Saturday, December 03, 2005

Mission Accomplished: Big Oil's Occupation of Iraq

The Bush administration’s covert plan to help energy companies steal Iraq’s oil could be just weeks away from fruition, and the implications are staggering: continued price-gouging by Big Oil, increased subjugation of the Iraqi people, more US troops in Iraq, and a greater likelihood for a US invasion of Iran.

That’s just for starters.

The administration’s challenge has been how to transfer Iraq’s oil assets to private companies under the cloak of legitimacy, yet simultaneously keep prices inflated.

But Bush & Co. and their Big Oil cronies might have found a simple yet devious solution: production sharing agreements (PSAs).

Here’s how PSAs work. In return for investment in areas where fields are small and results are uncertain, governments occasionally grant oil companies sweetheart deals guaranteeing high profit margins and protection from exploration risks. The country officially retains ownership of its oil resources, but the contractual agreements are often so rigid and severe that in practical terms, it can be the equivalent of giving away the deed to the farm.

Since Iraq sits on the world’s third largest oil reserves, the PSA model makes little sense in the first place; Iraq’s fields are enormous and the exploration risks are accordingly miniscule, so direct national investment or more equitable forms of foreign investment would be in order. But as a comprehensive new
report by the London-based advocacy group PLATFORM details, the PSA model “is on course to be adopted in Iraq, soon after the December elections, with no public debate and at enormous potential cost.”

PLATFORM’s “Crude Designs: The Rip-off of Iraq’s Oil Wealth” points out that the proposed agreements (with US State Department origins) will prove a bonanza for oil companies but a disaster for the Iraqi people:

- “At an oil price of $40 per barrel, Iraq stands to lose between $74 billion and $194 billion over the lifetime of the proposed contracts, from only the first 12 oilfields to be developed. These estimates, based on conservative assumptions, represent between two and seven times the current Iraqi
government budget.”

- “Under the likely terms of the contracts, oil company rates of return from investing in Iraq would range from 42% to 162%, far in excess of usual industry minimum target of around 12% return on investment.”

Of course, given the current political chaos, Iraqi citizens have little power over whether their politicians sign the proposed PSA agreements. That critical decision could be left to con-men like the former Interim Oil Minister Ahmad Chalabi, who recently met with no less than Cheney, Rumsfeld and Rice during
his red-carpet visit to the White House. One can assume the topic of Iraq’s proposed PSAs came up more than once.

Chalabi’s successor as Oil Minister, Ibrahim Mohammad Bahr al-Uloum, is expected to toe the corporate line, and Iraq’s former Interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi issued post-invasion guidelines stating: “The Iraqi authorities should not spend time negotiating the best possible deals with the oil companies; instead they should proceed quickly, agreeing to whatever terms the companies will accept, with a possibility of renegotiation later.”

But PSAs are notoriously hard to renegotiate. According to PLATFORM, “under PSAs future Iraqi governments would be prevented from changing tax rates or introducing stricter laws or regulations relating to labour standards, workplace safety, community relations, environment or other issues.” The Iraqi people would be locked into inflexible agreements spanning 25-40 years with disputes solved by corporate-friendly international arbitration tribunals, rather than by national courts.

Is that really the same thing as liberation?

According to Greg Muttitt, co-author and lead researcher of the “Crude Designs” report, “for all the US administration's talk of creating a democracy in Iraq, in fact, their heavy pushing of PSAs stands to deprive Iraq of democratic control of its most important natural resource. I would even go further: the
USA, Britain and the oil companies seem to be taking advantage of the weakness of Iraq's new institutions of government, and of the terrible violence in the country, by pushing Iraq to sign deals in this weak state, whose terms would last for decades. The chances of Iraq getting a good deal for its people in these circumstances are minimal; the prospect of mega-profitable deals for multinational oil companies is fairly assured.”

Of course, ongoing oil exploration in Iraq by administration-friendly companies would require permanent US bases, a massive ongoing troop presence and billions more in taxpayer-dollar subsidies to sleazy outfits like Halliburton.

The implications of all of this for domestic oil prices is unclear. While neo-conservatives initially pushed for privatizing Iraq’s oil reserves as a way of destroying OPEC (they wanted to boost production and flood world markets with cheap oil) the administration seems to have taken a more corporate-friendly stance. After all, the last thing oil executives want is to break OPEC’s stranglehold on pricing, because keeping supply low has delivered record profits.

But the “National Strategy for Victory in Iraq” which Bush released this week as part of his pro-occupation PR blitz lists a surprising goal: “facilitating investment in Iraq’s oil sector to increase production from the current 2.1 million barrels per day to more than 5 million per day.” OPEC’s quota for Iraq currently sits at around 4 million barrels per day, so the administration’s goal is not only significantly higher, but (at “more than 5 million”) a little too open-ended for the cartel’s comfort. Could be that Bush & Co. want to have their cake and eat it too: tighten the screws on OPEC, yet continue to rip off consumers through elevated prices.

The whole PSA affair may also stoke the fires for a US invasion of Iran, which sits on oil reserves even greater than those of Iraq.

Tehran already is on the administration’s hit list, less for its nuclear aspirations than for its plans to open a euro-based international oil-trading market in early 2006. Iran’s oil “bourse” would compete with the likes of New York’s NYMEX and provide OPEC the opportunity to snub the greenback in favor of “petroeuros,” a development the administration will avoid at all costs. So if the PSA model is adopted in Iraq, it would provide a clear precedent for implementing it in Iran too, and hand the administration another reason to start the next invasion.

Heather Wokusch can be reached via her website: She’s been on an extended book-writing sabbatical, but will be up and ranting on a regular basis in early 2006.

The War on Al Jazeera

What to do when the war you crafted starts getting bad press? According to a recently leaked memo, Bush would have liked to shoot the messenger -- literally.

Nothing puts the lie to the Bush Administration's absurd claim that it invaded Iraq to spread democracy throughout the Middle East more decisively than its ceaseless attacks on Al Jazeera, the institution that has done more than any other to break the stranglehold over information previously held by authoritarian forces, whether monarchs, military strongmen, occupiers or ayatollahs.

The United States bombed its offices in Afghanistan in 2001, shelled the Basra hotel where Al Jazeera journalists were the only guests in April 2003, killed Iraq correspondent Tareq Ayoub a few days later in Baghdad and imprisoned several Al Jazeera reporters (including at Guantánamo), some of whom say they were tortured. In addition to the military attacks, the US-backed Iraqi government banned the network from reporting in Iraq.

Then in late November came a startling development: Britain's Daily Mirror reported that during an April 2004 White House meeting with British Prime Minister Tony Blair, George W. Bush floated the idea of bombing Al Jazeera's international headquarters in Qatar. This allegation was based on leaked "Top Secret" minutes of the Bush-Blair summit.

All the King's Media

Amid the smoke and stench of burning careers, Washington feels a bit like the last days of the ancien régime. As the world's finest democracy, we do not do guillotines. But there are other less bloody rituals of humiliation, designed to reassure the populace that order is restored, the Republic cleansed. Let the perp walks begin. Whether the public feels reassured is another matter.

George W. Bush's plight leads me to thoughts of Louis XV and his royal court in the eighteenth century. Politics may not have changed as much as modern pretensions assume. Like Bush, the French king was quite popular until he was scorned, stubbornly self-certain in his exercise of power yet strangely submissive to manipulation by his courtiers. Like Louis Quinze, our American magistrate (whose own position was secured through court intrigues, not elections) has lost the "royal touch." Certain influential cliques openly jeer the leader they not so long ago extolled; others gossip about royal tantrums and other symptoms of lost direction. The accusations stalking his important counselors and assembly leaders might even send some of them to jail. These political upsets might matter less if the government were not so inept at fulfilling its routine obligations, like storm relief. The king's sorry war drags on without resolution, with people still arguing over why exactly he started it. The staff of life--oil, not bread--has become punishingly expensive. The government is broke, borrowing formidable sums from rival nations. The king pretends nothing has changed.

The burnt odor in Washington is from the disintegrating authority of the governing classes. The public's darkest suspicions seem confirmed. Flagrant money corruption, deceitful communication of public plans and purposes, shocking incompetence--take your pick, all are involved. None are new to American politics, but they are potently fused in the present circumstances. A recent survey in Wisconsin found that only 6 percent of citizens believe their elected representatives serve the public interest. If they think that of state and local officials, what must they think of Washington?

All the King's Media

Amid the smoke and stench of burning careers, Washington feels a bit like the last days of the ancien régime. As the world's finest democracy, we do not do guillotines. But there are other less bloody rituals of humiliation, designed to reassure the populace that order is restored, the Republic cleansed. Let the perp walks begin. Whether the public feels reassured is another matter.

George W. Bush's plight leads me to thoughts of Louis XV and his royal court in the eighteenth century. Politics may not have changed as much as modern pretensions assume. Like Bush, the French king was quite popular until he was scorned, stubbornly self-certain in his exercise of power yet strangely submissive to manipulation by his courtiers. Like Louis Quinze, our American magistrate (whose own position was secured through court intrigues, not elections) has lost the "royal touch." Certain influential cliques openly jeer the leader they not so long ago extolled; others gossip about royal tantrums and other symptoms of lost direction. The accusations stalking his important counselors and assembly leaders might even send some of them to jail. These political upsets might matter less if the government were not so inept at fulfilling its routine obligations, like storm relief. The king's sorry war drags on without resolution, with people still arguing over why exactly he started it. The staff of life--oil, not bread--has become punishingly expensive. The government is broke, borrowing formidable sums from rival nations. The king pretends nothing has changed.

The burnt odor in Washington is from the disintegrating authority of the governing classes. The public's darkest suspicions seem confirmed. Flagrant money corruption, deceitful communication of public plans and purposes, shocking incompetence--take your pick, all are involved. None are new to American politics, but they are potently fused in the present circumstances. A recent survey in Wisconsin found that only 6 percent of citizens believe their elected representatives serve the public interest. If they think that of state and local officials, what must they think of Washington?

It's propaganda (shock, horror)!

The news of a US military operation that pays Iraqi newspapers to run stories written by "information operations" troops about how wonderfully things are going in the war should not come as a shock.

Even before the Iraq invasion, the Pentagon planned to create its own in-house propaganda and disinformation operation, to be called the Office of Strategic Influence. The program was supposedly killed after critics pointed out how easily the phony news it created could drift back into the domestic media.

Nevertheless, the occupation of Iraq has put the Pentagon in the "strategic influence" business in a big way, with its own TV news operation (the Pentagon Channel), a then-coalition-controlled Iraqi TV and radio network (now nominally in the hands of the Iraqi government, but still powered by Pentagon dollars and run by a US vendor) and millions of dollars to hire public relations firms and consultants to spin the coalition's propaganda to the Iraqi people.

In fact, paying off the Iraqi media to run good news mirrors what the Bush administration has been doing at home.

For example, in the past year it was revealed that the Bush administration paid nearly a quarter of a million dollars to a prominent conservative commentator, Armstrong Williams, to promote a new education law that had been strongly supported by President George W Bush. The Education Department paid a public relations firm for a video that promoted the law and appeared as a news story, without making clear the reporter was hired as part of the deal.

Similarly, some-time reporter and $200-an-hour gay escort, James Guckert, aka Jeff Gannon, violated a ban on "fake" news stories by reprinting White House news releases verbatim.

US civil rights group to sue CIA

A US civil rights groups says it is taking the CIA to court to stop the transportation of terror suspects to countries outside US legal authority.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) says the intelligence agency has broken both US and international law.

It is acting for a man allegedly flown to a secret CIA prison in Afghanistan.

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice says she'll comment on recent reports of alleged CIA prisons abroad before starting a visit to Europe on Monday.

Ms Rice has said she will provide an answer to a EU letter expressing concern over reports last month alleging the US intelligence agency was using secret jails - particularly in eastern Europe.

'Extraordinary rendition'

"The lawsuit will charge that CIA officials at the highest level violated US and universal human rights laws when they authorised agents to abduct an innocent man, detain him incommunicado, beat him, drug and transport him to a secret CIA prison in Afghanistan," the ACLU said in a news release.

The release identified the jail as the "Salt Pit".

The group did not provide the name or nationality of the plaintiff, saying only that he would appear at a news conference next week to reveal details of the lawsuit.

The ACLU also wants to name corporations which it accuses of owning and operating the aircraft used to transport detainees secretly from country to country.

The highly secretive process is known as "extraordinary rendition" whereby intelligence agencies move and interrogate terrorism suspects outside the US, where they have no American legal protection.

It has become extremely controversial, the BBC's Adam Brookes in Washington reports.

Some individuals have claimed they were flown by the CIA to countries like Syria and Egypt, where they were tortured.

The US government and its intelligence agencies maintain that all their operations are conducted within the law and they will no doubt fight this case vigorously, our correspondent says.

He says they will not want to see US intelligence officers forced publicly to defend their actions and they will not want to see one of their most secret procedures laid bare in open court.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Republican Sex Freaks

What would the corporate media say if a powerful Democrat wrote a novel about children having sex with animals? Thanks to that party’s incompetence there aren’t any powerful Dems these days, but we can imagine the outcry. Fox News would have a week long expose on Democratic depravity. Potentate pundits would lament the Democrats inability to connect with Christians in the heartland.

Lewis Libby was until recently a very powerful Republican. He was Vice President Cheney’s chief of staff until he was indicted for obstructing justice and lying to a grand jury. He also fantasizes about little girls and bears.

In his novel, The Apprentice, Libby imagined a caged bear having sex with children.
"At age ten the madam put the child in a cage with a bear trained to couple with young girls so the girls would be frigid and not fall in love with their patrons. They fed her through the bars and aroused the bear with a stick when it seemed to lose interest."

Libby is obviously a freak. Only a freak would be able to imagine girls and bears and then put pen to paper and write about it. Libby is clearly a sick, depraved man who shouldn’t be trusted around children, or bears either for that matter. It isn’t surprising that people who fantasizes about a combination of bestiality and pedophilia are also intent on waging an endless war on the rest of the planet and another war on the dispossessed here at home.

Lewis Libby has exposed some very disturbing themes that are always present in right wing thinking. This is a group that is obsessed with sex, and that has very strange issues with women. Dr. W. David Hager was the Bush appointee in the Food and Drug Administration responsible for reproductive health issues. He held that position until his ex-wife revealed that he forced her to have anal intercourse over a period of many years.

Is the U.S. at war because of sexual depravity and sexual repression? What does the mind of Lewis Libby tell us about the actions of the Bushmen? Will bear sex be the new method of torture at Guantanamo?

The Bush administration is perverse in so many ways it is difficult to count them all. It is allowed to be perverse because the corporate media allow them to lie. Libby’s novel has been described as “racy" or “steamy." Those words are woefully inadequate in describing pedophilia and bestiality. The same people who couldn’t tell us enough about Monica Lewinsky and Bill Clinton are oddly silent when the right wing put their sickness in print for all to see.

The freak show doesn’t end with Libby. There is a cabal of closeted gays in the White House who get gigs for gay prostitutes but who also craft anti-gay political strategies. The Bushies claim to be good Christians but also proclaim their intention to keep killing in an endless war and argue in court to maintain the right to kidnap and torture.

The sick freakishness of Libby and whoever put a gay prostitute in the press room makes one long for a more basic, semi-logical insanity. Donald Rumsfeld recently exhibited the most typical Bush team craziness on ABC’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos.

STEPHANOPOULOS: If you had known that no weapons of mass destruction would be found, would you have advocated invasion?

RUMSFELD: I didn't advocate invasion.


RUMSFELD: No, I wasn't asked.

Just to make sure he left no fanciful stone unturned, Rummy added, “I agreed completely with the decision to go to war and have said that a hundred times."

Rummy is running for cover because only the right wing base are still true believers in the neocon plot to occupy Iraq. It is crazy for the Secretary of Defense to say that he was against an invasion that he publicly called for many times, but at least he hasn’t come up with any bizarre sexual fantasies. In the face of grotesque sickness we must now praise Rummy’s butt-covering delusions.

The Bushies have proven their disdain for people of color, whether they are in New Orleans or Iraq. We also know that they hate women and aren’t terribly fond of children either. If people of color, women, and children are all considered inferior beings, then only white men are worthy of consideration. Everyone else gets screwed, hopefully not by bears.

Libby’s fantasy world may be among the most extreme, but then again perhaps it isn’t. The actions of his clique indicate that they all pine away for the days when they could dominate whomever they wanted in whatever way they wanted. His novel is just another way to express the awful fantasies they have managed to make real.

Brazil and Argentina support Bolivia’s Morales

Brazil Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and Argentina Nestor Kirchner praised Wednesday Bolivian Indian leader Evo Morales whom opinion polls identify as the front-runner for the December 18 general election in his country.

Meeting in the border town of Puerto Iguazu, President Lula da Silva said that "At no moment in history have we enjoyed the opportunity of having a South America completely devoted to its people".

The Brazilian president went on to say: “imagine what Chavez's election meant for Venezuela. Imagine what it would mean if Evo Morales won Bolivia’s election”.

"These are extraordinary events that not even the most talented political scientists could have ever written about it or even less forecasted”, he added.

And turning to President Kirchner, "I’m certain that what you are doing in Argentina is evidence of leadership and progress, having more people committed to help people to advance and overcome poverty".

President Kirchner also expressed preference for Mr. Morales in Bolivia's coming December 18 presidential election saying that he has given proof of “caring for people, for his country, for the fair exploitation of his country’s resources”.

President Lula recently met in Brasilia with Morales, currently a member of Congress and leader of the Movement Toward Socialism, MAS, who has promised he will not seize oil and gas companies' property if he is elected, a most controversial issue in Bolivian politics which caused the ousting of two presidents in the last two years.

Last May the Bolivian Congress passed a new hydrocarbons bill raising taxes on oil companies and royalties which had a significant impact for foreign companies such as Brazil’s Petrobras and Spanish-Argentine Repsol-YPF, among others.

Brazil is land locked Bolivia’s main foreign investor and yields great influence in business and politics.

However Mr. Morales also leads the strong coca planting peasants’ movement which does not please United States that has invested millions of dollars in trying to convince Bolivian farmers to grow conventional crops.

Washington also believed that Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez was behind the political turmoil in Bolivia financing radical groups, but it now seems that the country is back to its more traditional course with neighbours Brazil and Argentina playing a more active role.

Bolivia with large reserves of oil and particularly natural gas, second only to Venezuela in South America, is expected to have a growing responsibility as a future reliable gas and oil supplier for energy short Mercosur and associate members.

Public opinion polls show Mr. Morales leading in vote intention but not enough yet to avoid a run off. Runner up is conservative former President Jorge Quiroga.


The White House Assault

America's leadership is waging a war against the journalistic standards and practices that underpin not only a free press but our democracy. The Fourth Estate is withering under an unprecedented White House assault designed to intimidate, smear and discredit investigative journalism — and allow the president and his political cronies to lie with impunity. If left unchecked, this and future administrations will continue to:

  • manipulate the media "message" by producing propaganda, putting journalists on the government payroll and tightly scripting all public events;
  • dismiss all dissenting views in the media as biased and politically motivated;
  • undermine public trust in journalism using the right-wing “echo chamber” to sow hostility toward reporters who challenge the official line; and
  • eliminate access to information making it nearly impossible for journalists to investigate vast swathes of the federal government.

Bush's Media Agenda

The current administration is more inhospitable to truth and an informed citizenry than any before it. In fact, the administration seeks the opposite: a public that buys a carefully constructed myth over reality. This deception has manifest in seven lines of attack:

  • Infiltrating public broadcasting with party loyalists
  • Manufacturing fake news and propaganda
  • Bribing journalists to flack for the administration
  • Gutting the Freedom of Information Act
  • Deceiving media (and the U.S. public) about Iraq
  • Stifling dissent within mainstream media
  • Consolidating media control into the hands of the elite

Defending Our Press

The damage already done is reflected in plummeting public faith in reporters and the unrelenting stream of lies flowing from the White House into mainstream news.
This crisis can be attributed in part to the failure of big media corporations and some journalists to meet the basic responsibilities of the press in a democratic society. But the Bush administration’s wholesale assault on a free press is also to blame. This White House has gone well beyond the cynical maneuvers of past administrations and implemented a scheme to tear down journalism and erode civil liberties.

Free Press has launched a nonpartisan campaign to defend democracy from the war on diverse and independent media. The campaign will exert grassroots and lobbying pressure to implement policies that hold our leadership accountable and ensure that abuses of press freedom are not repeated by this and future administrations

Buchanan: What right does the US have to interfere in others' politics? by Patrick J. Buchanan

Buchanan calls Neocons Trotskyites

The Comintern, or Communist International, also known as the Third International, was the 1919 creation of Vladimir Lenin. Its declared purpose: Fight "by all available means, including armed force, for the overthrow of the international bourgeoisie and for the creation of an international Soviet republic.''

Fomenting the communist revolution worldwide was, in brief, the Comintern's mission.

At its Seventh World Congress in 1935, however, on Stalin's orders, the Comintern repudiated the revolutionary overthrow of capitalism as its mission and called for formation of popular fronts in Western nations to combat fascism.
For this act of heresy, Leon Trotsky, the champion of permanent revolution, excommunicated Stalin -- and was himself rewarded in 1940 with an ice ax in the head, courtesy of Stalinist assassin Ramon Mercader.

But Trotskyism did not die with Trotsky. It mutated and is today the taproot of that neo-conservatism that calls for permanent revolution to advance global democracy. Today, this ideology is embedded in the Party of Reagan and the Bush administration, and neoconservatives are using tax dollars to create and operate their own Neo-Comintern.

The US National Endowment for Democracy (NED), which pumps out millions of dollars to "promote democracy'' abroad, is its pivotal agency.

Why did you want to bomb me, Mr Bush and Mr Blair?

Al-Jazeera's quest for answers has been met with silence from both the White House and Downing Street

I have lost count of the number of accusations levelled against al-Jazeera and the incidents of harassment to which it has been subjected since it was founded in 1996. It was rumoured to have been set up by Israel's Mossad intelligence agency with the purpose of improving Israel's standing in the Arab world. It has also been accused of being a CIA mouthpiece designed to disseminate western culture among the Arabs. Some have suggested that it is part of an international conspiracy to break up the Arab world by means of stirring up discord and creating problems for the Arab regimes. Others decided it was a front for Osama bin Laden and the Taliban; or funded by Saddam Hussein. And, at the same time, it has been condemned by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and bitterly criticised by Donald Rumsfeld.

Venezuela’s Disloyal Opposition Serves the Bush Administration’s Narrow Ideological Interests

In an arrant display of rank political opportunism, Venezuela’s faltering middle-class opposition parties have announced that they would boycott the December 4 legislative elections. Far from a principled and high minded move, this tawdry tactic represents a cynical decision on the part of the opposition to spare itself the inconvenience of once again having to face the humiliating defeat that they surely would have experienced at the polls. The opposition’s tactic is more in line with a Tom Delay or Karl Rove ruse than something of Jeffersonian stature.

While trumpeting claims about Venezuela’s ebbing democracy, the opposition has proven itself to be far more guilty of eroding the country’s democratic structures than any grab for power by the chavistas. In essence, the opposition is prepared to sacrifice the nation’s democratic system to serve its immediate objective of ousting the government by any means, on the false grounds that the authorities cannot guarantee free and fair elections. Every election that has been held in Venezuela since Chávez came to power has been extensively monitored, and even the U.S. State Department has been forced to grudgingly validate the authenticity of past results, as their legitimacy was unimpeachable.

Justifying the Unjustified

U.S. Is Said to Pay to Plant Articles in Iraq Papers

"Western press and frequently those self-styled 'objective' observers of Iraq are often critics of how we, the people of Iraq, are proceeding down the path in determining what is best for our nation," the article began. Quoting the Prophet Muhammad, it pleaded for unity and nonviolence.

But far from being the heartfelt opinion of an Iraqi writer, as its language implied, the article was prepared by the United States military as part of a multimillion-dollar covert campaign to plant paid propaganda in the Iraqi news media and pay friendly Iraqi journalists monthly stipends, military contractors and officials said.

The article was one of several in a storyboard, the military's term for a list of articles, that was delivered Tuesday to the Lincoln Group, a Washington-based public relations firm paid by the Pentagon, documents from the Pentagon show. The contractor's job is to translate the articles into Arabic and submit them to Iraqi newspapers or advertising agencies without revealing the Pentagon's role. Documents show that the intended target of the article on a democratic Iraq was Azzaman, a leading independent newspaper, but it is not known whether it was published there or anywhere else.

The World's Most Dangerous Man It's George W. Bush

Bush is a prisoner of his own demons, and we, in this era of the imperial presidency, are his prisoners, as he steers the country on a reckless road to ruin. The idea that there is something very wrong with that man in the White House, that he is wreathed in a darkness of potentially apocalyptic deadliness – that he is, in short, a deeply disturbed and dangerous individual – is chilling. From the image of the president as benevolent father-figure, we have come, in the historical blink of an eye that marks the time since the days of Dwight Eisenhower, to the chief executive as a reckless and wanton destroyer – not Zeus, but Loki. Blind to evidence, and rendered half-mad by a toxic mix of religious and ideological fervor, the most powerful man in the world is on a death-dealing rampage. No different, really, than one of those crazed gunmen you read about in the news, who go on a spectacular crime spree, kidnapping and murdering their way across several state lines, holding hostages and threatening to kill them the whole way.

We are, all of us, George W. Bush's hostages, and, what's especially scary is that we don't know what he's going to do next. He seems capable of anything. Hersh reports the creation of a special squadron detailed to crossing over the border and pursuing the insurgents into Syria, and certainly we have every reason to expect this war to spread. The reversion to air power perhaps augurs the dawning of new "shock and awe" campaigns, this time over Damascus and points west.

The Enduring JFK Mystery

Editor’s Note: The assassination of John F. Kennedy was one of the darkest moments in modern American history. But one of its most pernicious legacies has been the notion that average Americans must be shielded from what really happens on matters of national security, even something as important as the murder of a president.

Since the Warren Commission probe of the JFK assassination, other investigations of serious government wrongdoing, one after another, have been truncated – CIA abuses, Iran-Contra, Contra drug trafficking, Iraq-gate, misuse of Iraq War intelligence, Abu Ghraib – supposedly because the full stories would undermine morale or otherwise not be "good for the country."

Ultimately, of course, this loss of a true history is corrosive to the concept of a democratic republic, and it has been one of our goals as a publication to flesh out the facts of those failed investigations. In that light, we are publishing a report from JFK assassination expert Lisa Pease on a recent historical conference in Washington:

Jewish settlers cut down and uprooted hundreds of olive trees on Palestinian farms near the West Bank city of Nablus, said residents & Israeli police

Israeli settlers continue to chop down the only livelihood of the local Palestinians – their olive trees.

Background: The Elon Moreh settlement, along with other West Bank settlements, are illegal according to Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention. A more detailed description of the legal question is made by David Kretzmer, Prof of International Law, Jerusalem Hebrew University.

The settlers, of course, deny this, and claim the land is theirs by “divine right.”

Demonize to Colonize by Ramsey Clark

"In the determination of any criminal charge ... everyone shall be entitled to a fair and public hearing by a competent, independent and impartial tribunal established by law." International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights – Article 14(1)
The complete demonization of Saddam Hussein threatens to determine every decision and action affecting not only his future but that of Iraq as well. With U.S. mass media and U.S. government propaganda stripping Saddam Hussein of every redeeming human quality, any act against him or Iraq is ipso facto justified.

This successful demonization made the U.S. unilateral war of aggression against Iraq politically possible. It now makes a fair trial for Saddam Hussein impossible.

The debate about intelligence failures is itself a cover-up of the obvious. Saddam Hussein was demonized to justify regime change in Iraq. It rendered him an evil madman threatening the civilized world. He possessed weapons of mass destruction. He supported 9/11. He aided al-Qaeda. WMDs could be launched within minutes of his order. That Saddam Hussein would use them was clear. He used them "against his own people." Ignored were the facts that under devastating attacks by the U.S. in 1991 and 2003, Iraq did not use any illegal weapons. In 1991, Iraq was the victim of 88,500 tons of explosives (almost seven Hiroshimas) delivered by the Pentagon in 42 days that destroyed its infrastructure: water systems, power, transportation, communications, manufacturing, commercial properties, housing, mosques, churches, synagogues. Food production, processing, storage, distribution, fertilizer and insecticide production, were targeted for destruction. Nearly 150,000 defenseless people were killed outright in Iraq. The U.S. claimed its casualties to be 156 — 1/3 from friendly fire, the remainder accidents.

Sanctions against Iraq from August 6, 1990, into 2003 took over 1,500,000 lives, the majority children under age five. By October 1986, 567,000 children under five were dead from sanctions according to a U.N. FAO report that month. One-fourth of the infants born alive in Iraq in 2002 weighed less than four pounds, a dangerously low and crippling birth weight — symbolic of the condition of the entire country.

During the high-tech terrorism of "Shock and Awe" in March and April 2003, Iraq never used any WMDs or other illegal weapon as some 25,000 of its defenseless people were killed.

At least 35 nations have WMDs in their military stockpiles, the U.S. more than all others combined. The U.S. is planning a new generation of nuclear weapons, tactical weapons that would have been used against Iraq if the U.S. had possessed them in 2003. The U.S. used 4,000 tons, or more, of depleted uranium, super bombs in attempts to assassinate Saddam Hussein and cluster bombs to savage anyone within a large area, usually urban, where they were dropped.

Saddam Hussein was demonized because he refused to surrender the sovereignty and independence of Iraq and its people to demands and plans for U.S. domination and exploitation under its New World Order.

I’m With Venezuela... …In the Conflict Between Vicente Fox and Hugo Chávez

Last weekend, which marked the 195th anniversary of the November 20 Mexican Revolution, something unprecedented in the history of Mexico occurred. The Venezuelan government held a march to protest Mexican president Vicente Fox's subservience and to support Bolivarian foreign policy. These demonstrations were repeated in Brazil, Uruguay, and Argentina. Many rightwing or apolitical Mexicans watch with a certain fear every time Hugo Chávez opens his mouth and gets linked with Andrés Manuel López Obrador. As Alberto Núñez, president of the business organization Coparmex, said:

"The business sector has expressed its rejection of populist, demagogic governments, and for that reason it has warned that it fears Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez's aims of influencing Mexico."

Or take the threats that Manuel Espino, president of Fox's National Action Party (PAN), uttered against the Venezuelan government:

Reporter: What actions would those be?

Manuel Espino: Hugo Chávez will find out soon enough.

R: Does this imply activism on the part of PAN supporters in Venezuela?

ME: It implies whatever is necessary, respecting the law and sovereignty of all nations, but supporting the democratization process of the people who today live under authoritarianism.

R. Vladimir Villegas says that the PAN's meddling in Venezuela is one of this conflict's causes.

ME: I’m so glad you have quoted him! Vladimir Villegas, Venezuela's former ambassador in Mexico, thank God, dedicated himself to supporting the activities of Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s party. Obviously, Chávez's strategy in Mexico was to support a state populism similar to his own — that of Andrés Manuel -- and the media confirmed that.

R: These actions that your party will take, won't they affect relations [between the two countries] even more?

ME: To the contrary, we are interested in having good relations with citizens, with the people, not with authoritarian governments. Chávez is not Venezuela; Chávez is the authoritarian president of [the Venezuelans], and we are interested in a good relationship with them.

But the reality is that the PRD’s candidate kept his distance and defended the office of the presidency (but not Fox himself). In an interview this week with Televisa journalist Adela Micha, he said that “I have nothing to do with Chávez, absolutely nothing,” and assured that he has had no contact with Chávez since becoming governor of Mexico City. Also, if we look at both men’s origins, we see some very marked differences, such as Manuel Obrador’s pacifistic and center-left past and Chávez's military and leftwing education. There are also very pronounced similarities, in the emphasis both politicians give to fighting poverty and their opposition to neoliberalism.


It was General Smedley Butler who once said "War is a Racket."

In light of the Bat Mitvah recently thrown by defense contractor David H. Brooks of DHB Industries for his daughter, it's glaringly obvious that Smedley Butler was RIGHT.

Entitled "Mitzvahpalooza," Mr. Brook's daughter's bat mitvah cost an estimated $10 million dollars. Appearing at "Mitzvahpalooza" were the following performers:

50 Cent
Don Henley and Joe Walsh of The Eagles
Stevie Nicks of Fleetwood Mac
Tom Petty
Kenny G
Steven Tyler and Joe Perry of Aerosmith

"I'm told that at one point Brooks leapt on the stage with Tyler and Perry, who responded with good grace when their paymaster demanded that his teenage nephew be permitted to sit in on drums. At another point, I'm told, Tyler theatrically wiped sweat off Brooks' forehead - and then dried his hand with a flourish."

While war profiteer David Brooks is throwing a decadent bat mitzvah for his daughter, a war rages on in Iraq. As "150 kids in attendance" were "impressed by their $1,000 gift bags, complete with digital cameras and the latest video iPod," four (4) westerners were kidnapped in Iraq today.

There is an orgy of war profiteering going on in America, from congressmen to defense contractors. Does anybody give a shit?

NOTE: DHB is the "leader in the development, manufacturing and distribution of innovative, technically advanced bullet and projectile resistant garments, bullet resistant and fragmentation vests, bomb projectile blankets, and related ballistic accessories and technologies for the United States Military and Law Enforcement Agencies"

Bush Speech Offers "Clear Strategy"- For Victory or Disaster? By Ray McGovern

But the bromide-heavy speech that President George W. Bush gave yesterday at the Naval Academy presents a clear strategy for quagmire and eventual disaster. Despite the gathering storm of opposition to his approach to the war in Iraq, the speech was bereft of new ideas, calling to mind the words of Emerson: "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds."

The problem is that this hobgoblin has consequences. Bush's renewed warning of a future "Islamic empire from Indonesia to Spain" at first seemed to me as outlandish as President Ronald Reagan's warning that the Russians planned to transit Nicaragua to invade Texas. On second thought, Bush's concern may become self-fulfilling prophecy, since the course he is on could hardly be better designed to usher in an eventual Islamic, rather than American, "empire."

Iraqi Security Forces: A Pathetic Pillar

The president indicated that in the days ahead he would be addressing various pillars of his policy in Iraq. Yesterday's speech was devoted largely to the training of Iraqi army and security forces, and he protested too much in his efforts to accentuate the positive. His tortured attempt to explain why, after so many months of US training, only one Iraqi army battalion can fight independently was no more convincing that earlier attempts by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and his star-bedecked generals. Statistics just confuse the issue, we have been told; progress is being made. Trust us.

All this is reminiscent of the rhetoric at a similar juncture at the beginning - yes, the beginning - of US involvement in the Vietnam War. The Lyndon Johnson tapes show how in February 1964 President Johnson found fault with a draft of a major policy speech by then-Defense Secretary Robert McNamara:

LBJ: "I wonder if you shouldn't find two minutes to devote to Vietnam."

McN: "The problem is what to say about it."

LBJ: "I would say that we have a commitment to Vietnamese freedom ... Our purpose is to train [the South Vietnamese] people, and our training's going good."

The training was not going good then, and it's not going good now. The Johnson administration's self-deception helped usher in a decade of war resulting in 2-3 million Vietnamese and 58,000 American servicemen killed. The parallel is eerie. Just a few months ago Rumsfeld was talking about the need for US forces to remain in Iraq for perhaps as long as 12 years.

Flight logs reveal hundreds of CIA flights to Europe: report

More than 300 CIA flights have landed at European airports, a British newspaper said, adding a new element to claims that Washington has been transporting terrorist suspects to secret prisons in Europe.

The Guardian daily said it had seen flight logs documenting the flights by 26 planes operated by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

The information showed an "unprecedented" amount of travel by the agency but did not reveal which planes took part in alleged prison transfers, it said.

The CIA has been accused in reports of using European countries for the transport, illegal detention and torture of suspected Islamist terrorists in the wake of the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States.

Outrage over the reports mounted in Europe this week as EU Justice Commissioner Franco Frattini threatened sanctions on Monday for any member nation hosting CIA prison camps on their soil.

Espionage - Washington Puts its Friends in the Line of Fire by Guennadi Evstafiev

It is necessary to place in context the espionage cases that are currently shaking the US leading class. Actually, there is nothing new in the recurrent trend of the military power to keep watch over the civil power and a collective will to manipulate allies, even before adversaries, says – for Voltaire Network – General Guennadi Evstafiev.

The US capital is used to espionage cases that shake it every six to twelve months. Each one of them has, in its way, its own characteristics. For example, two years ago, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld created, practically behind the back of Congress, a new secret service [1]. The Pentagon was then accused of waging a war against both friends and foes.

Traditionally, Republicans have always had the urgent need to know each others’ political secrets and to collect compromising files about their own friends, let alone their enemies. Whatever their advocates may say, it is well known that discretion and an unpredictable nature have always been typical features of Washington’s policy under Republican administrations.

For example, the Philippines have never been hostile towards Washington. Actually, it is a loyal ally although Manila was a US protectorate in the past. However, as the habit becomes a conditioned response, the US special services put together a compromising file on President Gloria Arroyo, a file that, according to the Philippine Justice Minister, "could be used to destabilize the government of the Philippines".

However, due to a boomerang effect, a trick of fate put the United States under the observation of spies who worked – what a paradox! - for the Philippine opposition.

A former US marine of Philippine origin, Leandro Aragonchillo, who worked for three years for the White House and later for the FBI, was arrested for having transmitted hundreds of documents and confidential data to his accomplices in Manila. Although they were mainly members of the opposition, the possibility that government officials could also be involved in the network is not ruled out. However, the spy was not professional enough and acted almost openly, downloading data from computers in the very heart of the "American" power.

Mordechai Vanunu’s 36-hour preventive arrest for using his freedom of speech

Mordechai Vanunu, activist and ex-engineer at the Israeli Dimona Nuclear Center, was once again arrested on November 18, 2005 by Israeli authorities and submitted to a 36-hour preventive detention and later released thanks to his lawyer’s mediation. That was the first detention after Vanunu was released in 2004 from 18 years in solitary confinement. On this occasion, he was suspect of having violated his freedom condition by having talked to the press several times, including an interview he granted last month to Sylvia Cattori for Voltaire Network and another one to our colleagueGreg Szymanski (American Free Press), whom he briefed on his arrest at a border post near Jerusalem:

Vanunu said:"After remaining in jail for 36 hours and under isolation conditions I was finally taken before the judge; they wanted to submit me to domiciliary custody for 15 days and give me a strong fine. However, my lawyer proved that I was not detained in a free territory and that the terms for my parole were vague", he said and affirm that he would not "allow Israeli authorities to prevent [him] from using [his] freedom of speech"..

America's double standard on terrorism

Cuban expatriate Luis Posada Carriles, an old U.S. terrorist chicken, has come home to roost in Bush's nest, exposing the president's anti-terrorist policies as a hoax.
Posada, 77, unabashedly embodies violence as Gandhi stood for nonviolence. His resume contains a long list of terrorist "accomplishments," including the bombing of a Cuban commercial airliner over Barbados in which all 73 people aboard died.

Resisting the New Conquistadors - Salvadorans Mobilize Against Gold Mining

In the fields above Carasque, you can still find shrapnel from bombs the Salvadoran Air Force dropped on the village in the 1980s. Early this fall, signs of a new threat began appearing on the mountainside – survey tags left by a Canadian mining company searching for gold.

Benigno Orellana, the community's representative to the Municipal Council in Nueva Trinidad, says, "Right now, the permission is for exploration, later it will be for exploitation." He's worried:
"If the mining companies come in, it will be worse than the twelve years of war. This is a project of death for our communities and a project of wealth for those who exploit us. They will leave behind a desert where we can't sustain our crops, can't feed our animals, and can't get water to drink."

That’s a fate people in Carasque aren't willing to accept – after surviving decades of violence and repression, they are not about to allow a mining company to force them off their land.

Earlier this year, the Salvadoran government granted two Canadian companies – Au Martinique Silver and Intrepid Minerals – licenses for gold exploration in the department of Chalatenango, near the Honduran border. Au Martinique’s website promises investors that "El Salvador has the lowest risk profile for investment in all of Central America." But what they haven't taken into account is the region's strong history of community organizing, and the lengths its people are willing to go to defend their land and their livelihood.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

The U.S. government vs. al Jazeera

The big story I haven't been covering, since it broke while I was out of town for a few days, is the story that Bush threatened to bomb the al Jazeera offices in Qatar in 2004 during the assault on Fallujah. Politics in the Zeros has been all over the story, and Jeremy Scahill has done a fine job of providing the context for the threatened bombing, making it clear that this threat didn't just come out of the blue. Today, in his press briefing, Scott McClellan said something which was possibly very revealing:

Q Two more Middle East-related questions. I know you've been asked before about the so-called al Jazzier memo, but Europeans are making quite a big deal about it. Can you assure them that even if the President did say when he was elected said he was doing that in jest?

MR. McCLELLAN: Can I assure them what?

Q That if the President really did make those comments, he was doing so in jest?

MR. McCLELLAN: Make what comments?

Q About allegedly bombing al Jazeera --

MR. McCLELLAN: Any such notion that we would engage in that kind of activity is just absurd.

Q Well, do you know if the comments were made?

MR. McCLELLAN: I don't know what comments you're referring to. I haven't seen any comments quoted.

Q Somebody said that they had a memo, or that they took notes during --

MR. McCLELLAN: Let me just repeat for you, Connie. Any such notion that America would do something like that is absurd.

Q They bomb them in Afghanistan then -- their office.

MR. McCLELLAN: I'm sorry? Whose offices? The terrorist offices.

Q We bombed their office in Afghanistan, and killed their -- some of their people in --

MR. McCLELLAN: And the military talked about that. What are you suggesting? I hope you're not suggesting that they're targeting civilians, because that's just flat-out wrong.

The terrorist offices???!!! Let's be clear on what happened. The al Jazeera office in Kabul, whose location was known to the U.S., was destroyed by a U.S. missile shortly before the Northern Alliance entered Kabul and began a campaign of reprisals, which were then less able to be reported to the outside world. The U.S. first claimed that a bomb must have gone "astray," and denied knowing the location of the al Jazeera office. But then they changed their tune and claimed that the office was a known headquarters for al Qaida.
And now, McClellan repeats that lie (and slander), equating the al Jazeera office in Kabul with "terrorist offices." Really, however, he needn't bother, since the U.S. has no problem openly attacking actual press offices. As even CNN reminds us (as Left I on the News has many times):

"During the 1999 air campaign over Kosovo, U.S. warplanes targeted Yugoslavia's state television network. NATO officials argued it was a legitimate target as the propaganda arm of the Yugoslav government."

Unlike Left I on the News, however, CNN failed to remind its readers that that act was a prima facie war crime. One which McClellan (and his bosses) are proud to embrace.




By Stan Goff

(Disclaiming in advance for the rare exceptions in Congress)

If there is one thing we can always count on, it’s politicians who walk over human corpses to show fear only in the face of something as formless and abstract as an opinion poll. The veterans and military families antiwar movement are well-versed on so-called realism – and that deference we are supposed to exercise when we approach elected officials, hat in hand, for a few crumbs of your attention and support.

We understand power very well.

You are fighting each other for your careers, and you are retaining your power over us through distance and guile, and trying to promote that power by pretending you are hearing our “concerns.” But we have more than “concerns” at stake here.

It is because we understand power that we haven’t the slightest intention of allowing ourselves to be used to promote your careers past the 2006 elections. If you fail to demand US withdrawal now, you are supporting the war; and if you support the war, as far as we are concerned, you can go straight to hell in 2006.

It is because we understand power that we are not going to forgive and forget that when the war fever was up, fed by the lies of Republicans, the war was facilitated by the eager xenophobic complicity of most Democrats, and by the slavish obedience of the corporate press. Most of you not only co-signed what you knew to be an illegal invasion – you have continued to sign the checks to perpetuate the war.

You wanted to be lied to about the war, because the polls supported the war, and you were sniffing the political air.

It is because we understand power that we know that most of you did this out of craven opportunism and a concern for your political ambitions – knowing full well that no one you loved was likely to be sent home without a limb, without an eye, without a life.

It is because we understand power that we know how cynically cavalier you are with the lives of others, and how narcissistically self-promoting.

It is because we understand power that we understand why many of you are backpedaling in your support for the war. You are maneuvering to be “critical” of the war. You “demand” the administration provide “an effective exit strategy.” And you haven’t said a goddamned substantive thing, as the cameras shutter away for you. And you want us to play along – so you can beat Republicans without taking a single real position. You don’t want to stop this war. You want to win an election. By the time you win that election, another thousand troops and another 20,000 Iraqis could be dead. We do not calculate time the way you do.

It is because we understand power that we know most of you will stand by while those of us with less privilege see our loved ones sent to kill and die. The real corpses produced by the exercise of power are no more to you than a political calculation.

We understand power, because we know what really stands behind it. Power is embodied in the mounted cops you use to police our protests. Power is expressed by the armed guards for your gated communities. Power is the ability to kill and maim and get away with it, even if you dress it up in $5,000 suits and trot it out on the talk-show circuit, on C-Span, in your interviews with CNN.

Power is projected onto other peoples using your Cruise missiles and A-10s and Bradley fighting vehicles and the people who join the military. And the price of that power doesn’t merely come from our pockets. We probably wouldn’t fight you about how you rob us for your pork barrel defense contracts. The price that has us in motion right now – you really must understand this, because it means we will never back off – is exacted on the bodies of human beings.

The price is exacted with mortars, with IEDs, with high powered rifle ammunition, with bombs, with the same A-10s and Bradleys; and it is exacted on the bodies of our loved ones and the loved ones of the Iraqi people.

That’s why we are not going to grant you the power to manipulate us, to contain us, to corral us, or to pimp our grief over this war and its costs on behalf of your political careers or the needs of a political party. That’s why were are going to be rudely explicit when we say that your bombast against the Bush administration – as if they did this without your help – in calling for a more effective “exit strategy” and demanding that people merely think about a plan for withdrawal from Iraq that will take months or years… this verbiage is meaningless and manipulative. We will never stand for studying a withdrawal, for phasing a withdrawal, for delaying a withdrawal, for setting conditions for a withdrawal, or for partial withdrawal. Never.

Our demand from the beginning remains unchanged. It is for withdrawal, and for immediate, unilateral, unconditional withdrawal; and if political careers go up in smoke as a consequence, we do not give a good goddamn. People are dying in Iraq as a direct result of this war every single day. Go back to your fucking law offices and let our children live.

Gradual, phased, planned, strategized, conditioned, delayed, partial withdrawals get implemented, if at all, while those military sedans continue to roll up in front of people’s houses to announce the extinction of a human being to his or her family… and while the bodies are dropped into the fresh graves at the cemeteries of Iraq.

Gradual, phased, planned, strategized, conditioned, delayed, partial withdrawals get implemented, if at all, while the poisons accumulate in the soil and water and food of Iraq, and in the bodies of Iraqis and occupation troops.

Gradual, phased, planned, strategized, conditioned, delayed, partial withdrawals get implemented, if at all, while the hospitals fill up with the lamed, maimed, blinded, and disfigured.

Gradual, phased, planned, strategized, conditioned, delayed, partial withdrawals get implemented, if at all, while the grief and horror associated with this criminal war become the daily emotional fare of more and more people, occupation forces and Iraqis.

No member of Congress has the moral right to dither on the question of his or her precious career while a single constituent is facing the fear of that devastating knock on the door. We say the emperor has no clothes; and we say we know you when you feign “concern” with your eye fixed firmly on your ambition.

An exit is not a strategy. An exit is a command.

If the commander in chief won’t give that command, then you in Congress – if you want to salvage anything that looks vaguely like a conscience or a soul – will refuse to grant this administration another penny to continue this war. We are not hearing you when you tap dance about political “realism.” The mounting mass of corpses, that you have walked over every time you voted a cent to continue this war, is about as real as it gets. Don’t you dare ever lecture military families and veterans about realism. And don’t you doubt that we understand power.

You may think you can respond to your careerist concerns in the face of reversing polls. You may think you can pretend to do something, that you can bewilder us into accepting half a loaf better than none.

To the tiny handful of you in Congress who have said what we say, “Out Now!,” we commend you and thank you for your principled voices.

To those of you who are openly supporting this criminal administration, we’ll see you in the street, and history will consign your names to the chapters about imperial bullying, comb-over machismo, and cognitive mediocrity.

To those of you who call for half measures, phases, and strategies, you are directly in front of us now. You are standing directly in our path, and we are not going to go around you.

We are not going to commend you on being “better” than the reactionaries.

We are not going to thank you for our half a loaf.

We are not going to try and give you the political cover you need to wiggle around those shifting opinion polls while you salvage your careers.

We do not love you. We find your ambivalence contemptible.

We love the people who are facing the real consequences of this war while you schmooze your way through the chicken-salad circuits of imperial power, nattering on about realism and phases and strategies.

You will not divert our attention away from you. You will redirect neither our anger nor our will away from you. It is you who are standing directly in our way; and every time you try to dicker about people’s lives with us like we are in street market, every time you try to pimp our outrage at this crime, as a mere “concern” that only you are entitled to address with your careerist half-measures, we will call you to account. We will embarrass you. We will shine a spotlight on your cowardice, your opportunism, and your grotesque cynical hypocrisy.

November 2006 is not an election to us; it is a body count. If you think you can take us for granted over an election, think again.

Get it right, because we have never wavered on our position. The mass of American society is moving toward us, not you. They are listening more and more to us, and less and less to you. We are about saving lives, not saving face. So get it right, and get it right fast. We are looking at your political house with an eye to pulling it down.

We understand power very well.

Lori Berenson is a US citizen currently being held as a political prisoner in Peru. November 30th 2005 marks the tenth anniversary of her arrest.

My name is Lori Berenson. I am a New York born and raised political prisoner in Peru. I have spent many years in Central and South America, trying to contribute to the efforts of those who seek social justice for all. I continue this work from prison.

On November 30, 1995, I was pulled off of a public bus in Lima, Peru. Like thousands of Peruvians, I was detained by the anti-terrorist police, tried for treason by a hooded military tribunal under draconian anti-terrorism laws and condemned to life in prison.

This all occurred in the context of an internal conflict in Peru that began in the early 1980's with the armed insurgence of the Peruvian Communist Party, also known as the Shining Path, and later with the Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement – the MRTA. This conflict had parallels with other conflicts that occurred in much of Latin America.

When I was arrested, Peruvian President Fujimori made me a symbol for his anti-terrorist campaign. His ability to use the media for his own publicity purposes led to my case being very high profile.

Because of the tireless efforts of my family, friends and many others in the US and elsewhere in the world, the Fujimori regime was forced to bring my case to a civilian anti-terrorist court in 2000. During the period of the falling of the Fujimori regime and the formation of a transitional government in 2001, I received a new trial and was sentenced to 20 years for collaboration with terrorism. A year and a half later, the anti-terrorism legislation was modified slightly and those incarcerated under it began to receive new trials. In 2004, in light of the international anti-terrorism campaign in our post 9/11 world and under extreme pressure from Perú's political class, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights ratified my sentence.

The details of what happened to me are irrelevant in the broader picture of the thousands of Peruvians who have been killed, disappeared, tortured and detained during the internal conflict. Since history has always been re-written by those who have the upper-hand, the issue of subversion became the scapegoat for all of Peru's problems.

In all parts of the world, symbolic culprits are used to obscure the root causes of social discontent, to distract attention and distort realities when any group of people questions the existing order.

The world order, especially in this era of globalized capitalism is designed to benefit a powerful few at the expense of the majority of our world's peoples. This system is unjust, immoral, terrifying, and just plain insane. We must change it.

People all over the world are imprisoned today and suffering tremendous injustices for challenging this order. I express my solidarity with all of those prisoners, and in particular my admiration for those whose courage we can hear in the voice of Mumia Abu Jamal, in the writings about Leonard Peltier, in the struggle for the liberation of Puerto Rico, and many others. The dignity demonstrated throughout long years of struggle and resistance under one of the harshest jail regimes on earth is an example for all prisoners and for human beings in general.

For prisoners, the struggle for basic dignity is a daily plight. Prisons are just a smaller version of the general system that operates in this world, and that is what is wrong. The desire to change it is why many of us are here in the first place. It is a worthy cause to be behind bars for.


Lori Berenson is a US citizen currently being held as a political prisoner in Peru. Lori Berenson's remarks on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of her arrest were read by Aura Bogado. This commentary was produced by Noelle Hanrahan of Prison Radio.

10th Anniversary Essay (3:14)

Redefining National Security

What is National Security? Does the term merely relate to some notion of physically defending our nation or our national (pecuniary) interests? Or does it mean something much greater?

If our nation is built upon the edifice of liberty and justice, then wouldn't national security, ipso facto, entail the defense of the very ideas of liberty and justice? Shouldn't fighting for civil rights and civil liberties be considered a matter of national security too?

Well, apparently a Democratic nominee for Congress in the 19th District of New York, John Hall, is running on the platform of "Redefining National Security." If you ask me, that's a terrific idea!

The current administration has used the term "national security" to take away our civil liberties, to endanger our environment, to promote corporatism over individualism, and to do just about whatever it likes. It is time to take back the term "national security" and use it to include all the things that truly define our security.

Saving the environment is a matter of national security. Educating our children is a matter of national security. Healthcare is a matter of national security. Civil liberties are a matter of national security.

Here is how John Hall defines "national security":
"America will be more secure when:

  • Our armed forces are not only the best trained and equipped in the world, but they are used in combat only against a genuine threat and for the specific jobs they are trained to do.
  • Our reputation around the world is above reproach, and our nation's actions inspire admiration and the support of our allies.
  • All our elected and appointed officials are honest and competent, trusted here and abroad not to manipulate events for political or personal gain.
  • A world-class education is provided for all our children, enabling them as innovative adults to contribute to our national brain trust, create new jobs and industries, and compete in the world economy.
  • All citizens have access to quality, affordable, accessible health care, including prescription drugs at negotiated, competitive prices.
  • Social Security benefits are guaranteed for the indefinite future, for us, our parents, and our children.
  • We develop and produce alternative sources of energy that do not poison our environment, ship billions of dollars overseas, or involve us with despotic or unstable regimes.
  • Victims of natural disasters in this country are supported and restored as much as possible to normalcy, and our infrastructures here at home are rebuilt as needed.
  • Our environment is recognized as central to our security because of the connection between pollution and health, and we join the majority of nations in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
  • We invest in America through a fair and adequate tax code, rather than mortgaging our children's future with record budget and trade deficits.
  • Our laws and regulations are not written by and for the lobbyists and campaign contributors, but for the health, economic, and physical security of Americans and the United States of America."

John Hall for Congress in the 19th District of New York!

La Lucha Continua...


The Democracy Center On-Line

Volume 67 - December 1, 2005


Dear Readers:

Bolivia is in the world news once again, as we head toward important elections for president in two weeks. Our days have been filled with visits and interviews with foreign media. These elections come at the end of a year of great conflict in which, at times, it seemed Bolivia was headed for the political abyss. In this issue we offer an analysis of how Bolivia got to this place, of the radically different candidates seeking to lead the country, and what all this might mean for Bolivia's future.

For ongoing analysis and updates please see our Blog from Bolivia at:

Jim Shultz
The Democracy Center


On December 18th the people of Bolivia will go to the polls. It is an election that no one planned and that few asked for and in which the nation will elect its sixth president in as many years. To the casual observer abroad, Bolivia looks like a nation in a state of democratic meltdown. Some analysts have warned that Bolivia is on its way to becoming the Afghanistan of Latin America.

On the ground, however, what is going on now in Bolivia is the latest act in a long struggle for social justice by people who rank as the poorest in all of South America. At the center is the demand by Bolivia's indigenous majority for a fair share of political and economic power, in a country where they have had little of either. At the forefront as well is the widespread popular rejection of a draconian economic model largely imposed on the country by powers from abroad.


Landlocked and poor, for two decades Bolivia has been the unwilling test lab for a set of economic policies known as the "Washington Consensus". Topping the list has been the privatization of the nation's natural resources into the hands of foreign corporations, along with economic belt-tightening that falls heavily on the nation's poor. The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund have made these policies a key condition of giving Bolivia crucial international aid.

Five years ago Bolivians started taking to the streets to battle those policies from abroad and they have won one major victory after another.

In 2000, the citizens of Bolivia's third largest city, Cochabamba, stood down government troops and a declaration of martial law to win back control of their public water system. Under pressure from the World Bank, the water had been privatized into the hands of the US corporate giant, Bechtel.

In February 2003 in La Paz, mass protests led by a unit of the national police forced the government to drop plans for a tax increase on the poor, a program initiated under IMF pressure. Thirty-four people lost their lives. That October, protests against a proposed gas export deal to California were repressed under fire, by troops sent out by then-President, Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada, a close US ally. After more than fifty deaths in the streets, broad public opposition sent Mr. Sanchez de Lozada into US exile, where he still remains.

In 2005, these protests have continued. In January the people of El Alto followed in Cochabamba's footsteps and forced out a private water company owned jointly by the French water conglomerate Suez and an arm of the World Bank.

Last May and June, Bolivia erupted in national protest once again over the gas issue. Masses of people took to the streets to demand that Bolivia take back control of its vast gas and oil reserves (the second largest on the continent, after Venezuela). Those reserves were privatized in the 1990s, and put into the hands of some of the largest oil corporations in the world, under windfall terms for the companies.

The June protests spun the country to the political brink. President Carlos Mesa (Sánchez de Lozada's vice-president and reluctant successor) offered his resignation, triggering a succession to the Supreme Court President and the unplanned elections this month, two years ahead of the Constitutional schedule.


The two leading rivals in this month's presidential elections could not be more different, in both their personal histories and in their visions for the nation's future.

Running first in the polls is Evo Morales, an Aymara Indian and leader of the nation's Movement Toward Socialism (MAS) party. Morales first rose to political prominence here as leader of the nation's coca grower unions. Known popularly as just Evo, he has pledged to cancel and renegotiate the country's contracts with foreign oil companies and to immediately convene a Constituent Assembly to rewrite Bolivia's constitution, a key demand of the country's indigenous groups. Morales is also a long time thorn in the side of the US Government, having led opposition to the US war on drugs in Bolivia. For months US officials have been claiming that Morales and his movement are really stand-ins for two other US antagonists, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and Cuban President Fidel Castro. The US has declined to offer any evidence to back up the claim.

The other leading candidate is Jorge “Tuto” Quiroga. Quiroga served as president previously for a year (2001-2002) when he served out the last twelve months of his dying predecessor's term, Hugo Banzer, a former dictator. Quiroga is a former IBM executive, educated in Texas and married to Texas blonde named Ginger. His speeches are laced with the language of foreign investment and stable economic environments. He’s a man of business. He also presided over more than a dozen government killings in his brief tenure in office. He’s a man of business that also feels comfortable with sending out troops as a way to combat protest, a real concern here.


From the outside it would appear that Bolivia's elections are a dramatic fork in the road, a choice between to very different paths forward. This applies especially to the foreign view of Morales. Outside of Bolivia he has been lifted up as an icon, good and bad. He is alternatively either a Latin American hero or a new authoritarian Fidel in the making. In a recent profile, The New York Times dubbed his ascendancy the second coming of Che Guevara. More than one hundred foreign journalists have asked permission to follow him around in the campaign's closing days.

Within Bolivia, however, most people you speak with see the elections as just one more round of advertising and politicking that will translate into very little change either way.

"The elections aren't something that we asked for, ever," notes Oscar Olivera, the Cochabamba union leader who was at the head of that city's anti-Bechtel water revolt. "What the social movements need to do now is to continue accumulating popular forces, as we have been doing since 2000, to build up our ability to pressure whatever government that comes. A Morales government would be less difficult to move, but it will still be difficult."

Whomever wins will govern under enormous pressure from corporate investors and international financial institutions to stay the IMF/World Bank course. Social movement leaders here point to the steady moderation of their once-fiery Brazilian neighbor, President Lula da Silva, as an example. In the view of Bolivia's social movements Bolivia's future will be decided, not by who wins the vote, but by the ability of the public to articulate concrete demands and to mount pressure for them with whoever wins.


As Yogi Berra once famously said, "I never make predictions, especially about the future." Political predictions, and especially in Bolivia, may be the most risky predictions of all.

If the polls are correct, Evo Morales and his MAS party are likely to come in a strong first place on December 18th, with perhaps as much as 35% of the vote. That would be a substantial increase over his close 22% second place finish in 2002. It would not be enough, however, to win him the presidency. If not candidate receives 51% on December 18th, the election is turned over to the new Congress in January. To be elected one of the two top place finishers needs to assemble 51% of the vote there. Translated, this means that Bolivia's next president will be selected through a complicated set of negotiations and deal making behind closed doors.

All of Bolivia's recent governments have been led by presidents elected with votes of 22-25%, backed by deal-laden coalitions. The most likely coalition prospect is that Quiroga will ally with the certain third-place finisher, Samuel Doria Medina, owner of Bolivia's Burger Kings. The two are ideologically close and the influential US Embassy, eager to freeze Morales out of the presidency, is almost certain to mount heavy pressure on both to reach a deal.

Another possibility, a far slimmer one, is that Morales seeks his own deal with Medina, a possibility amplified by Medina's recent campaign rhetoric against foreign corporations (BK not among them). Making such a deal to win the presidency is the subject of real debate among Morales' backers. Some will argue in favor, anxious to finally get their turn at governing. Other backers believe that it would be a recipe for failure to enter government completely compromised from the start, with heavy opposition in Congress, and a mountain of impossible expectations from the public.

In the end, Morales may not even try to convert a first place win into the presidency. Instead he may use the power of his victory at the polls to demand the immediate convening of the citizen assembly to rewrite the constitution. That demand, backed by heavy street pressure around the country is very likely to be the first major flash point for Bolivia's new government. This month's elections, in the end, are more of a pause than a solution to the social conflicts that have erupted here for the past five years. The year 2006 may well bring the fiercest conflicts of them all.


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Subject: Venezuelan Opposition Refuses to Participate in Elections

In the face of electoral defeat, Venezuela's largest opposition parties have called for a boycott of legislative elections scheduled for this weekend. While President Chavez and his political supporters have enjoyed the highest approval ratings of his term-topping 70% in many recent polls-opposition candidates have struggled to come up with a platform that resonates with the Venezuelan people. In announcing the boycott, opposition parties dashed hopes that they would participate in the democratic process, and ensured that pro-Chavez candidates will sweep the National Assembly.

The pullout angered election observers from the Organization of American States, who had spent weeks overseeing negotiations between government and opposition leaders. Last Monday, the OAS released a statement that government concessions had "secured the participation" of the major political parties. Two days later, those parties turned their back on their agreement and called for a boycott.
Read more from the Chicago Tribune:

The pullout has created controversy among opposition candidates, particularly among those who had been favored to win in their region. Of the 4,000 opposition candidates nationwide, only 78 had formally withdrawn as of noon today. Many candidates for the parties that have pulled out on a national level are ignoring party leadership and remaining in races on the state and local level. Indeed, many local opposition candidates have suggested that electoral safeguards have improved since the 2004 referendum. Primero Justicia candidate Carlos Ocariz told a Reuters reporter, "We don't win anything by abstention. There are more guarantees for the vote now and that's why we are fighting."
Read more:

Opposition parties used a similar strategy during the 2004 presidential recall referendum in an attempt to discredit the election results. President Chavez won the referendum easily with 59% of the vote, which was certified by the OAS and the Carter Center. Nevertheless, opposition groups cried foul based on fraudulent exit polls -- a scheme that was quickly denounced by President Carter. 'There's no doubt some of their leaders deliberately distributed this erroneous exit poll data in order to build up, not only the expectation of victory, but also to influence the people still standing in line,' Carter said at the time.
Read more on past tactics:

The days ahead may be difficult in Venezuela. Readers are strongly encouraged to monitor news reports of the election through the weekend and respond to biased or otherwise inaccurate reporting.

Twenty-seven cities in North America and Australia will celebrate National Venezuelan Solidarity Day on December 2nd. Representatives from faith-based organizations, Peace groups, and Latin American solidarity organizations will put together a series of events in support of the Bolivarian process and a more balanced U.S. policy toward Venezuela.

Events will take place in Chicago, San Francisco, Washington, Boston, Miami, Seattle, Minneapolis, Tucson, Milwaukee, Sydney, Melbourne, London, Vancouver, Toronto-even Fargo, ND, among other places. To find out what is going on in your community, please visit:

The Center for International Policy, a well-known foreign policy think tank in Washington, DC, has launched a new weblog exclusively devoted to dialogue about Venezuela and U.S. foreign policy toward Venezuela and the southern hemisphere. Check out Caracas Connect at

Segredos e mentiras do governo Bush

Bush vive o período mais crítico de seu governo, atingido por denúncias de tortura, prisões ilegais, morte de jornalistas e manipulação de informações. Uma nuvem de segredos e mentiras paira sobre a maior potência mundial.

O que começou como um boato ganhou agora atenção oficial. A União Européia iniciou investigações para esclarecer se a CIA violou os direitos humanos e a Convenção de Genebra no território europeu. No início de novembro, o jornal Washington Post publicou um artigo falando sobre a existência de prisões secretas da CIA em vários países, onde estariam detidos ilegalmente supostos terroristas. Essa história já vinha circulando há algum tempo, ganhando maior credibilidade a partir de sua publicação nos Estados Unidos.

Fórum Social Mundial - FSM no Paquistão é adiado. Zapatistas podem ir a Caracas

Capítulo paquistanês do FSM 2006 é adiado em pelo menos 2 meses por conta do terremoto que abalou o país em outubro. Já na Venezuela, a Rede de Movimentos Sociais convidou Exército Zapatista para reforçar a luta contra a intervenção dos Estados Unidos na América Latina.

Já era esperado, mas a definição do adiamento do capítulo paquistanês do Fórum Social Mundial 2006, que deveria ocorrer de forma policêntrico na Venezuela (Caracas), Mali (Bamako) e Paquistão (Karachi), foi tomada apenas na semana passada pelo Comitê Nacional e pelo Comitê Organizador (CO) do FSM 2006 em Karachi. O que pesou nesta decisão, segundo os paquistaneses, foi toda a conjuntura nacional pós-terremoto que arrasou o Sul da Ásia no mês passado.

Segundo o informe do secretário do Comitê Paquistanês, Irfan Mufti, o principal problema para a realização do evento – que já conta com a inscrição de 238 atividades até o momento -, além da dedicação dos esforços ao socorro às vítimas do terremoto e à reconstrução do país por grande parte das organizações participantes do FSM, é a captação de recursos. “Foi informado que o número de doadores (tanto indivíduos quanto organizações) que haviam se comprometido a financiar o evento antes do terremoto foi reduzido, uma vez que a maioria desses recursos foi agora destinada ao socorro às vítimas e aos trabalhos de reconstrução”, diz o relatório de Mufti.

Una alternativa a las guerras imperialistas - Guerra o Paz / Guerra y Paz por James Petras

En una contribución magistral presentada en la conferencia Axis for Peace 2005, el profesor James Petras analiza las contradicciones del sistema imperialista estadounidense. Destaca la manipulación de la ONU y el derecho internacional por las grandes potencias. Describe el avance desenfrenado de los militaristas civiles, neoconservadores y sionistas. Lejos de caer en el pesimismo, el célebre intelectual estadounidense traza las perspectivas de una resistencia popular internacional.

Chávez y Kirchner: Un nuevo comienzo

El fortalecimiento argentino de las relaciones económicas y políticas con el gobierno venezolano, acelerado luego del previsible fiasco de la Cumbre de Presidentes de Mar del Plata, ha provocado la santa indignación de la Casa Blanca y sus numerosos voceros esparcidos. Como era de esperarse estos no tardaron en poner el grito en el cielo reproduciendo, con tonos aún más severos y amenazantes, la voz de orden del imperio. Quienes durante más de una década celebraron como una prueba de madurez de estadista la política menemista de las relaciones carnales con Washington –causante principal de la fenomenal crisis que se abatió sobre la Argentina entre 1998 y 2002- ahora se rasgan las vestiduras ante el acercamiento de la Casa Rosada al gobierno del Presidente Hugo Chávez. Si aquel disparate era una prueba de realismo y sensatez, se comprende que los publicistas del imperio caractericen al diálogo entre Buenos Aires y Caracas como una acabada muestra de resentimiento, ideologismo o nostalgia setentista. La derecha latinoamericana es de un repugnante servilismo pero hay que reconocerle su coherencia: refleja siempre con milimétrica precisión y en tiempo real las políticas del imperio, que nunca se equivoca al identificar a sus enemigos.

Como es sabido, los cruzados de la democracia y la libertad que sientan sus reales en el eje Washington-Nueva York y que enseñan magistralmente lo que significan esos conceptos en Irak y Afganistán, o con sus aviones cargados de prisioneros políticos despachados a distintos países en donde gobiernos considerados “democráticos” se encargan de torturarlos “legalmente”, han decidido que el gobierno de la revolución bolivariana pone en peligro la democracia en Venezuela y que cualquier aproximación al mismo, o a la Cuba de Fidel, convierte al recién llegado en cómplice de todos los males imaginables. Se ignoran premeditadamente los resultados de diversos sondeos de opinión pública realizados en toda América Latina: pese a los dichos de Washington Venezuela es, de lejos, el país en donde la población muestra los más altos índices de satisfacción con la gestión del gobierno y, a causa de eso, el lugar en el cual la idea misma de la democracia es más valorada por la ciudadanía.

¿Por qué debería la Argentina plegarse a una campaña de satanización del gobierno de Chávez? ¿No es acaso evidente que aquélla forma parte de una estrategia de construcción de “mentiras que parezcan verdades” -para usar la (in)feliz expresión de Mario Vargas Llosa-, falsedades como las que aseguraban que existían armas de destrucción masiva en Irak y animada por el propósito de crear un clima de opinión internacional que consienta la agresión a Venezuela ya planificada por la Casa Blanca? ¿O es que ignoran la existencia de los documentos oficiales diseñando el “cambio de régimen”, hacia la “democracia y el libre mercado”, en Cuba y Venezuela?

Si los ideólogos de la Casa Blanca dicen que los Estados Unidos son un imperio -¡admitiendo lo que la izquierda venía diciendo desde hacía más de medio siglo!-, ¿por qué plegarse a las políticas imperiales –como el ALCA, por ejemplo- suponiendo que ellas se inspiran en el afán de garantizar el bienestar y la felicidad de nuestros pueblos? ¿Hemos de creer en las palabras del presidente del Diálogo Inter-Americano, Peter Hakim, cuando acusa al gobierno de Venezuela de “no estar comprometido con los principios del libre mercado”? Hakim, que por un extravío de su juventud supo apoyar al gobierno de Allende (algo de lo cual seguramente prefiere no acordarse ahora) parece desconocer que esta actitud de Chávez no hace sino reflejar el generalizado repudio que tales principios suscitan en la región. Una reciente encuesta de Latinobarómetro en 18 países comprueba que sólo el 19 % de los entrevistados manifestó su satisfacción con la economía de mercado. No obstante ello Hakim se cree autorizado para sermonear a Chávez diciento que éste “no es alguien que tome muy en serio” la cláusula democrática del Mercosur. El Diálogo Inter-Americano sí, y nos ofrece una lección práctica de democracia al repudiar descaradamente la opinión del 81 % de la ciudadanía que no cree en el mito malsano del libre mercado. Democracia “American style”, que le dicen.

Chávez, la gran innovación de la política latinoamericana en las últimas décadas, propone un nuevo y esperanzador comienzo. Y a diferencia de la Casa Blanca sus palabras son respaldadas con hechos. Aquélla se llena la boca hablando del libre comercio y la democracia, pero se aferra ferozmente al proteccionismo y los subsidios, y socava con su accionar las precariaes democracias de la región. Chávez, por el contrario, respalda sus propuestas de unidad latinoamericana con políticas concretas, que muestran que el egoísmo desenfrenado de los mercados no es la única manera de organizar la economía internacional. Petróleo barato para los pequeños países de Centroamérica y el Caribe; acuerdos de genuina complementación industrial con Argentina y Brasil, beneficioso para los países y no para un puñado de monopolios; solidaridad efectiva con la Argentina al comprar nuestros bonos de la deuda; intercambio de energéticos por asistencia médica y medicinas con Cuba, y así sucesivamente. Chávez está abriendo un camino, que significa revitalizar el desfalleciente MERCOSUR y construir un orden económico regional más justo y equitativo, mientras que Bush, como el Shylock en el Mercader de Venecia, se empecina en obtener su libra de carne mientras sermonea a sus víctimas sobre las virtudes de la libertad. Sólo gobiernos insanablemente ineptos, cobardes y antipatrióticos podrían darle la espalda a las generosas iniciativas del líder bolivariano.

"Para cambiar el mundo hay que tomar el poder"

Junto a Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn y otros pocos adelantados del pensamiento de la izquierda mundial, Tariq Alí integra la escasa lista de escritores con una conciencia social que han acompañado las más agudas críticas al imperialismo contemporáneo con el aliento de prácticas globales de resistencia.

Desde el pasado viernes se encuentra en Cuba, invitado por el Instituto Cubano del Libro, y su presencia en el homenaje que se le hizo en la Habana a Jean Paul Sartre y en la Universidad de La Habana, donde este martes ofreció una conferencia, es una incitación a la pregunta para cualquiera que se interese en los acontecimientos de la guerra en Iraq. Al tema, que sigue con manía de explorador, le ha dedicado dos libros –El choque de los fundamentalismo y Bush en Babilonia-, reconocidos por la crítica internacional como clásicos, a escasos meses de convertirse en sucesos editoriales en Estados Unidos y Europa. Durante su visita a la Isla se ha anunciado que El choque de los fundamentalismos será publicado aquí próximamente por la Editorial de Ciencias Sociales.

Más que una entrevista formal, lo que concertamos con él es una conversación en la que él nos comenta algunas de las noticias que agitan el mundo informativo: el anuncio de Estados Unidos de que tiene un plan para retirar las tropas de Iraq, la evidencia de que Bush planificaba bombardear Al Jazeera, la presencia de médicos cubanos en Pakistán, su furtiva presencia en la Isla…


-La administración norteamericana no deja de bombardearnos todos los días con las supuestas señales de terroristas internacionales en Iraq. ¿Qué hay de verdad en esto?

-Quién es o deja de ser terrorista forma parte de una gran maquinaria de desinformación. Los Estados Unidos intentan decirle al mundo que no hay resistencia en Iraq, sino simplemente terrorismo. Para demostrarlo, publican solo lo que hace el grupo de Abu Mussab Al Sarkawi. Pero este hombre entró a Iraq después de la ocupación. No estaba ahí antes, lo que nos prueba que la manera en que los EE.UU. luchan contra el terrorismo, aumenta el terrorismo. Al Qaeda también llegó a Iraq con la ocupación.

Lo que no dicen es que el grueso de la resistencia iraquí viene de las corrientes nacionalistas, en su mayoría de las Fuerzas Armadas de Sadam Hussein que no tenía ninguna fe en su gobierno. Ellos crearon focos de resistencia en varias ciudades del país desde antes de la entrada de los EE.UU. Por eso la característica más singular de esa resistencia es su temprana aparición frente a las tropas colonialistas. Si la comparas con otras intervenciones militares, verás que la resistencia suele demorarse. En el caso de Iraq la resistencia comenzó en los primeros diez días después de la caída de Bagdad.

El objetivo de toda ocupación es dividir, dividir, dividir. Es lo que han hecho los Estados Unidos. Han enfrentado a los tres grupos étnicos fundamentales en el país: los kurdos, los sunitas y los chiítas. No hay dudas de que los chiítas están colaborando con los interventores, pero cuando una sección de ese grupo chiíta decida romper con el clero de su etnia, se acabará la ayuda a los Estados Unidos.

En cualquier caso, es un desastre para ellos. Están en una encrucijada. O le entregan el país a Irán, o impondrán algún tipo de gobierno nacional. No se van a quedar. La ocupación es insostenible.

-De cualquier manera, el mayor terrorismo internacional que se practica en Irak es el norteamericano.

-El terrorismo de Estado practicado por los norteamericanos es de larga data. Empezó con la doctrina Monroe, que identificaba al Sur como su patio trasero. En el siglo XX, los norteamericanos fueron los únicos en usar las armas nucleares. Emplearon armas químicas contra Corea y contra Viet Nam, que todavía causan estragos, 30 años después de ser utilizadas. Usaron uranio empobrecido en la primera intervención en el Golfo, y años después, cuando volvieron a intervenir en esa región.

La mayoría del mundo conoce bien quiénes son ellos. El problema es que buena parte de la elite de este planeta, que también dirige nuestros destinos y se da perfecta cuenta del peligro de la supremacía norteamericana, no tiene valor para enfrentar al Imperio. La gran resistencia política hoy proviene de América Latina.