Q256 Transcript

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Jones: As the insurrection in Nicaragua spreads with opposition to the government of President Anastasio Somoza almost universal, the strategic– uh, the strategy of the main forces involved has emerged clearly. The Sandinista;s National Liberation Front, the Frente – F-r-e-n-t-e (pause) S– (faintly) Stop. (Back to mike)

–the one we do have are very deadly. They can cause your legs to rot clear off practically to the bone. And we have tigers out there. Our neighbors have been attacked with tigers. We never have had any problem. Perhaps it’s because we share some food with them, maybe– maybe they understand our concern, but uh– there are too many, many hazards for you children to take it upon yourself to go into a jungle. The head of the engineer, (Pause) the head engineer in Guyana uh, Industry said that he went just in the jungle, thought he knew what he was doing and was lost for eight days without water. There’s plenty of paths, there’s roads where you walk where you want to go. You can walk to Kaituma. You can walk out and see enough of the world, but don’t try to be pioneers. You will regret doing that, because somebody will lose their life if you don’t stay out of those jungles, alone. In the first place, Vincent [Lopez], if you seriously want this job, you’re going to have to decide on it right now. You’re going to have to decide on it right now. Because the diversion flight will be here before too long and we have to have an understanding what you want to do. We want you to do what you want to do. That’s the last call. Thank you. (tape edit)

Want to remind the adventurers and children who like to collect things– (Pause)

As the insurrection of Nicaragua spreads with opposition to the government of President – or should we say dictator – Anastasio– Anasacio Somoza. Almost universally the strategy of the main force involved has emerged clearly. The Sandinista National Liberation Front, the Frente– F-r-e-n-t-e– the Frente believes that Nicaragua is experiencing the third stage of a popular revolution, and many revolutionary authorities agree. Agusto, Augusto Cesar Sandenino [Sandino] who fought US-imposed government defining its– he– he fought the US-imposed government and– and occupying force, of four thousand eight hundred US-imp– posed soldiers upon him. (Pause) Marines I’m talking about, US Marines, until 1933. Defining its main goal in the stage– in this stage as getting rid of Somoza and So– Somocismo, the empire the family has built up in over 40 years of rule, the Frente strategy is to help create a national insurrection. Democratic government, (Pause) including representati– representatives of all the sectors that are participating in this anti-Somoza struggle. It is perhaps one of the most broadly unified front that’s been seen, with the exception of Peru, where Trotskyites, Maoist and Muscovites have formed quite a coalition against the oppressive military regime. It’s reportedly true that the similar type of unison had developed in Bolivia and very strongly so in Colombia. Colombia has such a bold hold on their lands that they moved into the capital of Colombia – Bogotá – and were able to find 18 informers to the secret police and hold a people’s execution right in open daylight in Colombia and escape. So revolution is in the wind. And we’re mighty glad that it is.

Anyway the Frente strategy is to help build up over forty years of rule. The Frente’s strategy is to help create a national insurrection to weaken the government and to replace it with a revolutionary democratic government, including representatives of all the sectors that are participating the anti-Somoza struggle. The Frente encouraged the formalization of the broad opposition front which called the general strike of the first past two weeks. The boar– the broad front consists of 15 organizations, including conservative – that’s beautiful, but people who love liberty overlook their labels, including conservative, and if you will, communist parties. The main confederation and the group called las doce – the twelve – made up of lead– leading Nicaraguan political and professional figures close to the Sandinistas, the Frente has recognized publicly that it is not prepared to rule the country after Somoza leaves. But it is clearly its aim to replace some of its members and la doce– las doce in key position and any interim armed government in between. That means the Frente strategy which has been described in various communications. Stand by, there’s a question. (Pause) (Under breath) Fucker.

Frente strategy has been described in communiqués with interviews as reflected in the armed attacks on National Guard garrisons of the past year. In the taking of the national palace last month and the fighting in different cities where poorly-armed Sandinista sympathizers often held off National Guard troops for days. The moderate opposition, the center, and center-left forces in the broad opposition front (Pause) gave grudging support to the Sandinistas’ military actions. Some business leaders in the conservative party, for example, say they will accept Sandinista’s representation in the interim government. Stand by, stand by. Another question. (Pause) (tape edit)

(unintelligible word) Sorry for the many interruptions. But more conservative members of the front, including those who backed an arranged coup by National Guard officers late last month, fear the growing influence and power of the French and hope they can form a government without them. The assembly of the– for example, vetoed August 27– vetoed August 27– (Pause) to support the broad front in its general strike, (Pause) but attacked the Frente, saying it stood for violence, destruction and a denial of the right to private property. Dictator Anastasio Somoza – who has been held up by nothing in these past few days but military aid gotten to him clandestinely, that is secretly, through US multinational corporations – Somoza, whose family has ruled Nicaragua, Central America, largest country, since 1936, went on the offensive last week, hoping to stick it out until the 1881 [1981] election, when he said he would leave the government in the hands of his son [Anastasio Somoza Portocarrero] or a trusted associate. However, some observers claim Somoza is just trying to regain the initiative in order to negotiate a good deal for himself and his family before leaving the country. But Somoza says publicly, he thinks the opposition is too divided internally to overthrow him. He is also counting on the business opposition to fold as the strike takes its toll in profits. Of interest, news has it just a few moments ago, that the entire northwest region is in charge of the people leading a rebellion against Somoza. As the strike takes toll in profits, Somoza thinks the business element will drop their interest, but he apparently isn’t accurate yet. He has taunted the opposition over its lack of unifying– of a unifying leader and a harp– and harps on Cold War themes to scare the more moderate members of the opposition and to get the US government – which is always easy to do – to give him military aid. He claims the Frente is suppor– is supplied by Cuba. Voice of America was so absolutely caught up in the Cold War frenzy that it said earlier, that all– it could not be Nicaraguans in the Frente. We had them all killed ten years ago. I would be slightly ashamed to admit that, if I were them. Which the Frente denies. The Frentes denies that there are Cubans. As of last week, Somoza still had the loyalty of the National Guard, a loyalty based on special privileges and elitism. He officers them– offers the most poorly– (Pause) the most poor troops including the spoils of war. There’s not much that they get, but it’s better than the meager rations that the ordinary peasants have. Somoza’s power and the broad opposition to it have roots deep in the past years of rule by the Somoza family and 66 years of close US involvement in Nicaraguan affairs. The US first intervened militarily in Nicaragua in 1912 to suppress a rebellion by liberals who sought some independence from US tutelage. In 1927 Sandinin– Sandino began his great and brave guerrilla war against the USA’s im– fascist-imposed (Pause) government leading to the first victim– Vietnam-style intervention in US history. To defeat Sandino’s army, the USA sent some four thousand eight hundred troops and used aerial bombings but failed to pacify the country. In 1933 the last troops withdrew, partly because of anti-intervention sentiment in the country which led to 1932 Senate vote to cut off funds for the intervention but they left in their place the National Guard, the nation’s only police and army force, under the command of the current president’s father, Anastasio Somoza Garcia. Since then the Somozas and their supporters, always close to United States government, have used their great power to build lucrative – that means wealthy – personal empires. Though the family and his cohorts present– Through tho– the family and his cohorts, means allies and so forth, President Somoza, who is said to be worth at least a billion dollars, owns outright uh, or controls the national airlines, at least 30 to 35 % of the prime farmland of Nicaragua. What a crime. The people of the world will not tolerate this much longer. He owns the cement and meat-packing, metal-fabricating and concrete plants, the construction monopoly, he owns– he has an absolute monopoly on all construction firms. He owns the newspaper and the TV station and a port called Puerto Somoza. Through his banking, insurance and investment companies, he controls much of the country’s financial system. Somoza’s profit profited enormously from the reconstruction following the 1972 earthquake which destroyed Managua, the capital of beautiful Nicaragua. The open graft of that period forced many businesses and banking leaders into the opposition, since they felt squeezed out of any kind of lucrative deals by the Somoza family.

Lust is always the final enemy– final enemy that brings down capitalism. There is no unity in capitalism. It’s not based on a philosophy of cooperation or sharing so there always is some capitalist gonna be more hungry for power and wealth than another, and consequently that is always the result. That is the contradictions of capitalism that sooner or later will bring it to its timely death.

To keep this empire together against the people with a strong tradition of rebellion, symbolized by Sandino, Somoza built the seven thousand five hundred man National Guard who had been trained, according to reliable reports, by USA aides, Green Beret, through the CIA. No doubt of it, no doubt of it. Anyway, these troops– three-quarters of the National Guard troops have been trained, as I said, by the United States. They know that. And they have been tor– trained well. According to the International Bulletin, they’ve been trained well in methods of torture. Makes our hearts ache when we think how much of our money went out to support this kind of devastating cruelty, and all the children that have been napalmed across the world, all of the horrible acts of torture that have been done in the name of our tax dollars.

Anyway, as I was saying, they’ve been trained in the USA including crack counter-insurgency troops who receive special training in the Panama Canal Zone, (Pause) although Panama is getting extremely more independent and is having quite a bit to say about what goes on in the Canal Zone. In recent years, these troops have carried out brutal campaigns in the mountains of northern Nicaragua, killing hundreds of peasants in their search for Sandinistas. They’ve put down rebellions in Malaya earlier this year, killing at least one hundred people and (pause to sound out word) Montegalpa last month where at least a hundred and fifty died, as a poorly-armed civilian rebel [force] fought troops armed with machine guns and supported by machine guns with helicopters above them. Gunships and also armed vehicles, all uh, purchased conveniently through the USA and – this is one of the most striking things – the Catholic church hierarchy has aided in the past this kind of brutality by even us– using some of its church wealth. It has been reported of recent days though, that the younger priests of the Catholic church have denounced the Guard’s brutality in these campaigns. Opposition leaders say that the National Guard and the US government are now Somoza’s key sources of power. They hope for a split in the National Guard, since a clear-cut military victory is unlikely. Uh– yeah, unlikely. If this were Cuba doing these kinds of irresponsible acts, if this was some socialist free territory committing these kinds of acts, we already would’ve seen the US Marines. I remember so well how San– San Domingo, uh, the Dominican Republic wanted to have a liberal progressive democracy, but the US Marines moved in in a matter of hours and stopped that. So we won’t fall for that kind of baloney. Meanwhile the Carter Administration remains publicly committed to pursuing negotiations between the government and the responsible opposition forces, quote unquote. What are the responsible opposition forces? Naturally those that would encourage the free enterprise system. Most of the groups in the broad front say this amounts to supporting Somoza, since they refuse to negotiate with him on the grounds that he is not uh, trustworthy. Carter Administration policy towards the Somoza dread fascist regime has been, as one reporter for the Washington Post put it, absolutely sickeningly schizophrenic, in the last past year, withholding and then giving aid, criticizing and then praising Somoza for his human rights practices. [U.S. President Jimmy] Carter should shut his mouth about anybody’s human rights practices, until he does something about the tens of thousands of political prisoners that our black ambassador to the United Nations, even Andrew Young, had the courage to say, existed. Opponents– opposition leaders say, top US policy-makers are reluctant to cut off all support for Somoza, because they fear that chaos and an increase in the left’s power will follow. But the administration is clearly hedging its bets. Last week, rumors circulated in Managua, the US– that US ambassador Mauricio Solaún (Pause) was holding secret meetings with opposition business and banking executives, to figure out what they could offer Somoza (Pause) as a compromise so that he could remain in power. I can’t imagine how any civilized government would have the nerve to even attend the United Nations and talk about human dignity and human rights, and then follow such practices. (Pause)

A little news about Bikini that might be of interest to you. Bikini – B-i-k-i-n-i – look it up on your map so you’ll be fu– be familiar geographically. Bikini is a l– lovely little atoll, a little island in the Pacific. One hundred and forty residents of Bikini were removed from the South Pacific island last month, their home for centuries, for the second time in 32 years. They said they would not go, but they had little choice. Their island, its coconut palms and blue lagoon is contaminated beyond the danger r– level by radiation from US bomb testing, twenty years after United States used its first nuclear test, from 1946 to 1958. The people of Bikini were removed from their homes in 1946. (Tape edit)

French nuclear deal off. In what is being described as a victory for President Carter non-proliferation policy, France has withdrawn plans to sell nuclear processing plants to Pakistan. The decision was announced by Pakistan (Pause) just yesterday. France had been trying for a year to change its contract signed in 1976 by offering Pakistan a co– (Pause) coprocessing plant instead of reprocessing facility. Both would take (Pause) spent fuel and turn it into fuel that could be used again– again in a nuclear power plant. The difference is that the pro– un– the reprocessing plant would (Pause) produce plutonium, and in a separate from– form usable for building nuclear weapons. Pakistan refused to accept the coprocessing (Pause) facility, a fact which had led many to believe that the Pakistanis were indeed seeking plutonium. You’ll have to excuse me, I was up all night, and I haven’t gotten any rest yet, so I sound, I imagine, more than a little froggy. Anyway, they refused because they were seeking a– a bomb that would produce plutonium for use in building a bomb (pause) in 1974 to catch up with their rival, India, which exploded a bomb, as you remember, in 1974. Now that the reprocessing deal is off, the USA says it hopes to sign a new agreement– new aid agreement with Pakistan in effort to show displeasure over the French deal. The USA last fall had put under play– under (Pause) review all but food and agricultural aid to Pakistan. However, rumor has it that the French are still working underhandedly and beneath the table to be able to supply Pakistan with the kind of equipment she needs to build a nuclear bomb.

Naturally, one doesn’t have to have the intelligence of a moron to realize that, as you find more and more nations plagued with food, drought, monsoons, all kinds of malnutrition, that when you get that many weapons, someone is bound to make a mistake. It’s as inevitable as the sun rises. We remember the young man that spoke to us who had been an assistant commander, uh, in the Polaris submarine. There were sixteen, I believe, missiles on that submarine, and every month, he said, like robots, they went through the test. The only thing that would prove to them that it wasn’t a real happening was that the captain had to turn a last key. That day he happened to look up, and the captain started to turn the key, and after much fighting – which was very difficult to stop the captain – they got it stopped just short of the captain firing the key– turning the key that would have sent sixteen missiles throughout the world and thus started the holocaust. Sometimes I think humans have less intelligence than monkeys even– Even if monkeys were given nitroglycerin to play with, I don’t think they would do it with as much glee.

Anyway, France’s decision is expected to put a new pressure on West Germany which has ran into conflict with the Carter Administration over plans to a– supply Brazil with nuclear reactions– reactors and a reprocessing plant. In light of that, 98 of the world’s leading scientists– No. Of the leading scientists of the world, 98.7 [percent] said nuclear war would happen in the 1980’s. Not very promising kind of information. Even though we have an area where there’s (Pause) food in abundance and no sign of radiation from the Geiger counters, no one likes to think about living in such a world.

A sea of oil. Mexico’s President José– José Lopez Portillo announced in state of the union address that Mexico has proven oil reserves of 20 billion barrels and potential oil reserves totaling two– 200 billion barrels. If the estimate turns out to be correct, Mexico could replace Saudi Arabia as the world’s most important oil-producing country. In recent months, PEMEX, the state oil company, has continued to make dramatic new discoveries of oil, what The Los Angeles Times calls a sea of oil a half mile deep and 200 square miles in expanse seems to lie under southeastern Mexico. In this area, a high 63% of the exploratory wells are striking oil. Meanwhile production is raising and is rising rapidly. In 1976, Mexico was producing an average of 894,000 barrels a day and exposing– uh, exporting rather, nine hun– 94,000. Mexico’s now pumping 1,400,000 barrels a day and exporting more than 200,000. Bravo to them. Income from the exports will total two billion this year. Let’s hope they can keep from having to be under the finger of Yan– Yankee imperialist refinery processes. Double last year’s. And PEMEX says exports could bring eleven and a half billion dollars by 1985. Eighty percent of Mexico’s oil is exported – nah, yeah, that’s the catch – to the United States. The rest goes mainly to Israel. But the government is trying to diversify markets by increasing sales to, of all places, Cuba. Good. Bravo.

Meanwhile, the debate continues in Mexico over how to make use of the oil to solve economic problems. And even in Washington, there is a skeptica– skepticism that oil will make a difference. Mexico’s income dis– distribution ranks among the most unequal in the world, and unemployment reaches as high as 50% in some areas. There is no way that oil – its extraction, its refinement, uh– or its marketing – will improve employment in Mexico, a State Department economist told the Wall Street journalist, adding giving– given the way Mexico is organized, the oil boom could worsen the income distribution. Certainly it will, until some form of socialism develops. We all know about that. We see that in the Somoza regime.

A little more news and then we will quit. (Pause) (off mike) Yeah. (back to mike)

Chairman Hua confers with the Shah of Iran. Tehran was carefully chosen for Chinese communist party Chairman Hua Kuo-fenj itinerary, although no hint was given to the press until the Chinese leader left for Romania that Yugoslavia and– Yugoslavia rather– that he would also travel to Iran, the first non-communist state selected for a visit by this international China– uh, international communist. Ha, ha. Chairman of the People’s Republic of China. Because Shah of Iran [Mohammed Reza Pahlavi] was a US ally and strategically located between the Soviet Union’s southern border and the oil-rich Persian Gulf. Although no joint communiqué was issued when Hua left Tehran September in the first week after a four-day visit, it was assumed that the two leaders discussed their parallel interest in ca– countering public– in countering Soviet influence in the Persian Gulf and Indian Ocean region. In public, however, Hua toned down the anti-Soviet rhetoric from his previous stops in Belgrade and Bucharest, apparently at the request of the Shah, who does not– does brisk trade with the Soviets and Eastern Europeans and does not want in any way – he absolutely does not want in any way – to have uh, any antagonism from his powerful northern Soviet neighbor. Chairman Hua’s visit nevertheless bolstered the Shah’s domestic and international prestige at a time of growing internal opposition to his rule. Thousands were rebelling against the dictatorship of the bloody Shah throughout nearly every village of Iran. The Shah’s opponents even held a major demonstration of some 25,000 people with– (emphatic) within a mile– (Pause) yes, within a mile of Chairman Hua’s residence, hoping the Chinese leader would witness the violent confrontation, but Chairman Hua avoided the demonstrations in the capital and canceled plans to see the crown jewels and a royal museu– museum for security reasons. It’s hard to see how – as much as we understand the chauvinism, the pain, the opium war, the Boxer rebellions – that how in the nuclear age, a communist nation with such power, such technology– they build underground cities, complexes that can save, according to most estimates, 700 million of their people, and the Soviets have done the same, built humane shelters as well as Sweden a social democracy. It’s hard– (Tape speeds to distortion, then stops)

–tention. We’ll continue the news knowing that often Lope [Vincent Lopez] goes out wandering about. We’ll remain just optimistic about his adventuring patterns.

Hua– Chairman Hua confers with Shah. Tehran was carefully chosen for Chinese communist– Tehra wa– Tehran was carefully chosen for the Communist Chinese party Chairman Hua Kuo-fenj. His itinerary, although no hint was given to the press until the Chinese leader left for Romania and Yugoslavia. Yugoslavia is a non-aligned communist na– nation, as you are familiar, and Romania is a Warsaw Pact member, but it follows a more individualistic course. For instance, it recognizes the state of Israel. Anyway, he left for Romania and Yugoslavia. That’s when he announced it after that, that he would also travel to Iran, the first non-communist state selected for a visit by a Chinese party chairman was a US ally, strategically located between the Soviet Union’s southern border and the oil-rich Persian gulf. Although no joint communiqué was issued when Hua left September last week after a four day-visit, it was assumed that the two leaders discussed their parallel interest in countering Soviet influence in the Persian Gulf – I’m going over this again because some said they didn’t get it – and Indian Ocean region. In public, however, Chairman Hua toned down his anti-Soviet rhetoric from his previous stops in Belgrade, Yugoslavia and Bucharest, Romania, apparently at the request of the Shah who does brisk trade with the Soviets and Eastern Europeans, and does not want to excessively antagonize his powerful northern neighbors. Hua’s visit nevertheless bolstered the Shah’s domestic and international prestige at a time of growing internal opposition to his rule. The Shah’s opponents are myriad – many – all over the world, even ten– even 20,000 held a major demonstration with just a– within a mile of Hua’s residence, hoping the Chinese leader would witness the violent confrontation, but Hua avoided seeing reality, as it seems the Chinese have chosen to do in foreign policy matters. Demonstrated– But Hua avoided dem– the demonstration in the capital and canceled plans to see the crown jewels and a royal museum, uh, that– because of security reasons.

In another major diplomatic move demonstrating China’s flexible foreign policy, Peking may be about to settle its 17-year-old border dispute with India, as a prelude to full normalization with New Delhi. A leading member of the Indian parliament and of the ruling Janata Party, Subramanian– parliament, Subramanian S– Swamy told reporters in Peking last week that high Chinese officials told him China is preparing to reach a settlement of the dispute. Swamy said the breakthrough, which came during a visit of Peking next month by– might come during a visit of Peking next month by Indian foreign minister [Atal Bihari] Vajpayee. We have to say in all fairness that China certainly has been a great aid to the liberation of Guyana. She has given aid, according to a cabinet minister friend that we’ve spoken to, without any strings attached. She has given brave support uh, to Mozambique in their war with imperialism and even crossed USA in doing so. She has done the same in Zambia. She has also assisted bravely the North Koreans in their just demand for reunification.

China has a Doctrine of Three Worlds, and unfortunately the nuclear age does not have time for us to pass through it, according to many theorists at least. China considers the USSR and the USA to be the First World. They consider the most dangerous of the two to be the USSR. Critics say they take their statistics on CIA figures which does not give a representative analysis. Anyway, they point out that there are double the fighting force in the Soviet Union than there is in the USA. Also being a monolithic structure, China says that the Soviets can have more solidarity. However, one thing they do not regard, according [to] some critics B– from BBC, is that half of the Soviet army are engaged in health services. Nonetheless, that’s her doctrine. And the Second World includes the major industrial nations of the earth, including Japan, and her purpose is to woo as many of those away from the superpower from the hegemony that is obvious that USSR and USSA– USA have great power in the world. So China sees herself as the leader of the Third World, and she is doing all she can to form trade relations, even some that are not acceptable to some of the capitalist NATO alliance. Anything to build up more strength for China and more strength for the Third World. Also China’s doctrine, as you know, is based on the inevitability – that means the absolute certainty – of nuclear war. It’s China’s feeling that one must get it over with. China has hundreds of miles of complexes of underground cities for their people, and they feel that there is no way at this stage with the proliferation of weapons and the distrust between nations, that nuclear war can be avoided.

A bit of decision at the White House. Pressure from within the administration from Senator Henry Jackson has led President Carter to back off his decision August 10 to approve sale to the Soviet Union of an electron beam welder. The welder is a part of a 144 million dollar deal for a drill bit factory made by Dresser Industries of Dallas. The White House announced last week that Carter had called the review of that decision to hear any new objections to the sale. Administration sources said that Carter’s advisers were split three to two over the deal, with National Secretary Advisor [Zbigniew] Brzezinski, long known for his right-wing stands, Energy Secretary S– Sissinger [James Schlesinger] and Defense Secretary [Harold] Brown against the sale, and we all know their backgrounds from Southeast Asia. They’ve always been known as war hawks. The opponents’ position was strengthened by the re– report of a Pentagon-appointed panel headed by Fred Busey, President of Texas Instruments, which recommended against the sale– (Pause) recommended at the end (Pause) of the sale last month that Busey pointed that the Dresser deal would vastly improve the Soviet Unin– Union’s capability to d– deep– to a drill deep oil wells through solid rock, thus aiding its economy, and that it would upgrade Soviet meta– metallurgical capabilities that would have military application, a claim reportedly disputed by Brown himself. But Carter reversed himself again. He seems to be doing this more and more. Of course, as we have the good author [Mark Lane] in our midst today who wrote Rush to Judgment, he probably knows what happens to those high level like Senator [Robert F.] Kennedy, President [John F.] Kennedy, Malcolm [X] and Martin Luther King when they get out of step.

Carter’s reversed himself again. The White House announced September 6th– 16 that Carter had decided to override the objections of some of his advisors and that the Busey panel a– (Pause) and the Busy panel and allow the Dresser deal to go through. The decision was announced as chief strategic arms limitation talk uh, SALT negotiator Paul Warnke arrived in Moscow for another round of talks. Carter has had made many of these decisions of late, because when they refused to sell the computers to uh, the Soviet Union, all he succeeded in doing was making the West Germans richer who already have a surplus uh, in– in their banks because the Soviets uh, got the computer from France and also some other banned items the French sold. Those are the contradictions that sooner or later bring down the capitalist system. Only socialism will serve the people well. And only a– a socialism based on cooperation– we don’t work, we don’t eat, as the prime minister of our country [Forbes Burnham] recommends, a socialism that does not preach race, as the opposition did when they said apanjhat. Vote your own kind. Only such a courageous form of socialism is the answer to all nations of the world and most particularly to the Third World.

Thus ends the news and the commentary for the day. Thank you.

End of tape

Tape originally posted March 2009