International

Britain

The Youth Are Being Denied a Future:
They Must Not Be Criminalised!


Liverpool

The unrest of the youth which exploded on the streets of London and other cities is a response to the anti-social offensive of this and previous governments, and in particular to the state offensive against the youth. The trigger was a loss of life: the shooting of the unarmed 29-year-old Mark Duggan by the police in Tottenham. This much even David Cameron has been required to admit. The government's response to the anger of the youth and their refusal to accept the authority of the rich takes no account of its context and the social conditions of the youth and that of whole communities. It is making the whole issue one of law and order, and is acting to brand the youth as common criminals, absolve itself of any responsibility and put in place further repressive measures both against the youth and against society as a whole.

Already over 1,600 arrests are reported to have been made. If this is the number of arrests, how many then were involved in the riots? Does this not itself give the lie to Cameron's narrative about the issue being one of theft, pure and simple? It could also be asked about these figures whether perhaps the police are using the situation to further harass the youth, and take retaliation for the challenge to their authority. Either way, the courts themselves are reported to be in chaos, with many trivial cases being sent to the Crown Courts where sentences of over six months may be imposed. The mass of the youth are being victimised and scapegoated.

The chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales has described the unrest and rioting among the youth as a seismic event. Seismic events have their causes and their contexts. Those in authority cannot stem the movement of the tectonic plates, but they ignore them at their peril, and if they continue to ignore science, build on earthquake zones, refuse to take precautions and blame the victims for their own fate, then they are the ones guilty of criminal irresponsibility. Riots are not unknown. The community uprisings of the early 1980s were again a response to the anti-social offensive, privatisation and destruction of the social welfare state of the Thatcher era. Those years also saw an increased offensive against the youth, especially the African-Caribbean youth. It is not coincidence that the present flashpoints have been among the same communities as the so-called "austerity measures", cuts and stepped up harassment have stoked up anger amongst the youth. Nor that the deaths of Cynthia Jarrett in Tottenham and Cherry Groce in Brixton as a result of police actions in 1985 were the sparks for the outpourings of anger at that time. Riots after the uprisings in the suburbs of Paris have hardly ceased, though largely unreported. Again, the spark for the massive riots of 2005 was loss of life, as two young people were electrocuted fleeing from the police.


Hackney; North London


Clapham

The killing of Mark Duggan in Tottenham proved to be the last straw in a line of shootings at the hands of the police and at least 333 deaths in police custody since 1998, over which there has not been a single police conviction. In Haringey, the borough which includes Tottenham, the unemployment rate is 8.8%, double the national average. Youth unemployment in London as a whole stands at 23%. In March, Haringey Council approved cuts of £84 million from a total budget of £273 million, and there was a savage 75% cut to the Youth Service budget, including the closing of the youth centres, and the brutal reduction in other services for children and young people. Alongside the closure of Connexions services and youth services have gone the closure of vital street level advice and legal services. This is anti-social vandalism of the first order. Nationally, the gap between rich and poor has been dramatically increasing, the top richest 10% being 100 times better off than the poorest according to some figures, which actually appear to play down the gap.

In Britain, the workers, women, youth and students have not been simply amusing themselves with demonstrations, occupations, strikes and demands for the alternative over the past year. The working class and people have been saying no to the anti-social offensive and showing concern and responsibility for the fate of society. The youth in particular on the demonstrations upholding the right to education have been subjected to police "kettling" and charges of mounted police. For Cameron to moan about the "broken society" and take no responsibility for its wrecking is the height of arrogance, and to blame the youth for lack of respect is to deliberately turn truth on its head.

It is certainly no solution to the problems for the rich to act with self-righteous indignation, and for the politicians who represent them to deliberate over the use of water cannon, crowd control, curfews, plastic bullets and even armoured vehicles and the army as per the north of Ireland during the "troubles". Not only will these measures not solve the problems of Cameron's "broken society". To suggest so is to further prepare the conditions for a fascism where to show rebellion against a government which acts on behalf of the rich is to be branded anti-social and a criminal.

In his statement delivered to Parliament on Thursday, David Cameron has shown that the state is preparing the ground for further repression and for the police to act with impunity. This must be seen not only in the light of acting to stop the rebellion of the youth, but also to prepare the conditions for taking action against future struggles of the workers and youth. The government would also like these draconian powers in place for use during the 2012 Olympic Games.

Having created the conditions for these riots among the youth, generally through the anti-social offensive against all sections of the people as well as targeting the youth for attack, and having specifically engineered them through the actions of the police in various ways, the Coalition united with the parliamentary opposition, is bringing in "strong government" as the way to deal with them. Of course, far from resolving any of the issues and offering a way forward for the youth, such "strong government" will further block them, increase their anger and frustrate their demands.

The propaganda of the rich and powerful has gone into overdrive in ramming down the people's throats its version of events. The government and the monopoly- controlled media are to be vigorously condemned, not only for their lack of compassion and wilful denial of what is happening before their eyes, but for whipping up hysteria against the youth. The state-inspired petition to remove benefit payments for those convicted of their part in the riots is just one example. This is a vicious move by the ruling elite to take society back to the Middle Ages where everyone must fend for themselves and to be a vagrant or steal a loaf of bread was a hanging offence.

It must be emphasised that not only are the youth being denied a future, but they are also being blocked from even envisaging a future in which they can participate. The state itself promotes violence and anarchy which it then blames the youth for taking up. It is doing so under high-flown phrases such as "respect for society" and "the responsibility to protect", which it is floating internationally. For what this means one has only to look at Libya. The British government is participating in the criminal bombing of a sovereign country as a "solution" to a so-called lack of legitimacy by the government in power. This bombing is causing death and destruction, as the NATO forces continue to kill hundreds of Libyan people, including children, and wantonly destroy public and private buildings alike with their attacks on the capital, Tripoli, and other towns and cities.

The daily experience of the youth that are now being targeted as "criminals" is one of police harassment, of stop and search, of repression at the slightest pretext. When the youth step out of line, they increasingly come up against a conscious policy of "shock and awe" on the part of the police. Such a policy of the state is then packaged in various television programmes to reinforce the point, and drive the youth to actions and lifestyles which serve to harm their own interests.

The working class and people cannot accept that state repression be justified by the recent events. Neither can they accept that the youth be ghettoised and criminalised in this way. The working class and people must frustrate the plans of the ruling elite to divert them from resolving the problems of society and creating the alternative, and cannot allow the state to make the "criminality" of the youth the issue and the problem in society. Neither is it acceptable for the government to blame the "breakdown of the family" and other such accusations which make the people responsible for their own problems. This is an attempt to stigmatise the communities, to impose the values of the ruling elite on them, and to let the government off the hook as being responsible for the people's welfare. To describe the actions of the youth as those of "mindless thugs" and the like is to deny that those in authority are denying them a future, and that the government itself is responsible for the disintegration of the rule of law both nationally and internationally.

What the workers and the youth see is the rich further enriching themselves from the public treasury, taking what they want without compunction. As the financiers and monopoly capitalists take their bonuses, their bailouts, their golden handshakes, and flaunt their luxurious lifestyles ostentatiously, the working class and people are outraged that this is "legal" while the rioting and looting of the youth is "illegal" and "criminal". The people have also been treated to the spectacle of many of their so-called representatives in Parliament, helping themselves to falsely claimed "expenses". Even the way Parliament conducts itself is abhorrent and uncivilised under the veneer of being the most democratic institution. At least the youth uphold honour and respect. It must also be pointed out that this present unrest has come at a time when the scandals of phone hacking and gangsterism in the highest places were coming to a head, when the Commissioner and Assistant Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police had had to resign, when the connections between government and the monopoly media were becoming ever more exposed. Now all this has been swept under the carpet, and anyone involved in petty looting has been painted as the most heinous criminal and threat to society.

Furthermore, as to the pious words about wrecking communities, the hypocrisy of the government knows no bounds. This and previous capitalist governments have presided over the comprehensive destruction of the manufacturing base of society. The example of Bombardier in Derby and the united action of the whole community in condemning the government's irresponsibility and lack of concern is a recent case in point. And then the government has the gall to accuse the youth who are at the sharp end of this wrecking of society as themselves being the wreckers.

A society based on the people's welfare would involve the youth in taking responsibility for their future. It would recognise the fact that the youth are born to society and naturally gravitate to working together to solve its problems. It would recognise that the youth, along with other sections of the people, have their claims on society. But the Cameron government recognises none of these things and its own responsibilities, but would drive the youth to extinction rather than sanction their claims.

The culture of vengeance, reprisals and vigilantes being promoted by the state must be resolutely rejected. It is true that working people cherish their community, but this must not be transformed by the state into channels which do not serve their interests. It is against the state and its successive governments with its cartel parties and its marginalisation of the people from political life that the anger must be directed. Far from the people rallying round Cameron's "Big Society", this very same "Big Society" must be seen as the government's refusal to solve the underlying socio-economic problems of society, the increased transfer of social wealth to the rich and powerful, and its determination to block the progress of society.

No to the criminalisation of the youth!
State repression must not pass!
Hold the government accountable!

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Open Letter to British Prime Minister David Cameron

Riots, Jobs and Education

From: Sean Vernell and Tom Hickey (National Executive of the University and Colleges Union), and Jeremy Corbyn, M.P., and John McDonnell, M.P.

Prime Minister,

We have heard much from yourself and members of your Government about the reasons for the rioting that has spread across Britain. You put it down to "criminality", "greed" and lack of "parental control". You treat it as a moral failing of the individuals and their families, as a `loss of values'. It is as if there did not exist a political and social context.

Anyone attempting to understand why thousands of young people have taken to the streets and rioted needs to begin by locating young people's anger in the conditions of austerity in which the young -- and working people in general -- are being made to pay for a crisis that is not of their making. Yet anyone who does attempt to explain the rioting in these terms is accused of justifying looting as if it were a solution to a social crisis that is the consequence of your policies. There is a difference, Prime Minister, between explanation and justification.

Government ministers have been wheeled out to denounce young people and any parallel to the riots of the 1980s has been denied. It is clear, however, that many of the issues, which are now acknowledged about the 1980s riots by these same Government ministers, are the same issues that have fuelled today's riots. Issues such as unemployment, lack of educational opportunities, police harassment, racism and public spending cuts are at the root of the problem.

In many cases young people feel even more alienated from society than they did 30 years ago. Unemployment for 16-25 year olds has become institutionalised throughout the subsequent period, reaching 1 million today. No less than 75,000 young people are statutorily homeless. No less than 600,000 live in overcrowded homes. There are more black people in our prisons today than are in our universities. Young black people are still disproportionately represented amongst the unemployed, the homeless, the criminalized, and the marginalized and disconnected. Yet you and your ministers speak as if racism is no longer a feature of our society.

There are only 11,000 youth clubs left after the closure programme of the 1980s, and three quarters of 11-16 year olds do not have an access to a youth club. Why do young employees not have a statutory right to paid educational leave, and why do they not have the right of representation on workplace training committees so that they have some sense of control of their destiny? Why is our society driving up the hours that we work instead of having a maximum of a 30-hour week that would allow employment to be spread, offering employment to a larger number of young people. Why are there so few decision-making forums in which young people can be involved?

What has been your government's response to this? Universities have been allowed to triple tuition fees making it almost impossible for working class people to attend. The Educational Maintenance Allowance, which previously ensured that many were able to attend college, has been abolished. Police powers have been increased leading to more young people being harassed and imprisoned. Unemployment rises inexorably. Now you make the risible suggestion that the consequent disaffection can be overcome through the use of water cannon, plastic bullets, and more draconian sentencing by the courts.

These riots have revealed the issues that need to be addressed urgently if our young people are to feel they have a future. As educationalists and trade unionists we call upon your Government to put significant resources into ensuring that young people have real hope, a hope that matches the opportunities that one of the richest countries in the world should be providing for all its young, and not just for the children of the wealthiest.

We demand that you address this problem seriously, and implement the following policies:

- the restoration of the Education Maintenance Allowance and the 80% Higher Education funding cut, and scrapping of tuition fees;
- the ending of public spending cuts in general;
- repeal of the stop and search laws;
- that Job Seekers Allowance to be raised to a minimum of £110 per week;
- that an urgent building programme for properly-stafffed Youth Clubs be put in place;
- a reversal of the cuts in schools, Further and Adult Education.

To sign this letter, click here.

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Estonia

Ruling Circles Promote Nazi Celebration

On July 30, 2011, the annual get-together of the former Estonian 20th Waffen Grenadier Division of the Nazi SS (Schutzstaffel or "protective squadron") was held in Sinimae Village, Estonia, site of a fierce battle between the Red Army and Nazi troops, including the Estonian SS division, in 1944. Sinemae is a major neo-Nazi celebration, held since 1994, which openly uses banned Nazi symbols such as the swastika and is attended by Nazis from all over the world. The Sinemae celebration includes the Erna military competition, named after the reconnaissance group that provided the Nazis with data about the Red Army during the Second World War. The Estonian state actively protected the Waffen SS veterans on July 30 by banning anti-Nazi protest rallies and by arresting prominent anti-Nazi activists.

The Hitlerites began creating non-German Waffen SS divisions in 1940, and by the end of the Second World War these made up about 60 per cent of the Waffen SS. During the war, 80,000 Estonians joined the Nazi forces and another 3,000 fought against the USSR in the Finnish Army. As did the other Waffen SS Divisions, the Estonian Division committed countless war crimes, yet no Estonian government since so-called independence in 1991 has prosecuted a single Nazi war criminal, some of whom fled to Canada under the protection of the Canadian state. The Estonian Waffen SS massacred civilians in Estonia, the Soviet Union, Belarus, Ukraine, and Poland; attacked small groups of Red Army soldiers and killed Communist Party and Soviet activists; slaughtered Jews, ethnic Russians, prisoners of war, and any peasants who supported land reform; and participated in the transportation of civilians to concentration camps such as Klooga for execution.[1]

Executives of Estonia's ruling political party officially attended the July 30 Nazi gathering at Sinimae. Prime Minister Andrus Ansip feebly claimed that the meeting had nothing to do with Nazi ideology, even though the Waffen SS was the armed military force of the SS, an organ of Hitler's Nazi Party commanded by Heinrich Himmler. Although the Nuremburg Trials declared the Waffen SS to be a criminal organization, the Estonian ruling circles defend the Waffen SS criminals with the well-worn lies that they were either coerced into joining the Nazis or else were patriots fighting against "Soviet occupation" for Estonian independence.[2] These fabrications are readily exposed by the fact that 30,000 Estonians voluntarily fought on the Red Army side against the Nazi occupiers, as well as by the fact that it was obvious that under Hitler's Germany, Estonia could only ever have been a vassal state of the Third Reich.

The openly pro-Nazi orientation of the Estonian ruling circles became clear soon after 1991. On June 26, 1999, during the Matt Laar administration, the remains of Estonian Waffen SS Colonel Alfons Rebane were transferred from Germany to Tallinn's Metsakalmistu cemetery after a state funeral, despite an organized protest. In 2002, Mart Laar and Tirvimi Velliste characterized the Battle of Sinimae as a "second war of liberation." In 2005, the Estonian state funded a museum in Lagedi which memorialized the Waffen SS Division. In 2006, Laar declared that sooner or later a law would be passed in the interests of those Estonians who fought on the side of Nazi Germany. In April 2007, Estonian authorities ordered the dismantling of a Soviet war memorial in the capital, Tallinn, which commemorated the victory over Nazism. Thousands of people attempted to protect the monument but police arrested over 1,000 activists and killed one Russian national.[3]

What is the significance of this state-backed Nazi revival in Estonia and other countries? The people must realize that it is not just an aberration to be found there. It is a deliberate attack by the representatives of the most powerful monopolies and their right-wing extremist parties and governments to smash the resistance of the working class in the advanced capitalist countries and the peoples of the world to the neoliberal global anti-social offensive and U.S. imperialist plans to redivide the world so as to put down their rivals. Remnants of the family of the Russian Czar and his retinue and similar so-called royal families of Europe continue to plot to repossess the properties expropriated during the Russian Revolution and as a result of the peoples' striving for empowerment during and after World War II. They are endorsing resolutions which declare the deeds of the communists to be crimes against humanity "worse" than the crimes of the Nazis and which condone the crimes of the Nazis, claiming their aim was to save humanity from Bolshevism. The peoples of the world will never permit a fascist movement to undertake imperialist wars of occupation and other crimes against peace and humanity carried out in the name of freedom, democracy and human rights. They despise both the old and new Nazis. Every effort must be made to oppose the comparison of the deeds of the communists with the crimes of the Nazis otherwise we face worldwide disaster, in the same way that the Anglo-American policy of conciliation with the Hitlerites led to the disaster of the Second World War.

Notes

1. For more details of these war crimes, see Estonia: The Bloody Trace of Nazism, 1941-44. The document can be found at http://common.regnum.ru/documents/eston.pdf

2. In 1950, the U.S. High Commissioner in Germany, John J. McCloy, who later pardoned all the Nazi war criminals jailed by the Nuremburg Trials, began the official "rehabilitation" of the Baltic Waffen Divisions by declaring that they were "separate" from the Nazi SS and therefore were not a movement that was "hostile to the Government of the United States". As is well-known, the U.S. imperialists recruited thousands of Nazis after the Second World War, e.g., through Operation Paperclip to work on the American missile program.

3. Post-1991 Estonia is also notorious for coming as close to apartheid as any country in Europe since 1945. The Columbia Encyclopaedia states: "Estonians (Eestlanes) make up about 65% of the population; Russians constitute almost 30%, and there are Ukrainian, Belarusian, and Finnish minorities. Since independence (1991), citizenship has generally been limited to ethnic Estonians, a practice widely criticized because it denies political and civil rights to the many Russian-speaking inhabitants. In 1993 ethnic Russians were officially declared foreigners." The Russians were stripped of their citizenship and their ID cards are now stamped "Alien."

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Campaign to Rehabilitate Nazi Executioner

Alfred Rosenberg, the subject of a new museum exhibition in his birthplace of Tallinn, Estonia, was especially insidious as the main Nazi ideologue in regard to the propagation of racist theories, anti-semitism, the concept of lebensraum (living space) to justify Nazi occupation, and "Positive Christianity", which emphasizes the "organizing and fighting" side of Christianity, especially against Judaism. Positive Christianity is also espoused in the U.S. by those evangelical dominionists who have infiltrated the U.S. army, as well as by white nationalist Christian Identity groups, some of whom also have connections with dominionism, including the Posse Comitatus, Aryan Nation, and the Ruby Ridge organization.

Rosenberg was studying in Russia in 1917 when the Bolshevik Revolution occurred and, of course, supported the counter-revolutionaries. He joined the German Nazis in 1919, one of the earliest members. Following the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union, Rosenberg was made Reich Minister for the Occupied Eastern Territories. After the Second World War, he was tried and hanged at Nuremburg as a war criminal.

On August 9, Russia Today published an article regarding the exhibit dedicated to Alfred Rosenberg. TML is reprinting the article below.

Moscow Slams Tallinn over Nazi "Executioner" Exhibit
- Russia Today, August 9, 2011 -

Russia says that Estonia is continuing its attempts to re-write history and glorify Nazism masking their evil deeds as "a struggle for national freedom."

The latest events in Estonia point towards the Baltic state's ostensible refusal to accept the decisions of the Nuremberg Trials, the Russian Foreign Ministry's Press and Information Department said in a statement published on Tuesday.

In particular, the department referred to the Estonian History Museum's exhibition dedicated to Alfred Rosenberg (1893-1946) -- a Tallinn-born influential member of Germany's Nazi Party who was one of the key architects of its ideology. He was the head of the Nazi party's foreign affairs department and Reich Minister for the Occupied Eastern Territories. Found guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity, Rosenberg was sentenced to death at the Nuremberg Trials and executed in 1946.

The republic's Ministry of Culture and the museum administration ignored protests by national minorities over the exhibit, which, according to the Russian Foreign Ministry, is "a jeer at the memory of the millions of civilians who were killed on orders from one of Hitler's executioners." That, Moscow states, shows the type of historical understanding Tallinn officially seeks to cultivate within society.

Back in July, the Jewish Community of Estonia sent a letter to the Minister of Culture complaining that the Rosenberg exhibit made no mention of his war crimes. The community criticized the exhibition in the History Museum as well as the one at the Gustav Adolf Gymnasium for the glorification of Nazi crimes.

According to Moscow, a military competition called Erna Rekt (Raid) annually held in the former Soviet republic with the support of the Estonian Defense Ministry, is yet another attempt to falsify history.The competition is named after a Nazi international subversive group in Hitler's Abwehr intelligence service, which operated in the rear of the Soviet army in 1941.

The Russian ministry stated that attempts to portray the group's participants as "Estonia liberators" is "a shoddy misinterpretation of historic realities". The saboteurs were taking part in an aggressive war on the side of the Axis powers, which were enemies to all the nations who had initially signed the UN Charter.

"Covering up their crimes with reference to the "fight for national liberation" is blasphemous," the ministry concluded.

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Libya

Canada Expels Libyan Diplomats

On Tuesday, August 9, the Canadian government ordered Libya's four remaining diplomats to leave the country. Five diplomats were already asked to leave in May. Canada recalled its ambassador to Tripoli last February.

On August 8, Canada's Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird issued the following statement:

"Canada declares all remaining diplomats at the Libyan embassy in Ottawa personae non gratae, effective immediately. This is the latest step Canada has taken to isolate and delegitimize the Gaddafi regime.

"These people now have five business days to vacate the embassy and leave the country.

"As part of this declaration, we are also cutting off these diplomats' access to the embassy's bank accounts."

Ali Aujali, the U.S. envoy for the National Transitional Council (NTC), announced that the NTC had written the Canadian government to request that an NTC envoy take over Libya's now-shuttered embassy in Ottawa. "I hope we will have [an envoy] named for Canada soon," he said in a telephone interview with Postmedia News. The Canadian government has not confirmed whether NTC envoys will take over the Libyan embassy in Ottawa. Sufyan Maghur, who was the temporary NTC representative for Canada has been in talks with the government about having an official NTC envoy.

Baird attended the meeting of the self-appointed Libya Contact Group on July 15 in Istanbul, following which various NATO and allied countries declared the NTC the sole legitimate authority in Libya. Since then, various NATO and allied countries, such as the U.S., Britain and Saudi Arabia have expelled the Libyan government diplomats from their respective embassies and are now dealing with NTC envoys.

Canada is playing a large part in the NATO aggression against Libya. Ottawa has contributed six F-18 fighter planes and a frigate, and the NATO mission is led by a Canadian general. A senior Canadian Forces officer, Major-General Jonathan Vance, said Canadian planes are flying about 6 per cent of the military sorties in the mission, including about 8 per cent of the attack strikes, and the lion's share of the maritime surveillance patrols.

(Global Research, AFP, Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Globe and Mail, Press TV)

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As Rebels Fail NATO Crimes Intensify


Houses lie in ruins after recent NATO air strikes on the village of Majer, some 160 km west of Tripoli.

NATO war crimes continue in Libya. Reports of civilian deaths and infrastructure destruction are increasing, as NATO bombing continuously intensifies in areas that the National Transitional Council's (NTC) armed "rebels" are trying to seize from the Libyan government. NATO airstrikes are in the main designed to provide aerial support for so-called rebel advance in these areas, while also weakening the ability of the Libyan people to resist by destroying the basic infrastructure they depend on. The so-called rebels have been trying unsuccessfully for weeks to reach the capital Tripoli by seizing surrounding areas, such as Zliten and nearby villages.

NATO Crimes

On August 5, NATO air missiles targeted a children's hospital in Zlitan, an area where intense fighting has been taking place as the "rebels" continually fail to take the city. At least 50 children were killed in this attack alone. The "rebels," advancing from Misrata to Zliten (and they hope eventually to Tripoli) about a week ago pushed into the centre of the city only to be forced to pull back to the outskirts by the Libyan government military.

Similar crimes have been reported in nearby areas. Mussa Ibrahim, Libyan government spokesperson, told reporters that on August 8 NATO air strikes targeted the village of Majer, 10 km south of Zlitan. Eighty-five villagers were killed in this attack, comprising 33 children, 32 women and 20 men in what Ibrahim described as a "massacre" of civilians. The NATO attack was aimed at helping the "rebels" reach government-held Tripoli from the south. Col. Muammar Gaddafi, Libyan government head, said that the Euro-American powers would be held responsible for this "ugly massacre committed by NATO," according to the official JANA news agency.

This takes places as on-the-ground journalists report intensified, indiscriminate NATO bombing of civilian areas on August 8 and 9 in Tripoli, Zliten and many other cities. Libyan tribal spokespersons in these areas have vowed to fight the NTC forces should they move westward against Tripoli from their position in Misrata. Since it was reported that the Libyan Supreme Tribal Council issued a proclamation to the African Summit condemning NATO and the NTC, and vowing to expel the crusaders by the end, reports have increased of tribal leaders vowing to continue fighting the NTC in whatever areas they seize from the Libyan government. Similarly, protests and demonstrations against NATO and the NTC across the country continue, including in NTC-held areas.

In related news, Tripoli and surrounding areas are currently experiencing electricity blackouts due to NATO bombing. The gas facilities in Zliten, where electricity is generated for Tripoli, have been immobilized as a result of NATO aerial bombardment. Two electricity towers, respectively in Jalo and Ojala were also deliberately attacked by NATO. A power station in Tiji, which the Libyan government is now in the process of repairing, was also bombed, among others. NATO's objective is to create power shortages as part of its psychological warfare against the Libyan people and their resistance to foreign intervention.

(Global Research, Xinhua, AFP, Yahoo Canada)

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Anniversary of U.S. Imperialists' Use of Agent Orange in Vietnam

Compensate Victims of U.S. Chemical Warfare

Today marks the 50th anniversary of the start of the chemical warfare program in Vietnam without sufficient remedial action by the U.S. government. One of the most shameful legacies of the Vietnam War, Agent Orange continues to poison Vietnam and the people exposed to the chemicals, as well as their offspring.

H.R. 2634, the Victims of Agent Orange Relief Act of 2011,[1] which California Congressman Bob Filner just introduced in the House, would provide crucial assistance for social and health services to Vietnamese, Vietnamese-American, and U.S. victims of Agent Orange.

From 1961 to 1971, approximately 19 million gallons of herbicides, primarily Agent Orange, were sprayed over the southern region of Vietnam. Much of it was contaminated with dioxin, a deadly chemical. Dioxin causes various forms of cancers, reproductive illnesses, immune deficiencies, endocrine deficiencies, nervous system damage, and physical and developmental disabilities.

In Vietnam more than three million people, and in the United States thousands of veterans, their children, and Vietnamese-Americans, have been sickened, disabled or died from the effects of Agent Orange/dioxin.

Vietnamese of least three generations born since the war are now suffering from disabilities due to their parents' exposure to Agent Orange or from direct exposure in the environment. The organization representing Vietnam's victims, the Vietnam Association for Victims of Agent Orange/Dioxin, has set up some ‘peace villages' to care for the severely disabled, but many more such facilities and services are needed. Dioxin residues in the soil, sediment, and food continue to poison many people in 28 "hot spots" in southern Vietnam.


U.S. protest seeks justice for victims of Agent Orange.

Many U.S. veterans suffer from effects of Agent Orange due to their exposure in Vietnam, as do their children and grandchildren. Vietnamese-Americans exposed directly to Agent Orange and their offspring suffer from the same health conditions.

The bill, which the Vietnamese Agent Orange Relief & Responsibility Campaign assisted Congressman Filner in writing, defines "victim" as "any individual who is a Vietnamese national, Vietnamese-American, or United States veteran who was exposed to Agent Orange, or the progeny of such an individual, and who has a disease or disability associated with this exposure." In addition to compensating the victims of Agent Orange, H.R. 2634 would also clean up the toxic hot spots in Vietnam.

One provision of the bill would expand programs and research for the benefit of U.S. vets and establish medical centers "designed to address the medical needs of descendants of the veterans of the Vietnam era." This creates a presumption that certain birth defects that children and grandchildren of exposed victims suffer would be considered the result of contact with Agent Orange.

While the U.S. government has begun to fund environmental cleanup in Vietnam, it has refused to recognize its full responsibility to heal the wounds of war and provide assistance to Vietnamese, Vietnamese-American, and U.S. victims for the serious health and environmental devastation caused by Agent Orange.

There has been some compensation for U.S. veteran victims of Agent Orange, but not nearly enough. In spite of President Richard Nixon's 1973 promise of $3.25 billion in reconstruction aid to Vietnam "without any preconditions," the Vietnamese and Vietnamese-American victims of the disgraceful chemical warfare the United States conducted in Vietnam have not seen one penny of compensation.

Fifty years is long enough. It is high time to compensate the victims for this shameful chapter in our history. H.R. 2634 will go a long way toward doing just that.

Note

1. View text at http://www.govtrack.us/congress/billtext.xpd?bill=h112-2634

* Marjorie Cohn is a professor of law at Thomas Jefferson School of Law and co-coordinator of the Vietnam Agent Orange Relief and Responsibility Campaign (www.vn-agentorange.org).

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Korea

Korea's Liberation from Japan


Detail of the Mansudae Grand Monument in Pyongyang, commemorating the heroism
of the Korean patriots in the anti-Japanese war. (Brian Hughes)

On the occasion of Korea's liberation from Japanese imperialism, August 15, 1945, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea's Permanent Mission to the UN issued a statement emphasizing the significance of this day, which was an historical turning point that enabled the Korean people to be free from colonial slavery under the Japanese imperialists and begin to fully realize an independent path of development, fully in control of the state and society.


Kim Il Sung (middle back) with the
anti-Japanese guerilla army.

Sixty-six years ago, following the defeat of the Japanese imperialists, the Korean people under the leadership of President Kim Il Sung, pioneered the cause of people-centred socialism based on the Juche idea. Juche is the guiding ideology of the DPRK based on the theory and principles put forward by President Kim Il Sung based on the experience of the anti-Japanese war and the right to maintain the DPRK's independence ever since. The underlying principle of Juche, the statement points out, is that the masses of the people are the masters and also the motive force of the revolution and construction. The DPRK has consistently adhered to its Juche ideology, as manifest in its independence in politics, self-sufficiency in the economy and self-reliance in national defence. Meanwhile, the Workers' Party of Korea has been built and developed into a Party that takes responsible care of the people's future -- under a government that looks after each household, ensures the people's livelihood, and ensures that the Korean People's Army is the defender of the freedom and happiness of the people.

Despite all the pressures and attacks to give up this hard-won independence and its socialist system, the DPRK has consistently adhered to the banner of socialism. Its people have firmly defended their idea and system and their cause for a long period of 66 years, never flinching from the road of socialism of their own choice, as seen in the people's indomitable dignity and pride.

Over the last 66 years after Korea's liberation, the Korean people have firmly safeguarded the sovereignty of the country and the nation, the statement affirms. This includes defeating the U.S. in the Korean War (1950-1953), a country which had boasted of being the "strongest" in the world. In the following decades the Korean people have frustrated at every step the imperialists' military threats, provocative war moves, economic blockade and sanctions, and the attempts to undermine the DPRK from within, thus successfully defending their national sovereignty. In the course of this experience, they have keenly felt that the only way to counter the hard-line policy of imperialism is with a tougher policy, the statement notes.

As such, the persistent nuclear blackmail of the U.S. against the DPRK was such that the DPRK created its own nuclear deterrent in order to cope with the threats and war exercises. It is now building up this deterrent force, the DPRK Permanent Mission to the United Nations informs, adding that this principled stand is supported by the international community because it not only serves to safeguard Korea's national independence but also global peace.

In the last 66 years since Korea's liberation the Korean people have built a solid political and economic foundation to ensure their well-being and prosperity, the Permanent Mission explains. Immediately after liberation the DPRK carried out democratic reforms including the enforcement of land reform, and laws to protect workers' rights and uphold gender equality. It also undertook the nationalization of major industries. In a short span of four to five years, the Korean people completed the rehabilitation of the economy out of the debris of the Korean War and the socialist transformation of the relations of production in the urban and rural communities, and thus established the socialist system in an all-round way in 1958.

They also carried out the historic task of industrialization in a brief period of 14 years, turning what was once a colonial agrarian state into a developed socialist industrial state.

Firmly based on this outlook that upholds self-reliance, the people's well-being, sovereignty and socialism, the DPRK is making vigorous advance toward building a thriving nation. The Permanent Mission points out that in spite of the recent world-sweeping financial crisis, during the recent period, the DPRK has achieved the successful launch of its second artificial satellite Kwangmyongsong No. 2, and made unprecedented increases in production by widely introducing computer-numerical-control technology and perfecting its Juche-oriented cokeless steel-making system.

The year 2012 will be the centenary of the birth of President Kim Il Sung, father of socialist Korea. Through the leadership of Kim Jong Il and the people's dedication to the socialist nation-building project, the DPRK will mark this auspicious anniversary by affirming themselves as a thriving socialist nation, part of an unbroken string of victories from 66 years ago to the present, made possible by the defeat of the Japanese imperialists and all other foreign interlopers.

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Open Letter to U.S. and South Korean Authorities

The United States and the south Korean authorities are contemplating staging again the provocative Ulji Freedom Guardian joint military exercises from August 16 to 26 despite the unanimous desire of the people at home and abroad for peace on the Korean Peninsula.

In view of such situation sparking another danger of war on the peninsula, the Panmunjom Mission of the Korean People's Army (KPA) on August 7 sent the U.S. and the south Korean authorities the following open letter reflecting the unanimous will of the army and the people of the DPRK:

Peace is the strong desire and invariable requirement of the army and the people of the DPRK.

However, the situation on the peninsula long ago inched close to a touch-and-go situation, after the fragile state of the armistice was undermined.

This situation is attributable to the hostile policy enforced by the U.S. toward the DPRK, failing to match its words with its deeds and the anti-DPRK policy of confrontation followed by the south Korean authorities, toeing its line. It is, at the same time, a direct product of the evermore undisguised war hysteria kicked up by the military warmongers against the north, pursuant to it.

The Ulji Freedom Guardian is part of this hysteria for a war of aggression against the north.

This can be explained by the fact that the planned joint sabre-rattling are dangerous war manoeuvres to be staged by the U.S. and the south Korean military warmongers in accordance with a newly revised and supplemented war scenario against the north. This is also evidenced by the fact that the projected joint exercises will be all-out nuclear war manoeuvres involving modern armaments including improved means of nuclear attack, huge aggressor forces and even local administrative organs and non-governmental enterprises.

What should not go unnoticed is the fact that they are going to stage such reckless sabre-rattling though they must be well aware of the resentment and hatred of the servicepersons and people of the DPRK and their determination to take revenge on the military warmongers of south Korea for their hideous provocations.

The KPA Panmunjom Mission is authorized to raise the following principled demands of the U.S. and the south Korean authorities in view of the prevailing grave situation:

1. The U.S. and the south Korean authorities should show the DPRK the will for the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula by making a bold policy decision to cancel the planned joint military exercises.

If they stage actions of blackmail by mobilizing the super-large nuclear aircraft carrier group and strategic nuclear strike flying corps, while urging the other party to show a sincere attitude towards denuclearization, this will amount to breaching the principle of simultaneous action for denuclearization.

The denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula cannot be achieved by one side only.

There should be comprehensive and fair denuclearization including the removal of nuclear threats to the DPRK.

The army and people of the DPRK are not what they used to be in the past. They do not hide that they have had access to a nuclear deterrent powerful enough to protect themselves.

If the other party launches a nuclear war, the DPRK is ready to counter it with nukes. It is its solemn declaration.

The U.S. and the south Korean authorities had better face up to the changed situation and properly understand who their rival is. They should show their willingness to denuclearize the peninsula in the eyes of the world by cancelling the projected nuclear war exercises.

2. By cancelling the exercises the U.S. and the south Korean authorities should make a bold practical decision to replace the armistice system by a peace-keeping mechanism on the Korean Peninsula.

War and peace can never go together.

Nothing is more shameless a political artifice than showing such poor double-dealing tactics as making preparations for a war behind the scenes while paying lip-service to peace and dialogue.

The annual repetition of such war provocations as the Ulji Freedom Guardian will only maintain the evil cycle of mistrust and confrontation and this is bound to lead to a war.

The U.S. and south Korea are gravely mistaken if they think they would remain safe in case of a war on the Korean Peninsula.

If a war breaks out, the DPRK will abandon the military demarcation line and gain national reunification, the cherished desire of the nation. The DPRK is full of confidence and optimism about it.

If the U.S. is truly willing to replace the armistice system by a peace-keeping mechanism, it should show its practical willingness to do so at home and abroad as a big power by cancelling the joint military manoeuvres for this year at least.

3. The U.S. and the south Korean authorities should officially show their willingness to normalize the DPRK-U.S. relations and the inter-Korean relations by cancelling the planned joint military exercises.

The normalization process should begin with ending hostile relations.

To call for reconciliation, cooperation and improvement of relations and then to stage war exercises to do harm to the other side would be the height of double-dealing tactics.

The U.S. incurred the towering grudge of Koreans and the south Korean authorities ruined the June 15 era, bringing untold pain to the people. But the army and people of the DPRK are ready to subordinate everything to the great cause of peace, reunification, reconciliation and cooperation.

The U.S. and the south Korean authorities should no longer commit such a policy error as misjudging the will of the DPRK.

This August 15 [the 66th anniversary of Korea's liberation from Japanese colonialism] is supposed to offer a new watershed for the improvement of the relations between the north and the south. In the light of the public expectation for this, it would mean the total denial of the improvement of relations if [the U.S. and south Korea] start the joint military exercises against the DPRK beginning August 16.

Frankly speaking, as far as the issue of improving the DPRK-U.S. relations and the inter-Korean relations is concerned, the U.S. and south Korea are more pressed for time than the DPRK.

The DPRK has so far followed its path without having had its relations normalized with the U.S. and south Korea and it will thrive and live better off in the future too.

They must officially make public their willingness to cancel the military exercises targeted against the army and people of the DPRK, if they want to normalize the relations with the DPRK.

The army and people of the DPRK remain unchanged in their will and stand to counter the said exercises with the toughest stand.

The U.S. and the south Korean authorities should behave with discretion, cogitate and choose a wise way out at the crossroads of dialogue or confrontation and peace or war.

The army and people of the DPRK look forward to a positive response to their just call.

(Korean Central News Agency)

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August 13, 2011 Bulletin • Return to Index • Write to: editor@cpcml.ca