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News :: Peace & War

SYRIA OUT OF LEBANON AND ISRAEL OUT OF SYRIA

This is a very thoughtful article that examines the dilemna of Syria, which seeks return of the Golan Heights as per UN Resolution 242. The author recognizes that Syria holds its influence in Lebanon pending that quid pro quo, but that the US/Israel is unlikely to honor UN 242 in the current feeding frenzy based upon the still-unsolved shooting there.

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News :: Peace & War

IDF Reopens Case

IDF to reopen case of wounded U.S. activist





The Supreme Court instructed the Israeli Defense Forces on Monday to take testimony in the closed case of a U.S. activist who charged that troops shot and seriously wounded him without provocation in the West Bank nearly two years ago.




Brian Avery, 26, from Chapel Hill, North Carolina, was shot in the face in the West Bank town of Jenin on April 3, 2003. He was part of a contingent from the International Solidarity Movement, a pro-Palestinian group whose activists often insert themselves between Palestinians and Israeli forces to disrupt military operations.

According to Avery, he and a colleague were standing still, wearing bright red medic vests with their hands over their heads, when soldiers opened fire from approaching military vehicles without firing warning shots.
Haaretz has conveniently taken this off their side. Smells like coverup to me.

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News :: Globalization & Capitalism

Defying U.S., Venezuela's Chavez Embraces Socialism

Reuters
25 February 2005

Defying U.S., Venezuela's Chavez Embraces Socialism
By Pascal Fletcher

CARACAS, Venezuela (Reuters) - Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez on Friday embraced socialism as his
ideology of choice in a political statement that sharpened his
antagonism against the United States.

Chavez, a firebrand nationalist who has governed the world's No. 5 oil
exporter for six years, has persistently declined to define the
precise ideology of his self-styled "revolution."

But, addressing an international meeting on poverty in Caracas, he
said Western-style capitalism was incapable of solving global economic
and social problems.

"So, if not capitalism, then what? I have no doubt, it's socialism,"
said Chavez, who also rebuffed U.S. criticism of his left-wing rule in
Venezuela and denounced President Bush as the "great destabilizer of
the world."

Since coming to power, he has irritated Washington by developing
alliances with China, Russia and Iran and flaunting a close personal
friendship with Cuba's Communist President Fidel Castro, a longtime
foe of the United States.

Chavez's public support for socialism recalled Castro's defining
announcement in the early 1960s that his 1959 Cuban Revolution was
"socialist."

Chavez said he had up to now avoided labeling his political program in
Venezuela as "socialist."

But he added his personal experience in power, which included
surviving a brief coup in 2002, had convinced him that socialism was
the answer. "But what kind?"

Chavez, who won a referendum in August ratifying his rule until early
2007, said previous experiences of socialism in the world -- an
apparent reference to the former Soviet Union -- might not be the
example to follow.

"We have to invent the socialism of the 21st century," he added.

Venezuela's 1999 constitution promoted by Chavez enshrines a
multi-party political system and he has denied he is a communist. But
he has intensified state intervention in the economy, encouraged the
formation of cooperatives and is pursuing land reforms critics say
threaten private property.

Chavez resumed his aggressive stance just a day after his vice
president, Jose Vicente Rangel, called for talks with the United
States and said Caracas was ready to help fight terrorism and
drug-trafficking and keep oil flowing to the United States.

But Rangel had also echoed Chavez's anti-U.S. criticisms, and U.S.
diplomats here complain their requests for meetings with government
ministers are turned down.

While Venezuela remains a key oil supplier to the U.S., Chavez has
this year stepped up a war of words with the United States. Secretary
of State Condoleezza Rice has called him a "destabilizing influence"
in Latin America.

A former paratroop officer, Chavez was first elected in a 1998
election, six years after leading a botched coup bid.

Opponents of the Venezuelan leader, whom Chavez dismisses as puppets
of the United States, accuse him of ruling like a dictator and
dragging the country toward Cuba-style communism.

In what Caracas calls "impertinent" meddling, U.S. officials are also
opposing Venezuela's purchase of Russian helicopters and automatic
rifles for its armed forces.

"The only destabilizer here is George W. Bush, he's the big
destabilizer in the world, he's the threat," Chavez said. He has
condemned the U.S.-led wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Chavez also repeated charges that the increased U.S. criticism was
preparing the ground for an attack against Venezuela and included a
plan to assassinate him. U.S. officials have rejected this as
"ridiculous."

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News :: Arts & Culture

Government Obstructs Boulder Creek Art Festival

Caltrans putting cork in Boulder Creek art, wine festival

By BRIAN SEALS
SENTINEL STAFF WRITER

BOULDER CREEK — For years, this close-knit mountain town has cordoned off its main thoroughfare on the Memorial Day weekend and hosted up to 30,000 visitors for three days of art and wine.

That tradition is imperiled this year because the state Department of Transportation won’t allow alcohol to be sold or consumed on Highway 9, the road lined with tents and people during the festival.

The policy change has organizers of the Boulder Creek Art, Wine and Music Festival worried and wondering if the show should go on.

"We’ll have to look at what the profits or losses will be," said Doug Conrad, president of the Boulder Creek Business Association, which organizes the annual event. "We’re getting punished because we have a state highway running through our town."

Organizers hope Caltrans will allow this year’s event to proceed as in the past. The association has invested more than $20,000 already, and has contracts, supplies and services ready.

Supervisor Mark Stone wrote Caltrans asking for the matter to be revisited.

"I am asking them to let us go forward this year," Stone said this week. "If Caltrans is changing its policy and does not allow alcohol on the roads, do it in a way that gives them time to react. It’s a very popular community event and it raises a lot of money."

The decision was based on liability concerns, said Steve Senet of Caltrans District 5 permit office in San Luis Obispo.

"I really have no vendetta against alcohol, it has just become a big liability for the state," Senet said.

Senet disagreed with organizers about a late warning, saying he told them last year about the possible prohibition. But the decision for this year may well be reconsidered, he said

"It’s not over," he said.

Caltrans has proposed shifting wine sales to a side street, but that isn’t conducive to the festival’s vibe as people stroll from Scarborough Lumber to the San Lorenzo River Bridge.

"The whole point of the festival is people walking from wine booth to wine booth and looking at art," Conrad said.

Conrad said the business association’s board will meet March 7 to decide whether to proceed.

Money raised from the festival has gone to help pick up trash, maintain trees and decorate on the main street of the 4,000-population unincorporated hamlet for the holidays.

This year, the business association also plans for part of the proceeds to go to a charity, yet to be chosen.

More than 15 Central Coast wineries participate in the festival, along with roughly 200 vendors of art, crafts and what-nots.

Contact Brian Seals at bseals@santacruzsentinel.com.

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News :: Police State

Get 'hate mongering' off air: Fantino

Heres latest from Toronto Star:

Get police 'hate mongering' off the air: Fantino

DALE ANNE FREED
STAFF REPORTER

Toronto police Chief Julian Fantino is pressuring Ryerson University to ban a program on its campus radio station that airs negative stories about police.

Bad Cop, No Donut! on CKLN 88.1 FM focuses on "stories about police abuse that happen throughout North America each week, taken mostly from local newspapers,'' said Ron Anicich, the show's volunteer radio host, producer and self-described anarchist.

It ends with an invitation from the 38-year-old Anicich to: "Email your comments and story ideas to ihatepigs (at) hotmail.com."

"I'm disgusted that this kind of hate mongering would be directed at our police officers," Fantino said yesterday.

"The issue here is to have Ryerson do the right thing.

"The right thing would be for them to take action to ensure this type of hate mongering is not perpetuated."

But a Ryerson spokesperson said the station is a separate entity from the university.

No complaints have been filed with the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, an independent agency responsible for regulating the country's airwaves. .

Bad Cop, No Donut! is broadcast live from a studio at Ryerson every Thursday during an hour-long program called Rude Awakening at 6 a.m. and has been running since September.

According to its website, the show is picked up by stations in Vancouver; Nelson, B.C.; Los Angeles; Pittsburgh; Washington, D.C.; Idaho and New York.

CKLN news director Kristin Schwartz defended the show.

"I think what should really be disturbing to people is not an email address but the real impact on people's lives of police abuse," she said. "I think it's important to tell those stories."

Anicich said he wasn't sure "why Toronto police would have a problem with this."

"If his (the chief's) problem is the content of the show then he should know I'm not telling anybody anything that hasn't been in the newspaper already. My intention is strictly to relate the facts, period."

According to a transcript of a Feb. 17 program, Anicich mentioned "an ongoing RCMP investigation into widespread corruption in Toronto police."

Fantino told the Star he objected to the term "widespread corruption" and said the overwhelming majority of officers were "hardworking professionals."

Downtown Toronto's 52 Division has been the centre of the police scandal since last April, when it was first revealed that an RCMP-led task force was probing allegations that some officers were involved in the shakedown of bars in the Entertainment District.

Ryerson spokesperson Bruce Piercey said the station doesn't get any funding from the university.

"The university has no direct connection to CKLN. They have their own CRTC licence and are obligated to meet their obligations according to that licence," said Piercey.

"The radio station is a separately incorporated organization."

It raises its own funding through fundraising and advertising revenue and RyeSac, the student union, supplies funds to it on an annual basis, said Piercey.

CKLN, like most college stations, isn't a member of the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council.

"We would not be in a position to receive a complaint or deal with a complaint relating to them," said Ron Cohen, national chair of the council.

And if CKLN were a member, the broadcast council would not be able to intervene on the question of hate mongering because the police "would not be considered to be a protected group under the code of ethics."

As to whether the comments are appropriate "it would take a panel to decide a matter like that. We have no previous examples where a comment like that has been raised for treatment on that basis," Cohen said.

The human rights clause in the Canadian Association of Broadcasters' Code of Ethics applies to 550-plus stations and networks across Canada, he said.

But the clause wouldn't cover the police.

"Our ruling in the past is that members of professions or occupations are not identifiable groups benefiting from protection afforded by the human rights clause,'' Cohen said.

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News :: Police State

Salinas man dies after getting hit by taser stun gun

SALINAS, Calif. A Salinas man who was shot several times by police using a Taser electric stun gun has died.

Salinas police say Robert Clark Heston died around 7:30 last night. The 40-year-old Heston was hospitalized Saturday afternoon after his heart stopped when he was hit by taser darts.

Officers who responded to a report of a domestic disturbance say they saw Heston attack his 66-year-old father, and then attacked them as well.

Police say even after hitting Heston with several of the electric tasers, he resisted attempts to be taken into custody.

When officers were able to subdue him they noticed he had stopped breathing.

Police say they were able to revive Heston using C-P-R. He was taken to a Salinas hospital, where he died last night.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press.

see also:
http://revampscripts.com/board/bcnd.shtml
http://revampscripts.com/cgi-chartcom/nheadlines.pl?board_number=20041123354&message=2005018360&returnpage=1

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News :: Peace & War

Israel: Demolition of Palestinian Homes is Actually Feeding Violence Rather Than Deterring It

A governmental review panel in Israel announced that they found that the destruction of homes of suspected terrorist sympathizers was not deterring violence, but was serving to prolong conflict between the Israelis and Palestinians. Israel has accordingly pledged to discontinue the practice as part of the current peace efforts.

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News :: Peace & War

"Over My Dead Body I'll Go Back"

A personal story of the atrocity and aftermath of this war.

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