Saturday, November 05, 2005

A silver lining for Rumsfeld in the bird flu threat

In the midst of the Bush administration's belated response to the threat of a global bird flu pandemic, the Pentagon last week quietly issued a legal memorandum concerning Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's participation in the government's plan to confront the danger.

This is not a small matter for the Bush administration, given the president’s single-minded determination to exploit what is a very real public health danger to promote his own political agenda of eliminating constitutional restrictions on the use of the US military on American soil.

The government's 396-page response plan, posted on the Internet this week (, speaks of using military forces to seal off towns and communities declared to be stricken with the disease, imposing what the document refers to as a cordon sanitaire, or sanitary barrier. Presumably this would mean armed troops manning roadblocks with orders to use deadly force to prevent people from either entering or leaving.

In a statement last month, Bush called for the use of the military in this fashion, and urged Congress to consider changing the law to give him greater latitude to deploy military forces domestically. The statement drew sharp criticism from public health officials, who suggested that Bush was proposing what amounted to martial law, a policy that has little efficacy in dealing with the threat of a pandemic.

Last week's Pentagon memo indicated that Rumsfeld could participate in the martial law component of the government’s plan. He is recusing himself only from decisions regarding the use of drugs to prevent or treat bird flu.

The problem, it seems, is that the defense secretary is a major stockholder in Gilead Sciences, the company that holds the patent on the prescription antiviral drug Tamiflu, which is said to be the most effective medicine to prevent influenza or ameliorate the symptoms among those already infected.

From 1997 until he came back to Washington in 2001 to head the Pentagon and prepare for the war against Iraq, Rumsfeld was Gilead's CEO. He separated with the corporation on very profitable terms and still holds Gilead stock worth up to $25 million, according to his recent federal financial disclosures. The stock's price has soared from $35 to over $50 over the past six months as fears of the pandemic have grown.

As Fortune magazine put it on its web site, "The prospect of a bird flu outbreak may be panicking people around the globe, but it’s proving to be very good news for Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and other politically connected investors in the California biotech company that owns the rights to Tamiflu..."

Dick Cheney's Song of America - The Plan is for the United States to rule the world.

The Plan is for the United States to rule the world. The overt theme is unilateralism, but it is ultimately a story of domination. It calls for the United States to maintain its overwhelming military superiority and prevent new rivals from rising up to challenge it on the world stage. It calls for dominion over friends and enemies alike. It says not that the United States must be more powerful, or most powerful, but that it must be absolutely powerful.

Few writers are more ambitious than the writers of government policy papers, and few policy papers are more ambitious than Dick Cheney's masterwork. It has taken several forms over the last decade and is in fact the product of several ghostwriters (notably Paul Wolfowitz and Colin Powell), but Cheney has been consistent in his dedication to the ideas in the documents that bear his name, and he has maintained a close association with the ideologues behind them. Let us, therefore, call Cheney the author, and this series of documents the Plan.

The Plan was published in unclassified form most recently under the title of Defense Strategy for the 1990s, (pdf) as Cheney ended his term as secretary of defense under the elder George Bush in early 1993, but it is, like "Leaves of Grass," a perpetually evolving work. It was the controversial Defense Planning Guidance draft of 1992 - from which Cheney, unconvincingly, tried to distance himself – and it was the somewhat less aggressive revised draft of that same year. This June it was a presidential lecture in the form of a commencement address at West Point, and in July it was leaked to the press as yet another Defense Planning Guidance (this time under the pen name of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld). It will take its ultimate form, though, as America’s new national security strategy – and Cheney et al. will experience what few writers have even dared dream: their words will become our reality.

The Plan is for the United States to rule the world. The overt theme is unilateralism, but it is ultimately a story of domination. It calls for the United States to maintain its overwhelming military superiority and prevent new rivals from rising up to challenge it on the world stage. It calls for dominion over friends and enemies alike. It says not that the United States must be more powerful, or most powerful, but that it must be absolutely powerful.

Trade Agreement Stalled as Americas Meeting Ends

MAR DEL PLATA, Argentina, Nov. 5 - A two-day summit meeting of leaders of 34 Western Hemisphere nations attended by President Bush was drawing to a close here on Saturday without a clear agreement on when and how to resume stalled negotiations aimed at achieving a hemispherewide free trade agreement.

Mr. Bush had hoped to persuade his counterparts from Latin America and the Caribbean to deliver a resounding endorsement of the plan, known as the Free Trade Area of the Americas. But suspicions of American intentions prevailed in the end, and the final communiqué seemed likely to fall short of that ambitious goal.
But Latin America has never spoken with one voice on free trade. Many layers of doubt and dissent are on display here, and some may have been worsened by Washington's insistence on an agreement.

On the left are those, led by Venezuela's fiery, populist president, Hugo Chávez, who oppose free trade in any form. Mr. Chávez calls the Free Trade Area of the Americas "an annexationist plan" that would stifle or destroy local industry, roll back social safety nets and labor protections, and permanently extend American political domination of the region to the economic realm.

"We have to bury F.T.A.A." because it is the latest manifestation of "an old project of the imperial eagle that from the beginning has wanted to sink its claws" into Latin America, Mr. Chávez said Friday at a rally here of 25,000 people, who chanted anti-Bush and anti-Free Trade Area of the Americas slogans. "It is part of the capitalist model, directed from Washington, that has beaten down our peoples for so long."

In contrast, Brazil and Argentina, the leaders of the Mercosur bloc, the third-largest trading group in the world, do not oppose the concept of free trade, only Washington's version. The Mercosur group, which includes Paraguay and Uruguay, was founded in 1991 to eliminate trade barriers among its members, but also aims to achieve political integration. It covers an area with a population of nearly 250 million and produces more than $1 trillion annually in goods and services,

Panama angry over US weapons left along canal

ESCOBAL, Panama (Reuters) - When the U.S. military handed over control of the Panama Canal in 1999, it left behind thousands of unexploded weapons strewn across jungle firing ranges that are still killing people.

Many Panamanians accuse the United States of ignoring the dangers and President George W. Bush will face protests over the controversy during a visit starting on Sunday night.

Washington controlled the inter-oceanic waterway and a five-mile strip either side of the canal for almost all of the 20th century, and used some of the land for firing ranges.

It gave control of the canal to Panama at the end of 1999, but handover treaties only obliged it to clear up unexploded munitions as far as was "practicable."

Around 30,000 acres were cleaned but 8,000 acres are still scattered with live mortars, grenades, bombs, rockets and Agent Orange residue. Outside the canal zone, seven mustard gas bombs weighing between 500 pounds and 1,000 pounds were abandoned on Panama's uninhabited Pacific island of San Jos

Bush faces Latin fury as popularity sinks at home

President George Bush, his presidency foundering and his popularity at record lows at home, ran into new protests abroad yesterday at a Western hemisphere summit in Argentina - a gathering that is theoretically focussed on trade but which has so far only served to highlight the battered image of the US across Latin America.

Mr Bush went into the 34-nation meeting intent on promoting traditional US doctrines of free trade and liberal market economics, with the goal of a giant free trade area, building on the existing agreements, that would stretch from Alaska to the Southern Ocean.

But not far from the sealed-off, massively protected hotel where the leaders met, some 10,000 demo-nstrators marched through the resort city of Mar del Plata. "Get Out Bush," they chanted, in protest not only at the free trade proposals but at the Iraq war and other US policies

"We don't have any confidence in anything Mr Bush might propose here," said Juan Gonzales, an Argentine trade union leader. Whatever emerged, it "will only prolong hunger, poverty and death in Latin America," he said. Among those at the protest rallies were Hugo Chavez, the radical Venezuelan leader and vitriolic critic of the Bush administration, and the legendary Argentinian footballer Diego Maradona.

Bush feels hand of God as poll ratings slump

America's faith in George Bush and in his decision to go to war in Iraq has plummeted in the wake of a White House intelligence scandal that went to court this week, according to a new poll.

As the president encountered violent protests in Argentina at the start of his Latin America tour yesterday, a survey published by the Washington Post and ABC News showed that public confidence was eroding rapidly back home.

Nearly six in 10 Americans, 58%, said they had doubts about the president's honesty, a 13% rise in 18 months. Only 32% believed Mr Bush was handling ethical issues well, a significantly worse score than Bill Clinton achieved in his last scandal-besmirched year in office. His overall popularity has plunged to 39%, a new low for the Washington Post/ABC survey.
Mr Bush is no more popular in Argentina, where a protest by several thousand demonstrators turned ugly. In the coastal city of Mar del Plata, where he is attending a regional summit, protesters set fire to a bank, looted stores and battled riot police.

Earlier, the tone was struck by the former football star Diego Maradona, who wore a "Stop Bush" T-shirt to an anti-Bush "counter-summit" that drew some 4,000 protesters from around the world and easily eclipsed the official summit in the public's attention. "I'm proud as an Argentine to repudiate the presence of this human trash, George Bush," said Maradona.

Maradona's anti-Bush sentiment was replicated across a country driven to a near standstill by tens of thousands of people angry at the Iraq war and the US president's push for a region-wide free trade deal. Hospital and subway workers went on strike in Buenos Aires.

The latest popularity poll was published after Lewis "Scooter" Libby became the first White House aide for 130 years to be indicted in office. He appeared in court on Thursday to plead not guilty to five charges of lying to investigators.

At its core, the case concerns the evidence of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction assembled by Mr Libby - at the time the vice-president's chief of staff - and other White House officials to justify the war in Iraq. The president's top political adviser, Karl Rove, is still under investigation for his role in the case, which has refocused attention on the WMD debacle.

According to yesterday's poll, 55% of Americans think the president "intentionally misled the American public" in making the case for war, and 60% now believe it was not worth fighting. Yesterday, Mr Bush was asked whether Mr Rove would keep his job. He refused to discuss the issue on the grounds that the investigation was ongoing.

"I understand the preoccupation with polls," he said. "The way you build credibility with the American people is to set a clear agenda ... and get the job done. And the agenda I am working now is important to the American people."

He pointed to the growth of the US economy, but the poll suggested he was facing scepticism there too. Despite a 3.8% growth rate over the past three months, nearly two-thirds of respondents believed the economy was performing poorly.

Mr Bush is hoping to revive a plan for free trade across the Americas. Yet his economic ideas find few fans in South America, where growing poverty and unemployment are blamed squarely on the free trade policies applied during the past 15 years by regional governments under pressure from the US and the International Monetary Fund.

"We are marching against the creation of a free trade region in the Americas, against the repayment of the foreign debt and against the militarisation of Latin America," said the Argentinian economist Julio Gambina as he arrived with the marchers at the Mar del Plata sports stadium, where Venezuela's president, Hugo Chávez, addressed the "counter-summit". Mr Chávez, possibly Mr Bush's most vociferous detractor in the western hemisphere, left the American president in no doubt about the opposition to his free trade pact, saying: "Every one of us has brought an a shovel, an undertaker's shovel, because here in Mar del Plata is the tomb of [the pact]."

The 15,000-strong crowd broke out in a roar as Maradona, riding high on his rebirth as Argentina's leading television personality with his own weekly talkshow, embraced Mr Chávez at the microphone and roared: "Argentina has its dignity! Let's throw Bush out of here!".

AntiBush image from Argentina

AntiBush images from Brasil

Bush represents the Jackals & Assessinos

Argentina Centro de Medios Independientes (( i ))
Original article

Bush represents the Jackals & Assessinos
Por Henk Ruyssenaars - Friday, Nov. 04, 2005 at 10:04 AM (Casilla de correo válida)

The US/IMF's 'free trade': "When the economic 'hit men' fail in this scenario, the next step is what we call 'the jackals'. Jackals are C.I.A-sanctioned people that come in and try to foment a coup or revolution. If that doesn't work, they perform assassinations, or try to."


Henk Ruyssenaars - former Latin America correspondent

FPF - Nov. 4th - 2005 - A troubled President George Bush II is at the Summit of the Americas in Argentine, where representatives of more than 30 nations now are gathering in Mar del Plata. Bush's 'minders' - his 'advisers' which also are represented by the malignant and murderous International Monetary Fund* (IMF) - want Bush to proceed with their FTAA plans, to - as usual one must say - further rob the money and resources in a by them proposed L-American 'free trade' area, that would include the countries in the Western Hemisphere except Castro's Cuba.

'US Free Trade' stands for 'rob'm blind' - blame them for being not able to see - and 'get away with anything'. George Bush II has acknowledged that the 'Free Trade Area of the Americas', once one of his highest trade priorities, is at an impasse, with the U.S. facing numerous and justified disagreements with South American countries. "The FTAA has stalled, I agree," Bush, throwing both arms in the air, said in response to a question in an interview with Latin American reporters last Tuesday, Nov. 1.

The problem is more how Bush and his racket can be 'stalled' and jailed as soon as is possible, before they accomplish their Apocalypse. Criminals like Bush and his ilk are only alive because they spend by us all paid tax-fortunes on an army of sometimes also uniformed hired killers, which are supposed to protect global villains like him. - [] - The mercenaries in Rumsfeld's SS [] protect the 'Pol Pots' of our time, served by the 'banking establishment' via the US fake Federal Reserve [] and their World Bank and the IMF with it's 'Jackals'.*

Bush and his delegation represent the absolute worst on the globe right now: the warmaking criminals who have tried to scavenge and wreck Argentina and the rest of Latin America and the world, by abusing their power and greedily treat it as an economic US-backyard. For them human beings, laws or international conventions do not count: they are lawless and ruthless, as was shown in Argentina too, and globally over and over again. - []


Bush II and his 'advisers' are in many ways globally often responsible for those kind of all encompassing miseries, and they absolutely don't give a damn about whether you die or suffer enormously, as happened at that dark hour in Argentina's history: "Recently, Latin America has watched Argentina, the once heralded miracle of the liberal economic ideal, crash to economic depths that could not have been imagined even just a few years ago. Things are so bad that a recent reality-TV show has contestants competing for subsistence-level employment.

After watching the Argentinean economy crash and burn, Latin Americans have been searching for alternative models, and have looked toward a group of charismatic individuals with a decidedly leftist (? - HR) orientation." - []


In a round-table interview with Latin American journalists this week, Bush described the trip as part of his effort "to have a good relationship in the neighborhood." He did not dispute a questioner's view that there was "growing anti-Americanism" in the region. And than followed the understatement of the year by the most despised creature on earth: "Look, I understand not everybody agrees with the decisions I've made, but that's not unique to Central or South America," Bush said, according to a transcript released Wednesday. "But that's what happens when you make decisions." []


For once this professional liar was right when he said ''that's not unique to Central or South America'' because the whole thinking world disagrees with him. What from Bush's Gringo point of view is called "decisions" and "to have a good relationship in the neighborhood" - is in reality the abject abuse of a whole country and whole continents, to reconfigure the economy and energy needs of the worst administration ever on Earth: the present neocon junta's regime in the United States. And here's how those gringo vultures - which all and each one of them and whatever nationality, should have been in jail a long time ago - steal from and rape humanity and countries, as told by an insider who 'got to see the light': CIA JACKALS & WORLD BANK WOLFOWITZ - Thursday, March 17, 2005:

IMF banker: "When the economic 'hit men' fail in this scenario, the next step is what we call the jackals. 'Jackals' are C.I.A-sanctioned people that come in and try to foment a coup or revolution. If that doesn't work, they perform assassinations, or try to."

Confessions of an economic 'hit man' - Url.:

El artículo original está en Url.:


Henk Ruyssenaars


Because this will be very important for many to see and hear; please take one hour out of your life, and learn and get still better informed about the big lines - and huge lies - why things happen, and why your life looks the way it does in the neocon Matrix.

Why should there be more cash in your wallet? - See the 'Real Video' and transcript: they really are worth every minute of your time - Url.:

* Canadian writer Paul Harris: ''The US a nation of peace lovers...?'' - Url.:

* MSNBC Poll: Ninety-four percent believes that George Bush and the neocon media mislead the nation to go to war with Iraq - Url.:

* TIME/Life poll: The Biggest Threat To Peace - Which country really poses the greatest danger to world peace in 2003? TIME asked for readers' views - Url.:

* WASHINGTON, Oct. 13 /U.S. Newswire/ - According to the new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll President Bush's national approval rating has declined to 39 (today 35) percent, the lowest level during his Presidency. And among African-Americans, Bush has only a 2 percent - Url.:

* GULAG: Russian 1970 Nobel Prize winner Aleksandr Solzjenitsyn described the Soviet prison camp system in his best-selling book 'The Gulag Archipelago'. He has since 2000 been globally declared 'dead' by the people involved, when he published about 'the last taboo on Russia' - Url.:

* Brainwashed? Take the free 'Gullibility Factor' test to find out if you're really a mind slave or not - Url.:

* Corporate News Media: Incompetent, Criminally Negligent or Complicit? - Url.:

* Good news source: Venezuela - Url.:

* CIA/NED covert operations in Venezuela - Url.:

FPF-COPYRIGHT NOTICE - In accordance with Title 17 U. S. C. Section 107 - any copyrighted work in this message is distributed by the Foreign Press Foundation under fair use, without profit or payment, to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the information. Url.:

Editor : Henk Ruyssenaars
The Netherlands


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Friday, November 04, 2005

Las guerras mienten por Eduardo Galeano

"-Pero el motivo... -indagó el señor Duval-. Un hombre no mata por nada. —¿El motivo? –contestó Ellery, encogiéndose de hombros–. Usted ya conoce el motivo." Ellery Queen. Aventuras en la Mansión de las Tinieblas. Las guerras dicen que ocurren por nobles razones: la seguridad internacional, la dignidad nacional, la democracia, la libertad, el orden, el mandato de la civilización o la voluntad de Dios. Ninguna tiene la honestidad de confesar: Yo mato para robar.

No menos de tres millones de civiles murieron en el Congo a lo largo de la guerra de cuatro años que está en suspenso desde fines de 2002.

Murieron por el coltan, pero ni ellos lo sabían. El coltan es un mineral raro, y su raro nombre designa la mezcla de dos raros minerales llamados columbita y tantalita. Poco o nada valía el coltan, hasta que se descubrió que era imprescindible para la fabricación de teléfonos celulares, naves espaciales, computadoras y misiles; y entonces pasó a ser más caro que el oro.

Casi todas las reservas conocidas de coltan están en las arenas del Congo. Hace más de cuarenta años, Patricio Lumumba fue sacrificado en un altar de oro y diamantes. Su país vuelve a matarlo cada día. El Congo, país pobrísimo, es riquísimo en minerales, y ese regalo de la naturaleza se sigue convirtiendo en maldición de la historia. Los africanos llaman al petróleo "mierda del Diablo". En 1978 se descubrió petróleo en el sur de Sudán. Siete años después, se sabe que las reservas llegan a más del doble, y la mayor cantidad yace al oeste del país, en la región de Darfur.

Allí ha ocurrido recientemente, y sigue ocurriendo, otra matanza. Muchos campesinos negros, dos millones según algunas estimaciones, han huido o han sucumbido, por bala, cuchillo o hambre, al paso de las milicias árabes que el gobierno respalda con tanques y helicópteros. Esta guerra se disfraza de conflicto étnico y religioso entre los pastores árabes, islámicos, y los labriegos negros, cristianos y animistas. Pero ocurre que las aldeas incendiadas y los cultivos arrasados estaban donde ahora empiezan a estar las torres petroleras que perforan la tierra.

La negación de la evidencia, injustamente atribuida a los borrachos, es la más notoria costumbre del presidente del planeta, que gracias a Dios no bebe una gota. Él sigue afirmando, un día sí y otro también, que su guerra de Irak no tiene nada que ver con el petróleo. "Nos han engañado ocultando información sistemáticamente", escribía desde Irak, allá por 1920, un tal Lawrence de Arabia: "El pueblo de Inglaterra ha sido llevado a Mesopotamia para caer en una trampa de la que será difícil salir con dignidad y con honor". Yo sé que la historia no se repite; pero a veces dudo. ¿Y la obsesión contra Chávez? ¿Nada tiene que ver con el petróleo de Venezuela esta frenética campaña que amenaza matar, en nombre de la democracia, al dictador que ha ganado nueve elecciones limpias?

Y los continuos gritos de alarma por el peligro nuclear iraní, ¿nada tienen que ver con el hecho de que Irán contenga una de las reservas de gas más ricas del mundo? Y si no, ¿cómo se explica eso del peligro nuclear? ¿Fue Irán el país que descargó las bombas nucleares sobre la población civil de Hiroshima y Nagasaki? La empresa Bechtel, con sede en California, había recibido en concesión, por 40 años, el agua de Cochabamba. Toda el agua, incluyendo el agua de las lluvias. No bien se instaló, triplicó las tarifas. Una pueblada estalló, y la empresa tuvo que irse de Bolivia. El presidente Bush se apiadó de la expulsada, y la consoló otorgándole el agua de Irak.

Muy generoso de su parte. Irak no sólo es digno de aniquilación por su fabulosa riqueza petrolera: este país, regado por el Tigris y el Éufrates, también merece lo peor porque es la más rica fuente de agua dulce de todo el Oriente Medio.

El mundo está sediento. Los venenos químicos pudren los ríos y las sequías los exterminan, la sociedad de consumo consume cada vez más agua, el agua es cada vez menos potable y cada vez más escasa. Todos lo dicen, todos lo saben: las guerras del petróleo serán, mañana, guerras del agua.

En realidad, las guerras del agua ya están ocurriendo. Son guerras de conquista, pero los invasores no echan bombas ni desembarcan tropas. Viajan vestidos de civil estos tecnócratas internacionales que someten a los países pobres a estado de sitio y exigen privatización o muerte. Sus armas, mortíferos instrumentos de extorsión y de castigo, no hacen bulto ni meten ruido.

El Banco Mundial y el Fondo Monetario Internacional, dos dientes de la misma pinza, impusieron, en estos últimos años, la privatización del agua en 16 países pobres. Entre ellos, algunos de los más pobres del mundo, como Benín, Níger, Mozambique, Ruanda, Yemen, Tanzania, Camerún, Honduras, Nicaragua… El argumento era irrefutable: o entregan el agua o no habrá clemencia con la deuda ni préstamos nuevos.

Los expertos también tuvieron la paciencia de explicar que no hacían eso por desmantelar soberanías, sino por ayudar a la modernización de los países hundidos en el atraso por la ineficiencia del Estado. Y si las cuentas del agua privatizada resultaban impagables para la mayoría de la población, tanto mejor: a ver si así se despertaba por fin su dormida voluntad de trabajo y de superación personal. En la democracia, ¿quién manda? ¿Los funcionarios internacionales de las altas finanzas, votados por nadie? A fines de octubre del año pasado, un plebiscito decidió el destino del agua en Uruguay. La gran mayoría de la población votó, por abrumadora mayoría, confirmando que el agua es un servicio público y un derecho de todos.

Fue una victoria de la democracia contra la tradición de impotencia, que nos enseña que somos incapaces de gestionar el agua ni nada; y contra la mala fama de la propiedad pública, desprestigiada por los políticos que la han usado y maltratado como si lo que es de todos fuera de nadie.

El plebiscito de Uruguay no tuvo ninguna repercusión internacional. Los grandes medios de comunicación no se enteraron de esta batalla de la guerra del agua, perdida por los que siempre ganan; y el ejemplo no contagió a ningún país del mundo. Éste fue el primer plebiscito del agua y hasta ahora, que se sepa, fue también el último.n

Eduardo Galeano
Periodista y escritor uruguayo, autor de Las Venas Abiertas de América Latina, La canción de nosotros, Días y noches de amor y de guerra, Las palabras andantes, El libro de los abrazos, entre otros.

Silvio Rodríguez: "Uno abre un periódico un día, escribe algo indignado, y termina al frente de una manifestación"

Las canciones lo van transformando a uno, incluso lo van metiendo en líos. Uno abre un periódico, escribe algo indignado y luego termina al frente de una manifestación”. Así comentó el cantautor cubano Silvio Rodríguez el ambiente previo a la gran Marcha por la Dignidad Latinoamericana de repudio contra Bush prevista para mañana a las siete de la mañana en Mar del Plata.

Estas declaraciones las realizó en el marco de un encuentro sobre la función de la canción y el compromiso que se desarrollo en la carpa del ALBA en el marco de la Cumbre de los Pueblos. Junto a Silvio Rodríguez participaron cantautores de varios países latinoamericanos que respondieron a numerosas preguntas de los cientos de personas que participaban en la Cumbre de los Pueblos.

El trovador cubano recordó su compromiso con esta Marcha, “no como artista, sino como ser cívico, como terrícola, me opongo a esos ladrones y asesinos a costa de la oprobio de otros seres humanos, de su educación, de su alimentación. A todos esos responsables les quiero decir que estaré en la Marcha como terrícola, no como artista”. Silvio Rodríguez se dirigió a Bush como “un loco que invade, mata, roba el petróleo y quiere darnos lecciones de justicia y hasta quiere que lloremos sus muertos”.

El cantautor habló de la música respondiendo, al igual que el resto de los artistas, a la pregunta con la que se inició la charla: “¿Para qué sirve hoy la canción?”. Según Silvio, debajo de esa pregunta y de sus posibles respuestas “subyace algo interesante de lo que se habla poco: la canción como escuela”. “Porque uno –continuó-, cuando empieza a cantar no imagina que se va a enfrentar algún día a grandes públicos y que va a ser aclamado por hacer lo que le gusta. Cuando uno hace lo que quiere y se pone en contacto con los demás, se transforma en algo que no es lo que hizo, sino lo que hacen los demás junto con uno”.

Silvio Rodríguez, franqueado por dos grandes imágenes de Martí y Bolivar, también habló de Cuba: “Soy de un país que lleva medio siglo bloqueado de la forma más brutal y por el imperio más grande con el objetivo de desacreditar su revolución y calumniarla”.

En cuanto al momento que atraviesa América Latina, afirmó que “estamos en la búsqueda del sueño de Martí y Bolívar. Este es uno de los momentos históricos que, espero, ayude a hacer posible ese sueño americano”.

Durante el acto los cantautores respondieron a numerosas preguntas del público, alguna de ellas hizo referencia al papel de las organizaciones no gubernamentales en la lucha contra la pobreza. Sobre ello, Silvio Rodríguez puntualizó que “el hecho de que sean las ONG´s las que estén luchando contra la pobreza, no hace preguntarnos qué están haciendo los gobiernos”.

Como ya se anunció anteriormente, Silvio Rodríguez actuará junto a otros cantautores como el uruguayo Daniel Viglietti, el chileno Francisco Villa, los cubanos Vicente Feliu y Amaury Pérez y el argentino Raly Barrionuevo; en el multitudinario acto final del Estado Mundialista de Mar del Plata tras la Marcha de repudio a Bush. Este acto será clausurado con la intervención del presidente venezolano Hugo Chávez.

Fox's "México Seguro" Anti-Drug Operation Being Used to Shield Dirty-War Criminals

The World Socialist Wed Site has a very interesting article this week on the Mexican government’s continued efforts to cover up its crimes against the student movement in the late 1960's and seventies. Two of the seminal events in the history of Mexican social movements were the massacres of student demonstrators at Tlatelolco in 1968, by the Mexican army, and San Cosme (both areas of Mexico City) in 1971, by government-backed "Falcon" paramilitaries. And one of the major reasons both Mexicans and the international community hailed President Vicente Fox’s 2000 electoral victory - the first break in a 70-year reign by the Institutional Revolutionary Party - was the supposed end it would bring to that party’s historic crushing of dissent and impunity for political crimes. As this article shows, Fox's efforts to clean up the government's record and hold the responsible accountable have hardly been sincere.

But of special interest, I think, to us and our readers is a revelation made in an accompanying interview with economist and Committee of 68 member Alejandro Alvarez, who shows how the drug war is used to shield states from scrutiny over these kinds of issues. Read on for an excerpt...

RA: What is the international context of this whitewash?

AA: The Fox government is colluding with US security agencies. At the same time that it turns its back on international treaties and agreements on genocide and human rights, it wants to enforce security arrangements with the US that violate the Mexican constitution. When Fox met with Bush in Waco, Texas in March of this year he agreed to a scheme called México Seguro [Secure Mexico], which is just another way of trampling on human rights using organized crime and drug trafficking as an excuse for police-military occupations and repression. Some of those in the army that now lead these operations also participated in the dirty war. The army is being shielded from responsibility for the massacres and repression of the 1960s and 1970s in part because of its current role. The argument currently in vogue is that the armed forces are blameless for the killings and disappearances because they were following orders from elected officials.

Read the full interview here.

3rd Summit of the Peoples of America - Mass continental protest march against Bush

MAR DEL PLATA, Argentina.—The chief of the White House, W. Bush, is about to receive a clear signal of continental rejection generated by his neofascist policies, when tens of thousands of people march through the streets of this city at the end of the sessions of the 3rd Summit of the Peoples, attended by more than 600 organizations and social movements of the region.

The final objectives of the march, ratified yesterday in a press conference by Nobel Peace Prize winner Adolfo Pérez Esquivel, one of the organizers of the event whose debates focused on alternatives in the face of capitalism, are to express a round NO to Bush and the imperialist FTAA project (Free Trade Area of the Americas).

The outstanding human rights defender also assured that if there would be support mobilizations in many parts of Argentina.

The Continental Mobilization Event: No to Bush! Another America is possible! (the name given to the march) is also a demonstration of support on the streets of Mar del Plata for the Bolivarian Revolution and its leader, Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez, who is to take part in the protest and is to speak in a mass meeting in the World Stadium, where later on, eminent singer-songwriters like Silvio Rodríguez, Amaury Pérez, Daneil Viglietti, Rally Barrionuevo and Panco Villa, and others, are to raise their voices.

Those attending the demonstration include Pibe de Oro and Diego Armando Maradona, who have reiterated their wish that Argentines deliver an unequivocal message: "Goerge Bush is persona non grata for our peoples!"

From dawn Argentine Channel 23 has been transmitting live the arrival of Maradona, Evo Morales, Miguel Bonaso and other outstanding participants in the Summit at the railroad terminal in Buenos Aires to take the train which will bring them here. Maradona said that he was hoping for a peaceful march, without violence, which would demonstrate to Bush "how much damage he has done to us." Replying to journalists he affirmed: "I love Fidel very much, with all my heart."

The 300-plus Cuban delegates to the 3rd Summit will be on the march in tight ranks alongside their brothers and sisters from the region, moreover defending the America’s right to its much-needed integration, already proposed in the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas (ALBA).

Until late last night the artist members of the Cuban delegation were preparing large banners: one of them with the face of Che accompanied by the flags of the continent.

The demonstrators are to walk almost 30 blocks of the Independence Avenue, from the intersection with Luro Street to the World Stadium. The people who have been meeting over these days in the city, 400 kilometers from Buenos Aires, are to be joined by almost 1,000 more leaving the capital at 6:00 a.m. on the so-called ALBA Train.


Ricardo Alarcón, president of the Cuban National Assembly, who is heading the island delegation, affirmed that what has been happening in the last few days is the real Summit of the Americas, because it is a people’s one; he stressed that the FTAA is moribund and thanked Adolfo Esquivel Pérez for his efforts in developing the event.

Addressing thousands of people attending the Assembly of the Peoples of America in the Polivalente Stadium, Alarcón commented that this Friday’s anti-Bush march will be orderly, disciplined, peaceful and civilized, which is the way of the peoples. War, violence and irrationality, he said, "belong to Bush, not us." He also spoke of the struggle of our people for the liberation of the Five, criticized the bellicose policy of the White House and called on Latin Americans to continue united for their genuine and essential independence.

Mar del Plata teme y rechaza a Mr. Danger

El sentimiento más expresado por el marplatense común es el temor, el miedo, en cualquiera de sus manifestaciones. Por suerte, para la mayoría de estos apacibles ciudadanos acostumbrados a la vida turística de este frió puerto ubicado a 400 Km de la Capital, el miedo tiene un solo culpable: George W. Bush. Y mejor aún: la gente lo ha convertido en una sola actitud: rechazo a él.

Esta sana reacción social es comprensible cuando se vive la sensación de estar en una ciudad sitiada con una cabeza de playa internacional y una vigilancia policial como si hubiera estado de sitio. Ocurre, a pesar del cuidado que pusieron en guardar las apariencias en una ciudad cuyo mayor capital es, precisamente, su apariencia.

Es como los tranquilos habitantes entendieran que si no fuera por la anunciada presencia del presidente estadounidense, Mar del Plata viviría las delicias del mensaje del afiche que hizo imprimir la Municipalidad: “Mar del Plata Ciudad Cumbre”.

Cualquier ciudadano en la calle, en los bares o restaurantes, autobuses, en los pintorescos quioscos de esquina o en los ciber-cafés, cualquiera dice frases como estas que pudimos registrar:

“El problema no son los presidentes, es el presidente Bush que trae los peligros del terrorismo”

“Si no fuera por la presencia de Bush nuestra ciudad seria una fiesta”

“Dicen que puede haber problemas porque viene el presidente de los Estados Unidos”

“Si no fuera por este hijo de puta, no vendrían los piqueteros y los violentos a jodernos la ciudad”

“¿No podrían hacer la cumbre esta sin Bush?”

“Menos mal que vienen Chávez y Maradona así Bush respeta un poco”

Botica ideológica

Como es normal, la gente expresa a través del sentimiento contra el presidente Bush todas sus concepciones, creencias políticas, posiciones sociales, intereses particulares, ilusiones y confusiones a partir de realidades particulares. Vericuetos ideológicos donde la bueno y lo malo se mezclan tal como están mezclados en la realidad gris de sus existencias. Sin embargo, en medio de la madeja ideológica se percibe la identificación de Bush con imágenes como “Torres gemelas”, “Irak”, “terrorismo”, “odio a Chávez” y cosas parecidas.

Uno de los signos más llamativos lo encontramos en los taxistas de la ciudad. Si se hiciera un relevamiento de sus opiniones, posiblemente más del 90 por ciento estaría contra la presencia del fulano yanqui en Mar del Plata. Esto es mucho pedirle a un sector social caracterizado por sus opiniones políticas conservadoras.

Para algunos observadores, este sentimiento tan marcado entre los habitantes anfitriones, nutrirá de muchísima gente la marcha que encabezaran Maradona y las decenas de organizaciones que convocan a la manifestación del viernes. Sin embargo, puede ocurrir lo contrario. Lo que dicen que piensan hacer varios vecinos a los que escuchamos expresiones, es que se guardarán en sus casas con sus familiares “y veremos todo por la tele porque no se sabe que puede pasar”. Ahí esta el secreto.

Zona de exclusión

La vaina (hecho) que más ofende y produce rechazo a Bush entre los marplatenses, es el vallado metálico pertrechado con unos 200 policías bien armados y dispuestos a reprimir, que cubren las 32 bocacalles entre las 61 manzanas convertidas en línea de separación entre lo seguro y lo inseguro. Allí nace la “zona de exclusión” donde permanecerán los presidentes, sus comitivas y la diplomacia de la OEA y los embajadores.

La curiosidad del caso es que la gente de Mar del Plata ha convertido lo seguro en inseguro y viceversa. Las 250 manzanas resguardadas son, para ellos, las más inseguras de la ciudad. Un aporte de la dialéctica de la actual de la lucha política mundial. Todo lo que toque Bush se convierte en riesgo.

La línea quebrada de 62 manzanas que divide la ciudad en dos, se alarga en forma de “L” contra una franja de casi 250 manzanas que se recuestan a la playa de Mar del Plata. Vista en un mapa parece una cabecera de playa en una historia de guerra. Esta “zona de exclusión” está ocupada por fuerzas militares y policiales al mando de un comando unificado donde es visible la presencia del aparato de inteligencia de Estados Unidos.

En esa “zona” ocupada habitan unas 15.000 personas, trabajan otras 3.000 y se concentran los negocios gastronomitos, inmobiliarios, culturales y hoteleros más caros de la ciudad.

Casi 10.000 personas se fueron a zonas vecinas o a casas de familiares en otros barrios. Se fueron por temor. ¿A que? A cualquier cosa de las que simboliza la próxima presencia de Bush, y cada cosa esta relacionada en el imaginario popular con el terror, la guerra, la agresión imperial, aunque no usen esas palabras.

Bien que le viene al presidente estadounidense, el epíteto puesto por el presidente venezolano, Hugo Chávez, en unas de sus salidas graciosas cargadas de anti imperialismo: Hello Mr. Danger. Los marplatenses lo entendieron correctamente.

Cúpula dos Povos começa em Mar de Plata, uma cidade sitiada

Apesar da segurança para os 34 presidentes que participam da Cúpula das Américas, que ocorre dias 4 e 5 em Mar del Plata, 500 organizações sociais mantêm agenda da Cúpula dos Povos contra Bush, que inclui Alca, militarização e OMC. Protestos devem ter presença de Chávez, Maradona e Cindy Sheehan.

A pequena cidade de Mar del Plata, principal destino dos turistas de Buenos Aires no verão, conhecida por suas belas praias, suntuosos cassinos e por ser sede da mais famosa marca argentina de alfajores, a Hawana, está um caos. Escolhida como sede da IV Cúpula das Américas, que reúne, nos próximos dias 4 e 5, 34 presidentes dos continentes americanos, nas últimas semanas virou uma cidade sitiada.

A área onde ocorrem as reuniões presidenciais – cerca de 250 quadras – foi cercada por grades, ninguém entra sem uma credencial especial, incluindo os jornalistas. Cerca de 7 mil agentes federais e da polícia militar argentinos, além de dois mil especialistas em segurança dos serviços secretos americanos, estão postados por todos os lados, nas ruas, nos topos dos prédios, nas praças; helicópteros americanos fazem contínuos sobrevôos da cidade, e, "estacionados" nos aeroportos de Buenos Aires e Mar del Plata, a força aérea americana mantém pelo menos sete de aviões de guerra C-17.

Em Mar del Plata, está tudo pronto para receber chefes de Estado como Owen S. Arthur, de Barbados, ou Baldwin Spencer, de Antigua e Barbuda. E obviamente George W. Bush, dos EUA.

Do outro lado da cidade, distante do mar e dos cassinos, George Bush também tem sido o centro das atenções. Mais de 500 organizações sociais de grande parte dos países americanos iniciam nesta terça (1º) a Cúpula dos Povos, organizada pela Aliança Social Continental (rede de mais de 500 entidades e movimentos da região que lutam contra a Área de Livre Comércio das Américas (Alca), os Tratados de Livre Comércio bi e multilaterais (TLCs) e a militarização estadunidense na América Latina).

A pauta, que deve aprofundar as articulações contra a Alca e os TLCs, pretende definir estratégias de luta pela revisão e o não pagamento das dívidas externas dos países em desenvolvimento e organizar a oposição e as ações dos movimentos sociais para a próxima reunião ministerial da Organização Mundial do Comércio (que ocorrerá em dezembro em Hong Kong). Fóruns setoriais de mulheres, sindicalistas, indígenas, defensores dos direitos humanos, entre outros, também preparam uma grande marcha contra a presença de Bush na Argentina no dia 4.

Manifestação contra Bush

A marcha deve contar com "estrelas" como o ex-jogador Diego Maradona e será encerrada com uma fala do presidente venezuelano Hugo Chávez no conjunto poliesportivo de Mar del Plata e com shows de grandes nomes da música latina, como Silvio Rodríguez, Víctor Heredia e León Gieco. Antes de Chávez, farão uso da palavra a americana Cindy Sheehan, mãe de um soldado de 24 anos morto no Iraque e que se tornou o principal símbolo da oposição à guerra de Bush dentro dos EUA; Ramsey Clark, que liderou a luta contra a guerra de Vietnã na década de 60, e Javier Couso, irmão do jornalista espanhol assassinado em Bagdá em 2003 pelas tropas norte-americanas que bombardearam o hotel Palestine.

Segundo avaliação preliminar dos organizadores, o protesto deve reunir cerca de 50 mil ativistas. O jornal Pagina 12 informou que Maradona, o deputado Miguel Bonasso e o cineasta bósnio Emir Kusturica, além de "outras 150 personalidades", virão de trem. Outra caravana de cerca de mil ônibus trará dirigentes sociais e políticos de vários partidos, que se juntarão aos participantes da Cúpula dos Povos.

Construir alternativas é o principal desafio da III Cúpula dos Povos

“Estamos aqui não somente para resistir ou rechaçar as políticas neoliberais. Nosso desafio E construir alternativas a elas”.
Com essa afirmação, Juan González, da Central de Trabalhadores Argentinos (CTA) sintetizou, na tarde de hoje, o principal objetivo da III Cúpula dos Povos, que acontece de 1 a 5 de novembro em Mar del Plata, na Argentina.

Juán ressaltou que a construção de alternativas deve se dar nos quatro eixos de luta defendidos pela Aliança Continental Internacional: contra a militarização, contra os tratados de livre comércio e a favor da autoderminação dos povos, contra a pobreza e a favor de uma outra economia de inserção e crescimento das comunidades. O sindicalista também salientou a importancia de repudiar a presença do presidente dos Estados Unidos George W. Bush, que representa a intenção de dominar e de tornar os povos americanos dependentes.

Adolfo Pérez Esquivel, Prêmio Nobel da Paz e um coordenadores da Cúpula dos Povos, destacou o encontro como um espaço de construção do pensamento de liberdade e de determinação própria da comunidade americana, em contraposição ao pensamento único difundido pelos países dominantes. Esquivel apontou como funções do encontro rechaçar o desaparecimento dos camponeses e das pequenas indústrias nacionais, a militarização e o ingresso de tropas norte-americanas no Paraguai. “Nosso povo não precisa de mais exércitos, ainda mais dos Estados Unidos. Ele precisa de recursos para a saúde, para combater a pobreza. Precisamos de ações para a vida e não para a morte”, falou. O prêmio Nobel ainda destacou a conquista mais recente dos povos americanos, que foi a erradicação do analfabetismo na Venezuela.

Durante a conferência, duas presenças se destacaram: Blanca Chancoso, representante da Confederação da Nacionalidade Indígena do Equador (CONAIE), e Camille Chalmers, do Haiti. Blanca disse que os povos indígenas vieram ao encontro para lutar pelo fim do terrorismo norte- americano de Bush, que “invade e mata os povos americanos”. Já Camille falou da dívida externa dos povos americanos, salientando que são um meio dos países mais ricos controlarem os mais pobres. Ele também comentou sobre a situação haitiana, afirmando que estava na Cúpula para denunciar a presença das tropas estrangeiras no território e a atual conjuntura de miséria do país. “A pobreza que estamos vivendo hoje é produto dos 500 anos de saque e de colonização e das políticas governamentais de liberação dos nossos recursos”, argumentou.

Photos from Mar del Plata

Anti Bush images from Mar del Plata

Latin America prepares to 'say no to Bush'

United States President George Bush left his problems at home on Thursday only to find himself flying into a whole new world of hurt at the Summit of Americas in Argentina, where tens of thousands of protesters, led by the football star and broadcaster Diego Maradona, were due to greet the president in a "say no to Bush" march.

The president can expect an equally unfriendly welcome from some of the leaders and top officials attending the summit in the seaside town of Mar del Plata. Among those he can expect to come face to face with is Hugo Chávez, the outspoken President of Venezuela who has accused the Bush administration of attempting to orchestrate a coup against him and last week said the US was planning to invade his country.

About 10 000 police and security agents have erected a ring of steel around the town, while Argentinian navy vessels have been positioned off the coast. Most commercial flights are due to be suspended once the 34-nation summit begins. But with so many protesters in the area, there are fears that trouble could break out.

Last weekend, small bombs were thrown at several American bank branches and chain-store branches. Maradona has urged viewers of his popular television show to join him in a protest outside the meeting. Argentina's piquetero movement -- made up of protesters known for blocking roads and confronting authorities -- has promised to descend on the resort in force.

Cuba, the only country in the hemisphere not invited to the summit hosted by the Organisation of American States, will be attending a People's Summit in Mar del Plata set up by left-wing groups to counter the official version. Family members of fallen US soldiers in Iraq as well as Iraqi civilians who have suffered at the hands of US troops will also be there.

Chávez, an important ally of Cuba's President Fidel Castro, is due to visit the People's Summit on Friday and give a speech at a basketball stadium timed to coincide with the start of the Summit of Americas.

Before flying there, he said Venezuela would object to any attempt by the US to revive proposals for the creation of Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA), which would overtake the European Union as the world's largest tariff-free zone.

Bush has been a forceful proponent of the idea, but talks have repeatedly stalled, with opponents fearful it would allow corporations to dominate the poor.

"They aren't going to revive it, even if they produce a 10 000-page document," Chávez told the Caracas-based TV channel Telesur.

"Latin America remains the region of most inequalities in the world," Cuban Foreign Minister Felipe Perez Roque told The Associated Press (AP). "The FTAA is just more of the same neo-liberal policies."

On Thursday, government officials at the summit site were still bickering over whether the event's final declaration would include crucial language on when high-level FTAA talks might resume.

Victor Hugo Varsky, an Argentinian representative, said negotiators were advancing very slowly.

"Some countries don't want any mention," he told AP. "Others want to progress towards a trade accord." -- Guardian Unlimited © Guardian Newspapers Limited 2005

The Israeli connection to the Niger and Congo uranium forgeries.

November 4, 2005 -- The Israeli connection to the Niger and Congo uranium forgeries. The neo-cons who are behind the Niger forgeries that were used as justification for the war in Iraq have been aided by former KGB officers who honed their African forgery trade during the Cold War. A number of these KGB officers are now Israeli citizens who are working closely with a special activities unit in Ariel Sharon's office. The former KGB agents, having left the Soviet Union during the 1970s and 1980s when a neo-con cell first nested in Sen. Henry "Scoop" Jackson's office and then migrated to the Pentagon under Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush, now work for Likud and specialize in creating forgeries, especially those attributed to African countries. These Israeli former KGB agents work closely with neocon units in Rome, Washington, and London. The State Department once maintained a full-time office dedicated to proving Soviet generated documents as forgeries. The documents were always easy to detect since the forgeries were crude and the information contained within them was capricious.

The Congo forgeries were overshadowed by the Niger forgeries

Although the focus is on the Niger forgeries, there was another case in which forgeries "proving" Iraq's nuclear ambitions were shopped by the neocons. It received little or no attention.

In July 2002, documents on CIA letterhead were "discovered" in a Nairobi hotel room. They described attempts by Mai Mai guerrillas in Bukavu in the DRC to negotiate the sale of uranium to Saddam Hussein's government. The discovery of the documents in Nairobi came after Wilson, CIA weapons of mass destruction experts -- including Wilson's wife, Valerie Plame Wilson -- the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research, the US ambassador to Niger, and the US European Command in Stuttgart concluded that there was no evidence to support the allegation that Iraq was shopping for nuclear materials in Africa -- a charge later leveled by President Bush in his January 2003 State of the Union address.

The "discovery" of the CIA documents -- clearly forgeries like the Niger documents -- were leaked to the press, including Le Soir in Belgium. Their leak was followed by the release of a British government dossier describing Iraq's attempts to obtain uranium in Africa. The DRC government later produced photocopies of original false Bukavu documents -- on which the bogus CIA documents were based -- offering Iraq (or any other high bidder) 9 kilograms of "superior quality" uranium from Mai Mai units in the eastern DRC. U.S. intelligence sources maintain that the Nairobi and Bukavu documents were crude forgeries produced after then-Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Walter Kansteiner III met with Rwandan President Paul Kagame in Kigali on January 15, 2002. The plan was to blame the DRC for providing uranium to Iraq in an attempt to destabilize Kabila and justify the continued presence of Rwandan troops in eastern DRC. Iraq's complicity in obtaining uranium in DRC would then be bolstered by the Niger "evidence" lending credence to Saddam's nuclear "ambitions."

Kansteiner was assisted in the operation by his deputy, Charles Snyder, a former US Special Forces officer who was involved in covert operations in Sierra Leone and is tied to the neo-conservative elements within the Pentagon. Kagame relies heavily on Israeli and Pentagon security advisers in his eastern Congo military operations.

Former KGB disinformation and forgery experts have also been behind illegal forgery operations tied to the Russian-Israeli Mafia's weapons, diamond, gold, platinum, uranium, and plutonium smuggling operations in other African countries, including Ghana, Nigeria, Togo, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Mozambique, Liberia, Congo (Brazzaville), and Benin.


Forged Niger documents: From Italia with Amore

November 4, 2005 -- Bush's State of the Union contention about uranium based on forged documents. The chief of Italy's SISMI intelligence service, Gen. Nicolo Pollari, revealed before an Italian parliamentary committee that an Italian ex-spy and interlocutor for the Pentagon's Office of Special Plans was the source for forged Niger documents alleging Iraq attempted to procure yellowcake uranium from Niger. It was based on these forgeries that were shopped around by ex- Italian spy Rocco Martino and Pentagon neo-cons that Ambassador Joseph Wilson was dispatched to Niger by the CIA. Wilson also determined the documents were forgeries setting off a chain of events that led to a criminal probe of the White House and a five count indictment of Vice President Dick Cheney's Chief of Staff I. Lewis Libby.

Although the FBI announced it was shutting down its two year investigation of the forgeries on the same day the Italian spy chief made his statement, it is known that much of the evidence collected by the Italians, including a classified parliamentary report, is now in the hands of Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald. Italian Senator Massimo Brutti also stated that SISMI informed the CIA in early 2003 that the Niger documents were forgeries. However, it is also being reported by the Italian media that Pollari provided the Niger documents to the Bush White House knowing they were forgeries and that this was done on the orders of Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.

Cheney was the one who ordered the torture:

On NPR yesterday, the former chief of staff to the secretary of state said that he had uncovered a "visible audit trail" tracing the practice of prisoner abuse by U.S. soldiers directly back to Vice President Cheney’s office.

Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, former chief of staff to Colin Powell, then the secretary of state, told National Public Radio he had traced a trail of memos and directives authorizing questionable detention practices up through Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld’s office directly to Cheney’s staff.

"There was a visible audit trail from the vice president’s office through the secretary of defense, down to the commanders in the field," authorizing practices that led to the abuse of detainees, Wilkerson said. [...]

Washington Post story

Wilkerson also told National Public Radio that Cheney’s office ran an "alternate national security staff" that spied on and undermined the president's formal National Security Council.

He said National Security Council staff stopped sending e-mails when they found out Cheney’s staff members were reading their messages.

A Cheney-Libby Conspiracy, Or Worse? Reading Between the Lines of the Libby Indictment By JOHN W. DEAN

In my last column, I tried to deflate expectations a bit about the likely consequences of the work of Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald; to bring them down to the realistic level at which he was likely to proceed. I warned, for instance, that there might not be any indictments, and Fitzgerald might close up shop as the last days of the grand jury's term elapsed. And I was certain he would only indict if he had a patently clear case.

Now, however, one indictment has been issued -- naming Vice President Cheney's Chief of Staff Lewis "Scooter" Libby as the defendant, and charging false statements, perjury and obstruction of justice. If the indictment is to be believed, the case against Libby is, indeed, a clear one.

Having read the indictment against Libby, I am inclined to believe more will be issued. In fact, I will be stunned if no one else is indicted.

Indeed, when one studies the indictment, and carefully reads the transcript of the press conference, it appears Libby's saga may be only Act Two in a three-act play. And in my view, the person who should be tossing and turning at night, in anticipation of the last act, is the Vice President of the United States, Richard B. Cheney.

The Indictment: Invoking the Espionage Act Unnecessarily

Typically, federal criminal indictments are absolutely bare bones. Just enough to inform a defendant of the charges against him.

For example, the United States Attorney's Manual, which Fitzgerald said he was following, notes that under the Sixth Amendment an accused must "be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation." And Rule 7(c)(1) of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure requires that, "The indictment . . . be a plain, concise and definite written statement of the essential facts constituting the offense charged." That is all.

Federal prosecutors excel at these "plain, concise and definite" statement indictments - drawing on form books and institutional experience in drafting them. Thus, the typical federal indictment is the quintessence of pith: as short and to the point as the circumstances will permit.

Again, Libby is charged with having perjured himself, made false statements, and obstructed justice by lying to FBI agents and the grand jury. A bare-bones indictment would address only these alleged crimes.

"Must-read" article

Drifting Towards a Police State

Did you know that under the terms of the new Patriot Act prosecutors will be able to seek the death penalty in cases where "defendants gave financial support to umbrella organizations without realizing that some of its adherents might eventually commit violence"? (NY Times editorial, October 30, 2005) So, if someone unknowingly gave money to a charity that was connected to a terrorist group, he/she could be executed.

Or, that the Senate Intelligence Committee is fine-tuning the details of a bill that will allow the FBI to secretly procure any of your personal records without "probable cause" or a court order giving them "unchecked authority to pry into personal and business matters"? ("Republicans Seek to Widen FBI Powers," New York Times, October 19, 2005)

Or, that on June 29, President Bush put "a broad swath of the FBI" under his direct control by creating the National Security Service (a.k.a. the "New SS")? This is the first time we’ve had a "secret police" in our 200-year history. It will be run exclusively by the president and beyond the range of congressional oversight.

Y miles marcharon en repudio a Bush

El frió y la pertinaz llovizna, que a ratos se intensificaba, no impidieron que cerca de 20 mil personas integrantes de organizaciones de muy diversa orientación política e ideológica coincidieran en marchar juntas, enarbolando consignas tales como “Bush: vos sos el terrorista”, “No al ALCA y el ‘libre’ comercio”, “No a la militarización de América latina”, y muchas otras que expresan el rechazo al modelo económico, político, social y cultural que el imperialismo norteamericano intenta imponer al mundo.

La marcha desmintió en los hechos la campaña mediática orquestada desde hace semanas para sembrar el miedo y la desconfianza de las personas que habitan esta ciudad y predisponerlos contra los visitantes, al describirlos poco menos que como hordas que venían a saquear y destruir todo a su paso. No hubo ningún incidente en el largo trayecto que recorrieron los manifestantes por toda la avenida independencia, una de las vías principales de la ciudad, desde la avenida Luro y hasta el complejo deportivo. No fue necesaria la presencia de fuerzas policiales, el orden fue mantenido por los propios manifestantes y ni un efectivo policial o militar fue visto en el trayecto, estos estaban en calles paralelas y sobre todo concentrados alrededor del muro metálico que ha segregado la parte de la ciudad donde se celebrara la Cumbre presidencial.

Los comercios permanecían cerrados y protegidos muchos de ellos con maderas o planchas metálicas en sus vidrieras, muchos comentaban en la marcha cuanto habrían podido vender con las calles llenas de personas. Sin embargo hay que decir que pese a la campaña orquestada miles de marplatenses integraban la marcha y que los visitantes hemos sentido la hospitalidad y el espíritu amistoso de los habitantes de este lugar. Los taxis circulaban pese a que las aseguradoras le retiraron la protección por 48 horas.

Consignas, canciones, lectura de fragmentos de la declaración final de la Cumbre de los pueblos, expresiones musicales de la cultura popular latinoamericana y una profusión de carteles, mantas, volantes y banderas, dieron un colorido y fuerza enorme a aquella masa humana que con energía, pero sin agresividad, levantaban sus voces para hacer valer sus derechos, sueños y anhelos mas sentidos.Una presencia fue constante a lo largo de toda la marcha: la imagen del Che,portada en banderolas, mantas, camisas, remeras y publicaciones que se distribuian, son la evidencia de que su ejemplo inmortal sigue alentando a todos los que luchan contra el imperialismo en cualquier parte,y por supuesto en esta tierra que lo vio nacer.

Los manifestantes recibieron a su paso, desde muchos balcones,ventanas y aceras el saludo de familias marplatenses que de esa forma se sumaban también a la protesta.

Al termino del recorrido los manifestantes ingresaron al estadio mundialista para dar inicio al acto de cierre de esta jornada donde se espera la presencia del presidente venezolano Hugo Chávez Frías.

Otros grupos no vinculados a la Cumbre de los Pueblos, anunciaban otras manifestaciones para esta tarde coincidiendo con el inicio de la reunión de presidentes.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Why Do So Many Americans Believe in God and Fundamentalist "Christianity"?

I'm guessing that some of this blog's readers have already purchased the latest Noam Chomsky book - Imperial Ambitions (Metropolitan, 2005) a remarkable set of interviews with Chomsky (2003-2005) conducted by the award winning radio journalist David Barsaniam, who has a special gift for asking evocative questions that bring NC's unmatched brilliance to bear on numerous, urgent, and wide-ranging issues of interrelated contemporary, historical, domestic and global relevance. Somewhere in this excellent collection (currently sitting a few miles from my computer), there’s an interesting exchange on a problem that seems to uncharacteristically baffle the conversants: why there’s so much religious and particularly so much extreme religious belief in the U.S.

It’s a fascinating and important issue in a country whose "messianic militarist" (Ralph Nader’s description) president once invoked "Christ" as his favorite political philosopher ("because he changed my heart") and announced his imperialist war(s) on (of) terror and the Arab world as "a crusade." A friend of school prayer and the death penalty and a religiously based opponent of abortion rights, gay rights, civil rights, evolutionary science, and stem-cell research, Bush is possibly the nation’s most theocratic president to date.

Experts Dismiss Scare Over Bird Flu

If and when it comes to this part of the world, Butcher predicts, it will get here via migratory shorebirds or waterfowl coming from Russia, through Siberia, across the Bering Strait, down through Alaska and Canada."That's how it is probably going to come in, and it is of very little relevance," he said, because the poultry industry in this part of the world is so different than in the parts of the world that have been affected so far.
Gary Butcher has been an extension veterinarian at the University of Florida's College of Veterinary Medicine since 1988. He was trained as a veterinarian specializing in avian diseases, and has a Ph.D. in poultry virology.

Realistically, avian influenza is not a threat to people, but everywhere you go, it has turned into a circus

Stealing Veteran's Day from the Militarists by Mickey Z.

In a society where "support the troops" is little more than a euphemism for "support the policy," the concept of setting aside a day to celebrate military veterans has always been touchy for the Left. But here's an idea: what if we instead honored veterans of the anti-war movement? I mean those -- from Eugene Debs and Helen Keller to the Berrigans, right up to Cindy Sheehan -- who put their ass on the line to stop war...not wage it. To add a twist, how about military veterans who have since become veterans of the anti-war movement, e.g. Howard Zinn, Stan Goff, Ward Churchill, and Rosemarie Jackowski?

Even better, if you truly want to acknowledge bravery in the line of fire, why not find more heroes like Hugh Clowers Thompson, Jr.?

Thompson arrived in Vietnam on December 27, 1967 and quickly earned a reputation as "an exceptional (helicopter) pilot who took danger in his stride." In their book, Four Hours at My Lai, Michael Bilton and Kevin Sim also describe Thompson as a "very moral man. He was absolutely strict about opening fire only on clearly defined targets." On the morning of March 16, 1968, Thompson's sense of virtue would be put to the test.

Flying in his H-23 observation chopper, the 25-year-old Thompson used green smoke to mark wounded people on the ground in and around My Lai. Upon returning a short while later after refueling, he found that the wounded he saw earlier were now dead. Thompson's gunner, Lawrence Colburn, averted his gaze from the gruesome sight.

After bringing the chopper down to a standstill hover, Thompson and his crew came upon a young woman they had previously marked with smoke. As they watched, a U.S. soldier, wearing captain's bars, "prodded her with his foot, and then killed her."

Unbeknownst to Thompson at that point, more than 560 Vietnamese had already been slaughtered by Lt. William Calley's Charlie Company. All Thompson knew for sure was that the U.S. troops he then saw pursuing civilians had to be stopped.

Bravely, landing his helicopter between the charging GIs and the fleeing villagers, Thompson ordered Colburn to turn his machine gun on the American soldiers if they tried to shoot the unarmed men, women, and children. Thompson then stepped out of the chopper into the combat zone and coaxed the frightened civilians from the bunker they were hiding in. With tears streaming down his face, he evacuated them to safety.

Officially termed an "incident" (as a opposed to a "massacre") My Lai has been widely accepted as an aberration. While the record of U.S. war crimes in Southeast Asia is far too lengthy to detail here, it's clear that was not the case. In fact, on the very same day that Lt. Calley entered into infamy (he later explained: "We weren't there to kill human beings, really. We were there to kill ideology"), another company entered My Khe, a sister sub-hamlet of My Lai. That visit was described as such: "In this 'other massacre,' members of this separate company piled up a body count of perhaps a hundred peasants -- My Khe was smaller than My Lai -- 'flattened the village' by dynamite and fire, and then threw handfuls of straw on corpses. The next morning, this company moved on down the Batangan Peninsula by the South China Sea, burning every hamlet they came to, killing water buffalo, pigs, chickens, ducks, and destroying crops. As one of the My Khe veterans said later, 'what we were doing was being done all over.' Said another: 'We were out there having a good time. It was sort of like being in a shooting gallery.'"

Colonel Oran Henderson, charged with covering-up the My Lai killings, put it succinctly in 1971. "Every unit of brigade size has its My Lai hidden someplace." But not every unit had a Hugh Thompson.

This Veteran's Day, let's hear it for those brave souls who do the end the fighting.

Mickey Z. can be found on the Web at: This essay is excerpted in part from his new book, 50 American Revolutions You're Not Supposed to Know: Reclaiming American Patriotism (Disinformation Books).

The Senate’s Closed Session: Nothing But a Democratic Sham

Oh, what a farce it was. On Tuesday November 1, the Senate Democrats pulled a rare maneuver, kicked the press and the public out of their hallowed chambers, slammed the doors, and for 3-1/2 long hours purportedly took the Republicans to task. The Democrats demanded that the Republicans give them what was promised: an investigation into the Bush administration’s misuse of intelligence leading up to the invasion of Iraq.

It sounds noble enough, and predictably their act, which was led by Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada, has been praised by a flurry of antiwar pundits and bloggers who claim the Democratic Party must finally be warming up to their side of the war question.

But just because something sounds noble, doesn't mean it is.

Writing for The Nation online, John Nichols opined, "Remarkable as it may sound, there is reason to believe that Congressional Democrats may finally be waking from their long slumber and stirring into a functional opposition party ... [Reid] merits the high praise of being referred to not as a Democrat or a Republican but as the leader of the opposition that this country has so sorely needed."

Opposition to what? Calling for an investigation into how the Bush administration manipulated the public (forget that the Democratic leadership throughout the1990s until, well, November 1, were propagating the same lies about Saddam’s threat) isn’t called "leadership", let alone the makings of a "functional opposition party," as Nichols believes. It was all just a silly ruse. The Democrats certainly know how the Republicans misrepresented and inflated intelligence about Saddam's WMD.

But there is a much bigger charade going on here that most have missed: despite their newly found tenacity, the Democrats still have not taken a sound position on the war in Iraq.

Unembedded Reporting From Iraq: An Interview with Dahr Jamail

In 2003, tired of the US media's inaccurate portrayal of the realities of the Iraq War, independent journalist Dahr Jamail headed to the conflict himself. Instead of following in the footsteps of mainstream media's embedded, "Hotel Journalists," Jamail hit the Iraqi streets to uncover the stories most reporters were missing. His countless interviews with Iraqi citizens and from-the-ground reporting have offered a horrific look into the bowels of the US occupation. From covering the bloody siege of Falluja to breaking a story on Bechtel's failure to reconstruct water treatment plants, his writing and photographs depict an Iraq that is much worse off now than it was before the US invasion. As one Abu Ghraib detainee explained to Jamail, "the Americans brought electricity to my ass before they brought it to my house."

Varieties of Imperial Aggression: The Andean Trade Treaties

When the UN received the recent Mehlis report on the murder of former Lebanese President Rafik Hariri, one suggested tribunal for a possible prosecution was the International Criminal Court. (1) Rejecting such a proposal, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rica remarked, “Everyone knows the United States’ view of the international criminal court.... That view is not going to change.” Rice is on sure ground when she notes most people know why the United States rejects the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court. She and her colleagues would soon be in the dock if a US government ever recognized the competence of such a tribunal.

Recently, two foreign courts issued warrants for the arrest of US government personnel protected, in common with terrorists like Luis Posada Carriles, by the US authorities. In September this year, Italian judges in Milan ordered the arrest on kidnapping charges of three CIA agents including Betnie Medero-Navedo, currently First Secretary at the US embassy in Mexico. (2) In October, Spanish judges issued arrest warrants for three US soldiers -- Sergeant Thomas Gibson, Captain Philip Wolford and Lieutenant-Colonel Philip De Camp -- accused of the murder of Spanish cameraman Jose Couso in Baghdad during the invasion of Iraq in 2003. (3)

The US government's persistent refusal to recognize inconvenient international law is the fundamental basis for every aspect of United States foreign policy. In practice, the European Union and other US allies like Canada and Japan consistently support US government delinquency by regularly failing to effectively challenge US government breaches of customary international law. As often as not, as in Haiti and now Syria, European Union officials collaborate actively in US power plays. Translated to the trade arena, a good example of the US-EU consensus on justice in international trade was the sabotage of the world trade talks at Cancun in 2003. Then US and EU trade representatives Robert Zoellick and Pascal Lamy threw out less developed countries' proposals for a fairer global commercial framework.

The Libby Affair and the Internal War

The national debate, which the indictment of Irving Lewis Libby for perjury and obstruction of justice has aroused in the mass media, has failed to address the most basic questions concerning the deep structural context, which influenced his felonious behavior. The most superficial explanation was that Libby, by exposing Valerie Plame (a CIA employee), acted out of revenge to punish her husband Wilson for exposing the lies put forth by Bush about Iraq's "importation" of uranium from Niger. Other journalists claim that Libby acted to cover up the fabrications to go to war. The assertion however raises a deeper question -- who were the fabricators of war propaganda, who was Libby protecting? And not only the "fabricators of war", but the strategic planners, speech-makers and architects of war who acted hand in hand with the propagandists and the journalists who disseminated the propaganda? What is the link between all these high- level functionaries, propagandists and journalists?

Equally important given the positions of power which this cabal occupied, and the influence they exercised in the mass media as well as in designing strategic policy, what forces were engaged in bringing criminal charges against a key operative of the cabal?

Libby's rise to power was part and parcel of the ascendancy of the neo-conservatives to the summits of US policymaking. Libby was a student, protégé, and collaborator with Paul Wolfowitz for over 25 years. Libby along with Wolfowitz, Elliot Abrams, Douglas Feith, Kagan, Cohen, Rubin, Pollack, Chertoff, Fleisher, Kristol, Marc Grossman, Shumsky and a host of other political operators were long term believers and aggressive proponents of a virulently militaristic tendency of Zionism linked with the rightwing Likud Party of Israel. Early in the 1980's, Wolfowitz and Feith were charged with passing confidential documents to Israel, the latter temporarily losing his security clearance.

Secrets and Shame

Ultimately the whole truth will come out and historians will have their say, and Americans will look in the mirror and be ashamed.

Abraham Lincoln spoke of the "better angels" of our nature. George W. Bush will have none of that. He’s set his sights much, much lower.

The latest story from the Dante-esque depths of this administration was front-page news in The Washington Post yesterday. The reporter, Dana Priest, gave us the best glimpse yet of the extent of the secret network of prisons in which the C.I.A. has been hiding and interrogating terror suspects. The network includes a facility at a Soviet-era compound in Eastern Europe.

"The hidden global internment network is a central element in the C.I.A.’s unconventional war on terrorism," wrote Ms. Priest. "It depends on the cooperation of foreign intelligence services, and on keeping even basic information about the system secret from the public, foreign officials and nearly all members of Congress charged with overseeing the C.I.A.'s covert actions."

The individuals held in these prisons have been deprived of all rights. They don’t even have the basic minimum safeguards of prisoners of war. If they are being tortured or otherwise abused, there is no way for the outside world to know about it. If some mistake has been made and they are, in fact, innocent of wrongdoing - too bad.

Wayne Madsen Rerport

November 3, 2005 -- Open letter to Patrick Fitzgerald from one-time James Bath (Dubya's Texas Air National Guard and partner) business associate:

CIA-run secret prison camps AND Karl Rove's home in Rosemary Beach in Walton County

From Wayne Madsen Report

November 3, 2005 -- The leak of information about a network of CIA-run secret prison camps ("black" sites) in a number of countries, including Afghanistan, Thailand, Cuba (Guantanamo Bay), and six Eastern European countries is another indication that the intelligence agency's rank-and-file are critical of draconian methods, including the CIA's "Enhanced Interrogation Techniques," to glean intelligence from suspected terrorists. The part of the CIA that has not yet been purged CIA Director Porter Goss is in open warfare against the neo-cons, according to one CIA agent who spoke on the condition of anonymity. U.S. officials claim the names of the Eastern European countries are being withheld because releasing them would hurt U.S. "counter terrorism" operations in the countries. The truth is that the names are being withheld to prevent an investigation by the European Court of Human Rights and European Union Human Rights Commission. Nevertheless, the European Union is now investigating the secret prisons. The likely locations of the secret prisons, according to informed sources, are Poland, Romania, Macedonia, Albania, Bulgaria, and Croatia.


November 3, 2005 -- More on Karl Rove's under-assessed house in Florida. As reported by WMR on October 29, Karl Rove's home in Rosemary Beach in Walton County, Florida seems to be one of the few houses in America that has depreciated in value. While it was bought for $165,000 in 2002, it has been assessed three years later at only $155,000. Other similar homes in the area are being assessed at $350,000 and higher. Is Rove a tax scofflaw courtesy of the man sitting in the Governor's mansion in Tallahassee?

Bush's Increasing Mental Lapses and Temper Tantrums Worry White House Aides

An uncivil war rages inside the walls of the West Wing of the White House, a bitter, acrimonious war driven by a failed agenda, destroyed credibility, dwindling public support and a President who lapses into Alzheimer-like periods of incoherent babbling.

On one side are the dwindling numbers of die-hard loyalists to President George W. Bush, those who support his actions and decisions without question and remain committed to both Bush and scandal-scarred political advisor Karl Rove.

On the other side are the increasing numbers of those who say Rove must go and who worry about the President's declining mental state and his ability to restore credibility with Congress, our foreign allies and the American people.

The war erupted into full-blown shout fests at Camp David this past weekend where decorum broke down in staff meetings and longtime aides threatened to quit unless Rove goes. Insiders say Chief of Staff Andrew Card now leads the anti-Rove legions and has told Bush that he wants out of the high-pressure job.

White House staff members say the White House is "like a wartime bunker" where shell-shocked aides hide from those who disagree with their actions and office pools speculate on how long certain senior aides will last.

Argentine Protest

Buenos Aires. Anti-US protesters are planning a mass demonstration against President George W. Bush's visit to Argentina this week for the Summit of the Americas in the seaside resort of Mar del Plata.

Luis D'Elía, who heads one of the country's so-called piquetero movements - leftwing groups of disaffected unemployed - said the protest would bring together up to 100,000 people and would include popular figures such as Diego Maradona, the former Argentine soccer star.

"The idea is to show the victims of imperialism," Mr D'Elía said yesterday. "We want to put a stop to Bush's military build-up and his persistent threats of invasion around the world."

Family members of fallen US soldiers in Iraq would attend as well as Iraqi civilians who had suffered at the hands of US troops. But he said the centrepiece of Friday's protests would be a speech by Hugo Chávez, the radical Venezuelan president, which is scheduled for 1pm on Friday to coincide with the official start of the summit.

Mr D'Elía said the protest would also reject the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA), the ailing trade initiative that diplomats say the US will try to revive during the two-day summit. "The FTAA would wipe out our industry and exclude 82 per cent of our exports. We have already seen the results of imperialist economic policy, and in Argentina it destroyed our wealth," he said, referring to the financial chaos that shook the country in December 2001.

The march, together with other protests to mark Mr Bush's first visit to Argentina and rallies in support of Mr Chávez, have forced local authorities to mount the most intense security operation ever seen in the country's history.

An extra 7,000 police have been deployed on the normally calm streets of Mar del Plata, a 176km no-fly zone has been established with orders to shoot down any unauthorised aircraft, and three concentric circles of imposing metal fencing have been erected around the centre with highly restricted access.

"We have been imprisoned," said one resident yesterday morning.

Yet Mr D'Elía insisted that despite Argentines' strong anti-US sentiment -- according to a newspaper poll almost 60 per cent of the population dispprove of Mr Bush's visit -- there would be no violence during Friday's march.

Chavez Restyles Venezuela With '21st-Century Socialism'

CARACAS, Venezuela - Firmly in power and his revolution now in overdrive, President Hugo Chavez is moving fast to transform Venezuela's economy by bucking free-market planning with what he calls 21st-century socialism: founding state companies, seizing abandoned private factories and establishing thousands of cooperatives and worker-run businesses.

The populist government is reorganizing the country's colossal oil industry, taking a bigger share from private multinationals. Planners are reorganizing the banking system, placing stringent restrictions on lending while creating state banks. Venezuela is also developing a state-to-state barter system to trade items as varied as cattle, oil and cement as far away as Argentina and as near as Cuba, its closest ally.

"It's impossible for capitalism to achieve our goals, nor is it possible to search for an intermediate way," Mr. Chavez said a few months ago, laying out his plans. "I invite all Venezuelans to march together on the path of socialism of the new century."

'In India we are at the moment witnessing a sort of fusion between corporate capitalism and feudalism - it's a deadly cocktail'

Arundhati Roy in conversation with Amit Sengupta

In Intellectual Engagement: Arundhati Roy

I start with an old question: When Tehelka was being cornered you had said there should be a Noam Chomsky in India. Later you had once told me that 'I am not an activist'. What is this idea of Noam Chomsky in a context like India?

I think essentially that whether it is an issue like Tehelka being hounded or all the other issues that plague us, much of the critical response is an analysis of symptoms; it’s not radical. Most of the time it does not really question how democracy dovetails into majoritarianism which edges towards fascism, or what the connections are between this kind of 'new democracy' and corporate globalisation, repression, militancy and war. What is the connection between corruption and power?

At one point when the Tehelka expose happened, I thought, thank God the BJP is corrupt, thank God someone’s taken money, imagine if they had been incorruptible, only ideological, it would have been so much more frightening. To me, pristine ideological battles are really more frightening.

In India we are at the moment witnessing a sort of fusion between corporate capitalism and feudalism - it's a deadly cocktail. We see it unfolding before our eyes. Sometimes it looks as though the result of all this will be a twisted implementation of the rural employment guarantee act. Half the population will become Naxalites and the other half will join the security forces and what Bush said will come true. Everyone will have to choose whether they're with "us" or with the "terrorists". We will live in an elaborately administered tyranny.

Chavez sharpens rhetoric for Bush duel at Summit of the Americas

CARACAS, Venezuela (AFP): Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is loudly gearing up for his next big battle with the United States, this time up close and personal with President George W. Bush at the Summit of the Americas.

Frequently seen as heir-apparent of anti-American imperialism crusader Fidel Castro of Cuba, who will be absent from the summit in Argentina this week, Chavez has unabashedly declared his intention to use the public forum to promote "21st century socialism."

"I see it already. The debate at Mar del Plata will be delicious," Chavez said on his weekly Sunday television show, "Hello President".