Monday, November 30, 2009


So, in the interminable era of the 'war on terror', we have been fed a slurry of literature rehearsing the apocalyptic dramaturgy of Oswald Spengler and his epigones. The key actor, the hero, is the corporative entity known as 'The West'. It is locked in a mortal combat, a fight to the death, with the villain, a relentless and tyrannical opponent, known as 'radical Islam' or 'Islamo-fascism' or 'totalitarianism', tout court. The ideas of 'totalitarianism' constitute the deux ex machina, the animating spirit that subjectivates an otherwise inert substrata of humanity, and sends it rushing, ululating, en masse, toward Jerusalem or New York. - Richard Seymour

Saturday, November 28, 2009


This decade of emails and documents clearly concludes that global warming scientists have manipulated scientific data to “hide the decline” in global temperatures; and the fact that, there has been no statistically significant global warming for fifteen years, but our world has experienced a rapid and significant cooling for nine years.

Well, apparently these guys did not get the message

The U.S. navy is planning a massive push into the Arctic to defend national security, potential undersea riches and other maritime interests.

An "Arctic roadmap" by the Department of the Navy details a five-year strategic plan to expand fleet operations into the North in anticipation that the frozen Arctic Ocean will be open water in summer by 2030.


it would be delaying by “at least” six months the maturity date of $59 billion in bonds issued by the city-state’s largest state-owned company, Dubai World,
The real reason for the falls, however, is that Dubai’s apparent insolvency confirms that default by hyper-indebted government borrowers is now a real risk right across the globe
but would usher in a second, and probably worse, phase in the global financial crisis.
Bank of America strategists warned
of a major sovereign default
which would then resonate across global emerging markets in the same way that Argentina did in the early 2000s or Russia in the late 1990s,”
“fearful investors have started to worry about how safe sovereign debt is,” citing Ireland and Greece as two examples.
$80 billion borrowed
to fuel the emirate’s property boom.
which came to an end when property values halved in a period of weeks from October 2008
world’s tallest building, a giant indoor ski slope and a series of vast man-made islands

It is testimony to the anarchy and irrationality of the global financial system that although the scale of the Dubai crisis has been apparent for months, the government’s default announcement still caught global markets unawares.
Banks had apparently assumed the existence of an implicit government guarantee of DP World’s debt,
But there was no guarantee—Dubai World is a limited liability company owned by the Dubai government. The expectation that Abu Dhabi would rescue foreign investors was just idle hope.
immediate effect
a surge in the insurance costs for national borrowings,
That cost is represented in the price of credit default swaps (CDS) on government bond issues
The key response of capitalist institutions to the global financial crisis has been to transform the toxic debts and unsustainable borrowings of private institutions into public debt via bail outs,
While Greece, Hungary, Latvia, Estonia and Turkey are at the top of the global watchlist,

default is also an eventual likelihood for the United States, which has public debts of $12 trillion. The key difference between the United States and smaller states, in this regard, is that the US is currently deemed by its bondholders, including the Chinese government, as ‘too big to fail’.


The United States has decided to endorse the result of the upcoming election in Honduras, with or without Manuel Zelaya, the ousted president, in the next government.

Ian Kelly, a State Department spokesman, said the poll on Sunday is a "critical step" towards restoring democracy in the country.

"The holding of a free, fair and transparent election is necessary but not sufficient for Honduras to re-establish the democratic and constitutional order," he said in a statement on Friday.

Kelly said Washington, which originally condemned the June ouster of Zelaya, would continue to push for implementation of a US-brokered deal to create a unity government and let the Congress decide on whether to reinstate Zelaya until the next president takes office in January.

The foreign policy adviser of Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva Brazil's president, has said that the US risked souring relations with most of Latin America if it recognised the Honduras election.


a rush of buyouts and mergers in the last years of the Bush Administration has left two overseas giants in control of 80 percent of American beer consumption.
As recently as 2004, ten companies fought over world consumption; today Belgium-based InBev (Anheuser-Busch InBev) controls 25 percent of the world's beer market. SABMiller, the second largest brewer with 15 percent of the market, is a London-based conglomerate that formed when South African Breweries acquired U.S.-owned Miller in 2002.
2003, American-owned Anheuser-Busch was the world's largest beer company
In 2004, the world's third and fifth largest brewers, Belgian Interbrew and Brazilian AmBev, merged to create the world's largest beer producer, AmBev.
2008, AmBev bought Anheuser-Busch for $52 billion to become InBev
SABMiller announced a joint venture with Molson Coors

Americans are discovering that companies that once served their interest now determine their lives. Although some continue to support unregulated "free enterprise," others find that powerful monopolies now determine government policy. It's time to limit political contributions and control lobbying.


The coup and its leaders, as well as their fake elections, are the target of international condemnation. So why is the Obama Administration — after making a strong stand against the coup early on — letting the coup leaders get away with all of this? On the one hand, there’s the Lanny Davis Effect: The good friend of current Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is also a paid lobbyist for the golpistas. On the other hand, there’s the Jim DeMint Effect: The far-right knuckledragging Senator from South Carolina, who of course just loves the bloody-handed golpistas, has been holding key Obama Administration nominations hostage as a means to keep the White House from intervening effectively against the coup.

For more on what’s been happening in Honduras, see RAJ of Honduras Coup 2009’s brilliant summation.

What Obama Gained in China


—The 2010 Pentagon budget means “every man, woman and child in the United States will spend more than $2,700 on [defense] programs and agencies next year,” reports the Cato Institute. “By way of comparison, the average Japanese spends less than $330; the average German about $520; China’s per capita spending is less than $100.”

—In 2000, the Pentagon admitted it has lost—yes, lost—$2.3 trillion. In 2003, the San Francisco Chronicle reported that a subsequent Department of Defense study said it was only $1 trillion. To put such numbers in perspective, contemplate what those sums could finance. One trillion dollars, for instance, could pay the total cost of universal health care for the long haul; $2.3 trillion would cover universal health care plus the bank bailout plus the stimulus package.


It turns out to be shockingly easy to a@@a&&inate President Barack Obama.

Especially since Obama, the first black president, assailed by right-wing extremists as illegitimate, gets far more death threats than any previous president.
Now, the White House says that there was no danger for the president because everyone went through a magnetometer.
That's actually rather amusing.
to the domestic far right, which feverishly imagines that Obama isn't really an American at all, but is instead a fraud who owes his election to the manipulation of ACORN and answers to radical Islam.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Special Protection Group (SPG) and Tareq and Michaele Salahi

Obama's state dinner for Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in Washington and say it is a costly lapse.
"We are glad that it happened in the US. If such a security breach had happened out here in Hyderabad House, or even Vigyan Bhavan, we would have never heard the end of it and heads would have rolled," pointed out a senior protocol officer in charge of VIP security.
The Special Protection Group (SPG) responsible for the protection of the prime minister, has not raised any objection with the Secret Service.
Security and intelligence officials recall how they completely secured the Purana Qila, the ruins of a magnificent 16th century fort, when former president George W Bush addressed Indian people in March 2006.
Around two dozen Indian security officials along with US officials sanitised the entire area and took complete control of the fort 72 hours before Bush's address.


The ideological operation is simple: to put a smokescreen in front of the unfortunate decision of the Colombian government to increase the shameful presence of North American troops and mercenaries in our territory, which puts regional security in grave danger, and at the same time caricaturing the legitimate protests of the Venezuelan government against the expansion of the bases and its denunciation of the threat they represent. They want to confuse the victim with the aggressor.

For more than a century, the countries of America have been victims of
  • the direct interventions of the U.S. army (Dominican Republic, Panama, Haiti, Puerto Rico…);
  • the promotion, financing and training of local mercenaries and death squads to destablise adverse governments or revolutionary processes (Cuba, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Colombia...);
  • the financing of opposition parties, terrorist acts and massive destabilisation campaigns (Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador...);
  • and the support of coup d’états and military or civilian dictatorships (Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, Honduras...).

Today, facing the world crisis and the relative decline of its economic power, the U.S. needs to guarantee its control with a strong military presence in the region. Seven Colombian bases, airports to land warplanes, the deployment of intelligence, ultimately a force of occupation in our territory, added to what has already existed since the 1962 doctrine of National Security, convert our country into a true beachhead of U.S. military deployment and bury any hope of building a democratic nation.

It’s no secret to anybody that Venezuela is trying to promote a different model of development to neo-liberalism,
  • with social reforms,
  • large state investments,
  • improvement of the productive apparatus and sustainable growth;
  • policies which are intolerable for the Colombian and U.S. ruling classes.


Mexico is wracked by the deepest economic contraction since the Great Depression; millions are out of work (one estimate calculates real unemployment as 40%), 72,000,000 out of 107,000,000 Mexicans live in and around the poverty line
the Zapatista Army of National Liberation's (EZLN)
The "Sexta" called for the writing of a new revolutionary Mexican constitution in 2010, a process to be accompanied by prolonged social struggle.
At a meeting of "Otras" from eight states and the federal district this past March in Tampico, Tamaulipas, activists considered the prospects for renewed revolution in the coming year.
Carlos Montemayor, the nation's top scholar of guerrilla movements, even declared the 2010 timeline to be a "trap"
Subcomandante Marcos, born Rafael Sebastian Guillen Vicente,
has been missing in action
briefly last New Year's at the rebels' Festival of "Digna Rabia" ("Rage with Dignity") in Chiapas.

the phantom of 2010 provoked more speculation than in Chiapas
Governor Juan Sabines and his Secretary of Government Noe Castanon never weary of warning of "a social explosion" in the coming year. Many like La Jornada's veteran Chiapas correspondent Hermann Bellinghausen see their dire pronouncements as paving the path for the increased criminalization of social protest that has marked the Calderon years and a pretext for further militarizing an already militarized state.
San Cristobal de las Casas Bishop emeritus Don Samuel Ruiz.
Bishop Ruiz was the government's favorite villain, condemned as "Comandante Sammy", the real face behind the Zapatistas' ski-masks.
federal troops raided a ranch near Frontera Comalapa on the Guatemalan border
Three men taken into custody were pictured as "guerrilleros" and claimed that they had been trained by one "Comandante Uerto" of the "Kaibiles", a dread unit of the Guatemalan Army that functions as a death squad

the Chiapas press
suggested that the three were members of either the OCEZ (Emiliano Zapata Campesinos Organization) or the OPEZ (Emiliano Zapata Proletarian Organization) depending on which mendacious journalistic vision the reader swallows.
newspapers like Cuarto Poder
finger Diocesan priest Juan Hurtado Lopez in Altamirano in the Zapatista zone of influence, for calling for armed revolt in 2010 from his pulpit,
Cuarto Poder accuses the priest of Nueva Galicia of preaching revolution
Ricardo Lagunes, a lawyer for the Diocesan Fray Bartolome de las Casas Human Rights Center founded by Bishop Ruiz was beaten by thugs in Jotola down in the hot lands, September 18th.
September 29th arrest of veteran social activist Juan Manuel Hernandez, universally known as "Chema", a founder of the OCEZ and the House of the People ("Casa del Pueblo")
in the central valleys around Venustiano Carranza.

Chema, a longtime lightning rod for that community's recovery of 14,000 hectares from local ranchers, is a fiery indigenous leader whose political leanings are said to tilt more to the Popular Revolutionary Army (EPR) than to the EZLN.
Governor Sabines's plans to build a super highway that will divide up Zapatista autonomous villages has also increased their vulnerability and the rebels may well consider that a second edition of 1994 in 2010 would be political suicide.
A more likely theater for revolution would be Oaxaca and Guerrero,
confrontations between the military and unidentified guerrilleros were reported in the Guerrero sierra where 40 years ago Lucio Cabanas and his Party of the Poor rose against the mal gobierno.
Popular Revolutionary Army which made its debut in 1996 with a series of murderous attacks on the military along Guerrero's Costa Grande and whose cadre are thought to be drawn from Cabanas's descendents

(the EPR is now based in Oaxaca) and the ERPI or the Revolutionary Army of the Insurgent People, active in the Sierra and Costa Chica regions of Guerrero. Long incarcerated (ten years) ERPI founders Jacobo Silva and Gloria Arenas were recently released from prison and pledged allegiance to non-violent social struggle, aligning themselves with the Zapatistas' Other Campaign.
Other actors in the mix include the Armed Forces of Popular Revolution (FARP), the Villista Army of the Revolutionary People (EVRP), the December 2nd Revolutionary Organization (OR-2nd), The Viva Villa Collective (CVV), the Justice Commando-June 28th (CJ-28), the Democratic Revolutionary Tendency (TDR), and the Triple Guerrilla National Indigenous Alliance (TAGIN.)
While most of these "focos" express a Marxist-Leninist orientation, a handful of anarchist cells take credit for at least ten bombings at Mexico City banks and auto showrooms in September -

In the 1960s and '70s, urban guerrilla bands thrived in northern cities like Monterrey and Torreon, heisting banks and kidnapping industrialists. Indeed, the roots of the EZLN are firmly planted in those two northern cities. The Zapatista Army of National Liberation grew out of the Monterrey-based Forces of National Liberation (FLN)
The seven northern border states are the bloodiest battlefields in Felipe Calderon's ill-conceived war
The coalescence of radical forces and the drug gangs could create a climate propitious for revolutionary violence in 2010.
Similarly, one scenario for 2010 proposes coordinated risings in the cities and countryside throughout Mexico. Does the Mexican left have the numbers and organization to pull off simultaneous insurrection?
One subplot for 2010 projects indigenous rebels seizing sacred sites like Palenque and Teotihuacan this January 1st

El Insurgente, the EPR's theoretical journal, reminds readers that revolutions are a "coyuntura" (coming-together) of objective conditions such as economic collapse, repression, natural disaster, and the hunger of the people, and subjective forces - i.e. the revolutionaries themselves. Revolutions only happen when revolutionary forces are ready to carry them out. The EPR's conclusion: although objective conditions in 2010 are overripe for revolutionary upheaval, the objective forces lack cohesion and consolidation. In other words, don’t count on a new Mexican Revolution in 2010.

How Corporations Became 'Persons'

"Corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until all wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed."


We are told that the world should be without borders, for corporations and stuff. Borders are clogs in the celestial mechanism of the market. They are protectionism, which is darkness to the market’s light.

But when the discussion turns to people, somehow the argument flips. Then it’s troops, fences, regulations up the kazoo. Corporations get magic visas; cars and video games get them too. But when an actual human being tries to cross the border – well, call out the National Guard.

To which one has to say, “Wait a minute.” If the world should be borderless for artificial persons called corporations, then why not for real people? If Ford can go to Mexico to find cheaper labor, then why should not Mexican workers be able to come to the U.S. to find higher-paying jobs – or jobs, period? The proponents of global corporatism think that real people should be content with second-class status. I don’t think so.

There are over 24,000 Filipino nurses in the U.S. alone, and over 2.5 million overall. There are nearly one million n Saudi Arabia. Hong Kong has over 120,000 Filipina maids.

To put this another way, the Philippines has turned labor into a global commodity that is almost as mobile as capital. There is no denying the monetary inflow that has resulted. Expatriate Filipinos remit over ten billion dollars a year, which comes to over ten percent of the nation’s cash economy. Millions depend upon those remittances for food, housing, tuition, everything. In farm country, when you see a sturdy cement house, you can be almost certain that someone in that family is sending remittances from abroad.


I took my translation - "the regime occupying Jerusalem must vanish from the page of time" - from the indefatigable Professor Juan Cole's website where it has been for several weeks.

But it seems to be mainly thanks to the Guardian giving it prominence that the New York Times, which was one of the first papers to misquote Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, came out on Sunday with a defensive piece attempting to justify its reporter's original "wiped off the map" translation. (By the way, for Farsi speakers the original version is available here.)

Joining the "off the map" crowd is David Aaronovitch, a columnist on the Times (of London), who attacked my analysis yesterday. I won't waste time on him since his knowledge of Farsi is as minimal as that of his Latin. The poor man thinks the plural of casus belli is casi belli, unaware that casus is fourth declension with the plural casus (long u).

Dabhol power project

November 1993: The Indian government gives approval for Enron's Dabhol power plant, located near Bombay on the west coast of India. Enron has invested $3 billion, the largest single foreign investment in India's history. Enron owns 65 percent of Dabhol. This liquefied natural gas powered plant is supposed to provide one-fifth of India's energy needs by 1997 [Asia Times, 1/81/01, Indian Express, 2/27/00] It is the largest gas-fired power plant in the world. Earlier in the year, the World Bank concludes that the plant is "not economically viable" and refuses to invest in it. [New York Times, 3/20/01] Enron apparently tries to make the plant financially viable by investing in gas fields in nearby Uzbekistan (see June 24, 1996), but it cannot get that gas to Dabhol without a gas pipeline through Afghanistan (see June 24, 1996 and June 1998 (B)). Construction of the plant is abandoned just before completion (see June 2001 (J)).

June 24, 1996: Uzbekistan signs a deal with Enron "that could lead to joint development of the Central Asian nation's potentially rich natural gas fields." [Houston Chronicle, 6/25/96] The $1.3 billion venture teams Enron with the state companies of Russian and Uzbekistan. [Houston Chronicle, 6/30/96] On July 8, 1996, the US government agrees to give $400 million to help Enron and an Uzbeki state company develop these natural gas fields. [Oil and Gas Journal, 7/8/96] However, the deal is later canceled when it becomes apparent a gas pipeline will not be built across Afghanistan, and there is no easy way to get the gas out of the region (see November 1993 and June 1998 (B)).

June 1998 (B): Enron's agreement to develop natural gas with the government of Uzbekistan is not renewed (see June 24, 1996). Enron closes its office there. The reason for the "failure of Enron's flagship project" is an inability to get the natural gas out of the region. Uzbekistan's production is "well below capacity" and only 10 percent of its production is being exported, all to other countries in the region. The hope was to use a pipeline through Afghanistan, but "Uzbekistan is extremely concerned at the growing strength of the Taliban and its potential impact on stability in Uzbekistan, making any future cooperation on a pipeline project which benefits the Taliban unlikely." A $12 billion pipeline through China is being considered as one solution, but that wouldn't be completed until the end of the next decade at the earliest. [Alexander's Gas and Oil Connections, 10/12/98]

June 2001 (J): Enron's power plant in Dabhol, India, is shut down. The failure of the $3 billion plant, Enron's largest investment, contributes to Enron's bankruptcy later in the year (see December 2, 2001). Earlier in the year, India stopped paying its bill for the energy from the plant, because energy from the plant cost three times the usual rates. [New York Times, 3/20/01] Enron had hoped to feed the plant with cheap Central Asian gas, but this hope was dashed when a gas pipeline through Afghanistan was not completed (see June 1998 (B)). The larger part of the plant is still only 90 percent complete when construction stops at about this time. [New York Times, 3/20/01] It is known that Vice President Cheney lobbies the leader of India's main opposition party about the plant this month. [New York Times, 2/21/02] A lawsuit is in motion to get additional government documents released that could reveal what else the US did to support this plant (see October 17, 2002 and February 7, 2003 (B)). Enron may eventually restart the plant (see October 18, 2002).

Central Asian oil, Enron and the Afghanistan pipelines. For a separate page of these entries only, click here.

Dabhol Power Company


the first Iranian leader to visit Brazil since pro-U.S. Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi came in 1965

Iran's leader got a welcoming bear hug from the Brazilian president, who urged Western nations to drop threats of punishment over the Iranian nuclear program and instead negotiate a fair solution.

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who also called for diplomacy to push for peace in the Middle East and ease tensions between Iran, the U.S. and other nations, again defended Iran's right to have a peaceful nuclear program.

Ahmadinejad's visit with Silva was condemned by U.S. Rep. Eliot Engel, a New York Democrat who is chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere. He said Silva made a "serious error" in meeting with the Iranian leader.

The session was significant because Silva is a center-leftist viewed by Washington as a counterweight to more strident leftists in South America, such as the leaders of Bolivia and Venezuela who have been firm supporters of Iran.

In addition to having a private lunch with Bolivian President Evo Morales, he was scheduled to inaugurate a hospital and, via video conference, open two milk-processing plants that Iran donated to the poor country.Iran has also donated equipment for a state-run TV station, sold Bolivia 700 tractors made in Venezuela and provided financing for two state-run cement plants. In addition, Iran approved a $280 million low-interest loan for Bolivia that Morales can use as he sees fit,

Sin Patron: Stories From Argentina’s Worker-Run Factories

The book includes a number of illuminating interviews and chapters by Lavaca, a journalism collective based in Buenos Aires that continues to produce some of the best analysis and stories on social movements in the country

The timing couldn’t be better for the release of this book in English. Readers in the US seeking creative solutions to the current economic crisis may find some helpful suggestions in Sin Patron.
Workers in Argentina during that country’s crash figured out they needed to go beyond the law to survive. “For workers in Argentina there is no law. It only exists for the powerful,” said Eduardo Murua, President of the National Movement of Reclaimed Companies. “If we were stuck outside [of the factory] asking the judge to keep it open, we would get nowhere. If we were to ask politicians, we’d get even less. Only through occupation could we recover the jobs.”
key message
these failed factories and businesses should belong to the people, not the wealthy bosses who mistreated workers and then abandoned ship
Such challenges to classic ideas of private property and workplace hierarchy course through every page in Sin Patron
These examples
defy the bankrupt logic of capitalism


Brazilian diplomats denied Thursday that there is a crisis in relations with the U.S.,
such as Iran's nuclear ambitions and relations with post-coup Honduras.
Foreign Minister Celso Amorim said he spoke more than an hour by telephone with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

"We believe that no one should recognize Sunday's election as legitimate because we believe it is an attempt to erase the coup," Garcia said.

Amorim and Garcia cited another area of disagreement — the deal between Washington and Colombia allowing U.S. troops access to Colombian military bases.

"Having foreign bases in the region, whether from the United States, China, Russia, Iran or whoever, is not something we see as positive," Amorim said.


The spirit of the Hampshire College conference on Boycott Divestment and Sanctions
a sense that the left in America can no longer seek to divorce itself from the cause of Palestinian self-determination.
and my value journalistically here is to report on the BDS movement as it touches on a few questions: 1, Are they young? 2, Are they Jewish? 3, Is it a radical movement? 4. What does it mean to power politics, the world of American foreign policy and Jewish attitudes?
You have given us 62 years of Palestinian statelessness and war against Muslims; meanwhile you cheer a black man for president here and Jim Crow and the charade of the “peace process” there.
These young Jews are completely comfortable being anti-Zionist, or pro-Palestinian, or critical of Israel, and don’t need to put the Jewish asterisk on every statement they make.
I heard an organizer speak of the statement the conference will issue, and I remembered the Port Huron statement by the SDS in– wow– 1962.

Brazil will not recognize Honduren elections

"A coup is not acceptable as a means for political change," Brazilian Foreign Minister Celso Amorim said on Thursday on the sidelines of a climate summit between Amazon basin countries and France, reported Xinhua.

Brazil has called for Zelaya's return to power. The ousted president is still holed up in the Brazilian embassy in Honduran capital Tegucigalpa.


"It is the right of the Lebanese people, Army and the (Hezbollah led—ed.)Resistance to liberate the Shebaa Farms, the Kfar Shuba Hills and the northern part of the village of Ghajar as well as to defend Lebanon and its territorial waters in the face of any enemy by all available and legal means.”
So reads the Policy Declaration of the new Government of the Republic of Lebanon, issued on November 26,2009, four days after the celebration of Lebanon’s 66 years of independence from the French colonial power, achieved in 1943.
Legally, constitutionally, and politically, Lebanon’s new National Unity Government policy legitimizes, embraces, and incorporates by reference, the National Lebanese Resistance.

clipped from:
For the US-Israel axis, the 52 words signal that Hezbollah - which since 2006 has enjoyed majority popular support - and the State of Lebanon are inseparable and indivisible with respect to defending this country from foreign interference and occupation. It affixes the governmental imprimatur for liberating Lebanese lands still occupied by Israeli forces.
According to some international lawyers, it also fulfills UN Security Council Resolution 1559 regarding disarming militias because Lebanon has in effect declared that the arms of the Hezbollah led Resistance are part of the defense of Lebanon itself and not a particular movement or political party. This Policy statement satisfies UNSCR 1701 for the same reason.
the issue of Hezbollah’s arms has been essentially settled.
Speaker of Parliament Nabih Berri stressed that “Hezbollah’s arms belong to all Lebanese and their existence is linked to Israel’s withdrawal from all Lebanese territory.”

clipped from:
“Hezbollah’s arms will remain as long as there is conflict between the Arabs and Israel. When the world tells us how the naturalization of Palestinians issue will be resolved, then we will give details on how to deal with the arms of our national resistance. They now belong to all of Lebanon.”
Hezbollah is Lebanon and Lebanon is Hezbollah.
Many people in Lebanon and the region who support Hezbollah
because they have experienced six decades of Israeli aggression and six wars funded and armed by a US Congress that puts Israel before its own country and way before any Arab country including Lebanon. They realize that 18 years of a fake ‘peace process’ has brought nothing but misery to the Palestinians and Lebanon whereas 18 years of Resistance has freed most of Israel occupied Lebanese territory.

Ehud Barak that “all of Lebanon will pay the huge price for giving Hezbollah its Government.” More than ever Lebanon’s population believes that Israel will also pay a huge price if it launches a 7th war against Lebanon or attacks Iran or Syria.
Privately, the reaction to legitimizing Hezbollah’s deterrence to Israeli aggressions is causing a strong reaction on Capitol Hill. AIPAC has another Congressional Resolution ready to condemn Lebanon for capitulating to ‘terrorism’. Hard to believe as it is, some members of Congress are actually tiring of all the Israel Lobby’s resolutions and the pressure tactics AIPAC uses to get them passed irrespective of what they say or whether they are read.

Barak warns here, here,
Press TV here,
Al Manar here,
From Al Jazeera, here,

Lebanon's prime minister-designate
Saad al-Hariri submitted a list of ministers to Michel Sleiman, the president
Shia Muslim Hezbollah,
will get two ministers in the cabinet under the deal.
"In this cabinet they will have two, but more importantly they will have a policy statement, issued by the government, which will indirectly endorse, as they say, their right to resist and to have weapons."
The group, which is designated as a terrorist organisation by Washington, is the only Lebanese faction that has openly refused to disarm since the end of the 1975-90 civil war.
It says its fighters need to keep their weapons in order to protect Lebanon from a possible attack by neighbouring Israel.
Lebanon has been without a functioning government since Hariri

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Naomi Klein And Joseph Stiglitz Discuss The Cause And Effect Of The Financial Crisis

Alan Greenspan's economic legacy is slowly but surely deteriorating from that of one created by a "Maestro", to the deranged hungover flashbacks of the most inept monetarst dilettante and plutocrat puppet in the history of fiat capitalism...the man who took the mundane task of building bubbles and converted it into rocket science so complex that only a few people at Goldman Sachs figured out how to benefit from it.

A statement written by John Grey in the Observer. Geo political shift, the era of USA is over. Free market creed has self destructed, while countries who retained control of markets have been vindicated. As far reaching as the fall of the Soviet Union

Distinction between the rhetoric and the reality. Mkt fundamentalism is dead. Those ideas are flawed.

US as corporatism, corporate welfarism under the guise of free market economics. That mixture was flawed and been shown not to work. Consequences.

Political, the way this admin has mgt this bailout, if I were at the World Bank, no loans to the country, corrupt, bail outs are non transparent, no oversite, or judicial review. We should make sure we dont pour money out to the shareholders.

The neoliberal economic revolution, driven by power, a revolt of the elite, ideology comes in when the bubble is being created. Leveling of Glass Stegall, no regul of direvatives. The ideology is useful and people believe it but then they throw the ideology out the window and want intervention. After creating a bubble they have to nationalize the debt.

Trust each other. what is written on paper does reflect reality.a crisis is a divorce between the paper and the underlying assets.

Bankruptcy. Debtor prisons, no more. Revised our bankruptcy laws. We will have a bunkruptcy law where peopl will suffer a little more.

The same banks are paying the lobbyist to fight the mortgage holders. There is law for the client, but no law for the banks.

The ownership idea is the market will fix the problem, but the mkt doesnt solve everthing'

A financial coup against the peole. the terms of the first document written by GS, why would anybody who would do that. Maybe we are seeing where power lies.

The bailout is a massive redistrubution of wealth to the financial sector. right after the bailout share prices went out. massive transfer of wealth but very little commentary about what this all means.

How did this crisis come about. No one realized how bad this was. by the way, when we gave billions to aig, we are only covering eight percent, the whole amount of paper is 600 trillion, 55 trillion dollars, gdp world wide for the whole year. what causes the panic is that nobody trusts the paper, call it what ecver you want to, your paper no longer reflects what is going on, you lack information.

Ther is a whole bunch of new mkts, which didnt exist in the nineties. 600 trillion circulating in the markets and there is onlty 55 trillion world gdp

Who had the power to create these mkts and how did they extract wealth from it.

Natual eveolutin of a property based system without regulation. two individuals make a bet about what is going to happen to a share. we stop at a dollar that one thing, but make a billion dollar bet, these are gambling mkts. you can gamble on anytghing now and not just horses. in modern america yoy study companies, we bet a trillion on bear sterns going bankrupt. the guys who says its not going bankrupt goes bankrupt and the us government comes in abails him out. No regulation.

Greeenspan created the mkts. what were the key decisions. why arent we regulationg the derivitives. these are deals between pros abnd we should trust them, they are too complex for the government. trust matters in banks, it doesnt. golden parachutes trumps reputation.

We now what a truly de regulated mkt looks like.

The decision makers were ceo's. ther has been a fundamental change in captilism, individual bear the burdens.

Modern cap is not that way, it seperates ownership and control. The guys in control are interested in max their own well being. not anyothr stakeholder, it's not just bad regulation of the banking system, its bad corportate goverance which is pervative,

Stock options encourate reporting earnigns high, you do this by bad accounting, get it off the balance sheet, enron. we tried to change that, rueban opposed it, no one wanted to be a party pooper.

what has already been thrown at the banks is a drop in the bucket, there is no end to it. the bankruptcy of countries, iceland, this is a very urgent moment.

we dont want another wall streeter to be the next treasury sec, we need Stiglitz. it is impossible to figure out where GS ends and the Fed begins, look at the figure of henry paulson he personnly took GS risk from twenty billion in 1999 to 100billion in 2005. he is bailing out his own debt.

where a the politial movements, people shoudl be angry, the government is being privatized, they are contracting out the b ailout. they want say how much the vcontract is for, the business of valuing and buying the debt and the bank itself is a carrier of this debt.

its a good moment to really angry at wall street, they are people who created this.

Patrick Cockburn: Britain's ignorance of Iraq is already apparent

At no time, going by their evidence, did British officials in 2003 realise that the invasion of Iraq meant revolutionary change in the region. It would mean that the Sunni Arabs, who had traditionally ruled the country, would be displaced by the Shia and the Kurds. The Sunni were unlikely to go quietly.

The fall of Saddam Hussein was also going to start a political earthquake in the Gulf if it meant, as seemed likely, that the Sunni elite went with him. The main beneficiaries were going to be the Iranians, who had, after all, spent eight years of war trying to get rid of Saddam in the 1980s. Now the Americans and the British were doing it for them.

At no time, going by their evidence, did British officials in 2003 realise that the invasion of Iraq meant revolutionary change in the region. It would mean that the Sunni Arabs, who had traditionally ruled the country, would be displaced by the Shia and the Kurds. The Sunni were unlikely to go quietly.

The fall of Saddam Hussein was also going to start a political earthquake in the Gulf if it meant, as seemed likely, that the Sunni elite went with him. The main beneficiaries were going to be the Iranians, who had, after all, spent eight years of war trying to get rid of Saddam in the 1980s. Now the Americans and the British were doing it for them.


Anti-American sentiment throughout the Muslim world will be inflamed by civilian bloodshed, facilitating recruitment by terrorist organizations. The war will cost billions of dollars when we can least afford it, and will stymie your domestic agenda. The cost of sustaining a military force in Afghanistan is $1 million per soldier per year – that’s close to $100 billion dollars annually with the troop increase. With the economy in shambles, the deficits generated by these enormous costs will compromise your domestic legislative agenda both fiscally and politically.


After years of controversy and delays, a federal agency has given the green light to Royal Dutch Shell to drill for oil and gas in the Arctic Ocean.

The decision on Monday by the Minerals Management Service clears one of the last big hurdles for the company to drill two exploration wells on two offshore lease areas in the Beaufort Sea. The company plans to do the drilling between July and October 2010 — the next open-water season when the sea-ice melts.

Shell, which does not produce on the North Slope, has bet heavily on Alaska’s offshore potential. In 2008, it paid $2.1 billion for leases in both the Beaufort and the Chukchi Sea, and now has about 200 offshore leases.

“The reality of offshore oil drilling is that accidents will happen,” he said. “And when oil spills in Arctic ice, there is no cleaning it up. A blow-out like the one that recently despoiled waters off the coast of Australia would leave oil in the waters off the coast of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for decades, killing whales, seals, fish and birds and turning irreplaceable spawning and feeding grounds into an ecological wasteland.”


Oil companies just spent a record $2.7 BILLION dollars for the "right" to drill exploratory wells in the Chuckchi Sea off the northwest coast of Alaska. This is a huge amount of money, in fact, the most ever spent in Alaska
the oil companies are very confident there is a lot of recoverable oil in rocks beneath the Chuckchi Sea. It also means they think they can find it, produce it, and move it to market.

Wonk Room Global Warming



WASHINGTON — With global warming melting the Arctic's eons-old ice at an alarming rate, shipping and oil companies are looking ahead at how to exploit the new open waters.

Scientists say the Arctic's seas could be essentially free of ice in the summertime by mid-century.

Already, shipping already has increased within the Arctic Circle to serve the oil and gas industry.

Oil companies have been looking at Alaska's arctic waters as a new frontier.

And in the past two years, the Bush administration has leased large parts of those waters — the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas.

Shell was the main buyer of the Chukchi leases in February, spending $2.1 billion.

"Shell, like many other national and international oil companies, is actively assessing Arctic opportunities," said Shell spokeswoman Darci Sinclair.


There’s oil in that thar Arctic, and lots of it; that’s what the U.S. Geological Survey has to say after conducting the most comprehensive survey of the Arctic’s energy resources to date. The USGS says the polar region contains one-fifth of the world’s undiscovered oil and natural gas resources, which amounts to 90 billion barrels of oil and 1,670 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. The report is bound to fuel calls for oil companies to increase drilling in the Arctic Ocean, and is also guaranteed to spark protests from environmentalists who advocate a shift away from fossil fuels.
Ironically, much of the new exploration is being made possible by global warming caused by the burning of fossil fuels; melting ice caps have opened up prospects that were once considered too harsh to explore [The New York Times].


The ice lid on the Arctic Ocean continues to melt. At summer’s end, sea-ice coverage was one-third smaller than the average from 1979 to 2000.
The map has patches of color demarcating areas of the Arctic Ocean and seabed to which each of the five countries bordering the ocean—the United States, Canada, Russia, Denmark (Greenland), and Norway—might claim title. Bright, solid colors represent seafloor over which each country already has jurisdiction because it lies within its 200-nautical-mile offshore limit. Striped areas represent the maximum stretch of seafloor each is likely to claim as additional territory under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.


Last spring Canada Southern Petroleum, a company with significant reserves inside the Arctic Circle, received a takeover offer of $7.50 per share, nearly a 60 percent premium on its stock price. By the time the company was sold four months later to another Canadian firm, it went for $13.10 a share.

While there is drilling in the Arctic on or close to shore, the sea under the polar cap is unlikely to remain largely untapped for long - governments and corporations are racing to carve up the Arctic oil pie.

A new petroleum province will likely be needed if the world is going to both replace the output from current fields, many of which are declining, and keep up with worldwide oil demand that is expected to surge by more than 50 percent over the next 25 years. This underlay the tripling of oil prices since 2002.

BP (Charts), which operates the huge Prudhoe Bay field in Alaska, signed a $17 billion exploration agreement with Russia.

Statoil, Norway's state oil company, considered to have some of the best cold-weather expertise in the business from its North Sea operations, is well positioned to explore massive deposits believed to lie north of Norway in the Barents Sea.

Royal Dutch Shell (Charts), ExxonMobil (Charts), Chevron (Charts) and ConocoPhillips (Charts) have interests as well.


Back in 1982, the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea went into effect, a treaty that defined ocean boundaries and set up regulations for ship traffic. The U.S. signed the treaty in 1994, but the Senate refused to ratify it, opposing the idea of UN sovereignty.

But what was then just a diplomatic absence is now seen as a lapse in judgment that could cost billions of dollars. Under Law of the Sea, countries are entitled to control any waters above landmasses that extend from their continental shelf.

Frank Gaffney, a former Reagan advisor and current president of the Center for Security Policy, has called the treaty the "most egregious transfer of American sovereignty, wealth, and power to the UN." Senator James Inhofe (R-Oklahoma) has said he'll use "whatever means it takes" to keep the U.S. from joining the treaty. That included leading the charge to kill a bill that surfaced for ratification in 2004.

An Arctic land grab is already well underway. In early June, Russian scientists claimed they found evidence of 70 billion barrels of oil and natural gas reserves on the Lomonosov Ridge, a huge rock formation that extends through the North Pole from Siberia to Greenland.

Russia has slapped a claim on nearly half the Arctic -- a territory of half a million square miles -- and granted a monopoly to its own companies to exploit it. Denmark is crying foul, saying it, too, has rights to the ridge.
"It makes exploration a lot more risky," says Paul Kelly, former general counsel at drilling firm Rowan Cos., since bankers, he says, won't put up the money for ventures in "murky waters."
Lobbyists representing companies including Exxon Mobil
and ConocoPhillips
are allying with environmental groups, who want UN protection for Arctic wildlife and ecosystems
U.S. Navy, which says it won't be able to patrol the Arctic effectively without the rights the treaty provides to the territory.

An Arctic land grab is already well underway. In early June, Russian scientists claimed they found evidence of 70 billion barrels of oil and natural gas reserves on the Lomonosov Ridge, a huge rock formation that extends through the North Pole from Siberia to Greenland.

Russia has slapped a claim on nearly half the Arctic -- a territory of half a million square miles -- and granted a monopoly to its own companies to exploit it. Denmark is crying foul, saying it, too, has rights to the ridge.
"It makes exploration a lot more risky," says Paul Kelly, former general counsel at drilling firm Rowan Cos., since bankers, he says, won't put up the money for ventures in "murky waters."
Lobbyists representing companies including Exxon Mobil
and ConocoPhillips
are allying with environmental groups, who want UN protection for Arctic wildlife and ecosystems
U.S. Navy, which says it won't be able to patrol the Arctic effectively without the rights the treaty provides to the territory.


Arctic sea ice is usually 1 to 3 meters, or as much as 9 feet, thick. It grows during autumn and winter and shrinks in spring and summer. Scientists have monitored sea ice conditions for 50 years.
Don't Miss

* Ice melting across globe at accelerating rate, NASA says

The disappearance of the ice in the past decade is astounding, climate scientists say.

"We've been seeing a retreat year after year," said Marika Holland, an oceanographer with the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado. "The sea ice loss we observed in the summer of 2007 was shocking."

Soon there may be no sea ice anywhere in the Arctic during some months of the year.

Although environmentalists are concerned by this melting trend, shipping and energy companies are salivating at the prospect of smaller ice caps, which makes Arctic drilling and commerce easier. Cargo ships may be able to travel from Asia to North America more cheaply and efficiently, for example.

In a showy technological display August 2, 2007, a Russian submarine planted an underwater flag 14,000 feet (4,200 meters) below the North Pole.

Russian scientists are keen on proving that the seabed below the North Pole is part of the Eurasian continental shelf, an area called the Lomonosov Ridge.

If that's the case, the region would be under Russian control

"Most of the estimated undiscovered resources are in areas with agreed-upon territorial boundaries," said Don Gautier, research geologist at the USGS.

"Exceptions are the East Barents Basins, where Russia and Norway are involved in bilateral discussions of the offshore boundary. Another exception is the Alaska./Canada boundary offshore, which is also subject to bilateral discussions between U.S. and Canada," he said.

"The Russians have got a half-dozen icebreakers. Americans have a pair of icebreakers, but they are old and worn out," Pike said.

And of course, much of countries' access to the Arctic will come down to money.

"Building a ship to operate in a foot of ice is no big deal. Building an icebreaker that can get through 2 yards of ice, now you're talking serious icebreaking. The Russians can get through 2 yards of ice without breaking a sweat," Pike said.

Ultimately, questions about what is drilled for in the Arctic, and by whom, will depend on the global economy. Recovering oil from a forbidding frozen wilderness makes sense when it's selling for $150 a barrel, but not so when it is at $40 a barrel.


And as the melting polar ice makes the Arctic more accessible to ships, several countries are scrambling to claim jurisdiction in the area.

"The economic interests are reflected in ... competing claims by relevant stakeholders, and resumed military presence in the area," NATO said on its Web site. "As it is a region of enduring strategic importance for NATO and allied security, developments in the High North require careful and ongoing examination."

The U.S. Geological Survey estimates that 90 billion barrels of oil, 44 billion barrels of natural gas liquids and 1,670 trillion cubic feet of natural gas are recoverable in the frozen region north of the Arctic Circle.

At the same time, Arctic water is warming so quickly that the entire region could be ice-free by 2013.

Already Russia, Canada, the United States, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Iceland and Finland are fighting to lay claim to the Arctic's icy real estate.

According to the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea, countries are entitled to exclusive economic zones up to 200 miles from their shores. But some countries are trying to extend that zone.

Russian scientists want to prove the seabed below the North Pole is part of the Eurasian continental shelf, an area called the Lomonosov Ridge.

If that is the case, the region would be under Russian control. Moscow argued before a U.N. commission in 2001 that the ridge is an extension of its continental territory. But the United Nations asked for more evidence.

Danish scientists are trying to prove that the Lomonosov Ridge is connected to Greenland, and Canadian scientists are looking for links between the ridge and Ellesmere Island, a Canadian territory.


In new findings, the U.S. Geological Survey estimates the Arctic may be home to 30 percent of the planet's undiscovered natural gas reserves and 13 percent of its undiscovered oil.

"Based on our study, there are 40 [billion] to 160 billion barrels of oil north of the Arctic Circle," said Gautier. The USGS had previously estimated the Arctic is home to 90 billion barrels of oil.

The Energy Information Administration, a division of the Department of Energy, estimates that the world currently uses 30 billion barrels of oil a year.

Offshore oil exploration in the Arctic is still in its infancy, but ExxonMobil and other oil companies already have staked their claim and started drilling in the Mackenzie Delta, the Barents Sea, the Sverdrup Basin, and offshore Alaska.

Playing cards with India

ndia does not enjoy the pride of place in America's foreign policy agenda granted it by President Bush
This U.S. administration, unlike its predecessor, appears to disfavor values-based cooperation as an organizing principle of American foreign policy
subjecting cooperation with both India and China to an unsentimental cost-benefit calculation
has defined a compelling interest in preserving the gains from globalization by liberalizing international flows of trade, investment, services, and human capital. India's rapidly expanding middle class, currently the size of the entire U.S. population
Domestic consumption
well under half of China's, giving it a more sustainable, less export-dependent economic foundation for growth.
by 2025 those figures will reverse as China's population "falls off a demographic cliff,"
India is expected to bypass Japan in the 2020s as the world's third-largest economy, and to bypass China in the early 2030s as the world's most populous country.

India is the kind of revisionist power with an exceptional self-regard
a model for India's own (peaceful) ambitions, partly because both define their exceptionalism with reference to their open societies. As Indian analyst Pratap Bhanu Mehta puts it, Indians have "great admiration for U.S. power" and want their country to "replicate" rather than oppose it.
So let's put to bed the myth that America has more in common with China,
The United States has an enormous stake in the emergence of a rich, confident, democratic India that shares American ambitions to manage Chinese power, protect Indian Ocean sea lanes, safeguard an open international economy, stabilize a volatile region encompassing the heartland of jihadist extremism in Pakistan and Afghanistan, and constructively manage challenges of proliferation, climate change, and other global issues.


Ironically, though, he ended up highlighting Obama's Achilles' heel. Holbrooke virtually confirmed media reports that Saudi intelligence is engaging the hardcore Taliban leader, Mullah Omar. He admitted, "We would be supportive of anything that the kingdom chose to do in this regard."

The US has fought not fewer than 100 wars. But this is the first time Saudi Arabia has worked on an exit strategy for the US. To be sure, Manmohan's main problem also, as he arrived in Washington on Monday, was that compared to his previous visit in 2005, he was dealing with a US vastly denuded of its global influence.

Yet Manmohan failed to realize the main objective of his visit, namely, the "operationalization" of the controversial US-India civilian nuclear deal
The deal was a leap in faith, promising India access to advanced ENR (enrichment and reprocessing) technologies. But negotiations are proving difficult. Delhi did everything to "incentivize"
But the US side is just not ready to conclude an agreement on ENR
any ENR agreement needs to be situated within the new nuclear non-proliferation architecture
and secondly, it may complicate Obama's strategy with regard to the analogous issue of Iran's right to have reprocessing technology.
US's Afghan strategy remains predicated on Pakistan's cooperation.
Washington needs a collegiate Beijing to cope with the crisis in the US economy, which precludes the scope for "containment strategy" towards China.
Delhi feels disheartened that from a tall pedestal as an Asian "balancer" on which Bush installed India, Obama brings it down as a sub-regional power

clipped from:
The compulsion to recalibrate India's single-most important relationship is at once obvious. The dramatic transformation of the relationship in the Bush era bred illusions. At the same time, the Delhi elite still believes that while Pakistan and China might be the US's current priorities,
Obama made amends to the glaring omission of India in his Asia-Pacific speech delivered at Tokyo en route to China. He said:
India today is a rising and responsible global power.
The resounding words should allay Indian elites' apprehensions regarding the drift of the US-India partnership in Obama's watch.
the process of laying to rest the ghost of the Bush era, which kept butting into the Indian elitist consciousness
Obama era, jettisoning false hopes and expectations that do not match the US's declining power and influence as a superpower.
If US-NATO forces left Afghanistan today, the Pushtoon taliban would occupy Kabul within a fortnight and could deal with the non-Pushtoon population so brutally that “Changez Khan’s reputation in history will be dwarfed”.

--Former Pakistani Defence Attaché to Kabul Brigadier (r) Saad Muhammad
Afghanistan Controlled and Uncontrolled Scenario
Indian Possible Deployment in Afghanistan


military occupations generate so much hatred, resentment, and resistance
Costly occupations are an activity you hope your adversaries undertake, especially in areas of little intrinsic strategic value.
Britain's occupation of Iraq after World War I triggered fierce opposition, and British forces in Mandate Palestine eventually faced armed resistance from both Arab and Zionist groups. French rule in Algeria, Syria, Lebanon, and Indochina spawned several violent resistance movements, and Russia has fought Chechen insurgents in the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries.
The Shiite population of southern Lebanon initially welcomed Israel's invasion in 1982, but the IDF behaved badly and stayed too long, which led directly to the formation of Hezbollah.
sraelis were also surprised by the first intifida in 1987, having mistakenly assumed that their occupation of the West Bank was benevolent and that the Palestinians there would be content to be governed by the IDF forever.

Military occupation generates resistance because it is humiliating, disruptive, arbitrary and sometimes terrifying to its objects, even when the occupying power is acting from more-or-less benevolent motives.
so you choke down your anger and just put up with it. Now imagine that this is occurring after you've waited for hours at some internal checkpoint, that none of the occupiers speak your language, and that it is like this every single day. And occasionally the occupying power kills innocent people by mistake, engages in other forms of indiscriminate force, and does so with scant regard for local customs and sensibilities
It is sometimes said that Americans don't understand this phenomenon because the United States has never been conquered and occupied. But this simply isn't true. After the Civil War, a "foreign army" occupied the former Confederacy and imposed a new political order that most white southerners found abhorrent.

clipped from:
The first Reconstruction Act of 1867 put most southern states under formal military control, supervised the writing of new state constitutions, and sought to enfranchise and empower former slaves. It also attempted to rebuild the south economically, but the reconstruction effort was undermined by corruption and poor administration. Sound familiar? However laudable the aims may have been, the results were precisely what one would expect. Northern occupation eventually triggered violent resistance by the Ku Klux Klan, White League, Red Shirts, and other insurgent groups, which helped thwart Reconstruction and paved the way for the Jim Crow system that lasted until the second half of the 20th century.
Nor should we forget how long a profound sense of anger and resentment lasted.
one hundred years after the end of the Civil War, he was still being taught songs that expressed a lingering hatred of what the Yankees had done

This is what defeat in war and prolonged occupation does to a society: it generates hatred and resentment that can last a century or more. Hatred of the "party of Lincoln" kept the South solidly Democratic for decades, and its political character remains distinctly different even today, nearly 150 years after the civil war ended.
And don't forget that unlike our current presence in Iraq and Afghanistan, the occupying forces of the North spoke the same language and had been part of the same country prior to the war; in some cases, there were even strong family connections on both sides of the Mason-Dixon line. Yet defeat in war and military occupation were an enduring source of division for many years thereafter.
The bottom line is that you don't need to be a sociologist, political scientist, or a student of colonialism or foreign cultures to understand why military occupation is such a poisonous activity and why it usually fails.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


Anonymous Paul Escobar said... You can be justified in questioning Chavez's evaluation of these men. That's a historical debate.

But Boz did something really despicable in his post: He used Chavez's rhetoric about historical figures to imply Venezuela was the source of aggression.

He calls Chavez's praise for a Palestinian terrorist: "a disturbing sign".

Meanwhile, Colombia is the only Lat-Am nation that has recently used its military to violate a neighbours territory. It's a nation that routinely massacres IT'S OWN citizens, through the army, paramilitaries, & insurgents.

According to Boz, none of this "concerns the analysts". The tunnel vision is astounding.


it has drawn heavy criticism from many Latin American leaders, most notably Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, but also Evo Morels of Bolivia, Daniel Ortega of Nicaragua, and Rafael Correa of Ecuador among others.
to help the US and Colombian governments carry out their war on drugs, “narco-terrorism”, and whatever else may come.

the growing number of US troops in the Latin America (the US Fourth Fleet was reactivated in the Caribbean by Bush II after a 40-year plus hiatus) has the possibility of sparking a regional war.

The US is literally encircling Venezuela with military bases and a naval fleet.

Venezuela is the fourth largest petroleum producer in the world and is home to reserves rivaling and maybe surpassing that of Saudi Arabia.

Is Chavez paranoid

a look to the historical context of the situation will prove illuminating.

In 2002 a coup took place

the people of Venezuela forced the coup plotters to reinstate Chavez,

the US government gave implicit if not explicit support to the coup.

In 2003 the US, after a years long process of encircling and weakening Iraq, invaded and occupied that oil-rich country and installed a government and neo-liberal economic framework more to its liking.

in 2008 the Colombian military launched a cross border raid into Ecuador to strike at a alledged FARC base, a move that was roundly condemned by every nation in Latin America and the OAS

the Colombian government is a recipient of massive amounts of US military aid, receiving over 6 billion dollars in the past decade under the auspices of Plan Colombia. This puts they country third behind Israel and Egypt

Colombia is the world’s largest producer of cocaine.

that there is no military solution to the problem.

While eradicating the coca crops of poor framers and supporting right-wing paramilitaries has produced a situation where human rights abuses are continually placing Colombia among the worst offenders in the Western Hemisphere,

it has done next to nothing to stop the flow of cocaine coming from the country.

If the US was serious about addressing the problem it would have to recognize that while Colombia may be the largest supplier of the drug, it is the US that is the largest consumer. Following the Plan Colombia logic the US military should be engaged in operations in the US to eradicate cocaine users on a similar scale.

incidentally it is worth noting that poppy production, later processed into opium and heroin, has sky rocketed in Afghanistan since the US invaded and occupied that country. After being severely reduced under the Taliban regime, Afghanistan now accounts for over 80% of world production of poppy.
The message from the region is loud and clear: Yankees, take your guns and economic models and go home! We are ready and willing to deal with you on fair and equitable terms, but the days of imposing your will over ours have come to an end.


They’re calling it “Climategate.” The scandal that the suffix –gate implies is the state of climate science over the past decade or so revealed by a thousand or so emails, documents, and computer code sets between various prominent scientists released following a leak from the Climate Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia in the UK.


Highly educated Benedictine nun on H1N1...the undisputed fact is that Baxter sent a batch of contaminated vaccine to the Czech Republic, where it was discovered by a researcher. (according to a Bloomberg report the error could have caused up to 70 million deaths).

The conspiracy-theory take on this is that the Baxter foul-up, which the company admitted, was no accident, but a deliberate attempt to manufacture a global health crisis.


If we had gotten FDR instead of who we did get, these guys would have already been strung up instead of being put in charge of the US Treasury and TARP


Obama, China and the Dollar

The US Must Solve Its Own Economic Problems



The gist is that she believes the H1N1 panic may have been falsely ginned up for the sake of increasing the power of the state on a false pretext. A key piece of evidence for her case: the undisputed fact that Baxter, a vaccine manufacturer, sent a batch of contaminated vaccine to the Czech Republic, where it just happened to have been discovered by a researcher. Had people been vaccinated with this stuff, it would have killed untold numbers, and likely set off a new and very deadly global flu pandemic (according to a Bloomberg report on the Baxter error, up to 70 million could have died worldwide if the deadly avian flu virus in the Baxter vaccine had gotten into the human population). The conspiracy-theory take on this is that the Baxter foul-up, which the company admitted, was no accident, but a deliberate attempt to manufacture a global health crisis.

Monday, November 23, 2009

US pours millions into anti-Taliban militias in Afghanistan

$500,000 each plus plus $250,000 to deliver it and a $10 IED to take it out

Such a vehicle will combine the maneuverability of the Humvee, the military's workhorse vehicle, with the protection of the Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) troop carrier, Pentagon documents show.
The Pentagon could buy up to 10,000 of the new trucks, which the military will need as it plans to almost double the number of servicemembers in Afghanistan to 60,000 over the next few years. So far, the Pentagon says it will buy at least 2,080 of the new MRAPs.

There were a record 3,276 attacks from improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in 2008. Those attacks killed 161 coalition servicemembers and wounded 722.
Brogan declined to estimate the new vehicle's cost, although the base price for a current MRAP is about $500,000. An armored Humvee costs $200,000.
troops prefer it to a Humvee because of the added protection, but it can get bogged down easily
"The problems that we are having with the current MRAP are that we get stuck in places that a lighter vehicle can go."

The bill to transport new armored vehicles to protect troops from roadside bombs in Afghanistan could top $2 billion, according to military figures.

Much of the equipment needed in Afghanistan must be flown in, because the landlocked country has no ports, though some supplies arrive by a hazardous ground route through Pakistan.

The military's Transportation Command estimates that it costs $165,000 to $230,000 to fly an MRAP from the United States to Afghanistan. If the Pentagon bought 10,000 of the new trucks and flew all of them to Afghanistan, transportation costs would total $1.6 billion to $2.3 billion.

From Wikipedia

72 percent of the world's bridges cannot hold the MRAP.[15] Its heft also restricts several of the vehicles from being transported by C-130 cargo aircraft or the amphibious ships that carry Marine equipment and supplies. Although three MRAP vehicles will fit in a C-17 aircraft, airlifting is extremely expensive at $750,000 per vehicle, estimated by the U.S. Transportation Command.[16] In an effort to rush more vehicles to the theatre, the US Air Force even contracted several Ukrainian Antonov An-124 heavy cargo aircraft, which became a familiar sight in the skies above cities such as Charleston, SC where some MRAPs are produced[17]. For comparison, sealifting costs around $13,000 per vehicle

manufactured by BAE Systems


The White House, meanwhile, has recently put the figure at twice that much -- a cost of $1 million per new solider. Interestingly, as the L.A. Times notes, an estimate from a Pentagon comptroller earlier this month, produced a number much closer to the Office of Management and Budget's estimate than that of the Pentagon. 


Poverty and food insecurity are "two of the most detrimental economic conditions affecting a child's health" and tag 22 billion dollars a year onto US health care costs, the study said.

"Children in poverty are significantly more likely to experience a range of health problems, including low birth weight, lead poisoning, asthma, mental health disorders, delayed immunization, dental problems and accidental death," it said.

"There's a strong connection between poverty, health and mental health," said Rank and the detrimental effects of growing up poor, even if just for a short period, often carry over into adulthood, he said.

USDA Report

The nation's economic crisis has catapulted the number of Americans who lack enough food to the highest level since the government has been keeping track, according to a new federal report, which shows that nearly 50 million people -- including almost one child in four -- struggled last year to get enough to eat.


It has been a good year for food in America: A record soybean harvest,
the second highest corn harvest ever, potatoes and apples . . . all up.

Last week, the government said 49 million Americans are unsure of
where their next meal is coming from. That is almost one in six . . .
and 17 million of those are kids.


Congress could have defended and built up a system based on popular, high-quality government-run health programs like the military and veterans fully socialized health systems or Medicare, a single-payer program. Instead, the president and Congress let the corporations and government-haters take control of the agenda.

Let's call this what it is: another corporate bailout on the backs of working people.


Karen “Killer” Ignagni, President and CEO of America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) won the following:


Still in business making billions of profits for Wall Street investors and CEO’s of insurance companies

No cost controls that would decrease profits

Mandate giving us at least 30 million new customers and fined if they don’t buy coverage

Still able to deny doctor recommended care

Still able to increase premiums

Kill or weaken public option

Investment in 3000 lobbyists and 1.4 million a day paid off

Then there is Billy “The Kid” Tauzin, President and CEO of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA.) He was able to check off everything on his list:


Get a meeting with President Obama behind closed doors and make a deal to protect PhRMA profits

No drug reimportation from Canada or Mexico

Extend protections for lucrative biologic drugs

No negotiating drug prices for Medicare Part D

U.S. drug market continues to be the most profitable

There was even a big, last minute win for the misogynist Catholic Bishops.


Republicans and American conservatives regard civil liberties as coddling devices for criminals and terrorists. They assume that police and prosecutors are morally pure and, in addition, never make mistakes. An accused person is guilty or government wouldn’t have accused him. All of my life I have heard self-described conservatives disparage lawyers who defend criminals. Such “conservatives” live in an ideal, not real, world.

In other words, Stuart Taylor and the National Journal endorse Mohammed’s trial as a show trial that will prove both America’s honorable respect for fair trials and Muslim guilt for 9/11.

Why was he held for years and tortured--apparently water boarded 183 times--in violation of US law and the Geneva Conventions? How can the US government put a defendant on trial when its treatment of him violates US statutory law, international law, and every precept of the US legal code? Mohammed has been treated as if he were a captive of Hitler’s Gestapo or Stalin’s KGB. And now we are going to finish him off in a show trial.

how do we know he hasn’t decided to confess in order to obtain for himself for evermore the glory of the deed? How many people can claim to have outwitted the CIA, the National Security Agency and all 16 US intelligence agencies, NORAD, the Pentagon, the National Security Council, airport security (four times on one morning), US air traffic control, the US Air Force, the military Joint Chiefs of Staff, all the neocons, Mossad, and even the supposedly formidable Dick Cheney?

Are we really sure we want to create a Muslim Superhero of such stature?

Originally, according to the US government, Osama bin Laden was the mastermind of 9/11. To get bin Laden is the excuse given for the US invasion of Afghanistan, which set up the invasion of Iraq.

The prosecution doesn’t need any evidence, because no judge and no jury is going to let the demonized “mastermind of 9/11” off.

The outcome of Mohammed’s trial will complete the transformation of the US legal system from a shield of the people into a weapon in the hands of the state. Feige writes that Mohammed’s statements obtained by torture will not be suppressed, that witnesses against him will not be produced (“national security”), that documents that compromise the prosecution will be redacted.

At each stage of Mohammed’s appeals process, higher courts will enshrine into legal precedents the denial of the Constitutional right to a speedy trial, thus enshrining indefinite detention, the denial of the right against damning pretrial publicity, thus allowing demonization prior to trial, and the denial of the right to have witnesses and documents produced, thus eviscerating a defendant’s rights to exculpatory evidence and to confront adverse witnesses, The twisted logic necessary to disentangle Mohammed’s torture from his confession will also be upheld and will “provide a blueprint for the government, giving them the prize they’ve been after all this time--a legal way both to torture and to prosecute.”

It took Hitler a while to corrupt the German courts. Hitler first had to create new courts, like President George W. Bush’s military tribunals, that did not require evidence, using in place of evidence hearsay, secret charges, and self-incrimination obtained by torture.

Every American should be concerned that the Obama administration has decided to use Mohammed’s trial to complete the corruption of the American court system. When Mohammed’s trial is over, an American Joe Stalin or Adolf Hitler will be able to convict America’s Founding Fathers on charges of treason and terrorism. No one will be safe.


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President Hugo Chavez is hailing the forthcoming arrival of 300 Russian-made tanks and armored vehicles, and urging civilians to join government-organized militias to be ready to defend Venezuela from a foreign invasion.

The military acquisitions, coupled with weapons purchases among South American nations including Brazil and Ecuador, have raised concerns of an arms race in the region.

Venezuela must prepare for a possible armed conflict, Chavez said, because the United States and Colombia could attack. He claims U.S. "imperialists" want to undermine his "Bolivarian Revolution," a political movement named after 19th-century independence hero Simon Bolivar.


Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, Brazil’s president, is set to receive Iran’s president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, here on Monday

is drawing criticism from lawmakers and former diplomats here and in the United States, who say it could undercut Western efforts to press Iran on its nuclear program, and consequently chill Brazil’s relations with the United States

Brazilian officials say the goal of the visit is to strengthen commercial ties between the two countries and help bring peace to the Middle East.

said Michael Shifter, vice president of the Inter-American Dialogue, a policy research group in Washington. “And part of this has to do with Brazil sending a message to Washington that it will deal whomever it wants to deal with.”

“This state visit is a gross error, a terrible mistake,” said Representative Eliot L. Engel, Democrat of New York, chairman of the House Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere. “He is illegitimate with his own people, and Brazil is now going to give him the air of legitimacy at a time when the world is trying to figure out how to prevent Iran from having nuclear weapons.

Relations between the United States and Brazil were already tense after Mr. da Silva’s government criticized the United States over its handling of the crisis in Honduras and increasing its military presence in Colombia.

Ian C. Kelly, a State Department spokesman, said Thursday. “We would hope that Brazil would play a constructive role in trying to get Iran to do the right thing and fulfill its international obligations.”

But Mr. Amorim made clear that Brazil did not see its role as carrying water for the proposed agreement for Iran to export most of its enriched uranium for processing into nuclear fuel.

Since his election in 2002, Mr. da Silva has sought to cement Brazil’s dominance as Latin America’s economic and diplomatic leader, using its economic might to raise Brazil’s foreign-policy profile.

Brazil is no stranger to the region. Its national oil company, Petrobras, is helping Iran develop its oil fields and the two countries did about $2 billion in trade in 2007, mostly in Brazilian exports of food to Iran, Mr. Amorim said.