Asylum seekers: the term conjures up images of desperate families fleeing impoverished, war-torn countries.
But the Romeike family, who live in the US state of Tennessee, are not ordinary asylum seekers. Devout Christians from southwestern Germany, the Romeikes say they will be persecuted if they are made to return because their five children are homeschooled – which is forbidden in the European Union’s most populous country.
Next month, an American appeals court will hear oral arguments on whether they should be allowed to stay, in a case legal experts say will help clarify the scope of US asylum law.
Uwe and Hannelore Romeike, both music teachers, decided to take their children out of the public school system in 2006, claiming they were “bombarded with negative influences” and taught disrespect for authority.
As a result, the parents were slapped with thousands of euros in fines, and one day, Uwe alleged, police came to their home to take the crying children to school in a police van.
“They have a well-founded fear of persecution if they return home,” said their lawyer, Michael Donnelly, who works for the US-based Home School Legal Defense Association. Citing documents like the UN Declaration on Human Rights, Donnelly told Al Jazeera he believes Germany’s laws against homeschooling violate its international legal obligations.
In 2010, the Romeikes were granted asylum in the US by a judge who agreed with their argument that the German government was “attempting to circumscribe their religious beliefs”. But the ruling was overturned, and the case is now before the US’ Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.
WAR ON SYRIA; ‘US Supporting Terrorism Under Disguise Of War On Terrorism’, ‘Media Lies Are Absolutely Mind Boggling’
“I think what we’re witnessing is the criminal nature of US foreign policy… it’s a very cynical and criminal process… the process of actually destroying Syria as a sovereign nation state, that is the objective of the Western military alliance.” – Michel Chossudovsky
Chossudovsky also says, “it was my understanding that when John Kerry were to take over the position of Secretary of State that he would seek a diplomatic path”… well I’m not sure where Michel got this idea from, perhaps from the same media which is blatantly lying about the foreign invasion of Syria. Obama knew exactly what he was getting when he chose John Kerry, a 100% guaranteed war monger, as I briefly outlined here.
2013.3.11 US Backs Terrorism Under Mask Of War On Terror; Michel Chossudovsky (PressTV, youtube.com):
A political analyst tells Press TV that US is supporting terrorism in Syria under the disguise of ‘war on terrorism’. The US and Europe have supplied militants fighting inside Syria against President Bashar al-Assad with arms from Croatia, a new report by Croatian newspaper Jutarnji List says. The report said weapons, which date back to the time of former Yugoslavia, have been paid for by Saudi Arabia at the request of the US. The Syrian crisis began in March 2011, and many people, including large numbers of army and security personnel, have been killed.
Press TV has conducted an interview with Michel Chossudovsky, with the Center for Research on Globalization (Montreal), to further discuss the issue of war on Syria.
WAR ON AFGHANISTAN; Karzai Accuses US & Taliban Of Working Together To Coordinate Bombings During Chuck Hagel’s Visit
“Are the US government and the Afghan Taliban working together? Afghan President Hamid Karzai seems to think so after a couple of bombings in Kabul yesterday. He said they were carried out by the Taliban in coordination with the American government. The United States is supposed to withdraw most troops by the end of next year, and Karzai suggested the US is using terror attacks to preview how things will turn, once they leave.” – FOX News Radio
I just happened to catch this report by FOX News Radio, only once, and after searching YouTube for more details I realized just how poorly reported this very important story is. See audio file below of the FOX News Radio report which I saved. The only YouTube video with any details follows this. I’ve also included another video from last December when Karzai accused the US, NATO, and “Private Security Firms” of destabilizing the country, saying, “there is a very strong perception that some of that insecurity is intentional.”
2013.3.10 Are The US Government & Afghan Taliban Working Together? (FOX News Radio):
2013.3.10 Afghan Accusations; Karzai Says US & Taliban Are Cooperating To Worsen Security Situation (JewishNewsOne, youtube.com):
Afghan President Hamid Karzai has accused the Taliban and the US of working together to convince Afghans that violence will worsen if foreign troops leave the country. Karzai said that two deadly suicide bombings over the weekend demonstrated that the insurgent group is conducting attacks at the service of America. He said both Washington and the Taliban want US forces to stay beyond the end of 2014, when most U.S.-led forces are scheduled to leave Afghanistan.
Hold on, so the Taliban want the US forces, that they are supposedly fighting, to stay past 2014? Very interesting. This also goes along with older videos I’ve seen of Afghans claiming that Bush was arming the Taliban in the mountains.
2012.12.6 Hamid Karzai; US, NATO Behind Afghan ‘Insecurity’ (NBC, youtube.com):
Afghan President Hamid Karzai had some harsh words for the United States and NATO during a Thursday interview with NBC News.
Karzai accused the U.S. of violating its strategic partnership agreement with Afghanistan, and he indicated that “part of the insecurity [in Afghanistan] is definitely coming to us from terrorism and the attacks of the Taliban.” He continued with a criticism of the U.S., adding, “part of the insecurity is coming to us from the structures that NATO and America created in Afghanistan.”
The Afghan leader singled out “the private security firms” and “the contractors that they promoted at the cost of the Afghan people.”
Karzai also partly blamed the insecurity in Afghanistan on “the way they [the U.S., NATO] behaved with the Afghan people and the anger that that has caused in the Afghan people and the resulting insecurity.” He added, “there is a very strong perception that some of that insecurity is intentional.”
The U.S. actions that stirred anger to which he was likely referring include an incident in which Marines were shown in a video urinating on the corpses of Taliban fighters. After the video came to light, Karzai called the actions of those involved “inhuman.” Two Marines were criminally charged for their actions. In another incident, U.S. soldiers were implicated in the burning of copies of the Koran.
Karzai also leveled criticism at the U.S. in November, when he accused U.S. forces of violating a detainee transfer pact signed between the two countries.
New violence struck Afghanistan on Thursday when the country’s intelligence chief, Asadullah Khalid, was wounded by a suicide bombing. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack.
NBC points out, per the U.N., that “in the first six months of 2012 alone, more than 3,000 civilians were killed or injured” in Afghanistan.
Newsnight also has new allegations by ‘Chavistas’ that US funding is behind three plans to assassinate President Chavez. – Greg Palast
After hearing all the ridiculous lies and defamation of Hugo Chavez by the mainstream media, and then having to hear the same thing repeated by the so called “Christian”, so called “Patriot”, so called “Alternative Media” (ie, the Tangy Tangerine Jonestown repeaters) I just have to point out a few facts.
- Hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans are lining up to mourn the premature death of their democratically elected leader Chavez.
- Chavez will go down in history as the greatest modern leader of Venezuela, and one of the greatest leaders in Latin America.
- Chavez nationalized Venezuela’s oil and brought that oil wealth to the people of Venezuela (the fastest way to get put on a hit list).
- Chavez brought a great majority of Venezuelans out of severe poverty.
- Chavez brought education to Venezuelans.
- Chavez brought healthcare to Venezuelans.
- Chavez won all his elections fairly and democratically… this was NOT a dictator.
GEORGE W. BUSH (BUSH JR.):
- No one will mourn Bush Jr.’s death, nor his father’s death, except for their immediate family, the Fascists that surround them, and the fake mainstream media.
- Bush Jr. will be remembered as one of the worst Presidents in US history.
- Bush Jr. was involved in the 911 attack plot to create a war, and is responsible for the deaths of nearly 3000 people.
- Bush Jr. lied a number of times, and was assisted by the media, to create a war with Iraq.
- Bush Jr. is responsible for authorizing torture and should be charged with war crimes.
- Bush Jr. left office with the US mired in two unnecessary wars, and he left the US economy completely destroyed and broken.
- Bush Jr. cheated and stole BOTH elections he supposedly won… this is “Democracy”????
So let’s move on… now we have Obama in office, who acts like he needs to prove he’s even more of a dictator than his cousin Bush Jr.. Obama has just chosen for his new Secretary Of State another cousin (yes, it’s like a plague on America), Bush Jr.’s cousin and Nazi Skull & Bones brethren, New World Order dreaming lunatic war monger who goes by the name of John Kerry (real name Kohn).
The following videos should be enough to convince you that Chavez was on a US kill list since at least 1999 (ie, Colombia Paramilitary hit = US authorized hit), and then of course there was the failed CIA coup attempt by Bush Jr. in 2002… yes, the plan was to remove Chavez, fly him out into the ocean, and drop him to his death from a helicopter… Bush style.
The truth will come out eventually, but a likely scenario is that Chavez’s cancer was caused by repeated polonium poisoning, just like Alexander Litvinenko and Yasser Arafat.
2009.9.26 Hitman Says $25 Million Offered ‘For Killing Chavez’ (AlJazeeraEnglish, youtube.com):
Al Jazeera has obtained exclusive footage of a Colombian contract killer detailing an alleged $25m plot to kill Hugo Chavez, the Venezuelan president.
He says the money was offered by Manuel Rosales, one of Chavez’s main political rivals, during a secret meeting in 1999.
A Colombian paramilitary group took up the offer, according to the hitman.
Chavez has long said there is a plot by Colombia to kill him, and the relation between the two countries is tense.
Al Jazeera’s Gabriel Elizondo reports.
The following video is an excellent overview of Bush Jr.’s failed coup, and failed murder, of Hugo Chavez on 2002.4.11.
2013.1.11 The Assassination Of Hugo Chavez By Greg Palast (Properly Titled ‘The Coup Against Hugo Chavez’, Aired 2002.5.13) (BBC, youtube.com):
Greg Palast reporting for BBC Newsnight
First Broadcast May 13th, 2002
March 5, 2013 – Newsnight also has new allegations by ‘Chavistas’ that US funding is behind three plans to assassinate President Chavez. Comandante Guillermo Garcia Ponce, leader of Chavez’ political organisation said: “From the information we have gathered, credible information: there are three components to the [plots to] kill our president.
North Korea says it is scrapping all non-aggression pacts with South Korea, closing its hotline with Seoul and shutting their shared border point.
The announcement follows a fresh round of UN sanctions punishing Pyongyang for its nuclear test last month.
Earlier, Pyongyang said it reserved the right to a pre-emptive nuclear strike against its “aggressors”.
The US said it took the threats seriously, but that “extreme rhetoric” was not unusual for Pyongyang.
South Korea’s defence ministry said that the North would become “extinct” if it went through with its threat.
The North Korean announcement, carried on the KCNA state news agency, said the North was cancelling all non-aggression pacts with the South and closing the main Panmunjom border crossing inside the Demilitarized Zone.
FLASHBACK 27 May 2009: North Korea abandons truce and threatens to attack the South
Pyongyang said that South Korea’s decision to start intercepting ships that are suspected of carrying weapons of mass destruction was tantamount to “a declaration of war against us”.
The statement follows a number of missile tests and an underground nuclear test by the North in the last two days.
The statement, through North Korea’s state newswire, warned Seoul that North Korea “will no longer be bound by the armistice accord” and that the “Korean peninsula will go back to a state of war”.
Pyongyang had previously warned Seoul that joining the US-led Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI) would have fearful consequences.
No formal peace treaty has ever been signed between the two countries, but an armistice in 1953 and a Mutual Defence treaty between the US and South Korea effectively ended the Korean war.
The Obama Administration could use lethal force on Americans within the United States and without trial during “an extraordinary circumstance,” Attorney General Eric Holder said on Tuesday.
In a letter to Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), Holder said the Administration favored the use of law enforcement over the military when it came to fighting terrorist threats within the country. However, Holder refused to rule out the possibility that the President of the United States could use a drone strike on U.S. soil in an extreme situation.
“As members of this administration have previously indicated, the US government has not carried out drone strikes in the United States and has no intention of doing so,” he wrote. “As a policy matter moreover, we reject the use of military force where well-established law enforcement authorities in this country provide the best means for incapacitating a terrorist threat.”
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, who went from a young conspiratorial soldier who dreamed of revolution to the fiery anti-U.S. leader of one of the world’s great oil powers, died March 5 in Caracas of complications from an unspecified cancer in his pelvic area.
He was 58 and had been president since 1999, longer than any other democratically elected leader in the Americas. Vice President Nicolas Maduro announced the death.
Mr. Chavez first revealed in a brief, dramatic television address in June 2011 that he had undergone two surgical procedures in Cuba. He would go under the knife two more times, greatly weakening the once robust leader. Mr. Chavez had been elected in October 2012 to a third six-year term. But he missed his swearing-in ceremony on Jan. 10 while lying gravely ill in a Havana hospital after undergoing what his aides had called a complex operation a month before.
VENEZUELA DEPLOYS ITS ARMY AND POLICE...
Accuses USA of giving Chavez cancer...
Demise Deepens Crisis in Divided Country...
Venezuela Expels American Diplomats...
CLAIM: Chavez Had Amassed Private Fortune of $2 Billion...
By Greg Palast
Tuesday, March 5, 2013
For BBC Television, Palast met several times with Hugo Chàvez, who passed away today.
Venezuelan President Chavez once asked me why the US elite wanted to kill him. My dear Hugo: It’s the oil. And it’s the Koch Brothers – and it’s the ketchup.
Reverend Pat Robertson said,
“Hugo Chavez thinks we’re trying to assassinate him. I think that we really ought to go ahead and do it.”
It was 2005 and Robertson was channeling the frustration of George Bush’s State Department. Despite Bush’s providing intelligence, funds and even a note of congratulations to the crew who kidnapped Chavez (we’ll get there), Hugo remained in office, reelected and wildly popular.
But why the Bush regime’s hate, hate, HATE of the President of Venezuela?
Reverend Pat wasn’t coy about the answer: It’s the oil.
“This is a dangerous enemy to our South controlling a huge pool of oil.”
A really BIG pool of oil. Indeed, according to Guy Caruso, former chief of oil intelligence for the CIA, Venezuela hold a recoverable reserve of 1.36 trillion barrels, that is, a whole lot more than Saudi Arabia.
If we didn’t kill Chavez, we’d have to do an “Iraq” on his nation. So the Reverend suggests,
“We don’t need another $200 billion war….It’s a whole lot easier to have some of the covert operatives do the job and then get it over with.”
Chavez himself told me he was stunned by Bush’s attacks: Chavez had been quite chummy with Bush Senior and with Bill Clinton.
So what made Chavez suddenly “a dangerous enemy”? Here’s the answer you won’t find in The New York Times:
Just after Bush’s inauguration in 2001, Chavez’ congress voted in a new “Law of Hydrocarbons.” Henceforth, Exxon, British Petroleum, Shell Oil and Chevron would get to keep 70% of the sales revenues from the crude they sucked out of Venezuela. Not bad, considering the price of oil was rising toward $100 a barrel.
But to the oil companies, which had bitch-slapped Venezeula’s prior government into giving them 84% of the sales price, a cut to 70% was “no bueno.” Worse, Venezuela had been charging a joke of a royalty – just one percent – on “heavy” crude from the Orinoco Basin. Chavez told Exxon and friends they’d now have to pay 16.6%.
Clearly, Chavez had to be taught a lesson about the etiquette of dealings with Big Oil.
On April 11, 2002, President Chavez was kidnapped at gunpoint and flown to an island prison in the Caribbean Sea. On April 12, Pedro Carmona, a business partner of the US oil companies and president of the nation’s Chamber of Commerce, declared himself President of Venezuela – giving a whole new meaning to the term, “corporate takeover.”
U.S. Ambassador Charles Shapiro immediately rushed down from his hilltop embassy to have his picture taken grinning with the self-proclaimed “President” and the leaders of the coup d’état.
Bush’s White House spokesman admitted that Chavez was, “democratically elected,” but, he added, “Legitimacy is something that is conferred not by just the majority of voters.” I see.
With an armed and angry citizenry marching on the Presidential Palace in Caracas ready to string up the coup plotters, Carmona, the Pretend President from Exxon returned his captive Chavez back to his desk within 48 hours. (How? Get The Assassination of Hugo Chavez, the film, expanding on my reports for BBC Television. You can download it for free for the next few days.)
Chavez had provoked the coup not just by clawing back some of the bloated royalties of the oil companies. It’s what he did with that oil money that drove Venezuela’s One Percent to violence.
In Caracas, I ran into the reporter for a TV station whose owner is generally credited with plotting the coup against the president. While doing a publicity photo shoot, leaning back against a tree, showing her wide-open legs nearly up to where they met, the reporter pointed down the hill to the “ranchos,” the slums above Caracas, where shacks, once made of cardboard and tin, where quickly transforming into homes of cinder blocks and cement.
“He [Chavez] gives them bread and bricks, so they vote for him, of course.” She was disgusted by “them,” the 80% of Venezuelans who are negro e indio (Black and Indian)—and poor. Chavez, himself negro e indio, had, for the first time in Venezuela’s history, shifted the oil wealth from the privileged class that called themselves “Spanish,” to the dark-skinned masses.
While trolling around the poor housing blocks of Caracas, I ran into a local, Arturo Quiran, a merchant seaman and no big fan of Chavez. But over a beer at his kitchen table, he told me,
“Fifteen years ago under [then-President] Carlos Andrés Pérez, there was a lot of oil money in Venezuela. The ‘oil boom’ we called it. Here in Venezuela there was a lot of money, but we didn’t see it.”
But then came Hugo Chavez, and now the poor in his neighborhood, he said, “get medical attention, free operations, x-rays, medicines; education also. People who never knew how to write now know how to sign their own papers.”
Chavez’ Robin Hood thing, shifting oil money from the rich to the poor, would have been grudgingly tolerated by the US. But Chavez, who told me, “We are no longer an oil colony,” went further…too much further, in the eyes of the American corporate elite.
Venezuela had landless citizens by the millions – and unused land by the millions of acres tied up, untilled, on which a tiny elite of plantation owners squatted. Chavez’ congress passed in a law in 2001 requiring untilled land to be sold to the landless. It was a program long promised by Venezuela’s politicians at the urging of John F. Kennedy as part of his “Alliance for Progress.”
Plantation owner Heinz Corporation didn’t like that one bit. In retaliation, Heinz closed its ketchup plant in the state of Maturin and fired all the workers. Chavez seized Heinz’ plant and put the workers back on the job. Chavez didn’t realize that he’d just squeezed the tomatoes of America’s powerful Heinz family and Mrs. Heinz’ husband, Senator John Kerry, now U.S. Secretary of State.
Or, knowing Chavez as I do, he didn’t give a damn.
Chavez could survive the ketchup coup, the Exxon “presidency,” even his taking back a piece of the windfall of oil company profits, but he dangerously tried the patience of America’s least forgiving billionaires: The Koch Brothers.
How? Well, that’s another story for another day. [Watch this space. Or read about it in the book, Billionaires & Ballot Bandits. Go to BallotBandits.org).
Elected presidents who annoy Big Oil have ended up in exile—or coffins: Mossadegh of Iran after he nationalized BP’s fields (1953), Elchibey, President of Azerbaijan, after he refused demands of BP for his Caspian fields (1993), President Alfredo Palacio of Ecuador after he terminated Occidental’s drilling concession (2005).
“It’s a chess game, Mr. Palast,” Chavez told me. He was showing me a very long, and very sharp sword once owned by Simon Bolivar, the Great Liberator. “And I am,” Chavez said, “a very good chess player.”
In the film The Seventh Seal, a medieval knight bets his life on a game of chess with the Grim Reaper. Death cheats, of course, and takes the knight. No mortal can indefinitely outplay Death who, this week, Chavez must know, will checkmate the new Bolivar of Venezuela.
But in one last move, the Bolivarian grandmaster played a brilliant endgame, naming
Chavez sent Maduro to meet me in my downtown New York office back in 2004. In our run-down detective digs on Second Avenue, Maduro and I traded information on assassination plots and oil policy.
Even then, Chavez was carefully preparing for the day when Venezuela’s negros e indios would lose their king—but still stay in the game.
Class war on a chessboard. Even in death, I wouldn’t bet against Hugo Chavez.
Palast is the author of the New York Times bestsellers Billionaires & Ballot Bandits: How to Steal an Election in 9 Easy Steps, The Best Democracy Money Can Buy, Armed Madhouse and the highly acclaimed Vultures’ Picnic, named Book of the Year 2012 on BBC Newsnight Review.
North Korea has threatened to scrap the armistice which ended the 1950-53 Korean War if the South and US continue with an ongoing military drill.
The Korean People’s Army Supreme Command spokesman issued the statement Tuesday, according to the state KCNA news agency. Pyongyang warned it will cancel the Korean War cease-fire agreement on March 11 if the drills are not halted.
Details of the tentative sanctions remained murky, with UN diplomats telling Reuters on condition of anonymity they hoped to receive the draft resolution at Tuesday’s council session.
The announcement from Pyongyang comes as South Korean and US troops launched their annual joint military drills on Friday. Some 10,000 US troops and 200,000 South Korean soldiers are currently taking part in the exercises.
North Korea had previously warned the US commander in South Korea of “miserable destruction” if the US military went ahead with the two-month-long exercise, Yonhap News Agency reported on Friday.
London-based American lawyers, who specialise in tax and immigration, report a threefold increase over the last five years in the number of American citizens who are giving up their citizenship – a process known as “renunciation”.
Across the world 1,781 Americans renounced their citizenship in 2011 compared with just 231 in 2008, when US tax laws changed, although it remains unknown how many are adopting British rather than any other nationality.
Many decide to give up their American citizenship after tiring of the lengthy US tax return process, which requires them to pay tax on their total income regardless of where they live.
“There’s no question that the number of people renouncing their US citizenship is increasing,” said Diane Gelon, a US tax and immigration lawyer based in London.
“I probably get a dozen cases a year now when before 2008 when the tax laws changed it was just three or four.”