Democracy now | 28/02/2011
Here is a transcript from democracynow.org website whose correspondent, Anjali Kamat has spent in liberated zones in the Eastern Libya for five days and returned to Egypt to report for a prestigious non-profit news channel in America. She has personally spoken several Libyans who took part in the uprising against their autocratic ruler Co. Moummar Gaddafi. Amy Goodman is one of presenters of the news channel.
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AMY GOODMAN: As the uprising continues in Libya, more areas have fallen into the hands of pro-democracy protesters, but Colonel Muammar Gaddafi retains control of the capital Tripoli. On Sunday, protesters had taken control of Zawiyah, a city 30 miles from Tripoli, but pro-Gaddafi forces are surrounding the area.
On Saturday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously imposed sanctions in the form of travel bans and asset freezes on Gaddafi and his family. The U.N. resolution also called for referring Gaddafi to the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity.
In a telephone conversation with the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, President Barack Obama said Gaddafi should leave.
AMBASSADOR SUSAN RICE: Resolution 1970 is a strong resolution. It includes a travel ban and an assets freeze for key Libyan leaders. It imposes a complete arms embargo on Libya. It takes new steps against the use of mercenaries by the Libyan government to attack its own people. And for the first time ever, the Security Council has unanimously referred an egregious human rights situation to the International Criminal Court. As President Obama said today, when a leader’s only means of staying in power is to use mass of violence against his own people, he has lost the legitimacy to rule and needs to do what is right for his country by leaving now.
AMY GOODMAN: That was Susan Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. In an interview with Serbian television Sunday, a defiant Gaddafi repeated his message that he will stay in Libya. Speaking via telephone from his Tripoli office, he again blamed foreigners and al-Qaeda for the uprising that’s threatening his 41-year rule. He also condemned the United Nations Security Council for imposing sanctions on him and launching a war crimes inquiry.
Article first published as West Relinquishes Mubarak! on Blogcritics.
Mubarak, who ruled Egypt for 30 years with full backing from all western countries from the US to the EU, appears losing confidence of his western mentors. The clashes, which erupted on Wednesday evening and Thursday morning, have brought in the US and the European Union in support of the agitating anti-government demonstrators. The western states have condemned the violence forced by the pro-government demonstrators prompting Egyptian Prime Minister to offer apology on behalf of the government. The Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq has apologized for stone pelting and gun shots on peaceful demonstrators pledging to investigate the “fatal error.”
The protests that have been peaceful for Nine days in Cairo and Alexandria, have turned violent as thousands of pro-government protesters stepped in throwing stones on anti-government protesters on Wednesday evening. Anti-government protesters have also begun stone pelting and chasing them from the Tahrir Square in a bid to retain the control of the square that has been the main rallying point of the protesters. Meanwhile Muslim Brotherhood and ElBaradei faction denied sitting for talks saying Mubarak’s resignation is the only solution.
The US expressed shock over clashes and the leaders of France, Germany, Britain, Italy and Spain released a joint statement condemning the violence and declaring that the peaceful political transition should immediately be started. Hosni Mubarak could remain in power for 30 years only with the political, economic and military support of the western countries lead by the US.
Article first published as The West Condemns Sentencing of Russian Business Tycoon on Blogcritics.
The US, UK and Germany have come out criticizing strongly the Russian court’s judgement sentencing oil tycoon Khodorkovsky second time. Khodorkovsky and his business partner Platon Lebedev have already been sentenced in 2005 for allegedly fraud and tax evasion. They were arrested in 2003. The duo is now again handed a sentence of life imprisonment until 2017 as they were found guilty of embezzlement and money laundering.
Once seen as a threat to former President Vladimir Putin, he was found guilty along with Lebedev of stealing billions of dollars from their own oil firm, Yukos, and laundering the proceeds. Their lawyers said they would appeal but if the sentence remains, Khodorkovsky will not be released until well after the next presidential election.
West alleges that Putin government has pressured the justice system to sentence him further, as he would become a potential competitor against Putin. The defence lawyers contend that the allegations are meaningless as the oil alleged to be embezzled would be almost equal to the total production of Yukos during the period in question. They accused the sentence amounted to lawlessness. Supporters of Khodorkovsky held rallies outside the court.
Japan revealed its intentions to make substantial changes to its defence policies on the pretext of China’s increasing military might and North Korea’s nuclear weapons. Japan has maritime border with China. Japan’s new national defence policy has acquired importance in the wake of recent rise of tensions between China and Japan when a Chinese trawler hit a Japanese petrol boars near disputed chain coral islands on which both countries have ownership claims.
China has been strengthening its military utilising its trade surplus and foreign currency reserves due to which its neighbours such as India with which it has border disputes, Japan with which it has disputes on ownership over coral islands in South China Sea, and Taiwan on which it has ownership claim have rising concerns. The US is also worried with China’s military build-up as it feels China is threatening the US’ interests in South Asia and East Asia regions. The secretary of state for the US Ms Hillary Clinton expressed openly her concerns that China was ascertaining its domination in the region.
Recently, the US conducted military drill with South Korea in Yellow Sea after North Korea fired artillery shells on a disputed South Korea’s island near maritime border. Though, the US said the military drills were part of regular exercises, its main aim was to issue veiled warning to Chinese military, which has been ascertaining its position in the region. The US accused China for not reigning in North Korea’s behaviour during recent tensions in Korean peninsula. It has 50,000 troops stationed in a Japanese island Okinawa and 28,500 troops in South Korea.
Article first published as Global Leadership at the Cost of Sweat and Blood on Blogcritics.
In a rare confession, the US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton expressed fear that the US is on the brink of losing global leadership. She sees the US’ national debt posing enormous threat to the national security of the US as a result of losing global leadership. The US’ two unpaid wars and tax cuts have to properly be dealt with Ms. Clinton opined. “…it is fair to say that we fought two wars without paying for them, and we had tax cuts that were not paid for either. And that has been a very deadly combination to fiscal sanity and responsibility," Clinton said in her speech given at Council on Foreign Relations, a research institute on foreign relations based in Washington.
If the US government didn’t have to pay the two aggressive wars that devastated two countries; left many dead, widowed, orphaned; threw a country into sectarian violence, chaos and leaderless (people shouldn’t have their own leaders with back-bone for their countries but leaders that agree to serve the interests of the American bosses of MNCs, TNCs, cartels, syndicates and so on) then who could have been forced to pay and who is going to pay? Aren’t Clinton’s concerns for debt and deficit of the US, directed at calling those helped create financial chaos at home, for paying at least now to stop the US from losing global leadership? It seems answer is ‘no’. If the US wants to recover itself from quagmire of financial crises (not only of 2007, but a series of crises that occurred during post-cold-war period) developed at home, none has any problem. It can employ its own people; produce goods, trade and sell them; earn what it deserves. But how is it justified when it wages wars of aggression so as to bring its debt ridden economy back on track?
Two Big Stimuli
In her comments Ms. Clinton forgot that apart from two unpaid aggressive wars and sops of tax cuts, two enormous and magnanimous stimulus packages were paid to those who brought the world financial system down to the earth along with millions of families’ health and wealth. They have also contributed to the huge debt that she was talking about. She
BBC News | Wednesday, 9 June 2010 | 16:34 GMT
The UN Security Council has voted in favour of fresh sanctions against Iran over its nuclear programme. The council voted 12 to two, with one abstention, in favour of a fourth round of sanctions, including tighter finance curbs and an expanded arms embargo. The US welcomed the move and said Iran must choose a "wiser course". But Iran’s envoy to the UN’s nuclear watchdog Ali Asghar Soltanieh vowed Tehran would continue its uranium enrichment activities. "Nothing will change," he said. The US and its allies fear Iran is secretly trying to build a nuclear bomb, but Tehran insists its programme is aimed solely at peaceful energy use.
The Security Council resolution was opposed by Turkey and Brazil. They had earlier brokered a deal with Iran on uranium enrichment. Lebanon abstained. The new sanctions were passed after being watered down during negotiations with Russia and China on Tuesday. There are no crippling economic sanctions and there is no oil embargo. Those passed include prohibiting Iran from buying heavy weapons such as attack helicopters and missiles. They also toughen rules on financial transactions with Iranian banks and increase the number of Iranian individuals and companies that are targeted with asset freezes and travel bans. There is also a new framework of cargo inspections to detect and stop Iran’s acquisition of illicit materials.
Hailing the vote, the US ambassador to the UN Susan Rice said: "The Security Council has risen to its responsibilities and now Iran should choose a wiser course." UK Foreign Secretary William Hague said the decision sent a "strong statement of international resolve", increasing the pressure on Iran to meet its obligations. German counterpart Guido Westerwelle said this was "a clear signal from the international community that atomic weapons for Iran are not acceptable". However, both Turkey and Brazil spoke out in opposition, saying the deal they had brokered with Iran had not been given time.
NYT | December 2, 2009
President Obama announced Tuesday that he would speed 30,000 additional troops to Afghanistan in coming months, but he vowed to start bringing American forces home in the middle of 2011, saying the United States could not afford and should not have to shoulder an open-ended commitment. Promising that he could “bring this war to a successful conclusion,” Mr. Obama set out a strategy that would seek to reverse Taliban gains in large parts of Afghanistan, better protect the Afghan people, increase the pressure on Afghanistan to build its own military capacity and a more effective government and step up attacks on Al Qaeda in Pakistan.
“America, we are passing through a time of great trial,” Mr. Obama said. “And the message that we send in the midst of these storms must be clear: that our cause is just, our resolve unwavering.” The military escalation Mr. Obama described and defended in his speech to a national television audience and 4,000 cadets at the United States Military Academy here, the culmination of a review that lasted three months, could well prove to be the most consequential decision of Mr. Obama’s presidency. In his 33-minute address, he sought to convince an increasingly skeptical nation that the resurgence of the Taliban in Afghanistan and the continued existence of Al Qaeda across the border in Pakistan — what he called a “cancer” on the region — were direct threats to the United States, and that he could achieve the seemingly contradictory goals of expanding American involvement in the war even as he sought to bring it to a close. Continue reading