Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Afghanistan/Pakistan, Where Empires Go to Die - II


by Dr. Wilmer J. Leon III

Under the pretext of responding to the September 11, 2001 attacks in America, the United and States and Great Britain invaded Afghanistan on October 7, 2001 under the banner of Operation Enduring Freedom. President Bush 41’ told the American people that the US strikes were,

“…designed to disrupt the use of Afghanistan as a terrorist base of operations, and to attack the military capability of the Taliban regime…we will make it more difficult for the terror network to train new recruits and coordinate their evil plans. Initially, the terrorists may burrow deeper into caves and other entrenched hiding places…At the same time, the oppressed people of Afghanistan will know the generosity of America and our allies. As we strike military targets, we will also drop food, medicine and supplies to the starving and suffering men and women and children of Afghanistan… ”

During the 2008 presidential campaign, candidate Obama promised to immediately withdraw troops from Iraq in order to bolster the forces in Afghanistan in order to defeat the Taliban and Al Qaeda. “It’s time to refocus our attention on the war we have to win in Afghanistan.”

I believe that this tactic was taken by the Obama team in order to placate the anti-Iraq contingent of the American electorate on the left while not leaving himself vulnerable to the “soft on defense” hawkish argument on the right. As a campaign tactic this approach proved to be successful. In reality, this may prove to be one of the greatest miscalculations President Obama has made. The real question here becomes, what’s the best tactic to accomplish this end?

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Thursday, August 20, 2009




NEW YORK(AP)—Former New York Giant Plaxico Burress(notes) pleaded guilty Thursday to a weapons charge and agreed to a two-year prison term for accidentally shooting himself at a Manhattan nightclub.

The ex-wide receiver pleaded guilty to one count of attempted criminal possession of a weapon, a lesser charge than he initially faced. Under a plea agreement, he agreed to a two-year prison sentence and two years of supervised release.

Burress was indicted earlier this month on two counts of criminal possession of a weapon and one count of reckless endangerment. He faced a minimum sentence of 3 1/2 years if convicted at a trial.

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Investigators in Tennessee are looking into how an 18-year-old man died while in police custody.

The Daily News Journal in Murfreesboro reports that Andron Reed died after officers arrested him Friday night. They say it all started when Reed led them on a high-speed chase.

It eventually ended in a crash, but authorities say Reed did not have any apparent injuries.

Reed's brother, who was with him at the time, told a Memphis newspaper that he could hear Reed being beaten at the jail.

Reed was later found unresponsive and died.

Investigators say he put up a struggle with officers when he was arrested, but they're not sure if that's what caused his death.

"We do know that he was fairly combative, that officers had to use some restraint to get him under control, these are things that we know right now," said TBI Spokesperson Kristin Helm. "Whether or not he was beaten or died from natural causes, those are things that will be determined as a result of the autopsy and the course of our investigation."

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Monday, August 17, 2009



NEW YORK (AP)—Michael Vick(notes) says he cried in prison because of the guilt he felt about being involved in dogfighting, and was disgusted with himself for allowing it to happen.

In an interview with “60 Minutes” that aired Sunday night, Vick said the day he walked into prison he realized “the magnitude of the decisions that I made.

“And, you know, it’s no way of, you know, explaining, you know, the hurt and the guilt that I felt. And that was the reason I cried so many nights. And that put it all into perspective,” he said.

A three-time Pro Bowl pick during six seasons with the Atlanta Falcons, Vick served 18 months in federal prison for running a dogfighting ring and was reinstated last month by the NFL after being out of action since 2006.

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Saturday, August 15, 2009

Minister Farrakhan's Wife Featured in National Women's Magazine

farrakhan wife


Chicago, IL ( - There is a saying that "behind every good man, is a good woman," however, in the case of The Honorable Minister Farrakhan, the leader of The Nation of Islam and the convener of the Million Man March, "behind every great man is a phenomenal woman."

Mother Khadijah Farrakhan, wife of The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan, is featured on the cover of the current issue of Virtue Today Magazine, an inspirational new women's magazine out of Raleigh, North Carolina, that focuses on uplifting women. Mother Farrakhan is featured along side Michelle Obama and Winnie Mandela for the cover story: Black First Ladies. Mother Farrakhan is the First Lady of The Nation of Islam

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Tuesday, August 11, 2009

2009 El Salvador Elections: " Si, Se Puede "

As an international observer at the 2009 Presidential elections in El Salvador, I was so astonished to witness history in the making. At the end of the election day, hundreds of voters cheered the campaign slogan in the streets, “ Si, Se Puede.” because for the first time, true democracy has finally won victory over the strongest right wing party. Farabundo Marti National Liberation (FMLN) candidate, Maurico Funes defeated National Republican Alliance (ARENA) party candidate, Rodrigo Avila in a tight race. The Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE) reported that President Maurico Funes won majority vote of 51.23 percent over 49.1 percent for Arena party.

In January, the presidential campaign exit polls showed that FMLN party’s potential unprecedented win could possibly beat ARENA’s four consecutive presidential election winning streak at a close margin. In order to lessen corruption, the Supreme Electoral Tribunal approved over 4,000 registered international and national observers. Under my program, the 8th Center For Exchange and Solitary International (CIS) recruited up to 265 observers from 11 foreign nations to observe in 28 different municipalities. Our monitoring team was assigned in Ilabasco, Cabanas (pro-Arena party area), which is a municipality located northeast part of El Salvador.

On Election Day:

My assessment of the electoral process corroborated the marginal state of El Salvador’s democratic institution. On election day, acting as a complete impartial bystander was the biggest challenge for me. Although I was not authorized to participate in the elections, its was very difficult to not intervene due to the transparency issues. Consequently, I’ve recorded over a dozen irregularities; ranging from violations in voting privacy, the usage of invalid citizenship identifications, senior citizen assistance, and counting duplicate ballots. Other than procedural issues, logistical implications was also a problem. The voting tables occasionally formed lines wrapped around the booths, which caused traffic in the middle of the center. The voting booth equipment was somewhat mistreated. Several voting tables were missing issued curtains. Also, there was a huge unbalanced of Arena party colors surrounding the voting center. The ARENA campaigners distributed food and beverages, did not remove hung up party flags on nearby buildings and transported distanced voters to the voting centers.

Despite fraud, the election process performed better than what we expected. Our finalized report asserted that there were no major incidents held during the elections. The report stressed other implications, such as circulation of anti-party propaganda, bribery votes and attempt votes from voters from neighboring countries (Nicaragua, Honduras and Guatemala). In conclusion, there is still room to rectifying the legality of the voting process. This new era will provide the electoral system a better chance in providing free and fairer elections in the future. This historical election ended two decades of strong conservative and corruptive rule. Under President Maurico Funes’s leadership, the country can be more committed to achieving sustainable democracy. In retrospect, high levels of longevity corruption and oppression crippled the democratic system. The country suffered from severe socio-economic losses under the ARENA party. Overtime, poverty, unemployment, illiteracy and human rights violations exacerbated in poorer communities. The growing pains within poor communities ended up polarizing the country between the military and the ex-guerilla Marxist rural rebels.

With this new victory, The FLMN party can rebuild a new and prosperous democratic institution. President Maurico Funes’s platform focuses on the implementation of policies that will benefit the majority of the people, which will guarantee freedom of expression, human rights protection and equal participation in the free market and investment climate. In doing so, the new administration must first establish reconciliation with ARENA party in order to work with the legislative majority, which is an excellent approach in reducing the income disparity, ensuring civil liberties and strengthening domestic security.

Still yet, President Maurico Funes faces intensive criticism from the ARENA party. ARENA political opponents believe that President Maurico Funes’s win in the executive power will exercise Venezuelan socialist influences. Also, critics argued against President Funes foreign policy decisions. Many argue against President Funes’ support to re-integrate stronger relations with the U.S and fear that he will be one of U.S‘s bully puppets. Since Post-Reagan administration, the U.S-El Salvador relation has been very controversial in the country. Many anti-American critics have expressed deep concerns focusing on El Salvador’s involvement in the Iraq War, CAFTA, and the usage of U.S. dollarization as El Salvadorian currency.

President Funes advocated that his change reform will reshape El Salvador’s foreign policy. His platform does not represent the old leftist school of thought nor advocates Chavez, Oretga and Castro influences. Instead, President Funes is a true proponent in establishing a different tone to El Salvador’s global image by resetting relations, especially with the U.S. and Latin American countries. El Salvador can not afford to repeal against CAFTA and U.S. dollarization. This course of action would debilitate the country’s economic security during the current global financial crisis. At The 2009 Summit of the Americas, President Funes proposed that El Salvador must strengthen relationships by respecting those existing global trade-military agreements but ensure that those future decisions represent the interest of the people. El Salvador looks forward to further cooperation with U.S. if only the Obama administration is willing to listen and not to impose power on the country.