Russia Confronts US

US and Hu Rights Violations

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Russia Confronts US,

US and Hu Rights Violations

by grtv

The United States and Russia have achieved many milestones when it comes to relieving tensions between the two superpowers after the Cold War, but it seems that lately those strains have been on the rise.

Russia has been more than vocal over its opposition of the US missile defense shield in Eastern Europe, and now Russia plans on implementing a visa ban on American officials to counter the US banning Russian officials for alleged human rights violations.

David Swanson, campaigner for Roots Action, joins us with more on the matter.

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Iran

نوروز امسال: نیک پرس Image

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نوروز امسال: نیک پرس

نوروز امسال: نیک پرس

 

نیک پرس، با افتخار، امیدوار وآرزومند است که فرارسیدن فروردین و نوروز، این فراشگرد فروزندهٔ فرهنگ ایرانی، بر همهٔ شهروندان شیدا و شیفتهٔ سر زمین کهن و زرخیز و زرفام، ایران زمین، خجسته و فرخنده باشد!

امید است که نوروز امسال شروع دیگری باشد که ایرانیان در سراسر گیتی، با فراست وفرزانگی و فرهیختگی پیروزمندانه، بسان پارتیزانهای پیشرو و پیشاهنگ، پژواک گر و مشعل دار مدنیت ملی، بر فرازستان بشریت باشند تا با اتخاذ گروش به راه و روش اعتقاد و اعتماد به مقاومت مداوم و مقتدرانهٔ خویش در جهت همبستگی، همگرایی وهمبودگی، هم سویی وهم گونی ملی و وارستگی سیاسی ـ اقتصادی، آلبته با اهداف دست یازیدن به قلعهٔ ایده آل های ایرانی، بتوانند چون گذشتهٔ دورتر، اما اکنون بیشتر،

نقشه های ابلیسانه و اهریمنانهٔ جانیان جهانی، یعنی یاغی های اروپايئ و یانگی ها ی آمریکایی را که با سلاح و سخن تهدید وتحریم، تخریب وترور، تزویر و ترفند، با آمیزه ای آغشته و آمیخته به دروغ و دیو دروج، و با تکیه بر مدد مزدوران وموریدان مرتد و مکار، چون دوزخیان دون پایهٔ ایرانی نما، که با دژآهنگی و کژآهنگی سیاسی وبا سپر سرسپردگی، جاسوسی و سالوسی به همراه چاکری و چابلوسی، در تلاشند تا سرعت سمند تکامل وتداوم تمدن ایران را سترون سازند را با سرسختی سرآفرازانه وسرورمنشانه با عقل و عاطفه و علاقهٔ ملی ـ میهنی، سد نمایند!

فروردین 93 .سوئد: نیک پاکپو

ریشهٔ، سعودی ـ سلفی، تروریسم! Image

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ریشهٔ، سعودی ـ سلفی، تروریسم!
ریشهٔ، سعودی ـ سلفی، تروریسم
  nikpress.com
   گوینده : نیک پاکپور”NICK PAKPOOR” 
  گوینده چون گذ شته سعی می کند که تلاش تحلیلی وتشخیصی و تحقیقی خود را، براساس واقعیت های عینی و پر پایه پویش و پژوهش پروسه های تاریخی وتکوینی،تطوری استوار ساخته، تا از داوری عجولانه و غیر عادلانه، پرهیز نماید!  تا بدین وسیله توانسته باشم مرزهای مخدوش شده، مغشوش شده، بین طلب کاران وتهبه کاران، تهدید گران، تخریب گران وتجاوزگران، قصابان وغارتگران سیاسی را با مشعل دارن معتقد مقاومت مداوم ومحکم، ملی گرایان ومختارگران مقتدر ومتمدن جهان را که حاضر نیستند، سروری مشتی جلاد جانی، جهادی را، با سر خم کنی پذیرا شوند، را بطور صحیح وصرافانه از همدیگر متمایز، سازم.  امید است که منشاء تفکر زنده وزاینده در جهت بیداری، بصیرندگی وبسیجندگی همگانی باشد، یا شاید، کوششی باشد که سیاست را از سطح عامیانه وعوام پسندانه وناآگاهانه به سطح آگاهانه وهوشیارانه وآکادمیک شناسانه، ارتقاء داده باشم !  برای تحقیق وتشخیص تکوینی وتاریخی، ریشه و رویش و افزایش، تروریسم جانی ،جهانی، می بیست عقربه زره بین سنج زمان را به سال های قبل وبعد از جنگ جهانی اول ، عقب گرد داد، یعنی زمانی که امپراتوری تشنه تسلط وتصرف، تاراج وتجاوز بریتانیا با دستپاچکی و desperateکوشش می کند که بر تسلط عثمانی بر مناطق عرب نشین و بادیه نشین یا bedouin ، خاورمیانه به خاطر دست یازیدن به Titanic نفتی، پایان دهد.  لذا در سال 1917 میلادی، امپراتوری بریتانیا موفق می شود که Ibn Saud را که بصورت کلان های conjugal به همراه انواع واقسام تشکل هی tribalism - traditional فامیلی، قبیله ای، بدوی،بیابانی زندگی می کردند را به client و colonial خود بدل کند. نیک پاکپور      

 یاداشت ها:  Notes  1-How do you spell ”Terrorist” C I A  By William Engdahl  2-Saudi Arabia and CIA Behind Terror Bombings in Southern Russia?  By Bill Van Auken  3-Who is behind Syria’s “Opposition Rebels”? Mother Agnes Mariam versus the US Media  By Rob Prince  4-Global Terrorism and Saudi Arabia: Bandar’s Terror Network  By Prof. James Petras  5-World Renowned Peace Activist Collaborated with Stratfor and CIA  By Steve Horn and Carl Gibson  6-Volgograd and the Conquest of Eurasia: Has the House of Saud seen its Stalingrad?  By Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya  7-Saudi digging own grave with its Middle East policies  PressTV  8-Bibi and Bandar Badger Obama  by FRANKLIN LAMB  9-Rothschild’s Saudi Lapdog Armed Syrian and Libyan Rebels  by Dean Henderson  10-On Western Terrorism from Hiroshima to Drone warfare  By Noam Chomsky and Andre Vltchek        

توافق یا تطابق ایران با امریکا؟ Image

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توافق یا تطابق ایران با امریکا؟
توافق یا تطابق ایران با امریکا؟
به باور گوینده الیت سیاسی و نظامی ایران که در سه دهه گذ شته با ایستادگی اوستادانه در دفاع از وارستگی ملی، شطرنج سیاسی را شرافتدمندانه و سرافرازانه،بازی کرده است اجازه چینین کاری را به یاغی های غربی و یانگی های امریکایی نخواهد داد تا بساط شبه شوم وابستگی را دوباره در کشور زرفام و زرخیز زروان و زرتشت بگستراند. فراست ، فرزانگی و فریختیگی ایرانیان از فراشگرد فردایی حکایت و روایت می کند که نمازگذارانش بامهراب خون شهیدان به سجده وسپاس چون سپا با همگرای وهم صداءی و همراهی در همبستگی وهمبودگی، سرافرازانه و هو شیارانه به رژه ایستاده اند
نیک پاکپور
Jan 18-2014

Europe

Islam growing  in UK Image

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Islam growing in UK
Islam fastest growing religion in UK as churches decline
Published on Apr 19, 2014
While Christian Churches in the UK are struggling to draw people to worship, the Islamic community there is burgeoning. Some Muslim groups are doing all they can to counter fears the rapid growth is a challenge to British traditions.
Junk food for Brits. Image

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Junk food for Brits.
Health Takeaways: Junk food is first choice for Brits struggling to make ends meet
Published on Apr 18, 2014
Medics in the UK are raising the alarm over issues of growing obesity, with some fearing that being overweight is becoming the norm for many people. But as authorities try to battle the bulge, it seems that having fast food is sometimes more a necessity than a pleasure for some.
Indecision & Paralysis Image

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Indecision & Paralysis
CrossTalk: Indecision & Paralysis in Ukraine
Published on Apr 18, 2014
With the government in Kiev lacking legitimacy and meaningful political resources, Washington and Brussels face a public relations disaster of epic proportio.

Middle east

Turkish Role in Syria Ch Image

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Turkish Role in Syria Ch
Democracy Now! U.S. and World News Headlines for Monday, April 7
Published on Apr 7, 2014
Visit http://www.democracynow.org to watch the entire independent, global news hour. This is a summary of news headlines from the United States and around the world as reported by Democracy Now! on Monday, April 7, 2014. Visit our website to read the complete transcript, search the vast news archive, or to make a donation to support our non-profit news program
Saudi-Al-Qaeda Image

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Saudi-Al-Qaeda
Saudi Arabia and the al-Qaeda Monster (3/5)
Madawi Al-Rasheed: Saudi Arabia helped create a network of terrorism to achieve political aims, and while it does come back to bite them at times, they promote a similar ideology and continue to these alliances - April 3, 14
PAUL JAY, SENIOR EDITOR, TRNN: Welcome to The Real News Network. I'm Paul Jay.
We're continuing our discussion about U.S.-Saudi relations, and we're going to dig in in this segment into the Saudi relationship with al-Qaeda type forces, extreme Islamists.
And now joining us again from London is Madawi Al-Rasheed. She's a visiting professor at the Middle East Center at the London School of Economics and Political Science. Her recent publications include A History of Saudi Arabia and A Most Masculine State.
Thanks for joining us again, Madawi.
MADAWI AL-RASHEED, MIDDLE EAST CENTRE, LSE: Thank you.
JAY: So I mentioned in an earlier segment that the joint congressional committee investigating 9/11 had found that the Saudi government was responsible for financing and facilitating the 9/11 attacks. And I interviewed Senator Bob Graham, who was cochair of that congressional investigating committee, and I asked him why he thought the Saudis had done this, and his answer was that bin Laden had told the Saudi king or the Saudi royal regime that he had 10,000 fighters that he could send to Saudi Arabia to try to develop an uprising against the Saudi royal family if they didn't help him launch these attacks. I don't know if Bob knows that for sure or not, Bob Graham, I don't know whether it's true or not true in terms of their motivation, but it is a kind of reflection of this very complicated relationship, where on the one hand, bin Laden's force, you know, when he was alive, certainly seemed to make the Saudi regime his main enemy, other than perhaps Shia. He talked about the way the Saudis' royal family had sold out to the Americans and such. On the other hand, there's all kinds of evidence that the Saudis have worked with these forces in Afghanistan and in many other places. So what is the nature of this relationship?
AL-RASHEED: It is a very complex relationship. To begin with, Saudi Arabia wanted to use Islamism in its fight against any external threat that may have an internal impact. I'll give you one example. In the 1950s and '60s, Saudi Arabia saw the threat to its regime coming from the leftist movement in the Arab world, and also from Arab nationalism, and it used Islamism as a counter-force to actually destroy these two movements. And therefore it sponsored Islamic education, it sponsored Islamic opinions that depict these movements as atheism. And also, during the Cold War, it enlisted its ideology on behalf of the West in order to fight battles elsewhere, such as, for example, in Afghanistan. And therefore the Saudi-Wahhabi dimension of all this al-Qaeda is extremely important, although the Saudi regime tries to distance itself from this kind of radicalism.
JAY: I think it's important to note that Eisenhower is quoted as saying that we will use--we being the United States--use the Saudis and their role in defending Mecca to help promote Wahhabism and the Saudi power to fight Nasserism, nationalism, and socialism. I may not have the quote exact, but I'm pretty close. And, of course, we know how much the CIA worked directly with the Saudis in Afghanistan. In fact, bin Laden gets to Afghanistan in a deal between the Saudis and the Americans.
AL-RASHEED: Yes, absolutely. This was part of the Cold War strategy, and Saudi Arabia deployed its ideology and support, and also funds, in order to fight wars elsewhere.
But the problem for Saudi Arabia is when this ideology came back to haunt the country itself. But it is almost like having a battle with your own ideology. And therefore it's very difficult for the Saudis to get rid of this kind of menace. And they haven't learned lessons from 9/11.
So if you look at what is going on in Syria now, they have--the Saudis have created armed rebels who are actually almost working on behalf of the Saudis in Syria, so that the Syrian revolution was derailed and lost its democratic slogans, and now it's--became a sectarian war between different groups, Shia and the Sunnis. And with Saudi intervention, we find that the rebels who were promoted were called the Islamic Front. And we have seen how this was unfolding in Syria.
Until recently, Saudi Arabia allowed its own young men to travel to Syria, or if it didn't allow them, it kept a blind eye. And only recently, just a week before Obama's visit, Saudi Arabia introduced this new antiterrorism law which says that anybody who goes to Syria and come back will face 20 years in prison.
An interesting thing is, yes, we may keep a blind eye on those people going, but we're going to arrest them when they come back. But there was no effort that was obvious to me that they will make sure they will not go there to fight--.
JAY: Well, it may be that they're going to make them stay there and fight, with a law like that.
AL-RASHEED: I think the best thing that Saudi regime can hope for is for them to go and die there.
JAY: That's sort of what I was saying.
There seems to have been a change from the days when the Saudis seemed to be very concerned about attacks on their regime in Saudi Arabia from al-Qaeda forces. There seems to have been a kind of accommodation in some way that now, in fact, it seems that the al-Qaeda type forces are almost, like, part of the way the Saudis wage asymmetrical warfare and use them in leverage. I mean, the most obvious place is in Syria, but you see it in Iraq. But then you see these threats--you know, I talked about 9/11, but we know about Bandar's threat, Prince Bandar's threat to Tony Blair when there was an inquiry into the bribery scandal based on Saudis buying several billion dollars of weapons, and apparently Bandar got a billion-dollar bribe, and Bandar says to Blair, you'd better stop this inquiry or I can't promise there won't be another 7/7 (when the buses blew up in London). And more recently, apparently, Bandar threatened Putin and said, you know, we control the Chechen terrorists. It seems like it's a lever of power in their hands.
AL-RASHEED: Yes, absolutely. And we have seen since 2008 there were no terrorist attacks in Saudi Arabia. They managed to push al-Qaeda to Yemen, basically. They haven't destroyed it. They haven't, you know, removed it. They simply had forced it to migrate to Yemen. And a lot of Saudis have left Saudi Arabia to go there.
But the interesting thing is it has been used as a sort of a pressure on foreign governments, meaning that, you know, you do as we want you to do or we will not cooperate with you in terms of intelligence cooperation, or we would actually--you know, they wouldn't put it so directly, but, you know, it is a subtle hint that when the Serious Fraud Office in Britain wanted to open up the Al-Yamamah weapons deal and the corruption that was involved with BAE Systems, the Saudis immediately announced that if this serious fraud investigation goes ahead, they will cease to cooperate with Britain on intelligence, meaning that we will not be able to help you catch the terrorist, basically. And it is interesting that they may have had quite a close relationship, they know them so well, but they hold information about them that they're only going to release to those other intelligence services that cooperate with the Saudis, and also in governments that are supposedly friendly governments.
JAY: Right. And the Saudis--one of the intelligence agencies the Saudis cooperate a lot with is the Pakistani ISI, and the Pakistani ISI seems to play the same game: you know, collaborate to some extent with the West in antiterrorist operations; on the other hand, there's lots of evidence the ISI has all kinds of relationship with the Taliban and al-Qaeda type forces. In fact, journalists that have reported on this have been assassinated by the ISI, including one that worked with us.
AL-RASHEED: Yes. I mean, it is the al-Qaeda monster, it's the monster that was created at a particular historical moment and began to haunt all those contributing forces that made it happen and allowed it to flourish throughout the last three decades. And the Saudis had deployed the same strategy in Syria now, whereby individuals can go and join these rebels. They kept a blind eye for a long time. But then now, when international pressure is mounting, because they see how these rebels are really not an alternative to Bashar al-Assad, Saudis introduced this new terrorism law in order to deal with the situation. But whether it will actually work, I have my doubts.
JAY: And I guess the Americans have been so part of this policy of working with extreme Islamists that they can't say or don't want to say much about it.
AL-RASHEED: Yes. I mean, it is a well-known fact now. You know, the archives will be open and declassified information will be available, and future historians will probably write incredible books with concrete evidence. Now we get the information from leaked documents or from journalists who are actually in the field at the time and can report on us where the weapons to so-called rebels are coming from and who is sponsoring them.
JAY: Okay. In the next segment of our interview, we're going to discuss why Saudi Arabia considers Iran such a mortal enemy. Please join us with Madawi Al-Rasheed on The Real News Network.
End
Media

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Media 'staged' Syria
The Truthseeker: Media 'staged' Syria chem attack (E36)
Published on Mar 23, 2014
BBC 'total fabrication from beginning to end' of Syria 'atrocity'; call to revoke visas for intel agents posing as reporters in NATO targets; CIA caught infiltrating CNN, and Operation Mockingbird is back.
Seek truth from facts with UK Member of Parliament George Galloway; Illinois University Professor of International Law Francis Boyle; investigative reporter John Helmer; ordinary Syrians; and Ukraine covergirl 'Julia'.

United state

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'Schizophrenic US strategy
'Schizophrenic US strategy makes them bad peacemakers for Ukraine'
Published on Apr 18, 2014
More than seven hours of talks between Russia, Ukraine, US and EU diplomats have been unable to make a significant breakthrough - according to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.
Resegregation of Schools Image

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Resegregation of Schools
The Resegregation of American Schools
ProPublica reporter Nikole Hannah-Jones discusses her year-long investigation into how one of desegregation's success stories in Tuscaloosa, Alabama became one of the most segregated school systems in the country, as well as the high levels of segregation in northern schools 60 years after Brown v. Board of Education -
Bio
Nikole Hannah-Jones joined ProPublica in late 2011 and covers civil rights with a focus on segregation and discrimination in housing and schools. Her 2012 coverage of federal failures to enforce the landmark 1968 Fair Housing Act won several awards, including Columbia University's Tobenkin Award for distinguished coverage of racial or religious discrimination.
Prior to coming to ProPublica, Hannah-Jones worked at The Oregonian and The News & Observer in Raleigh, N.C. She has won the Society of Professional Journalists Pacific Northwest Excellence in Journalism Award three times and the Gannett Foundation Award for Innovation in Watchdog Journalism. She has also gone on reporting fellowships to Cuba and Barbados where she wrote about race and education.
Decriminalization/Legalization Image

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Decriminalization/Legalization
TRNN Debate: Decriminalization vs. Legalization
As Maryland is poised to become the next state to decriminalize marijuana, MD Delegate Keiffer Jackson Mitchell and LEAP Executive Director Neill Franklin debate whether it can end the racial disparity in drug-related arrests - April 11, 14
Bio
Keiffer Jackson Mitchell is a member of the Maryland House of Delegates for the 44th district in Baltimore City, and voted for the bill decriminalizing marijuana in the state of Maryland.
Neill Franklin, executive director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP), is a 33-year police veteran who led multi-jurisdictional anti-narcotics task forces for the Maryland State Police and ran training for the Baltimore Police Department. After seeing several of his law enforcement friends killed in the line of fire while enforcing drug policies, Neill knew that he needed to work to change these laws that cause so much harm but do nothing to reduce drug use.
Transcript
TRNN Debate: Decriminalization vs. LegalizationJESSICA DESVARIEUX, TRNN PRODUCER: Welcome to The Real News Network. I'm Jessica Desvarieux in Baltimore.
This week, the Maryland Senate voted 34 to eight to decriminalize marijuana. It will soon be the law here in Maryland after Governor Martin O'Malley said he'll sign the bill, which would impose only civil fines, rather than criminal offenses, on those caught with less than ten grams of marijuana.
But what else is in the bill? There'll be fines for multiple offenses. A second violation would carry a $250 fine, and a third offense would have a $500 fine. Also, a violator who is younger than 21 would have to appear in court.
Maryland will be joining 24 other states that have either decriminalized marijuana or legalized it.
Now joining us in-studio to unpack how this will affect everyday citizens are our two guests.
Neill Franklin is the executive director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, otherwise known as LEAP. He's worked in law enforcement for more than 30 years and witnessed the war on drugs firsthand.
Also joining us is Keiffer Jackson Mitchell. He's a member of the Maryland House of delegates for the 44th District in Baltimore City, and he voted for the bill decriminalizing marijuana in the state of Maryland.
Thank you both, gentlemen, for joining us.
KEIFFER J. MITCHELL, DELEGATE, MARYLAND HOUSE OF DELEGATES: Thank you.
NEILL FRANKLIN, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, LEAP: Thanks for having me.
DESVARIEUX: Okay. So let's just jump right into this. Keiffer, I'm actually going to start off with you--actually, you know, let's first start off with Neill, because I know at the end of the day we all recognize that the war on drugs is not working. And we are seeing--I want to pull up this chart--how it affects disproportionately African Americans. So you can see in these two charts there's twice as many blacks going to jail as whites for marijuana possession despite usage levels being about the same.
Neill, I know that you're critical a bout the bill because you guys are pushing, really, for legalization. But isn't this a step in the right direction? Oh, absolutely it's as step in the right direction. Obviously, I would prefer to legalize it, tax and regulate.
And the reason I think it's better for us to keep looking forward to tax and regulate is because even though we're not going to be criminally charging people for possession of ten grams or less of marijuana, what happens when they can't afford the $100 fine? Okay? Certain people will be able to afford the fine, but our poor communities will not. Folks in our poorer communities will not. And I believe it then becomes--a bench warrant may be issued, or if they don't show up in court, then we're back into the criminal realm. So in that sense it's still problematic.
And in decriminalization, as what this bill is about, still does nothing to get our marijuana dealers off of our street corners. Okay? It's still, you know, thousands if not millions of dollars going into the hands of criminal gangs and organizations, and ultimately ending up in the pockets of the cartel. And, again, marijuana across this country, really, around the globe, is roughly 60 percent of all the profits being made in the entire illicit drug trade. So, again, moving to a place of legalization, you know, tax, and regulation will bring that money away from criminal organizations, out of the pockets of criminal gangs, and into the pockets of our citizens and our state coffers.
DESVARIEUX: Keiffer, I wanted you to--get your response, address that first point that Neill made about us actually just getting back to where we started, people not being able to afford these fines.
MITCHELL: Right. Right. Well, we--you know, the bill, I think, is--it's a step in the right direction as it relates to criminal--in terms of the civil penalties. You know, you have the escalating fine of $100 to $250, and $500 on a third offense.
The fact remains that, you know, marijuana is still illegal in the state of Maryland. And to show that it is still illegal, you have these penalties. You know. I don't think if we had lowered the fine or anything like that, I don't think it would send much of a message that it is still a illegal narcotic in the state of Maryland and other states. So, you know, I think the $100 fine is right, and I actually think that the $250 and $500 fine is also right, with all due respect, a step in the right direction.
As--I always call him Colonel in everything, 'cause that was his title--as Colonel Franklin has said, that, you know, it's not going to get the drug dealers off the corners, things like that. But I always remind people from the study, Maryland spends about $106 million just on enforcing marijuana policy or arrest or prosecution. So you take that $106 million. Now you can start using that money to really go after the enforcement of the larger dealers. So I think that's a step in the right direction.
DESVARIEUX: Neill, I see you nodding your head, but--.
FRANKLIN: I'm nodding my head about the money that we're currently spending, you know, with criminalization. And, you know, the time and energy that our police department is wasting on this.
I might disagree a little bit with that, what--the savings going back into law enforcement, you know, to work on other, you know, drug dealers and whatever. I think, personally, I would like to see that money go to education and treatment and go into our school systems. And I know you won't mind [incompr.] maybe part of it can go there because he's a teacher, he's an educator. So I think that we need to continue to pull the police out of the drug-management business and put more of our resources into health and education.
And I think that the police should focus more, use the time that they're going to have now, to focus more on violent crime, to focus more on robberies and rapes and crimes against our children, domestic violence. We know we have a problem in Baltimore with both domestic violence investigations and rape investigations, and I think we could focus more on that.
DESVARIEUX: Okay. So--. Oh, sure. Please.
MITCHELL: Real quick, on the fine piece before we leave that, the $100, $250, and the $500. That money also is going to be going toward drug education and drug treatment. So, you know, that money is not just going into the general fund just to sit in the general fund, but it is supposed to go toward drug treatment.
DESVARIEUX: So we know where you two stand. But let's bring in the American public's opinion. So there was a recent New York Times-CBS poll that found that the majority of Americans actually support legalization. So, Keiffer, shouldn't the legislation that's put in place be reflective of that? Shouldn't we be pushing for legalization, then?
MITCHELL: Oh, I am one of the minority. I should be counted as a minority in that New York Times-CBS poll. I am not there yet as it relates to legalization. I still believe that marijuana is a gateway drug. I would like to see more studies about the legalization of marijuana.
So far, right now Colorado and Washington are legalized. I think it's still too early to find out what are not just the whole ramifications of that, but also, you know, what are the unintended consequences of legalization that they are seeing in Washington and Colorado, and also remind people that it wasn't their legislators that voted for it; it was a referendum by the public at the polls. So, you know, those are the things that took place as it relates to legalization.
DESVARIEUX: Okay. Neill, what's your take on that?
MITCHELL: Well, obviously, the polling that we're talking about continues to move in the direction of more support nationally from our citizens, more support for legalization. Every year, the percentages go up.
I think I have an advantage over most people in looking at this because I've been in law enforcement for a number of years, worked, you know, on the front lines of the war on drugs. But that's not where it ends. I've also been on [incompr.] I've also cochaired committees dealing with--from a health perspective, dealing with treatment and education in Harford County. I did that for a number of years. I've traveled around the country. I've traveled around the globe. I've got this--I've had the opportunity to literally see this from a mountaintop perspective, you know, looking down around the entire landscape on this drug-management issue. And so I see it differently.
I see that the current illicit marketplace is the gateway. It is the environment that is the gateway, not a particular substance or drug, but the environment that we have of drug dealers acting on our corners hiring kids to sell drugs, marijuana and other drugs, recruiting them from our schools, bringing them out onto the street corners, to sell drugs in schools to other children. We've created an environment with policies of prohibition that puts more drugs into the hands of our young people than any other scheme we could possibly imagine. This is the worst. And we realized that back during the times of alcohol prohibition. That's why alcohol prohibition only lasted 13 years instead of four decades.
DESVARIEUX: So you obviously don't agree with that, Keiffer.
MITCHELL: Well, like I say, it's still too soon. I mean, we're dealing with marijuana, but you also--.
And I agree that the war on drugs has not worked and the amount of resources we have. You know, there's no question about that. I also believe that the war on drugs has created this racial disparity in terms of who gets locked up and who doesn't and where the enforcement is taking place.
But on the other hand, I also believe that, you know, with marijuana, in terms of what I've read and what I've learned, is that marijuana is a gateway drug. And then where do we stop, in terms of the legalization? You know, you have heroin. [incompr.] a district in West Baltimore where I come into contact with heroin addicts all the time. You can just go a few blocks over here to Lexington Market, in that area, and look at the number of methadone clinics that are in that area and look at the number of people who are hanging around getting their methadone for the day but who are out there, who still want that hit or something like that.
I think there needs to be a combination: instead of just the enforcement, the educational piece, you start off young, you get into the schools.
We've lost--. I am a Democrat, alright? I'm a big-time Democrat. But, you know, when Nancy Reagan and Ronald Reagan were talking about the war on drugs, they started going into the schools, giving kids the education, and you had the "just say no" type campaign. I still believe that you have to get and spend your resources and time in the schools to get them while they're young.
And also there are some other programs that are put in place in terms of jobs. You know, kids I talk to who are dealing drugs and that sort of nature, you know, they want jobs. But they're not--if they can make a lot of money standing on a street corner instead of flipping burgers somewhere, they're going to look at taking care of their families and making that money. But you have to get them other resources out there for that.
DESVARIEUX: So, Keiffer, if I'm understanding you correctly, do you think legalization would just lead to just more usage and therefore--?
MITCHELL: That's what I--I believe it would lead to--I think it would send a wrong message, and I do believe that it will lead to more usage.
DESVARIEUX: Okay. Neill, do you have any--to counter that?
FRANKLIN: Well, we are really at the same place for the most part of this. Putting our resources into education and treatment first in front of law enforcement and criminalization, yeah, that's where we should be and that's where we're not at the moment.
The other side of that coin as it relates to those wonderful programs in our schools, you know, educating our kids, the other side of that coin is the family. You see, once the family unit is actually more effective in keeping kids away from using drugs and doing things that will harm them. There's more legal things out there that will harm our kids than those that are illegal.
But our policies of prohibition have destroyed, for instance, the black family, the mass incarceration and the disparity issues. You know, when you have so many--according to the NAACP, one in nine black children have a parent or parents in the criminal justice system. For white children it's one in 54. Okay?
Now, when you have families, when you send someone to prison, you send the entire family to prison. And we know when you send someone to prison they do not return to us a better person. For the most part, they're going to return to us and our communities in worse shape than what they were when they went in in how they treat people, because when you go in, you have 24 hours to decide whether you're going to be the prey or predator while you're in prison. Most people return to us as predators, because they are not correctional facilities. In addition to that, when they do return to us, very difficult to get a job because now they're strapped with a criminal record. Okay? That frustration, many of them can't even live with their families if their families are living in public housing, because they're a convicted drug felon. You know, that does nothing for our communities. That does nothing for the children who live in those households in working to keep them from using drugs or becoming involved in the drug trade.
I think it has to be some of both. I think it has to be, obviously, putting our money and resources into education and treatment. And then, on the other side of that coin, we have to eliminate the illicit trade. We have to take the money out of that business so people will feel comfortable working at and feel good about working at places like McDonald's and Walmart and some of the other places.
DESVARIEUX: And the way you take the money out is by legalizing it.
FRANKLIN: That's the only way to take the money out.
DESVARIEUX: Okay. Alright. Let's move on a little bit. And I want to get your take on just why do we not know enough about--. I want to speak specifically about legalization in Colorado, 'cause I know you were there, Keiffer. Can you just describe a little bit about what you witnessed? And I'll get your response to--.
MITCHELL: Last year, I was there for a conference, and I walked around downtown Denver in the tourist area. And I guess they call it LoDo. And the smell of marijuana was inescapable. You could smell it as a tourist. Now, I don't know if they've done anything to rectify that or to, you know, curb it, but it jumped out at you. You know, it is one thing when it's cigarette smoke. You know, people know what cigarette smoke is. But when I was out there in the tourist area, it was out there. I don't think they're allowed to smoke in restaurants or bars and cafes at all. But you--you know, I saw people smoking marijuana sitting on a bench at a bus stop or walking down a street smoking.
And, you know, I grew up in an area where I don't do drugs, don't do it, and it was out there, and it made for an unpleasant experience for me as a tourist walking around Denver.
And this past November of last year, the mayor of Denver was in Washington, D.C., and I talked to him and I told him about my experience, and he said that, you know, when the referendum came to light and it was implemented, there were some unintended consequences that kind of left holes along what local jurisdictions can do in terms of a time and place about marijuana and where they can smoke it, and then the dealing. They still have to work out the kinks.
So, in other words, what I thought that he was saying was that it kind of put the cart before the horse, so to speak, to say this is what we need to do. So I think locally there needs to be some things put in place to allow--you know, if they were going to smoke marijuana, but, you know, not all of us need to be around it.
DESVARIEUX: Yeah, these are some legitimate concerns. You have people who are saying, you know, if you legalize it, then, you know, these unintended consequences are going to be arising.
Neill, how do you deal with that?
FRANKLIN: And I agree. And that not only will change; it is changing there, because, first of all, this is something new. for most people. Okay? And, you know, a lot of that is just celebration. You know, oh, wow, we have the freedom to do what we want to do. But that is changing as the local jurisdictions put, you know, policies in place, you know, so the people will be writing people tickets. You're smoking on a park bench? Here's your $50 ticket or whatever that fine is going to be. But I think it goes even beyond that. It goes to the place of what we did with tobacco products.
So it's a social thing. You know, it's people--also people at the bus stop bench saying, you know, hey, put out the joint until you get home, okay? You know, I don't want to smell it. I understand, you know, it's legal now, but no. You know. And that's what we've done with tobacco products. You know, people actually feel like outcasts who smoke tobacco products today. And it will be the same socially. We will apply that pressure to people who are smoking marijuana so you won't have that environment. You know, like, today, when you go outside and you're out and about, I very seldom smell cigarette smoke. I can't remember the last time I had. This is new with marijuana, and it'll change, just like we've done with tobacco.
And, also, with tobacco what we've done over the past couple of decades, the most--one of the most, if not the most addictive drugs known to man, nicotine, reduced consumption by about 40 percent. We've sent no one to prison. We don't have any shoot-outs in our streets. And our kids aren't coming out of school to sell it on street corners, because it's regulated and controlled. But social pressure and regulations in place locally have reduced our tobacco consumption.
DESVARIEUX: Alright. Neill Franklin, executive director of LEAP, and Keiffer Jackson Mitchell, thank you both for joining us.
MITCHELL: Thank you.
FRANKLIN: Thanks.
DESVARIEUX: And, of course, you can follow us on Twitter @therealnews, and you can send me comments, questions @Jessica_Reports.
Thank you so much for joining us on The Real News Network.
End

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They served as a rude “awakening”, in the words of “Australian” newspaper, to politicians and security experts in the USA, Australia, India, and other countries, who are all still skeptical of Beijing’s long term intentions to establish a navy capable of projecting power within and beyond this zone. These were the first exercises conducted by the Chinese navy in the waters between Australia and the Java Island in the Indonesian Archipelago, and also the first time it used the Straits of Sunda and Lombok to enter and exit from the Indian Ocean. These straits, as well as the Strait of Malacca, were recognized by the USA long ago as critical “choke points” that would be strategically important for establishing an economic blockade of the Middle Kingdom should there arise a minor or major Sino-American conflict. There was essentially nothing illegal about the maneuvers, as they were held in international waters. Nevertheless, Australia’s air force dispatched a P-3 Orion aircraft to conduct surveillance and reconnaissance of the exercises. String of Pearls strategic ports For China, this was a thematic, important step in the implementation of its “string of pearls” strategy, aimed at protecting its oil flows, affirming the country as a global naval power with diverse interests throughout the world, and overcoming attempts by the USA to cut off access to or from China via the world’s oceans. Furthermore, an important task lay in minimizing potential threats in the most complex and vulnerable choke point at the junction of two oceans, named the “Malacca Dilemma” by Hu Jintao in 2003. Remember that the “string of pearls” concept was put forward by Christopher Pehrson, a lieutenant colonel in the US Air Force, and subsequent analyst at the Pentagon. The phrase was first used in January 2005, in a report to US military officials prepared by the Booz-Allen Hamilton consulting company. It explicitly showed the world the growing influence of China in Southeast and East Asia and the Indian Ocean due to the appearance on maps of such strategic points as Hainan Island, the Woody Islands close to Vietnam, Chittagong (Bangladesh), Sittue and the Coco Islands (Myanmar), Hambantota (Sri Lanka), Gwadar (Pakistan), the Seychelles Archipelago, etc. Initially, Chinese politicians and pundits reacted to the elegantly named concept with skepticism, apparently because it originated in Washington. However, the global academic community successfully introduced it into the lexicon, and it began to appear on the pages of magazines, newspapers, and studies. Christopher Pehrson The Chinese gradually implemented the multipurpose strategy according to the developed plans A, B and C. The essence of plan A lay in the utilization (in addition to Malacca) of the remote straits of Sunda and Lombok. The goal was to lay an oil pipeline with a length of 2380 km starting in 2010 for a total price of 2.5 billion USD from ports in the Bay of Bengal in Myanmar to Kunming, the capital of the Yunnan Province, and in the participation in the possible construction of an oil pipeline in northern Malaysia or a canal across the Kra Isthmus. Plan B envisaged a material presence in the Indian Ocean by creating a network of bases, ports, large storage facilities, and other facilities in the group of friendly countries listed above, and in a decade or two, by placing a naval contingent in the Indian Ocean. According to plan C, China formed a plan to construct “land bridges”, access roads, aqueducts, and viaducts to strengthen relations of its landlocked southern provinces with neighboring ASEAN countries, and to provide them with access to the Indian Ocean. To this end, railroads and highways were constructed from Kunming and Nanning to Hanoi along the Irrawaddy River, etc. In Central Asia, branches of a Karakoram Highway stretching 750 km are being constructed, and pipelines to the port of Gwadar are being laid. However, according to the estimates of both the Chinese themselves and their foreign colleagues, such grandiose plans, including the solution of the critical “Malacca Dilemma”, obviously cannot be implemented in a short period of time. They required substantial capital investment, adherence to established goals, and most importantly – overcoming the instability and “tyranny of distance” of the regions where the majority of the planned projects are located, the well known politico-economic pragmatism and efforts to minimize potentials risks of the Chinese notwithstanding. Strait of Malacca, key shipping lane A decade has passed since. The world has changed. The situation in the Indian Ocean has changed. The Indian Ocean is now a global energy highway and major choke point. The economies of the Asian giants, China and India, as well as Japan and South Korea, and to a lesser extent Europe and the USA, depend to a significant degree on the complicated and risk-laden energy flows along routes running East and West in the Indian Ocean. This naturally raises the question: in what areas did Beijing succeed and fail last time, and how should it improve? The capabilities of Beijing in the region have been overestimated by Indians, who are not eager to see Beijing grow too powerful right under their nose, but have been underestimated by Americans. For example, analyst E.Erickson considers China to possess only modest capabilities. According to his observations, one or two Chinese ships appear in the naval theater only when necessary, for example, to evacuate Chinese citizens from Libya when it was engulfed in crisis in February 2011, a major floating hospital to examine and treat the population in the area of the Indian Ocean in 2010 and 2013, and finally, a squadron of ships to participate in anti-piracy campaigns since 2008. Numerous Russian experts agree with E. Erickson, and consider the infrastructure potential established by the Chinese in this area to be insufficient to oppose the USA and its allies. _______________________________ Strait of Malacca Meanwhile, it is impossible to ignore the fact that China has been steadily increasing its presence in the region in different ways. For example, Chinese navy ships are using ocean communications increasingly often. There are numerous examples. At the end of July 2012, a Chinese destroyer with two escort ships went through the Indian Ocean and the Suez Canal to participate in maneuvers off the coast of Syria. In September 2013, a Chinese amphibious assault ship was also spotted there. In October 2013, Beijing first mentioned that Chinese nuclear submarines had begun to patrol the Indian Ocean on a rotating basis. In January 2014, the Chinese patrol ship “Yancheng” navigated the Suez Canal to reach the Mediterranean Sea and participate in the transportation and disposal of chemical weapons from Syria. According to expert estimates, by 2015 China will possess a fleet of submarines twice as large as the USA’s. China’s unprecedented decision to send a squadron of ships to the Horn of Africa in 2008 has been regarded with great curiosity by politicians, military analysts, and the media throughout the world. They have all wondered whether whether such an act can be explained solely by China’s desire to protect its economic and trade interests. Is this step an attempt to exploit the opportunity to train navy ships a substantial distance from the shores of the Middle Kingdom? Or is Beijing trying to show off its growing role as a powerful and responsible global player in the world and its oceans? Responding to these questions, many political scientists have come to the conclusion that the participation of Chinese ships in international anti-piracy campaigns in the Gulf of Aden is a test of the strength and capabilities of the Chinese Navy, its newest equipment and logistics, and the skill of its teams for future operations in the Indian Ocean and the “blue waters” of the world’s oceans. This experience will surely benefit Beijing in conflict situations over, say, Taiwan in the South China Sea, for protects sea lines of communication (SLOCs), etc. All this was conjectured by one of the “fathers” of Beijing’s naval doctrine, declared at the turn of the century – Shi Yong-Sheng, an admiral and former head of the Navy, who considered it necessary to establish a twenty-first century navy. It would have to be capable of reliably protecting China’s coastal zone, utilizing advanced and high-tech equipment as well as adequate systems of the most modern weaponry, and composed of well-trained personnel, in order to achieve the accession of Taiwan, to establish control of the South China Sea, and to expand China’s influence in the western area of the Pacific and Indian Oceans. (To be continued) Nina Lebedeva, leading scholar at the Institute for Near-East Studies at the Russian Academy of Sciences, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook.” Editing:  Jim W. Dean and Erica P. Wissinger
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