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Unrest in Iran over Fuel Rationing

Filed under: Iran

“Toop, Tank, Feshfesheh, Ahmadinejad Koshteh Sheh”. “Guns, fireworks, tanks, Ahmadinejad should be killed”. This is the slogan shouted by dozens and dozens of exasperated Iranians, during a violent protest against fuel rationing. Of all Persian Gulf countries, Iran is one of the leading producers and exporters of oil.

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Chavez touring Russia, Iran and Belarus

Filed under: Venezuela

Venezuela's president, Hugo Chavez started a six-day tour of Russia, Belarus and Iran during which he plans to discuss the possibility of buying weapons.

"Russia and Venezuela remain strategic partners in the energy sector, and this visit should serve to strengthen this cooperation," Chavez said at the opening ceremony of the Simon Bolivar Cultural Center in Moscow today. "Lukoil is already in Venezuela, and Mr. Bush doesn't like it," Chavez said.

Venezuela has already purchased some US$ 3 billion worth of arms from Russia, including 53 military helicopters, 100,000 Kalashnikov rifles, 24 SU-30 Sukhoi fighter jets and other weapons.

In Belarus, the Venezuelan leader will probably discuss a plan to buy an air defense system equipped with radar and antiaircraft missiles.

Chavez then travels to Tehran for talks aimed at further deepening his ties with Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who is one of Venezuela's closest allies outside Latin America. Chavez dismissed speculation that he would sign an agreement with Iran to develop nuclear weapons.
"We don't need an atomic bomb, because we already have one: it is called the Venezuelan people,'' he said in a televised speech to thousands of supporters at a political rally in Caracas. "That has the force of 100 atomic bombs." (Reuters, APF )

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Tony Blair to become new Middle East peace envoy

Filed under: Middle East

The outgoing British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, will be moving to Jerusalem to become the special envoy to the Middle East for the ‘International Quartet'. Representatives from the diplomatic grouping of the United States, Russia, the European Union and the United Nations agreed on the appointment at a meeting in Jerusalem on Tuesday. The post of special envoy had been vacant for more than a year.

"I think that anybody who cares about greater peace and stability in the world knows that a lasting and enduring resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian issue is essential," Blair said. "I have said on many occasions, I would do whatever I could to help such a resolution come about."

Blair's new post will be based in Jerusalem, with a potential second office in the West Bank. A major part of his job will be working with the Palestinians on security, economics and governance.

On Wednesday, the newly selected UK Labour Party leader, Gordon Brown, will succeed Blair as Prime Minister.

World Jewish Congress President Ronald S. Lauder welcomed the appointment of Blair. "I have found him extremely fair and he would make a wonderful envoy," Lauder told a press conference in Brussels.

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New Kurdish party in Iraq

Filed under: Middle East

Former minister Arshad Zebari has established a new political party called Freedom and Justice Party.

Zebari opposes the group leaded by Jalal Talabani (Iraq's President) and Massoud Barzani - Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) leader. He accused them of stealing "the will and options of the Kurdish people, seized their national will by force, spread corruption and embezzlement in Irbil, Al-Sulaymaniyah, and Duhuk and encroached on Arab provinces and governorates such as Mosul, Kirkuk, and Diyala, causing a sedition and war between the Kurds and their fellow Arabs, Turkomen, Christians, and Yezidis in a frantic attempt to divide Iraq and ignite fights between Iraqis." (article published by Al Quds Al Arabi, UK, 25 June 2007)

He further suggested that these leaders are eager to sell everything, including the Kurdish cause as long as they get fat paychecks from Iran, US or Israel. Is this the beginning of an internal tribal kind of strife among Kurds?

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A year later - Gilad Shalit is still captive

Filed under: Middle East

A year ago today, Hamas, the Army of Islam and the Popular Resistance Committees kidnapped Cpl Gilad Shalit. It was one of the most successful Hamas&Al Qaeda actions against Israel.

Ever since 1948 radical Palestinians and Muslim Arabs do what they most enjoy: undermine the signed agreements with Israel, send as many suicide bombers as possible (and here gender is irrelevant) attack Israeli towns and villages with Qassams, smuggle weapons and kidnap Israeli soldiers.

Hamas is no different than Fatah and these two are no different than al Qaeda, Hezbollah, Jemmah Islamyiah, and the list can go on and on. What all want is the destruction of Israel. The only difference is that some terrorist gangs say it out loud, others don't.

The Media Line reported that "New reports in Israeli media say the missing soldier is being kept in a room beneath a highly fortified building in Gaza that is booby-trapped. An Israeli television channel reported that Shalit is in a two-room suite 15 meters below the surface and accessed by a ladder lined with explosives. The channel's sources – said to be Hamas – claim Shalit has a "cordial" relationship with his guards who are under orders to treat him fairly"

What do Arabs say about it? They come with new talks initiative! In the end Israel will have to come up with a new security strategy since the present one is clearly not working in its benefit.

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Aussie cleric: We hate Israel!

Filed under:

What brings Sunni and Shiias together? Take a guess. If Israel is your answer you're right.

Sheikh Kamal Mousselmani -- head of the Supreme Islamic Shia Council of Australia announced this new alliance, its support for Hezbollah and hate towards Israel.

For more about Islamists in Australia read here and here.

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Mansour Dadallah: Osama Bin Laden is Alive and Kicking

Filed under: Central Asia

That may not be true, but it is worrying that the Talibans are still very active despite the NATO troops presence. Not only that but they seem to have enough financial and logistical resources to launch their own radio station.

You can read more about it here.

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Development boom in the Gulf

Filed under: Middle East

For the second time this year, Emirates the Dubai-based international airline, placed order for eight additional Airbus A380s, bringing to 55 its total order of this advanced double-decker aircraft.

"Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al-Maktoum, Chairman and Chief Executive, Emirates Airline and Group, signed the Letter of Intent with Airbus President and CEO Louis Gallois, at the Paris Air Show. The deal is worth an estimated US$2.6 billion in list prices."

Also the real estate industry is booming in the Arab Gulf states. For more read here and here.

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Syria's terror goes unhindered

Filed under: Middle East

Future Party parliamentarian Walid Eido was killed yesterday together with his son, bodyguards and few by standers by a car bomb. The assassination took place in Manara district located alongside Beirut's Corniche. One of NBN news anchor did not notice that the microphone is still on and made some shocking comments: "What took them so long to kill him?" (referring to Eido) she asked her co-worker. She also said "I wonder if Ahmad Fatfat is next" and "We have had enough of them." (referring to Siniora's anti-Syria government)

*NBN fired the woman and her co-worker and apologized for the mistake. Actually NBN merely apologized that the mic was on.

These terrorist attacks are designed to further destabilize the state. Syria is maneuvering on two fronts: 1) in Beirut it continues to target prominent anti-Syrian politicians, journalists and activists

2) outside the capital it uses Palestinian terror groups such as Fatah al Islam, al Qaeda affiliated cells etc In this respect Nahr el Bared is an example. In each refugee camp are literally more than dozen of terror sunni groups (small operative cells affiliated with Fatah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and groups like Esbat al-Ansar, Lebanese Jund as-Sham which means - Soldiers of Syria -- being based in Ein el Hilwe etc) - for the right price some may and few already did help the Syrians. After all they have nothing to lose.

You will find more about the math behind the assassinations here.

Meanwhile the Lebanese army does a wonderful job fighting Fatah al Islam at Nahr el Bared.

Such acts profoundly divides an already split society on sectarian, religious and ethnic lines.
We will have to wait for the International Tribunal to do some justice, but till then the country might slip into chaos. Middle East politics are impossible to predict, but the situation in Lebanon looks grim.

*NBN is Nabih Berri's TV station. Nabih Berri is Speaker of Parliament, Amal's leader and one of Syria's closest allies in Lebanon. Amal is part of the 8 March movement alongside Hezbollah, Free Patriotic Movement, the Syrian Social Nationalist party, Marada, etc)

**Naharnet too provides a translation of the incident -- read it here

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Auf Wiedersehen Fatah

Filed under: Middle East ~ Palestine

The news continues to filter in as the triumph of Hamas in the Gaza strip becomes apparent, culminating with the Palestinian government being dissolved by President Mahmoud Abbas this past hour. Fatah is running with its tail between its legs (quite literally -- 40 Executive Force soldiers loyal to Abbas had to blow up a section of the Israeli-constructed Gaza-Egyptian wall to escape Hamas), much to the dismay of the Western governments who trumpeted Abbas as the heralded moderate in post-Arafat Palestine. It seems his time is dwindling as a serious power broker in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict or in Palestinian internal affairs (the tally for Abbas brokered cease-fires to be ignored the next day is in the teens).

The casual observer will be quick to judge on lines of the media created zero-sum game between Islamist Hamas and Moderate Fatah (capitalized due to caricatures). While the adjectives may be comfortingly simple, the reality has always been faith-based militants with a panache for service and charity against white mustaches primarily interested in diverting funds to Swiss bank accounts and sending their children to Paris. While Hamas isn't nearly as popular as reported, Hamas has created a following extremely devoted to their principles, while Fatah generated support primarily by bullying and defacto generational transposition.

While Fatah was birthed out of the loins of the pan-Arab, Nassir-led movement, it was reared by the slimy hands of Yassir Arafat, who personally siphoned off over one billion dollars of international aid and lined the pockets of those around him. Arafat's malignant spirit still casts a dark shadow over a group that has continued to mimic his policies of graft and kleptocracy. While the money laundering continued, Fatah sunk in a cesspool of its own political bankruptcy, leading to the dismal showing in the 2006 parliamentary elections that may be regarded in the future as the institutional revolution of Hamas.

In the short run, the collapse of the Palestinian government and the split between a Fatah dominated West Bank and a Hamas dominated Gaza will be disastrous. But in the long term, this may speed up the precipitous decline of Fatah, a shell of a party that long ago abandoned its platform of secular socialism in favor of an unhealthy dose of bureaucracy and corruption. The only hope can be that a true moderate party, more responsive to the Palestinian people, will arise during the slow bleed of Fatah's death.

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Just Who Does CAIR Represent?

Filed under: Middle East

The Washington Times reports that the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), which purports to be the strongest liason between the Islamic and Western worlds, is losing membership fast. In fact, it's membership has dropped so precipitously that it's barely making $50,000 in grassroots contributions a year now. It stays afloat entirely due to large contributions from wealthy donors afar.
Membership in the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) has declined more than 90 percent since the 2001 terrorist attacks, Audrey Hudson will report in Tuesday's editions of The Washington Times.

According to tax documents obtained by The Times, the number of reported members spiraled down from more than 29,000 in 2000 to less than 1,700 in 2006, a loss of membership that caused the Muslim rights group's annual income from dues to drop from $732,765 in 2000, when yearly dues cost $25, to $58,750 last year, when the group charged $35.

The organization instead is relying on about two dozen individual donors a year to contribute the majority of the money for CAIR's budget, which reached nearly $3 million last year.

Asked about the decline, Parvez Ahmed, CAIR board chairman, pointed to the number of individual donors to the organization.

"We are proud that our grass-roots support in the American Muslim community has allowed CAIR to grow from having eight chapters and offices in 2001 to having 33 today," Mr. Ahmed said.

The self-described civil liberties organization for Muslims seeks to portray "a positive image of Islam" through public relations and the media, but has instead alienated some by defending questionable accusations of discrimination.

Critics of the organization say they are not surprised membership is sagging, and that a recent decision by the Justice Department to name CAIR as "unindicted co-conspirators" in a federal case against another foundation charged with providing funds to a terrorist group could discourage new members.

M. Zuhdi Jasser, director of the American-Islamic Forum for Democracy, says the sharp decline in membership calls into question whether the organization speaks for 7 million American Muslims, as the group has claimed.

"This is the untold story in the myth that CAIR represents the American Muslim population. They only represent their membership and donors," Mr. Jasser said.
CAIR is by far the favorite organization of the media to go to whenever there is some Islam-related issue to talk about. They're the point men. You see them all over the place making untruthful, asinine comments because they are constantly stuck in front of TV cameras simply because they claim to represent the American-Muslim community.

This could never have been true in the first place, and even less so now. Most of CAIR's couple dozen donors are rich, royally-affiliated Saudi Arabs such as Prince Alwaleed, who donate millions of dollars to keep it afloat. In this sense, it is not even a grassroots organization, but just a plain old lobbyist firm that knows how to work the media. It represents Saudi interests in America; that alone should set off an alarm.

But say we continue to evaluate CAIR based on the premise that it is a grassroots organization. We would have to dismiss the fact that it only has 1700 members -- mostly based in California where, heck, there are mosques that have more members than that! We would also have to completely forget that only 25% of American Muslims are ethnic Arabs, even though most of CAIR's money comes from Saudi Arabia. In fact, the majority of American-Muslims are South Asian and African-America, with absolutely no ties to the world of Saudi oil money. According to CAIR:

Speaking of which, most Arab-Americans aren't even Muslim, but Christian.

The short end of it is that CAIR does not represent anyone but those who give it big bags full of cash. It's membership dues could barely sustain a family for a year, not to mention an entire organization! So the next time you see CAIR on the TV -- which it really shouldn't be after all these revelations -- just think about the money trail left behind it. Think to yourself: who is supposed to benefit from this garbage? And then change the channel.

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Aoun's surprising call

Filed under: Middle East

Hezbollah's ally and former foe General Michel Aoun, leader of the Free Patriotic Movement asked Siniora's government "to file a complaint with the UN Security Council so that any country exporting terrorists to Lebanon is condemned."

If it were not serious it would be hilarious. The countries that provoke chaos in Lebanon are the same that support his ally, Hezbollah.

Moreover, when the Lebanese army responded to Fatah al Islam terrorist attacks, Aoun as opposed to Sheikh Nasrallah said that the army has to do whatever it can to protect itself and the citizens. Is this a sign that Aoun is distancing himself from Hezbollah? FPM place was not along HA side to begin with.

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Pro-US Albania cheers President Bush

Filed under: Europe

While anti-Americanism is very strong and on the rise in Europe, nations that suffered from dictatorships or ethnic cleansings usually tend to be very friendly at the United States. Albania welcomed President Bush, as it remembers that America contributed a lot to its liberation by helping in the fight against Soviet Union and rescuing Kosovo's Albanians from the regime of deceased Serbian Communist and war criminal Slobodan Milosevic. While I'm not sure if independence for Kosovo is a good thing, I think that the photos below just show the genuine gratitude of a people who suffered communism and, in Kosovo, has been slaughtered in its thousands by the pro-Russian Serbs.

Kudos to Albania!

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Communist-Fascist moronic convergence against the US in Rome

Filed under: Europe

“Anti-War”, “Peace” activists, Fascists converge in Rome, show their true colors

Peaceful desire to destroy America

Peaceful Anti-semitism

Note: I read on a website, that there was a sign reading “We are all with the Taliban”.

The t-shirt this idiot is wearing represents the symbol of a communist ‘humanitarian’ NGO that has been operating in Afghanistan to supposedly ‘offer medical assistance to war victims’, while in reality it is a staunchly anti-american, stalinist organization whose members in Afghanistan include Taliban ‘militants’.

Showing their desire for peace..

Al-Reuters caption for this photo: “A protester waves a flag”

The Fascists joined their communist cousins:

“Bush, Rome will be your grave”. The Celtic Cross has been often abused by Fascism.

It has been reported that some of these retards assaulted the grave of Aldo Moro, the Christian Democratic Italian PM who was kidnapped and murdered by the Red Brigades terrorists in the late 1970s.

Cross-posted at Free Thoughts.

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Major International Arms Trafficker Arrested in Spain

Filed under: Europe

Monzer al-Kassar, an international arms dealers responsible for tens of millions of dollars in munitions going to rogue states and terrorist organizations, was arrested last night as he flew into the Barajas airport here in Madrid. His two associates, Tareq Mousa Al Ghaza, a Syrian national, and Luis Felipe Moreno Godoy, a Chilean national, were arrested in Romania.

Al-Kassar is one of the biggest arms dealers in the world. He has sent weapons to nearly every major insurgent group and dictatorship in the world, often funding both sides of a conflict. I mean everyone. Military dictatorships in Chile and Argentina, Colombian Marxist rebels, the PLO, Iraqi insurgents, Yugoslav war criminals, you name it. He's been tried before but there was never enough direct evidence to put him in jail. Now they've got him. Having this guy rot in prison with no access to the outside world will be a boon to humanity.

I haven't read any of the news reports yet, but now that they've gone and done the press conference I might as well spill what I've learned while I was at the embassy today.

The operation took over four years, with DEA agents posing as members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia. They basically inked out a deal with al-Kassar to ship thousands of assault rifles, millions of rounds of ammunition, and even rocket grenade launchers and surface to air missiles to the FARC. It basically got down to the point where the weapons were all ready to be shipped out and he got nabbed just beforehand. In fact, al-Kassar has a compound just outside of Madrid where Spanish officials are expecting to find the weapons cache.

Arresting al-Kassar came after a provisional arrest request by the United States, and the takedown was coordinated between Spanish authorities, the Embassy, the DEA, and Southern District of NY's US Attorney's Office. The next step is to file the extradition request, and Spain is apparently very happy to do so. Here is a list of the charges:
- Conspiracy to provide material support or resources to a US-designated foreign terrorist organization {FARC]; - Conspiracy to kill US nationals;
- Conspiracy to kill officers and employees of the US ;
- Conspiracy to acquire and use anti-aircraft missiles; and
- Money laundering [Al Kassar and Moreno Godoy only].
The political differences between the United States and Spain are great, largely due to Zapatero's withdrawal of Spanish forces from Iraq and his policy of engagement with Cuba. The people at the embassy are greatly anti-Castro and you can always look around to find some sort of anti-Castro cartoon up on the bulletin boards. Because of big disagreements on this issue -- Condi even made comments about it on her visit here last week -- other more minor disagreements are often misinterpreted between agencies as having to do with Spain's Cuba policy.

This operation is a great example of cooperation between the two governments that extends beyond political differences into the field of precision and professionalism. They had a job to get done and they did it.

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Freedom of expression? Not available (yet) for Afghani women

Filed under: Asia

Zakiyyah Zaki owner of the private Afghani Radio Peace was shot seven times in front of her eight year old son. She is the second woman to be murdered after Shakibah Sanga Amaj, another Afghani media figure. It now appears that Zakiyyah Zaki, a former teacher has received threats in the past from local militia men who were "disturbed" by the talk shows hosted by Radio Peace about women rights and other social issues.

Despite the NATO presence the armed radical tribal militias are still alive and kicking. It is deeply concerning (to say the least) that women continue to be treated as second class citizens in Afghanistan and killed for expressing their views.

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Olmert's wishful thinking

Filed under: Middle East

Ehud Olmert insists on negotiating with Syria. Some from his cabinet and the military ranks have serious doubts about it. The US said that this is not the right time, and yet Olmert cannot be convinced. What is wrong with the man?! Didn't he learn by now that a concession to Muslims is a proof of weakness?

QUESTION: Do you support any Israeli decision to resume peace talks with Syria at this time?
MR. MCCORMACK: Same answer as this morning. I know that that ultimately is -- how Israel conducts its foreign policy is one for the Israeli Government to make on behalf of the Israeli people. At this point, I can't see that Syria has put itself out there as a proponent of positive change throughout the region in supporting greater freedom and democracy, but again, how Israel conducts its foreign policy is going to be a decision for them to make.

QUESTION: Do you encourage Israel to resume these talks?
MR. MCCORMACK: Michel, that's a -- you know, I'm not going to try to make foreign policy for Israel.

President Assad does not want peace with Israel. He wants to distract attention from the International Tribunal -- UN Resolution 1757, under chapter VII.

Those who believe that by giving back the Golan, Syria will no longer support terrorist groups such as Hamas, Hezbollah, Fatah al Islam and dozens others cannot be more wrong. Syria's privileged relationship with Tehran goes back to Hafez al Assad. There is no way that Damascus will exit the Iranian orbit sometime soon. All these are its trumps. Bashar will do everything necessary to ensure that its proxies fight his war (and Tehran's) in Lebanon, Iraq, Gaza and West bank.

Barry Rubin says it all in an interview with Michael Totten. Bashar Assad appears to be a peace-loving guy only because he is under pressure at home and internationally.

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RCTV Protests Spread To Atlanta, San Francisco, Mexico City

Filed under: Venezuela

caracaschamos
Venezuelan college kids, known as 'chamos', march in Sunday's rally in Caracas, forming the word 'libertad' or in English, 'freedom' with their bodies, as their rallying cry from the dictatorship of Hugo Chavez. It's the beginning of the end for that tyrannical sack of trash.
Source: El Universal

Venezuela's freedom protests are no longer about anything political - they are about freedom. Ignited by Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez's shutdown of Venezuela's largest TV station, RCTV, they began with a recognition that if the biggest and most popular TV station, soap operas and all, could be silenced because it refused to stop criticizing a brutal dictatorship as a matter of conscience, then so could they.

freedombabe
Venezuelan freedom babe demands liberty at one of the humoungous student rallies around Caracas this past week
Source: AFP, via Yahoo! News

These protests are about more than beloved RCTV, though. They are about ideals and democratic principles, and full of young people, read: babes, and in that regard, these marches are full of democratic revolutionaries in a true democratic revolution. I've not seen anything with this powerful dynamic since I hung out on the barricades in the streets of south Jakarta in 1998 as a foreign correspondent.

The white hand with a sort of peace sign is a symbol of resistance to tyranny among the Venezuelan college kids, maybe it will be historic
Source: AFP, via Yahoo! News

Venezuela's young revolutionaries are known as 'chamos' and they are amazingly organized. Today tens of thousands of Venezuelans marched in the streets of Caracas, as well as the cities of the Venezuelan hinterlands, places like Puerto Cabello and further afield, and now abroad, in Atlanta and San Francisco and Mexico City, maybe other places, too, all condemning Chavez's flaming hypocrisy.

protest
Venezuelans rally Sunday at the headquarters of CNN in Atlanta. Like RCTV, CNN has been threatened by the dictator. The kids want CNN to stay strong and not cave in. CNN would be wise to heed them
Source: Alexo05, no doubt a chamo, via Megaresistencia
See the whole album, here

The rallying cry is the simple word, 'freedom' in call for a principle applicable to all, not just the old elite or the chavista bolibourgeouisa one that's replaced them - the chamos want freedom for all. They want nothing to do with politics of either side. Politicians who've gotten into the act have been politely asked to leave. The kids have their own Web site here. They're led by student leaders with names like, I kid you not, Stalin Gonzalez, which, if anything, signals a pretty strong independent streak in the kid. His best friend is a guy named Nixon.

protest
Venezuelan chamos protested in San Francisco on Sunday, the most famously progressive city in the U.S., calling for freedom there, too. Where are the hippies who claim to stand for as much?
Source: J. Reed, Reed Research
Click KCBS -for story

Brave Globovision covered the rally, even though Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez crazily accused it of 'media terrorism' and vowed to shut it down. Against these threats, they only got braver. Media and students, together, leading the struggle for liberty in Venezuela, have not been seen since 1958, when this exact same dynamic along with sustained protests managed to topple another dictator. They're going on again. It's going to be a long hard slog and this dictator won't be dislodged easily. But they will keep marching until they get freedom.

protest
Putting tape over their mouths to protest the gagging of the free press, Venezuelans protest at the Venezuelan embassy in Mexico City, a city where many have been drive to exile from Chavez's tyranny and economic ruin.
Source: AP, via Yahoo! News

Long live Venezuela's democratic revolutionaries!

protest
An emerging rallying logo of the student movement in Venezuela
Source: Megaresistencia

commiedictator
...against this
Source: Megaresistencia

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Second Venezuelan TV Station Under Attack

Filed under: Venezuela

Alex Beech, a former Venezuelan TV newscaster, is now a writer in New York. She's knows a lot about the Venezuelan television industry and has watched this assault on RCTV closely. Wiith RCTV off the airwaves, she now sees tiny Globovision also under attack. Her thoughts, reprinted with permission, are well worth reading here:

Dear Friends,

During a nationally televised speech, President Chavez threatened to close down Globovision, the only remaining TV network which openly opposes his government. Chavez said he had the power to "not renew the concessions of some channels early," as the crowd chanted "A Globovision, ahora le toca." ("Now, it's Globovision's turn.")

At midnight on May 27th, the government took RCTV off the air, accusing it of participating in the events which temporarily removed him from power in 2002. RCTV was the only remaining VHF channel with a critical editorial line.

Before being removed from the air, RCTV had a 90% penetration throughout Venezuela, a 33% market share, and was ranked number one in the country for its entertainment and news programs. The government-financed network which replaced it moments after midnight, TVES, has fallen to the last place in the ratings. (In the latest survey, 83% of Venezuelans opposed the closing of RCTV; 70% believed its replacement will only broadcast pro-government content.)

Chavez's remaining target, Globovision is on channel 33, and is mainly viewed on cable. While only 47% of Venezuelans have cable, Globovision's investigative reporting, opinion shows, and editorial line have turned it into a state enemy.

If Globovision disappears, there will be NO dissenting voice on Venezuelan television, VHF or UHF. Please don't mistake "privately owned" with dissenting. While most media in Venezuela is privately owned, the voices of dissension are eroding. TO SURVIVE IN VENEZUELAN MEDIA IS TO BOW TO CHAVEZ. Dissenting voices have already disappeared from the channels with the best frequency, (2-13), and with only one dissenting channel remaining on television, it's only time before they also disappear from UHF, including cable and satellite. Radio and print media is sure to follow.

Freedom of expression is not a luxury, but a universal human right.

Best,

Alex Beech

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Golda Meir was right

Filed under: Palestine

This is what the Palestinians (Fatah, Hamas, Al Aqsa, Islamic Jihad, etc) promote: a Jihaddist/nihilistic type of culture.

It is beyond my imagination that caring and loving parents would ever encourage their children to kill others or themselves! And yet this is going on for decades in West Bank, Gaza strip and the Palestinian refugee camps. Watch the clip (number #1468) and see for yourself how innocent children are being transformed into potential criminals.

One of Meir's most famous quotes, "Peace will come when the Arabs will love their children more than they hate us." Sadly, that is still true today...

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