1. Mexico's war on drugs. Over 100,000 people have been killed in Mexico in the past few years. Thanks to an excellent series of interviews by Guillermo Jimenez I understand a lot more about what's happening. The best is the one he did with researcher Douglas Valentine entitled Beyond dirty wars. It's available on http://www.boilingfrogspost.com In the interview Valentine points out that the U.S. has been sending arms south of the border since at least the Mexican revolution in an intentional effort to destabilize Mexico. Currently the U.S. is aiding the Sinaloa cartel in it's efforts to gain a monopoly in the drug market Of course the cartel is actually a front for elements of Mexico's corrupt oligarchy and elements of the military and police. The ultimate beneficiaries are the big US banks. There was a scandal a couple of years ago called fast and furious in which the ATF accidentally on purpose helped the Sinaloa cartel to obtain 1000's of automatic weapons going so far as to tell suspicious gun store owners to let the sales go through. For more on this check out his podcasts on Demanufacturing consent http://www.boilingfrogspost.com and his podcast traces of reality where there are some great interviews with Bill Conroy of narco-news and Anabel Hernandez. Plus check out narco news, and douglasvalentine.com
2. Fidel Castro helped end apartheid. A largely forgotten piece of history in America at least. In 1974 the Portuguese dictatorship fell taking with it one of the last old style colonialist empires. Angola was part of this empire and the people of Angola had been fighting for freedom under the MPLA a revolutionary organization. With elections certain to put the MPLA in power South Africa and the CIA began to intervene. They supported the FNLA and the UNITA movement of the murderous Savimbi to fight the MPLA. In October 1975 South Africa invaded to try and get rid of MPLA. Cuba sent it's own forces to protect the MPLA together they managed to hand the south Africans a devastating defeat. This had a huge psychological impact on the apartheid regime in south Africa calling into question their delusions about white superiority. The War went on for over a decade with the CIA and the south Africans unable to destroy Angolan independence the long drawn out war drained the resources of the apartheid regime and helped lead to it's collapse. Cuba provided not only troops but lots of doctors. Nelson Mandela credited Fidel Castro with a major role in the fall of apartheid. So next time you here some American demonizing Castro remember it was the u.s. that was on the side of the racist apartheid regime and Castro who helped bring about it's downfall. (The cia was directly responsible for Mandela's capture and imprisonment) There is a great interview with Piero Gleijeses on the topic at "your world news" a podcast available at blogtalkradio. It's called visions of freedom Cuba and the struggle for southern Africa. They have some great podcasts on African history and current events, among other topics. Or get the book visions of freedom: Havana Washington Pretoria and the struggle for Southern Africa.
3. Somalia in context. I've already mentioned that the roots of Somalia's problems go back to the proxy war between the US and the Soviets. This led to the collapse of the Somali government and all those US supplied weapons ended up in the hands of various factions leading to chaos. I'll go into all that in the future for now I'll explain the Somali "pirates." With no functioning government let alone Navy Somalia coast became a free for all for multinational corporations. Corrupt European firms decided to illegally dump toxic waste off the coast since there was no one to stop them. Somalis suffer numerous ill health effects from this toxic waste. Enormous commercial fishing vessels invaded the waters overfishing since there was no one to stop them. If they came across any Somali fishermen they'd attack them. Finally with their food supply poisoned and depleted the Somali fishermen fought back the only way they could they began to organize to resist this foreign maritime invasion. Since the toxic waste dumping and overfishing were illegal companies preferred to pay ransom rather then attract attention to their illegal activities. I learned about this from Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya's The Globalization of Nato. Hollywood made a movie about it starring the lovable Tom Hanks in the role of hero and the poor Somalis as the villains. Meanwhile America is still waging proxy war on Somalia over 100,000 people have been intentionally starved and the US keeps getting client regimes like Uganda, Ethiopia, and Kenya to invade Somalia in it's never ending and seldom reported cycle of war.