Monday, June 25, 2007

Token Open Thread Excluding Spam: Blog Surf

Occasional poster here Sphinx at Morning Fire has a long post about the Palestinian situation. It is worth reading, with much to discuss, as the nature of Hamas, Fatah and the boycott of Israeli academics.

I have been having correspondance with a surrealist blogger at The Midlope, including talking about Trotsky's relationship with Andre Breton and Diego Rivera

One of my favorite blogs is Histologian. This Greek journalist has a story about agent provocateurs in large demonstrations including the anti-globalization movements. The Republican Party convention will be in St. Paul, MN, and I expect it to be a provocateurs gathering.

Louis Proyect The Unrepentant Marxist, has a story about the checkered history of "The Nation Magazine", initiated by after Cindy Sheehan quit the antiwar movement, she denounced the Democratic Party. "The Nation" and the MSM left out her attacks on the party. The magazine goes back to the days of the abolitionists. Even at that time, their politics was as sharp as a butter knife.


My friend wrestled Chris Benoit when he was a rookie, wrestling in Calgary. He was a loose cannon even then. My friend saw him hit a child in a wheelchair. That was a glimpse of things to come. Benoit didn't have a steroid problem, he always was a sociopath. The murders were not rage killings, they were ritualistic and planned.

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Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Launch of the Council of Ex-Muslims Britain

A British branch of a new Europe-wide phenomenon is to be launched on Thursday 21 June in London. The Council of ex-Muslims of Britain is building on the stunning success of other branches already operating in Germany, Finland, Denmark, Norway, and Sweden. The British Humanist Association and National Secular Society are sponsoring the launch and support the new organisation.

The Council will provide a voice for those labelled Muslim but who have renounced religion and do not want to be identified by religion.

Rights activist Maryam Namazie will be the voice of the organisation in this country. She said: “We are establishing the alternative to the likes of the Muslim Council of Britain because we don’t think people should be pigeonholed as Muslims or deemed to be represented by regressive organisations like the Muslim Council of Britain. Those of us who have come forward with our names and photographs represent countless others who are unable or unwilling to do so because of the threats faced by those considered 'apostates' - punishable by death in countries under Islamic law. By doing so, we are breaking the taboo that comes with renouncing Islam but also taking a stand for reason, universal rights and values, and secularism. We are quite certain we represent a majority in Europe and a vast secular and humanist protest movement in countries like Iran.”

Mina Ahadi who initiated the original Central Council of Ex-Muslims in Germany will be attending the launch. She spoke about the aims of the organisation in an interview to Der Spiegel.

Mina Ahadi, Mahin Alipour (spokesperson of the Scandinavian organisation), Maryam Namazie and others will be available for interviews at the launch.


The launch will be at 11am (until midday), Thursday 21 June
Wilson Room
Portcullis House
Westminster SW1A 2LW

A manifesto explaining the aims of the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain follows.

For more information please contact:
Maryam Namazie
Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain
BM Box 1919
London WC1N 3XX, UK
telephone: 07719166731

Manifesto of the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain

We, non-believers, atheists, and ex-Muslims, are establishing or joining the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain to insist that no one be pigeonholed as Muslims with culturally relative rights nor deemed to be represented by regressive Islamic organisations and 'Muslim community leaders'.

Those of us who have come forward with our names and photographs represent countless others who are unable or unwilling to do so because of the threats faced by those considered 'apostates' - punishable by death in countries under Islamic law.

By doing so, we are breaking the taboo that comes with renouncing Islam but also taking a stand for reason, universal rights and values, and secularism.

Whilst religion or the lack thereof is a private affair, the increasing intervention of and devastation caused by religion and particularly Islam in contemporary society has necessitated our public renunciation and declaration. We represent a majority in Europe and a vast secular and humanist protest movement in countries like Iran.

Taking the lead from the Central Council of Ex-Muslims in Germany, we demand:

1. Universal rights and equal citizenship for all. We are opposed to cultural relativism and the tolerance of inhuman beliefs, discrimination and abuse in the name of respecting religion or culture.
2. Freedom to criticise religion. Prohibition of restrictions on unconditional freedom of criticism and expression using so-called religious 'sanctities'.
3. Freedom of religion and atheism.
4. Separation of religion from the state and legal and educational system.
5. Prohibition of religious customs, rules, ceremonies or activities that are incompatible with or infringe people's rights and freedoms.
6. Abolition of all restrictive and repressive cultural and religious customs which hinder and contradict woman's independence, free will and equality. Prohibition of segregation of sexes.
7. Prohibition of interference by any authority, family members or relatives, or official authorities in the private lives of women and men and their personal, emotional and sexual relationships and sexuality.
8. Protection of children from manipulation and abuse by religion and religious institutions.
9. Prohibition of any kind of financial, material or moral support by the state or state institutions to religion and religious activities and institutions.
10. Prohibition of all forms of religious intimidation and threats.
Maryam Namazie

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Lebanon, towards UN Protectorate Mandate?

With the assassination of Walid Eido taking place, Lebanon has jumped to a new stage of complexity amongst war with Fatah Islam, the highly controversial Jund el Sham, Iranian and Syrian escalation versus US and Israeli hegemony over the Middle East, and of course the ongoing explosions (which the last made my house dance!)

Last year in August 2006, Lebanon for the first time almost in two decades witnessed the descent of the Lebanese Army to the South up to the borders. Lebanon’s army going to the South was highly controversial because those who supported the idea meant they were crippling the Resistance. With the Lebanese army, due to UN resolution 1701, over 10,000 UNIFIL soldiers came to South Lebanon to control arms flowing outside the Lebanese Army, primarily Hezbollah. I still insist why UNIFIL are not distributed on the Israeli side as well, since they are breaching UN 1701 on daily basis (bulldozers, shooting at civilians, aerial flights of the Israeli Air Force…etc). Syria threatened to close its borders in case UNIFIL soldiers monitored the Lebanese/Syrian borders, even if the UNIFIL soldiers were standing on the Lebanese side of the borders. Which is ironic judging how Syria excused Israel from rockets falling close to its borders, and raising its hands that “NO it wasn’t on our side!” then they took the credit as the victors of the July war (what gives?!).

This was the beginning of the end of Lebanese Sovereignty which was restored from the ruthless and corrupt Baathi system.

Eventually, with the reactionary Opposition having the Speaker of the Parliament, the Lebanese Parliament didn’t meet since December, ever since the Opposition began their open demonstration. Moving on, the Pro-West reactionary government succeeded, after heavy clashes with the Opposition, to get the UN to agree on establishing the International Tribunal to investigate Rafiq Harriri and others. With that, the government hopes to oust Syria permanently out of Lebanese affairs, or at least to strike a final blow against Hezbollah who publicly celebrate their good relations with Syria, and have financial and religious ties (Vilayat el Faqih) with Iran (both despised by the West).

With the Tribunal fully effective, that was part II of getting Lebanon into the arms of the International Community, while its people are gradually losing sovereignty because the government officials want to secure their interests and sources of income.

Third, with everything crippled on parliamentary and almost governmental level, three ministries have been fully active: Ministry of Interior who keep failing to provide security for the Lebanese. Actually, the Opposition hate the Ministry of Interior since during the July war, a commander of a certain Security Forces served tea to the Israelis. (The Joke goes: Fatah Islam demanded equality to the Israelis and requested that the Ministry of Interior serve tea to them). The Ministry of Interior (along with the Army) have been also behaving in several occasions racist to Palestinians living in the Urban side of Lebanon who are involved in relief work.

The scary part is the Ministry of Finance, which is the child ministry of the late Rafiq Hariri, whose plan to bury Lebanon in the WTO for different reasons. Currently, Minister Az’ur is still fully active with that plan, under 14th of March blessings (including the ‘leftist’ Elias Atallah), and the next couple of meetings, it is anticipated that the Lebanese Parliament would vote for adopting WTO procedures to attain membership and attempt to get rid, in another way, from Syrian Hegemony, while the US would increase their sphere of activity through out Lebanon.

Now, with the assassination of late MP Walid Eido, 14th of March, on the same day, made it clear they are going to ask for assistance from the International Community to monitor and control illegal activity on the Syrian Side, which Syria would react by closing borders. This is one messed up scenario, I sense we are almost close to become a UN protectorate while most of the Lebanese preach that a civil war is coming and take it for granted.

Meanwhile, social life has been as slow as ever. With Lebanon gradually becoming the next Iraq in terms of explosives, few people dare to go out of fear that this car parked or that car might carry explosives. Meanwhile Beqaa valley witnessed more arrests as suspected people with acquisition with arms. Now, everywhere is fire and Lebanon is more bi-polar as ever, specially yesterday Hezbollah captured three security forces in Dahhieh region (Beirut Suburbs) and released them later after interrogation. The North witnesses heavy confrontations between the army and Fatah Islam whereby Palestinian citizens, activist volunteers (such as the Red Cross), and Lebanese civilians are paying the price.

Worse, the South is on fire ever since the unknown militants launched two Katyoshas on Kiryat Shmona (Northern Israel). The reactionary government and opposition still clash each other to grab piecemeal profits. Seems that Lebanon would become the next target as a UN mandate protectorate. Personally I cant tell the difference between the government and the opposition.

Welcome to Lebanon, need a guide? Make sure that guide got militia contacts to really see the real Lebanon, and not only our splendid wonderful nightclubs.


Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Worker's Power in Venezuela: Sanitarios Maracay

The fascinating story of one of the two bathroom ceramics making manufacturers in Venezuela, provides us with a vision of workers control. What makes something revolutionary is not protest, but utopian vision. This article from In Defense of Marxism gives an overview. The events in May, when workers were met by the National Guard, shows state governments in Venezuela have power. The repression was ordered by an anti-Chavez governor.

Venezuela National Assembly asks for the expropriation of Sanitarios Maracay
By Jorge Martin
Wednesday, 30 May 2007

A delegation of Sanitarios Maracay trade union representatives headed by Jose Villegas, organisation secretary and member of the Factory Committee, went to Caracas on Monday May 28, to meet with the Social Affairs commission of the National Assembly.

After meeting with the workers, the Permanent Commission on Social Affairs agreed to send a petition to the president of the Republic for the expropriation of Sanitarios Maracay.

The factory, which makes bathroom ceramics, has been occupied by the workers for more than six months, and they have maintained production and sales for the whole period, organised in regular mass workers’ assemblies and an elected and recallable Factory Committee. After a number of conflicts with the employer, coup-plotter Alvaro Pocaterra, over health and safety and trade union recognition, he decided to abandon the factory and it was at this point that the workers decided to occupy.

More than 550 of the Sanitarios Maracay workers, who are part of the Revolutionary Front of Occupied Factories FRETECO, have been struggling for the expropriation of the factory and that it be run under workers’ control.

On May 22 there was a region-wide day of action in Aragua, where Maracay is based, in which 3,000 workers from 120 different workplaces set up 19 road blocks from 5 am until 11 am, blockading the whole of the region. The action was organised by the regional UNT and the Sanitarios Maracay workers to demand nationalisation under workers’ control, but also to protest at the repression the workers had suffered at the hands of regional police and national guard forces when they were on their way to a national demonstration organised by FRETECO on April 23.

Undoubtedly, the action in Aragua served to put pressure on the National Assembly to pass this resolution which is also going to be sent to the Ministry of Light Industry and Commerce for endorsement. So far the position of the Ministry of Labour has not been favourable to the expropriation of the factory, and the minister, Ramon Rivero, publicly expressed his view that the factory is not “of national interest” and therefore should not be nationalised. To this the workers have replied that Sanitarios Maracay should be included in a national plan of housing projects to solve the housing crisis affecting millions of poor people. Sanitarios trade union leaders have also accused the Ministry of negotiating a settlement of the dispute only with a small group of administrative staff which are not part of the workers’ assembly.

The decision taken by the National Assembly is seen by the workers representatives as the first real step towards expropriation of the factory, their main demand. If this expropriation went ahead, this would be a further important step forward for the workers movement in Venezuela and would put the expropriation of other occupied factories (SelFex, Gotcha, INAF, etc) on the agenda.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Free Scooter Libby and Paris Hilton

I hope to make points with this post, bigger than the individuals involved. I get surprised looks from lefty friends, that I'm for freeing these two. I hope my friends can see my point. As for my support for Scooter Libby, it's as strong as a plank is, to someone caught by pirates. See Paris Hilton at WSWS

The left and liberals hate Bush in a manner as the right hates Hugo Chavez. Because you want to hurt your enemy, you rejoice when the enemy faces a dilemma. This hatred can be blinding.

Scooter Libby is indicted for false testimony, in an investigation I believe shouldn't have taken place. The Intelligence Identities Protection Act, enacted by former CIA boss Bush41, is anti-left law. On October 30, 2005 I wrote in this blog, regarding the Valerie Plame affair and that law:

Phillip Agee, a retired CIA agent, developed a conscience. It was after the reality of the CIA's half-century-plus run through our world has been quite another matter though: the formation and funding of secret armies and death squads from Laos and El Salvador to Afghanistan; the corruption of democratic political parties; the assassination, or attempted assassination, of leaders of other countries; the investment of billions of U.S. taxpayer dollars in torture research, and then the teaching of new methods of torture (as well as time-tested ones) to allied police and military forces globally; the running of torture centers and secret prisons abroad; and the overthrow of democratically-elected governments from Guatemala and Chile to Iran. Through all these years, CIA agents have acted with impunity. The intricate tale of CIA "covert" operations is quite a grim little history, drenched in blood and pain -- and a history that finally blew back on Americans.

In 1975 Phillip Agee wrote the book "Inside the Company:CIA Diary". It revealed what the CIA was doing, particularly in Latin America. The book named all the spooks Agee knew. Agee was in the company for 12 years. He started as an idealist, and later became angry about covert activities, against justice. Welch was not mentioned in the book. His former comrades were angry, and felt betrayed.

In 1982 the congress under former CIA George Bush41 and Ronald Reagan, passed the Intelligence Identities Protection Act. That law was written in response to the 1975 killing of Greek division head Richard Welch. It was the anti-Philip Agee law. He was blamed for outing Welch, even though he didn't.

Now the phony leftists are singing the praises of Intelligence Identities Protection Act. Some even want to strengthen it. The law was written against the left. Now all of a sudden, the CIA is your friend. Progressives have to stop the CIA and people like Valerie Plame; blowing the cover of her fellow agents when they are found engaging in kidnappings, torture, or attempts to overthrow democratically elected governments.

Don't rejoice about seeing Libby or Rove against the wall. Granted Rove in particular, will use any tactic against you; be careful of who you think your friends are.

Paris Hilton is not a hotel heiress. Her great grandfather cut off all relatives from inheriting the hotel chain.

We follow her life, and her associates, through trials and trubulations, as a reflection of decreasing expectations of our own lives.

The bury Hilton cries processes are complex and don’t work themselves out as the result of any pre-arranged plan, but it’s worth noting that Hilton’s time in the limelight has coincided with the deepening of popular discontent with the war in Iraq, corporate corruption, official moves toward a police state and the destruction of secure jobs on a mass scale.

To help retard the development of a rational opposition to the current political and social state of affairs, the media cultivates an artificial hostility toward much easier targets. A seething but politically confused population is fed victims, sacrificial lambs, so to speak, while the real criminals go about their business.

In the last few years, some 200,000 nonviolent prisoners have been released from LA County jails. Because of Hilton's celebrity, she is getting a stiffer sentence than usual. If she wasn't Paris, her sentence would have been 1/10% of what she'll serve.

Free Paris Hilton and get a life. RENEGADE EYE

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Save Khaled Hardani and Kobra Najjar from execution in Iran

Khaled Hardani, and Kobra Najjar, who are about to be executed and stoned to death, have asked us to reach out to the international community in an attempt to save their lives. These two individuals are in grave danger of death. Their lawyers and families are desperately seeking help to save their lives.

Khaled Hardani is convicted of hijacking an airplane to escape Iran. On Saturday, June 2nd 2007, we were contacted and told that Khaled Hardani is being held in Rajaii-Shahr prison. He told us that he has been under intense pressure to sign his order of execution. The Islamic Republic of Iran is accusing Khaled of “Battling God”.

Kobra is the mother of 4 children from Sanandaj. After her marriage, she was forced by her drug-addicted husband into prostitution. Currently she is convicted of engaging in an ‘extra marital affair’. Cobra has written to the clemency committee in Iran 3 times and has been denied a stay of execution each and every time. Currently she and her lawyers believe that the only way of saving Kobra from a cruel fate is through pressure from the international community on the Islamic regime.

To hear the voices of those condemned calling from their prisons is truly a painful and life altering experience. Although clearly distressed, both were confident and hopeful that with our help they can be saved from certain death. This confidence is an indication that our organization is effective against the indiscriminate killing of the Islamic regime. Their confidence stems from our previous efforts through peaceful protests and meetings to bring the plight of people under similar circumstances to light. These efforts, which resulted in pressure of the international community has helped save the lives of other people in similar circumstances.

We, who live outside of Iran, and away from the oppressive regime and hellish jails, have to act immediately to save the lives of people who have been imprisoned for many years and fighting for their lives. The Committee against Executions and Stoning invites all humanitarian organizations, public figures, artists, and anyone interested in justice and human rights to help us fight the executions of Khaled Hardani and Kobra Najjar.

Anyone interested in helping must take quick and decisive action in the coming days.
Demonstrations to put pressure on the Islamic Republic of Iran and spread the international movement against execution and stoning

On Friday and Saturday 15th and 16th of June we are asking people to demonstrate against the executions of Mr. Khaled Hardani and Mrs. Kobra Najjar at cities across the world. This could include locations close to Iranian embassies, or civic centers in your own towns. The Committee against Executions and the International Committee against Stoning will partner with other human right organizations to organize a large movement in an attempt to save these two lives.

Other things you can do to help:
· Write to the United Nations, European Union and members of parliaments to put pressure on the Islamic regime of Iran to stop these and other executions.
· Write about these atrocities in weblogs and websites to make as many people as possible aware the situation.
· Write to other human rights organizations asking them for help.

For further information, please don’t hesitate to contact Mina Ahadi at 00491775692413.

International Committee against Execution
International Committee against Stoning
June 2, 2007 Maryam Namazie

Monday, June 04, 2007

Get Well Mike Ballard/UFC 75

A friend and comrade to many of the bloggers in this community, is seriously ill. Mike Ballard whose blog is Penguins in Bondage has been the source of both serious political foment particularly on labor's rights issues, as well as recent literary achievement. I think his friendly demeaner won him respect from political opponents as well. For more information about his condition read his wife Jennifer's blog.

Mike, Jennifer and myself are fans of mixed martial arts (MMA). It is a sport involving boxing, wrestling, judo, karate etc. This video is for Mike. Get well soon.