Thursday, October 8, 2009

Pakistani FM: US may know Bin Laden's hideout

The United States may know the location of Osama Bin Laden's hideout, says the Pakistan's foreign minister.

"US may be aware of the whereabouts of Osama bin Laden," Shah Mehmood Qureshi told reporters in Washington on Tuesday, according to the India-based Sifynews.

“The US troops, engaged in a gruesome battle in Afghanistan, are equipped with sophisticated, state of art technology and weapons hence they may be aware about Laden's whereabouts,” Sifynews quoted Qureshi as saying.

The United States had recently claimed that the notorious al-Qaeda leader has sought refuge in Pakistan.

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Treesit above Pettry Bottom, WV

Skeptics counter conspiracy theories

From When skeptics fight back by Arran Froodd

Conspiracy theorists have used the internet to co-ordinate increasingly slick attacks on the accepted versions of events, but now a group of scientists and sceptics has decided it's time to organise and fight back.

Conspiracy theories are pervasive and popular.

A poll for the Scripps Howard media organisation in 2006 suggested 36% of Americans suspected government involvement or deliberate inaction in the 9/11 attacks, and belief in a Kennedy conspiracy ran at 40% in the same poll.

A decade after Princess Diana's death, one survey found a fifth of Britons believed she was murdered. And to millions across the world, 2009's Apollo Moon landing 40th anniversary was a hollow sham because we have never been there.

Conspiracy theories predate the internet but the web has provided a fast, accessible platform for groups to unite, gather research and disseminate information without even meeting or leaving their houses.

While many people find them harmless fun, others believe there is a darker truth - that conspiracy theories are rewriting history, warping the present and altering the future. Enough is enough they say - it's time to fight back.

Isolated sceptics

Enter the sceptics with the gathering of The Amazing Meeting (TAM) in London, the first of the conferences outside the US. A fundraising offshoot of the non-profit James Randi Educational Foundation (JREF), TAM London saw scientists, writers and comedians target conspiracy theories - and their close cousins pseudoscience and medical quackery - in front of an audience loosely allied by their desire for more rational, critical thinking.

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Armed guards and checkpoints as repression continues in Durban South Africa

The Shackdwellers Movement, or Abahlali baseMjondolo (ABM), are a movement of the poor in South Africa, at the forefront of emerging global struggles of the poor for a right to a decent life and a right to housing. After what appears to be an ANC sponsored attack on leaders of the movement many have fled for their safety. Armed forces now occupy the Kennedy Road settlements where the attacks occurred and the local ANC government has established ID card checks for all who wish to participate in meetings.

An Update from Abahlali baseMjondolo

The Kennedy Road settlements remains under the control of Jackon Gumede, the chairperson of the Branch Executive Committee of Ward 25 in Durban. He continues to rule the settlement by armed force and to demand that people show ANC membership cards before being allowed to participate in any meeting. The looting of the homes of those who have fled continues. The police continue to do nothing. They have not yet arrested any of the mob that attacked Abahlali baseMjondolo and yet our members, victims of this attack, remain in the Sydenham jail. S'bu Zikode continues to receive death threats and threats to his family. Many people remain with out shelter. Some of the media are still reporting the views of the police, who supported the attack on us, as if they were the truth. But every day more of the truth is coming out. Time is on our side - every day more of the truth comes out.

In previous years we were mobilizing in support of the comrades in Haiti. Now the world mobilizes to defend us. Support continues to pour in from around the country and around the world. Our members have arrived in Durban from as far aways as Cape Town. Our first priority remains the safety of our members but we wish to make it clear to the ANC and to the world that we are determined to continue our struggle

Background on the Attacks

In the early morning hours of September 27th, 2009 an armed mob of about 40 men began attacking ABM leaders, injuring and killing ABM members, destroying homes in the Kennedy Road shack settlement in Durban, South Africa. The mob was armed with guns and bush knives and was calling out the names of the President and Vice President of the Abahlali baseMjondolo movement, threatening them with death. In the morning 3 were dead, many injured and over 1,000 of the residents fled the settlement. Since then, the leaders of this movement have been in hiding as the attacks and intimidation continue inside the Kennedy Road settlement. The home of ABM's President and the office have been destroyed.

ABM leaders understand that these attacks have been carried out with the support of the local ANC government, and that these attacks are an escalation of tactics aimed at destroying the Shackdwellers Movement (ABM). The government has a deeply vested, urgent interest in destroying this movement, because the World Cup is coming to South Africa in 2010. The image of large numbers of poor South African people, living in sub-human conditions in shack settlements right outisde of Durban is not something that the government wants the world to see. Therefore, to prepare for the World Cup, the government is attempting to relocate all shack settlements to approximately 15 miles outside of Durban. The Shackdwellers movement has been actively resisting these plans, by organizing the poor, taking legal action and meeting with international allies. ABM leaders believe the growing power of their movement has lead to an escalation of tactics by the local ANC government; including these violent attacks.

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South Africa’s poor targeted by evictions, attacks in advance of 2010 World Cup

Thousands of South Africans are being displaced in preparation for the 2010 World Cup. While Durban completes the finishing touches on its new stadium, thousands of the city’s poor who live in sprawling informal settlements are threatened with eviction. On Saturday, an armed gang of some forty men attacked an informal settlement on Durban’s Kennedy Road, killing at least two people and destroying thirty shacks. Democracy Now! speak to two South African activists who are fighting back.

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Cindy Sheehan arrested outside White House

Cindy Sheehan, dressed all in black with the words "greed kills" printed on her chest, was arrested by United States Park Police today after chaining herself to a White House fence as part of a protest against the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

According to organizers, 61 people in total were arrested at the protest, which was also in service of efforts to "Close Guantanamo and Bagram, Surge Spending on Housing and Jobs."

Organizers said hundreds participated in the protest, which included poetry, song, and puppet heads of George Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and Condoleezza Rice dressed in prison stripes.

While some protesters chained themselves to the White House fence, others lay on the ground, pretending to be dead, CNN reports. Organizers requested a meeting with President Obama to discuss their beliefs.

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Israeli teens resist military service

Sometimes revolution ignites when individuals ask themselves one simple question: "Why?" These two Israeli teens, Maya Wind and Netta Mishly, asked themselves "Why terrorism?" "Why hostility?" "Why crisis?". When they discovered the answers, they decided not to perform their mandatory military service. These adloescents are known as the Shministim and are currently on a U.S. tour with the group Jewish Voices for Peace and CodePink and here today, sharing with us why they chose the bold path of defiance through nonviolent activism for justice and peace in Israel and Palestine. For more info, go to:

The demise of the dollar

In a graphic illustration of the new world order, Arab states have launched secret moves with China, Russia and France to stop using the US currency for oil trading

By Robert Fisk

In the most profound financial change in recent Middle East history, Gulf Arabs are planning – along with China, Russia, Japan and France – to end dollar dealings for oil, moving instead to a basket of currencies including the Japanese yen and Chinese yuan, the euro, gold and a new, unified currency planned for nations in the Gulf Co-operation Council, including Saudi Arabia, Abu Dhabi, Kuwait and Qatar.

Secret meetings have already been held by finance ministers and central bank governors in Russia, China, Japan and Brazil to work on the scheme, which will mean that oil will no longer be priced in dollars.

The plans, confirmed to The Independent by both Gulf Arab and Chinese banking sources in Hong Kong, may help to explain the sudden rise in gold prices, but it also augurs an extraordinary transition from dollar markets within nine years.

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The film that can stop the war

It’s do or die time for the peace movement, as the Obama administration heads for granting all or part of an additional troop request in Afghanistan. We’ve seen it happen before. Lots of calls for timelines in Congress, lots of calls for exit strategies, then the Pentagon gets everything it wants anyway, as a result of spineless congressmen unwilling to challenge the military-industrial complex. Many Americans, disapproving of the war but not directly affected by deployments in their own families, will go along, as they struggle with their own problems with the economy. Many do not see the direct relationship between this and the enormous cost of war.

Although the peace movement has slowed the momentum for a troop escalation drastically, a critical tipping point in awareness among the general public is needed. What is missing is an understanding of what drives the insurgency, and how it can be addressed. The amazing fact is, despite repeat acknowledgments by the Obama administration that there is no military solution, the administration pursues - what? - a military solution:

“In Afghanistan, as in Iraq, there is no purely military solution, to state the obvious. The guts of our policy, in my view, must be to win the allegiance of the Afghan people to a better future and to help their government connect with the people and deliver on that future.” - Vice President Joe Biden on Feb. 25, 2008

The new 26 minute documentary “Afghan Marshall Plan: Winning With Jobs, Not Guns” was created to provide an understanding of the insurgency among the general public which will cause all remaining polled support to collapse. Only this will force the politicians into a new posture.

You can watch it online here:

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Celebrating slaughter: War and collective amnesia

By Chris Hedges

War memorials and museums are temples to the god of war. The hushed voices, the well-tended grass, the flapping of the flags allow us to ignore how and why our young died. They hide the futility and waste of war. They sanitize the savage instruments of death that turn young soldiers and Marines into killers, and small villages in Vietnam or Afghanistan or Iraq into hellish bonfires. There are no images in these memorials of men or women with their guts hanging out of their bellies, screaming pathetically for their mothers. We do not see mangled corpses being shoved in body bags. There are no sights of children burned beyond recognition or moaning in horrible pain. There are no blind and deformed wrecks of human beings limping through life. War, by the time it is collectively remembered, is glorified and heavily censored.

I blame our war memorials and museums, our popular war films and books, for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as much as George W. Bush. They provide the mental images and historical references to justify new conflicts. We equate Saddam Hussein with Adolf Hitler. We see al-Qaida as a representation of Nazi evil. We view ourselves as eternal liberators. These plastic representations of war reconfigure the past in light of the present. War memorials and romantic depictions of war are the social and moral props used to create the psychological conditions to wage new wars.

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Iran and the G20 meeting: Creating a crisis to cover divisions

By Sara Flounders

The G-20 meeting in Pittsburgh gathered the finance ministers, top bankers and political leaders of the world’s largest economies, ostensibly to take up the most serious economic collapse of capitalism in three generations. Instead, they attacked Iran.

Without proposing measures to ameliorate the suffering of the hundreds of millions of workers who have lost their jobs, without announcing jobs programs or infrastructure construction, U.S., British and French imperialism joined together with bombast to threaten Iran on totally fabricated charges. They have demanded that the United Nations Security Council and members of the G-20 collaborate on a new round of sanctions against Iran.

Emergency economic proposals were not even on the agenda.

In a theatrical press conference on Sept. 25, flanked by French President Nicolas Sarkozy and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, with German Chancellor Angela Merkel delayed but on her way, President Barack Obama declared that Iran was threatening the stability and security of the region and the world. Refusal to “come clean,” he said, “is going to lead to confrontation.”

Sarkozy and Brown denounced Iran and explicitly demanded harder sanctions.

They threatened a military strike, saying that “all options are on the table with regard to Iran.”

This whole scenario shows that these bankers, finance ministers and politicians have no solutions for the crisis wracking the globe. They used the summit to justify the bailout of the banks and to give vague assurances of future economic recovery. The trillions of dollars handed over to the banks is the greatest redistribution of national treasuries in human history.

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Large Hadron Collider looks for November restart

The world's largest particle accelerator is on course for a November restart. Six out of eight superconducting sectors are down to working cryogenic temperatures, according to Cern, the European Organization for Nuclear Research.

James Gillies, head of communications for Cern, told ZDNet UK on Monday that the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) would probably be ready to collide beams of particles by mid-November.

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World Zero Evictions Days 2009

On the occasion of World Habitat Day 2009 celebrated by the UN-Habitat with the motto “Planning our urban future”, the International Alliance of Inhabitants, the world-wide network for housing rights with no frontiers, has issued a critical communiqué launching the World Zero Evictions Days to support resistances and alternatives for participating cities, a concrete foundation for a new Urban Social Pact. At its heart: the demand for a world-wide moratorium to evictions; and funding for housing and habitat in a “New Green Deal” for at least a billion people. This funding would be based, among others, on the investment of an important part of developmental aid as well as on the annulment of external debt, transformed into a Popular Fund for land and housing. This is the concrete enactment of the agreements made by all international networks for housing and city rights at the WSF 2009, the next step in the unifying process of building the World Assembly of Inhabitants on 2011.

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