Thursday, March 30, 2006

Target Cuba and Venezuela: US Military Exercises in the Caribbean

According to a press release by US Southern Command, on March 27, 2006; a US Navy Carrier Strike Group, will deploy from the US east coast to the Caribbean Sea from early April to late May 2006. It will consist of four ships, with 60 fighter planes, and 6,500 troops.

The stated reasons are; "enhancing military-to-military relationships with regional partner nations, improving operational readiness, and fostering good will." By "fostering good will" what is meant is sending a strong message to Venezuela and Cuba. The commander of the US Southcom General Bantz Craddock, has on many occasions attacked Venezuela. Two weeks ago to the US Senate, he called Venezuela, "a destabilizing force".

The US is bogged down in Iraq, and has no immediate plans to invade Venezuela, it certainly is on the table for future plans.

SEE: In Defense of Marxism


The Blogworld as I know it changed this evening... I've been tagged! It was inevitable... you blog... you become friends with fellow bloggers.... and ZONK!!! they get you when you're not looking.
El Patro's Tijuana Tortilla did it to me... So now I'm obligated to tag four others....
But first I have to answer the following questions... then I'll name the four I'm tagging. They will have to answer the same questions... and tag four other bloggers. This should be done on their own site... but link me to it when you do...
So... here goes... the questions; I chose to rewrite the questions El Patro sent, due to I was tagged just recently.

1) What are your guilty pleasures??
Professional wrestling and romantic comedy movies.

2) What song is your theme song?
"Ring of Fire"

3) You receive $20.00 change in a retail store. The correct change is
$1.00. What do you do?

I already gave back the 20.

4) You know your friend's husband has another lover. Tell wifey?
No, I'll end up with two enemies.

5) Who do you admire, that would surprise others?
I think Clint Eastwood is one of the greatest artists in history.

OK, so time to tag 4 other people. Well, here goes, and everyone check these blogs out, they’re all great..

  • Blurred Clarity


  • Folk Rock Girl (FRoG BLoG)

  • jaebrysonblog
  • Tuesday, March 28, 2006


    As you all know that the Pakistani govt. banned all blogs hosted on
    blogspot through its internet gateway. An action group was formed by the
    Pakistani bloggers to voice their concerns to the media regarding this
    issue ( As of 27th Feb, all web
    logs having an address with . went offline in
    Pakistan.An alternative to the current blogspot ban is to access you blogs

    Dr. Awab Alvi (a blogger from Karachi) started a campaign "Dont Block the
    Blog" which offers website banners to protest the ban.

    Additionally, many bloggers have also gathered at various fronts to
    protest the ban by sending group petitions to the government and raising
    the issue with the media.

    Sign the petition.

    Reprinted from the Pakistani blog My Red Diary.

    Monday, March 27, 2006

    Maryam Namazie: Freedom of Expression: No ifs and buts

    The above was Maryam Namazie's speech at a free speech march in Trafalgar Square in London on March 25, 2006.

    * In Iran, Tehran bus workers demanding their rights have been arrested, including their wives and children, and some tortured.
    * In Afghanistan, teachers defending the right of girls to an education are threatened with death.
    * In Iraq, women's rights activists are threatened for demanding equality and freedom.
    * In Iran, journalists who published a satirical article comparing the advent of Khomeini to AIDS are languishing in prison...
    * In Yemen, Mohammad Al Asadi, an editor, is facing execution for recounting how Mohammad approved of the killing of a woman who had insulted him.

    The list is endless...

    Too many more nameless, faceless human beings across the globe are maimed, threatened, killed, bound and gagged for speaking out and expressing themselves.

    And it's not just 'over there', but right here...

    * A website in Sweden publishing the Mohammad caricatures is shut down.
    * Editors are fired in France.
    * The Behzti play is shut down after Sikhs are offended by it.
    * A Scottish cancer charity is intimidated into not accepting money raised by Jerry Springer the Opera.
    * Writers living and writing here, including myself, are threatened to death on threads of
    * People are arrested and summoned to court for carrying placards or flyers with the Mohammad caricatures on them [in fact Reza Moradi was told he will be summoned to court for 'offending' someone because he carried a placard with the Mohammad caricatures at the March 25 free speech rally - more on this later].

    Clearly, free speech and expression are not luxuries or western values. They are essential for people everywhere.

    And what more and more people are standing up and saying after government upon government and organisation upon organisation demanded apologies for the Mohammad caricatures and gave them on all our behalves is that they are not up for sale.

    We know better.

    Any limits on free speech & expression are really attempts by those in power or vying for power to limit our rights and the rights of the population at large.

    Don't be duped into thinking otherwise.

    And that is why the defence of free speech and expression are so intrinsically linked to the defence of other rights. You cannot defend one without the others. You cannot defend one without also defending the right to asylum, the right to strike and organisation, labour rights, women's and children's rights, the right to live in a secular society, the right to equality and freedom, universal rights, the right to religion and atheism and belief as a private matter, the right to live lives worthy of 21st century humanity and of course vice versa. You cannot defend humanity without defending its right to speak and express itself...

    For this, nothing can be deemed sacred except the human being.

    Defining certain expressions and speech as sacred is merely a tool for the suppression of society; saying speech and expression offends is in fact an attempt to restrict it.

    And of course what is held most sacred and deemed to offend the most especially in this New World Order is criticism and ridiculing of religion and its representatives of earth.

    Why do it if it offends? Because it must be done.

    Because ridiculing is a form of criticism, is a form of resistance, is a serious form of opposing reaction!

    Whilst we may all be sometimes offended by some things, it is religion and the religious that are offended all of the time. They alone seem to have a monopoly on being offended, saying their beliefs are a no go area, and silencing all those who offend.

    And don't think this reactionary rightwing political Islamic movement is only offended by a criticism of Islam or Mohammad. [I am focusing on this because it is a movement in power.] It is offended if you hold hands on the streets, have sex outside of marriage; it is offended if you are unveiled or improperly veiled; it is offended if you listen to certain music or if you teach evolution and science or if you dare to teach girls; it is offended if you are gay; if you are a woman; – many of which are by the way punishable by death or at the very least flogging and imprisonment in many countries under the rule of Islam....

    It is interesting how the political Islamic movement kills, it maims, it humiliates - with Islam as its banner - and we are not even allowed to ridicule and criticise it.

    Religion considers a woman as worth half a man, gays as perversions, sex outside of marriage as sinful, and so on and so forth but it is a few caricatures that are offensive!

    Offensive or not, sacred or not - religion and superstition – Islam, Christianity, Hinduism, Judaism, Scientology and so on - must be open to all forms of criticism and ridicule.

    It must be first and foremost because religion is not something from eras past but because it is as a political movement wreaking havoc across the world. Not a second passes without some atrocity being committed by it. It hangs people from cranes and lamp posts, it stones people to death – in the 21 century – with the law even specifying the size of the stone to be used, it amputates and decapitates.

    It must be criticised and ridiculed because that is how throughout history reaction was pushed back.

    That is how throughout history society has managed to advance and progress.

    Why this should be seen as an attack on Muslims or Christians or Sikhs or Scientologists per se is beyond me. Is an attack on the belief and practice of Female Genital Mutilation an attack on girls who have been mutilated? Is the criticism of Israeli state terrorism an attack on Jews? Is an attack on the BNP that promotes Christian culture or the Christian Council of Britain it has recently established, or the ridiculing of Jesus racism against Christians? No of course not. And the same applies to the Muslim Council of Britain, Hamas, the Islamic Regime in Iran and the Mohammad caricatures.

    Islamophobia - and now by the way the Church has asked that Christianity-phobia also be included in UN rights terminology – none are racism because criticisms of a religion, idea, a belief and even the practices that result from beliefs – even a phobia and hatred against beliefs have nothing to do with racism against real live human beings.

    Saying it is so is merely part of the effort to make it such in order to silence criticism of religion and the political movement that holds it up as its banner.

    The world is today threatened and taken hostage by two poles of terrorism. The state terrorism led by the United States on the one hand and the political Islamic movement on the other share a lot more than they let on. After all they were former friends and many of them still are. Both use religion to attack the gains made by humanity in centuries past. Both defend religion and use it.

    Freedom of speech and expression are one of the few means at the disposal of many to resist this terrorism and its attack on universal values and norms.

    We must defend it unconditionally. There can be no ifs and buts.

    See: Maryam Namazie. Maryam Namazie is a producer of TV International English, a member of the Central Council of the Organisation for Women's Liberation and Director of the Worker-communist Party of Iran's International Relations Committee. She is also co-editor of WPI Briefing.

    Friday, March 24, 2006

    France: Protest Job Bill

    After a weekend of protest, where 1.5 million people took to the streets. The labor unions have called a general strike to protest what they call, a new dangerous law.
    The law would allow employers to fire people under age 26 without cause within two years of being hired.

    Read Jerome a Paris's Blog in The European Tribune. It refutes the neoliberal arguments, found in the international press. The press portrays the government and big business as forward thinking, while portraying the victims as protectionist and selfish.

    Thank you Histologian. Please visit this well written Greek leftist blog.

    Wednesday, March 22, 2006

    Afghanistan:Christian convert faces death penalty in Afghanistan


    The leader of Afghanistan's puritanical Taliban militia has issued an edict imposing the death penalty on any Afghan Muslim who converts to Christianity or Judaism, an official radio report said Monday.

    The decree from Taliban Supreme Leader Mulla Mohammad Omar also said anyone caught selling "anti-Islamic literature" would be sentenced to five years jail, according to state-run Radio Shariat.
    AFP, Jan.8, 2001

    Abdul Rahman, 41, was arrested last month after his family accused him of becoming a Christian, Judge Ansarullah Mawlavezada told Associated Press. The accused was charged with rejecting Islam.

    He admitted to converting to Christianity 16 years ago, while working as a medical aide in a Christian relief group helping Afghan refugees in the Pakistani city of Peshawar.

    The prosecutor is willing to drop the charges, if Rahman converts back to Islam.

    Shariah law states that any Muslim who rejects Islam should be sentenced to death, according to Ahmad Fahim Hakim, deputy chairman of the state-sponsored Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission. Repeated attempts to impose a jail sentence were barred.

    For information see: Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan RENEGADE EYE

    Monday, March 20, 2006

    Maryam Namazie: Not Another Iraq

    On the anniversary of the war on Iraq, we watch on our TV screens with complete disbelief and horror at the abyss that was once a country albeit a dictatorship. Though we always said this would happen, it is still so hard to believe that things can actually always get so much worse than we had allowed ourselves to imagine.

    U.S. Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld says that terrorists in Iraq are attempting to stoke sectarian tension and spark civil war. What else did he really expect when all they have done is divide and compartmentalise the country into ethnic and religious blocks via their own form of state terrorism?

    The current situation is a direct result of the USA's war and policies on Iraq. Of course Islamic terrorists are taking advantage of the situation to gain access to power – though some have already been mainstreamed into the Iraqi government, thanks to the USA. They too have turned Iraq into their killing fields.

    As every day goes by, it becomes painfully clear for all that neither the Islamist herds, nor the ethnocentric gangs and thugs let loose on society, nor the US-led 'liberators' can bring about a humane and 21st century solution to this swamp that was once called Iraq. They are in fact themselves the problem.

    And in all this tragedy and chaos, UK Foreign Secretary Jack Straw says he wants to help the Iranian people have a freer and more prosperous future – that the Iranian people deserve better! Isn't that what they said about the people of Iraq and Afghanistan! And we have seen the prosperity they have brought for them!

    To Jack Straw and Donald Rumsfeld: Please, if anyone is going to and can bring freedom, equality and prosperity, it is not you but the revolutionary movement fighting for the overthrow of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Your alternative is no alternative at all but more of the same.

    Stand back and let us show you how it's done.

    See: Maryam Namazie. Maryam Namazie is a producer of TV International English, a member of the Central Council of the Organisation for Women's Liberation and Director of the Worker-communist Party of Iran's International Relations Committee. She is also co-editor of WPI Briefing.

    Spike Lee On George Clooney's Oscar Statement

    Director SPIKE LEE has criticised GEORGE CLOONEY for highlighting GONE WITH THE WIND actress HATTIE McDANIEL's 1940 Oscar triumph as an example of Hollywood's "forward-thinking".
    While accepting his Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor earlier this month (05MAR06), Clooney fired back at critics who claim Hollywood is out of touch by citing McDaniel's win.
    Lee says, "To use that as an example of how progressive Hollywood is is ridiculous. Hattie McDaniel played MAMMY in Gone With the Wind.
    "That film was basically saying that the wrong side won the Civil War and that black people should still be enslaved.
    "C'mon! I like George a lot. I'm not hating on him. But I don't think he really thought it out.
    "How many years was it between Hattie McDaniel and HALLE BERRY (winning an acting Oscar)? Sixty-some-odd? C'mon!"

    Saturday, March 18, 2006

    Sistani On Gays

    The moderating force in Iraqi Islam, the major leader of the Shiite majority, on what should be the fate of gays and lesbians:

    "The people involved should be killed in the worst, most severe way of killing."

    See: The Advocate.

    Wednesday, March 15, 2006

    Free Up H5N1 Avian Flu Data

    At this point 200 million birds have died or have been killed due to H5N1 Avian Flu, and 97 human beings died.

    A leading scientist in the field of genetic sequencing, wants data on the disease, at tax payer financed Center for Disease Control (CDC) and The National Institutes of Health, to place virus sequencing data on an open open database. Steven Sulzberg believes if the US made such a move, other governments would follow.

    The leading scientists have lived with in a "publish or perish" enviroment. That is ok for an abstract scientific study. Several thousand people die yearly from normal flu. This could be a pandemic catastrophe.

    Even the World Health Organization keeps its data closed. A lone Italian researcher has cast a harsh spotlight on the WHO's system, suggesting that it places academic pride over public health - and snubbing it by posting prized bird-flu data in plain view.

    Saturday, March 11, 2006

    MANIFESTO: Together facing the new totalitarianism


    After having overcome fascism, Nazism, and Stalinism, the world now faces a new totalitarian global threat: Islamism.

    We, writers, journalists, intellectuals, call for resistance to religious totalitarianism and for the promotion of freedom, equal opportunity and secular values for all.

    The recent events, which occurred after the publication of drawings of Muhammed in European newspapers, have revealed the necessity of the struggle for these universal values. This struggle will not be won by arms, but in the ideological field. It is not a clash of civilisations nor an antagonism of West and East that we are witnessing, but a global struggle that confronts democrats and theocrats.

    Like all totalitarianisms, Islamism is nurtured by fears and frustrations. The hate preachers bet on these feelings in order to form battalions destined to impose a liberticidal and unegalitarian world. But we clearly and firmly state: nothing, not even despair, justifies the choice of obscurantism, totalitarianism and hatred. Islamism is a reactionary ideology which kills equality, freedom and secularism wherever it is present. Its success can only lead to a world of domination: man's domination of woman, the Islamists' domination of all the others. To counter this, we must assure universal rights to oppressed or discriminated people.

    We reject "cultural relativism," which consists in accepting that men and women of Muslim culture should be deprived of the right to equality, freedom and secular values in the name of respect for cultures and traditions. We refuse to renounce our critical spirit out of fear of being accused of "Islamophobia," an unfortunate concept which confuses criticism of Islam as a religion with stigmatisation of its believers.

    We plead for the universality of freedom of expression, so that a critical spirit may be exercised on all continents, against all abuses and all dogmas.

    We appeal to democrats and free spirits of all countries that our century should be one of Enlightenment, not of obscurantism.

    12 signatures

    Ayaan Hirsi Ali
    Chahla Chafiq
    Caroline Fourest
    Bernard-Henri Lévy
    Irshad Manji
    Mehdi Mozaffari
    Maryam Namazie
    Taslima Nasreen
    Salman Rushdie
    Antoine Sfeir
    Philippe Val
    Ibn Warraq
    Ayaan Hirsi Ali
    Ayaan Hirsi Ali, from somilian origin, is member of Dutch parliement, member of the liberal party VVD. Writter of the film Submission which caused the assasination of Theo Van Gogh by an islamist in november 2004, she lives under police protection.
    Chahla Chafiq
    Chahla Chafiq, writer from iranian origin, exiled in France is a novelist and an essayist. She’s the author of "Le nouvel homme islamiste , la prison politique en Iran " (2002). She also wrote novels such as "Chemins et brouillard" (2005).
    Caroline Fourest
    Essayist, editor in chief of Prochoix (a review who defend liberties against dogmatic and integrist ideologies), author of several reference books on « laicité » and fanatism : Tirs Croisés : la laïcité à l’épreuve des intégrismes juif, chrétien et musulman (with Fiammetta Venner), Frère Tariq : discours, stratégie et méthode de Tariq Ramadan, et la Tentation obscurantiste (Grasset, 2005). She receieved the National prize of laicité in 2005.
    Bernard-Henri Lévy
    French philosoph, born in Algeria, engaged against all the XXth century « ism » (Fascism, antisemitism, totalitarism, terrorism), he is the author of La Barbarie à visage humain, L’Idéologie française, La Pureté dangereuse, and more recently American Vertigo.
    Irshad Manji
    Irshad Manji is a Fellow at Yale University and the internationally best-selling author of "The Trouble with Islam Today: A Muslim’s Call for Reform in Her Faith" (en francais: "Musulmane Mais Libre"). She speaks out for free expression based on the Koran itself. Née en Ouganda, elle a fui ce pays avec sa famille musulmane d’origine indienne à l’âge de quatre ans et vit maintenant au Canada, où ses émissions et ses livres connaissent un énorme succès.
    Mehdi Mozaffari
    Mehdi Mozaffari, professor from iranian origin and exiled in Denmark, is the author of several articles and books on islam and islamism such as : Authority in Islam: From Muhammad to Khomeini, Fatwa: Violence and Discourtesy and Glaobalization and Civilizations.
    Maryam Namazie
    Writer, TV International English producer; Director of the Worker-communist Party of Iran’s International Relations; and 2005 winner of the National Secular Society’s Secularist of the Year award.
    Taslima Nasreen
    Taslima Nasreen is born in Bangladesh. Doctor, her positions defending women and minorities brought her in trouble with a comittee of integrist called « Destroy Taslima » and to be persecuted as « apostate »
    Salman Rushdie
    Salman Rushdie is the author of nine novels, including Midnight’s Children, The Satanic Verses and, most recently, Shalimar the Clown. He has received many literary awards, including the Booker Prize, the Whitbread Prize for Best Novel, Germany’s Author of the Year Award, the European Union’s Aristeion Prize, the Budapest Grand Prize for Literature, the Premio Mantova, and the Austrian State Prize for European Literature. He is a Commandeur of the Ordre des Arts et Lettres, an Honorary Professor in the Humanities at M.I.T., and the president of PEN American Center. His books have been translated into over 40 languages.
    Philippe Val
    Director of publication of Charlie Hebdo (Leftwing french newspaper who have republished the cartoons on the prophet Muhammad by solidarity with the danish citizens targeted by islamists).
    Ibn Warraq
    Ibn Warraq , author notably of Why I am Not a Muslim ; Leaving Islam : Apostates Speak Out ; and The Origins of the Koran , is at present Research Fellow at a New York Institute conducting philological and historical research into the Origins of Islam and its Holy Book.
    Antoine Sfeir
    Born in Lebanon, christian, Antoine Sfeir choosed french nationality to live in an universalist and « laïc » (real secular) country. He is the director of Les cahiers de l’Orient and has published several reference books on islamism such as Les réseaux d’Allah (2001) et Liberté, égalité, Islam : la République face au communautarisme (2005).

    For more information see: Maryam Namazie. Feel free to reproduce this statement. Renegade Eye

    Friday, March 10, 2006

    Ali Farka Touré: 1939-2006

    His name may be known for a grammy winning album with Ry Cooder called Talking Timbuktu. He could have recorded in any location he desired; New York, Paris, London etc. He recorded his guitar work, that gave him the title of the "Johnny Lee Hooker of Africa", in Mali. The recording equiptment was sometimes primitive, compared to what could be found in Los Angeles or New York.

    When he played guitar, he got sounds out of it like you never heard before. You were transported to his village.

    There is a theory, that American blues, was influenced by Muslim slaves in West Africa. An example is the "Muslim Call To Prayer" compared to "Levee Camp Holler". That theory is strengthened by his music.

    Touré used his money to better his people in the town of Niafunké, where he was mayor. He also helped young African musicians succeed.

    Kudos to Musings of a (Fairly) Young Contrarian.RENEGADE EYE

    Tuesday, March 07, 2006

    March 08th International Women's Day: For Secularism, Equality and Freedom!

    International Women's day has grown from its beginnings in 1908, by a women's suffrage caucus in the Socialist Party. On March 08th, 1908; Branch 03 of the New York Socialist Party, held a mass meeting on women's rights.

    I'm reprinting a statement from the Iraqi left. This is a statement from The Organization of Women's Freedom (Iraq). This group is based in Northern Iraq.

    A statement by organization of Women’s freedom in Iraq – abroad representative on International Women’s Day (8 March)

    Make it a day to say No! To Islamic Sharia law in Iraq!

    For secularism, equality and freedom!

    The Organization of Women’s Freedom in Iraq (OWFI) sends its greetings for this historic day to women activists all over the world. For centuries women have been struggling for their rights and for equality and liberation in all parts of the world. Major changes have been won, but nowhere do we have real equality, and in many parts of the world the oppression and exploitation of women are still striking. Iraq is one of those places.

    The US-UK occupation has pushed Iraqi society back into a medieval world in which “honour killings”, beheadings, forced veiling and seclusion and sexual servitude are now a part of everyday life.

    Now the reactionary, tribalist and sectarian government the US has installed in Iraq wants to go further by institutionalizing the oppression of Iraqi women. The outcome of a war and occupation which was sold to the world as bringing “liberation” and “democracy” has been a hand-picked group of political hacks and tribal elder imposed on Iraqi society through a pseudo-parliament and a constitution that makes women second class citizens.

    For the last three years Iraqi women have stood up against not only the occupation but against political Islamist groups who are fighting to establish an Iranian or Saudi Arabian-type regime of gender apartheid, with all marital and family matters regulated by Islamic Sharia law.

    OWFI is fighting to mobilize Iraqi women and their supporters across the world against the occupation and Islamisation of Iraq. The USA and its allies claim that in facilitating our subjugation they are respecting “Islamic culture” and “Arab culture”.

    We say that this viewpoint, permanently relegating people in the so-called Muslim world to barbarism, borders on racism. We oppose politicized religion and demand a secular and egalitarian constitution for Iraq!

    They want to divide people along lines of religion, ethnicity and gender. We are demanding equality for all Iraqis regardless of their origin! Women in Iraq need your support more than ever. OWFI has been able to maintain and continue its work because of international support and solidarity, because of solidarity from women’s, progressive and workers’ organizations all over the world helping us to stand firm for our lives and our liberties.

    We call upon you to join with us this International Women’s Day (8 March) to say No to religious law in Iraq and yes to equality and freedom.

    No to Islamic Sharia Law in Iraq!

    Long Live International Women’s Day! Long live freedom, equality, and secularism!

    Organisation of Women’s Freedom in Iraq- Representative abroad

    February 2006

    For further information please contact Houzan Mahmoud:

    Tel: +44 79 56 88 3001

    Equality in Iraq


    Saturday, March 04, 2006

    Tony Blair and Trotsky

    According to "The Independent" on Friday March 03, 2006, British prime minister Tony Blair revealed at The Commonwealth Club's World Book Day launch, that he was influenced to get involved in politics, after reading Isaac Deutscher's trilogy about the life of Leon Trotsky. According to Tony Blair, "There were people who got me very involved in politics. But then there was also a book. It was a trilogy, a biography of Trotsky by Isaac Deutscher, which made a very deep impression on me and gave me a love of political biography for the rest of my life."

    Thank you Histomat: Adventures in Historical Materialism . RENEGADE EYE