order authorising the CIA and other covert US fronts to provide support for the rebels trying to bring down the Baathist-led government of Syria.

Now it seems that the rebels are even paid in Yankee dollars to spread death and destruction across the country. Rebel commanders have told the imperialist media that their gunmen get $150 a month via the Turks and some of the feudal Arab states including Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

Obama Adviser: 16-Year-Old U.S. Citizen “Should Have Had a More Responsible Father” If He Didn’t Want to be Killed

U.S. citizen Abdulrahman Al-Awlaki, age 16, killed by a U.S. drone in Yemen.

Robert Gibbs said if US citizen Abdulrahman al-Awlaki didn’t want to be killed he “should have a far more responsible father”

John Glaser

When Robert Gibbs, former White House Press Secretary and a senior adviser to the Obama campaign, was asked why the administration killed the 16-year old son of suspected al-Qaeda member and US citizen Anwar al-Awlaki via a drone strike last year, he said it was the boy’s fault for having a father like Awlaki.

Abdulrahman al-Awlaki, 16-year old son of Anwar al-Awlaki, was killed in a US drone strike last year

Anwar al-Awlaki was killed last year in a drone strike in Yemen ordered by the Obama administration. The killing made headlines particularly because Awlaki was an American citizen, but his constitutional rights to due process were thrown out the window in favor of simply assassinating him.

Awlaki’s 16-year old son, Abdulrahman al-Awlaki, was also a US citizen and was killed in a separate drone strike in Yemen weeks after his father’s death. Abdulrahman had not been accused of being a member of al-Qaeda or of any act against the United States that could conceivably motivate a US strike.

When pressed by reporters and independent journalists, Gibbs responded to questions about the Obama administration’s killing of the American boy by dismissing his life as virtually worthless and blaming his father, Anwar, for his son’s death by presidential decree.

“I would suggest that you should have a far more responsible father if they are truly concerned about the well being of their children,” Gibbs said. “I don’t think becoming an al Qaeda jihadist terrorist is the best way to go about doing your business.”

Gibbs dodged any further questioning on the issue, but in his answer defended the killing of a 16-year old American boy “not by arguing that the kid was a threat,” writes The Atlantic‘s Conor Friedersdorf, “or that killing him was an accident, but by saying that his late father irresponsibly joined al Qaeda terrorists.”

“Killing an American citizen without due process on that logic ought to be grounds for impeachment,” Friedersdorf adds.

U.S. Supplying Anti-Aircraft Missiles to Syrian “Rebels”

ITAR-TASS

The Syrian militants are armed with portable air defence systems produced in other countries, including the United States, Chief of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces Gen. Nikolai Makarov told reporters on Wednesday.

“The General Staff has the information that the militants, which are fighting against the Syrian governmental troops, are armed with the portable air defence systems of various countries, including Stinger of US production,” he underlined.

Commenting on some media reports that Obama’s administration gave instructions to pass a batch of the portable air defence systems to the formations of the Syrian unappeasable opposition, Makarov said, “The US denies this fact, they say that they did not deliver anything to them (Syrian militants). However, we have the reliable information that Syrian militants are armed with foreign portable air defence systems, including US air defence systems.” “It is needed to find who supplied it to them,” the chief of the Russian General Staff said. “For this purpose all types of transport can be used, including the civil airlines,” he said.

On October 17, a Syrian source stated that the US allegedly decided to pass to Syrian militants a batch of portable air defence systems. “President Barack Obama, who was speaking not quite well at the first round of the debates compared with his rival Mitt Romney, prepared a ‘strong’ card. He gave instructions to pass the air defence systems to the formations of the Syrian unappeasable opposition,” he told journalists.

However, the US did not confirm the reliability of this information. Spokesperson of the US State Department Victoria Nuland stated on October 18 that she cannot confirm anything like that.

Under the OSCE Strategy to Address Threats to Security and Stability in the twenty-first century approved in Maastricht in 2003 the organization uses all available instruments for the counteraction to the proliferation of the air defence systems.

According to the decision taken at the OSCE forum for security cooperation number 3/04 in May 2004 and approved by the OSCE Council of Ministers at the end of the same year, the OSCE states, including the US, committed to contribute to the use of efficient and comprehensive mechanisms of the export control for the portable air defence systems. In particular, the export supplies of the portable air defence systems only to the governments of other countries or the agents, which are empowered concretely to act on behalf of the government, are permitted. The violation of the principles of the decision comes under the effect of the penalty sanctions, including those related with criminal persecution.

Spain: Poor Jailed While Elites’ Crimes Go Unpunished

Xavier Caño Tamayo

Spain has the most overcrowded prisons in Europe. This was documented in a report from the 30th Conference of European Justice Ministers, held in Istanbul. In Spain, there are 162 prisoners for every 100,000 inhabitants, while in Germany there are 95, in France 85 and In Portugal 121. Too many are incarcerated in Spain, more than in any other period in recent history, except for the first years of the Franco dictatorship.

Violent crime, along with the economic crisis, worsened in 2011. A few more murders, kidnappings and robberies than in 2010, according to the annual report from the country’s Attorney General’s Office, although fewer than in 2009. What is filling the jails is the increase in crimes committed by the poor, those on the bottom, especially those related in one way or another to drug trafficking.

A snapshot of this kind of crime can be seen in any provincial Spanish jail. Prisons full of the poor, the desperate, the habitually underemployed, where prisoners have served 30, 40, 50 sentences for theft, burglary, assault, gunfights, smuggling or sales of heroin, cocaine, hash and other drugs. In prison slang, they are the gremlins. Hopelessly poor, crime hasn’t helped them escape poverty; they are tied to the prison system, constantly in and out.

Sister Genoveva, an 88-year-old Catholic nun who has visited Barcelona’s jails to listen to convicts and help them for almost 70 years, has no doubt, “It’s always the poorest people who are in prison.” She knows what she’s talking about.

These are people who pay dearly for their crimes. Someone caught smuggling a kilo of cocaine gets eight or nine years in prison. But two important Spanish financiers, for example, convicted by the Supreme Court of fraud in the sale of an apartment building in Madrid, didn’t go to jail as a result of a questionable interpretation of a statute of limitations ruling by the Constitutional Court, which freed them. Although the deputy attorney general of Barcelona, José María Mena, wrote, “They are indeed swindlers and falsifiers.” Mena continued, “It’s also worth remembering the 200 million pesetas (120,000 euros) obtained by Alierta (president of the multinational Telefónica) for inside trading information, which is a crime, but for which he remains unscathed as a result of the ruling.”

It is not uncommon for the rich to escape punishment for their economic crimes with the questionable use of the statute of limitations, a law which says that after a certain amount of time, some crimes can no longer be prosecuted. Regardless of this issue, there are many crimes which harm people and are detrimental to the population, which go unpunished. The perpetuators never step foot inside a prison. What do they think this accursed economic crisis is except a series of crimes committed by different financial types, the consequences of which are paid for by citizens? Camouflaged and hidden crimes, committed with brilliant financial engineering and imaginative accounting. Thus to camouflage the de facto impunity of economic and financial criminals, great promises are made to eliminate crime from the streets, a strategy used by many countries, which only means prosecuting small-time, poor delinquents.

The fact is that the penal system is not hard on tax evasion or serious economic crimes committed by the wealthy minority. However, the system has been, and is, aggressive and intolerant when it comes to infractions committed by less favored social classes. As if that weren’t enough, in Spain today, the Partido Popular government and its allies are attempting to criminalize citizens who peacefully protest the economic system which limits and violates their rights. They want to beef up the penal code, and if the proposed changes are approved, Gandhi would go to jail in Spain. That’s the way things are and it’s not the way to reduce the prison population. As Josep M. Vallés, formerly head of the prison system in Catalonia said, “Having so many prisons, and their being full, is a failure.”

In the meantime, those responsible for economic and financial crimes, which are elaborately crafted and legally camouflaged, go about their business, to the detriment of the majority. It makes no difference that millions and millions of people are paying for the consequences.

The system is becoming less legitimate everyday, and democracy is wasting away.

Venezuela Expels Paraguayan Diplomats

Rachael Boothroyd

The Venezuelan government has revoked the visas and diplomatic credentials of the Paraguayan government’s envoys in Caracas, in response to the expulsion of former Venezuelan Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nicolas Maduro, and Venezuelan envoy, José Arrúe, from Paraguay in July earlier this year.

Both Maduro and Arrué were declared “personas non-grate” and told to leave Paraguay immediately in the aftermath of the Paraguayan coup, which saw the elected president, Fernando Lugo, replaced by the Liberal party’s Federico Franco. Lugo, a liberation theology priest, was impeached by the country’s staunchly conservative Senate on 22 June, in a move which has been described as an “institutional coup” by other Latin American governments.

Following the impeachment, the Paraguayan government also withdrew its ambassador to Caracas, claiming that the Chavez administration was “intervening” in its internal affairs. The Franco government referenced the emergence of a video which allegedly showed Nicolas Maduro “inciting rebellion” amongst the Paraguayan armed forces as justification for the expulsion.

Prior to being expelled, Maduro had flown to Paraguay as part of a 12-member delegation of UNASUR (Union of South American Nations) countries who had been sent to mediate talks prior to Lugo’s impeachment. Maduro denied the allegations of the Franco government and was supported by both the Ecuadorean and Colombian ministers on the delegation.

The decision represents a worsening of diplomatic relations between the Franco government and the Chavez administration, which also suspended oil shipments to Paraguay indefinitely following Lugo’s removal.

Confirming the decision to revoke the Paraguayan diplomats’ credentials yesterday, the Venezuelan government described the move as a “formality” and maintained that the government had given the diplomats ample time to leave the country.

“The Paraguayan ambassador (Augusto Ocampos) left, but the other diplomatic staff didn’t. We gave them a reasonable length of time and when they didn’t (leave), their credentials and visas were revoked,” said a representative for the Venezuelan Foreign Affairs Ministry. The diplomats now have 72 hours to leave the country.

The move has received strong criticism in Paraguay, with the country’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, José Félix Fernández Estigarribia, describing the decision as “drastic” and complaining that the Paraguayan government had only been informed of the expulsion by telephone. Estigarribia also asked Venezuela not to “complicate” issues for Paraguay, which was suspended from UNASUR following the removal of Lugo, as it attempts to re-establish normal diplomatic relations abroad.

“From an unpredictable government you can expect anything,” said Estigarribia, in reference to the Chavez administration.

Spokespeople from the Venezuelan opposition coalition, the MUD, have also criticised the way in which the Chavez government has handled the situation, with MUD spokesperson for Foreign Affairs, Edmundo González, describing the government’s actions as “hardly serious.”

The MUD has also refused to recognise Lugo’s impeachment as a coup at the time and sided with the Franco government against the Chavez administration, calling Maduro’s expulsion a “logical consequence… given (his) excesses.”

Paraguay is due to hold presidential elections in April 2013, and although Lugo has expressed his intention to stand, it is unclear as to whether the country’s legal institutions will allow his candidacy.

In an interview earlier this week with Argentina’s state TV channel, Lugo asserted that the coup had come about through a “triple alliance” between the national oligarchy, the country’s traditional political parties and multinational corporations. He maintained that the country’s democracy has been “wounded” as a result of the coup.

The Lugo government, which formed part of a coalition with Franco’s party, enjoyed friendly relations with the Chavez administration and other leftist governments across the region. Many Latin American governments do not view the current Franco administration as having a popular mandate.

Obama and Romney’s Identical Imperialist Foreign Policy

Peta Lindsay

As President Obama and Mitt Romney held their final debate tonight, socialist PSL Presidential Candidate Peta Lindsay – who has been excluded from the Presidential Debates – joined a protest outside in Boca Raton, Florida, prior to issuing the following statement on U.S. foreign policy.

Tonight’s debate between President Obama and Mitt Romney proved that the two candidates have far more in common with each other than that which separates them on the issue of foreign policy.

Both support crippling economic sanctions against the people of Iran on the pretext that Iran may someday build a nuclear weapon, while both support the maintenance of the U.S.’s own nuclear arsenal that includes more than 5,000 nuclear weapons. In this instance, both are guilty of using the issue of nuclear weapons as a smokescreen masking the real U.S. agenda, which is to overthrow the government in Iran and replace it with a U.S. puppet or proxy regime similar to what the United States and Britain did in 1953, bringing the Shah of Iran to power.

While Mitt Romney engages in the blame game over the death of the U.S. ambassador to Libya, both President Obama and Romney embrace and take full responsibility for NATO’s war of aggression that created the current chaos in Libya. Both President Obama and his Republican challenger desire the establishment of a client regime in Libya, a country that possesses Africa’s largest oil reserves.

While Mitt Romney pretends that the Obama administration has been less supportive of Israel, the facts are that the president and both houses of Congress continue to provide a blank check to the Israeli regime as it continues its endless war against the Palestinian people while threatening new wars against Iran and other countries in the Middle East.

Both President Obama and Mitt Romney are committed to spending hundreds of billions more to create a so-called Missile Defense Shield in Europe and in Asia, which can be considered only as a threat directed against Russia and the People’s Republic of China. The Missile Defense Shield is nothing other than an attempt to gain military superiority and a first-strike nuclear capability against Russia and China.

President Obama and the Republican challenger have supported the aggressive expansion of South Korean missile capabilities while insisting on massive war games against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and severe economic sanctions against North Korea.

President Obama and Mitt Romney intend to keep open the 900 U.S. military bases and installations located in 130 countries around the world in order to enforce the U.S. Empire; meaning, to pursue the interests of the biggest banks and corporations in their global endeavors.

Both President Obama and Mitt Romney are committed to expanding the network of U.S. drone bases and drone attacks in the Middle East, Asia and Africa.

Both candidates support sharp and deep social service cutbacks and reductions in Social Security and Medicare while spending more than $600 billion on war and weapons—more than any other country in the world.

The Peta Lindsay/Yari Osorio PSL Presidential Campaign calls for the creation of a foreign policy that is based on the actual needs of the people of the United States rather than an imperialist establishment that seeks to dominate the peoples of Latin America, the Middle East, Africa, Asia and Europe for the sake of a small handful of billionaires, bankers, banks and corporations.

We call for the immediate withdrawal of all U.S. and other foreign forces from Afghanistan, an end to all aid to Israel, the end of economic sanctions on Iran, an end to the U.S. policy of promoting civil war in Syria, an end to the 50-year-long economic blockade of socialist Cuba, a closing of all drone bases and an end to all drone attacks, and the closing of all foreign U.S. military bases.

Instead of a foreign policy based on the needs of an imperialist economic system, the people of the United States need a foreign policy that is based on mutual respect, equality and self determination.

Fidel Castro In Good Health

Fidel Castro Ruz

20121023-081536.jpg

A message to the first graduating class from the Victoria de Girón Medical Sciences Institute was enough to prompt imperialist propaganda to go into overdrive and news agencies to voraciously launch themselves after the lie. Not only that but, in their cables, they attributed the most unheard of nonsense to the patient.

The ABC newspaper in Spain reported that a Venezuelan doctor from an unknown location revealed that Castro had suffered a massive embolism in the right cerebral artery; “I can state that we are not going to see him again in public.” The alleged doctor who, if he is, would first abandon his own compatriots, described Castro’s health as “very close to a neural-vegetative state.”

While many persons in the world are deceived by information agencies which publish this nonsense – almost all in the hands of the privileged and rich – people believe less and less in them. Nobody likes to be deceived; even the most incorrigible liar expects to be told the truth. In April of 1961, everyone believed the information published in the news agencies that the mercenary invaders of Girón or Bay of Pigs, whatever one wants to call it, were approaching Havana, when in fact some of them were fruitlessly trying by boat to reach the yanki warships escorting them.

The peoples are learning and resistance is growing, faced with the crisis of capitalism which is recurring with greater frequency; no lies, repression or new weapons will be able to prevent the collapse of a production system which is increasingly unequal and unjust.

A few days ago, very close to the 50th anniversary of the October Crisis, news agencies pointed to three guilty parties: Kennedy, having recently become the leader of the empire, Khrushchev and Castro. Cuba did not have anything to do with nuclear weapons, nor with the unnecessary slaughter of Hiroshima and Nagasaki perpetrated by the president of the United States, Harry S. Truman, thus establishing the tyranny of nuclear weapons. Cuba was defending its right to independence and social justice.

When we accepted Soviet aid in weapons, oil, foodstuffs and other resources, it was to defend ourselves from yanki plans to invade our homeland, subjected to a dirty and bloody war which that capitalist country imposed on us from the very first months, which left thousands of Cubans dead and maimed.

When Khrushchev proposed the installation here of medium range missiles similar to those the United States had in Turkey – far closer to the USSR than Cuba to the United States – as a solidarity necessity, Cuba did not hesitate to agree to such a risk. Our conduct was ethically irreproachable. We will never apologize to anyone for what we did. The fact is that half a century has gone by, and here we still are with our heads held high.

I like to write and I am writing; I like to study and I am studying. There are many tasks in the area of knowledge. For example, never before have the sciences advanced at such an astounding speed.

I stopped publishing “Reflections” because it is definitely not my role to take up pages in our press, dedicated to other tasks which the country requires.

Birds of ill omen! I don’t even remember what a headache is. As evidence of what liars they are, I present them with the photos which accompany this article.

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