Abolish all chemical weapons, Chomsky says

This video from the USA says about itself:

Chomsky: Instead of “Illegal” Syria Threat, U.S. Should Back Chemical Weapons Ban Worldwide

In a national address from the White House Tuesday night, President Obama announced he is delaying a plan to strike Syria while pursuing a diplomatic effort from Russia for international monitors to take over and destroy Syria‘s arsenal of chemical weapons. However, Obama still threatened to use force against Syria if the plan fails. We get reaction to Obama’s speech from world-renowned political dissident and linguist, MIT Professor Emeritus Noam Chomsky.

“The Russian plan is a godsend for Obama,” Chomsky says. “It saves him from what would look like a very serious defeat. He has not been able to obtain virtually any international support, and it looked as though Congress wasn’t going to support it either, which would leave him completely out on a limb. This leaves him a way out: he can maintain the threat of force, which incidentally is a crime under international law. We should bear in mind that the core principle of the United Nations charter bars the threat or use of force. So all of this is criminal to begin with, but he’ll continue with that.”

Here is the sequel to the above video.

On Western Terrorism: From Hiroshima To Drone Warfare, by Noam Chomsky and Andre Vltchek: revew here.

Felicity Arbuthnot says the US is in no position to throw stones when it comes to poisoning civilians in war: here.

Turkish people’s resistance against governmental authoritarianism

While I went to Svalbard in the Arctic, the rest of the world did not stand still.

Eg, Turkey.

This video about Turkey, recorded in the USA, says about itself:

4 June 2013

Noam Chomsky chanting one of the signature slogans of the Gezi Park resistance.

The word ‘capulcu’ on the slogan at the back means ‘looter’ in English. Turkish PM Erdogan referred to tens of thousands of protesters on the streets all over Turkey as “a bunch of looters”.

See also here.

People there started to resist against governmental plans to destroy the only park in central Istanbul, Gezi park, in the name of “economic development”. Then came harsh police repression. Then, the movement expanded, also outside Istanbul and against other government policies.

One may hope this will hinder the Turkish government in stoking war and sectarianism in Syria along with other governments; which threatens Lebanon, Iraq and the Caucasus as well.

Turkey’s ruling AK Party dismissed calls for early elections on Saturday as tens of thousands of people defied Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan‘s call for an immediate end to protests: here.

Turkish protests grow as Erdogan calls counter-demonstrations: here.

Greek solidarity with Turkish demonstrators: here.

Patras: 1000 people in solidarity with the Turkish uprising: here.

Dutch solidarity with Turkish demonstrators: here.

To All My Friends in Turkey, by Roger Waters: here.

Japanese protest against militarism

In this video, Noam Chomsky speaks about article IX of the Japanese constitution.

By Ben Chacko:

Tokyo rallies against change to constitution

Friday 03 May 2013

Thousands of protesters rallied in central Tokyo today to mark the 66th anniversary of Japan’s pacifist constitution and oppose government attempts to change it.

Trade unions, religious organisations and political parties were represented at the march from Hibiya park through the Ginza shopping district.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is attempting to drop the requirement that a two-thirds parliamentary majority is needed before amendments to the constitution go to a referendum.

Mr Abe‘s Liberal Democrat Party (LDP) wishes to amend the constitution’s famous article IX, in which Japan renounces the use of war.

MP Gen Nakatani complained today that “China is getting stronger and stronger and our military is confined to a purely defensive posture.”

The PM said it should be altered to allow “collective defence” so it can fight alongside the United States, which has 50,000 soldiers based in Japan, if the latter gets involved in a war in the Far East.

He has also suggested that civil liberties currently guaranteed by the constitution, including freedom of speech, should be subordinate to the “public interest.”

But the bid to attack freedom of expression in the name of “patriotism” has sparked anger in a country with a fascist past.

And Japan’s unique experience as the only country hit by nuclear weapons – the US atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945 – has led to a widespread resistance to war on principle.

At the rally Communist Party leader Kazuo Shii and Social Democrat chairwoman Mizuho Fukushima marched side by side carrying a banner reading: “Keep Article IX shining.”

Mr Shii warned that weakening the barrier to amending the constitution went against “common sense.

“The constitution exists to protect your rights,” he said. “There are good reasons it isn’t easy to amend.”

Ms Fukushima pointed out that “if it can amend it through a simple majority the government can make whatever changes it wants whenever it suits it.”

The Liberal Democrats’ coalition partner New Komeito has also expressed concern over changing the constitution – but the LDP has vowed to press ahead, stating this week that “the issue is no longer whether to change the constitution, but how.”

Prime Minister Abe visited Burma and met with the Indian prime minister last month as part of his “strategic diplomacy” to rebuild Japan as a major power: here.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is seeking control of both parliamentary houses to press ahead with his militarist, pro-market agenda. He plans to free the Japanese military from the constraints of the so-called pacifist constitution and implement economic restructuring measures that will impose new burdens on working people: here.

The recent Tokyo Assembly elections resulted not only in a predictable victory for the governing Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) over its Democratic Party (DPJ) rivals but also a surprise result at the opposite end of the political spectrum, with the Japanese Communist Party (JCP) more than doubling its seats: here.

The ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) secured a clear majority in Japan’s upper house of Diet, or parliament, in elections held yesterday. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will now exploit his control of both parliamentary houses to ram through his right-wing agenda of militarism and austerity: here.

Japan’s Defence Ministry called for a major increase in military capabilities and a more “assertive” role in the region today: here.

In another move that will further inflame regional tensions, the Japanese government issued a defence report last Friday calling for the country’s military to acquire the ability to strike “enemy” missile sites, including potentially in China, as well as North Korea: here.

The draft constitution prepared by Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party scraps fundamental democratic rights: here.

New bee species named after Noam Chomsky

The new bee species, photo credit: Cory S. Sheffield (Royal Saskatchewan Museum)

From Nature World News in the USA:

New Species Of Bee Named After Noam Chomsky

By James A. Foley

Apr 04, 2013 12:21 PM EDT

Noam Chomsky is not a fan of ridiculous comparisons. So it’s still unclear how he’ll take to the newly discovered species of bee that has been named after him.

The new species belongs to one of the largest genera of bees, the genus Megachile, with more than 1,500 species in at least 50 subgenera. Chomsky, on the other hand, is one of a kind.

Endemic to Texas, the newly-discovered species of leafcutter bee, Megachile chomskyi, has highly particular tastes in the sort of pollen it goes after. Having lectured, wrote and researched at the same university for more than 50 years, you might say Chomsky is endemic to MIT, where he reportedly has particular tastes in turkey sandwiches: plan, no mayo, definitely no avocado, maybe some lettuce and tomato.

An exaggeratedly long tongue and definitive jaw structure are the most prominent features of the new leafcutter bee. As it is, Chomsky’s tongue, or at least his work as a linguist, is world renowned. Though it’s probably of average size.

Noam Chomsky is a highly regarded linguist, political philosopher and historian, who has been described as the “father of modern linguistics” and the world’s “top public intellectual.”

This is not the first time an animal has been named after Chomsky. A chimpanzee who was the subject of an extended study on animal language acquisition at Colombia University was named Nim Chimpsky, a clear pun of Noam Chomsky.

In naming the new species of leafcutter bee, its discoverer, Dr. Cory Sheffield of the Royal Saskatchewan Museum, said, “In addition to naming the species after Dr. Chomsky to honor his many accomplishments, I also have been a huge fan and follower of his writings, lectures, and political views for a long time.”

Scheffield’s study of the Megachile chomskyi is published in the open access journal ZooKeys.