Thursday, December 24, 2009

Obama's Christmas Present

UPDATE from January 20, 2010:
Healthcare reform in peril again ? Today, the Republican candidate Scott Brown rather unexpectedly won the Senate race in Massachusetts. The Democrates thus lost their 60-seat majority in Senate that had helped them to pass Obama's healthcare bill on December 24, 2009. Now, further negotiations on this subject between Democrats and Republicans will become tough.

Here the original story:

Today, U.S. President Obama's healthcare bill passed the Senate. Now, health insurance for all U.S. citizens is in sight, even though further hurdles have to be passed in the following months. The healthcare reform has always been a top priority of Obama's presidency.

Here's the news from CNN, together with comments and background
information on that subject (4 minutes video length):

A Letter from Germany

In contrast to the U.S. we always had a general system of health insurance, the origin of which is dating back to the beginning of the 20th century when industrial workers took to the streets in order to achieve adequate wages and social security. After World War II, during the magic years of the 1950s when German society experienced an enormous increase of wealth, that system was further developed and has finally become a model for any other Western healthcare system. Nowadays, when all social benefits are endangered by, both, homemade recession and global financial crisis, there are some political hardliners in the government trying to abolish the basic structures of our general healthcare system. Even though changes to the system are inevitable, the basic idea of granting every German citizen an appropriate medical treatment for a reasonable price will survive. Any change to that fundamental idea would make lots and lots of people take to the streets and vote for any leftist candidate available on the spot. Of course, something like a standardized nursing charge for all citizens (to cope with an increasing number of helpless elderly people) is likely to come but it will likely be based on income, such that even poor retired citizens and other "low-incomes" might be able to afford it. Comparing their actual situation with Germany's highly developed system of healthcare and the enormous social stability it proposes (despite whatever cuts and shortcomings it might suffer from in the near future), U.S. citizens should be aware that Obama's new option for a general healthcare system, however incomplete it might be, would be an essential step towards social stability and benefit those who are now unable to afford private medical care. Such, a well-done healthcare reform could even forge together all those who now stand apart in society with a feeling of being rejected. That at least might be a positive side effect of Obama's healthcare treatment. W.W./Ulysses

Obama parody: Praising the healthcare reform to
the tune of "I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas":

"Wingnut" Alan Gray, Democratic congressman from Orlando, Florida, presenting the Republican healthcare plan as he sees it:
1. Don't get sick !
2. In case you get sick ...
3. Die quickly !

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Obama on Afghanistan

The refined speech of U.S. President Obama on his further war strategy in Afghanistan is due within the next hours. Al-Jazeera will monitor that speech and provide comments from different sides.

As far as we know, 30.000 further U.S. troops are expected to be sent to Afghanistan. According to British PM Gordon Brown, Britain will deploy another 500 troops.

Excerpts from Obama's original speech
and comment provided by CNN.

German Allies under Public Pressure
In the aftermath of a "dirty bombing" of civilians on behalf of German troops, followed by a plot to cover up the extent of that deastrous affair by the German general in command and by the former minister of defence, both, the general and the minister, up to now serving the lately elected government of chancellor Merkel, had to step down. There is evidence that minister Jung held back essential information during the last federal election campaign in order to avoid nuisance to the ill-fated Social Democrats he represented at that time.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

U.S. Army - Post-Traumatic Stress Increasing

The Fort Hood shooting, dealt with by Riz Khan and his guests ("Riz Khan Show") on Al-Jazeera, English edition, on November 12 :
Both guests, Ahmed Rehab (left), an activist of the American Muslim Community, and Dahr Jamail (right), a known journalist and author, expressed their opinion that the Ft. Hood shooting had been a singular incident and should not necessarily be linked to the Muslimic belief of Major Nidal Malik Hasan, an army psychatrist who killed and wounded many of his comrades in that shooting on the biggest military base inside the U.S.A.. Instead, the behaviour of Maj. Hasan might be "deeper rooted" and should rather be seen as the expression of a post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), sooner or later to show effect within the 1.5 million U.S. troops on active duty.

That post-traumatic stress disorder has been observed with 11% of all Afghanistan veterans and 20% of all Iraq veterans. While 188.000 troops are currently serving in both countries and more than 750.000 U.S. service members have been deployed at least twice, this should not come unexpectedly. An increasing suicide rate among U.S. soldiers since 2004 obviously underlines that development. Even military leaders like General George Casey, U.S. army chief of staff, are clearly aware of that fact.
[All data were presented by CNN on November 8, the day of the incident, in the frame of an interview with Gen. Casey.]

Now President Obama, decided to increase troops in Afghanistan, said that war time killings of soldiers on home soil are "incomprehensible".

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

KOREA - Naval Skirmish between North and South

North Korean Navy

Today, at 11:28 local time, two naval ships from North and South Korea
began shooting at each other. The North Korean ship is reporting "heavy
losses" while the South Korean vessel seems to have no casualties at all.
[Chinese source]

The last incident of that kind took place some years ago.

This comes while Obama is decided to send a high-ranking diplomat to
North Korea for direct talks on the nuclear issue. [Washington Post]

UPDATE on November 11/14:
There were three North Korean vessels and six South Korean warships on the scene. Two South Korean "patrol ships" (1.200 tons) and four "speed boats" (150 tons), all equipped with automatic cannons, were thus opposing three North Korean "garrison ships" (80, 130, 420 tons), all equipped with manual weapons. During the incident, it was the 130 tons North Korean garrison ship (Chinese "Shanghai class") that finally caught fire. Some days later, the North Korean side stated its firm will to resort to "severe measures" in order to protect its frontier aereas, and South Korea would have to pay a "high price" for that recent attack. [Source: People's Daily, Chinese online edition]

Saturday, October 31, 2009

HONDURAS - U.S. Pressure Stopping Coup d'État

Ousted President Zelaya might now officially return to his country and share power with his rival Micheletti who incited a coup d'état against him with the help of Hondura's army.

It needed nothing more but some pressure from the U.S. to enable a return to constitutional peace in one of Latin America's poorest countries. Or at least that is what it seems to be. In July, Zelaya had been ousted because of his intention to push ahead a referendum on changes to the constitution, seen to be vital to improve the lives of Honduras' poor.

Zelaya had to flee from his country to Nicaragua whose left-wing orientated president Ortega granted him political asylum. Though his return to Honduras had been hindered more than once by the military, he finally managed to get into the Brazilian embassy to Honduras where he stayed up to now.

Yesterday, a deal has been reached that includes the formation of a unity government supported by both rivals.

As political pressure has been rising from other left-wing orientated governments in Latin America, including Venezuela, and after the President of the United Nations' General Assembly having condemned that coup d'état, the Obama administration finally decided to interfere.


I remember that it was at the very beginning of the affair when an expert expressed the opinion that only two or three armoured vehicles from the nearby U.S. garrison in Honduras might restore constitutional peace at once. Now, its not the armoured vehicles but a U.S. envoy who seems to have reached an agreement of peace. At the beginning, as well, another expert on constitutional law in Latin America made it clear that most constitutions in that area include the predominance of the military when "a civil government has become unable to guarantee internal stability". Seen from such point of view, that expert even came to the estimation that President Zelaya's "forced resignation" might be "a lawful act". If that's true, it would imply an urgent necessity to exclude such military predominance from any constitution of that area as soon as possible, even though Latin America is still holding the armies of Simon Bolivar and General Sucre in high esteem as the liberators from colonialism and the guarantors of constitutional peace in the newly founded republics.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

U.S. Official Resigns over Afghanistan Strategy

Matthew Hoh, a high-ranking U.S. diplomate and involved in the Afghanistan conflict, recently resigned from his post in protest of the government's strategy. Here's what he said:
"I have doubts and reservations about our current strategy and planned future strategy, but my resignation is based not upon how we are pursuing this war, but why and to what end. To put simply: I fail to see the value or worth in continued U.S. casualties or expenditures of resources in support of the Afghan government in what is, truly, a 35-year old civil war."

This message comes together with the bloodiest day the U.S. ever lived in Afghanistan when bomb blasts killed eight of their soldiers on Tuesday, October 27. And it comes shortly before U.S. President Obama's announcement of his future Afghanistan strategy.

There are currently about 68.000 U.S. troops stationed in Afghanistan while further 40.000 troops have been recently requested by top U.S. General Stanley Mcchrystal. As to the interior situation of Afghanistan, election fraud in favor of President Karzai is still moving the people while another scandal has just appeared at the surface. According to the New York Times, president Karzai's brother, Ahmed Wali Karzai, has been on the CIA payroll for eight years. Furthermore, he is now suspected to be involved in illegal opium trade.

[Source: Al-Jazeera, English service, October 28, 2009]

To illuminate the volatile situation in Kabul: An explosion and gunfire could be heard from some 200 meters away when an Al-Jazeera expert gave his live comment on recent development in Afghanistan. A plume of smoke from that blast can still be seen in the following picture:

Al-Jazeera, evening news of October 29:
In an assault on a United Nations guesthouse, 5 UN staff members have been killed today.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

The Taliban on the March

Only shortly before the presidential elections in Afghanistan, the Taliban staged an assault on ISAF headquarters in Kabul center. According to Western media, about 70% of the country are already under Taliban control.
I am using that opportunity to propagate further news on recent Taliban activity in Pakistan as has been reported by ARTE TV on August 6, 2009.

The Taliban commander of Northern Pakistan stated in an interview that further attacks by Pakistani troops would only lead to a seize of power by the Taliban in Peshawar and other places. He said that U.S. president Obama who is in charge of any U.S. bombardment in the region would be looked at as an enemy and would be dealt with sooner or later.

"In my language we have a saying: The black dog is the white dog's brother. And Barack Obama is still an infidel. If its Allah's will, we'll get rid of him very fast."

As the ARTE report proved, Taliban activity is even spreading to Southern Pakistan. Such, an Islamic school in the slums of Karachi is obviously engaged in preparing children to join the fight against Pakistani military. One of the Taliban instructors confirmed that children are most useful tools in their fight.

"The children come with us because they enjoy our weapons. At the beginning they don't use the weapons.They simply follow us as they are still too small. If we are decided to fight, Allah is providing the means. Children are the tools to fulfill the will of Allah."

At the same time, General Gul who is in charge of security for Pakistan's nuclear arsenal says that his country's nuclear weapons are safe. As we already know from Al-Qaeda's No. 3 (*), his organisation would not hesitate to use such weapons against the U.S. if they fell into their hands.

* => refer to an earlier blog-post Al-Qaeda: News from the Underground

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Al-Qaeda: News from the Underground

Only some hours ago, Al-Jazeera TV published an interview with Al-Qaeda's No. 3, Mustafa Abul-Yazeed. Abul-Yazeed already became known as the chief financial officer of Al-Qaeda. Like No. 2, Ayman Zawahiri, he originally came from Egypt where he had been jailed over the assassination of former Egyptian president Anwar Sadat.

Let's remember: It was Sadat who once chased away the Soviets from their naval base near Alexandria and who began peace talks with Israel. Even though, that might have won him enemies enough, it was his attempt to come to peaceful terms with the Egyptian "brotherhood" of militant Muslims which finally broke his neck. After he had been murdered during a military parade, by soldiers who suddenly turned the cannon of their armoured vehicle towards the president's seat, it was the new president Mubarak who took revenge on the Muslim brotherhood and established his own dictatorship, stabilized by a status quo between Egypt and Israel and friendly relations with all U.S. administrations to come.

Years later, men like Zawahiri and Abul-Yazeed who had already survived persecution and torture in the post-Sadat era, finally became the heart and backbone of an Islamic terror organisation, called Al-Qaeda, under the guidance of their spiritual leader Ousama Bin Laden, an offspring of a wealthy and politically connected Saudi-Arabian dynasty who had become fed up with the hypocrisy of his social class.

Now, Abul-Yazeed is showing up on TV, and what he tells us about a possible "peace with the U.S." which he would not totally exclude, sounds like an Islamic treatment of infidels during the Middle Ages. If they can't decide to surrender to the Muslimic faith, after having given up all actions against the Muslimic community and after a decade of ceasefire given to them for consideration, they would either have to pay a "tax" for unbelievers or become again engaged in warfare with the army of Allah.

Well, to me it seems as if there are some people in the remote mountains of Central Asia who have been there too long . Just another argument for the Western Alliance to withdraw their troops. Maybe such kind of thinking can become contageous with the diastrous results we experienced under the late Bush administration.

Leave the people of Afghanistan and Pakistan alone to handle their matters because any interference from abroad will only serve to make things more difficult to them !

What seems to be more dangerous is Abul-Yazeed's stance on Pakistan's nuclear weapons: "By God's will, the Americans will not seize the Muslims' nuclear weapons and we pray that the Muslims will have these weapons and they will be used against the Americans."
These words should be seen in the frame of a very short distance between the actual fighting zones and Pakistani nuclear facilities. Even though, nuclear weapons might be well guarded, there's a strong risk of Al-Qaeda using so-called "dirty bombs". Such bombs are nothing else but conventional weapons that have been "enriched" with the dust of uranium minerals coming from the Central Asian "uranium belt". As I earlier described on my Chinese website, there's a high density of uranium deposits distributed all over Afghanistan and Pakistan. Most efficient uranium mines can be found in the war zones of Afghanistan, still held by the Taliban. Others on the Pakistani side are still in use to extract uranium (Southern Pakistan) while others have been closed for fear of Al-Qaeda and their Taliban friends (Northern Pakistan). And, by the way, what else might be Tora Bora, famous stronghold of Ousama Bin Laden during the first chapter of the "war against terrorism", than a fortified uranum mine, most probably built with U.S. help years before. Whatever my readers might believe or not, there's strong evidence about that anyway.

To my mind, that problem can only be solved by a tight international control of the uranium sites in the frame of multilateral treaties, profitable to the peoples of Afghanistan and Pakistan and serving the reconstruction of their countries. Such, every interested member of the international community like China and Japan could take part in the exploitation of uranium without resorting to political hypocrisy. This would make sense as it cannot be denied that nuclear fuels will still be needed by many nations to ensure their energy supply during the first decades of the 21st century.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Obama and the Islamic Community

أوباما و الجماعة الإسلامية

هذا الأسبوع في القاهرة: الرئيس الأميركي أوباما و الجماعة الإسلامية

This week in Cairo: U.S. president Obama and the Islamic community. A new evaluation of U.S. relations towards the world of Islam. Read Obama's complete Cairo speech as published by Al-Jazeera. ARABIC

أسامة بن لادن يتهم باراك أوباما في تسجيل صوتي جديد

Osama Bin Laden in his latest sound record: Accusing President Obama. ARABIC / تسجيل صوتي جديد

Here's my own translation of some important stances made by Osama Bin Laden in his latest tape record. It is based on the Arabic transcription published by Al-Jazeera:

و اتهم بن لادن في التسجيل إدارة الرئيس أوباما و نظيره الباكستاني بتدبير الحملة العسكرية التي تخوضها القوات الباكستانية ضد مقاتلي طالبان بمنعهم ".بوادي سوات "من تطبيق الشريعة بالقتل و القتال

On that distributed tape, Bin Laden accused President Obama and his Pakistani colleague for organizing the military campaign that engaged Pakistani forces against the Taliban, those who are now being suject to bloody fighting in the Swat valley, when they enforced the prohibition "of applying Islamic Sharia law in case of murder and slaughtering."

وقال إن إدارة أوباما "بذرت بذورا جديدة لكراهية الأميركيين يبلغ عددها عدد المشردين والمتضررين من وادي سوات ومناطق القبائل في شمالي وجنوبي وزيرستان

And he said that the Obama administration "is sowing new gossip of hatred against the U.S. that is being spread among a multitude of refugees and victims from Swat valley and from the tribal regions of, both, North and South Waziristan."

وأضاف أنه "بذا يكون أوباما قد سار على خطوات سلفه بزيادة الاستعداء للمسلمين والاستكثار من الأعداء المقاومين ومؤسسا لحروب طويلة الأمد

And he added that "it was detesting when Obama put confidence, once again, into following the old footsteps (of his predecessor) which outraged all Muslims, increased the number of resisting enemies and founded the basis of long lasting wars."

ودعا بن لادن "الشعب الأميركي ليواصل جني ما يزرعه زعماء البيت الأبيض خلال السنين والعقود القادمة

And Bin Laden swore "the American people would continue to earn what have sown the leaders of the White House during the following years and decades." Ulysses / Wolfgang Wiesner

News related to this subject:

June 3, 2009:
Al-Jazeera is mentioning about 2.4 million refugees that are
fleeing the war zone of the Swat valley in the border region
between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

June 3, 2009:
According to a recent Gallup Poll, the approval of U.S. leadership
has risen in the Arabic key states of Algeria, Egypt, Saudi Arabia
and Syria.

June 10, 2009:
A detonation in front of a five star hotel in Peshawar, Pakistan,
left 11 dead and 50 wounded, foreigners included.

Friday, May 22, 2009

GERMANY: The Enemy From Within

Only some hours ago, German National TV (ARD) had the news that a former East German State Security ("Stasi") agent and "GDR" state party (SED) member was behind the murder of a certain West Berlin student Benno Ohnesorg.

About 40 years ago, Ohnesorg took part in a demonstration against the Shah of Persia, Reza Pahlevi, who was then visiting Berlin. The innocent student was cornered by the West Berlin policeman Kurras, now identified as an East German mole, and shot dead in a quiet dark place in the neighbourhood of the turmoil.

At the time, it seemed the real circumstances of this crime were not evaluated properly by the authorities, but the death of Ohnesorg triggered off an escalation of the students' protest which had already begun on a rather low level. A video on the background of the Ohnesorg murder, commented by Ulrike Meinhof, later leader of the RAF terrorist group, showed how deeply the impact of that crime influenced the West German students' movement and their protagonists. Even many regular citizens, regarded as "completely unpolitical", were shocked.

Therefore, it can be stated that the crime of a Stasi mole almost helped to turn the Federal Republic of Germany into turmoil:

An escalation of open protest, abduction and bloody murder of West German politicians and "celebrities" of the economic elite followed. And many years later, after terrorism had been stopped and the German reunification had been achieved, we heard to our great astonishment that RAF terrorists had always found a save haven in the East German Republic. Even though there had been a few East German citizens who put at risk their very existence when they informed West German authorities about such puzzling things as: "One of those guys from your "wanted" poster is living in my neighbourhood, just around the corner", there was no action to follow as nobody would believe them.

And after the reunification, insiders and Stasi victims who requested a better control of the former East German state security members found it difficult to make their position heard. In fact, it was the time of "appeasement", opened by the Federal Chancellor Kohl whom the reunification helped to survive at least for some further years. If he and his Minister of the Interior had had to decide, all documents of the former East German state security would have been destroyed.

It was in Bavaria where the local government was finally forced to stop Stasi activities when some remnants from the grey empire tried to take over control of Munich airport under the cover of private security services.

Now we've got another proof of how dangerous those people really have been and still are. Therefore, it would be wise for the Western intelligence community to provide our country with all the knowledge they have about former East German State Security. Especially U.S. services are requested to do so because it was them who seem to know most about the GDR....

Former RAF leader Ulrike Meinhof speaking in the aftermath of the Ohnesorg murder (above). Here's what she said: "When the Shah of Persia came to the Federal Republic, we didn't know much about Iran, we didn't know much about our own country either. But when the students took to the streets to make known the truth about Persia, took to the streets because another public stage was not available to them, the truth about the country we live in turned out as well. We found out that it was impossible to receive the head of a police state without being a sympathizer of the police state itself."

To read a German press report - click here !
Title: The Shot that Changed the Federal Republic

my personal view:
If all creativity East German Security developed to police its own people, to spy the West and to incite mistrust within our West German society, if all that creativity had been used instead to the well-being of its people and to the benefit of the East German economy, that small and shabby GDR would never have collapsed so miserably in 1989. Ulysses

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Official U.S. Visitors to Cuba

Update for April 23, 2009, further down !

Yesterday, Barbara Lee, U.S. Congresswoman of California and her delegation visited Cuba's leader Fidel Castro and his brother Raoul.

They are representing a group of progressive Democratic Congressmen and women of Afro-American origin, often related with Cuban affairs. Their meetings have become known as the "Caucus of Black Congressmen" (CBC / Spanish: Caucus Negro Congresional). Even though its not for the first time that coloured members of the U.S. Congress held talks with Cuban officials, such events have always been extremely rare and restricted to a few members of Congress.

The CBC, founded in January 1969 by the first 12 coloured Congressmen elected, actually has reached a number of 42 members.

Once again, we become witness of Fidel Castro's steadily advancing physical decay that doesn't hinder him to write articles for the Cuban media. In a message of greeting he expresses his wish to enable an objective judgement about the sensitive relations between Cuba and the U.S. under the rule of Barack Obama by giving as much information as possible intended to state the public opinion in his country.

Recent statements by Fidel and Raoul Castro:
"We don't fear talks with the U.S." (Fidel)
"Many of our people never experienced anything else than living under the embargo that is meanwhile lasting fifty years. They will therefore be able to live under the embargo for another fifty years." (Raoul)

One member of the Caucus delegation said that despite Obama's victory the Northamerican society will continue to be a racist society. And Obama should be seen as the only opportunity for his nation to make progress and step over the rubble accumulated by earlier administrations.

April 13, 2009 :

Once again, the Latin-American alliance is showing its face when Evo Morales, President of Bolivia, is consulting his friend Hugo Chavez, President of Venezuela, during his hunger strike and which is intended to help change the actual system of legislative powers in Bolivia. At the same time, Fidel Castro, still far from being dead, has published an article in support of Evo Morales' policy.

April 20, 2009 :

While the Conference on the Americas is ending on Trinidad and Tobago, U.S. President Barack Obama calls for a new era of partnership. It seems that background talks have taken place as Venezuela declares it "will restore an envoy to the U.S.".

April 23, 2009 :

On April 23, Daniel Ortéga, President of Nicaragua, made his appearance in the regular transmission of "Mesa Redonda" (round table) on Cuba satellite TV. His subject was the Conference on the Americas and Obama's new policy of change.
Ortéga stated that the final document, released by the conference, didn't express at all what his country as well as his allies really expected. Instead, it was nothing more than a mere sign of "business as usual". Even the economic blockade of Cuba, openly rejected by an overwhelming majority of the United Nations General Assembly, didn't appear as an essential subject on the agenda. Such, Obama's "policy of change" should be questioned.

Another brandnew article by Fidel Castro (above) on Obama and the economic blockade of Cuba.

Comment by Blueprint editor:

After his inauguration in January 2009, U.S. President Obama was forced to deal with all kinds of urgent affairs. The speed of pushing forward his political ideas has even become a subject of public discussion, when recent opinion polls proved that many U.S. citizens feared his style of handling things could mean "doing too much and doing it too fast". No wonder that Vice-President Biden answered a question about the abolishment of economic sanctions
on Cuba with the words: "Cuba isn't on the agenda yet".

Only shortly after Obama's order to close all CIA run detainee camps, including that of Guantánamo Bay, and his decision to open CIA memos (April 22) on how political detainees were treated in those camps, it should make no sense for Cuba's leadership to insist on its maximum demand of giving back Guantánamo Bay to the people of Cuba and lifting the blockade. Both things might follow sooner or later. But to increase the actual pressure on Obama who is now struggling against the reactionary hardliners of his own country on all levels of daily politics, will almost certainly reach the contrary of its goal. Cuba and its allies could easily become known as the "notorious moaners" of their region. Wolfgang Wiesner, April 23, 2009.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Inauguration of
U.S. President Obama

President Obama leaving his car at 4:05 pm on
his way from Capitol Hill to the White House:

Obama together with vice-president Biden:

Satellite image of gathering masses:

The World of Superobama (political cartoons)

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Happy New Year 2009

... from Havana (00:00 local time / 06:00 GMT)
2009 - 50th Anniversary of the Cuban Revolution

... from U.S. station CNN (00:00 local time for Denver, Salt Lake City, Calgary / 07:00 GMT / earliest CNN reception in Europe)

... from Berlin (00:00 CET)

... from London (00:00 GMT)

.. and hours before from Sydney (left) and Hongkong (right)