It was only a short news item, and it probably received much more commentary in the U.S. but on Canwest Global’s evening news (Sunday, April 05, Vancouver, Canada) was an item titled “Breaking the Rules”. This is quoting Obama’s comment that “North Korea broke the rules.” In order to be clear, I would need to know what rules are being referred to. Are they rules established under international law? Are they rules for the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty to which they never belonged? Or are they the continuing neocon rules that the ‘axis of evil’ should not be allowed to have nuclear weapons while the U.S. works towards first strike capability, helped in part by expanding its anti-missile ‘defences’?
As far as I know, there are no international rules for firing missiles into space, or even into the air. Perhaps he is referring to UN Resolution 1695 (2006) that says in part
3. Requires all Member States, in accordance with their national legal
authorities and legislation and consistent with international law, to exercise vigilance and prevent missile and missile-related items, materials, goods and technology being transferred to DPRK’s missile or WMD programmes….
Otherwise there is only “grave concern” at
the launch of ballistic missiles by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), given the potential of such systems to be used as a means to deliver nuclear, chemical or biological payloads….
Certainly the world needs to have “grave concern” over ballistic missiles being launched, whether they are Indian, Pakistani, Israeli, Russian or from the United States, especially considering their ‘potential.’ Article 3 does not deny the launching of missiles, and perhaps there is a later resolution that “prohibits” rather than expresses “grave concern”, but for the need of clarity I could not find one.
Article 3 does refer broadly to the intent of the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT). Yet all that does is demonstrate the double standards and hypocrisy of mainly the western countries. There are no sanctions against Pakistan, or India. For the latter, even though they are a ‘rogue’ state operating outside the NPT the U.S. has been negotiating with India to increase its nuclear production capacity. Nobody has dared to accost the Israeli’s over their nuclear arsenal, calculated to be on or above two hundred missile ready units by most sources; and they operate with impunity under an almost global media blackout concerning their arsenal.
The NPT also puts the impetus on the nuclear “members” to reduce their own arsenals that now still have dozens of thousands of active weapons globally. There has been no action on this as the U.S., Russia, Great Britain, France, and China still have plenty of overkill potential for the world. Sarkozy to his credit has stated that France would reduce its airborne arsenal (while retaining its seaborne capacity) saying what was left was an “insurance policy.” Not very assuring.
“Now a citizen and two media outlets have made high profile and serious allegations against the VPD concerning police interference in their right to videotape events in the public domain,” said David Eby, Executive Director of the BCCLA. “This is a troubling pattern that the Police Board should move to address proactively.”
by The Real News
Howard Zinn: "In the United States we are brought up to think there's only one class."
by Tom Engelhardt
In 1984, Skynet, the supercomputer that rules a future Earth, sent a cyborg assassin, a "terminator," back to our time. His job was to liquidate the woman who would give birth to John Connor, the leader of the underground human resistance of Skynet's time. You with me so far? That, of course, was the plot of the first Terminator movie and for the multi-millions who saw it, the images of future machine war -- of hunter-killer drones flying above a wasted landscape -- are unforgettable.
Since then, as Hollywood's special effects took off, there were two sequels during which the original terminator somehow morphed into a friendlier figure on screen, and even more miraculously, off-screen, into the humanoid governor of California. Now, the fourth film in the series, Terminator Salvation, is about to descend on us. It will hit our multiplexes this May.
Oh, sorry, I don't mean hit hit. I mean, arrive in.
Meanwhile, hunter-killer drones haven't waited for Hollywood. As you sit in that movie theater in May, actual unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), pilotless surveillance and assassination drones armed with Hellfire missiles, will be patrolling our expanding global battlefields, hunting down human beings. And in the Pentagon and the labs of defense contractors, UAV supporters are already talking about and working on next-generation machines. Post-2020, according to these dreamers, drones will be able to fly and fight, discern enemies and incinerate them without human decision-making. They're even wondering about just how to program human ethics, maybe even American ethics, into them.
by Uri Avnery
Avigdor Lieberman hurried from there to the foreign Office, for the ceremonial change of ministers. He, too, made a speech – but it was not a routine speech at all.
“Si vis pacem, para bellum – if you want peace, prepare for war,” declared the new Foreign Minister. When a diplomat quotes this ancient Roman saying, the world pays no attention to the first part, but only to the second. Coming from the mouth of the already infamous Lieberman, it was a clear threat: the new government is entering upon a path of war, not of peace.
by Norman Solomon
Top Democrats and many prominent supporters -- with vocal agreement, tactical quibbles or total silence -- are assisting the escalation of the U.S. war effort in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The predictable results will include much more killing and destruction. Back home, on the political front, the escalation will drive deep wedges into the Democratic Party.
The party has a large anti-war base, and that base will grow wider and stronger among voters as the realities of the Obama war program become more evident. The current backing or acceptance of the escalation from liberal think tanks and some online activist groups will not be able to prevent the growth of opposition among key voting blocs.
In their eagerness to help the Obama presidency, many of its prominent liberal supporters -- whatever their private views on the escalation -- are willing to function as enablers of the expanded warfare. Many assume that opposition would undermine the administration and play into the hands of Republicans. But in the long run, going along with the escalation is not helping Obama; by putting off the days of reckoning, the acceptance of the escalation may actually help Obama destroy his own presidency.
by Dahr Jamail | T r u t h o u t
One week after Iraqi government forces arrested an Awakening Group (commonly referred to as Sons of Iraq, al-Sahwa) leader, Adil al-Mashhadani, head of a patrol unit in central Baghdad’s Fadhil neighborhood in Baghdad, sparking gun battles that raged for hours between US-backed Iraqi forces and US-allied Sunni militiamen that killed three people, militiamen have once again been detained, widening concerns that sectarian violence may once more engulf Baghdad. There are 50,000 Sahwa fighters in Baghdad alone.
While the Sahwa leader, who had been detained with 32 of his fighters, was eventually released by the Iraqi government, tensions grew in the wake of his detention as threats made by both sides increased. Thus far, only 11 of the 32 others have been released.
Recently, the Center for American Progress published “Seven Reasons Why We Need to Engage in Afghanistan.” Sounding eerily like a Neocon Brain Trust from the Bush era, it was an argument defending the president’s policy of escalation in and prolonged occupation of Afghanistan.
The argument came in anticipation of Obama’s first international tour as president of the United States. He appealed to the members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization for greater commitment to the American Afghan adventure and while the hosts made pleasant sounds in appreciation of our president’s dilemma, their commitments were little more than those they gave the Bush administration.
Could it be the Europeans have learned something the Americans are still struggling with: that Afghanistan is a hopeless mission, a money pit, a sinking hole that will inevitably drag down anyone who becomes ensnared in its tangled web?
After pigeons and sparrows, starlings seem to be the most common birds in New York City but I know so little about them. I remedied that with some quick Web surfing and learned that the song I heard is a combination of “warbling, gurgling, chirruping and clicking noises,” and these birds will often imitate many other species (animals as well as birds), along with man-made sounds like car alarms and telephones.
I just returned from several months in Central America. And the day I returned I had iguana eggs for breakfast, airline pretzels for lunch and a $7 shot of Jack Daniels for dinner at the Houston Airport, where I spent two hours listening to a Christian religious fanatic tell about Obama running a worldwide child porn ring out of the White House.
Anyway, here I am with you good people asking myself the first logical question: What the hell is a redneck writer supposed to say to a prestigious school of psychology? Why of all places am I here?
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