Archive for August, 2013

President Obama’s disastrous counterterrorism legacy [Guardian]

Posted in Afghanistan, George W. Bush, Guantanamo Bay concentration camp, Iraq, National Security Agency / NSA, NSA, Obama, Pakistan, Pentagon, US "War on Terror", US drone strikes, US Government Cover-up, US imperialism, USA, War crimes on August 22, 2013 by Zuo Shou / 左手

– A president who came into office pledging to take the ‘war on terror’ out of the shadows plunged it deeper into those shadows –

by Michael Boyle

5 August 2013

When future historians look back on the presidency of Barack Obama, they will conclude that counterterrorism was the policy area with the biggest gap between the hopes of his supporters and reality of his actions in office…

Full article link: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/aug/05/obama-legacy-shadow-wars

(c) Guardian News & Media Ltd

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“Opening Up New Phase of Reconciliation, Unity, Reunification and Prosperity Called for” – Kaesong Industrial Zone to re-open [KCNA]

Posted in DPR Korea, Juche Idea, Korean Central News Agency of DPRK, south Korea, US foreign occupation, US imperialism, USA on August 18, 2013 by Zuo Shou / 左手

Pyongyang, August 15 (KCNA) — The 7th talks between the authorities of the north and the south for the normalization of the operation in the Kaesong Industrial Zone took place in the zone on Wednesday amid the big concern and expectation of all the Koreans.

An agreement for the normalization of the zone which was adopted at the talks on the occasion of the 68th anniversary of Korea’s liberation brought delight to all the Koreans strongly desirous of the improvement of the north-south relations.

The adoption of the agreement is a precious fruition by the unanimous desire and will of all the Koreans to save the zone, a precious treasure common to the nation, from the crisis of closure and make a fresh breakthrough toward the improvement of the relations between the two sides.

Articles of the agreement reflect the efforts and magnanimous stand of the DPRK and the outstanding resourcefulness and wisdom of the Korean nation to lessen the differences between the north and the south in their stands and views and reach the final goal of normalization of the zone for its development.

Clearly reflected in the agreement is the wound given to the minds of the Koreans including the sufferings and damage done to south Korean businessmen due to the issue of the zone, the broad understanding of the expectation and desires of Koreans at home and abroad for the peace and stability in the Korean Peninsula and the region as well as the strong will for the settlement of the issue.

The whole process of adopting the agreement gave precious experience and taught a lesson that there are no problems insoluble and no obstacles insurmountable in the relations between the north and the south when the desire and interests common to the nation are put above all and everything is subordinated to them.

The adoption of the agreement has great meaning and significance to the Korean nation greeting the 68th anniversary of the country’s liberation.

The tragedy of national division that followed the joy over the liberation of the country and decades of division imposed by outside force have added to the pain suffered by the Koreans, making it all the more intolerable. So much strong the Korean nation has become in their desire for reconciliation, reunification, peace and prosperity.

The adoption of the agreement at this time opened up a prospect for defusing though a bit elements of confrontation and distrust produced by history of division and saving the zone symbolic of national reconciliation, cooperation and reunification by the wisdom and efforts of the north and the south. Herein lies the significance of the agreement.

It is a sacred cause the Korean nation has to achieve by pooling its efforts to remove the tragedy of division imposed by the outsiders.

The bigger significance of the agreement lies in that it instilled into the minds of all the Koreans the conviction that the north and the south can certainly open up the new phase for reconciliation, cooperation, peace, reunification and prosperity when they set aside differences and solve issues one by one based on commonness out of understanding and broad magnanimity.

The adoption demonstrated the will and practical ability of the Koreans to creditably carry out their mission and role as the driving force for the peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and make active contribution to peace and stable development of the world including the region.

As shown by the result of the talks, the Korean nation is responsible for settling the issues arising in the north-south relations.

The north and the south should take active measures to consolidate the achievements made at the talks and further expand and develop work for national reconciliation, unity, reunification and prosperity in the idea of “By our nation itself”.

The peaceful environment, a precondition for improving the north-south relations, can be provided only by the common efforts by the Korean nation responsible for it.

The north and the south should take a coordinated action against any act of inciting fratricidal confrontation and escalating tensions on the peninsula which go against the desire and wishes of the nation.

Steadfast is the stand and will of the government and people of the DPRK to defend the desire and interests of the nation.

We will in the future, too, discharge our mission and duty in the struggle for nation’s reconciliation, unity, reunification and prosperity. -0-

KCNA homepage, with link to English page: http://www.kcna.kp

Japan’s new warship draws fire [People’s Daily]

Posted in China, Hiroshima, Japan, Pentagon, Philippines, US imperialism, USA, World War II on August 18, 2013 by Zuo Shou / 左手

By ZHAO SHENGNAN in Beijing and CAI HONG in Tokyo

August 07, 2013

Japan’s biggest warship was unveiled on Tuesday, raising grave concerns about the country’s military buildup as observers said the vessel is actually an aircraft carrier, banned by Japan’s pacifist constitution.

Tokyo’s move coincided with Manila’s latest efforts to upgrade its military, as the Philippine navy received a second former US [C]oast [G]uard ship. Manila received the first ship in 2011.

Analysts see the upgraded warships in Japan and the Philippines as efforts to gain an upper hand in maritime disputes with China, as well as a catalyst igniting an arms race that would escalate regional tensions.

China’s Ministry of National Defense expressed concern on Tuesday about Japan’s “continuous military buildup” and urged it to adhere to peaceful self-defense.

“Japan should reflect on its history, adhere to self-defense and the promise of following the path of peaceful development,” the ministry’s bureau for media affairs told China Daily. The ministry also called for Japan’s neighbors and the international community to be “highly alert”.

The Japanese military held a ceremony in the port city of Yokohama on Tuesday to show off its new 248-meter helicopter carrier 22DDH, which is expected to be a centerpiece of its naval power under the Self-Defense Forces, which are banned from aggressive action.

The Japanese-built carrier has a displacement of around 20,000 tons. It can accommodate 14 helicopters and will play a major role in disaster and rescue missions, as well as defend sea passages and Japanese territory, according to Japan’s defense ministry.

But it is much larger than many countries’ aircraft carriers in terms of displacement and deck length, and it can be easily and swiftly refitted to support F35-B fighters, which have strong combat capabilities, said Zhang Junshe, a senior researcher at the People’s Liberation Army Naval Military Studies Research Institute.

“It is an aircraft carrier, and Japan just called it ‘a helicopter destroyer’ to downplay its aggressive nature,” Zhang said. Japan, defeated in World War II, is creating regional tensions by breaking the postwar order, he added.

The vessel was named Izumo, the same name as the flagship of the Japanese fleet that invaded China in the 1930s.

Although the vessel is not 100 percent an aircraft carrier at the moment, it can be a platform for Japanese forces to train under circumstances similar to that of an aircraft carrier, said Jin Canrong, an international affairs professor at Renmin University of China.

Besides, Tokyo likely intentionally chose the date of the vessel’s debut — the 68th anniversary of the US dropping an atomic bomb on Hiroshima — to woo public support for the government’s military ambitions by taking advantage of sentiments about the attack, Jin said.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has been considering developing a regular army, which would require changing the Constitution imposed on Japan by the United States and its allies after World War II. But a possible overhaul of the Constitution has stirred strong reactions among Japan’s neighbors, which have long maintained that Tokyo has never come to terms with its militaristic past.

“Washington, which currently is facing defense budget cuts, needs Tokyo’s assistance to guarantee the US focus on Asia. … This also encourages Abe to beef up Japan’s military,” Jin added.

China has always maintained that cooperation among countries should be conducive to regional peace and stability, according to the Ministry of National Defense’s response to US-Philippine military cooperation.

Manila said last week that Washington had stepped up its military assistance package in the next fiscal year to about $50 million from $30 million, the highest level since US troops returned to the Philippines in 2000.

(Editor:YaoChun、Zhang Qian)

Article link: http://english.people.com.cn/90777/8355066.html

Ed Miliband pelted with eggs [Guardian]

Posted in U.K. on August 18, 2013 by Zuo Shou / 左手

14 August 2013

Ed Miliband has been pelted with eggs during a campaign visit to a street market…

Full article link: http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2013/aug/14/ed-miliband-pelted-with-eggs

(c) Guardian News & Media Ltd

NBC Misreports Collateral Murder Video [FAIR]

Posted in Corporate Media Critique, Iraq, Pentagon, US Government Cover-up, US imperialism, USA, War crimes, Wikileaks on August 18, 2013 by Zuo Shou / 左手

by Peter Hart

July 31, 2013

As we’ve pointed out, corporate TV outlets haven’t shown much interest in the Bradley Manning trial. And then when they do, maybe you wish they didn’t.

Covering the verdict announcement on last night’s NBC Nightly News (7/30/13), anchor Brian Williams said that Pentagon correspondent Jim Miklaszewski had “covered this story from the start.”

But you’d have a hard time believing that when you heard the way he described the Collateral Murder video, one of the most talked-about aspects of Manning’s trial. It is the gunsight footage from a July 12, 2007, U.S. helicopter attack in Baghdad that killed two Reuters journalists, along with an unknown number of other Iraqis (FAIR Media Advisory, 4/7/10).

But Miklasziewski apparently knows who died, because he described that video this way:

In a pretrial statement to the court, Manning admitted he leaked this classified video of an Apache helicopter attack in Iraq that killed a number of insurgents and two innocent civilians.

But Manning did not describe the video as an attack on “insurgents,” because that is not what the video shows…

Excerpted; full article link: http://www.fair.org/blog/2013/07/31/nbc-misreports-collateral-murder-video/

Journalist Michael Hastings was investigating CIA director at time of deadly crash [World Socialist Website]

Posted in CIA, FBI, Obama, Pentagon, US Government Cover-up, USA on August 17, 2013 by Zuo Shou / 左手

The widow of Michael Hastings confirmed that the investigative journalist was working on a story on CIA Director John Brennan when he was killed in a fiery car crash in June.

In an interview with CNN’s Piers Morgan on August 5, Elise Jordan said that the story on Brennan will appear in an upcoming issue of Rolling Stone. The story apparently relates to Brennan’s role in targeting journalists who were working on government secrets.

In its report on Hasting’s investigations, San Diego 6 News cited an email from obtained by WikiLeaks, which alleges that “Brennan is behind the witch hunts of investigative journalists” who reveal government secrets. It was an internal communication within Stratfor, a global intelligence company with connections to the US state, with a subject line stating that the message was for internal use only and should not be forwarded.

The email went on: “There is a specific tasker from the [White House] to go after anyone printing materials negative to the Obama agenda (oh my). Even the FBI is shocked. T he Wonder Boys must be in meltdown mode.”

Hastings died in the early hours of the morning on June 19, when his Mercedes exploded after apparently crashing into a palm tree in Hollywood, California. The vehicle burst into flames and the engine was launched 100 feet down the street. One witness compared the sound coming from the blast to a bomb explosion that shook nearby houses.

While initial eyewitness testimony indicated that Hastings had been speeding, new evidence is surfacing that questions such statements. According to the same San Diego 6 News report, a surveillance video taken from a nearby restaurant has been studied and shows that Hastings may have only been traveling as slowly as 35 mph when the collision took place.

According to San Diego 6 News: “That revelation is important because Jose, an employee of ALSCO, a nearby business, and a witness to the accident, told KTLA/Loud Labs (Scott Lane) the car was traveling at a high rate of speed and he saw sparks coming from the car and saw it explode BEFORE hitting the tree.”

Hastings, who was 33-years-old when he died, had received threats from government officials in response to his work. In one of his books, he revealed that a staffer of General Stanley McCrystal, whose career was ended in part by an exposé written by Hastings, had told him, “We’ll hunt you down and kill you if we don’t like what you write…”

Excerpted; full article link: http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2013/08/16/hast-a16.html

Xinhua Insight: China’s desertification reversed through constant efforts [Xinhua]

Posted in Beijing, China, Environmental protection on August 15, 2013 by Zuo Shou / 左手

KUBUQI, Inner Mongolia, Aug. 3 (Xinhua) — After prolonged efforts, desertification in China has been initially reversed, with trees and grass springing up where deserts used to be.

“In the 1990s, the desertification area would increase nearly 3,500 square km every year. But after ten years of work, the situation has been overturned. About 1,500 square km of desert can be turned into greenery every year,” said Luo Bin, deputy director of the National Bureau to Combat Desertification under the State Forestry Administration, at the Kubuqi International Desert Forum, which is being held in the city of Ordos in north China’s Inner Monoglia Autonomous Region.

According to statistics released by the State Forestry Administration, China has 2.6 million square km of desert, accounting for 27 percent of the country’s total land area. The desert areas are scattered among 12 provincial-level regions in north China.

GOVERNMENT EFFORTS

In recent years, the central government has spent vast amounts of money to prevent desertification. In some areas, vegetation coverage has expanded by 20 percent over the last decade, said Zhao Shucong, director of the State Forestry Administration.

In 2002, the government promulgated the world’s first law concerning desertification prevention and control. But desertification efforts have been ongoing since the 1950s, including one program in which trees were planted in 13 provincial-level regions in north China to prevent desertification.

Such projects have played an important role in improving the environment and eliminating poverty.

“In its next step, China plans to have about 200,000 square km of desertified land, or half of the country’s desert area that can be reversed, harnessed by 2020 and improve living standards for people living in the desert,” Luo added.

However, the biggest challenge will be to prevent sandstorms from hitting the cities of Beijing and Tianjin, Luo said, adding that 56 billion yuan (9.1 billion U.S. dollars) has already been spent on this endeavor in the past ten years and 84.4 billion yuan more will be spent in coming ten years…

Excerpted; full article link: http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/indepth/2013-08/03/c_132599494.htm