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Volume 8       Issue 2    February  2010
Politics and Justice without borders
Theme this month :

The Global Community gives humanitarian help to the people of Haiti.

Federation of Global Governments Emergency, Rescue, and Relief Centre
 Letter to  the people of Haiti who survived the devastating earthquake and are  in need of help
( see enlargement Haiti)
The Global Community gives its support to the people of Haiti. By birth, we are all members of the Global Community. We all belong and depend to this much larger group, that of the Global Community. The Global Community is this great, wide, wonderful world made of all these diverse global communities. Today, our hearts go out to everyone in Haiti and all their loved ones around the world. The earthquake devastation in Haiti is heartbreaking. The Global Community and its organization, the Federation Emergency, Rescue and Relief Centre, offers hope for a stronger community to the people of Haiti.

Table of Contents

This is the way     Message from the Spiritual Leader of the Global Community
Message from the Editor    GIM  Message from the Editor
Message from the President of Earth Government, the Federation of Global Governments    Message from the President of Earth Government
History of the Global Community organization, Earth Government and the Federation of Global Governments History of the Global Community Organization and Interim Earth Government Since its beginning in 1985, many accomplishments can be claimed by the Global Community: History of the Global Community organization and Earth Government
The Global Community days of celebration or remembering during the year
A reminder of her passing away. Virginie was a great global citizen, and we all owe her something that's forever. GIM  Message from the Editor
Life Day Celebration on May 26. Participate. Life Day Celebration May 26. Participate.
Participate now in Global Dialogue 2010, no fees  Participate now in Global Dialogue 2010
Global Dialogue 2010 Introduction Global Dialogue 2010 Introduction
Global Dialogue 2010 Program  Global Dialogue 2010 Program
Global Dialogue 2010 OVERVIEW of the process   Global Dialogue 2010 OVERVIEW of the process
Global Dialogue 2010 Call for Papers Global Dialogue 2010 Call for Papers

Letter to the people of Haiti who survived the devastating earthquake and are in need of help.    

The Federation of Global Governments Help victims in all parts of the world. http://globalcommunitywebnet.com/Federation/FERRC.html

The Global Community gives humanitarian help to the people of Haiti.
by Germain Dufour
Spiritual Leader of the Global Community
Federation of Global Governments

Historically, the people of Haiti have suffered poverty, political infighting and insurrection. It is the poorest in the Western Hemisphere, with four out of five people living in poverty and more than half in abject poverty. Deforestation and over-farming have left much of the country eroded and barren, undermining subsistence farming efforts, driving up food prices and leaving the country even more vulnerable to natural disasters. Its long history of political instability and corruption has added to the social struggle. Since 2008, the country's situation has worsened dramatically, as it faced food riots, government instability and a series of hurricanes that killed hundreds and destroyed the economy.

A massive 7.0 magnitude earthquake in the Caribbean struck Haiti on Jan. 12, about 10 miles southwest of Port-au-Prince, the country's capital. Haiti sits on a large fault that has caused catastrophic quakes in the past, but this quake was the worst in the region in more than 200 years. More than 30 significant aftershocks of a 4.5 magnitude or higher rattled Haiti through the night of the 12th and into the early morning.

About three million people, a third of the country's population, have been directly affected by the quake.

Port-au-Prince, layed in ruins, and thousands of people were found dead in the rubble of government buildings, foreign aid offices and shantytowns. Schools, hospitals and a prison collapsed.

The poor squatted in the streets, some hurt and bloody, many more without food and water, close to piles of covered corpses and rubble.

But while world leaders pledged hundreds of millions of dollars and thousands of troops, delivering on these promises was a logistical nightmare. On Jan. 14, aid was arriving only in a trickle to those thought to need assistance.

Power was still out and telecommunications rarely functioned. Most medical facilities were damaged or destroyed. Supplies of food and fresh water were dwindling. Ships could not bring easily their cargos of supplies into Haiti's damaged port; the airport was functioning with severe limits; roads were blocked not only by debris but also by people with no safe shelter to retreat to.

In the early days, emergency aid has begun arriving in Haiti. The Red Cross federation estimated that between 45,000 and 50,000 people might have died in Tuesday's deadly quake. Later this estimate was found to be around 200,000. Emergency aid from around the world began arriving in Haiti on Thursday as the frantic search for survivors continued in the rubble-filled streets of devastated Port-au-Prince.

We are asking all our members of the Global Community to continue in helping those in need of help. Please do contact those you know need our help. The Global Community will do all it can to help those in need of help. Let us know your concerns or problems. We will do all we can to help you.

Friends and family are desperated to learn the fate of loved ones. In many cases, our website can bring good news. The Global Community website is a good resources centre and a source of help for all. Check our website for more details: http://globalcommunitywebnet.com/Federation/FERRC.html

Let us know if any of you, a relative, or a friend was an earthquake victim. The Global Community will do what it can to help you.

Aid agencies from around the world geared up to help. Agencies already in Haiti opened their storehouses of food and water, and the World Food Program was flying in nearly 100 tons of ready-to-eat meals and high-energy biscuits from El Salvador. The United Nations said it was freeing up $10 million in emergency relief funds, the European Union pledged $4.4 million, and groups like Doctors Without Borders were setting up clinics in tents and open-air triage centers to treat the injured.

Supplies began filtering in from the Dominican Republic, as charter flights were restarted between Santo Domingo and Port-au-Prince. But efforts to administer emergency services and distribute food and water were halting, and in some places seemingly nonexistent. Fuel shortages emerged as an immediate concern as motorists sought to find gas stations with functioning fuel pumps.

The Global Community is encouraging donations to the international fund of the Red Cross to support relief efforts in Haiti.

Medical organizations based in Haiti before the quake are struggling to cope with its aftermath. Doctors Without Borders reports it has treated thousands of people on the ground and has appealed for support. Partners in Health, a major non-governmental health care provider in Haiti, operates clinics in Port-au-Prince and is also soliciting donations.

Food stocks needed should include the following canned dehydrated food:

Applesauce, Apple Slices, Banana Slices, Flavored Apple Flakes, Strawberry Flavored Apple Flakes, Green Beans, Carrot Dices, Sweet Corn, Garden Peas, Chopped Onions, Tomato Powder Potato Dices, Vegetable Stew, Hash Browns, Potato Granules, Instant Milk, Cheese Powder, Shortening Powder, White Cream Sauce, Margarine Powder, Egg Mix, Whole Egg, Beef Bits, Chicken Bits, Bacon Bits, Taco Bits, Sausage Bits, Cornmeal, Spaghetti, Elbow Macaroni, Refried Beans, Small Red Beans, Small White Beans, White Rice, Pinto Beans, Way Rolled, Grain Cracked, Quick Oats, Pearl Barley, Peach Drink, Cocoa Mix, Popcorn, Turtle Beans, Bean Soup Mix, Beef Bouillon, Chicken Bouillon, Iodized Salt, Baking Soda, Baking Powder, Hard Red Wheat, Small Red Beans, Hard White Wheat, Pinto Beans, Small White Beans, Sugar, Yeast, Cooking Oil, and Honey.

Related disaster relief supplies needed should include:

Medical supplies, hygiene products, assorted sundries, N-95 masks, tools, food preparation, safety gear, and comfort items.

Haitians are a very courageous people. Shortly after the earthquake, with much of the infrastructure and government services destroyed, Haitians have relied on each other for the relief efforts, working together to pull their neighbors, friends and loved ones from the rubble. There was no widespread violence. A few days later, US corporations, private mercenaries, Washington and the International Monetary Fund have been seen using the crisis in Haiti to make a profit, promote unpopular neoliberal policies, and extend military and economic control over the Haitian people. What Haitians need are: doctors not soldiers, grants not loans, a stronger public sector rather than a wholesale privatization, and critical solidarity with grassroots organizations and people to support the self-determination of the country.

Long term help starts now. The rebuilding of Haiti infrastructures and homes is our challenge, and will require help of the Global Community. Everyone helps, rich or poor. Everyone must be given employment. This time Haiti will be rebuilt with green jobs, green energy, green farming, green technologies. New hospitals, schools, training facilities and a university will focus on offering the best of global society.

We seek more symbiotical relationships with people and organizations We seek more symbiotical relationships
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We have now streamlined the participation process in the Global Dialogue We have now streamlined the participation process in the Global Dialogue


GIM daily proclamations main website

Authors of research papers and articles on global issues for this month

Fidel Castro, CODEPINK: Dana, Farida, Gael, Gayle, Janet, Jodie, Medea, Nancy, Paris, Rae, Suzanne, and Whitney, Shamus Cooke, Benjamin Dangl, Germain Dufour, Environmental Defense Action Fund, Bhaskar Goswami, Ghali Hassan, Gary G. Kohls, Naomi Klein, Alex Lantier, Stephen Lendman (2), Carl Lindskoog, Dr. Charles Mercieca, Thomas C. Mountain, Madeline Ostrander, James Petras, Dr. Gideon Polya, Bill Quigley (3), Md. Hasibur Rahman, Satya Sagar, Danny Schechter, Kim Scipes

Fidel Castro, Humanity's Right To Life Humanity's Right To Life
CODEPINK: Dana, Farida, Gael, Gayle, Janet, Jodie, Medea, Nancy, Paris, Rae, Suzanne, and Whitney, Change Is...Sustaining Peace Change Is...Sustaining Peace
Shamus Cooke, The Origins Of Modern Socialism  The Origins Of Modern Socialism
Benjamin Dangl, US Corporations, Private Mercenaries and the IMF Rush in to Profit from Haiti's Crisis US Corporations, Private Mercenaries and the IMF Rush in to Profit from Haiti's Crisis
Germain Dufour, The Global Community gives humanitarian help to the people of Haiti.  The Global Community gives humanitarian help to the people of Haiti
Environmental Defense Action Fund, 10 Startling Climate Facts from 2009 10 Startling Climate Facts from 2009
Bhaskar Goswami, Climate Accord Betrays The Vulnerable Climate Accord Betrays The Vulnerable
Ghali Hassan, COP15 Copenhagen: A Road To Ecocide COP15 Copenhagen: A Road To Ecocide
Gary G. Kohls, Jesus Hated War -- Why Do Christians Love It So Much? Jesus Hated War -- Why Do Christians Love It So Much?
Naomi Klein, For Obama, No Opportunity Is Too Big to Blow  For Obama, No Opportunity Is Too Big to Blow
Alex Lantier, US Military Tightens Grip On Haiti US Military Tightens Grip On Haiti
Stephen Lendman, Disaster Capitalism Headed To Haiti Disaster Capitalism Headed To Haiti
Stephen Lendman, Obama Year One: Betrayal And Failure (Part II) Obama Year One: Betrayal And Failure (Part II)
Carl Lindskoog, Haiti Didn't Become a Poor Nation All on Its Own -- The U.S's Hidden Role in the Disaster  Haiti Didn't Become a Poor Nation All on Its Own -- The U.S's Hidden Role in the  Disaster
Dr. Charles Mercieca, America in True Perspective America in True Perspective
Thomas C. Mountain, Ethiopia Commits Genocide, Eritrea Gets Sanctioned Ethiopia Commits Genocide, Eritrea Gets Sanctioned
Madeline Ostrander, Time For Better Ideas: James Hansen  Time For Better Ideas: James Hansen
James Petras, The US and China: One Side is Losing, the Other is Winning The US and China: One Side is Losing, the Other is Winning
Dr. Gideon Polya, Palestinian, Iraqi, Afghan & Aboriginal Genocides, Copenhagen Failure & Climate Genocide Palestinian, Iraqi, Afghan & Aboriginal Genocides, Copenhagen Failure & Climate Genocide
Bill Quigley, 9 Things the U.S. Could and Should Do for Haiti 9 Things the U.S. Could and Should Do for Haiti
Bill Quigley, Why the US Owes Haiti Billions:The Briefest History  Why the US Owes Haiti Billions:The Briefest History
Bill Quigley, Wake Up World!  Wake Up World!
Md. Hasibur Rahman, Agricultural Land Use and Land susceptibility in Bangladesh: An overview Agricultural Land Use and Land susceptibility in Bangladesh: An overview
Satya Sagar, Gandhi, Guevara Fifty-Fifty  Gandhi, Guevara Fifty-Fifty
Danny Schechter, Is the Haiti Rescue Effort Failing?  Is the Haiti Rescue Effort Failing?
Kim Scipes, The Environmental Costs Of The Military  The Environmental Costs Of The Military

Research papers and articles on global issues for this month
 Date sent  Theme or issue  Read
 January 21, 2010   The Global Community gives humanitarian help to the people of Haiti.
by Germain Dufour
Spiritual Leader of the Global Community
Federation of Global Governments
  Read The Global Community gives humanitarian help to the people of Haiti.
 January 19, 2010   US Corporations, Private Mercenaries and the IMF Rush in to Profit from Haiti's Crisis
Benjamin Dangl, Toward Freedom, AlterNet

In the aftermath of the earthquake, with much of the infrastructure and government services destroyed, Haitians have relied on each other for the relief efforts, working together to pull their neighbors, friends and loved ones from the rubble. One report from IPS News in Haiti explained, "In the day following the quake, there was no widespread violence. Guns, knives and theft weren't seen on the streets, lined only with family after family carrying their belongings. They voiced their anger and frustration with sad songs that echoed throughout the night, not their fists."

Bob Moliere, an organizer within the popular political party Fanmi Lavalas was killed in the earthquake. His wife, Marianne Moliere, told IPS News after burying her husband, "There is no life for me because Bob was everything to me. I lost everything. Everything is destroyed," she said. "I'm sleeping in the street now because I'm homeless. But when I get some water, I share with others. Or if someone gives some spaghetti, I share with my family and others."

It is not this type of solidarity that has emerged in the wake of the crisis - and the delayed and muddled response from the international community - that most corporate media in the US have focused on. Instead, echoing the coverage and calls for militarization of New Orleans in the wake of Katrina, major media outlets talk about the looting, and need for security to protect private property.

One request from Erwin Berthold, the owner of Big Star Market in Petionville, Haiti, reflects this concern for profit over people. Berthold told the Washington Post about his supermarket, "We have everything cleaned up inside. We are ready to open. We just need some security. So send in the Marines, okay?"

That militarization is already underway. This week the US is sending thousands of troops and soldiers to the country. The Haitian government has signed over control of its capital airport to the US. Brazil and France have already lodged complaints that US military planes are now being given priority over other flights at the international airport.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez responded to the US troop deployment. "I read that 3,000 soldiers are arriving, Marines armed as if they were going to war. There is not a shortage of guns there, my God. Doctors, medicine, fuel, field hospitals, that's what the United States should send," Chavez said. "They are occupying Haiti undercover." The Venezuelan President pledged to send any necessary amount of gasoline needed to the country to aid with electricity and transport.

A Heroic History in Washington's Backyard

There is also little mention in the major news outlets' coverage of how the US government and corporations helped impoverish Haiti in the first place, creating the economic poverty that makes disasters like this so extensive. Nor is there mention of the country's heroic struggle against imperialism and slavery. Fidel Castro pointed out in a recent column, "Haiti was the first country in which 400,000 Africans, enslaved and trafficked by Europeans, rose up against 30,000 white slave masters on the sugar and coffee plantations, thus undertaking the first great social revolution in our hemisphere. ... Napoleon's most eminent general was defeated there. Haiti is the net product of colonialism and imperialism, of more than one century of the employment of its human resources in the toughest forms of work, of military interventions and the extraction of its natural resources."

University professor Peter Hallward, writing in the Guardian Unlimited, criticized Washington for its responsibility in creating the suffering it is now pledging to alleviate in Haiti. "Ever since the US invaded and occupied the country in 1915, every serious political attempt to allow Haiti's people to move (in former president Jean-Bertrand Aristide's phrase) ‘from absolute misery to a dignified poverty' has been violently and deliberately blocked by the US government and some of its allies. Aristide's own government (elected by some 75% of the electorate) was the latest victim of such interference, when it was overthrown by an internationally sponsored coup in 2004 that killed several thousand people and left much of the population smoldering in resentment. The UN has subsequently maintained a large and enormously expensive stabilization and pacification force in the country."

Brian Concannon, the director of the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti told Hallward of the root causes for the overpopulation of neighborhoods in the city of Port-au-Prince that were hit so hard by the earthquake. "Those people got there because they or their parents were intentionally pushed out of the countryside by aid and trade policies specifically designed to create a large captive and therefore exploitable labor force in the cities; by definition they are people who would not be able to afford to build earthquake resistant houses." Unnatural crises such as this made the earthquake much more devastating.

Disaster Capitalism Comes to Haiti

As Noami Klein thoroughly proved in her book The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism, throughout history, "while people were reeling from natural disasters, wars and economic upheavals, savvy politicians and industry leaders nefariously implemented policies that would never have passed during less muddled times." This push to apply unpopular neoliberal policies began almost immediately after the earthquake in Haiti.

In a talk recorded by Democracy Now!, Klein explained that the disaster in Haiti is created on the one hand by nature, and on the other hand "is worsened by the poverty that our governments have been so complicit in deepening. Crises-natural disasters are so much worse in countries like Haiti, because you have soil erosion because the poverty means people are building in very, very precarious ways, so houses just slide down because they are built in places where they shouldn't be built. All of this is interconnected. But we have to be absolutely clear that this tragedy, which is part natural, part unnatural, must, under no circumstances, be used to, one, further indebt Haiti, and, two, to push through unpopular corporatist policies in the interests of our corporations."

Following the disaster in Haiti, Klein pointed out that the Heritage Foundation, "one of the leading advocates of exploiting disasters to push through their unpopular pro-corporate policies," issued a statement on its website after the earthquake hit: "In addition to providing immediate humanitarian assistance, the U.S. response to the tragic earthquake in Haiti earthquake offers opportunities to re-shape Haiti's long-dysfunctional government and economy as well as to improve the public image of the United States in the region."

The mercenary trade group International Peace Operations Association (IPOA) immediately offered their services to provide "security" in Haiti to its member companies, according to Jeremy Scahill. Within hours of the earthquake, Scahill wrote, the IPOA website announced, "In the wake of the tragic events in Haiti, a number of IPOA's member companies are available and prepared to provide a wide variety of critical relief services to the earthquake's victims."

Kathy Robison, a Fortune 500 executive, formerly with Goldman Sachs Companies, wrote of the earthquake disaster in Haiti. "The business leaders I have been meeting with have seen enough disappointment and suffering," she wrote. "What Haiti needs is economic development and the building of a true middle class. ... There is much we are planning as far as creating new and innovative ways of using international aid and government support to promote private investment."

On January 14, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) announced a $100 million loan to Haiti to help with relief efforts. However, Richard Kim at The Nation wrote that this loan was added onto $165 million in debt made up of loans with conditions "including raising prices for electricity, refusing pay increases to all public employees except those making minimum wage and keeping inflation low." This new $100 million loan has the same conditions. Kim writes, "in the face of this latest tragedy, the IMF is still using crisis and debt as leverage to compel neoliberal reforms."

The last thing Haiti needs at this point is more debt; what it needs is grants. As Kim wrote, according to a report from the The Center for International Policy, in 2003 "Haiti spent $57.4 million to service its debt, while total foreign assistance for education, health care and other services was a mere $39.21 million."

In the midst of the suffering and anguish following the earthquake, many Haitians came together to console and help each other. Journalist David Wilson, in Haiti during the time of the earthquake, wrote of the singing that followed the disaster. "Several hundred people had gathered to sing, clap, and pray in an intersection here by 9 o'clock last night, a little more than four hours after an earthquake had devastated much of the Haitian capital." A young Haitian American commented to Wilson on the singing, "Haitians are different," he said. "People in other countries wouldn't do this. It's a sense of community."

If these elements of the "relief" efforts continue in this exploitative vein, it is this community that will likely be crushed even further by disaster capitalism and imperialism.

While international leaders and institutions are speaking about how many soldiers and dollars they are committing to Haiti, it is important to note that what Haiti needs is doctors not soldiers, grants not loans, a stronger public sector rather than a wholesale privatization, and critical solidarity with grassroots organizations and people to support the self-determination of the country.

"We don't need soldiers," Patrick Elie, the former Defense Minister under the Aristide government told Al Jazeera. "There is no war here." In addition to critiquing the presence of the soldiers, he commented on the US-control of the main airport. "The choice of what lands and what doesn't land, the priorities of the flight[s], should be determined by the Haitians. Otherwise, it's a takeover and what might happen is that the needs of Haitians are not taken into account, but only either the way a foreign country defines the need of Haiti, or try to push its own agenda."


For more information and suggestions on acting in solidarity with the Haitian people, read this article.

  Read US Corporations, Private Mercenaries and the IMF Rush in to Profit from Haiti's Crisis
 January 18, 2010   Ethiopia Commits Genocide, Eritrea Gets Sanctioned
by Thomas C. Mountain, Countercurrents.org

The UN inSecurity Council has done it again in the Horn of Africa. Ethiopia has been committing genocide in the Ethiopian Ogaden and in response the UN Security Council, in a closed door meeting, passed sanctions against...Eritrea?

In the bizarre world of the UN Security Council, black is white, up is down and right is wrong. Ethiopia can invade its neighbors (Eritrea in 2000, Somalia in 2006) steal an election (2005, in the process of which Ethiopian troops gunned down over 500 protestors and locked up another 50,000) and commit crimes against humanity against its own people, including ethnic cleansing in western Ethiopia and outright genocide in the Ogaden, and remain untouched..

Eritrea can help bring peace to Sudan, including eastern Sudan, the North-South civil war and now in Dafur and in reward be sanctioned by the UN Security Council. What were the charges against Eritrea? Supporting terrorism in Somalia ie providing arms to the Al Shabab Somali resistance.

As one who spent many hours sharing cuppucinos with the Somali resistance in the lobby of the former Imperial Hotel here in Asmara (I have renamed it the Peace Hotel for it seems all of the peace deals brokered here in the Horn of Africa were born there) I can speak from first hand experience that the one Somali resistance organization that I have never been introduced to is the Al Shabab leadership. Of course the evidence for such charges is pretty non-existent or even laughable. For example, the UN “Monitoring Committee” for Somalia is the main source of charges that Eritrea has provided weapons to Al Shabab. Never mind that this same “Committee” also issued a widely ridiculed report that Somali Jihadists fought along side Hezbollah in the 2006 Israeli-Hezbollah war. Even Israeli intelligence officers had a good laugh at this one.

In contrast, Dumusani Khumalo, South Africa’s Ambassador to the UN and the chair of the UN special committee on Somalia has just issued a report that said that at least 80% of the arms available in Somalia came from Ethiopia or were arms “donated” by the USA and other western countries to the so called “Somalia Transitional Government” and then sold on the black market, often times to the resistance. So much for enforcing the UN arms embargo for Somalia. Just another case of acquired amnesia for the “distorters” working for the western media here in east Africa.

A few years back the “Special Monitoring Committee for Somalia” aka the CIA, issued a report that arms shipments were arriving in Somalia via Asmara Airport here in Eritrea and even provided a registration number for the aircraft. But when a little research was done it turned out that the aircraft in question was registered to a well known Russian arms dealer with a long history of working for...the CIA!

No one has bothered trying to explain how Eritrea was able to sneak arms shipments past all the naval task forces assembled in the Indian Ocean to try and prevent piracy. No one has been able to explain how Eritrea was able to sneak arms past both the French and USA military in Djibouti, with all their satellite technology and around the clock intell systems. No has been able to explain how no arms shipments from Eritrea to Al Shabab have ever been captured. But then the western media doesnt have to explain anything, just report whatever the CIA tells them and move on to the next story.

As someone with a long background in the history of the Horn of Africa this latest distortion of reality by the UN Security Council comes as no suprise. The UN has violated its own charter so many times in matters concerning Africa’s Horn we have lost count. This latest shameful act is just another in a long, disgraceful history going back to the UN/USA handing over the former Italian colony of Eritrea to the USA cop on the beat at the time, the Haile Sellasie regime in Ethiopia and Eritrean independence be damned.

We here in Eritrea have come to expect that no good deed goes unpunished and bringing peace to the Horn of Africa is in opposition to USA imperial policy. The USA does NOT want peace in Africa, just the opposite. With peace could come strong, nationalistic governments and how is the USA and its western partners in crime going to be able to rape and pillage Africa’s raw materials at will if this is the case?

A good example is how the Anglo-American Mining company operates one of the largest gold mines in the world in Tanzania, for which the Tanzanian people recieve a whopping 5% royalty. Thats right, for every $1000 per ounce of Tanzanian gold sold, Anglo-American recieves $950 with Tanzania recieving just $50. This isnt partnership, this is theft.

Compare this to Eritrea where the Canadian company Nevsun will be opening the Bisha Gold Mine later this year. Eritrea will be recieving 40% of the profits and Nevsun 60%. This should give you pretty good idea of why the USA and its western capos are hell bent on destroying Eritrea, or at least bringing us to heal, you know, kneel down and kiss the masters feet? Africa remains about the only place in the world that the west is able to exploit without restriction and without Africa’s wealth is will be increasingly impossible for the western countries to maintain their bloated standard of living.

Thomas C. Mountain
Asmara, Eritrea

In a former life, Thomas C. Mountain was the publisher of the Ambedkar Journal on India's Dalits and a founding member of the Phoolan Devi International Defense Committee thomascmountain at yahoo dot com

  Read Ethiopia Commits Genocide,Eritrea Gets Sanctioned
 January 18, 2010   Disaster Capitalism Headed To Haiti
by Stephen Lendman, Countercurrents.org

In her book, "The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism," Naomi Klein explores the myth of free market democracy, explaining how neoliberalism dominates the world with America its main exponent exploiting security threats, terror attacks, economic meltdowns, competing ideologies, tectonic political or economic shifts, and natural disasters to impose its will everywhere.

As a result, wars are waged, social services cut, public ones privatized, and freedom sacrificed when people are too distracted, cowed or in duress to object. Disaster capitalism is triumphant everywhere from post-Soviet Russia to post-apartheid South Africa, occupied Iraq and Afghanistan, Honduras before and after the US-instigated coup, post-tsunami Sri Lanka and Aceh, Indonesia, New Orleans post-Katrina, and now heading to Haiti full-throttle after its greatest ever catastrophe. The same scheme always repeats, exploiting people for profits, the prevailing neoliberal idea that "there is no alternative" so grab all you can.

On Her web site, Klein headlines a "Haiti Disaster Capitalism Alert: Stop Them Before They Shock Again," then quotes the extremist Heritage Foundation saying:

"In addition to providing immediate humanitarian assistance, the US response to the tragic Haiti earthquake offers opportunities to re-shape Haiti's long-dysfunctional government and economy as well as to improve the public image of the United States in the region."

Heritage notes "Things to Remember While Helping Haiti," itemized briefly below:

-- be bold and decisive;

-- mobilize US civilian and military capabilities "for short-term rescue and relief and long-term recovery and reform;"

-- US military forces should play an active role interdicting "cocaine to Haiti and Dominican Republic from the Venezuelan coast and counter ongoing efforts of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez to destabilize the island of Hispaniola;"

-- US Coast Guard vessels should stop Haitians from trying "to enter the US illegally;"

-- Congress should authorize "assistance, trade and reconstruction efforts;" and

-- US diplomacy should "counter the negative propaganda certain to emanate from the Castro-Chavez camp (to) demonstrate that the US's involvement in the Caribbean remains a powerful force for good in the Americas and around the globe."

Heritage is an imperial tool advocating predation, exploitation, and Haitian redevelopment for profit, not for desperate people to repair their lives. It disdains democratic freedoms, social justice, and envisions a global economy "where freedom, opportunity, prosperity, and civil society flourish" solely for the privileged, the chosen few, not the disadvantaged or greater majority.

It's for free market plunder, regulatory freedom, tax cuts for the rich, exploiting the majority, corporate handouts, and militarized control for enforcement. It supports the Bilderberg idea of a global classless society - a New World Order with rulers and serfs, no middle class, no unions, no democracy, no equity or justice, just empowered oligarchs, freed to do as they please under a universal legal system benefitting them.

For the moment, their focus is Haiti, ripe for plunder, like the second tsunami that hit coastal Sri Lankans. The December 2004 one took 250,000 lives and left 2.5 million homeless throughout the region. Klein explained the aftermath at Arugam Bay, "a fishing and faded resort village" on Sri Lanka's east coast that was showcased to "build back better." Not for villagers, for developers, hoteliers, and other business interests to exploit. After the disaster, they had a blank slate for what the tourist industry long wanted - "a pristine beach (on prime real estate), scrubbed clean of all the messy signs of people working, a vacation Eden. It was the same up and down the coast once rubble was cleared....paradise" given the profit potential.

New rules forbade coastal homes, so a buffer zone was imposed to insure it. Beaches were off-limits. Displaced Sri Lankans were shoved into grim barracks, and "menacing, machine-gun-wielding soldiers" patrolled to keep them there.

Tourist operators, however, were welcomed and encouraged to build on oceanfront land - to transform the former fishing village into a "high-end boutique tourism destination (with) five-star resorts, luxury chalets, (and even a) floatplane pier and helipad."

It was to be a model for transforming around 30 similar zones into a South Asian Riviera to let Sri Lanka reenter the world economy as one of the last remaining uncolonized places globalization hadn't touched. High-end tourism was the ticket - to provide a luxury destination for the rich once a few changes were made. Government land was opened to private buyers. Labor laws were relaxed or eliminated. Modern infrastructure would be built, and public opposition suppressed to let plans proceed unimpeded.

The same scheme followed Hurricane Mitch in October 1998 when Honduras, Guatemala and Nicaragua were hardest hit. In Sri Lanka, Washington took the Mitch model to the next level - beyond individuals to corporate control over reconstruction. Business ran everything. Affected people were shut out. Klein called it a new type corporate coup mother nature made possible. Now again in Haiti with an idea of what's coming.

Powerful business interests constructed a blueprint from housing to hotels to highways and other needed infrastructure. Disaster relief went for development. Victims got nothing and were consigned to permanent shantytowns like the kinds in most Global South cities and Global North inner ones. Aceh and other affected areas adopted the same model.

A year after the tsunami, the NGO Action Aid surveyed the results in five Asian countries and found the same pattern - residents barred from rebuilding and living in militarized camps, while developers were given generous incentives. Lost was their way of life forever.

The same scheme played out in New Orleans with unfettered capitalism given free reign. With considerable Bush administration help, mother nature gave corporate predators a golden opportunity for plunder. Prevailing wage rates for federally funded or assisted construction projects were suspended. So were environmental regulations in an already polluted area, enough to be designated a superfund site or toxic waste dump. Instead, redevelopment was planned.

As a previous article explained, New Orleans had ample warning but was unprepared. The city is shaped like a bowl, lies below sea level, and its Gulf coast is vulnerable. As a result, the inevitable happened, affecting the city's least advantaged - the majority black population targeted for removal and needing only an excuse to do it. The storm wiped out public housing and erased communities, letting developers build upscale condos and other high-profit projects on choice city land.

It was right out of the Chicago School's play book, what economist Milton Friedman articulated in his 1962 book, "Capitalism and Freedom." His thesis:

"only a crisis - actual or perceived - produces real change. When a crisis occurs, the actions that are taken depend on the ideas that are lying around...our basic function (is) to develop alternatives to existing policies (and be ready to roll them out when the) impossible becomes the politically inevitable."

Friedman believed that government's sole function is "to protect our freedom from (outside) enemies (and) our fellow-citizens. (It's to) preserve law and order (as well as) enforce private contracts, (safeguard private property and) foster competitive markets."

Everything else in public hands is socialism, an ideology he called blasphemous. He said markets work best unfettered of rules, regulations, onerous taxes, trade barriers, "entrenched interests" and human interference, and the best government is practically none - the wild west because, in his view, anything government does business does better so let it. Ideas about democracy, social justice, and a caring society were verboten because they interfere with free-wheeling capitalism.

He said public wealth should be in private hands, profit accumulation unrestrained, corporate taxes abolished, and social services curtailed or ended. He believed "economic freedom is an end to itself (and) an indispensable means toward (achieving) political freedom." He opposed the minimum wage, unions, market interference, an egalitarian society, and called Social Security "the biggest Ponzi scheme on earth." He supported a flat tax favoring the rich, and believed everyone should have to rely on their own resources to get by.

In a word, Friedmanomics preaches unrestrained market fundamentalism. "Free to choose," he said with no regard for human needs and rights. For him and his followers, economic freedom is the be-all-and-end-all under limited government, the marketplace being the master.

Applied to New Orleans, it meant permanent changes, including removing public housing, developing upscale properties in its place, privatizing schools, and destroying a way of life for thousands of disadvantaged blacks expelled from their communities and not allowed back.

Klein called Friedman's thesis "the shock doctrine." Applied to Russia, Eastern Europe and other developing states, it was shock therapy. For affected people, it was economic and social disaster under Friedman's prescription for mass-privatizations, deregulation, unrestricted free market predation, deep social spending cuts, and harsh crackdowns against resisters. It's disaster capitalism, business is booming, and Haitians will soon feel its full fury under military occupation.

Haiti - Beleaguered, Occupied, and Stricken by a Disaster of Biblical Proportions

Since the 19th century, America dominated Haiti. Before the quake, a proxy paramilitary Blue Helmet force occupied the country, dispatched not for peacekeeping but iron-grip control. Worse still, it was the first time ever that UN forces supported a coup d'etat government, the one Washington installed after US Marines kidnapped President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, forcibly exiled him to Africa, and ended the political, economic and social reforms he instituted - in areas of health, education, justice and human rights. Ever since, conditions for Haitians have been nightmarish, and now the quake and further misery ahead from the Pentagon's iron fist and greater than ever exploitation.

Obama's top priority is control, underway immediately after the Pentagon took over the Port-au-Prince airport, reopened it after its brief closure, and set up a temporary air traffic control center. Military personnel now decide what gets in or out, what's delivered, how fast, and according to unconfirmed reports, they slowed arriving search and rescue equipment, supplies, and personnel, except for what other countries managed to send in types and amounts way short of what's needed. As a result, trapped Haitians perished, whereas a concentrated, sustained airlift, including heavy earthmoving and other equipment, might have saved hundreds or thousands more lives.

The 1948 - 49 Berlin airlift showed how. For nearly 11 months, western allies delivered what rose to a daily average of 5,500 tons, providing vital supplies for the city's two million people. Today, the Pentagon has far greater capabilities. If ordered, massive amounts of virtually everything could be expedited, including heavy earthmoving equipment and teams of experts for every imaginable need. The result would have been vast numbers more lives saved, now perished because little was done to help, except for heroic volunteers providing food, water, and medical care, and Haitians who dug out survivors with small implements and their bare hands.

On January 15, Reuters reported that the Port-au-Prince 9,000-foot runway escaped serious damage and could handle big cargo planes easily. Immediately, food, water, medicine, rescue crews, and other specialists began arriving from Venezuela, Cuba, Nicaragua, China, and elsewhere, but very little from America, including vitally needed heavy equipment. Haiti has very little of what's needed.

Instead, the Pentagon sent in thousands of Marines and 82nd Airborne Division paratroopers (a 10,000 force contingent once in place), armed killers, not humanitarian personnel and regular supplies to sustain them. Larger numbers may follow to be supplemented by UN Blue Helmets and Haitian National Police under Pentagon command. A long-term commitment for militarized control is planned, not humanitarian relief, reminiscent of the 20-year 1915 - 1934 period when US Marines occupied and ravaged Haiti.

Throughout the country, the lives of nine million people are at stake. Of immediate concern, are the three million in Port-au-Prince and surroundings, devastated by the quake and unable to sustain themselves without substantial outside help.

Central also is Haiti's government, now crippled, including one report saying the senate building collapsed with most of the lawmakers inside. It's not clear who's alive or dead in either National Assembly chamber, the cabinet, or other government posts. It hardly matters, however, under US military control leaving President Rene Preval and Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive mere figureheads.

Once full control is established, the immediate shock subsides, and the media lose interest, reconstruction will be implemented for profit, not poor Haitians left on their own in communities like Cite Soleil and Bel Air or permanently displaced for what developers have in mind.

Efforts will focus on upscale areas and facilities for the Pentagon, US officials and selected bureaucrats. Before the quake, the Preval government was weak, ineffective, and uncaring about Haiti's vast needs. He effectively ceded power to Washington, the UN, and the large imperial-chosen NGO presence in the country.

In addition, Aristide's Fanmi Lavalas party was banned from the scheduled February 2010 parliamentary elections (now cancelled or postponed), and was earlier excluded from the 2009 April and June process to fill 12 open senate seats, resulting in a turnout below 10%, and mocking a true democratic process.

Now, millions of Haitians hang by a thread. As one of them put it, "tout ayiti kraze," the whole country is no more. The government is inoperative. Port-au-Prince is in shambles. People are struggling to survive, 100,000 or more likely dead, a toll sure to rise as disease and depravation claim more. Those in poor communities are on their own. Rescuers are concentrating on high-profile, well-off areas, but without earthmoving equipment can do little to save victims. The problem - Washington obstructionism and indifference to human suffering and need.

On January 15, Al Jazeera reported that aid agencies are struggling under difficult conditions and inadequate supplies, let alone how to distribute them throughout the capital. As a result, frustration is growing with little help, no shelter, decaying bodies still unburied, the threat of disease, and the stench of death everywhere with no power, phones, clean water, food, and everything millions need.

Sebastian Walker, Al Jazeera's Port-au-Prince correspondent said:

"A lot of people have simply grown tired of waiting for those emergency workers to get to them. Thousands of people are streaming out of the city towards the provinces to try to find supplies of food and water, supplies that are running out in the city."

On January 16, Al Jazeera headlined "Haiti: UP to 200,000 feared dead." About 50,000 bodies have been collected, according to Haiti's interior minister, Paul Antoine Bien-Aime, and he anticipates "between 100,000 and 200,000 dead in total, although we will never know the exact number," nor how many more will expire in the weeks and months ahead, unnoticed and unreported.

On January 17, Al Jazeera headlined, "Aid teams struggle to help Haitians....amid difficulties in distributing relief supplies to those who need it most.

Sebastian Walker said delivering supplies stacking up at the airport has been extremely problematic:

"This comes down to the complex issue of who is in charge here. The US military has a great deal of control over the number of flights that are landing here. We heard that a UN flight carrying aid equipment had to be diverted because the US was landing its own aircraft there. The question of just who makes the decision over how to distribute the aid seems to be what is holding up the supplies."

The Pentagon decides, of course, and that's the problem. Obama also urges "patience," saying "many difficult days (are) ahead," without explaining his obstructionist uncaring role.

The result is reports like this:

-- from Canada's CBC As It Happens broadcast interview with an ICRC spokesperson saying he spent the morning of January 15 touring one of the hardest hit areas, and "In three hours, I didn't see a single rescue team;"

-- a same day BBC interview with an American Red Cross spokesperson complained about aid delivery - that arriving planes carried people, not supplies, and amounts at the airpot weren't being delivered;

- the Canada Haiti Action Network calls Port-au-Prince a city largely without aid because areas most in need aren't getting it; further, in nicer neighborhoods, dogs and extraction units arrived, but 90% of them are just sitting around, perhaps because of no earthmoving equipment to reach victims;

-- another report said a French plane carrying a field hospital was turned away, then later allowed in; meanwhile, Israel got carte blanche for its own field hospital, able to handle 500 casualties daily, so it begs the question - why praise Israel for (selectively) helping Haitians when it murders Palestinians daily, keeps the West Bank isolated and locked down, Gaza under siege, and denies critically ill residents exit permission for treatment unavailable from Strip facilities, leaving them to perish; and

-- various reports say US forces are preventing flights from landing; prioritized are landing US troops, repatriating American nationals, and perhaps starving poor Haitians to death; dozens of French citizens and dual Haitian-French nationals couldn't leave when their scheduled flight to Guadeloupe couldn't land; an angry French Secretary of State for Cooperation, Alain Joyandet, told reporters that he "made an official complaint to the Americans through the US embassy."

UN Office of Coordination for Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) Report on Haiti Relief

On January 15, OCHA reported as follows:

"Logistics and the lack of transport remain the key constraints to the delivery of aid. Needs are still being identified as access becomes possible and as assessments begin to take place.

Displaced populations are currently scattered across multiple locations where there is open space. Temporary shelters urgently need to be established.

Fifteen sites have been identified for distribution of relief items. World Food Program reached 13,000 people today with food, jerry cans and water purification tablets."

OCHA continued, saying:

"A total of (only) 180 tons of relief supplies have arrived in-country so far. Operations are heavily constrained due to the lack of fuel, transport, communications and handling capacity at the airport. Some flights are being re-routed through Santo Domingo airport (far from Port-au-Prince in the Dominican Republic) which is also becoming congested."

In its latest January 16 report, OCHA repeated that airport logistics remain a challenge, the result of re-routed flights, congestion, lengthy offloading times, the lack of transport and fuel, no storage facility, and the airport "now packed with goods and teams" not being delivered.

Three million Haitians need help, but the World Food Program distributed high energy biscuits only to 50,000. Around 50,000 are getting hot meals.

Major health concerns include untreated trauma wounds, infections, infectious diseases, diarrhea, lack of safe drinking water and sanitation, and Haitians with pre-existing condition like HIV/AIDS, diabetes and cancer aren't being treated.

Up to a million people need immediate shelter and non-food aid, including clean water, blankets, kitchen and hygiene kits, plastic sheeting and tents.

"As of 16 January it is estimated that fuel for humanitarian operations will only last 2 to 3 more days before operations will be forced to cease."

There have only been 58 live rescues so far among the many thousands trapped beneath or behind rubble. OCHA launched a Flash Appeal for $575 million "to cover 3 million people severely affected for six months."

Sixteen EU nations are providing aid but not enough. America is doing practically nothing.

One nation delivering heroic help is Cuba, but little about it is reported. Despite its own constraints, it's operated in Haiti for years, and now has over 400 doctors and healthcare experts delivering free services. They work every day in 227 of the country's 337 communes. In addition, Cuban medical schools trained over 400 Haitian doctors, now working to save lives during the country's gravest crisis. It's no small achievement that Cuba, blockaded and constrained, is responsible for nearly 1,000 doctors and healthcare providers, all of whom work tirelessly to save lives and rehabilitate the injured.

According to China's Xinhua News Agency:

"Cuban aid workers have taken charge of (Haiti's) De la Paz Hospital, since its doctors have not appeared after the quake," perhaps because many perished, are wounded, or are trapped beneath or behind rubble themselves.

Cubans are working despite a lack of everything needed to provide care except for what its government managed to deliver. Dr. Carlos Alberto Garcia, coordinator of its medical brigade, said Cuban doctors, nurses and other health personnel are working non-stop, day and night. Operating rooms are open 18 hours a day.

Independent reports now say Washington is trying to block Cuban and Venezuelan aid workers by refusing them landing permission in Port-au-Prince. The Caribbean Community's emergency aid mission is also blocked. On January 15, the US State Department confirmed that it signed two Memoranda of Understanding with the remnants of Haiti's government putting Washington in charge of all inbound and outbound flights and aid offloading in the country.

For years, Cuba has sent doctors, nurses and other healthcare providers to countries in need worldwide, winning hearts and minds for its free highly professional services. It provides national healthcare for all its people, and now has about 25,000 doctors in 68 countries. In addition, over 1,800 doctors from 47 developing states graduate annually from Cuban medical schools, return home, and provide quality care for their people.

Major Media Misreporting

Ignoring Haiti's long history as a de facto US colony, the major media report a sanitized version of today's catastrophe. For example on January 14, The New York Times cynically editorialized: "Once again, the world weeps for Haiti." This is the same paper that lied in a March 1, 2004 editorial after US Marines forcibly exiled Aristide, saying:

-- he resigned;

-- sending in Marines "was the right thing to do;" and

-- they only arrived after "Mr. Aristide yielded power."

It also blamed him for "contribut(ing) significantly to his own downfall (because of his) increasingly autocratic and lawless rule," and accused him of manipulating the 2000 legislative elections and not "deliver(ing) the democracy he promised."

In fact, other than a brief period after its liberating revolution (1791 - January 1, 2004), the only time Haiti was democratically governed was under Aristide and during Rene Preval's first term. Aristide, in fact, was so beloved, he was overwhelmingly reelected in 2000 with a 92% majority and would be equally supported today if allowed to run. In fact, when he's most needed and wanted, Washington won't let him return.

In media coverage of Haiti's disaster, the greater story is suppressed, the one that matters, that puts today's tragedy in context:

-- 500 years of repression; slavery under the Spanish, then French, and since the 19th century as a de facto US colony;

-- deep poverty and human misery, the worst in the hemisphere;

-- despotic rule, occupation, exploitation, starvation, disease and low life expectancy; and

-- now now a disaster of biblical proportions getting Times headlines like:

"In Show of Support, Clinton Goes to Haiti"

Omitted was that it was for a brief airport photo op, America's usual show of indifference to human suffering, in this case, the result of US imperialism, not as a benefactor the way The Times and other major media portray.

"Officials Strain to Distribute Aid to Haiti as Violence Rises"

In fact, Haitians have been remarkably calm, no thanks to Washington that's slowing aid delivery, providing very little of its own, and offers little more than militarized occupation, armed killers, including Xe (formerly Blackwater Worldwide) mercenaries, notoriously savage brutes.

"Looting Flares Where Authority Breaks Down"

Looting? People are suffering, starving, dying, desperate because America sends fighters, not food; Marines, not medical aid; combat killers, not compassion, caring, and kindness; and diplomats, not doctors or human decency.

"Government Struggles to Exhume Itself"

Calling it "comparatively stable" ignores that Preval's government is a proxy for US interests and no longer functioning. Pentagon killers are now in charge.

"Bush, Clinton and Obama Unite to Raise Money for Haiti"

After the December 2004 tsunami struck East Asia, the Bush administration spearheaded a similar campaign, raised over $1 billion, and used it for corporate development, not people needs. Obama backs a similar scheme (Clinton-Bush Haiti Fund) in a show of contemptible indifference to human misery and chose two co-conspirators for his plan.

The Bush administration engineered the February 2004 coup ousting Aristide, established police state rule, and immiserated nine million Haitians. For his part, Clinton kept an iron grip throughout his presidency instead of supporting Aristide's political, economic and social reforms.

He's now UN Special Envoy to Haiti heading an Obama administration neoliberal scheme featuring tourism, textile sweatshops, sweeping privatizations and deregulation for greater cheap labor exploitation at the expense of providing essential needs. He orchestrated a plan to turn northern Haiti into a tourist playground and got Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines to invest $55 million for a pier in Labadee where the company operates a private resort and has contributed the largest amount of tourist revenue to the country since 1986.

More still is planned, including a new international airport in the north, an expanded free trade zone, a new one in Port-au-Prince, now delayed, various infrastructure projects, and an alliance with George Soros' Open Society Institute for a $50 million partnership with Haitian shipper Gregory Mevs to build a free-trade zone for clothing sweatshops.
In addition, the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) has $258 million in commitments, including the Better Work Haiti and HOPE II projects, taking advantage of duty-free Haitian apparel exports to America to encourage greater sweatshop proliferation.

According to TransAfrica's founder Randall Robinson:

"That isn't the kind of investment that Haiti needs. It needs capital investment. It needs investment so that it can be self-sufficient. It needs investment so that it can feed itself." It also needs debt relief, not another $100 million the IMF just announced adding more to a $1.2 billion burden.

Above all, Haiti needs democratic governance freed from US control, military occupation, and the kind of oppression it's endured for centuries so its people can breathe free.

It doesn't need two past and a current US president allied with Haiti's elites, ignoring economic justice, exploiting Haitian labor, ignoring overwhelming human desperation, militarizing the country, crushing resistance if it arises, and implementing a disaster capitalism agenda at the expense of essential human needs, rights and freedoms.

The only good new is that the Obama administration granted undocumented Haitians Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for 18 months. They can now work legally and send remittances to family members. It affects 30,000 ordered deported and all non-US citizens.

During the Bush administration and throughout Obama's first year in office, repeated calls for it were refused. Now after 80 representatives and 18 senators, Republicans and Democrats, and the conference of Roman Catholic bishops sent appeals, Obama relented for Haitians in America as of January 12. New arrivals will be deported unlike Cubans under the 1966 Cuban Adjustment Act (as amended), a "wet foot/dry foot" policy under which those interdicted at sea are returned home, but others reaching shore are inspected for entry, then nearly always allowed to stay.

TPS aside, Haiti faces crushing burdens - deep poverty, vast unemployment, overwhelming human needs, severe repression, poor governance, Washington dominance, a burdensome debt, and much more before the January 12 quake. Now the disaster, militarization by the Pentagon, and disaster capitalism soon arriving besides what's already profiteering. It's been Haiti's plight for generations, the poorest hemispheric nation in the area most under Washington's iron grip and paying dearly for the privilege.

Stephen Lendman is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization. He lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.

Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to the Lendman News Hour on RepublicBroadcasting.org Monday - Friday at 10AM US Central time for cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on world and national issues. All programs are archived for easy listening.

  Read Disaster Capitalism Headed To Haiti
 January 19, 2010
The unfathomable tragedy in Haiti demands that we do things differently.

One. Allow all Haitians in the US to work. The number one source of money for poor people in Haiti is the money sent from family and workers in the US back home. Haitians will continue to help themselves if given a chance. Haitians in the US will continue to help when the world community moves on to other problems.

Two. Do not allow US military in Haiti to point their guns at Haitians. Hungry Haitians are not the enemy. Decisions have already been made which will militarize the humanitarian relief – but do not allow the victims to be cast as criminals. Do not demonize the people.

Three. Give Haiti grants as help, not loans. Haiti does not need any more debt. Make sure that the relief given helps Haiti rebuild its public sector so the country can provide its own citizens with basic public services.

Four. Prioritize humanitarian aid to help women, children and the elderly. They are always moved to the back of the line. If they are moved to the back of the line, start at the back.

Five. Respect Human Rights from Day One. The UN has enacted Guiding Principles for Internally Displaced People. Make them required reading for every official and non-governmental person and organization. Non governmental organizations like charities and international aid groups are extremely powerful in Haiti – they too must respect the human dignity and human rights of all people.

Six. Apologize to the Haitian people everywhere for Pat Robertson and Rush Limbaugh.

Seven. Release all Haitians in US jails who are not accused of any crimes. Thirty thousand people are facing deportations. No one will be deported to Haiti for years to come. 

Eight. Require that all the non-governmental organizations which raise money in the US be transparent about what they raise, where the money goes, and insist that they be legally accountable to the people of Haiti.

Nine. Treat all Haitians as we ourselves would want to be treated.

Editor's note: This article originally listed a tenth item -- that President Obama grant Temporary Protected Status for Haitians in the U.S. Fortunately, on January 15th, Janet Napolitano announced that Haitian nationals in the U.S. can over-stay their visa for the next 18 months.

  Read 9 Things the U.S. Could and Should Do for Haiti
 January 18, 2010

Amid the humanitarian tragedy following the January 12 earthquake in Haiti, Washington has concentrated on establishing indefinite military control of the country. Fearing mass protests and riots by desperate Haitians against inadequate rescue efforts, US logistical efforts are focused on massing tens of thousands of troops for use against the population.

Speaking yesterday on ABC television’s “This Week” program, US General Ken Keen, who commands the military task force in Haiti, said US troops would “be here as long as needed.” He confirmed there were roughly 4,200 US troops in Haiti, largely in cutters patrolling offshore, and that by today there would be 12,000 US troops in the country.

On Saturday, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visited Port-au-Prince at the invitation of Haitian President René Préval. She argued for the imposition of an emergency decree in Haiti, allowing for the imposition of curfews and martial-law conditions by US forces. Clinton explained: “The decree would give the government an enormous amount of authority, which in practice they would delegate to us.”

The US government is also working with a force of roughly 7,000 Brazilian-led UN peacekeepers. Clinton commented, “We’re being very thoughtful about how we support them.”

Brazilian officials publicly commented on the risk that mass rioting could overpower international security forces in Haiti. On Friday, Brazil’s Defense Minister Nelson Jobin had warned that the peacekeepers “could struggle” if there was large-scale protests: “We are concerned about security.” The Times of London commented, “Haiti’s capital could quickly descend into rioting if three million hungry, thirsty, and traumatised earthquake survivors don’t receive emergency aid soon.”

US officials are citing contradictory reports of looting in Haiti to justify further US troop deployments. Keen told ABC, “having a safe and secure environment is going to be very important. ... We have had incidents of violence that impede our ability to support the government of Haiti and answer the challenges that this country faces as they’re suffering a tragedy of epic proportions.”

However, one official with the World Food Program (WFP) told the New York Times: “For the moment, the population is rather quiet. But we are seeing the first signs of violence and looting.” The first signs included scuffles between Haitians as food aid is distributed to the population, and one incident in Pétionville, where police threw an alleged looter to an angry mob, who beat him and then burned him to death.

The US military has taken control of Port-au-Prince airport as a key hub of its military buildup, blocking access by humanitarian flights. Humanitarian flights from France, Brazil, and Italy were refused permission to land, and the Red Cross reported one of its planes was diverted to Santo Domingo, the capital of the neighboring Dominican Republic.

France’s ambassador to Haiti, Didier le Bret, said France’s foreign minister Bernard Kouchner had lodged a protest with the US State Department after the US blocked a French flight carrying an emergency field hospital. He added that Port-au-Prince airport was “not an airport for the international community. It’s an annex of Washington. ... We were told it was an extreme emergency, there was need for a field hospital. We might be able to make a difference and save lives.”

French officials later backed down from these statments. Presidential counselor Claude Guéant said, “The US, who have a very sizeable Haitian community, have decided to make a considerable effort ... Now is really not the time to express rivalries between countries.”

However, WFP officials confirmed that US control of Port-au-Prince airport was creating serious logistical problems for aid and rescue efforts. The WFP’s Jarry Emmanuel told the New York Times: “There are 200 flights going in and out every day, which is an incredible amount for a country like Haiti. But most of those flights are for the United States military. ... Their priorities are to secure the country. Ours are to feed [people]. We have got to get those priorities in sync.”

At Port-au-Prince’s Municipal Nursing Home, barely one mile from the US-controlled airport, 85 elderly Haitians are starving and being attacked by rats. One man, Joseph Julien, has already died. Officials have cited fights over food at a nearby soccer stadium to justify not sending them supplies, despite their proximity to the airport. Nursing home administrator Jean Emmanuel told the Associated Press: “I’m pleading for everyone to understand that there’s a truce right now, the streets are free, so you can come through to help us.”

As of yesterday, US search-and-rescue teams had only dug out 15 people from the rubble.

The US military intervention in Haiti is criminal in both form and content. Disguised as a humanitarian rescue operation, its main aim is to build up the necessary firepower to terrorize the masses into accepting a shocking lack of treatment without protest. Even taken on its own terms, the US occupation of Haiti has not taken the opportunities available to it to treat wounded Haitians.

This operation recalls the March 1993 US intervention in Somalia, when US forces invaded that strategically-located country, supposedly to help relieve famine. US forces were soon deeply entangled in civil war and hated by the population, leading up to a shoot-out between US forces and civilians in Mogadishu. Current US operations in Haiti are preparing similar confrontations with the population.

The rescue efforts in Haiti are held hostage by a US national security establishment that is completely impervious to popular sympathy for the victims of the earthquake, and unanswerable to the masses—of Haiti or any other country, including the US itself. Instead, as the death toll mounts, there is an unspoken but unanimous agreement in the international media that it is legitimate for the US military to dictate how operations will proceed.

Haitian Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive confirmed yesterday that the death toll was at least 70,000. However, this counted only confirmed dead in Port-au-Prince and the nearby city of Leogane, which was over 80 percent destroyed in the quake. Bellerive added that the figure of 100,000 dead throughout Haiti “would seem to be the minimum.” Interviewed on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” USAID administrator Rajiv Shah said he had “no reason to contradict” estimates of 100,000 to 200,000 dead.

Time is also running out for many of the even larger number of Haitians wounded in the earthquake. Hospitals have been destroyed and medical staffs are overwhelmed by large numbers of patients with crushed limbs and rapidly spreading infections. Deprived of antibiotics and basic medical supplies, doctors are resorting to amputations and are refusing treatment to badly injured patients, whom they do not think they can save.

Speaking to the Los Angeles Times at Port-au-Prince’s General Hospital, Dr. Georges Lamarre said most of his patients the first night had bled to death, and that he still had no antibiotics or blood supplies: “Up to this moment, there are patients out there we haven’t even touched.”

At the General Hospital, Yolanda Gehry and her baby, Ashleigh, waited four days before doctors could tape up Ashleigh’s head. However, they have not yet treated Ashleigh’s shattered left hand. Gehry commented: “The Haitian doctors didn’t have anything to help us, so we had to wait for the foreigners.”

US officials have made clear that treating Haitian victims of the earthquake is not a US priority. Medical facilities on the US aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson, steaming off Haiti’s shores, will not treat Haitians. The senior medical officer on board, Commander Alfred Shwayhat, told the Wall Street Journal he had plans to “treat 1,000 Haitians if necessary,” but said that he had received no orders to do so. He continued, “If the captain authorizes it, I will take anyone ... [the Vinson’s facility] exceeds anything in the civilian sector, bar none.”

Lieutenant Commander Jim Krohne, a spokesman for the Vinson’s captain, explained that the carrier’s mission was “sea-based.” The Vinson later sent two doctors onshore to help treat Haitian patients.

US officials are also warning Haitians that, if they try to flee from Haiti to the US, they will be deported back to Haiti. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said: “There may be an impulse to leave the island to come here. You will not qualify for TPS [Temporary Protected] status.” This would allow the US to deport them upon arrival.

Officials in Miami, a city with a large Haitian immigrant population, are watching for signs of a mass flght from Haiti to the US. Democratic Representative Kendrick B. Meek noted, “The entire community is emotionally attached to Haiti, and it’s been rough,” adding that Haitian-Americans form the bulk of the workforce for many major employers in the region. However, officials are preparing prisons for potential Haitian refugees.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that it would move 400 detainees from the Krome detention facility to an undisclosed location, to free up space in case any Haitians manage to reach US shores.

  Read US Military Tightens Grip On Haiti
 January 17, 2010
Why the US Owes Haiti Billions:The Briefest History
by Bill Quigley, Countercurrrents.org

Why does the US owe Haiti Billions? Colin Powell, former US Secretary of State, stated his foreign policy view as the "Pottery Barn rule." That is - "if you break it, you own it."

The US has worked to break Haiti for over 200 years. We owe Haiti. Not charity. We owe Haiti as a matter of justice. Reparations. And not the $100 million promised by President Obama either - that is Powerball money. The US owes Haiti Billions - with a big B.

The US has worked for centuries to break Haiti. The US has used Haiti like a plantation. The US helped bleed the country economically since it freed itself, repeatedly invaded the country militarily, supported dictators who abused the people, used the country as a dumping ground for our own economic advantage, ruined their roads and agriculture, and toppled popularly elected officials. The US has even used Haiti like the old plantation owner and slipped over there repeatedly for sexual recreation.

Here is the briefest history of some of the major US efforts to break Haiti.

In 1804, when Haiti achieved its freedom from France in the world's first successful slave revolution, the United States refused to recognize the country. The US continued to refuse recognition to Haiti for 60 more years. Why? Because the US continued to enslave millions of its own citizens and feared recognizing Haiti would encourage slave revolution in the US.

After the 1804 revolution, Haiti was the subject of a crippling economic embargo by France and the US. US sanctions lasted until 1863. France ultimately used its military power to force Haiti to pay reparations for the slaves who were freed. The reparations were 150 million francs. (France sold the entire Louisiana territory to the US for 80 million francs!)

Haiti was forced to borrow money from banks in France and the US to pay reparations to France. A major loan from the US to pay off the French was finally paid off in 1947. The current value of the money Haiti was forced to pay to French and US banks? Over $20 Billion - with a big B.

The US occupied and ruled Haiti by force from 1915 to 1934. President Woodrow Wilson sent troops to invade in 1915. Revolts by Haitians were put down by US military - killing over 2000 in one skirmish alone. For the next nineteen years, the US controlled customs in Haiti, collected taxes, and ran many governmental institutions. How many billions were siphoned off by the US during these 19 years?

From 1957 to 1986 Haiti was forced to live under US backed dictators "Papa Doc" and "Baby Doc" Duvlaier. The US supported these dictators economically and militarily because they did what the US wanted and were politically "anti-communist" - now translatable as against human rights for their people. Duvalier stole millions from Haiti and ran up hundreds of millions in debt that Haiti still owes. Ten thousand Haitians lost their lives. Estimates say that Haiti owes $1.3 billion in external debt and that 40% of that debt was run up by the US-backed Duvaliers.

Thirty years ago Haiti imported no rice. Today Haiti imports nearly all its rice. Though Haiti was the sugar growing capital of the Caribbean, it now imports sugar as well. Why? The US and the US dominated world financial institutions - the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank - forced Haiti to open its markets to the world. Then the US dumped millions of tons of US subsidized rice and sugar into Haiti - undercutting their farmers and ruining Haitian agriculture. By ruining Haitian agriculture, the US has forced Haiti into becoming the third largest world market for US rice. Good for US farmers, bad for Haiti.

In 2002, the US stopped hundreds of millions of dollars in loans to Haiti which were to be used for, among other public projects like education, roads. These are the same roads which relief teams are having so much trouble navigating now!

In 2004, the US again destroyed democracy in Haiti when they supported the coup against Haiti's elected President Aristide.

Haiti is even used for sexual recreation just like the old time plantations. Check the news carefully and you will find numerous stories of abuse of minors by missionaries, soldiers and charity workers. Plus there are the frequent sexual vacations taken to Haiti by people from the US and elsewhere. What is owed for that? What value would you put on it if it was your sisters and brothers?

US based corporations have for years been teaming up with Haitian elite to run sweatshops teeming with tens of thousands of Haitians who earn less than $2 a day.

The Haitian people have resisted the economic and military power of the US and others ever since their independence. Like all of us, Haitians made their own mistakes as well. But US power has forced Haitians to pay great prices - deaths, debt and abuse.

It is time for the people of the US to join with Haitians and reverse the course of US-Haitian relations.

This brief history shows why the US owes Haiti Billions - with a big B. This is not charity. This is justice. This is reparations. The current crisis is an opportunity for people in the US to own up to our country's history of dominating Haiti and to make a truly just response.

(For more on the history of exploitation of Haiti by the US see: Paul Farmer, The Uses of Haiti; Peter Hallward, Damming the Flood; and Randall Robinson, An Unbroken Agony)

Bill is Legal Director at the Center for Constitutional Rights and a law professor at Loyola University New Orleans. He is a Katrina survivor and has been active in human rights in Haiti for years with the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti. Quigley77@gmail.com

  Read Why the US Owes Haiti Billions:The Briefest History
 January 16, 2010
Wake Up World!
by Bill Quigley, Countercurrrents.org

Point One. $100 Million - Are You Kidding Me?

President Obama promised $100 million in aid to Haiti on January 14, 2009. A Kentucky couple won $128 million in a Powerball lottery on December 24, 2009. The richest nation in the history of the world is giving powerball money to a neighbor with tens of thousands of deaths already?

Point Two. Have You Ever Been Without Water?

Hundreds of thousands of people in Haiti have had no access to clean water since the quake hit. Have you ever been in a place that has no water? Have you ever felt the raw fear in the gut when you are not sure where your next drink of water is going to come from? People can live without food for a long time. Without water? A very short time. In hot conditions people can become dehydrated in an hour. Lack of water puts you into shock and starts breaking down the body right away. People can die within hours if they are exposed to heat without water.

Point Three. Half the People in Haiti are Kids and They Were Hungry Before the Quake.

Over half the population of Haiti is 15 years old or younger. And they were hungry before the quake. A great friend, Pere Jean-Juste, explained to me that most of the people of Haiti wake every day not knowing how they will eat dinner that day. So there are no reserves, no soup kitchens, no pantries, nothing for most. Hunger started immediately.

Point Four. A Toxic Stew of Death is Brewing.

Take hundreds of thousands of people. Shock them with a major earthquake and dozens of aftershocks. Take away their homes and put them out in the open. Take away all water and food and medical care. Sit them out in the open for days with scorching temperatures. Surround them with tens of thousands of decaying bodies. People have to drink. So they are drinking bad water. They are getting sick. There is no place to go. What happens next?

Point Five. Aid is Sitting at the Airport.

While millions suffer, humanitarian aid is sitting at the Port au Prince airport. Why? People are afraid to give it out for fear of provoking riots. Which is worse?

Point Six. Haiti is Facing A Crisis Beyond Our Worst Nightmares.

"I think it is going to be worse than anyone still understands." Richard Dubin, vice president of Haiti shipping lines told the New York Times.

He is so right. Unless there is a major urgent change in the global response, the world may look back and envy those tens of thousands who died in the quake.

Wake up world!

Bill is Legal Director at the Center for Constitutional Rights and a law professor at Loyola University New Orleans. He is a Katrina survivor and has been active in human rights in Haiti for years with the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti. Quigley77@gmail.com

  Read Wake Up World!
 January 18, 2010   Is the Haiti Rescue Effort Failing?
Danny Schechter
published in AlterNet: The Mix is the Message, Evironment
Everyone wants to believe in the best intentions of all involved, but five days after the quake, with so few being helped, we have to ask: how did this get so badly done?

Every disaster plan is built to some degree around the idea of triage -- deciding who can and cannot be saved. The worst cases are often separated and allowed to perish so that others who are considered more survivable can be treated.

There is a tragic triage underway in Haiti thanks to screw-ups in the US and western response, and in part because of the objectively tough conditions in Haiti that blocked access and made the delivery of food, water and services difficult. But the planners should have known that!

Look at the TV coverage. “Saving Haiti” is the title CNN has given to its coverage. It shows us all the planes landing, and donations coming in and celebrity response on one hand, and then the problems/failures to actually deliver aid on the other.

Much of the coverage focuses on the upbeat -- people being saved. But despite that frame, which highlights a compassionate America's response, the reality of what's happening in Haiti is only barely getting through. It's not pretty.

Everyone wants to believe in the best intentions of all involved but five days after the quake, with so few being helped, we have to ask: how did this get so badly done?

It’s like Obama’s plan to stop foreclosures through modifying loans. Great idea, but only a handful of homeowners have benefited. There is a yawning gap between the idea and its execution.

So what happened in Haiti? The short answer: it is too little and in many cases, much of it too late. A natural disaster has been compounded by a well-intentioned man-made one.

Why? One global report explained:

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon emphasized the importance of the first 72 hours following the 12 January disaster. But already much of that crucial time has been spent attempting to assess the situation. The structures usually responsible for dealing with civilian emergencies have been unable to respond effectively due to widespread destruction of national and international power structures.

(This means the UN and the Haitian government as well as the US effort).

Lacking outside support, civilians have worked communally to try to save their own families. Supplies were sent but many have yet to get out of the airport. Troops have not been assigned to help deliver water or guard medical facilities. There is a fear of the wrath of a people that are pissed off at hearing about aid and money donated, and then seeing nothing trickling down into their neighborhoods. 

And there is a deeper fear -- a political fear. With President Aristide, the man the US considers too radical for its tastes, anxious to return, there is fear that a possible revolt against the lack of help could turn angry and political.

Hillary Clinton keeps telling the Haitians that we are their friends -- but many doubt it. They know that Aristide's Lavalas party is the most popular in Haiti and wants a more profound transformation than the US wants to allow. It had been banned from taking part in scheduled elections next month, that are likely to be canceled now. Haiti’s president Preval is weak and dependent on US largesse.

They also know that in the aftermath of earthquakes, like the one that rocked Manaqua, Nicaraga in the 1970s, there can be revolution. They don’t want that to happen in Haiti. They also know how volatile the country is, in part because of neglect by the West over the years.

Private help is not getting through either. Western Union offices are still closed in a country that relies on foreign remittances as a lifeline. The media is finally admitting the aid mission is failing, although that’s not the word used -- they say the relief effort is “troubled!” Here’s the headline in the NY Times: "Officials Strain to Distribute Aid to Haiti as Violence Rises." The piece continues: "A sprawling assembly of international officials and aid workers struggled to fix a troubled relief effort.”

The Guardian/Observer focuses on a water delivery crisis. The article doesn’t ask why armed troops were not assigned to protecting drivers:

Hundreds of thousands of Haitians are in desperate need of drinking water because of an earthquake-damaged municipal pipeline and truck drivers either unable or unwilling to deliver their cargo.

Many drivers are afraid of being attacked if they go out, some drivers are still missing in the disaster and others are out there searching for missing relatives," said Dudu Jean, a 30-year-old driver who was attacked on Friday when he drove into the capital's sprawling Cite Soleil slum.

The lack of water has become one of the greatest dangers facing Haitians in part because earthquake survivors stay outdoors all day in the heat out of fear of aftershocks and unstable buildings.

But there is something else going on.

The disaster planners have an agenda that goes beyond just saving lives. They want to use the crisis to rebuild Haiti along lines they support. (ie. Support of property rights etc) So far they have not spoken about how policies backed by the United States through the Caribbean Basin Initiative were responsible for uprooting peasants from the countryside to move them to the city to be a cheap labor reserve. In that Reagan era effort, pigs were killed and imported food replaced home grown varieties to benefit US suppliers. Debt dependence grew -- classic imperialist policies.

Read this report in coded uncritical top-down language from the Washington Post:

Even as rescuers are digging victims out of the rubble in Haiti, policymakers in Washington and around the world are grappling with how a destitute, corrupt and now devastated country might be transformed into a self-sustaining nation.

Development efforts have failed there, decade after decade, leaving Haitians with a dysfunctional government, a high crime rate and incomes averaging a dollar a day. But the leveled capitol, Port-au-Prince, must be rebuilt, promising one of the largest economic development efforts ever undertaken in the hemisphere -- an effort "measured in months and even years," President Obama said Saturday in an appeal for donations alongside former presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. And those who will help oversee it are thinking hard about how to use that money and attention to change the country forever.

"It's terrible to look at it this way, but out of crisis often comes real change," said C. Ross Anthony, the Rand Corp's global health director. "The people and the institutions take on the crisis and bring forth things they weren't able to do in the past."

The Rand Corporation is a military contractor primarily, a center for spooks and covert strategies. The fact that they are being quoted as saviors is scary in itself. In other words, Haiti’s future is being planned outside of Haiti and will be imposed step by step.

I don’t know about you but anything that George W. Bush is supporting, I tend to be skeptical of, to say the least.

Let’s admit it, this disaster response is itself a disaster. And it's helping promote a new disaster to come.

Greg Palast points to some of the many contradictions that the TV networks that are milking Haiti’s pain in an orgy of self-congratulatory reporting have yet to explore:

*China deployed rescuers with sniffer dogs within 48 hours. China, Mr. President. China: 8,000 miles distant. Miami: 700 miles close. US bases in Puerto Rico: right there. [Greg, make that 25,000 miles away!]

* Obama's Defense Secretary Robert Gates said, "I don't know how this government could have responded faster or more comprehensively than it has." We know Gates doesn't know.

* From my own work in the field, I know that FEMA has access to ready-to-go potable water, generators, mobile medical equipment and more for hurricane relief on the Gulf Coast. It's all still there. Army Lt. Gen. Russel Honoré, who served as the task force commander for emergency response after Hurricane Katrina, told the Christian Science Monitor, "I thought we had learned that from Katrina, take food and water and start evacuating people." Maybe we learned but, apparently, Gates and the Defense Department missed school that day.

* Send in the Marines. That's America's response. That's what we're good at. The aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson finally showed up after three days. With what? It was dramatically deployed -- without any emergency relief supplies. It has sidewinder missiles and 19 helicopters.

* But don't worry, the International Search and Rescue Team, fully equipped and self-sufficient for up to seven days in the field, deployed immediately with ten metric tons of tools and equipment, three tons of water, tents, advanced communication equipment and water purifying capability. They're from Iceland.

[Hillary Clinton said proudly on Saturday that there are now 30 teams in place. No one asked, why only 30?]

* Gates wouldn't send in food and water because, he said, there was no "structure ... to provide security." For Gates, appointed by Bush and allowed to hang around by Obama, it's security first. That was his lesson from Hurricane Katrina. Blackwater before drinking water.

* Previous US presidents have acted far more swiftly in getting troops on the ground on that island. Haiti is the right half of the island of Hispaniola. It's treated like the right testicle of Hell. The Dominican Republic the left. In 1965, when Dominicans demanded the return of Juan Bosch, their elected President, deposed by a junta, Lyndon Johnson reacted to this crisis rapidly, landing 45,000 US Marines on the beaches to prevent the return of the elected president. "

And Greg asks the question that our media heroes have yet to explore:

How did Haiti end up so economically weakened, with infrastructure, from hospitals to water systems, busted or non-existent - there are two fire stations in the entire nation - and infrastructure so frail that the nation was simply waiting for "nature" to finish it off?

Good question. One of the many we should be asking. In the meantime, we need the press to start asking tougher questions and exposing a Katrina-like response that is still losing countless lives.

A country in pain deserves relief. Not more pain.

If you lived there, wouldn’t you be pissed and ready to explode?

  Read Is the Haiti Rescue Effort Failing?
 January 15, 2010   Haiti Didn't Become a Poor Nation All on Its Own -- The U.S's Hidden Role in the Disaster
Carl Lindskoog
published in AlterNet: The Mix is the Message

In the hours following Haiti's devastating earthquake, CNN, the New York Times and other major news sources adopted a common interpretation for the severe destruction: the 7.0 earthquake was so devastating because it struck an urban area that was extremely over-populated and extremely poor.  Houses "built on top of each other" and constructed by the poor people themselves made for a fragile city.  And the country's many years of underdevelopment and political turmoil made the Haitian government ill-prepared to respond to such a disaster.   

True enough.  But that's not the whole story.  What's missing is any explanation of why there are so many Haitians living in and around Port-au-Prince and why so many of them are forced to survive on so little.  Indeed, even when an explanation is ventured, it is often outrageously false such as a former U.S. diplomat's testimony on CNN that Port-au-Prince's overpopulation was due to the fact that Haitians, like most Third World people, know nothing of birth control.   

It may startle news-hungry Americans to learn that these conditions the American media correctly attributes to magnifying the impact of this tremendous disaster were largely the product of American policies and an American-led development model.   

From 1957-1971 Haitians lived under the dark shadow of "Papa Doc" Duvalier, a brutal dictator who enjoyed U.S. backing because he was seen by Americans as a reliable anti-Communist. After his death, Duvalier's son, Jean-Claude "Baby Doc" became President-for-life at the age of 19 and he ruled Haiti until he was finally overthrown in 1986.  It was in the 1970s and 1980s that Baby Doc and the United States government and business community worked together to put Haiti and Haiti's capitol city on track to become what it was on January 12, 2010.   

After the coronation of Baby Doc, American planners inside and outside the U.S. government initiated their plan to transform Haiti into the "Taiwan of the Caribbean."  This small, poor country situated conveniently close to the United States was instructed to abandon its agricultural past and develop a robust, export-oriented manufacturing sector.  This, Duvalier and his allies were told, was the way toward modernization and economic development.   

From the standpoint of the World Bank and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Haiti was the perfect candidate for this neoliberal facelift.  The entrenched poverty of the Haitian masses could be used to force them into low-paying jobs sewing baseballs and assembling other products.   

But USAID had plans for the countryside too.  Not only were Haiti's cities to become exporting bases but so was the countryside, with Haitian agriculture also reshaped along the lines of export-oriented, market-based production.  To accomplish this USAID, along with urban industrialists and large landholders, worked to create agro-processing facilities, even while they increased their practice of dumping surplus agricultural products from the U.S. on the Haitian people.   

This "aid" from the Americans, along with the structural changes in the countryside predictably forced Haitian peasants who could no longer survive to migrate to the cities, especially Port-au-Prince where the new manufacturing jobs were supposed to be.  However, when they got there they found there weren't nearly enough manufacturing jobs go around.  The city became more and more crowded.  Slum areas expanded.  And to meet the housing needs of the displaced peasants, quickly and cheaply constructed housing was put up, sometimes placing houses right "on top of each other."   

Before too long, however, American planners and Haitian elites decided that perhaps their development model didn't work so well in Haiti and they abandoned it.  The consequences of these American-led changes remain, however.       

When on the afternoon and evening of January 12, 2010 Haiti experienced that horrible earthquake and round after round of aftershock the destruction was, no doubt, greatly worsened by the very real over-crowding and poverty of Port-au-Prince and the surrounding areas.  But shocked Americans can do more than shake their heads and, with pity, make a donation.  They can confront their own country's responsibility for the conditions in Port-au-Prince that magnified the earthquake's impact, and they can acknowledge America's role in keeping Haiti from achieving meaningful development.  To accept the incomplete story of Haiti offered by CNN and the New York Times is to blame Haitians for being the victims of a scheme that was not of their own making.  As John Milton wrote, "they who have put out the people's eyes, reproach them of their blindness."   

  Read Haiti Didn't Become a Poor Nation All on Its Own -- The U.S's Hidden Role in the Disaster
 January 3, 2010   America in True Perspective
by Dr. Charles Mercieca

President, International Association of Educators for World Peace
Dedicated to United Nations Goals of Peace Education
Environmental Protection, Human Rights & Disarmament
Professor Emeritus, Alabama A&M University

Download full WORD document by author

There has never been a country in the history of the world that has occupied the minds of so many nations as the United States. A person is best judged not by the looks, outfit, wealth and power but rather by the character and personality. These two elements are generally viewed as sources of credibility and predictability. This means everyone knows where one stands with such a person in a way that would make us feel comfortable and at ease all the time.

Questioned United States Leadership

Is there any hope for the United States to emerge as an instrument of harmony and peace instead of struggles and wars? The answer is yes if all those who are concerned with the creation of a harmonious and peaceful world were to become involved. We cannot leave our constructive actions for tomorrow for as Frank Sinatra said in one of his songs: “Let’s forget about tomorrow for tomorrow never comes.” Here are steps to help replace the culture of war with that of peace.

Periodical demonstrations against war policies are needed to demonstrate to our politicians our outrage and condemnation of their actions.

Legal actions against those politicians who became millionaires through weapons and wars should be taken and have all of their money confiscated.

Constant pressure should be put on government officials to close 50% of the hundreds of US military bases overseas. This would allow the American people to have all the money they need for their health care and education.

Clergymen and physicians, who are responsible for the people’s spiritual and physical needs, should condemn openly the “abuse of power” involved when the US military destroys cities and kills thousands of innocent people.

Big Corporations must be made fully aware of their moral obligation to change their destructive products into constructive ones; instead of making tanks for soldiers they could make tractors for farmers.

Courage and determination should be revealed by those working in the manufacture of weapons to quit immediately their job and to seek for a kind of work that is constructive and beneficial to our earthly community.

Nations everywhere should stop cooperating with the United States when it comes to the manufacture and sales of weapons and the promotion of struggles and wars. They should say loud and clear: Satis est satis - Enough is enough!

A nation cannot be the seat of capitalism and the seat of democracy and freedom at the same time. As stated earlier, this constitutes a contradiction. In capitalism the power lies with big corporations where government officials are merely puppets of such elements, which financed their election. The real hope of the United States lies with the American people. Their courage and perseverance to move forward is bound to bring about constructive results in due time.
  Read America in True Perspective
 January 12, 2010
10 Startling Climate Facts from 2009
by Environmental Defense Action Fund

Dear Germain,

Please take action to support a comprehensive climate and energy bill.
In the last year alone, new evidence has emerged that the climate crisis is nearer and scarier than we had believed.
Please take action now to urge your Senators to support comprehensive climate and clean energy legislation that will reinvigorate our economy and create millions of new jobs.
The stakes are high. We must start cutting our carbon emissions now, or we may soon lose the ability to prevent runaway global warming.

Here are 10 startling facts we learned in 2009 that underscore the climate threat:

1.     A study published in the journal Science reports that the current level of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere – about 390 parts per million – is higher today than at any time in measurable history -- at least the last 2.1 million years. Previous peaks of CO2 were never more than 300 ppm over the past 800,000 years, and the concentration is rising by around 2 ppm each year.

2.     The World Meterological Organization reported that 2000-2009 was the hottest decade on record with 8 of the hottest 10 years having occurred since 2000.

3.     2009 will end up as one of the 5 hottest years since 1850 and the U.K.'s Met Office predicts that, with a moderate El Nino, 2010 will likely break the record.

4.     The National Snow and Ice Data Center reported that while a bit more summer Arctic sea ice appeared in 2009 than the record breaking lows of the last two years, it was still well below normal levels. Given that the Arctic ice cover remains perilously thin, it is vulnerable to further melting, posing an ever increasing threat to Arctic wildlife including polar bears.

5.     The Arctic summer could be ice-free by mid-century, not at the end of the century as previously expected, according to a study by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

6.     Recent observations published in the highly respected Nature Geosciences indicate that the East Antarctica ice sheet has been shrinking. This surprised researchers, who expected that only the West Antarctic ice sheet would shrink in the near future because the East Antarctic ice sheet is colder and more stable.

7.     The U.S. Global Change Research Program completed an assessment of what is known about climate change impacts in the US and reported that, "Climate changes are already observed in the United States and… are projected to grow." These changes include "increases in heavy downpours, rising temperature and sea level, rapidly retreating glaciers, thawing permafrost, lengthening ice-free seasons in the ocean and on lakes and rivers, earlier snowmelt, and alterations in river flows."

8.     According to a report by the US Geological Survey, slight changes in the climate may trigger abrupt threats to ecosystems that are not easily reversible or adaptable, such as insect outbreaks, wildfire, and forest dieback. "More vulnerable ecosystems, such as those that already face stressors other than climate change, will almost certainly reach their threshold for abrupt change sooner." An example of such an abrupt threat is the outbreak of spruce bark beetles throughout the western U.S. caused by increased winter temperatures that allow more beetles to survive.

9.     The EPA, USGS and NOAA issued a joint report warning that most mid-Atlantic coastal wetlands from New York to North Carolina will be lost with a sea level rise of 1 meter or more.

10.     If we do not reduce greenhouse gas emissions by the end of the century, some of the main fruit and nut tree crops currently grown in California may no longer be economically viable, as there will be a lack of the winter chilling they require. And, according to a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, U.S. production of corn, soybeans and cotton could decrease as much as 82%.

What you can do:

1.     Take action today to urge your Senators to support a strong climate and energy bill.

2.     Forward this email to your friends and family.

3.     Make a donation to support our campaign to pass a strong climate and energy bill in 2010.

Thank you for your activism and support, Environmental Defense Action Fund

Sources for climate facts:


Environmental Defense Action Fund
1875 Connecticut Ave. NW, Suite 600
Washington, DC 20009
  Read              10 Startling Climate Facts from 2009
 January 3, 2010
The US and China: One Side is Losing, the Other is Winning
by James Petras, GlobalResearch.ca
Introduction: Asian capitalism, notably China and South Korea are competing with the US for global power. Asian global power is driven by dynamic economic growth, while the US pursues a strategy of military-driven empire building.

One Day’s Read of the Financial Times

Even a cursory read of a single issue of the Financial Times (December 28, 2009) illustrates the divergent strategies toward empire building. On page one, the lead article on the US is on its expanding military conflicts and its ‘war on terror’, entitled “Obama Demands Review of Terror List”. In contrast, there are two page-one articles on China, which describe China’s launching of the world’s fastest long-distance passenger train service and China’s decision to maintain its currency pegged to the US dollar as a mechanism to promote its robust export sector. While Obama turns the US focus on a fourth battle front (Yemen) in the ‘war on terror’ (after Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan), the Financial Times reports on the same page that a South Korean consortium has won a $20.4 billion dollar contract to develop civilian nuclear power plants for the United Arab Emirates, beating its US and European competitors.

On page two of the FT there is a longer article elaborating on the new Chinese rail system, highlighting its superiority over the US rail service: The Chinese ultra-modern train takes passengers between two major cities, 1,100 kilometers, in less than 3 hours whereas the US Amtrack ‘Express’ takes 3 ˝ hours to cover 300 kilometers between Boston and New York. While the US passenger rail system deteriorates from lack of investment and maintenance, China has spent $17 billion dollars constructing its express line. China plans to construct 18,000 kilometers of new track for its ultra-modern system by 2012, while the US will spend an equivalent amount in financing its ‘military surge’ in Afghanistan and Pakistan, as well as opening a new war front in Yemen.

China builds a transport system linking producers and labor markets from the interior provinces with the manufacturing centers and ports on the coast, while on page 4 the Financial Times describes how the US is welded to its policy of confronting the ‘Islamist threat’ with an endless ‘war on terror’. The decades-long wars and occupations of Moslem countries have diverted hundreds of billions of dollars of public funds to a militarist policy with no benefit to the US, while China modernizes its civilian economy. While the White House and Congress subsidize and pander to the militarist-colonial state of Israel with its insignificant resource base and market, alienating 1.5 billion Moslems (Financial Times – page 7), China’s gross domestic product (GDP) grew 10 fold over the past 26 years (FT – page 9). While the US allocated over $1.4 trillion dollars to Wall Street and the military, increasing the fiscal and current account deficits, doubling unemployment and perpetuating the recession (FT – page 12), the Chinese government releases a stimulus package directed at its domestic manufacturing and construction sectors, leading to an 8% growth in GDP, a significant reduction of unemployment and ‘re-igniting linked economies’ in Asia, Latin America and Africa (also on page 12).

While the US was spending time, resources and personnel in running ‘elections’ for its corrupt clients in Afghanistan and Iraq, and participating in pointless mediations between its intransigent Israeli partner and its impotent Palestinian client, the South Korean government backed a consortium headed by the Korea Electric Power Corporation in its successful bid on the $20.4 billion dollar nuclear power deal, opening the way for other billion-dollar contracts in the region (FT – page 13).

While the US was spending over $60 billion dollars on internal policing and multiplying the number and size of its ‘homeland’ security agencies in pursuit of potential ‘terrorists’, China was investing $25 billion dollars in ‘cementing its energy trading relations’ with Russia (FT – page 3).

The story told by the articles and headlines in a single day’s issue of the Financial Times reflects a deeper reality, one that illustrates the great divide in the world today. The Asian countries, led by China, are reaching world power status on the basis of their massive domestic and foreign investments in manufacturing, transportation, technology and mining and mineral processing. In contrast, the US is a declining world power with a deteriorating society resulting from its military-driven empire building and its financial-speculative centered economy:

1. Washington pursues minor military clients in Asia; while China expands its trading and investment agreements with major economic partners – Russia, Japan, South Korea and elsewhere.

2. Washington drains the domestic economy to finance overseas wars. China extracts minerals and energy resources to create its domestic job market in manufacturing.

3. The US invests in military technology to target local insurgents challenging US client regimes; China invests in civilian technology to create competitive exports.

4. China begins to restructure its economy toward developing the country’s interior and allocates greater social spending to redress its gross imbalances and inequalities while the US rescues and reinforces the parasitical financial sector, which plundered industries (strips assets via mergers and acquisitions) and speculates on financial objectives with no impact on employment, productivity or competitiveness.

5. The US multiplies wars and troop build-ups in the Middle East, South Asia, the Horn of Africa and Caribbean; China provides investments and loans of over $25 billion dollars in building infrastructure, mineral extraction, energy production and assembly plants in Africa.

6. China signs multi-billion dollar trade and investment agreements with Iran, Venezuela, Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Peru and Bolivia, securing access to strategic energy, mineral and agricultural resources; Washington provides $6 billion in military aid to Colombia, secures seven military bases from President Uribe (to threaten Venezuela), backs a military coup in tiny Honduras and denounces Brazil and Bolivia for diversifying its economic ties with Iran.

7. China increases economic relations with dynamic Latin American economies, incorporating over 80% of the continent’s population; the US partners with the failed state of Mexico, which has the worst economic performance in the hemisphere and where powerful drug cartels control wide regions and penetrate deep into the state apparatus.


China is not an exceptional capitalist country. Under Chinese capitalism, labor is exploited; inequalities in wealth and access to services are rampant; peasant-farmers are displaced by mega-dam projects and Chinese companies recklessly extract minerals and other natural resources in the Third World. However, China has created scores of millions of manufacturing jobs, reduced poverty faster and for more people in the shortest time span in history. Its banks mostly finance production. China doesn’t bomb, invade or ravage other countries. In contrast, US capitalism has been harnessed to a monstrous global military machine that drains the domestic economy and lowers the domestic standard of living in order to fund its never-ending foreign wars. Finance, real estate and commercial capital undermine the manufacturing sector, drawing profits from speculation and cheap imports.

China invests in petroleum-rich countries; the US attacks them. China sells plates and bowls for Afghan wedding feasts; US drone aircraft bomb the celebrations. China invests in extractive industries, but, unlike European colonialists, it builds railroads, ports, airfields and provides easy credit. China does not finance and arm ethnic wars and ‘color rebellions’ like the US CIA. China self-finances its own growth, trade and transportation system; the US sinks under a multi trillion dollar debt to finance its endless wars, bail out its Wall Street banks and prop up other non-productive sectors while many millions remain without jobs.

China will grow and exercise power through the market; the US will engage in endless wars on its road to bankruptcy and internal decay. China’s diversified growth is linked to dynamic economic partners; US militarism has tied itself to narco-states, warlord regimes, the overseers of banana republics and the last and worst bona fide racist colonial regime, Israel.

China entices the world’s consumers. US global wars provoke terrorists here and abroad.

China may encounter crises and even workers rebellions, but it has the economic resources to accommodate them. The US is in crisis and may face domestic rebellion, but it has depleted its credit and its factories are all abroad and its overseas bases and military installations are liabilities, not assets. There are fewer factories in the US to re-employ its desperate workers: A social upheaval could see the American workers occupying the empty shells of its former factories.

To become a ‘normal state’ we have to start all over: Close all investment banks and military bases abroad and return to America. We have to begin the long march toward rebuilding industry to serve our domestic needs, to living within our own natural environment and forsake empire building in favor of constructing a democratic socialist republic.

When will we pick up the Financial Times or any other daily and read about our own high-speed rail line carrying American passengers from New York to Boston in less than one hour? When will our own factories supply our hardware stores? When will we build wind, solar and ocean-based energy generators? When will we abandon our military bases and let the world’s warlords, drug traffickers and terrorists face the justice of their own people?

Will we ever read about these in the Financial Times?

In China, it all started with a revolution...

James Petras is a frequent contributor to Global Research. Global Research Articles by James Petras
  Read The US and China: One Side is Losing, the Other is Winning
 January 5, 2010
Agricultural Land Use and Land susceptibility in Bangladesh: An overview
by Md. Hasibur Rahman
Full document:
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Bangladesh is one of the most densely populated country in the world. With the growing population, and their increasing needs in various sectors, land use patterns are undergoing a qualitative change in which the areas under the net cropped land, and forest land is gradually shrinking. This country has humid tropical monsoon type of climate, warm and humid in the summer, dry and moderate cool in the winter with three meteorological seasons summer, monsoon and winter. With the temperature remaining above the biological zero all through the year, the annual rainfall ranges from 1500mm in the northwestern part to 5000mm in the northeast. It is the rainfall along with depth and duration of flooding that remains the critical factor for agriculture in this country. The critical aspects of rainfall in relation to the use of land for agriculture relate to the uncertainty of the start and parting of the monsoon as well as the occurrence of droughts. Bangladesh is really very lucky in having a hyper-thermic temperature regime where agricultural production is possible all over the year. More than 60% of the land area of Bangladesh is used under agricultural purposes against only 12 % for the world. Very few countries in the world employed such a high percentage of its land area under cultivation. This has been possible for the existence of the proverbially fertile soils on the few vast floodplains that are annually replenished by siltation during the flood. Two-thirds of the population in Bangladesh depends directly or indirectly upon agriculture, while nearly 25% of the gross national product comes from this sector. With scattered settlement patterns in Bangladesh homesteads, urban centers, industries, educational institutions and inhabited lands together occupy about 25% of the national area. Although forests are officially stated to occupy 15% of the land area of Bangladesh, the actual tree-covered area is reported to have fallen to only 6% at present (Huda and Roy, 2000). Remnants of tropical rainforest occurs in the hilly regions in the northeast; while the world’s largest mangrove forest, the Sundarbans, with an area of 6,017 sq. km., occurs along the coast of the Bay of Bengal in the southwestern corner of the country. Land use has evolved through natural forces as well as human needs, cultivated land, forestland and settlements and homesteads are the major land use types in Bangladesh.

* Research Fellow, Land Quality Assessment Project, Department of Soil, Water and Environment, Dhaka University, Dhaka, Bangladesh and Executive Director, Environment and Agricultural Development Studies Centre, Dhaka, Bangladesh

Like many other countries, soil is overwhelmingly the greatest national resource of Bangladesh on which its entire population depends for food supply. To understand the nature and properties of the soils in Bangladesh and their geographical distribution, this country has conveniently been divided into three physiographic units having three distinct geological ages, such as: (1) Tertiary hills (12 %), (2) Pleistocene terraces (8%) and (3) Recent floodplains (80%). Interestingly, the above demarcation of Bangladesh on the basis of physiography also conveniently coincides with the types of their parent materials. More than 60% of the land area of Bangladesh is used under agricultural purposes against only 12 % for the world. Very few countries in the world employed such a high percentage of its land area under cultivation (Table 1).

Appropriate land use and adoption of suitable management technology can enhance and sustain high productivity and soil management, include crop and livestock management. Although no study has been undertaken as yet on the soil nutrients management of Bangladesh, the alarmingly low organic matter content in Bangladesh soils indicates that their resilience may be at the lower end. The growing demand of ever-increasing population of Bangladesh for growing more food, fuel, and timber has resulted in rapid oxidation of organic matter in soils, massive deforestation and as well as ecological imbalance. Land use changes in Bangladesh and related to land type degradation is impacting on the socioeconomic condition and on agricultural system of the country. At the present time the important environmental impacts of agriculture in Bangladesh is the gradual degradation of its land resources because of high population density of the country. Land degradation is taking place due to both natural causes as well as human induced causes. Natural hazards like sudden flash floods, tidal surges and droughty situations causes agricultural vulnerability. Significant, land degradation processes due to soil erosion, soil salinization, continuous water logging, river bank erosion, jhum cultivation, acidification, plough-pan formation, organic matter reduction, deforestation etc. are sometimes causes difficult to land use planning and appropriate land management practices. A good soil should have an organic matter content of more than 3.5 percent. But in Bangladesh, most soils have less than 1.7 percent and some soils have even less than 1% organic matter. It is believed that, the declining productivity of Bangladesh soils is the result of depletion of organic matter caused by high cropping intensity. In Bangladesh, crop residues are widely used as fuel and fodder and usually not returned to the soil. Even cow dung is widely used as fuel in rural areas. This results in a decrease in soil organic matter content. In Bangladesh, the average organic matter content of top soils have gone down, from about 2% to 1% over the past 20 years due to intensive cultivation which means a decline by 20-46% (Miah et al, 1993). Soil organic carbon levels tend to be stable or increase under irrigated rice double cropping sites (Cheng, 1984, Nambiar, 1994). Organic matter content is generally lower in the upland sites of rice–wheat cropping (Nambiar, 1994 and Cheng, 1984). Soil organic carbon variability depends on the land class variability and also management conditions. Land-use management and soil organic carbon management is important phenomenon for agricultural land management and crop yielding.
  Read Agricultural Land Use and Land susceptibility in Bangladesh: An overview
 January 3, 2010

The specter of socialism is again haunting the minds of the corporate elite, from the Americas to Europe and beyond. This, after decades of pro-capitalist campaigning from the corporate media, which has always confused “capitalism” with “freedom.” But of course freedom and democracy cannot exist alongside tremendous inequalities of wealth — or next to corporations wielding absolute power over elections and governments.

These facts helped form the social movements in Latin America that now advocate 21st Century Socialism, a name that implies the prior century’s experiments needed either updating or improving, while also implying that the general socialist “project” was progressive.

What are the progressive aspects of last century’s socialism? And from where did the original ideas come? These are extremely relevant questions in light of the international economic and political upheavals.

Modern socialism was born alongside capitalism and in opposition to it. When the basic features of industrial capitalism first came into existence — in the early 1800’s — people instantly recognized that drastic changes needed to be made: the large industries that emerged created dehumanizing conditions for the majority of people — forcing people to work twelve and fourteen hours a day for starvation wages — while a tiny minority were becoming fabulously wealthy. This is not what most people had fought for in the English, American, and French revolutions.

The “utopian socialists” in the early 1800s tried to correct these social inequities by proposing grand schemes that, if adopted by governments, would help harmonize society. These reformers, however, soon learned that those in power wanted little to do with their ideas. They also learned that “alternative economic models” set up next to the large capitalist enterprises were soon crushed by these corporations, due to the superior wealth encapsulated in the giant machines the capitalists owned, as well as the state machinery that the corporate elite controlled.

The Utopian’s failure was partially due to a lack of understanding. At the time, people were attempting to grasp what was happening to society; capitalist industrialization was happening at a lightning pace, with little preparedness or understanding from the majority of people. Blind economic forces seemed to be advancing uncontrollably.

Karl Marx was the first person to really study and dissect the capitalist system. His greatest work, Capital, is an extremely thorough analysis and critique of the capitalist economic system. He was the first to diagnose “what was happening,” and through his assessment a “solution” logically emerged.

In fact, modern socialism can be theoretically reduced to correcting the economic contradictions that inherently exist in capitalism. Marx listed these contradictions in his Capital; the “socialist solution” is merely the correction of these fundamental problems of capitalism.

For example, in capitalism’s embryonic stage, the capitalist ran a small shop, where perhaps he sold wagon wheels. But as capitalism evolved, a thousand times more goods were produced after the whole town was organized to make wagon wheels, each person performing a different, very small task, but all working cooperatively to produce the final product. The profit, however, went to one person — the owner, or owners. The result was that wagon wheels were immensely cheaper, and those who could not afford the high cost of the factory-approach of production — machines, labor costs, and raw materials — were pushed out of the market.

Eventually, those capitalists unable to compete evolved into workers, while more and more money was needed to purchase the giant machinery and infrastructure needed to stay a competitive capitalist; through this dynamic wealth increased at one pole and decreased at the other.

This shows a fundamental contradiction of capitalism: all of society is organized to produce goods and services; workers work “collectively” to build products, i.e., they work “socialistically,” but the vast majority of the wealth produced goes to a small minority of non-working, very wealthy shareholders. Thus, to correct this problem, the wealth produced by society should be distributed to those who create it, not funneled into the pockets of the rich. This would require transferring the vast majority of the productive machinery from private ownership of a few to the control of vast majority.

But the capitalists may argue that, without these wealthy capitalists, there would be no wealth-producing enterprises, and everybody would be consequently poorer. This argument may have been true 250 years ago, but no longer.

To out-compete their rivals, capitalists — organized in corporations — invested hordes of money in labor-saving technology, which produced greater and greater amounts of goods, in turn creating more and more wealth. But despite the capacity to produce more and more goods, unintended consequences emerged.

Capitalist competition naturally evolved into monopoly capitalism, as the winners of the free-market took over their competitors’ businesses and machinery. The free market soon became the private property of the mega-corporations, which no longer left the production of their goods to blind market-forces.

After all their competitors were defeated, and the market was dominated, the capitalists were better able to plan out their production to the finest detail: how much raw material they would use, how many products they would produce, what prices to sell the goods at, never knowing how much could actually be consumed by the workers in the marketplace, especially since corporations were constantly driving down workers’ wages to boost profits.

So another contradiction emerges: large corporations produce a massive amount of goods according to a plan, but leave the distribution of these goods to a very limited, un-planned market, which shrinks as workers get paid less and are laid off, due to the introduction of machinery.

Inevitably, this dynamic produces recessions, some small, others larger. The obvious, socialist answer is thus: distribute the produced goods according to a plan as well! But doing this would take the “market” out of the picture, and thus the capitalist too.

When recessions happen and corporations fail, the capitalist state intervenes and may temporarily take over these companies (as in the case of GM, Fanny and Freddie, etc.), but these takeovers are not done with the general social interest in mind. Instead, they are a form of socialism for the rich — the bank and corporate bailouts used public money to save the rich from themselves, at the expense of everybody else. These bailouts imply that the market economy (capitalism) needs socialist measures to ensure its further existence, meaning that an element of planning needed to be injected into the unplanned, chaotic market economy to help stabilize it.

Indeed, John M. Keynes and others realized long ago that capitalism was too unstable a system for it to be run entirely by market forces. This is why, in most capitalist countries, the state is responsible for planning the more fundamental parts of the economy: mail, communication, energy, central banks, education, military, highways, bridges, welfare, etc. These fundamental parts of the economy are planned “socialistically” in an attempt to give the commodity-producing companies more stability, i.e., allow them to make more consistent profits.

Finally, it must be noted that modern capitalists — shareholders/investors — serve absolutely no social function. Unlike their capitalist ancestors, modern capitalists neither work for nor run the companies they own — they hire managers instead (CEO’s and VPs). But these parasitic capitalists still hold a virtual trump card over society as a whole: they have all the money, and companies are not built unless these investors are assured stable and large profits.

When large recessions happen, the investors pull their money from the market, and demand that wages drop drastically before they allow jobs to reappear. This type of social extortion is on international display for all to see; the mainstream media says that we cannot raise taxes on the wealthy or corporations because they will simply leave, and there will be no jobs for anybody.

The socialist solution? If there are businesses unwilling to produce jobs, we must be willing to take them over. If there are billions of dollars in bank accounts not being lent, the money should be managed by the people, and run as a public utility.

The final, logical outcome of Marx’s Capital is that, under capitalism, nothing happens unless the rich allow it to happen. The corporations wield an undemocratic death grip over society. For any social progress to be made, this grip must be smashed, requiring a social revolution.

Marx lists other important contradictions of capitalism in his books. They are as relevant today as ever, as the Venezuelan revolution is discovering the more it matures. There, a government attempted to distribute society’s wealth to the workers and poor, and the rich fled to Miami, sabotaged the economy, and continue plotting to re-take “their” country (with the help of the U.S. military).

President Hugo Chavez first tried to bargain with this group, but soon learned that they would only accept absolute power. Now, the Venezuelan revolution is in the process of taking over enterprises the rich have purposely shut down (due to low profits), while taking over part of the parasitic banking sector, to be used instead as a community development bank.

But the revolution in Venezuela is not the brainchild of only Hugo Chavez. Like all revolutions, masses of formerly passive workers have become directly engaged in politics: many have taken over their workplaces or land, in the attempt to run them democratically; neighborhood “communal councils” have been formed to decide how local funding is to be distributed; community media have blossomed all over the country to educate the people about local and national politics, etc.

This democratic aspect of the Venezuelan revolution is the key to the potential success of 21st century socialism. If the above contradictions of capitalism are resolved by the active, democratic participation of the working class in Venezuela and beyond, then a viable alternative to capitalism would be visible to the international working class, which would instantly recognize it as a superior form of social organization.

Shamus Cooke is a social service worker, trade unionist, and writer for Workers Action (www.workerscompass.org). He can be reached at shamuscook@yahoo.com

  Read The Origins Of Modern Socialism
 December 30, 2009

Holocaust is the destruction of a large number of people. The term was first applied to a WW2 atrocity by Jog in 1944 ( Jog, N.G. (1944), Churchill's Blind-Spot: India (New Book Company, Bombay ) ) in relation to the ?forgotten? man-made Bengal Famine (6-7 million Indians deliberately starved to death by the British, 1943-1945). It was subsequently applied to the Jewish Holocaust (5-6 million killed, 1 in 6 dying from deprivation) which was part of a horrendous WW2 European Holocaust (30 million Slavs, Jews and Gypsies killed in the Nazi German Lebensraum genocide).

Unfortunately the racist Zionists (RZs) (who were complicit in the Jewish Holocaust by collaboration with the Nazis, opposing placement of Jewish refugees anywhere but Palestine and persuading Churchill to oppose the Brand scheme to save 0.7 million Hungarian Jews) have appropriated the term Holocaust to mean only the WW2 Jewish Holocaust to the exclusion of all other holocausts.

Genocide is very precisely defined in International Law as ? acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group? as set out by Article 2 of the 1948 UN Genocide Convention : ?In the present Convention, genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group, as such: a) Killing members of the group; b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.?

Key to this internationally agreed, legal definition of genocide is ?intent?. Thus the ?intent' of a serial killer is not abolished by his refusal to confess or otherwise explicitly declare ?intent? ? it can be clearly established simply by the evidence of sustained, remorseless actions leading to serial deaths. Likewise, for example, the sustained, remorseless actions (and inactions) of the British caused the deaths of 6-7 million Indians in 1943-1945 (see the transcript of the 2008 BBC broadcast involving myself, Economics Nobel Laureate Professor Amartya Sen and other scholars: http://www.open2.net/thingsweforgot/

In the interests of Humanity I have created a series of detailed, documented websites that set out documented, authoritative data and opinions about current, ongoing holocausts and genocides that are overwhelmingly ignored  by academics, journalists, politicians  and media in the lying, holocaust complicit, holocaust ignoring, genocide complicit, genocide ignoring,  Zionist-beholden, neocon-beholden, US imperialism-beholden   Western Murdochracies.

Palestinian Holocaust, Palestinian Genocide (0.3 million post-invasion violent and non-violent excess deaths, 0.2 million post-invasion under-5 infant deaths, 7 million refugees):   http://sites.google.com/site/palestiniangenocide/ ;

Afghan Holocaust, Afghan Genocide (4.5 million post-invasion violent and non-violent excess deaths, 2.4 million post-invasion under-5 infant deaths, 3-4 million refugees plus 2.5 million NW Pakistan Pashtun refugees): http://sites.google.com/site/afghanholocaustafghangenocide/ .

Iraqi Holocaust, Iraqi Genocide (2.5 million post-invasion violent and non-violent excess deaths, 0.9 million post-invasion under-5 infant deaths, 5-6 million refugees; 1990-2009, 4.4 million violent and non-violent excess deaths,  2.1 million under-5 infant deaths): http://sites.google.com/site/iraqiholocaustiraqigenocide/ .

Climate Holocaust, Climate Genocide (man-made global warming increasingly impacts the current 22 million annual avoidable deaths from deprivation and deprivation-exacerbated disease; estimates from top UK climate scientists Dr James Lovelock and Professor Kevin Anderson point to 10 billion avoidable deaths this century due to unaddressed global warming, this including 6 billion infants, 3 billion Muslims, 2 billion Indians, 1.3 billion non-Arab Africans,  0.5 billion Bengalis, 0.3 billion Pakistanis and 0.3 billion Bangladeshis): http://sites.google.com/site/climategenocide/

Aboriginal Holocaust, Aboriginal Genocide (the Australian Indigenous population dropped from circa 1 million to 0.1 million in the first century post-invasion; currently 9,000 Aborigines die avoidably each year, mostly from horrendous neglect, out of an Indigenous population of 0.5 million; Apartheid Australia is involved in all the above ongoing holocausts and genocides, has an appalling secret genocide history: http://mwcnews.net/content/view/22128/42/ , is the world's worst annual per capita greenhouse gas polluter, and helped the US sabotage the vital Copenhagen Climate Conference ): http://sites.google.com/site/aboriginalgenocide/ .

I am currently using the above compilations to generate an updated  2010 formal complaint to the International Criminal Court (see Dr Gideon Polya, Formal complaint to the Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court re Australian Government involvement in Aboriginal Genocide, Iraqi Genocide, Afghan Genocide and Climate Genocide, March 2008: http://climateemergency.blogspot.com/

Peace is the only way but silence kills and silence is complicity. Please use this holocaust and genocide terminology and please inform everyone you can.

Dr Gideon Polya published some 130 works in a 4 decade scientific career, most recently a huge pharmacological reference text "Biochemical Targets of Plant Bioactive Compounds" (CRC Press/Taylor & Francis, New York & London, 2003:
http://www.amazon.com/Biochemical-Targets-Plant-Bioactive-Compounds/dp/0415308291 ). He has recently published ?Body Count. Global avoidable mortality since 1950? (G.M. Polya, Melbourne, 2007: http://globalbodycount.blogspot.com/ and http://mwcnews.net/Gideon-Polya ) and an updated 2008 version of his 1998 book ?Jane Austen and the Black Hole of British History, Colonial rapacity, holocaust denial and the crisis in biological sustainability? (G.M. Polya, Melbourne, 2008: http://janeaustenand.blogspot.com/ ). He is currently teaching Biochemistry theory and practical courses to second year university agricultural science students at a very good Australian university. Words having failed, he also paints huge Paintings for Peace, Planet, Mother and Child: http://sites.google.com/site/artforpeaceplanetmotherchild/ (anyone is free to reproduce these images with attribution in the interests of Humanity).

  Read Palestinian, Iraqi, Afghan & Aboriginal Genocides, Copenhagen Failure & Climate Genocide
 December 29, 2009
The Environmental Costs Of The Military
by Kim Scipes ,
Book Review: The Green Zone: The Environmental Costs of the Military ,(AK Press, 2009), By Barry Sanders

As a US military veteran—USMC, 1969-73, who turned around while on active duty—I have been incredibly frustrated at the impotence of the anti-war movement in the United States to stop the wars in particularly Iraq, Afghanistan and, increasingly, Pakistan. I am, obviously, not alone. Many other people—veterans, as well as many more civilians—also share this frustration.

Barry Sanders’ new book, The Green Zone, takes a different angle than any I’ve seen before, and I believe it’s an approach I believe we all need to consider: Sanders focuses on the environmental costs of militarism, particularly those from the US military.

Sanders recognizes the incredible threat by greenhouse gases to the worlds’ peoples well-being and, in fact, to our very survival. [Percentage of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has risen from 280 parts per million (ppm) before the industrial revolution started in 1750 to where the latest readings are 392 ppm—should it reach 450, the accompanying temperature rise would lead to uncontrollable melting of the tundra across Russia and Canada, and the release of untold amounts of methane: methane has 20 times greater impact on the atmosphere than carbon dioxide. James Hansen of NASA believes we must go below 350 ppm to prevent serious environmental damage worldwide—KS.] Sanders also knows the environment is not just threatened by greenhouse gasses, but recognizes pollution of the water, air and soil as joining with greenhouse gases to imperil us all.

Yet he makes an incredibly important point, trying to put things into perspective and to focus our attention: “… here’s the awful truth: even if every person, every automobile, and every factory suddenly emitted zero emissions, the Earth would still be headed head first and at full speed toward total disaster for one major reason. The [US] military—that voracious vampire—produces enough greenhouse gases, by itself, to place the entire globe, with all its inhabitants large and small, in the most immanent danger of extinction” (p, 22). To put it plain language, that social institution that is said to protect Americans is, in fact, hastening our very extermination along with all the other people of the planet.

Sanders addresses the military’s affects on the environment in many ways. He starts off with trying to figure out how much (fossil) fuel the military uses, with their resulting greenhouse emissions there from. Despite diligent efforts, he cannot find out specific numbers, so he is forced to estimate. After carefully working through different categories, he comes to what he calls a conservative estimate of 1 million barrels of oil a day, which translates to almost 20 million gallons each and every day! He puts this number into international perspective: “If that indeed turns out to be the case, the United States military would then rank in fuel consumption with countries like Iran, Indonesia and Spain. It is truly an astonishing accomplishment, especially when one considers … that the military has only about 1.5 million troops on active duty, and Iran has a population of 66 million, Indonesia a whopping 235 million” (54)

The cost, incidentally, is also quite high. He quotes a US Army General as estimating that the cost of this fuel averages $300 a gallon! (55)

Yet, how does this contribute to global warming? He reports that the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that “each gallon of gasoline produces 19.4 pounds of CO 2” (carbon dioxide). If his estimate of 1 million barrels of oil a day is correct, he writes, “then the combined armed forces sends into the atmosphere about 400 million pounds of greenhouse gases a day, or 200,000 tons. That totals 146 billion pounds a year—or 73 million tons of carbon a year” (67-68). And that’s just regarding fuel use.

Sanders further discusses the military’s impact on the environment. He talks about the impact of exploding bombs, cluster bombs, napalm, cannon rounds, depleted uranium, etc. He points out that the US military estimates they need about 1.5 billion rounds for their M-16 rifles a year. He talks about the impact of US military bases around the world, including in the Philippines and Puerto Rico.

To me, the most sickening chapter was the one on depleted uranium or DU. He explains, “Depleted uranium is essentially U-238, the isotope after the fissionable isotope, U-235, has been extracted from uranium ore.” DU has a half-life of 4.7 billion years. He continues:

“… a good deal of the country of Iraq, both its deserts and cities, hums with radioactivity. For since 1991, the US has been manufacturing ‘just about all [of its] bullets, tank shells, missiles, dumb bombs, smart bombs, and 500- and 2000-pound bombs, and everything else engineered to help our side in the war of Us against Them, [with] depleted uranium in it. Lots of depleted uranium. A single cruise missile, which weighs 3,000 pounds, carries within its casing 800 pounds of depleted uranium.’ Recall that the Air Force dropped 800 of these bombs in just the first two days of the war. The math: 800 bombs multiplied by 800 pounds of depleted uranium equal 640,000 pounds, or 320 tons of radioactive waste dumped on that country in just the first two days of devastation” (83).

The impact is devastating. When DU hits something, it ignites, reaching temperatures between 3,000-5,000 degrees Celsius (5,432-9,032 degrees F). It goes through metal like a hot knife through butter, making it a superb military weapon. But is also releases radiation upon impact, poisoning all around it. Its tiny particles can be inhaled—people don’t have to touch irradiated materials. Thus, Iraqis are being poisoned by simply breathing the air! And, once inhaled, DU hardens, turning into insoluble pellets than cannot be excreted. DU poisoning is a literal death sentence. It not only kills, however, but it can damage human DNA—it’s the gift that keeps on giving, to generations and generations.

Yet, radiation is an equal opportunity destroyer: it also poisons those in occupying armies. Evidence from the Gulf War I (“Desert Storm”) shows the impact on American troops. Sanders quotes Arthur Bernklau, who has extensively studied the problem: “Of the 580,400 soldiers who served in Gulf War I, 11,000 are now dead. By the year 2000, there were 325,000 on permanent medical disability. More than a decade later, more than half (56 percent) who served in Gulf War I have permanent medical problems.” Bernklau then points out that the disability rate for soldiers in Vietnam was 10 percent (87).

Yet the impact is not just on Iraqis, or the soldiers who fought there. Sanders points out that, according to the London Sunday Times, radiation sensors in Britain reported a four-fold increase in airborne uranium just a few days after George W. Bush launched the March 19, 2003 attack on Iraq. That sounds bad enough, that the uranium can travel the approximately 2500 miles from Baghdad to London. But what Sanders does not note is that global weather does not travel east to west: it travels west to east. In other words, this uranium had to cross North America to get from Iraq to Britain!

There is much more detailed information included in this small, highly accessible book. AK Press deserves our respect and support for publishing such a worthy volume: and this is one we each should purchase and urge others to do so as well.

The biggest strength of this book is Sanders’ clarity: this man is, if you will permit, “on target.” He sees the problem being not just the illegal and immoral wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, etc. He sees the US military as being an essential part of the US Empire, along with the major multinational corporations. He sees the military as an institution as a threat to global environmental survival. He recognizes that politicians won’t address the problem; they are too incorporated in the US Empire. It says it is up to us, individually and collectively, in the US (primarily) and together with people around the world.

Basically, his argument is this: the US military can continue to launch wars and continue killing people (including Americans) around the world, or we can end war, and devote resources to the well-being of people in this country and others around the world. The choice is our’s. But we also need to realize that if we let the US military continue on its path of continual war with its on-going quest for global domination, it will destroy all the humans, animals and vegetation on the planet. Your move, good people.

Kim Scipes, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at Purdue University North Central in Westville, Indiana. Among other courses, he teaches Sociology of the Environment. His web site is http://faculty.pnc.edu/kscipes.

  Read The Environmental Costs Of The Military
 December 28, 2009

Climate change is already causing enormous damage and hundreds of millions of poor people are enduring the consequences.

The most advanced research centers have claimed that there is little time to avoid an irreversible catastrophe. James Hansen, from the NASA Goddard Institute, has said that a proportion of 350 parts of carbon dioxide by million is still tolerable; however, the figure today is 390 and growing at a pace of 2 parts by million every year exceeding the levels of 600 thousand years ago. Each one of the past two decades has been the warmest since the first records were taken while carbon dioxide increased 80 parts by million in the past 150 years.

The meltdown of ice in the Artic Sea and of the huge two-kilometer thick icecap covering Greenland; of the South American glaciers feeding its main fresh water sources and the enormous volume covering the Antarctic; of the remaining icecap on the Kilimanjaro, the ice on the Himalayan and the large frozen area of Siberia are visible. Outstanding scientists fear abrupt quantitative changes in these natural phenomena that bring about the change.

Humanity entertained high hopes in the Copenhagen Summit after the Kyoto Protocol signed in 1997 entered into force in 2005. The resounding failure of the Summit gave rise to shameful episodes that call for due clarification.

The United States, with less than 5% of the world population releases 25% of the carbon dioxide. The new US President had promised to cooperate with the international effort to tackle a new problem that afflicts that country as much as the rest of the world. In the meetings leading to the Summit, it became clear that the leaders of that nation and of the wealthiest countries were maneuvering to place the burden of sacrifices on the emergent and poor countries.

A great number of leaders and thousands of representatives of social movements and scientific institutions, determined to fight for the preservation of humanity from the greatest risk in history, converged in Copenhagen on the invitation of the organizers of the Summit. I’d rather avoid reference to details of the brutality of the Danish police force against thousands of protesters and invitees from social and scientific movements who traveled to the Danish capital. I’ll focus on the political features of the Summit.

Actually, chaos prevailed in Copenhagen where incredible things happened. The social movements and scientific institutions were not allowed to attend the debates. There were heads of State and Government who could not even express their views on crucial issues. Obama and the leaders of the wealthiest nations took over the conference, with the complicity of the Danish government. The United Nations agencies were pushed to the background.

Barack Obama, the last to arrive on the day of the Summit for a 12-hours stay, met with two groups of invitees carefully chosen by him and his staff, and in the company of one of them met at the plenary hall with the rest of the high-level delegations. He made his remarks and left right away trough the back door. Except for the small group chosen by him, the other representatives of countries were prevented from taking the floor during that plenary session. The presidents of Bolivia and the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela were allowed to speak because the Chairman of the Summit had no choice but to give them the floor in light of the strong pressures of those present.

In an adjacent room, Obama brought together the leaders of the wealthiest nations, some of the most important emerging States and two very poor countries. He then introduced a document, negotiated with two or three of the most important countries, ignored the UN General Assembly, gave a press conference and left like Julius Caesar after one of his victorious wars in Asia Minor that led him to say: “I came, I saw, I conquered.”

Even Gordon Brown, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, had said on October 19: “If we do not reach a deal over the next few months, let us be in no doubt, since once the damage from unchecked emissions growth is done, no retrospective global agreement in some future period can undo that choice. By then it will be irretrievably too late...”

Brown concluded his speech with these dramatic words: “We cannot afford to fail. If we fail now we will pay a heavy price. If we act now, if we act together, if we act with vision and resolve, success at Copenhagen is still within our reach, but, if we falter, the Earth will itself be at risk and, for the planet, there is no Plan B.”

But later he arrogantly said that the United Nations could not be taken hostage by a group of countries like Cuba, Venezuela, Bolivia, Nicaragua and Tuvalu. At the same time, he accused China, India, Brazil, South Africa and other emerging countries of being lured by the United States into signing a document that throws the Kyoto Protocol in the wastebasket without a binding agreement involving the United States and its wealthy allies.

I find it necessary to recall that the United Nations Organization was born hardly six decades ago, after the last World War, when there were no more than fifty independent countries. Today, after the hateful colonial system ceased to exist thanks to the resolute struggle of the peoples, it has a membership of over 190 independent nations. For many years, even the People’s Republic of China was denied admission to the UN while a puppet regime was its representative in that institution and in the privileged Security Council.

The tenacious support of the growing number of Third World nations would prove indispensable to China’s international recognition and become an extremely significant element for the acceptance of that country’s rights at the UN by the United States and its NATO allies.

It was the Soviet Union that made the greatest contribution to the heroic fight against fascism. More than 25 million of its people perished while the country was terribly devastated. It was from that struggle that it emerged as a superpower with the capacity to partly balance the absolute domination of the US imperial system and the former colonial powers to plunder the Third World countries unrestrictedly. Following the demise of the USSR, the United States extended its political and military power to the East, --up to Russia’s heart-- and enhanced its influence on the rest of Europe. Therefore, what happened in Copenhagen came as no surprise.

I want to insist on how unfair and outrageous were the remarks of the Prime Minister of the UK and the Yankee attempt to impose as the Summit Accord a document that was at no time discussed with the attending countries.

During his press conference of December 21, Cuba’s Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez made a statement that cannot be disproved. I will quote from some of its paragraphs: “I would like to emphasize that no agreement of the Conference of the Parties was reached in Copenhagen, that no decision was made as to binding or nonbinding commitments or pertaining to International Law; that simply did not happen. There was no agreement in Copenhagen.”

“The Summit was a failure and a deception for the world […] the lack of political will was left in the open…”

“…it was a step backward in the actions of the international community to prevent or mitigate the effects of climate change…”

“…the average world temperature could rise by 5 degrees…”

Right then our Foreign Minister adds other interesting data on the likely consequences of climate change according to the latest scientific research.

“…from the Kyoto Protocol until today the developed countries’ emissions rose by 12.8%... and 55% of that volume corresponds to the United States.”

“The average annual oil consumption is 25 barrels for an American, 11 barrels for a European, less than 2 barrels for a Chinese and less than 1 barrel for a Latin American or Caribbean citizen.”

“Thirty countries, including those of the European Union, are consuming 80% of the fuel produced.”

The fact is that the developed countries signatories of the Kyoto Protocol increased their emissions dramatically. Now, they want to replace the adopted bases of the emissions from 1990 with those of 2005. This means that the United States, which is the main source of emissions, would be reducing its emissions of 25 years ago in only 3%. It is a shameful mockery of the world public opinion.

The Cuban foreign minister, speaking on behalf of a group of ALBA member countries, defended China, India, Brazil, South Africa and other important emerging-economies states. He stressed the concept adopted in Kyoto that “common but differentiated responsibilities mean that the responsibility of the historical accumulators and the developed countries, who are the culprits of this catastrophe, differs from that of the small island states and the South countries, above all the least developed…”

“Responsibility means financing; responsibility means technology transfer on adequate terms. But, at this point, Obama resorts to a game of words and instead of talking of common but differentiated responsibilities, he speaks of ‘common but differentiated responses.’”

“…he then leaves the plenary hall without taking the trouble of listening to anybody; he had neither listened to anybody before taking the floor.”

In a subsequent press conference, before departing from the Danish capital, Obama had said: “There has been a meaningful and unprecedented breakthrough here in Copenhagen. For the first time in history, the largest economies have come to jointly accept responsibilities.”

In his clear and irrefutable presentation, our Foreign Minister said: “What does it mean that ‘the largest economies have come to jointly accept responsibilities’? It means that they are placing a large part of the burden of financing the relief and adaptation of countries, mostly the South countries, to climate change on China, Brazil, India and South Africa. Because it must be said that in Copenhagen we witnessed an assault, a holdup against China, Brazil, India and South Africa, and against every other euphemistically called developing country.”

These were the resounding and undeniable words used by our Foreign Minister to describe what happened in Copenhagen.

I must add that, when at 10:00 a.m. on December 19 our Vicepresident Esteban Lazo and the Cuban Foreign Minister had already left, a belated attempt was made to resurrect the Copenhagen cadaver as a Summit Accord. At that moment, practically every head of State had left and there was hardly any minister around. Again, the denunciation by the remaining members of the delegations from Cuba, Venezuela, Bolivia, Nicaragua and other countries could defeat the maneuver. That was the end of the inglorious Summit.

Another fact that should not be overlooked is that at the most critical moment of that day, in the wee small hours, the Cuban Foreign Minister, together with the delegations waging the honorable battle, offered UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon their cooperation in the ever harder struggle being fought as well as in future efforts necessary to preserve the life of our species.

The environmental group Wild World Fund has warned that if emissions are not drastically reduced climate change will go unchecked in the next 5 to 10 years.

But there is no need to prove the substance of what is said here that Obama did.

The US President stated on Wednesday, December 23, that people are justified in being disappointed about the outcome of the Summit on Climate Change. In an interview with the CBS television network, the President said that “instead of a total collapse if nothing had been done, which would have been a huge step backward; at least we could remain more or less where we were…”

According to the press dispatch, Obama is the target of most criticism from the countries that nearly unanimously feel that the result of the Summit was disastrous.

Now, the UN is in a quandary since many countries would find it humiliating to ask others to adhere to the arrogant and antidemocratic accord.

To carry on with the battle and to claim in every meeting, particularly in those of Bonn and Mexico, humanity’s right to life, with the morale and the strength that truth provides, is in my opinion the only way to proceed.

  Read Humanity's Right To Life
 December 27, 2009

”How do we make non-violent activism sexy?” asked a friend in a letter to me recently.

His question was posed in the context of the ongoing debate in the national media and elsewhere about the supposed threat to national security from Maoists who are mobilising tribals in central and eastern India for a protracted war to overthrow the Indian State. The State on its part is marshalling its paramilitary and other troops to ‘flush out’ the Maoists, unfazed by the collateral damage this civil war is likely to cause among the already severely exploited tribal population.

My friend’s point was really that peaceful, democratic social movements never seem to get the same kind of publicity or government attention given to bloodshed by dissident groups of various hues. For example, the reason why the Maoists get so much play from the government and national media is precisely because of their regular use and explicit promotion of armed action as a means to further their cause. The same national political elite and media that calls on the Maoists to enter the mainstream, abjure violence and work within the framework of the Indian Constitution, would not pay any attention to their demands at all if the latter really give up the gun.

Just look around India right now and there are dozens, maybe even hundreds, of social activists and groups working peacefully and democratically on a range of important issues for many years. There are movements against forced displacement, struggles for land and forest rights, education and health facilities or the rights of oppressed castes and ethnic minorities- some of them successful, many of them not so. All are dismissed by those in power as not ‘threatening enough’ to be taken seriously. Ironically or deliberately, for all its official abhorrence of violent means, the Indian State and its bulldog media are promoting the perverse idea that if you want to be heard, you have to use the gun.

One good example is that of the Manipuri poet and activist Sharmila Irom, who on 2 November 2009 entered her tenth straight year of fasting demanding the repeal of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) in Manipur- a world record if there is one for hunger fasts anywhere. The AFSPA is one of the most draconian laws anywhere in the world and allows even foot soldiers of the Indian army to shoot ‘suspected’ militants, a privilege they abuse with frightening abandon. Sharmila’s marathon fast though is not the kind of stuff that makes the Indian government even think, leave alone blink. Instead the soft-bellied but hard-nosed politicos who run this country must be simply laughing their guts out at her non-violently starving herself for democratic rights.

Violence Vs Non-Violence

I personally don’t have any absolute position on the issue of violence versus non-violence because both terms are in my view impossible to define with precision and no meaningful debate is possible around them.

For example, do not the speculative flows of global capital that leave in their wake thousands upon thousands destitute, driving many to commit suicide, constitute a clear form of violence? Nobody puts a gun to the heads of the 2.5 million Indian children who die every year due to malnutrition- so are these supposed to be ‘non-violent’ deaths?

Further the ethical and moral dimension of any action depends on the specific context and cannot be pre-judged or prescribed in a cast-in-iron manner. The Muslims who died in Gujarat’s 2002 pogrom for example surely had the right- if they had got the chance at all- to shoot the fascist mobs that managed to lynch them because they found them unarmed.

In many ways the concept of ‘non-violence’ also depends crucially on how ‘violence’ is defined and by looking at the kind of ‘violence’ that is perpetrated. In other words, the notion of proportionality is very crucial to understanding what is ‘non-violence’ and what is not. For instance, if I am threatened by a regime that merely sends me to jail for dissent then the corresponding ‘non-violent’ strategy will different than if my oppressor tries to bomb me and my entire neighbourhood out of existence, a la Iraq or Afghanistan.

On a purely theoretical plane my own answer to the question ‘Gandhi or Guevara?’ is ‘fifty-fifty’. Both had their spectacular successes and abject failures in different contexts.

Gandhi for example after leading a non-violent struggle for India’s freedom could do little to prevent the Partition of the sub-continent that led to the deaths of over 2 million people and displacement of 14 million more within the space of just a few months. This was violence on a scale shocking even for a planet just emerging from two successive World Wars and showed the limitations of Gandhi’s politics of non-violence, that could not take into account the machinations of various other forces operating around him.

Che on the other hand after participating in the violent overthrow of Cuba’s Batista dictatorship got murdered in Bolivia, after failing to get local peasants and workers to join his attempts to spark off an armed rebellion. Four decades later, in the same Bolivia, a revolutionary new government has been elected to power under the leadership of Evo Morales, who successfully mobilised the country’s much oppressed indigenous population through militant but unarmed movements.

The Indian Context

In the Indian context, unfortunately, the language of physical force and bloodshed has been preferred by the Indian ruling elites over that of peace and persuasion not just in modern times but for millennia. One has simply to delve into Indian mythology to easily recognise the horrific militarism that permeates every ancient epic and the routine valorisation of intrigue, bloodshed and the murderous mindset it represents.

So in the famous sermon on the battlefield, the Bhagvat Gita, the Hindu deity Krishna exhorts Arjuna to drop his qualms about killing his close relatives, his guru and all those he loves and respects in the ‘enemy’ camp as his ‘karma’ or ‘duty’ to kill is more important than human values. Almost every Hindu god is further depicted carrying war weapons meant to exterminate ‘asuras’ and ‘rakshasas’- obvious euphemisms for some tribal character or the other whose resources were being taken over by the ever expanding Aryan ‘deva’ population. Even the gods are insecure in this country of ours.

Since Independence the Indian ruling class has simply reverted to such age old traditions of using naked force to deal with social sections considered ‘inferior’- like ethnic or religious minorities, Dalits, Adivasis, workers or peasants. Forget about actual civil conflict of which this country has seen plenty since 1947 in Nagaland, Mizoram, Kashmir, Punjab and so on – just look at the figures of deaths in police custody around the country, the highest in the world, and you can understand how violence is an integral part of the Indian State’s day to day functioning.

And why blame the formal Indian State alone, why not take a closer look at the sheer amount of violence that exists in every nook and corner of Indian society itself- where even disputes over parking of cars in the capital city often result in murder. Between dowry deaths, honour killings, female foeticide, infanticide, caste related massacres and jealousies aroused by simple boy-girl romances India is more a Super-Slaughterhouse than the Superpower it wants to be or the Land of Ahimsa it claims to have been in the past.

As for Indian political organizations today, it is not just radical sections like the Maoists but all mainstream national level parties, like the Congress, BJP and CPI(M), that use violent means routinely to establish their hegemony as evident from their respective roles in the 1984 anti-Sikh pogrom, the Gujarat genocide and the Nandigram massacre. While operating within the democratic spaces offered by the Indian polity, contesting parliamentary elections and claiming allegiance to the Indian Constitution, they show little respect in actual practice for democratic rights, norms or processes. As far as they are concerned such spaces are to be merely exploited till such a time they are in complete command and the pretence of democracy itself can be cast off like a dispensable cover over their quest for raw power.

Modernity and Violence

There is yet another source of great violence in the world we live in that comes from the notions of modernity that have been in vogue since the nineteenth century. It is violence born out of blind belief in the concepts of the fortified nation state, industrialisation, urbanisation and ever-increasing production and consumption as being synonymous with progress and development.

During the last fifty-two years, some 3.300 big dams have been constructed in India and another 1,000 are under construction leading to the displacement of anywhere between 21 to 33 million people. Over 55 percent of those displaced are from tribal communities who constitute only 8 percent of India’s population but pay a disproportionately heavy price for national ‘growth’.

Further the skewed policies in favour of urbanization and industrialization has pauperized India’s rural folk, whose survival depends on the callously neglected agricultural sector. Over 180,000 farmers have committed suicide between 1997 and 2007 while millions of villagers are forced to migrate to the cities as economic refugees to live in miserable slums that do not offer even the most basic of amenities leave alone a life of dignity. The urban centers of India are sucking the resources of the countryside dry and with it the very basis of existence of 70 percent of the country’s population.

If one adds to all this the annual toll of human lives extracted by the indiscriminate use of pesticides, industrial accidents, pollution of water by toxic wastes, loss of soil fertility due to Green Revolution agriculture and so on the costs of modern progress are exceedingly high indeed.

Reform or Revolution?

So given all these multiple sources of violence what are the brave but increasingly lonely activists advocating ‘non-violence’ as a means of social action and political change supposed to do?

I would argue that it is precisely because of all the violence around us that there is an even greater need for non-violent approaches to solving social problems. There is in fact an urgent need to lower the levels of violence not just in India but all over the South Asian sub-continent that is home to two nuclear powers and has already seen several wars and the horrific massacres of the Partition.

Armed actions do produce results sometimes and are highly attractive therefore to impatient youth or groups for whom it is part of ideological faith. However, hard experience tells the victories are very often ephemeral and only lay the foundation for yet another bout of bloodshed and the cycle keeps spinning out of control well beyond the original objectives with which the violence started. The examples of such violence begetting violence without end are strewn all over the planet from the killing fields of Cambodia to the tropical forests of Colombia.

Armed actions are also elitist in nature and do not allow mass participation thereby depriving an opportunity to politicise the greatest number and build the basis for a genuinely democratic movement or a democratic future. A handful of Robin Hoods do not a Revolution make and it is ultimately the political experience of millions of ordinary citizens that can ensure one dictatorship is not merely replaced by another.

Talking about revolution, political parties that describe themselves as revolutionary and which have the integrity and even perhaps the right social vision should also stop looking down on unarmed movements as ‘reformist’ or conflating all ‘revolutionary’ work with armed action alone. ‘Reform or Revolution?’ is in fact a trick question - like ‘food or freedom’, ‘love or money’, ‘democracy or development’? As if any of these two terms are mutually exclusive and as if anybody really knows where one ends and the other begins. Is it not simply absurd for some of the most sincere and committed political activists we have to be willing to give up their lives for a cause because this is ‘revolutionary’ but not give a glass of water to someone dying of thirst because this is seen as ‘reformist’?

Finally, the reason why armed actions should be avoided as much as possible in the current Indian context is simply because a hell of a lot of problems in the country like the caste system, religious bigotry, honour killings, female foeticide, patriarchy or environmental destruction are extremely complex and cannot be solved by merely shooting bullets or setting off bombs. They require intelligent long-term interventions with a lot of care and perseverance and the involvement of millions in a country as large as India. The weapons of choice are really that of knowledge and courage combined with creative ways or organising the diverse people of this land. The objectives should be to achieve tangible goals such as ensuring basic standards of nutrition, health, education and the infrastructure needed to lead a decent life of dignity.

In that sense they are more like the challenges faced by the farmer trying to grow his crop on hostile soil and battling the vagaries of the weather than that of an engineer trying get a mountain out of his way for a project. The latter can use dynamite but for the former this would be suicidal. Ironically, many advocates of agrarian revolution in the subcontinent seem to be in a tearing hurry to capture the land without doing the hard work of cultivating the soil, waiting for the first rains or planting the seeds of a future society all around. It may be time to learn from the humble Indian peasant and show a little more patience and wisdom instead of ending up harvesting an imaginary crop and cooking a non-existent meal.

Satya Sagar is a journalist, writer and videomaker based in New Delhi. He can be reached at sagarnama@gmail.com

  Read Gandhi, Guevara Fifty-Fifty
 December 27, 2009

The outcome of the UN climate meeting in Copenhagen was “a gross violation of the tradition of the United Nations”. We have been asked “to sign a suicide pact, an incineration pact, in order to maintain the economic dominance of a few countries. It's a solution based on values that funnelled six million people in Europe into furnaces”, said Lumumba Di-Aping, the Sudanese negotiator for the group of 132 developing countries, known as the G77. Copenhagen was exposed as a complicity to accelerate the threat of ecocide.

According to the Guardian newspaper, the leaked ‘Danish text’ “was intended by Denmark and rich countries to be a working framework, which would be adapted by countries ... It is particularly inflammatory because it sidelines the UN negotiating process and suggests that rich countries are desperate for world leaders to have a text to work from when they arrive [to the meeting in Copenhagen]”. It proposes that developing countries be forced to agree to specific emission cuts and measures, and for rich countries to emit nearly double that of poorer ones.

Sweden’s Environment Minister, Mr. Andreas Carlgren described the Copenhagen meeting a disaster that needed rescuing. Minister Carlgren blamed the U.S. and China for hijacking the meeting and agreeing to a “deal” without the support of the rest of the world. “The great powers, they are always able to live without an international system ... We expect them also to make sure that we can create an international common system with common rules and common tools to fight climate change”, said Minister Carlgren.

James Hansen, the world’s leading climate scientist, the director of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies and professor of Atmospheric Science at Columbia University in New York, was pleased that the talk at Copenhagen ended in failure. He told Amy Goodman: “They [Western politicians] were talking about having a cap-and-trade-with-offsets agreement, which is analogous to the Kyoto Protocol, which was disastrous. Before the Kyoto Protocol, global emissions of carbon dioxide were going up one-and-a-half percent per year. After the accord, they went up three percent per year. That approach simply won’t work”, said “We need an honest agreement which addresses the fossil fuels problem. And unless we address that and put a price on [greenhouse gas] emissions, we can’t solve the problem”, he said (See: Dr. Hansen interviewed by Amy Goodman on Democracynow.org, 22 December 2009).

The U.S. contribution to the Copenhagen meeting was what everyone expected; a setback to avert serious climate disaster. It is best summarised by Bill McKibben of Mother Jones magazine: “The President of the United States did several things today with China, India, Brazil and South Africa:

(1) He blew up the United Nations. The idea that there is a world community that means something has disappeared tonight.

(2) He formed a league of super-polluters, and would-be super polluters. China, the US, and India don't want anyone controlling their use of coal in any meaningful way. It is a coalition of foxes who will together govern the henhouse.

(3) He demonstrated the kind of firmness and resolve that Americans like to see. It will play [brainwashing] well politically at home and that will be the worst part of the deal”.

“Just as George Bush did in the approach to the Iraq war, Obama went behind the backs of the UN and most of its member states and assembled a coalition of the willing to strike a deal that outraged the rest of the world. This was then presented to poorer nations without negotiation. Either they signed it, or they lost the adaptation funds required to help them survive the first few decades of climate breakdown”, writes the Guardian columnist George Monbiot.

Obama’s unilateral announcement of a “deal” has been rejected by the majority of world’s nations. The deal locks developing countries, particularly the poor of developing countries “into a cycle of poverty forever”. “Obama has today eliminated his differences with [George W.] Bush”, said Di-Aping. “What is Obama going to tell his daughters? That their [Kenyan] relatives’ lives are not worth anything? It is unfortunate that after 500 years-plus of interaction with the West we [Africans] are still considered ‘disposables’ “. “My good friends … we’ve got to get together and fight the fight”, he added.

To produce a flawed deal, the U.S. and its allies played their “divide and coerce” card well, manipulating and buying off fewer nations to back their detrimental action. With South African stooges and Ethiopia’s dictator Meles Zenawi at hand, unity among African nations proved to be fragile to stop the few who are willing to participate in Western-orchestrated ecocide. Even the Philippines, among the most vulnerable to the effects of climate change, succumbed to Western demand and money. “What we actually have to do is solve the problem, not pay people off. And that requires reducing emissions”, said James Hansen. In other words, all nations have to mutually agree to a binding treaty to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The U.S. with 5 per cent of the world’s population consumes 25 per cent of the world’s energy. So, the U.S. as the second largest polluter doesn’t add up. The U.S. military is the worst polluter of CO2 and other highly toxic and radioactive pollutants in the air, water and soil (See: Sara Flounders, Pentagon's role in global catastrophe, International Action Centre, 18 December 2009). The U.S. military is the most destructive ecocidal/genocidal war machine on the planet, destroying ecosystems on massive scale the world over.

Meanwhile, China which is considered the world’s largest emitter of CO2 despite more than 25 per cent of China’s emissions are generated by Western-owned sweatshops manufacturing cheap goods for Western markets, has been used to provide Western politicians with a scapegoat. China is doing far more to reduce emissions than any other polluter. For example, in November 2009, China announced that it would decrease its carbon emissions by 40-45% by 2020 from 2005 levels. In contrast, the U.S. announced in November 2009 that it would reduce its carbon emissions by 17% by 2020 from 2005 levels (Euromonitor International, 14 December 2009).

The poor and least developed countries, which will carry the burden of climate change, demanded that the maximum global temperature rise to be limited to but to 1.5°C (Celsius) not to 2°C. Because a 2°C increase in global temperature, which requires an emission cap of no more than 1 trillion tonnes of carbon into the atmosphere, means a 3°C to 3.5°C increase in African temperature. This will be a disaster for millions of people in Africa alone. However, according to leaked document, the plan put forward by rich nations is to increase the temperature not by 2°C, but actually by 3°C.

For Small Island nations, like Tuvalu and the Maldives, “[t]hat would mean that we won’t be around. That would mean the death of us. And that’s really not acceptable for us. We cannot survive with that kind of temperature rise. Sea levels would rise. We are just 1.5 meters above the water. And if we have sea levels rising to seventy, eighty centimetres, that’s going to eat up most of our country. So we won’t be around”, said President Mohamed Nasheed of the Maldives.

The island nation of Tuvalu, which is the most threatened by global warming, and most of the South American countries have already rejected the accord. Tuvalu representative Ian Fry said the agreement amounted to Biblical betrayal. “Our future is not for sale. I regret to inform you that Tuvalu cannot accept this document”.

Most civil societies and environmental groups were unhappy with the deal. Greenpeace International Executive Director Kumi Naidoo said: “World leaders failed to avert catastrophic climate change. People everywhere demanded a real deal before the summit began and they are still demanding it. We can still save hundreds of millions of people from the devastation of a warming world, but it has just become a whole lot harder.”

Friends of the Earth International chair, Nnimmo Bassey, has called the outcome of the Copenhagen meeting: “an abject failure”. He said: “By delaying action [and ignoring global warming destructive impact on the Earth life support systems], rich countries have condemned millions of the world's poorest people to hunger, suffering and loss of life as climate change accelerates”.

Meanwhile, in Australia – the OECD's biggest per-capita polluter –, Australia’s everything “scientist” and the establishment mouthpiece, Dr. Tim Flannery was in exiting mood: “[I]f I was to sum it up in a single phrase I'd say this has been a good, successful meeting. I think that our prime minister has played an outstanding role. He has been working very hard for the last few months ... and he has just been fantastic all the way”. Flannery, who studied English and Kangaroos at university, rose to fame in 1994 by blaming Aborigines (as “The Future Eaters”) for the destruction of Australia’s flora and megafauna. His “research” is descriptive and lacks any empirical data.

The Australian Greens Deputy Leader, the Tasmanian Senator Christine Milne, a passionate advocate of the environment, described the deal agreed by few politicians at the Copenhagen meeting, a “superficial last-minute statement … with no substantive progress made on any of the critical issues”. She said: "Kevin Rudd should be held personally responsible, as he said he would be, not only for refusing to do what everyone knows is necessary, but also for trying to bully those who wanted real deal into accepting his greenwash”. The Australian delegation, the world’s largest, went to Copenhagen without a coherent policy on climate change, but with access baggage full of empty rhetoric.

Greenpeace's Steve Campbell said the ‘deal falls far short of what scientists say needs to be achieved to arrest climate change’. "This deal fails on both tests. So really it's a deal that's worse than no deal and it's certainly not the outcome that we expected from our political leaders this week", he said.

On the last day of the Copenhagen meeting, a disappointed Lumumba Di-Aping said: “This deal will definitely result in massive devastation in Africa and Small Island nations. It has the lowest level of ambition you can imagine. It’s nothing short of climate change scepticism in action”. “The architecture of this deal is extraordinarily flawed. What has happened today has confirmed what we have been suspicious of – that a deal will be superimposed by the United States ... on all nations of the world.” And “I am absolutely convinced that what Western governments are doing is NOT acceptable to Western civil society”, he added.

COP15 Copenhagen has failed because the intransigence of few rich polluters to commit to an honest and science-based goal to reduce global temperature in an international binding treaty. It was self-serving ignorance that will condemn the entire planet to climatic oblivion.

The only way to avert the threat of ecocide is for the rich and developed countries to recognise that reduction in greenhouse gas emissions based on economic development and protection of the environment is of paramount importance for the future of humanity.

Ghali Hassan is an independent writer living in Australia.

  Read COP15 Copenhagen: A Road To Ecocide
 December 23, 2009

Obamacare Plans to Ration Healthcare and Enrich Big Providers

After House passage in November, the Senate is now about to pass a stealth scheme to ration care and enrich insurers, the drug cartel, and large hospital chains, the way Washington always works.

It plans market-based solutions, featuring cost-containing measures, mostly affecting working Americans, the poor, elderly, and chronically ill to make a dysfunctional system worse, under the guise of reform, the most dangerous and deceptive word in the language to take cover from when announced.

Besides enriching providers, Obamacare will force millions to pay more, get less, with millions still uninsured and left out. Employers will be able to opt out of providing coverage, but since insurance for most will be mandated, those without it will have to buy it or face hundreds of dollars in penalties, whether or not they can afford it. Even with a public option, looking less likely, insurers will get to skim off the cream, charge what they wish, profit handsomely at low risk, and leave Washington stuck with ones industry doesn't want. For providers, it's a win-win under any version being considered.

Most disturbing are planned Medicare cuts, around $400 - $570 billion, depending on which numbers are most accurate, and these are for starters, a foot in the door if enacted, toward the long-term aim ending Medicare, then Medicaid and Social Security because, at $106 trillion in unfunded liabilities, budget constraints can't sustain them.

The Congressional Budget Office's June 2009 "Long-Term Budget Outlook" suggests a nation in decline, eventual hyperinflation, possible bankruptcy because of a greater national debt than during the Great Depression and near-surpassing WW II. The administration's solution - end entitlements over 100 million Americans rely on, but it still may be too little, too late given an overstretched budget, a weakening dollar, and foreign investors looking for safer returns on their capital, so are less willing to fund Washington's excesses.

In Obama's America, the least advantaged will carry the load, not privileged elites, but don't expect congressional opposition to stop him or news reports to explain it.

Obama's Permanent War Agenda

As president, he heads an imperial enterprise presided over by a war cabinet engaged in lawless militarism, aggressive wars, the permanent occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan, the planned conquest of Eurasia, and world dominance overall, with a defense budget exceeding the rest of the world combined at a time America has no enemies.

Yet, as a candidate, he opposed imperial militarism, promised limited escalation only, and pledged to remove all combat troops from Iraq by August 31, 2010. Then on February 27, he said:

"As a candidate for president, I made clear my support for a timeline of 16 months to carry out this drawdown, while pledging to consult closely with our military commanders upon taking office to ensure that we preserve the gains we've made and protect our troops. Those consultations are now complete, and I have chosen a timeline that will remove our combat brigades over the next 18 months. Let me say this as plainly as I can: by August 31, 2010, our combat mission in Iraq will end."

Not so fast according to Defense Secretary Robert Gates who told reporters that up to 50,000 will remain, and Obama himself then suggested year end 2011 and maybe later - as always, depending on conditions on the ground to provide an out for the real agenda, permanent occupation with a reduced force if possible.

He also promised two more brigades maximum for Afghanistan, or 10,000 troops. Instead, he ordered 17,000 sent initially, then after his December 1 announcement, the number reached five-fold his original pledge, likely heading higher in the new year as political promises are made to be broken.

Besides the Afghan escalation, he's also destabilizing Pakistan to balkanize both countries, weakening them to control the Caspian Sea's oil and gas riches and their energy routes to secured ports for export. The strategy includes encircling Russia, China, and Iran, obstructing their solidarity and cohesion, defusing a feared geopolitical alliance, toppling the Iranian government, perhaps attacking its nuclear sites, eliminating Israel's main regional rival, and securing unchallenged Eurasian dominance over this resource rich part of the world that includes China, Russia, the Middle East, and Indian subcontinent.

Like his predecessor, Obama also plans more - unchallengeable global control, the strategy first revealed in the 1998 US Space Command document, Vision for 2020. Later released in 2000 as DOD Joint Vision 2020, it called for "full spectrum dominance" over all land, surface and sub-surface sea, air, space, electromagnetic spectrum and information systems with enough overwhelming power to wage and win global wars against any adversary, including preemptively with nuclear weapons.

With other means as well, including propaganda, compromised NGOs, Color Revolutions for regime change, expanding NATO eastward, and various other ways for unchallengeable control - including over resource rich parts of Africa like Nigeria, Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, South Africa, and Somalia on its strategic Horn adjacent to the Red Sea, Suez Canal, and vital commercial waterways. War rages there with America backing Transitional Federal Government (TFG)/African Union forces to keep the Islamist resistance from regaining power - the same forces under which Somalia had its only stability in the last two decades or more.

Closer to home, the June 28 Honduran coup deposing democratically elected Manuel Zelaya was a coordinated State Department - Pentagon project working closely with Honduran commanders and top opposition political figures to establish a de facto dictatorship. The staged November 29 presidential election was meant for closure with a new president/oligarch taking over on January 27 as Zelaya can't succeed himself.

According to Council on Hemispheric Affairs (COHA) Director Larry Birns, the episode represents Obama's "First Latin American Waterloo" as Washington's "solution" remains a "profound problem for much of the rest of the hemisphere, as well as for long-term ties with such major regional actors as Brazil, Argentina, and the Venezuelan-led ALBA nations." They won't recognize an illegitimately elected leader, so for now, call it stalemate with round two to come, involving a determined popular resistance against fascist coup plotters they want removed and out of power.

Obama's overall Latin American policy is just as troubling. It allocated half a billion dollars in military and related aid to Mexico's right-wing Calderon regime and to militarize the nation's border. Plan Colombia supplies more, billions for new weapons and technology on the pretext of fighting drugs trafficking and protecting regional security. Not so. It's about lawless imperialism and raw power, not drugs or other subterfuge.

During his late June White House visit, Colombian president Alvaro Uribe gave the Pentagon access to seven new military bases, plus nine others currently stationing US forces supplemented by the April 2008 Fourth Fleet reactivation after a 60 year hiatus.

Meant to militarize the continent and intimidate Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, and other center-left governments, the move sparked outrage and concern with Hugo Chavez saying:

"They are surrounding Venezuela (and regional nations) with military bases (and may) soon start sending thousands of North American soldiers to Colombia. (They're) contract soldiers who are nothing more than paramilitary mercenaries and assassins. Airplanes, radar, sophisticated weapons, bombs - and, of course, they say it's to fight drug trafficking."

Given past coup attempts against Chavez and the June Honduran one, perhaps also to topple leaders not firmly in Washington's camp to give America regional dominance, not diplomatically but with raw power under a rogue leader like the others.

Travesty in Oslo - Peace Prize to a War Criminal

In choosing Obama, the Nobel Committee's October 9 announcement followed its long, ignoble tradition by anointing another war criminal, a man heading an imperial war machine, disdainful of peace, and currently escalating America's global dominance agenda, potentially threatening planetary survival.

Yet, the corporate media defended the award and practically gushed over Obama's acceptance speech. On December 10, New York Times writer Jeff Zeleny highlighted his claim that "some wars (are) necessary and just....in the fight against oppression."

The Washington Post's Eugene Robinson said "President Obama accepted the Nobel for peacemaking
by delivering an eloquent, often grim treatise on the nature and necessity of warfare (and) drew a clear distinction between the world as we would like it to be and the world as it is."

Unsurprising, the Nation magazine concurred on National Public Radio's "All Things Considered" with editor Katrina vanden Heuvel (a notorious Obama and Democrat party flack masquerading as a progressive) praising the speech's "humility and grace."

According to the magazine's political writer, John Nichols:

"The president's frankness about the controversies and concerns regarding the award of a Peace Prize to a man who just last week ordered 30,000 US new troops into the Afghanistan quagmire, and the humility he displayed....offered a glimpse of Obama at his best. As such, the speech was important and, dare we say, hopeful."

For what, more war?

In Oslo, Obama's message was clear - expect permanent wars in the wake of his Afghan escalation, widening it to Pakistan, threatening Iran, destabilizing Eurasia, militarizing South America, claiming "all responsible nations must embrace the role that militaries with a clear mandate can play to keep the peace," then saying warriors should be honored "not as makers of war, but as wagers of peace."

"War is peace," Orwell's message and why the award legitimizes wars and the leaders who wage them.

Torture as Official US Policy Under Obama

Given a year of betrayal and failure, continuing the Bush torture policy is unsurprising despite Obama's January 22 Executive Order (EO) directing the CIA to shut its secret prisons network and close Guantanamo "as soon as practicable, and no later than 1 year from the date of this order." That was then. This is now with a new president as lawless and ruthless as George Bush, and in some respects much worse.

Guantanamo is still open. "Black site" torture-prisons remain active globally, and the practice continues virulently as official US policy, despite international and US laws prohibiting it at all times, under all conditions with no allowed exceptions.

The Geneva Conventions Common Article 3 bans:

-- "violence to life and person, in particular murder of all kinds, mutilation, cruel treatment and torture;

-- carrying out sentences or executions "without previous judgment pronounced by a regularly constituted court affording all the judicial guarantees which are recognized as indispensable by civilized peoples;" and

-- caring for the wounded and sick, including by an impartial body like the ICRC "offer(ing) its services to the Parties to the conflict."

At least two US laws are also explicit - the 1996 War Crimes Act and 1994 Torture Statute. The Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court Explanatory Memorandum calls torture a crime against humanity - a "particularly odious (offense and) a serious attack on human dignity," (the result of) government policy (or) condoned by a government or a de facto authority." For decades and under Obama, America is a serial abuser in defiance of the law and civilized human behavior.

Gutting Constitutional Cruel and Unusual Punishments Prohibition and Due Process Protection

The Fifth Amendment says no person shall "be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law." The Fourteenth Amendment holds government subservient to the law and guarantees due process respect for everyone's legal right to judicial fairness on matters relating to life, liberty, or property. The Eighth Amendment prohibits cruel and unusual punishments.

No longer after the Supreme Court in mid-December, at the behest of the Obama administration, upheld a lower court decision declaring torture an ordinary, expected consequence of military detention and directing future courts, by presidential order, to treat "suspected enemy combatant(s)" as non-persons with no rights or judicial standing.

Henceforth, torture-extracted confessions will be admissible in civil or military commission trials, despite earlier High Courts ruling them unconstitutional. In Brown v. Mississippi (February 1936), the Court ruled that:

"The rack and torture chamber may not be substituted for the witness stand" in citing Fisher v. State (November 1926) stating:

"Coercing the supposed state's criminals into confessions and using such confessions so coerced from them against them in trials has been the curse of all countries. It was the chief iniquity, the crowing infamy of the Star Chamber (the notorious 15th - 17th century English court), and the Inquisition, and other similar institutions. The Constitution recognized the evils that lay behind these practices and prohibited them in this country....wherever the court is clearly satisfied that such violations exist, it will refuse to sanction such violation and will apply the corrective."

The Constitution also affirms judicial fairness for everyone under the law. No longer after the High Court acquiesced to Obama's request to deny it to administration-declared non-persons.

Obama's War on Labor

On March 30, Obama told Detroit's auto giants: "We cannot....must not (and) will not let (this) industry vanish," then laid down a clear marker that labor, not business, must take the pain through:

-- fewer jobs;

-- less pay;

-- reduced benefits, including lost pensions and free retiree healthcare; and

-- gutted work rules, including health and safety on-the-job protections, on top of everything sacrificed in 2007 negotiations when the UAW leadership sold out to management, then muscled the rank and file to go along.

The fate of the nation's auto workers is spreading nationally as low-pay/few or no benefits jobs replace once solid manufacturing ones, increasingly offshored to low-wage countries leaving fewer opportunities for skilled workers at home.

For decades, America's organized labor has been in decline, especially since the 1980s, but the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) offers hope. After failing in the 108th, 109th, and 110th Congresses, March 2009 House and Senate bills aim to restore worker rights at a time they're seriously eroded, given that 90% of employers oppose unions with government on their side. If pressured to offer more, nearly half threaten to close plants and other work sites. Many coerce, threaten and/or bribe workers to be union-free, and around 30% illegally fire pro-union employees and get away with it.

EFCA offers hope by creating a level playing field. If enacted, it will enforce fair collective bargaining and let workers freely decide, by majority vote, whether or not to form a union, without fear of employer retribution. It's the first pro-labor bill since the 1935 Wagner Act let workers bargain on equal terms with management, and a reversal of decades of lost rights.

Thus far, House and Senate bills are stalled in committees, and despite earlier administration support, getting the required 60 Senate votes won't come without as much Obama pressure as he's applying on healthcare. His silence shows non-support and the likelihood that EFCA is dead in 2009, perhaps in the 111th Congress, and the 112th one to follow.

Targeting Public Education for Destruction - Reinventing No Child Left Behind (NCLB)

Enacted in January 2002, NCLB claimed it would close the achievement gap between inner city and rural schools and more affluent ones by setting high reading and math standards, then testing to assure they're achieved. However, the law's real aim is to commodify education, end government's responsibility for it, and make it another business profit center, thereby depriving millions of the nation's youths (mostly disadvantaged ones) of the education they deserve.

Reauthorizing NCLB stalled in Congress for good reason. It's long on testing, school choice, and market-based reforms, but short on real achievement. It's built around rote learning, standardized test, requiring teachers to teach to the test, assessing results by Average Yearly Progress (AYP) scores, and punishing failure by firing teachers and principals, closing schools, and transforming them from public to charter or for-profit ones.

Obama plans to invent a failed policy, rename it, claim NCLB's shortcomings are fixed, and have his education secretary, Arne Duncan, do for the nation what he did to Chicago as CEO of the city's public schools - deny their students real education as repeated underperformance results showed, and no wonder. During his tenure and continuing today, privatization schemes continue, inner city schools are being closed, remaining ones are neglected and decrepit, classroom sizes are increasing, and children, as a result, are sacrificed on the alter of marketplace triumphalism.

Obama-ed promises more of the same:

-- favoring charter or for-profit schools over public ones;

-- running them by marketplace rules;

-- requiring state laws conform to federal ones, in violation of the 10th Amendment mandating "powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States, or to the people;" education isn't mentioned in the Constitution;

-- linking teacher pay to student performance as determined by standardized tests that measure rote memory, not real learning;

-- putting Washington bureaucrats in charge of undermining states, local school boards, and the right of parents to decide what's best for their children;

-- requiring federal mandates be followed to qualify for funding;

-- creating a two-tiered, class and income-based system favoring affluent school districts over inner-city ones; and

-- effectively destroying public education in Obama's America.

Promoting Dangerous Vaccines for a Non-Existent Threat

For months, Obama officials and the complicit media hyped a fake Swine Flu threat. Then on June 11, the WHO declared its highest Level 6 influenza pandemic alert followed by its Director-General, Dr. Margaret Chan, warning that H1N1 is "unstoppable" while admitting that most cases are mild, no different than seasonal flu, and many people recover unaided.

Many experts, including the world's foremost authority, Dr. Viera Scheibner, in her writings and on The Lendman News Hour, warn that all vaccines are ineffective, dangerous, and often cause the illnesses they're designed to prevent, and no wonder. Their harmful toxins include mercury, aluminum, formaldehyde, phenoxyethanol (antifreeze), and squalene adjuvants known to weaken the human immune system, making it vulnerable to serious auto-immune diseases like paralysis, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, ALS, severe allergies, arthritis, encephalitis, and many others.

Disturbing evidence suggests that Swine Flu vaccines were bioengineered, are extremely dangerous, potentially lethal, and must be avoided. So why did Obama declare a public health emergency in October, and why are his officials stoking fear to encourage, then perhaps mandate, that everyone take them - ones rushed to market without safety testing that are already causing troublesome problems and reported deaths.

It's no coincidence that a declared emergency coincides with an economic crisis causing millions to lose jobs, homes, savings, and better futures. Or that drug giants see a profit bonanza from the global vaccination campaign. Perhaps a diabolical depopulation scheme also, based on the flawed assumption that global economic sustainability depends on reducing world numbers drastically because available resources are inadequate for 6.8 billion people (by US Census Bureau estimates), and they're taking up space anyway so get rid of them, including millions of Americans. Obama may be heading a global cabal to do it.

Denying Budget-Strapped States Financial Help

At a time 48 of the 50 states have growing budget shortfalls, and a new Pew Center on the States (PCS) report shows 10 in fiscal peril, the Obama administration is denying needed aid, forcing them to freeze hiring, cut jobs, lower wages, and impose austerity by gutting welfare programs, education, health care for the poor, and other vital services at a time they're most needed. Ahead expect extended hard times that will impact the disadvantaged most while official Washington steps up imperial madness and more handouts to the rich.

Growing Poverty, Hunger, Homelessness, and Numbers of Uninsured

Under Obama, like his predecessor, America helps the rich at the expense of all others, especially the least advantaged. The data are alarming and growing worse:

-- state budget deficits are in free fall due to the worst decline in tax receipts in decades, and conditions in 2010 and 2011 may get worse;

-- revised 2008 US census data show 47.4 million Americans (one in six) below the poverty line - a conservative estimate compared to others placing it much higher based on a more accurate definition of poverty;

-- USDA data show food stamp use at record highs at a time 49 million Americans (again one in six) experience hunger, including 17 million children;

-- up to three million experience homelessness, including many low-wage earners and others at risk in case of an unexpected financial burden like a missed paycheck or health emergency;

-- a 2008 OECD report on inequality and poverty ranked America highest among its 30 members, only ahead of Mexico and Turkey;

-- a 2008 Working Poor Families Project study shows these households keep getting poorer as the wealth disparity between rich and all others widens;

-- other reports show disturbing evidence of economic duress affecting growing millions of Americans while officials and media reports hail recession's end and credit Obama for achieving it - at a time the true picture is dire for a growing majority;

-- at least 50 million are uninsured; thousands more join them weekly; and

-- unemployment tops 20% with all excluded categories included.

Overall, it's America's dark side that politicians and media pundits suppress at a time Wall Street is having a party, courtesy of bailout billions, licensed fraud, manipulated markets, and Washington turning a blind eye while millions struggle to get by and many more can't.

Legislation to License Pollution, Fraud, and Unbridled Speculation

Introduced in May, HR 2454: American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 (ACESA) lets corporate polluters reap huge windfall profits by charging consumers more for energy and fuel, yet does nothing to address environmental issues. On June 26, the House narrowly passed it, then sent it to the Senate where it remains stalled.

Ahead of the House vote, Obama lied in hailing the "historic proportions (of this) legislation that will open the door to a new, clean energy economy." Polluters love it and with good reason. So does Wall Street lobbying hard for passage.

If enacted, it will increase speculation through a new carbon trading derivatives bonanza with a potential market value of up to $10 trillion annually according to some estimates - so watch out for the mother of all bubbles Wall Street is lobbying hard to get passed.

It's a scam that, according to Catherine Austin Fitts, will "make the housing and derivatives bubbles look like target practice" as well as license pollution and fraud. More evidence of official corruption under a crime boss president, who promised UN Climate Change Conference (COP 15 Copenhagen) participants that America plans substantial greenhouse gas cuts over the next decade while concealing his real commitment and that of the conference.

Purportedly for a draft treaty replacing Kyoto's expiration in 2012, it's a power grab, according to some, including former Margaret Thatcher advisor, Lord Christopher Monckton. He warns of an unprecedented transnational government scheme under an unnamed, unelected UN body, empowered to intervene in the financial, economic, tax, and environmental affairs of all signatories and thus violate their sovereignty. He warned Americans that "unless you stop it, your president will sign your freedom, your democracy and your prosperity away forever."

It will also further a global carbon trading derivatives scheme huge enough to "make the housing and derivatives bubbles look like target practice," and be another betrayal by a president promising change.

On December 7, AP reported that:

"The Environmental Protection Agency took a major step (today) toward regulating greenhouse gases, concluding that climate changing pollution threatens the public health and the environment," and that carbon dioxide should be regulated under the Clean Air Act.

According to some, this ruling may let Obama bypass Congress, and effectively pass the cap and trade bill without the consent of the Senate. According to others, however, doing so would be a lawless impeachable act. At issue is whether he'll risk it.

The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement's (ACTA) Assault on Net Neutrality, Consumer Privacy, and Civil Liberties

Launched in October 2007, secret negotiations continue for a new intellectual property enforcement treaty that if adopted will subvert Net Neutrality, privacy, and personal freedom, and pressure all nations to comply under universally binding top-down rules overriding national sovereignty.

What's been leaked so far includes:

-- a proposed top-down enforcement regime requiring ISPs to disclose customer information;

-- mandating ISPs cooperate with right holders to remove infringing content;

-- new anti-camcording rules; and

-- network-level filtering to enforce a three-strikes-and-you're-out rule against consumers found three times to have infringed copyrighted content; the penalty - Internet connection termination.

These provisions way exceed current treaty obligations by imposing binding copyright demands requiring that:

-- ISPs police copyrighted material and deter unauthorized storage and transmission of alleged infringed content;

-- ISPs terminate Internet access of alleged repeat offenders or be liable;

-- alleged infringed material be removed;

-- digital rights management (DRM) rules be enforced relating to systems that identify, track, authorize, and restrict access to digital media - purportedly to protect and enforce copyrights, patents, trademarks, and other intellectual property forms; and

-- global Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) rules be imposed relating to intellectual property that will effectively censor online content, subvert free expression, invade privacy, deny due process, and undermine innovation.

If ACTA is adopted, consumer Internet communications and content will be monitored, threatening privacy, civil liberties, and a free and open Internet.

Empowering Agribusiness Under the Guise of Enhancing Food Safety

In July, the House passed the 2009 Food Safety Enhancement Act (FSEA) and referred it to the Senate, where the 2009 FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) is being considered. It's been passed out of committee for debate by the full body, perhaps before year end or sometime in January.

If enacted, it will empower agribusiness and adversely impact small farmers and food producers. While omitting effective food safety reforms, both House and Senate versions impose costly, burdensome regulations that will put many small growers and producers out of business for greater industry consolidation.

Included will be new standards based only on a "reason to believe" food may be adulterated, misbranded or otherwise in violation of the new law. In other words, suspicion alone, without proof, will prohibit food sales or recalls as well as force area quarantines if ordered, not applicable to food giants because their officials staff the FDA, the enforcing body they control. In addition, imprisonment and/or heavy fines may be imposed for failing to register a facility, misbranding, not conducting a hazard analysis, or failing to fill out the required paperwork - all of which greatly burdens small operators without staff enough to comply.

For effective food safety, measures should target agribusiness and imports, not the nation's safe local food system. Obama's plan does the opposite.

Obama Endorses Preventive Detention

On May 21, Obama addressed national security and civil liberties issues, including the Guantanamo detainees, military commissions, and torture. Saying his "single most important responsibility as president is to keep the American people safe," he claimed Al Qaeda "is actively planning to attack us again (and) this threat will be with us for a long time...." He then announced the following:

-- prohibiting "enhanced interrogation techniques" that continue unchanged to the present;

-- closing Guantanamo that's still open with no progress on his "order;"

-- trying "detainees who violate the laws of war (by) military commissions" that assure no possibility of due process or judicial fairness; and

-- including detainees ordered released, prevention detention of those at Guantanamo "who cannot be prosecuted yet who pose a clear danger to the American people," without seeking statutory power to institutionalize it.

These men, about four or five dozen, will be held without charges or trials indefinitely on the dubious post-9/11 power authorizing the president to use force against Al Qaeda and the Taliban.

No civilized state does this, uses military commissions in lieu of civil courts, practices torture, then uses evidence from it to convict.

Following Obama's speech, Michael Ratner, President of the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) said:

"The president wrapped himself in the Constitution and then proceeded to violate it by announcing he would send people before irredeemably flawed military commissions and seek to create a preventive detention scheme that only serves to move Guantanamo to a new location and give it a new name." Or perhaps keep it operating as now appears likely.

CCR's Guantanamo project Managing Attorney, Shayana Kadidal added:

"Preventive detention goes against every principle our nation was founded on. We have courts and laws in place that we respect and rely on because we have been a nation of laws for hundreds of years; we should not simply discard them when they are inconvenient.
The new president is looking a lot like the old one." The nation looks increasingly despotic, no different from history's worst under a rogue leader waging global imperial wars and destroying at home civil liberties.

Obama's Discrimination Against Haitian Immigrants

It's a familiar story for the hemisphere's poorest, least wanted, and most abused people at home and in America. Currently, about 35,000 undocumented Haitians reside in US cities, the result of deplorable conditions at home, including deep poverty and a repressive UN paramilitary Blue Helmet occupation after the Bush administration's 2004 coup d'etat against Jean-Bertrand Aristide, democratically elected and now deposed into forced exile.

For months, they've sought but not received Temporary Protected Status (TPS) after the Bush administration denied it, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials ordered forced deportations to the worst of conditions at home.

Immigration lawyer and long-time TPS advocate, Steve Forester, represents them in South Florida for the Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti. After months into the new Obama administration, he expressed surprise and anger that:

"we have not yet gotten a response to our request to at least give people the dignity of the right to work while the administration continues, month after month, to review the propriety of granting TPS, which to us and every objective observer is a no-brainer, based on the four hurricanes and storms that hit Haiti in a one-month period a year ago," and devastation from them remains.

After Congress established TPS in 1990, Washington granted 260,000 Salvadorans, 82,000 Hondurans, and 5,000 Nicaraguans protection, then extended it as deadlines expired. It grants temporary immigration status to undocumented residents unable to return home due to armed conflict, environmental disasters, or other "extraordinary temporary conditions." Nationals from numerous other nations got it, but not Haitians, most in need, least helped, and thus far scorned by America's first black president, no different than the rest.

S. 1261: Pass ID Act

Introduced in the Senate in June, now in committee awaiting debate by the full body, it's a measure to revive the enacted Real ID Act of 2005 that if enforced would mandate every US citizen and legal resident have a national identity card that in most cases will be a driver's license. It requires it to contain personal information to open a bank account, board an airplane, be able to vote, or conduct virtually any other essential business.

If embedded, as some fear, with an RFID chip, universal monitoring will be possible of everyone, everywhere at all times, a ghoulish nightmare civil libertarians stress must be avoided as well as mandating national ID cards. So do many states.

Many derailed it, some with statutes prohibiting its implementation, others from a resolution denouncing it. Now it's revived in Senate committee awaiting a full debate in 2010 under an administration seeking new police state powers beyond the many he inherited.

Obama Opposes Whisleblowers and Journalists Who Protect Their Anonymity

In February, the 2009 Free Flow of Information Act was introduced in the House and Senate. In March, the lower body overwhelmingly passed it, and it's now in Senate committee awaiting floor debate for a measure "to maintain the free flow of information to the public...."

Yet Obama worked to weaken it in opposition to strong congressional support. The House measure lets judges weigh the public's right to know against national security considerations in cases where prosecutors judicially challenge reporters to reveal their sources. Obama wants them revealed whenever the White House says national security issues are at stake and got its way in a late October compromise.

Not yet passed in the Senate, spokesman Ben LaBolt said the president expects to sign the measure in weakened form that excludes cases of leaked classified information or if the administration claims sources must be revealed to prevent or mitigate terrorism or any acts harmful to national security that can include almost anything with no substantiating corroboration.

Other Anti-Democratic Measures

Providing continuity, not progressive change, Obama also:

-- continues extraordinary renditions to hellhole prisons and torture as official US policy;

-- opposes detainee habeas lawsuits in them;

-- won't prosecute Bush administration high-level officials involved in torturing and killing detainees;

-- withholds evidence proving their culpability;

-- invoked the state secrets privilege to prevent lawsuits by victims of rendition, torture, abuse, and by those opposing warrantless wiretapping; and

-- governs with lawless police state authority as extreme, and in some cases, worse than George Bush.

Final Comments

After less than one year in office, Obama:

-- presides over a bogus democracy under a homeland police state apparatus;

-- embraces militarism, imperial wars, and lawlessness like his predecessor;

-- erodes human rights, civil liberties, and constitutional freedoms;

-- keeps looting the federal Treasury for Wall Street;

-- plans new global monetary measures to control the world's money;

-- targets whistleblowers, dissenters, Muslims, Latino immigrants, environmental and animal rights activists, and lawyers who defend them too vigorously;

-- illegally spies on Americans as aggressively as George Bush;

-- destroyed decades of hard won labor rights;

-- wants public education privatized as another business profit center to destroy a 375 year tradition;

-- disdains the public interest in times of growing economic duress;

-- wants everyone inoculated with dangerous, toxic vaccines for a non-existent health threat;

-- backs so-called reform that will ration care and enrich insurers, the drug cartel, and large hospital chains;

-- wants legislation passed to let corporate polluters reap huge windfall profits by raising energy costs and create a speculative bonanza with a new carbon trading derivatives scheme;

-- other legislation to empower agribusiness; and

-- a mandated national ID card for all citizens and legal residents to be able to monitor them everywhere at all times.

Obama wants to do George Bush one better by continuing the worst of his policies, enact more of his own, and destroy the middle class to turn America into Guatamala with ruling elites governing a nation of serfs. Well on his way, he's got three more years to succeed unless mass public outrage stops him.

Stephen Lendman is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization. He lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.

Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to the Lendman News Hour on RepublicBroadcasting.org Monday - Friday at 10AM US Central time for cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on world and national issues. All programs are archived for easy listening.

  Read Obama Year One: Betrayal And Failure (Part II)
 December 23, 2009

Crunch times call for desperate measures. This time round, it demanded trusting politicians for reaching a deal on climate change. Well, they did reach a deal but not one on saving the climate but on betrayal of climate justice. The clinically depressing document has reaffirmed that none of the political leaders landed at Copenhagen with a heart to do good.

After burning midnight oil, some hung-over from feasting at the Danish Queen’s do, and some sober heads produced a please-the-rich-countries draft. It allows these countries to continue polluting, ensures that some, if not all, vulnerable island nations will submerge, and postpones a deal by a year till a meeting at Mexico happens next November. By that time, citizens of Tuvalu, Kiribati and Maldives, among others, would be on their knees desperately seeking rehabilitation and citizenship in distant nations.

The deal is a document drafted by developed countries in consultation with India, China, Brazil and South Africa – the BASIC bloc. It is a reflection of how farcical norms rule the roost at multilateral negotiations, be it the WTO, WIPO or, in this case, UNFCCC. The UN has completely failed to uphold democratic norms and has instead allowed itself to be dictated by countries that control its purse strings.

The UN Secretary General said that the “finishing line is in sight”. For the island nations and billions of farmers in the developing world, this finishing line translates to an endgame for their livelihood and culture. President Obama calls it a “meaningful” agreement that will serve as a roadmap to future wherein all countries will have to figure out how best to serve the cause of the planet. Sorry Mr. President, what the deal does is to uphold the right of the mighty United States to continue polluting the planet.

But then President Obama presides over a nation that is unwilling to pay heed to his personal calls to reduce emissions. The US Congress and Senate have steadfastly blocked all attempts to put in place a climate change and emission control regime, so he might be a bit hamstrung. Nothing similar of this nature prevails in the case of the EU where, barring Poland, most nations were open to undertake deeper emission cuts. But then, once the US set the trend, why would the EU volunteer to shoulder the burden of its transatlantic brethren?

What about the other major polluters – China and India? Both can vie with each other when it comes to flaunting weak environmental norms – some of the so-called banana republics have a better record of protecting the environment than these two. Here’s a rain check on what the Indian delegation is peddling as a pyrrhic victory engineered by the BASIC bloc:

Emission Cuts: The US gets away with 14-17% reduction on 2005 levels i.e. 3-4% of the 1990 levels; EU, Japan and Russia agree to predetermined 1990 level cuts (Europeans now are the only binding carbon regime in the world). Target for 2050 suddenly goes missing from the text! Further, these emission cuts are not binding.

Temperature: Cap at 2 degrees. So what if more than 100 nations (a majority, if it were ever put to vote at UNFCCC) wanted it capped at 1.5 degrees or the fact that many island nations will go under at this higher level of temperature increase.

Peaking of Carbon Emission: No dates set. This is to please the BASIC bloc at the expense of the rest of the developing economies. Don’t believe it? Well, this is how the text goes: “We should co-operate in achieving the peaking of global and national emissions as soon as possible, recognising that the time frame for peaking will be longer in developing countries”. Can anything get vaguer than this?

Finally, the Moolah! Don’t read much into the $100bn announcement by Hillary Clinton; she herself is not sure how and where from this money will be raised in the first place. While promises of climate adaptation funds have been made in the past and gone undelivered, this deal is offering $30 billion over the next three years. Now, was this not what Gordon Brown was working on for the past few days at Bella Centre? Brown must realise that while he may have achieved partial success in leading the revival of the world banking system, climate change is an entirely different ballgame. A closer look at the annexure reveals that not only the contributions of Japan, EU and US do not add up to $30 billion, the US’ offer is a paltry $3.6 billion!

Ostensibly on Clinton’s announcement, the text says, “Developed countries set a goal of mobilising jointly $100bn a year by 2020 to address needs of developing countries.” Nicely put, but exactly how many US’ corporations will stand to benefit from this?

President Obama along with the BASIC bloc lackeys turned the negotiations into a wrestling bout. Not only will the US be legally allowed to continue polluting the planet, they will not have to pay any significant penalties for it either. The industrial domination of rich countries will continue while the planet will pay the price for it.

December 2010, Mexico City is where this sell-off deal will be granted legitimacy. This is yet another multilateral deal that overlooked the legitimate demands of more than 100 developing countries and muzzled dissent. Democracy was never at play during the two weeks of COP 15 negotiations and a deal brokered between the US and four BASIC bloc nations was thrust on the world as a consensus. Thankfully, even with a fractured coalition, the G77 refused to endorse the deal.

Yet again India played up to the politics of rich nations and deserted the developing countries. It actively participated in allowing an eraser to be run over unresolved issues in square brackets of the text. Today it stands responsible for the cracks in the G77 and at a later date may have to pay a heavy price at other multilateral platforms of negotiations, especially the WTO. While Jairam Ramesh and Mamohan Singh might gloat over their achievement at this disastrous summit, the truth is otherwise and the world knows. By endorsing this deal, India has sleepwalked into a global disaster.

Bhaskar Goswami researches and writes on agriculture and trade related issues. He has worked with several national and international development agencies. Presently he is associated with the Forum for Biotechnology & Food Security, New Delhi.

  Read Climate Accord Betrays The Vulnerable
 December 23, 2009

NASA climate scientist James Hansen never expected the U.N. climate talks in Copenhagen to amount to much. He told the British Guardian newspaper that it would be better if Copenhagen failed. That’s because Hansen is a vocal critic of the economic policies discussed there, and he hopes Copenhagen’s failure gives the public a chance to talk about new options.

Hansen is arguably the world’s best known and most respected climate scientist. Sometimes called the “grandfather of climate change,” he began modeling the effects of warming three decades ago and first testified about climate change before Congress in 1988. He was one of the key figures to blow the whistle on the Bush Administration for censoring science and trying to muzzle warnings about the urgency of the climate crisis.

In the past few years, Hansen has expanded his activities outside the laboratory and into the political fray. In June, he was arrested after marching at a rally against mountaintop removal mining in West Virginia.

More recently, he has become a leading opponent of cap-and-trade, a market approach to greenhouse gas regulation that puts a limit on how much carbon can be emitted and then allows polluters to trade permits to emit. Hansen claims the approach ultimately will not produce the kinds of emissions cuts the world needs to avoid catastrophic climate change. It will simply allow “polluters and Wall Street traders to fleece the public out of billions of dollars,” he says. He is especially critical of the large number of offsets available under the current policy proposals, which allow polluters to pay for emissions reductions elsewhere in the world. He points to some offset schemes that have led to fraud, giving credit for pollution reductions that never actually happened.

Hansen is championing an alternative solution called fee-and-dividend, which would impose a fee on any pollution source (mines, ports of entry) and distribute the revenue back to the public. Both fee-and-dividend and cap-and-trade attempt to reduce carbon emissions by raising the price of fossil fuels, but Hansen insists the former is simpler and less vulnerable to speculation and gaming.

Advocates of cap-and-trade have been dismissive of Hansen’s arguments. David Doniger of the Natural Resources Defense Council says Hansen is simply wrong about cap-and-trade, insists the approach has been effective in the European Union, and maintains that the leading bills now before Congress have enough safeguards to avoid market manipulation. Economist Paul Krugman accuses Hansen of naïve thinking: “hard-science guys tend to assume that [economists are] witch doctors with nothing to tell them.”

Hansen has faced off critics before. He is not alone in his critique. Naomi Klein, author of The Shock Doctrine, says that “carbon-trading represents an unprecedented privatization of the atmosphere, and ... offsets ... threaten to become a resource grab of colonial proportions.” The Indigenous Environmental Network calls cap-and-trade a false solution “that will allow the fossil fuel industry to continue to do what they do—drill, baby, drill.” In November, two longtime U.S. EPA attorneys published a video online calling cap-and-trade “a huge mistake.”

I caught up with Hansen by phone on Monday morning to ask his reaction to Copenhagen and discuss his new book, Storms of My Grandchildren (Bloomsbury, 2009).

Madeline Ostrander: Is the outcome of the talks in Copenhagen better or worse than you imagined?

James Hansen: I think it's a good situation. Now we can step back and look at what is really needed.

The proposals discussed in Copenhagen were like the indulgences of the Middle Ages. The sinners are the developed countries, which are responsible for most of the excess greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. They want to continue business as usual, by buying off the developing countries.

If developing countries can get a hundred billion dollars a year, that's enormously attractive. But both parties are thumbing their noses at young people and future generations.

The hundred billion dollars a year—the money that Secretary of State Clinton claimed the United States would raise to give to developing countries—is vapor money. There's no mechanism for such financing to actually occur, and no expectation that it will.

The leaders can't just make up these greenwash statements and claim that they're dealing with the problem. They're doing the same thing they did with Kyoto. Before the Kyoto Protocol, global emissions had been increasing one and a half percent per year. After Kyoto, the rate accelerated to three percent per year.

Some countries did set goals to reduce their emissions under Kyoto, but when you look at the details, you see that those goals weren’t realized. For example, Japan had a very strong target under Kyoto, but its emissions actually increased substantially, and it bought off the difference using offsets—investing in China and in rainforests. A few countries in Europe reduced their emissions. But that didn't reduce global emissions, because the industry and the emissions just moved overseas. Products were then sent back to European countries on airplanes, which do not have any tax on their fuel.

Madeline: What kinds of solutions should political leaders be discussing?

Jim: You have to recognize that as long as fossil fuels are the cheapest energy, they're going to be used. To change that situation, you have to place a gradually rising price on carbon emissions.

We have to have a very simple system—put a fee on fossil fuels at their origin at the mine or the port of entry. No exceptions.

If the carbon price rises to $115 per ton of carbon dioxide, considering the amount of oil, gas, and coal used last year in the United States, that would generate $670 billion dollars. That’s between $7,500 and $9,000 dollars per family.

That money needs to be given 100 percent to the public so that they have the resources to adjust their lifestyles—such as to buy more efficient vehicles or insulate their homes. As the carbon price rises, it's going to become less and less sensible, for instance, to import food from halfway around the world. The economics would favor a nearby farm, as opposed to agriculture at a great distance.

You cannot have these boondoggles in which we invest billions and billions of dollars in so-called clean coal and give money to polluters.

Madeline: Did you see any signs of progress in Copenhagen?

Jim: There was one. We did have a clear statement from Al Gore. I've been urging him to say that a carbon price is the best way to get emissions to decrease, better than cap-and-trade with offsets. Gore calls it a carbon tax. I don't call it that. Even John Kerry, the cosponsor of the lead bill in the Senate, made a statement admitting that a carbon fee needs to be considered. So I think there's a chance we can have an honest discussion of fee-and-dividend this coming spring in the United States.

The direction that the United States goes determines the direction that the world goes. If we have a sensible approach approved by Congress, then there's still a very good chance we could solve this climate problem.

Madeline: What do you think the public should do to move the United States toward a solution?

Jim: Public involvement is very important. Otherwise politics as usual tends to continue. When I was on the David Letterman show, he asked me that same question. I said people need to understand the difference between cap-and-trade with offsets and fee-and-dividend. Of course. he cut me off at that point [laughs], because that's not a subject for a comedy show. But the concept is not difficult.

For instance, fee-and-dividend will be beneficial for the economy. When you put that amount of money into the public's hands, it's going to stimulate the economy. It's not a net tax but a redistribution of income from the people who are burning a lot of carbon to those who are not. It will tend to discourage the processes that are the most wasteful of fossil fuels. That story has got to be communicated and understood by the public, and we have to put pressure on our politicians to act on behalf of the public, rather than on behalf of their campaign donors.

There are more than 2,000 fossil fuel lobbyists in Washington, and they have written most of the words for the leading climate bills—the Waxman-Markey House bill and the Boxer-Kerry Senate bill.

But we are beginning to see discussion of alternatives. During the campaign last year, Obama advocated for a 100 percent dividend. There was the Larson bill in the House, which had a small, but steadily increasing price on carbon. Now there's the Cantwell-Collins CLEAR Act, which gets rid of the offsets. It is still not exactly fee-and-dividend, but it gets very close. If there is an open discussion in the Senate and House about alternatives, I think it's possible we could get on a sensible path.

Madeline: You’ve said that climate change isn't just a scientific and political issue, but also a personal and moral issue.

Jim: Yeah, that's exactly the point. We're dealing with a planetary crisis. The climate system is in danger of passing tipping points. If we don’t address it, we leave our children with economic and social chaos within this century. Once that situation is understood, it becomes a question of intergenerational justice. It's analogous to the situation that Abraham Lincoln faced with slavery or Winston Churchill faced with Nazism. It is a moral issue, and you can't take a compromise position. You can’t say, "Oh, we'll do a little bit, but we won't solve the problem."

Madeline: You spend so much of time looking at the data and the scale of the problem. What keeps you hopeful?

Jim: Well, if the problem could be understood, there's no question that the public would support action. Look at the sacrifices the public made in World War II. Climate change is harder, because it's less visible. But many of us had hoped that President Obama would help press the world to make the right decisions. Now in the next several months, climate change needs to come to the fore, and people need to understand the actions that are really required.

Madeline: In your book, you describe how your grandchildren have inspired you to push harder to get action on climate change. How has your family influenced your work?

Jim: My grandchildren were the reason that I couldn't just continue to do the science without saying what the implications were. In 2004, I decided I would give one public talk, which I would prepare very carefully with scientific papers to back it up. But then I found that one talk doesn't really have that much effect. So one thing led to another. Finally, I wrote this book. I bring my grandchildren into the story to explain how difficult it is to preserve a climate that will allow humans to continue to exist. The climate of the last 10,000 years has been very stable, and if we don't get on a different path in the next several years, we're going to guarantee that we not only change the climate but destroy a large fraction of the species on the planet.

Madeline Ostrander interviewed James Hansen for YES! Magazine, a national, nonprofit media organization that fuses powerful ideas with practical actions. Madeline is YES! Magazine's senior editor.

  Read Time For Better Ideas: James Hansen
 December 23, 2009   Change Is...Sustaining Peace
by CODEPINK: Dana, Farida, Gael, Gayle, Janet, Jodie, Medea, Nancy, Paris, Rae, Suzanne, and Whitney

We entered 2009 with great hopes for change, knowing that instead of waiting for our leaders to change the world for us-we need to create change ourselves. We high-kicked the year off at the Inauguration, performing "Yes we can can end war" dances all around Washington, D.C. as we passed out thousands of pink ribbons to remind Obama of his campaign promises for peace-and we haven't let up. As 2009 comes to a close-a year that saw unrest both at home, with the economic crisis and the chaos surrounding health care reform, and abroad, from the devastating plight of Iraqi refugees, to the destruction of Gaza, to fraudulent (yet mobilizing) elections in Iran and the deepening quagmire in Afghanistan-we want to thank you for being part of our vital movement, our peace family. In 2010, we will continue to urge Obama to truly earn his Nobel Peace Prize and we will continue to model to the world what real change can look like.
  Read Change Is...Sustaining Peace
 December 28, 2009   Jesus Hated War -- Why Do Christians Love It So Much?
Gary G. Kohls, Consortium News
published in AlterNet: The Mix is the Message
There are no "blessed wars". Yet virtually all evangelical, conservative and many mainstream church leaders were active supporters of the Bush wars.

When Gulf War I ended (during George Bush the Elder’s presidency), General Norman Schwartzkopf, the field commander, triumphantly proclaimed, “God must have been on our side!”

Such statements aren’t unusual for glory-seeking dictators, kings, princes, presidents and generals, regardless of what religion justified their particular war, but I cringed when I heard this self-professed Christian warrior claim God’s blessings on the war that made him famous.

In his memoir, It Doesn’t Take A Hero, Schwartzkopf claimed that he kept a Bible at his bedside throughout the war.

I cringed knowing that, according to the biblical Jesus, God is never on the side of the victors. The God of love that Jesus revealed was on the side of the victims, the oppressed, the starving, the sick, the naked, the meek who were victimized by unjust power.

Jesus’s God would not be on the side of the war-makers, but on the side of the peacemakers, the compassionate and long-suffering ones who work to prevent killing and to relieve the suffering of the victims of war.

I cringed when I heard Schwartzkopf claim God’s blessings on the carnage that he helped orchestrate because similar claims have been used to rationalize killing throughout history, from ancient times to some of the darkest days of the modern era.

As the German Nazis went about their systematic purging of any and all leftist or anti-fascist groups – Jews, socialists, homosexuals, liberals, communists, trade unionists and conscientious objectors to war – they insisted that God was on their side, too.

Adolf Hitler claimed that he was doing God’s will. German soldiers, both in WWI and WWII, went into battle with the words “Gott Mit Uns” (God With Us) inscribed on their belt buckles.

Invoking “Gott Mit Uns” didn’t work just on the uneducated, brain-washable and obedient citizens and conscripted soldiers of Germany. The slogan also convinced most of the educated Protestant and Catholic clergymen to comfortably proclaim from their pulpits that Hitler’s wars were endorsed by the Christian God, and therefore every military action could be justified and carried out without guilt.

Most Germans wanted to believe that Hitler’s wars had to be fought for some higher purpose, a master plan that they trusted would benefit them all by creating “Lebensraum” (living space), which would mean security for the pure Aryan race.

Aggression as Defensive

In the Nazis’ up-is-down world, the propagandists convinced average Germans that Hitler’s wars were purely defensive (“the sword has been forced into our hands”). The terrorizing of foreigners in a neighboring country, in order to steal their land, was the patriotic thing to do.

Convincing the German public to engage in murder for the state took a lot of diligent work from Joseph Goebbels, Hitler’s Minister of Propaganda and Public Enlightenment.

Goebbels had to persuade the Germans that their neighbor’s land and oil and mineral resources could legitimately be taken by any means necessary in order to realize the Fuhrer’s dream of the “Thousand-year Reich,” where perpetual peace for the privileged German people would finally be realized.

The “collateral damage” done to the innocent civilian-victims of Europe and the Soviet Union, was felt to be unavoidable, and the “disappearances” of the non-Aryan “Untermenschen," mentioned above, was orchestrated with conscienceless bureaucratic efficiency.

Bishops, priests and pastors, most of whom had taken an oath of allegiance to Hitler, told their parishioners that it was their Christian duty to join the military and fight and kill for the Fuhrer.

Resentment also played an important role in the swastika-waving terror. Most of the street-fighting militias loyal to the Nazi party’s politics were WWI veterans who had been rendered unemployable by years of horrific trench warfare experiences.

They were justifiably angry about their joblessness, poverty, physical disabilities, mental ill health, traumatic brain injuries, hunger, all worsened by the hyperinflation and impoverishment that go hand in hand with the huge costs of having standing armies and fighting perpetual wars.

Many of these unemployed veterans rushed to join the militia groups for the food, shelter and camaraderie, perhaps not realizing that they were helping to create the chaos that would destroy the liberal democratic Weimar republic, an action that would lead the world into another world war that would ultimately turn out to be suicidal for Germany.

Most German churches cooperated with, or at least did not vocally oppose, Hitler’s agenda. Pastors cheered the Fuhrer from swastika-draped pulpits or they stood by silently as the concentration camps and prisons filled with those suspected by the Gestapo of not being supportive of the regime.

All efforts to resist came too late, for the people who objected to the dictatorship were leaderless and unschooled in any nonviolent resistance actions. They had no Gandhi or Martin Luther King and were totally unprepared to act en masse.

Blessed Wars

Though Hitler’s Nazi regime represented an exceptional form of horror in the industrialized slaughter committed during the Holocaust and related mass killings, it must be acknowledged that other countries, including the United States, have undertaken actions that have destroyed other populations and cultures, often with the blessings of religious leaders.

In the last two decades, the two Bush administrations mounted wars in the Persian Gulf region that had the consent (or acquiescence) of the majority of U.S. church leaders, with prayers from Billy Graham in the White House the night before the invasions began.

Virtually all Christian evangelical, conservative and many mainstream church leaders and their congregations were active supporters of the Bush wars.

Only four American Catholic bishops voted in opposition to Bush the Elder’s Gulf War I (at an annual conference of U.S. Catholic bishops). In Gulf War II, Pope John Paul II declared that the war was contrary to the teachings of Jesus, but most American Catholic leaders and parishioners ignored the pontiff’s warnings and supported the war. Most American Protestants did the same.

Yet, General Schwartzkopf and both Presidents Bush are in “good” company when it comes to believing that God is on their side in war. All U.S. presidents and presidential candidates in recent memory, even President Obama, end their speeches with “May God Bless the United States of America,” the equivalent of the German military’s “Gott Mit Uns.”

My Veterans for Peace friends are of the opinion that modern war amounts to legally sanctioned, highly organized mass murder and that basic training is psychological rape with serious, often permanent consequences for everybody involved: the victims, bystanders and maybe especially the soldiers.

And today, the killing is not just done by soldiers on the ground who can see the “whites of their eyes.” War is now often done from a safe distance by the high-tech “soldiering” of high-altitude bombing, supersonic jet fighters, long-range missiles (many of them computer-guided from unmanned drones), and radioactive DU armor-piercing ordnance that will continue killing for many centuries into the future.

The victims of this kind of lopsided modern warfare (for which the human targets have no defense) regard these tactics as cowardly acts.

Bureaucracies of Death

These days, wars are started and perpetuated by a huge conglomeration of war profiteers: corporations (and their lobbyists), government bureaucracies (that obediently follow orders from above), the handlers of pro-war politicians and the financial underwriters of their campaigns, the ruling class, and the Department of War/Defense which has, as job # 1, the planning and orchestrating of current and future military conflicts, whether originating from real, imaginary or invented threats.

A major unasked question is “what should be the role of religion (specifically Christianity) in the starting and perpetuation of politically motivated wars?”

If war-makers mix religion and politics by invoking God’s blessings on the cannons and the cannon fodder, shouldn’t the churches, which are supposed to be the consciences of the nation, apply core Christian ethical principles to the war question and refuse to cooperate with the slaughter of fellow children of God?

Sadly, for the past 1,700 years, Christian churches have not done so. They have largely failed in their moral obligation to teach and live the Golden Rule and the Sermon on the Mount.

One only has to read the gruesome history of the many “holy wars” and atrocities committed in the history of Christendom, including the Crusades, the Inquisitions, the wars of the Reformation and counter-Reformation, the various genocides including the Nazi Holocaust.

While the churches have played key roles in the promotion and cover-ups of these brutalities, the churches have not been alone. Whitewashes and excuses have often come from politicians, pundits, “embedded” journalists and co-opted history-writers, especially the authors of high school textbooks.

Recall how, when military spokesmen try to explain away the deaths of non-combatants in these wars, they invoke the term “collateral damage” (the euphemism for the unintended killing and maiming of innocents in wartime) and quickly dismiss those deaths by spouting the unconvincing phrase that Schwartzkopf and all other apologists for war use: “we regret the loss of innocent life.”

And they piously mouth these equally insincere words: “our thoughts and prayers are with the families of the victims.” The same rote phraseology too often comes from the lips of religious leaders.

Christ’s Teachings

How can the legalized mass slaughter of war, often progressing to the point of genocide, be a part of a Christian tradition that started out with a small group of inspired, oppressed and impoverished peasants who were trying to live by the highly ethical, nonviolent teachings of their pacifist leader?

Interestingly, the active pacifism of the early Christian church did prove to be successful – and even practical. During the first few centuries of Christianity, enmity and eye-for-an-eye retaliation were rejected. The Golden Rule and the refusal to kill the enemy were actually taught in the church.

Gospel non-violence was the norm, so the professed enemies of those communities of faith were not provoked to retaliation because there was nothing against which to retaliate. Rather, enemies were befriended, prayed for, fed, nourished and embraced as neighbors – potential friends who needed understanding and mercy.

The church survived the persecutions of those early years and thrived, largely because of its commitment to the nonviolence of Jesus. It was not until the church was co-opted by the Emperor Constantine in the early 4th Century that power and wealth changed the priorities of church leaders.

Today however, it is obvious that the vast majority of professed Christians have been misled, intentionally or unintentionally, into believing that they can immerse themselves in un-Christ-like realities like war and killing and somehow still be following the gentle Jesus.

Today, American Christianity is at risk of going the way of the pro-war “Christianity” of pre-Nazi and Nazi Germany, which may in the long run discredit the faith much the way Christianity lost credibility among many Germans because their churches and church leaders facilitated those destructive wars.

The vast majority of Germans before World War II were baptized members of a Christian church, but since WWII ended church membership has fallen sharply and the number of Germans attending weekly worship services is now estimated to be in the single digits.

The psychological and spiritual wounding of the soldiers and their families in the two world wars stripped the German churches of their moral standing.

Those PTSD-afflicted ex-church-going combat veterans who lost their faith in the wars, along with their traumatized families, found out much too late that they had not been warned by the very institutions that theoretically should have courageously and faithfully taken on the heavy responsibility to teach private and public morality.

Many Germans who survived the wars felt betrayed by their churches and therefore had no inclination to try to reclaim their lost faith. The churches sank toward irrelevancy.

The world would have been far better off if the Christian leaders of the world had been faithful to the ethical teachings of the gospels and quit making blasphemous appeals to God on behalf of war, whether with those “Gott Mit Uns” belt buckles or the “God Bless America” political sloganeering.
  Read Jesus Hated War -- Why Do Christians Love It So Much?
 December 21, 2009   For Obama, No Opportunity Is Too Big to Blow
Naomi Klein, TheNation.com
published in AlterNet: The Mix is the Message
No President since FDR has been handed as many opportunities to transform the U.S. into something that doesn't threaten the stability of life on this planet. Is he blowing it?

Contrary to countless reports, the debacle in Copenhagen was not everyone's fault. It did not happen because human beings are incapable of agreeing, or are inherently self-destructive. Nor was it all was China's fault, or the fault of the hapless UN.

There's plenty of blame to go around, but there was one country that possessed unique power to change the game. It didn't use it. If Barack Obama had come to Copenhagen with a transformative and inspiring commitment to getting the U.S. economy off fossil fuels, all the other major emitters would have stepped up. The EU, Japan, China and India had all indicated that they were willing to increase their levels of commitment, but only if the U.S. took the lead. Instead of leading, Obama arrived with embarrassingly low targets and the heavy emitters of the world took their cue from him.

(The "deal" that was ultimately rammed through was nothing more than a grubby pact between the world's biggest emitters: I'll pretend that you are doing something about climate change if you pretend that I am too. Deal? Deal.)

I understand all the arguments about not promising what he can't deliver, about the dysfunction of the U.S. Senate, about the art of the possible. But spare me the lecture about how little power poor Obama has. No President since FDR has been handed as many opportunities to transform the U.S. into something that doesn't threaten the stability of life on this planet. He has refused to use each and every one of them. Let's look at the big three.

Blown Opportunity Number 1: The Stimulus Package When Obama came to office he had a free hand and a blank check to design a spending package to stimulate the economy. He could have used that power to fashion what many were calling a "Green New Deal" -- to build the best public transit systems and smart grids in the world. Instead, he experimented disastrously with reaching across the aisle to Republicans, low-balling the size of the stimulus and blowing much of it on tax cuts. Sure, he spent some money on weatherization, but public transit was inexplicably short changed while highways that perpetuate car culture won big.

Blown Opportunity Number 2: The Auto Bailouts Speaking of the car culture, when Obama took office he also found himself in charge of two of the big three automakers, and all of the emissions for which they are responsible. A visionary leader committed to the fight against climate chaos would obviously have used that power to dramatically reengineer the failing industry so that its factories could build the infrastructure of the green economy the world desperately needs. Instead Obama saw his role as uninspiring down-sizer in chief, leaving the fundamentals of the industry unchanged.

Blown Opportunity Number 3: The Bank Bailouts Obama, it's worth remembering, also came to office with the big banks on their knees -- it took real effort not to nationalize them. Once again, if Obama had dared to use the power that was handed to him by history, he could have mandated the banks to provide the loans for factories to be retrofitted and new green infrastructure to be built. Instead he declared that the government shouldn't tell the failed banks how to run their businesses. Green businesses report that it's harder than ever to get a loan.

Imagine if these three huge economic engines -- the banks, the auto companies, the stimulus bill -- had been harnessed to a common green vision. If that had happened, demand for a complementary energy bill would have been part of a coherent transformative agenda.

Whether the bill had passed or not, by the time Copenhagen had rolled around, the U.S. would already have been well on its way to dramatically cutting emissions, poised to inspire, rather than disappoint, the rest of the world.

There are very few U.S. Presidents who have squandered as many once-in-a-generation opportunities as Barack Obama. More than anyone else, the Copenhagen failure belongs to him.

Research support for Naomi Klein's reporting from Copenhagen was provided by the Investigative Fund at The Nation Institute.
  Read For Obama, No Opportunity Is Too Big to Blow

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Message from the Spiritual Leader of the Global Community

The world is in a state of perpetual turmoil. We are worlds within worlds orbiting in and through each other’s space. Our interactions with one another can be planned and executed in a caring, considerate manner so that all may exist and not destroy the other.

A good place to start this day would be to see the people living in far away places as we see our neighbors. Neighbors are people we should see as people very much like ourselves. Love your neighbors as yourself. Many scientists have shown that our genetic make-up as human beings are not that much different than that of many other life-forms. The reality is that we as people are not that much different from one another. Our education and upbringings are different and created cultural and religious differences. Conflicts originate often because of these cultural and religious differences.

My teaching for the day is to make the effort to understand what make us different from one another and find a way to appreciate those differences. We also have to make the effort of understanding other life-forms in Nature and appreciate the differences. Because of brain capacity, we dont expect other life-forms of understanding us, but we do have a moral responsibility of understanding them and appreciate the differences. God loves diversity in Nature and in Souls. God loves good Souls from all cultures and religions, and from all life. Yes there is a Soul in every living life-form and God loves them too.

Spiritual Leader of the Global Community
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Message from the President of Earth Government, the Federation of Global Governments

You may use the following short description of myself and the history of the organization. History of the Global Community Organization and Interim Earth Government Since its beginning in 1985, many accomplishments can be claimed by the Global Community: History of the Global Community organization and Earth Government

Short description and history of the Global Community, Earth Government and the Federation of Global Govewrnments

The Global Community organization, Earth Government and the Federation of Global Governments were founded in 1985 in Calgary, Canada by Germain Dufour, Prophete of God, Spiritual Leader and President, and further developed through Global Parliament meetings. Later on in 1990s he was joined by his wife, Virginie, in the developing of many global concepts. Symbiotical relationships were defined to show the path for a better world. The Federation was formed to replace the United Nations. Its basic proposal is a de-centralized global government. A Global Government offers essential services to the people where it operates and the Federation main function is to serve all people and help in this process with the formation of Global Ministries to protect all life on our planet. Essential services to the people of each member nation are now the most important global rights on the Scale of Global Rights and are protected by the Global Protection Agency (GPA) of each member nation whose function is to enforce Global Law as defined in the Global Constitution. The Scale is the fundamental guide to Global Law which itself includes legislation covering all essential aspects of human activities. That is how we will bring about the event of Peace amongst us all and give security to all people, all life on Earth.

As a first step to getting help, all nations can and should approve those first three sections on the Scale of Global Rights. Scale of Global Rights The approval would supersede the political and physical borders of participating member nations. The Global Protection Agency (GPA) would have the approval from all member nations to give immediate help, bypassing normal government protocols. Somewhat like an emergency unit but at the global level. That is what those first three sections mean. They represent an efficient and immediate emergency response to help.

First, participating member nations need to give their approval to the Global Protection Agency ( GPA).

The GPA is a global organization much like the World Trade Organization (WTO) for trade between nations, the World Health Organization (WHO) for health, or the European Union, North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), South American Community of Nations (SACON) for trade and economics. The GPA offers an efficient emergency response to help. The GPA is a short term solution, an immediate and efficient response to help.

There are also long term solutions. As with the short term solution, the most significant long term solution is also related to the Scale of Global Rights. The Scale was entrenched in the Global Constitution and is thus the fundamental guide to Global Law. Now the Scale of Global Rights is a long term solution and is also a part of the Global Movement to Help of the Global Community. The Scale was designed to help all life on Earth. What would be preferable is that nations unite amongst themselves to help.

Over time, we have seen the creation of the United Nations, the European Union, the South American Community of Nations, and the North American Free Trade Agreement. Except for the UN, these organizations are mainly concerned with trade and economics. The Global Community offers a more meaningful union in the form of nine or more Global Governments. For instance the South American Community of Nations can be a Global Government by simply accepting the Global Constitution as a way of dealing between member nations. A Global Government is concerned not only with economics and trade, but also with the environment, health, agriculture, energy, food, social, cultural and many other essential aspects. The Federation of Global Governments is the place of meeting between Global Governments. The very first step of the Federation, and maybe the only one for several decades ahead of us, would be the approval of essential services amongst the participating member nations. The Global Community has researched and developed such services and listed them here. All of them are already in operation on a small scale.

I believe that there is no greater task in the world today than for the Global Community to proceed through the maturation of its leadership, emerging from a more self-interested adolescence as a global leader into a nobler adulthood. We have the potential to act as a torchbearer for a better tomorrow. Do we heed the call? I hope this message has convinced many international organizations and the millions of people who have been with us over the past decades, that the question of how to proceed with that maturation is of far deeper significance than the reforming of the United Nations. In fact the United Nations should not be reformed it should be replaced by the Federation. I thus pray that we move with wisdom, grace, clarity, and love in the days, years, and even decades ahead.

Germain Dufour  Achievements of Global Community WebNet Ltd.
Spiritual Leader of the Global Community
(short Bio)
Earth Government
Federation of Global Governments

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Note concerning personal info sent to us by email

Our policy concerning personal information is simple: we dont show it. That includes phone numbers, fax numbers, addresses and any personal notes. Please do indicate what you consider a personal note as sometime it is hard to tell.

What we show is the work done by participants and authors, and their email addresses if any. We will show any work concerning issues, email discussions, opinions, articles, letters, reports, works of art, research papers, discussions and global dialogues, and messages for publication.

And also please note that our computer harddrives will not be containing personal info either. This is because of the damage hackers can do.

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Celebration of Life Day, May 26, 2008

Dear friends,

On and around May 26, 2009, millions of people will join together in a global call to celebrate Life, the gift to the universe from God.

Celebration of Life Day
is May 26 every year, a day to say
thank you God for the gift of Life on Earth

Celebration of Life Day on May 26

On May 26, 2009, the Global Community asked all Peoples of the world to participate in this celebration of Life in your own community. The following project was appropriate to everyone.

From the experience in your life and local community tell us:

*    Why are you important to this Global Community?
*    Why is it important to you?
*    What do you like about it?
*    What bothers you about it?
*    Anything need to be done?
*    What is really good there?
*     What is very very important?
*     What is not so important?
*     What is not good?
*     What is needed to keep the good things?
*     What could make them even better?
*     What could you do to keep the good things good?
*     Could they help get rid of bad things?
*     What unimportant things need to go?
*     How could you help get rid of these things?

to sustain Earth, humanity and all life.

Please send us the following information:

1.     What are the most important issues that would allow your community become more sustainable? Over the past several years, many communities have held Life Day dialogues to determine the answer to this question. We look forward to hearing from all of you.

2.     A brief story of success in your community from the last 10 years in regard to a sound sustainable development.

3.     A picture related to the above or to a Life Day event.

4.     A sample of your idea of the Earth Flag.

We will gather this information from groups all over the world and compile it into a comprehensive report. Your work will be shown during Global Dialogue 2009. Please mail or email your ideas, pictures and descriptions, videos, Earth Flag samples to:

Germain Dufour
Spiritual Leader of the Global Community
Earth Government
Federation of Global Governments

Visit our website for more details concerning the Celebration of Life Day.

Celebration of Life Day

On May 26, as part of the Global Community Peace Movement, the Human Family,we will be rejoicing with all Peoples of the world , and all life, for the annual Celebration of Life Day. Life is the most precious gift ever given by God to the universe and this event needs to be celebrated.

At the early stage of the formation of the Earth, and a while later, all the conditions for the formation of life were present, and life was created to better serve God. Life was made of matter and every particle of that matter had a Soul that merged with all the others. A Soul is a part of the Spirit of God, His consciousness, and is a living, loving presence, a Being. A Soul can merge with other Souls and become one Soul, and it can evolve as well. The first spark of life was the cause for the formation of a unique and independent Soul to better serve God. Throughout the different evolutionary stages of life on Earth, Souls have guided the step-by-step evolution of life and kept merging with one another to better serve God. They guided the evolutionary process in small, incremental ways over a period of several billion years. Many groupings of Souls became more complex than others as they were much brighter beings than other groupings, but all serve God in their own special way.

One unique and most wonderful grouping was the grouping that made the Human Soul. God loves the human Souls a lot because of their wonderful qualities. Over the past thousands of years, through their Souls human beings became conscious of God in many different ways. Religions of all kinds started to spread on Earth to adore God and pray. Different groupings of Souls affected human beings in different ways and Peoples today have different religious beliefs. God is like a river feeding plentifully and bountifully all lifeforms and plants. There are many pathways leading to the river. They are God's pathways. God loves diversity in Nature and in Souls. God loves good Souls from all religions.

Different religions have different ways to love, adore and pray to God. And God's Heaven exists. Heaven on Earth is different from God's Heaven. To be in Heaven with God will mean a Soul has left the matter of the universe forever to enter God's Heaven.

The Divine Will or Will of God is the most powerful force of the universe and is pure spiritual energy. The Will of God is for life to reach God, God’s Pure Light, in the best possible ways. Life is the building block through which Souls can have a meaningful relationship with God. By observing the Universe, the galaxies, we are observing and studying God. We are seeing His magnificence, His greatness, and His complex making. There is more to the Universe we observe today, that is, there is more to God, much more. God is self-existent, eternal and infinite in space and time. Follow God's Word. God's Plan was revealed to humanity a short while ago.

The Divine Plan for humanity is:

a)     for everyone to manage Earth responsibly, and
b)     about to reach the stars and spread Life throughout the universe and thus help other Souls to evolve and serve God in the best possible ways.

Humanity’s higher purpose is to serve God by propagating life throughout the universe. Humanity will evolve spiritually to fulfill God's Plan. The human species has reached a point in its evolution where it knows its survival is being challenged. The human species knows through the Souls and now that all human Souls have merged together and formed the Soul of Humanity, we will find it easier to fight for our own survival. The Soul of Humanity does not make decisions for us and can only help us understand and guide us on the way. In the past, human beings have had some kind of symbiotical relationship (which is something common in Nature between lifeforms in an ecosystem) with the Souls, and now with the Soul of Humanity. We work together for both our survival and well-being. Cooperation and symbiosis between lifeforms (especially human beings) on Earth and between lifeforms and their Souls and the Soul of Humanity have become a necessity of life. We help one another, joint forces, and accomplish together what we cannot accomplish separately. Several billion years ago this symbiosis between matter and Souls resulted in the making of complex biochemical systems. Symbiosis has worked throughout the evolution of life on Earth and today, the Soul of Humanity has decided to be more active with humanity by purifying Souls. The Soul of Humanity shows us the way to better serve God.

The Soul of Humanity is helping to bring about the event of Peace in the world. Knowing that Earth is a spiritual entity as well as a physical entity in space and time in the universe we begin to have a better relationship with Earth and with all its living inhabitants. This way Earth management will become a spiritual and a natural process whereby each person is responsible and accountable for its management the best they can. Peace in the world and Earth management have for too long been in the hands of and affected by government and business leaders, in the hands of a few people on the planet, as opposed to being in the hands of all of us (7 billion people on Earth) working together to keep our planet healthy. We are the keepers of the Earth.

The Soul of Humanity will help us:

*     resolve problems, concerns and issues peacefully;
*     reinstate the respect for Earth;
*     work with humanity to keep Earth healthy, productive and hospitable for all people and living things;
*     bring forth a sustainable global society embracing universal values related to human and Earth rights, economic and social justice; respect of nature, peace, responsibility to one another;
*     protect the global life-support systems and manage Earth;
*     evolve spiritually to fulfill God’s Plan; and
*     enter God’s Heaven, His Spirit, His Pure Light, His universal mind and global consciousness.

We have the responsibility of managing Earth. Everyone shares responsibility for the present and future well-being of life within the Global Community. When there is a need to find a solution to a problem or a concern, a sound solution would be to choose a measure or conduct an action, if possible, which causes reversible damage as oppose to a measure or an action causing an irreversible loss.

Life exists on millions of other planets in the universe and our species got to be who we are today through the evolutionary process. Other lifeforms in the universe may have evolved to be at least as advanced as our species. Their Souls may even be more complicated than ours. They may have merged a trillion times more than the human Souls. They may have evolved as well.

We the Peoples of the Global Community, the Human Family, are reaffirming faith in the fundamental human and Earth rights, the Scale of Human and Earth Rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small. We the Peoples implies every individual on Earth, every community and every nation. Earth management is now a priority and a duty of every responsible person on Earth. The Global Community has taken action by calling the Divine Will into our lives and following its guidance. Divine Will is now a part of the Soul of Humanity to be used for the higher purpose of good and life's evolution. We will learn to serve humanity and radiate the Will of God to others.

As never before in history, common destiny beckons us to seek a new beginning. This requires a change of mind and heart, and calling Divine Will to come into our life to show us the way. It requires a new sense of global interdependence and universal responsibility. We must develop and apply the vision of a sustainable way of life locally, nationally, regionally, globally, and within ourselves throughout life. Our cultural diversity is a precious heritage and different cultures will find their own distinctive ways to realize the vision. We must deepen and expand the global dialogue that generated the ongoing collaborative search for truth and wisdom.

Life often involves tensions between important values. This can mean difficult choices. However, we must find ways to harmonize diversity with unity, the exercise of freedom with the common good, short-term objectives with long-term goals. Every individual, family, organization, and community has a vital role to play. The arts, sciences, religions, educational institutions, media, businesses, nongovernmental organizations, and governments are all called to offer creative leadership. The partnership of government, civil society, and business is essential for an effective global governance based on global concepts and the Scale of Human and Earth Rights.

In order to build a sustainable global community, each individual, each local community, and national governments of the world must initiate their commitment to the Human Family.

Let our time be a time remembered for the awakening of a new reverence for life, the firm resolve to achieve sustainability, the quickening of the struggle for justice and peace, and the joyful celebration of life. Let our expanding consciousness blend with that of the Soul of Humanity.

Humanity welcomes the "Belief, Values, Principles and Aspirations of the Global Community" (see the Global Constitution on our website) with Faith in the Divine Will and without fears such as the fear of change. Humanity seeks meaningful experiences and embraces the future for the better. Divine Will has caused the event of the Global Community.

Our time is the age of global cooperation and symbiotical relationships. There are many different kinds of symbiotical relationships. Symbiotical relationships exist between nations of the European Union. It is mainly an economic base symbiotical relationship. Other types of symbiotical relationships maybe created all over the world between communities, nations, and between people themselves. The Global Community, the Global Governments Federation, and the Global Government of North America are examples. They may be geographical, economical, social, business-like, political, religious, and personal. There has always been symbiotical relationships in Nature, and between Souls and the matter of the universe to help creating Earth and life on Earth to better serve God.

The Global Community has begun to establish the existence of a meaningful global co-operation all over the planet. National governments and large corporations have taken the wrong direction by asserting that free trade in the world is about competing economically without any moral safeguards and accountability to peoples and the environment. The proper and only way is for free trade to become a global cooperation between all nations. Surely, if we can cooperate in fighting against terrorism, then we should also be able to cooperate in fighting against the effects of the type of free trade and the emergence of the planetary trading blocks as applied by national governments members of the World Trade Organization(WTO). It has already been shown (see Newsletters on our website) that these effects will be disastrous socially and environmentally and are a direct threat to the existence of life on Earth. The Global Community is proposing a solution that the process of trading within the planetary trading blocks be changed from a spirit of global competition to that of global economic cooperation. This is the new way of doing business, the new way of life.

The Global Community has made clear that globalization and planetary trading blocks should be serving the Human Family and not the other way around, the people around the world serving the very few rich individuals. The September 11 event was the result of bad trading of arms and oil and the absence of moral responsibility and accountability in our way of doing business with the Middle East nations. By applying proper moral safeguards and accepting responsibility and accountability of all products (arms and oil in this case), from beginning to end where they become wastes, each corporation would make free trade and globalization serving the Human Family. The September 11 event was also a turning point in human history and indicated the end of the last superpower in the world and the birth of the Global Community. Over its long past history trade has never evolved to require from the trading partners to become legally and morally responsible and accountable for their products from beginning to end. At the end the product becomes a waste and it needs to be properly dispose of. Now trade must be given a new impetus to be in line with the global concepts of the Global Community. When you do exploration work, and develop, manufacture, produce, mine, farm or create a product, you become legally and morally responsible and accountable of your product from beginning to end (to the point where it actually becomes a waste; you are also responsible for the proper disposable of the waste). This product may be anything and everything from oil & gas, weapons, war products, construction products, transportation and communications products and equipment, to genetically engineered food products. All consumer products! All medical products! All pharmaceutical products! In order words, a person (a person may be an individual, a community, a government, a business, an NGO, or an institution) becomes responsible and accountable for anything and everything in his or her life.

Certainly an important action has been for the Canadian Government to ratify the Kyoto Protocol as it is. No more waiting! Time for action is now! We are all responsible for the creation of global warming, and there are plenty of observable effects. Greenhouse gases are accumulating dangerously in the Earth's atmosphere as a result of human activities, and temperatures are rising globally due to these activities. Climate changes have to be manage without delays and the ratification of the Kyoto Protocol is only the beginning of a long fight for the protection of life on Earth. There is much more to be done to even come close to what we have to do. The ratification was only the beginning to help save the next generations.

Global consumption is a very important aspect of globalization. Consumers should be concerned with the impact of their decisions on the environment but also on the lives, human and Earth rights and well-being of other people. Since one of the key functions of families as a social institution is to engage in production (selling their labour in return for wages) and consumption (using those wages to buy goods and services), then the role of families has impacts on sustainable consumption and development. Corporations are required to expand their responsibilities to include human and Earth rights, the environment, community and family aspects, safe working conditions, fair wages and sustainable consumption aspects. Global Community has summarized the rights of every person on Earth by developing the Scale of Human and Earth Rights. The scale will eventually be replacing the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The Global Constitution established all rights.

Just as corporations have social responsibilities and so do consumers in societies. Consumers are socialized to improve the quality of their lives. Quality of life is a multi-dimensional, complex and very subjective concept. For instance, someone who has changed their consumption habits to better ensure that their choices will make a better quality of life for themselves, the environment and future generations, may be seen by others as having a lower or inferior quality of life since they have removed themselves from the materialistic mainstream characteristic of our consumer society. Someone may feel that an absence of violence and abuse in their life leads to a higher quality of living even though they have fewer tangible resources, money, or shelter; peace of mind and freedom from abuse has increased the quality of their daily life relative to what it was like before. There are universal quality of life values which lead to "human betterment" or the improvement of the human condition. In addition to the value of species survival (human and other living organisms), they include: adequate resources, justice and equality, freedom, and peace or balance of power. A better quality of life for all people of the Global Community Earth Government is a goal for all of us and one of our universal values.

Global Community found that an adequate level of health care is a universal value as well as a human right. We expect adequate health services to be accessible, affordable, compassionate and socially acceptable. We believe that every individual of a society is co-responsible for helping in implementing and managing health programmes along with the government and the public institutions.

Being unified under the Soul of Humanity, Divine Will, God the Spirit and the Human Family dissolve all barriers and expand our global consciousness. We become more whole and complete within ourselves and as a group. Our common Spirit is able to resolve planetary problems in a coherent way. One common 'global Vision' allows us to see how all the parts of the whole relate to each other. We have the right relationship with one another, with all lifeforms and Earth itself, and with the Soul of Humanity, the Divine Will and God the Spirit.

On May 26, let us all celebrate life in our heart, mind and Spirit. Let us thank God for the gift of life.

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Cultural Appreciation Day August 22 of each year

On August 22 of every year the Global Community celebrates the Global Cultural Day, the Cultural Appreciation Day. The event's theme is "Culture, Values and Social Development."

Noting that culture and development are not mutually exclusive, event organizers are asked to promote a union between historical preservation and future local - global growth. The Global Community is rich with tradition and art. Culture is certainly tangible - churches, temples and monuments; and intangible - heritage with performing arts, fine arts or visual arts. Every community is based on a society distinctly different from any other country and its people.

The Cultural Appreciation Day celebration.

The Cultural Appreciation Day celebration promotes the meaning of culture, the real nature of Humanity and what inhibits its development.

It is for all, regardless of education, age, race, political or religious beliefs. The idea of the Cultural Appreciation Day celebration is that Humanity in truth is limitless, and that there is a unity underlying all the apparent diversity in our daily lives.


Activities during the celebration may include mask making, cooking, singing, music, dance/drama, and puppet making by and for the children.

The day provides vendors, live entertainment, children's activities, and food in celebration of the various cultural groups.

The Cultural Appreciation Day celebration occurs at the same time and is an important part of the Global Exhibition.

For the fourth year since the first time ever promoting of a Global Exhibition, there is a Global Exhibition at the time of Global Dialogue 2009, and at the same site in Nanaimo. It is also occurring everywhere else in the world along with Global Dialogue 2009. People of all nations are asked to organize a Global Exhibition during the period August 17 - August 22 of each year.

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We seek more symbiotical relationships with people and organizations

The Global Community has a symbiotical relationship with many people and organizations all over the planet. We work together to help create a better future for all life on Earth. Check the website especially created for educating on the issue of Earth ownership.

For examples we have symbiotical relatinships with:

  • Global Environment Ministry
  • Sustainable Civilisation, Peace and Disarmament
  • Sustainable Development Global Information Society
  • Global Peace Movement
  • Global Justice Movement
  • Global Movement to Help essential services
  • Global Community of North America (GCNA) Emergency, Rescue, and Relief Centre
  • Global Community Assessment Centre (GCAC)
  • Global Governments Federation
  • Global Community Affiliated Centres for Education and Training

Global Dialogue 2009 has many other issues  Portal of the Global Community  Global Information Media is now accepting articles, letters, reports, research papers, discussions and global dialogues, and messages for publication. This Media is a way to communicate
workable sound solutions to problems arising in the world. Let us share our problems and workable sound solutions. 639 Global Dialogue issues than Earth ownership, and we wish to set up symbiotical relationships with other groups on those other issues for the benefits of all life on Earth. Anyone interested please contact us.

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Proceedings of Global Dialogue 2008

Proceedings of Global Dialogue 2008 are now ready for reading and found on the Global Community website.  Proceedings of  Global Dialogue 2008 As a start to reading the Proceedings we suggest you read the summary table of the Proceedings of Global Dialogue 2009 shown here and as evaluated by the Global Community Assessment Centre (GCAC). And again the next step might be to read the info from Participants and authors. All work from the participants, their Global Files, and work from other authors or organizations are shown in the following 6 categories. Global Files of our participants show more of the work presented to the Dialogue.   Global Files 2009 Please let us know of any corrections and omissions, or if you would prefer your name and info not be published on the Global Community website. Our services are free, and we do not charge fees.

Summary Table

Local to global issues of Global Dialogue 2008  Global Roundtables and Group Email Discussions  Group Email Discussions Global Overview of the work done sone far by participants Recommendations drawn from the Global Overview

These five sections give you a good idea of what we have done throughout the year from September 1st 2007 to August 31 2008, and what needs to be done in the coming years. The final product of this global process is to give humanity a sense of direction for a better future. This final product is shown in the Proceedings.  Proceedings of  Global Dialogue 2008 We are showing the way.

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Global Sustainability

We live in a world where all natural and human resources are exploited without limits, so that a small minority can consume far more than their rightful share of the world's real wealth. Now, while that is going on, we found that the industrial era faces a burnout, because it is exhausting the human and natural resource base on which our very lives depend. A sound governance and management of our planet is needed for the long term survival of our species.

We need to grow strong caring communities in which we get more of our human satisfaction from caring relationships and less from material goods. We need to reclaim the ideal of being a democratic middle-class people without extremes of wealth and poverty.

And we need to realize what is a priority, what is the most important, and what is the least important for our survival. We need to make hard choices. We need a clear vision. We need a common vision. And we must all change! There are many important aspects of our lives we can no longer do, or should never do anymore. They are destructive. Humanity and all life can no longer afford activities that destroy life and the global environment, and certainly the military is a major one of them. And there are other activities we must do, thousands of them, to assure the survival of life on Earth. In view of the planetary state of emergency, we all must change, we must do things differently to give life on Earth a better survival chance.

We need ways of organizing ourselves to help us live in a world with less energy and fewer material goods. We need to recover a deep sense of community that has disappeared from many of our lives. This means letting go a sense of ourselves as consumption machine.

The Global Community has found that consumption of the Earth resources and the amount of wastes we create can be managed very differently, more efficiently, and be less destructive to the global environment. Our ways of doing business and trade can be improved upon to decrease waste and consumption of Earth resources.

Often what is called trade is really moving of resources across borders between subsidiaries of the same corporation. Nothing to do with free competition. Economic activity is centrally-managed and planned by the corporate elite. Capital move freely across borders as restrictions on the flow of money have been removed. Corporations can relocate their operations to the countries with the lowest wages, the least active unions and the lowest environmental standards. The reality is that more polluting industries are encouraged to relocate to developing countries. A polluting industry tends to increase the chances that people in the surrounding area will have health problems. It costs less to dump a load of toxic waste in the lowest wage country.

The Global Community has developed a strategy to improve our ways of doing business and trade so as to protect all life on the planet. Over its long past history trade has never evolved to require from the trading partners to become legally and morally responsible and accountable for their products from beginning to end. At the end the product becomes a waste and it needs to be properly dispose of. Now trade must be given a new impetus to be in line with the global concepts of the Global Community. You manufacture, produce, mine, farm or create a product, you become legally and morally responsible and accountable of your product from beginning to end (to the point where it actually becomes a waste; you are also responsible for the proper disposable of the waste). This product may be anything and everything from oil & gas, weapons, war products, to genetically engineered food products. All consumer products. All medicinal products! All pharmaceutical products!

The natural resources of the Earth belong to all the "global communities" along with the Global Community where they are found. When people know they own the resources in their communities then people can start directing the wealth of their resources towards the building of local-to-global economic democracies in order to meet the needs for food, shelter, universal healthcare, education, and employment for all in their community.

The Global Community concept of ownership states that land and natural resources of our planet are a common heritage and belong equally to everyone, to all life on Earth, as a birthright. Products and services created by individuals are properly viewed as private property. Products and services created by a group of individuals are properly viewed as collective property. Along with ownership comes the obligation of using the resources, share them or lose them. Land and all other Earth natural resources are not commodities. Use the land, share it or lose it. This principle also applies to banks and similar institutions all over the world and to Wall Street. You own property because the previous owners could not pay. Use that property, share it or lose it.

It should also be our goal to create locally owned enterprises that sustainably harvest and process local resources to produce jobs, goods and services. We should favor local firms and workers, who pay local taxes, live by local rules, respect and nurture the local ecosystems, compete fairly in local markets, and contribute to community life.

A community should benefit from the use of commonly held natural resources. That includes land, air, water, all minerals, and the electromagnetic spectrum. The exploitation and use of natural resources should be taxed. Moving taxes onto resources and land use and off of incomes should make people less expensive to employ.

Taxes should be designed to conserve resources and energy, and increase employment. Labour should not be taxed but pollution should.

Resource taxes should be assessed as early as possible. Resources should be taxed before entering the manufacturing process in order to green all aspects from extraction phase to the finished product.

Be sustainable locally first, and globally next only if needed. Let go the WTO, NAFTA or any free trade agreement.

A workable type of Tobin tax should be in place as it is a powerful instrument to promote global sustainability and force shareholders to be responsible and accountable to the people of global communities. A Tobin tax is a tax on all trade of currency across borders to put a penalty on short-term speculation in currencies. The tax rate should be 10 to 25 cents per hundred dollars.

The proposal is important due to its potential to prevent global financial crises such as we are seeing now. Also, an estimated $500 billion per year makes it possible to meet urgent global priorities, such as preventing global warming, disease, and unemployment. The tax should be managed by the Global Community and the Federation of Global Governments. In the globalized economy, there is a lack of adequate funding for global problems which threaten local communities worldwide. Projects which could help to address these needs and create jobs will cost more than $500 billion annually. Private donors do not meet the need, and some nations cut their aid budgets. New multilateral approaches to public finance, such as Tobin Taxes, may provide part of the answer.

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Yes We Can Save The Planet

We are facing the dire consequences of ecological collapse, Climate change, water scarcity, extinction of biodiversity and over population.

In the past 20 million years, the carbon dioxide content of the biosphere has been 300 ppm. Only in the past hundred years has the carbon dioxide reached 370 ppm. The question is whether this change may react in such a way that it becomes a tipping point for extreme disaster.

In 1930, the population of the planet was2 billion. In 2000. It was 6 billion. In 2020. It will be 8 billion

There is massive, inequity in distribution of world income. A living wage in San Francisco, is $96 a day. Poverty in the US is defined as, $12 a day. 60% of people in the world live on less than three dollars a day and they cannot afford any of the economic material luxury goods, which the current global economy thrives on.

40% of people by 2020 will not have enough water to live on and 95% of people in the world are predicted to be living in urban situations.

It is predicted that oil will peak by 2010. Oil is the source for growing food and fertilisers and plastics etc,. Because of this, the poorest people in the world will not be able to sell sufficient goods to survive.

We are in phase six of biodiversity, mass extinction. Within 20 years, 20% of biodiversity will be extinct and 50% by 100 years. This makes the biosphere, unsustainable. We are looking towards a whole systems crisis within 20 years, unless we get our act together fast.

The structure of the political system is changing, due to the rapid change in the nature of information now available andthe fact that individuals have a greater say in what they want. Individuals, therefore, need to be educated, and there needs to be greater emphasis on holistic education and holistic health. Economic rationalism per se does not work in a global milieu which does not have infinite resources.

Peace needs to be emphasised above all else, because the greatest threat to our extinction as a species is aggressive competition and war. There are still 40,000 nuclear weapons in the world, and we completely forget about this., when we talk about climate change.

The big change occurring, which seems to be ignored., generally, is the coming together of science and religion. It is now proven scientifically, that Human consciousness has a profound effect on the environment, as well as on society. The experiments done are more valid and more stringent than any medical double-blind trial, you will see for example in The New England Journal of Medicine.

For humanity , to survive a greater emphasis needs to be on decentralized representation, and a transnational representation of the voices of the Global community of people who in their billions are crying out for change

The creation of Ministries and Commissions for peace throughout the World would be a tremendous advance for global society, in rapid transformation and change

Only by expressing in every way the new paradigm based on interrelationship, interdependency and cooperation amongst all humanity regardless of race, creed, culture or belief system can we hope to reverse the trend of global degradation and demise

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Global Peace Movement

The Global Community claims that everyone on Earth should be able to live in peace. This Global Peace Mouvement is about the courage to live a life in a harmonious peace order and showing by example, thus preventing poverty, wars, terror and violence. We need to educate the coming generations with good principles, being compassionate, social harmony and global  sustainability  being some of them. The responsibility of a peacemaker is to settle differences through compromise and negotiation before they erupt into violence. Conflicting views do not have to bring about fighting. War is an irreversible solution to a problem. War is never an appropriate solution to resolve a conflict. In order to bring about the event of peace, the Global Community is offering other good organizations around the world to work together to bring warring parties to peace.

Peace in the world and the survival and protection of all life on our planet go hand-in-hand. Asking for peace in the world means doing whatever is necessary to protect life on our planet. Protecting life implies bringing about the event of peace in the world. Let our time be a time remembered for a new respect for life, our determination to achieve sustainability, and our need for global justice and peace.

From now on, building global communities for peace require understanding of global problems this generation is facing. There are several major problems: conflicts and wars, no tolerance and compassion for one another, world overpopulation, unemployment, insufficient protection and prevention for global health, scarcity of resources and drinking water, poverty, Fauna and Flora species disappearing at a fast rate, global warming and global climate change, global pollution, permanent lost of the Earth's genetic heritage, and the destruction of the global life-support systems and the eco-systems of the planet. We need to build global communities that will manage themselves with the understanding of those problems. All aspects are interrelated: global peace, global sustainability, global rights and the environment. The jobless is more concerned with ending starvation, finding a proper shelter and employment, and helping their children to survive. Environmental issues become meaningless to the jobless. In reality, all concerns are interrelated because the ecology of the planet has no boundaries. Obviously, as soon as our environment is destroyed or polluted beyond repair, human suffering is next.

Our goal for peace in the world can only be reached by resolving those global problems. Those problems have brought up a planetary state of emergency. In view of the planetary state of emergency, shown and declared by the Global Community, we all must change, we must do things differently to give life on Earth a better survival chance and bring about the event of peace amongst us all.

Our first objective was to find statements from all religions, all faiths, that promote ethical and moral responsibility to life and a responsible Earth management. This was assumed to work well within the context of the global civilization of the 3rd Millennium and after defining the Global Community criteria of symbiotical relationships. In this context, we have defined that any symbiotical relationship is for the good of all. It is based on a genuine group concern and unconditional support for the individual's well-being ~ a giant leap in human behaviour. Symbiotical relationships are needed today for the long term future of humanity, for the protection of life on our planet, and to bring about the event of peace amongst us all.

The fundamental criteria of any symbiotical relationship is that a relationship is created for the good of all groups participating in the relationship and for the good of humanity, all life on Earth. The relationship allows a global equitable and peaceful development and a more stable and inclusive global economy.

Religious rituals now support the conservation efforts and play a central role in governing the sustainable use of the natural environment.

The Global Movement to Help, an initiative of the Global Community and of the Federation of Global Governments, is now applying more emphasis on the urgent need from the people of all nations to give everyone essential services. The urgent need to give all Global Citizens essential services was made obvious in the past few years after the occurrence of natural disasters, and the global destruction created by the military.

The very first step of the Federation, and maybe the only one for several decades ahead of us, is the approval of essential services amongst the participating member nations. To that effect, new global ministries will be established to guide us onto the path of global sustainability. Through these new global ministries, we want each Global Government to take a larger share of responsibility of the specific region where it operates, and be more accountable to the people of that region. Be compassionate. Essential services to the people of each member nation are now the most important global rights on the Scale of Global Rights and are protected by the Global Protection Agency (GPA) of each member nation. The GPA will train and lead a global force, bypassing traditional peacekeeping and military bodies such as the United Nations and NATO. The GPA is a short term solution, an immediate and efficient response to help.

There are also long term solutions. The Scale of Global Rights is the fundamental guide to Global Law. Global Law includes legislation covering all essential aspects of human activities.

The GPA will enforce the law. And that is a long term solution to the planetary state of emergency. And that is also how we can solve the global problems facing this generation, thus largely improving the quality of life of the next generations, and that is how we will bring about the event of peace amongst us all.

An important aspect of global governance is the security of a person and of a nation. Security must be achieved by other means than conflicts and wars. We might as well shelved the war industry from humanity right now and that means phasing out all nuclear, biological, chemical weapons right now. War products and equipment and weapons of mass destruction from all nations must be decommissioned. Governments that have weapons of masss destruction are obviously terrorist governments. The Global Community is asking them to disarm. No waiting! Global security can only be achieved if it can be shared by all peoples and through global co-operation, based on principles as explained in the Global Constitution such as justice, human dignity, and equity for all and for the good of all.

War is not sustainable to all life on the planet. It never was. The military option, war, is against global sustainability and global peace in a big way. The worst environmental degradation happens in wars.

The military is no replacement to the " will of the people ", democracy, the rule of law, social justice, and to Global Rights and Global Justice. The Global Community has no need of a subversive military force. NATO must be subject to the people, the Global Community, and to the Federation of Global Governments.

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Letter to the people of Haiti who survived the devastating earthquake and are in need of help.

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