October 11, 2014 - No. 36

Important Questions of War and Peace

State Terrorism and the Right to Resist



Update on Air Wars Against Iraq and Syria
Demands for U.S. Ground Troops in Syria Escalate
Canada's Purchase of New Missiles

Defense Contractors Are Making a Killing
- Dan Froomkin -


Cuba Commemorates "Victims of State Terrorism Day"
The Barbados Crime, Cubana Flight 455
- Tony Seed -
38 Years of Injustice
- Granma International -

The New Dirty Wars
Terrorism and Assassinations in Venezuela
- María Páez Victor -
UN's Selective Defense of Human Rights
- Ulson Gunnar -
China Urges U.S. to Stop "Fabricating Stories" on Cyber Security

Meeting of UN General Assembly's Sixth Committee
Focuses on International Terrorism

Renewed Attempts to Establish Comprehensive Legal Framework to Deal with International Terrorism
Cuba Denounces U.S. Manipulation of Terrorism
Non-Aligned Movement Unequivocally Condemns Terrorism

Scope of Ebola Threat in West Africa
Cuban Henry Reeves Brigade Arrives in Africa to Fight Ebola

Update on Important Elections
Catalan Referendum
Bolivian President Calls for Mass Participation in General Election
President Rousseff Wins First Round in Brazilian President Election



Important Questions of War and Peace

State Terrorism and the Right to Resist


Emergency anti-war action on Parliament Hill during House of Commons "debate" for Canada to join U.S.-led aggression on Iraq, October 6, 2014.

ANTI-WAR CALENDAR OF EVENTS

"If left unchecked, this terrorist organization (ISIS) will grow and grow quickly. They have already voiced their local and international terrorist intentions and identified Canada as a potential target." - Prime Minister Stephen Harper, House of Commons, October 7, 2014

***

"Several delegations reiterated their view that the draft convention (on terrorism) should comprise a clear definition of terrorism which would differentiate it from the legitimate struggle of peoples in the exercise of their right to self- determination. Some delegations also expressed the view that the draft convention should address all forms of terrorism, including State terrorism. Concern was voiced that the proposal did not adequately address these issues or the question regarding the role of military forces in peacetime." - Report of the Ad Hoc Committee on International Terrorism to the October 22, 2009 meeting of the Sixth Committee of the UN on Measures to eliminate international terrorism

***

"Shock and awe (technically known as rapid dominance) is a military doctrine based on the use of overwhelming power, dominant battlefield awareness and manoeuvres, and spectacular displays of force to paralyze the enemy's perception of the battlefield and destroy its will to fight. The doctrine was written by Harlan K. Ullman and James P. Wade in 1996 and is a product of the National Defense University of the United States. [...]

"Ullman and Wade claim, 'Shutting the country down would entail both the physical destruction of appropriate infrastructure and the shutdown and control of the flow of all vital information and associated commerce so rapidly as to achieve a level of national shock akin to the effect that dropping nuclear weapons on Hiroshima and Nagasaki had on the Japanese. [...]

"According to The Guardian correspondent Brian Whitaker in 2003, 'To some in the Arab and Muslim countries, Shock and Awe is terrorism by another name; to others, a crime that compares unfavourably with September 11.' Anti-war protesters in 2003 also claimed that 'the shock and awe pummeling of Baghdad [was] a kind of terrorism.'" - Wikipedia

***

In this issue, TML Weekly continues to deal with the important questions of war and peace. One of the matters of concern is the convincing detailed portrayal of barbarous crimes committed by the organization called the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) to justify sending the armed forces of the country to war. The Canadian government declares ISIS a danger to the national interest, which justifies why the country should intervene to defend itself. Not only does the Harper government in Canada give this argument, but also the Obama administration and the governments in Britain, France, Germany and other countries.

In this way, these governments justify their own acts of state terrorism on the grounds that they are defending their national interest. It shows how desperate they are to provide their wars of aggression and occupation with a legitimacy they do not have. This invocation of the national interest has to do with raison d'état -- reason of state -- which is to provide internal and external security. A key justification for the establishment of instruments of coercion, and when coercion can and cannot be used, comes from raison d'état. Instruments of coercion include all aspects of law enforcement, penal institutions and a rule of law that incorporates the conditions under which the limitation of rights is authorized, as well as the conditions under which the armed forces can be called to arms. The means of coercion must be perceived by the population to be used legitimately to win support for the chosen course of action.

When it comes to the crucial questions of war and peace, the legitimacy of a decision to call the armed forces to arms is of utmost importance. The U.S. and Canadian governments, as well those in Europe are presently colluding and contending for control over the territories and resources of other countries. Alone and collectively, they are increasingly resorting to claims that their national interest is threatened by ISIS and that they must commit armed forces abroad to defend their national interest. Their claim however cannot be verified, especially when their actions violate international law and cause havoc, death and destruction wherever they go. In this regard, the war against Syria and Iraq can find no legitimacy amongst the people.


Emergency action in Edmonton against Canada's participation in U.S.-led aggression against Iraq and Syria, October 5, 2014.

Today, all over the world, one of the crucial battles the peoples are waging is against the state terror unleashed against them by various foreign powers, especially the United States and big powers of Old Europe -- Britain, France, Germany etc. An aspect of this is the disinformation of public opinion on what constitutes terrorism, especially state terror such as that practiced by the United States or Israel and others and their double standards on the basis of which the people's right to resist is itself called terrorism. They have resorted to state terrorism in the name of fighting terrorism to justify what cannot be justified. The fact that they have to do so shows they have nothing to offer anyone and cannot sort out any problem facing humankind.

The countries that oppose terrorism in all its forms, many of them victims of the state terror of the U.S. and others, and of their spy agencies and special forces, are fighting for problems to be sorted out on the basis of rule of law, both nationally and internationally.

These countries uphold the people's right to resist state terror as well as their right to have problems sorted out on a peaceful basis, through negotiations and on the basis of upholding the rule of law. Far from trying to justify what cannot be justified, they elaborate the strategy and tactics required to defend a people's right to be and establish the system and way of life of their own choice and they respect the right of others to do the same.

This week, once again we see countries such as Cuba, Venezuela and others fighting for their right to be. At the United Nations, during the meetings of the UN General Assembly and those of special committees, the countries which make up what is called the Non-Aligned Movement held high the banner of providing the definition of terrorism with meaning in a manner that favours the peoples, not the imperialists who are marauding the world with their dirty wars and wars of aggression and annexation. Our coverage shows that as we support the peoples of the world who are fighting for their right to be, we must also step up our work to establish an anti-war government in Canada. No government should be permitted to get away with trying to justify what cannot be justified in the name of national interest.


Ottawa, October 6, 2014

(Photos: K.J. Tarasoff, ECAWAR)

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Update on Air Wars Against Iraq and Syria

Demands for U.S. Ground Troops in Syria Escalate

This week Canada joined U.S.-led military intervention in Iraq. Prime Minister Stephen Harper justified sending Canada's armed forces to Iraq by saying that the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) poses a threat to Canadian security and it is therefore a matter of defending Canada's national interest. Meanwhile several countries joined the U.S. in its air war in Syria also targeting ISIS bases. Despite the massive use of air power, reports say ISIS continues to make gains and, in the United States, demands for a ground war are becoming increasingly shrill. Up to now the Obama Administration says its "shock and awe" approach will be enough.

Those calling for ground troops, which includes former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, claim that it is the only way to effectively defeat ISIS. These calls clash with Obama's declaration in August saying there is no "American military solution" in Iraq against the Islamic State terrorists. Now, he is calling for a long campaign of aerial bombing "lasting years" to destroy "the network of death" in both Iraq and Syria. Since late September, the U.S. along with its so-called Arab allies -- Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates -- have been conducting airstrikes against ISIS inside Syria without any authorization from the Syrian government or a UN mandate.


Click to enlarge.

The U.S. has used bombers, fighter jets and drones to carry out at least 37 airstrikes in and around the town of Kobani, Syria in recent days, according to news agency accounts. Kobani is on the border with Turkey. ISIS militants, however, have managed to take control of a third of the strategically important town.

This week the Pentagon also reported that ISIS captured the towns of Hit and Kubaisa in Anbar Province, in Western Iraq, forcing the Iraqi security forces to abandon their posts and weaponry. This is despite more than 345 U.S.-led coalition airstrikes there since August 8.

So far the Obama Administration is ignoring calls for ground troops but as they become louder, the more it is suspected that Obama's position is unsustainable and that Harper will also reverse his position that Canada would not do anything in Syria contrary to international law, interpreted to mean Canada would wait to intervene in Syria until it gets permission from the Syrian government.

But the contradictions within U.S. official circles are so sharp they are being fought in public. Calls for ground troops include General Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and former CIA Director Leon Panetta who have been holding media briefings warning Obama not to cave in on escalating the U.S.-led air strikes and eventual ground war in Syria. Former President Jimmy Carter wrote in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, "First of all, we waited too long. We let the Islamic State build up its money, capability and strength and weapons while it was still in Syria." "You have to have somebody on the ground to direct our missiles and to be sure you have the right target," Carter said. "Then you have to have somebody to move in and be willing to fight ISIS after the strikes." Hillary Clinton who aspires to the presidency of the U.S. is also amongst the greatest critics of Obama's conduct of the wars in which the U.S. is mired. She told the so-called 2020 conference in Ottawa last week that "military action in Iraq and Syria is essential." Last summer she told a U.S. magazine that the Obama administration should have acted sooner to stop ISIS's advance. House Armed Services Committee Chairman Buck McKeon said on Fox News, "With two months now of airstrikes, the president's strategy clearly isn't working. ISIS continues to grow, gobble up more territory from Baghdad to Kobani. [...] They keep moving. They get stronger. The president gave a speech a couple months ago of how serious the threat is and how we were going to degrade and destroy them. Well, we're not."

According to the Obama plan -- a recycled version of former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld's "Shock and Awe" -- "moderate" Syrian militants, trained and equipped by the Pentagon, will lead the ground offensive against both ISIS and the Syrian government forces. To ward off calls for a ground offensive, U.S. officials have said that the primary goal of the air campaign is not to save towns and cities, but rather to target the ISIS's leadership, command and control, oil refineries, and other infrastructure. Secretary of State John Kerry, whose statements many times contradict official White House policy first said that the plan put forward by Turkey to create a buffer zone on the border with Syria was a good idea. He was then reined in, and said this week that preventing the fall of Kobani was not a "strategic objective" of the United States. "Notwithstanding the crisis in Kobani, the original targets of our efforts have been the command and control centers, the infrastructure," Kerry said.

Meanwhile, President Obama has indicated that "we are not going to stabilize [Syria under Assad]," leading some analysts to maintain that the United States and its allies have seized on the ISIS threat to target the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

"I do suspect that it's all an effort to eventually be bombing in Syria where they can switch the target to the Syrian government's target," American investigative journalist David Lindorff told Press TV last month.

Rodney Martin, American political commentator, also said in an interview that, "The United States has a horrible track record in the region under its current policy, but it's clear that the under entire mission of this ISIS strategy is to remove the Assad government."

(Press TV, Global Research)

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Canada's Purchase of New Missiles

An October 10 story in the Montreal Gazette reported:

"Prime Minister Stephen Harper settled a dispute between the Treasury Board and the Defence Department to approve an $800-million, sole-source purchase of next-generation Sea Sparrow missiles for the Royal Canadian Navy's aging frigates, sources familiar with the situation say. The decision was taken early this week following a written request earlier this month by three ministers -- Industry Minister James Moore, Defence Minister Rob Nicholson and Public Works Minister Diane Finley -- that won out over the objections of Treasury Board president Tony Clement, sources say.

"The Sea Sparrow is built by U.S.-based Raytheon. The next-generation version, the Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile, is distinct from the existing, older version in that it is 'smart,' and can be guided while in flight. The upshot, if the decision stands, is that the Lockheed-Martin Raytheon group, which is vying for billions in contracts in the building of systems for Canada's soon-to-be-built new navy, will once again have the inside track in a major defence procurement, with no competitive bidding process, as occurred in the F-35 affair.

"The F-35 is made by Lockheed-Martin. The Sea Sparrow purchase would also give Raytheon-Lockheed an edge in billions worth of sub-contracts in the $26-billion national naval building project now underway, sources say, because its updated missiles could also be used on the new vessels. 'It's identical to the F-35 consortium,' said a defence industry source, referring to the Sea Sparrow consortium, of which Canada is a member. 'It's a move by the United States again to try to keep people within their orbit.'"

The Gazette says that "until roughly half a decade ago, Raytheon's Sea Sparrow missile was the undisputed technology leader in ship-borne missile defence systems. However in recent years European-based MBDA has shot ahead and now has technology equal to Raytheon's, sources say."

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Defense Contractors Are Making a Killing

Stock prices for Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics, Raytheon and Northrop Grumman set all-time record highs last week as it became increasingly clear that President Obama was committed to a massive, sustained air war in Iraq and Syria.

It's nothing short of a windfall for these and other huge defense contractors, who've been getting itchy about federal budget pressures that threatened to slow the rate of increase in military spending.

Now, with U.S. forces literally blowing through tens of millions of dollars of munitions a day, the industry is not just counting on vast spending to replenish inventory, but hoping for a new era of reliance on supremely expensive military hardware.

"To the extent we can shift away from relying on troops and rely more heavily on equipment -- that could present an opportunity," Jack Ablin, chief investment officer at BMO Private Bank, whose $66 billion portfolio includes Northrop Grumman Corp. and Boeing Co. shares, told Bloomberg.

Defense contractor stocks have far exceeded the performance of the broader market. A Bloomberg index of four of the largest Pentagon contractors rose 19 percent this year, compared to 2.2 percent for the S&P 500.

It's the munition makers who "stand to reap the biggest windfall, especially in the short term," says Fortune magazine, citing Raytheon's long-range Tomahawk missiles, and Lockheed Martin's Hellfires, among others. "Small diameter bombs could be a huge winner, since aircraft can carry more of them in a single sortie," one analyst tells the magazine.

U.S. forces used 47 Tomahawk missiles on Monday [September 22] alone, at $1.5 million apiece.

Smart "small-diameter bombs" cost about $250,000 each.

Richard Clough writes for Bloomberg:

"For defense companies, the offensive against Islamic State and al-Qaeda extremists is more than a showcase for big-ticket weapons such as Lockheed's F-22 Raptor fighter, the stealth jet that debuted in combat this week.

"In its first night of airstrikes into Syria, the U.S. dropped about 200 munitions and launched 47 Raytheon-made Tomahawk cruise missiles, according to U.S. Central Command. The military also deployed Boeing's GBU-32 Joint Direct Attack Munitions and Hellfire missiles from Bethesda, Maryland-based Lockheed, creating an opening for restocking U.S. arsenals."

Tory Newmyer's article in Fortune does a great job of depicting the new giddiness in the defense industry:

"New fights mean new stuff, after all. And following the U.S. withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan -- and the belt-tightening at the Pentagon imposed by steep budget cuts -- military suppliers are lining up to meet a suddenly restored need for their wares....

"[D]efense analysts are pointing to a pair of sure-bet paydays from the new campaign: for those making and maintaining the aircraft, manned and unmanned, that will swarm the skies over the region, and for those producing the missiles and munitions that will arm them.

"'The drone builders are going to have a field day,' says Dov Zakheim, who served as Pentagon Comptroller during the George W. Bush administration....

"Indeed, the widening conflict could even reverse the trend of tapering investments in the technology, says Mark Gunzinger, a retired Air Force colonel and former deputy assistant secretary of defense now at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments. 'One of the things that can help a new capability break through is an operational stressor, like a major air campaign,' he says....

"In the longer run, one defense appropriations lobbyist predicts -- a hopeful note in his voice: 'we're going to have to bust through the budget caps' imposed on the military by the sequester cuts. 'We can't fight this on the cheap,' he says."

Zacks Investment Research urges investors to buy Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics and Northrop Grumman:

"It is likely that the conflict with ISIS will continue for a while. Such a campaign is likely to provide impetus for defense stocks in the days and weeks ahead. These stocks would make excellent additions to your portfolio."

The Pentagon recently estimated that military operations in Iraq were costing an average of $7.5 million a day between June and [mid-September] -- an annual rate of about $2.7 billion. But even if costs ballooned to, say, $15 billion a year, the figure would still be dwarfed by the approximately $1.3 billion a week we're still spending in Afghanistan.

And for now, there's no cash flow problem: Obama can just dip into the "Overseas Contingency Operations" budget, the $85 billion "all-purpose war funding credit card" Congress just gave him -- $26 billion more than he had even asked for.

* Dan Froomkin is a reporter, columnist, and editor with a focus on coverage of U.S. politics and media. An outspoken proponent of accountability journalism, he wrote the popular "White House Watch" column at The Washington Post from 2004 to 2009. During a nearly three-decade long career in journalism, which started in local news, he has served as the senior Washington correspondent and bureau chief for The Huffington Post, as editor of WashingtonPost.com, and as deputy editor of NiemanWatchdog.org. He lives in Washington, D.C. Originally published in The Intercept, September 25, 2014.

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Cuba Commemorates "Victims of State Terrorism Day"

The Barbados Crime, Cubana Flight 455


Memorial at the monument to the victims of the bombing of Cubana Flight 455,
near Bridgetown, Barbados, October 4, 2014.

October 6 marks the 38th anniversary of the first act of terrorism against civilian aviation in the western hemisphere -- the unparalleled Cubana Airlines disaster on the coastline of Barbados on October 6, 1976 -- the Barbados crime. Cubana Flight 455 was hit by two C-4 explosives bombs just after the aircraft took off from the then Seawell Airport (now the Grantley Adams International Airport) in Barbados at an altitude of 18,000 feet.

Rather than crashing into the white sands of Paradise beach below and killing the vacationers, the Cubana pilot, Wilfredo Pérez Sr., courageously banked the plane away from the beach and towards the Atlantic Ocean, saving the lives of many tourists. It crashed in a ball of fire one mile north of Deep Water Bay. The crash occurred about eight kilometres short of the airport.

Cubana Flight 455 was a routine, scheduled commercial, passenger flight of no military significance. There were no survivors. All 73 passengers and five crew members aboard the plane were assassinated: 57 Cubans, 11 Guyanese, and five north Koreans.

Among the dead were all 24 members of Cuba's 1975 Olympic fencing team, as well as several sport officials of the Cuban government. The young athletes, many of whom were teenagers, had just won all the gold medals in the Central American and Caribbean Championship Games. They proudly wore their gold medals on board the aircraft.

The trail of blood leads to the U.S. -- and Canada.

It is the bitterest irony that the anniversary occurs on the very day that the Harper government demands parliamentary approval to send military forces to another hemisphere to commit aggression under the pretext of opposing terrorism, while it is silent on terrorism committed in the nearby Caribbean.

It is the bitterest irony that the Harper government designates "Islamic terrorists" as the greatest threat facing mankind, when the self-confessed engineer of this great crime, Luis Posada Carilles, known as the Bin Laden of the Americas, languishes comfortably in Miami, Florida under U.S. protection.

The silence of the government and media, which talk about "blowback" and the "victims of terrorism," has nothing to say about the destruction of an aircraft by Cuban-American terrorists that was actually owned by Air Canada, one of three Air Canada DC-8s leased to Cubana. Nor was this a unique incident. Earlier, on July 9, 1976 in Kingston, Jamaica a suitcase had exploded when it was carried to another DC-8 aircraft of Cubana de Aviación leased from Air Canada.


Barbados, October 4, 2014. The monument to commemorate those killed by the terrorist attack on Cubana Flight 455 overlooks the bay not far from where the plane went down.

Nor that the meeting just four months earlier on June 11, 1976 that planned the terrorism, as well as the assassination of Orlando Letelier, the former Foreign Minister of Chile then resident in Washington, the capital of the U.S., took place at an exclusive resort lodge owned by Falconbridge Mines, a multinational U.S.-owned, Canadian registered corporation and the second largest nickel monopoly in the world (after INCO), in Bonao, Dominican Republic. During that meeting, more than 20 representatives of terrorist factions founded CORU, an acronym for the Coordinación de Organizaciones Revolucionarias Unidas, headed by Orlando Bosch. This was a response to CIA director George H. Bush's demand that the offensive against the Republic of Cuba be centrally co-ordinated under CIA direction and funding as part of Operation Condor. That same month, June 1976, Bosch is on record admitting that he sent a bomb to the Cuban embassy in Ottawa, aimed at hindering the relations between Canada and Cuba and enforcing the illegal U.S. blockade of Cuba, one of many targets attacked by Cuban-American terrorists inside and outside the territory of Canada during the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s.


Protesters outside the Carriles immigration hearing in El Paso, Texas, January 10, 2011 demand his extradition to Venezuela and the release of the Cuban Five.

A report issued by the U.S. Acting General Attorney General Joe D. Whitley in May 1989 declared Bosch a public enemy of the United States and denied asylum to this dangerous character for the 30-odd terrorist acts committed, among them the hideous Barbados bombing. The U.S. Attorney emphasized one particular terrorist act: "In October 1976, Bosch was arrested in Venezuela in relation with the bombing committed against a Cuban civilian airliner on October 6, 1976, which killed 73 men, women and children aboard." Nevertheless, Bosch was admitted to the U.S. at the behest of the Bush administration, where he lived and plotted until his death a couple of years ago.


Canadian resident Fabio Di Celmo was killed by an anti-Cuba terrorist attack in Havana in 1997. Shown here, his father Giustino holds up his photo at a 2011 event to remember of the victims of terrorist attacks against Cuba.

Canada is a signatory of the International Convention for the Suppression of Terrorist Bombings and the Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against the Safety of Civil Aviation. Yet successive federal governments have failed to support the credible and legitimate demand to the United States made by the Bolivarian Government of Venezuela and backed by Trinidad, Barbados and Cuba, to extradite Posada Carriles for terrorist crimes committed in their sovereign countries, specifically bombing the Cuban aircraft in October 1976 and the Havana hotels in 1997, which included the murder of Fabio di Celmo, a resident of Montreal, Canada, who was visiting Cuba with his father. The collusion of the Chrétien Liberals consisted of whitewashing the latter's murder by feigning that the innocent victim was technically an Italian national, and hence of no concern to the Government of Canada. The Trudeau Liberals declared the destruction of the Cubana Flight/Air Canada DC-8 455 in 1976 business as usual, satisfied with collecting the insurance on the loss of property of Air Canada, then a Crown corporation. The Harper government is no less an abettor and promoter of international terrorism than U.S. imperialism.

The "war on terror" of the U.S. and Canadian governments is so disingenuous that they shelter and reward the terrorists they prefer, while accusing others of the crimes they commit. Earlier this year, acting as judge and jury, the Obama, Harper and allied regimes launched a hysterical offensive without any evidence to indict the Russian Federation and its president as part of their warmongering, that allegedly it was responsible directly or indirectly for the destruction of the Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 on July 17, 2014 over the war zone in Eastern Ukraine.

The central assumption is that the United States alone is the single state in the world that does not kill innocent civilians, is not at war with anyone, answers to a higher law above international law and the United Nations, and hence has the moral authority to accuse everyone else of criminal activity. Any people such as the Cubans or Ukrainians or Palestinians who resist this authority are "terrorists" and the agents of a foreign power or constitute an "illegitimate" government -- as with the Syrian Arab Republic -- to be overthrown. But this disinformation remains silent on the criminal record of the U.S. in destroying civilian airliners and even heaping the highest honours on those who pull the trigger, as it did with those who shot the missiles on July 3, 1988 that downed Iran-Air Flight 655 inside Iranian territory, killing 290 defenceless passengers and crew. Two years later George H. Bush, by this time President, awarded both the commander and the officer in charge of anti-air warfare of the USS Vincennes with the Legion of Merit for the "calm and professional atmosphere" under their command during the period of the destruction of the Iranian airliner.

The Bush and Obama administration's policies at home and abroad have woken a sleeping and silent giant throughout this continent. And, yes: America is one continent and not two as some U.S. textbooks would have us believe.


"We Demand Justice!"

(Photos: Cuban Embassy to Barbados, U.S. National Committee to Free the Five, AIN)

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38 Years of Injustice


Anti-terrorist heroes Fernando Gonzáles and René Gonzáles and family members of the Cuban Five lead the procession to the Colón Cemetery in Havana, October 6, 2014, to commemorate the Day for the Victims of State Terrorism

Thirty-eight years have passed and the Cuban people continue to demand justice. On October 6, 1976, 73 people, amongst them 11 Guyanese, 5 citizens of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea and 57 Cubans were killed on a Cubana Airlines flight.

The authors of the brutal crime walked free in the streets of Miami and the U.S., they made no secret of the fact that the CIA and the U.S. government protected them. The very same country that has launched wars across the world, supposedly against terrorism, never brought the terrorists who killed those returning home after a stopover in Barbados, to trial.

On that October 6, the nation, which since 1959 to date has been the victim of acts of terrorism orchestrated by figures such as Luis Posada Carriles and Orlando Bosh, simply for having reclaimed its sovereignty less than 90 miles from the most powerful nation on Earth, was in mourning. Four years ago, Army General Raúl Castro stated: "Today we are here to pay tribute to the 3,478 Cubans who have died and 2,099 who have been permanently disabled by acts of terrorism perpetrated for half a century against our homeland, a toal of 5,577 victims. The Martyrs of Barbados join the long list of those fallen, whom we will never forget."

Before Raúl's speech, it was announced that October 6, would be officially commemorated every year in Cuba as "Victims of State Terrorism Day."

Having directly suffered the cruelty of the U.S. criminal policy, four years ago today, the Cuban government and people reaffirmed their decision to condemn and combat terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, including state terrorism, wherever it occurs and whatever the reasons given by the authors.


President Raúl Castro and other Cuban leaders attend the main ceremony to mark the
Day for the Victims of State Terrorism,
Havana, October 6, 2014.

On October 6, 2010, Raúl announced, "Our country has signed the 13 existing international agreements on such matters and strictly fulfills the commitments and obligations set out under the resolutions of the United Nations General Assembly and Security Council. Cuba does not possess or have the intention of acquiring weapons of mass destruction of any kind and has fulfilled her obligations in accordance with the existing international regulations on nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. The territory of Cuba has never been used, nor will it ever be, to organize, fund, or carry out terrorist acts against any country, including the United States."

Indignation and courage have been Cuba's response to every single act of terrorism and death it has been subjected to. These acts, aimed at sowing panic, have instead found a people committed to further radicalizing their Revolution. That is why the words of the Commander in Chief, Fidel Castro Ruz, as he bid farewell to the victims of the attack on the Cuban airplane on October 15, 1976, continue to reverberate across the world; "When an energetic and virile people cry out, injustice trembles."


Cuban fencers commemorate their fallen comrades; a wreath sent to
Colón cemetery by Comrade Fidel Castro.

(Photos: CubaDebate, AIN)

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The New Dirty Wars

Terrorism and Assassinations in Venezuela

Last Friday [October 3], the centre of Caracas was filled with thousands of mourning citizens as they accompanied two flag draped coffins loaded with flowers they had cast upon it in homage.

If a Member of Parliament representing the Venezuelan opposition had been brutally tortured and stabbed to death in his own home, the Western press -- including Canada's -- would have splashed the news in headlines around the world.

Yet this has just happened to a Member of Parliament from the governing party of Venezuela, but the international press is mostly silent. International politicians have not wrung their hands with indignation or regret, as they have about the lawful incarceration of opposition leader Leopoldo López who publicly and repeatedly incited mobs to violence and has caused at least 47 deaths.

On Wednesday, October 1, 2014, Robert Serra, 27 years old, a lawyer and legislator from the governing party PSUV, the youngest Member of Parliament of Venezuela, and his partner María Herrera, were assassinated in their own home in a central area of Caracas. It was an outrageous and deliberate act of terror. Robert Serra and María Herrera were tortured, stabbed and then bled to death. He specialized in criminology, and was engaged in the task of helping to curb crime in the country. María Herrera assisted him in this vital work. Robert Serra came from a poor family; his mother worked as a street hawker to help him go to law school. He was famous for his insightful interventions in parliament and was much beloved, some referred to him as "a future Chávez."



Funeral procession for Roberto Serra and María Herrera, Caracas, October 3, 2014.
(MINCI, TeleSUR)

Their deaths were carried out systematically. Ernesto Samper, ex-President of Colombia and current President of UNASUR [the Union of South American Nations], said: "This crime is evidence of the infiltration of Colombian paramilitary in Venezuela."

Just a few weeks ago, President Santos of Colombia deported to Venezuela a young man, Lorent Saleh, who had been meeting with paramilitaries in Colombia to conspire against the Venezuelan government. He appears in a video with Alvaro Uribe, ex-President of Colombia, who owes his political career to his connections to [Pablo] Escobar, the head of Colombian narco-trafficking, and is accused by the Colombian Senate of being behind the proliferation of the paramilitary there. Saleh stated he was buying arms of war and contracting snipers and explosive experts because "they" were going to carry out selective assassination of 20 leaders of the Venezuelan government in order to bring it down. Then he said who "they" were: leaders of Venezuela's opposition parties.

In Parliament, days before his assassination, Robert Serra had denounced -- in no uncertain terms -- the terrorist plans of Alvaro Uribe and Lorent Saleh.

The Venezuelan government of President Nicolás Maduro has been under relentless and continuous attack since it was elected. It has been submitted to economic sabotage with contraband and withholding of food and goods, a deliberate campaign of false rumors, and three months of street violence to create the appearance of chaos and lack of governability. These subversive actions were deftly overcome by a government that stuck to the letter of the law, refused to take the bait of meeting violence with violence, and its call for peace included setting up negotiations with the opposition facilitated by ministers of neighboring countries. The Venezuelan people overwhelmingly repudiated the violent opposition tactics, and gave Mr. Maduro's popularity an even larger boost.

In an attempt to produce "regime change," violence has been intensified now to include assassinations. This was agreed upon in a meeting at Guadarrama, Spain at the end of June hosted by the Spanish spy agency CNI and the FAES -- a think tank of the party Partido Popular of ex-President of Spain, José Maria Aznar. The USA's CIA carries out the financing and training of the CNI, as Edward Snowdon has revealed.[1]

Two Venezuelan opposition leaders, Julio Borges and Ramón Muchacho, who were also behind the street violence, were present, and a video message from Maria Corina Machado was viewed. She could not be present as she is being investigated for her part in the street violence, which she enthusiastically led. Machado, as a standing member of Venezuela's parliament, ignominiously accepted simultaneously the position of ambassador of Panama in order to address the OAS in 2014. According to the Constitution, she in effect, forfeited her position of parliamentarian by representing a foreign government -- and one, which at that time was against Venezuela.

Machado, along with López, instigated the street violence that cost so many deaths and millions in damages. Yet, holding such disdain for the rule of law, she was invited by the Canadian Council for the Americas to speak at the prestigious Canadian law firm of Cassels Brock and Blackwell last May. This was a clear example either of Canadian willful ignorance or connivance.

The imperial forces believe Venezuela's oil is just too rich a prize to leave in the hands of its people. The sterling leadership that the country has shown in promoting the integration of Latin America for the purposes of solving its common social problems and to protect its natural resources is just unacceptable to the greed of multinationals, the United States, and their subservient allies who seem to think the petroleum is theirs to take.

The assassinations of Robert Serra and María Herrera, of Eliézer Otáiz head of Caracas Municipality 5 months ago, the killings during the street riots of last March that were led by paramilitary (not students as the world press stated) and the bombing death of district attorney Danilo Anderson ten years ago, as well as the hundreds of rural leaders that have been assassinated by paramilitary mercenaries hired by the large landowners, have only fed the determination of the Venezuelan people. They know that their Bolivarian government, no matter how besieged and no matter how big the problems, is a government on their side, not on the side of the powerful elites and their foreign owners that have never in Venezuelan history sided with the poor or the nation's best interest.

As the crowds wound their slow way towards the cemetery where Robert Serra and María Herrera were to be buried, the ubiquitous cry that was heard at every step was: "Justice! Justice! We want justice!" The Venezuelan authorities dare not ignore this clamor.

* María Páez Victor, Ph.D. is a Venezuelan born sociologist living in Canada.

Note

1. Carlos Fazio, "Violencia y terrorismo son ejes de la nueva fase de desetabilizacion subversive," Resumen Latinoamericano, 2 octubre 2014, http://www.resumenlatinoamericano.org/

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UN's Selective Defense of Human Rights

For the past several years, the United Nations has served as a platform for Syria's enemies to air allegations of human rights abuses and even attempts to use such allegations to justify military aggression against Syria itself. Tales of "barrel bombs" being used against civilians, the bombardment of enemy positions at the cost of civilian lives and the destruction of vital infrastructure have all been constructs in the West's narrative against the Syrian government.

Now that the U.S. is itself bombing Syria, killing Syrians including innocent men, women and children, as well as vital infrastructure local populations depend on for their survival, the UN has grown suddenly quiet. The Western press too seems to have reverted to its observance of the notion of "collateral damage." Suddenly, the very terrorists the Syrian government has tried to warn the world about for years as it fought them in its city streets and countrysides, are now bad enough for the end of defeating them to justify the means of occasionally killing civilians, so long as they are killed with U.S. rather than Syrian weapons.

The startling hypocrisy combines with the fact that Syria's military is operating within its territory, conducting security operations to secure its own borders and all territory within it, while the U.S. is operating thousands of miles from its own shores, in a foreign country, with both a doubtful pretext and an even more doubtful agenda in mind as it does so.

Where is the United Nations? The airstrikes in Syria carried out by the U.S., Persian Gulf states, and several European nations are done so without the Syrian government's approval, no recognized opposition party has approved of them, and certainly no UN resolution has provided the West with a mandate to exercise military force inside of Syria. On this point alone, the UN should be standing up in vocal protest, leveling sanctions against those participating in this act of unilateral, illegal military aggression. Additionally, the UN should be speaking out against the loss of civilian lives, just as it did during the past several years of chaos in Syria's ongoing conflict, as well as preparing monitoring teams and investigations into the impact of these attacks.

Aside from Syria, there is another battlefield the UN is suspiciously absent from. Ukraine. In Ukraine, Kiev has been carrying out increasingly atrocious campaigns of violence against its own people. As it steadily loses control over territory in the east of Ukraine, grisly scenes of mass murder, torture, and extrajudicial executions are being uncovered. Yet there is no protest voiced within the UN, no teams being mobilized to investigate unearthed crime scenes and no measures taken against the perpetrators which include ultra-right wing militant groups espousing modern-day Nazism like the notorious Right Sector.

While some may claim such accusations are merely "Kremlin propaganda," it is the West's own Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) which provides daily reports from its own monitors on the ground inside Ukraine, that have mentioned the presence of right-wing militants, their destruction of Ukraine's historical heritage, their attacking and harassing of their political opponents and violence they are carrying out across the country, from eastern Ukraine to the capital of Kiev itself.

Recently OSCE reported that the Neo-Nazi Azov Battalion, which literally flies a flag featuring Adolf Hitler's SS Wolfsangel insignia on it, led mobs in the dismantling of a statue of Vladimir Lenin in the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv. Another OSCE report noted that Right Sector was leading mobs in Odessa. An earlier OSCE report from August would admit another Kiev "volunteer battalion" similar to Azov and Right Sector, the so-called "Aidar Battalion," was at the center of several human rights abuses and in particular, the abduction, torture, and holding for ransom of eastern Ukrainians.

Clearly there are abuses taking place, carried out by overtly abhorrent extremist groups espousing ideology illegal throughout most of Europe, but supported by the European Union, NATO, and the United States. Why the UN has remained silent on this while so vocal on other issues raises serious questions about its objectivity and impartiality.

The UN as a Tool for Special Interests

While in theory the UN is supposed to be an impartial arbiter of international law, through clearly biased actions it is revealed to be a subject to certain special interests, merely using the pretext of human rights and international law to selectively advance the agenda of certain member states while ignoring entirely such principles when convenient.


Demonstration against Canada's support for Ukrainian fascist forces, Parliament Hill, October 5, 2014. (L. Mitsner)

In Syria, U.S. bombs are now killing Syrian civilians, destroying infrastructure and all while violating the sovereignty of the nation of Syria itself. The act of military aggression the U.S. and its partners are exercising in Syria run contrary to the UN Charter itself and constitute a grave infraction of international law. When the UN ponders the steady erosion of its legitimacy, popularity and effectiveness, it is displays of double standards like those seen in Syria that are the cause.

Likewise, in Ukraine, where ultra-right militants espousing Nazism are openly carrying out human rights violations so often and overtly that even the European-aligned OSCE must report them all while the UN remains utterly silent and flaccid, undermines not only the UN itself, but the concept of international law altogether.

When international law is cited and enforced selectively by certain member states of the United Nations, using the UN itself as a platform to legitimize otherwise illegal actions, the world teeters on the edge of global lawlessness leaving the remaining members of the UN to ponder alternatives in resolving injustices perpetuated rather than challenged by the UN and its Charter.

Eastern Ukrainians, the Syrians and all their respective allies are left with little other choice than to act unilaterally themselves to defend their territory and people as well as their interests in the face of rogue nations that have apparently co-opted and now control much of the UN.

* Ulson Gunnar, a New York-based geopolitical analyst and writer especially for the online magazine "New Eastern Outlook."

TML Note

The latest report on the human rights situation in Ukraine produced by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights contains no information on mass graves found near the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk in late September, the news agency RIA Novosti reports. UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric had claimed that the report would address this issue. instead, the release of the report was delayed from October 3 to October 8 and the issue was not raised.

The sixth report on the human rights situation in Ukraine covers the period from August 18 to September 16. However, on September 23, several mass graves with over 400 bodies of civilians and pro-independence fighters, apparently killed execution-style, were found northeast of the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk.

Independence supporters of southeastern Ukraine claim that the massacre was carried out by Ukraine's National Guard fighters, who had stayed in the area since April, when Kiev launched its military operation in the region. Ukrainian authorities have denied the accusation.

The Russian Investigative Committee has claimed it has irrefutable evidence of the National Guard and the Right Sector nationalist group's participation in the mass killings.

Earlier this week, Russian President Vladimir Putin and the chief of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe Didier Burkhalter agreed on the importance of a thorough investigation into the incident. (RIA Novosti)

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China Urges U.S. to Stop "Fabricating Stories"
on Cyber Security

The Chinese Foreign Ministry on October 9 urged the United States to stop "fabricating stories" and "mudslinging" after a Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) official accused China of stealing secrets from U.S. firms.

"Chinese laws forbid hacking or any other behavior harmful to cyber security, and it is an undoubted fact that the Chinese government resolutely cracks down on these crimes," Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said at a daily news briefing in response to a question on the FBI official's remarks.

FBI director James Comey said during an October 5 TV appearance that China topped the list of countries seeking to pilfer secrets from U.S. firms, costing American businesses billions of dollars every year.

"Again, we urge the U.S. side to drop its wrongful fabrication of stories and deliberate mudslinging toward China, as well as stop its large-scale, systematic cyber attacks on other countries," said the Chinese spokesman.

The U.S. side's attempt to divert attention by accusing others will not succeed, Hong added.

(Xinhua)

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Meeting of UN General Assembly's Sixth Committee
Focuses on International Terrorism

Renewed Attempts to Establish Comprehensive Legal Framework to Deal with International Terrorism

The Sixth Committee (Legal Committee) of the United Nations opened its annual meeting in New York with a focus on international terrorism on October 7. The Sixth Committee is taking up this responsiblity for this issue from the General Assembly's Ad Hoc Committee on Terrorism which will not meet this year. In the 68th session of the General Assembly, the Ad Hoc Committee recommended that more time be given to make progress on outstanding issues, and that the Sixth Committee establish a working group at the 69th session of the Assembly, with a view to finalizing the process on the draft comprehensive convention on international terrorism as well as discussions concerning convening a high-level conference on this issue. This is work which the Ad Hoc Committee began in 2000.

In addressing the opening meeting of the Sixth Committee, the representative of the Non-Aligned Movement of countries condemned terrorism unequivocally. He called on all states to cooperate in resolving the outstanding issues, reiterating its call for an International Summit Conference under the auspices of the UN to formulate a joint organized response that includes identifying the root causes of terrorism.

A representative of Cuba to the Committee said that the objectives of the Ad Hoc Committee on Terrorism had not been achieved because of the position of a small number of states, and warned their action suggests the preference of a war against terrorism in violation of the UN Charter and International Law.

Ad Hoc Committee Established by General Assembly December 17, 1996

The mandate of the Ad Hoc Committee is framed within the General Assembly's 1994 Declaration on Measures to Eliminate International Terrorism and the 1996 Declaration to Supplement the 1994 Declaration on Measures to Eliminate International Terrorism. The Committee is also to develop an international convention for the suppression of acts of nuclear terrorism to supplement existing international instruments, and a comprehensive legal framework to deal with international terrorism.

This mandate has been revised and renewed annually by the General Assembly in its resolutions under the agenda item "Measures to eliminate international terrorism."

The Ad Hoc Committee has held one session per year over a one or two week period, usually early in the year, with the work continued under the Working Group of the Sixth Committee later in the year during the regular session of the General Assembly. The Ad Hoc Committee did not meet in 2012 and will not meet in 2014. The Working Group was not convened in 2013.

The Ad Hoc Committee works on the basis that nothing is agreed until everything is agreed. It is open to all States members of the United Nations or members of specialized agencies or of the International Atomic Energy Agency.

The Ad Hoc Committee has negotiated texts that resulted in the adoption of three treaties by the General Assembly: the International Convention for the Suppression of Terrorist Bombings (Resolution 52/164 of December 15, 1997); the International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism (Resolution 54/109 of December 9, 1999, as corrected); and the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism (Resolution 59/290 of April 13, 2005).

(With files from UN News Centre, Fars News Agency, Prensa Latina)

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Cuba Denounces U.S. Manipulation of Terrorism

At the October 8 meeting of the United Nations General Assembly's Sixth Committee, Cuba denounced the United States for manipulating the issue of terrorism for political purposes by including Cuba in its unilateral list of countries that sponsor terrorism.

The U.S. State Department published its 2013 report on April 30, designating Cuba for the 32nd time as "a State Sponsor of Terrorism," Tanieris Dieguez, the third secretary of the permanent mission of Cuba, told the Committee, in charge of legal matters.

The Cuban diplomat said that the U.S. keeps Cuba on its list to justify the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed on the island nation for over half a century. And it does it despite not having any information about the supply of weapons or training by the Cuban government to extremist groups, and recognizing that Cuba supports and hosts the peace negotiations for Colombia.

Dieguez ratified Cuba's rejection of the scourge of terrorism in all its expressions, as well as its rejection of the manipulation of such a sensitive issue.

In this regard, she demanded the definitive exclusion of Cuba from the list, which she termed spurious, unilateral and arbitrary.

She noted that for defending its independence and dignity, Cuba suffered for decades the consequences of terrorist actions organized, funded and executed from U.S. soil, killing 3,500 people and wounding 2,099 people.

She noted that the struggle against terrorism will only succeed if its causes are addressed in an organized way by the international community without violating the peoples' sovereignty.

She expressed Cuba's backing of the adoption of a general convention on terrorism and the holding of a UN-sponsored world conference to give coordinated answers to the scourge.

"Those objectives have not been achieved because of the position of a small number of states, the actions of which suggest the preference of a war against terrorism in violation of the UN Charter and International Law," she warned.

(Prensa Latina)

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Non-Aligned Movement
Unequivocally Condemns Terrorism

The Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) voiced its unequivocal condemnation of terrorism at the annual meeting of the Sixth Committee (Legal Committee) of the United Nations General Assembly in New York on October 7.

Iran, the NAM's current chair, represented the body at the session. In a statement addressing the UN Assembly's agenda item 107, "Measures to eliminate international terrorism," Iran's deputy ambassador to the UN Committee Gholam-Hossein Dehqani condemned all forms of terrorism and called on the world's nations to grow united against the spread of terrorist groups.

The NAM was founded in the former Yugoslavia in 1961. NAM countries represent nearly two-thirds of the United Nations members and contain 55 per cent of the world's population. NAM's purpose as stated in the Havana Declaration of 1979 is to ensure "the national independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity and security of non-aligned countries."

Iran assumed the rotating presidency of NAM for a three-year term in August 2012, during the movement's summit in Tehran. The full text of the statement is reprinted below.

Text of Remarks by Non-Aligned Movement to United Nations

Mr. Chairman,

I have the honour to speak on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement.

The Non-Aligned Movement unequivocally condemns, as criminal, and rejects terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, as well as all acts, methods and practices of terrorism wherever, by whomever, against whomsoever committed, including those in which States are directly or indirectly involved, which are unjustifiable whatever the considerations or factors that may be invoked to justify them, and in this context, NAM members reaffirm their support for the provisions contained in General Assembly resolution 46/51 of 9 December 1991 and other relevant United Nations resolutions.

The Non-Aligned Movement reaffirms that terrorist acts constitute a flagrant violation of international law, including international humanitarian and human rights law, in particular the right to life, leading to the lack of the full enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms of peoples. Such acts endanger the territorial integrity and stability of States as well as national, regional and international security, destabilise legitimately constituted governments or the prevailing constitutional order and political unity of States, affect the stability of nations and the very basis of societies, create adverse consequences on the economic and social development and cause the destruction of the physical and economic infrastructure of States.

Terrorism should not be equated with the legitimate struggle of peoples under colonial or alien domination and foreign occupation, for self-determination and national liberation. The brutalisation of peoples remaining under foreign occupation should continue to be denounced as the gravest form of terrorism, and the use of State power for the suppression and violence against peoples struggling against foreign occupation in exercising their inalienable right to self-determination should continue to be condemned. The Movement reaffirms its principled position under international law and in accordance with General Assembly resolution 46/51 of 9 December 1991 as well as other relevant UN resolutions on the legitimacy of the struggles of people under colonial or alien domination and foreign occupation for national liberation and self-determination.

Furthermore, terrorism cannot and should not be associated with any religion, nationality, civilisation or ethnic group, and these attributions should not be used to justify terrorism or counter-terrorism measures that include, inter alia, profiling of terror suspects and intrusion on individual privacy.

Mr. Chairman,

Conscious of the need to take speedy and effective measures to eliminate international terrorism, the Movement urges all States, consistent with the UN Charter, to fulfil their obligations under international law and international humanitarian law in combating terrorism, including by prosecuting or, where appropriate, extraditing the perpetrators of terrorist acts; by preventing the organisation, instigation or financing of terrorist acts against other States from within or outside their territories or by organisations based in their territories; by refraining from organising, instigating, assisting, financing or participating in terrorist acts in the territories of other States; by refraining from encouraging activities within their territories directed towards the commission of such acts; by refraining from allowing the use of their territories for planning, training or financing for such acts; or by refraining from supplying arms or other weapons that could be used for terrorist acts in other States.

The Non-Aligned Movement rejects actions and measures, the use or threat of use of force, imposed or threatened to be imposed by any State against any Non-Aligned Member Country under the pretext of combating terrorism or to pursue its political aims, including by directly or indirectly categorising them as terrorism sponsoring-States, and totally rejects the unilateral preparation of lists accusing States of allegedly supporting terrorism, which are inconsistent with international law and constitute on their part a form of psychological and political terrorism.

The Non-Aligned Movement calls upon all States to condemn any form of, and refrain from extending, political, diplomatic, moral or material support for terrorism, and urges all States, consistent with the UN Charter and in fulfilling their obligations under international law, to ensure that refugee status or any other legal status is not abused by the perpetrators, organisers or facilitators of terrorist acts and that claims of political motivation by them are not recognised as grounds for refusing requests for their extradition.

The Non-Aligned Movement also encourages all States, which have not yet done so, to consider ratifying or acceding to the thirteen international instruments relating to combating terrorism. We also call upon all States to observe and implement the provisions of all international instruments as well as regional and bilateral instruments relating to terrorism to which they are party.

The Movement also calls upon all States to respect all human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism, and to reaffirm their commitment in this respect to prevent human rights violations in consistency with the rule of law and their obligation under international law, in particular international human rights law, international refugee law and international humanitarian law, and in accordance with relevant General Assembly resolutions. We call upon the Security Council sanction committees to further streamline their listing and delisting procedures to address the concerns of due process and transparency.

The Non-Aligned Movement reiterates its call for an International Summit Conference under the auspices of the UN to formulate a joint organised response of the international community to terrorism in all its forms and manifestations including identifying its root causes.

We further reiterate the importance of the conclusion of a Comprehensive Convention for Combating International Terrorism, noting the negotiations in the Ad Hoc Committee established by General Assembly Resolution 51/210 of 17 December 1996, for elaboration of a Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism and the continuing efforts to that end, and we call upon all States to cooperate in resolving the outstanding issues.

The Movement reaffirms the United Nations Global Counter Terrorism Strategy as well as the Member States' primary responsibility to implement it and welcomes the Strategy's reviews, and calls for its transparent and comprehensive implementation.

The Non-Aligned Movement recalls the General Assembly resolution 66/10 of 18 November 2011 on the establishment of the United Nations Centre for Counter-Terrorism and encourages all Member States to collaborate with the Centre and to contribute to the implementation of its activities in accordance with the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy.

The Non-Aligned Movement strongly condemns criminal incidences of hostage-taking with resultant demands for ransoms and/or other political concessions by terrorist groups, and calls upon all States to cooperate actively in order to address this issue, including its legal aspects.

I thank you.

(Fars News Agency, Radio Havana Cuba)

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Scope of Ebola Threat in West Africa

Cuban Henry Reeves Brigade
Arrives in Africa to Fight Ebola


Cuba's Henry Reeves medical brigade arrives in Sierra Leone, October 3, 2014,
to help in the fight against the Ebola epidemic. (WHO)

Cuba has sent 165 health workers to Sierra Leone, where they join cadres of medical workers from several nations who are under the auspices of aid groups, the Wall Street Journal reported. Cuba sent 2,500 health workers to Pakistan after its 2005 earthquake, and another 1,500 to Haiti after its 2010 earthquake, said Jorge Delgado Bustillo, head of the Cuban Medical Brigade to Sierra Leone. By comparison, he said, the 165 medics here represent a cautious response.

"We work on malaria, cholera, dengue, a disaster situation, floods in Venezuela, floods in Guatemala, floods in Belize," Mr. Bustillo said. "But Ebola? It's a first time for the Cubans."

According to UN figures released on October 8, more than 8,000 people are believed or suspected to have been infected, and more than 3,300 have died since the Ebola outbreak was confirmed in March.

The disease first broke out in West Africa, and then a few cases were confirmed in the United States as well. The virus is transmitted via direct contact with bodily fluids from an infected person. It has no cures or approved vaccines so far. Early signs of the deadly disease include fever, headaches, vomiting and diarrhea.

Anthony Banbury, head of the United Nations Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER), briefed an informal meeting of the General Assembly in New York via video link from the operation's headquarters in Ghana on October 10. Banbury called the current crisis an " unprecedented" challenge since the virus is "far ahead" of the global response.

"The world has never seen anything like it. Time is our enemy. The virus is far ahead of us," he said. The Ebola crisis has a huge impact on the affected countries Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone, Banbury said. He said that traditional social and cultural practices in these countries stand in the way of combating the disease because many local people still deny Ebola is real.

But he also told officials at the meeting that UNMEER is trying to figure out methods to treat the disease that are acceptable at community levels, and the team is moving resources to where it is needed most to fill gaps and support those need backstopping.

"We are late, but it is not too late to fight and win this battle," he said.

Banbury called for an immediate world action, since UNMEER, as he pointed out, could not fight the battle alone and he said more needs to be done including strengthened treatment centres and diagnostic laboratories on the ground, scaled-up financial support for aid agencies, and reliable arrangements in place to treat or evacuate workers treating the disease.

Sam Kutesa, President of the 69th session of the United Nations General Assembly, also urged the international community to follow through pledges of support and to come up with innovative, yet practical solutions to contain the further spread of Ebola.

"Even from those member states who have already made contributions, more is needed," he said.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called for "at least a 20-fold surge in assistance" that includes "trained medical personnel."

"The international response was slow," said Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. She pleaded for more medical personnel, speaking from the capital Monrovia to a World Bank Ebola conference in Washington. "More than ever, we need qualified and dedicated staff to join the fight against Ebola," she said.

The Wall Street Journal notes that Cuba's contribution is "a disproportionately large number for a tiny island nation of 11 million people."

Doctors Without Borders says it has about 250 international staff in the region and nearly 3,000 working on Ebola there overall. The WSJ reports the contributions of other countries as follows:

"The U.S. is the biggest donor nation, having pledged to send nearly 4,000 troops and nearly $400 million in other aid. It is sending 65 U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps officers to staff an Ebola ward for health care providers in Liberia. More than 2,600 health volunteers have signed up on a government website for possible deployment with aid organizations.

"Africa's biggest trading partner, China, has said it would provide $1 million in cash, $2 million in food and specialists each to Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea. The Asian giant is also sending 170 medical workers to Liberia, state-run Xinhua News Agency reported. Currently, 58 Chinese are staffing an Ebola-treatment ward and blood-testing lab off the side of a Chinese-built clinic. Of these, 35 are drivers, handymen and chefs, said Guo Tongshing, the clinic's chief doctor.

"India, with deep trade links and air connections to West Africa, recently pledged to contribute $12.5 million, but no medical personnel. Brazil, which has spent a decade wooing African nations across the Atlantic, has contributed about $413,000."

Russia "sent a team of eight virologists to Guinea, once a Soviet outpost, and protective clothing.

"South Africa -- a country eager to cement its leadership role on the continent -- has sent a mobile lab to Sierra Leone. There is no record of any monetary contribution from the country.

"African health workers are part of the crisis response, though. The African Union has sent about 75 medical workers, and Uganda, which has extensive experience with Ebola, has sent 15.

"Meanwhile, Japan, the world's third-richest economy after the U.S. and China, is sending $40 million to the cause, but no personnel. Toyota Motor Corp. plans to donate cars to help transport patients.

"Even France, the European country with the most military bases in Africa, has been slow to send in army medics. The former colonial power will construct and operate a 50-bed clinic in Guinea, staffed with 15 French medics at a given time, in addition to Red Cross volunteers, the state agency managing medical reservists said.

"The U.K. is sending in another 750 personnel to help build the dozens of clinics needed in Liberia and Sierra Leone. The clinics are required to isolate patients from their family members and break the viral chain of transmission. But it isn't clear who will staff those clinics.

"Liberia alone needs about 10,000 qualified health-care workers, and a similar number are needed in Sierra Leone, the U.S. government has said. So far, the largest single medical brigade is from Cuba in Sierra Leone."

"Cuba is the only one that I know is responding with human resources in terms of health doctors and nurses," said Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, the Chairwoman for the African Union.

The deployment of the first Cuban Medical Brigade to Sierra Leone, noted as one of the areas most seriously affected by the Ebola epidemic, shows the world what can be done if an effort is made in a serious way.

Writing about the Cuban contribution, Fidel Castro pointed out in an October 2 Reflection, "It is an example which the country can be proud of; as in this instance it is not possible to reach a higher place of honor and glory. Just as nobody had the slightest doubt that the hundreds of thousands of combatants who went to Angola and other African countries, had provided humanity with an example which will never be able to be erased from human history; nor can it be denied that the heroic action of the army of white coats will occupy one of the highest places of honor in this history.

"It won't be the producers of lethal weapons who receive this deserved honor. May the example of the Cubans heading to Africa also capture the hearts and minds of other doctors around the world, especially those who possesses resources, practice a religion or have the deepest conviction to fulfill the duty of human solidarity.

"Those heading to fight against Ebola and for the survival of other human beings have a difficult task ahead of them, even risking their own lives. We must not cease in our efforts to ensure that those who fulfill such duties count on the maximum safety in the tasks they undertake and the measures they must take to protect themselves and our own country from this and another illnesses and epidemics.

"The personnel heading to Africa are also protecting those who remain here, because the worst that can happen is that this epidemic or other more serious illnesses reach our continent, or the heart of any community in any county in the world, where a child, mother or human being could die. There are enough doctors on the planet to ensure that no one has to die due to lack of medical attention. This is what I wish to express.

"Honor and glory to our valiant fighters for health and life!"

(With files from Wall Street Journal, UN News Centre, Granma International)

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Update on Important Elections

Catalan Referendum

On September 27, Catalan President Artur Mas signed a decree scheduling the referendum on Catalonia's independence from Spain for November 9. The Spanish government immediately announced its intention to block the motion by appealing to Spain's Constitutional Court. On September 29, the court suspended the referendum while it deliberated on its legality. The Catalan regional government said it would appeal the decision.

Catalans have accused the Spanish government of being a drain on the region's budget and constraining its linguistic and cultural autonomy. The Spanish government claims Catalonia benefits from the union with Spain and already enjoys a great deal of autonomy.

To bolster its case for the need for a referendum, the Catalan government sent the central government and the court four boxes full of demands in favour of independence from more than 900 municipalities across Catalonia. As many as 920 out of 947 municipalities in this northeastern region submitted their requests said regional government spokesperson Francesc Homs. He said the sheer volume of demands should be enough for the central government and the court to see "with their own eyes" that Catalonia's desire to vote in the independence referendum should be taken seriously.

"The poll is a reality and it will be held on November 9, and the people will vote," Homs asserted in reference to the date of the upcoming referendum.

On October 7, Homs said that Catalan authorities had decided to go ahead with the vote in spite of the "obstacles that the government is putting in our way." Earlier that day, the pro-independence government of President Mas published an official decree appointing the seven regional electing commissions that are to monitor the vote.

(RIA Novosti)

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Bolivian President Calls for Mass Participation
in General Election

Elections will be held in Bolivia on October 12 for the country's President and Vice President, the 130 members of the Chamber of Deputies and the 36 members of the Senate, all for a five-year term 2015-2020. If necessary, a presidential runoff will be held in December.

President Evo Morales has called for a mass turnout at the polls on October 12, regardless of the party they support.

"The voting is secret, let us express our democratic vocation so that we can happily say on [October 13] that 97 or 98 percent of the people cast their vote; this is my wish: democracy and people's participation," said Morales, who is running for a third consecutive term as president, as a candidate for reelection for the Movement towards Socialism (MAS). Four other candidates are contesting the presidency: Samuel Doria (Unidad Democratica), Jorge Quiroga (Christian Democratic Party), Juan del Granado (Movimiento sin Miedo) and Fernando Vargas (Green Party).


President Morales and Vice President García Linera attend their closing campaign rally
in La Paz, October 8, 2014. (ABI)

In a television interview, President Morales said a high turnout is important to ensure the legitimacy of the process. Morales also urged MAS members and supporters not to yield to provocations as the dirty campaign of the opposition parties intensifies.

He warned that his rivals are desperate and have opted for lies, insults, attacks and provocations in view of forecasts indicating their defeat in the polls.

Morales highlighted the support from the people, social movements and the main workers' union central Obrera Boliviana for his campaign to win the elections and continue with the process of changes started in his first term in 2006.

He cited the main goals of his program for 2015-2020, including the country's sustainable economic growth and investment in the Cochabamba, Santa Cruz, Pando, Tarija, Potosi and La Paz departments to turn Bolivia into the main energy producer in South America.

Morales also announced the allocation of U.S.$300 million to state-run Yacimientos Petroliferos Fiscales Bolivianos (YPFB) to fund oil exploration and drilling.

The latest surveys confirmed Morales' lead in the polls, with 59 per cent and a 40-point lead over Doria, his main rival.

(Prensa Latina)

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President Rousseff Wins First Round in
Brazilian Presidential Election



President Dilma Rousseff campaigns in Sao Paolo, October 3, 2014.

Presidential elections are currently underway in Brazil. The first round of the election was held on October 5, while formal campaigning began on August 13. The results of the first round put incumbent President Dilma Rousseff of the Workers' Party (PT) and the Brazil Can Do More coalition at 43,267,668 votes or 41.59 per cent and Aecio Neves of the Brazilian Social Democracy Party (PSDB) and the Change Brazil coalition at 33.55 per cent. The election now proceeds to a second round on October 26 because no candidate achieved more than 50 per cent of the vote.

There is a sharp difference emerging between the incumbent President Rousseff and those who seek to replace her. President Rousseff and the PT are calling on Brazilians to consolidate the pro-social reforms made in recent years, as well as to affirm Brazil's sovereignty while at the same time participating in the Bolivarian project of integration for the well-being of the whole of Latin America and the Caribbean. On the other side is pressure from the old ruling circles of the elite that wish a return to old arrangements and Brazil's subservience to foreign interests, especially in the U.S. and Europe.

First Round

President Dilma Rousseff and Marina Silva for the Brazilian Socialist Party (BSP) and the United for Brazil coalition were considered the two leading candidates. Silva ran on the Green Party's presidential ticket in 2010.

There were nine other candidates: Aécio Neves of the PSDB and the Change Brazil Coalition; Luciana Genro of the Socialism and Freedom Party (PSOL); Everaldo Pereira of the Social Christian Party (PSC); Eduardo Jorge of the Green Party (PV); Levy Fidelix of the Brazilian Labour Renewal Party (PRTB); Zé Maria of the United Socialist Workers' Party (PSTU); José Maria Eymael of the Christian Social Democratic Party (PSDC); Mauro Iasi of the Brazilian Communist Party (PCB); and Rui Costa Pimenta or the Workers' Cause Party (PCO).

Cuban writer Manuel E. Yepe, writing on October 1 pointed out how the support for Marina Silva, formerly a member of the Workers' Party (PT), collapsed:

"Former Senator Silva, 56 years old, was a member of PT until 2009, and has since approached various political formations. She jumped into the current Brazilian presidential campaign last August, as vice presidential candidate on the ticket of socialist Eduardo Campos.

"When Campos died in an airplane crash on August 13, the BSP replaced him with Marina Silva who, with an image linked with popular movements during her nearly three decades of militating in the PT, and projecting herself as a fervently evangelical environmentalist, rose rapidly in the polls and became a threat to Rousseff's re-election.

"Marina spoke of a shift in the foreign policy of Brazil, emphasizing that in her coming to power it could revitalize diplomatic and economic ties with the United States and Europe, with whom she would promote the signing of new trade agreements.

"As a radical environmentalist subordinated to corporate groups, Marina responded ambiguously, using ethical and religious arguments, to questions about her plans regarding hydrocarbons.

"But, to the surprise of a right which presumed it had the campaign under control and felt close to winning the election, Dilma gave her campaign a shift to the left. She said, without euphemisms, that Marina Silva represented the bankers and powerful entrepreneurs seeking to regain a control of the state that they have not had during the PT administrations.

"Several leaders of popular movements, including Amazon farmers, denounced Marina's shift to positions different from those she had when she was a PT activist.

"Immediately, voting preference polls began to reverse, and soon Dilma stood as favorite to win in the first round or, if necessary, in a second."

Second Round

In the second round on October 26, President Rousseff will face Aecio Neves of the PSDB.

Writing about what to expect in the second round, Vermelho, the newspaper of the Communist Party of Brazil (PcdoB), warns: "The majority won by the president, however, does not represent a clear and automatic win in the second round. In the last days of the campaign a conservative and reactionary wave grew that catapulted the vote for the opposition candidate [...]

"The reactions of the main leaders of neo-liberal and conservative forces and the media indicate that their activities are in full swing for a strong reactionary offensive to defeat President Dilma on October 26.

"The second round of the battle seems tough and complex. The polarization assumes that both sides will put in play the maximum concentration of forces in a clash that everyone knows is decisive for the present and the future of our country and people," Vermelho concludes. It puts the challenge to all the progressive forces to take up the campaign in the second round with confidence in the developing political consciousness of the Brazilian people to make the choice that will affirm their desire for progress and the sovereignty of the nation.

In an October 7 item for the Strategic Culture Foundation, Nil Nikandrov writes about the aims of Aecio Neves and the Social Democracy Party:

"Neves is supported by U.S. and West European information agencies. He opposes the policy that has been implemented during the recent 12 years by the ruling Workers Party. [...]

"The objective of Neves and his team is to grab power and hold it to serve the interests of big business. His propaganda efforts are based on the thesis that "people got tired of the dictatorship of the Workers Party" which is unable to get the "stagnated" economy moving, tackle health care, education and fight corruption. Neves gives away promises saying he intends to establish order with an iron hand. The first step would be radical personnel reductions in the ministerial offices. He is going to cut the number of ministries in half. Neves promises to make the national Central Bank independent and put an end to any interference of state into economy: 'no regulation from above: business should be free.' Neves blames the Dilma government for [an] economic slump. He wants to make GDP grow by implementing well-thought over reforms and reshaping the system of taxation. [...] Skeptical responses started to appear in media saying this man cannot be trusted. Former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and incumbent President Dilma Rousseff boast undisputed foreign policy achievements strengthening Brazil's clout in South and Central America, as well as in the Caribbean. It makes Neves speak cautiously about international issues. What will Brazil's foreign policy be like [if] Neves comes to power?

"He does not say Mercosur (a sub-regional bloc comprising Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay and Venezuela) is useless but believes some corrections should be inserted into the constitutional instruments of the alliance to enable Brazil to strike strategic agreements without constraints. Actually he means a bilateral free trade agreement with Washington. Neves is keen to boost ties with industrially developed countries of Western Europe and Japan, and to take steps to develop close ties with the Pacific alliance created by the United States. That's why he does not speak out in clear terms about the relationship with the Bolivarian Alliance (formally the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America) which includes Venezuela, Cuba, Ecuador, Nicaragua and Bolivia.

"Neves warns the neighboring states [about] drug trafficking on Brazilian territory. The United States takes a similar stance on the issue: everyone is guilty except us! The special anti-drug agencies of Bolivia, Venezuela, Peru and other states cooperate with Brazil and have achieved significant results while fighting the drug dealers. Tons of hallucinogenic substances have been eliminated as a result of combined operations. The very tone of the critical remarks made by Neves lead to the isolation of Brazil in Latin America. [...]

"Experts agree that the run-off election is a race where two different social-economic models are vying for voters' support. Brazil has faced significant reforms in the recent years; millions have improved their living standards. Fighting poverty, racial intolerance and discrimination of all kinds, creating new workplaces and proper conditions for the professional development of the youth are among the changes achieved. Even Western media outlets recognize that the scale of social reforms in Brazil is unparalleled. Dilma's government enjoys the political support of other Latin American states. [...] [If] Neves wins many social and political achievements of the Workers' Party will be put in jeopardy. Integration processes will be reconsidered in favor of 'partnership' with the United States."

For her part, President Rousseff stands on the record of her government and says that Brazilians do not want "ghosts of the past" that were present during the government of the PSDB, such as economic recession, higher unemployment, and lower real wages. She states that the PSDB "bankrupted the country three times" and that when it had the opportunity to do so, never took measures to increase social inclusion or reduce inequality. The PSDB has "always ruled for just a third of the population and abandoned the poorest people in Brazil," she added. Regarding the effect the election of Neves could have on Brazil's international standing, Rousseff warned, "The Brazilian people do not want [...] a subordinate international position, that kneels before the IMF. The Brazilian people yearn for more progress."

Meanwhile, the Brazilian Socialist Party gave its backing to Neves on October 8. Its presidential candidate Marina Silva said on October 9 that she will wait for "progressive commitments" from Neves before giving her personal endorsement of his campaign.

(With files from Vermelho, Strategic Culture Foundation, CubaNews, Prensa Latina, Reuters, Wikipedia)

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