Archive for July, 2011

‘1,108 Libyans killed in NATO attacks’ – Libya to proscute NATO arch war criminal Rasmussen for war crimes [PressTV]

Posted in Assassination, Libya, NATO, US imperialism, USA, War crimes on July 31, 2011 by Zuo Shou / 左手

Note the article’s date, there’s been more civilian casualties and other forms of NATO war crimes since the piece was written – Zuo Shou

July 13, 2011

*** Libya’s prosecutor general has said that NATO airstrikes have killed more than 1,100 civilians and injured thousands of others since the end of March. ***

Mohamed Zekri Mahjubi told foreign journalists in Tripoli on Wednesday that he intends to prosecute NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen in Libyan courts for “war crimes.”

“As NATO secretary general, Rasmussen is responsible for the actions of this organization which has attacked an unarmed people, killing 1,108 civilians and wounding 4,537 others in bombardment of Tripoli and other cities and villages,” Mahjubi was quoted by AFP as saying.

The prosecutor general pressed other charges against Rasmussen, saying the NATO chief sought to murder Libyan ruler Muammar Gaddafi.

Mahjubi also accused Rasmussen of “deliberate aggression against innocent civilians, the murder of children as well as trying to overthrow the Libyan regime.”

The Libyan official said the NATO chief seeks to change the regime in Libya and establish a new government under his control with the aim of exploiting the country’s oil.

NATO has carried out hundreds of air attacks over Libya with the claimed aim of protecting civilians against Gaddafi forces…

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Conclusion of Peace Agreement Called for: KCNA Commentary – 58 years since the Armistice Agreement [KCNA]

Posted in DPR Korea, Korean Central News Agency of DPRK, Korean War, US foreign occupation, US imperialism, USA, USA 21st Century Cold War on July 31, 2011 by Zuo Shou / 左手

July 27, 2011

Pyongyang, July 27 (KCNA) — 58 years have passed since the Armistice Agreement (AA) was signed on July 27, 1953.

The fragile state of armistice has always barred the peaceful solution of the Korean issue and seriously hamstrung the efforts to realize the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula for several decades.

When a historic review is made of the agreements related to armistice, all the agreements concluded among countries during World War I were replaced by peace agreements in a matter of six months to two years and those signed as regards the end of World War II were also replaced by peace agreements (peace treaties) in a matter of several years or within ten years at the longest.

However, the AA, the leftover of the Korean War, has lasted for nearly six decades.

The state of armistice is like a time bomb threatening the security in East Asia and the rest of the Asia-Pacific region.

There is nowhere else in the world such region fraught with danger where huge strategic armed forces are deployed and military actions such as joint war exercises are daily occurrences.

The perilous nature of ceasefire on the peninsula is evidenced by hundreds of meetings of the Military Armistice Commission held to handle hundreds of thousands of cases of violation of the AA.

The touch-and-go situation always prevailing in the Asia-Pacific region, the strategic center in the new century, neither conforms with the trend of the era towards peace nor does anyone good.

This abnormal situation should not be allowed to go on in every aspect.

It is necessary to end the ceasefire between the DPRK and the U.S. and establish a peace-keeping mechanism in order to put an end to the confrontation and conflicts and ensure durable peace and security on the Korean Peninsula, the biggest hotspot of the region.

Concluding a peace agreement may be the first step for settling the Korean issue including the denuclearization.

A series of negotiations including the six-party talks for the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula underwent twists and turns in the past due to the failure to properly understand that the establishment of a peace-keeping mechanism is essential for settling the Korean issue.

It is impossible to wipe out the mutual distrust nor is it possible to achieve a smooth solution of the issue of denuclearization as long as there persists the hostile relationship between the DPRK and the U.S., the signatories to the AA, the relationship in which they level their guns at each other. This is the lesson drawn from the process of the six-party talks.

It is the keynote of the DPRK’s proposal for concluding a peace agreement to scrap the armistice mechanism which has systematically deteriorated the hostile relations between the two countries, build confidence and step up the process of denuclearization.

Being a curtain-raiser to confidence-building, the conclusion of a peace agreement will provide an institutional guarantee for wiping out the bilateral distrust and opening the relations of mutual respect and equality.

No country has heavier responsibility than the U.S. in replacing the AA by a peace agreement.

The AA is the leftover of the Cold War through which the U.S. sought to impose the American-style view on value and system on other countries. The U.S. has so far interfered in the internal affairs of Korea as the direct party concerned of the AA and exercised the right to military control over south Korea.

The U.S. should fulfill its historic responsibility for ensuring peace on the peninsula.

The peninsula is now standing at the crossroads of detente and vicious cycle of escalating tension. This situation requires the parties concerned not to miss the opportunity of dialogue but make a bold decision to deal with the fundamental issue.

The issue of ensuring peace on the peninsula will find a smooth solution if the U.S. properly judges the changed situation and the trend of developing history and make a bold political decision to bring about a switchover in its DPRK policy to meet its interests and the aspiration of the world peace-loving people.

Doing so is not an issue of one party giving any benefit to the other party or making reward to it. This would be a fruitful political issue of doing the DPRK and the U.S. and the international community good and making a substantial contribution to the development of peace in the world.

How to approach the issue of concluding a peace agreement will be a touchstone showing whether the U.S. styling itself an Asia-Pacific nation has the will to play a responsible role in solving urgent pending political problems in the region including the denuclearization of the peninsula or not.

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Media Advisory: Seeing ‘Islamic Terror’ in Norway. Learning no lessons from Oklahoma City mistakes [Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting /]

Posted in Anti-Arab / Antisemitism, Anti-Islam hysteria, Corporate Media Critique, Media smear campaign, New York Times lie, Norway on July 30, 2011 by Zuo Shou / 左手

People covering this angle of Norway massacre yellow journalism don’t seem to be drawing the obvious connections here on how many media holdings of odious Rupert Murdoch (Fox News, WSJ, New York Post) are pushing the anti-Islam slanders – Zuo Shou


Right-wing terror suspect Anders Behring Breivik reportedly killed 76 people in Norway on Friday [July 22], by all accounts driven by far-right anti-immigrant politics and fervent Islamophobia. But many early media accounts assumed that the perpetrator of the attacks was Muslim.

On news of the first round of attacks–the bombs in Oslo–CNN’s Tom Lister (7/22/11) didn’t know who did it, but knew they were Muslims: “It could be a whole range of groups. But the point is that Al-Qaeda is not so much an organization now. It’s more a spirit for these people. It’s a mobilizing factor.” And he speculated confidently about their motives:

“…You’ve only got to look at the target–prime minister’s office, the headquarters of the major newspaper group next door. Why would that be relevant? Because the Norwegian newspapers republished the cartoons of Prophet Mohammad that caused such offense in the Muslim world…. That is an issue that still rankles amongst Islamist militants the world over…”

CNN terrorism analyst Paul Cruickshank (7/22/11) took to the airwaves to declare that “Norway has been in Al-Qaeda’s crosshairs for quite some time.” He added that the bombing “bears all the hallmarks of the Al-Qaeda terrorist organization at the moment,” before adding, almost as an afterthought, that “we don’t know at this point who was responsible.”

On Fox News Channel’s O’Reilly Factor (7/22/11), guest host Laura Ingraham declared, “Deadly terror attacks in Norway, in what appears to be the work, once again, of Muslim extremists.” Even after Norwegian authorities arrested Breivik, former Bush administration U.N. ambassador John Bolton was in disbelief. “There is a kind of political correctness that comes up when these tragic events occur,” he explained on Fox’s On the Record (7/22/11). “This kind of behavior is very un-Norwegian. The speculation that it is part of right-wing extremism, I think that has less of a foundation at this point than the concern that there’s a broader political threat here.”

Earlier in the day on Fox (7/22/11), Bolton had explained that “the odds of it coming from someone other than a native Norwegian are extremely high.” While he admitted there was no evidence, Bolton concluded that “it sure looks like Islamic terrorism,” adding that “there is a substantial immigrant population from the Middle East in particular in Norway.”

An early Wall Street Journal editorial (7/22/11) dwelled on the “explanations furnished by jihadist groups to justify their periodic slaughters,” before concluding that because of Norway’s commitment to tolerance and freedom, “Norwegians have now been made to pay a terrible price.”

Once the alleged perpetrator’s identity did not conform to the Journal’s prejudice, the editorial was modified, but it continued to argue that Al-Qaeda was an inspiration: “Coordinated terrorist attacks are an Al-Qaeda signature. But copycats with different agendas are surely capable of duplicating its methods.”

Many pundits and outlets had to scramble to justify their ideological presumptions in the wake of the unexpected suspect. Washington Post blogger Jennifer Rubin (7/22/11) had called the Norwegian violence “a sobering reminder for those who think it’s too expensive to wage a war against jihadists,” citing Thomas Joscelyn of the Weekly Standard’s assertion that “in all likelihood the attack was launched by part of the jihadist hydra.” In a follow-up post (7/23/11), Rubin insisted that even though she was wrong, she was right, because “there are many more jihadists than blond Norwegians out to kill Americans, and we should keep our eye on the systemic and far more potent threats that stem from an ideological war with the West.”

New York Times columnist Ross Douthat (7/25/11) likewise argued that we should respond to the horror in Norway by paying more attention to the alleged perpetrator’s point of view:

On the big picture, Europe’s cultural conservatives are right: Mass immigration really has left the Continent more divided than enriched, Islam and liberal democracy have not yet proven natural bedfellows and the dream of a postnational, postpatriotic European Union governed by a benevolent ruling elite looks more like a folly every day…. Conservatives on both sides of the Atlantic have an obligation to acknowledge that Anders Behring Breivik is a distinctively right-wing kind of monster. But they also have an obligation to the realities that this monster’s terrible atrocity threatens to obscure.

The New York Times’ July 23 report explained that while early speculation about Muslim terrorists was incorrect,

there was ample reason for concern that terrorists might be responsible. In 2004 and again in 2008, the No. 2 leader of Al-Qaeda, Ayman al-Zawahri, who took over after the death of Osama bin Laden, threatened Norway because of its support of the American-led NATO military operation in Afghanistan.

Of course, anyone who kills scores of civilians for political motives is a “terrorist”; the language of the Times, though, suggested that a “terrorist” would have to be Islamic.

The Times went on:

“…Terrorism specialists said that even if the authorities ultimately ruled out Islamic terrorism as the cause of Friday’s assaults, other kinds of groups or individuals were mimicking Al-Qaeda’s brutality and multiple attacks…”

It is unclear why any of Breivik’s actions would be considered connected in any way to terrorist groups like Al-Qaeda, which certainly did not invent the idea of brutal mass murder. But the Times was able to turn up another expert the following day who saw an Islamist inspiration for Islamophobic terrorism (7/24/11):

Thomas Hegghammer, a terrorism specialist at the Norwegian Defense Research Establishment, said the manifesto bears an eerie resemblance to those of Osama bin Laden and other Al-Qaeda leaders, though from a Christian rather than a Muslim point of view. Like Mr. Breivik’s manuscript, the major Qaeda declarations have detailed accounts of the Crusades, a pronounced sense of historical grievance and calls for apocalyptic warfare to defeat the religious and cultural enemy.

“It seems to be an attempt to mirror Al-Qaeda, exactly in reverse,” Mr. Hegghammer said.

To the paper’s credit, the Times’ Scott Shane wrote a strong second-day piece (7/25/11) documenting the influence of Islamophobic bloggers on Breivik’s manifesto:

His manifesto, which denounced Norwegian politicians as failing to defend the country from Islamic influence, quoted Robert Spencer, who operates the Jihad Watch website, 64 times, and cited other Western writers who shared his view that Muslim immigrants pose a grave danger to Western culture…. Mr. Breivik frequently cited another blog, Atlas Shrugs, and recommended the Gates of Vienna among websites.

…Shane’s piece noted that the document, rather than being an Al-Qaeda “mirror,” actually copied large sections of Ted Kaczynski’s 1995 Unabomber manifesto, “in which the Norwegian substituted ‘multiculturalists’ or ‘cultural Marxists’ for Mr. Kaczynski’s ‘leftists’ and made other small wording changes.”

It is not new for media to jump to the conclusion that Muslims are responsible for any given terrorist attack; the same thing was widespread after the 1995 Oklahoma City bombings (Extra!, 7-8/95). “It has every single earmark of the Islamic car-bombers of the Middle East,” syndicated columnist Georgie Anne Geyer (Chicago Tribune, 4/21/95) asserted. “Whatever we are doing to destroy Mideast terrorism, the chief terrorist threat against Americans, has not been working,” wrote New York Times columnist A.M. Rosenthal (4/21/95). “Knowing that the car bomb indicates Middle Eastern terrorists at work, it’s safe to assume that their goal is to promote free-floating fear,” editorialized the New York Post (4/20/95). It is unfortunate that so many outlets have failed to learn any practical lessons from such mistakes–or question the beliefs that drive them.

Edited by Zuo Shou

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China’s train crash caused by defective lights [People’s Daily]

Posted in China, Shanghai, Transportation on July 29, 2011 by Zuo Shou / 左手

July 29, 2011

Defective signaling equipment and human error were factors contributing to China’s most serious rail accident since 2008, investigators said yesterday.

An ongoing investigation had uncovered two problems so far, said An Lusheng, the newly appointed chief of the Shanghai Railway Bureau – a defective signaling system and dispatchers who did not send any warnings after a lightning strike.

He said a signal that should have turned red after lightning hit the train that stalled remained green, and rail staff then failed to see something was amiss.

His comments were in a statement released after a meeting in Wenzhou, Zhejiang Province, the site of the accident.

The Shanghai bureau operates and supervises train services in Shanghai and neighboring provinces, including Zhejiang.

The investigation found that signaling equipment at Wenzhou South Railway Station, where the trains were heading, had “serious flaws in the design,” the director said. But the design faults were compounded by human mistakes.

“After the lightning strike caused a failure, an interval signal machine that should have shown a red light mistakenly upgraded it to a green light instead,” said An. He was appointed bureau director to replace Long Jing who was sacked after the crash along with two other top bureau officials.

A red light is a warning to drivers and dispatch staff that another train is dangerously close and that adjustments need to be made.

The green light led the driver of the D301 train, Pan Yiheng, to believe the track ahead was clear.

He was killed in the collision but had managed to trigger the emergency brake when he saw the stationary D3115 train on the track. But it was too late, and the first four cars of his train derailed after his train slammed into the D3115, whose last two carriages then derailed.

The trains each had 16 carriages. The D3115 was carrying 1,072 passengers and the D301 558.

The investigation showed that dispatch staff at Wenzhou had failed to realize in time there was a problem to take action that could have prevented the accident, An said.

The accident had shown that China’s railway services had safety loopholes and that questions remained over the quality of facilities, training and staff competence, and emergency response mechanisms, he said.

An said the signaling system was put into use in September 2009.

The signal equipment designer, Beijing National Railway Research & Design Institute of Signals and Communications Co Ltd, in a rare admission of responsibility for a disaster, issued an apology yesterday, acknowledging it was the source of the deadly flaw. It said it would “face up to shouldering responsibility, and accept any punishment that is due, and will strictly undertake pursuing culpability of those responsible.”

Investigators said they would release their findings in mid-September.


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Phone hacking scandal reflects Western media’s institutional dilemma – Capitalist media ‘Fourth Estate’ myth crushed [People’s Daily]

Posted in Australia, Cameron, Corporate Media Critique, Iraq, Libya, Media smear campaign, U.K., USA on July 25, 2011 by Zuo Shou / 左手

“…the journalists of the United States have to face [the] sad fact that they are not God but rather only His followers, and [the] God’s name is ‘Capital.'”

Despite some typos, I find this is the definitive commentary so far on the Murdoch-centered political/media scandal – Zuo Shou

July 25, 2011

The phone hacking scandal of the U.K.-based News of the World has triggered a domino effect: Other media under the News Corporation are finding themselves embroiled in the scandal one after another. The voices calling for investigating and self-examining the ethics of media and how journalism is supervised have become very strong in the United State, Australia and other countries. The scandal has even surpassed the borders of media and caused chain reactions in the police and political circles, and the U.K. Premier David Cameron has experienced the largest taunting since he took office.

The phone hacking scandal is not an aberration caused by a media agency that disregards its social responsibility and abuses its freedom of press. It reflects the institutional dilemma that the Western media and [bourgeois parliamentary] democratic system encounter during their development processes.

In the history of Western journalism, the mass media once held high the flag of “freedom” and beat the drum for the establishment and development of the capitalist democratic system. Western media also flaunted that they were “the Fourth Estate” that was independent from the administration, judiciary and legislature and were “an uncrowned king” who spread truths and safeguard[ed] justice.

However, when the tide of capital monopolies and mergers came, mass media were inevitably involved. In the 1980s, 50 large companies mainly controlled journalism in the United States. In the middle of 1990s, it had fallen into the hands of 10 companies.

Now, in the 21st century, the media of the United States is almost monopolized by only five financial groups, including Time Warner, Walt Disney and News Corporation. Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation reaches several continents, and holds 40 percent of the world’s newspapers, including the Times and News of the World. In the United States, it controls many media heavyweights, including the Wall Street Journal, Fox Television Network, and dozens of TV stations. In addition, more than 70 percent of Australian-based newspapers belong to the corporation. The freedom of the media has become dull and pale in the shade of mergers.

A review article titled “capital is tougher than freedom, Murdoch won” says that the journalists of the United States have to face such a sad fact that they are not God but rather only His followers, and God’s name is “Capital.”

American scholar W. Lance Bennett said that all political figures and groups, including the president, senators, interest groups and radicals, should realize the importance of the media to their political success. Multinational media groups have not only controlled media outlets but also formed powerful interest groups with the business and political elite to protect their own interests.

Government agencies and the media cooperate with and restrain each other. A politician must know how to use the media wisely and sometimes even need sto pander to the media in order to enhance his or her influence and status with the help of the media.

According to British media reports, Andy Coulson, former editor-in-chief of the News of the World and former director of communications of British Prime Minister David Cameron, was recently arrested over phone hacking. With strong ties in the media world, Coulson played a major role in helping propel Conservative leader Cameron to power in elections last year. Peter Oborne, the Daily Telegraph’s chief political commentator, said that for the past 20 years, the most important thing for all British politicians has been ingratiating themselves to Murdoch.

In order to maximize commercial interests, certain media outlets have used illegal means, such as bugging and bribery to obtain exclusive inside information and policy support. Related government agencies have turned a blind eye to the illegal practices of the media, so as to win their support. The bugging scandal has fully exposed the close and complex ties between the media and the police as well as senior government officials.

Too much freedom of the press has dragged Western [capitalist] democratic countries into a vicious circle of “the media shaping public opinion, public opinion pressuring politicians, and politicians colluding with the media.”

At the initial stages of the wars in Iraq and Libya, major media outlets in the United Kingdom and United States provided massive coverage of the multi-state coalitions’ victories [sic] but ignored the tragic civilian casualties and the brutalities of the wars. Arms companies, media companies and government agencies have formed various communities of interests, using all means possible to shape and control public opinion.

Monopoly is the natural enemy of freedom. Global media groups, which are the beneficiaries of existing mass communication systems and democratic systems, have been making great efforts to cater to the needs of certain domestic social classes and groups by providing limited or even biased coverage and reinforcing the people’s negative stereotypes about other countries. The voice of developing countries has long been suppressed by the influential Western media, and the huge information dissemination gap between developed and developing countries has inevitably increased their political and economic disparities.

The media shapes public opinion, but cannot get rid of the influence of politics and economics. The News of the World admitted, “We lost our way,” in its final editorial. There is one question for the media: What else has been lost?

By Wang Fang from People’s Daily, translated by People’s Daily Online

Edited by Zuo Shou

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“The CIA’s Secret Sites in Somalia” by Jeremy Scahill [The Nation]

Posted in Africa, CIA, NSA, Obama, Somalia, US "War on Terror", US Government Cover-up, US imperialism on July 25, 2011 by Zuo Shou / 左手

July 12, 2011

*** Excerpted ***

Nestled in a back corner of Mogadishu’s Aden Adde International Airport is a sprawling walled compound run by the Central Intelligence Agency. Set on the coast of the Indian Ocean, the facility looks like a small gated community, with more than a dozen buildings behind large protective walls and secured by guard towers at each of its four corners. Adjacent to the compound are eight large metal hangars, and the CIA has its own aircraft at the airport. The site, which airport officials and Somali intelligence sources say was completed four months ago, is guarded by Somali soldiers, but the Americans control access. At the facility, the CIA runs a counterterrorism training program for Somali intelligence agents and operatives aimed at building an indigenous strike force capable of snatch operations and targeted “combat” operations against members of Al Shabab, an Islamic militant group with close ties to Al Qaeda.

As part of its expanding counterterrorism program in Somalia, the CIA also uses a secret prison buried in the basement of Somalia’s National Security Agency (NSA) headquarters, where prisoners suspected of being Shabab members or of having links to the group are held. Some of the prisoners have been snatched off the streets of Kenya and rendered by plane to Mogadishu. While the underground prison is officially run by the Somali NSA, US intelligence personnel pay the salaries of intelligence agents and also directly interrogate prisoners. The existence of both facilities and the CIA role was uncovered by The Nation during an extensive on-the-ground investigation in Mogadishu. Among the sources who provided information for this story are senior Somali intelligence officials; senior members of Somalia’s Transitional Federal Government (TFG); former prisoners held at the underground prison; and several well-connected Somali analysts and militia leaders, some of whom have worked with US agents, including those from the CIA…

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Ernest Hemingway ‘driven to suicide over FBI surveillance’ [Telegraph]

Posted in Cuba, FBI, USA on July 24, 2011 by Zuo Shou / 左手

* Ernest Hemingway may have been driven to kill himself because of his surveillance by the FBI, his close friend and collaborator has said. *

by Jon Swaine
3 July 2011

*** Excerpted ***

AE Hotchner said he believed the FBI’s monitoring of the Nobel Prize-winning author, over suspicions of his links to Cuba, “substantially contributed to his anguish and his suicide” 50 years ago.

Hotchner wrote in The New York Times that he had “regretfully misjudged” his friend’s fears of federal investigators, which were dismissed as paranoid delusions for years after his death.

In 1983 the FBI released a 127-page file it had kept on Hemingway since the 1940s, confirming he was watched by agents working for J. Edgar Hoover, who took a personal interest in his case.

Hotchner described being met off a train by Hemingway in Ketchum, Idaho, in November 1960…

Hemingway…complained “the feds” had “tailed us all the way” and that agents were poring over his accounts in a local bank that they passed on their journey.

“It’s the worst hell,” Hemingway said. “The goddamnedest hell. They’ve bugged everything. That’s why we’re using [their friend] Duke’s car. Mine’s bugged. Everything’s bugged. Can’t use the phone. Mail intercepted…”

…A few days after returning home to Ketchum, he shot himself in the head with his favourite shotgun aged 61.

“In the years since, I have tried to reconcile Ernest’s fear of the FBI, which I regretfully misjudged, with the reality of the FBI file,” wrote Hotchner, the author of ‘Papa Hemingway’.

“I now believe he truly sensed the surveillance, and that it substantially contributed to his anguish and his suicide,” he said.

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