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The Chavez reader

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Los que mueren por la vida
no pueden llamarse muertos

Those who die for life
cannot be called dead.
(Ali Primera –

“Most of what you read or hear in mass media about President Hugo Chavez is always negative, his faults exaggerated, his discourse distorted and his achievements ignored. The reality is quite different.

“Hugo Chavez was beloved by millions around the world. He changed the course of a continent and led a collective awakening of a people once silenced, once exploited and ignored. Chavez was a grandiose visionary and a maker of dreams.

“An honest man from a humble background who lived in a mud hut as a child and sold candies on the streets to make money for his family, Chavez dreamed of building a strong, sovereign nation, independent of foreign influence and dignified on the world scene. He dreamed of improving the lives of his people, of eradicating the misery of poverty and of offering everyone the chance of a better life – the “good life” (el buenvivir), as he called it.”

[From ZCommunications | Hugo Chavez, Dream Maker by Eva Golinger | ZNet Article]

“In many ways, it has. Under Chávez’s watch, Venezuela has become more equal, the most egalitarian country in Latin America in fact, according to the Gini coefficient if income distribution. Poverty has been reduced significantly, and extreme poverty almost stamped out. Illiteracy has been eliminated and education is freely accessible, through the university level, to even the poorest Venezuelans. Health care is free and universal. Despite catastrophic language by the Venezuelan opposition and foreign press, the economy is strong, and has weathered the global economic crisis better than most (notably, the United States).”

[From ZCommunications | Preparing for a Post-Chávez Venezuela by George Ciccariello-Maher | ZNet Article]

“When Hugo Chávez triumphed in the 1998 presidential elections, the neoliberal capitalist model was already foundering. The choice then was none other than whether to re-establish the neoliberal capitalist model — clearly with some changes including greater concern for social issues, but still motivated by the same logic of profit seeking — or to go ahead and try to build another model.

“I believe that Chávez’s chief legacy is having chosen the latter alternative.”

[From ZCommunications | Chávez’s Chief Legacy: Building, with People, an Alternative Society to Capitalism by Marta Harnecker | ZNet Article]

“Well, I guess in the economic or socioeconomic scale, there’s—the most important thing is having turned Venezuela from being one of the most unequal countries in Latin America to one of the most equal ones, or actually the most equal ones in terms of income. It’s a complete turnaround, and that’s quite dramatic. If you look at statistics about income inequality, Venezuela has now the least income inequality of South America, right after Cuba, in any case.

“And then the other thing is that he halved the poverty rate. He decreased the extreme poverty rate by two-thirds.”

[From ZCommunications | Chavez Democratized Venezuela Making it the Most Equal Country in Latin America by Gregory Wilpert | ZNet Article]


Written by Sean Bozkewycz

March 17, 2013 at 05:17

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Government arms race kicks into high gear as DHS buys 2,700 armored vehicles for streets of America

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Nothing to see here folks, just 2,700 light tanks for the streets of the USA… don’t worry about it.


(NaturalNews) When DHS purchased 1.6 billion rounds of ammunition to be used domestically, inside the USA, and I said this looks like a government agency preparing for war with the American people, I was told, “That’s crazy. The government would never do that.”

When DHS purchased 7,000 full-auto assault rifles to be used inside the United States, calling them “personal defense weapons” that could be used in urban warfare, I was once again told I was crazy for suggesting the government was arming up for war with the American people.

Now DHS has retrofitted 2,717 “Navistar Defense” armored vehicles for service on the streets of America. Cli [From Government arms race kicks into high gear as DHS buys 2,700 armored vehicles for streets of America]

Written by Sean Bozkewycz

March 5, 2013 at 16:18

Tar Sands export routes across North America – Maps

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Will this fossil fuel export proposition be the final nail in humanity’s climate change coffin or the spark for real change? It’s up to you.

Idle No More.

Wilderness COmmittee Tar Sands North America pipelines.jpg

Tar Sands Pipelines in North America – [From Kinder Morgan Pipeline Route Maps | Wilderness Committee]

Written by Sean Bozkewycz

February 15, 2013 at 08:55

ZCommunications | Drones, US Propaganda and Imperial Hubris by Sarah Waheed | ZNet Article

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The US thinks that Pakistanis need help to understand why they should support the use of drones to murder their countrymen:

The truth is that the majority of Pakistanis do not support having the sovereignty of Pakistan violated. Even the Pakistani government objects. Maybe that is because, to borrow Obama’s words, “There’s no country on earth that would tolerate missiles raining down on its citizens from outside its borders.” Without even once trying to explain why the use of drones in Pakistan is necessary, the Atlantic article basically claims that Pakistanis want drone attacks, but that not enough Pakistanis want them badly enough.”

Read the full article: ZCommunications | Drones, US Propaganda and Imperial Hubris by Sarah Waheed | ZNet Article

Written by Sean Bozkewycz

January 29, 2013 at 11:15

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New Scramble for Africa: Imperialism Plans “Decades of War” | Global Research

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More on Mali from Global Research. [From New Scramble for Africa: Imperialism Plans “Decades of War” | Global Research]


“Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron vowed that the UK will “work with others to close down the ungoverned space” in northwest Africa “with all the means that we have.” Terming the developments in Mali and neighboring countries a “global threat,” Cameron declared they would “require a response that is about years, even decades, rather than months.””


So much for Obama’s inauguration rhetoric. “A decade of war is now ending,” he declared Monday, just a day after Cameron’s warning that decades of war in Africa have only just begun.

Written by Sean Bozkewycz

January 26, 2013 at 12:53

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Chomsky on Iran and International Law

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International law you can forget about. The United States just violates international law with impunity. Nobody even notices it. Every time any political figure opens his mouth about Iran and they say “all options are on the table,” meaning “if we want to bomb you we will.” There happens to be something called the UN Charter which is the foundation of modern international law. The US was very proud to have helped implement it. Take a look at Article II; you don’t have to go very far. It bans the threat or use of force in international affairs. The threat!  So, if you say “We are going to bomb you,” that itself is a violation of international law, let alone sending around assassination teams all over the place to kill people. They happen to come from the sky, but they are still assassination teams. Just suppose that Iran was assassinating people at random in the United States because they are standing on street corners and they think “they can harm us some day,” so what would the reaction be?

In fact, the Iran case is extremely interesting, especially when you talk about nuclear war. Take a look at the presidential debates, or the press. [They say] the greatest threat to world peace is Iran’s nuclear capability, which maybe they don’t have, but nevertheless that is the greatest threat to world peace. “Capability,” notice, not bombs. That is uniform, across the board.

It does raise some questions for a person who can break out of the propaganda system for thirty seconds. First of all, who thinks so?  Well, it turns out to be a Western obsession. Most of the world doesn’t think so. The Arab world, which is sitting right there, they don’t like Iran, hostilities go back a long time, they don’t regard Iran as a threat. There are good polls of Arab public opinion. They don’t like Iran, but they don’t think of it as much of a threat. The threat they see is Israel and the United States. That is the threat and it is pretty realistic. Now that is not what is reported here. What is reported is that the Arabs support us in Iran. What that means is that the dictators support us. So, maybe the dictators support us. But, if the dictators support us, and the populations are all against us, that means “they support us,” because [U.S. power’s] hatred of democracy is so profound that it just doesn’t matter what people think. As long as the dictators support us and they can keep the populations under control we’re fine. That is deep and it is again elite opinion, and not, you know, so called “rednecks.”

So first, the non-aligned movement, which is most of the world, they don’t regard Iran as much of a threat. It is a US and to some extent a European obsession. OK, let’s say it is a real danger, let’s agree. How do you deal with it?  There happens to be a very simple way which could be implemented tomorrow, literally tomorrow. What you do is move towards a nuclear weapons free zone in the region. Just move towards it. That alone would begin to mitigate the threat. If you can implement it, that eliminates the threat such as it is. It happens to be supported by the whole world. It is not hard to implement.

At the last meeting of the non-aligned movement, they again called for it. The non-aligned countries are pressing for it very hard. Egypt has been in the lead for years in trying to move towards a nuclear weapons free zone. The support is so strong that Obama had to verbally say “Yea, it is a good idea,” although they added “not now, and it has to exclude Israel.”   OK, so no nuclear weapons free zone.

Can you implement it?  Sure. This month, December, there was supposed to be an international conference in Helsinki, Finland, to move toward establishing the framework for a nuclear weapons free zone. Well, Obama was quiet about it for awhile, until Iran said they would attend. As soon as Iran said they would attend, in early November, within days Obama canceled it. So, the meeting is canceled. We can’t allow Iran to attend a conference supported by virtually the whole world which would end the alleged Iran threat.

That didn’t end the story. The Arab states and the non-aligned movement continued to press for it, even after Obama cancelled it. Right after that the United States announced a nuclear weapons test, which much of the world regards as a violation of the non-proliferation treaty…we’re supposed to be getting rid of nuclear weapons.

Well, all of this happened just in the last couple of weeks and nobody is protesting and there is a very simple reason why nobody is protesting. Nobody knows!  Who knows about any of this? Unless you are a kind of fanatic who carries out your own private research projects, or unless you read some of the very-marginalized left press, I mean I’ve written about it, you can’t know. You can’t know because it hasn’t been reported.

It is kind of amazing, here is “the greatest threat to peace in the world,” and you cannot report the fact that there are ways to deal with it and the United States is blocking them. That is a degree of subordination to power that I don’t think could be achieved in a totalitarian state. And it is totally internalized. If you ask an editor they won’t know what you are talking about. There is no force; nobody’s got a gun to your head. There is no threat if you don’t report it.

You do find a couple of words here and there, maybe sometimes. The Washington Post reported a couple of lines from a Reuters wire service report. I think that is about it. Nothing happens to you. It is just internalized. You subordinate yourself to power, period. It doesn’t matter how significant the issues are. So, we’re moving on.

In fact, there was a meeting just a couple of days ago; it was organized by WINEP, “The Washington Institute for Near East Policy” which the press constantly turns to as a neutral source for analysis on the Middle East. It is an offshoot of AIPAC. They know it. But that is the “neutral” source. They just had a conference a couple of days ago in which Dennis Ross and a couple of these guys sounded off.  They say they know, I don’t know how they know, or whether they know, in the Obama Administration they are planning a few months of negotiations and if that doesn’t work then we bomb them.

OK, so you asked about international law?  Forget it. In fact, even technically the United States is self-immunized to international law. One of the things everybody ought to learn in elementary school is that when the United States agreed to join the World Court in 1946 (which the U.S. helped set up) it added a reservation — the U.S. cannot be charged under any international treaty. So it cannot be charged with any violations of the UN Charter, the Organization of American States, or any serious international treaty. So sure, we are immune to international law.

In fact, we are immune to trial under the “Genocide Convention.”  That was a reservation. Sure, we’ll sign it after forty years, but it doesn’t apply to the United States. All of this, incidentally, has come up in the “World Court,” in the international tribunals, and the U.S. position has been accepted. “Yes, you guys are free to violate laws as much as you want,” because the structure of the international tribunals is that both sides have to agree, unless you are trying some African, then you can do whatever you like, but among people who are considered human both sides have to agree, somebody has to agree to be subject to the jurisdiction. And so the U.S. is human, so therefore we are not subject to it. So even raising the question of international law is kind of beside the point in the United States.

[From ZCommunications | Hitting Society With A Sledgehammer by Noam Chomsky | ZNet Article]

Written by Sean Bozkewycz

January 25, 2013 at 13:45

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7 Brilliant Insights from Noam Chomsky on American Empire | Alternet

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{From AlterNet}

Noam Chomsky is an expert on many matters — linguistics, how our economy functions and propaganda, among others. One area where his wisdom especially shines through is in articulating the structure and functioning of the American empire. Chomsky has been speaking and publishing on the topic since the ’60s. Below are seven powerful quotes on the evils, atrocities and ironies of the American empire taken from his personal site and from a fan-curated Web site dedicated to collectingChomsky‘s observations.

1. [In early 2007] there was a new rash of articles and headlines on the front page about the “Chinese military build-up.” The Pentagon claimed that China had increased its offensive military capacity — with 400 missiles, which could be nuclear armed. Then we had a debate about whether that proves China is trying to conquer the world or the numbers are wrong, or something. Just a little footnote. How many offensive nuclear armed missiles does the United States have? Well, it turns out to be 10,000. China may now have maybe 400, if you believe the hawks. That proves that they are trying to conquer the world.

It turns out, if you read the international press closely, that the reason China is building up its military capacity is not only because of U.S. aggressiveness all over the place, but the fact that the United States has improved its targeting capacities so it can now destroy missile sites in a much more sophisticated fashion wherever they are, even if they are mobile. So who is trying to conquer the world? Well, obviously the Chinese because since we own it, they are trying to conquer it. It’s all too easy to continue with this indefinitely. Just pick your topic. It’s a good exercise to try. This simple principle, “we own the world,” is sufficient to explain a lot of the discussion about foreign affairs. — from “We Own the World” January 1, 2008.

2. “Could we stop the militarization of space? It certainly looks like we could. The reason is that the U.S. is alone, literally alone, in pressing for it. The entire world is opposed, because they’re scared, mainly. The U.S. is way ahead. If other countries are not willing to even dream of full-spectrum dominance and world control, they’re way too far behind; they will react, undoubtedly. But they’d like to cut it off. And there are several treaties, which are in fact already in place, that are supported literally by the entire world and that the U.S. is trying to overturn. One is the Outer Space Treaty of 1967, which bans placing weapons in outer space. Everyone signed it, including the United States. Nobody has tried to put weapons in outer space. It has been observed and would be easily detected if anyone broke it. In 1999, the treaty came up at the UN General Assembly, and the vote was around 163 to 0 with 2 abstentions, the U.S. and Israel, which votes automatically with the U.S.” — “Militarizing Space ‘to protect U.S. interests and investment,” International Socialist Review Issue 19, July-August 2001

3. “Globalization is the result of powerful governments, especially that of the United States, pushing trade deals and other accords down the throats of the world’s people to make it easier for corporations and the wealthy to dominate the economies of nations around the world without having obligations to the peoples of those nations.” — Profit over People: Neoliberalism and the Global Order

4. “[The U.S. still names] military helicopter gunships after victims of genocide. Nobody bats an eyelash about that: Blackhawk. Apache. And Comanche. If the Luftwaffe named its military helicopters Jew and Gypsy, I suppose people would notice.” — Propaganda and the Public Mind: Conversations with Noam Chomsky and David Barsamian

5. “If something is right (or wrong) for us, it’s right (or wrong) for others. It follows that if it’s wrong for Cuba, Nicaragua, Haiti, and a long list of others to bomb Washington and New York, then it’s wrong for Rumsfeld to bomb Afghanistan (on much flimsier pretexts), and he should be brought before war crimes trials.” — “On Terrorism,”Noam Chomsky interviewed by John Bolender, Jump Arts Journal, January 2004

6. “Suppose that, say, China established military bases in Colombia to carry out chemical warfare in Kentucky and North Carolina to destroy this lethal crop [tobacco] that is killing huge numbers of Chinese.” — Noam Chomskyon the irony of the drug war waged by the United States in Central and South America

7. The U.S. is, of course, concerned over Iranian power. That is one reason why the U.S. turned to active support for Iraq in the late stages of the Iraq-Iran war, with a decisive effect on the outcome, and why Washington continued its active courtship of Saddam Hussein until he interfered with U.S. plans for the region in August 1990. U.S. concerns over Iranian power were also reflected in the decision to support Saddam’s murderous assault against the Shiite population of southern Iraq in March 1991, immediately after the fighting stopped. A narrow reason was fear that Iran, a Shiite state, might exert influence over Iraqi Shiites. A more general reason was the threat to “stability” that a successful popular revolution might pose: to translate into English, the threat that it might inspire democratizing tendencies that would undermine the array of dictatorships that the U.S. relies on to control the people of the region.

Recall that Washington’s support for its former friend was more than tacit; the U.S. military command even denied rebelling Iraqi officers access to captured Iraqi equipment as the slaughter of the Shiite population proceeded under Stormin’ Norman’s steely gaze. — “Stability,” excerpted from The Fateful Triangle,1999

[From 7 Brilliant Insights from Noam Chomsky on American Empire | Alternet]

Written by Sean Bozkewycz

January 24, 2013 at 08:31

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