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Showing posts from March, 2013

Divisions within Chavism

Michael Lebowitz is professor emeritus of economics at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver Canada. He was director of the Program in Transformative Practice and Human development in Caracas, Venezuela from 2006-2011 Lebowitz discusses the divisions within Chavism and the outlook for Venezuela during Chavez's fourth term. Much of the material for this article is taken from an interview with a Croatian newspaper published on November 1st 2012. The original interview in Croatian can be found here. Although the interview was long before Chavez' death it nevertheless shows many of the problems that the revolutionary movement in Venezuela faces and gives a brief history of developments there that put the situation in context. Lebowitz discusses his general views on socialism, and the problems of promoting socialism in the 21st century, in the interview on the appended video. Before Chavez was elected, Lebowitz descibes Venezuela as a rentist economy depending upon oil revenues, and…

Rand Paul filibustering Brennan's appointment to CIA head

Representative Rand Paul is carrying out an old-fashioned filibuster that will hold up for an indefinite period the confirmation of John Brennan as chief of the CIA. Rand_Paul is focusing on the dangers of drone strikes against Americans in the US. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said today (March 6) that any Republican attempt to block a vote would lead him to start the process of ending debate. However, Reid did not actually begin the paperwork that would allow him to do this. As a result Reid cannot break in on Paul while he is holding the floor. The only solution seems to be for Paul to finally yield. Rand Paul is a Republican and junior United States Senator for Kentucky.He is a member of the Tea Party and describes himself as a constitutional conservative and libertarian. He is the son of the recently retired libertarian and former representative from Texas, Ron Paul. Rand Paul said:“I will speak as long as it takes, until the alarm is sounded from coast to coast that our Const…

Australian helicopter attack kills two Afghan children herding cattle

In a rare apology NATO admitted a helicopter fired on two boys herding cattle mistaking them for insurgents in Uruzgan province. General Joseph Dunford said in a statement : "I offer my personal apology and condolences to the family of the boys who were killed....I am committed to ensuring we do the right thing for the families of those we harmed, as well as for the community in which they lived."The children, aged seven and eight, were killed while herding cattle. Insurgents apparently had fired at the helicopter that shot the children. There have been numerous incidents in which civilians are killed in air attacks called in when there is a conflict with Taliban fighters or other incidents. Here are a few examples: 13 Feb 2013: 10 people killed, including women and children, in a NATO air strike in Kunar province 14 Oct 12: Three civilians die during a NATO operation in Helmand province 6 Jun 12: 18 civilians killed in a NATO air strike in Logar province Karzai has constant…

Women in Afghanistan often jailed for "moral crimes"

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Even though the Taliban government in Afghanistan fell more than ten
years ago, the justice system is still discriminatory in its treatment
of women as is the legal system.
Al Jazeera reporter, Jennifer Glasse reports from Herat at a women's jail. Many in Afghan jails are in jail for fleeing domestic abuse or violence. Even rape
victims are jailed for what are called "moral crimes" as the appended
video shows, Afghanistan is unique even among those countries which base
 their judicial system on Sharia law in that Afghanistan is the only
jurisdiction which claims there is a crime of fleeing. Heather Barr,
 Afghan Researcher, at Human Rights Watch said: "Afghanistan is the only
 Islamic government in the world that specifically criminalised running
away." There is no mention of the offense in Afghan law. The problem of
running away could be solved if Afghanistan had more women's shelters
and other programs.


A report issued
 by Human Rights Watch last year, …

Taliban are infiltrating Afghan Local Police

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The Taliban are infiltrating local militias funded and trained by the US to attack the Taliban and control security in local areas.
   A recent attack that killed 17 local police was carried out by Taliban infiltrators. Earlier reports, such as this one in Digital Journal, did not go into details about the attack. The New York TImes now reports that several members of the Afghan Local Police drugged 17 of their fellow police officers and then executed them. They then stole all their weapons and fled after setting a police vehicle afire. Afghan officials subsequently said that the attackers were Taliban infiltrators. The Taliban said that the attack was in revenge for atrocities and crimes carried out by these forces against local people. There have been numerous complaints about such forces from local people. A Taliban spokesperson said: “Locals in the area were tired of the atrocities and crimes of these [irregular militias] and their lives and property were not safe."
   Recent…