Reflections of Fidel: Chávez, Evo and Obama - Part 2

REFLECTIONS OF FIDEL: Chávez, Evo and Obama (Part 2)
By Fidel Castro Ruz
Granma Internacional
Wednesday, Sep 28, 2011

If our Nobel Prize winner is deceiving himself – something that has yet to be established – that perhaps explains the incredible contradictions in his reasoning and the confusion sowed among his listeners.

There is not a drop of morality, not even of politics, in his attempt to justify his announced decision to veto any resolution approved supporting the recognition of Palestine as an independent state and a member of the United Nations. Even politicians who in no way share socialist ideas and lead parties which were closely allied with Augusto Pinochet support Palestine's right to full membership in the UN.

Barrack Obama's words on the main topic of discussion today in the organization’s General Assembly can only be applauded by NATO, with its artillery, missiles and bombings.

The rest of his speech consisted of empty words, lacking moral authority and making no sense. Let us observe, for example, how just how vacuous they were. In a starving world, plundered by transnational corporations and the consumerism of developed capitalist countries, Obama proclaimed, "To stop disease that spreads across borders, we must strengthen our system of public health. We will continue the fight against HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. We will focus on the health of mothers and of children. And we must come together to prevent, and detect, and fight every kind of biological danger - whether it’s a pandemic like H1N1, or a terrorist threat, or a treatable disease

"To preserve our planet, we must not put off action that climate change demands. We have to tap the power of science to save those resources that are scarce. And together, we must continue our work to build on the progress made in Copenhagen and Cancun, so that all the major economies here today follow through on the commitments that were made. Together, we must work to transform the energy that powers our economies, and support others as they move down that path. That is what our commitment to the next generation demands. And to make sure our societies reach their potential, we must allow our citizens to reach theirs."

Everyone knows that the United States did not sign the Kyoto Protocol and has sabotaged all efforts to protect humanity from the terrible consequences of climate change, despite being the country which consumes a considerable, disproportionate part of the world's oil and natural resources.

Let us make a record of the idyllic words with which he attempted to beguile the state leaders assembled there, "I know there’s no straight line to that progress, no single path to success. We come from different cultures, and carry with us different histories. But let us never forget that even as we gather here as heads of different governments, we represent citizens who share the same basic aspirations – to live with dignity and freedom; to get an education and pursue opportunity; to love our families, and love and worship our God; to live in the kind of peace that makes life worth living. It is the nature of our imperfect world that we are forced to learn these lessons over and over again.

"… Because those who came before us believed that peace is preferable to war, and freedom is preferable to suppression, and prosperity is preferable to poverty. That’s the message that comes not from capitals, but from citizens, from our people. And when the cornerstone of this very building was put in place, President Truman came here to New York and said, "The United Nations is essentially an expression of the moral nature of man’s aspirations." The moral nature of man’s aspirations. As we live in a world that is changing at a breathtaking pace, that’s a lesson that we must never forget.

"Peace is hard, but we know that it is possible. So, together, let us be resolved to see that it is defined by our hopes and not by our fears. Together, let us make peace, but a peace, most importantly, that will last.

"Thank you very much."

Listening to this until the very end is worthy of more than gratitude; it merits a medal.

As I have already indicated, early in the afternoon, it befell the President of the Plurinational State of Bolivia, Evo Morales Ayma, to take the floor and immediately address the essential issues.

"…There is a clear difference over the culture of life and the culture of death. There is a clear difference over the truth in the face of falsehoods, a profound difference over peace as opposed to war.

"... I believe it is going to be difficult to understand each other with economic policies which concentrate capital in the hands of a few. The facts show that 1% of the world's population holds 50% of the wealth. If such profound differences exist, how can poverty be reduced? And if we do not eliminate poverty, how can we guarantee a lasting peace?

"I remember perfectly well how as a child whenever there was a rebellion of the people against the capitalist system, against the economic model based on the permanent plunder of our natural resources, the union leaders, the political leaders of the left were accused of being communists and arrested. The popular movements were attacked militarily: arrests, exile, massacres, persecution, incarceration, accused of being communists, socialists, Maoists, Marxist-Leninists. But now, they have other tools, they make accusations of drug trafficking and terrorism.

"... they plan interventions whenever a president, a government, a people are not pro-capitalist or pro-imperialist.

"... A lasting peace is spoken of. How can there be lasting peace with U.S. military bases? How can there be lasting peace with military interventions?

"Of what use is the United Nations if a group of nations here decides on interventions, massacres?

"If we want this organization, the United Nations, to have the authority to have its resolutions respected, well, we have to begin thinking about re-founding the United Nations…

"Every year the United Nations – practically 100% of the countries, with the exception of the United States and Israel – decides to lift the blockade, end the economic blockade of Cuba. And who respects this? Of course, the Security Council is never going to respect this United Nations resolution… I cannot understand how, in an organization including all of the world's nations, resolutions are not respected. What is the United Nations?

"I would like to tell you that Bolivia is not turning its back on the recognition of Palestine in the United Nations. Our position is that Bolivia welcomes Palestine to the United Nations.

"You all know, dear listeners, that I come from the Indigenous Campesino Movement and when our families talk about a company, we assume that that company has a lot of money, holds a lot of money, they're millionaires. We can't understand how a company could ask the state to lend it money for its investments.

"That's why I say that these international financial entities are the ones who do business through private companies, but who has to pay for it? Of course, it is the people, the states.

"... Bolivia has a historic demand, of Chile, to return to the sea, to retake sovereign access to the Pacific, with sovereignty. Therefore Bolivia has made the decision to resort to international tribunals, to demand useful, sovereign access to the Pacific Ocean.

"Resolution 37/10 of the UN General Assembly, November 15, 1982, establishes that ‘recourse to judicial settlement of legal disputes, particularly

Referral to the International Court of Justice, should not be considered an unfriendly act between States.’

"Bolivia is protected by law and by right has recourse to an International Court because its confinement is the result of an unjust war, an invasion. Demanding a solution in the international arena represents for Bolivia the reparation of a historic injustice.

"Bolivia is a peaceful state which favors dialogue with neighboring countries, and for that reason maintains open channels of bilateral negotiation with Chile, without renouncing its right to have recourse to an International Court…"

"The peoples are not responsible for the maritime confinement of Bolivia, those responsible are the oligarchies, the transnationals which, as always, appropriate the peoples’ natural resources.

"The 1904 Treaty did not contribute to peace or friendship; it caused Bolivia’s lack of access to a sovereign port for more than one century."

"…in the region of the Americas another movement of the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean is being organized, I would say a new OAS without the United States, in order to liberate ourselves from certain impositions, fortunately, with the little experience that we have acquired in UNASUR. [... ] If there is a conflict between countries, we no longer need [...] persons coming from above and outside to impose order."

"I also want to take advantage of this opportunity to address a central issue: combating drug trafficking. Combating drug trafficking is being utilized by U.S. imperialism for purely political ends. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration in Bolivia was not combating drug trafficking, it was controlling drug trafficking for political ends. If there was a labor leader, or an anti-imperialist political leader, that’s why the DEA was there: to implicate him or her. We saved many leaders, many politicians from that kind of dirty work by the empire to implicate us in drug trafficking. They are still attempting to do just that."

"In recent weeks certain media from the United States were saying that the presidential plane had been detained in the United States due to traces of cocaine. How untrue! They are trying to confuse the population, trying to promote a dirty campaign against the government, even against the state. However, what is the United States doing? Decertifying Bolivia and Venezuela. What moral authority does the United States have to certify or decertify countries in South America or in Latin America, when the United States is the world's prime consumer of drugs, the prime producer of marijuana in the world? [... ] What authority does it have to certify or decertify? It is another means of frightening or intimidating countries, trying to teach countries a lesson. However, Bolivia is, very responsibly, fighting drug trafficking.

"In the same U.S. report; that is to say, of the Department of State of the United States acknowledges a net reduction of coca cultivation; that the interdiction has improved.

"But, where is the market? The market is the origin of drug trafficking and the market is here. And who decertifies the United States because it has not reduced the market?

"This morning, President Calderón of Mexico said that the drug market is still growing and asked why there is no responsibility taken for eradicating the market. [... ] Let’s fight under a shared co-responsibility. [... ] In Bolivia, we’re not afraid, and we have to end secret banking if we want to make a frontal assault on drug trafficking."

"… One of the crises, on the margins of the crisis of capitalism, is the food crisis. [... ] We have a little experience in Bolivia: giving credits with zero interest to rice, corn, wheat and soy producers, and they can also pay their debts with their products, such as food; or accessible credits to encourage production. However, the international banks never take small producers into account, never take associations, cooperatives into account and these can make a very good contribution if they are given the opportunity. [... ] We have to end commerce which is based on competitiveness.

"In a competition, who wins? The most powerful, the one with the most advantages, always the transnationals, and who are the small producers, who are these families who wish to rise up through their own efforts? [... ] Within a policy of competition we are certainly not going to solve the issue of poverty.

"But, finally, to end this speech, I want to state that the crisis of capitalism is already unpayable. [... ] The economic crisis of capitalism is not circumstantial, but structural and what are the capitalist or imperialist countries doing? Seeking any pretext for intervening in a country in order to recoup its natural resources.
"This morning, the President of the United States said that Iraq has been liberated and that they are going to govern themselves. The Iraqis are going to be able to govern themselves, but in whose hands is the Iraqis’ oil now?

"They welcomed it, they said that autocracy in Libya was over, now it’s a democracy; it can be a democracy, but in whose hands is Libya’s oil going to be now? [... ] the bombardments were not the fault of Gaddafi, the fault of certain rebels, but because of seeking Libya’s oil."

"…Therefore, they want to overcome it, their crisis, the crisis of capitalism, they want to rectify it by recouping our natural resources, on the basis of our oil, on the basis of our gas, our natural resources.

"… we have an enormous responsibility: defending the rights of Mother Earth."

"…the best way of defending human rights today is by defending the rights of Mother Earth [...] here we have an enormous responsibility in approving the rights of Mother Earth. Just over 60 years ago the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was approved. Just over 60 years ago it was recognized in the United Nations that human beings have their rights as well. After political rights, economic rights, the rights of the indigenous peoples, now we have the enormous responsibility of how to defend the rights of Mother Earth.

"We are also convinced that infinite growth on a finite planet is unsustainable and impossible, the limits on growth are the degeneration of the Earth’s ecosystems. [... ] We are calling for [...] a new decalogue of social demands: in financial systems, over natural resources, over basic services, over production, over dignity and sovereignty and, on this basis, to begin to re-found the United Nations, so that the United Nations becomes the highest body for solving issues of peace, issues of poverty, issues of the dignity and sovereignty of the peoples of the world."

"We hope that this experience as a President might serve for something for all of us, as I also have come to learn from many of you in order to continue working for the equality and dignity of the Bolivian people."

"Thank you very much indeed."

After the essential concepts of Evo Morales, Mahmoud Abbas, President of the Palestinian National Authority, who was granted speaking rights two days ago, set out the dramatic sufferings of the inhabitants of Palestine: "…the crass historical injustice perpetrated against our people, for whom it was deemed convenient to establish the state of Palestine in just 22% of the territory of Palestine and, above all, the Palestinian territory which Israel occupied in 1967. Taking that historic step, which was applauded by the states of the world, allowed an excessive acquiescence in order to achieve a historical contemporization, which would allow peace to be attained in the land of peace."

"[... ] Our people will continue popular, peaceful resistance to the Israeli occupation, its settlements and its policy of apartheid, as well as the construction of the racist wall of annexation [... ] armed with dreams, courage, hope and mottoes in the face of tanks, teargas, bulldozers and bullets."

"… we want to extend a hand to the Israeli government and people for the establishment of peace, and I say to you: let us build together, in an urgent way, a future for our sons and daughters in which they can enjoy peace, security and prosperity. [... ] Let us build relations of cooperation based on parity, equity and friendship between two neighboring states, Palestine and Israel, instead of policies of occupation, settlements, war and the elimination of the other."

Almost half a century has passed since that brutal occupation promoted and supported by the United States. However, barely a day passes without the wall rising, monstrous mechanical equipment destroying Palestinian homes and some young or even adolescent Palestinian falling injured or dead.

What profound truths were contained in Evo’s words!

Fidel Castro Ruz
Translated by Granma Internationa

See Part 1
"Patria est communis omnium parens" - Our native land is the common parent of us all. Keep it beautiful, make it even more so.

Blessed is all of creation
Blessed be my beautiful people
Blessed be the day of our awakening
Blessed is my country
Blessed are her patient hills.

Mweh ka allay!

Reflections of Fidel: Chávez, Evo and Obama - Part 1

Reflections of Fidel. Chávez, Evo and Obama
Part 1

(Taken from CubaDebate)

I am halting the tasks which have been totally occupying my time recently to dedicate some words to the singular opportunity presented to political science by the 60th Session of the United Nations General Assembly.

The annual event demands a singular effort on the part of those holding the highest political responsibilities in many countries. For them, it constitutes a difficult test; for the aficionados of this art, more than a few given that it vitally affects everyone, it is hard to resist the temptation to observe the interminable but instructive spectacle.

In the first place, there exists an infinity of thorny issues and conflicts of interest. For a large number of participants, it is necessary to take a position on events which constitute flagrant violations of principles. For example: what position to adopt on the NATO genocide in Libya? Do some persons wish to place on record that under their leadership the government of their country supported the monstrous crime perpetrated by the United States and its NATO allies, whose sophisticated fighter planes, piloted or non-piloted, executed more than 20,000 attack missions on a small Third World state of barely six million inhabitants, alleging the same reasons as those previously used to attack and invade Serbia, Iraq, Afghanistan and which are now threatening to do so in Syria or any other country in the world?

Was it not precisely the government of the UN host state which ordered the butchery in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia, the mercenary Bay of Pigs attack on Cuba, the invasion of the Dominican Republic, the “dirty war” in Nicaragua, the occupation of Grenada and Panama by the U.S. military forces and the massacre of Panamanians in El Chorillo? Who promoted the military coups and genocide in Chile, Argentina and Uruguay, which resulted in tens of thousands of dead and disappeared? I am not talking about things which happened 500 years ago, when the Spaniards initiated genocide in the Americas, or 200 years ago, when the yankees exterminated native Indians in the United States or enslaved Africans, in spite of “all men are created equal,” as stated in the Declaration of Philadelphia. I am talking about acts that have taken place in recent decades and which are taking place today.

These acts must be recalled and reiterated when an event of the importance and prominence of the meeting underway in the United Nations takes place, and where the political integrity and ethics of governments is put to the test.

Many of them represent small and poor countries in need of support and international cooperation, technology, markets and credits, which the developed capitalist powers have manipulated as they please.

Despite the shameless monopoly of the news media and the fascist methods used by the United States and its allies to confuse and deceive world opinion, the resistance of the peoples is growing, and this can be appreciated in the debates taking place in the United Nations.

More than a few Third World leaders, in spite of the obstacles and contradictions indicated, have expressed their ideas with courage. The very voices emanating from the governments of Latin America and the Caribbean no longer contain the servile and embarrassing accent of the OAS, which characterized pronouncements of heads of state in past decades. Two of them have addressed this forum; both of them, Bolivarian President Hugo Chávez, a mix of the races which comprise the people of Venezuela, and Evo Morales, of pure millenary indigenous origin, stated their ideas in the meeting, one in a message and the other directly, in response to the speech of the yankee President.

Telesur broadcast the three speeches. Thanks to the network, in the night of Tuesday the 20th we heard President Chávez’ message, read carefully by Walter Martínez during his “Dossier” program. As head of state of the UN host nation, Obama gave his speech on Wednesday morning and Evo gave his during the early hours of the afternoon of the same day. For the sake of brevity I will take essential paragraphs from each text.

Chávez was unable to attend the United Nations Summit in person, after 12 years of untiring struggle without resting for a single day, which placed his life at risk and affected his health, and who is now fighting selflessly for his full recovery. However, his message could not but approach the most decisive issue of the historical meeting. I transcribe it virtually in full:
“I address these words to the General Assembly of the United Nations Organization […] to confirm, on this day and in this forum, Venezuela’s total support of Palestinian statehood: the right of Palestine to become a free, sovereign and independent country. It is an act of historical justice to a people who have carried within themselves, always, all the pain and suffering of the world.

“The great French philosopher Gilles Deleuze […] states with the tone of truth: ‘The Palestinian cause is above all the compound of injustices which this people has endured and continues to endure.’ And it is also, I dare to add, a constant and unyielding will of resistance which is already written in the heroic memory of the human condition. […] Mahmoud Darwish, the infinite voice of the potential Palestine, speaks to us from the sentiment of the awareness of this love: ‘We do not need the memory/because Mount Carmel is within us/ and the grass of Galilee is on our eyelids/ Don’t say: let us run to my country like the river! / Don’t say it! / Because we are in the flesh of our country/ and she is in us.’
“Against those who fallaciously maintain that what has happened to the Palestinian people is not genocide, Deleuze argues with implacable lucidity, ‘In all cases there is an attempt to act as if the Palestinian people not only should not exist, but have never existed. It is, in other words, the degree zero of genocide: to decree that a people do not exist; to deny them the right to existence.’”

“[…] the resolution of the conflict in the Middle East must of necessity move through doing justice to the Palestinian people; this is the only way of winning the peace.

“It pains and angers us that those who suffered one of the worst genocides in history have become the hangmen of the Palestinian people; it pains and angers us that the inheritance of the Holocaust is the Nakba. And it angers us, bluntly, that Zionism continues to utilize the accusation of anti-semitism against those who oppose its outrages and its crimes. Israel has exploited and is exploiting, blatantly and vilely, the memory of the victims. And it is doing so to act, with total impunity, against Palestine. In passing, it is worth noting that anti-Semitism is a Western, European misfortune, in which Arabs do not participate. Let us not forget, moreover, that it is the Palestinian Semite people who are suffering the ethnic cleansing being practiced by the colonial Israeli state.”

“[…] It is one thing to reject anti-Semitism, and it is a very different thing to passively accept that Zionist barbarity is imposing an apartheid regime upon the Palestinian people. From an ethical point of view, whoever rejects the former, has to condemn the latter.”

“[…] Zionism, as a view of the world, is absolutely racist. In their terrifying cynicism, the words of Golda Meir are irrefutable evidence of that: ‘How are we going to return the occupied territories? There is nobody to return them to. There is no such thing as Palestinians. It was not, as is thought, that a people called Palestinian existed, that considers itself as Palestinian, and that we arrived, threw them out and took their country from them. They did not exist.’”

“Read and reread the document historically known as the Balfour Declaration of 1917: the British government assumed the legal authority of promising the Jews a national home in Palestine, deliberately ignoring the presence and will of its inhabitants. It should be noted that for centuries, Christians and Muslims lived together in peace in the Holy Land, until Zionism began to claim it as its entire and exclusive property.”

“At the end of World War II, the tragedy of the Palestinian people was exacerbated, consummated by their expulsion from their territory and, at the same time, from history. In 1947, the ominous and illegal United Nations Resolution 181 recommended the partition of Palestine into a Jewish state, an Arab state and a zone under international control (Jerusalem and Bethlehem).

[…] 56% of the territory was granted to Zionism for the constitution of its state. In fact, this resolution was in violation of international law and flagrantly ignored the will of the large Arab majorities: the right to self-determination of the peoples became a dead letter.”

“[…] as opposed to what Israel and the United States would have the world believe via the communication transnationals, what took place and is still taking place in Palestine, let us say it with [Edward] Said, is not a religious conflict: it is a political conflict, of a colonial and imperialist stamp; it is not a millenary but a contemporary conflict; it is not a conflict that was born in the Middle East but in Europe.

“What was and what continues to be the crux of the conflict? The discussion and consideration of Israel’s security, but not in any way that of Palestine. This can be confirmed by recent history: suffice it to recall the latest genocidal episode unleashed by Israel with Operation Cast Lead in Gaza.

“The security of Palestine cannot be reduced to the simple recognition of limited self-government and police control in its enclaves of the West Bank of the Jordan Rover and in the Gaza Strip, leaving aside not only the creation of the Palestine state based on pre-1967 borders and with East Jerusalem as its capital, the rights of its nationals and their self-determination as a people, but also compensation and the consequent return to the homeland of 50% of the Palestinian population dispersed throughout the entire world, as established in Resolution 194.

“It is incredible that a country (Israel), which owes its existence to a General Assembly resolution, can be so disdainful of resolutions emanating from the United Nations, denounced Father Miguel D’Escoto, calling for an end to the massacre of the people of Gaza at the end of 2008 and beginning of 2009.”

“It is impossible to ignore the crisis of the United Nations. Before this same General Assembly in 2005 we sustained that the United Nations model had been exhausted. The fact that the debate on the Palestinian question has been postponed and that it is being overtly sabotaged, is yet another confirmation of this.

“For a number of days now Washington has been stating that it will veto in the Security Council what will be the majority resolution of the General Assembly: the recognition of Palestine as a full member of the UN. Together with the sister nations which comprise the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA), in the statement of recognition of Palestinian statehood, we have already deplored the fact that such a just aspiration could be blockaded in this way. As we know, the empire, in this and in other cases, is trying to impose a double standard on the world stage: it is the yankee double standard which violates international law in Libya, but allows Israel to do what it wants, thus making itself the principal accomplice of Palestinian genocide at the hands of Zionist barbarity. Let us recall some words of Said, which hit the nail on the head: ‘Due to Israeli interests in the United States, the policy of this country in terms of the Middle East is, therefore, Israeli-centric.’”

“I want to end with the voice of Mahmoud Darwish in his memorable poem:

‘On this earth there is something worth living for: on this earth is the lady of the earth, the mother of beginnings/the mother of ends. She was called Palestine. She is still called Palestine. / Lady: I deserve to live, because you are my lady, I deserve to live.’”

“She will continue to be called Palestine: Palestine will live and will win! Long life to free, sovereign and independent Palestine!

“Hugo Chávez Frías.
“President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.”

When the meeting began the following morning, his words were already present in the hearts and minds of those assembled there.

The Bolivarian leader has never been an enemy of the Jewish people. A man of particular sensitivity, he profoundly detests the brutal crimes committed by the Nazis against children, women and men, young and old alike in the concentration camps where Gypsies were also victims of atrocious crimes and an extermination attempt, which no one, however, remembers or mentions. Thousands of Russians likewise perished in those camps, as an inferior race within the Nazi racial framework.

When Chávez returned to his country from Cuba, the evening of Thursday, September 22, he spoke indignantly of Barack Obama’s speech at the United Nations. Very rarely have I heard him speak with such vehemence about the leader whom he has treated with the utmost respect, given his history as a victim of racial discrimination in the United States. He never considered Obama capable of behaving as George Bush had and appreciatively preserved the memory of the words they had exchanged when they met in Trinidad and Tobago.

“Yesterday we were listening to an assortment of speeches, the day before yesterday as well, there in the United Nations, precise speeches such as that of President Dilma Rousseff; a speech of great moral value such as that of President Evo Morales; a speech which we could describe as a monument to cynicism, the speech of President Obama which his own face betrayed, his own face was a poem; a man calling for peace, just imagine. Obama calling for peace. With what moral authority? An historic monument to cynicism, the speech of President Obama.

“We were listening to precise speeches, clarifying ones, that of President Lugo, that of the President of Argentina, taking valiant positions before the world.”

When the New York meeting began on the morning of Wednesday, September 21 – after the comments by the President of Brazil opening the discussion and the introduction de rigueur – the President of the United States took the podium and began his speech.

He began,
“Over nearly seven decades, even as the United Nations helped avert a third world war, we still live in a world scarred by conflict and plagued by poverty. Even as we proclaim our love for peace and our hatred of war, there are still convulsions in our world that endanger us all.”
It is not clear at what point the UN may have prevented the outbreak of a World War III.
“I took office at a time of two wars for the United States. Moreover, the violent extremists who drew us into war in the first place – Osama bin Laden, and his al Qaeda organization – remained at large. Today, we have set a new direction.

At the end of this year, America’s military operation in Iraq will be over. We will have a normal relationship with a sovereign nation that is a member of the community of nations. That equal partnership will be strengthened by our support for Iraq – for its government and Security Forces; for its people and their aspirations.”
What country is Obama really talking about?
“As we end the war in Iraq, the United States and our coalition partners have begun a transition in Afghanistan. Between now and 2014, an increasingly capable Afghan government and security forces will step forward to take responsibility for the future of their country. As they do, we are drawing down our own forces, while building an enduring partnership with the Afghan people. So let there be no doubt: The tide of war is receding.

“When I took office, roughly 180,000 Americans were serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. By the end of this year, that number will be cut in half, and it will continue to decline. This is critical for the sovereignty of Iraq and Afghanistan. It’s also critical to the strength of the United States as we build our nation at home. Ten years ago, there was an open wound and twisted steel, a broken heart in the center of this city. Today, as a new tower is rising at Ground Zero, it symbolizes New York’s renewal, even as al Qaeda is under more pressure than ever before. Its leadership has been degraded. And Osama bin Laden, a man who murdered thousands of people from dozens of countries, will never endanger the peace of the world again.”
Who was Bin Laden’s ally? Who trained him and armed him to fight the Soviets in Afghanistan? It wasn’t the socialists, or revolutionaries from anyplace in the world.
“So, yes, this has been a difficult decade. But today, we stand at a crossroads of history with the chance to move decisively in the direction of peace. To do so, we must return to the wisdom of those who created this institution. The United Nations’ Founding Charter calls upon us, ‘to unite our strength to maintain international peace and security.’”
Who has military bases all over the world? Who is the largest exporter of weapons? Who has thousands of spy satellites? Who invests more than one billion dollars a year in military spending.
“This year has been a time of extraordinary transformation. More nations have stepped forward to maintain international peace and security. And more individuals are claiming their universal right to live in freedom and dignity.”
He then cites the situations in South Sudan and Ivory Coast. He doesn’t say that in the first instance, U.S. transnationals have descended upon the oil reserves of this new country, whose president in this very UN General Assembly said that it was a valuable, but finite, resource which he plans to use rationally and optimally.

Nor did Obama indicate that peace was established in the Ivory Coast with the support of colonialist soldiers from an eminent member of the bellicose NATO alliance which has just dropped thousands of bombs on Libya.

A bit later he mentions Tunisia and takes credit for the popular movement which overthrew the government in that country, which was an ally of imperialism.

Even more astonishingly, Obama fails to acknowledge that the Untied States was responsible for the installation of the tyrannical, corrupt government in Egypt of Hosni Mubarak who, absconding with the principles of Nasser, allied himself with the imperialists, stole billions from his country and tyrannized his valiant people.
“One year ago,” Obama said, “Egypt had known one President for nearly 30 years. But for 18 days, the eyes of the world were glued to Tahrir Square, where Egyptians from all walks of life — men and women, young and old, Muslim and Christian — demanded their universal rights. We saw in those protesters the moral force of non-violence that has lit the world from Delhi to Warsaw, from Selma to South Africa — and we knew that change had come to Egypt and to the Arab world.

“Day after day, in the face of bullets and bombs, the Libyan people refused to give back that freedom. And when they were threatened by the kind of mass atrocity that often went unchallenged in the last century, the United Nations lived up to its charter. The Security Council authorized all necessary measures to prevent a massacre. The Arab League called for this effort; Arab nations joined a NATO-led coalition that halted Qaddafi’s forces in their tracks.

“Yesterday, the leaders of a new Libya took their rightful place beside us, and this week, the United States is reopening our embassy in Tripoli.

“This is how the international community is supposed to work — nations standing together for the sake of peace and security, and individuals claiming their rights.

“All of us have a responsibility to support the new Libya — the new Libyan government as they confront the challenge of turning this moment of promise into a just and lasting peace for all Libyans.

“The Qaddafi regime is over. Gbagbo, Ben Ali, Mubarak are no longer in power. Osama bin Laden is gone, and the idea that change could only come through violence has been buried with him.”
Notice the poetic language with which Obama dispatches the subject of Bin Laden, despite whatever the responsibility this one-time ally might have been, shot in the face before his wife and children, his body thrown into the ocean from an aircraft carrier, ignoring the customs and religious traditions of more than a billion believers, as well as elementary principles recognized by all legal systems. These are not methods which are, or will ever be, conducive to peace
“Something is happening in our world. The way things have been is not the way that they will be. The humiliating grip of corruption and tyranny is being pried open. Dictators are on notice. Technology is putting power into the hands of the people. The youth are delivering a powerful rebuke to dictatorship, and rejecting the lie that some races, some peoples, some religions, some ethnicities do not desire democracy.
“The promise written down on paper – ‘all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights’ – is closer at hand. The measure of our success must be whether people can live in sustained freedom, dignity, and security. And the United Nations and its member states must do their part to support those basic aspirations. And we have more work to do.”
He immediately takes up another Islamic country where, as is well known, his intelligence services along with those of Israel, systematically assassinate the most outstanding scientists involved in military technology.

Next he threatens Syria, where U.S. belligerency could lead to a massacre even more frightening than that of Libya.
"As we meet here today, men and women and children are being tortured, detained and murdered by the Syrian regime. Thousands have been killed, many during the holy time of Ramadan. Thousands more have poured across Syria’s borders.
“The Syrian people have shown dignity and courage in their pursuit of justice — protesting peacefully, standing silently in the streets, dying for the same values that this institution is supposed to stand for. And the question for us is clear: Will we stand with the Syrian people, or with their oppressors? The United States has imposed strong sanctions on Syria’s leaders. We supported a transfer of power that is responsive to the Syrian people. And many of our allies have joined in this effort. But for the sake of Syria — and the peace and security of the world — we must speak with one voice. There’s no excuse for inaction. Now is the time for the United Nations Security Council to sanction the Syrian regime, and to stand with the Syrian people.”
Has, by chance, any country been exempted from the belligerent threats of this illustrious defender of international security and peace? Who granted the United States such prerogatives?
“Throughout the region, we will have to respond to the calls for change. In Yemen, men, women and children gather by the thousands in towns and city squares every day with the hope that their determination and spilled blood will prevail over a corrupt system. America supports those aspirations. We must work with Yemen’s neighbors and our partners around the world to seek a path that allows for a peaceful transition of power from President Saleh, and a movement to free and fair elections as soon as possible.

“In Bahrain, steps have been taken toward reform and accountability. We’re pleased with that, but more is required. America is a close friend of Bahrain, and we will continue to call on the government and the main opposition bloc — the Wifaq — to pursue a meaningful dialogue that brings peaceful change that is responsive to the people. We believe the patriotism that binds Bahrainis together must be more powerful than the sectarian forces that would tear them apart. It will be hard, but it is possible.”
He does not mention at all that one of the region’s largest military bases is located there and that U.S. transnationals control and access at will the vast oil and gas reserves of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
“We believe that each nation must chart its own course to fulfil the aspirations of its people, and America does not expect to agree with every party or person who expresses themselves politically. But we will always stand up for the universal rights that were embraced by this Assembly. Those rights depend on elections that are free and fair; on governance that is transparent and accountable; respect for the rights of women and minorities; justice that is equal and fair. That is what our people deserve. Those are the elements of peace that can last.

“Moreover, the United States will continue to support those nations that transition to democracy — with greater trade and investment — so that freedom is followed by opportunity. We will pursue a deeper engagement with governments, but also with civil society — students and entrepreneurs, political parties and the press.

“We have banned those who abuse human rights from traveling to our country. And we’ve sanctioned those who trample on human rights abroad. And we will always serve as a voice for those who’ve been silenced.”
After this extended lecture, the eminent Nobel Prize winner delves into the thorny issue of his alliance with Israel which, of course, is not among the privileged owners of advanced systems of nuclear weapons and the means to reach distant targets. He knows perfectly well how arbitrary and unpopular this policy is.
“I know, particularly this week, that for many in this hall, there’s one issue that stands as a test for these principles and a test for American foreign policy, and that is the conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinians. One year ago, I stood at this podium and I called for an independent Palestine. I believed then, and I believe now, that the Palestinian people deserve a state of their own. But what I also said is that a genuine peace can only be realized between the Israelis and the Palestinians themselves. One year later, despite extensive efforts by America and others, the parties have not bridged their differences. Faced with this stalemate, I put forward a new basis for negotiations in May of this year. That basis is clear. It’s well known to all of us here. Israelis must know that any agreement provides assurances for their security. Palestinians deserve to know the territorial basis of their state. Now, I know that many are frustrated by the lack of progress. I assure you, so am I. But the question isn’t the goal that we seek – the question is how do we reach that goal.”
He then launches into a long lecture explaining and justifying the inexplicable and unjustifiable.
“Peace is hard work. Peace will not come through statements and resolutions at the United Nations — if it were that easy, it would have been accomplished by now. Ultimately, it is the Israelis and the Palestinians who must live side by side. Ultimately, it is the Israelis and the Palestinians — not us –- who must reach agreement on the issues that divide them: on borders and on security, on refugees and Jerusalem. Ultimately, peace depends upon compromise among people who must live together long after our speeches are over, long after our votes have been tallied.

“There’s no question that the Palestinians have seen that vision delayed for too long. It is precisely because we believe so strongly in the aspirations of the Palestinian people that America has invested so much time and so much effort in the building of a Palestinian state, and the negotiations that can deliver a Palestinian state. But understand this as well: America’s commitment to Israel’s security is unshakeable. Our friendship with Israel is deep and enduring. “The Jewish people have forged a successful state in their historic homeland. Israel deserves recognition. It deserves normal relations with its neighbors. And friends of the Palestinians do them no favors by ignoring this truth…

“Each side has legitimate aspirations — and that’s part of what makes peace so hard. And the deadlock will only be broken when each side learns to stand in the other’s shoes; each side can see the world through the other’s eyes. That’s what we should be encouraging. That’s what we should be promoting.”
In the meantime, the Palestinians remain exiled in their own land, their homes are destroyed by monstrous machines and a hateful wall, much higher than the one in Berlin, separates some Palestinians from others. The least Obama could have done was acknowledge that Israel’s own citizens are tired of the squandering of resources invested in the military, denying them peace and access to the basic means of life. Like the Palestinians, they are suffering the consequences of policies imposed by the United States and the most bellicose, reactionary sectors of the Zionist state.
“Even as we confront these challenges of conflict and revolution, we must also recognize – we must also remind ourselves – that peace is not just the absence of war. True peace depends on creating the opportunity that makes life worth living. And to do that, we must confront the common enemies of humanity: nuclear weapons and poverty, ignorance and disease.”
Who understands this gibberish from the President of the United States before the General Assembly?

He immediately thereafter presents an unintelligible philosophy:
“To lift the specter of mass destruction, we must come together to pursue the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons. Over the last two years, we’ve begun to walk down that path. Since our Nuclear Security Summit in Washington nearly 50 nations have taken steps to secure nuclear materials from terrorists and smugglers.”
Is there greater terrorism than the aggressive, bellicose policy of a country with an arsenal of nuclear weapons which could destroy human life on the planet several times over?
“America will continue to work for a ban on the testing of nuclear weapons and the production of fissile material needed to make them,” Obama continued promising us, “and so we have begun to move in the right direction.

“And the United States is committed to meeting our obligations. But even as we meet our obligations, we’ve strengthened the treaties and institutions that help stop the spread of these weapons. And to do so, we must continue to hold accountable those nations that flout them. … The Iranian government cannot demonstrate that its program is peaceful.”
He’s back to the upbraiding. This time, Iran is not alone, the Democratic Republic of Korea is included.
“North Korea has yet to take concrete steps towards abandoning its weapons and continues belligerent action against the South. There’s a future of greater opportunity for the people of these nations if their governments meet their international obligations. But if they continue down a path that is outside international law, they must be met with greater pressure and isolation. That is what our commitment to peace and security demands.”
I will continue tomorrow.

Fidel Castro Ruz
September 25, 2011
7:36 p.m.

Translated by Granma International

See also:
UN General Assembly 2011: Palestinian Statehood Bid Explained.
Analysis: U.S., Palestinians race for votes at U.N. council.

"Patria est communis omnium parens" - Our native land is the common parent of us all. Keep it beautiful, make it even more so.

Blessed is all of creation
Blessed be my beautiful people
Blessed be the day of our awakening
Blessed is my country
Blessed are her patient hills.

Mweh ka allay!

"Jamaica's Libel Laws: A Chilling Effect on Crime and Corruption Reporting..."

Reference ID: 10KINGSTON196
Created: 2010-02-08 15:59
Released: 2011-08-30 01:44
Origin: Embassy Kingston



DE RUEHKG #0196/01 0391600
R 081559Z FEB 10



E.O. 12958: N/A

SUBJECT: Jamaica's Libel Laws: A Chilling Effect on Crime and Corruption Reporting

REF: 09 KINGSTON 121; 08 KINGSTON 648; 08 KINGSTON 328

Jamaica's Libel Laws: A Chilling Effect on Crime and Corruption Reporting

Summary and Analysis

¶1. (U) Jamaica's libel laws have a chilling effect on
investigative reporting by the press and hinder the media's ability
to bring corruption and criminal activity to light. A duty to
inform subjects of media reporting prior to publishing puts the
subject of a story on notice and provides them with an opportunity
to seek an injunction to stymie publication. The risk of costly
court-awarded damages also discourages media owners from
aggressively pursuing the types of stories that would bring
information about corruption and criminal activity to light.
Libel laws that favor perpetrators may be one of the contributing
factors to the country's seemingly unfixable corruption and crime
problems. In his inaugural speech in September 2007, Prime
Minister (PM) Bruce Golding promised legislative reform for libel
laws; however, to date the process has been slow moving. End
Summary and Analysis.

Libel Laws Protect Criminals, Silence Media

¶2. (SBU) Jamaica's libel laws are used by public figures as a sword
to quiet the voices of dissent and opposition, and by criminals as
a tool to silence investigative reporting of possible criminal
activity. Emboffs spoke with Cliff Hughes, owner of the Nationwide
News Network who said, "As a journalist, if you haven't been sued
for libel, then you're not doing your job." The potentially high
damages for defamation suits have a chilling effect on freedom of
expression and the press. In the landmark case of Anthony Abrahams
v. The Gleaner Company, a jury ordered owners of Jamaica's oldest
newspaper to pay former Minister of Tourism, Eric Anthony Abrahams,
J$80.7 million (then-US $2.5 million) in damages for a defamatory
statement published in the Jamaica Gleaner newspaper. Although the
award was later reduced to J$35 million (then-US $1.1 million), the
award of significant damages encouraged self-censorship among
journalists and media personnel. "A news organization in this
country could be brought down by one libel suit," said Desmond
Richards, President of the Press Association of Jamaica (PAJ). "How
many news organizations could pay out a US$ 1 million award and
still open the next day?

Example: Libel Laws Effect on Ponzi Schemes
--------------------------------------------- -

¶3. (SBU) Members of the financial community have said that fears of
libel action influenced the lack of media investigation into the
ponzi scheme operations of the Olint and Cash Plus that rose to
prominence for a few years before crashing in 2008 (Reftel A, B,
C). Even the Financial Services Commission (FSC), whose duty is to
supervise and regulate the securities industry, did not report
these clubs to be Ponzi schemes. Hughes told Emboff, "If the FSC,
who is in a position to request documents and gather evidence to
determine if these clubs were legitimate, did not report them as
Ponzi schemes, then media organizations were certainly not going to
take that risk upon themselves."

Putting The Subject of Investigation On Notice

¶4. (SBU) Public officials and wrongdoers have since been able to
use threats of libel suits to prohibit media disclosure of
information in the public interest and hinder press investigations
into possible criminal activity. In addition, the court-created
"responsible journalism" defense to libel has opened the flood
gates for numerous pre-emptive lawsuits. To meet the standard for
this defense, journalists may be required to contact and seek
comment from the subject of a defamatory statement, prior to
publication. Thus, putting the subject of the investigation on
notice of the press interest in their activities and therefore
affording the subject an opportunity to seek an injunction against

Burden of Proof

¶5. (SBU) Under the current Libel and Slander Act, a defendant may
still be criminally tried and imprisoned for publishing a
defamatory statement, even if that statement ultimately is proved
to be true. Jamaica's criminal libel laws were established to
protect English nobility from criticism. This offence was used to
restrict the same freedom of expression now guaranteed by the
Jamaican Constitution. In Justice Hugh Small's report to PM
Golding about changes to Jamaica's libel laws, he notes: "It is
remarkable that under section 7 of the Libel and Slander Act 1851,
the truth of the matters published shall not amount to a defense
unless it was for the public benefit that the matters should be
published." This paragraph also makes reference to how Marcus
Garvey and Leonard Howell were imprisoned for criminal libel. In
addition, Jamaican libel actions only require that claimants show
the comments made about them were defamatory in order to bring a
libel claim. The libel action begins with the assumption that all
defamatory statements are false, placing the burden of proof on the
defendant to show that such defamatory statements are true or
substantially true. Therefore, journalists are forced to
pre-eminently present documented evidence necessary to establish a
libel-proof defense prior to publishing stories of public interest.

Modernizing Jamaica's Libel Laws

¶6. (SBU) Media professionals have petitioned Parliament to
modernize libel laws in order to bring them in line with the
legislative revisions found in other common law jurisdictions.
Because of the two countries' historical relationship, Jamaica's
libel laws mirrors the laws of the United Kingdom. This approach
to libel values a claimant's reputation over the defendant's right
to freedom of speech. In order to modernize Jamaica's libel laws,
journalists advocate: (1) the elimination of criminal libel as an
offense; and (2) changing the burden of proof from defendant to
plaintiff in a libel action.

Finding a Legislative Solution...

¶7. (SBU) Parliament is currently debating proposed amendments to
the libel laws. These amendments were proposed by a 12-person
committee, commissioned by PM Bruce Golding, to review the laws and
make recommendations that would facilitate greater transparency in
government and promote freedom of the expression. In his
inauguration speech in September 2007, PM Golding said he was
committed to ensuring that these laws cannot be used as a firewall
to protect wrongdoers. PM Golding has personally endorsed the
proposed amendments, saying publically: "I believe that those of us
who offer ourselves for public office, particularly elected office,
where we ask the people to trust us and entrust in our hands,
power, must be prepared to expose and subject ourselves to a higher
standard of transparency than the ordinary citizen, who is just
going about his business."

... Is Slow Moving

¶8. (SBU) The committee completed and submitted its report to the PM
and Parliament on February 29, 2008. The report recommended
specific legislative changes necessary to meet the Government of
Jamaica's objective of modernizing Jamaica's libel laws "so that
those engaged in corruption can be easily exposed and brought to
justice." According to PM Golding, "the committee did their work,
they submitted their report, we took it to Parliament and it has
spent a long time before a Parliamentary Committee."

Australia As A Model

¶9. (SBU) Although the committee refrained from recommending a
standard to be used by courts to award damages in libel cases,
committee members did recommend that the country adopt legislation
that would allow a judge instead of a jury to determine the
appropriate amount of damages to be awarded to plaintiffs. The
committee highlighted the Australian Defamation Act as a model for
Jamaica. In Australia, the role of the jury is to find whether the
defamatory matter had been published by the defendant, but the
judge assesses the amount of compensation to be awarded. The judge
ensures that there is an "appropriate and rational relationship"
between the amount of compensation awarded and the harm sustained
by the plaintiff. The Australian system also institutes a maximum
amount of damages for non-economic loss and abolishes awards of
punitive damages in defamation cases.

¶10. (SBU) While the committee recommended that criminal libel be
abolished and called for self-regulation of the media, committee
members disagreed on the appropriate standards for determining
libel when public officials sue in relation to statements
concerning public affairs. The committee came up with three
approaches: (1) adopt the American standard to allow citizens, not
acting in actual malice, to freely criticize public officials
regarding matters of public interest; (2) reject the "actual
malice" standard but require that a plaintiff prove the falsity of
a defamatory statement when bringing a libel claim; or (3) leave
the libel laws as is to encourage qualified people to pursue public


¶11. (SBU) Jamaica faces significant crime and corruption
challenges that hinder economic growth and foreign investment; one
of the tools to root out these problems is an active free press.
Current libel laws restrain investigative journalism and tip the
scales in favor of perpetrators. Like the multiple anti-crime
legislative packages that are currently bogged down in Parliament,
new libel provisions, if adopted, would be important tool to help
the government better combat crime and corruption. Unfortunately,
the political will to ensure legislative reform is passed in a
timely manner is lacking.



A Note From The Gull

What is the situation like in Trinidad and Tobago? Fortunately for us in the more salubrious southerly climes, the voice of the people IS the voice of God.

And when this voice of God asks hard questions, the response from those being questioned is guided always by a deep humility and the desire for the whole truth to be revealed.

We have risen above the legal claptrap and we have accepted that in public life, the burden of proof should belong to the one being questioned/accused by the voice of God.

Absolutely NO ONE would ever dream of issuing pre-action protocol letters prior to instituting libel actions against God. Eh heh?? Nothing ent strange...

"Patria est communis omnium parens" - Our native land is the common parent of us all. Keep it beautiful, make it even more so.

Blessed is all of creation
Blessed be my beautiful people
Blessed be the day of our awakening
Blessed is my country
Blessed are her patient hills.

Mweh ka allay!

Redemption Song | Playing For Change

Uploaded by PlayingForChange


A Note From The Gull

Thank you, Bob Marley, for your legacy of love.

"Patria est communis omnium parens" - Our native land is the common parent of us all. Keep it beautiful, make it even more so.

Blessed is all of creation
Blessed be my beautiful people
Blessed be the day of our awakening
Blessed is my country
Blessed are her patient hills.

Mweh ka allay!

It Is Done. Troy Davis Has Been Executed.


"I'd like to address the MacPhail family. Let you know, despite the situation you are in, I'm not the one who personally killed your son, your father, your brother. I am innocent.

The incident that happened that night is not my fault. I did not have a gun. All I can ask ... is that you look deeper into this case so that you really can finally see the truth.

I ask my family and friends to continue to fight this fight.

For those about to take my life, God have mercy on your souls. And may God bless your souls."

"Capital punishment is the most premeditated of murders."

-Albert Camus, French philosopher

Troy Davis is gone. We had hoped that he would have been allowed to live, as he obviously wanted to, or allowed to fight for justice as was his right, but Troy Davis was not a mass murdering master of war, he was not a voracious captain of industry and his supporters in high places could not quench the state's blood lust disguised as justice.

"[I am] haunted by the demon of error -
error in determining guilt

and error in determining who among the guilty deserves to die."

-George Ryan, former Illinois Governor

The article below mentions that the relatives of the man he was alleged to have murdered, were most present even after all the intervening years, to witness his execution. I hope that they were able to finally have their satisfaction. Will they sleep well tonight? Will their relative be returned to them?

"To take a life when a life has been lost is revenge, not justice."

-Desmond Tutu

Troy Davis IS this world in the hands of brutes and whether we care to admit it or not, we have all been sentenced to death.

"I think this country would be much better off if we did not have capital punishment....We cannot ignore the fact that in recent years a disturbing number of inmates on death row have been exonerated."
-John Paul Stevens, U.S. Supreme Court Justice
Troy Davis: timeline of main events in the legal saga.
The Telegraph | Thursday 22 September 2011 5:16AM

Troy Davis in a recent picture (Lt) and during his trial in 1991(Rt) Photo: AP

Troy Davis has been executed in Jackson, Georgia despite a swirl of international pleas for clemency in one of the highest-profile US execution cases in years. Georgia parole board rejects appeal for Troy Davis

Here is a timeline of the main events in a legal saga that has dragged on for more than two decades and made Davis a poster child for death penalty abolitionists:

August 19, 1989: Off-duty white police officer Mark MacPhail is working as a security guard at a Burger King in Savannah, Georgia when he intervenes in an argument between several men in the parking lot. He is shot in the heart and face without having drawn his gun and dies instantly.

August 23, 1989: Troy Davis, a 20-year-old unemployed black man, is arrested after being implicated by a witness.

April 1990: Davis pleads not guilty at a preliminary hearing.

August 1991: The trial begins with prosecutors seeking the death penalty.

August 28, 1991: The jury, composed of seven blacks and five whites, finds Davis guilty after less than two hours of deliberation.

August 30, 1991: Davis has testified during the sentencing phase of the trial, maintaining his innocence, but the jury recommends the death penalty and he is sentenced to death.

March 1992: A first request for a new trial is denied.

March 1993: Georgia's Supreme Court upholds the conviction and the sentence.

December 2001: Davis files an appeal with the US federal district court saying seven of nine original witnesses have recanted their testimony.

May 2004: A judge declines to consider the claim and rejects other claims about unfair jury selection, ineffective defense counsel and prosecutorial misconduct.

September 2006: The 11th Circuit Court upholds this decision on appeal saying Davis has failed to substantively prove his innocence or show his original trial was constitutionally unfair.

June 2007: Davis's execution is set for July 17, 2007.

July 16, 2007: After appeals rain in from notaries including Nobel Peace Prize winner Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Pope Benedict XVI, the Georgia State Board of Pardons and Paroles grants a 90-day stay of execution at the 11th hour.

August 2007: The Georgia Supreme Court grants Davis a discretionary appeal for a new trial on the basis of mistaken identity.

March 17, 2008: The Georgia Supreme Court denies the appeal by a 4-3 majority.

July 2008: Davis's second execution date is scheduled for September 23, 2008.

September 23, 2008: The US Supreme Court issues a last minute emergency stay less than two hours before he is due to be put to death.

October 14, 2008: The US Supreme Court declines to hear Davis's petition and sets a third execution date of October 27, 2008.

October 21, 2008: Lawyers for Davis request an emergency stay as rallies are held worldwide pleading for clemency.

October 24, 2008: The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals issues a stay of execution to consider a newly-filed habeas corpus petition.

December 9, 2008: A three-judge panel hears oral arguments at a hearing in Atlanta.

April 16, 2009: The panel denies Davis's application by a 2-1 majority.

May 19, 2009: Davis files a petition for habeas corpus with the US Supreme Court.

August 17, 2009: In a rare move the US Supreme Court orders a Savannah federal district court to open a new hearing.

June 2010: A panel dismisses the appeal with Judge William Moore finding only one of the witness recantations wholly credible.

January 2011: Davis files a new appeal with the US Supreme Court.

March 2011: The appeal is rejected.

September 7, 2011: Georgia sets Davis's fourth execution date for September 21, 2011.

September 20, 2011: The Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles denies Davis's last-ditch bid for clemency.

September 21, 2011: The five-member board refuses to reverse its decision and also denies a request to allow Davis to take a lie detector test to prove his innocence.

- 7:00 pm (2300 GMT): Davis scheduled time to be put to death is delayed by the Supreme Court, as the nine justices weigh a final stay of execution, which they deny three hours later.

- 11:08 pm (0308 GMT) Davis is pronounced dead after receiving a lethal injection, with MacPhail's relatives looking on.

"...I think everybody in there understood the enormity of what was going on, and acted accordingly. It was very, very quiet, very respectful and very sombre."

But did they really understand the enormity of what was going on?

A Note From The Gull

Great Spirit, protect my country from barbarity. Give us the wisdom to recognise that the law does not guarantee justice. The most corrupt state has the most laws.

"Patria est communis omnium parens" - Our native land is the common parent of us all. Keep it beautiful, make it even more so.

Blessed is all of creation
Blessed be my beautiful people
Blessed be the day of our awakening
Blessed is my country
Blessed are her patient hills.

Mweh ka allay!

I Believe In You [Song]

Uploaded by cool4rocknroll

By Gypsy
Arranged by Godwin Bowen & Gypsy
T&T 1990

Spoken words: My Trinidad and Tobago, I love you. I loved you then, I love you now. I will always love you.

You fill the pockets of many when plenty wealth came your way
But some of us abuse it badly, we never thought it could go away
No care was shown, no fear were known, in abundance then you provide
Like soldiers made of sponge and glass, we marched along by your side.
But now the war is on, where have your soldiers gone?
Inspired by their own fear and greed, desert you when you are most in need.

I say...
Everybody should believe in something
And everybody should believe in someone too
If everyone do believe just the way I do
Then my Trinidad and Tobago, I believe in you
My Trinidad and Tobago, I still believe in you.

I once heard some say, "This is my land of which I am proud and glad."
But as soon as you fall on hard times, they relish in talking you bad
And so to foreign shores and lands they fly, subhuman status they seek
How could people you have made so strong become so fragile and weak?
Or am I thinking wrong? Now were they ever strong?
Or the constraints that comes along with change
Have ruptured their patriotic vein.

I ask...
Everybody must believe in something
And everybody should believe in someone too
If everyone do believe the simple way I do
Then my Trinidad and Tobago, I believe in you
My sweet Trinidad and Tobago, I still believe in you.

I heard some call you the Godfather of our whole Caribbean
It's because of your selfless action in almost any situation
Good friends you had, or so you thought and then by the fold they grew
But now you learn when a man is down, how his good friends can be few
But that's all right, I say, it's not too far away
Your ship would surely come in one day
Then they'll learn ungratefulness never pay.

I say...
Everybody should believe in someone
And everybody must believe in something too
If everyone do believe just the way I do
My sweet Trinidad and Tobago, I believe in you
My Trinidad and Tobago, I believe in you.

And like the sun that rise in the morning
I shall watch you rise again
And hypocrites who curse your existence,
Shall bow to proclaim your name
And like the mother you are, with open arms you'll forgive their scorn
And I can hear you say, "Welcome! This is the land of which you were born."

But everybody should believe in someone
And everybody must believe in something too
If everybody do believe the way I do
Well my Trinidad and Tobago, I believe in you
My Trinidad and Tobago, I believe in you.

[I believe] I believe [I believe] I believe [I believe in you] I believe in you!
From among your economic ruins --------------------
I'll stand on the highest mountain and feel proud to still say aloud
I believe, I believe, I believe in you!
I believe one day we'll pay off the IMF their money and ease all the strain
And the gloom that hangs over Port of Spain will no longer hang again
Good God, I know I believe, I believe, I still believe in you!..

Source: The lyrics posted on this blog are often transcribed directly from performances. Although it is my intention to faithfully transcribe I do not get all the words and I have a knack for hearing the wrong thing. Please feel free to correct me or to fill in the words that I miss by dropping me a message via e-mail. I'd be forever grateful. Thanks in advance!

A Note From The Gull

Thank you, Gypsy! "My Trinidad and Tobago, I believe in you!" It is evident that the sentiments expressed here are coming straight from your heart. Congratulations also on "Remember When" - the latest project undertaken by your Ministry. I look forward to visiting the site when it becomes available online.
Ministry compiles ‘Remember When’. T&T's Newsday | Saturday, September 10 2011

An institute which would provide citizens with access to cultural memories of this country’s past has been proposed by the Minister of Arts and Multiculturalism Winston Peters.

The minister made the announcement yesterday during the ministry’s launch of its “Remember When” Exhibition at the Academy for the Performing Arts (NAPA).

The “Remember When” exhibition is a venture of the ministry to preserve the country’s folk culture and heritage while educating the public on its history and providing enjoyment.

The minister said, “Remembering as a people is very important to the survival of a culture. Our shared heritage creates a collective understanding of who we are, as Trinbagonians.” Peters continued that the preservation of the recordings of our culture would help define who we are as a people. “These human treasures cannot be hung on the walls of museums, but they are indeed precious, as they would help us remember who we are as a people, and define our culture as distinctly Trinbagonian.” said Peters

He continued that the ministry has been in the process of storing data which would be used in the proposed institute.

“The ministry owns a storehouse of intangible artifacts which reflects directly, an image of ourselves as we have lived over the past 40 years. For two and a half years , the Division of Culture has been digitising materials that would one day be stored in the institute.” said Peters

Artifacts of long ago folklore songs, stories, books, newspapers, art, journals, music and calypsonians were on display at the exhibition as well as digitised memories that were previously stored by the now defunct National Cultural Council. The ministry also launched a web-page which stores a compilation of audio-visual material, manuscripts, and photographs from as far back as the 1880s. The “Remember When” web-page, according to Peters, is unlike any other cultural e-based repository in this country. The web-page would be open to the public in three months time.

Guests such as Hollis “Chalkdust” Liverpool, and historian Bridget Brereton, were present at the exhibition.

Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Arts and Multiculturalism, Jennifer Jones, said the exhibition would give citizens the opportunity to compare the music, literature and folklore from then to now. The exhibition would be open to the general public from today until September 24 from 9am to 5pm on Mondays to Fridays and 10am to 6pm on weekends.
"Patria est communis omnium parens" - Our native land is the common parent of us all. Keep it beautiful, make it even more so.

Blessed is all of creation
Blessed be my beautiful people
Blessed be the day of our awakening
Blessed is my country
Blessed are her patient hills.

Mweh ka allay!

Hold On, T&T.... Hold On To The Balance-Wheel.[Song]

Uploaded by ScorpioPetey
By Calypso Rose

Hold on to the balance-wheel [Hold on!]
Eric was the balance-wheel [Hold on!]
Who can’t hear they got to feel [Hold on!]
So get to the balance-wheel [Hold on!]
Now that Eric Williams gone
I know you all miss this son
Don't think that the days are done
He gone
Eric Williams say, "Hold on!"

Hold on to the balance [Hold on!]
You better gimme the balance [Hold on!]
You better find them gimme [Hold on!]
You better bring them gimme [Hold on!]
You better gimme, gimme, gimme. [Hold on!]

Hold on to the balance-wheel [Hold on!]
Chambers is the balance-wheel [Hold on!]
Watch out Trinidadian [Hold on!]
For them crooked politician [Hold on!]
But I know my lips are sealed
Is so much I can’t reveal
Eric tell me, “Peace, be still.
He gone.
Eric Williams say, "Hold on!"

Hold on, baby!

Hold on! Hold on to the balance-wheel [Hold on!]
Oh gimme the balance wheel [Hold on!]
You better find them gimme [Hold on!]
You better find them gimme [Hold on!]
You better bring them gimme [Hold on!]
You better gimme, gimme, gimme. [Hold on!] Oy!

Eric Williams was the boss [Hold on!]
Oh what a great man we lost [Hold on!]
His spirit still have a force [Hold on!]
I want you to feel remorse [Hold on!]
Eric was the balance-wheel
Trinidadians make him screel
He standing behind a wheel
He gone.
Eric Williams say, "Hold on!"

Hold on! Hold on to the balance-wheel [Hold on!]
You better find them gimme [Hold on!]
You better find them gimme [Hold on!]
You better bring them gimme [Hold on!]
You better gimme, gimme, gimme. [Hold on!]

I saw Eric in mih dream [Hold on!]
Still holding the balance-wheel [Hold on!]
He say, "Rosie, tell Chamber [Hold on!]
Call election November.
[Hold on!]
And tell Chambers that I say
Give the Baptists a holiday
And tell the nation doh mourn
Ah gone.
Eric Williams say, "Hold on!"

Hold on to the balance [Hold on!]
Hold on to the balance [Hold on!]
Hold on to the balance-wheel [Hold on!]
Gimme the balance-wheel [Hold on!]
Gimme the balance-wheel [Hold on!]
Chambers is the balance-wheel [Hold on!]
Rosie is the balance-wheel [Hold on!]
Shadow is the balance-wheel [Hold on!]
Straker is the balance-wheel [Hold on!] Oy!

Hold on [to the balance-wheel]
Hold on [to the balance-wheel]
Hold on [to the balance-wheel]
Hold on [to the balance-wheel]
Hold on to the balance-wheel [Hold on!]
You better find them gimme [Hold on!]
You better find them gimme [Hold on!]
You better bring them gimme [Hold on!]
You better gimme, gimme, gimme. [Hold on!]

Chambers is the balance-wheel [Hold on!]
Straker is the balance-wheel [Hold on!]
Rosie is the balance-wheel [Hold on!]
Frankie is the balance-wheel [Hold on!] Oy! Gimme!
Hold on to the balance-wheel [Hold on!]
Chambers is the balance-wheel [Hold on!]
Jesus is the balance-wheel [Hold on!]
Eric was the balance-wheel [Hold on!] I know!

Source: The lyrics posted on this blog are often transcribed directly from performances. Although it is my intention to faithfully transcribe I do not get all the words and I have a knack for hearing the wrong thing. Please feel free to correct me or to fill in the words that I miss by dropping me a message via e-mail. I'd be forever grateful. Thanks in advance!

A Note From The Gull

Thank you, Calypso Rose, for this invigorating and comforting song. I find powerful inspiration in the musical genius of my people.

Everything that I have learned about the spiritual significance of the balance-wheel makes me conclude that it is one of our most beautiful symbols. According to Louis Regis in "Reflections of a Legend":
"In Spiritual Baptist iconography, the balance wheel which graces all Spiritual Baptist churches, is a wheel which is suspended horizontally from the ceiling and which contains holders for lighted candles. This wheel symbolizes the equilibrium that Spiritual Baptists are encouraged to aspire to in their daily lives; the candles represent spirituality."
Some of us have relinquished our hold on the balance-wheels upon which our ancestors relied. Although it is sometimes necessary to let go of the old to find more relevant tools, the search can lead us to a challenging sojourn in the desert and a dark night of the soul. For some this drifting will be temporary but remember the plight of our fellow Trinbagonians who find themselves permanently separated from this balance-wheel.

What is our nation's balance wheel? I don't think that it can or should be a leader or a political party, even though these two can work towards providing a national environment that is conducive to seeking and finding this balance for all its citizens. I don't think that it even has to be ONE balance wheel. We are all different and like the wheels within wheels of many cogs working for and not against each other, our various balance-wheels that ground us as individuals will facilitate our cooperation as citizens of this nation.

What and where is my balance-wheel? Even if I feel that my hand has not been in contact with it for the longest while, I know that there is an indirect connection with it through those who love me, those who pray for me, those who reach me through their positive thoughts and actions and creations. They are holding on to their balance wheels and because they are also holding on to me, they become my conduits of peace.

Hold on to the balance-wheel and don't ever let go of our brothers and sisters. Trinidad and Tobago, you are my balance-wheel.

"Patria est communis omnium parens" - Our native land is the common parent of us all. Keep it beautiful, make it even more so.

Blessed is all of creation
Blessed be my beautiful people
Blessed be the day of our awakening
Blessed is my country
Blessed are her patient hills.

Mweh ka allay!