Monthly Archives: October 2007

Putin Is Now Claiming To Be For Democracy!

Under the “leadership” of Vladmir Putin, the once growing state of democracy in Russia has increasingly been stifled. The press requires licenses to operate and all opposition television stations are no longer allowed to broadcast. Governors are no longer elected but appointed by President Putin. Now, this man who fears democracy announced he is establishing a new think tank for democracy in Brussels. He says since the European Union once helped Russia to develop democracy, “I think the time has come for Russia, given the growth in our financial capabilities, to make its contribution in the sphere as well.” When asked if Russia would make their venture a joint one with European advocates of democracy, his spokesperson said it would be 100% Russian. The Institute would monitor the rights of ethnic minorities, immigrants, and the media in Europe. One goal would be to protect rights of ethnic Russians in other nations.

One can only welcome the establishment of an institution to protect democratic rights. It might be helpful if Putin would create a branch office in Moscow to protect the rights of people in Russia. This is merely another clever device by a very clever man to divert attention from his own failures in supporting Russian democracy.

One Small Step For Democracy In China

It has been practice under Communist China legal procedures for individuals charged with crimes to have difficulty in securing legal assistance, but this will change under new procedures adopted by the government. From now on, lawyers will have the right to meet with their client once interrogation has been completed, and their conversations will no longer be monitored. Lawyers will also have the right to examine any evidence connected to the trial in order to prepare an effective defense. Up to this point, many lawyers have even hesitated to take on cases because of restrictions that have been placed in the way of a defense during a trial. These new procedures do not meet American standards, but they are a stop in the right direction. Hopefully, the Chinese Communist government will in the future expand the process of democracy.

Romany Women Sterilized In Czech Republic!

On the last Friday of each month, ten Romany women congregate in the offices of Life Together to share stories about the manner in which Czech officials have lied and brutalized them because they are of Romany backgrounds. They insist they were sterilized at a hospital after giving birth and no one told them what was happening. Since 2004, the Sterilized Women’s Association(SSZ) has been engaged in legal action to win them compensation for the procedures. SSZ director Elena Gorolova said ‘the going was slow and we were all feeling really drained,” but on October 12 a Czech court awarded monetary damages to one of the women. Iveta Cervenakova, was 19 and was waiting in the hospital for a C-section. “I spent the whole night waiting for the C-section, but they did not give me the form until right before the operation. At that time I had no idea what sterilization meant.” It took months before a doctor told her she no longer could have children that realization of what had happened finally entered her consciousness.

Ironically, such procedures were common when communists controlled the Czech Republic, but the arrival of democracy has not changed attitudes toward Romanys. Prejudice and bigotry are alive and well in post communist nations as far as hatred toward Romanys is concerned.

US War On Muslim Terrorists Nabs British Cabinet Member!

American efforts to tighten its borders against entry by terrorists made a notable capture the other day when Britain’s International Development Minister, Shahid Malik, England’s first Muslim government minister, was detained at Dulles International Airport for 40 minutes while he was searched and humiliated. His hand luggage was searched for traces of explosives. Mr. Malik was returning from meetings with US officials. Last November, he was detained and searched at John F, Kennedy Airport as he flew to deliver a speech on tracking extremism and defeating terrorism, an event sponsored by the US Homeland Security Department. His comment was: “the abusive attitude I endured las November I forgot and I forgave, but I really do believe that British ministers and parliamentarians should be afforded the same respect and dignity at U.S.A. airports that we would bestow upon our colleagues in the Senate and Congress. Obviously, there was no malice involved, but it has to be said that the U.S.A. system does not inspire confidence.”

Sorry, Mr. Malik, malice was intended. The Bush paranoia about foreign terrorists has made too many people suspicious and acting in demeaning ways toward our guests. Mr. Malik was insulted for one reason — he was a Muslim and to many US officials that automatically means he is a suspicious person.

Petraeus: Good News And Continuing News

Geneal Petraeus indicated there had been significant progress in reducing the al-Qaida presence in certain areas of Baghdad. Although there has been a reduction in violence, Petraeus indicated, al-Qaida remained a “very dangerous and very lethal enemy.” There were car bombings in Baghdad and ten tribal leaders, who had arrived in Baghdad for meetings regarding their efforts to cooperate with the US and the Iraq government, were kidnapped and most probably will meet with harm from al-Qaida. General Petraeus also noted in several provinces of Iraq although the violence has declined, there is an atmosphere in which a “focus on crime and on extortion has been ongoing.”

A major issue connected with the “surge” is how long will American forces remain in Baghdad and elsewhere in Iraq. A possibility for the reduction in violence may stem from al-Aqida remaining quiet in order to wait out the American departure before resuming their attacks.

Afghanistan Quagmire Sinks Deeper

Six years ago, President Bush proclaimed America’s triumph over the religious fanatics known as the Taliban. In the hurried collapse of the nation, a Taliban key leader Mullah Omar escaped into the mountains along with Osama bin Laden. Six years later, the forces of insurgency not only include the Taliban by various sects and factions and militia leaders. There are myriad players in the anti-western alliance, some motivated by religion, others by hostility to certain leaders, and undoubtedly, some who simply know no other life but fighting. President Karzai comes from the Durrani dynasty which had been important for over two centuries, but many of his opponents are from the Ghizai tribe, a traditional enemy of the Durrani. A question rarely posed by the Bush administration is how did the Taliban, who supposedly were defeated in 2001, snap back so quickly as a formidable force in Afghanistan? America’s ally, Pakistan has been a key player in hiding, equipping, and nurturing the Taliban in the wilds of western areas of their nation.

Ironically, the Shiite leaders of Iran were enemies of the Sunni Taliban and provided assistance to American efforts to wipe out their opponents. Instead of building on that aid, the Bush administration turned in fury against Iran, an action that only served to increase the power of the Taliban. In a dramatic act of anger, the Iranian government is now providing the Taliban, its former enemies, with military assistance. In 2006, British intelligence estimated there were 1,000 Taliban in the southern province of Helmand. The British armed forces killed at least 600 of them. But, the Taliban remain strong and continue obtaining new recruits. The real question is what would it take to damage the power of the Taliban?

Israel-Palestinian Hardliners Harden Stances

Israel Cabinet minister Aviggdor Lieberman said he would leave the government if Prime Minister Olmert gave Palestinians control of the west bank or allowed them to have east Jerusalem as its capital. He even opposes any type of symbolic statement regarding the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes. United Arab League spokesman Admad Tibi, was equally adamant even refusing compromises. “There can be no agreement without the dismantlement of settlements and the removal of settlers…the borders must be the 1967 line, including east Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine.’

The road to settlement must include a give and take. Three key issues separate the two sides: status of refugees, west bank settlements, and Jerusalem. There should be no problem accepting east Jerusalem as the capital of an independent Palestine, all Palestinian refugees can not return to Israel without altering the nature of the Jewish majority in the nation, and the west bank settlements can not remain in its present condition. A sizable portion of that area must return to Palestinian control.

Turkey Disappointed With Iraq Proposals

The delegation of Iraq officials who have been working with the Turkish government apparently have failed to win over support for their ideas on dealing with Kurdish rebels. A Turkish diplomat, who is familiar with the discussions, said their proposals were “unsatisfactory.” The Turkish parliament last week authorized a cross-border operation against PKK bases. The Turkish government is insisting Iraq turn over to them the Kurdish leaders leading the insurgency and have provided Iraq with a list of the names. According to a Turkish official, “these talks are make-or-break talks. This is the last chance to resolve the issue through talks before resorting to a possible cross-border operation.” The Iraqi delegation claims it arrived with concrete proposals.

A member of the Turkish military said troops are being moved from other areas of the country toward the Iraq border. There is a feeling of frustration among Turkish officials, particularly after the main American general in northern Iraq said he would do “absolutely nothing” about dealing with Kurdish rebels. A fundamental problem is the inability of Iraq officials to actually do anything in Kurdistan. It lacks troops to handle any military operation against well entrenched Kurdish forces in the mountainous region of the country. Apparently, neither Kurdish officials, Iraqi officials or the American military is going to do anything to counter PKK attacks. As of this point, the Turkish government has hesitated in making a military incursion, will they wait longer before doing so?

Brutal Burma Military Blasts Bully America

Myanmar’s brutal military government upped its attacks upon the United States for interfering in the internal affairs of its nation by claiming the Bush administration was attempting to impose its views on its government. “Recent protests in the country were created by the loudmouthed bully, using the exiled dissidents and traitors together with communists, internal and external anti-government destructionists” in order to cause turmoil within a peaceful nation. The author of the piece in the Myanmar language, Myanma Ahlin daily said the United States was attempting to recreate conditions of 1988 that resulted in the deaths of thousands of protestors.

George Bush has been accused of many things in his life, but claiming that he is working in cahoots with communists is certainly a new approach to making critical remarks about one of the most conservative presidents in history. For one of the few times during his administration, the American president is actually standing up for freedom and democracy. I believe this is one time Bush should feel proud to be insulted by the press.

Gap Clothes Have A Gap In Preventing Child Abuse

Investigative reporters for the British newspaper, The Observer, found children working in factories in India under conditions akin to slavery where they made clothes destined for Gap in the United States. The Indian children were being brutalized, forced to work earning wages below minimum levels, physically brutalized, and denied the rights of ordinary workers. It is estimated at least 20% of the economy of India is dependent upon such child labor. According to Professor Sheotaj Singh, “The key thing India has to offer the global economy is some of the world’s cheapest labor…” Gap denies any knowledge of purchasing clothes from factories having such abusive work conditions for children.

One can only hope American corporations will refuse dealing with such factories.