Tuesday, October 31, 2006
No To Cluster Bombs!
In Lebanon, there will be a national demonstration this coming Saturday whose logo is no to cluster bombs. There are 1.2 million cluster bombs laying around between the villages in S. Lebanon. Since August 14, more than 181 cases (according to The Daily Star) have been wounded or killed. 90% of the Cluster bombs have been shot by the Israeli army during the last 3 days of the war.
This is the link about the demonstration and this is the link to the online petition against the use of Cluster bombs. The US congress and UK have refuted to place Cluster Bombs into the banned category of weaponry. Meanwhile, Samidoun have been releasing reports on what is needed due to the post-war aftermath. I hope more people would sign the No Cluster Bombs online petition.
Saturday, October 28, 2006
Thursday, October 26, 2006
Newspeak For Rape Of Iraq
By Pepe Escobar from Asia Times
It's not the first time Baghdad has been sacked. Genghis Khan's grandson did it, and so did Tamerlan. In the good old days, they built pyramids of skulls. This time around, they coin nice names, like "Stability First" and "Redeploy and Contain". "Staying the Course" is out of favor, but no matter, they all amount to the same thing: rape. -
..."Stay the course also means don't leave before the job is done. And that's ... we're going to get the job done in Iraq. And it's important that we do get the job done in Iraq." - George W Bush, October 11
Iraq is not simply a US electoral issue. It's a human tragedy of biblical proportions. Hence the urge at this point to situate the tragedy in a historical context.
In AD 750 the Abbasid Dynasty "de-Bedouinized" Islam by defeating the Ummayad Dynasty based in Damascus. The culture of the Abbasid court ceased being Arab-only and started to include Persia and the Turks. Islam turned into a universal religion, no more constrained by geography. "Baldach" - that's what European travelers called Baghdad up to the late 18th century - was catapulted to the center of the world.
From AD 786-809, under fabled Haroon al-Rashid - who established relations with Tang Dynasty China and the "illiterate emperor" Charlemagne - Baghdad gave the world astronomy, alchemy, hydraulics, diplomacy, fiscal administration and the postal service. Up to the early 12th century it remained the most important intellectual center in the world.
Baghdad had been under siege by the Assyrians and later by Cyrus the Great from Persia. But it was only in 1258 that Baghdad was sacked for the first time by what was then the equivalent of Desert Storm - the Mongols riding their lightning-quick horses under the command of Hulagu, Genghis Khan's grandson. Legend has it that he erected a pyramid of 700,000 skulls out of his victims.
In 1401, another foreign invader, the Turco-Mongol Tamerlan ("Timur the Lame"), devastated Baghdad yet again. In 2003, after the devastation of "shock and awe", came the Christian armies of President George W Bush. From the beginning the comparisons with Hulagu and Tamerlan were vivid in the popular imagination. Over time, Baghdadis - Sunni or Shi'ite - were saying, we will dictate our rhythm and impose ourselves over the occupiers. This is already happening.
Quagmire Iraq is not a 21st-century video game of Arabs playing extras in a slow-motion Armageddon. This is a wrenching story with rivers of real blood and a terrible accumulation of real corpses. The story was engineered in Washington - and the plot would not be advancing were it not for the United States. The US bears all the moral and legal responsibility for the destruction of the fabled former capital of the caliphate and the de facto Western flank of the Arab nation.
It is in this context that the current avalanche of Iraq-related newspeak in the US should be placed.
The recent bloody holy month of Ramadan in Iraq has reflected the hellish mechanism unleashed by the invasion and occupation - the daily, gruesome banquet of death provoked by state-sponsored terror, counterinsurgency, stoked by sectarian hatred or the total collapse of the social contract.
This logic of extermination of a society and culture was inbuilt in the process since March 2003. In fact, the systematic annihilation of 2-3% of the entire Iraqi population, according to a study by The Lancet, not to mention the 1 million people displaced since March 2003, follow the more than 500,000 children who died during the 1990s as victims of United Nations sanctions. Iraq has been systematically destroyed for more than 15 years, non-stop.
And it gets worse, because for the Bush administration all this death and destruction is just a minor detail in the "big picture".
In a perverse replay of what happened in the Vietnamese jungles, the Pentagon lost the asymmetric guerrilla war raging in the Sunni belt. Sunni Arabs are totally alienated. Seventy percent are in favor of attacking the occupiers, no holds barred. No wonder Saddam Hussein is still popular. This month, about 500 Sunni Arab tribal chiefs and former Ba'ath Party officials in the police, army and intelligence got together in al-Hindiya, 25 kilometers west of Kirkuk, to pledge allegiance to Saddam, qualified as "supreme combatant and legitimate president".
It's true that Saddam's regime had already started to disintegrate from the inside after the Gulf War of 1991 - a process coupled with the devastating effects of UN sanctions. The resulting loss of civic spirit accelerated the re-tribalization of Iraq. Even as tribal affiliation nowadays is the only way to solve any problem in Iraq, for the silent majority what really matters is security: nobody is troubled by perceived (by the West) Sunni and Shi'ite divisions; and most Arabs, Kurds and Turkmen share plenty of social, cultural and commercial interests. Contrary to Western-propagated myth, Iraqi civil society as a whole - apart from a few factions - abhors civil war.
The coalition of the drilling
World public opinion must switch to red alert. The real, not virtual, future of Iraq will be decided in December. The whole point is a new oil law - which is in fact a debt-for-oil program concocted and imposed by the International Monetary Fund (IMF). This is the point of the US invasion - a return on investment on the hundreds of billions of dollars of US taxpayers' money spent. It's not war as politics by other means; it's war as free-market opening by other means - full US access to the epicenter of the energy wars and the perfect geostrategic location for "taming", in the near future, both Russia and China.
Very few observers have detailed what's at stake. In US corporate media the silence is stratospheric.
US Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman duly landed in Baghdad this past summer, insisting that Iraqis must "pass a hydrocarbon law under which foreign companies can invest". Iraqi Oil Minister Hussein al-Shahristani was convinced, and said the law would be passed by the end of 2006, as promised to the IMF.
No wonder: the Green Zone US Embassy colossus has always made sure that the US controls - via well-paid Iraqi servants - the Petroleum Ministry, as well as all key management posts in key Iraqi ministries. The draft hydrocarbon law was reviewed by the IMF, reviewed by Bodman and reviewed by Big Oil executives. It was not and it will not be reviewed by Iraqi civil society: that was left to the fractious Iraqi parliament - which can be largely bought for a fistful of dinars.
The Bush administration needs somebody to sign the law. The nation of Iraq as it emerged out of British imperial design is an artificial construct that can only be "tamed" by a hardcore strongman a la Saddam. It has to be "our" strongman, of course: when Saddam started to act independently he was smashed. Insistent rumors of a US-engineered coup to replace the hapless current premier Nuri al-Maliki have surfaced of late. Poor Maliki, if he clings to a minimum of integrity, can't possibly sign the oil law. Enter the Washington/Green Zone-backed strongman a la Saddam: a likely candidate is former interim premier Iyad Allawi, who ordered the destruction of Fallujah in late 2004.
No matter what happens in the US mid-term elections next month, this is the post-December scenario: Iraq enslaved by the IMF; Big Oil signing mega-lucrative production sharing agreements (PSAs); "partial" troop withdrawal; relentless guerrilla warfare; further disintegration; open road to partition.
Vast swaths of the US electorate have now understood how the whole Iraqi adventure has been built on lies: lies about the causes of war, lies about the methodology of war, lies about the terrible consequences of war. Inevitably, the current media-targeted avalanche of Iraq-related newspeak had to be also meaningless. This includes "phased withdrawal", "empowering" the Iraqi government, "putting security ahead of democracy" and "partitioning Iraq". Surrealism in international relations would reach new highs (or lows) with the US ordering by decree that a sovereign nation must dismember itself. Compared with it, the current carnage in Baghdad - which is already divided anyway - would be a Disney flick.
There's more: the Shakespearean despair over "Redeploy and Contain" or "Stability First" - newspeak coined by Bush family consegliere James Baker's Iraq Study Group, staffed with plenty of pro-war neo-conservatives. A notorious casualty of the newspeak war seems to be "stay the course" - replaced, according to Press Secretary Tony Snow, by "a study in constant motion". Anyway, the winner - after the mid-term elections - will be "Stability First", which is basically a remix, with a horn section, of "stay the course".
How can Americans - and world public opinion - be engaged in serious, meaningful debate when the Iraq tragedy is reduced to a mere catch phrase? This incoherent whirlwind, this "study in constant motion", is the travesty that passes for Iraqi policy debate among educated elites.
Another reading is more ominous. It spells the Bush administration and its attached elites losing control - of everything. And that's how they can become even more dangerous. On October 19, Vice President Dick Cheney once again stated that the only way out in Iraq was "total victory". A recent historical parallel is nothing but gloomy. When the US was confronted with defeat in Vietnam, it did not "Redeploy and Contain": on the contrary, death and destruction were extended to Laos and Cambodia. Baker's "Stability First" might contain undisclosed subtexts.
"Total victory", in Cheney's world view, means that the Bush administration was not, is not and will never be interested in Iraqi, or Middle Eastern, "democracy". What matters is control of the lightest, sweetest, most profitable crude oil on the planet, 112 billion barrels of it in proven reserves plus 220 billion barrels still to be exploited, at a cost as low as US$1 a barrel; a cluster of sprawling military bases; the largest embassy/fortress-by-the-Tigris in the world; and the indispensable client regime.
In sum: a "Coalition of the Drilling" secured by the Pentagon's Long War apparatus. It's up to ancient and proud Baghdad to spoil the party. Baghdad survived and buried Hulagu. Baghdad survived and buried Tamerlan. Baghdad may as well survive and bury George W Bush.
Saturday, October 21, 2006
The war in Iraq has been a "catastrophic blunder" that has substantially increased the terrorist threat to Australia, one of the nation's most distinguished former diplomats said today.
Richard Woolcott, a retired foreign affairs chief who advised seven prime ministers, launched a sweeping attack on the federal government, saying that Australian democracy was not functioning as it should.
Mr Woolcott made the comments during a speech at the University of Newcastle's annual Human Rights and Social Justice lecture this afternoon.
He branded the Iraq war a "disaster", saying the Prime Minister seemed unable to admit the obvious.
"The Iraq war has been a disaster and has substantially increased the terrorist threat Mr Howard said it would reduce," he said.
"The aim of foreign and defence policy is to make Australia secure - ironically some of our policies have placed Australians at greater risk."
Mr Woolcott called on the government to come up with an exit strategy.
"The United States, the United Kingdom and Australia, having made such a catastrophic foreign and security policy blunder, are now trapped in a dilemma of their own making," he said.
He warned a precipitious withdrawal from Iraq could cause more chaos, however, staying the course would "only continue the bloodshed, energise the terrorist and Jihadists, including in our own region..."
Mr Woolcott's criticism of the war followed recent comments from Australia's former defence chief General Peter Cosgrove that it had boosted global terrorism and Britain's top soldier Sir Richard Dannatt, who called for the recall of his troops from Iraq.
Mr Woolcott said human rights suffered in a climate of war and fear.
"In 2006 our established ideals of decency, fairness, tolerance,
justice and truth in government are under challenge," he said.
Australia's democracy was not functioning as it should, he said.
"I believe it is affected by hubris, the arrogance that comes from 10 years in power, the politics of fear, nurtured by the so-called 'war on terror' and latent racism," he said.
"The government has also suffered from a lack of the important qualities of patience and humility.
"This is impacting adversely on the wider community, including in the areas of human rights and social justice."
Mr Woolcott said his service to four Liberal and three Labor prime ministers proved the objectivity of his remarks, but from "personal experience" he expected to be attacked.
"The present government tends to treat its critics - even those who have served it in the past - as virtual enemies rather than as possibly useful channels to community opinion," he said.
Calling on Australia to look past the economy and calculated distractions like the "cultural wars", Mr Woolcott said its citizens needed to address other issues in society.
"Obscuring the truth, discrediting individuals who do not agree with particular policies..., the myth ... that the Prime Minister is the sole repository of wise judgements and sound decision making, combined with a compliant public service and a strangely apathetic and detached wider community are all factors, which threaten the health of Australian democracy," he said.
David Braithwaite October 19,2006
Friday, October 20, 2006
A la lucha!!
Lady Filstrup: A la lucha!!
Wednesday, October 18, 2006
Below are the two articles swiped from today's Asia Times and referred in a comment below. The first details what I see as a believable report from the crazy bin and the second likely responses of those more sane as they tire of trying cures and give up the patient.
Beware empires in decline
By Michael T Klare
The common wisdom circulating in Washington these days is that the United States is too bogged down in Iraq to consider risky military action against Iran or - God forbid - North Korea. Policy analysts describe the US military as "over-burdened" or "stretched to the limit". The presumption is that the Pentagon is telling President George W Bush that it can't really undertake another major military contingency.
Added to these pessimistic assessments of US military capacity is the widespread claim that a "new realism" has taken over in the administration's upper reaches, that cautious "realists" like Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice have gained the upper hand over fire-breathing neo-conservatives. Ergo: no military strike against Iran or North Korea.
But I'm not buying any of this.
Just as an empire on the rise, like the United States on the eve of the invasion of Iraq, is often inclined to take rash and ill-considered actions, so an empire on the decline, like the British and French empires after World War II, will engage in senseless, self-destructive acts. And I fear the same can happen to the United States today, as it too slips into decline.
The decline of an empire can be a hard and painful thing for the affected imperial elites. Those who are used to commanding subservience and respect from their subjects and from lesser powers are often ill-prepared to deal with their indifference and contempt. Even harder is overcoming the long-inbred assumption that one's vassals are inferior - mentally, morally and otherwise.
The first malady makes the declining elites extraordinarily sensitive to perceived slights or insults from their former subjects; the second often leads elites to overestimate their own capabilities and to underestimate those of their former subjects - an often fatal error. The two misjudgments often combine to produce an extreme readiness to strike back when a perceived insult coincides with a (possibly deceptive) military superiority.
The Suez blunder
One of the most spectacular examples of such miscalculation in modern times - and an especially illuminating one - was the Suez Canal crisis of 1956. The crisis began in July 1956 when Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser, angry at the West's failure to support construction of the Aswan High Dam on the Nile, nationalized the Suez Canal, then owned principally by a British-French company and long regarded as a pre-eminent symbol of the British Empire.
A reasonable Anglo-French response to Nasser's move might have been to negotiate a dignified turnover of the canal (as president Jimmy Carter did in 1977 with the Panama Canal, thereby removing a major irritant in US-Latin America relations). But no: it was beneath their dignity to negotiate with rabble like Nasser. Instead, with images of imperial grandeur still fresh in their minds, the British and French embarked on October 29, 1956 on an invasion of Egypt (wisely bringing in the Israelis for a little backup).
Then the second malady kicked in. From what can be reconstructed today, it never occurred to British and French leaders that their former subjects would even consider putting up any resistance to modern European armies, and so victory would occur swiftly. Instead, it was pure debacle. The British and French were far too few on the ground to win any military victories, and the Egyptians didn't cry "uncle" at the first sight of the Union Jack.
Desperately, the British and French - who had first dismissed any need for American help - pleaded with then-president Dwight D Eisenhower for American assistance. But Ike wasn't in a mood to help. Having seen which way the wind was blowing in the Middle East, he decided it was better to abandon his North Atlantic Treaty Organization allies than support the old imperialists in a battle with pan-Arab nationalism (which might then choose to align with Moscow). And so the British and French were forced to withdraw in utter humiliation.
Much in this extraordinary episode bears on the situation in Washington today. Once again, a former subject state - in this case, Iran - is thumbing its nose at its former imperial overlords - Britain and the United States (which together put the megalomaniacal Shah in power there in 1953). Once again, extreme discomfort and distress has been the result. Yes, I recognize that Iran's pursuit of nuclear technology poses a different sort of danger than Egypt's seizure of the Suez Canal (though to hear the British tell it, that was no less of a strategic peril).
But there nevertheless remains a symbolic aspect to this whole crisis that cannot be entirely ignored. A once subservient Third World nation confronts the Greatest Power the World Has Ever Known on something approaching equal terms. It is precisely these sorts of circumstances that are likely to trigger rash, ill-considered action on the part of the declining power.
"How dare they stand up to us in that way?" British and French officials must have been muttering to themselves in 1956. And: "We'll teach them a thing or two! - Just you watch!"
"How dare they stand up to us in that way?" White House officials must be saying to one another in private today. And: "We'll teach them a thing or two! - Just you watch!"
Overcoming objections to war
But what about the problem of the overstretched US military and all those American soldiers now bogged down in Iraq? This is where the second post-imperial malady comes in. Yes, American ground troops are bogged down in Iraq, but American air and sea power, currently under-utilized in the Iraq conflict, can be used to cripple Iranian military capabilities with minimum demand on US ground forces.
Despite the Israeli inability to emasculate Hezbollah with airpower during the Lebanon fighting this summer, American air and naval officers, I suspect, believe that they can inflict punishing damage on the Iranians with airpower alone, and do so without suffering significant casualties in return. I also suspect that well-connected neo-conservatives and, no doubt, Vice President Dick Cheney and Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld, are whispering this message into the ear of Bush.
And what about all the forms of retaliation one might expect from the Iranians, like an upsurge in Shi'ite disorder in Iraq and chaos in the oil markets? These and other likely Iranian responses are also said to be deterring a US military strike. But the Iranians will be incapable of such coordinated action after the US Air Force subjects them to "shock and awe", and, anyway, there are contingency plans in place to deal with the fallout. Or so say the neo-cons, I would imagine.
So I believe that the common wisdom in Washington regarding military action against Iran is wrong. Just because American forces are bogged down in Iraq, and Rice appears to enjoy a bit more authority these days, does not mean that "realism" will prevail at the White House. I suspect that the response of declining British and French imperial elites when faced with provocative acts by a former subject power in 1956 is a far more accurate gauge of what to expect from the Bush administration today.
The impulse to strike back must be formidable. Soon, I fear, it will prove irresistible.
Michael T Klare is a professor of peace and world-security studies at Hampshire College, a Foreign Policy In Focus columnist, and the author of Blood and Oil: The Dangers and Consequences of America's Growing Dependence on Imported Petroleum (Metropolitan Books, 2004).
America's Acupuncture Points
Part 1: Striking the US where it hurts
By Victor N Corpus
A noted Chinese theorist on modern warfare, Chang Mengxiong, compared China's form of fighting to "a Chinese boxer with a keen knowledge of vital body points who can bring an opponent to his knees with a minimum of movements". It is like key acupuncture points in ancient Chinese medicine. Puncture one vital point and the whole anatomy is affected. If America ever goes to war with China, say, over Taiwan, then America should be prepared for the following "acupuncture points" in its anatomy to be "punctured". Each of the vital points can bring America to its knees with a minimum of effort.
I Electro-magnetic Pulse (EMP) attack
China and Russia are two potential US adversaries that have the capability for this kind of attack. An EMP attack can either come from an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), a submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM), a long-range cruise missile, or an orbiting satellite armed with a nuclear or non-nuclear EMP warhead. A nuclear burst of one (or more) megaton some 400 kilometers over central United States (Omaha, Nebraska) can blanket the whole continental US with electro-magnetic pulse in less than one second.
An EMP attack will damage all electrical grids on the US mainland. It will disable computers and other similar electronic devices with microchips. Most businesses and industries will shut down. The entire US economy will practically grind to a halt. Satellites within line of sight of the EMP burst will also be damaged, adversely affecting military command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (C4ISR). Land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles will be rendered unserviceable in their silos. Anti-ballistic missile defenses will suffer the same fate. In short – total blackout. And American society as we know it will be thrown back to the Dark Ages.
Of course, the US may decide to strike first, but China and Russia now have the means of striking back with submarine-launched ballistic missiles with the same or even more devastating results. But knowing China's strategy of "active defense", when war with the US becomes imminent, China will surely not allow itself to be targeted first. It will seize the initiative as mandated by its doctrine by striking first.
China has repeatedly announced that it will not be the first to use nuclear weapons. But as an old Chinese saying goes: "There can never be too much deception in war." If it means the survival of the whole Chinese nation that is at stake, China will surely not allow a public statement to tie its hands and prevent it from seizing the initiative. As another saying goes: "All is fair in love and war."
2 Cyber attack
America is the most advanced country in the world in the field of information technology (IT). Practically all of its industries, manufacturing, business and finance, telecommunications, key government services and defense establishment rely heavily on computers and computer networks.
But this heavy dependence on computers is a double-edged sword. It has thrust the US economy and defense establishment ahead of all other countries; but it has also created an Achilles' heel that can potentially bring the superpower to its knees with a few keystrokes on a dozen or so laptops.
China's new concept of a "people's war" includes IT warriors coming, not only from its military more than 2-million strong, but from the general citizenry of some 1.3 billion people. If we add the hackers and information warriors from Russia, Iran, North Korea, Venezuela, Cuba, Syria and other countries sympathetic to China, the cyber attack on the US would be formidable indeed.
So, if a major conflict erupts between China and America, more than a few dozen laptops will be engaged to hack America's military establishment; banking system; stock exchange; defense industries; telecommunication system; power grids; water system; oil and gas pipeline system; air traffic and train traffic control systems; C4ISR system, ballistic missile system, and other systems that prop up the American way of life.
America, on the whole, has not adequately prepared itself for this kind of attack. Neither has it prepared itself for a possible EMP attack. Such attacks can bring a superpower like America to its knees with a minimum of movement.
3 Interdiction of US foreign oil supply
America is now 75% dependent on foreign imported oil. About 23.5% of America's imported oil supply comes from the Persian Gulf. To cut off this oil supply, Iran can simply mine the Strait of Hormuz, using bottom-rising sea mines. It is worthwhile to note that Iran has the world's fourth-largest inventory of sea mines, after China, Russia and the US.
Combined with sea mines, Iran can also block the narrow strait with supersonic cruise missiles such as Yakhonts, Moskits, Granits and Brahmos deployed on Abu Musa Island and all along the rugged and mountainous coastline of Iran fronting the Persian Gulf. This single action can bring America to its knees. Not only America but Japan (which derives 90% of its oil supply) and Europe (which derives about 60% of its oil supply from the Persian Gulf ) will be adversely affected.
In the event of a major conflict involving superpower America and its allies (primarily Japan and Britain) on the one hand and China and its allies (primarily Russia and Iran) on the other, Iran's role will become strategically crucial. Iran can totally stop the flow of oil coming from the Persian Gulf. This is the main reason why China and Russia are carefully nurturing intimate economic, cultural, political, diplomatic and military ties with Iran, which at one time was condemned by US President George W Bush as belonging to that "axis of evil", along with Iraq and North Korea.
This is also the reason why Iran is so brave in daring the US to attack it on the nuclear proliferation issue. Iran knows that it has the power to hurt the US. Without oil from the Gulf, the war machines of the US and its principal allies will literally run out of gas.
A single blow from Iran or China or Russia, or a combination of the three at the Strait of Hormuz can paralyze America. In addition, Chinese and Russian submarines can stop the flow of oil to the US and Japan by interdicting oil tanker traffic coming from the Middle East, Africa and Latin America. On the other hand, US naval supremacy will have minimal effect on China's oil supply because it is already connected to Kazakhstan with a pipeline and will soon be connected to Russia and Iran as well.
One wonders: what will be the price of oil if Iran blocks the Strait of Hormuz. It will surely drive oil prices sky high. Prolonged high oil prices can, in turn, trigger inflation in the US and a sharp decline of the dollar, possibly even a dollar free-fall. The collapse of the dollar will have a serious impact on the entire US economy.
This brings us to the next "acupuncture point" in the US anatomy: dollar vulnerability.
4 Attack on the US dollar
One of the pillars propping up US superpower status and worldwide economic dominance is the dollar being accepted as the predominant reserve currency. Central banks of various countries have to stock up dollar reserves because they can only buy their oil requirements and other major commodities in US dollars.
This US economic strength, however, is a double-edged sword and can turn out to be America's economic Achilles' heel. A run of the US dollar, for instance, which would cause a dollar free-fall, can bring the entire US economy toppling down.
What is frightening for the US is the fact that China, Russia and Iran possess the power to cause a run on the US dollar and force its collapse.
China is now the biggest holder of foreign exchange reserves in the world, accumulating $941 billion as of June 30 and expected to exceed a trillion dollars by the end of 2006 - a first in world history. A decision by China to shift a major portion of its reserve to the euro or the yen or gold could trigger other central banks to follow suit. Nobody would want to be left behind holding a bagfull of dollars rapidly turning worthless. The herd psychology would be very difficult to control in this case because national economic survival would be at stake.
This global herd psychology motivated by the survival instinct will be strongly reinforced by the latent anger of many countries in the Middle East, Eurasia, Southeast Asia, Africa and Latin America that silently abhor the pugnacious arrogance displayed by the lone Superpower in the exercise of its unilateral and militaristic foreign policies. They will just be too happy to dump the dollar and watch the lone Superpower squirm and collapse.
The danger of the dollar collapsing is reinforced by the mounting US current account deficit, which sky-rocketed to $900 billion at an annual rate in the fourth quarter of 2005. This figure is 7% of US gross domestic product (GDP), the largest in US history. The current account deficit reflects the imbalance of US imports to its exports. The large imbalance shows that the US economy is losing its competitiveness, with US jobs and incomes suffering as a result.
These record deficits in external trade and current accounts mean that the US has to borrow from foreign lenders (mostly Japan and China) $900 billion annually or nearly $2.5 billion every single day to finance the gap between payments and receipts from the rest of the world. In financial year 2005, $352 billion was spent on interest payment of national debt alone - a national debt that has ballooned to $8.5 trillion as of August 24.
The International Monetary Fund has warned: "The US is on course to increase its net external liabilities to around 40% of its GDP within the next few years - an unprecedented level of external debt for a large industrial country."
The picture of the US federal budget deficit is equally grim. Dennis Cauchon, writing for USA Today said:
The federal government keeps two sets of books. The set the government promotes to the public has a healthier bottom line: a $318 billion deficit in 2005. The set the government doesn't talk about is the audited financial statement produced by the government's accountants following standard accounting rules. It reports a more ominous financial picture: a $760 billion deficit for 2005. If social security and medicare were included - as the board that sets accounting rules is considering - the federal deficit would have been $3.5 trillion. Congress has written its own accounting rules - which would be illegal for a corporation to use because they ignore important costs such as the growing expense of retirement benefits for civil servants and military personnel. Last year, the audited statement produced by the accountants said the government ran a deficit equal to $6,700 for every American household. The number given to the public put the deficit at $2,800 per household ... The audited financial statement - prepared by the Treasury Department - reveals a federal government in far worse financial shape than official budget reports indicate, a USA Today analysis found. The government has run a deficit of $2.9 trillion since 1997, according to the audited number. The official deficit since then is just $729 billion. The difference is equal to an entire year's worth of federal spending.
The huge US current account and trade deficits, the mounting external debt and the ever-increasing federal budget deficits are clear signs of an economy on the edge. They have dragged the dollar to the brink of the precipice. Such a state of economic affairs cannot be sustained for long, and the stability of the dollar is put in grave danger. One push and the dollar will plunge into free-fall. And that push can come from China, Russia or Iran, whom superpower America has been pushing and bullying all along.
We have seen what China can do. How can Russia or Iran, in turn, cause a dollar downfall? On September 2, 2003, Russia and Saudi Arabia signed an agreement on oil and gas cooperation. Russia and Saudi Arabia have agreed "to exercise joint control over the dynamics of prices for raw materials on foreign markets". The two biggest oil and gas producers, in cooperation, say, with Iran, could control oil production and sales to keep the price of oil relatively high. Sustained high oil prices, in turn, could trigger a high inflation rate in the US and put extreme pressure on the already weak dollar to trigger a more rapid decline.
Russia is now the world's biggest energy supplier, surpassing Saudi Arabia in energy exports measured in barrel oil equivalent or boe (13.3 million boe per day for Russia vs 10 million boe per day for Saudi Arabia). Russia has the biggest gas reserves in the world. Iran, on the other hand, runs second in the world to Russia in gas reserves, and also ranks among the top oil producers. If and when either Russia or Iran, or both, shift away from a rapidly declining dollar in energy transactions, many oil producers will follow suit. These include Venezuela, Indonesia, Norway, Sudan, Nigeria and the Central Asian Republics.
There is a good chance that even Saudi Arabia and the other oil-exporting countries in the Middle East may follow suit. They wouldn't want to be left with fast-shrinking dollars when the shift from petro-dollar to euro-dollar occurs. Again, the herd psychology will come into play, and the US will eventually be left with a dollar that is practically worthless. Considering the strong anti-American sentiments in the world caused by American unilateralism, especially in the Middle East, a concerted effort to dump the dollar in favor of the euro becomes even more plausible.
When the dollar was removed from the gold standard in August 1971, the dollar gained its strength through its use as the currency of choice in oil transactions. Once the dollar is rejected in favor of the euro or another currency for global oil transactions, the dollar will rapidly lose its value and central banks all over the world will be racing to diversify to other currencies. The shift from petro-dollar to petro-euro will have a devastating effect on the dollar. It could cause the dollar to collapse; and the whole US economy crushing down with it - a scene reminiscent of the collapse of the Twin Towers on September 11, 2001. But this one will be a thousand times more devastating.
A successful assault on the US dollar will make America crawl on its knees with a minimum of movements. And this assault can come from China, Russia or Iran - or a combination of the three - if they ever decide that they have had enough of US bullying.
5 Diplomatic isolation
In 1991, when the Soviet Union collapsed from its own weight, the US emerged as the sole superpower in the world. At that crucial period, it would have been a great opportunity for the US to establish its global leadership and dominance worldwide. With the world's biggest economy, its control of international financial institutions, its huge lead in science and technology (specially information technology) and its unequaled military might, America could have seized the moment to establish a truly American Century.
But in the critical years after 1991, America had to make a choice between two divergent approaches to the use of its almost unlimited power: soft power or hard power. The exercise of soft power would have seen America leading the world in the fight against poverty, disease, drugs, environmental degradation, global warming and other ills plaguing humankind.
It would have pushed America in leading the move to address the debt burden of poor, undeveloped or developing countries; promoting distance learning in remote rural areas to empower the poor economically by providing them access to quality education; and helped poor countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America build highways, railways, ports, airports, hospitals, schools and telecommunication systems.
Unfortunately, such was not to be. If there was any effort at the exercise of soft power at all, it was minimal. In fact, it is not America which is practicing soft power in diplomacy but a rising power in the East - China. China has been busy in the past decade or so exercising soft power in almost all countries in Africa, Latin America, Central Asia, Southeast Asia, South Asia and the Middle East, winning most of the countries in these regions to its side. Through the use of soft power, China has created a de facto global united front under its silent, low-key leadership.
The US, on the other hand, decided to employ mainly hard power in the exercise of its global power. It adapted the policy of unilateralism and militarism in its foreign policy. It discarded the United Nations and even the advice of close allies. It unilaterally discarded signed international treaties (such as the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty). It adapted the policy of regime change and preventive war. It led the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in the 78-day bombing of Serbia purportedly for "humanitarian" reasons. It invaded Afghanistan and Iraq without UN sanctions and against the advice of key European allies like France and Germany.
The US-led war in Iraq was a tactical victory for the US initially, but has resulted in strategic defeat overall. The Iraq war caused the US to lose its principal allies in Europe and be isolated, despised and hated in many parts of the world. Without too many friends and allies, the US is likened to an "emperor with no clothes".
So in a major conflict between America and China, isolated America cannot possibly win against a global united front led by China and Russia.
This brings us to the question of alliances, another "acupuncture point" in the anatomy of the superpower, which will be addressed in the second part of this report.
Victor N Corpus is a retired brigadier general of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP); former chief of the Intelligence Service, AFP; and holds a master's degree in public administration from the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University.
The author of this second promises us his "Tomorrow, Part 2: Faced with a China-Russia-Iran triumvirate". That should be an interesting read. Will he detail saving the empire or give us more clue to its burial?
We need forge paths through that deepest dark forest and stand on waters of the ocean together. There, may be found the necessary means to blow away clouds formed today to drench all tomorrow.
A Hard Rain’s A-gonna Fall
Oh, where have you been, my blue-eyed son?
Oh, where have you been, my darling young one?
I’ve stumbled on the side of twelve misty mountains,
I’ve walked and I’ve crawled on six crooked highways,
I’ve stepped in the middle of seven sad forests,
I’ve been out in front of a dozen dead oceans,
I’ve been ten thousand miles in the mouth of a graveyard,
And it’s a hard, and it’s a hard, it’s a hard, and it’s a hard,
And it’s a hard rain’s a-gonna fall.
Oh, what did you see, my blue-eyed son?
Oh, what did you see, my darling young one?
I saw a newborn baby with wild wolves all around it
I saw a highway of diamonds with nobody on it,
I saw a black branch with blood that kept drippin’,
I saw a room full of men with their hammers a-bleedin’,
I saw a white ladder all covered with water,
I saw ten thousand talkers whose tongues were all broken,
I saw guns and sharp swords in the hands of young children,
And it’s a hard, and it’s a hard, it’s a hard, it’s a hard,
And it’s a hard rain’s a-gonna fall.
And what did you hear, my blue-eyed son?
And what did you hear, my darling young one?
I heard the sound of a thunder, it roared out a warnin’,
Heard the roar of a wave that could drown the whole world,
Heard one hundred drummers whose hands were a-blazin’,
Heard ten thousand whisperin’ and nobody listenin’,
Heard one person starve, I heard many people laughin’,
Heard the song of a poet who died in the gutter,
Heard the sound of a clown who cried in the alley,
And it’s a hard, and it’s a hard, it’s a hard, it’s a hard,
And it’s a hard rain’s a-gonna fall.
Oh, who did you meet, my blue-eyed son?
Who did you meet, my darling young one?
I met a young child beside a dead pony,
I met a white man who walked a black dog,
I met a young woman whose body was burning,
I met a young girl, she gave me a rainbow,
I met one man who was wounded in love,
I met another man who was wounded with hatred,
And it’s a hard, it’s a hard, it’s a hard, it’s a hard,
It’s a hard rain’s a-gonna fall.
Oh, what’ll you do now, my blue-eyed son?
Oh, what’ll you do now, my darling young one?
I’m a-goin’ back out ’fore the rain starts a-fallin’,
I’ll walk to the depths of the deepest black forest,
Where the people are many and their hands are all empty,
Where the pellets of poison are flooding their waters,
Where the home in the valley meets the damp dirty prison,
Where the executioner’s face is always well hidden,
Where hunger is ugly, where souls are forgotten,
Where black is the color, where none is the number,
And I’ll tell it and think it and speak it and breathe it,
And reflect it from the mountain so all souls can see it,
Then I’ll stand on the ocean until I start sinkin’,
But I’ll know my song well before I start singin’,
And it’s a hard, it’s a hard, it’s a hard, it’s a hard,
It’s a hard rain’s a-gonna fall.
Comments On Poll #6
Tuesday, October 17, 2006
Monday, October 16, 2006
Run, you Coward
"Jenna Bush has bought 100,000 acres in Paraguay for the family to "settle"(avoiding a military coup and war crimes charges)".
Buenos Aires, Oct 13 (Prensa Latina) An Argentine official regarded the intention of the George W. Bush family to settle on the Acuifero Guarani(Paraguay) as surprising, besides being a bad signal for the governments of the region.
I found this information and no more about it but found it very interesting. Also this link to where Jenna Bush has been.
Sunday, October 15, 2006
Well I'll Be Damned
At midday on Friday, October 13, 2006, the Coordination Bureau of the Non-Aligned Movement, meeting in the UN headquarters in New York under the presidency of Cuba, approved the following statement on the nuclear test effected on October 9 by the People’s Democratic Republic of Korea .
Statement from the Non-Aligned Movement on the nuclear test in the PDRK
1. The Coordination Bureau of the Non-Aligned Movement has expressed its concern at, while acknowledging the complexities derived from the nuclear test in the Korean Peninsula , which underscores the need to work even more vigorously to achieve the Movement’s disarmament objectives, including the elimination of nuclear weapons. The Movement exhorts the implicated parties in the region to exercise moderation, which will contribute to regional security; to discontinue nuclear tests; and not to transfer materials, equipment and technology related to nuclear weapons.
2. The Movement expresses its desire to for the de-nuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and continues to support the renewal of Six-Party Talks as soon as possible. The Movement firmly believes that diplomacy and dialogue via peaceful means must continue with a view to achieving a long-term solution to the Korean nuclear question.
3. In the light of this action, the Movement reaffirms its principled position in relation to nuclear disarmament, which continues being its maximum priority, as well as issues related to nuclear non-proliferation in all its aspects, and emphasizes its concern at the threat that the permanent existence of nuclear weapons and their potential use or threat of use supposes for humanity. At the same time, it reiterates its profound concern at the slow advance toward nuclear disarmament and the lack of progress on the part of states possessing nuclear weapons in the total elimination of their nuclear arsenals. It highlights the need for states possessing nuclear weapons to fulfill the unequivocal commitment that they contracted in 2000 in matters referring to obtaining the total elimination of nuclear weapons and, in this context, stresses the pressing need to begin negotiations without delay.
4. The Movement stresses its principles and priorities on the issue of disarmament and international security, as adopted at the 14th Conference of Heads of State or Government of the Non-Aligned Movement that took place in Havana , Cuba , from September 11 to 16, 2006.
Are you listening 'Americans', English, French, Russians, Chinese, Israelis, Indians, Pakistanis? Because if you are not, the protection you think you have will soon be joined by a whole lot of other families of human kind and decrease the selectivity of your insane illusion with each. Hello Iran! Hi there Korea! Stay in line now the rest of you. And why not? One killer of all and everything is as good as another. Who is the impresario of this sick death dance? Oh yeah, I remember. So do surviving Japanese and their offspring.
Friday, October 13, 2006
As The Arabs See The Jews
See this fascinating essay by King Abdullah written 6 month's prior to the Arab-Israeli war warning of things to come.
Thursday, October 12, 2006
On North Korea
The demonization of North Korea by the United States government continues unrelentlessly. The wealthy oil and baseball man who claims to be president of the United States, used his first State of the Union address on January 29, 2002 to brand perennial enemy North Korea, along with former allies Iran and Iraq, as "the world’s most dangerous regimes" who now now form a threatening "axis of evil."
Unbeknown to the public, because it was intended to have remained a secret (whoops!), was the fact that this claimed president presented a "Nuclear Posture Review" report to Congress only three weeks earlier, on January 8, which ordered the Pentagon to prepare contingency plans for use of nuclear weapons. The first designated targets for nuclear attack were his newly identified members of the "axis of evil," along with four other lucky nations as well – Syria, Libya, Russia, and China. That this is nothing short of a policy of ultimate terror remains unaddressed in the U.S. media.
That Koreans are deeply concerned is an understatement. However, they understand the context in which their "evil" is being portrayed, not an altogether new threat levelled at them. However, the dangerous escalation of policy rhetoric following the 9-11 tragedy now boldly warns the world of virtual total war. Vice-president Richard Cheney, another oil man from Texas, declares that the U.S. is now considering military actions against forty to fifty nations, and that the war "may never end" and "become a permanent part of the way we live."
1 The Pentagon has declared that the widening gap between the "Haves" and "Have-nots" poses a serious challenge to the U.S., requiring a doctrine of "full spectrum dominance." Thus, the U.S. demands total capacity to conquer every place and its inhabitants in and around the Earth, from deep underground bunkers, including those in North Korea and Iraq, through land, sea, and air, to outer space. All options for achieving global and spatial hegemony are now on the table. Already, the U.S. military is deployed in 100 different countries.
2 Total war, permanent war. Terror! Addiction to use of terror by the United States is nothing new. The civilization was founded and has been sustained by use of terror as a primary policy. For example, in 1779, General George Washington ordered destruction of the "merciless Indian savages" of upstate New York, instructing his generals to "chastize" them with "terror." The generals dutifully carried out these orders.
In 1866, General William Tecumseh Sherman ordered "extermination" with vindictive earnestness of the Sioux. They were virtually exterminated. Secretary of War Elihu Root (1899-1904) under President's McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt, justified the ruthless U.S. military conduct in the Philippines that savagely killed a half-million citizens by citing "precedents of the highest authority:" Washington's and Sherman's earlier orders.
3 War against nations around the world is not new either. The U.S., over its history, has militarily intervened over 400 times, covertly thousands of times, in over one hundred nations.
4 Virtually all these interventions have been lawless. It has bombed at least eighteen nations since it dropped Atomic bombs on Japan in 1945. It has used chemical warfare against Southeast Asia, and has provided chemical warfare agents for use by other nations such as Iraq. It has used biological warfare against China, North Korea, and Cuba. The Koreans are quite aware of most of this history. Most U.S. Americans are not. But now the U.S. has declared a unilateral terrorist war on the whole world.
5 Two of the interventions in the Nineteenth Century were inflicted against Korea, the first in 1866. The second, larger one, in 1871, witnessed the landing of over 700 marines and sailors on Kanghwa beach on the west side of Korea seeking to establish the first phases of colonization. Destroying several forts while inflicting over 600 casualties on the defending Korean natives, the U.S. withdrew realizing that in order to assure hegemonic success, a much larger, permanent military presence would be necessary.
The North Korean people regularly remark about this U.S. invasion, even though most in South Korea do not know of it due to historic censorship. Most in the U.S. don’t know about it either, for similar reasons, even though in all of the Nineteenth Century, this was the largest U.S. military force to land on foreign soil outside of Mexico and Canada until the "Spanish American War" in 1898.
I believe it important for U.S. Americans to place themselves in the position of people living in targeted countries. That North Korea, a nation of 24 million people, i.e., one-twentieth the population of the U.S., many of them poor, a land slightly larger in area than the U.S. state of Pennsylvania, continues to be one of the most demonized nations and least understood, totally perplexes the Korean people. It is worthwhile to seek an understanding of their perspective.
I recently visited that nation and talked with a number of her citizens. I travelled 900 ground miles through six of North Korea's nine provinces, as well as spending time in Pyongyang, the capital, and several other cities. I talked with dozens of people from all walks of life. Though times have been hard for North Koreans, especially in the 1990s, they long ago proudly rebuilt all of their dozens of cities, thousands of villages, and hundreds of dykes and dams destroyed during the war.
U.S. interference into the sovereign life of Korea immediately upon the 1945 surrender of the hated Japanese, who had occupied the Korean Peninsula for forty years, is one of the major crimes of the Twentieth Century, from which the Korean people have never recovered. (SEE "United States Government War Crimes," Spring 2002 - issue # 1 of Global Outlook). From a North Korean’s perspective they
(1) have vigorously opposed the unlawful and egregious division of their country from day one to the present,
(2) were blamed for starting the "Korean War" which in fact had been a struggle between a minority of wealthy Koreans supporting continued colonization in collaboration with the U.S. and those majority Koreans who opposed it,
(3) proudly and courageously held the U.S. and its "crony U.N. allies" to a stalemate during the "War," and
(4) have been tragically and unfairly considered a hostile nation ever since. They have not forgotten the forty years of Japanese occupation that preceded the U.S. imposed division and subsequent occupation that continues in the South. They deeply yearn for reunification of their historically unified culture.
Everyone I talked with, dozens and dozens of folks, lost one if not many more family members during the war, especially from the continuous bombing, much of it incendiary and napalm, deliberately dropped on virtually every space in the country. "Every means of communication, every installation, factory, city, and village" was ordered bombed by General MacArthur in the fall of 1950. It never stopped until the day of the armistice on July 27, 1953. The pained memories of people are still obvious, and their anger at "America" is often expressed, though they were very welcoming and gracious to me. Ten million Korean families remain permanently separated from each other due to the military patrolled and fenced dividing line spanning 150 miles across the entire Peninsula.
Let us make it very clear here for western readers. North Korea was virtually totally destroyed during the "Korean War." U.S. General Douglas MacArthur's architect for the criminal air campaign was Strategic Air Command head General Curtis LeMay who had proudly conducted the earlier March 10 - August 15, 1945 continuous incendiary bombings of Japan that had destroyed 63 major cities and murdered a million citizens. (The deadly Atomic bombings actually killed far fewer people.)
Eight years later, after destroying North Korea's 78 cities and thousands of her villages, and killing countless numbers of her civilians, LeMay remarked, "Over a period of three years or so we killed off - what - twenty percent of the population."
6 It is now believed that the population north of the imposed 38th Parallel lost nearly a third its population of 8 - 9 million people during the 37-month long "hot" war, 1950 - 1953, perhaps an unprecedented percentage of mortality suffered by one nation due to the belligerance of another.
Virtually every person wanted to know what I thought of Bush's recent accusation of North Korea as part of an "axis of evil." Each of the three governments comprising Bush’s "axis of evil" of course immediately condemned the remarks, North Korea being no exception. I shared with them my own outrage and fears, and they seemed relieved to know that not all "Americans" are so cruel and bellicose. As with people in so many other nations with whom the U.S. has treated with hostility, they simply cannot understand why the U.S. is so obsessed with them.
Koreans were relieved to learn that a recent poll had indicated eighty percent of South Koreans were against the U.S. belligerant stance against their northern neighbors. The North Korean government described Bush as a "typical rogue and a kingpin of terrorism" as he was visiting the South in February, only three weeks after presenting his threatening State of the Union address.
7 It was also encouraging that the two Koreas resumed quiet diplomatic talks in March just as the U.S. and South Korea were once again conducting their regular, large-scale, joint military exercises so enraging to the North, and to an increasing number of people in the South among the growing reunification movement there.
8 In the English-language newspaper, The Pyongyang Times, (February 23, 2002) there were articles entitled "US Is Empire of the Devil," Korea Will Never Be a Threat to the US," and "Bush’s Remarks Stand Condemned." Quite frankly, all three of these articles relate a truth about the U.S. that would draw a consensus from many quarters around the world.
While in country, together we listened to Bush's March 14 Voice of America (VOA) radio chastizement of North Korea. First, he stated that the North's 200,000 prisoner population was proof of terrible repression. Though I had no way of knowing the number of prisoners in the North, any more than Bush did, I do know that the United States has 2 million prisoners which is similar in per-capita detention rate to that of North Korea if the 200,000 figure is accurate.
Furthermore, the U.S. has a minimum of 3 million persons, mostly minority and poor, under state supervision of parole and probation. The U.S. sweeps its class and race problems into prison.
Second, Bush declared that half the population was considered unreliable and, as a result, received less monthly food rations.
The Koreans are a proud people living in a Confucian tradition, having rebuilt their nation from virtual total destruction during the Korean war. I did not notice any obvious display of dissent. That some Koreans are desperate due to lack of food, water, and heat, especially in some rural areas, does not necessarily translate into dissent, though some are seeking relief by travel to neighboring countries.
9 Third, Bush claimed that Koreans who listen to foreign radio are targeted for execution. Together we regularly listened to U.S.VOA radio broadcasts and they freely discussed the content of the broadcasts without fear of reprisals.
Fourth, Bush condemned the DPRK for spending too much on its military, causing food shortages for the people. Note: Again it must be remembered that it was the U.S. that unilaterally divided Korea following the Japanese surrender in August 1945, and subsequently ruled with a military occupation government in the south, overseeing the elimination of virtually the entire popular movement of (majority) opposition to U.S. occupation, murdering hundreds of thousands of people.
The consequent Korean civil war that openly raged in 1948-1950 was completely ignored when the U.S. defined the beginning of the Korean War in 1950. The U.S. remains at war with the DPRK, never having signed a peace treaty with her. The war has left a deep scar in the Korean character with a memory that is regularly provoked by continued belligerance directed at the DPRK.
The U.S. regularly holds joint military exercises with South Korean military forces aimed at the DPRK. The U.S. retains 37,000 military troops at 100 installations south of the 38th parallel. The U.S. has its largest Asian bombing range where it practices bombs five days a week, fifty-two weeks a year, despite opposition from many South Koreans. And now Bush has identified North Korea as part of an "axis of evil" targeted for nuclear attack. This is no remote idea to North Koreans. The U.S. possesses nuclear weapons on ships and planes in the Pacific region surrounding North Korea. Virtually every nation in this perilous position would be concerned about their defense.
It is worth noting that the United States is the leading military spender in the world resulting in substantial underfunding of its own indispensable social programs.
Fifth, Bush accused the DPRK of selling weapons to other nations. That is like the pot calling the kettle black. The U.S. is by far the largest manufacturer of conventional, nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons in the world. It is also the largest seller of these weapons, and has used conventional (against dozens of nations), biological (Cuba, China, Korea, perhaps others), chemical (Southeast Asia), and nuclear (Japan, and threatened to use them on at least 20 other occasions) weapons.
In addition it has armed other nations with these weapons of mass destruction, including Iraq, one of those countries now identified as part of the "axis of evil." In the year 2000, international arms sales were nearly $37 billion, with the U.S. being directly responsible for just over half of those sales. South Korea was the third largest buyer of weapons from the United States with $3.2 worth of military hardware.10 And in January 2002, South Korea was seriously contemplating purchasing an additional $3.2 billion worth of 40 F-X fighter jets from U.S. arms giant Boeing.
At the conclusion of this VOA radio broadcast, Koreans and I looked at each other in disbelief. But we also knew that we were in solidarity with each other as part of the human family. When I said goodbye to my new friends we embraced knowing that we live in a single world made up of a rich diversity of ideas and species. We know that we are going to live or die together, and hope that the arrogant and dangerous rhetoric and militarism of the United States will soon end so we can all live in peace. However, for that to happen, there will need to be a dramatic awakening among the people and a corresponding expression of massive nonviolent opposition that will make such threatening behavior impossible to carry out.
Keep Them Out
Wednesday, October 11, 2006
Dreaming Of Reality
I danced with the Ballet Folclórico de la Universidad de Guadalajara, generally regarded as Mexico’s premier troupe. The statement in itself is true but reality of its implication little more than a dream.
My wife and I watched their performances in appreciative wonder many times in the city’s renowned Teátro Degollado. It was out of sense of cultural loyalty that we attended when they ventured to our town’s small auditorium. We were close friends with the woman who operated the auditorium and her husband, who had charge of a dining hall.
The friendship brought us invitations to a dinner fiesta the two hosted for the dance troupe after the local performance. My wife seemed to be hiding her face behind a tortilla on break out of joint rhythmic clapping and chants of “baile baile” at my friend’s announcement to the group we had taken lessons in folkloric dancing.
Wife’s embarrassment notwithstanding, and being of the show off rather than embarrassment prone type, there was nothing else I could do. My boots were of proper sort and a pretty young señorita, still in chino poblano stage dress, lowered a traditional charro sombrero on my head, took my hand, and lead me to center of the floor where someone graced my shoulder with a Saltillo serape. With hands clasped behind the back, my boots whirling, and her skirt swirling, we tapped together for a minute or so the zapateado de Jarabe Tapatio in rapid clapped rhythm of 6/8 time. Yes, I danced with the Ballet Folclórico de la Universidad de Guadalajara.
Mariachi Vargas de Tecolitlán, another premier group, will be in town Saturday and my brags may become more preposterous. If you have heard mariachi recordings, the chances are they were by Vargas. All of Mexico knows there is no better. Once again, cultural loyalty dictates. As boots took me to the dance fiesta, I could not deny my guitar knowing Vargas. It is the right build and my fingers know the tunes and style. “Yep folks, I played with Mariachi Vargas de Tecolitlán!” I’ll be able to say. (shhh about quietly fingering from a back audience seat rather than stage.) Claim of dancing and playing with famous groups sounds good. True yes. Reality?
“I am an enemy of the (US) state” was another claim to hot-shot-ism. Some agencies and persons thought it was real rather than dream and may still. So did I. It is true most of a long adult life was engaged in trying to destroy what I perceived bad in US culture by turning it inside out. An initial obligating motive was to get things right before our kids grew up.
But, I had another only recently realized and acknowledged motive for dancing on the US radical activist stage. It surfaced from reading internet blogs of US ‘liberal’ and even proclaimed ‘radical’ and 'revolutionary' activists who just can't seem to shake their heads from fixation on changing their nation. Theirs and my unrealized motives seem to rest in preserving and raising to the fore what within its culture could be considered good. In contrast, I view such collection now as faded to transparency of never were, never can be, never will be.
Underneath, there was always the unrealized intent of saving the system I’d been propagandized to believe existed just a little bit under current actuality. The effect was to contribute to the system’s perpetuation as it is.
That I appeared to be an enemy of the state, was dancing and playing on the surface just as ballet and mariachi stories. The worthy features of the US I thought real or at least realizable were as illusory as the dancing. I was unwittingly working to save what I claimed to fight.
The growth years of even our children’s children have now passed. I cannot wait for a next batch on which in pretense to rest a motive. It is time instead to quit dancing and live life’s remainder awakened from dreams inserted in US elementary school.
Now I just want the US to go away. It probably won’t by any contributory action of mine. There is little I can do to aid the demise. What I can do and have done is distance from it figuratively and virtually.
People in this forum are right if they've sensed I have no concern for improving quality of events or future within the US. I don't give a damn what and how things are and are not done up north. Gone are the days of boastful pretense as dancer, mariachi, and unintentional savior of something deservedly lost.
The reality lies in hopes that enough outside its borders, geographic and self imposed imaginative, muster sufficient determination and wherewithal to construct a suitable garbage disposal. Then the air might be cleared enough to better see, sort, and distill the good from the bad that have long existed in other societies more worthy of observation.
Flowers into the Thames - against the death penalty
This is reprinted from the blog of Iranian feminist and socialist Maryam Namazie, who is also a team member of my blog
Sunday, October 08, 2006
Comments On Poll #5
I haven't read through either blog, but do you plan on discussing more of Bush's using the Constitution as a baby wipe or are we digging into the global US vision that isn't working and never was going to work. Get a hold of dumb bunny Bob Woodward's latest--even he saw the nakedness of the Emperor.
# posted by Enemy of the Republic @ 07:58
Prominent Russian journalist, Anna Politkovskaya, known for her harsh criticism of the Kremlin’s policies and Vladimir Putin’s regime, was killed in the Russian capital on Saturday evening.
Politkovskaya worked as a reporter for the Novaya Gazeta daily. She rose to prominence and achieved international recognition for her critical coverage of developments in Russia’s restive southern province of Chechnya and other North Caucasian provinces.
One of Russia’s most respected journalists, she was known as a tireless investigative reporter. She’d authored a critical book on Russia’s president and his campaign in Chechnya, and wrote sympathetic stories about Chechen refugees.
The International Federation of Journalists Secretary-General stated "Politkovskaya’s slaying was clearly a “targeted assassination.”
There is a full story on Moscow News.
For contrast, consider Bolivia and Evo Morales' election last December. Voters were familiar with the issues, very real and important ones like national control over natural gas and other resources, which has overwhelming popular support. Indigenous rights, women's rights, land rights and water rights were on the political agenda, among many others. The population chose someone from its own ranks, not a representative of narrow sectors of privilege.
Friday, October 06, 2006
Border Wall Plan
Considered Offensive, Shameful
" Mexico lobbied for six years for a comprehensive immigration reform that would allow millions to cross into the United States legally. Instead, it got a wall".
American mentality has lead to building a wall between them and Mexico to keep the workers out. They are getting the support of their public by relying on their terrorist scare. Migrant workers and terrorists are becoming one in the minds of many of their people. America thinks they can just fence themselves in and abuse the world and they will be safe. But all this does is push their reputation for evil and oppression into the forefront and sends that message. America has come so far from the country that use to be looked up to, now to a country that has to be protected from, even for its own citizens. A very dangerous place.
"We are supposed to be neighbors and friends, and instead of building bridges and doors, we´re building obstacles,"
Tuesday, October 03, 2006
"The now-declassified summary of the National Intelligence Estimate on "Trends in Global Terrorism" focuses almost exclusively on Islamic extremists. But inserted at the very end is this one overlooked, though seemingly quite important, passage that identifies other terrorist threats". This article goes on to explain.
It is obvious from the way America is headed that they will soon object to the freedom of the internet and use terrorism as a reason to oppress it.