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Michael Munk shared a telling observation:
A report on a journalists' reunion in Ho Chi Minh City on the 35th anniversary of the US defeat in Vietnam says it all:
"This was the first foreign war the U.S. ever fought where the press challenged government thinking, challenged the decisions of generals, challenged the political decisions the war was based on," said former CNN correspondent Peter Arnett, who won a Pulitzer Prize for his Vietnam coverage in 1966 while working for The Associated Press. Arnett, like many of the globe-trotting journalists, came to Vietnam as a young reporter and grew up covering battles from the trenches where correspondents were permitted to go without restrictions. Many carried their war experience into other conflicts, including Iraq and Afghanistan, but said they were never again given such freedom to tell their stories from the front lines.
"No longer will you ever be able to do wars like Vietnam," said Bob Carroll, a former United Press International photographer. "What did the military learn about press access from Vietnam? Don't give it to them."
Read the entire article: Vietnam War Journalists Reunite For Anniversary.
"When I saw those tanks, I felt so happy," said Thuy, who on Friday carried a hammer and a sickle flag. "The South had been liberated, the country was united, and the war was over."
Vietnam marked the 35th anniversary of the Communist victory in the Vietnam War with a grand military parade Friday through the former Saigon, with the government basking more in its economic achievements than its historic military defeat of the United States.
The city is now named for Ho Chi Minh, the father of the revolution, but signs of the burgeoning market economy are everywhere, with Communist banners competing for space with corporate ads and logos.
Some 50,000 invitees, many waving red and gold ruling party flags, crowded the parade route. They marked the day that North Vietnamese tanks smashed through the gates of the former Presidential Palace in Saigon and ousted the U.S.-backed South Vietnam government — the culmination of one of the most seismic military achievements since World War II. Read more.
U.S. Consolidates Military Network In Asia-Pacific Region
Rick Rozoff | Stop NATO | Blog site | April 28, 2010
The United States has six naval fleets and eleven aircraft carrier strike groups patrolling the world's oceans and seas. The U.S. Navy is as large as the world's next thirteen biggest navies combined .
Washington has as many aircraft carriers as all other nations together. Russia has one; China has none. The U.S. and its NATO allies - Britain (2), Italy (2), France (1) and Spain (1) - account for 17 of 22 in service in the world. Ten of the eleven American carriers are Nimitz class nuclear-powered supercarriers, substantially larger than most all non-U.S. ones. The U.S. Navy has all ten supercarriers in the world at the moment. 
U.S. aircraft carriers contain 70-80 planes and are available for deployment in all the world's oceans and most of its seas. They are escorted in their carrier groups by anti-air and anti-submarine warfare guided missile destroyers, anti-submarine warfare frigates, missile cruisers with long-range Tomahawks, and nuclear-powered fast-attack submarines. The U.S. also maintains between ten and twelve naval expeditionary strike groups which include amphibious assault ships and AH-1 Super Cobra attack helicopters in addition to destroyers, cruisers, frigates, attack submarines and P-3C Orion long-range anti-submarine and maritime surveillance aircraft.
With the reestablishing of the Navy's Fourth Fleet - its area of responsibility includes Central and South America and the Caribbean Sea - two years ago after a 58-year hiatus, the U.S. has six fleets that can be dispatched to all five oceans.
The Seventh Fleet (there is no First Fleet), based in Japan, is the largest of U.S. forward-deployed fleets and consists of as many as 40–60 ships, 200-350 aircraft and 20,000-60,000 Navy and Marine Corps personnel. Its area of responsibility takes in more than 50 million square miles of the Pacific and Indian Oceans, from Russia's Kuril Islands in the north to the Antarctic in the south, from the South China Sea to the Arabian Sea, South Africa to the Korean Peninsula, the Strait of Malacca to the Taiwan Strait.
When on the occasion of accepting the Nobel Peace Prize last December President Barack Obama referred to himself as the Commander-in-Chief of the world's sole military superpower he was not guilty of hyperbole if he was of hubris. His defense budget for next year is almost half as large as world military spending for 2008, the last year for which the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute has compiled figures.
Geoff Millard, Chair of Iraq Veterans Against the War, National Board Of Directors wrote:
From the 26th of March until the 9th of April I was lucky to be a part of a veterans delegation to Vietnam in order to do research in preparation for an upcoming push for legislation to alleviate the suffering of the people of Vietnam that has plagued them since we first started using agent orange in 1961.
Vietnam may seem an odd place for an Iraq vet whose parents had not even met when the last US forces retreated in defeat hanging from helicopters, but somehow I was the perfect piece to complete a very complicated puzzle. You see there are many connections to be made between the two wars but I was there because both were toxic battlefields that left veteran and civilian alike scared for many generations.
In the late 1960s and early 1970s it was not conservative veterans groups who were talking about the effects of agent orange (more specifically dioxin but for common understanding I will simply use AO as my reference), it was VVAW and CCI. As much as revisionists would love to write antiwar veterans from history or minimize them as a small force (as they are trying today with IVAW) the reality is that while the VFW would not allow Vietnam veterans to join their ranks antiwar vets were creating a new generation of leaders. These brave souls were the ones to first paint the words agent orange kills our soldiers on banners.
One of these young leaders would leave to form VVA but his roots are undeniably with VVAW. It is from the work of antiwar veterans that any compensation for AO has been granted. Thus it must again be antiwar vets that take up their banners and fight for compensation for the now three generations of survivors who have lived 35 years in a toxic battlefield that Americans have long since forgotten.
Japanese Military Joins U.S. And NATO In Horn Of Africa
Rick Rozoff | Stop NATO | Blog site | April 25, 2010
Japanese navy commander Keizo Kitagawa recently spoke with Agence France-Presse and disclosed that his nation was opening its first overseas military base - at any rate since the Second World War - in Djibouti in the Horn of Africa.
Kitagawa is assigned to the Plans and Policy Section of the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force, as his nation's navy is called, and is in charge of the deployment.
AFP quoted the Japanese officer as stressing the unprecedented nature of the development: "This will be the only Japanese base outside our country and the first in Africa." 
The military installation is to cost $40 million and is expected to accommodate Japanese troops early next year.
Djibouti rests at the confluence of the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden, across from strife-torn Yemen, and borders the northwest corner of equally conflict-ridden Somalia. The narrow span of water separating it from Yemen is the gateway for all maritime traffic passing between the Mediterranean Sea and the Indian Ocean via the Suez Canal, the Red Sea, the Gulf of Aden and the Arabian Sea.
Kyle Kajihiro sent the following report from Honolulu:
Yesterday, in solidarity with the 90,000+ Okinawans who rallied against U.S. military bases in Okinawa, the Hawai'i-Okinawa Alliance (HOA), the American Friends Service Committee - Hawai'i and DMZ-Hawai'i / Aloha 'Aina organized a vigil in front of the Japanese Consulate in Honolulu.
Approximately 40 people held signs and candles in front of the Japanese Consulate. Ukwanshin Kabudan, Nakem Youth, Fight for Guahan, Veterans for Peace and Urban Babaylan were some of the groups represented.
People spoke about the impacts of U.S. military bases in Hawai'i, Guam, Korea, and the Philippines and the need for our peoples to be in solidarity for the removal of these bases of war. Wearing a "Deji-wajiwaji!" HOA tee-shirt, World War II Veteran Don Matsuda called for the bases to get out of Okinawa. Kisha Borja-Kicho'cho' with a contingent from Fight for Guahan expressed solidarity from the Chamoru community in their struggle to resist the U.S. military base expansion on her home island. Many speakers expressed a desire to remove the oppressive military bases and make the Pacific a zone of peace. Several people came after seeing coverage of the event on the television. For some it was their first demonstration.
Norman Kaneshiro sensei and several young Okinawan musicians sang traditional Okinawan songs. We closed the circle with singing "Hana" (Kina Shoukichi's famous peace anthem).
Then we tied yellow ribbons with messages of peace written on them on the consulate fence.
The event was covered on KITV and KHNL television stations, and there reporters for the Okinawa Times and Ryukyu Shimpo covered the event.
Attached are some photos by Jamie Oshiro. More detailed report and photos to come.
Click "Read more" to see more event pictures.
I was in Hyderabad, India, from May through December, 2009. I returned to the US for January through March, and by April 2nd was again back here in Hyderabad.
I spent the last ten years studying - getting a degree in journalism and following that up with an MA in Integrative Studies. I wrote many articles and essays, wrote two books, and organized a national conference. I came to Hyderabad to organize the second conference.
The U.S. military on Okinawa is advising Department of Defense personnel and their families to stay away from the village of Yomitan on Sunday, where a large anti-base rally is scheduled.
Organizers said Wednesday they expect 100,000 people to gather at the village sports complex for the 3 p.m. event. Among featured speakers will be elected officials and union leaders.
If the size of the crowd turns out to be as big as predicted, it will be the largest anti-base event on Okinawa since 58,000 people gathered in Ginowan in October 1995 to protest the abduction and gang rape of a 12-year-old schoolgirl by two Marines and a sailor.
The crime sparked an anti-base movement that resulted in the U.S. and Japan agreeing the next year to return about 20 percent of the land used by the U.S. military on Okinawa. That agreement included closing Marine Corps Air Station Futenma if an alternate location on the island could be found. Several relocation plans followed and were scrapped because of opposition by anti-base and environmental-protection groups.
Japan’s new left-center government is reviewing a 2006 agreement to close Futenma and move the Marines to a new air facility to be built at Camp Schwab on Okinawa. Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama said he will settle on a proposed new location for Futenma operations by the end of May. Read more.
The United States Air Force has announced that it will launch a secret space plane that has sparked speculation about the militarization of space.
The Pentagon has set April 21 as the date for the launch of the robotic space plane known as the X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle (OTV), which is a reusable unmanned plane capable of long outer space missions at low orbits.
Since the nature of the project is shrouded in mystery, defense analysts allege that the US military is building the first generation of US 'space Predator drones' that will build up the United States' space armada, the Christian Science Monitor wrote in a recent article.
Military experts argue that the US Department of Defense would not have saved NASA's costly X-37B project, which had been scrapped, if it did not have a military application.
They say the US wants to maintain a leading role in space via the development of the new 'space weapon' at a time when other countries like China are expanding their space programs. Read more.
Kucinich Voices Concern Over Futenma Base Relocation
By Robert Naiman | Just Foreign Policy
Representative Dennis Kucinich sent a letter to Norman Dicks, chair of the House subcommittee on defense appropriations, expressing concerns about U.S. plans to relocate the U.S. base at Futenma in Okinawa to Nago, and urging that the concerns of Okinawa residents be taken into account. The letter is here.
Kazakhstan: U.S., NATO Seek Military Outpost Between Russia And China
Rick Rozoff | Stop NATO | Blog site | April 14, 2010
On April 11, the day before the two-day Nuclear Security Summit held in Washington, DC, U.S. President Barack Obama met with his Kazakh counterpart Nursultan Nazarbayev and their deliberations resulted in the U.S. obtaining the right to fly troops and military equipment over (and later directly into) the territory of Kazakhstan for the escalating war in Afghanistan.
Michael McFaul, Special Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs and senior director of Russian and Eurasian Affairs at the United States National Security Council, "told reporters in a conference call that the agreement will allow troops to fly directly from the United States over the North Pole to the region."
McFaul directly stated, "This will save money; it will save time in terms of moving our troops and supplies needed into the theater." The Washington Post cited other White House officials claiming "Sunday's meeting between Obama and Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev was the turning point,"  an allusion to the advance it signified over the last agreement on military transport for the Afghan war signed between the two countries in January, which permitted the transport of only non-lethal American military supplies and equipment across the country by rail.
The government of Kazakhstan has also allowed limited flights containing non-lethal military cargo over its territory, but that entailed a lengthy and circuitous route from the eastern United States to Europe and over the Caspian Sea to Kazakhstan, ultimately headed to the Manas Transit Center in Kyrgyzstan, which is currently in jeopardy after the overthrow of the government in that nation on April 7.
However, now "Kazakhstan has agreed to let the United States fly troops and weapons over its territory, a deal that opens a direct and faster route over the North Pole for American forces and lethal equipment headed to Afghanistan." 
Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiyev was deposed five years after and in the same manner as he came to power, in a bloody uprising.
Elected president two months after the so-called Tulip Revolution of 2005 he helped engineer, he was since then head of state of the main transit nation for the U.S. and NATO war in Afghanistan.
The Pentagon secured the Manas Air Base (as of last year known as the Transit Center at Manas) in Kyrgyzstan shortly after its invasion of Afghanistan in October of 2001 and in the interim, according to a U.S. armed forces publication last June, “More than 170,000 coalition personnel passed through the base on their way in or out of Afghanistan, and Manas was the transit point for 5,000 tons of cargo, including spare parts and equipment, uniforms and various items to support personnel and mission needs.
“Currently, around 1,000 U.S. troops, along with a few hundred from Spain and France, are assigned to the base.” 
The White House’s Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard Holbrooke paid his first visit in his current position to Kyrgyzstan – and the three other former Soviet Central Asian republics which border it, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan – in February and said “35,000 US troops were transiting each month on their way in and out of Afghanistan.”  At the rate he mentioned, 420,000 troops annually.
Hmm. Who should be occupying whom?
Pakistan parliament agrees to curb presidential powers
The parliament of Pakistan has voted unanimously in favour of measures which limit key presidential powers.
The measures transfer certain powers from the office of the president to the prime minister and take away his power to dismiss elected governments.
Supporters say the legislation will strengthen parliamentary democracy, weakened by periods of military rule.
The bill was approved unanimously by Pakistan's National Assembly. It now needs approval from the upper house.
From Veterans for Peace
Hanoi--At a meeting with American veterans here yesterday, Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung urged "the United States government to take responsibility for solving the aftermath of its war with Vietnam."
During the war, Mr. Dung emphasized, more than two million Vietnamese were killed, millions more were injured, and more than 300,000 are still missing. Moreover, three million people were exposed to toxic chemicals like Agent Orange sprayed by the U.S. military during the war.
Mr. Dung further urged the U.S. government to "listen to its conscience," and to cooperate with Vietnam's government by giving assistance to Vietnamese victims of Agent Orange to help them overcome the difficulties they face, and to aid in the clean-up of the dioxin contaminated environment.
The Futenma base relocation issue has been dominating the headlines in Japan ever since the formation of the Hatoyama administration in September 2009. Understandably the focus has been on Okinawa, long the center of anti-base activism. But we should see the Futenma base relocation issue as part of a much broader problem. In this article I want to consider the Futenma issue in the context of other activities within the international anti-bases movement.
I have been involved in the anti-bases movement for many years and serve on the Hokkaido Asia Africa Latin America Solidarity Committee (HAALA). HAALA is an organization that opposes neo-colonialism, respects the rights of people to self-determination and aims for the equality of all peoples. Revocation of the US-Japan Security Treaty and the removal of all American bases from Japan are among its aims. We have links with Vietnam, Nicaragua, Cuba and South Africa among others and are involved in various humanitarian projects there. A representative of the Japan Africa Asia South America Solidarity Committee went to Ecuador to attend the anti-base activities described in Fuse Yūjin’s article [add link], and have also visited Venezuela and Bolivia.
The International Network for the Abolition of Foreign Military Bases (INAFMB) took off at the World Social Forum held in Mumbai in January 2004 and was launched officially as a result of its first international conference in Quito and Manta, Ecuador, in March 2007. I attended the Mumbai meeting as the representative of HAALA. It was an unforgettable experience. To have 130,000 people gathering from across the globe under the slogan ‘Another world is possible’ in a meeting of such diversity and vibrancy was enough to really make one believe it could happen. In particular, the demonstrations by members of India’s so-called ‘untouchables’ caste left a particularly strong impression. Their cries of ‘If another world is possible then it must include us’ brought it home that only by raising one’s voice is there any hope to change things. Read more.
On March 11, the US State Department issued its "2009 Human Rights Report: China (includes Tibet, Hong Kong, and Macau)," calling the People's Republic of China (PRC) "an authoritarian state in which the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) constitutionally is the paramount source of power," practicing:
- "cultural and religious repression;"
- harassment of human rights activists;
- harassment and disbarment of lawyers who defend them;
- control of free expression, the Internet, and access to it;
- extrajudicial killings;
- torture and coerced confessions of prisoners;
- use of forced labor, including prison labor;
- monitoring, harassing, detaining, arresting, and imprisoning "journalists, writers, dissidents, activists, petitioners, and defense lawyers and their families;"
- denial of due process;
Japan's Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama has said the result of a weekend mayoral poll could fuel a major rethink about US military bases in Japan.
Residents of the Japanese city of Nago, on Okinawa, chose a candidate opposed to the hosting of an American air base.
The Futenma base was originally scheduled to move to Nago from a more crowded part of Okinawa.
Talk of moving the base out of Japan altogether has threatened the long-standing US-Japan security alliance.
Mr Hatoyama said the results of Sunday's election reflected the will of the people, and that Japan will continue to re-examine its commitment to relocate the air base.
"The country will start from scratch on this issue and take responsibility to reach a conclusion by the end of May," he told reporters. Read more.
From TomDispatch this morning: An unprecedented picture of China on one of history's great spending binges in search of access to, and control over, the world's key future energy and other resources -- "China's Global Shopping Spree: Is the World's Future Resource Map Tilting East?"
"Think of it as a tale of two countries," begins energy expert and author of Rising Powers, Shrinking Planet Michael Klare. "When it comes to procuring the resources that make industrial societies run, China is now the shopaholic of planet Earth, while the United States is staying at home. Hard-hit by the global recession, the United States has experienced a marked decline in the consumption of oil and other key industrial materials. Not so China. With the recession’s crippling effects expected to linger in the U.S. for many years, analysts foresee a slow recovery when it comes to resource consumption. Not so China."
TomDispatch regular Klare offers a picture of state-owned or state-backed Chinese companies ranging the world gobbling up the key future energy and other resources crucial to an industrial society, and at recession-induced bargain-basement prices. Backed with endless streams of cash, these companies are, in the field of oil alone, making deals from Kazakhistan in Central Asia to Ecuador in Latin America, Iraq to Venezuela, Burma to the African country of Guinea.
It's a remarkable, even shopaholic burst of buying of a sort we haven't seen in our lifetimes. As Klare concludes in this must-read piece: "Perhaps more than any other recent developments, China’s global shopping spree reveals how the world’s balance of power is shifting from West to East." Read it now.
Statement by Japan Lawyers' International Solidarity Association on Marine Corps Air Station Futenma, Okinawa
According to newspaper reports, the government maintains that Japan must provide a replacement facility for Marine Corps Air Station Futenma in Okinawa, which is used by the US Marines, that it has given up on finding a candidate site outside of Okinawa, and that the base will very likely be relocated within Okinawa.
From our stance of seeking to implement the spirit of the United Nations Charter and the ideals of Japan’s Constitution, we of the Japan Lawyers International Solidarity Association believe that the government’s judgment invites criticism on two points, and we strongly urge the government to reconsider.
1) Japan is not obligated to provide the US Marines with bases.
In the first place, US military bases in Okinawa were illegally expanded and built. Even before acceptance of the Potsdam Declaration on August 14, 1945 land was expropriated while Okinawans were detained in prison camps, and by means of “bayonets and bulldozers” with the start of the Cold War. Such acts are not justifiable even by the law of war, and therefore violate international law. And the Japan-US Security Treaty, which is invoked to paper over these illegalities, establishes that bases are provided to US forces under the conditions that provision is based on the will of the Japanese government, and that it contributes to the security of Japan and the Far East, but the US Marines, owing to the nature of the force, does not help to achieve such purposes, and as such their stationing in Japan lacks justification under the treaty. Further, 75% of US military bases and facilities are concentrated in this one prefecture of Okinawa, and all Okinawans want US bases to be downsized and removed. The principles of democracy, which are recognized universally the world over, do not tolerate troop stationing which goes against the will of the people.
2) In Japan the Constitution’s Preamble and Articles 9 and 98 provide the right to seek removal of US military bases.
The Japanese Constitution provides that “never again shall we be visited with the horrors of war through the action of government” and recognizes that “all peoples of the world have the right to live in peace, free from fear and want.” It says that the Japanese renounce war, do not maintain “land, sea, and air forces, as well as other war potential,” and it pledges to faithfully observe “established laws of nations,” which include the law of war and international humanitarian law. From the perspective of this extensive peace design, when at least part of the US forces stationed in Japan are highly problematic to bringing about peace and eliminating “fear and want,” it is possible to exercise one’s legitimate rights, including appeals to the international community, to resolve the matter which is the cause. In view of the situation with US military bases, which is a never-ending stream of aircraft crashes, traffic accidents, crimes, and pollution, it stands to reason that the people of Okinawa Prefecture seek the return of Futenma Air Station, and, with respect for their will, the Japanese government indeed has the right to take the initiative and ask the US government to immediately remove Futenma Air Station.
March 24, 2010
Japan Lawyers International Solidarity Association, Executive Committee
Osamu Niikura, President. Jun Sasamoto, Secretary-General
Finally a Congressman Takes Look at Expanding Empire of Bases, But Apparently He Was Drugged or Is Just an Idiot
Mongolia: Pentagon Trojan Horse Wedged Between China And Russia
Rick Rozoff | Stop NATO | Blog site | March 31, 2010
Because of its history, its location and the nations which surround it, Mongolia would seem the last country in the world to host annual Pentagon-led military exercises and to be the third Asian nation to offer NATO troops for the war in Afghanistan.
From the early 1920s until the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991 Mongolia was the latter nation's longest-standing and in many ways closest political and military ally, its armed forces fighting alongside those of the USSR against the Japanese in World War II. It was not a member of the Warsaw Pact as that alliance was formed in Europe six years after and in response to the creation of NATO in 1949, but Mongolia was a military buffer between the Soviet Union and the Japanese army in China in the Second World War and between it and China during the decades of the Sino-Soviet conflict.
Mongolia is also buried deep within the Asian continent and is the world's second-largest landlocked nation next to Kazakhstan, which is only 21 miles from its western border. Those two countries along with North Korea, impenetrable in most every sense of the word, are the only three that border both China and Russia.
Russia abuts Mongolia along its entire northern frontier and China along its eastern, southern and western borders. There is no way to enter the country except by passing through or over Russia and China.
As such Mongolia would have appeared to be a refuge of non-alignment in a world of rapidly expanding U.S. and NATO penetration of increasingly vast tracts of the earth's surface.
But in the post-Cold War period no country is beyond the Pentagon's reach, either inside or on its borders.
In the last decade alone the U.S. has acquired bases and other military installations and stationed its armed forces throughout parts of the world that it had never penetrated during the Cold War era, including:
Africa: Approximately 2,000 troops and the Pentagon's Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa at Camp Lemonnier in Djibouti in the Horn of Africa.
Indonesia's National Armed Forces (TNI), especially its thuggish Kopassus Special Forces Command, has a long, sordid human rights record, including political killings and massacres of hundreds of thousands of civilians in East Timor, Aceh, Papua, and elsewhere in the country.
In response to the November 12, 1991 Santa Cruz cemetery massacre of over 270 demonstrators in Dili, East Timor's capital, Congress restricted Indonesia's TNI from receiving International Military Education and Training (IMET). It brings foreign military officers to America for what's taught at the infamous School of the Americas (SOA, renamed WHINSEC ) - namely, the latest ways to kill, maim, torture, oppress, exterminate poor and indigenous people, overthrown democratically elected governments, suppress popular resistance movements, assassinate targeted leaders, and work cooperatively with Washington to solidify hard-right rule, intolerant of democratic rights, social justice, and progressive change.
The 1976 Arms Export Control Act requires US military hardware sales use only for defense or to maintain internal security.
GUAM TAXPAYERS PAY $1,019/HR FOR PORT NEGOTIATOR!
Since former GM of the Port Authority of Guam, Ken Takagawa, became the Port’s Chief Negotiator, there has been no forward progress with the contract negotiations for our workers.
He refuses to negotiate on items that have been negotiable for Public Employees under the Public Employees Management Relations Act for 40 years. Mr. Takagawa works 6 hrs a week and receives $20,000 per month plus per diem of $215 per day which comes out to $1,019 per hour to basically delay the process of getting our Port workers a contract!
It appears that Mr. Takagawa is deliberately delaying the process to maximize his salary.
In an effort to rectify the situation, President Matt Rector sent a letter to the Office of Attorney General Chief Prosecutor, Diane Corbett, to investigate the situation and ensure protection of the people of Guam from Government corruption, theft and waste of thousands of public dollars to this private contractor. Read Letter.
Brazil, Russia, India, and China—otherwise known as the BRIC nations—are enjoying a new and, in ways, unprecedented role on the international stage. The four emerging markets maintained an average growth rate of 10.7 percent from 2006 to 2008, according to the International Monetary Fund. With this outstanding performance, they are creating a new economic miracle.
In an article recently published in the Beijing-based newspaper Guangming Daily, experts in a research team of the Hunan Provincial Planning Office of Philosophy and Social Science pointed to a trend known as the "big country effect" as a determining factor in their rapid, sustainable growth.
Excerpts from this article follow:
Some scholars say the rapid economic growth of the BRIC countries stemmed from their wise choices in comparative advantage strategies—which have allowed them considerable room to maneuver with regards to their resources.
Others say their brilliant performance emanated from their advantages in terms of being latecomers. In other words, having been so economically dormant for so long, the BRIC countries have enjoyed advances in development via technological improvements, human resource development, as well as economic restructuring.
None of these arguments are fully convincing. Read more.
Your Calls on Jeju Island are Working Already - Keep Making Them
Jeju is the island inside the red circle. To the left is mainland China. To the right is Japan. China imports 80% of its oil along the seaway beside Jeju Island. The U.S. Navy obviously relishes the idea of one more Navy base in the region that would enable it to choke off China's importation oil thus giving the U.S. the "key" to China's economic engine. You can see that this Navy base will dramatically widen already dangerous tensions in the region.
Bruce K. Gagnon, Coordinator of Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space, just wrote to AfterDowningStreet:
Since my earlier email this morning (read it below) asking people to call the South Korean Embassy in Washington DC I've already heard from two different people who both told me the person they spoke to at the embassy said it was the U.S. Navy that wants the base.
One of our supporters emailed me the following message after her call to the embassy:
I just spoke with the aide to the attaché at the Korean Embassy (202-939-5600) and she asked that we contact the U.S. Navy to complain. She understood our motivation is to support the resistance of the people on Jeju but she said "you have to talk to your government because they are the ones who want to do this." She asked me to relay this message to others.
This is very important information and confirms the worst suspicions of many of us that the U.S. has been pushing the South Korean government to build the Navy base on Jeju Island in order for the U.S. Navy to deploy Aegis destroyers at the base. But we never had confirmation of that theory until now!
We need to keep calling the South Korean Embassy and tell them not to do what the U.S. Pentagon tells them. South Korea is a sovereign nation and should not allow the U.S. to push them into building a provocative Navy base on what is known as the "Peace Island".
China’s currency manipulation fuels continued trade imbalance | Press Release
The growing trade deficit between the U.S. and China eliminated or displaced an estimated 2.4 million jobs in the U.S. between 2001 and 2008, according to a new report from the Economic Policy Institute.
The new report, Unfair China Trade Costs Local Jobs, shows that every state in the country, as well as Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico, suffered jobs lost or displaced because of the trade imbalance. The deficit grew by an average of $26.6 billion each year between 2001 and 2008; Chinese exports to the United States in 2008 were more than five times greater than U.S. exports to China.
A surge in imports of Chinese computer and electronic products accounted for more than 40% of the $186 billion increase in the U.S. trade deficit with China between 2001 and 2008, with these industries experiencing the largest trade-related job losses of any sector – 627,700 jobs, or 26% of all jobs lost or displaced between 2001 and 2008.
China Friday retorted US criticism by publishing its own report on the US human rights record.
"As in previous years, the (US) reports are full of accusations of the human rights situation in more than 190 countries and regions including China, but turn a blind eye to, or dodge and even cover up rampant human rights abuses on its own territory," said the Information Office of the State Council in its report on the US human rights record.
The Human Rights Record of the United States in 2009 was in retaliation to the Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2009 issued by the US Department of State on March 11.
The report is "prepared to help people around the world understand the real situation of human rights in the United States," said the report.
The report reviewed the human rights record of the United States in 2009 from six perspectives: life, property and personal security; civil and political rights; economic, social and cultural rights; racial discrimination; rights of women and children; and the US' violation of human rights against other countries.
It criticized the United States for taking human rights as "a political instrument to interfere in other countries' internal affairs, defame other nations' image and seek its own strategic interests."
China advised the US government to draw lessons from the history, put itself in a correct position, strive to improve its own human rights conditions and rectify its acts in the human rights field.
This is the 11th consecutive year that the Information Office of China's State Council has issued a human rights record of the United States to answer the US State Department's annual report.
"At a time when the world is suffering a serious human rights disaster caused by the US subprime crisis-induced global financial crisis, the US government still ignores its own serious human rights problems but revels in accusing other countries. It is really a pity," the report said.
SPYING ON CITIZENS Read more.
Daytona Beach, Tomorrow Night! Milestone: 1,000 Americans KIA In Afghanisan Action: "Stop The Wars Now!"
We've reached a sad milestone in Afghanistan. Today, Monday, February 22, 2010, it was reported that 1,000 U.S. Troops have now been killed in action (KIA) in Afghanistan. The name of the soldier and other details, other than being killed by an improvised explosive devise (IED), have yet to be released. For more information about troops killed in both Afghanistan and Iraq, go to www.icasualties.org on line.
To recognize the 1,000th KIA in Afghanistan and to say "enough" to continued killing there due to the 9-year U.S. occupation of Afghanistan, there will be an Emergency Antiwar Protest in Daytona Beach tomorrow evening, Tuesday February 23rd, beginning at 6:00 PM and ending at 8:00 PM on the Northwest corner of Nova Road and International Speedway Boulevard in front of the Steak N Shake. The street address is 1000 W. International Speedway Blvd, Daytona Beach, FL 32114 and directions can be found on line here.
This event is being billed as "Afghanistan - 1,000 KIA - Enough Already, Bring Them Home Now!".
There will be TV and Print News Media on site reporting on the event.
This event will not be a vigil, but rather a spirited demand that our government Stop The Wars Now!
Attendees are asked to bring signs such as those suggested in the notice.
For more information click "Read more." Click "File attachment" for flyer.
For more details, please see the Media Alert in the attached flyer or contact Phil Restino of Central Florida Veterans For Peace (VFP Chapter 136), cell: (386) 235-3268, hm: (386) 788-2918, email: CentralFlaVFP@aol.com. Thank you.
"Chinese leaders are deploying their reserves to try and pressure the US to stop haranguing China about its currency and trade policies and to back off from interference in its domestic political and human rights issues,"..."While China may reduce its holdings of US debt in order to send a signal to Washington - though this is not necessarily the only reason it would do so - it has no intention of selling debt to the point that it wrecks the US economic recovery, since doing so would destroy China's own economic and socio-political stability,"...
China sold a record amount of its US Treasury holdings in December, ceding its place as the world's biggest foreign holder of US debt to Japan.
According to Treasury figures released on Tuesday, Beijing sold off more than $34bn of its holdings in the final month of 2009, cutting its holding of US debt by just over 4 per cent to $755.4bn.
Japan now holds almost $11bn more US debt than China, with a total of nearly $769bn.
Japan had been the largest holder of US Treasury bonds until September 2008, when it was overtaken by China. Read more.