Archive for May 29th, 2007


Five Britons were abducted from a government building in Baghdad today in a brazen kidnapping by gunmen dressed in police uniforms.

The victims were four bodyguards and a British technology adviser working at the Finance Ministry for BearingPoint, a US consultancy firm.

This evening the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London confirmed that the five missing people were British and that diplomatic staff in Baghdad were urgently seeking their release.

“I can confirm that a group of five British nationals were abducted this morning at 0850 UK time, which is 1150 local time, in an incident at the Finance Ministry in central Baghdad,” a spokesman said. “Officials from the British embassy in Baghdad are in urgent contact with the Iraqi authorities to establish the facts and to try to secure a swift resolution.”

Source: Britons kidnapped by gunmen in Baghdad-News-World-Iraq-TimesOnline

Hope they are found quickly.

BBC considers that policemen are involved:

There are conflicting reports about exactly how Tuesday’s abduction took place.


‘Hired guns’ in Iraq

Witnesses said it was carried out by what appeared to be a police unit.

The street was sealed off at both ends and the kidnappers, in police camouflage uniforms, walked straight past guards at the finance ministry building on Palestine Street, the witnesses said.

A police source told the BBC that dozens of police vehicles were used in the operation.

The BBC’s Paul Wood in Baghdad says that if such reports are true, it could point to the involvement of a renegade police unit, possibly special commandos.

While it has been possible in the past for criminals or militants to hire police uniforms and vehicles, he says, the scale of this operation suggests real police involvement.

del.icio.us tags: , , , ,


Technorati tags: , , , ,

Read Full Post »


I honestly don’t know how I feel about the elections on Sunday…..

Spain has a  tradition: whoever wins the municipal elections, wins the generals. This would mean that by next year PSOE and Zapatero could be out. Nice.

On the other hand, there are three things that worry me, a lot:

  1. The difference between PP and PSOE hasn’t really been “that” big –they have increased votes in some areas but decreased in others. I guess, we Spaniards have still to work through a lot of stuff from the past. Meaning: if you vote PSOE you are a leftist (rojo, comunista, etc) and if you vote for PP you are a fascist (facha, pro Franco, dictador, etc). Therefore, many people who have always voted left will keep on voting left and the ones who have always voted right will keep on voting right –without giving any thought to the ideas they are voting for and what those parties represent. There seem to be two extremes and people are very scared of name-calling.
  2. The fact that the terrorist have won in 17 municipios. Isn’t that a big win?. I guess the reason is because half these people support ETA and the other half is just scared to death. If this split is 50/50 I am not sure. I would definitely hope it has more to do with number 2 than with number 1.
  3. And finally, the huge amount of people who have decided not to vote. To me, this is almost the worst part of it all… If things are going so bad (and yes, admit it, they are) and people are not voting: what is going on in this country? Why do you prefer to watch the Formula 1 race and go to the bar for a beer, instead of making your voice heard out there?

Source: Thymoumai

Go and read the rest. Thymoumai is also an Spanish blogger writing in English. A marvellous perspective…sunthumbs_up

By the way: the Socialist candidate in Madrid, Rafael Simancas, has already announced he will not present himself again. The re-elected President of Madrid, Esperanza Aguirre, has said that he was a very honorable candidate but that he has had very little help from the Nation’s Government.

Related posts:

  1. Spanish Elections Watch 2007: Autonomous Communities’ results.
  2. Spanish Elections Watch 2007: Alea jacta est.
  3. Spanish Elections Watch 2007 (part 4): more corruption, more violence and terrorism.
  4. Spanish Elections Watch 2007 (part 3): more violence and ANV.
  5. Spanish Elections Watch 2007 (part 2): agressions on PP members.
  6. Spanish Elections Watch 2007.
  7. Corrupsoe reloaded (part 2): Sebastián, socialist candidate to Madrid’s Majorship.
  8. Corrupsoe reloaded (part 1): Ibiza connection and Arenillas.

Read Full Post »

Evo Morales has said that his main enemies are the media who are opposing the process of change the country needs, except “my friend journalists who most of them belong to the MAS [Movement to Socialism, Morales’ party]”. He also has told the intelectuals their mission is to create a popular conscience about the “importance of the values of life and not of the capital, the egoism and the individualism“.

Among the conclusions of the V Summit pf the Intelectuals and Artists in Humanity’s Defense’s Net, wants to build an observatory against private MSM and a tribunal to control them.

Some speakers at the Summit:

For the Venezuelan Carmen Bohórquez, coordinator of the Net, it is “necessary and a priority to show the illegitimacy of the actual system wheere the MSM are at the powerful’s service, and remember all that there is a great antidemocratic concentration and that there is a worrying power of the financial capital over MSM“.

What this woman does not take into account is that Chávez is now the powerful and is doing exactly the same thing she is critisizing: building huge media to protect him.

On the other hand, Abel Prieto, Culture Minister of Cuba -oops, is there culture in Communist Castro’s Cuba? Art and Culture needs freedom, totally inexistent in that country-, supported the creation of this observatory because it will “let a real evaluation of the media works, not only local, but also national and of the great machinery of disinformation in the great media of enourmous worldwide influence“.

But Morales’imitation of Venezuelan Chavez goes beyond: Bolivian VP has already spoken of the Socialism of the XXIst century.

In Bolivia it has been the VP Alvaro García who used the expression and said that “the socialism of the XXIst century is going to be impulsed not by the State but by the communities and the social movements“.
he spoke at the summit “Alternatives to Neo-Liberalism” in Cochabamba, where he stated that “in South America there is a process of pluralism, who has the Indigene people and other social movements as main actors. These same people will build the socialism of the XXIth century“.

Imagine the socialism is to think of the enourmous capacities that the Indigene peoples have, as they fight for be given back their natural resources and better life quality“, according to the Government’s news agency ABI.

We are finding ways to exit from neo-liberalism. The capitalism is going through one of the worst moments in its history due to the Indigene people, communities and other social organisations, who have risen at said No more! Stop!

For a retrospective on García Linera, click here.

There have been some miners’ revolts in Bolivia: they have even destroyed houses with dynamite. And they are prepared for more if the new Decree on mines’ exploitation is passed:

To reclaim installations from foreigners is easier that to defy independent miners, who are decided to put their short and difficult lifes at stake to defend their part in the mines’ benefits.

If we go all there [to La Paz], all the miners, we can kill the policemen with dynamite because we are prepared for that“, says Taboada, 23-year-old, during and interview in the profound parts of the Cerro Rico (Rich Hill), near the historic mining city of Potosy.

The crisis with the Judicial Power has aggravated also:

The Government and the Governors have accused each other of being the culprits of the unsuccesful summit, who had as main target, to put to an end the judicial crisis began in Bolivia as a result of the decision by Evo Morales to accuse of corruption to 4 Judges of the Constitutional tribunal.

The meeting between Morales and the nine Governors ended without results last Saturday at midnight in Cochabamba, center part of Bolivia. The Governors, six of which are political opponents to Mr. Morales, have asked for the meeting to end the crisis.

[…`] We dont’t see a reason to judge the magistrates, we have asked Morales to respect State of Law because democracy is debilitating itself, but the meeting was unsuccesful as we were unable to find consensus because of the totalitarian views of the Government”, said the host Manfred Reyes Villa.

The crisis arose when the Constitutional Tribunal declared illegal the extension of the temporal terms of 4 magistrates of the Supreme Court who had been named by Morales. Also Correa has problems with Ecuador’s Constitutional Tribunal.

Other news:

  1. Anger Echoes in South America After FIFA Bans Games at Altitude.
  2. Chile rejects Bolivia’s “gas for sea” proposal.

Read Full Post »

Here is the video. It’s in Spanish but you can get an overview of what has been going on.

UPDATE: Italian blogger Paolo di Lautreamont has more videos for you to see.

Chávez closes RCTV: CNNReuters (Venezuela TV station says troops seized equipment) – smile_zipit


Workers of RCTV station cry while singing the national anthem after the channel was forced off the air in Caracas May 28, 2007. The government is not renewing RCTV’s license after 53 years on the air because of accusations that the broadcaster participated in a bungled 2002 coup against Chavez, incited violent demonstrations and aired immoral programming. (Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters)

Agora Vox (French):

medium_h_9_ill_915595_vene.jpg“The organization of American States (OEA) and Mercosur can say that Hugo Chávez is a democrat but his acts speak otherwise”. Those are the words written in the editorial of the Venezuelan newspaper Tal Cual after the new attack on individual freedoms by president-dictator Hugo Chavez.



Supporters of Radio Caracas TV (RCTV) attend a demonstration outside the TV station in Caracas May 27, 2007. RCTV is being forced off the air after President Hugo Chavez’s administration refused to renew its broadcasting license which ends on Sunday. REUTERS/Jorge Silva



A supporters of Radio Caracas TV (RCTV) writes a message outside the TV station in Caracas May 27, 2007. RCTV is being forced off the air after President Hugo Chavez’s administration refused to renew its broadcasting license which ends on Sunday. REUTERS/Jorge Silva

Protests: Yahoo! – Students protesting Chávez TV network closure clash with police.

[foto de la noticia]

Venezuelan policemen protect themselves when confronting students at the demonstration. El Mundo.es. 

PhotoVenezuelan policemen take position during a demonstration by government opponents in east Caracas, in the aftermath of the closure of private network RCTV (Radio Caracas Television). President Hugo Chavez’s clampdown on opposition television stations widened Monday as police used rubber bullets and tear gas on demonstrators protesting what they called an attack on free speech(AFP/Juan Barreto)

[foto de la noticia]

A Venezuelan protestor against the police. (El Mundo.es).

Time – At least 3 students injured in clash with Chávez.

[foto de la noticia]

Students protesting against Chávez with Venezuelan flags.

IHT Opposition-alligned Venezuelan TV station goes off the air -( look at this title: looks like Chávez has nothing to do with it):

Venezuelan police fired tear gas and plastic bullets Monday into a crowd of thousands protesting a decision by President Hugo Chavez that forced a television station critical of his leftist government off the air.

Police fired toward the crowd of up to 5,000 protesters from a raised highway, and protesters fled amid clouds of tear gas. They later regrouped in Caracas’ Plaza Brion chanting “freedom!” Some tossed rocks and bottles at police, prompting authorities to scatter demonstrators by firing more gas.

[foto de la noticia]

Venezuelan armed police follow protestors. (El Mundo.es)

Yahoo! – Venezuela moves against second opposition TV channel: This piece of news says the reason which was considered by Chávez to shut the station

Seizing on the momentum of RCTV’s closure, Communications Minister Willian Lara presented a case to the state prosecutor’s office saying experts hired by the ministry had found that opposition broadcaster Globovision was inciting assassination attempts on Chavez.

As evidence, he cited Globovision showing footage of an assassination attempt against Pope John Paul II in 1981 accompanied by the song “This Does Not Stop Here,” sung by Ruben Blades, now Panama’s minister of tourism.

“The conclusion of the specialists … is that (in this segment) they are inciting the assassination of the president of Venezuela,” Lara told reporters at the prosecutor’s office.

Oh, yes? That is the conclusion? Wow, you have an imagination… Comparing John Paul II with Chávez is a little difficult. Not only Chávez is not the Pope, but also Chávez is not related with the Catholic Church at any level…

New State Station: ABC News: Chávez launches New Venezuela TV Station:

The new channel, TVES, launched its transmissions with artists singing pro-Chavez music, then carried an exercise program and a talk show, interspersed with government ads proclaiming, “Now Venezuela belongs to everyone.”

Thousands of government supporters reveled in the streets as they watched the changeover on large TV screens, seeing RCTV’s signal go black and then be replaced by a TVES logo featuring Venezuela’s national colors. Others launched fireworks and danced to the classic salsa tune “Todo tiene su final” “Everything Has Its End.”

In the countdown to the midnight deadline, thousands of RCTV backers banged pots in protest and played recordings of sirens. Some fired gunshots into the air.

Inside the studios of RCTV the sole opposition-aligned TV station with nationwide reach disheartened actors and comedians wept and embraced in the final minutes on the air.

They bowed their heads in prayer, and presenter Nelson Bustamante declared: “Long live Venezuela! We will return soon.”

Chavez says he is democratizing the airwaves by turning the network’s signal over to public use. His opponents condemned the move as an assault on free speech.

Germany, which holds the European Union presidency, expressed concern that Venezuela let RCTV’s license expire “without holding an open competition for the successor license.” It said the EU expects that Venezuela will uphold freedom of speech and “support pluralism.”

Employees of Radio Caracas Television, RCTV, sing the national anthem as the channel’s signal is cut in Caracas, late Sunday, May 27, 2007. Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez decided not to renew the the opposition-aligned channel’s broadcasting license which expired at midnight. (AP Photo/Gregorio Marrero)

More here. Also here -in Spanish-. Also in Fausta’s blog. Prevost -Spanish- has also posted about it.

La Razón.es (Spanish): Chávez is now targeting free radios after closing opposition TV. Also the channel 24 hours Globovisión and the US CNN in Spanish have been also sued for publishing news with errors.

As Kate posted, Chávez has also taken control of the national phone company, with the aim of converting it into a socialist firm.

Venezuelan vice-president: We don’t have any more to say: the concession has ended. Yes, of course, would have been ended if it would have told you how marvellous you are? smile_angry

Venezuelan military men are ordered to salute each other with “Country, socialism or death”.

reliapundit: Venezuela’s state-sponsored land theives reveal core hypocrisy of “land reforms”.

Read Full Post »