Thursday, July 19, 2007
Untitled from huffpost and Vimeo.
See full Report from the Huffungton Post
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
A Proclamation by the President of the United States of America
Liberty is the path to lasting peace and the unalienable right of every man, woman, and child. During Captive Nations Week, we underscore our commitment to protecting human rights, advancing democracy and freedom, and ending tyranny across the globe.
Expanding freedom is a moral imperative, and today more people are free than ever before. Freedom is reaching around the world, and America is working side-by-side with new democracies in Liberia, Mauritania, Ukraine, Georgia, and Kyrgyzstan. The people of Kuwait held elections in which women were able to vote and run for office for the first time, and the elected parliament is exercising real influence with the government. We continue to stand firmly behind the citizens of Lebanon, Afghanistan, and Iraq as they defend their democratic gains against extremist enemies. Many are making great sacrifices for liberty, and they deserve our steadfast support.
While there is progress in freedom's advance, nations such as Belarus, Burma, Cuba, North Korea, Syria, Iran, Sudan, and Zimbabwe still oppress their citizens. My Administration recently created the Human Rights Defenders Fund to provide grants for the legal defense and medical expenses of democratic dissidents arrested or beaten by repressive governments. In addition, we have nearly doubled funding for democracy projects throughout the world. The American people believe that the flame for freedom burns in every human heart, and that light cannot be extinguished by governments, terrorists, or tyrants. During Captive Nations Week, we remember that human freedom is the key to achieving respect for all human rights.
The Congress, by Joint Resolution approved July 17, 1959 (73 Stat. 212), has authorized and requested the President to issue a proclamation designating the third week in July of each year as "Captive Nations Week."
NOW, THEREFORE, I, GEORGE W. BUSH, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim July 15 through 21, 2007, as Captive Nations Week. I call upon the people of the United States to reaffirm our commitment to all those seeking liberty, justice, and self-determination.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this tenth day of July, in the year of our Lord two thousand seven, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-second.
GEORGE W. BUSH
Interesting, I guess Iraq doesn't count as a "Captive Nation", nor for that matter does Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. I also find it interesting that there is no mention of Chechnya, Palestine, Chiapas, Oaxaca, or Tibet. How about Taiwan? Hmm... I guess those didn't make the final draft of the speech. Oh, of course, Iran made the list... but not Kurdistan. What about Kashmir?
Now if your going to list Syria and Iran, what about Saudi Arabia? And if you are listing Cuba, then why not Pakistan?
Hypocrisy at its finest.
[UPDATE:A brother or sister of the struggle commented that I left out Aztlan, thank you for pointing it out and for good measure we should include all indigenous groups currently living in reservations across the world as "Captive Nations". If you can think of others please leave me a comment and we'll try to make a comprehensive list to hand to Mr. Bush.]
Saturday, July 14, 2007
The U.S. Virgin Islands ( a.k.a St. Thomas, St. John, St. Croix) are colonies of the American Empire, I hope that doesn't come as new information. In this colony there are many problems, such as unemployment, healthcare, crime, drugs, and corruption, really nothing that different from any other colony and often worse than what you will find in the U.S.
These problems have been around for years, about 90 years to be more accurate, and on any given day the problems of these islands are largely ignored by Washington, DC , except that recently the National Guard decided to do something about it (you can almost feel the rumble of the cavalry coming to the rescue). Except that this is their solution:
The National Guard Youth ChalleNGe Program... "a co-educational, 17-month program for 16-18 year old high school dropouts. Currently, there are 34 ChalleNGe programs in 29 states and the territory of Puerto Rico. Cadets must be drug-free, not in trouble with the law and high school dropouts. The program consists of a 5 1/2-month quasi-military Residential Phase and is followed by a 12-month Post-Residential Phase."
I find it particularly interesting that while the United States is having trouble filling the rank and file of its regular military, and increasingly relies on National Guard troops to complete the needed numbers, that the Guard would seek to expand what is their most successful recruitment tool into the Virgin Islands. Also interesting is that the vote on the matter would come just two days after the nationalistic rituals of the July 4th holiday.
To the credit of the Senate of the Virgin Islands, the program has been voted down as the bill in which it was introduced would have handed over to the "quasi-military" program the right to determine who is considered at-risk and would give it authority to grant high school diplomas and GEDs. Senators chaffed at the idea of handing over so much power to the National Guard, whose spokesperson played down the concerns about indoctrination and using the poor as cannon fodder to no avail. The Senate voted against the bill on Friday July 6, two days after celebrating American militarism on July 4th.
Mike Hager The Santiago Times
July 9, 2007
Hired Mercenaries Are Second Largest 'Coalition Force' in Iraq
A United Nations work group arrived in Chile today to begin investigating the recruitment of Chilean mercenaries in the American war in Iraq. The U.N. Working Group on the Use of Mercenaries (UNWG) also hopes to get Chile to sign on to the 1989 U.N. Mercenary Convention aimed at restricting mercenary activity.
The group, created in July 2005, has also investigated the recruitment of Honduran, Ecuadorian, Peruvian, and Fijian citizens to fight or provide military-related services in foreign conflict zones. Socialist Party Sen. Alejandro Navarro estimates that as many as 1,000 former Chilean soldiers are now working in Iraq.
In a report last year, UNWG denounced the 48,000 security workers in Iraq, saying they make up the second largest "coalition" fighting force after the United States. Great Britain provides the third largest number of military personnel.
UNWG executive president José Luis Gomez del Prado said the group will interview a wide range of people in Chile, including N.G.O. workers, academics, journalists, and government officials. Gomez del Prado was hopeful he could meet with President Michelle Bachelet and said he was also open to meeting with the Chilean most publicly identified with mercenary recruitment—(ret.) Gen. José Pizarro.
"Presently, we know that there are ex-military and ex-police recruited by a Chilean company with headquarters in Uruguay, a company that has the support of a U.S. company," said Gomez del Prado. "These [private security] companies come to Latin American countries and recruit people for $31 a day, which is what we just saw in Peru. And once they are on a plane or bus, recruits are made to sign an English contract with a sister company from the United States, a contract that leaves them completely unprotected."
In 2005, for example, the Your Solutions security firm sent 147 Chileans into conflict zones in Iraq; 28 of the recruits broke their contracts and returned home early, claiming they received inadequate training and poor equipment.
In September of that same year, Honduras kicked Your Solutions and its 105 Chilean mercenary recruits out of the country for training foreign military in Honduran territory—in violation of national laws. When neighboring Nicaragua refused to allow the mercenary training to continue in their country, Honduras finally relented, allowing the mercenaries to complete 15 more days of training in Honduras before being shipped to Iraq.
Critics like Sen. Navarro fear that mercenary recruitment is increasing in Latin America and that new companies are forming.
Amada Benavides, in charge of UNWG's Latin American arm, said in Peru that mercenary recruitment is "a common problem within the region," even though international law forbids mercenary activity. "Mercenary work is condemned by the law, but the contractors are not," she said.
The Los Angeles Times recently reported that 180,000 mercenaries are working in Iraqi territory, outnumbering the 160,000 American troops on the ground. The mercenaries include 21,000 American citizens, 43,000 foreigners, and 118,000 Iraqis. One thousand of these privately contracted security personnel have died, reported the L.A. Times, and at least 10,000 have been injured.
Retired Gen. Pizarro has been recruiting Chilean military personnel for the past several years and said last week that he has 350 Chileans in Iraq working for various companies, including Blackwater and Triple Canopy. Pizarro also recruited 55 Chilean mercenaries currently serving in Afghanistan, and 110 in Haiti.
Pizarro, considered by some to be the godfather of the Chilean mercenary industry, recruited some 1,200 former Chilean soldiers for duty in Iraq in less than two years. The majority are lured with wages deemed astronomical by Chilean standards.
A Chilean guarding a ground facility such as an embassy earns $3,000 a month, and can increase their income by taking on higher risk mobile security assignments that can net up to $12,000 a month.
Pizarro ran into legal trouble in 2005 when Sen. Navarro urged Chile's judicial system to indict the ex-Army official and military analyst for violating the Law of Private Security, as well as being part of a criminal operation. Navarro said that Pizarro's security firm Red Táctica has access to classified information about Chilean armed forces, a situation that constitutes a national security risk.
Red Táctica, which recruits former Army officers for security work in Iraq, also came under fire for alleged labor abuse. Pizarro has since changed enterprises and remains an integral part of the Chilean mercenary industry.
Pizarro said last week he is ready to cooperate with the UNWG and disputed labor abuse claims. "No one has ever filed a complaint, consequently, nobody has ever been accused of contractual irregularities or labor abuses," he said.
Pizarro also objected to labeling Chilean forces "mercenaries," saying that Chile's former soldiers are limited to security work in Iraq and the term mercenary should only designate people hired for killing other soldiers.
The U.N.'s Gomez del Prado believes the definition of mercenary needs modernization to include the thriving private military and security firms. "Anyone who is protecting a building in a highly dangerous zone and returns fire after getting fired on should be termed a mercenary," he said.
The U.N. working group will be in Santiago July 9-13 carrying out their investigation.
What's missing here? How about 8 of the 9 Republican candidates invited to take part in the GOP debate hosted by the NAACP, America's oldest and most successful civil rights organization. Only Tom Tancredo attended to once again pitch his black vs brown campaign strategy in which he blames the problems of Black America on the coutry's Hispanic/Illegal population.
Why did they not appear? According to their respective campaign representatives the excuses range from scheduling conflicts to Rudy Giuliani's excuse that he was never told of it. Bulshit/bullshit/bullshit!!!
So 8 GOP candidates in a race for the Republican nomination in which all are trying to trying hard to separate themselves from the crowded field, none thought of even making an appearance at what was largely the single largest gathering of black community leaders.
This, by itself is enough reason to not vote for the Republican Party, that is in case the other little things didn't bother you ( like an illegal war, an unprecedented federal deficit, a failed healthcare system, a poor-grinding economy, the numerous abuse of power scandals, the numerous sexual indecency scandals, the stonewalling of the Executive, and the repeated lies upon lies, upon more lies, this administrations serves on a daily basis). Oh, the party of Lincoln, oh the Party of Eisenhower, where have you gone.
Sunday, July 08, 2007
As the Puerto Rican resistance against American colonization continues, we sometimes lose sight that there are others in even greater peril of disappearing as a unique and identifiable culture in the world. In this Al Jazeera report we find the struggle of the Chamorros, the indigenous peoples of the island of Guam as they witness the rapid erosion of their cultural identity. The video however does not really delve into the fact that the United States has turned Guam into their premiere military staging area against China, which means that the Chamorros are the unwitting front line in that future superpower struggle.