Archive for May, 2012

Children talent show for charity program held in Beijing – PHOTOS [People’s Daily]

Posted in Beijing, China on May 31, 2012 by Zuo Shou / 左手

2012-05-26

The first two get my vote for the cutest kids’ photos I’ve ever seen, the little girl just happens to be in a Red Army outfit. – Zuo Shou

Photo article link: http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/photo/2012-05/26/c_131612694.htm

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Good Rockets, Bad Rockets – BBC Bias On India And North Korea [Media Lens]

Posted in BBC bias, distortions and lies, China, Corporate Media Critique, DPR Korea, George W. Bush, India, Iran, Israel, Israeli Nukes, Obama, Pakistan, Pyongyang, south Korea, US imperialism, USA on May 30, 2012 by Zuo Shou / 左手

May 16, 2012

In the space of one week last month, the BBC offered an opportunity to compare its reporting on two nuclear powers: India, an ally of the British government; and North [sic] Korea, an official enemy.

The Federation of American Scientists estimates that India has a stockpile of 80-100 nuclear weapons while North Korea has less than ten. North Korea originally signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty on nuclear weapons (NPT) but withdrew in 2003.

Like Israel and Pakistan, also nuclear powers, India has never signed the NPT. Despite this, the US has supported the development of nuclear weapons in all three countries – India receiving particular support from George W. Bush and Obama. The 2008 India Civilian Nuclear Agreement — an agreement of cooperation between India, the US, and other providers of nuclear technology — is linked with plans to build dozens of nuclear plants in India, a country that exploded five nuclear devices at its Pokhran test site in 1998. Environmental journalist Gar Smith writes:

‘While this scheme will generate a lot of global cash-flow for the nuclear marketers and their government boosters, it could deal a death blow to nonproliferation hopes by allowing India to become the first country to buy nuclear materials without being a party to the NPT. In April 2010, Washington signed off on a deal that permits India to reprocess its own nuclear fuel. The arrangement, however, has raised fears in neighboring Pakistan, which is now expected to embark on a “significant nuclear military buildup.”’

Meanwhile, the US government regularly lambasts North Korea for its nuclear weapons programme and, of course, Iran for an alleged nuclear weapons programme that, according to the 16 US intelligence agencies, does not exist.

As Noam Chomsky comments:

‘Small wonder that outside the West few can take the US charges against Iran very seriously…’ (Chomsky, Hopes and Prospects, Hamish Hamilton, 2010, p.220)

The headline for the BBC article on India was neutral enough:

‘India test launches Agni-V long-range missile’

The headline for the article on North Korea struck a different tone:

‘UN “deplores” North Korea botched rocket launch’

The introduction to the Korean piece continued with the same emphasis:

‘The UN Security Council has deplored the launch by North Korea of a rocket which broke up shortly after take-off.

‘A statement issued after closed-door talks said the launch was in breach of two Security Council resolutions…’

The introduction to the India piece was positive, even celebratory:

‘India has successfully launched a long-range intercontinental ballistic missile able to carry a nuclear warhead, officials say…

‘India said the launch was “flawless” and the missile had reached its target…

‘With this, India joins an elite nuclear club of China, Russia, France, the US and UK which already have long-range missiles, although with a much greater range. Israel is also thought to possess them.

‘”It was a perfect launch . It met all the test parameters and hit its pre-determined target,” SP Das, director of the test range, told the BBC. He confirmed the missile had flown more than 5,000km before reaching the target.

‘Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh congratulated the scientists for the “successful launch” of the missile.’

If anyone on Planet Earth had anything negative to say about the launch, the BBC was unable to find them.

The primary source for views on the Indian launch were Indian. By contrast, North Korean opinion was buried in the last of five sections in the article. Perhaps no humanising comments from named North Korean officials or experts were available – the BBC provided only two bland, anonymous sentences from ‘North Korea’s state news agency KCN.’

* Ask A World Policeman *

The article on North Korea presented the missile [sic] launch as a threat eliciting punishment:

‘Earlier, Washington accused the communist state of threatening regional security. It said North Korea had isolated itself still further from the outside world.

‘The US has also cancelled a proposed food aid deal with Pyongyang.

‘A US National Security Council spokesman said they would look at additional sanctions if Pyongyang continued its “provocations”.’

As for the Indian launch:

‘The BBC’s Andrew North in Delhi says Indian officials deny it, but everyone believes the missile is mainly aimed at deterring China…’

The North Korean [rocket], then, was portrayed as a threat; the Indian missile as a deterrent. Additionally, the BBC commented: ‘Many outside the country saw the launch as an illegal test of long-range missile technology.’ The sentence could apply to either launch – we will leave readers to guess in which article it appeared.

The article on North Korea repeatedly referenced US sources: ‘US ambassador Susan Rice,’ ‘Washington,’ ‘A US National Security Council spokesman,’ ‘Washington’ (again), and finally ‘White House spokesman Jay Carney’. When media discussion centres on global ‘Bad Guys’ it is US opinion that matters. This not so subtly portrays the US as the actual and rightful World Policeman. One might reasonably wonder what on earth events on the Korean peninsula ever had to do with the United States.

The North Korea piece lined up the denunciations, here White House spokesman Jay Carney:

‘North Korea is only further isolating itself by engaging in provocative acts, and is wasting its money on weapons and propaganda displays while the North Korean people go hungry.’

Nothing along these lines appeared in the article on India, a country with 57 billionaires and one-third of the world’s poor. In January, India’s Premier Manmohan Singh called malnutrition in the country ‘a national shame’ as he released a major survey that found 42 per cent of children under five were underweight. One of the NGOs that produced the report commented that, measured by the prevalence of malnutrition, India is ‘doing worse than sub-Saharan Africa’.

To round off the criticism, the BBC article on North Korea cited South Korea, the North’s main enemy:

‘South Korean Foreign Minister Kim Sung-Hwan accused the North of a “clear breach of the UN resolution that prohibits any launch using ballistic missile technology”.’

No mention was made of the Pakistani view of India’s launch. There was also no word at all on the view from ‘Washington’ or the US more generally.

The silence is understandable. As discussed, while preaching against nuclear proliferation to countries like North Korea and Iran, the US and Britain have been working hard to arm both India and Pakistan.

In September 2003, Britain’s BAE Systems announced the sale of 66 Hawk jets to India in a £1 billion package. This constituted 10 times the value of annual UK development aid to India. In July 2010, a further 57 aircraft were sold in a deal worth £700,000,000 described by The Times of India as ‘a quantum jump for Indo-British military ties’.

The Hawks, which can also be used as ground-attack aircraft, are used to train Indian pilots to fly more powerful jets, including 139 BAE Systems Jaguar bombers built under licence. The Ministry of Defence accepts that Jaguars could deliver India’s nuclear weapons. The Indian government receiving these jets has fought three wars with Pakistan in the last 70 years.

In 2003, the Guardian provided the sensible emphasis in a piece entitled: ‘5,000 jobs safe as India buys Hawks.’

Similarly, in March 2005, the press reported that the United States had agreed to sell two dozen F-16 nuclear-capable jet fighters to Pakistan. US Senator Larry Pressler commented in The New York Times:

‘Pakistan… is a corrupt, absolute dictatorship. It has a horrendous record on human rights and religious tolerance.’ (Pressler, ‘Dissing democracy in Asia,’ The New York Times, March 21, 2005)

It could be coincidence that, with important arms contracts and strategic alliances at stake, the BBC should fail to muster a single criticism of Indian nuclear missile technology. It could also be coincidence that the BBC demonises and lambasts an enemy of the same state-corporate interests. But in truth the pattern is so obvious, so consistent, over years and decades. We can debate the precise mechanisms corrupting BBC performance – the fact that senior managers and trustees are Establishment grandees selected by the government of the day. Or we can focus on the role of the entire corporate media system in furthering state-corporate power – system-wide corruption that generates industrial[-]strength pressure to conform on the less overtly corporate BBC. Whatever the reasons, there is no question that the BBC heavily promotes the interests of power at the expense of honesty, critical thought and compassion…

Edited by Zuo Shou

Article link: http://www.medialens.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=680:good-rockets-bad-rockets-bbc-bias-on-india-and-north-korea&catid=25:alerts-2012&Itemid=69

Motives behind Tokyo governor’s claim to buy Diaoyu Islands [People’s Daily]

Posted in China, Diaoyu Islands, Japan, Tokyo, US foreign occupation, US imperialism, USA on May 29, 2012 by Zuo Shou / 左手

By Liu Jiangyong (People’s Daily Overseas Edition)
April 23, 2012

Edited and translated by People’s Daily Online

Nearly 80-year-old Shintaro Ishihara, the governor of Tokyo, said in the United States that the Tokyo metropolitan government would purchase some islets of the Diaoyu Islands. Shintaro certainly has some special political motives to make such defiant and extreme remarks when China and Japan usher in the 40th anniversary of the normalization of bilateral diplomatic relations.

Firstly, he wants to damage the Sino-Japanese relations with extreme remarks . Shintaro once was the backbone of Seirankai or “Blue Storm Group,” a group of right-wing members of Parliament in Japan that tried hard to thwart the normalization of Sino-Japanese relations 40 years ago. Today, he is a high-profile supporter of the mayor of Nagoya who denied the fact of Nanjing Massacre. His remarks to buy the islets of the Diaoyu Islands are consistent with his acts 40 years ago.

Secondly, he hopes to indirectly disturb the Sino-Japanese relations through pressuring on the Japanese government. In fact, Shintaro wants to prod the Japanese government to take hardliner [sic] position on the Diaoyu Islands issue in an attempt to worsen and disturb the relations between China and Japan.

Thirdly, he hopes to stir up the nationalism in Japan and please the public, helping the right-wing force to snatch the political power.

Fourthly, he caters to the United States’ strategy of returning to Asia and hopes to ally the United States against China through hyping the “China threat theory.” Shintaro made statement of buying the Diaoyu Islands in the United States, aiming at dragging the United States into the Diaoyu Islands dispute between China and Japan so that the Japanese right-wing force would make profit from the antagonism between China and the United States.

Shintaro’s statement of buying the Diaoyu Islands made the Japanese authority feel embarrassed. It will be very dangerous once the Diaoyu Islands issue becomes a hot topic and influences the election campaign in the context of forthcoming elections in Japan in 2012 and in 2013. Shintaro and his right-wing force will continue to talk a lot of nonsense irresponsibly and the Japanese ruling party will be more passive and beset with difficulties both at home and abroad.

However, it cannot change the fact that the Diaoyu Islands belongs to China no matter what happens in Japan.

Article link: http://english.people.com.cn/90883/7796151.html

Former railways minister expelled from Party for corruption [Xinhua]

Posted in China, Corruption, CPC, Transportation on May 29, 2012 by Zuo Shou / 左手

BEIJING, May 28 (Xinhua) — China’s former railways minister, Liu Zhijun, has been expelled from the Communist Party of China (CPC) after being found guilty of corruption, the CPC disciplinary watchdog announced on Monday.

Liu, also former Party chief of the Railways Ministry, had been under investigation since February 2011, when he was removed from his position on suspicion of “serious disciplinary violations.”

Investigators found Liu used his position to seek huge illegal interests for Ding Yuxin, chairman of Beijing Boyou Investment Management Corporation, maneuvering which caused great economic losses and negative social influence, according to a statement issued by the CPC’s Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI).

The CCDI also discovered Liu, who the statement labeled “morally corrupted,” had taken a huge amount of bribes and bore the major responsibility for severe corruption in the railways system.

Liu’s behavior seriously violated the CPC’s discipline, and the decision to expel him from the Party was made in accordance with the CPC’s regulations and approved by the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, the statement explained.

It is suspected that some of Liu’s discipline violations may have included criminal acts, so his case will also be turned over to judicial organs, it said, adding that Liu’s illegal gains have been confiscated.

The public has long criticized China’s railways system as being poorly managed, especially during peak times.

Liu’s removal is also believed to be linked to the high-speed train collision last July that killed 40 passengers and injured 172 others, the tragedy having been blamed on improper management.

Article link: http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/china/2012-05/28/c_131616006.htm

Result of U.S.-NATO war on Libya: Corruption, torture, chaos [Workers World]

Posted in Africa, Austria, Canada, Libya, NATO, Sanctions as weapon of war, UNSC, US imperialism, USA on May 29, 2012 by Zuo Shou / 左手

By Abayomi Azikiwe
Editor, Pan-African News Wire
Published May 21, 2012 9:36 PM

The regime that NATO and the Pentagon brought to Libya denies human rights, breeds corruption and is leading the country toward increasing chaos day by day.

Some 200 disgruntled soldiers who were part of the army that the Pentagon and NATO backed in the military mission against the Libyan government during 2011 tried to assassinate interim Prime Minister Abdurrahim al-Keib on May 8.

These rebel soldiers were reportedly angry over the cancellation of monthly payments to ground troops who were militia members in the campaign that overthrew and assassinated Col. Moammar Gadhafi.

The compensation program for the rebels, which distributed $1.4 billion, has been riddled with fraud. Payments were suspended in April. There were reports that people already dead were on lists of militia members and that some who never joined the anti-Gadhafi efforts also received funds. Others who had never been injured were nevertheless sent abroad “for medical treatment.”

NATO’s war against Libya included an arms embargo against the Gadhafi government, a naval blockade, sanctions, seizure of Libya’s foreign assets, and bombing and reconnaissance missions involving 26,000 sorties and 10,000 air strikes.

Corruption has been endemic to the so-called National Transitional Council since the inception of last year’s war and after being placed in power in Tripoli in late August. Since the brutal murder of Gadhafi on Oct. 20, billions of dollars have gone missing from the national treasury.

With the exposure of widespread corruption in Libya, the interim finance minister Hassan Ziglam announced on May 11 that he would soon resign. The reason for his departure is the “wastage of public funds.” (Reuters, May 11)

Interim Prime Minister Abdurrahim al-Keib, the assassin’s target, called those responsible for the shooting, which left at least one person dead, “outlaws.” The various militia groups scattered throughout the capital of Tripoli and other parts of the country have never been brought together into a national army.

Other allegations of corruption over the last several months have included irregularities with the Libyan Investment Authority and an unaccounted-for $2.5 billion in oil revenues . The foreign assets the imperialist states froze early in the war on Libya remain a source of dispute.

* Human rights ignored *

The pretext for the imperialist war on Libya during 2011 was that the pro-Gadhafi government was violating the human rights of its citizens. U.N. Security Council Resolutions 1970 and 1973 backed the war, although no concrete evidence of such rights’ violations was ever uncovered. Meanwhile, the pro-Gadhafi government faced an armed rebellion the imperialists financed and coordinated.

Reports indicate that the current NTC Libyan regime is detaining at least 7,000 people inside the country. Many have suffered torture and/or extrajudicial killings. According to Ian Martin, who heads the U.N. mission to Libya, “Cases of mistreatment and torture of detainees continue.” (Agence France Presse, May 11)

The detainees are accused of fighting in the Libyan military against the 2011 uprising or against air or sea attacks. The NTC regime passed a law that ordered militias to round up for prosecution anyone who supported the former political system that ruled the country for 42 years and that also eliminated all these people from upcoming elections.

Threats against supporters of the former Gadhafi government also extend outside Libya. The previous oil minister and Prime Minister Dr. Shokri Ghanem was found dead, floating in the Danube River in Vienna in late April.

The son of Moammar Gadhafi, Seif al-Islam, is still being held in a secret prison in Zintan and is not being allowed to have legal representation of his choice. An International Criminal Court representative visited him recently for an interview and witnessed that two of his fingers had been severed and a tooth was missing.

ICC prosecutors are allowing the detention of Seif al-Islam inside Libya, although the NTC government claims that it is not in control of the facility where he is being held. Any trial held under such conditions will be a farce.

* Sham elections due *

There is no way that the elections scheduled for June 19 can be considered free and fair. The former officials of the Gadhafi government and their supporters have been criminalized and many of them remain outside the country.

Meanwhile, the secessionist elements in the eastern part of the country where the anti-Gadhafi rebellion began in February 2011, the so-called Barqa Council, have rejected the election process and are calling for a boycott. The leadership within the region, which calls itself the Council of Cyrenaica, is pushing for autonomous status outside the authority of the NTC in Tripoli.

At the same time, in the southern region of Libya, reports of ongoing conflict continue. Fighting over the last several months between what is described as the Toubou people and Arab tribesmen has killed many.

On May 14, the Agence France Presse reported, “A candidate in the upcoming poll for a constituent assembly was murdered in Libya’s southern desert on Sunday shortly after submitting his registration.”

* Fruits of imperialist war in Africa *

All wars in the past 15 years that the U.S. and other imperialist countries have initiated under the pretext of humanitarian concerns have resulted in worsening conditions for the masses in the respective countries.

In the U.S. itself, the economic crisis is causing the destruction of the cities and the rise in racist violence . Runaway military spending has not created any job growth for tens of millions of unemployed workers.

In Canada, which ostensibly led the NATO operations in Libya, a scandal is emerging over the cover-up of the cost of the war. Press reports say that the actual total cost of the Libya bombing campaign for Canada, which was quoted as $50 million last October, was actually $347 million, seven times higher than what has been previously stated. (CBC News, May 11)

Articles copyright 1995-2012 Workers World. Verbatim copying and distribution of this entire article is permitted in any medium without royalty provided this notice is preserved.

Article link: http://www.workers.org/2012/world/libya_0524/

Syria Denounces Synchronization of Attacks with Annan´s Visit [Prensa Latina]

Posted in Syria, US imperialism, USA on May 29, 2012 by Zuo Shou / 左手

Damascus, May 27 (Prensa Latina) Syria has denounced the synchronization of the recent massacre in Houla city with the visit of UN and Arab League envoy Kofi Annan to verify the fulfilment of the six-point plan for a political solution to the crisis.

During a press conference, the spokesman of the Foreign Affairs Ministry Jihad Makdesi, called the attention on the suspicious synchronization of the attacks against the civil population with the arrival of Annan.

It is a blow against the political process, held Makdesi after stressing that the brutal killing method is not part of the Syrian army ethics and noted that it is not the Syrian army who is killing civilians, but armed terrorist groups.

Makdesi questioned the flippant nature with which the government forces are accused of the massacre of over 90 people, including children, in the central town of Houla on Friday.

The Syrian government spokesman said that since his country accepted the UN plan, terrorist groups increased their actions, because they do not want the success of the program.

The statements of the Syrian authorities coincide with prompt condemnations of various spokesmen from Western nations, led by the US, and some Arab monarchies which hold Damascus responsible for the massacre of civilians in Houla.

Article link: http://www.plenglish.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=510841&Itemid=1

Tito’s 120th birth anniversary marked in Croatia – PHOTOS [Xinhua]

Posted in Croatia, Yugoslavia - former FRY on May 28, 2012 by Zuo Shou / 左手

2012-05-27

…attend[ing] a commemorating event at the former Yugoslav president Josip Broz Tito’s birthplace in Kumrovec, Croatia, May 26, 2011. Around 10,000 people on Saturday gathered here to commemorate 120th birth anniversary of former Yugoslav leader. (Xinhua/Miso Lisanin)

Photo article link: http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/photo/2012-05/27/c_131613305.htm