Archive | April 17th, 2013

Too much to be lost or won in a single day


by jodymcintyre

For Rabble magazine:

Sol has a long journey to get to work every day, living in Junquitos, an hour’s bus drive into the mountains outside of Caracas.  On Sunday, the collectively-run café she works at was shut, but Sol was awake even earlier than usual.  At three am, she was helping to organise her local voting station and making sure people knew which table they were registered to vote at.  By eight am, she was driving around in a car, looking for disabled or elderly people who might need help walking to their voting station.  “Of course, we all need to vote,” Sol says, “they will not return.”

My younger brother had noted that with all their rhetoric and brimming with confidence, it was hard to remember that the opposition party have never won a Presidential election here.  However, in the opinion of many Venezuelans, they have won, and were winning for the forty-years of punto-fijismo, or “pacted democracy” that prevailed before Hugo Chavez first came into power in 1998.  So “no volveran”, or “they will not return”, has been a commonly-heard phrase in recent days.

Sobhan, an eldery man, was born in Guyana, but has lived in Venezuela for many years.  I notice the ubiquitous purple-ink stained on his little finger that afternoon, one of seven measures imposed by the CNE [National Electoral Council] to ensure the security of the vote.  “I voted for us,” Sobhan tells me, a careful smile lighting up his features.

These are more than political elections that take place in Venezuela.  To realise that, you only needed to visit Avenida Urdaneta and the approach to Miraflores, the Presidential palace, in the hours leading up to the announcement of results.  The voting tables had officially closed at 6pm, and it was clear that millions had gone out to vote for both Nicolas Maduro, Hugo Chavez’ appointed successor and Henrique Capriles, his wealthily-backed electoral opponent.  But that evening, just like at previous elections, it was a sea of government supporters that had flooded the streets.  Here, perhaps, was a contradiction of the Venezuelan system.  The elections, undoubtedly clean, had been carried out with calm and without fear, in perhaps one of the most democratic systems in the world.  However, with a couple hours still to go before results would be announced, a party atmosphere had descended on Avenida Urdaneta.  I couldn’t help to wonder, where would these people go if Capriles were to be announced winner?  They had travelled from the barrios, they had struggled for many years, they had received homes, education and medicine when they had none before.  Would they really just lay down and die for an election result?

“Look, we’ve already got experience of the electoral process,” says Yennetor, a woman in her forties.  “We have a process that is well organised.  We went out to vote with a political commitment, but also with a moral and sentimental commitment to Commandante Chavez.  So there is a feeling of sadness, but we are in the streets right now to show the opposition that we are taking care of Miraflores, because for us Miraflores is a symbol of our participative democracy.”

At 11.20pm, Nicolas Maduro was announced as the next President of Venezuela.  The name didn’t surprise me, but the figures certainly did.  Both candidates had received over seven million votes, with a participation rate of 78%.  Maduro had received around 700,000 votes less than Chavez in the October elections, and Capriles had received 550,000 more than he had last time round.  Maduro had won the elections by less than 2%.  However, whereas Chavez, winning in October by a significant landslide, had spoken from the “balcony of the people” in Miraflores, in the middle of the night, to speak of dialogue, unity and tolerance, Maduro, winning by far less than expected, was in a far more victorious mood.  Nevertheless, underneath the bravado, he must be realising the task that now faces him.  Of course, as the government quickly pointed out, they had accepted an electoral defeat, their only electoral defeat, in 2007, of just 0.1%, but you could not mistake the tension in the air.

Capriles waited for little over an hour before calling a press conference.  His face was full of anger, his voice seething with rage.  He had refused to commit to recognising the results of the election beforehand, as had every other Presidential candidate, and now he was coming good on his threat.  He accused Maduro of losing the elections, and demanded that a re-count be held.

The Venezuelan Presidential elections took place on April 14th, 2013.  Eleven years earlier, on the very same date, Hugo Chavez landed at Miraflores in a helicopter after nothing short of a popular uprising had demanded his re-instatement in power after a coup d’etat of just seventy-two hours crumbled and fell.  There is much at stake in Venezuela; the oil interests of imperialist powers, the homes of the poor majority, and the elites who lost their grip on power almost fifteen years ago.  Too much to be lost or won in a single day.

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Western silence on Maduro’s victory in Venezuela is hypocritical


by jodymcintyre

For the New Internationalist:

Alberto Garcia lives in the Petare barrio, in the east of Caracas, but was born in Maracaibo, Zulia state.  Like thousands of others, he didn’t wait for election results to be announced before taking to Avenida Urdaneta, the road which runs through the centre of the capital up to Miraflores, the Presidential palace.  “Chavez is more dangerous now he has died than when he was alive,” Alberto tells me.  “He liberated us from the imperialist powers… here, we have democracy!”

Fifteen year-old Jonayca is also in the crowds, too young to vote, surrounded by a group of friends from school.  “We are here for our future,” he says, “we want to defend our country.”

When the results of the Venezuelan Presidential elections were announced, late on Sunday night, few were surprised by the name of the winner.  Nicolas Maduro had been personally named by Hugo Chavez as the person to vote for if anything happened to him, and the commitment had held strong.  Unlike Chavez, however, Maduro had failed to capture a landslide percentage, as had become the norm in recent Presidential elections.  His victory margin set of a war of rhetoric, continuing the trend of the political campaigns that preceded; Maduro took to the 23 de enero barrio to proclaim the continuation of the Bolivarian revolution, whereas an hour later, in a far wealthier side of the city, his electoral opponent Henrique Capriles called a press conference in which he denounced the President-elect and refused to recognise the results of the election.

Capriles has spoken a lot about wanting to follow a peaceful route over the last two days.  However, there is an implicit contradiction in calling for peace whilst refusing to accept the results of a democratic election, and this, unfortunately, is the message his followers have received.  On Monday, Capriles called for a cacerolazo in the evening, a form of protest consisting of a co-ordinated banging of kitchen pots, first made popular amongst the opposition to Salvador Allende in Chile in the 1970s.  The cacerolazo went ahead; I could hear it from where I am staying in the city.  Later that evening, Capriles supporters attacked the headquarters of Telesur, a news channel broadcast across Latin America.  Another group of opposition supporters surrounded the home of Tibisay Lucena, the President of the CNE [National Electoral Council].  Minister of Communication Andres Izarra posted online that some were threatening to burn the house of his father.  Henrique Capriles also called for a demonstration to take place outside the headquarters of the CNE on Wednesday; are we to expect the same kind of peaceful behaviour from his supporters?

In October, it seems, the force of the tide which swept Chavez to victory, with more votes than he had ever received before, was simply deemed too powerful to scale.  This time around, however, Maduro was over half a million votes down on his predecessor, and Capriles had increased his vote by a similar amount to narrow the gap.  However, close election results are not a stranger to systems considered by many as democratic.  In the UK, none of the three mainstream parties won, and so two parties “teamed together” to form a government, as if that had been a hidden option unwittingly voted for by the majority of the British public.  The “coalition” government, as well as their Labour “opposition”, wish to mourn the death of former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher; she gained power with a vote of 40%.  But since Sunday’s election, both the United States and the European Union have failed to recognise Maduro’s victory.  On Monday, he was officially sworn in as President by the CNE; still, no recognition from the sacred tongues of the former imperialist powers.  Despite the fact that Venezuela has one of the most open, safe and fair voting systems in the vote, with seven individual measures to ensure the security of the vote.

So why, I wonder, the double standards in the case of Venezuela?  In the UK, the Guardian newspaper reported that elections in Venezuela ended in “turmoil”.  Why does a close election result automatically mean turmoil, but in “first-world” countries simply the exercise of democracy? Is it because this is a country rich in resources, rich in oil, and refusing to follow the dictates of foreign powers?  Foreign Minister Elias Jaua called the Venezuelan ambassador to Spain for consultations yesterday after the Spanish government said they would not recognise the “implicitly strong and clear” results of the election.  On Monday night, President Maduro took advantage of a press confidence to re-assert the position:

“Take care, because Venezuela is free… we defeated the King of Spain a long time ago!”

Almost every government in Latin America, the real international community in this part of the world, has recognised the results of the Presidential elections and congratulated the people of the country for yet another successful democratic process.  It is time for Henrique Capriles, and his backers abroad, to do the same.

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At least 40 dead in massive Iran earthquake


Red Crescent calls second quake in two weeks ‘complicated emergency situation’; 7.8 magnitude tremor reaches the Gulf, India, and Pakistan

Times of Israel

A major earthquake described as the strongest to hit Iran in more than half a century flattened homes and offices Tuesday on both sides of the Iran-Pakistan border, killing at least 46 people in the sparsely populated region and swaying skyscrapers and buildings as far away as New Delhi.

Iran’s Red Crescent said it was facing a “complicated emergency situation” in the area with villages scattered over desolate hills and valleys.

Iran’s semi-official ISNA news agency described the quake, whose magnitude measured at least 7.7, as the strongest one in more than 50 years. The country’s state-run Press TV called it a “massive quake.”

The quake was 9 miles (15 kilometers) deep, according to the US Geological Survey USGS.

Across the Gulf, high-rise buildings swayed and officials ordered evacuations. Dubai has the world’s tallest tower, the 2,717 -foot (828-meter) Burj Khalifa.

On April 9, a 6.1 quake hit near the Bushehr nuclear plant, killing 37 people.

Iran said there was no damage to the reactor and insists it was built to withstand far stronger quakes.

Earlier this week, the head of the Gulf states’ main political bloc urged Iran to join an international accord on nuclear safety following the earthquake near the country’s lone energy-producing reactor.

Abdullatif bin Rashid al-Zayani, secretary-general of the Gulf Cooperation Council, opened a meeting Sunday in Riyadh to discuss nuclear safety issues after the quake about 96 kilometers (60 miles) southeast of Bushehr.

Al-Zayani urged Iran to join the UN’s Convention on Nuclear Safety, which allows greater review by the UN’s atomic watchdog agency.

Iran says it is part of other UN pacts to report any nuclear accidents.

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Boston marathon bombing happened on same day as ‘controlled explosion’ drill by Boston bomb squad


by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger

Editor of



(NaturalNews) Two bombs have rocked the streets of Boston and reportedly injured 22 marathon runners (two have reportedly died). It’s too early to know the cause of these explosions, but you can rest assured both the state and federal government will try to use this tragic event to blame whatever convenient enemies are most advantageous for the government.

No one has yet stepped forward to claim responsibility for the bombs, and the fact that no firearms were used in the attack may indicate this was NOT part of a false flag effort by the government to try to blame gun owners. (But it’s still way too early to tell…)

Here at Natural News, we are horrified at this loss of innocent life, and we are praying for the victims of this bombing as well as their families.

Bomb squad was running “controlled explosion” on the same day

What’s not yet being reported by the mainstream media is that a “controlled explosion” was under way on the same day as the marathon explosion.

As the Boston Globe tweeted today, “Officials: There will be a controlled explosion opposite the library within one minute as part of bomb squad activities.”

Some people believe this explosion might have been part of the demolition of another bomb. It seems unlikely, however, that a bomb at the library, one mile away, could be so quickly located and rigged to be exploded by the bomb squad in less than one hour following the initial explosions at the marathon.

Furthermore, according to, a University of Mobile’s Cross Country Coach said there were bomb-sniffing dogs at both the start and finish lines, long before any explosions went off. He said:

“They kept making announcements on the loud speaker that it was just a drill and there was nothing to worry about. It seemed like there was some sort of threat, but they kept telling us it was just a drill.

Bloomberg news is now saying, “This is very likely a terrorist attack.”

The question is: Who are the terrorists? It’s far too early to take an informed guess on all this. However, it is indisputable that the FBI is actively engaged in carrying out bomb plots in the United States, then halting them at the last minute to “catch the terrorists.” This fact has been covered by the New York Times, among other publications.

Also read

FBI ‘entrapment’ tactics questioned in web of phony terror plots and paid informants

Keep in mind I am in no way blaming the FBI for this. Most men and women who work with the FBI are upstanding citizens who would be appalled at such acts. But it is theoretically possible that one of the FBI’s many “terror plots” went too far and turned into a live bomb instead of a dud followed by an arrest for “domestic terrorism.”

For the record, the explosions seemed relatively small for a false flag, and most false flags target children in order to maximize the emotional leverage after the event. That these explosions did not target children is yet more evidence that it may not have been a false flag at all.

Either way, terrorism always works in the favor of the state. It makes presidents look presidential, and it gives the government an excuse to crack down on civil liberties all across the country.

Be wary of who ultimately gets blamed for this, especially if it’s a veteran or patriot.

Learn more:

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Hugo Chávez: heroic and tireless internationalist revolutionary

In recent years, no single individual played a greater role in the worldwide anti-imperialist struggle. Consequently, his passing is mourned by the entire progressive family of nations. 
The following article is based on a speech delivered by a member of the Central Committee of the CPGB-ML to the memorial meeting, ‘Hugo Chávez and the Venezuelan Revolution’, organised by the party in London on 8 March, the day of Comrade Chávez’s funeral. 

Speaking of Mao’s contributions, the Chinese Communist Party has summed up: “Without him the Chinese people would, at the very least, have spent much more time groping in the dark.”

The same, also at the very least, can be said about the relationship between Hugo Chávez and the people of Venezuela.

Hugo Chávez was a patriot and a champion of the poor who transformed the lives of millions of his long-oppressed and downtrodden compatriots – the workers, the people living in the teeming urban barrios, women, youth, African Venezuelans and the indigenous peoples – not only through real and meaningful reforms, but also in the course of the first determined, conscious and ongoing effort to forge and build a new socialist state that the world has seen in some 30 years.

For these reasons alone, we join with our class brothers and sisters in Venezuela, and with their friends and comrades around the world, in mourning, with deepest grief, the loss of this revolutionary warrior at the too-young age of 58, but also in celebrating his revolutionary life.

Internationalist revolutionary

However, the significance of Hugo Chávez goes far beyond the borders and shores of Venezuela. He was an internationalist revolutionary who stood on the side of every single people fighting against oppression and exploitation. An outstanding political figure of the last part of the 20th century and the first part of the 21st, it can truly be said that, in recent years, no single individual played a greater role in the worldwide anti-imperialist struggle. Therefore, as our party’s statement, quoting Comrade Mao Zedong, rightly says, his death truly is weightier than Mount Tai.

Hugo Chávez was born into a working-class family and spent his early years in material poverty, largely raised by his loving grandparents. Like many others, he joined the army as the only career path open to him. It was being sent to the countryside to fight against Marxist-Leninist guerrillas that awakened him to political consciousness; to the fact that it was the guerrillas who were engaged in a just struggle, for his people and for his class. From this time, until the moment he breathed his last, he embarked on the life of a revolutionary – a course from which he never retreated or looked back.

It was 1992, when the world was still reeling from the collapse of the Soviet Union and the European socialist countries, and when the US was at the height of its imperial arrogance, that Chávez launched his first attempt to seize power. Although that attempt ended in failure, he only accepted defeat “por ahora”, for the time being – a sentiment that gripped the Venezuelan people’s hearts and saw him and his comrades swept to power in 1998 and in numerous subsequent elections.

Chávez’s enormous bravery was again displayed at the time of the short-lived fascist coup in April 2002. His refusal, despite the real and imminent threat to his life, to sign away the presidency enabled the popular masses to rise up, split the army, defeat the coup, and bring Chávez back to the Miraflores (presidential) Palace.

Consolidating the power of the working class

The coup was not only defeated, but the popular masses were, as a result, able to substantially consolidate their political state power, as well as its control of the main economic levers, principally the state-owned oil company PDVSA, enabling Chávez to openly proclaim the socialist character of the revolution he was leading.

Despite the fact that Venezuela has the world’s largest oil reserves, the incomes of working people had dropped every single year in the 25 years before Chávez came to power.

By contrast, in the last 14 years, during which Chávez held office, the Venezuelan economy grew by 300 percent, with massive investment in health care, housing and education, and with millions of people lifted out of poverty. No wonder that the oligarchs, the imperialists and their venal media consistently accused Chávez of mismanaging the economy!

As Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams put it: “President Chávez worked tirelessly to improve the lives of Venezuelan citizens. He dedicated himself to building a new and radical society in Venezuela. His progressive social and economic changes took millions out of poverty. He extended free health care and education for all citizens and his re-election last year with a huge majority was testimony to his vision.”

However, this great man of vision, was determined not to use his country’s vast mineral wealth only for narrow national interests – even the national interests of the vast majority – but rather to also support progressive change, the consolidation and development of the revolution, in the entire Latin American region, and, indeed, the whole world.

In 1968, the Korean revolutionary leader Kim Il Sung had written:

Consolidation of the triumph of the Cuban revolution is not only an important question on which the life or death, the rise or fall, of the Cuban people depends. It is also a key factor in influencing the general development of the Latin-American revolution.

It is of great importance to the defence of the Cuban revolution that the revolutionary movement in neighbouring Latin-American countries should advance. If the flames of revolution flare up fiercely in many countries of Latin America where US imperialism sets foot, its force will be dispersed, its energy sapped, and the attempts of the US imperialists and their lackeys to strangle Cuba by concentrated force will inevitably fail. 

Furthermore, if the revolution triumphs in other Latin-American countries, Cuba will be saved from the imperialism that hems her in on all sides, a favourable phase in the Cuban and Latin-American revolutions will be opened, and the world revolution will be even further advanced.” (‘The great anti-imperialist revolutionary cause of the Asian, African, and Latin American peoples is invincible. On the first anniversary of the death of Che Guevara in battle’, reproduced in ‘Kim Il Sung: 1912-1994’, Proletarian, April 2012)

Nobody understood this profound truth better than Hugo Chávez. Nobody put it into practice better than he did.

It is noteworthy that, in 2005, Hugo Chávez personally welcomed and supported the holding of a world conference on the Juche idea (the revolutionary ideology of Comrade Kim Il Sung) in Venezuela. He met with the leaders of the DPRK (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) delegation to the conference and authorised his vice president to attend and speak at it on his behalf.

The best friend that Cuba ever had

When Chávez came to power, Cuba was only just emerging from the special period occasioned by the collapse of the Soviet Union. To a very great degree, Venezuelan oil has revived and consolidated the Cuban revolution. Cuban teachers and doctors, along with experts in every field of life, have helped to consolidate and deepen the Venezuelan revolution. That is true internationalism in action.

Comrade Fidel Castro described Chávez as having been the “best friend the Cuban people had ever had in their history”. Tens of thousands of Cubans paid tribute to Chávez at ceremonies throughout the socialist island and the country’s president, Comrade Raúl Castro declared:

“What we were able to achieve with his influence in these few years will not be reversed. The Venezuelan people will know how to defend their victories, and we will be with them as we have so far, feet on the ground.”

A statement from the Cuban government noted: “The Cuban people think of him as one of their greatest sons, and have admired, followed and loved him as one of their own. Chávez is Cuban too! He felt in his flesh and bones our hard times and problems, and he did everything that he could, with extraordinary generosity.”

Together, Cuba and Venezuela, with political leaderships with no other loyalties other than to the oppressed, have spearheaded the most remarkable change of an entire continent – from the hereditary backyard of US imperialism into the scene of the most progressive political developments in the world today. In this process, Chávez led in the creation of such bodies as Alba, a regional trade body of socialist orientation, of Petrocaribe, providing much needed affordable fuel to vulnerable economies in the Caribbean and Central America, and of Celac, the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, to unite the whole of the Americas, but without the imperialist United States and Canada.

At the heart of this process lay a developing core of countries with political leaderships of the working class, aspiring to socialism, with Cuba and Venezuela joined in this orientation by Bolivia, Nicaragua and Ecuador.

Broadest possible alliance

But Hugo Chávez, along with Fidel and Raúl, knew that to defeat imperialism, and to build a new world of independence, required not only the unity of the consciously socialist forces on their own, but also, with the vanguard of the working class at its heart, the broadest possible alliance of all those forces whose objective conditions brought them into contradiction with imperialism. Again, Hugo Chávez was in unity with the standpoint of Comrade Kim Il Sung, who, in the article quoted above, had written:

In Asia, Africa and Latin America, there are socialist and neutral, large and small countries. All these countries, except the imperialists’ puppet regimes and satellite states, constitute anti-imperialist, anti-US forces. Despite the differences of socio-political systems, political views and religious beliefs, the peoples of these countries, because they are oppressed and exploited by the imperialists and colonialists, oppose imperialism and old and new colonialism and jointly aspire towards national independence and national prosperity. 

The differences in socio-political systems, political views or religious beliefs cannot be an obstacle to joint action against US imperialism. All countries should form an anti-imperialist united front and take anti-US joint action to crush the common enemy and attain the common goal.

It is true that there may be different categories of people amongst those who oppose imperialism. Some may actively oppose imperialism, others may hesitate in the anti-imperialist struggle, and still others may join the struggle reluctantly under pressure from their own people and the peoples of the world. But whatever their motives, it is necessary to enlist all these forces except the henchmen of imperialism in the combined anti-US struggle. 

If more forces – however inconsistent and unsteady – are drawn into the anti-US joint struggle to isolate US imperialism to the greatest possible extent and unite in attacking it, that will be a positive achievement. Those who avoid the anti-imperialist struggle should be induced to join it and those who are passive should be encouraged to become active. To split the anti-US united front or reject anti-US joint action will only lead to the serious consequence of weakening the anti-imperialist, anti-US struggle.

Once again, these words, written by Comrade Kim Il Sung, were put into practice by Comrade Hugo Chávez, not only in Latin America but also throughout the world.

As Bolivian president Evo Morales said in his tribute to Hugo Chávez: “A lot of strength, a lot of unity. The best tribute to Chávez is unity. Unity to fight, to work for the equality of all peoples of the world.”

Caribbean tributes

One noteworthy example of this is the degree of affection and support that Chávez lavished on tiny countries in the Caribbean – and, consequently, the touching tributes their leaders have made.

Roosevelt Skerrit, prime minister of Dominica, said: “What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us; what we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal. Comrade Chávez did all for the people not only of Venezuela, but also for Latin America and indeed the world.

“He will be remembered also for bringing the Caribbean and Latin America together. For many of us here in Dominica, this was not just another head of state or a head of government of a sister country. Hugo Chávez was a true friend of Dominica; indeed, he was Dominican in many respects. I have lost a colleague, a father, a brother and a friend. Hugo Chávez held my hands in the brightest and the darkest hours of my tenure to date as prime minister.”

Ralph Gonsalves, prime minister of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, said: “A beacon, a guiding light has been extinguished in flesh; a light which illuminated and not blinded us in our quest for peace, justice, democracy and humanity, particularly for the poor, the disadvantaged and the marginalised. He was a nationalist, an ardent promoter of nationalism in Latin America and the Caribbean, anti-colonialist and anti-imperialist to the core.”

Gonsalves added that he was first told of President Chávez during a private meeting in September 2001 with Fidel Castro:

“Fidel told me then that there is a historic force that has arisen in Venezuela by the name of Chávez. In time, I came to know first hand Fidel’s assessment of Hugo as someone who loves people, especially the poor and working people, who hated injustice and who was possessed of an abundance of generosity of spirit and solidarity with fellow fighters for justice, peace and genuine democracy.

“Without Hugo Chávez, there would have been no Petrocaribe, no Alba and no Community of States of Latin America and the Caribbean.”

Denzil Douglas, prime minister of Saint Kitts and Nevis, said:

“We have lost a true advocate of the indigent and the voiceless, a patriot, who was passionate about his country’s development and laboured tirelessly for the good of the masses in Venezuela,” adding, “indeed, the impact of his social programmes has been felt not only in his own country, but has had a tremendous effect throughout Latin America and the Caribbean. The Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis has been a recipient of Hugo’s altruism, beneficence and generosity.”

An Afro-Latin people

Just as Fidel had said when Cuba sent its internationalist combatants to Angola, for Hugo Chávez, Venezuela and the Venezuelans, too, were not simply part of Latin America, but rather an Afro-Latin nation and people.

Hailing from the African and indigenous working-class communities of Venezuela, Chávez often spoke proudly of his own African ancestry, saying: “We love Africa. And every day, we are more aware of the roots we had in Africa.”

Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, Chairperson of the African Union (AU) Commission, led a minute of silence at the AU’s celebration of International Women’s Day, the same day as Comrade Chávez’s funeral, and described him as “a son of Africa and a great revolutionary who fought for the economic emancipation of his people”.

Just this February, the representatives of 63 countries met in Equatorial Guinea for the third Africa South America Summit, which saw the signing of 27 new social and economic agreements, binding these two long-oppressed continents in mutual struggle. The previous summit had been hosted by Comrade Chávez on the Venezuelan island of Margarita, and Venezuela is to host the summit’s secretariat.

In what was possibly his last political writing, Comrade Chávez greeted the summit with these words:

I truly lament, in the deepest of ways, my inability to be physically present with you and I reiterate once again … my most irrevocable commitment to the cause of union between our people.” He went on to hail the “indivisible historic ties” that bind the two continents and which have obliged them “to walk together until the very end.”

I will never be tired of saying it: We are one people. We must find each other, beyond the formalities and the speeches, in the feeling of unity. In this way we will take our people out of the labyrinth where they had been cast by colonialism and, in the 20th century, by neoliberal capitalism.

In mourning Hugo Chávez, therefore, the national chairman of Zanu-PF in Zimbabwe declared: “It is clear that as Zanu-PF we have lost a great leader, an icon, a revolutionary and international leader of repute. As a party we grieve together with the people of Venezuela. We hope that his successor will continue spearheading the revolution against the forces of imperialism.”

The Zanu-PF Youth League added: “The youths of Zimbabwe wish to express their profound grief to the people of Venezuela following the death of President Chávez, who championed the building of a thriving socialist state, the ideal society of mankind, while smashing all the challenging warmongering tactics of the world imperialists.”

Prime Minister Hage Geingob of Namibia hailed Chávez as a “real revolutionary and a poor people’s president”, who has left behind a legacy worth emulating.

He told the local media that “Africa and the third world at large has lost a revolutionary leader who expressed views that most leaders were afraid to talk about.”

The Namibian newspaper reported: “Geingob said Africa has much to learn from the late Venezuelan leader, which is to live and stand on principles and not be dragged into signing or nodding to agreements that will haunt them later.

According to the prime minister, Chávez’s style of ploughing back resources to the masses will be his finest legacy.

The South African Communist Party described Chávez as “a soldier of the poor and a champion of mass-driven socialism. Chávez dedicated his life to an anti-imperialist agenda, was the foremost frontline combatant against imperialist subjugation of the world and a champion of people’s power.”

The African National Congress added: “To the people of Venezuela, we say their mourning is the mourning of all countries that are fighting to reclaim their place in the world economy.”

The Azanian People’s Organisation (Azapo) declared: “He was the foremost leader of the global anti-imperialist community of our times … The socialist world, the workers, peasants and poor of the world have lost a fearless fighter and spokesperson.”

Cosatu, the progressive trade-union federation of South Africa, and an integral part of the liberation movement, concluded their tribute with these apposite words:

He was deeply loved by all who are poor, oppressed and fighting against imperialism and the looting of the resources of the world’s people by the few global elites led by the US, but equally, he was deeply hated by both the ruling classes of global imperialism and their lackeys in the form of apologists of the oppressive global empire.

“Therefore, it is our firm belief as revolutionary workers that the history of Latin America and the global south shall be written before and after the great legend, Hugo Chávez Frias.

Standing with Libya, Syria and Palestine

Of course, in the cause of Africa, and of African-Latin American unity, Chávez had no greater ally than that other staunch anti-imperialist Muammar Gaddafi, whose struggle he supported to the end, declaring: “A campaign of lies is being spun together regarding Libya. I’m not going to condemn him. I’d be a coward to condemn someone who has been my friend. I am not a coward; I am not fickle.”

He took the same stand in support of Syria, with Venezuela sending several tankers of fuel oil to support the beleaguered but defiant Arab nation. From the heart of embattled Damascus, President Bashar al-Assad wrote to Acting President Nicolas Maduro:

The demise of brother and friend, President Hugo Chávez is a big loss for me and for the Syrian people, as it is a big loss for you, the Venezuelan people and for all honest, free people in the world.

Fate has taken away a leader who protected the sovereignty of his country … He had embodied a legendary struggle in the face of USA attempts and those who support it to dominate the peoples and states … He has been able to guarantee Venezuela sovereignty, prevent intervention and support the freedom of nations so as to contribute to changing the face of Latin America and to become the symbol of its independence.

This glorious man has emerged from the ranks of his people and insisted to remain as this … He was committed to the principle of keeping the rights and interests of the Venezuelan people and struggling with his people.

The Syrian people and I are proud of the remarkable progress of the two countries’ relations in the social, political, economic and cultural fields … The great late President made the confrontation of war on Syria one of the issues that he adopted and defended as well as sought to clarify to the public opinion in Latin America and the world.”

The Lebanese resistance movement Hizbollah declared: “The free world, the oppressed and also us have lost a dear and loyal friend who devoted his life to defend the peoples. We cannot forget the sincere support that the late president gave to Lebanon during the war. The Arab and islamic peoples cannot forget his stance regarding the Palestinians’ rights.

Memorial meetings were held for Hugo Chávez in Ramallah and other Palestinian towns and cities. Leader of the Palestine National Authority Mahmoud Abbas stated: “With the passing of our brother and comrade Chávez, all the patriots fighting for their freedom have lost a great leader, who fought for a better world, clean of oppression and colonialism.” He went on to say that Chávez would be etched in the Palestinian people’s memories for his unconditional support for the establishment of an independent state with Jerusalem as its capital.

From besieged Gaza, Hamas lauded Chávez as a “great leader who dedicated his life to defending the dignity and liberty of his people … and who supported the Palestinian people and their cause … His last act of bravery was to allow the Palestinians to enter Venezuela without a visa, which many Arab leaders have yet to do.”

The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) said in its tribute: “The loss of President Chávez is the loss of a friend of the people of Palestine and the Arab people. This is a day of mourning for the Palestinian people, who will never forget Chávez’s stand with us against the aggression and tyranny of the occupation and its crimes.”

Chávez was also deeply mourned by the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) and its Polisario Front liberation movement, which is fighting for independence against imperialist-backed Moroccan occupation. Comrade Mohamed Abdelaziz, president of the SADR and secretary general of Polisario referred to the “irreparable loss of our brother, Commander Hugo Chávez … [his] death is a great loss not only for the Saharawi people, but also for all human ideals of freedom and justice”.

As recently as 14 February, it had been announced that Venezuela would provide advice to the SADR in the management of water resources. As part of the agreement, 10 technicians from the country will be trained by staff from Venezuela’s National Hydraulics Laboratory in the fields of hydrology and drilling.

This will facilitate access to drinking water in the Sahrawi Republic in order to “strike a blow to the neo-liberal policies of imperialism”, according to a Venezuelan government statement.

Then prime minister of Nepal, Comrade Baburam Bhattarai, vice-chairman of the Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist), took part in a memorial meeting in Kathmandu and called on young people in particular to follow the example of Chávez.

The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), which leads the people’s war in that country, extended “its deepest sympathies to the Venezuelan people during their time of mourning following the death of their beloved president Hugo Chávez”, adding:

Serving as the Venezuelan people’s champion, Hugo Chávez earned the ire of the US imperialist government, which demanded the return of the rights of the exploitative and oppressive foreign capitalists who sought to monopolise Venezuela’s oil and other natural resources. The US government never relented in its effort to overthrow the Hugo Chávez government and engaged in internal subversion by funding and arming the forces that opposed the Bolivarian revolution … His fierce hatred of imperialism inspired other countries to defend their patrimony and national freedom.

“I am a Maoist”

Hugo Chávez also grasped that if imperialism was to be successfully confronted, and prospering new societies were to be sustainably built, the peoples of Latin America, Africa and all progressive and anti-imperialist countries and forces also needed to forge a strategic alliance with Russia and China.

Arriving in China in 2008, one of six visits to the country, he declared: “We are offering tribute in the land of Mao. I am a Maoist.”

But this was a relationship that went way beyond mere rhetoric. Writing last October, the influential business publicationBloomberg reported in the context of Chávez’s last election campaign:

Edelmina Flores thanks God and Hugo Chávez for her apartment in a new housing complex in the Venezuelan president’s home state of Barinas. She might also want to thank the Chinese government. Since 2007, the China Development Bank has lent Venezuela $42.5bn … That sum accounts for nearly a quarter of the bank’s overseas loans. At least $12bn was promised in the past 15 months, when stagnant oil output and higher borrowing costs among major emerging markets made raising capital more expensive.

The money has provided a crucial boost for Chávez … The Chávez government has finished more than 250,000 houses since last year. In the past 12 months, government spending has risen 30 percent, according to Bank of America Merrill Lynch, fuelling growth of 5.4 percent in the second quarter.

China’s loans, to be repaid not in cash, but from Venezuela’s abundant oil, were priced, Bloomberg had to concede, at less than half the rate that Venezuela would have had to pay were it to have borrowed on international capital markets, and had it been able to do so.

Then Chinese president Hu Jintao said that Chávez was an outstanding leader of Venezuela and a distinguished politician in Latin America, who had devoted all his life to national development and social progress, and earned respect and support from the Venezuelan people, adding:

“The Chinese people lost such a great friend, who had promoted the China-Venezuela strategic partnership and contributed to enhancing bilateral cooperation in a variety of areas and cementing friendship between the two peoples.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin described Chávez as “a brave and very thorough man who was able to showcase strong character to go through with his plans. He genuinely wanted to rid the country’s poor citizens of their plight and improve their lives. Chávez became the symbol of independence throughout Latin America while he was still alive. He’s joined the legendary ranks of Simon Bolivar, Fidel Castro, and Che Guevara.”

Chávez was particularly remembered in the small states of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, which, with Russian support, successfully declared their independence from the pro-imperialist Georgian regime after a vicious assault by the latter in 2008. Along with Sandinista Nicaragua, Venezuela was among just a handful of countries that joined Russia in officially recognising the two states.

At a funeral rally in the South Ossetian capital Tskinvali, prominent speakers, in the words of the Eurasianet website, “took turns to remember the Chávez they knew, the Chávez they loved, and queued to sign a memorial book to be sent to Caracas. The mourners said they were forever thankful to the Bolivarian revolutionary for standing up to the West and recognising South Ossetia’s … independence from Georgia. ‘Since then, the people and the president of Venezuela have become close friends to us,’ declared President Leonid Tibolov.”

Across the border in the North Ossetian republic of the Russian Federation, a mountain has been named after Chávez. Thirty climbers reached its 3,695-metre peak to place his portrait and officially rename it.

Chávez was also mourned in a number of other former Soviet republics, but nowhere more so than in Belarus, which he had visited four times. “We have lost a close person and best friend who loved Belarus and always offered us a helping hand,” President Aleksandr Lukashenko declared.

Serbian president Tomislav Nikolic posthumously awarded Chávez the Order of the Republic of Serbia, his country’s highest national honour. Nikolic declared:

“The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela has been left without its president, the Republic of Serbia without a sincere friend, the world political scene has been left without a great statesman, whose tolerance, understanding of the historical moment, endurance with which he fought for a better future for his people, contribution to peace in the region and the world, became the characteristics after which the name of Hugo Chávez will in the future be uttered with deep respect.”

Prime Minister Ivica Dacic added that Chávez was “a great friend of Serbia, an advocate of improved relations between our countries, and known for his principled position in favour of a solution of the Kosovo and Metohija problem in line with international law”.

In 2008, Chávez had firmly refused calls to recognise the supposed ‘independence’ of Kosovo, carved out of Serbia as a result of a Nato war of aggression, saying that yielding to US pressure on this issue would only lead to countless more future wars throughout the world.

Unique standing

Reflecting his unique standing in the world, some 33 heads of state and government attended Comrade Chávez’s funeral service, with many other countries sending high-level delegations – some 55 in all. They included the presidents of Belarus, Bolivia, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Guyana, Haiti, Iran, Mexico, Nicaragua, Peru, Surinam, Trinidad and Tobago and Uruguay; the prime ministers of Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Jamaica, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, as well as of Aruba and Curaçao, two remaining Dutch colonies in the Caribbean, whose independence was championed by Chávez; special envoys of the presidents of China, Russia (joined by the foreign minister and other leaders) and Serbia; the minister of presidential affairs of Syria; the deputy prime minister of Vietnam; government ministers from India and Sri Lanka; the former presidents of Honduras and Paraguay, who were overthrown in reactionary constitutional coups; and African-American civil-rights leader, Reverend Jesse Jackson.

The president of Argentina, along with the Brazilian president and her immediate predecessor, spent several days participating in memorial functions in Caracas immediately prior to the funeral service.

It is further worth noting that, in stark contrast to the right wing in Venezuela itself, the few remaining right-wing leaders in the rest of Latin America felt constrained to join the continent’s mourning, with the presidents of Chile and Colombia also attending the funeral service in Caracas.

For its part, the popular liberation movement in Colombia, Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia-People’s Army (Farc-EP) said that it thanked Chávez for “having allowed, with his help, that we are in Havana seeking for a political solution to the armed social conflict in Colombia”. Ivan Marquez, head of the Farc-EP delegation to the peace talks in Cuba with representatives of the Bogota government, added:

“We should turn this pain that overwhelms us into an incentive to continue with a task that was drawn up by the Venezuelan commander.”

Equally unprecedentedly, some 16 countries joined Venezuela in declaring official days of mourning. Bolivia and Nicaragua, together with Venezuela, observed seven official days of mourning (Venezuela later extended the mourning period to 11 days, to accommodate the millions who wished to bid farewell to their beloved leader). Among the countries observing three days of mourning were Belarus, Brazil, Cuba, Ecuador, Haiti and Uruguay, while days of mourning were also observed in Iran and the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic among others. Gambia declared two national days of prayers for Chávez, respectively for the country’s muslim and christian communities.

Many heads of state paid personal tribute at the Venezuelan or Cuban diplomatic missions in their country, including the presidents of Cyprus, Sri Lanka and Vietnam.

President Truong Tan Sang said the Vietnamese people would forever remember the deep sentiments that Chávez offered to the country and people of Vietnam, as well as his great contributions to tighten the friendship, solidarity and cooperation between their two countries. In a 2006 visit to Vietnam, Chávez had offered to help the country build its own oil refinery, so as to achieve energy independence, and repeatedly praised the Vietnamese people’s courageous war of liberation against US imperialism, saying that if the US should attack Venezuela, “we will do what Vietnam has done … resist and make them fail.”

All this represented what South African president Jacob Zuma said in his message of condolence: “Our hearts are with the family of President Chávez, as well as the government and the people of Venezuela, during this difficult time of mourning the departure of this respected revolutionary leader of Venezuela and indeed the entire progressive family of nations.”

Millions of Venezuelan citizens filed past Chávez’s coffin, as well as lining the route of his funeral procession and his journey to his final resting-place. Two tributes, much quoted in the international media, were typical, taken here from the Chinese news agency Xinhua:

“The fight to socialism will continue. We are the people of Hugo Chávez and we will continue the revolution,” said an old man in his sixties.

“Chávez doesn’t die, he still lives in our heart. We love you, all of us are Chávez,” said Juana Luna, a 16-year-old student.

Throughout the world, just as for a previous generation of young people it was the images of Che Guevara and Ho Chi Minh who represented incorruptible integrity and resolute anti-imperialism, so, for today’s young people, it is Hugo Chávez. As with Che, the image we will keep in our minds and our hearts of Hugo Chávez will be forever young. He will not grow old. Nor will the ideals, for which he stood and fought.

A beautiful life

In thinking of Hugo Chávez in the days since his passing, one’s mind is drawn to another leader who perfectly combined in his life and work the goals of national freedom and the emancipation of the working class.

In their last meeting, James Connolly, the leader of Dublin’s 1916 Easter Rising against British colonial rule, told his wife Lillie and his daughter Nora that he was to face a firing squad in a few hours. Lillie cried: “But your beautiful life, James, your beautiful life”, to which he replied: “And hasn’t it been a full life!”

Such also was the life of our Comrade Hugo Chávez – a beautiful life, a full life. A life spent serving the interests of the working class. A life dedicated without rest or selfish considerations to the finest cause in all the world: the fight for the liberation of mankind.

In the words of Nicaraguan President Comrade Daniel Ortega: “The flags of liberty that Chávez raised will keep waving … he lives in our promise to continue the revolution.”

Long live Comrade Hugo Chávez!

Condolences from CPGB-ML

The leadership of the CPGB-ML sent the following message of condolence to the acting president of Venezuela, Comrade Nicolas Maduro, the leadership of Chávez’s United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) and the Venezuelan people:

It was with feelings of deep and inconsolable grief that we learned the news that Comrade Hugo Rafael Chávez Frias, the respected and beloved leader of the Venezuelan revolution and the Venezuelan people and the true friend and comrade-in-arms of working and oppressed people everywhere, passed away after a long and tenacious battle against illness.

Please accept our most heartfelt condolences, which we offer to Comrade Chávez’s comrades, his family and loved ones and to all the Venezuelan people who are standing in their place, defending the gains of the revolution that Commandante Chávez has led with such distinction.

Comrade Chávez will be remembered forever as a towering figure in humanity’s fight for liberation. Thanks to him, millions of his compatriots were lifted out of poverty and were accorded their human dignity for the first time in history. Moreover, he proclaimed the goal of building a socialist society and set out on the road to achieve that.

Comrade Chávez was also a thoroughgoing internationalist. He stood in the vanguard of the struggle to win national liberation and social progress for the whole of Latin America and the Caribbean and through his leadership of such bodies as Alba and Petrocaribe turned what had long been the strategic backyard of US imperialism into a beacon of hope for a new world free of imperialism. A tireless fighter, he extended his utmost support to every country and every people fighting against US imperialism and its lackeys and for national liberation, social progress and socialism.

Comrade Chávez was a supremely brave individual. Imprisonment or the threat of death could not deter him. Indeed, he turned them into political weapons to advance the struggle. From the time when he was first diagnosed with cancer, he waged that final battle with the same bravery, determination and resilience with which he lived his entire life.

Comrade Chávez has left us too soon. He had so much more to give. But like all great revolutionary leaders he is more than an individual. As Comrade Evo Morales [President of Bolivia] has said, at this moment Hugo Chávez is more alive than ever and he will always be with us. The revolutionary people of Venezuela are the great people brought up by Commandante Chávez! We are confident that they will continue the struggle he led and will march forward towards the bright socialist future.

Comrades, at this moment in particular, we want to assure you of our full support and solidarity for the Venezuelan revolution and your anti-imperialist struggle for socialism. All our sympathies are with you.


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Israeli at marathon: Miracle more weren’t killed


(צילום: רוירטס)

Sixeen Israeli runners participated in Boston Marathon, cut short due to bombing attacks. ‘I heard a big explosion but didn’t connect it to an attack,’ one said, ‘Then I saw ambulances’

ed note–Given Israel’s penchant for blowing things up in order to create political situations favorable to her, the presence of 16 Israelis at the race is something worth looking at.  Certainly any Muslims at the race, and particularly from out of the country is something that the Zionist friendly media in America would chew on publicly for maximum effect, and therefore, given the fact that on the morning of 9/11 the only arrests that took place were the 5 dancing Israeli Mossad agents, the fact there were 16 Israelis running in a race that became the scene of a terrorist attack should be cause for interest.


Zvika Bronstein, 56, of Ramat Efal, flew to Boston to be part of the oldest marathon in the world, but instead he found himself at the scene of a terror attack. “It was a miracle that more weren’t killed because the place was packed,” he told Ynet after the blasts on Monday near the finish line took the lives of three people and left more than 140 injured.

The explosions were heard at around three in the afternoon EST (10 pm Israel). “I had just finished the marathon and decided to walk back to the hotel, which was about 2 kilometers away,” said Bronstein. “On the way back I heard a big explosion, but I didn’t connect the sounds to an attack. Only afterwards did I begin to see a lot of police and ambulances arriving at the scene and someone said it was an attack.”

According to Bronstein, “The explosion came from inside a building that was located by the finish line, at the area designated for the crowd of people who had come to watch the runners. The Boston Marathon is the mother of all marathons.” He added, “Not many Israelis come to this marathon, we were in total 16 Israelis here and as far as I know, noone of us were injured.”

The moment of the explosions

“My mobile wasn’t with me during the marathon,” he continued. “When I arrived to the hotel and saw all the phone calls and messages that came from home, I called to calm everyone down.” On his Facebook page, Bronstein wrote, “We had a great marathon till they ruined it for us.”

Witnesses to the explosions said that they took place about 15 seconds apart. Paul Cummings, a 44-year-old runner from Portland, Ore., was in the medical tent near the finish line getting a leg massage when the bombs went off. “It didn’t sound like a water main blowing or anything else – it sounded like a bomb,” he said. “Maybe I watch too much TV or something, but as soon as I heard it, I knew it was a bomb. It was just a loud explosion, and then another. You can’t hear a noise like that and think anything good happened.”

Jay Hartford, a 46-year-old nurse from Boston Children’s Hospital, was about 800 yards from finishing the marathon when the explosions occurred. He thought the blasts were connected to an electrical issue and continued running. Then he noticed the billowing smoke and the other runners in a state of panic. ‘”Some people hit the ground, in shock, a woman was on her knees screaming in fear.”

President Barack Obama’s statement on Boston

Afghanistan vet Bruce Mendelson was attending a party in a nearby building. He heard the explosions and went to aid the injured. Mendelson described a scene of blood on the sidewalks and dozens hurt. Other witnesses told of being injured when windows shattered during the explosion.

Police officers who arrived on the scene yelled at runners to stop and go the other way, directing them away from the finish line.

The Boston Marathon is considered the oldest marathon in the world, held since 1897. This year’s race, which was held on the “Patriot Day” holiday and had 22,000 registered runners. Thousands of others arrived to volunteer, to cheer on loved ones and to watch race leaders as they crossed the finish line.

The explosions took place three hours after the winners completed the race.

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Really, President Obama? $40 Billion More for Israel?



Last Wednesday, President Obama released his 2014 budget request. It includes $3.1 billion in military aid for Israel and $316 million for joint U.S.-Israeli anti-missile systems.

Unfortunately, this is just the tip of the iceberg. Last month in Jerusalem, President Obama pledged to extend U.S. military aid to Israel well beyond his presidency, with one report noting that his administration is opening negotiations to give Israel up to $40 billion in U.S. taxpayer-financed weapons through 2028!

This year, the average US taxpayer will be giving Israel $21.29. As sequestration cuts funding to our needs, we should not be funding Israel’s occupation and oppression of the Palestinians.

Rather than sending more money to Israel, let’s #DemandaRefund!

Join the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, ADC, and many of our fellow coalition member groups including American Muslims for Palestine, Code Pink, and Jewish Voice for Peace in opposing President Obama’s plan to give Israel $40 billion more of U.S. taxpayer money.

Take action now! 

  1. Sign the petition – ask the President to fund our needs instead of sending more money to Israel
  2. Post our Tax Day infographic on your Facebook page 
  3. Tweet why you #DemandARefund of the taxes you give in weapons to Israel (sample tweets here

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Jewish crime lord behind £35million cocaine haul sues prison chiefs for ‘denying him kosher food’


crying jews

  • Simon Price, 68, accuses prison service of ‘institutionalised anti-Semitism’
  • Career criminal jailed for smuggling 700kg of cocaine hidden in syrup drums
  • He alleges Muslim and vegetarian prisoners get better treatment

Orthodox Jew Simon Price, 68, is accusing the prison service of ‘institutionalised anti-Semitism’ and alleges that both Muslim and vegetarian criminals get more favourable treatment behind bars.

The career criminal is serving 28 years after being found guilty of smuggling 700kg of cocaine hidden inside drums of syrup.

Claim: Simon Price, 68, is suing HMP Frankland, near Durham for failing to provide him with kosher food
Claim: Simon Price, 68, is suing HMP Frankland, near Durham for failing to provide him with kosher food

Price alleges he was not given any choice about the food he was served in HMP Frankland, near Durham, in his claim brought under the Human Rights Act and equality legislation.

He claims that although prisoners are allowed to cook for themselves in the jail he had to share saucepans and other utensils that are used to prepare non-Kosher food.

The cocaine smuggler, who is demanding £2,500 in ‘exemplary damages’, also claims that the prison have failed to provide Jewish books in their library.

He accuses them in the claim of an ‘indifferent and discriminatory attitude adopted towards Jews at HMP Frankland which consciously or subconsciously reflects institutionalised anti-semitism’, The Sun reported.

A spokesman for the Ministry of Justice said: ‘We are robustly defending all elements of the claim.’

Haul: Price was trying to smuggle nearly 700kg of cocaine into Britain when he was caught
Haul: Price was trying to smuggle nearly 700kg of cocaine into Britain when he was caught

HMP Frankland is a Category A prison which holds around 750 offenders. Previous inmates have included Charles Bronson and Dr Harold Shipman.

Price was jailed in 2005 after a jury heard how he smuggled a cocaine haul from Guyana, South America,to Rotterdam.

It was there that the drugs were seized by Revenue and Customs officers before he could get them into Britain. The drugs baron was living in a chateau in south-west France at the time and renting out flats in north London.

The court heard that he had previously served 12 years for his role in a £1.5million armed robbery at Heathrow in the 1970s.

He had apparently turned his back on crime by 2000 and had set up a cordon bleu cookery college and tried his hand at cognac production before he was persuaded to try and smuggle cocaine.

Price has launched his claim after justice secretary Chris Grayling announced plans to stop prisoners using legal aid to sue.

The minister said he had been ‘appalled’ that taxpayers money was being used to allow prisoners to bring ‘unnecessary legal cases’ which could be dealt with by the prison service’s internal complaints system.

Announcing a consultation on the plans the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) said they would annually save £4 million and cut the number of cases brought by prisoners by 11,000.

The proposal comes days after reforms to legal aid came into effect as the Government moves to reduce its £2.2 billion legal aid bill by £350 million.

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Black workers ‘banned from Gare du Nord during IsraHell president visit’ for fear they might be Muslims


Gare Du Nord station in Paris

The alleged discrimination took place as Shimon Peres arrived at the station, the hub for high-speed trains, on March 8, to discuss the Middle East peace process.

It is now the subject of an official complaint by the SUD-Rail transport union which says everything was done to ensure there were “no Muslim employees to welcome the Head of the State of Israel”.

Mr Peres and a delegation of other senior Israelis arrived on a morning train from Belgium, and were greeted by staff from SNCF, France’s national railway, and their baggage-handling subsidiary, ITIREMIA.

The previous day however, a site manager told all workers at the station about the ban on black staff, and those of North African descent, because they might be Muslim.

Secular France does not officially recognise anybody’s religion, but it was assumed by management that anyone from a “black or Arab” background might be Muslim – an assumption “based on the appearance of the workers”, according to a SUD-Rail statement.

The SUD-Rail statement called on SNCF to publicly condemn the incident as “unacceptable”.

Gare du Nord has a large number of workers from an ethnic minority in its workforce, many of whom live in the suburbs of Paris.

SNCF initially blamed the discrimination on “security protocol” advised by the French Interior Ministry and the Israeli Embassy in Paris, but this has been emphatically denied by both.

Instead, the order came from SNCF management, with a spokesman for the state-run company pledging “a full investigation”.

The row is particularly embarrassing for SNCF because of the part it played in the Holocaust during the Second World War.

In 2011 the organisation made its first formal public apology to Holocaust victims, many of whom had been entrained to death camps in Germany on lines which ran out of Gare du Nord.

France has the largest Muslim population in western Europe, with up to six million living in the country.

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TUT Broadcast: The Terror Bombing in Boston

TUT Broadcast April 16, 2013

by crescentandcross


The terror bombing in Boston–who benefits?

This and other news items.


Download Here


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